3-2-2003 Draft or Audit?

Americans like to talk about (or be told about) Democracy but, when put to the test, usually find it to be an 'inconvenience.' We have opted instead for an authoritarian system disguised as a Democracy. We pay through the nose for an enormous joke-of-a-government, let it push us around, and then wonder how all those assholes got in there.--Frank Zappa

BANG! My man Frank. Ah shucks! Why stop with that one?

If you want to get laid, go to college, but if you want an education, go to the library.--Frank Zappa

One more time!

Thanks to our schools and political leadership, the U.S. has acquired an international reputation as the home of 250 million people dumb enough to buy 'The Wacky Wall-Walker.'--Frank Zappa

Can anyone guess where my CD adventures led me last night?

Me has a question. I read the Voice story ďState one step away from Wilkes-BarreĒ this morning. This issue isnít new. Phil Latinski wants the Governor's Center for Local Government Services to evaluate the cityís finances in an effort to learn if we can do things better than we are now, but the mayor has to agree to the study first. The mayor wants a few conditions added first. Thereís a shock! Hereís the conditions as reported by the Voice:

McGroarty wants the state agency to not only look at the finances, but how both his and city council's actions contributed to the city's fiscal state.
"The study might say council did some things that were bad," the mayor alleged. "Like how they are holding up money on grants."
McGroarty targeted council's decision to postpone a loan for the Park 'N' Lock North expansion project, deciding not to demolish a block of properties at South Main and Northampton streets and canceling plans for the Cross Valley Fire Station as items the state should look at.

Look into both his and city councilís actions? 10-4, absolutely. Look into their decisions to postpone loans and to block the demolition of drowntown properties? 10-4, do it. But canceling plans for the Cross Valley Fire Station? No way! Somebody needs to grow the funk up already! Where is it written that un-funded projects with no feasibility studies in place should be automatically rubber stamped for the sole reason that they came from the mind of our all-knowing potentate? Where is it written that if council wonít allow him to dictate the future of our city to us without debate they have somehow erred?

Whenever they attempt to glean even basic information from him, he usually cries politics and then launches into his verbal attacks and nose-thumbing antics. He zigs when he should have zagged, but he never wants to fully explain his far-fetched projects or the even father-flung details of the necessary financing. Council cancelled his plans for a Cross Valley Fire Station? Good! Itís not a good idea, itís not even necessary and the city canít continue to spend money it does not have.

After sifting through years worth of his political doublespeak, it has become obvious that his ultimate goal is less fire stations, less fire apparatus and less firefighters. Doing more with less. That program did wonders for our Police Department and public safety, didnít it? If council was really smart, theyíd cancel all of his less than thought projects, most of which have resulted in prohibitively expensive, high profile blunders that have helped to cement Wilkes-Barreís current reputation as a joke. He flaps and flaps and flaps his jowls, but he rarely says anything worth listening to anymore. He has become a caricature of himself.

I realize that all is apparently well now that the mayor announced that the 2001 audit proves we were still solvent at the end of 2001 (?). Seemingly, not a day has gone by since he announced the results of that audit that he hasnít eluded to it as proof that weíre in good financial shape, while what the city really needs is to hire a fulltime Tax Anticipation Note coordinator. I mean, if weíre going to need a TAN every month, somebody needs to be keeping track of them as we race towards our impending collapse. All the well. The 2001 audit proved it. All is well. The 2001 audit proved it. All is well.

Who performed that audit? The mayor never did announce that information for public consumption. Did he do it? Some distant relative? His paperboy? Was it a company that does all or most of the cityís audits? A politically connected company? A staunchly independent company?

Then thereís this. Was it even a legitimate audit? He kept referring to the ďauditĒ but in todayís Voice, a new terminology was introduced. Draft of the audit? What is that? Hereís the cut from the Voice:

As for the mayor, he claimed the recently completed draft of the 2001 audit, which shows the city had a general fund surplus of $915,630 and a capital projects deficit of $1.9 million, lessens the importance of the study.

Draft of the audit? Is it an audit or is it a draft? Or is it a draft of an audit? Or is it fiction? To call it a draft suggests that the audit has not been completed or has not been done very thoroughly. Hmmm.

Audit: 1 a : a formal examination of an organization's or individual's accounts or financial situation b : the final report of an audit . 2 : a methodical examination and review

Draft: 2 a : to draw the preliminary sketch, version, or plan of .

Fiction: 2 a : an assumption of a possibility as a fact irrespective of the question of its truth b : a useful illusion or pretense.

