5-6-2003 Two weeks


"May 20th is a call to arms: Let the voice of change be heard. Eight years is long enough."--Tom Leighton

I freakin’ here that!

I had to snip this out of today’s Times Leader:

W-B report shows 96 arrests in 3 days

WILKES-BARRE - Upset by complaints police are not doing their jobs, city Police Chief Tony George on Monday released a statistical report showing officers made 96 arrests from Friday to Sunday.

The arrests included five drug arrests, 11 drunken-driving arrests, four sex offenses (indecent exposure) and four prostitution arrests.

Others charges or citations filed were: traffic citations, 38; non-traffic citations, 16; theft, 4; forgery, 2; liquor law violation, 1; and warrants, 11.

George said he released the data in response to recent criticism of the department from some South Wilkes-Barre residents who have publicly complained about a lack of police presence in their neighborhood.

"I get upset. They say our guys are not doing anything. Our guys work real hard," George said.

Methinks not. I was there that day. What the residents said was that crime is running rampant in that neighborhood and their increasingly vocal complaints were being ignored by the administration of this city. It’s really sad that it took a couple of television cameras to finally get the administrations ear. 96 arrests in 3 days? It seems that the residents complaints of rampant crime were completely justified judging by the number of arrests and such. Nobody claimed that “our guys are not doing anything.” Certainly not the residents that own police scanners.

By the way, Radio Shack owes me judging by the number of e-mails I’ve received requesting the scanner frequencies used in this city. We are listening. My police scanner brought me a new found respect and admiration for our copper dudes. They go and go and go some more. Usually shorthanded, but not during a primary season. Keep the dragnet going. You never know, the residents might just shut up.

Our neighbors in Plains promised a decision on the methadone clinic within 45 days. Let me see. The election is two weeks from today, so it looks as if the mayor can’t exploit that issue again to curry favor with the voters. He claims he’ll fight this all the way to the Supreme Court. What the hell? Why not? What’s tens of thousands in legal fees to the city with the seemingly bottomless general fund? He scares away everyone else, namely existing residents and new businesses. I’m sure he can run off the Choices people too.

I read the paper’s accounts of last night’s mayoral debate. I also got a chance to watch the tape from the previous debate. Let’s start with last night’s debate. Where the heck did cutting the mayor’s salary come from? That entire debate amounts to saving some chump change in a city that has recently squandered millions. This issue of the council receiving health-care benefits is really a non-issue. Serving on council is not a part-time job as some would lead you to believe. If you doubt that, run for a council seat and see how many times your phone rings and how often your ear gets filled while out and about. Plus, there is a certain amount of homework that goes along with the job. With that said, the $85 monthly travel stipend is laughable and should be eliminated. It won’t amount to beans being tossed back into the general fund, but it’s a joke being paid to travel to work.

The previous debate was about what I expected. Everyone was civil and tried to come off as professional, except for our fearless leader. He took a few needless and bogus shots at some people. Charges of bigamy in the fire department? A shot at a councilman because of a frivolous lawsuit being filed against the city? He claimed that CDLs are something new??? He stuck to his campaign strategy. I have not raised taxes.

Let’s go one by one.

Jim Verdekal--in my distorted view of things, he is not mayor material. With that said, let me say that neither are most of us that reside in the city.

Christine Katsock--She sure as heck knows the deal in this city, but almost comes off as a policy wonk. If the stars were aligned differently, I would vote for her. Her promise was to make our city government transparent. I think she’d make for an effective mayoral assistant.

Jack Smith--He was well spoken, but used the phrase “moral degradation” to death. I’m afraid he’d commit to too much bible thumping for my tastes, but nothing he said was incorrect. He claims that he can snag a major developer for our drowntown, but refused to name them and I am really getting sick of that routine from our politicos. That’s getting really old. I can bring this, that and the other thing to town, but if I told you who it was, I’d have to kill you?

Tom Leighton--He said what he has said all along. He promised fiscal responsibility, delegating authority to competent department heads and making the city clean and safe again. Clean and safe is exactly where we need to start to restore this city to respectability and get the revival underway.

Harry Haas--He was impressive. He has strong public speaking skills and definitely knows the hot-button issues. He is a newcomer to local politics and maybe he should have run for council before setting his sights so high. The city needs more bright young folks such as himself.

That’s what I saw.

The “paving for votes” program is still full steam ahead. Whoops! I forgot. The timing of the frenetic paving has nothing to do with the election. Neither does the police crackdown, the accelerated catch basin replacement program, new sidewalks for churches, the arrival of new equipment for the hose dudes, the fight against the methadone clinic, or the May clutter cleanup. All of these things happening during the past few weeks is mere happenstance. A freaky coincidence. Did I tell any of you that I can balance a mountain bike on my head?

Hazle Street

Hazle Street

W-B Boulevard

My new bike trail

For a week

More progress as the primary rapidly approaches. This time from the WBRE web site.

Wilkes-Barre Police Cut a Deal

The city of Wilkes-Barre and its unionized police officers have "cut a deal."
They've extended their collective bargaining agreement until December 31, 2007.
The agreement provides for wage increases of 3.75 and 4 percent.
It also prohibits new hires from earning sick or vacation leave when they are training at the police academy. The mayor says that means the city can save money and then hire more police officers to put on the streets.
The agreement marks the first time in more than ten years that the city and the police benevolent association have reached a multi-year contract without arbitration.

