3-15-2007 Idiot Row

I once investigated the sources of donations to the downtown soup kitchen. What I wanted to know was how many of this areaís most recognizable people donate to that daily hangout for parolees, indigents, idiots and homeless alcoholics. After a bit of digging, I discussed what I had learned with a local politico very, very high on the food chain. The discussion was very short-lived as I was told, ďDonít go there,Ē meaning donít mess with the movers and shakers.

Personally, I fail to see the philanthropic benefits of subsidizing a constant drain upon our emergency services resources. If a had a dime for every time the cops or paramedics are dispatched to that soup kitchen, Iíd be one of those movers and shakers you all grumble about. And donít give me any bunk about being a hard-hearted Republican bastard. I have both eyes and a police scanner, and neither of them fail me.

I alluded to this yesterday, but now weíre hearing the same thing from a property owner with a sizable stake in that troubled former neighborhood.

From the Times Leader:

Landlord rethinks stake in W-B neighborhood

After pumping thousands of dollars into properly lighting and bringing the apartments up to code, the alleged beating death Wednesday has Gildea rethinking her stake in that downtown neighborhood. The homicide took place in one of Gildeaís two properties that housed non-students.

Gildea will consider selling her apartments to a neighboring developer or tearing down the buildings and marketing the lots as potential parking when the current leases expire in June.

ďMy intention is to destroy it or sell it to somebody else who will tear them down,Ē she said. ďI just donít think itís fair for somebody to pay me to live in a building where they feel uncomfortable.Ē

The streetís proximity to the St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen on Jackson Street made the makeup of the community a mix of homeless people and students. Gildea said the homeless would often break into the neighboring Mary MacIntosh building for shelter, which is upsetting to some residents.


The streetís proximity to the St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen on Jackson Street made the makeup of the community a mix of homeless people and students.

Granted, she rented to a convicted murderer, but thatís but a footnote in the story of what was once a viable neighborhood, which is now a veritable no manís land.

At a very early age, I taught both of my daughters how to defend themselves. I taught them how to box, and I also taught them that most people never except to get kicked in the face, among other places. And as they changed from being little girls into nubile young women, I also taught them how to arm themselves. I taught them to be aware of their surroundings at all times, and how easy it can be to use someoneís intoxication, weight, long hair, baggy clothes, etc. against them if they get to assaulting you. There are a few boys that attended Dodson School that will attest to the fact that my girls can defend themselves if need be.

With that said, my hope was that neither of my girls would ever feel the need to defend themselves. But with cute little college girls walking past that idiot magnet of a soup kitchen to get to their parked cars on North Street at all hours of the day, how safe do you think those girls really feel? How safe are those girls? And as a parent, would you want your cute little daughter sauntering past there a couple of times a day? I know I wouldnít.

Straight up, when the recruiters from Kings College lead the parents of prospective students through this city on a tour, do you think they purposely avoid that soup kitchen area at all costs?

Methinks they do.

The urban planning experts tell us that no downtown can thrive without an indigenous population of itís own. No downtown is supportable if it is not a thriving neighborhood unto itself. Yet, weíve got an uninhabitable void at the northern edge of our downtown which, with itís current state, will never be recognized as a demilitarized zone.

Sure, most of the properties in that area could do with some fixing up, but will anyone invest in those properties with bums sleeping on crumbling porches, drinking below all available overhangs, urinating everywhere possible and steeling the aluminum siding off of abandoned buildings? I bicycle through that area at least twice every single day, and thereís no way Iíd ever consider living there. Although, if it wasnít an idiot magnet, and with itís close proximity to a rebounding downtown, a scenario could arise where young professionals, senior citizens and interchangeable college students would consider living there.

Troubled neighborhoods can be turned around. But if a troubled neighborhood has a neon sign advertising freebies with no questions asked, the parolees, the indigents, the idiots and the homeless alcoholics will stake their claim to that neighborhood and it will not be user friendly for those of us that want only a safe and vibrant city in which to live.

The way I see it, with college girls and idiots mixing it up on a daily basis, it's only a matter of time before we suffer a highly regrettable mugging, rape or much worse. As a parent, would you want your cute little daughter sauntering past there a couple of times a day? Do you want your daughter navigating Idiot Row?

Answer me that.

HereĎs a documentary that will never see the light of day in the United States, the BBC 4ís ďThe Great Global Warming Swindle.Ē This video is longish, running 1 hour and 13 minutes. But if youíd like to hear climate scientists taking serious issue with the leftís new religion, this one will keep your interest.

So, without further adieuÖ

From the e-mail inbox Hi Mark

Took your "suggestion" started tuning into NPR, ESPN radio and Fox Sports Radio in the 6am to 9am time frame. Wow what a difference. I am much more relaxed and I found out you can get factual information on the radio. The best part --- no more screeching rhetoric.

Good Idea.


Much Happier in the Mornings

Ainít it great? I donít miss that shrill-sounding partisanship one bit. And youíre right, it is more relaxing to not be put off by the predictable shrieking every morning.

I listen to Sue Henry and I tolerate Mr. All-Inclusive himself, Steve Corbett.

From the e-mail inbox Following is the winning entry from an annual contest calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term.

This year's term:

Political Correctness

Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Let me know if it works.

From the e-mail inbox Mark,

I just got back from a Susquehanna Greenway Partnership Meeting and several items of interest were covered that I think you would find interesting.

Riverfest is almost a 100% certainty. It looks like there will be a new organization heading up the event with PEC playing a supportive role. With the new organization taking over it looks like the event will have no trouble continuing into the distant future.

There is going to be a new boat slip added along the east shore of the Susquehanna at the exact spot of the Knox Mine Disaster. It seems that during the construction of the Pittston to Wilkes-Barre Rail with Trail, they discovered the original monuments which were placed on top of the sealed mine and air shafts. Until being rediscovered, these monuments were covered in over 40 yrs of vegetation growth. A small park area will be constructed to properly highlight the monuments as well as to provide for a short stopping off point for users of the river or trail.

The Luzerne County portion of the Greenway is moving into full gear. If you check out the website youíll notice information in Luzerne Countyís section is pretty sparse. That is about to change.

A 16 page pocket sized river guide/map is about to go into production. It floats and is completely waterproof. It will highlight various river conditions, friendly stop off points and campsites, things to see and do in the numerous stops along the way, and highlights on the history and culture around each stop. Once the numerous errors are corrected Iíll try to get you a copy before it is released to the public.

Susquehanna Greenway Partnership


Iím psyched! As a river and a bicycling enthusiast, you couldnít have sent better news along if you tried. Although, I sent your e-mail along to Kayak Dude, and he responded as follows:

From the e-mail inbox Mark:

Find out if they will mark the exact spot of the whirlpools I know are there. We can check it out in June.

You first...

Me first?

Sure, stick me with the front seat, why donít you. Geronimo!!!

I remember the very first time I sat there as the kayak started slowly turning with that whirlpool, and all I know is I wanted to paddle like hell. Billions of gallons of water once rushed into the ground directly below that whirlpool, and I donít want to be sitting there when it decides to reopen.

All I know is, while some arenít too, too excited by news of connecting bike trails, new river inlets and mass kayak trips, I am and I am appreciate of the efforts of those that are very rarely recognized for the progress that they bring to this region.

Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead.