5-12-2003 Eight!


"In time of war, to aid and give comfort to the enemy on foreign soil, on stage and in a public forum is perfect fodder for anybody's press overseas that has a slightly different agenda, and I think it's reprehensible. And just because you're cute and have D-cups doesn't mean it's any less reprehensible."--Gene Simmons of KISS on The Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines

You wanted the best and you got it! The hottest band in the land...

What was up with the “Tornadic Activity Alliance” reducing local television to a weather map yesterday? The entire time they were forecasting dire warnings of death, destruction and locusts, I was intently watching the skies and seriously debating whether to roll the Rock Stomper out or not. Tornadoes? Yeah right! I just didn’t want to get soaked.

It’s a slow news day today, so we can explore the wonderful world of e-mail. I saw the letter from Mrs. Soltis in the Voice this morning and I came away thinking one word and one word only. You wouldn’t want to be seen as beating up on somebody’s widow, but the word that came to mind was “coercion.” Her husband faced the absolute worst, the nastiest that the mayor had to offer during the last mayoral race against her husband and now she makes it known that the mayor’s current opponent once somehow dissed her? I concluded that the claims in that letter are highly suspect, or greatly exaggerated. Whatever man, this is Wilkes-Barre, where the truth no longer seems to matter to certain individuals. I did receive an e-mail about that letter.

******Mark

I was shocked to read the letter to the editor in the Voice today from Ed Soltis' widow Jean in which she praised McG. It is my recollection that on MORE than one occasion during Ed's campaign, Jean was in tears because of something McG said or threatened to say about their family. At a public meeting McG called Ed a "wife stealer". He attacked Ed's mother and brother [a fireman] in a radio debate......I can't help but wonder what happened.******

What happened? Ya’ got me, but why would a relative of one of the mayor’s opponents carry the mayor’s nominating petition? There is currently plenty of funny business going on in this city. Meanwhile, Rome continues to burn.

I just caught a blurb from the mayor on WBRE and after hearing his answer, I can’t even remember the question. It was along the lines of “What would you do to revitalize the drowntown?” They asked Jack Smith and he said he’d entertain ideas from anyone. Remember the Gong Show? BWAING!@!! Outa here! They asked Tom Leighton and he said “Reduce the crime element and clean the drowntown.” And the mayor? “If you only look at the bad things, that’s all you’ll see.” Really? Can he point out the good things about our drowntown, because we’re having a hard time finding any? As per usual, he didn’t bother to answer the question presented to him. What else is new?

I received an e-mail from Charlotte Raup, the President of the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition.

Mark,

Why are you all of a sudden putting down the Crime Watch groups ? The Crime Watch is stronger than ever. If you attended meetings you would know what we do and how much is accomplished not by peeking out windows but by working with the police and letting our presence be known in the area. If you attended the meetings you would also know that we have had 2 Crime Watch walks in the area of South Wilkes Barre last month consisting of 25 people from Crime Watches all over the city. And No, We don't piss ourselves and run away at the first sign of violence! While it is true that it takes some effort, time and patience on the members part because we have rules of conduct we must follow and suspicious activity forms that we fill out, it is certainly worth the effort because we get results. A few months ago I personally asked Joe from Ross St. and Donna from River St. to join the Crime Watch and become Block Captains. So far they have not attended a meeting. A well run Crime Watch group is very effective… just ask members of the Parsons Crime Watch. In the last 5 years, working with the police we have had 14 drug houses cleaned out. Crime Watches that are are strong and pro active get results. The next S. Wilkes Barre Crime Watch meeting will be Tuesday, May 13th at 7 p.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church, 410 S. River St. It would be great to have new people there that want to become pro active. A word of warning though, we do not discuss politics at the meetings and we do not encourage the press to attend. We are there to discuss and solve neighborhood problems.

Charlotte Raup

President Wilkes Barre Crime Watch Coalition******

I met Charlotte once and she seems like a very nice person. First of all, let me say that I commend your volunteer efforts, but I firmly believe that while the Crime Watch groups can certainly help to bring law and order to this city, Crime Watches should not be used as a substitute for aggressive policing in the stark absence of aggressive policing. The people that belong to the Crime Watch groups should not have to volunteer their time to bring law and order to Wilkes-Barre. We reside in a third class city with a $33 million budget, a mayor earning in excess of $76,000 and two police chiefs. The city is supposed to protect the residents from crime. The residents of the city should not have to protect the residents of the city from crime.

