2-19-2007 Wait and see

(You girls can skip this first part)

The last lap of the Daytona 500 was nothing short of exhilarating. It’s been quite a while since I felt the need to leap out of the Bartuska/WILK recliner and start hootin’ and hollerin’ at the pharmaceutical advertising box.

Go! Go!! Go!!!

With about 40 laps remaining I figured Kevin Harvick’s car was done. He kept hanging around behind the race leaders, but he didn’t seem to have enough horsepower to win the race. So I wandered upstairs and took me a shower. When I came downstairs feeling all refreshed there was ten laps left and Kevin was sitting at the tail end of the top ten right where he was when I had wandered away.

But as the final laps passed, I could see he was jockeying for a go-for-broke shot at the front. Then the yellow flag was unfurled and the race was red-flagged (stopped dead in it’s tracks due to wreckage) with less than five laps on the lap ticker. And by the time the pace car started rolling again, there were two laps to go, so I knew everyone anyone near the front was going to be going balls-to-the-wall all-out. Cool.

With less than a lap left, Kevin made a move high to the outside and had drafting partners in tow. He soared towards the front. And he soared past car after car. And as he entered the next to last turn, only one car remained in front of his: Mark Martin’s. And as they traded paint during the very last turn, that’s when I got to screaming and whatnot. If the photo finish wasn’t exciting enough, the cars spinning and smoking and sliding upside-down and on fire directly behind the two car sprint to the finish line was quite the grand finale.

The photo finish picture:

Kevin Harvick & Mark Martin

The local newspapers keep banging on the regionalization drum and they are absolutely right to be doing so. Paul Golias at the Citizens’ Voice rarely, if ever, raises his quill to write about anything else. Look, when your entire municipality could fit on the head of a quilting needle, it’s time to give it up already. If your local police force was disbanded for a lack of revenues, it’s time to give it up already. If your mayor was elected with all of 300 votes, it’s time to give it up.

From the Citizens’ Voice:

Voters back regionalization

Personally, I don’t see any point in sharing, say, police departments, but continuing on with the teeny tiny municipalities that would likely seek out distressed status (ACT 47), if their one and only traffic signal went and turned up dead. When the street department is the sum total of the mayor riding his John Deere, the time has arrived when hanging on to an identity as a fading community does not serve the needs of the residents.

What I’m trying to say is we don’t need regionalization, per se. What we need is the consolidation of patch-sized, financially strapped municipalities.

Ray Arellano had previously announced his intent to run for a council seat in District B, but the Citizens’ Voice has the story today. Got me.

W-B man announces run for city council

Here’s the latest on the City Council scrums:

(* Notes an incumbent)

District E (Nord End):

D Ron Silkosky

D Virgil Argenta

D Charlotte Raup

D Mike Merritt

R John Yencha

District A (S. W-B):

D *Shirley Vitanovec

R Walter Griffith

District D (Parsons, East End):

D *Bill Barrett

D *Mike McGinley

D Timothy Anderson

District B (Iron Triangle, Downtown):

D *Tony Thomas Jr.

D Ray Arellano

District C (Heights):

D *Kathy Kane

D Sam Troy

R Pete Gagliardi

D *Jim McCarthy…(yet to announce)

Sam Troy called WILK’s Sue Henry Show today and made his intention to run for a council seat known to fill-in host Steve Corbett.

Here’s a snippet of what he had to offer:

He (Tom Leighton) lacks leadership skills. He’s lacking a large…to a great extent there’s a lack of accountability in this administration and as I see it, integrity in this administration as such as we’ve never seen in Wilkes-Barre, at least, we haven’t seen for a long time.--Candidate Sam Troy

Um, Sam, are you running for mayor? Or a council seat?

He said our “fiscal priorities are out of line,” but in the next breath went on to say there is a “shortage of staff in the DPW.“


He also said this mayor has “raised taxes and cut services,” and that “…council is as guilty as the mayor” because they are nothing more than his “rubber stamp.”

Welcome to the scrum, Mr. Troy.

I’m wondering what happened to the “Republican revolution” that Walter Griffith was promising as recently as December. Yeah, right before he announced his well-expected candidacy and abandoned the internet altogether, he was bragging about how the Democrats were going to be unceremoniously swept out of power in ‘07.

As of this very moment, we’ve got 16 council candidates, 3 of which are Republicans. And 2 of those 3 Republicans will be butting heads with very popular incumbents. Based on his experience and credentials and such, I’d say John Yencha has a reasonable chance of winning the whole shebang in this district. But, city-wide, I’d be surprised if a single Republican ended up with access to the coveted council gavel come 2008.

We shall see.

From the e-mail inbox

In case you missed it - Wilkes-Barre corruption being reported on in Berks County.


