2-28-2007 My solution

Despite all of the embarrassing hysterics and what have you in the aftermath of the Great Crunchy Water Storm of '07, we managed to survive and live to whine like sniveling pussies once more.

But wait!

We're not out of the woods just yet. According to the Citizens' Voice Web site, the Weather service will issue Wilkes-Barre flood watch, so I figure this is the bonus round wherein we can embarrass ourselves all over again.

If your basement floods, your doghouse floats away, or your new shrubberies are torn out by their roots, it's Ed Rendell's and Tom Leighton's fault.

I was down on Wyoming Street today watching the city crews removing the enormous snow banks and such, then came home and surfed on over to WNEP.com to learn that Wilkes-Barre residents are bitching about that, too. Too little. Too late. Too (pick one).


Just in case you missed it, both WBRE and WYOU have a joint Web site now at PAHomePage.com. While that may not exactly be Earth-shattering news, both stations have made the videos of their top news stories available on the new, combined site. 'Bout time.

Watch the "Super Market Secrets" video and let me know if you came as close to urinating yourself as I did. WBRE may be 'on my side,' but that report was a real knee-slapper and that so-called "Supermarket Expert" is little more than a supermarket conspiracy theorist.

No!?! They want me to buy more than I intended to when I walked on in there? Why, it must be that sumbitch Bush, the Neo-cons and the Jews behind it all.


No teachers strike, just teachers acting like children.

You can take issue with this if you must, but the way I see it, unionized public employees are all too often in-your-face extortionists. Want to argue? Yeah? Then explain why a garbage man deserves 21 sick days?

And being that the Northwest Area teachers are making with the extortion routine, as all teachers' unions do, I figured all y'all should take a look at StopTeacherStrikes.org. You don't have to join anything, but the site is a treasure trove of information on all things teachers' strikes.

My insurance co-pays are reasonable, but pricey and I will never complain about my employer's contribution to my health care. Although, the rates keep going up year after year, so it's an ongoing squeeze upon my income. It's all a part of growing up, so you do what you got to do. But based on the actions of unionized teachers, they have yet to grow up and they have yet to pay their fair share. In fact, they flat-out refuse to. And since we are their perpetually besieged employers, their obvious contempt for us is, in my mind, an offense worthy of termination.

If the corporation goes broke, we all lose our jobs. But when the taxpayers go broke, the disdainful teachers care not and keep their well-paying jobs. And on top of that, they keep on demanding a free ride on the always rising costs of health care. What once was a noble profession is fast approaching being ignoble.

Your kids may earn their near worthless diplomas without having a working knowledge of geography, algebra or the written word. But the one thing they should clearly be well-versed in after being in the public education system for years on end is greed. The teachers are teaching that subject year-in and year-out.

I do wish them ill on occasion.

Now that we're voting by districts and all of that, somebody asked me earlier today about Christine Katsock's intentions. Is she running for city council or isn't she? In short, you sure got me.

She runs for something or other during every election cycle, but she seemed to be a bit dispirited after her loss to Eddie Day Pashinski. With that said, she still has a campaign finance committee listed as being active by the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections. She certainly has a ton of name recognition built up at this point, so you'd have to figure her to be a front-runner if she chose to run. But so far, nothing.

We'll know soon enough, because the last day to circulate positions for any candidate in any local race is Tuesday, March 6. Hand 'em in by 4:30 pm, or kiss 'em goodbye.

We shall see.

Like all grandstanding, self-appointed "activists," Tim Grier mistakenly believes that any publicity is good publicity. And he told me as much during a spirited e-mail exchange we had some months back. So, since he willingly provided his campaign flyer to the internet, I figured I'd publish it here, too.

