5-11-2005 When was the last time you thanked a cop?

To hear the folks that never suffered through a life-threatening emergency tell it; cops are lazy, overpaid, overweight, donut-eating, arrogant assholes.--Yours truly

The following is a letter to the editors of the Voice published much earlier today:

Police officer was relentless and professional in search for missing girl



I would like to commend Lt. Paul Middleton of the Wilkes-Barre police force. Recently, my granddaughter was left in New York City. Lt. Middleton contacted the Manhattan Police Department and was relentless in trying to locate her. She came home the next day. If all of our police officers are as professional as Lt. Middleton, we truly have an excellent force.

Charmane Colleran

And then we have this from Townhall.com:

In praise of the police

Michelle Malkin

May 11, 2005

When was the last time you thanked a cop? And wouldn't it be nice if, for just a brief moment, the mainstream media would hold a ceasefire in its incessant cop-bashing crusades?

There are good cops, and there are bad cops. But national press outlets, predisposed to harp on law enforcement as an inherently racist and reckless institution, hype the hellions at the expense of the heroes. Case in point: the hysterical feeding frenzy this week over reports of a cop shootout gone awry in Compton, Calif., and of a Seattle officer who reportedly Tasered a pregnant woman over a speeding ticket.

As Jan Golab writes in a cover story for The American Enterprise magazine this month on how political correctness undermines policing: "Today, cops all across the United States battle a foe as destructive as crime itself: the presumption of common prejudice This view has been fanned by a media elite which has made 'diversity' its virtual religion." The anti-cop bias, Golab notes, comes through the national mainstream media's "sins of omission -- the stories never told. Propaganda, as Orwell said, is in what gets left out."

Thus, we'll be subjected to wall-to-wall coverage of the Tasered pregnant lady and the shot-out SUV. But you won't see Peter Jennings reporting on the tragic loss of Denver Detective Donald R. Young. The married father of two and a recipient of the police medal of honor was shot three times from behind last weekend in a cold-blooded ambush. Police believe the tattooed young assailant, a suspected illegal alien, has fled to Mexico. Det. Young had received numerous awards during his 12 years on the Denver police force. He was awarded the police department's medal of honor and a distinguished service cross.

And you won't see Larry King talking about the murder of undercover vice Sgt. Gerald Vick in St. Paul, Minn., at the hands of a reputed gang member of the Vice Lords. Sgt. Vick was a Medal of Valor winner who had rescued two children in a raging house fire in 1990. The local St. Paul Pioneer Press recounted his heroism:

In 1990, Vick pulled [Rachel] Patterson's 3-year-old son clear of a fatal house fire on Sherburne Avenue in St. Paul. Then he broke through a window, crawled beneath the smoke and took her unconscious 15-month-old daughter out. He went back in to rescue her husband and 5-year-old son, but it was too late.

For his efforts, Vick won the department's highest honor: the Medal of Valor.

"Officer Vick saved my life," said Patterson's daughter, Kacheala Willis, now 15 and in the 10th grade at a high school in Houston. "I hope he makes it into heaven." Sgt. Vick leaves behind a wife and two children.

Det. Young and Sgt. Vick may not be on the media's radar screen, but they will undoubtedly be on the minds of those gathering in Washington, D.C., this week to commemorate National Police Week. The event kicks off on Friday with a much-needed reminder of the grossly underappreciated sacrifices American men and women in blue have made to protect us. At the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, the names of 415 fallen officers will be read and added to the memorial.

The sponsors of the memorial reminds us that since the first recorded police death in 1792, there have been more than 16,500 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. There were 153 law enforcement officers killed in 2004. New York City has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other department, with more than 580 deaths. California has lost over 1,350 officers, more than any other state.

Daniel Felten, a former cop, soldier, and blogger, reflected on the strength of character required to do the job the rest of us too often take for granted:

"Some people reach a point where they can't face another dead body, another senseless murder, another grieving family member. Or another dead police officer. Then there are some who can do the job every day, for 20 or 30 years. I thank God for people like that." Me, too. Thank you, officers. From the bottom of the heart: Thank you.

Michelle Malkin is a syndicated columnist and maintains her weblog at michellemalkin.com

When was the last time you thanked a cop?

Well...um, about three weeks ago. Yup. I called Pizzano's Pizza and had four large, plain pizzas delivered to headquarters.

I mention this at this time only because I want to see other folks follow up on my feeble efforts at saying thanks.

