4-20-2003 60%!!!

I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.--Garrison Keillor

My kids are learning. I was working my way through the Sunday Voice this morning and somebody had removed tiny sections of certain pages. I was more than a bit miffed by this. Us news junkies don’t like our morning papers sliced and diced. After perusing what remained of both local papers, I headed out to the computer desk to read my way across the globe. There I found the sections that had been torn from the Voice. They were all paid ads from city politicos wishing us a happy Easter. I used one as a coaster for my hot tea. Thanks man. I wouldn’t want to damage the surface of my ultra-expensive, imported, yet cheezy computer center.

It turns out that my son had taken exception to these ads. His point was that these politicos could care less if we were bound, gagged and dipped into a pit (hole) filled with police horse dung for three and a half years, but at election time they send us superficial and pitiable overtures. While I basically agreed with his overall premise, I pointed out to him that not all politicos see us as mindless chumps that are so easily swayed. Most of them probably do, but not all of them. Anyway, the boy is learning. Wilkes-Barre Online: The Next Generation.

I was happy to see that a few council hopefuls received some space in the Voice today. It’s much easier for the incumbents to communicate their messages to the voters than it is for the challengers. Every council hopeful has strong opinions about Wilkes-Barre’s need to return to law and order. That’s not a surprise. Seemingly everyone in this city has become alarmed with what has gone on on our streets except the administration of the city. The administration has pumped up our police presence as the complaints from residents grew loader and the election grew nearer, but the increased police presence, while greatly appreciated, is further evidence that a politician should not be managing our police department.

In the space of a year, we’ve gone from three copper dudes on a given Sunday morning to thirty on your average weekend night these days. Rather than having a cohesive plan, the administration kept it’s head stuck in the sand and attempted to deny that there was a problem until the administration was forced to address the problem. What was done? Another over-reaction. Instead of six or seven copper dudes on a Friday night, we now have thirty, while the copper dudes are working double shifts and tons of overtime. With the management we are currently suffering under, it’s either feast or fathom. A cohesive, well thought plan instituted by law enforcement professionals is what this city needs, not a “doing more with less” until the election year approach managed by a civilian posing as a top cop.

On May 20, give Bill Barrett, a twenty-seven year veteran of law enforcement, a seat within constant earshot of the council’s gavel.

So anyway, everyone realizes that we need to take our streets back. I was out on the aging Huffy last night and did a bit of surveillance on a hooker at the corner of S. Main and Ross streets. That intersection was teaming with all sorts of cretins, but no copper dudes. I fended off the cigarette grubbers and had a nifty conversation with a stumbling guy who was clenching his forty ouncer with both hands. He told me that it’s good exercise to ride a bike. Just in case nobody knows it, that corner needs to be put under surveillance by somebody with more authority than I can wield. One of the council hopefuls that was given some space in the Voice today nailed it. He nailed it! He’s the first to do so as far as I can remember. Get this, Joe Daniel proposed expanding the detective and drug divisions. BANG! A cruiser driving by now and then is one thing, but a couple of cops on a stake-out nearby would do much more, much quicker to clean up our streets. BANG!

Then we’ve got council hopeful Virgil Argenta proposing a thirty to forty member auxiliary police force. He says it will reduce overtime and pressure on officers in the department. I’m not sure about that idea, but give him some points for creativity. We’ve got the largest and most professional police department in the county. We’ve got 19 crime watch groups scattered throughout the city. Kings and Wilkes both have their own security staffs. We’ve got downtown businessmen installing security cameras here and there. I don’t think we need to deputize everybody with a Maglite, I think we just need some capable management and a serious commitment from the city’s administration that nonsense isn’t going to be tolerated in this city anymore. If Rudy Guliani could bring some semblance of law and order to NYC, don’t tell me that Wilkes-Barre can’t be brought under control right quick.

I met Shirley Vita-good-toknowya yesterday. Okay, I give, it’s Vitanovec. She was up here on Thompson St. putting up some of her election posters with a couple of residents from the street. She said I must have some “sources” within the confines of city hall. Woo hoo! If only they knew! I’m hoping that after May 20, all of my sources will go dead silent. At that point, the liberation of Wilkes-Barre will embolden them to speak out free from retribution. Shirley reminded us that we need to support Tom Leighton. I hears that! The way I see it, a vote for Leighton will set in place a sequence of events that will draw us inexorably towards the overdue rebuilding of Wilkes-Barre. We need a clean-sweep of the underlings at city hall and beyond and then we’ll set our sights on retooling what remains of our pillaged city. On May 20, we’re taking Wilkes-Barre back!

RUTRO! The Voice’ Party Animals “hear” that fire chiefie “may” be seeking employment elsewhere. They ponder “Has there been a falling out between the Chief and the mayor?” That’s highly doubtful. There mutual love of Old Forge pizza still has them hanging tight. What did Tom Leighton say when he announced his intention to become our next Mayor?

