4-4-2004 Chipper...

We believe we have the secret ingredient in (Braves manager) Bobby Cox. The reason I feel so confident every year rebuilding our roster is that I know we can put these players in the hands of a guy who manages every year to put confidence into the hearts and minds of these guys that they are capable of winning. And they do.--Atlanta Braves General Manager, John Schuerholz.

RUTRO! Just when the Phils fans were ready to celebrate whatever it was that they thought they were about to celebrate.

Check this out. Some people just don't get it. From the e-mail inbox:

*******Greetings Genius,
I'm curious to know why you are ignoring the mayor's inability to collect our recyclabes and garbage in a timely manner. You also seem to be dismissing the sad condition of our streets. The mayor had the street cleaners out on his very first day in office. Where have they been since then? Did you miss that or are you going to be his chief apologist from here on out?

We know you have friends in the fire department. Why is it that you declined to mention our city administrators strong-arming tactics that border on bullying? Not to mention the f-word being his mo.

I noticed that the hit counter on your site has been slowing quite a bit lately. Why do you suppose that is? You used to brag that you call it the way you see it. Since Leighton took office you don't seem to see nearly as much as you used to.

My hope is that you'll continue playing in heavy traffic on your beloved Rock Stomper and end up being a hood ornament. I'd pay to see that go down.
Fellow North Ender*******

What can you say to a cretin that wishes those he disagrees with dead? Very nice. Maybe you could douse me with gasoline, toss the Zippo, and drag my body behind your car all the way to a good ole lynching on the Market Street Bridge.

Where should we start? Our deteriorating streets will do. I may be wrong, but the months January through March are typically not synonymous with road projects and the like. Street sweepers. Refer to aforementioned synopsis. How about curbside pick-ups, which do not even register on my radar screen. We've got much bigger carp to fry. Heyna, dummy? The previous mayor spend exorbitant amounts of overtime to make his award winning schedule work. Now we're broke, busted, and this mayor is attempting to do the same, sans the overtime. Is it really too much to ask that we cut him some slack three short months into his administration? Is it?

The firefighters and the contract negotiations. I know all about that and the arbitrators decision should be announced soon. And no, it's not going to be the best of news for the taxpayers. Should F-Bombs be a part of serious contract negotiations? Not at all. But, is that really breaking news? A city employee may be prone to cursing now and again? Wow! How shocking! Yesterday, a lady speeding along in an SUV full of kids threw me the finger. What's your point, Fellow NORD Ender? Grow the f**k up! The hose dudes are all big boys. They don't scare too easily.

Are the hits to the site slowing? I'll take your word for it. You seem to be worried about it much more than I am. OH NO!!! I don't care what you folks say or do, you're not gonna talk me down from the ledge atop the City Center building. Goodbye cruel world! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Many folks used to stop by this site to learn the latest during the battle to save Wilkes-Barre. Some have told me that they were amazed by my tenacity, my propensity for doing my homework, and my large jewels. The accolades were appreciated, but completely unnecessary. All that I sought was a vastly improved Wilkes-Barre. And in my opinion, my tireless efforts will be rewarded with exactly that: A vastly improved Wilkes-Barre.

Wilkes-Barre Online may no longer be the "happening" place that it may have once been, but as I told you all along, I never, ever sought celebrity, or an official Mark Cour Fan Club. All that I sought was to see Wilkes-Barre become the successful city that it probably should have been all along. And now it will be just that.

Kings Journalist Dude nailed it a couple of years ago when he wrote this about me in The Crown:

His comments on prominent figures and their public doings are often sarcastic, but his fundamental love for his city and it's people is apparent.

This internet nonsense of mine was never about me. Whether you choose to believe it or not, it was always about us. First and foremost, it was about demanding much better from our elected leaders. And now were poised and ready for a major influx of "better" in this city. As far as I'm concerned, I did my civic duty and then some. I stuck my neck out much, much farther than 99% of the residents of this city, and now I'm content in the knowledge that I was there on the front lines when Wilkes-Barre was rescued from itself.

And while some of us remain ridiculously obsessed with potholes and recycling bullspit, Tom Leighton will quietly do us proud. And that fact brings me the most satisfaction. Not only did I get involved to a major degree, as it turns out, I knew what I was talking about all along. Trust me, I have no qualms about hitting the delete button. Doing so would give me more free time to enjoy my growing gaggle of grandkids in my once struggling city that is about to become a boomtown.

