3-25-2007 Termite time

As of tomorrow my job will be shifting into extremely high gear, as those subterranean buggers are beginning to reemerge after a long, but mild winter. If anyone needs to contact me, they will need to try e-mail first, and the cell phone second. The land line wonít do it. So you know.

Also, as things overheat at work, this internet gibberish will be relegated to the back burner, so not only will I be posting less, there may be a significant lag time between when you e-mail me and when I respond. Thatís where Iím at.

Remember, some of us internet crazies actually have jobs.

IĎve been following this growing ďChannel 61Ē brouhaha up Scranton way, only because it may or may not provide us with a glimpse of Wilkes-Barreís future.

I donít live in Scranton, so the names of the players mean nothing to me, but letís just suffice it to say that the city council meetings up in that neck of the mine-scarred woods have been televised donnybrooks for quite some time now. The politicos have long blamed the activists for making those meetings far less than civil or productive, but it seems to me that the politicos are supposed to retain order, not the citizens. Summer Bachmanís approach to controlling drunken customers comes to mind: Do you want a quiet bar, or a rowdy bar? Pick one.

Judging by the most recent goings-on, it seems the politicos up north like it good and rowdy.

Now some councilwoman has upped and cancelled a scheduled council meeting after disclosing that she was the recipient of ďimplied threatsĒ posted at Doherty Deceit.com. She also ordered the immediate removal of Channel 61ís television cameras from councilís chambers. I explored the message boards at that site, as well as listened to three solid hours of Scranton residents railing against that cityís administration on Radio Free Corbett yesterday afternoon, and the outrage is universal. Scranton residents are beside themselves angry, and promising to turn the next council meeting into possibly the biggest dustup to date.

I found nothing resembling a threat at Doherty Deceit, but I have seen some fairly ugly stuff posted on that site in the past. Not criticisms, not accusations, more like open calls to stalk the elected officials in Scranton. Not cool.

Lately, it seems as if the activists in this city have adopted much more hostile tactics as to how they approach their elected leaders. Where once the activists would rail against excessive spending, high outstanding debts or inordinately high salaries, now they resort to incendiary name-calling and no one is spared being labeled as corrupt. No one. To listen to them tell it, the purchasing of paper clips at city hall smacks of corruption and nepotism.

Our city council meetings used to be civil, but no more. Now our meetings seem to be following Scrantonís disturbing model, and the activists who purposely dispensed with courtesy and civility as part of their self-serving politicking decry the lack of civility when the politicos grow weary of the constant barrages of inflammatory accusations. Imagine that. They pick a fight and then contemn those who gave them exactly what they wanted.

Personally, Iím of the opinion that our council meetings should be televised. Although, I seriously doubt that very many residents would actually watch them. When there is nothing of any great importance on the agenda, nobody bothers to attend them. So am I to believe that televising our city council meetings would appreciatively increase the involvement of the cityís electorate? Iím not buying into that.

The politicos from Scranton claim that once the cameras were installed at city hall, the meetings started to slip out of their control as the usual activists started playing for the cameras. Gone were the decorum and the protocol, as vitriolic grandstanding for the television audience quickly began. Thatís what theyíre telling us.

Of course, the activists are saying the removal of the cameras is proof that their city government is trying to squash dissent, silence the people and all sorts of things generally accepted as reasonable ways of conducting government business as prescribed by the former KGB. And with of those lines drawn, can anyone actually step forward and return some civility to any future meetings? And can those meetings be remotely productive at all given that everyone involved is just itching for a bigger, better and more highly publicized fight?

Is this what the future has in store for governing in Wilkes-Barre?

If you ask me, it seems like it.

Can Wilkes-Barreís most recognizable bomb throwers and name-callers restrain themselves with a television audience to play to, when they can barely control their regrettably hateful invective without one? If you think the unwarranted accusations are flying now, what can we expect when the activists don makeup and get to posing for the cameras with their good sides only? It sounds to me as if the cameras will only serve to further devolve our council meetings into becoming completely unproductive bouts of near pandemonium.

And to disagree with me is to state your belief that our current crop of activists are not often given to launching into incendiary tirades for the sole purpose of self-promotion. Seriously, these people are to restrained what Andrew Dice Clay is to being gentlemanly. These people document their bombastic charges about as often as flying monkeys come to Wilkes-Barre in search of red slippers. Admit it, Ambrose Meletsky they arenít!