Thanks (I guess), I did miss it. And why did I miss it? Well, that’s because I don’t give a flying funk about what’s going on in Berks County. And I wonder why a blogger from the Allentown area feels the sudden need to report on the Hotel Sterling, other than he thinks his not-so-veiled rewriting of some baseless bunkum previously published at UnAmerican Liberator County will win him some Blogger’s Scoop Award at the imaginary annual awards show.

This story is culled from local documents on file at the Luzerne County Prothonotary's office, news accounts, and personal information from local bloggers who wish to remain anonymous. I have been asked to write the story so it gets coverage outside Luzerne County.

Obviously, he can’t even be honest with his readers. Local bloggers? Um, no. Try one former local blogger.

This is how bloggers get themselves in big, big trouble. The journalism professionals tell us the best things to write about are those things we know about. And since our author from far, far away does not know what he is writing about and does not have access to those he is so willing to accuse, he is going to have egg all over his face soon enough. I’d go in to the not-so-gory details here, but unlike most local political bloggers, I often sit on facts completely for effect at a much later date. Actually, very, very often. I like to give people enough rope to hang themselves with when they get to ranting while armed without the facts.

Repeat after me: RUTRO!!!

The author was fed a couple of published newspaper reports and then the deranged conspiracy theories of one local malcontent and his not-so-shadowy incompetent attorney co-conspirator. It’s cool getting the scoop and all, but if the facts were fully investigated--if the accusers actually knew what they were going on and on about--if the author had actually done more than run with their abject lunacy wrapped in conspiracy theories--he wouldn’t have touched this one with a ten-foot pole.

The original premise of the conspiracy theory, the pretext to the drawn-out and disjointed corruption story is grossly inaccurate. The entire thing is built upon a factual flub borne of ignorance. The liens versus open-end mortgages argument will be a moot point after the true nature of the facts are known. The problem is, neither the disconnected author nor his “local bloggers” sources are privy to those facts. So he’s gone off blogging half-cocked, which is a big no-no in my book.

A citizen activist has sued City officials for their negligence in these deals.

Can you spell “frivolous?” If not, cut, copy and paste what I just typed: frivolous. That suit will stand up in court about as long as my uncle usually does at the conclusion of Happy Hour at Beer Boys.

And our citizen “activist” is so completely jaded that immediately after the suit is summarily dismissed, he’ll be ringing your e-mail doorbell with stories of corrupt Luzerne County judges. Because, in his denuded world, everyone…that’s, everyone except himself is corrupt.

The Hotel Sterling project is a $27 million remaking of a long-blighted entrance to Wilkes-Barre on it‘s western shore. It is a cooperative undertaking, it is multi-faceted, it is progressive in it’s long-term approach to gentrifying that which was fraught with reverse-gentrification for decades, yet…the guy from Allentown and “local bloggers” tell us it’s proof of corruption.

It’s fun and all ripping into politicians when the opportunities present themselves. But to do so armed with half the facts, misrepresentations, unproven accusations, innuendo and connect-the-published-dots conspiracy tales does not make for credible do-it-yourself publishing.

Just you wait and see.

It was highly amusing listening to the folks still freaking out about snow removal, or the perceived lack of, on WILK today. It’s a week later and people are still carrying on as if somebody stole their colored pipe cleaner collection.

Can you imagine the deafening outcry if a tornado happened to rip through South Wilkes-Barre?

Somebody told me yesterday that our former mayor would have had these streets of ours open to traffic just as soon as this recent storm had passed. Um, excuse me for saying so, but if a seriously faulty memory is what drives your decision-making and overall cognitive abilities…you ought not venture outside ever again. Stick with the Game Show Network, something you’re probably good at.

How soon we forget that I once published pictures of our completely empty salt dome (formerly Thunder Dome) just as the predicted 10 inches of snow got to flying. And how soon we forget that I published those pictures of an empty salt dome just two days after said mayor swore on a stack of hollowed-out bibles that we had plenty of salt to deal with the impending snow storm at a boisterous city council meeting. How soon we forget.

There was one caller in particular that had me rolling, a caller claiming to live on South Empire Street. She railed against everyone possible because her driveway is plowed in--blocked. And she went on to say, “I don’t believe anymore.” How utterly impressive but tiresome, another smart-assed play on the “I believe” slogan.

Next, she said, “Thanks for all your help, Steve.”

Steve Corbett helped her? How so? By allowing her to vent to no end about a major snowstorm?

I swear, the mindset of the indigenous folks in these parts is inherently, destructively and incessantly negative. If we put a chicken in every pot, they’d bitch that it was a Weis brand chicken and not a Perdue. On most days, the constant drumbeat of counterproductive negativism is sufferable enough to make me want to urinate in to a fully-engaged toaster.

Thanks, Steve.


100 more new jobs created in NEPA: