7-27-2006 The Return of the Son of the Petitioneers

I‘ve had this old United Penn Bank zipper bag in my lower drawer for years on end. And contained within that bag were 6 rolls of the now-ancient 126 mm film. Once a year or so I’d be looking for something else, run across that bag of obviously aged but unknown pics, and swear to Allah that I would have them developed, um, only to rediscover them all over again at some later date.

But now that both of my daughters have become scrapbooking crazies, I finally managed to have those funny-looking rolls of film shipped off to some sort of photo lab over there somewhere. Got me as to where, but I got them pictures developed and near as I can tell, if only took me 15 years.

One roll was taken during my son’s 8th birthday party. He’s 23-years-old now. Some were shot during the little league years. And a few others were taken a couple of years before. Needless to say, it was pretty neat to see, not only our motley crew, but all of the assorted friends and relatives some 15 years ago. Some looked somewhat thinner. Some appeared to be heavier. And just about everyone was dressed somewhat funny. No mullets, though. Give us some begrudging credit, why don’t you.

Let’s peek at a few.

This first one is of Ebon making like Axle Rose. We figure she was 8-years-old, maybe 9. Note: She was almost always very tall for her age. You know, one of them big chicks.

Whoa! Whoa! Wo-whoa! Sweet child o mi-yine!

And, yes, that’s a Sunday Independent delivery bag hanging on the Radio Flyer wagon behind her.

Next up, Peace strumming on an acoustic guitar. We’re thinking 13-years-old. She was 13 when she first started delivering the Sunday Independent and forcing her dad to freeze his jewels off at 5 am every Sunday morning. Argh.

Jimmy Page, anyone?

Speakers sitting atop a pile of plastic milk crates? Ah, the good ole days.

Next we have Marque at, say, 11-years-old. He’s playing the trusty Hondo Flying V, which is a great guitar to just rock out on. Believe it or not, I bought that from a now-Plains Township police officer. See that, cops rock, too. Go easy with those asinine donut jokes, okay?

Funny, I see a guitar, bicycles, a rowing machine and some New York Giants stuff. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Er, something like that. At least I’m consistent.

Root 6 Bar Chord, please

Anyway, far as I’m concerned, I raised my kids right. They were raised strictly on rock ‘n’ roll. No need to widen their horizons when it comes to music. If it ain’t loud, it ain’t worth a fu>k.

Sez me.

This is nifty. My daughter, Ebon, was recently released by her employer, although, she is not entirely sure as to why. She was supposedly working in a supervisory position at a local day care center, but was really put off by some of it’s obvious inadequacies. Uh…inadequacies that state inspectors would probably shutter the place for if, that’s if, they actually showed up on site unannounced just once.

Try this one. Do you think slices of pepperoni and crackers amounts to a proper lunch for toddlers? I certainly don’t and I seriously doubt anyone employed by the state would either. Whatever.

Although, what my kid saw with her own eyes in that place only reconfirmed for me what I already knew: That day care centers are no place for your smallish kids. Smaller kids should be at home with either mom, dad, or the grandparents. Not with folks paid to basically warehouse them and little else. But, mom and dad want the expensive SUV, the quads and the boat, so…the toddlers get warehoused and assigned a bin number. Sad, but totally true.

In my partially denuded mind, the very best day care providers are also being warehoused in nursing homes. Would we rather have the kiddies spend their afternoons with grandma, even though she repeats the same tired stories over and over? Would the kids be better served by someone who loves them? Or are they better off being barely tolerated all day long by a complete stranger earning all of $6.50 an hour? You tell me. I’m borderline crazy and all.

So, they gave Ebon her nondescript walking papers by way of a letter, and then summarily bounced her very last paycheck. Actually, this outfit, “Little Steps Day Care & Preschool” bounces payroll checks more often than Israelis and Arabs get to killing one another for no clearly discernable reasons, but that’s a whole other, totally verifiable sidebar issue. Thing is, this joint is to bouncing payroll checks what I am to bicycling.

But here’s the part that got my gander up. It’s become painfully obvious that the owners of this outfit have no intention of making good on the bounced check, or reimbursing my kid for the associated bank charges. And she’s been chasing these two “Houdinis” around to no avail for over 3 weeks now. They are supposedly never in when she calls. And they are supposedly never there when she drops in. In effect, we’re supposed to believe that while they run the entire place, they have suddenly stopped visiting it themselves.

No matter. As per my orders, she’ll be off to file charges at the Kingston magistrate’s office sometime tomorrow. We’ll just see what he thinks about purposeful check kiting

Pay up, you fu>king deadbeats!!!

Oh, and if you know someone who currently warehouses their kid there, please bring this to their attention pronto.

Fact is, they could do much better. Much, much better.

Sez Ebon.

I warned you people about the potential destructiveness of initiative & referendum efforts run amok, but y’all were caught up in some kind of wild-eyed ‘Power to the people’ mindset. Basically, here we go again.

After five long years of back-and-forth petition campaigns and court fights over this voting by districts issue, we now find ourselves with yet another petition foray, as well as more promises of legal action. Is it just me, or are we working to get right back where we started from?

This is getting absolutely nuts.

