4-13-2003 Bike About

"The call center is costing city taxpayers' money, we have to make sure the Intermodal Center does not end up doing the same thing."--Tom Leighton

Here! Here! Itís a good thing for all city residents when the saner heads prevail at city hall. The mad dash to construction, the rush to progress has gotten the city financially burned twice now (Call Center, Holeplex) and with the precarious financial situation that the city finds itself in, we donít need another white elephant anytime soon. If the design plans for the Intermuckal Center are scribbled in crayon on a crumpled file card as the Holeplex plans seem to have been, I say donít built the damn thing. At this sorry point, who gives a muck about the parking situation on the square?

The busses parked on the square when our drowntown was booming and now they park on the square while our drowntown has gone bust. Whatís the point? Weíve got plenty of infrastructure problems that could be easily rectified if given even a modicum of attention. Weíve spent seven years chasing after and arguing over high profile and expensive projects that 1.) Have yet to be built and 2.) Their benefit to the overall health of the downtown is debatable, but we never debated whether they should be built in the first place. We were told that they were needed and they would be built by Wilkes-Barreís owner-the mayor.

Iíd love to see the theater actually come to pass, but the bus complex doesnít excite me in the least. Years back the mayor said he had the bold plan, he had the designs and he had the financing. Itís yet to be built and like everything else in Wilkes-Barre, itís not his fault. As the Sunday Voice reported today:

On Saturday, Mayor Thomas McGroarty, who first proposed to build the center, insisted there are seven reasons for it not being completed - city council.

Au contraire! I say there is only one reason why it was not built-the incompetence of the mayor.

If it actually gets built, that is just peachy. If it doesnít get built, I could care less at this point. Instead of wasting time on any more of the mayorís pyramids (LOFL), why not erect some street lights downtown so the hookers can make change after dark.

After I posted yesterday, I just knew I was going to get some negative feedback about my thoughts on the cityís college kids. Oh boy did I! The questionable leadership of this city has successfully painted a target on those kids backs to win some points with the colleges neighbors that vote. Check out todayís SAYSO column in the Leader. There are three or four callers that reacted negatively to the cul-de-sac plan for N. Franklin street. Letís be serious folks. Who the hell actually drives that block or two except the college kids and the colleges purveyors? The northbound traffic on Franklin street either peels off to the left on Union toward the river, or breaks right toward Main street. I like the idea and I doubt that closing that block would inconvenience anyone other than a few neighbors.

There was another SAYSO call that complained about the Kings kids parking in the vertical parking spots on N. Main street. The college is on N. Main street, why shouldnít they freaking park there? Where should they park? A couple of blocks away so that some college girls eventually get raped after dark? Or have another falling window pane from the Corcoran building split their skulls? This mentality that the colleges are a big problem really needs to go by the wayside. Thatís my unimportant opinion.

Hereís an e-mail reacting to my comments about the college kids yesterday. This is the only one that didnít call me vile names.

******Mark,

I agree that the students of the two colleges are an asset--meaning, also, the schools themselves. However, as a resident of North XXXXX St., I can tell you that in the past the problems of the excessive partying were unbearable. I don't pay the ridiculous taxes I do so that some drunken punk can piss on my house. I went to college, paid my dues, and brake my ass at work five days a week so that I can have a tiny slice of the American pie--that being my home. Nobody has the right to piss on it. There are little children in this neighborhood too. Who wants to hear some drunk's foul mouth at 2:30AM, waking up their kids as well? This has happened. I bust my butt to keep a nice property, so why should I have to clean up some ignoramus' party mess? What it comes down to is this: students need student housing within their own enclaves.

Traditional neighborhoods are not proper spaces for kids who want to go nuts on the weekends. Once the schools help provide for them these enclaves, they'll be able to do their own thing, which means that neither the "townies" nor the students will be busting each other's balls. Our fu*ked up mayor would blame Wilkes-Barre's problems on sun spots if he could, but the past college house parties of 200+ students (in the past) was just out of line. Last spring, I caught two drunk jocks pissing on my house. I told them to get out; they told me to go fu*k myself! What's that sh*t? You piss on MY house, and you tell ME to go fu*k myself?! That's just another example of how misguided and fu*ked up our society has become. No respect for anything or anybody. No boundaries. Everything has become a bloody free-for-all.

Kings and Wilkes kids need proper housing. They need a town where there's fun things to do other than beer keg house parties. They need a town where they don't have to be worried about being raped, mugged, or worse. Despite the problems I've just bitched about, the two schools are intimately tied with our hope for rejuvenation. Both schools got together to hire Dr. Gilderbloom to help rehab W-B, and he said it was do-able, but with our current regime it cannot be accomplished. This man has taken urban sh*t and turned it into gold. We also have a chance (and a very good one at that) to get back the Weed & Seed Program. But, again, this won't happen with McG around--the Commonwealth said so.

McG gets in again, we're all screwed. The two schools might as well use their resources to move as well. Who'll want to send their kids to a drug ridden, whore infested war zone?******

Kings College is currently working on the housing issue by sinking millions into the Margarita building. While I was out and about on the aging Huffy today, I stopped and counted the missing windows in the Corcoran building and I got to thinking that that building should be gobbled up by the college and converted into even more student housing. Itís a fairly large building. I totally agree that college kids living amongst families is sure to cause some tension eventually.