So, would televising our council meetings only encourage more discourteousness, more tumult and more flaring nostrils? Or would that be a valuable tool by which Wilkes-Barre residents could more closely monitor the goings-on of city government? Methinks the former would quickly become the case. Me do.

The bigger question is, would anyone even bother to watch?

I doubt it.

From the e-mail inbox Hi Mark,

If you ever get discouraged about lack of decorum at Wilkes-Barre city council meetings you may want to check out this site.

Deeze Meadins

Scranton city council has unfortunately been cancelled tonight and this guy has much to do with it. The arrested development video is a show stopper. Ray jumped the shark. I enjoy the blogs and the grandkid pics.

Best Regards,

Thanks for the videos. Weíve got one of those down here, too. He thinks heís a ďvideo justiceĒ warrior of some sort. Basically, heís some unemployed guy with way too much time on his hands, always rambling on and on about how his government is doing him wrong. Proof that having a satisfying career keeps you from getting all bitter about your predicament in life.

Hey, you guys sure do spell funny up Scranton way. I always spelled ďdeezeĒ with two Zs. Huh. Go figure.

IĎll not post anymore e-mails about this spat between myself and the latest anonymous blogger to enter the fray.

I will say this. Iíve been called every name in the book by every which anonymous source, and I am yet to develop an ulcer, go bald, go gray, or stick my head in the oven. Trust me, even if I choose to respond to these prevarications from time to time, itís really no sweat off of my jock. And while I do enjoy them, thereís no sense keeping on with it until itís a Hatfield & McCoy thing destined to play itself out over generations.

The guy said his piece, I said mine and no cops were needed. Iím thinking these internet scrums are mostly victimless.

But if somebody thinks they are going to turn their computer on and tell me I am banned from discussing what goes on in my own neighborhood, they are probably inhaling too much of something or other. Iím thinking balsa sealer, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, enough with all of that.

From the e-mail inbox Dear Seeker After TruthÖ

The only reader comments on any blog in this area worth taking seriously come from the one and only guy willing to attach his name to his words -- Tom Carten. Kudos to him.

With amazement, I ponder your kind words toward me. I have considered you the prime blogger of the area, at least as having an eye on all things Wilkes-Barre and speaking your signed mind. Not that I agree with you any fair percent of the time (ha ha, fat chance), but anyone with an ounce of intelligence should listen closely to all sides, as there is wisdom available from many sources you may not agree with.

Rather than blowing off the opposition, we should hear, consider and digest their thoughts. Maybe not swallow them whole, but find points of agreement or even concepts we had not imagined before. There is much to be learned and we do so only by opening our mind to welcome, however temporary, philosophies we do not ordinarily sleep with.

Tom Carten

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

As always, you are correct as far as keeping an open mind goes. But, is it not foolishness to endorse candidates, and then condemn others for doing the same? And is it not also outright foolishness to suggest that identifying with a candidate or a politician and his policies makes oneís opinion too biased and it should be summarily dismissed out of hand? If thatís the case, that Iím too biased, am I still allowed to vote?

As our new internet god says: Blessed are they who shut up.

You again?

From the e-mail inbox Dear Seeker After Truth:

I was sitting here, enjoying a mug of hot steaming tea and pondering the mysteries of the universe when it struck me. The Latinos are not the area's first illegal immigrants; the blacks were. Well, they were Negroes in those days and they arrived via the Underground Railroad.

"Now arriving on Track One, courtesy of some very brave and open-minded white people, are a handful of southern negroes, newly escaped from their captors. They are illegal and you can be held liable for sheltering them." (At least I think the locals could be held.)

In recent days, it's been the other way around. People coming here illegally are not welcomed and those who sheltered them, rentals though it be, could be fined.

Maybe time makes a difference.

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

In many instances, time does make a discernable difference. Then again, this is the area where conversations about race relations start exclusively with the following intro:

ďNow, Iím not a racist, butÖĒ

Hayna, or no?

From the e-mail inbox Good MorningÖ

Saturday March 24, 2007, 7:30 am a neighbor called and stated that the local televised news station, WBRE-28 is running a story that a body was discovered at the rear of someoneís very close to my residents. When I inquired about the story, WBRE stated it was discovered somewhere off Kidder Street on Jenks Lane. They declined to comment till further investigation was completed.