As far as Joe and Donna being invited to join the watchers is concerned, why should they? They and other residents from their neighborhood complained to the administration about the crime in their neighborhood and they received daytime visits from the mayor’s newest assistant and were pointed in the direction of the Crime Watch as the solution to their problems. Basically, they were told that if their neighborhood was being overrun with crime THEY should do something about it. Wrongo Buckwheat! Our tax dollars are supposed to provide for the law enforcement in this city and if they’re not, it’s not time for the residents to patrol the city, it’s time to elect a mayor that will provide for our protection 24/7. Why should we have to play cops, while our mayor generates useless press releases about new police cars that he showed off as new the year before? We asked for an increased police presence in our troubled city and he offered us only falsehoods and Crime Watch jackets. Joe, Donna and many of their frustrated neighbors decided to publicize the fact that law and order was receiving only lip service and then Shazam! The hammer came down. Funny how that works. They stared-down the city’s administration rather than scribbling down the license plates of “suspicious vehicles.” They were 100% correct and totally justified in doing so.

The members of the Crime Watch Coalition deserve praise for their efforts, but the mayor of this city is playing them like chumps. We complained about the alarming increase in criminal activity in this city and were offered no response and no outlet other than citizens policing their own city. Fu*k that! Did we notice the interesting correlation between the growing Crime Watch movement and the declining numbers of the members of our police department? We complained and were told to do it ourselves. Doing more with less as a response to the increase in crime in this city was a complete failure and the residents of the city should not have to remain vigilant and volunteer their time while the administration reduced our police department to skeleton staffing, crushed the morale of the force, eliminated the pesky bike patrols, pulled out of the Weed ‘n’ Seed program and offered us horses.

The policing policies of the current administration are a case study in what NOT to do in a struggling, rust belt third class city. They fumbled the ball and we should be willing to play for free and recover the fumble? I don’t think so.

I also believe that residents are encouraged to participate in the watching program so as to pull them into the system, pacify them to a degree and squelch any future complaints about the failed approach to law and order. Do the numerous Crime Watch groups challenge the administration to take the bull by the horn already? I seriously doubt it. Joe and Donna did. It takes a certain amount of testicle matter to publicly embarrass the most vindictive man in this county.

IF I, Or IF they attended any Crime Watch meetings, it would be an admission on our part that we were afraid to demand better from our elected ‘leaders.’ It all starts at the top. The buck stops here! If having a safe and clean city was a priority to our mayor, we’d have a safe and clean city. We don’t have a safe and clean city and it’s not my job to patrol the city.

As far as pissing themselves and running way goes, I stand by that claim. I didn’t say watching violence, I meant being real close to it. Too close. I meant participating in it. I did a few tours in the restaurant wars and I know a thing or two about dealing with the beer-muscled crowd at three in the morning. I lost a few shirts. I lost a few K-Mart ties. I lost some blood and had to be sewn up a few times. Trivia time. Name the only restaurant manager in city history to launch a battered and bloodied (Hee! Hee!) idiot through a double-paned window and onto the sidewalk? Criminals and miscreants won’t be put down by taking their license plate number, or by staring at them for prolonged periods. They seek to intimidate us and when they can’t, push usually comes to shove. That’s the one thing they understand. Force. Who should apply that force? The Wilkes-Barre Police Department should be completely unleashed and finally allowed to provide that not so subtle push out of this town.

As far as not discussing politics at meetings goes, maybe y’all should start. The politicos are doing more damage to this city than the criminals could ever hope to. I imagine that being part of the system kind of suppresses criticism of the system though.

While I applaud your efforts, in all honesty, I have to laugh at how completely you folks are being used and duped. You’re free to continue with your walks, but some of us recognize the root cause of the problem and will continue to demand better from our city government. When I said that I hope that our crime watch days are behind us, I did not mean that as an insult. I simply meant that I hope the day comes soon when the city is so peaceful and so tranquil that the volunteer watchers will not be needed.

The Iron Fist needs to be delivered in a big way in this city and that Iron Fist is the Wilkes-Barre Police Department.

Let’s try the other side of the coin. An e-mail from a “Copper Dude.”

******No, not 1 am, you dolt, Jesus, see what happens when you don't graduate high school. Anyway, thanks for the XXXXX, I'll use it with extreme care. I'll let you know if it makes a difference. Thanks again.

Regarding the "squashed" report from the Top Cop, and his Chief, I really hope the media investigates this further, to see if indeed a report was completed. It is the department's policy to complete a report on ALL domestics. If it is discovered that the report was written with disappearing ink, then I do believe that voter services and the ethics commission have another valid case against the mayor. Let's see if they have the stones to follow up on it.

Being one of the privileged few that are asked to serve, protect, and hopefully help the good citizens of this once great city (and YES they do exist), it sickens me to see a total lack of respect of ethics from the man who is supposed to lead us, let alone by example, and not just with well thought out, intelligent statements in the papers.(yes, that was sarcasm) I honestly do not know how he can sleep at night, knowing that the men, and women he is charged to lead, and represent, have a TOTAL lack of respect for him. I am damn PROUD!!! to be a Police Officer, I wonder if he is?

We are an intelligent, proud, caring, and sometimes motivated (when we are actually allowed to do our job), family in the department. Just scan the results in the local papers, to see what we can accomplish, when we are allowed to do so. I believe I can speak for the dept. when I say we are anxious for an administration change, and to be given the order to go out there, and clean this city up.