So which is it? Did we complete an audit for 2001? Or did we draw a preliminary sketch of our financial situation? Iím leaning toward a useful illusion myself.

Check this out. I came across this in the guest book of a Babylon 5 tribute site. Say it ainít so!

tom
"mailto:tmaster1454@cs.com"
wilkes-barre, pa USA
* A Search Engine *

i love this site it be da best man i wish i could create a kicken site like dis to u r my hero i love all of u your friend tom mcgroarty
-Tuesday, December 03, 2002 at 11:28:28 (EST)

You tell me man!

Iím nailed with e-mails today. Letís do a few. 1st-the college kid:

*****Hey Mark,
I had a really busy week...First of all, I had a job interview in XXXXX on Thursday. Talk about booming!! North XXXXX (XXX County) is incredibly busy. So, I go into the interview, and low and behold....4...count them....4 Wilkes-Barre people work there. We all went to lunch and it was a full hour of slamming this city. No jobs, old politics, elderly people who hate change, these were all the reasons these W-B natives got the frigg outta Dodge. So we talked about the bars, and the places to eat...it was nice, it was more like talking with friends rather than a job interview. So, out of these 4 people, the oldest was 42. I was suprised that they all agreed that they WOULD come back if this city turned around. I agreed with them...I would stay in a heartbeat.

So, did the mayor do another tow session on Friday? Union Street, and North Main Street were targeted. my roommates girlfriend called me up at 10 AM in a panic because her car was towed. So off we go to City Wide...If there were a "Lack of Friendliness Award" that place would definately get it...what a shit hole that place is.

Anyways, I just thought I would share my interview experience with ya. Im off to Chicago on Tuesday for spring break...yeah the windy city for spring break. How smart am I? Should be fun though. Talk to ya soon.*****

A lot of folks would come back, if......................................

An e-mail from a resident:

*****Mark,
This e-mail is in response to the police officer who wrote in to you regarding the hookers, etc. First, before I address that, I'd like to make a statement regarding the Petitions, which I'd like you to place on your site (that is, this e-mail). I have been hearing from a variety of sources that a few of our city police officers are taking the Petition the wrong way. Those of us who are circulating this thing are 100% behind our police. The purpose of the Petition drive is to get our police _the help they need_ to clean up the city.

As far as the whole stink regarding the police not filling our reports...Look, we know our police are hamstrung in mind blowing ways by this current administration...In fact, this petition drive was conceived to relieve our officers of the burden placed upon them _by_ the incumbent administration. Our Mayor Nero fiddles while the City burns. It is no whitewashing when I write this, but this Petition drive is meant to be a gift to our residents, among whom are the administratively _abused_ and _overworked_ (i.e., "Doing More With Less") law enforcement professionals who serve the rest of us. Wilkes-Barre is riddled with too much crime to be handled by the select few officers we have. A very unfair burden was placed upon them by an abusive and inept mayor.

With that said, I'll move onto the issue of hookers. Now, I personally know the individual who wrote you regarding the hooker problem. When "Copper Dude" wrote:

"BUT being totally honest, it's the oldest profession in the world. The biggest cities with thousands of officers can only somewhat control the problem, not quell it."

I am supposing that was more out of frustration with the situation than an actual complaint against "the red lighter". But, who cares if it's "the oldest profession in the world"? It is illegal. Do you think for a moment that this crap would fly in a place like Dallas or Harvey's Lake? Are there street whores in Glen Maura? If prostitution was attempted in places such as these, how long do you think the residents would allow it to last? The whores are parading their skanky asses in front of peoples' _homes_, in front of a children's' _school_, and right on Wilkes University's campus and its surrounding areas. This is not acceptable. What's more, these "strawberries" are leaving their used condoms, crack pipes and heroine needles on the sidewalks and in yards. Just because most of us living here don't have money out the yin-yang doesn't mean that W-B has to be a druggy/whore ridden dump. Many years ago, folks used to talk about a city's "wrong side of the tracks". Almost every larger urban area has one of these. However, in Wilkes-Barre's case, things have been allowed to degenerate to the point that the entire city is now one big "wrong side" of the proverbial tracks. Like Mark says, "If it's important to the boss..."

