5-25-2003 Bike About

You have the right to freedom of speech as long as you donít try to use it.--Joe Strummer

Ask and you shall receive. Yesterday I was wondering about the status, or non-status of the recycling trucks that make so much sense and our mayor does not want. Check this e-mail:

******Hey Mark,

About that long awaited recycling truck. It's here. Drove past the DPW landfill and there it was inside the garage bay. It's huge. Looks bigger than Kingston's. I doubt it will get around the heights very well, but the rest of the City look out.******

Wow! Wilkes-Barre has recycling trucks? The third class city is catching up to the tiniest backwater boroughs that are near insolvent, but still possess better equipment than us? Are the days of picking up recyclables in garbage packers, picking up the garbage in pick-up trucks, and picking up practically everything else with a front-end loader almost behind us? Whatís next? Overhead lights on and prisoner cages in our police cars that still run? Garbage trucks that were built after the Falklands war? For those of you that voted for the status quo, the Falklands war was fought in 1982. It featured the British military beating the holy snot out of the invading Argentine military.

I decided to drop by the DPW junk yard and catch a glimpse of the newest city vehicle that the mayor did not want, but I couldnít see it while peering through those filthy windows. I did see that little white pick-up the mayor used to distribute his reelection fliers. Are their any rules against using city vehicles to further your political career? I was just wondering because in todayís Voice article about the long stalled Shapiro property project, the mayor had this to say:

"I'm willing to work with anybody who wants to put a development in Wilkes-Barre," McGroarty said. "But somebody adhering to the regulations is not a bad person. I'm doing what's right I'm following the rules.

Rules huh?. Ask him how much he spent on those fliers he distributed throughout each city neighborhood and where he had them produced. Office Max? Office Depot? Or City Hall? Whatever.

So anyway, no pic of our newest city vehicle is forthcoming, but I did decide to tour the DPW junk yard. This place is a microcosm of what the city at large has become under the mayorĎs less than capable tutelage. Filthy, broken and piled. I was drawn to the classic tiller truck that is being cannibalized to keep other junks running. This proud, old museum piece was left to rot while exposed to the elements rather than investing a measly $8,000 in necessary motor repairs. Rather than acquiring a brand new Impala for himself, the mayor could have saved this rarity and enhanced public safety at the same time.

The Mack!

I found the old drowntown lights that either fell, or were yanked down by the mayorís orders. Couldnít these things be reinstalled with some sort of beefed-up metal collars and a bit of welding? It seems to me that they could be and quite probably, very easily and very cheaply. You tell me man, I only live here. They donít pay me to destroy what was once a neat little city.


Screw hummers! If Iím only gonna get nine miles to a gallon of gas, I want a Soviet T-55.

Tanks for Sale

Ever wonder where your yard waste goes after the city picks it up? Apparently, it doesnít go too far away. And itís starting to stink.

Junk yard or landfill?

Check this one out ladies. Who says itís too dangerous to go drowntown after dark?

No-Contact Jacket

I think that this city has more stricken vehicles than it has operable vehicles. So much for the army surplus approach to fleet management. It will apparently catch up to a city and I think it has in a big way.

Free to good home

God! I hate stuffed animals as it is, but stuffed germs?

GIANT Microbes

County to 557: Are you 10-8?


Hereís the best response Iíve heard yet to the howls of the anti-war protestors. The absence of war does not equal peace. BANG!

Check this e-mail. Food for thought for those of you that never really thought about it before.


You and I had this conversation a while back. The subject was revived for me when I bumped into a friend at Barnes & Noble today.

This is in regard to the future of Wilkes-Barre and the various "social services" that presently overload the city. Do-Gooders, in all their 'good' intentions, have helped Wilkes-Barre into the crapper -- because, as they say, "good intentions pave the road to hell." As a result of charitable organizations such as the various area churches, etc. we have VISION, the Soup Kitchen, the men's Salvation Army Rehab, the rehab/retreat for "troubled" kids from Philly in South W-B, etc., ad nauseam...

