8-25-2005 Citizen Carey

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

Criticizing is easy. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs ... but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause.--Teddy Roosevelt

Like many of you, I heard about what Judge Conahan had to say to Denise Carey early yesterday evening. And I have to admit that my initial reaction to that breaking news was to let out a hearty giggle. Why shouldn't an incensed county judge come down hard on people who dared to waste his time with their frivolous, poorly prepared, poorly executed and poorly thought-out endeavors? But, (and this is a big but) I was also assuming at the time that the $11,000 in court fees, attorney fees and whatnot would be payable by the coalition of folks that brought this half-baked revolution to bare.

Needless to say, I went to bed content in the knowledge that the latest petitions that could easily foul up the entirely works were summarily dispatched from which they came. And when I awoke, I was startled, yes, startled to see that picture of the Rabble Rouser-in-Chief, Denise Carey, weeping on the front page of the Voice. I was stunned to learn that Judge Conahan had tagged her, and her alone, with the entire $11,000 the city claims it spent to research the 150 page court brief submitted by her and her cohorts. I'm not taking issue with the $11,000 figure the city submitted. Whether the activists want to believe it or not, every time they march into city hall smugly demanding that a mini-forensic audit should take place simply because they demand one, it does cost the city money to comply with their requests to follow that heavily travelled activist road to nowhere.

I often wondered what had become of Walter Griffith's circus stunt forensic audit of Tom Leighton's inaugural bash. Nothing, you say? Yeah, well, "nothing" pretty much sums up all of Walter's vindictive antics. If nothing is what you seek, this is the activist for you.

Trust me, I have really, really tried to err on the side of temperate rhetoric, but as soon as I read that none other than Walter Griffith and Christine Katsock had rushed to join forces with the upset Heights residents, I had a healthy suspicion that what started as a grass roots effort to protect a neighborhood would quickly morph into a battle royale that would culminate in a resounding defeat for the forces of good.

I've heard lots of complaints about Carey's strong-arming tactics from some put-off Heights residents, but the fact of the matter is, I know very little about the lady in question. All I know about her personal life could probably be summed up in twenty words or less. But right from the start of this brouhaha when the firehouse was closed, the constant drumbeat emanating from the Heights was all too often melodramatic, condescending, and quite frankly, insulting to my intelligence. In other words, it had all the earmarks of a Katsock or Griffith styled effort to distort the truth, smear the elected and get themselves elevated to elected status. If you'd prefer to give Denise Carey the benefit of the doubt, you could say that her biggest mistake was in allying herself with consistent losers that rarely, if ever, get anything of note right. And if that's the truth of the matter, then who was it that told her that the quickest route to getting that shuttered firehouse reopened was by floating yet another petition designed to turn our city charter on it's head? Who's idea was that? Anyone care to venture a guess?

I learned by watching WBRE tonight that Carey is going to appeal Judge Conahan's abrupt decision. I guess put in the same situation, I'd have no recourse but to do the same thing. I guess. Still, I can't help but to wonder who it was that told her how easy it is to change the world by getting a thousand signatures or so. Let's hash it out, shall we? Denise Carey was heretofore unheard of before the firehouse went dark on us. But who does have a history of floating referendum petitions each and every time Daylight Savings Time rears it's ugly head? Does anyone wanna take a shot at that one?

If I were to venture a guess, I'd say that both Katsock and Griffith are going to be playing dumb by, like, tomorrow morning. Petitions? Referendums? Well, who's bright idea was that? Jeez, oh whiz! Whoever came up with that bright idea ought to be forced at gunpoint to live in that firehouse.

When I fired-up this electronic marvel this morning, this is what I was treated to.

From the e-mail inbox All bet your f**king thrilled. All bet your laughing yourself silly. Someone tried to do good and the powers saw to it that she got f**ked. Laugh it up dick. But don't come crying to me when you need emergency responders fast.

You dick

I'm a dick?

For the sake of time constraints, I'll accept your basic premise. I'm a dick. So f**king what? What the hell does that have to do with the fact that the best, most experienced activists that Wilkes-Barre has to offer the bedraggled hoi polloi f**k-up every petition they touch?

