2-8-2007 Mayor Raup?

I get this every year. It’s as predictable as the Sun rising each and every morning. Someone e-mailed me wanting to know why I haven’t posted many pictures of late. I dunno, but I’m thinking it has something to do with the thermometer plunging and the wind howling at the same time. Dude, you want frickin’ pictures? Then get on out there and take some. It’s freaking cold outside!

I geared up and then pedaled my way through all of 12 miles this past Saturday. I pedaled due south on Carey Ave., violated the border with Hanover and then turned around and headed for the modest adobe. I’ve got me some decent winter gear, so I can usually handle what the weathermen can deliver. But, by the time I got home, my feet were so completely frozen, I found it difficult to walk without serious discomfort as they slowly thawed out.

Now, I may be certifiably crazy, but I ain’t near stupid enough to enjoy frostbite. Well, not just yet. Maybe next year.

On an unrelated side note, I use the word “dude” on purpose simply because so many people seem to object to it’s use. Kind of like why I use the word “chick” so much, just to annoy Nancy Kman of WILK fame.

A goodly while back somebody asked me if I thought I was somehow cool because I so frequently call people dudes and suchlike. I answered that question with a question of my own: What? You don’t think you’re cool?

Sounds to me like somebody has a low opinion of himself. Poor self esteem, like. Wait, I’m trying to learn the dialect of my grandkids’ newly adopted state--Tennessee. Let’s try that again.

Sounds to me like somebody has a low opinion of hisself.

Probably needs more 100-proof moonshine, or somethin’.

I reckon.

Gee whiz. I wonder what he intends to announce.

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton expected to announce re-election plans

When stopped in the parking lot Wednesday at Wilkes-Barre City Hall, Leighton would not confirm that he is seeking re-election. “I will make an announcement about my future,” he said.

Not one normally prone to speculating, I’ll give speculation a shot.

He’s going to announce that Congressman Paul Kanjorski has earmarked $30 million in federal funds to build that long-rumored spaceport in downtown Wilkes-Barre. The spaceport will be home to the world’s very first fleet of eco-friendly space vehicles powered entirely by water-jet technology. If we can build a gazillion dollar cargo airport without any anchor tenants, why not a spaceport?

He’s going to announce that the former Planter’s Peanut office building will be converted into a state-of-the-art firehouse and then be relocated to the Heights. The second floor will house a Planter’s emporium and the upper floor will house the Jim McCarthy Museum of Broadcasting & Karaoke Supper Club.

He’s going to announce that WPUU, our defunct emergency broadcast station, will be acquired by Steve Corbett LLC and will immediately adopt a 24-hour gangster rap format. Cop Killer, anyone?

He’s going to announce that the city’s idled network of steam heat piping will be converted into a subway system for vertically-challenged residents.

I dunno. I guess you’ll have to wait until Saturday when he makes his intentions known. By the way, the big get-together is open to the general public.

I’ll see you there.

I can‘t remember how I came to know this, but I knew this announcement was in the works.

Crime watch head eyes W-B council

WILKES-BARRE – After five years as president of the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition, Charlotte Raup decided it’s time to use her experience and run for city council in District E.

“My major issues are crime prevention, eliminating illegal drugs, absentee landlords, beautification of the city, and recreation for our youth,” Raup said.

So, District E now has four council hopefuls. On the Democrat side we’ve got Charlotte Raup, Virgil Argenta and Ron Silkosky. And on the Republican docket there’s John Yencha.

Truth be told, I was surprised to learn that Charlotte and I happen to reside in the same newfangled voting district. Can you be elected Mayor of Nord End if you live in Parsons? Why, sure you can iffin’ Len Piazza says you can.

From the e-mail inbox Hi Mark,
Any chance of a woman Mayor of Nord End?
Just wanted to announce that I am running for City Council in District E in Wilkes-Barre After all these years in the Crime Watch, I want to try and jump in and use my experience to better the city.

Here is some info. Thanks, Char

A woman as Mayor of Nord End? Why not? Last I heard, there weren’t many Taliban in these here parts. Although, to be an effective Mayor of Nord End, you had better brush up on your Spanish.

Charlotte Raup
75 Gardner Ave.
Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 18705

Profession - Master Herbalist/Educator

President of the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition

Penn State Master Gardener

As your City Council member, I will continue to dedicate my efforts towards safe, clean neighborhoods just as I have been doing for the last 10 years with the Wilkes Barre Crime Watch Coalition.


