2-26-2007 When you hang out with rats...

After this area‘s second-most prolific blogger turned up missing from cyberspace, many of you wondered what was up. The way I saw things, there were only three possible explanations; a lawsuit over the blogs libelous content, a deletion due to complaints with the host company, or the long shot--a run at an elected office. While we can never be absolutely certain, it looks as if the latter explanation gets the nod.

To call this inflammatory character intemperate and overly zealous without any hint of remorse is what I believe to be a fair encapsulation of his vitriolic efforts to date. And that’s why his 3-month-old Web site had to be deleted well in advance of the run for office. So as to make those unfair misrepresentations, factually inaccurate missives and accusatory exposes go away right quick. The only problem is, pulling the plug on a Web site does not make it’s content go away in perpetuity. It’s still cached out there somewhere to be dredged up once again.

Grier announces run for W-B mayor, council

So, he wants to be the mayor and, or a city councilman? Sound like a plan, or a well-choreographed publicity stunt? Or maybe a simple case of delusions of grandeur.

There’s really no need to pick through his threadbare platform, because as activist’s platforms go, this one reads like a tired form letter: Cut benefits, perks, corporate welfare blah, blah, blah.

There’s really no need to pick through his threadbare resume, simply because there is nothing there to pick through. He can shoot straight, he’s a college student and he did some volunteerism. All of which I could lay claim to when I was a long-haired 17-year-old. If caloric values could be attached to resumes, this one would be the ultimate in diet foods.

He “would work to televise city council meetings.” Judging by the empty seats at a typical council meeting, I’d say televised council meetings would command ratings somewhere along the lines of a YouTube video of two kids doing Lightning Rod Man impersonations set to some Mothers of Invention. “My guitar wants to kill your mama,” anyone?

Up ‘til this point, I don’t think anything I have typed is even remotely unfair or inaccurate. If this guy is mayoral material in these parts, I’m thinking Tennessee is looking better and better by the nanosecond.

But there was one thing in this announcement story that jumped right off of the page at me.

He pledged to work with city council to control benefit packages for elected city officials and would reduce his own salary by $25,000 and use the money to buy equipment for the public works department, he said. The mayor’s salary is $79,911.

He pledged to work with city council??? Work with? This guy?

Look, I realize he is woefully inexperienced, but somebody had better explain to him what “burning one’s bridges” is all about. When you burn every standing bridge for miles around, you not only alienate everyone possible, you minimalize your already nominal standing in life. Simply put, you have rendered whatever you may actually have to offer completely impotent. Call this what you will, but sociopathic tendencies will never be confused with leadership qualities.

Will Councilman Bill Barrett be happy and willing to work with a guy who called him “a dirty cop?” Do we see that happening? We’ll all just forgive and forget the oodles and oodles of borderline, and sometimes clear libel and slander?

Will a city attorney who he accused of belonging to an “incestual” family simply turn the other cheek and be willing to embrace whatever he would bring to city government? Yeah, that’d happen.

The following indented paragraphs are the published words of our newest entry into the political arena. He typed them, not me. And the day is too short to be correcting the multitudinous amounts of spelling errors.

Will the following people he is suing be willing to embrace his ideas?


Will this endear them to him?

Wilkes-Barre City Council members, the supposed voice of the people, are acting like Bush's former Congress - just listening to Mayor Leighton, nodding, and giving him free reign to empty the taxpayers wallets on behalf of the already wealthy.

Does paranoia sound like a plan?

The Bush Republicans would have you believe that we are seeing progress in America. Tom Lieghton, Mayor of the City of Wilkes-Barre, wants you to believe that we are seeing progress here in our city. The trick, folks, is to look behind the curtain. Is Mark Bufalino, chairman of the Luzerne County Democratic Party, just a little man pulling levers and using a legion of trained monkeys to do his (or someone else's) bidding? It seems that the 'progress' is little more than corporate welfare run amok, and the declaration by those in power that progress is in fact occurring is little more than a desperate attempt to remain in power.

Will our commissioners be excited by the prospect of working with him?

Commissioners Skrepenak and Vonderheid have been little more than mouthpieces and signatures for someone behind the scenes. Their continuing efforts to create the ecological disaster known as the dam on the Susquehanna is one glaring example. Their continued use of bonds to make payroll and their further use of bonds for corporate welfare projects is another.

A standard practice in the private sector is proof of corruption in the public sector?

