5-13-2003 Seven!

The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.--Friedrich Nietzsche

Private Sector Dude has returned from Belgium and brought us some Schogetten milk chocolate. It really is good stuff. I definitely taste caramel, but I canít read the list of ingredients. When will the rest of the world finally convert to English? Those silly foreigners.

I will own one of these very soon and I will blow you away. Way, way too cool.


I started my morning with the Voice today and ran across this complete sophistry.

Apparently the truth does not enter into the equation anymore. Do whatever you want and say whatever you want. All that seems to matter to the man is the re-acquisition of power. City council stopped the funding process? Thereís a very tall tale if Iíve ever heard one. Council is to blame for the stalled Holeplex which is mocked statewide? Yeah! And my sister is married to Batmanís step-brother. How could the mayor claim that Leightonís plan is the same as his theater plan? Iím sure Tom Leighton plans to build more than just $5 million footers.

It was the lawsuits filed by Humford Equities and the owners of Provincial Towers that deep-sixed the mayorís House of Financial Horrors, not city council. We all know that. Repeating the same lie over and over again just isnít going to resonate out here in the wastelands. Whatís up with this statement?

All projects are calculated risks and most people agree that the theater project is worth a risk.

All projects are calculated risks? Therein lies part of the problem with this guyís approach to progress. He is not supposed to be putting taxpayer dollars at risk. He risked a whole bunch of money and now weíve got a hole that still isnít completely paid for. Oh, and yet another call center payment due in a couple of weeks. Leightonís plan is pricier? Whoís kidding who here?

My plan put the city at a lesser risk than Mr. Leighton's plan.

Yeah! As if! The city still has not answered the challenges to the Holeplex as laid forth in the two lawsuits. We spent close to $3 million for our famous footers and are being sued for over a million for the pre-cast concrete for the doomed project. Less risk? Like I always say, he really does think that weíre stupid and he talks to us accordingly. How low will he go? The next week will provide that answer.

When all is finally said and done and the city receives a thorough and above board audit, the last thing on anybodyís mind might just turn out to be a new theater. With fiscal responsibility in a city that already qualifies for Act 47 status comes lower expectations and some serious belt tightening. If Leighton can get the damn thing built with private financing, so be it. If he canít, so be it. When the alarming state of the cityís finances are finally determined and made public for all to see, we may not even want a theater built.

Time will tell. Iíd much rather have any new theater project in the hands of proven business professionals than in the hands of a guy with no employable skills who thinks risking millions of taxpayer dollars makes for sound financial policy.

What are the details of Tom Leightonís plan? I really donít care at this point, because I think what we need is to think smaller for a while, until the city undoes the mostly untold damage done during the past eight years. We canít start climbing out of the hole until we hit the bottom. God help us!

We really need to send the mayor an unmistakable message next week.

Iím sure Iíll be the recipient of whatever eventual backlash that may come, but Iím not the only one that wants nothing but the best and brightest serving as elected officials in this city. We all deserve better than weíve been getting. We just had the city resident that mailed that letter to both local newspapers concerning the recent domestic call at a council hopefulís home. The incident number was supplied from the ranks of the Wilkes-Barre Police Department. Now weíve got another member of the cityís law enforcement providing even more background on the same council hopeful. Based on his neatly displayed yard signs, the police chiefie may support this candidate, but it seems that the rank and file do not.

Police Record

The Times Leader story about the Scott Street bridge debacle was a howler this morning. It is going to take 18 months to replace a bridge not much longer than Wilt Chamberlainís foreskin? Hereís the gist of the propaganda. We started a $1 million bridge replacement project and THEN, THEN found out about the two water mains (20-inch and 14-inch lines), a 24-inch sewer pipe that serves Wyoming Valley Mall, a natural gas line and at least 12 fiber-optic conduits?