My love for Wilkes- Barre and concern for its residents speaks for itself. For the last decade, I have volunteered hundreds of hours with various civic groups to improve the quality of life in our city.


My major issues are crime prevention, eliminating illegal drugs, absentee landlords, beautification of the city and recreation for our youth.


Wilkes University
B.A. Philosophy Alpha Sigma Lambda
Dominion Herbal College
Chartered Herbalist and Master Herbalist
Penn State University/ Penn State Extension
Master Gardener

Volunteer Accomplishments

Recipient of the 2006 Governor’s Citizen Crime Prevention Volunteer Recognition Award. The award is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Coalition on Crime and Delinquency. It is given annually to those who organize crime prevention initiatives in their communities.

Two Resolutions from Wilkes–Barre City Council members extending their appreciation for service to the community.

Coordinator of the Parsons Crime Watch for last 10 years
President of the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition for last 5 years.
Member of the Luzerne County Crime Watch Coalition.
· Member of Wilkes-Barre City Charter Review Commission
· Member of the Wilkes-Barre Shade Tree Commission
· Luzerne County Penn State Master Gardener.

Volunteer Activities

Crime Watch volunteer activities includes nightly patrols, working with the police by reporting crimes and suspicious activities, organizing and publicizing fourteen Crime Watch meetings monthly, arranging graffiti and neighborhood cleanups, coordinating volunteers to provide security for city functions and composing monthly topic handouts for Crime Watch meetings concerning drug abuse, identity theft, personal safety, etc.

In addition, Charlotte has established the Miners Mills and Parsons Crime Watch Group, reorganized the Iron Triangle Crime Watch Group, attended several crime prevention classes; for instance, The State Police Citizens’ Academy, and has organized and coordinated crime prevention programs to hundreds of residents such as Safety Fairs, National Night Outs, VIN etching to prevent auto theft, “Stranger Danger “ programs, Crime Watch walks, home security programs and children’s fingerprinting programs.

Furthermore, Charlotte’s Master Gardener and Tree Commission activities include organizing, educating and assisting in planting flowers and trees on several City sites; for example, Wilkes–Barre Boulevard and Public Square, coordinating Earth Day and composting events in the City along with establishing and managing the Penn State Horticulture Information booth and “Harvest Contest” at the Farmers’ Market on Public Square.

As a Member of Wilkes-Barre City Charter Review Commission, Charlotte spent six months studying, reviewing and recommending constructive changes to the City Charter.


Well, here’s my thoughts.

First of all, Charlotte is the first candidate to announce that has differentiated herself from the rest of the “forgotten neighborhoods” pack. As a long-time crime watcher, I’m sure she knows that our neighborhoods need some work, but she also works closely with the police department and city officials, so she has to know that what can be done is being done. I guess what I’m trying to say is that her expectations would be realistic.

I’d have to say that her volunteerism is probably second to none. I’m out there on my bikes all the time, and I can’t even remember how many times I’ve encountered her doing something or other somewhere or other.

I think her candidacy brings a unique perspective to this voting district. And I also think that if she aggressively pounds on front doors, she would have to be the odds-on favorite in these here parts.

One last thought being that she and I have one glaring thing in common. The only reason I ever got involved by way of the internet is because I wanted to live in a better city than I was at the time. And that’s why she got involved as heavily as she did. She didn’t seek the limelight. She didn’t fancy herself as an elected leader. She simply sought to improve her neighborhood and her city. In my mind, she got involved for all the right reasons and is certainly worthy of a vote.

Mayor Raup?

Could be.

Hey, it’s easier to spell than Vitachevynova.

From the e-mail inbox Mark:

I see you caught the 800 member Luzerne County Federation of Sportsmen's endorsement of Congressman Kanjorski's pet project. Coupled with the recent statement of support by freshman U.S. Congressman Chris Carney, the combined impact of their actions raised a little more than a yawn from those opposed to the inflatable dam. These folks remind me of those bobblehead dolls you see on the back deck of cars as they roll along streets in the Heights dodging potholes. Kanjorski speaks - they nod in quick approval. But stop them and ask an intelligent question (or two) about the dam, and just like their counterparts, you'll end up with nothing but silence and a blank stare. They just don't get it. Never have...never will.

On the outside chance one of their 800 members might read this post, I do have a thought for them to ponder. All things being equal, according to Gannett Fleming, the dam will raise the water level about 4 feet at the Market Street bridge. Using the Nesbitt Park boat ramp as an access point, which of the following statements is most accurate?