Wilkes-Barre City Council Chairman Bill Barret, for the last 3 1/2 years, has been taking a healthcare buyout from the City because he is already entitled to onw health care plan due to his being a retiree. It just so happens that Mrs. Barrett also works for the City, so between the two of them, they have taken home more than $25,000 in taxpayer money since Mr. Barrett became a council member - just because they can. Of course Mr. Barrett could pass a resolution to stop the practice, but he is too busy trying to figure out if you should be allowed to park on your front lawn.

Will the District Attorney welcome him with a pat on the back and a cigar?

District Attorney Dave Lupas allows government abuse to continue unchecked (he knows about Wilkes-Barre's misspending). He and his office and the Luzerne County judges have let numerous offenders back into the community with little more than a slap on the wrist.

Can he make peace with the mayor’s assistant?

Greg Barrouk, son of former Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce President Steve Barrouk, was a member of the Kings College Young Democrats, who were responsible for the "Vote 'NO' on Home Rule" signs back in 2003. We all know that home rule would have put the morally bankrupt out of power, so the Luzerne County Democratic Party skirted campaign finance rules by having the youngsters do the dirty work. How was Mr. Barrouk rewarded? He was given a job with the City of Wilkes-Barre as one of Mayor Tom Leighton's overpaid assistants. Of course, it gets worse. It turns out that some of the money used for Mr. Barrouk's salary was from the State Weed and Seed program, and Mr. Barrouk was filling out state paperwork as though he had only gone as far as the fourth grade.

The Mayor is going to welcome him aboard?

The are dozens more glaring examples. I could go through Tom Leighton's list of campaign contributors and see who has benefitted from City contracts. I could mention the numerous nonprofits created by the City to thwart open-records laws and hide financial transactions. I could examine the City's real estate deals - those that are done behind closed doors and seem to benefit a chosen few. I could mention that Tom Leighton will receive more than 1/4 million dollars if he gets re-elected, and that would just be his salary for four years - his pension will give him another $1 million taxpayer dollars or more over the course of his lifetime - all for screwing over his neighbors and enrighing his friends. I could make mention of the numerous records regarding financial transactions that I have requested from City hall and have not received even though the law says that I should. I could talk about council's method of mocking the citizens for 3 1/2 years until a few months before the primary elections, when they seem to act so much nicer to everyone. The list could go on and on and on…

The State Forester guy is corrupt, too?

The fact is, folks, this river common project has been in the works for a long time. They say they had to cut the trees down because they were diseased, but they let those trees go to waste because they needed an excuse to cut them down. Last year, I sent numerous emails to Vinnie Catrone (forester for the Penn State Cooperative Extension and the man who said the trees should come down) asking him to provide me with information so I could take it to council and ask them to do something about these ancient trees that were dying. He never replied to my emails; I am guessing because they had already gotten to him. If I had presented an organized case to save the trees last year, they wouldn’t get to cut them all down this year. To think that Mr. Catrone was caught up in the politicking which resulted in the loss of those ancient trees makes me a little sad for my own personal PSU ties.

Tony Thomas Jr. is going to love to have him?

Suuuuuuuure, Mr. Thomas, I see how what works for Reno and San Antonio could work for us. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuure. How much did you say you want me to chip in this year? Here, just take my wallet. Just be sure you leave me enough for some Ramen Noodles and toilet paper, okay?

Give away Kirby Park?

What about the taxpayers? Why didn’t the City buy the Murray complex, bulldoze it, turn it into a park, and turn Kirby Park over to Kingston? That would have been a good one. No more park on the other side of the river to care for. Imagine a huge park in the middle of the city for all to enjoy. But Tim, you say, they can't even care for Coal Street Park. Trust me, there's been plenty of money for Coal Street Park for years, but it has been going into developers pockets for more buildings we don't need. For 2.2 million tax dollars that could have been a reality, but sadly, we get the same old status quo. I digress.

Not only Kathy Kane, but the Times Leader reporter cannot escape his wrath?

I took Kathy Kane to task for last month’s request to Kevin Amerman, half-hearted reporter for the TL, to not report anything negative about her. “He is a reporter. You are an elected official. This is the people’s government,” I informed her. “If you want the media to protect you, move to Russia.” I received no response.

Bill Barrett being belittled and berated again.

I asked Mr. Barrett how it would be possible for Wilkes-Barre to be “poised to become one of the greatest cities in America” (his words, not mine) if the same self-serving individuals continued to represent the people of Wilkes-Barre. “You’re becoming quite the politician,” I told him. Again, I got no response.

Yet another Times Leader reporter becomes his target?