And what of the back pay owed to the hose dudes? I forgot, most of members of the fire department intend to vote for Tom Leighton. They’re on the ‘feed ‘em beans’ list. Or is it the ‘retribution’ list? Or the ‘to be videotaped’ list? Remember. Leighton’s “buddies” are gonna’ get theirs. The mayor promised.

Who’s the creep with the video camera anyway? The description given was thinning hair, scruffy beard and after he videotaped residents that are not the mayor’s supporters, he reported directly to city hall. What sort of nonsense is that anyway? Vote for me, or you will be watched. How low will these knuckle-draggers go? I thought that politicians were supposed to shake hands and kiss babies, not attempt to intimidate the very same residents they have sworn to serve. It doesn’t matter. The people deliberately caught on tape could care less. File that tape next to the Soltis tapes. The attempts to frighten the vocal populace only serves to further strengthen their resolve. Tyranny has no place in Wilkes-Barre. The winds of change are going to feel pretty good.

How about an e-mail?

******Hey dude,,,,,,,,the work session council meeting tonight is going to have the "blue ribbon panel" giving their final report on the North parking garage. Should be interesting......Talk to ya later*******

RUTRO! Cries of “It’s all politics” will be splashed all over the pages of the Voice and the Leader tomorrow. Maybe we’ll be treated to some more info on their private lives. Rumor has it that one of the panel members used to steal packs of Razzles from Woolworth’s. I’m not making this up.

Another e-mail:

*******Saw on the 11:00 news last night, and in todays leader on page eight that McF**khead is back to telling his lies. He stated he bought the fire department a few hundred feet of 5" hose, new flashlights, and new radios. He states that the fire insurance rates in the city will be lowered because of this purchase. What good is buying new equipment and placing it on antiquitated equipment? If the assh*le is smart, he wouldn't have the city department inspected at this time. Right now, the department could use two new pumpers and a new ladder truck. That man has brass balls. Take care, 2nd Amendment Dude******

I wonder if he polishes them. New hose for rusty fire trucks. Now that’s progress. In Wilkes-Barre it is.

Another:

******mark.....a little alice cooper in the column. excellent choice. a guy at work just burned me a mott the hoople best of cd. all the young dudes. as you know i was just back in wilkes barre for a visit. took a drive up coal street. laughed my ass off at the paving job. my wife got a kick out it too. noticed lots of leighton for mayor signs. everywhere.
for the king's kids i hope you enjoyed your 4 years at king's as much as i did when i went there. king's is a lot bigger than when i went. more buildings. since you registered to vote at least you care about wilkes barre.******

ROCK THE VOTE! I wanna be elected! Billion Dollar Babies still rocks. How old is Ian Hunter these days? He looked like he was sixty when Hoople was still kicking. His best work is the stuff he did with Mick Ronson.

Again:

******I find it amusing that just a few short weeks ago, there was no crime in W-B...and we had the statistics to prove it. Now, all of a sudden, we're hiring 15 new police officers, making hundreds of arrests, writing record traffic citations, and policing the city like it should have been for the last few years. All 15 days before an election. Beautiful.....What I don't understand is....where is the money for these new officers coming from? If they are hired now, something will have to be cut from this years budget items to pay for them. Is this guy screwing the next Mayor? You bet your ass he is. This is what I expected to happen, just not before the election, after it. He's going to leave the next Mayor a huge police payroll, with an extended contract....the Firefighters will not get their contractually mandated back pay until the next mayor takes over, and don't forget...the Firefighters have parity with the police, so they'll get whatever raises the copper dudes got for their newly signed deal. The council needs to put the reins on this guy NOW!!!! But if they do, they'll look like the bad guys for the simple fact that he's putting more police on the streets like they wanted. I'm not saying the cops don't deserve a contract and more manpower, but you have to wonder just what this guy was thinking about when he inked this deal. He still owes them backpay, the FD backpay, the call center debt, the theater legal quagmire....the list is endless! Once again we're being taken to the cleaners by this guy, and there's not a damn thing we could do about it. Well, there's the election thingy, but there's 7 months to deal with until he's really gone. A lot of damage can be done in 7 months......We need change now!!!!!******

I hears ya’. First we didn’t have any crime and now the city needs to add holding cells down at the city jail. They contradicted themselves big time. There never was a plan in place. He wheels and deals haphazardly and the money will come from somewhere. You know, from the next TAN. Next year we’re going to be doing exactly what the Iraqis are currently doing: Sifting through the piles of rubble (financial documents) with our bare hands. His legacy will be all of one word: incompetence.

Check this out. Forget the Holeplex, I want Kresge’s back on the square.

Kresge's pizza!

How about this field of Todd signs. You don’t have to worry about these ending up in a dumpster. That would be too much like work.

Holy muck!

Me gotta go. Remember. The guy that videotapes residents will be crying foul tomorrow. It’s all politics. Whatever. The abject misery that this guy has brought onto Wilkes-Barre is just about over. Two weeks until we pull those levers people. I’m gonna have lots of brews on hand for that night.

TLFM