If the inflatable dam is built and the water level is raised, an adult walking at average speed will get to the water:

A - One minute quicker
B - 30 seconds quicker
C - 5 seconds quicker

Check it out for yourself in the picture below. The Nesbitt Park access ramp is near the upper right corner of both pics. Not much of a difference at the 517' level, is there?

The correct answer is ( C ).

I ask you; is it worth spending $14 million to get to the river 5 seconds faster? The purpose of the dam is to "mitigate the intangible negative socio-economic impacts of the levee raising project." How does one mitigate something that's intangible, and how, exactly will getting to the river 5 seconds sooner accomplish that? I'd be interested in anyone's response to those questions.

The citizens of Luzerne County should sleep more soundly knowing this 800 member organization is 100% in support of a project that has not come to fruition since it was first hatched in 1988. I hope at least one of the 800 will come to speak at the next public hearing. For some reason, not one of them bothered to testify on 5/1/2006. Then again, if the application for permits are rejected in the next few weeks, we ( and they ) will never have that opportunity.

By the way, I really would like to see that film about the fictional benefits of inflatable dams that Jim McCarthy has. I'll buy the first two rounds if you can arrange the rest.

Let me know.

Kayak Dude

Jim? You catching this? We’ll spend some of our hard-earned cash that has, to this point, eluded Rendell’s grasp, in your establishment iffin’ you’ll spin that video for us.

The dam supporter’s are going down and have two fingers jutting up out of the brownish waters. Paul Kanjorski has said all along that the dam would be the impetus by which people would get to clamoring about cleaning the river. Every step of the way he has publicly stated that after we dam the river we would then proceed to the second step--addressing the sewage outflow problem. If was painfully easy to follow. Dam the river, create the lake and then seek federal funding to clean the river. It has always been foolishly ass-backwards, but the plan has remained the same from the get-go.


But…yesterday came a story from the Citizens’ Voice titled Federal funds will help pay for new sewer lines. Yup, the EPA awarded a $4 million grant to the sanitary authority to replace the sewer lines under both Ross and Market streets, which lead directly to our two most offending sewage outflows. That’s certainly good news, but all of a sudden the story has changed.

The story says that Kanjorski “helped earmark funds for a grant to clean up the river over the last four years…”

It also goes on to report, “Cleaning up the river is the first step to Kanjorski’s proposed inflatable dam.”

Now, either the reporter got that part wrong, which I seriously doubt, or Paul Kanjorski is getting desperate, too. And his desperation is in direct response to the undeniable fact that nobody excepting for a few local politicians wants the river to be dammed. We had the public comment period and we had the public meeting, and the dam was unequivocally shot full of holes in a loud and grotesque manner. But, apparently, the good congressman cares not about the wishes of his silly constituents. Public comments be damned. It’s full speed ahead on the proposed dam. No matter what occurs and no matter what is said, he wants his dam and he wants it now.

I listened to caller after caller rail against the dam on Sue Henry’s show this morning and one caller got real close to what I believe is the real crux of the issue. The caller was speculating about what’s in it for the congressman, being that he is doggedly ignoring the expressed wishes of his constituents. But the caller also wondered aloud about who among Kanjorski’s inner circle of politically-connected friends might stand to benefit. Hmmm?

So, who stands to benefit financially if the dam is erected?

To figure that one out, you’d need to investigate just who owns which now-vacant parcels of forgotten lands, and who might be in the running for some eminent domain abuse after the fact.

And our congressman is bringing this suspicion upon himself because he is so hell-bent on bringing us this asinine Trojan of a dam even though we keep telling him in no uncertain terms that we do not want it.

Assuming that our congressman’s intentions are pure and good, I’m left to assume that he thinks he’s smarter than the lot of us silly, ignorant constituents. He ignores us at every turn, so he must have an elitist attitude. He, in all of his electoral glory, is a clear cut above us sad, sad serfs.

And yet, you people keep voting for him over and over again. His hometown, home to a long-term congressman, is a disgrace when you consider the longevity of his political career. And the best he can offer Wilkes-Barre is the opportunity to skip rocks across the dammed floaters?

It might be time for a bit of introspection on our parts. It might be that we need to examine why we vote the way we do. It might be overdue, but it’s time to reflect upon what the good congressman has done of late, other than ignoring the people who elected him.

Not me, of course. I never once voted for him.

No, I voted for the guy who wants a clean free-flowing river and not a polluted lake. I voted based on the issues and not on strict party lines.

The “first step?” Forget the first step, when all that we truly need is a single step.

Clean the river.