10-31-2006 A kinder, gentler council

Just in case anyone in my neighborhood happened to miss it, we are no longer voting at Perman Mortgage. According to my new voting card, we are voting at Dan Flood Elementary.

Thrill of thrills.

The Times Leader has chosen to endorse Christine Katsock over Ed Pashinski and that’s fine and dandy until you examine their reasoning, or lack thereof.

Our endorsement for 121st District State Representative: Christine Katsock

Is there anything worth taking serious issue with:


Katsock has never held political office but she has campaigned to be on the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board, as well as Wilkes-Barre City Council and Mayor. Pashinski has been active with the Democratic Party.

Toss up


Pashinski is vague; Katsock is much more detailed and creative.



Pashinski is an orator, demonstrative and ardent. Katsock is more moderate.


The Edge: Katsock

Ideas? Sure, Katsock is articulate and then some. She always tells you exactly what she has in mind iffin’ she gets finally, one day gets elected. Problem is, she’s not running for mayor this time around. She’s trying to join a very large entity in which she’ll be at the very bottom of the totem pole. Yes, she does articulate her positions very well. But, will that count for anything when she’s promising to go to Harrisburg and ruffle a few time-worn feathers?

Then there’s eloquence. Yes, Ed Pashinski wins that one hands down. But I don’t think that should be casually glanced over. History is littered with great orators that won popular support among their elected cohorts, as well as from the population at large. It is a gift that should not be underestimated while serving in a large legislative body.

The fatal flaw with the Leader’s “toss-up” pick? Try experience. Sorry, but the Times Leader absolutely blew it in that category. And quite frankly, I was surprised by their two-sentence glossing over of that critically important category. Even a scant modicum of research proves that this category is a slam dunk in Ed Pashinski’s favor. Not even close.

But, the Times Leader doesn’t make the final call. That duty, that privilege is bestowed upon the rest of us.

Vote, gosh dang it!

The following stories, which tell of some of the saltier back-and-forth comments between the elected and the residents were just a precursor of things yet to come on the internet.

First off, the Leader:

W-B pushes ahead on sex-offender law

In other business Thursday:

A heated exchange between council and resident Walter Griffith occurred after Griffith asked council why they sold 464, 466 and 486 Hazle Ave. to Dr. Patrick Kerrigan for $1. Kerrigan, who owns an office across the street, agreed to knock down a dilapidated property on the site and pave it at his expense. He plans on using his new lot for parking.

Griffith said the city should have put the property out to bid or auctioned it off to get more than $1, but Mayor Tom Leighton and council members said the fact that Kerrigan eliminated an “eyesore” and put the property back on the tax rolls was worth the low selling price. Voices were raised after Councilman Phil Latinski told Griffith it’s easy to criticize decisions instead of making them.

Things got testy again when resident Linda Stets told council she recently discovered she has been overcharged on her sewer bill since 1999 for a total of $218. City Attorney Tim Henry believes she has not overpaid and says she’s reading the ordinance wrong, she said. She raised her voice when she believed Henry was laughing at her.

“Don’t laugh at me, Mr. Henry. I won’t tolerate you smirking at me,” said Stets, who claimed overcharging for sewer bills could be a citywide problem.

Council members said they would look into the matter to determine if Stets has been overcharged.

Griffith says, “Love my Good ‘n’ Plenty!” Griffith says, “Really rings the bell!” Griffith says, “Blah, blah, blah and…vote for me, I yell at the council meetings!”

Secondly, the Voice:

W-B passes first reading of sex offender ordinance

The ordinance’s language has yet to be finalized. The details will be worked out over the next few weeks before the ordinance is voted upon on second and final reading, McCarthy said.

In other business, council passed another ordinance on first reading prohibiting indoor furniture in from being used in exterior areas.

Wilkes-Barre resident Walter Griffith asked Mayor Tom Leighton and council why a dilapidated property at 464-466-468 Hazle St. was sold to Dr. Patrick Kerrigan for $1, instead of being put out for bid.

Leighton said Kerrigan paid about $40,000 to demolish it and helped the city get rid of a long-time eyesore. It was cost-prohibitive to renovate the building, he said.