Again to the rank and file police officers who may be reading this: many of us can only imagine the stress you guys and gals are under. You do a life threatening job. I know because my father was a cop. There were nights when we'd wonder if he'd come home. Please understand that we "red lighters" are trying to help relieve your burden. However, it is undeniable that as we, the people, act out against the incumbent regime, you guys are probably getting your cajonas gripped in a vice as punishment. It's all just another tactic to make us _all_ sit down, shut up, and just pay or taxes....because, as we all know, we live in Shangri-La. Again, look at who your Boss is...*****

10-4! Copper Dudes good. Petition good. Doing more with less very bad.

Hereís part of an e-mail that can help to educate us city residents as to how things work in the Fire Department :

*****ENGINES DO NOT GO OUT OF SERVICE AFTER A FIRE BECAUSE THEY ARE OUT OF WATER. THEY GO OUT OF SERVICE BRIEFLY TO RE-PACK HOSE, CLEAN TOOL, FILL SCBA BOTTLES, AND CLEAN SCBA MASKS. THE TANK IS FILLED OFF THE HYDRANT WHILE THE FIRE IS BEING PUT OUT. THAT BIG FIVE INCH OR FOUR INCH HOSE COMING OFF THE HYDRANT NOT ONLY SUPPLIES THE HOSE DUDES BUT ALSO ALLOWS THE ENGINEER TO TOP OFF THE TANK. IF ANY ENGINEER ALLOWS HIS TANK TO REMAIN EMPTY WHILE HE IS BEING SUPPLIED BY A HYDRANT IS FOOLISH.*****

10-4. I misspoke about when the trucks refill with water, but they do not respond to fires empty as our mayor has suggested in public.

Another:

*****Mark,
Sorry for the e-mail yesterday, but I needed to vent. This i***t and his band of merry nit-wits have got every aspect of this city so screwed up, that it'll take a miracle to straighten it out. I just want to ask you one thing. If you were to take into consideration every Fire Dept. in the state....no, screw it, the country..... how many of them do you think have street cleaners...3 of them....in their fire stations? Another poser? How many of them have plastic sheeting hanging from the underside of the barjoists like a giant catch all? With strategically placed holes to let the water out? An engineering wonder. Can't wait to see the cornerstone section of the sunday Voice.....Chiefy is going to tell us what he actually does.....what his job entails....besides ramming his head up the mayors a** every chance he gets, and berating the firefighters at work, or completely destroying the moral of the men, or cashing in some political favors to get promoted, or some of his kissass buddies promoted....I wish he'd tell us what he'll be doing in 305 days....cause he won't be the chiefy anymore.....god willing.....later*****

If chiefie cared about his men so much, he wouldnít allow them to work in a Rain Forest and have to work around the ever-morphing piles of junk in our fire houses. He needs to send his RITs into the stations and save his men from worsening working conditions imposed upon them by an ill-natured politico.

Todayís Voice Cornerstone story inspired this one:

*****Mark,
Today's Cornerstone section of the Voice proves Chiefy is a phoney. If you check the dates between when he was hired, and when he made chief, it's less than 7 years! He had no special qualifications to make him stand out from the rest of the applicants, but he did have one thing in his favor......Senator Musto as his godfather. Most cities hire or promote firefighters to chief of department only after they have demonstrated thier abilities to lead by coming up through the ranks over a period of decades....not here....We promote because of political affiliation/relation. In the interview, the reporter asks,"What happens when firefighters enter a burning structure?" Our chief never answered the question...He spouted off about having a Rapid Intervention Team(RIT) outside, in case a firefighter goes down. The real answer is that he doesn't know....he has very little experience as a firefighter, and practically no experience as an "inside guy". He was promoted to Captain while there was no vacancy, so McGroarty "created" an assistant inspector position, which was offered and accepted by a senior Captain, thereby creating an opening for chiefy. He then was promoted to Training Officer about 6 months later after losing a union election for president....So basically, if he couldn't be president of the union, and be in McG's back pocket, then McG would make him Chief.....Which he did. By the way, He only scored 64 on the captains test which would be a failing score by todays standards.......That's the real story.....politics as promised.*****

Itís all politics! Who is it that always says that?

Guess who popped in unexpectedly today? The amazing grandson, Gage Andrew. He is only twenty-six days away from meeting his amazing sister for the first time.

This was my favorite place in the whole, wide world when I was a boy. Note the drive in movie screen in the background.

Ladies, please take a look at this site. It could save you a lot of grief later on.

Rock fan? AC/DShe rocks. As my buddy said, Angus has boobs! COOL!

Check the photo album of this site. What a difference they are NOT making. I think they just like being nude.

Check this chickie out. Iíve heard of genital mutilation but this is absurd.

Gotta go.

Later.