If anyone has ever wondered *why* there are SO MANY piss-soaked lunatics, bums, and homeless half-wits roaming our city streets, this is why. Back in December, during the Xmas season, Channel 28 featured the "homeless problem" sporting pics of the homeless shelters bursting at the seams. We are a city of little more than 45,800 people. Just about everyone of these counted folks are well ensconced in a house or apartment of their own. So, who are all these people packing the shelters to the gills?

When I worked for the XXXXXX --and I know this for a fact-- I found out that the VISION shelter IMPORTS these people. The van will go to the NY or NJ boarders and buss these social liabilities into town.

When these people saw what easy pickin's it is here, they made damn sure to broadcast the word about the Wyoming Valley's Three-Hots-&-A-Cot depot known as Wilkes-Barre City.

In the past, when the drug addict population was marginal, addicted folks had to make "runs" to Philthadelphia for their stash. Now they can stay put, the business has come to them. As a result of our stellar mini 'Welfare state' we are presently faced with the disastrous reality of what these social parasites have brought us. This, and more, all thanks to the local bleeding hearts. Much like *The Pennsylvania Polka*, "it started in Scranton..." hats off to Sister Adrian who began this trend.

If we are to truly rehabilitate and regentrify Wilkes-Barre, VISIONS has to go; the Soup Kitchen has to go; stringent restrictions need to be placed on The Salvation Army -- their men's rehab needs to go; the retreat for "troubled" inner-city youth needs to go too. These among many others, which I am sure you can think of.

Forgive my Ebenezer Scrooge-like tirade. I am not asking for the "surplus population" to die, just to go away, and that we officially remove the WELCOME mat for bums and derelicts that has been sitting for far too long on this city's doorstep.

Ever since the 1972 flood, this place has been a dump. Since then, we have experienced a series of lack-luster mayors and community leaders who have done jack sh*t with this place. All they did was keep things status quo and even. Then came along Tom McGroarty, who effectively pushed the city off that fine balance and into the crapper, only to begin the process of pounding in the final coffin nails. It looks like we may very well save W-B just in time. But, the mediocrity has to end. The cheese-line needs to end. The free handouts and "social services" that have done nothing but to poison this area have to end. The sh*t stops here, if we're to succeed.

Just my two cents worth.******

Dude, I wholeheartedly agree and Iím not some hard-hearted dickhead. After my momís last divorce, I was a recipient of welfare benefits until the age of 18. We needed food stamps to survive. My mom stood in the long lines at the food giveaways at the Salvation Army. To replace our broken refrigerator, we needed the generosity of a local priest. I know what poverty is all about and I canít say I liked it much. I will say this so, we got by. We survived. I donít think we need much more than available welfare benefits to those truly in need. The CEO for folks that are displaced, or just in need of emergency cash assistance. The Bridge offers free legal help to those that canít afford it. After that, I think the rest of the social services for the homeless and such are complete overkill and they promote the use of their services to perpetuate their very existence and keep a few folks employed via government grants and donations from well meaning, but ill-informed chumps.

The destinations you mentioned are merely magnets for the drunken lazy and the folks on the run from the Philtydumpia and New York City police. If weíre ever going to return to the days when we could go to bed with the downstairs windows open, these agencies have to be seriously addressed by the powers that be. Our lame duck mayor is vociferously opposed to a methadone clinic in Plains, but we have plenty of derelict magnets right here within the cityís confines. If it were up to me, that soup kitchen on Jackson St. would be histoire. The same people that usually ďraise awarenessĒ to the issues of poverty, or homelessness, never, ever address the issue of the reverse-gentrification in our cityís neighborhoods. We donít need to attract indigents and criminals, we need to attract young families and businesses.

Boy! Did you set me off, or what?


I gotta go enjoy whatís left of my three day weekend.