4-6-2003 Bike About

Democracy is not a spectator sport.--Ronald Reagan

I was out and about on the bile today. It was a tad cold and windy. Basically, there was nothing of note going down in Wilkes-Barre today except for the mayor scrambling the DPW guys on a Sunday. The forecast calls for snow tomorrow and it’s awful close to the primary to botch another snowfall. Tomorrow the roads will be clear.

I enjoyed today’s Leader article about Nanticoke’s needing concessions from it’s unionized employees to avoid distressed status. Of course they do. All of the cities in Luzerne County seem to need concessions from their unionized employees now that the cities have been run into the ground by the past and present politicos. The leaders of these cities all cite the shrinking tax base as the major reason that employees must give back and at this point it’s probably true. True because these cities are a shell of their former selves suffering from reverse-gentrification as the productive folks are migrating to the bucolic suburbs. The politicos need to start identifying exactly why they are losing their tax base and work to reverse the exodus out of town. Let’s give them a few hints.

Y’all collected your salaries and perks and spent most of your time doling out favors to curry favor with voters, while the cities became places that were less than acceptable to young families with some earning potential. Y’all talk about attracting high paying jobs every election cycle, but the jobs never seemed to arrive. Y’all dreamed of deflatable dams and pie-in-the-sky projects, while the sidewalks cracked, the potholes got deeper and more frequent and the criminal element established a serious beachhead, while y’all got by with fewer cops to save some money soon to be frivolously wasted on something else. The cities in this county have got some serious, serious problems. In a nutshell. y’all fu*ked that up, didn’t ya’? How to fix it? Demonize your employees in the minds of the general public! More nonsense.

I cut this from the Leader story:

Cities that meet certain financial criteria, such as having expenditures that exceed revenues over a period of years and defaulting on bond and other payments, can be declared distressed.

The state appoints a coordinator to prepare a fiscal recovery plan. The city must then adopt and implement that plan or a plan of its own that meets the state's approval.

Forget Nanticoke, that sure sounds like Wilkes-Barre to me. Act 47, heyna? Yeah, but we haven’t raised taxes while we crept well within range of Act 47.

Vote for me! We’re broke, we’re anywhere from $30-50 million in debt, we defaulted on numerous loans and stiffed vendor after vendor and still face numerous lawsuits, BUT we have not raised taxes in 7 years.

Well looky here! Check this e-mail just in to Wilkes-Barre Online high atop the Hotel Sterling building:

******Hey cous,,,,,,,,,I am getting sick and tired of McG mouthing off and trying to convince people that he has not raised taxes in the last 7 1/2 years. Let's do some simple math. The low end estimate that the City is in debt is 30 million dollars. The latest census in the year 2000 stated that we had approximately 43,000 people. If you divide 30 million by 43,000 you will find that taxes have been raised to the tune of $697.67 per person that lives in the City including men, women and children. This figure I am sure is much more than that, but we will not know for sure until McG is long gone and a proper audit of the City's finances are done by the next Mayor. I am sure Mr. Leighton and the rest of the City will be amazed at the final numbers that show how McG really screwed over this City.......Have a great day,,,,,,,,(name withheld to protect anymore residents from threats of retaliation)******


I saw the article in the Sunday Voice where the mayor is trying blame council for all of his failures once again. If council would stop playing politics, the intermuckal thing would get built, we’d have new street lights, the eyesores on S. Main Street would be demolished and N. Empire Street would be re-worked. God this is getting so completely old. I guess he thinks if he repeats that fiction long enough, people might actually believe it. He recently blamed council for his legendary debacle-the Holeplex. He blamed them for his half-cocked and never built Cross Valley Fire Station. It’s also rumored that he might even blame them for the recent Ebola outbreaks in Rwanda. What a bunch of hogwash when one considers that he micro-manages ever aspect of city business right down to the rotation of toilet paper at city hall.

This “Council did it!” campaign is about what you’d expect from a Slick Willie style consummate politician. His well publicized failures are blamed on others, while he yells ‘Cock-a-doodle-doo’ each and every time he manages to pick up our garbage. It’s all smoke and mirrors and it is not gonna reverberate with many voters. His overdue and impending dismissal will be the beginning of Wilkes-Barre’s resurgence.

Actually, I was shocked that he mistakenly mentioned the Holeplex this close to the election. Who’s running his campaign? Sssh! Jezez Tom! Don’t mention the Holeplex! Or the call center. Or the Scott Street Tunnel. Oh. I meant Scott Street Bridge. That bridge has been closed for how long? A year?! Don’t bring that up. If you slip and mention it, remember to claim that "Council did it!"

Year long detour

Scott Street Tunnel

The Voice article that contained lots of quotes from our three democratic mayoral hopefuls was interesting. Two of the three mentioned crime and the detrimental condition of the city as part of their platform for change. One did not. One continues to pretend that we have no crime or infrastructure problems. In my opinion, this is the best quote from the whole story:

"It's come down to, very simply, do you want your taxes to go up?" McGroarty said. "If you don't mind paying more taxes, vote for someone else."

We’re going to end up paying more in taxes no matter who we elect after some of the smoke clears from this administration’s financial bungling and fictitious draft audits, or audit letters, or whatever he calls them. This is the guy that claimed we finished 2001 in the black, IF you exclude the overdue $1,000,000 line of credit the redevelopment authority has been sued to recoup. This is the same guy that needed four Tax Anticipation Notes in 13 months and actually tried to secure a fifth to keep the city afloat. When it’s all said and done, we’re going to need more money to reverse the damage this man has done to Wilkes-Barre.

Let’s get it out there on the table right now. I think our next mayor should raise the wage tax back to the pre-1996 level of 3.0%. We need money. We need infrastructure. We need caged units for the copper dudes. Yesterday, I listened to them trying to find a caged unit for a prisoner transport and they simply couldn’t get one to the scene in a timely manner. I’d bet it takes less radio traffic to invade and crush a country the size of Iraq than it does to secure a cage in Wilkes-Barre! Raise the wage tax back to 3.0% and let’s start to get Wilkes-Barre back on it’s feet! Enough posturing for votes already! This city needs some help and soon.

An interesting e-mail:

******I sure hope Leighton isn't serious about not going negative. How can you run a campaign against McCheese and not be negative? Are you going to ignore the facts about this man and his destructive and self-serving behavior?

I hope Tom Leighton is not going to try to be a nice guy and "take the high road". If he does I think he is giving McCheese an opening. You can't run an effective campaign against a sneaky, lying, two-faced, corrupt, self-absorbed, control freak, sleazy political type who will do ANYTHING to win again by taking the high road. Don't take the high road! Take the gloves off, speak the truth, and crush this little madman who is destroying the city of Wilkes-Barre.

I hope Leighton goes extremely negative! Hit him hard and often. To do otherwise is just plain dumb.

West Side Dude******

First of all, a sneaky, lying, two-faced, corrupt, self-absorbed, control freak, sleazy political type who will do ANYTHING to win is the definition of a consummate politician these days. Judging by his past words and actions as a city councilman, I would expect nothing but a squeaky clean campaign from Tom Leighton. But, we also have to consider who is faces during the next few weeks. I imagine that Mr. Leighton might want to invest in a pair of hip waders, because the mud is going to get very, very deep before very long.



Gotsta go. I got grandkids everywhere today.