3-9-2007 Mr. & Mrs. Mayor?

The following story is fraught with so many “ifs,” you’d swear we were contemplating the chances of the Phillies winning the World Series. Wait. Let’s not talk crazy here. How ‘bout, the Phillies making the playoffs.

If Stets wins and if Urban loses, but if Urban wins and if Stets…

From the Times Leader:

Urban: Wife and I may both serve W-B

“I’m shocked that someone would make an issue out of marriage,” Urban said Wednesday. “I think people ought to be happy that two people are in love and are married.”

Huh? At the risk of sounding like a Gopher Indian, what him say?

Stets said there would “absolutely not” be a conflict.

From the Citizens’ Voice:

Election outcome could put Urban in bind

“I’m married to Linda. What’s the problem?” Urban asked. “The controller is not the watchdog of the mayor, he or she is the watchdog of the office. It’s not the person, it’s the job.”


Correct me if I’m missing something, but I think these two are actually serious. Seriously generous whereas ethics, or a lack thereof, might apply to them. But serious just the same.

Let’s do the “if” thing again. If Tom Leighton’s wife announced she was seeking the controller’s spot on election day, what would the usual, hyperventilating critics have to say about that? Any ideas? Better yet, what would Urban and Stets have to say about that?

Kevin Ackerman: What’s your reaction to the news that the mayor’s wife will seek the city’s controller position?

Urban: It’s a clear conflict of interest. No, no, no!

Stets: It’s a clear conflict of interest and the taxpayers should be outraged.

Griffith: It’s a clear conflict of interest and I’m going to start a referendum petition drive that would cut their salaries, eliminate their benefits and ban them from having spouses in the future.

Grier: It’s a clear conflict of interest and I’m considering suing the mayor’s wife, kids and pets.

Troy: It’s a clear conflict of interest and even if it wasn’t, I take a contrary position no matter what the heck they do.

Is any of that very far off?

Sorry, but what the newlyweds are spinning here is patently absurd, if not, outright poppycock. We either apply the same standards to everyone, or have none at all.

Sez me.

All I did this morning was step out onto the porch long enough to grab the newspaper and the bitter cold air that confronted me was enough to get me to chopping up the coffee table and burning it in the sink. It was, like, zero degrees out there. Brrr!

And before I could even get that frickin’ rubber band off the thing, the tone came over the scanner: “65 Butler Street…working structure fire…7:23.” It’s fire season.

Almost immediately came the call for a second alarm, and the fire engines were passing the adobe within a couple of minutes. Being that it was so cold, there was no way I was going to run around the corner for some pictures. But after I had my tea, I suited up and took a look for myself. Seemed to be minor in nature, as if any structure fire is actually minor in nature. Any flicker of flame inside of a structure has the potential to turn into a catastrophic event, but with the response times we’re treated to in this city, not many of our fires turn into the cataclysmic variety.

High taxes? Yep. A full-time, paid fire department? Yes sir. You get what you pay for, and what we’re getting is top-notch.

Fire forces 10 people from their Wilkes-Barre home

If I had anything to so with this after publishing the e-mail response I received from the lady organizing this year’s RiverFest, I am absolutely thrilled.

Today’s Times Leader editorial:

Initiatives that enhance river deserve support

After a cut in funding from the state Department of Environmental Protection, event organizers last year requested and received $15,000 from county commissioners. Julie A. McMonagle, director of the northeast region of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, said she’ll ask for another year of funding at Monday’s commissioners’ meeting.

Considering all the effort being put into getting people to walk near, see, appreciate and use the Susquehanna River, there should be broad encouragement and support for RiverFest and any other, similar initiatives.

And that doesn’t stop with county funding of the event, if commissioners deem it appropriate. We all need to get behind these initiatives. The media need to help make people aware of the status of the watery attributes and deficiencies. Municipalities adjacent to the Susquehanna should take part during these events, even if only modestly. And people too. We all need to get down to the river and enjoy it.

At the very least, I think both the city and the county should subsidize this event. And how about a corporate donation from the Times Leader itself?