All of this cop talk reminds me of something I read on Wilkes-Barre Online a while back. Scratch that...something I wrote on Wilkes-Barre Online a while back.



As far as I can tell, generally speaking, nobody likes the cops until they desperately need one. Cops are kinda like chemotherapy. It's comforting to know they're available if need be, but the greater majority of us hayseeds never want to actually need their services. And statistically speaking, chances are that most us will never need the services of a cop for anything more threatening to our well-being than removing an illegally parked car from in front of our driveways, or forcing the delinquent kid down the block to admit throwing a ball through the front window. Odds are, you'll never come face-to-face with a burglar, a loaded handgun, or even a thoroughly deranged lunatic unless you're extremely unlucky, or not one who pays close attention to one's immediate environs.

To hear the folks that never suffered through a life-threatening emergency tell it; cops are lazy, overpaid, overweight, donut-eating, arrogant assholes.

To hear the cops tell it; the average, taxpaying resident is usually ungodly impatient, constantly sweating the really small stuff, and wouldn't know police work if it lurched forward and latched onto their gonads. Or gonad.

In these matters, I tend to side with the cops.

The subject of policing recently came up, and I was telling a friend of mine that whenever a few extra pennies come my way I send a few unannounced large pizzas down to police headquarters. He looked at me like I was on my third joint and said, "Why?" I told him that I wanted those folks to know that their tireless and under-appreciated efforts were noticed. In my mind, whether it be 1 person, 1% of the populace, or whatever percentage; the only folks standing between us and the worst that humanity has to offer deserve to be recognized. He responded with the usual "they get paid" gobbletygook. Yeah, I get paid for my job too. But I don't have to deal with murderers, gangbangers, elderly women pissing in alleys, smart alec hookers, hopper dwellars, charred bodies exploded by intense heat, hysterical rape victims, the car accident victims with compound fractures, intense public, internal, and media scrutiny and the ever present reality that even the law-abiding folks don't really want to be held responsible for their own actions.

And I don't need a 9 millimeter to do my every day job. They do, if not something even more lethal.

If you get a speeding ticket, it's simply because the cop was a dick. If your car gets towed, it's because the cop involved was a prick. If a cop cuts you a break, but insists that you immediately move your illegally parked car; he is a bastard for sure. And if you need a cop for something trivial at best, and it takes longer than three minutes for one to arrive on scene, well, that's offered up as proof that he was sleeping behind the local mini-mart. Forget the fact that he may have been up to his red eyeballs in silly calls, or trying to catch up on the always piling paperwork; they are just never there when you need one.

That completely uninformed mindset always makes me want to wallop someone upside their head, but I really don't feel like getting arrested.

Due to the doctors frickin' orders, my exercise routine has been limited to walking about the city as of late. That sucks, and it's frustrating as all heck, but it is what it is. I was downtown the other day and I encountered one of the chamber honchos humping all sorts of materials across the Square's epicenter that gave me the impression that he was on his way back from some sort of important presentation. I also ran across another chamber dude who was busily pointing to and fro, while in the company of a couple of important looking suits. It seemed to me as if these suits were interested in investing in our downtown. Nothing gets me any stiffer, any faster than that sort of thing, but I'm a strange bird.

While enjoying my big workout, I noticed that all three of our police horses and their menacing-looking jockeys were out in the middle of the Square. Within an instant, one of the pistol-packing jockeys took a keen interest into making life miserable for one of our regular downtown indigents. With Charlie Weiss seemingly going the way of Yasser Arafat, this particular indigent seems to be the heir apparent to Public Square for the foreseeable future.

He's a scummy looking thing. He has long hair that is so filthy and so matted, you'd think he just got off the boat from Jamaica. The cop and he were doing a bit of verbal back and forth, and it was obvious that someone was headed for a bruising if they didn't shut their yap and vacate the premises. While this bit of fun was going on, I was waiting for the light to change and a twenty-something looking girl was standing right next to me and she was also intently watching the skirmish in waiting. The usual scumball eventually wandered away as he was forcefully instructed to do so and those little birdies that live inside of our streetlights started to chirp away. The girl turned towards me, our eyes met, and she realized that we had both been watching the proceedings. She said, "That's awful. He wasn't doing anything to anyone." I crossed the street without uttering a word in response. It was obvious to me that she would not appreciate my opinion of the most recent goings-on. I was off to that new buy-sell-trade video store.