Letís take a look at this situation from my point of view. I have two children who play on that lane. I waited till noon to watch the news and still no comments or press releases were made regarding a body being discovered on Jenks Lane. I tuned in at six and still no comments on the situation. Here, I find that no other news station is running a story on this issue.

I must say, at this time I am very upset with the way this is being addressed to the public. I understand if there were any harm to the residents the police would make some kind of statements. I feel like I am being kept in the dark. I feel like our local police department is basically telling me to mind my own business. I understand there may be a reason for keeping this under raps till the investigation gets underway but this is making my family sit on pins and needles whenever the children walk out the door. Am I to wait for the children to get involved in some sort of mishap, be abducted, or get caught in crossfire before being informed of an issue in my area?

Not too long ago I had a drug deal go down in back of my home, on Jenks Lane. How did I know it was a drug dealÖ I am 100% sure the one scruffy dude wasnít selling penny candy to the other scruff in the middle of the street approximately eight feet away from my kids. I had just pulled come home from work and stood along side my truck and watched the transaction happen not too far away from me. I confronted the two individuals involved and called the police. As soon as I identified what was going on to the scruffs, they walked away at an extremely fast pace. About five minutes later a patrol car arrived and wanted a description. They never caught the pair, but I never seen them on the lane after that.

A few days ago I was channel surfing and come across a Philadelphia news station where they were displayed officers enforcing 100 search warrants knocking in doors and making batch arrests. I sure hope someone from our local Police Department seen this. I would bet anything this area will be flooded with these scruffs and there dirty business as soon as they get out of jail. If you recall, the last time Philadelphia did a sweep it seems we ended up with a few of there issues.

I really would like to see police officers assigned foot patrols or bicycle patrols in pairs. Even if it's one day out of the week. But also make sure they have a car for backup on standby when needed. One section of the city a night would make everyone feel better. You intend to see more from a bike or when walking.

We saw that report last night and wondered aloud about just where the heck Jenks Lane is at. Now we know.

I donít know what to tell you about the cops being tight-lipped, but Iím sure they have their reasons. Although, I can see why you and yours would want to know as soon as humanly possible. Itís not everyday that a body shows up out back.

I am a huge proponent of bicycle patrols, only because, as an avid cyclist, I know how completely stealthy they can be when need be. Whatís my latest tally, 16 arrests? If the city would deputize me and pay me something close to minimum wage, Iíd be more than happy to patrol the streets on my bicycles after dark. Maybe I could start a new Crime Watch division, the mobile stealth patrols, or something. I dunno.

What needs to be seriously addressed is the out-of-control spread and use of illegal narcotics. In my neck of the woods, weíve had two armed home invasions in the past couple of weeks, and the most recent one was in retaliation for the first. An 18-year-old white girl from Larksville running around with an AK-47? Man, something is very, very wrong.

Thatís assuming these armed invasions werenít in response to misplaced CDs, or stolen hair care products. Seriously, as drug use continues to escalate, in realistic terms, no one is safe. Whoís to say the little girl with the automatic weapon doesnít make an unscheduled appearance at your house after being given the wrong address? The idiots who invaded the Darling Street residence hit the wrong house, so, am I next? Are you? The only thing Iím growing is a Venus Fly Trap, but I guess that could be confused with marijuana plants if somebody smokes enough crack.

And to think that both of my teenaged daughters used to constantly yap off about me supposedly drinking too much. I used to remind them that, as a society, weíve got much bigger problems than the guys who sit home throwing empty beer bottles at the television every time Jeff Gordon spins somebody out. You know, I often fantasize about his car sliding upside down on itís roof for about 2,000 yards while fully engulfed in flames. Does that make me a bad person?

Know what? With damn near every crime committed being tied to illegal drugs, itís going to get to the point when crimes of passion, or crimes borne of greed will seem downright refreshing. What? He killed his trophy wife for the insurance money? Damn! Thatís different.

I really wish the feds would get serious about drug interdiction by putting the big clampdown on our porous borders already. Talk about a clear dereliction of duty. Whew boy! Until they do that, our overstretched cops will be chasing after the druggies for the foreseeable future. And as the availability of narcotics increases, so will the occurrence of violent crimes. I hate to say it, but weíre probably lucky it hasnít been worse.

See shall see.

Check that deadbolt before you slink off to bed, okay?