You ought not tempt me. If Wilkes-Barre Online disappeared forever, I would probably be happier about it's demise than anyone else.

Let's visit the "You have got to be f**king kidding me" department.

I read the Jordan unfairly blamed. some say story in today's Leader and I have come to the conclusion that our self-absorbed "taxpayer activists," those publicity whores that never wander too far from the press are completely clueless. This is way, way beyond the cusp to even believe. This is such laughable pap, the entire story needs to be cut, copied, and pasted.

Posted on Sun, Apr. 04, 2004

Jordan unfairly blamed. some say

Several taxpayer activists see problems going beyond the fired county official.



WILKES-BARRE - By some accounts, they should be happy Luzerne County commissioners ousted Voter Services Director Kevin Jordan. After all, insiders say it was Jordan's ineptness in handling election advertising for their races that contributed, in part, to his Friday morning termination.

Still, from home rule advocates to staunch Wilkes-Barre districting supporters, there are some who believe the 6 1/2-year director has become the scapegoat for a bigger county problem.

"There is an inherent problem going on here," said taxpayer advocate Christine Katsock. "... and it only seems to be surrounding elections that are controversial."

The wave started in 2001, when the "plain English" version detailing reducing Wilkes-Barre's City Council and splitting the city into districts was not published, creating a lengthy court battle. Things escalated in 2003, when the home rule referendum was not properly publicized.

A final nail came in recent weeks, when some ballot positions had to be repicked - again for improper advertising.

Katsock and others say it's unfair to solely blame Jordan for the mishaps, especially when the first occurred while he was on leave. Walter Griffith, who was affected by the most recent error, says the Election Board and solicitor should have stayed one step ahead of potential problems.

"Kevin doesn't know the law. He's only the supervisor of the elections. I think attorney (James) Blaum should have been with Kevin every step along the way.

"I really think solicitor Blaum is being slighted (with blame)."

However, Griffith does not think Jordan is without fault. Getting in touch with him was often impossible, he said.

When he did speak with Jordan, Jordan's answers were always straightforward, and he would say how overworked the staff was. That's why fines weren't always quickly given to campaign finance offenders or Jordan would not take phone calls, Griffith said he was told.

"Kevin was probably way overworked ... but his job was to tell someone that he was way overworked," Griffith said.

"I think he probably was a scapegoat. I think he probably needed to be let go, but I don't think it's just him."

The Election Board, solicitor and Voter Services Department should have been more closely scrutinized in 2001, he said.

Carl Goodwin, who is appealing the home rule referendum to Commonwealth Court, said Jordan was the victim of a witch hunt.

"I believe his firing was totally misplaced," he said. "If anyone should be fired, it should be Mr. Blaum. On the home rule issue, that is definitely not Mr. Jordan's responsibility.

"I do not in any way hold him responsible for any of the election flap."

No matter what the state law mandates, Jordan was responsible for overseeing the home rule advertising because he was director of the department, said Betsy Summers, who served as treasurer to the Home Rule Study Commission. However, she believes mistakes happen to everyone.

Having worked with Jordan's predecessor, Mary Ellen Sacco, Summers says Jordan's benefit to Voter Services was remarkable.

"Personally, I'll miss him," she said. "He did an amazing job with the office. He and I had our battles, but I can always say he was never unfair."

Jordan could not be reached Saturday for comment.

Katsock said she is concerned with how Jordan's firing was handled and questions why he was never able to publicly explain his stance on the advertising problems.

Of equal concern to Katsock and others is who will replace Jordan and 911 Executive Director Norbert O'Donnell, who was also fired Friday. Summers said the firings make ample room for political appointments.

Currently, Len Piazza is serving as interim Voter Services director and Alan Pugh is acting 911 director.

Majority Commissioner Todd Vonderheid said there has not been discussion whether the director positions will be advertised or appointed. That issue will be sorted out as personnel policies are established. At the very least, no further changes will be made to Voter Services until after this month's primary election, he said.

Let's thumbnail this hogwash. As of late, every single time we vote, court challenges ensue immediately afterwards. Anyone care to take issue with that statement? I thought not. Does "The buck stops here" even resonate with these folks promising pie-in-the-sky utopia for all, if they could just manage to win one election? These are the folks promising us better government saying that elections that result in turmoil should not be blamed on the guy in charge of the elections.

Lemme guess. Todd bought Tom Makowski's black helicopter, right?