Sorry, but I view these persistent indigents much the same way most folks view grafitti. If we're not proactive in our approach to such problems, it's almost admitting that we don't care about them. And when we send that troubling signal, it will always be recieved. I'm no civil liberties weenie, and if all three of our horse cops had dismounted and proceeded to pummel that scumball; even more large pizzas would have been on their way to headquarters, right quick.

What exactly do we want here, kiddies? Do we want the rights of our usual panhandlers respected, or do we want our long-suffering downtown area to be perceived as being clean and safe well before that gazillion screen theater project of ours comes to fruition? The twenty-something saw that situation as being upsetting, so I'm assuming she hasn't been in close proximity to, or cornered alone with those scumballs that we've tolerated for well too long.

Do we want the Square to be the place where the folks that never bothered to read play checkers, beg for spare change and cigarettes, while cursing at our cops? Do we want the folks that never owned an alarm clock and congregate at the soup kitchen like clockwork to dominate our downtown landscape? Or should we support our cops for trying to be proactive and make Wilkes-Barre a better place in the process?

Nobody knows what these guys have to deal with. Nobody understands their frustrations. When one gangbanger shoots the other gangbanger, everyone involved has ten names, if not more. When the cops need to question Latinos at the scene of a violent incident, all of a sudden, those very same Latinos have trouble speaking English. They tend to do that when being asked direct questions by cops. After boyfriend beats the snot out of girlfriend and needs to go to jail, girlfriend suddenly rediscovers her love for him and won't testify against him. And when some obvious bum needs to get his head cracked open, the twenty-something passersby are outraged by the actions of the cops.

This internet post of mine will obviously not be printed out and used as a recruiting tool for our police department. Heyna?

I mean, is this a totally thankless job frought with danger, or what? Who are these thick-skinned people and why do they gravitate towards this particular field of endeavour? They could earn more money than they currently do by driving a forklift. Why put up with what they have to put with? They're damned if they do. They're damned if they don't. They're damned if they will. And they're damned if they won't. They're damned by people that generally wouldn't know whether to sh*t or go blind if ever directly confronted by a real, live criminal with criminal intent written all over them.

We keep bemoaning the fact that the federal govmint won't buy us more cops and make our streets safe. But when the under-staffed cops that we do have start talking baton to the people that need one the most, we're real quick to criticize their needed actions as being overly aggressive. It seems to me that we, the unwashed hoi polloi, need to make a decision once and for all. We either want safe streets, or we want the rights of the troublemakers respected. We either want a bit of chit chat with a bored beat cop, or we want to fend for ourselves when the indigents won't take no for an answer after practically demanding one of our cigarettes. Which is it already? Are we going to support the folks protecting us from all sorts of peril, or are we going to verbally stab them in the back when they do what it takes to reclaim our streets?

Do you want the cops beating the bejesus out of the bad guys, or do you want the bad guys beating the bejesus out of you?

In the massively damaged inner space where my deranged thoughts are usually processed, there should be a waiting line of pizza delivery guys impatiently clamoring to get into our police headquarters on most nights. But, alas, small town folks that unequivically support their police departments don't exactly pop up quite as fast as genital warts on your average prostitute. And that's a very sad and very upsetting state of affairs for this lover of quiet, small town America.

If you don't, or can't support your own local police department, who exactly will you support? 'Splain it to me, 'cause I don't get it.

Who ya gonna call when they come for you?

P.S.--If I get drunk and way too stupid in public, please be reminded that it's not my fault. My childhood made me do it.





And the question still begs.

When was the last time you thanked a cop?

I happened upon this on our forum page.

How about the Neighborhoods -- OZ, 06:08:43 05/10/05 Tue [1]

I'm very excited about the downtown being revitalized, but I think the neighborhoods other than central city need to be improved. Maybe if council and the mayor use some of this grant money to buy more homes to fix up, plant trees in residential neighborhoods, and pave the streets, the city would be better off.

Dude, I can appreciate that. I really can. And there are others who have asked that completely fair question. Why only downtown?

It's not that everything we do from here on out will be geared towards the long floundering downtown of ours. The revitalization of our downtown is merely the first step of a plan that makes the most sense. The city could remodel one home on every block, pave every third street, and plant tons of trees destined to upheave the very best of our sidewalks in only a few short years. But...with that downtown being what it's been for too long now, the perception that Wilkes-Barre is a failed place will not change one iota. It won't.

And if your teeny tiny corner of the city happens to improve rather dramatically, no visitor to the city will be likely to notice said enhancements, especially the visitors that might one day decide to invest significant sums of money in this city's future. The sad fact is, if the downtown can't be returned to some semblence of it's formerly vibrant existance, Wilkes-Barre will never turn that corner we're all eager to turn.

