1-26-2007 The neighborhoods

’Splain this one to me, because I don’t get it. An arctic blast is about to hit town and the giddy meteorologists are predicting single digit temperatures, if not sub-zeroes. And immediately afterwards, the far-flung school districts start with the two-hour school delays.

If it’s supposed to be, say, 3 degrees when the kiddies normally hit the bus stops, what benefit is there to show up two hours later when it’s all of 5 degrees? Does that make any sense at all? A totally indiscernible increase in temperatures will result in the saving of so many small toes, fingers and ears?

Why, when I was a kid a hundred or so years ago…he had these antiquated things such as winter boots, thermal underwear, knit caps, scarves and gloves. We may have walked kind of funny after being sufficiently mummified, but we walked just the same.

We are raising a generation to be wussies, mama’s boys and fraidy cats. Wait, check that. You are raising a generation to be wussies, mama’s boys and fraidy cats.

Sez me.

Putting the pictures of Gage and Taylor‘s new home aside, we finally got some pictures direct from Knoxville, Tennessee. Grammy emailed some pictures of the amazing grandkids playing on their new trampoline. Well, in actuality, it’s not all that new.

I bought the thing from the next-door neighbor, I’m guessing, about 8 years ago or so. But having a tiny back yard overwhelmed by a pool, it never got put together. And when we were poised to celebrate Gage’s second birthday at his old homestead down Pottsville way, I figured it was time to drag it out of the basement. Turned out, we had the huge trampoline, a new swing-set and a set of bunk beds to deliver to him, so we ended up renting a U-Haul truck and hauling it all to Pottsville. And then it sat in their one-car garage for over three years.

But, now, finally, after all these years the trampoline from Wilkes-Barre was finally erected in Tennessee to be trampled upon by the grandrodents and their mom. The grandkids are happy, mom is probably still sore and I’m happy it’s finally being put to some good use. The weird thing is, the original owner of the trampoline, my neighbor and friend, also relocated to Tennessee.

Small world, hayna?

I reckon.

“Not the greatest photos, just the greatest subjects!”--Grammy from Mountaintop.

Or, is it Mountain Top? Did we ever get a definitive answer on all of that? Is Mountain-top one word or two?

Ah, who gives a funk anyway?

From the e-mail inbox My question is, if the district opted to build a new high school large enough to handle the student population of the three existing schools, where the hell would they build it? It’s not as though the city has various and huge tracts of open land available to pick and choose from. Where the hell would they build it? In Plains? In the Hanover Industrial Park?

I have been hearing that the open field on South Empire is one of the top runners.


No foolin’. I didn’t even think of that vast tract of land. Then again, I always thought most of that wasteland was part of Wilkes-Barre Township. Although, if it was part of Wilkes-Barre Township, it would have been paved over by now. Maybe we should start calling it Wilkes-Barre Tarship.

I dunno.

Here’s one for you. An excerpt from an old Times Leader story:

Posted on: Thursday, 24 August 2006

District Seeking Numbers Study: If District is to Reorganize, a New Enrollment Survey is Needed, Says Superintendent.

By Bonnie Adams, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Times Leader

Aug. 24--WILKES-BARRE -- Superintendent Jeff Namey said a new enrollment study must be done before the Wilkes-Barre Area School District can be reorganized.

In 2001, the district solicited enrollment projections from the state Department of Education and Pennsylvania Economy League that predicted a drop of about 1,000 students by 2011. The study cost $16,800.

Officials said in 2001 that they planned to reorganize the school district based on those projections and possibly close school buildings, but few changes have been made. Namey said new figures must be obtained before changes can be made now.

"Our population is not declining as quickly as the study would indicate. We need to make it as scientific as possible."

The school district plans to contact the economy league soon to see if another enrollment projection study can be done.

In conjunction with the 2001 enrollment projections, the school district paid $36,000 to EdVise consulting of Harrisburg to conduct a 2002 study. The firm worked with a citizens advisory committee for months to evaluate school buildings. EdVise determined estimates of how much it would cost to make repairs at the buildings.

The firm and citizens group came up with several options for school consolidation. Those ranged from restructuring grades in some schools to closing buildings.

With reorganization being the current thinking, I’d be very careful about these “enrollment projections” before settling on any proposed reorganization that involves closing schools, or possibly constructing a new one.

The Hispanic population in this area, more specifically, in this city, is growing by leaps and bounds. And statistics show that Hispanics have a much higher birth rate than that of the indigenous white population. So, you see where I’m going with this. Will there really be a decline in enrollment if Hispanics keep flocking to the city? Based on those changing demographics, can we predict with any certainty what enrollment numbers will be 5, or 10 years down the road? Doesn’t seem like it.

Although, that birth rate thing really, really intrigues me.

Very many of us have expressed much frustration with the fact that the Fedrule Govmint will not clamp down on our borders. Not only is the country being overrun with illegal aliens, it’s also having it’s cities, large and small, being systematically destroyed by the illegal narcotics that regularly flow over our porous borders. And as a result, we are left to scratch our heads and wonder why. In an increasingly uncertain and violent world, why won’t the feds do the right thing and secure our borders? Why?

Well, consider the situation most of Europe currently finds itself grappling with. Overly-generous welfare states with dwindling and graying indigenous populations are either going to go belly-up financially, become a nation of geopolitically unimportant geriatrics, or both. Probably both.

So, where do the workers come from? And where do the battalions of soldiers, police officers and firemen in any appreciable numbers come from in a nation addicted to Geritol? Who drives the economy? Who makes the country robust and vibrant. Who will become the future PHDs, the brilliant economists and the superstar athletes? Who will tend to the future of that country? In my mind, since the liberalized white folks are too completely self-centered to be bothered with raising children, the future lies with the immigrants, legal or otherwise.