I realize that the parties get out of hand. Years back I attended a few hum dingers in that gigantic row home on Jackson Street that no longer exists. One of them even got raided by the copper dudes. That was a blast! These shindigs made Animal House look tame in comparison. Having drunken college kids pissing on your property and getting told to go muck yourself is no different than living near a bar. We used to have one down around the corner and we had seen it all as the patrons used the lot next to our adobe as a satellite parking lot. You have to either find a way to deal with it, control it to some degree, or move away from it. Itís the same deal living across the street from a little league park. Yep! Thereís going to be occasional crowds, lots of noise and many foul balls landing all over your property. Iím certainly not condoning hordes of college kids pissing on anyoneís house, but it kind of goes with the territory, doesnít it?

I would suggest buying some Silly String. Next time they whip Ďem out and have at it, nail them and then run like hell. Itís very difficult to chase down a Silly String bandit with one hand on your weapon while itís actively engaged. As for me, I would have grabbed the camera and gotten a pic.

Yeah, I rode from one end of Wilkes-Barre to the other on the aging Huffy today. Iím worried about her. Sheís starting to make some strange noises that suggest that the welds are weakening after fifteen years of bouncing along on our less than smooth streets. The weather was near perfect for a ride today and the city was pretty much quiet. There was a nifty domestic thingy on S. Franklin that had four copper dudes down there. I saw a hooker on S. Main that was wearing skin tight, practically see-through pants and no undies. She was perched on the curb staring into the oncoming cars and when she turned to look at me, I nearly rolled the bike. There is a buffalo roaming the Montana plains that has an identical twin walking the streets of our city. Yikes!

I ran into Tom Leighton on the square and we shared a few words, while being drowned out by DPW crews who had shut down West Market Street and were firing away with jackhammers. More double time pay for votes.

Votes!

How many decades will pass before the Tony Thomas deli has complete sidewalks out front?

The moat

I saw the article in the Leader about the cityís ongoing ĎPaving for Votesí program. The alleys and trails being paved have caused me to pull out the map more than once and today was no exception. Gore Street? Where in the hell is that?

The candidates are finally hitting the streets and knocking on some doors. Yesterday both Tom Leighton and Bill Barrett were on the street meeting some residents and I missed the both of them. Bummer. Today I was watching Jeffy Gordo push other cars out of his way while on the way to another Nascar win when a knock came to the door. Kevin Harvick had worked his way up to fifth place when the knock came, so I was in a hurry to get back to the video advertising box. The dude introduced himself to me. It was Rick Gazenski, a city council hopeful.

I had never heard of this dude before this primary season, but Iíve gotten lots of e-mails about him and they have been 100% supportive of him. I have yet to hear a negative word about this guy, but being that he has chosen to enter the wonderful world of politics-Iím sure I will.

Anyway, the race was down to less than fifty laps, so I invited him in to gab for a bit, while I kept one eye on #29 and prayed for #24 to end up sliding on itís roof. Damn! It didnít happen. We had a nice chat about all things Wilkes-Barre and he feels as I do that Wilkes-Barre needs to be managed more like a business, with much more attention paid to the bottom line. Letís face it, us private sector types run rings around the majority of the public sector types. We do it, whatever it may be, faster, better and cheaper. As he stated to me, ďIf I managed my business the way the city is managed, Iíd be out of business.Ē 10-4 Rampart! I hear that!

He was generous enough to yap with me for about fifteen minutes or so and I appreciated it. Heís obviously a successful businessman, heís well read, well spoken, seems very down to earth and also seems genuinely concerned about Wilkes-Barreís future. He also shot to the top of my list of folks I am likely to vote for and wifey and the kids will vote as I do. They have yet to meet anyone who pays closer attention than I do and they trust my instincts.

I like to look at the mix of the folks on council, what their chosen professions are or were and how their expertise could help the city move forward. I have already stated that I like the idea of an ex-police chief serving on city council. Today I met a dude who operates a successful insurance brokerage. Hmmm. How about a quick thumbnail? Letís see here, Tom Leighton knows real estate, Bill Barrett knows law enforcement and Rick Gazenski has got the insurance industry experience. This is starting to sound like a well-rounded plan, heyna? I also stated that the two council chicks, Kathy Kane and Shirley (I forget the spelling again) Vita-vota-nomo are high on my list of council incumbents to vote for, which actually generated quite of bit of e-mail questioning my intelligence. For first termers on council, I thought they were quick to question the mayorís obviously faulty planning and I believe they deserve another term. The remaining council members are going to have to further convince me that they have earned another four year term.

Mr. Gazenski had nothing but praise for this silly web site and nothing against him, but I always wonder whether the politico types honestly like the site, or if theyíd prefer that it just went away already. They all have to know that people look at it. The hit counters and traffic reports are proof of that. I honestly believe that the politicos that are courteous to me are the ones that have nothing to fear and are confident in their abilities. Conversely, the few that threaten me must not be so confident in their abilities or their position in the community. After more than two years of banging away on the internet, Iím still not entirely sure what my role is, or how seriously some folks take my efforts.

So, this is my current election wish list, which is always subject to change.

Mayor

Tom Leighton

City Council

Kathy Kane

Shirley (jeez) Vita-super-nova

Bill Barrett

Rick Gazenski

Mike McGinley

Hereís a question. Is anyone challenging our controller? Not from what Iíve seen or heard.

Take a gander at Rick Gazenskiís campaign statement.

Card thingy

Donít bother to e-mail me about his serving on the Redistricting Committee. I know about that and while I vehemently disagreed with the decisions that that group made, their eventual arguments against voting by wards had some merit too.

Later yíall.

TLFM