Go and ask somebody from West Wyoming what they think of Wilkes-Barre. They're not gonna tell you that the Nord End ain't what it used to be. And they're not gonna lament the decline of (pick a section of the city.) They are going to wonder out loud about what happened to that bygone, but glorious downtown environment they loved shopping in as small kids, teens, young-plus adults, parents and later, as grandparents. Until that downtown of our's returns from the retail grave to some degree, it won't much matter how many trees we plant, how many smallish streets we pave, or how many dumps we slap some vinyl siding on. Until downtown Wilkes-Barre reclaims it's rightful place as the central gathering place of Luzerne County, the remainder of the city will be without the engine needed to drive it the rest of the way.

Even Tom McGroarty knew as much. What was his master plan for the city not so so ago? According to him, we needed a call center, more parking garages, a movie theater and an Intermodel center. And long before he snatched a humiliating defeat from the clutches of a revitalization victory, The Chamber of Commerce was thinking much the same thing.

Dude, right now we need the newly planted trees, the newly paved streets and the newly rehabbed eyesores on the periphery, and on the well-traveled thoroughfares where the folks from outside of Wilkes-Barre will actually notice that things are looking up in this long flailing town. If they turn my neighborhood into an urban planning mecca, who is going to notice to any great degree other than the folks who happen to reside here, or the folks who happen to visit here on any regular basis?

While the longer range, and ultimate saving grace plan may be to attract young families to the city and help to improve the city's aging housing stock and semi-troubled neighborhoods, that's never going to be the first component of the city's eventual turnaround if we're actually going to turn this city around. I'm tellin' ya, it's not. Ya gotta give 'em some highly visible reasons to want to come here in the first place. And that's what's happening as we type.

Another thing. The governor is not going to come to town with a giant $7,000,000 check in tow so that we can plant some trees and whatnot. One of the bigger planks of his election campaign was that he was more than willing to deliver the necessary state funds to jumpstart the revitalization of the smaller, struggling cities in this state. And as far as ole Wilkes-Barre is concerned, he made good on that election year promise in a big, big way. And why did he do such a thing? Why Wilkes-Barre? And why did he skip Nanticoke? Why? Because the long-since frustrated movers and shakers in this city, led by a new and fiscally responsible mayor had a viable plan in place to foster economic development projects in our very own downtown. No plan...no grant money. No fiscal responsibility...kiss your downtown and your city au revoir.

And what has the potential to fill the city's empty coffers the quickest? Revitalizing the Nord End of the city? Or revitalizing the downtown? We're talking mercantile taxes here. And property transfer taxes. And parking revenues. And a renewed interest in the festivals, parades and gala happenings the Square is normally home to. And when our image finally changes...

See what I'm saying, man? It all starts downtown. And more than anything else right now, we need to be a bit patient and not go off on tangents and over analyzing things. Be patient, but ready to revel in the long-sought successes that await us.

Are we actually capable of dealing with progress?

Time will tell.

Set the cruise control at 120 mph

More from the enormous "Blast from the Past" files. Check the dates, kiddies.

Times Leader

Posted on Sat, Oct. 04, 2003

W-B workers feast on overtime



WILKES-BARRE - A handful of city employees are again on track to earn more than double their salaries, thanks to overtime pay.

Twenty-one men have each earned more than $10,000 in overtime and double time, according to figures released this week by Mayor Tom McGroarty.

Overall, more than $650,000 has been spent on overtime this year, according to city records.

Though McGroarty is listed as the highest-paid city employee at $75,324 per year, Public Works Superintendent Joey Davis, building inspector Robert Mosley and master electrician Dennis Sabestinas are all on track to surpass the mayor's salary.

McGroarty did not answer written questions that were submitted Friday to his spokeswoman, Shannon Hayward.

Davis, 50, was the top-paid employee in 2002, earning $85,627. As of Oct. 1, according to city payroll figures, he's made $69,427, only $30,625 of which is straight time.

A city employee since he was 17, Davis is everywhere all of the time. He's there when tree limbs fall in the night and streets flood on weekends. In the latest two-week pay period, he worked 80 hours of regular time and another 41 hours of overtime.

He has donated $300 to McGroarty since 1999, according to county campaign-finance records.

Like Davis, Mosley, a city employee since 1991, has made more in overtime and double time than he has in straight time. So far this year, he's earned $33,584 in overtime and double time, and $63,698 overall.

