4-14-2004 100 days? You ain't seen nothing yet

Lousy. We still have potholes, the lights on the square haven't been fixed, no new businesses have come.--Robert Shappelle, giving the big thumbs down to Tom Leighton's first 100 days in office in today's Voice.

100 days, folks. How many mountains could we move in 100 days, if left to our own devices? I'll bet that non-Dude calls SAYSO on a regular basis. Subject: Curbside worship.

I'm assuming we all read the story Wilkes-Barre moves to collect unpaid parking tickets in today's Voice. The city has enough unpaid tickets to fill a newly opened landfill from what we've been hearing of late. A snippet from the Voice piece:

Chief Dessoye insisted the department tries to resolve the situation with a warning before serving an arrest warrant. He could not give the exact number of warnings and warrants because the parking enforcement division is being computerized and the data is not yet available.
"The warning is notice of the unpaid fines and it is the last chance to pay them before we drag you into court," Chief Dessoye explained.

Does anybody have a problem with serving warrants on the scofflaws considering that 1.) They never bothered to pay the ticket off in the first place and 2.) If they find themselves served with a warrant, that means they also ignored the warnings to pay up or else.

Now, why would any of our elected council folks have a gripe with that program? We do so desperately need the income, no? More from the Voice:

Council Chairperson Kathy Kane has been fighting for years to get the city to go after people not paying their parking tickets. She said on Tuesday the revenue is essential for the city's operation; however, she does not agree with the department's decision to issue arrest warrants.

"As a parent of a college student I am not so sure an arrest warrant is the best method," she explained. "I know of a parent who received one at the door and it is kind of a rude awakening.

"I think students should be held accountable, with supervision from their parents, but I don't think the warrants are the correct procedure," Kane added.

The council chair said she spoke to Leighton about possibly rolling back the arrest warrants and trying to collect the fines through warnings. Her suggestion is being considered by the administration.

Rude awakening? So? So what? If that happened to me, after paying up, I'd go looking for my kid in a big hurry and child abuse would ensue immediately upon finding them. Kinda like when I had a membership at Blockbuster and my son returned every video game he had ever rented late. I would have to respectfully disagree with her position on this one. Maybe Kings Dude can drop us an e-mail and remind us of his 80 parking tickets he failed to pay and how that was the source of endless amusement for him and his fellow Kings College buddies. Since it was first announced that the city would be going after these folks, he has since changed his name and his hair color. Hell, if they drag him before a magistrate and sentence him to working off his debt, this city would be spotless by the time the leg-irons came off.

It's ridiculous that we even have a backlog of unpaid tickets when you consider the recent history of parking enforcement in this city. The previous mayor paid a hefty stipend to the copper dudes thereby allowing him to hire parking enforcement dudes. They don't get paid a ton of cabbage, but they were hired to write tickets. And then, the ex-mayor goes and ignores the unpaid tickets. Not a very cost-efficient program by any stretch of the imagination. So, we paid the copper dudes to relinquish the parking enforcement duties, hired a few parking enforcement dudes, and never bothered to collect the money to pay for it all. And we have piles upon piles of unpaid parking tickets in a city flirting with Act 47 status.

I say warn 'em one time and if they don't respond, send Car 191 to look for them. What's the problem? Isn't that what would happen to the widower from Forty Fort, or moi if we purposely neglected to pay our parking tickets? And as far as high schoolers and college kids are concerned, they might as well learn one of life's tough lessons early on, heyna? If you park illegally, you'll get a ticket. And if you don't pay it, you'll receive a visit from one of those folks carrying handcuffs. Tough break, Jersey (formerly Kings) Dude.

Ya'll can e-mail me and tell me I have no right to question a veteran again, but when I read the Leader story: Flag rite a wrong, vets fear , I wanted to launch my generic Bran Flakes across the room. What a bunch of freakin' bunk. Our flag has been desecrated in more ways than even Pamela Sue Anderson has. Cut me a break already. Last summer, I saw a young girl with a flag emblazened across her ass. Much like how many young girls have taken to wearing tight shorts with slogans and such stretched across their asses. But don't get caught looking at their butts, you hopeless perverts!

So, we want to honor the victims of 9/11 by printing their names on 3,000 flags and all of a sudden, some aging veterans feel that this is the right time to voice their concerns about what they deem to be a desecration of our flag. And rather than taking part in the Healing Field events, the members of American Legion Post 395, Kingston, have promised to skip the event. This is very, very disappointing, if not downright disheartening. This wouldn't bother me if it was any other single-issue nutball group. You know, like PETA protesting the event because the flags were made partially from cat testicles, or something to that effect. But to have a local veterans group offended by the placing of 4,000 American flags in Kirby Park defies all known logic.

I suspect they're worried that if they attend the Healing Field festivities, someone else will claim their favorite stool at the bar. Have you ever been in a Legion at high noon? If so, you know what I'm alluding to. Veterans?...upset with American flags??? New heights have been reached on the stupidity scale.

From the Leader:

These are commemorative flags, not traditional flags," said J.J. Murphy. "And I'm sorry if anyone thinks this is a negative, because our intention is to display the flags in recognition of those who died on Sept. 11 and in recognition of those in the armed services who right now are fighting the war on terror."

