1-9-2005 Nanticoke: Luzerne County's Red-Headed Step-Sister

The problem with political jokes is they get elected.--Henry Cate VII

Is anyone interested in a commercial truck cap? I bought my son a pick-up truck for Christmas and somehow, I ended up inheriting the cap. Actually, this puppy is a keeper. And it'd be a shame if I had to strap it onto the Rock Stomper and haul it up the street to the scrap yard. It was stripped-down to the original steel and repainted about two years ago. There isn't as much as a blemish on it other than a missing cam lock.

It came off of a GMC Sonata S-15 with an eight-foot bed, but will also snugly fit onto a Chevy S-10 with an eight-foot bed as well.

Lemme know.

Make me an offer

Will trade for Kevin Harvick die-caste cars with specialty paint schemes.

From the e-mail inbox:

*******Hi Mark, Me again, I just thought I would send this along to you. This was my statement that I gave at the 2nd meeeting for the Firehouse Committee, just in case anymore well wishers out there may have something different to say, lol. Take Care, Shelby

I would like to address a few issues and concerns regarding the walk through of East Fire Station on Saturday, November 20th.

The walk through of this fire station was an agreed upon scheduled appointment at our first meeting with the participating council members, fire chief, and committee members. As I realize the concern of the residents requesting entry to look at the building, an open house walk through for these residents would be an issue for the city to address, not the firehouse committee due to the safety issues and liability purposes. As always, concerned residents are always given an opportunity to speak at city council meetings, and prior to the council meeting when this concern arose of the closing of East Station, informational flyers were distributed throughout the Heights area along with flyers that went home with every child in Heights Murray Elementary School stating the importance of attending this city council meeting with the date and the time that is was being held.

Along with the media being present at this walk through, it was very difficult to keep our focus on the matter at hand which was the inspection of East Station at its present state so each one of us can make an informed opinion for possible restoration or total replacement of this firehouse at this meeting.

I would like to suggest that in the future that we, as a committee take a vote as to when any changes or decisions that may arise in the future and also that we name a spokesperson to speak to the media when needed and voted upon to do so, so we do not hinder our efforts that each one of us are taking time out of our schedules to accomplish and also so that our main focus stays our objective, which is the reopening of this firehouse, whether it be restoring the present one or erecting a new one.*******

A spokesperson? Was that what was perceived to be the insensitive coup d'etat of sorts? The usurpation of the power (?) of another? How dare you inflict such unconscionable civil incapacitations upon the most paranoid of your neighbors? As punishment for such an aggregious and uproarious sin against humanity, you are hereby sentenced to cohabitate for however long you may live with Triumph the Insult Dog. Or at least until he runs out of vile and pernicious one-liner insults spewed in your general direction.

Then again, your suggestions sounded like a plan to me.

One more from the dreaded e-mail inbox:

*******Mark, Readers,

after reading the latest posts I think you can see why I'm opting to stay out of this fight. There are several mitigating circumstances that lend to my decision, the least of which is as follows (from my perspective): As I see it, there are two camps that associate themselves with representing the public interest. One camp is accusing the other of shameless social climbing by alleging to work with the Mayor. The second camp is being accused of anarchy, and fighting the administration for the sake of the fight and not for the sake of the cause. I have friends on both sides of the equation and I believe that neither side is seeing the "big picture".

As I said in our previous conversations, I think this is a dead issue. It was dead before the public was made aware of the closing of East Station. One only needs to read the City's operating budget to see that East Station was written out of it long before anyone cared if the roof was leaking (my opinion). The leaky roof was just the vehicle used to justify the closing and satiate the residents of the Heights. Now that it is closed the administration has the ability to circumvent the language of the firefighters contract and reduce the departments costs even more by eliminating a minimum of eight salaries, eight health care packages, eight pension contributions, and all of the sick days, vacation days, clothing fund requirements, training costs and the overtime that might be associated with those eight positions. All of that adds up to a hefty savings for the City. It would be difficult for any Mayor to reinstate this spending when seeking cost reduction. This is what I refer to as the "big picture".

Some folks seem to think that there's a conspiracy afoot here. It is perceived by some that Tony Thomas' suggestion to form a committee was somehow tied to the reduction of the labor force. I really don't think that's a possibility. Having been at that meeting and seeing first hand the goings on that occurred with Bob Kadlabuski , Virgil Argenta, and other speakers I doubt that Tony had time to plan something so devious. And I seriously doubt that it's in his nature to do so. But I do believe that Tony is smart enough to know that the suggestion of such a committee would quiet the public outrage even if only at that meeting. And as I said a month ago, the formation of this committee has killed the issue in the public eye albeit in more ways than I was able to foresee. Usually such committees form, have a couple of meetings, and then just fade away along with public interest. That's why politicians are often eager to form citizen advisory committees. What we're seeing is a whole new "sideshow" of empty accusations, back biting, and wounded pride that distract the public's ability to focus on the heart of the matter - trading public safety for fiscal advantage.