There was a total nimrod, one "Frank from Hanover," on WILK this morning calling for the mayor's impeachment and the judge's removal? Why? Why? Because a resident and her activist buddies totally f**ked-up a mis-guided petition drive? You know, there are clearly stated rules and legalities involved when trying to alter one's form of government. Sorry, but Crayola signitures from non-residents just won't cut it when revolution is the order of the day. How many f**king times do we have to 'splain this sh*t to the policy wonks and wonkettes before they finally get one right?

Another goof called the judges decision, "official intimidation." His vapid argument was much the same argument made by the usual activist subjects in today's newspapers.

From The Citizens' Voice:

A number of Carey's supporters, including Christine Katsock, Walter Griffith and Luzerne County Green Party Co-Chairman Carl Romanelli Jr., attended Wednesday's hearing.

Romanelli said he was "disturbed" by Conahan's decision. He believes the city can be accused of "abusiveness" for asking that much, although he added it has the right to do so.

"The courts should protect its citizens and we feel once again Luzerne County Court, specifically Judge Conahan, failed to do so," Romanelli said. "This sends a chilling message that as a citizen if your organize at a grassroots level that the powers can threaten one's livelihood and existence. We find the ruling excessive and chilling."

Thomas Baldino, a political science professor at Wilkes University, had two interpretations of Judge Conahan's decision.

On one hand, the city has the right to ask for the costs it incurred instead of asking taxpayers to pick up the tab, Baldino said. On the other hand, some might interpret the decision as "intimidating," he said.

"If citizens haven't done all their homework preparing for such a petition, they could incur a financial penalty," Baldino said. "Some might say what the government is doing here is intimidating to citizens who might bring such petitions in the future."

"This sends a chilling message that as a citizen if your organize at a grassroots level that the powers can threaten one's livelihood and existence. We find the ruling excessive and chilling."

What part of this doesn't he understand? If you wanna raise some activist hell and then fight it out in court if need be, you had better be dotting and slashing your letters long before you go before a judge and tell him you changed your mind about saving the world.

Intimidation? No! That's complete bullsh*t. If some activists knew what they were doing in the first place, this case would have never come to be decided by any judge.

"If citizens haven't done all their homework preparing for such a petition, they could incur a financial penalty,"

And, incur a financial penalty they did. Well, she did.

I did find it interesting that neither Katsock, nor Griffith sought out the reporters after the judge rendered his angry decision. What's up with that? That's just not like them. I'm left to imagine that the $11,000 penalty had them fleeing to their cars right quick.

Tough break, Denise. See ya, bye! Don't call me!


I read that Carey's attorney is planning to appeal the $11,000 decision from Judge Conahan.

I just wanted the people to be safe in the Heights and that's what motivated this. I just wanted the people to be heard," Carey said. "I am so appalled and so shocked that they could do this to me." Carey said she was forced to withdraw the petition because she could not afford to fight it in court. Her attorney, Jonathan Comitz, said he will appeal Conahan's decision.

So, is her attorney doing this pro bono, or is she staring down the loaded muzzle of even more court costs?

This is what I'm thinking about Denise Carey and her efforts at grass roots citizenship. Hold on to your paper party hats, kiddies.

While there was much that she did and said that I took issue with, I still have to admire her courage and her dogged determination under fire. The fact is, there aren't many run-of-the-mill people in this city that would do what she did. I think she got some really bad advice from some neighborhood politicos, and I think she recieved some really awful, awful advice from the most self-aggrandrizing and most mealymouthed candidate/activists this city has ever been forced to tolerate. I think she would have been much better served to shun the usual publicity seekers, huddle a lot more with her concerned neighbors, do a ton more fact checking and try to keep more of an open mind to some degree. While others are reduced to grumbling in hushed tones, or calling for a moving van; she fought City Hall and she fought with everything she had. If nothing else, that should count for something.

We all know that each of us have more toes than we have average residents willing to fight City Hall. And I think Denise's cause, while noble at the outset, devolved into an out-of-control fanaticism when confronted with the financial facts that she (or they) couldn't come to grips with. I don't believe that her behavior was emblematic of anything more than that of a frustrated resident, but I think that she was sold short by other peoples' opportunisms. Whether you agree with anything she did or said, you have to admire her willingness to get involved. I imagine I'll forget all about that aged firehouse that used to be up on the hill long before I'll forget about the effort that was waged to save it. And there can be no doubt that that effort was spearheaded by one courageous woman.

The $11,000 question.

