5-22-2003 Thumbs up folks

Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.--Gore Vidal

Has everyone recuperated from their hangover yet? BANG! We rocked the vote and then we thoroughly rocked the fermented by-products of insignificant little weeds. BANG! Folks are upbeat today in this city today. It’s a welcome change of pace. Well, excepting for the folks that mistakenly voted for the now deposed mayor. Whatever. Those folks probably believe that professional wrestling is real and that their hero, JFK, was an admirable man who’s daddy did not buy him an election with the millions he acquired through seedy stock manipulations that would get a person thrown in jail these days. Bummer folks. We’re awful sorry, but we prefer to live in a hustling, bustling and safe city, rather than praying to the recycling King.

Speaking of the King, he has been hiding since the voters of the city gave him the heave-ho. Nobody has seen him, but they tell me that the employees at city hall are smiling again, so I’m sure he’ll rush down there soon to make their lives a living hell again. There will be no smiling, or humming on his watch. Didn’t he tell you that these people can’t even type? It doesn’t matter, he can’t spell a lick. He did order that the new Impala (#528) that was assigned to the mayor’s recently promoted fire inspectors, be stripped of all of it’s fire department equipment and sent to McCarthy tire on Kidder street. The kicker was that the McCarthy people had no idea why the Impala was shipped to them. So, rather than having three fire inspectors operating out of two vehicles, now the three of them will share one vehicle. It doesn’t sound as if the lame duck is all that worried about his new initiative of aggressive inspections and enforcement anymore. Let me guess: He did that to curry favor with the voters and little else. Now that we have sent him a stinging rebuke at the polls, I guess he’s not interested in protecting us anymore.

He will eventually come out of hiding. Let the vindictive games begin!

Let’s go back in time here. Remember that story I copied that claimed that 29% of the residents of this country suffer from some sort of undiagnosed mental illness? I also predicted at that time that the mayor would receive 29% of the vote on Tuesday, based on that story alone. Okay, I was wrong. He got 30%! Maybe the study was simply off by 1%. The folks that gleefully and faithfully scrub their recycling cans weekly and spend way too much time memorizing their scaled-down city calendars are just a tad bit more plentiful than previously thought. Here’s how I see the final numbers from the Tuesday mayoral race. Intelligent folks-54%. Loons-30%. Dolts-16%. The intelligent folks voted for a better future, rather than promises of more recycling cans, or promises of listening to any good ideas out here. That ought to generate some colorful e-mail.

In my cluttered brain matter, we came out of Tuesday’s election smelling like roses. We elected a dude that will prove to be a more than capable mayor. We also elected the first ever Brat Pack to serve as our majority commissioners. Two 33 year-old commissioners should prove to be a breath of welcome fresh air, and they’re two Wilkes-Barre natives to boot no less. I did not vote for Skrep, but I wasn’t saddened by the news that he was the top vote getter. While he may have never had to prepare a county budget, he seems to offer integrity, honesty and an overall attitude that we can do better than we’re used to. Ditto those qualities for Todd. I’m telling ya, I’m jazzed. Between the new and improved Mayor (capitalized for the very first time on this site) Tom and the upbeat Brat Pack, I think Wilkes-Barre is gonna zoom faster and higher than anyone could have anticipated.

During the past few weeks, I had to listen to many in the media and otherwise claim that the mayor was the consummate political strategist. I never saw it that way. The meat of his feeble-minded campaign was that he would increase curbside “services” that meant absolutely nothing to the majority of us. While everyone else running for elected office acknowledged the city’s growing crime problems, he steadfastly denied that crime was on the increase, or a problem at all for that matter. The weakest thing he did was promising that “As long as I am your mayor, I will never, ever increase your taxes.” He’s predicting the future now? Tarot cards? Ouiji board? In a world where stock markets rise and fall based on the latest terror alert, would you make that promise? In a country where medical insurance rates rise faster than a seventh grade boy’s Jones with a copy of Penthouse in tow, is that a smart, or prudent promise to make? He was “full-time, all the time?“ Hell! We’d settle for part-time, some of the time if the city was booming rather than imploding before our very eyes! His campaign didn’t resonate because his campaign was even more pathetic than his track record as mayor.

Try this one on for size. His overused retort to all that plagues mankind; “Council are obstructionists.” I wish I could search the archives of both the Voice and the Leader. How many times did he make the claim that council was obstructing his promises of progress? Okay, now check the results of the council race. All six of the incumbents were re-elected. Then throw in the fact that Tom Leighton was elected to replace the mayor himself, and our sitting council members were seven for seven on Tuesday night. The residents obviously didn’t buy into his oft-repeated lie that city council was to blame for all of the city’s woes based on the election results. Sorry folks, but he was given WAY too much credit for his imagined political skills. He was a foul-mouthed bully, he didn’t answer direct questions honestly and he tried to blame everyone else for his mistakes. It caught up to him in the end. In my book, that is not a political animal. That’s a pretender.