This news is interesting.

School board favors repairs at city schools

The long and short of it is, if the renovations of the city’s existing high schools necessitate the borrowing of too, too much money, the ultimate fates of the three high schools would be put in our hands by way of a referendum question.

So which is it?

If left up to you, would you vote to renovate the existing high schools? Or would you be in favor of scrapping them and building a new centralized high school?

Obviously we can’t make that decision without first being provided with the cost estimates and such, but it is something worth chewing on.

Grenadiers, Mohawks and Crusaders? Or the Wilkes-Barre Area Breakers?

Oh, wait. I doubt that “The Breakers” would be deemed to be politically correct. Breakers suggests breaking things, as in, boyish behavior. And since our professional educators have taken to demonizing such behavior, that nickname just won’t work.

How ‘bout the Wilkes-Barre Area Cupcakes?

Yeah, that’s better.

I lifted the following from the Times Leader Web site.

Posted on Wed, Mar. 07, 2007

Rush hour slow due to snow covered roads; no plow seen on Wilkes-Barre DPW truck

Morning rush hour traffic moved at a slow pace Wednesday due to one to two inches of snow that covered roadways.

PennDOT said Interstates-80 and 81 in Luzerne County are wet and snow covered in both lanes of travel.

Snow covered Hazle and Park Avenues, the South Street Bridge and South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre. The city’s dump truck with the Bishop Hoban emblems was seen without a plow on the South Street Bridge spreading cinder on the roadway at about 8 a.m.

The National Weather Service in Binghamton, N.Y., said snow showers will continue until late this morning with the possibility of another half-inch of snow.

What is that? Barely a half-inch of snow fell, it melted away after being salted, so what’s with the “no plow” nonsense? Are we feeding the flames of discontent, or was this a shameless and ill-advised attempt at journalistic arson?

Man, oh man.

From the e-mail inbox Hi Mark –

I’m not sure if you remember me. We met years ago at the Ramada during one of Leighton’s campaign events. I worked for the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry then. Regardless, I wanted to thank you for mentioning my dad – Rick Cronauer – on your page. I’m an avid reader of the site and was thrilled to see you mention the campaigns.

The thing about my dad is that he’s new to the “political scene” around here. He’s lived in Wilkes-Barre nearly all of his life and operated a family-owned business since 1972. He’s wanted to run for council for years and was consistently told that it wasn’t the right time. This year, well, I think he got tired of a certain few determining who held the power in this town, and he made that decision for himself. My dad is the kind of man whose integrity precedes him, and he’s the most humble person you’d ever meet. Frankly, that’s why most people are shocked that he’s seeking a public office.

The truth is, he believes so sincerely in the future of this community and the potential of the Leighton administration, that he wants to be a part of it, just so that he knows he’s done everything he can to keep his family and friends here in Wilkes-Barre.

Of course I’m biased, but it just so happens that I’ve got more respect for my dad than for anyone I’ve ever met, and I’d do just about anything to see him earn what he deserves. He’s got some really great ideas, and we would love for you to join us at one of his campaign events. We’re still working out the final details, but if you’re willing, come and meet him. He’d love to talk to you.

Thank you again for the mention. Hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely –

Please excuse me for not remembering you, it’s just that I met so many people that day, my head was literally spinning. The really unique thing about that day was that none of the people I met were cursing at me, or threatening me.

I took the liberty of posting your e-mail because it provides an insight as to what your dad is about to the folks in the other voting districts that might not know him. While we may not be able to vote for him, at least we’ll have a clue as to what motivated him and the like.

As far as the get together is concerned, keep me in mind. I’d love to discuss all things Wilkes-Barre with him, or anyone else for that matter.

Welcome to the political scrum. Oh, and good luck.

One more week to go. One more week and we’ll be visited by Gage and Taylor all the way from Tennessee. We haven’t seen them (save for on the computer video link) since Thanksgiving, so we’re excited beyond belief. Plus, we still have that pile of unopened Christmas gifts waiting for all involved.

One more week.