“It actually came down to a no-brainer because the building was starting to collapse and it became a liability to taxpayers,” Leighton said.


As far as Linda is concerned, every time she addresses council, an Academy Award-winning performance is delivered. Thing is, she never seems to notice that the assembled crowd behind her groans in unison quite noticeably when she gets to her painfully abrasive pontificating.

Any-fu>king-way, I snagged the following--penned by none other than Walter--from his fledgling Blogging for Dummies page.

I have been attending Wilkes-Barre City Council meetings during the past three years and have witnessed city officials' discourteous reactions, including personal insults, to most city residents, and others, who have had the courage to come forward to air differing points of view on municipal governance, projects and employment.

That’s hard to argue with. Oh, and well stated.

Are tolerance, sensitivity and courtesy, among other positive people skills, too much to expect from our Wilkes-Barre officials when interacting with the public individually or at large? I think not!

No, I don’t think so. Tom McGroarty never berated the citizenry. Oops, I’m sorry. He never bothered to attend council meetings after the city’s financial wheels came off. Bad example. My bad.

So, is it too much to expect some common human decency from the folks in full control of the gavel?

Well, on it’s face, the answer is no. The only problem is, Walter and his smallish raggedy band of oft-disgruntled nincompoops always reserve the right to level charges of incompetence, corruption and misfeasance against our elected folk that are totally groundless…er, absolutely without merit. While he and his fellow Republicans…oops, he and his fellow “activists” are irreversibly committed to getting themselves elected, they continually spew whatever vile filth they see fit for the purposes of politicking in the phony name of activism. Whatever will garner a mention in the newspapers ought to do.

What hasn’t been thrown out there for public consumption of late? Pick one: Liars, cheaters, crooks, cronyisms, hypocrites and what have you. Nepotism, misfeasance, money laundering, and probably the killing of a few innocent pets. If the knuckleheads can pronounce it, council and the mayor will be accused of it. Oh, yeah. The mayor is also a realtor, so any property transfer that goes down is now proof of corruption, right Walt? Now I know what finally happened to my Zippo! Kathy Kane stole it!

As the self-appointed leader of the political opportunists, the mentally vapid and the well-meaning, nothing is off limits whereas smearing our elected leaders is concerned, but they are supposed to just sit there, smile and take it over and over and over again? Is that the laughable claptrap you’re spewing now, Walt? The elected are not allowed tempers in the face of repeated absolute idiocy? (Hey, I ask again. How’s that forensic audit of the mayor’s inaugural ball going? Can we expect a few arrests soon?)

Your regrettable rhetoric is consistently inflammatory if not totally incendiary. It is confrontational, condescending, accusatory, bombastic and remarkable--always baseless. Yet, after you come down off your high horse, you cry that council and the mayor are mean every now and again? It’s people like you that cause unrest and then turn around and complain about it. How pathetic is that?

Yeah, you’ve been attending city council meetings for quite some time and I have to tell you, listening to the same gibberish recited in a different way to the point of absolute absurdity is exactly that--absurd. You’re politicking for personal gain and calling it something else. And whomever gets in your way can expect to be accused of wrongdoing no matter what the fu>k they do. And then you have the unmitigated audacity to demand that the people you continually trash to no avail should play nice? A kinder and gentler council? Nobody should ever get mad? No one should ever go back at you? Tempers should never flare no matter what the insulting innuendo or blatant accusation? Did you hit your head a lot when you were a kid? It don’t work that way, Champ.

I think your regrettable actions at the council meetings prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are not someone we should elect. You do not know how to conduct yourself and you do not know how to control yourself. Ah, but according to the good book written by you…everyone else should be made to. (?) Mr. Wannabe, you are as laughable as you are ineffectual.

Don’t waste too much more money on your next failed council run.

From the e-mail inbox Good day,

I find myself usually in agreement with you.(says something about my intellect) But, your hypothesis that Jimmy Carter was responsible for the failure of a restaurant is a bit of a stretch. While I enjoy blaming Democrats, truth is, businesses fail because of stupid management decisions. Certainly Bush is not responsible for the demise of Enron, Worldcom, Adelphia, etc.The biggest cause of corporate failure(aside from fraud) is corporate borrowing to fund unecessary expansion.