As far as the results of the council race is concerned, having the entire council return while Wilkes-Barre faces some painful decisions is not a bad thing. I only voted for four of them, but right now experience cannot hurt and everyone of them knows that it’s put up, or shut up time as far as Wilkes-Barre is concerned. I did manage to vote for the top five vote-getters though. I’m thrilled to know that our ex-police chief will have a seat on council in a town that needs an infusion of law and order. I was disappointed that Rick Gazenski wasn’t elected. He has a lot to offer and he should try again in the future. Whatever. The dust has cleared and the hangovers are behind us. Wilkes-Barre received an enema on Tuesday night and although it only managed to dislodge one floater, it flushed the one that most needed to be flushed.

I just knew that Private Sector Dude would have something to offer today.

******Ding Dong! The *rick is dead. Which old *rick? Vindictive *rick! Ding Dong! The little *rick is dead.

Wake up - sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, Vindictive *rick is dead. He's gone where the losers go,
Below - below - below. Yo-ho, let's open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong' the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know
Vindictive *rick is dead! (Only politically dead)

Had to do it, especially after cuddling on the couch with the three little ones watching that great old movie.

Man, THE FAITH HAS BEEN REWARDED. Way to go Wilkes-Barre !! I had the opportunity to work yesterday at the Day of Caring for the United Way in the Valley. We were at a local YMCA camp. I met tons of great folks, painting, raking, cleaning, cutting trees, staining, and not one person I talked with was for McG. Not one. And most sounded relieved.

Mark, big high-five through this little electronic box, and keep a cold one for me. Thanks for the site and the photos. Stay strong dude.

Today's line-up: At third base-Tony "Cracked Sidewalk" Thomas, at second base-Phil Latinski, at first base-Kathy Kane, playing shortstop-Shirley "Chevy Nova" Vitanovec, in left field-Bill "Chiefie" Barrett, playing center field-Michael McGinley, in right field, veteran-Jim "Gramps" McCarthy, starting on the mound-TODD, behind the plate- Greg "No one crosses home plate" Skrepenak, and the coach- Tooooommmmm Leightooonnnnn !!!!!!!! (Wild, cheering crowd) Today's Peanut Vendor-Tom McGroarty and today's Janitor-Virgil "The +orch" Argenta. !!!!! (Sound of crickets chirping).

Let's see. Blame-game politics, obfuscation, lies, finger pointing, closed-door, back room deals, failed projects-BAD, people of Wilkes-Barre-GOOD. Maniacal, foul-mouthed tirades-BAD, acting like men and women rather than a six year old child-GOOD. Hurting people, lying about people-BAD, working together-GOOD. Greedy firemen, paving for votes, union back pay, stopping military funds, what crime-BAD, Hose Dudes, Copper Dudes, those that served-GOOD. Crumbling infrastructure, robbing Peter's TAN to pay Paul's TAN, no plan for the future, signing ridiculous lease agreements, driving away businesses-BAD, open, responsible government, with a roadmap to the future-GOOD. King's/Wilkes students-BAD, King's/Wilkes students rocking the vote and supporting a thriving downtown-GOOD. Elderly moving from room to curb, curb to room, afraid to go out-BAD, elderly sitting on the square on a sunny morning, mixing with the college kids, watching children play in the fountain, shopping-GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Folks the road to the future isn't going to be smooth. There has been so much damage, and I have a feeling more will be uncovered. It is going to take a month for our new lineup to get their arms around all the problems in the city. Let's be patient, but let's be vigilant and supportive as well. Much help and elbow grease will be needed. Let's get to work.

Keep the faith. Next up Geddy and the boys-real loud.

Private Sector Dude.******


Fire Union Dude!

A city employee weighs in:

******Dear Mark,

Well, it is finally over and the reality of the situation is that for all practical purposes, Tom Leighton will be our mayor come 2004. Sorry Christine, but the Republican's in power are still years away. I wish I had a fast forward button for this town to get there already. Yet, maybe the next six months are better left to find there way here as usual. Tom Leighton will surely need the time to assemble good people and good plans, oh, and win the election come November. His days will be short enough with those tasks alone.

Thinking about the road ahead of him and us for that matter, I find myself reeling in anticipation. I want to remind everyone that it is not going to come easy. The time from now until then will be one of guarded optimism. By that, I think we should all realize that McG will be there until December 31, 2003. There is a lot of damage that could result in the remaining days of the McGroarty administration. Yet, we know that no matter what happens from now until then, the new age of Wilkes-Barre is drawing closer day by day. In the mean time we will be planning our course for a new city. We will be watching the store.