From The Citizens’ Voice:

New petition in city wants at-large voting

Wilkes-Barre voters approved a referendum in 2001 that reduced council from seven members to five and divided the city into five voting districts. After years of failed legal challenges, council approved a districting plan in May that is set to go into effect in the 2007 primary election.

Wilkes-Barre resident Ann Bergold is leading a petition drive to change the part of the referendum that requires voters to elect council members by district. The petition does not object to the reduction of council positions. Bergold, whose effort is unanimously supported by council, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

From The Times Leader:

Petition targets voting by district

WILKES-BARRE – Finally, after years of court challenges and wrangling between officials and residents, a plan to shrink city council and elect its members by district appeared headed toward resolution.

Now, a new twist on an old controversy has emerged as city council members and other residents try another way to override a referendum approved by voters in 2001.

In May, city council approved an apportionment plan dividing the city into five voting districts with five council members elected by region. The approval came more than four years after voters passed a referendum to reduce council by two members and elect them by district instead of at large.

Now, residents unhappy with the plan are circulating a petition in hopes of getting a referendum on the November ballot asking voters if council members elected in 2007 should be elected by district or at large.

Okay, so the “activists” were sure to cry foul as the appearance is that the entrenched politicos are behind this latest initiative. I mean, if we polled every resident of the city on this issue, I would dare to say that the great preponderance of them would have no clue as to what they were being polled about. So, in effect, with the bulk of the citizenry giving nary an iota of their attention to this districting brouhaha, you’re left to wonder who exactly it might be that is so dead-set against it.

On the other hand, the same handful of “activists” are all for voting by districts simply because they can’t get themselves elected no matter what. They try and try but cannot unseat the entrenched politicians, so they merely seek to change the rules of the game. It’s a completely self-centered game they’re playing. “They” being the mostly inept, invective-spewing Republicans in this city. So, don’t be fooled for a nanosecond. The majority of the high profile folks involved with both sides of this drawn out tussle have a personal stake in the eventual outcome.

It’s not a battle between the politicians and the “activists.” It’s a battle between the long-entrenched Democrats and the Republicans always on the outside looking in at the gavel. And they’re both trying to dictate the latest, recently revised rules. The Democrats want a city council on the same page, while the Republicans want to create five separate but equal cities within a city with each squaring off against each other for their piece of the coffer pie. And all of this needless tomfoolery began when a couple of self-centered…ahem, “activists” convinced a gaggle of well-meaning but completely short-sighted residents that local government is only as good as it’s latest referendum. It’s all poppycock and I grow extremely weary of petitions and those who endeavor to carry them.

We’re voting by districts. We’re not voting by districts. We’re voting by districts again. But wait, we may not be voting by districts again. This is abject idiocy at it’s very finest. Debilitating gridlock, if you will.

The following excerpt culled from The Times Leader highlights the irrationality of those perpetually seeking to keep their name in the newspapers and build name recognition for the not-so-expressed purposes of getting themselves elected some day.

City resident Walter Griffith, who has closely watched council’s handling of the matter over the years, says he’s not opposed to electing members at large, but said it’s unfair for council to try to shoot down a referendum approved by voters before its implementation.

“It amazes me that they never even instituted what they approved and now they’re trying to change it before the people even try it out.”

Griffith said some voters wanted to elect members by district because “they’re just tired of council taking care of downtown instead of their neighborhoods.”

“…they’re just tired of council taking care of downtown instead of their neighborhoods“ (???)

If complete balderdash were somehow virtuous, this guy would be the Socrates of his day.

And the implication that the city is ignoring it’s neighborhoods couldn’t be more laughably ill-timed when you consider that the city’s Community Action Team has been condemning problem properties at an unprecedented rate of late.

No matter what the city’s government does, this self-appointed, self-styled champion of the beleaguered phantom residents takes a contradictory position as if by rote. If the city replaces storm sewers at an alarming rate, he bitches about a lack of street paving. If the city paves a street, he’ll immediately look elsewhere to find his newest bogus gripe.

Where once we collectively bemoaned an empty, embarrassing downtown, now the downtown is brimming with brick-and-mortar progress, so his focus instantly shifts to the neighborhoods. If the city chose blue, he’d cite that as proof of incompetence and demand a petition campaign to force red upon City Hall.

And just for future reference, if you vote for him you are signaling your lack of political aptitude, and a gross negligence whereas the important issues of the day are concerned.

Think, folks. It’s really not that difficult.

So, should I sign the most recent petition, or should I hold out and sign the one sure to follow that? Then again, maybe I’ll wait and sign the one soon to follow that one. Or the one after that. Or the one…

Or maybe we should use the ballots to have our say. It’s certainly a quaint and dated way of doing local government and suchlike, but I prefer it to the Petition of the Month Club. Simply voting every four years may not be near as sexy, and in this case, self-serving, as governing by way of the collective monkey wrench, but it’s gotten us this far without a civil war breaking out.

I dunno.

Sign the petition if you must. And then wait for the challenge phase. And the next phase. And the…

I‘ve been running into detours all over this county no matter what direction I’m headed in.

Route 118 near Sweet Valley