5-26-2003 The calm before the progress?

If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.--Dan Quayle

Is it me, or is this city dead all of a sudden? There has been an eerie quiet since the primary came and went. Well, weíve had a couple of shooting incidents since we voted, but thatís not what I mean. The activity that was at a fever pitch just a few short days ago seems to have come to a screeching halt. The candidates for elected office have all gone missing. The mayor no longer dominates the scanner airwaves. No streets are being paved. Hell! I could be mistaken, but I believe that the DPW boys actually enjoyed a rare weekend off. If so, they probably noticed that their kids are a couple of inches taller now that the overtime orgy seems to have ended.

This is how things should have been during the past few years. Itís been calm, quiet, almost sleepy when compared to the tumult, chaos and crime weíve all grown reluctantly accustomed to. I would hope that this could continue, but weíve got a council work session and a council meeting scheduled later this week. Allah only knows what the immediate future has in store for all of us. Will the mayor use the next seven months to rehabilitate his image and this jumbled city at the same time? Or will he seek to do further battle with city council? Will he even attend the council meeting at all? For the sake of the city and itís shell-shocked residents, he needs to do the right thing and go out with some dignity. He needs to quietly take care of business and forget about settling any scores with anyone.

Is this calm the calm before the next political storm? Or is it the calm before the progress?

The next seven months could be a period of rebuilding to a degree, or a period of further damage to the city. For the good of the cityís future, a few egos need to be deflated for the good of all involved. This is bigger than Tom McGroarty, or Tom Leighton. The city has arrived at a critical crossroad and some big decisions need to be made that will impact the cityís future for years to come. Whether the impact of those decisions affects us positively, or negatively will be determined by the major city players during the coming months. One can only hope that the folks that profess their unbridled love of the city will do the right thing.

In my opinion, the very first thing that needs to happen is that the mayor needs to reconstitute the Redevelopment Authority like yesterday. Too much of what troubles the city hangs in limbo with the lack of a quorum from that authority. The Holeplex, or Holeplex II dilemma cannot move forward without the RA board springing back to life. Supposedly, the Central Park Ďní Lock needs to be remodeled. Again, we need the RA board. The Shapiro project was back in the news on Sunday. It canít go forward without the RA. The vacant Call Center is another big question mark controlled by the RA. The RA is also being sued for over $1,000,000. This will be the first test of the mayorís intentions for the next seven months. If he continues to drag his feet rather that immediately naming the new RA board members we so desperately require, Iíd see that as proof that he really doesnít have Wilkes-Barreís best interests at heart. He claims that he loves Wilkes-Barre. We are about to find out if thatís true at all.

I hate to disappoint all yíall, but I doubt that youíre gonnaí be telling our lame duck mayor to super-size your burger meal anytime soon. Yeah I know he has managed to piss off practically everyone in the state government, so I doubt heíll be running around the hallowed halls of Harrisburg with a notepad stuffed under his arm, but he does have an out according to one city resident. It turns out that his brother-in-law works for PENNDOT. This could be the perfect marriage. The mayor always preferred to play with his life sized Tonka trucks rather than attending to important city business. What better destination for him? PENNDOTís special assistant in charge of Tonka trucks? Or how about special assistant in charge of paving in the rain? Or how about special assistant in charge of paving only the center of major thoroughfares? I think heís found a home. Iíd be willing to tutor him while studying for his Commercial Drivers License.

Nah! Screw that! Iíd rather attend this important gig.

2003 US Air Guitar Championships

Does anybody remember these?


This site has massive potential. Iíll be checking it out on a daily basis from here on out.

Ugly People.com

Check this e-mail. Heís making reference to one of the pics I posted yesterday.

******The large truck in the picture with the light pole carcasses is a cement mixer. Why do we have this, and how much did it set us back? As far as I know, it's been parked there since they brought it in 2 years ago. Anybody got any info?

I'll try to get down for that XXXXXX this week....I'll be in touch....later*******

We certainly didnít use it to restore the sidewalks in front of the Tony Thomas Deli. Itís been like two years and counting and thereís still a section of moat remaining in front of that place in our less than business friendly drowntown.

Another e-mail:


I've seen the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (deleted to protect the sender from retribution).

I'm sure you've also noticed some of the other things lying around in the yard, aside from the Mack truck and the numerous Code Enforcement vehicles, namely:

- The BRAND SPANKIN' REFURBISHED "Animal Enforcement" Suburban
- The BRAND SPANKIN' BROKEN Blazer used to tow the horse trailer around
- Umpteen different Parks and Emergency Management vehicles in various states of disrepair

You've got to love that "Mobile Command Center" though. When the big one does hit, I feel safe in knowing that our command center and fleet of Emergency Management vehicles are sitting in the DPW yard collecting dust and rust. At least we can use all of those plow trucks to push the debris out of the way.

I just wonder what the story is with that mangled Cadillac near those Cavaliers...******

I wondered about that Cadillac also. What the muck is that? Are we buying private vehicles now in an attempt to cannibalize them for parts? Like I said yesterday, that site mirrors the condition of the city and it speaks volumes about the piss-poor and reactive management that this city has suffered under for way too long.

By the way, at 11:00 last night, two of our police cruisers broke down at the same time. One on McLean St. and the other on N. Penn Avenue. One was towed back to the DPW dump and the other was allowed to rest until it would start again. Apparently, it acted up before and another officer advised itís driver as to how to get it started again so that it could limp back to the dump.

While I was out on the Stomper yesterday, I visited the Murray property on Courtright Avenue. As I arrived on scene ( a little FD speak) a couple of pre-teens were exciting a portion of the building where the roof was already partially collapsed. Properties such as this one are the reason I always mock the efforts of our Neighborhood Impact team. Theyíll show up once a month or so and pick on some Sammy Slumlord or Suzie Six-Pack over some barely consequential building, but these dangerous structures go seemingly unnoticed. Our neighborhood kids explore this dangerous death trap and Iím sure our firemen pray that it never goes 1,000 degrees on us in the middle of the night as so many other Nord End structures seem to do.

Very nice

Crime pays

ThatĎs where the kiddies were playing

More Graffiti

Tear it down

Or board it up


I may be wrong, but Iím guessing that that hydrant is dry.

The big three day weekend is just about over. Bummer. Thereís still time for some more tunes though.

First up? Soul Asylum! ďHow on Earth did I get so jaded?ď

Remember, Iíve got my scanner on so I can easily turn it down well before the copper dudes ever get near here.