The only problem Europe has is the fact that it’s immigrants are predominantly Muslims who will never, ever assimilate into any western culture. So, unless the current, troubling demographics undergo some sort of unanticipated seismic shift, within a generation or two, Europe becomes a huge Muslim caliphate. A caliphate, I might add, that will be more than likely outwardly hostile to the United States.

And what do we have in common with a slowly dying Europe? Well, the left-leaning amongst us want to turn this country into an overly-generous welfare state. Tummy tucks, con-job diet schemes and hair dyes aside, our population is likewise graying at an alarming rate. And our flat birth rates, minorities excluded, are not sufficient as they pertain to maintaining our vibrancy as a nation is concerned. So, with all of that having been stated, what should we do about it? How do we not follow Europe’s terrifying example?

How ‘bout if we open the border flood gates, raise the average birth rates, assimilate the new arrivals over time and guarantee our cohesiveness as a nation for the foreseeable future?

No, I’m not freaking drinking! I’m completely serious. And completely sober. If you’ve got a better theory as to why, inexplicably, the feds won’t protect our sovereignty, why rampant crime has to be fueled by the unchecked flow of illegal drugs, I’d really love to hear it. I really would.

Why do we have Swiss cheese for borders? And why is it that the Fedrule Govmint seems perfectly content with illegal aliens going over, under and around the threadbare border fences with increasing frequency?

It’s because we can’t have the gargantuan SUVs, the bass boats, the quads, the emergency generators, the central air, the home alarm systems, the GPS in the car, the downloaded ring tones, the PDAs, the laptops, the 300 inch plasmas, the home theaters, the time shares, the plastic surgery, the summer cottages, the ditzy concubines, the 1-800-PHONE-SEX, the 5,000 square feet of pure decadence or the membership at the country club if we’re all saddled with 5 screaming kids.

Okay, now I’m going to start drinking.

When all that is required of a prospective city council candidate to get on the ballot is 10 measly signatures, we are going to be treated to quite the spectacle every four years. And remember newcomers, abbreviations on nominating petitions are not allowed. It’s not “W-B,” it’s Wilkes-Barre. Glad I could help.

Oh, and if you can’t secure 10 measly signatures…well, blow out the pilot light and insert fat head.

From the Citizens’ Voice:

Candidates emerge in W-B council race

Six of seven Democratic incumbents on Wilkes-Barre City Council will run in the city’s first district-based election this year.

Two other Democrats, Ron Silkosky and Virgil Argenta, and two Republicans, Walter Griffith and John Yencha, said they also plan to run in the historic May primary. It is the first time in Wilkes-Barre’s 200-year history that council members will be elected by district instead of at large. The change is a result of a 2001 referendum that reduced the size of council from seven to five members and created voting districts in the city.

So, I reside in “District E.” That’s what they’re calling the Nord End at election time. You know, this is getting confusing to some degree. When we’re talking about commingled collections and praying at the curb, I live in “Zone 1.” When I need the police department to swoop down on the growing army of idiots, I live in “Zone 5.” And when it comes time to elect the first ever Mayor of Nord End, I’m suddenly in “E Quadrant,” or some such far less than reverberating gibberish. To heck with all y’all! I’m stickin’ with “Nord End.”

I’ve said this before, and I’m about to repeat myself all over again.

“I want to restore the neighborhoods back to where they should be,” Argenta said Thursday.

Is it to much to ask to have at least one of these candidates differentiate themselves from the rest of the nondescript pack? Sorry, but this neighborhood angle just isn’t going to cut it when compared to the numerous and highly-visible accomplishments of the “dreaded” incumbents. It’s a political long-shot at best, and incredibly myopic at it’s worst.

I want to fix the neighborhoods.

This is the very best you’ve got? This is going to lead to the Republican revolution I keep hearing about on the internet? This is going to unseat the incumbents? Hey, I don’t want to rain on anyone’s fantasy parade, but what else have you got when you’re reduced to pandering to one neighborhood for votes? What else can you say?

We need to continue to develop the downtown? Oops. That’s in that other district and we don’t care about that. We need to partner with Rails to Trails and make that riverfront bike path to Pittston a reality already? Oops. This coming from a hopeful from the Heights? Never mind. We need a firehouse. The remodeling of Coal Street Park should be put on a fast track? What? Are you crazy? What about the soccer fields on Gordon Avenue? Did you forget where you came from? Did you forget where your votes came from? The sprawling and dilapidated Murray Complex on Courtright Street needs to be addressed? Son of a bitch! Don’t be talking crazy. You were elected to represent Parsons. To hell with the Nord End! Whatever.

You wanted voting by districts as a vehicle by which you could unseat the incumbents, and now you’ve got it. And as a direct result of that short-sighted tomfoolery, your focus has been considerably narrowed. It’s no longer about having a general vision for the entire city’s future. Now, it’s about getting a couple of nearby streets paved. It’s about replacing a couple of sun-bleached street signs. It’s back to being about praying at the curb. And it’s about increasing neighborhood policing as the incumbents are poised to hire practically a platoon of new police officers, the second near platoon-strength hire under their watch. You made your new political bed, now wallow in it.

And unless some remarkably savvy candidates suddenly emerge out of virtually nowhere, our newly seated city council will be as follows:

District A: Shirley Vitachevynova (spelling?)

District B: Tony Thomas Jr.

District C: Kathy Kane

District D: Bill Barrett

District E: The Mayor of Nord End

All of the political wrangling, all the incendiary rhetoric, all the name-calling, all the referendums, all the court fights and all of that deafening rancor later…we’ll be just about back where we started from.

Sez me.