I would hope, and maybe that's all I can do, that our current mayor would realize that the legacy of his administration is forever going to be remembered for all the nasty, micro managed, fouled attempts at running a city, but, for what it is worth, his remaining days could be ones of dignity, new found cooperation, and selflessness in the hope of just maybe saving a little face. So that when people twenty years from now say "remember that McGroarty," they can do so without spitting. Now I guess that is a bit much to ask, but like a junkie that has an intervention and finds religion, just maybe McG can see his way to the realization that it's over and the people expect this now and until December 31, 2003. Call me a dreamer.

As for the city and its people I feel relieved. The many who made this happen ought to be proud of what they did. They should smile from ear to ear. They stood solid together through all of this. They refused to give up on the notion that things can and will be better. As for me, it was and still is an honor to work for the Leighton campaign. Now the real work begins. ******

I hear ya’ man. BANG!

Council Chick


******Mark -

It was great talking to you on Tuesday. That was one helluva night - one none of us will soon forget !

Thanks again for all your help - every little bit helps, as you know ! Everyone here is still smiling and still exhausted. Don't think smiles will disappear for quite some time.

Gotta run - I'm in work - talk to you soon !******





About your Reno Lane incident - small world, heyna? (one correction - I live in the bucolic reaches of Wyoming County, not Luzerne, but hell - close enough.) It was funny when my mom called me up and was amazed that she got a chance to talk to you. Man, I'll tell you - you must be doing something right.

Mark - let me say thank you for stepping up to the political plate and letting all us folks that have been pissed off at the direction of Wilkes-Barre have our say. It's one thing to get pissed off at politicians while clutching a barstool, but it's another thing to actually go out and do something about it - like starting a website and documenting what's going on in the community. On an internet list that I belong to, I had a conversation with a guy today that long ago was born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, and left to start a family in New Jersey, and has begged his mother and sister in the North End of W-B to leave because of the crime and blight, but because of their roots in the church and community, they won't even think about it. His comment was "we have to get rid of McGroarty". That - to me - is what Wilkes-Barre is all about. It's a hell of a town. You come here, you raise a family here, you grow roots here, you do your best to raise a family and make what you can, your children grow up here safely with a community behind them, they have a family and grandchildren and try to do the best they can for themselves, the cycle goes on, and you die here. what more out of life can you ask for? It's why we're here and I'd hate to lose that. I'll be damned if some crack dealer is going to take that away from me.

Mark - one last thing I'd like to say - the support you gave to Mayor-elect Leighton is admirable, but I would like to see you continue the website. Hold his feet to the fire. Promises are one thing, but I hope he realizes that we've been fooled once before, and it's not going to happen again. I'll give Mr. Leighton my unconditional support, but - for that - I expect Wilkes-Barre to be a better city to live in four years from now. We're watching - we're alert, and we won't stand for incompetence, corruption, or inaction. The voters of Wilkes-Barre gave you the chance. Don't disappoint us.******

Here! Here! BANG!

Council Copper Dude

Another one:


I'm sure you've gotten a ton of e-mails thanking you for all you've done. This is one more. You can be as humble as you want, and you probably will be, but you've done this city a HUGE service. This website exposed so much behind the scenes bullshit that I'm sure a great percentage of the voting public never knew about, or ever would have known about, without your site. It's amazing what one man can do with just a few words, and a great love for what was this great city. You've put yourself at great risk over the course of the last year for one thing....a better, safer city with competent leadership, and cooperation. You should be very proud of the fact that you've helped turn this city around. Thanks again, and keep it coming. One more thing....When is the Block party this year? It's sure to be the biggest ever.....We'll ALL be there if we're welcome. We'll all still be here every night waiting for the posts...so keep up the good work......Later******

Humble? Yep. Happy? BANG! By the way, the 1st block party meeting is very soon. BANG!


Last one, I swear:

******B - A - N - G ! I 'm sorry I could'nt make last eve. , I could have used a good celebration. Did you hear how the VLP slipped out on the TV boys from both stations. He left them holding there ...mic's .The dude from 22/28 was pissed. Kyle Schmoyer just shrugged and looked like Baby Hughey. The excitement is evident in town today, you can feel an upbeat bounce ..even the homeless dudes were boppin' ...Well , here's hoping Tom can get this turned in a good direction ..I've got about 100 things off the top of MY head that can be undertaken..."Thank God Almighty, we're free at last.." Oh! 1 large attaboy TOoN dUdE ******

WE did it folks. WE did it together. That’s WE! Never again can Kevin Lynn talk about the residents of this city with such blatant contempt as he has grown used to doing in the past. Wilkes-Barre may have suffered the unthinkable for a spell, but Wilkes-Barre gave a collective thumbs down to it’s destroyer on Tuesday. Now we look toward the future with hope and gushing enthusiasm.

Forget the Wilkes-Barre jokes. Noxen will be back on the hook soon enough.


Thumbs up folks.

WE did it!