3-13-2007 Wilkes-Barre: So easy a caveman can do it

I know I was annoyed when our new congressman from Dimock Township, Chris Carney, expressed his support for an inflatable dam at Wilkes-Barre. And as far as I was concerned, his statements on the dam suggested that he wasnít really well-read on the subject, so I was left to assume he was simply giving Paul Kanjorski some much-needed support as the proposed dam continues to languish on.

Turns out, our intrepid protector of the Susquehanna river, Kayak Dude, managed to fill Congressman Carneyís ear for a full half-hour and bring him up to speed on this most dubious of projects.

To read Kayak Dudeís account of the meeting, follow this link to Susquehanna River Sentinel.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

This is a direct shout out to the e-mailer who took me to task for, as he put it, name-calling.

I am not, nor will I ever be, a candidate for elected office. And if I think certain political interlopers are clueless or what have you, I am completely within my rights to say as much. But once these people seek out the political spotlight, they too are subject to close scrutiny as a means of determining their credibility, or lack thereof. They are fair game. It goes with the territory, champ.

But, when someone on the political stage resorts to name-calling and, or libelous and slanderous attacks, thatís a whole other story. If they canít conduct themselves with dignity, and lack an appreciation of the rules of decorum, or any semblance of proper protocol, they are crossing a line over which no responsible voter should accept them back.

So, tell your preferred candidate that if they canít stand the political heat they sought out to run off to the relative safety of the sidelines and hang with the rest of the thin-skinned pretenders.

And as to my credibility, it is not an issue. Iím just some (insert insulting adjective) fool who writes stuff on the internet. I canít bankrupt your city, and I wouldnít even if I did run for office and win. Because, much unlike your candidate, I have tons of experience in the private sector. Iíve prepared budgets. Iíve been in the black at the end of the fiscal years. As a matter of fact, my last corporate taskmaster demanded 30% pure profits from me, and I was able to meet those goals when properly supported by said taskmasters.

Whether you want to believe it or not, experience counts for a lot.

Sorry, but ďWilkes-Barre: So easy a caveman can do itĒ just isnít going to cut it as a campaign slogan, or as an approach to managing a third class city.

And just so you know, your stated candidate of choice sports an unearned grandiosity about himself that is an affront to those of us with tangible skills, experiences and resumes.

So, piss off.

Recently I conducted a massive audit of the archives here at Wilkes-Barre Online. Not internet archives, but newspaper clippings, campaign materials, invites, correspondences, and all sorts of memorabilia that no rational person would bother to hang on to.

What I was thinking of doing was my own version of the Times Leaderís ďSomewhere in timeĒ series, where I would post old newspaper articles that would remind us just how far Wilkes-Barre had sunk before the last major election cycle put a stop to that most rapid and shocking of descents. I found a lot of good stuff, so soon enough weíll be taking a stroll down distressed memory lane.

During the course of this one-man audit, I found mention after mention of this Web site in various newspaper articles, as well as those now-defunct and completely anonymous SAYSO tirades the Times Leader used to inflict upon us. So I started putting them aside for a more personalized trip down memory lane.

Anyway, this Times Leader story written by Steve Mocarsky that was published on April 22, 2002 caught my eye. Hereís an excerpt:

ďCour said in a telephone interview he had to increase the siteís band width to accommodate more hits from readers. An automatic counter on his site boasts more than 10,000 visitors in the past 16 months.Ē

10,000 visitors in 16 months? Do the math, thatís not many hits. Although, back then, I guess that wasnít all that bad when you consider that just about nobody looked to the internet for alternative voices on the local scene. Still, that ainít much internet traffic when compared to the newfangled bloggers who all link to each other in an attempt to build more and more and more traffic. These days, itís a brave new cyber world.

With that said, the three different versions of this site combined recently passed the 400,000 hit threshold. And last time I bothered to check, the page views were well in excess of 2,000,000. And when we consider that it took almost a year and a half to pass a paltry 10,000 hits, I guess this electronic oasis of mine has definitely commanded a sizeable following over the past few years. Still, I canít help to wonder how many hits I could have generated if I had just stopped pissing everybody off. Too late now.

My daughter went and bought me this huge $25 scrapbook so I could save all of my press clippings, but I filled it already, and I have more newspaper clippings yet to be included in the Wilkes-Barre Online Hall of Fame/Shame.

All I know is, itís been fun. Itís been challenging. Itís been a creative outlet. Itís been a burden. Itís been rewarding. Itís been tiresome. Itís been an adventure. In hindsight, I figure itís been worth doing. And itís been what it always was: Just me being me. Love me, hate me, or chase me through town, itís probably all well-deserved. All I know is, I still enjoy doing it. And until those hits start drying up, I might as well keep on being me.

And so, I apologize in advance for that which is still to come. No further apologies will be forthcoming.

Thanks, kiddies. Iím not sure if weíve made any kind of difference together, but trying like all hell has been an experience I will always treasure.

From the e-mail inbox Thank God! I thought it was me! A small majority of the crowed at the parade seemed to be a bit hostile or maybe it was just the people up at our end. Reviewing your online pictures I noticed we were just a few yards away from where you were standing. I had some loud mouth obese woman screaming at my daughter to move out of her way, not once but a few times. While she sat there in her folding chair curb side, I had given her the old three strikes and your out deal. The third time I flared off on her and she looked up at me, seen what she was dealing with and moved along. The best one was when I overheard some dude in his pajama shorts with a short cigar hanging onto his lip like a growth, obviously not from our area, state to a vendor... "since the parade is almost over what kind of deal you gunna give me." I was seriously waiting for a deal to go down and then I was going to turn around and demand a percentage of the $43.00 we spent when the parade began.
Overall, the parade was fantastic! I was surprised to see such a turnout.