Yes it's true that Rob's input before Council has ended the publics ability to engage in discussion about re-opening East Station at the legislative level. Council can no longer entertain the topic as it has been tagged as a "collective bargaining" issue which is not within the scope of responsibilities of such a body. But can anyone who knows Rob really suggest that he has an ulterior motive? I didn't think so. I haven't forgotten Rob and Frank's minor skirmishes with the previous administration. With that in mind it's impossible for me think of him as willing to kow-tow before a new master. Whether he was being supportive of wife or the Union, or making a "dumb shit mistake" is irrelevant. What we should be looking at is how a leaky roof became a "collective bargaining issue". We should be questioning the insidious deceit that correlates the two. Isn't "spin" wonderful?

I'm not usually one to give advice. My life is just as screwed up as anyone else's. But for what it's worth, if anyone really wants this firehouse open you need to stop listening to the "throwing good money after bad" bunk. The condition of the building is not the reason it's closed. The roof leaked ten years ago, it leaked last month, and it will continue to leak tomorrow. Stop worrying about who has power, prominence or the Mayors ear. Work towards making sure the Fire Department has enough staff to operate four full time fire engines. Make your agenda public, keep the public informed and never let the Mayor dictate that agenda to you. Use the media to your advantage as they would surely use you towards theirs. And finally, actively enlist yours neighbors in body and spirit. Not only is there safety in numbers, but strength as well. Remember folks, no matter how distasteful it may sound, you ARE the opposition. Your desire to keep the firehouse open is diametrically opposed to the Mayors desire to keep it closed. If there's any chance that you can change the Mayor's mind (I think it's pretty slim) you must do it as a unified front and not as a disorganized infighting rabble.

From this point on I will no longer be a "mouth piece" for those who feel incapable making their thoughts, desires or opinions known. As far as I'm concerned, my responsibility to my neighborhood has been fulfilled. Now I've got bigger fish to fry. With that said, I wish all parties the best of luck.

Harry McCarthy*******

No way, Harry! Tell us what you really think.

If there's any chance that you can change the Mayor's mind (I think it's pretty slim) you must do it as a unified front and not as a disorganized infighting rabble.

Now there's some good advice.

So when are we going to do that double shot of libation and politics? Oh, and some six-card.

Does The Tavern on the Hill cash out?

This is a freaking hoot. From Foreign Affairs magazine:

TSUNAMI DISASTER: Laurie Garrett, the Council's Senior Fellow for Global Health, predicts that many survivors of the recent tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia will die of preventable diseases, caused by a lack of clean water and "shortages of everything."

Alright. Given the enormity of the circumstances, that's regrettable, but perfectly understandable. Now try this from NewsMax.com

UN Rushes Condoms to Tsunami Victims

NewsMax.com's Fr. Michael Reilly notes that Kofi Annan has chosen to spend his tsunami relief jackpot in some unusual ways.

As donations from around the world pour into Asia to provide food, water, and medical supplies in the wake of the tsunami disaster, the United Nations is rushing condoms and other "necessities" to the victims.

"Free condoms are among the first reproductive health supplies to reach people caught in a crisis situation...UNFPA provides both male and female condoms in emergencies," boasts the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA).

According to Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, the United Nations Population Fund is requesting $28 million for "the reestablishment of basic reproductive health services."
This will be accomplished by distributing kits described in their manual as containing all the most important things required for "the initial acute phase of the emergency."

These items include condoms, oral and injectable contraceptives, abortifacient morning after pills, IUDs, manual vacuum aspirators, and portable abortion devices for use in refugee areas.

While UNFPA by mandate should not be involved in efforts to increase availability of abortion, Ruse indicates that "numerous reports from both governmental and nongovernmental sources reveal that UNFPA aggressively promotes abortion."

UNPFA also boasts that they are the "largest international public sector supplier of contraceptives, condoms and other reproductive health essentials."

As far as the U.N. is concerned, apparently the tsunami failed to do enough to control the population in the region.


Food? Water? Bandages? Nah. The imperialistic American troops have all of that sort of stuff over at the airfield. Here, have a condom and a relish packet.

The United Nations: Bringing Further Depredation To All.

Do I hear $3 million? $3 million? $2.5 million going once...