You see, Mr. McCarthy wrote a letter to the editor of the Times Leader earlier this week where he argued (pointlesly, I might add) that 18 states have passed this legislation. "How can they all be wrong?" he asked the reader. My comments were to point out the futility of his arguement, not spoken so much as a reaction against the ordinance or its passing. Denise does cite that I believe he is only hot on this issue because he thinks it will help him win votes, but she owes me an apology and a printed clarification for taking my words out of context.

Tony Thomas is corrupt, says the Mighty Tim.

“I asked you if we could have gotten the $300,000 from the Perry-Block transaction in March and you just stared at me,” I shot back. (In March I called Mr. Thomas a liar to his face, well, because he is, and that is probably why we have the rapport that we have these days.) “The answer was ‘yes,’ but you didn’t want to say it. The City failed to file an open-end mortgage against the Perry-Block property for political reasons and thereby enriched a couple in Maine to the tune of $300,000, but you wouldn’t admit to it. I ask the right questions, but you don’t answer them.”

Mr. Thomas would be a great member of his party – if he was a member of the National Socialist Party. I hope someone from his neck of the city takes him on as a Democratic challenger in May. If I lived in his district, I would. His constituents don’t realize how tied he is to the wealthy powers-that-be.

“Cowards” or “punk bitches” all?

Certain members of The City of Wilkes-Barre administration are beholden to some very wealthy campaign contributors. These officials don’t have to be, you know, they could say “thanks” for the contribution and run the city as they see fit, but instead they have opted to use their positions to help enrich those that contributed. Those government officials are commonly known as "cowards" or "punk bitches".

Oh, boy. The Chamber as villains again?

Trickle-down economics simplified: feed the rich and greedy bigger meals and more crumbs will fall your way. Just one problem: the greedy (think Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce and Wilkes-Barre administration) around here are careful not to spill any crumbs.

Now they’re all “spineless?”

One of the signs of this 'moral meltdown' in a company is a weak board. Now, take for instance the City of Wilkes-Barre. Our City Council is very much the board to Tommy Boy's CEO. You couldn't find seven people who jointly have less spine than the seven who are currently running the show there. I've said it before - if those seven aren't holding hands with each other and the Mayor, their typical utterance is little more than "uhhhhhh". Very rarely do you hear any of them speak up against Mr. Leighton's b.s. schemes. Not one of them spoke out against spending money to plan a memorial to 9/11 that was designed to boost tourism and was going to take up about 1/4 of Kirby Park. Not one of them spoke up against the real estate scheme that enriched a private party at the expense of the taxpayers. Not one of them speaks up against the practice of selling off City-owned property behind closed doors to friends of the administration.

Whoa, daddy! Now the District Attorney and Attorney General are accused of being corrupt? Where will it end?

I sent the Public Corruption Unit the information (About 500 pages worth - cost me $40 to mail it) on the Wilkes-Barre rip-off back in April. Do you know when I got a reply from the Public Corruption Unit telling me to take up the issue with the Luzerne County District Attorney? November. Do you know who the District Attorney assigned to investigate the Mayor? Dectective Dessoye. Do you know who the Mayor's brother-in-law is? Detective Dessoye's brother. Why the foot-dragging, Mr. Corbett? Who are you trying to protect? Why the conflict-of-interest, Mr. Lupas? Who are you trying to protect? The FBI knows that the DA and the AG are protecting the Mayor, too. I wonder why that is.

Now the minority commissioner is on the ever-expansive target list, too? And Wilkes-Barre is a “stalag?”

Commissioner Urban, spineless as he may be, has spoken up on this issue and stated that he believes a larger building is in order, as this purchase will make for the FOURTH county building in Hazleton. I think this is Mr. Urban's sideways attempt at saying that he knows that the building is being purchased to enrich Mr. Vonderheid's (and Mr. Skrepenak's) friend(s). Too bad Mr. Urban couldn't speak up last week when more than 1 million dollars in misappropriated bond money was given to Tom Leighton and his cronies running Stalag Wilkes-Barre.

Rutro! CityVest is corrupt, too!

CityVest, the nonprofit which has a habit of giving away these kinds of funds to the friends of the Board of Directors (think Perry-Block heist), received 1/2 million to turn the corner of North and North Main into apartments.

This just in: Now Tom Leighton is a “criminal.”