He also has donated $300 to McGroarty since 1999, according to county campaign-finance records.

Mosley is responsible for maintaining the vacant call center at 169 S. Main St., and was involved in the inspections and closing of Park N Lock Central.

Sabestinas, 48, is a 26-year city employee. He is the city's only electrician. Among his jobs was installing lights on the east side of the closed parkade to light the way for Commonwealth Telephone employees walking to their new parking lot, on the Percy Brown site.

Davis and Mosley did not return telephone calls seeking comment. Sabestinas does not have a listed telephone number.

Many departments have overspent their overtime allotment - from the city clerk's and mayor's executive staff ($541 and $664 over, respectively) to public works, which was budgeted for $125,000 but has spent $232,634.

Michael McNarney, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 831-7305.

Ah, the bad old days. But why stop there?

The Citizens Voice

W-B trash pick-up program behind schedule

By James Conmy, Citizens' Voice Staff Writer 11/13/2003

Depending on where people lives in South Wilkes-Barre, they could look out their front windows today and see piles of clutter or yard waste lining their street.

On the city's busier streets like Carey Avenue, some motorists have been treated to obstacle courses in recent weeks as they have dodged clutter spilling or being knocked out into the roadway.

That is because the city's bi-annual Clutter Clean-up Program, which was supposed to be completed in the city's southern section by Oct. 24, is not expected to be finished until the end of the week.

Mayor Thomas McGroarty admitted on Wednesday afternoon the clutter pickup is behind schedule, but claimed it would be completed by Friday.
He blamed city council's decision to eliminate overtime for the remainder of 2003 as the reason for the delay.

(Bloggers note: Now that's a blast from the past, alright. Council bad...mayor good.)

The mayor explained how Department of Public Works employees used to get a head start during the clutter campaigns at 5 a.m. in order to drive to the Keystone Landfill in Dunmore. A DPW employee's normal workday is from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

"We do not need overtime to pick up the clutter; it's transporting it to the landfill that poses the challenge," McGroarty said. "There is more traffic at noon than there is at 5 a.m. "If there are accidents or construction that makes it worse," the mayor continued.

McGroarty estimated it takes between three and a half to four hours to fill the truck with clutter and another two hours plus to transport the truck to and from the landfill. That amounts to one entire workday for one truck.
If the truck left earlier, it could save time on travel and give the crews a chance to fill the trucks in the afternoon so they are ready to go in the morning.

"If you had five days of five drivers having overtime, it would only be 50 hours and it would have been done two weeks ago," McGroarty said.
In addition, the new yard waste containers, packed with autumn's downed leaves have also been sitting in front of homes for days after the scheduled pick up.

McGroarty said recent rainfall has knocked more leaves from the trees than expected and compromised the schedule.

(Bloggers note: The rainfall knocked more leaves? What a f>ckin' maroon!!!)

Residents have been putting four or more bags out on the curb and the DPW crews have fallen slightly behind.
"I can't control the weather," the mayor said. "The leaves should be picked up by next Friday (Nov. 21).

"We had a holiday this week, too; that didn't help," he said. Councilman Tom Leighton, who is also the city's mayor-elect, said Wednesday night his concern is the clutter is picked up as quickly as possible, but during the normal work day.

"I want to reduce the city's liability and pick it up in a timely manner," Leighton said. "It seems the longer the pile sits there, the higher it gets."
He said he did not want to argue with McGroarty, but emphasized how the city has exceeded its overtime budget and strapped its finances.

(Bloggers note: The adults have assumed control! The adults have assumed control! The adults...)

"We're just trying to get through the rest of the year," Leighton said. "Council didn't have much of a choice." As for the leaves, Leighton said it is his hope the city would continue to be diligent with its collection, not only from people's curbs, but city streets as well.

"The leaves are a concern before the winter months," he said. "I want them picked up not only from people's houses, but on the city streets.

Do we need even more daily reminders of the sad, sad stuff that went before? Lemme know. There's certainly no shortage of idiocy that was generated in this city before May 20, 2003.

Lemme know.

Gotta go. The job done beat me up today. I hate when that happens. Well, on a regular basis, that is.

A couple of weeks back, someone e-mailed me and asked me to post some of the older photos I have at my disposal. Yeah? How 'bout this one?


Yeah, baby!!! The '03 (14th annual) Thompson Street Block Party!!!

Left to right: Myself and the man with the plan.

That oughta get the regulars at "The Tavern on the Hill" all riled up.

I can only hope.