I wandered by the...big auction yesterday while enjoying a walkabout here in the Nord End. I wasn't particularly interested in joining the endless sea of umbrellas, but I was somewhat curious as to how well things were going. I figured I could read it in the papers this morning like the rest of the unwashed masses out here. So I woke up to find this headline in the Voice: Wilkes-Barre auction nets city over $120,000, while fully expecting to see something more along the lines of: "eBay or the highway" cries taxpayer activist . Who knows? Maybe tomorrow.

Here's a couple of excerpts from our warring local newspapers:

The Times Leader:

City Administrator J.J. Murphy said he had expected the auction to pull in about $50,000 in revenue for the city, but by the end of the day the total had surpassed $120,000.

Only three items went unsold, Murphy said. It was the first auction under Leighton's administration.

The Citizen's Voice:

Municipalities, small contractors and junk dealers paid Wilkes-Barre $120,255 for equipment and vehicles the city no longer uses, city administrator J.J. Murphy said.

"This is a bright day for the City of Wilkes-Barre, despite the weather," Murphy said.

$120,000? That's freakin' it? Holy shoot! We could have easily gotten three, maybe four times that amount by utilizing the free services of BuyUselessSh*t.com, or RustyTrucksWithoutMotors.com. What was this administration thinking? Someone had better step forward and accept total responsibility for this fiasco.

If the mayor was on the up-and-up and truly looking out for the financial interests of the residents of this city he would surely auction off an all-expenses-paid dream date with none other than Greg Barrouk, that celebrated sex-bomb of ours. We've got to start utilizing our assets correctly.

Ladies. Let the bidding begin.

Is it just me,...or does the developing morass in Nanticoke sound vaguely familiar?

This is from Nanticoke's official web site which has long since disappeared from the internet. (Another unpaid bill?)

******* Dear Visitor,

On behalf of the elected officials and employees of the City of Nanticoke, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to you on your visit to our web site. We believe we live in an incredibly vibrant and beautiful city and hope, through this site, to expose you to some of the reasons why many say that Nanticoke is the best kept secret in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Our site is continuing to develop, so stop back frequently-- you're sure to find something different each time you visit.

John F. Toole, Mayor*******

Hmmm. The city's infrastructure sucks. It has no retail environment to speak of. It's aging housing stock is noticeably slipping. Eyesores dot the landscape. It is beginning to drown in red ink. It was recently denied something which is a given under normal circumstances. Namely, a yearly Tax Anticipation Note from a local bank.

And how does the mayor respond to the growing calls for his political head? "I see the election season is starting?" Does that one ring a tattered bell for anyone still residing in Wilkes-Barre? "It's all politics," anyone?

If we're to stick with this regional mindset in our approach to the much-needed progress we all seek, we would need to have all of our major cities in this county making some strides towards improving their lot. Right?

Say what you want about them, but Tom Leighton (Wilkes-Barre), Mike Lombardo (Pittston) and Lou Barletta (Hazleton) have all been contributing to the cause in a very positive and steady way. I'm sure we could find something to gnaw at their heels about, but for the most part, they've been doing a bang-bang job so far. We are making progress, although, maybe not as fast as some would prefer.

And then there's Nanticoke.

When Ed Rendell came to town tossing multi-million dollar checks at virtually every mayor in practically every one of our cities; there was one city conspicuously absent from that cashola orgy. And there is obviously a reason why Rendell snubbed Nanticoke. Now why would that be? He's a racist and hates Polish people? Paul Kanjorski ripped-off his Cross pen set at some political junket they both attended? His first girlfriend in junior high that dumped him for another girl was from Nanticoke? Or could it be that the wide majority of Nanticoke's past and present politicians once studied at Inepitude University?

I may be a useless sack of defiled protoplasm, but I'm thinking that the Mayor of Nanticoke had better pull his fat head out of the culm bin, and put politics on the back-burner for the sake of his own city. If politics is what consumes his time and energy, the good folks of Nanticoke has better get used to going backwards for the foreseeable future.

It's all politics?

As a resident of Wilkes-Barre, I can tell ya that I've been there and done that. And Nanticoke can do much, much better than that. Harry Truman popularized the phrase "The buck stops here." But being that Nanticoke seems completely incapably of producing even a single buck these days; no one seems to know where it actually starts or stops in Nanticoke. And that's a recipe for further disasters.

And as I seek to correctly apportion the blame for Nanticoke's lengthy laundry list of troubling woes, it sounds like it's about time for Mayor John Toole to go the way of the politically extinct McDodo bird.

Rise up Nanticoke! Mediocrity should not be germane to one's identity as a community.

Sez me.

More fearlessly irreverent commentary from someone not currently grappling with Post-Traumatic Election Disorder. You know, a Republican.