I'm sorry? Imagine that. A City Administrator having to say he's sorry to veterans for working to inundate a rather large part of his city with American flags. Very diplomatic J.J. Ya' done good. The sad fact is, the boys from the Black Diamond just gave themselves a nasty looking black eye. While so many others work so diligently to bring some truly remarkable things to this area, others still seek out negativity where none exists. F**k 'em. We'll enjoy the unique event and maybe even prance before a few CNN cameras. And the vets? They'll be planted on their always faithful (Semper Fi) stools. F**k 'em.

That ought to drum up some e-mail. F**k 'em!

I thought the 100 Days/The Mayor of Wilkes-Barre story pretty much summed up things correctly. Leighton's had enough time to do a ton of good, but not enough time to make most of those good things appear just yet. Those of us that pay attention know he's got things pointed in the right direction and understand that what he needs most of all from us is a bit of patience. Only those that don't pay close attention could tell a Voice reporter that he's doing a "lousy" job after only three months in office. I have heard many folks voice concerns about whether we'll be able to retire our record-breaking TANs, but other than that, most of us are biding our time and doing what little we can to improve Wilkes-Barre's situation.

I wish I could do more but, I do have a wife and a kid and a car and a house and a teen-aged daughter with a see-through blouse... who loves to grind and ball! And her name is Magnalena! Oops! Another Zappa moment. I love when that happens. Anyway, I'm not gonna sit here and sing his praises. I'm content to wait for the bricks and mortar to be delivered, as I'm supremely confident they will be. But let's take a moment and review what's on the agenda for the remainder of this year.

The Labor & Industry building IS going to happen bringing with it 250 state employees into our downtown.

A September ground-breaking has already been mentioned, er, published for our long-awaited downtown theater.

Our River Front remodeling, including the ground-level portals, is supposed to get underway soon.

The remodeled Woothworth's building is just about ready to start doing business as some sort of ultra-high-tech business incubator.

I know many of us were initially skeptical, but Thom Greco seems to be marching forward with his Steam Heat fiber-optic mecca plan.

I've heard a couple of rumors about possible tenants for the Call Center. They may not pan out, but what this proves is that the darn thing is being marketed.

The City Vest folks are continuing with their efforts to find a developer for the Sterling Hotel. The proposed River Front project can only help them in their quest.

Supposedly, that old mosque on Franklin Street will one day open as the long-promised River Landing Museum.

As I previously mentioned, a realtor acquaintance of mine claims that interest in retail properties in the city is growing as of late.

Uncle Paul is still pushing for his deflatable dam at Wilkes-Barre.

Residents, businesses, and college kids have volunteered to clean sections of the city and they know full-well that they shouldn't have to do so. They do so anyway.

The Diamond City Partnership is paying two full-time employees to keep our downtown clean.

The Downtown Residents Association has raised enough funding to replace downtown benches and garbage receptacles (cans).

Somebody told me that a certain mayor's wife has a crack team of commandos ready to pounce on a moment's notice and plant flowers throughout the city.

The Pine Ridge development is actually going to happen and will result in 100 new homes being built within city limits.

I've also been told that the Polish lady from Bradford County IS going to relocate her famous bakery to the city.

Schiel's is going to build another grocery store up here in the Nordern end of the city.

That developer dude from up north that bought the Murray Complex plans to flatten it and build some sort of mall on that site.

Two other sizable Murray properties were also purchased at the recent auction, and that can only be good news assuming that the new owners plan to fix 'em up.

A friend of mine is hoping to open a reail store in our downtown.

A highly recognizable person is shopping around our downtown in the hopes of opening an internet cafe.

We have a new bike shop and a new donut shop.

Subway filled the void created by the closing of McDonalds and Wendys.

The Tony Thomas Deli and Central Lock have both reopened for business after seven months of being out of service.

J.J. Murphy and I have an oral agreement whereupon the city will loan me $10,000, interest free, to open my Chili Dog Shop and Music Emporium in our downtown.

And then there's the much-anticipated boost from Ed Rendell in the form of a check.

I'm sure I've forgotten something, but it's a good thing when there's too much progress going on to be able to keep up with it all. The first 100 days of the Leighton administration were about what one should expect when one's city is broke. But the next 265 days should prove that Wilkes-Barre is not only on better financial footing and in much more professional hands, they should prove that Wilkes-Barre is turning the corner and then some. I think we're in for one very exciting year. It's about time.

100 days? You ain't seen nothing yet.

Hey. Both the Phils and Braves are on the video advetising box tonight. Are you guys concerned yet? I'm gonna watch 'em both provided that I can figure out just what the hell Service Electric did to the stations I usually watch. What the hell did they do and why did they do it? Something must have gotten their pen protectors in an uproar.

Whoops! I almost forgot. From dem dere e-mail inbox:

******* Yo Mark,

The answer to your question about a car that is named after a cow is the Limousine. The breed of the cow is actually "Limousin" but you get the picture.

You know music, I know cars.

Later dude.

Copper Dude*******

Damn, man! U da man, er, U da motorhead.

I should known you'd nail that one.

Although, Kayak Dude also weighed-in on this one:

*******Okay...I think I got it.

Cow Car Woman

Wowza...or I may need new glasses.*******