Thank you for letting me go off on this tangent. It's nice to see someone writing praise for the street cops, and not just comments from the admin., and certain unintelligent residents, who think we never do anything. Next year Mark, you and me........RIDE ALONG!******

Ride Along? BANG! Count me in! Remember, I’ve got experience thanks to Sgt. Dave Abraham of the Plains Township Police Department. I can work the siren and overhead lights, if indeed our Wilkes-Barre cruiser even has any. I’m with you dude. We take the cuffs off of our cops and finally allow them to “go out there, and clean this city up.”

BANG!

Another e-mail. Whoa! The dude is quoting me.

******There are forklift drivers in the area that earn $40,000 a year. $40,000 a year is not an exorbitant salary when you consider what we ask these dudes to do. They face the flames, they breath the soot, they rescue the toddlers and unfortunately they get to see six year-old girls hung in basements on occasion while we’re busy seeking our thrills.

I just want to point out one thing, the heat, the near blind visibility, and the unknown are very tangible things to me. Therefore they do not frighten me. What DOES scare the hell out of me is the fact that every fireman and especially paramedic in this city faces a slow and terrible death because we are dealing with more and more infectious diseases every day. Those are intangible and terrifying to me. Still I put XXXX years in driving one of our ambulances. Why? It needed to be done to serve the residents of our city. No matter what our Mayor says, We love W-B and risk our lives in ways that most people don't even realize. Even to the point of DAILY risking our deepest fears.

So when people say our health care benefits are too good, point out that not only are WE exposed to these things but we expose our families to them, sometimes without even knowing it.******

10-4! Like I said, $40,000 a year is not a lot of money to pay folks that risk their lives to protect ours. Top-flight emergency services are never going to be available to us if we demand them, but aren’t willing to pay for them. If someone would prefer volunteers, move to Noxen. You dolt!

Another e-mail:

******Greetings,

Obviously, we are all entitled to our own opinions. That is what makes this great country what it is. I ask the person who suggested W-B switch to volunteers this question : In an age where a football player can be awarded a $102 million contract, is a $40,000/year salary for a firefighter/paramedic/police officer really unreasonable? I realize that our salaries, as first responders and city employees, are a large part of the city's yearly budget. Especially when considering the declining tax base and the increase in freeloaders that drain the system. For many, many years our elected officials have run on the promises of attracting high paying jobs to this area, only to bring in more $5-$6/hour positions. Who in the hell wants to see another McSomebody open a fast food restaurant, when what we really need are jobs that will entice our bright, young adults to remain in the area upon graduation. Unfortunately, there is a lot of jealously that exists among area residents when is comes to anyone who makes a decent wage in this valley. Is it our fault that we are paid what we are? Wouldn't anyone who was owed $4000 in back wages want what was owed to them? As I stated in the beginning, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It has been said that opinions are like a**holes, everyone's got one. Well, I have my own (opinion and an a**hole, for those of you keeping score at home) and although it is admittedly biased, I truly believe that the citizens of this city receive their hard earned money's worth when it comes to the services which we, as first responders, provide them.

Don't just believe the bullsh*t that someone shovels to you. Go to your local firehouse and see what goes on there. There are no pool tables or pajama parties, as "Mighty Mouth" would have you believe. When you see a cop car parked in an empty lot somewhere, take the time to see that they are probably writing a report and catching up on their daily mounds of paperwork, not wasting time, just sitting around. God has given us the gift of sight and the power of independent thought. Let's all try to take full advantage of these gifts and use the information that we collect when we vote on May 20th.

Since I know that the comments on this site make their way back to the mayor, I will end with this advice to him : Contact VISION now, because after May 20th, you will be "politically homeless"!******

Here! Here! “Mighty Mouth” will be “politically homeless?” We have a winner! Dude, you are invited to scribble some posts on the site.

After he becomes “politically homeless” I think he should look at this site. It offers a future to a person with such obviously lacking job skills.

The McFuture

Private Sector Dude has returned from Belgium and has sent along this pic. Dude! What the heck were you doing over there? M-I-C-K-E-Y....B-O-O-B-S!

I like this one.

He‘s dumb?

I gotta go. One more e-mail:

******Mark,

I care what you think. Read your sight daily. It keeps me informed as to what the blank is going on in WB. My mom and brother still live there as do my in-laws. Yes and I graduated from high school and college too. If the mayor did so much good for the city why does he have a 60% disapproval? I hope once the election is over and Leighton wins you'll still keep this site alive.******

On May 21st, this site will switch to a new format. Wilkes-Barre Poetry Online. Okay, I’m mucking about with that one. Actually, some big changes are in the works, but I think you’ll enjoy them. PLUS! The “Live” internet radio show will be up and running on June 1st. LIVE! From Wilkes-Barre! It’s that internet bastard! Stay tuned kiddies.

How many days to go?

Eight!

TLFM