If you are not disturbed by what is going on in Wilkes-Barre (let alone the United States and the rest of this crazy ball of dirt, flesh, water, blood and uranium isotopes), well, I guess I’d like to know what are you doing here and what the %*#@ is wrong with you, but, if you are disturbed by the comments of Mr. Unchecked Government Criminal Tom Leighton and the remainder of his corrupt and self-serving Wilkes-Barre administration, I look forward to hearing from someone other than one of the five mindless robots that were hanging around the Anthracite Newsstand the other day just waiting to be interviewed by a lazy reporter.

Suing the District Attorney, too? Did he miss anyone?

Defendant is David W. Lupas, whose place of employment is at the Office of the District Attorney, Luzerne County Courthouse, 200 North River Street, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Butch Frati is a “rat?”

As it turns out, Mr. Frati is NOT the Director of Planning as I regrettably thought him to be. Interestingly, he occupies an entirely new position created just for him that doesn't require him to have any municipal experience. Now, the fact that his subordinates are required to have more experience than him... well just tell's ya how they're running City Hall.

And then for the next five minutes they went on and on about how great Director of the Whole World Butch Frati is. Like I said, "When you hang out with rats..."

Mike McGinley, the “thief,” annoys the all-knowing one.

I have the whole thing on tape, including Mr. McGinley's rant about how I complain about cameras and then turn around and tape them. Excuse me, but:

1. I am not a public official, Mr. McGinley, but you are. Be prepared for the scrutiny, especially when the city pension plan calls for you AND your family to receive free health care for life after putting in 20 years as a part-time thief...er... excuse me... council member.

2. I am not complaining about cameras, Mike McGinley you f'n moron. I am seriously disturbed that you uneducated fools don't know your history or the problems that will probably arise should you videotape citizens without a policy for managing the footage.

City Council, the “droolers” “sh*tting on themselves?.” Class act, hayna?

Seriously folks, the more I am around these people, the more I realize why they are using their positions in office for personal gain - if they didn't hold hands to get some kind of collective intelligence going, they would probably all just be standing around drooling and sh*tting on themselves.

A former Chief of Police ruined Coal Street Park? Boy, that’s a stretch.

Except for Bill Barret, the same council members that are seated now were the ones who watched Coal Street Park fall apart. Of course, Bill Barrett was the Chief of Police for many years when Coal Street Park was too unsafe to enter. Many of George Bush's cabinet members are recycled hawks from earlier years - Tom Leighton's adminstration reflects similar mismanagement.

Whew! Bill Vinsko is working for “the other side” from his cushy office in an imperial Death Star.

I believe that Bill Vinsko is working for the other side, not Bear Creek Township as he asserts. From what I can tell, Mr. Vinsko a loyal Luzerne County Democrat soldier.

Heard enough? Let’s not forget that libelous blurb wherein Councilman Bill Barrett was called “a dirty cop.”

Oh, and, let’s not forget who made sophistry of something as simple as voting on election day.


Luzerne County election officials agreed Wednesday to ask the district attorney to file a misdemeanor charge against a Wilkes-Barre man who stayed in an election voting booth for 30 minutes as a protest on Nov. 8.

The county Election Board, which consists of the three county commissioners, voted unanimously Wednesday to pursue Election Code violation charges against Tim Grier for allegedly willfully disobeying orders of election officials.

A conviction would carry a penalty of up to $500 and a year in prison, said county Election Bureau Director Len Piazza.

So, the “equal ballot access” warrior wants your vote. The guy who slimes everyone in close proximity to him wants your vote. The guy short on vision, but long on accusations wants your vote. The guy who thought he had deleted his personalized brand of libel and slander wants your vote. The guy with the blank slate of a resume and the usual activist pontificating wants your vote. The guy who sees his efforts as ultimately noble but cannot defend his ignoble comments wants your vote. The guy totally devoid of practicality, devoid of common sense and devoid of intellectual honesty wants your vote. The guy subservient to no party but subservient to his dogmatic belief that every public official, without exception, is corrupt wants your vote. The guy that would be a political pariah if elected wants your vote.

And if you give him your vote, you encourage further misbehaving, further recklessness and further libel and slander on the part of others. The biggest difference being that the hate-filled invective would be coming from one of your elected officials.

If this guy garners more than 10% of the vote in either of the races he has injected himself into, we as an electorate have failed to fulfill our only electoral responsibility of educating ourselves. If this guy is taken seriously for even a fleeting nanosecond, we might fully deserve the debilitating anarchy he can so capably deliver.

Although, to be fair, at least he’s finally trying to secure some meaningful employment.

“When you hang out with rats..."