Does anyone actually believe that poppycock? They tore away an existing bridge and did some excavating and THEN found out what the project really entailed? Did anyone ever hear of Pennsylvania One Call? Did anyone do any exhaustive research before the project got under way? Did anyone do their homework? Sorry folks, but Iím not buying into this Mayor good/Subterranean areas bad bullspit story. 18 months? If youíre believing this one, you probably also believe that the Easter Bunny intends to vote for the mayor.

And the exoneree is..............................mayor Tom! But, of course.

Ah hell, at least he didnít blame it on council.

Mayor good/Culverts bad.

I got a look at the latest polling data today. I canít divulge the numbers, but I would suggest that some folks start utilizing that $11,000 copier and make some copies of those updated, but horribly inadequate resumes. Thatís assuming that the copier was fixed. It seems that the mayor has worn it out already. He originally distributed massive amounts of his 7 page accomplishment list, but then deleted the words ďIĒ, ďMayorĒ and his name and such and then recopied a new 5 page version of the laughable list. Iím worried that the paper shredder at city hall is gonnaí blow up also. I hear itís getting lots of use lately.

While the latest polling data may be encouraging, weíve all got to make sure that everyone gets off their duffs and heads down the polls on Tuesday. Wilkes-Barre lies in shambles and the future is now. Tuesday might just be the most important day in the history of this once proud and great little city. What will it be? Will we continue to be dictated to by a person that shouldnít be trusted with a plane load of rubber dog sh*t from Taiwan, or will we elect a man who believes that our city government should be all-inclusive? Should we be fooled again by more hoity-toity promises, or should we embrace the promise of financially sound, incremental and steady progress?

I donít know about the rest of yíall, but I donít need any Pyramids built any time soon to make me want to stay here. Clean, neat and safe would do nicely until the new Mayor, City Council and Chamber, all working together and on the same page finally deliver the high ticket stuff. Smooth roads, street lights, new sidewalks, resumed street sweeping and a safe city would be enough to keep this weirdo around for a spell. If we cover the basics, and then promote the hell out of the city-good things can and will happen. I firmly believe that, but first we have to vote in masse for the overdue and necessary change of direction.

I was kinda pissed at myself for not rolling out the Rock Stomper on Sunday. Tornadic activity. Yeah right! I so completely love wandering around aimlessly on Sundays. I got to thinking about this upcoming Sunday. This will be my very last Bike About while the cityís future remains in doubt. Either late Tuesday night, or very early Wednesday morning, Iíll know whether wifey and I are going to remain in this city that has always been home to the both of us. We absolutely abhor the thought of moving away, but we donít wish to reside in the assh*le of the state anymore. We really donít enjoy unabated crime, gunfire, a crumbling infrastructure, reverse-gentrification, unfulfilled promises, an empty downtown and knowing that weíre being lied to each and every time we pick up a newspaper.

I figured that this Sundayís Bike About would include a bit of wishful and forward-thinking concerning the cityís future and at the same time, a lot of soul-searching just in case the unexpected and unthinkable were to happen after the polls close on Tuesday. Solitude without a bike helmet is a recipe for a ride in Medic-5. Anyway, I got to thinking, why donít the lot of you join me on Sunday. The weather is supposed to be much nicer. You donít have to worry about being run over, because itís me they really want. I promise to avoid the hills. What do you think? Anybody interested? A mass Bike About? An event! One big ole ride about before that fateful day when we learn whether the city has a future of not.

I talked to one girl last night and she said ďCan you picture me on a bike?Ē Yeah, I can. Bike riding can be a relaxing and rewarding getaway, or a massive workout, but you alone control the tempo. And consider this: Iím 44 years old and I have a thirty inch waist. Body fat? Not! The recently retired and aging Huffy deserves a lot of the credit for that, but she had a willing partner. If you got in the habit of wandering about aimlessly on the bicycle, youíd never regret doing so. Trust me.

Whatever. Iíll be rolling at noon on Sunday. Iíd love some company for once.

Seven more days!