Why is it that the Times Leader would regard Betsy Summers, Walter Griffith, Christine Katsock, and Carl Goodwin as the semi-detached protectors of pure and transparent government in the first place? Who better to critique the actions of local government officials than those who sought to replace them, but were spurned at every go-round?

What a funking bunch!

I knew The Pet Guy wouldn't turn his back on some possibly abandoned dog on the side of the road in Mountain Top. Or Mountaintop. Which is it already? Jeez!

After I suggested that yesterday's e-mailer contact him about the stranded dog, I e-mailed him. And as it turned out, so did she. She forwarded this e-mail to me this morning:

*******HI XXX -

Thanks for the heads up - I made some calls this morning, and was assured that the SPCA would go an investigate today (Sunday) and do what is necessary to get the dog some care.

Scott Sanfilippo*******

Cool, heyna? The Pet Guy really does care. Then, early this afternoon, he sent me an e-mail:

*******Hi Mark - she emailed me as well. I called some folks at the SPCA and they are going to go get the dog today (Sunday).


Scott Sanfilippo*******

I harken back to her original e-mail sent my way:

I called just about everyone in Luzerne County from the state police to the SPCAs and the animal shelters. In Berwick, Hazleton and Wilkes Barre and no one will go get him and pick him up because he is not injured. So basically he is left there to starve to death.

Who ya' gonna call? THE PET GUY!

Me? A hood ornament? Why not? Let's do it.

Very many of you Philthydumpia Phillies fans are feeling pretty cocky right about now. You seem to be ignoring Billy Wagner's much less than stellar numbers during spring training. And the Phil's major league worst 10-20 grapefruit league record. And the fact that your suddenly oft-injured third baseman spent most of the spring nursing yet another injury. Brave Killers? I'm not buying into any of that.

The Braves have one thing that the Phils sorely lack. Namely, Bobby Cox. This guy has been the Braves skipper for 13 seasons, and 12 of them have resulted in division titles. Others have been named Manager of the Year, while Cox continued to be snubbed by his peers. The thinking was that the Braves were a rich ball club. Their payroll has always been near the top, but the turnover on that club has been steady, if not downright scary. Still, Cox and Leo Mazzone led the latest installment of the Braves to the top of the N.L. East heap. 13 may be an unlucky number and all, but as our former mayor taught us: You can't count your theaters until they're built.

And what is Larry Bowa's claim to fame? Anyone? He curses like a drunken City Administrator?

Much has been made of the loss of Gary Sheffield, Javy Lopez, and Greg Maddux, but I'm here to re-instill the fear of god in all ya'll Phillies fans. Let's take a quick peek at their replacements.

Below is a breakdown of the Braves Opening Day roster:

Infielders (7) Mark DeRosa, Jesse Garcia, Marcus Giles, Mike Hessman, Rafael Furcal, Julio Franco and Adam LaRoche

Outfielders (4) J.D. Drew, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones and Dewayne Wise

Catchers (2) Johnny Estrada and Eddie Perez

Pitchers (12) Antonio Alfonseca, Juan Cruz, Will Cunnane, Kevin Gryboski, C.J. Nitkowski, Russ Ortiz, Chris Reitsma, John Smoltz, John Thomson and Jaret Wright

Worried yet? No? Let's check the numbers put up by the replacements during spring training.

Gary Sheffield/J.D. Drew (RF) .364 avg-.795 slugging %-5 HRs

Javy Lopez/Johnny Estrada (C) .353 avg-.490 slugging %-6 HRs

Robert Fick/Adam Larouche (1B) (rookie) .290 avg-.532 slugging%-4 HRs

Vinnie Castilla/Mark Derosa (3B) .200 avg and little else. Our lone underachiever.

Just for the fun of it, let's check the latest from the Jones boys. Chipper: .310 avg-3 HRs. Andrew: .361 avg-4 HRs. Getting worried yet? You should be.

The Phils haven't won anything yet, and quite frankly, I think Bowa will continue to further alienate his players just a bit more and another late season collapse wouldn't surprise me in the least. However it all turns out, it's gonna be a ton of fun to watch.

Base-a-Ball. You bet.

I need to give a big shout out to the ultimate baseball fan, Tommy in Michigan. Hey, Tom! Ready?

Chipper! #10! Long fly ball, deep to left...Chipper! The Mets Killer! And Chipper was his name-o!

Tuesday night, buddy. 7:35 (EST). You'll be in my thoughts. Try not to hate me.


Hee! Hee!