So, what happens next? It seems to me that the folks that reside in the Heights that cheered this woman on need to come to her rescue at this point. Y'all admired her courage. Y'all cheered her on. Y'all told her to go for it where others would have given up. Y'all were willing to shout sh*t from the back of Council's chamber while she stood up front and took the brunt of the heat. And now a judge has decided that she is in debt to the tune of $11,000.

If I was a part of that group of hilltoppers, I would now be leading the charge to see to it that she does not end up on the hook all by her lonesome for what was once a community effort. Forget the goll danged roof. Forget having Cub Scouts installing new drywall. This lady fought for you and now she needs your help.

And if you abandon her now, if you fail to rally around her, don't expect another Citizen Carey to stick their neck out anytime soon.

Lemme know when the bake sale goes down. And put me down for two dozen chocolate chip cookies.

Oh, and put Christine and Walter down for 72,000 chocolate chip cookies.

And charge 'em double.

I turned my radio on this morning only to hear Kevin & Nancy of WILK fame yukking it up over the stupid comments Pat Robertson made about asassinating the commie loon currently f**king-up Venezuela. First off, I could care less about Pat Robertson and his television evangalist billion dollar empire. But, since he's a right-leaning man of the cloth, you just knew that the media folks who claim to be totally unbiased--pure as the wind-driven pages of the thoroughly shredded Communist Manifesto--would be hackin' away on his nuts like a pack of rabid Squirrels.

Kill Chavez? Wow! Those right-wing knuckle draggers are drooling again. Right, Kev?

From NewsMax.com

Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2005 12:23 p.m. EDT

Stephanopoulos Urged Foreign Assassination

Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson prompted a firestorm of media outrage on Tuesday after he suggested that the Bush administration should assassinate a foreign leader who posed a threat to the U.S. - in this case, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

But when senior Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos publicly argued for the same kind of assassination policy in 1997, the press voiced no objection at all.

Fresh from his influential White House post, Stephanopoulos devoted an entire column in Newsweek to the topic of whether the U.S. should take out Saddam Hussein. His headlined? "Why We Should Kill Saddam."

"Assassination may be Clinton's best option," the future "This Week" host urged. "If we can kill Saddam, we should."

Though Iraq war critics now argue that by 1997, the Iraqi dictator was "in a box" and posed no threat whatsoever to the U.S., Stephanopoulos contended that Saddam deserved swift and lethal justice.

"We've exhausted other efforts to stop him, and killing him certainly seems more proportionate to his crimes and discriminate in its effect than massive bombing raids that will inevitably kill innocent civilians," the diminutive former aide contended.

Stephanopoulos even offered a way to get around the presidential ban on foreign assassinations:

"If Clinton decides we can and should assassinate Saddam, he could call in national-security adviser Sandy Berger and sign a secret National Security Decision Directive authorizing it."

The Stephanopoulos plan: "First, we could offer to provide money and materiel to Iraqi exiles willing to lead an effort to overthrow Saddam. . . . The second option is a targeted airstrike against the homes or bunkers where Saddam is most likely to be hiding."

The one-time top Clinton aide said that, far from violating international principles, assassinating Saddam would be the moral thing to do, arguing, "What's unlawful - and unpopular with the allies - is not necessarily immoral."

Stephanopoulos also noted that killing Saddam could pay big political dividends at home, saying the mission would make Clinton "a huge winner if it succeeded."

Yeah! And the Iraqis are using Dupont paint on their cardboard sandwiches in lieu of mayo.

From the e-mail inbox On your next bike-about...

Take a cruise down Wyoming Street and check out 42 Wyoming - what a disgrace this is to the majority of our residents who take pride in the neighborhood. A yard not cared for since the beginning of the summer includes seven foot tall weeds and a wide variety of stray cats and other "things unidentified".

The residence itself has far surpassed "unsightly" and has entered the "danger to health" zone with mice galore inside the home. They have already eaten four boxes of D-con placed along the foundation but it does not seem to have had an affect on the mouse population. We are struggling to rid our own homes of mice at this point!!! Homes that we have cleaned, maintained and are very proud of.

"We Believe" in the City of Wilkes-Barre - we have had responses to our complaints to the City. We realize that this is a situation that may take time to resolve - but our skin in crawling at the sight of this home and the affect that one irresponsible homeowner has created for the rest of us!

Will do, maam.

I'm on it.


It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

Criticizing is easy. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs ... but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause.--Teddy Roosevelt