Dear Neighbor,

Thank you for taking the time to read this note. I know it is a lot of information, but believe me, I wish I could fit more on the page. The Primary Election will be here soon, and there are a number of important issues affecting our community that you should consider before then. Instead of stuffing your mailbox full of slick advertisements designed to trick you into believing, this is my attempt to treat you as though you are my neighbor rather than just another number. I am hoping that when it comes to your government, you prefer to be treated like a person, not a consumer. Our current mayor wants you to believe in him and his administration, but to do this, he created an advertising campaign paid for with your tax dollars instead of providing you with all of the facts. I ask that you consider my words as you decide who you want to oversee the day-today affairs of the City of Wilkes-Barre.

The Problem:
Shortly after being elected, the mayor appointed a relative to the position of Chief of Police and violent crime in our city increased 39 percent. The mayor hired more police officers, which will one day cost the taxpayers a fortune in salaries, benefits and pensions. The hiring of those officers was the mayor's way to provide you with a sense of safety, but there is a better way. There is a lot of talk about crime going down, but if crime had not gone up so much, it would not have so far to come down.

My Solution:
There will be no nepotism at City Hall if I am elected. The mayor is related to more than one city employee. This sets a bad precedent. I will appoint a Chief of Police who is capable of managing our Police Department properly. This should have been done a long time ago. We have many good police officers. Personally, I believe it is the mismanagement of our Police Department and the relationship between the Mayor and the Chief of Police which are the reasons why we require so many officers. By appointing a qualified candidate to serve as Chief of Police, we will all benefit from the protections our Police Department can provide.

The Problem:
There are too many City administrators, directors and managers, and many of them are not earning what they are being paid. That is not to say we do not have some good people working for our city. We do. What we need are fewer 'chiefs' with bloated salaries and more hands-on employees who get the work done. The mayor's staff receives overwhelming salaries and benefits; the mayor himself will be entitled to an enormous pension should he be re-elected. Critical positions, like entry-level DPW jobs, are unfilled. Overtime is costing us a fortune now, and the pensions that will result from that overtime will cost us a bigger fortune down the road.

My Solution:
As a former United States Army Noncommissioned Officer, I understand and am willing to accept responsibility. I have first-hand experience being responsible for others and for millions of dollars of government property. I am not a career politician like our current mayor. I will cut the mayor's salary by $25,000 a year. I will never take a City pension, no matter how long I serve. By doing this, I will save you tens of thousands of dollars annually, which I will ensure is returned to you in the form of services you have been denied by our current mayor. I will see to it that only qualified candidates fill administrative positions, and I will seek to eliminate any unnecessary managerial jobs within our city government. I will ensure the positions needed to provide services to the residents are filled. I will expect those that are employed by the City to live up to the expectations we all have for people who are so greatly rewarded at the expense of the taxpayers.

The Problem:
Our current mayor attempted to profit from the September 11, 2001 tragedy. He wanted to build the largest memorial to 9/11 right here in Wilkes-Barre. Why? His assistant said the memorial would help increase tourism. That was a disturbing and heartless attempt by the mayor to use a tragedy in an effort to enrich his friends. It was an idea that showed us all who the mayor truly is and how far down he is willing to sink for a dollar.

My Solution:
I will use a portion of my own salary to pay for a modest Memorial to 9/11 and to our soldiers fighting the War on Terror. I will also seek to erect a Monument to Peace. If tourists come to see them, fine. If not, not, and so be it. At least our city's children, our neighbors and everyone in the world will know that we value peace more than greed, and unlike our current mayor, I will not be exploiting anyone's death for a profit.

There are many more problems affecting our city that our mayor, a career politician with a desire for a full city pension, is either the cause of or doing nothing to prevent. I will provide solutions. Your tax dollars are being used to build more infrastructure which we do not have residents or tax dollars to support. Mismanaged real estate transactions are costing us hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. If they are unable to fill all of the buildings the mayor is helping build with our tax dollars, we will be on the hook. Did you know that the City used Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency funds to help pay for cost overruns associated with the 'free' concert in Kirby Park? That money should have gone toward assisting the homeowners in our city who are constantly plagued by flooding during times of heavy rain. Our current mayor says we are seeing progress, but what we are seeing is borrowing now to create a City that we will have to pay for later. I am hoping you manage to see through his smokescreen and cannot be bought so cheaply ¨C with a paved road, a movie theater, and a bookstore. Our mayor has squandered money that could have bought much, much more.