The attendance at the various parades has definitely increased during the past few years. The thing is, it seems we need to have some crowd control measures put into place for future events. When we attended the Christmas parade last year, we ran into the same problem with the crowd constantly surging forward into the street, and leaving the less agile kiddies stuck in the rear. And at numerous times the parade organizers and police officers alike had to instruct the crowd to move back from practically the middle of the street.

The way I see it, youíre supposed to watch the parade, not reach out and touch it.

Not to worry, though. I talked to a certain mayor yesterday afternoon, and he said the city is considering itís crowd control options for future parade events. So, we can get there early, plant the little kids at the very edge of the police tape line and leave those ignorant adults somewhere back there behind us where they rightfully belong.

I have to tell you, I can just picture you flaring off on some ignorant lard-ass. And when it comes to flaring at people, youíre just too damned big to be ignored.

Iím jealous.

Somebody asked me what I think about this illegal immigration trial the City of Hazelton is currently undergoing in a Scranton courtroom.

Well, with the Fedrule Govmint refusing to protect our borders, diversity is coming to a neighborhood near you. Get used to it. I guess the only thing that will prevent that diversity from spreading into some communities is prohibitively higher property values. In other words, this countyís cities will become more and more ethnically diverse, and sooner than some might think, and sooner than some would like.

The one thing about the trial that puts me off is how quickly the race card has been played by way of anecdotal evidence. Another problem I have is with people claiming they are too intimidated to testify in person.

The way I look at diversity coming to my neighborhood is if theyíre here legallyÖwell, then welcome to the block party! Party on! As I said previously, at last yearís event we had whites, blacks, Uzbeks, some folks from Belize and the most foreign of the foreigners--some local politicians. No matter what your point of origin, if you can act civilly, if you donít touch my stuff and if you like nasty loud guitars, weíre going to hit it off.

But there is this disturbing trend wherein, if you play the race card in a loud and grotesque manner long enough, you can then say and do whatever the f>k you want. In other words, even the certifiably illegal aliens have a shot if they first dismiss our legitimate arguments and concerns as being the arguments of hateful bigoted racists straight out of Mississippi.

Think about it. If I disagree with any of you local white folks, you can and do call me, among other things, an asshole. But if I disagree with, or take issue with any Latino folk, well, then Iím called a bigot, a racist or maybe even the Imperial Wizard of Nord End. Fact is, Iíd never be able to associate with any klansmen, Ďcause wifey would freak if I got to cutting up our fitted sheets.

As far as Barletta v. Mexico goes, Iím not going to get all riled up about it. The way I see it, the system is working the way itĎs supposed to. Legislation was drawn, redrawn and then redrawn some more. It is being challenged in the courts and I await the ultimate decision and the ramifications sure to follow.

Thereís no need to disparage Lou Barletta simply because youíre a devotedly loyal apparatchik from the opposing political party. Thereís no need to defile Lou Barletta simply because youíre a bed-wetting sixties survivor with a perpetually bleeding heart. And thereís no need to vilify Lou Barletta without really knowing what motivates him. Itís his city, itís his constituency, itís his legislation and itís his court fight to prosecute. All we need to do is control our emotions and await the decision.

And then we can argue about that.

Required reading from the NEPA Business Journal:

Recommendation: To create 'neighborhoods of choice,' mixed housing keyĒ

Ethnic diversity from immigration is a reality in today's cities. The Brookings report states that the American population increased by 33 million from 1990-2000, and immigration accounted for almost 35 percent of this growth.

ItĎs good to see that at least one of the many political neophytes running for a city council seat understand that while councilmen may have many duties and responsibilities, their power is somewhat limited in a strong mayoral form of home rule government.

As a council hopeful, itís frightfully easy to make tantalizing promises. But delivering upon them might prove to be difficult if and when the folks making the promises find themselves holding the gavel.

It would also be helpful to the cityís eventual future if the voters themselves understood just how few of the campaign promises they might hear are based on reality.

They tell us to vote smart, and what Charlotte has done is to provide us with some crucial info that will make it easier for us to cut through the electoral fog.


As a member of the Wilkes-Barre City Charter Review Commission and a candidate for Wilkes-Barre City Council, I think it is extremely important for not only the voters but all city council candidates to be aware of the duties, responsibilities and limitations of council members.

Advertisement As with any other job, the employer and the employee should be familiar with the job description.

Wilkes-Barre has a strong mayoral form of government. City council is the legislative branch of the government. According to the city charter, city council essentially makes ordinances, approves or disapproves the budget, and is the watchdog for the city government because it has the ability to conduct investigations, audits or studies of the affairs of the city.

While city councilís duties are very significant, its power is limited. Council members cannot hire police, firemen or department of public works employees, have streets plowed or paved, have bridges fixed, or enact clutter clean-up campaigns. These responsibilities belong to the mayor, who heads all of the departments in the city.

To read the exact wording, a copy of the city charter can be obtained at city hall or view on my Web site at Charlotte Raup for City Council

Charlotte Raup

Well, itís delightfully warm outside, so wifey is holiday decorating again. If I manage to find the seldom-used ammo for my handgun, this might be the last thing Iíll ever post on the internet.