To implement this plan I will appoint competent department heads and it will be their job to manage their department. We’ve had enough micromanagement. I’ll ultimately accept responsibility for the job that is done, but experienced administrators will do it, and they will do it well.

Did he say competent? Did he say manage? Did he also say experienced? I’d bet that there are currently lots of folks employed by the city weighing their job options right about now. A good manager surrounds himself with nothing, nothing but qualified, capable, dedicated and experienced people. Sorry folks, but that doesn’t sound like the leftovers that remain in charge of the city right now. While I can’t give most of them much for their chances, they have my condolences. The taxpayer-supported teat is about to dry up for the multitude of pretenders, double-dippers and hapless apparatchiks. Don’t sweat it. There’s plenty of new jobs coming to Wilkes-Barre Township. Seven dollars an hour jobs, but jobs nonetheless. Have no fear, most people tip higher than the hoped-for 15%.

The most interesting news item today was the Times Leader/WNEP-16 poll published in the Leader. There’s no denying the fact that the results are less than encouraging for our incumbent mayor and his inner circle of graboids. By the same token, the poll results are extremely encouraging for those of us that don’t want to be forced to give up on and exit the city forever. The most frightening numbers for the entrenched oligarchy are the Mayor’s approval rating numbers. 60% disapprove of the job the mayor is doing, while 23% approve. 17% don’t know? What are they smoking? Can we get some? What percentage of that 23% that approve do you suppose are comprised of those that directly benefit by supporting the mayor? Whatever. A 60% disapproval rating? Ouch! It’s going to take a lot more asphalt than we can afford to fix that number. Ouch!

The mayor’s comments were typical and completely laughable. And rather than dwelling on job performance, pollsters should have asked "questions more germane to Wilkes-Barre," McGroarty said. Oh! Okay! They shouldn’t have asked if the mayor is doing a good job or not. They should have asked questions that were more fitting with the city’s current situation. Got it! Are you happy that the city defaults on all of it’s loans unless they take out a TAN every time one comes due? Are you enjoying the city’s new footers? Isn’t it exciting having so many murders and shootings happening here? Is it acceptable that the morale of city employees and residents are at an all time low? Does it bother you that the residents of our neighboring communities claim they will not visit our dirty and dangerous downtown no matter what Pyramid the city builds? Are those questions more germane?

He also offered up a couple of mud-slinging falsehoods:

He suggested asking respondents if they'd vote for someone who would raise property taxes, or work only part-time hours as mayor.

He questions how his successor will pay for things, which is hilarious coming from our Defaulter-in Chief:

"I think a lot of people who are running for mayor of the city have some great ideas ... but they haven't said how they would pay for it," McGroarty said. "I've shown you can have less taxes and provide more services."

Curbside pick-ups. He’s still clinging to his life-sized Tonka trucks as proof that he‘s an effective mayor. You figure him out. I can’t.

This one is a laugh riot, even for him:

McGroarty said he's "baffled" why anyone would equate the paving with politicking. Here's how McGroarty says the process works: Residents of various neighborhoods said last summer which roads they wanted paved. The mayor included some of those projects in his proposed budget. Council passed the budget. The jobs were bid out. The snow melted. Paving began.

Yeah! And the Easter Bunny solicited a prostitute on S. Franklin St. overnight! He really does think we’re stupid. Quick question. How many “pave-a-thons” as the Leader so aptly put it, have we had during the mayor’s two terms? One? That’s what I thought. The residents said which roads they wanted paved? So who voted to pave Thompson Street? The people that reside on Gore Street? Nice try and all, but I think that yarn would qualify as a deliberately told falsehood. We need leadership, but all we ever get is his quibbling and spin.

No matter which way he slices it, or dices it, the poll showed that he comes up short in every category and every age group. Even his “silent majority” doesn’t support him as he so boldly predicted they would. We’ve talked about attracting young, working families to the city. The city needs an influx of productive, younger folks to help us mold the city and make it more vibrant. We certainly can’t afford to lose any more. The most telling age group polled were the voters between 35 and 50. 48.5% supported Leighton versus 18.2% for the mayor. There is the future of the city and they overwhelmingly are voting for change. As a local college professor was quoted as saying, “There’s a strong undercurrent for change.” Oh boy! Is there!

What did Tom Leighton tell the Leader:

"We need to embrace the people who want to move to the city and we need to take care of the people who live here," Leighton said. "I feel I have the leadership ability to lead the city back to its prosperous days."

10-4! It takes much more than a “pave-a-thon” every eight years to make the claim that you deserve to be reelected.

60% of those polled feel that the mayor that claims to work eighty hour weeks is not doing a good job. His retort? He hints that the next mayor might work part-time hours. This city currently meets the criteria to be declared a distressed city under the state’s Act 47. Our mayor also hints that his opponents might raise taxes if elected. Well duh! We’re going to have to repair the past eight years financial damage done by this mayor. We can only hope that our soon to be lame duck mayor is not allowed to do any more financial damage to this city before his Impala is finally confiscated.


30 days and counting...



It’s time to launch the aging Huffy.