I will work with our elected leaders in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. to ensure that the taxes that have gone to those two cities continue to return to us in the form of grants. I will ensure that money is properly used. I will conduct an audit of the financial transactions that our city government was involved in over the last four years, and if anything is amiss, I will ask Senator Casey to uphold his campaign promise to bring to an end the political corruption that plagues Northeast Pennsylvania. I will seek to have those who are responsible for the misuse of taxpayers¡¯ funds to be held fully accountable. I will set an example of good government. Our current mayor is the biggest roadblock when it comes to true progress for Wilkes-Barre. Responsible government is what this city desperately needs more than anything. I hope that you are as interested as I am in seeing us head in this progressive direction.

In order to acquire much of the information in this letter, I had to invest a great deal of my time attending numerous city council meetings and making many trips to City Hall and to the County Courthouse to obtain documents detailing the current administration's misspending. The local papers refer to me as a critic of the current administration, and while I certainly am critical of the misspending, I believe that I am more of a taxpayer watchdog than anything else. I hope you understand my concern and appreciate my effort, and on Election Day, May 15th, I hope that you will remember these efforts and my name and vote to clean up Wilkes-Barre City Hall.


Tim Grier

Okay, my turn.

What was that God-awful filth? A 1,000-word rambling accusation? Ambrose Meletsky is no doubt spinning in place right now.

What Tim proves time and again is that he is long on incendiary accusations, but woefully short on evidence. But in his world, accusations are proof enough is he's the one doing the accusing. He's always right, just ask him when he's not hiding behind the jukebox.

And the more he shares with all of us, the more it becomes obvious that he holds the very voters he is now glad-handing in contempt. Why, if we were all near as brilliant as him, the world would be a better place. You see, it was our inattention in the first place that led to the ruin that lies all around us. But fear not, while he teaches us, berates us and insults in the same breath, he will personally fix everything that is wrong with America. He is a superhero on steroids, but sans the cape. Capes cost money.

The problem:

This fledgling political Superman is long on inflammatory accusations, but as short on evidence as he is experience, qualifications and meaningful employment skills. Anecdotal incriminations are basically all that he has to offer. He is a political leviathan in his own swirling mind.

My solution:

Vote for an adult instead.

You're welcome, Tim.

Glad I could help, 'cause any publicity is good publicity.

From the e-mail inbox ...­this tomb contained the remains of Jesus.

You mean he actually existed?? (That's a joke.) When the Pope starts making movies, James Cameron can start teaching Theology. Hey ¨C while he's at it, maybe he can tell us why Joseph suddenly disappears from the Gospels. Did he (a) die, (b) get divorced, (c) decide this Messiah thing was too much to handle and simply wander off? If Jesus had a son and wanted to name him after his father, would he call the boy 'Joseph' or 'God'? Inquiring mind wants to know.

Tom the Heretic

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Today's thought:

Don't do anything that will scandalize the children or stampede the cattle.

Visit me at: http://northfranklin.blogspot.com

James Cameron is in big, big trouble. He's in trouble with the faithful for deviating from the sacred teachings. And he's in bigger trouble with the pinko freaks in Hollywood for suggesting that Jesus did exist.

So no matter how many tickets he sells and how many billions his future releases might earn, he will never win another award from his peers in Hollywood. He's toast.

As far as questions about the Gospel are concerned, boy!, are you asking the wrong guy or what? I couldn't tell the Big Bang theory from a psalm. I'm such a complete heathen, even the bisexual Goths practicing Wiccan look down on me.