Well, you are correct in one respect. I forget the specifics now, but they entered into some financial agreements whereby the interest rates were not set in stone. Don’t ask me, I was slogging it out with the cooks and such.

But as it was once explained to me, nobody, I mean nobody doing the feasibility studies could have predicted interest rates topping out at 21%. In fact, such a ghastly occurrence was completely unheard of, and could not have been predicted by anyone.

Stagnation, remember. As part of a national anybody-but-them vote, we elected a peanut farmer and four years later we could barely afford the stupid peanuts.

In a nutshell, taking money out of the economy destroys expansion and thereby destroys jobs. And what are the current Democratic leaders promising us right now? Tax increases, wasn’t it?

From American Rivers.org:

From the e-mail inbox

October 30, 2006

Each year, crumbling sewage treatment systems dump raw or poorly-treated sewage into the Susquehanna River. Even so, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering a proposal that would worsen the river’s sewage pollution problem.

The Susquehanna River, listed as America’s Most Endangered River of 2005 due to sewage pollution and dam construction, remains threatened by the prospect of an inflatable dam near Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Luzerne County officials are pushing the rubber dam for the purpose of creating a deep-water playground for jet skis and party barges. This misguided scheme would increase pollution problems by allowing sewage from three-dozen upstream pipes to pool behind the dam, turning this stretch of the river into a cesspool.

 In addition to drowning wetlands and blocking migratory fish passage, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service warned that sewage spills into the dam’s impoundment will lead to unpleasant odors and suspended wastes washing up on the banks. So much for pleasure boating -- anyone up for swimming in sewage? Still, that didn’t stop local officials from applying for federal permits to construct the ill-advised inflatable dam.

Tell the Corps to deflate this dumb dam project. The majestic Susquehanna River should forever remain free-flowing and preferably sewage-free. The comment deadline is this Friday, so please act TODAY!


Rebecca R. Wodder


To contact American Rivers, email us at outreach@americanrivers.org.

Check these out. They are real, real short, but they are interesting. Somebody has been busy of late.

Gangs of Wilkes-Barre

Gangs of Wilkes-Barre 2

From the e-mail inbox Dear Editor,

I have often been asked; what is the one major difference between Congressman Kanjorski and myself? I have always had several, but on Sunday, October 22, I heard the congressman speak on "The Pulse with Corey O’Brien." A side note, Corey O’Brien told me on two occasions; once on the phone and once right to my face, at the Latin Festival in Scranton, that he would have me on his show. He had also told the same to one of my campaign staffers at a debate he moderated at Lackawanna College. To date I have not been invited to appear on his televison or radio show. However, Corey did have the Congressman on for the entire half hour Sunday. After the Congressman completed the interview, it hit me; the one major difference between us is this: From "Wall Street West" to the "Mag-Lev Train" he gives the impression it is his goal to make Northeast PA a subsidiary of New York City. I want to make Northeast PA a viable, independent, economic powerhouse. I want to use the resources we have in here in Northeast PA to create jobs, provide opportunity and give our children a place to stay after college.

Unfortunately, because the Congressman does not believe the voters have the right to hear us debate, he and I will never get to discuss this in front of the voters. As I have stated, his refusal to debate is acceptable to me, but it should not be acceptable to you, the voters. The Congressman does not believe he should come off his mountain and debate with me; a mere middle class citizen. He has taken the elitist position that he knows what is best for us all and doesn’t believe voters have the right to make an informed decision.

Congressman Kanjorski can continue to communicate through select members of the media that gleefully cheer him on. I will continue to make myself available to anyone who wants to interview me, whether it is bloggers, talk show hosts, newspaper or television reporters. Most importantly, I welcome you, the voter, to contact me and ask any questions you would like. If after hearing my answers you still do not want to vote for me, I respect that.

If you want change, if you want someone who will demonstrate accountability, responsibility and courage to our constituents, then please vote for me.

Thank you,

Joe Leonardi

Dr. Joseph Leonardi Candidate U.S. House

You’ve got my vote, Joe.

Nosebleed seats

The garishly-costumed kiddies are arriving at the front door and looking for free goodies.