4-1-2003 Jollies

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.--Abraham Lincoln

I was sitting here last night trying not to feel so completely ill and nursing a beer when the tone sounded. N. Main St., structure fire. There was no point in just sitting here feeling like dung anymore so I threw the sneaks on and headed out for some pics. This sucker was blazing away into the sky and had attracted quite the crowd of onlookers. Since the flash range of my camera is very limited, I decided to follow those television cameramen and get a few close-ups. This dandy fire was your standard Nord End “surround and drown” arson which have been happening with increasing frequency in this neck of the woods.

I sauntered out of a back yard on Hollenback Ave. and was confronted by a candidate for city council. He said rather sternly that I was on his property and I should stay off of it. Not a problem-gotcha’. Then he starts bragging about being on his cell phone with the mayor. So? So what? I know the mayor’s cell phone number too! Then he launches into a diatribe about how he got my street paved for me. “I got your street paved. I asked Tom, what can we do to please Mark? We paved your street and you still think you can get your jollies by typing on your computer.” I responded by telling him that my street didn’t even need to be paved. In all honesty, it was in great shape and a lot of my neighbors have been cracking jokes about the fact that it was paved and a few thanked ME for causing it.

Is that how we manage this city? If we bitch long enough, we get bought off? And should I be content now that my tiny street is freshly paved while the city is in tatters in more than a few respects? Is this how the game works? Grab my little piece of the taxpayer pie and remain quiet while the city has become a statewide joke? If I make enough of a fuss, can I get myself a city job? How about my sister? Can she get one too? Are any of these politico types getting it? Wilkes-Barre is a mess! Everybody seems so busy playing their political games, while the city continues to slip closer and closer to the abyss. Does everyone have an angle on how to get a slice of the pie? If everyone would stop working for their party, their covert affiliations or for their personal gain, the city might actually be flourishing right now and trust me-it isn’t!

How could a guy who is not a city employee or a holder of any political office within the city make the claim that he got my street paved? Is he right? The mayor announced in December that these teeny side streets clumped together up here, Thompson, John, Harry and Ralph would all be paved starting on March, 24, 2003, but Thompson was the only one paved to date and the other three were in worst condition than this one. You tell me man, I know how government is supposed to work, but this city has it’s own program, if in fact there really is an actual program in place.

Whatever! Then it gets better. The guy proceeds to tell me he is going to sue me for all I’m worth. He tells me he has a good lawyer. Then he announces that he and the mayor have got a little surprise for me. Then it’s back to the cell phone and he tells me that “Tom’s on his way up here.” I reminded him that he once told me we both want the same thing-to see Wilkes-Barre improved. There was really very little point in continuing this conversation any further and I headed over to the old Courtright School grounds to see about some more pics of our hose dudes in action. Anyway, I took those threats as the longer version of shut up and pay your taxes.

Residents are apparently not allowed to pay too close attention, voice their opinion in a public forum or embarrass the powers that be, even if it is well deserved. Our mayor has been hard at work (as he so often reminds us) for seven years and the city is in shambles. Our finances are screwed-up, the condition of the city is deplorable, our reputation has been sullied beyond belief, the morale of many, many residents and city employees is at an all time low and I’m getting my jollies? Jollies? Who’s fault is it that the city has fallen on such hard times? We’ve only got nine elected officials in the city government and one of them holds about 85% of the power to act. Really, who’s fault is it?

This ain’t about getting our jollies? This city is another serious mistake or two from going belly-up. In my opinion, if some things were to break right, it could also make a speedy and remarkable comeback. We’ve got City Vest working on that Sterling Hotel and remodeling homes in the downtown. The Chamber folks are remodeling the Woolworths property. Thom Greco’s silicon valley scheme is actually starting to sound as if it might hold some water. There’s still all this talk about the River Landing project. But, at the same time, we can’t afford many more missteps.

It seems to me that we’ve got too many cliques in this city working to protect their cliques and their pieces of the pie first and the city second. We need more people protecting the city and it’s residents and less political jockeying for power.

Do I want our current mayor re-elected? Hell no! I don’t wish him ill, I just don’t want him to be my mayor anymore. Do I want Tom Leighton to take a crack at it? Hell yes! I think he’s the right man at the right time, but he had better be, because Wilkes-Barre is running out of chances.

You guys can sue me, spring surprises on me or run me over while I’m out on the bike, but it won’t change one simple fact-Wilkes-Barre sucks. And who’s fault is that? It’s the fault of the folks that have that ‘shut up and pay your taxes’ mentality.

So anyway, message received. Shut up and pay your taxes.

An e-mail:

******The best part about this whole Propaganda Leaflet that the boy/king is distributing throughout Parsons is that, according to the rumor mill, the employees at the city tax office temporarily have run out of paper with which to conduct city business on, i.e. MAKE MONEY FOR THE CITY BY COLLECTING TAXES! Just when you think that you have heard it all folks, the little numbskull comes up with new and interesting ways to f*ck this city up.

Also, to tie this city into the problems of the Middle East, I have this proposal. We should all know by now that the United States is referred to as "The Great Infidel". With that in mind, I hear by propose that from now on, all residents of our fair city shall refer to the mayor as "The Great Infantile", at least until May 20th. After that, we can all just call him "Toast". God willing.

Take care and hope you feel better.******

If they didn’t pave Thompson Street, they’d have some paper.


******Does anyone but me think that the Third Democratic candidate was "encouraged" by the incumbent candidate in order to pull 'anti-McN*t votes' away from the First Democratic candidate???

Everything West Side Dude said: " ......prepare a strategy to deal with voter fraud, voter intimidation, illegal use of city employees and resources, and polling place improprieties. McGroarty's entire political campaign should be intensely scrutinized starting with the petitions...." This would only be a repeat of what McGroarty did during the last campaign against Ed Soltis [rest in peace]. We, as Ed's friends and supporters, knew a lot of what was going on in the campaign as well as in City Hall, but Ed was too much of a gentleman and would not allow us to use anything negative. Proof of what was going on was provided to the newspapers and various city officials but they weren't interested. ALL OF THOSE CHARGES CAN BE PROVEN BUT NO ONE WOULD STAND UP. I believe there are at least 4 other criminal charges that would stand up but Council is the only one with the power to do anything. I bet a class action would work. Imagine 'citizens of W-B v mcn*t'.


Damn! I have heard plenty about Soltis events and supporters being videotaped by the mayor’s henchmen. Intimidation anyone? Is Wilkes-Barre still a part of the United States? What’s next? Are we going to be “necklaced” for wearing a Leighton pin?




Of course, we needed dump trucks to respond to a fire ground!

At a fire?

I gotta go, I am totally ill. Remember, shut up and pay your taxes.