4-13-2007 Puppet-masters no more

It‘s been a brutal week at work. Not only am I covering all of Luzerne County, thanks to a termination, I am also going to be covering all of Lackawanna County throughout 2007. I’m tired. My hands are so dried-out from being covered with concrete dust, they are cracked, bleeding in spots and painful to the touch. Although, during the past week I have earned $1,000 in bonuses alone, so, I’ll live.

I’ve been tuned to WILK all week long, and I am telling you I am sick and tired of Imus. Talk about beating a subject to death. Holy jumpin’ orangutan farts! What a joke. Completely unlike the disparate minorities forever making claim to victimhood status, when the white man says something stupid, the white man pays the price. The end.

Give it a rest.

Mayor Tom Leighton has himself a re-election Web Site.

Re-elect Mayor Leighton

In addition, he’s got the following fantastic news courtesy of the Times Leader:

W-B attains credit rating, mayor says

Yes the new theater complex is nice,” Leighton said. “And so are the other developments downtown like the Barnes & Noble store and the new lighting and the hiring of 21 new police officers. But this news we received (Wednesday) is by far our biggest accomplishment in my three and one-half years as mayor. This is a proud time for all of us.”

“This process has been ongoing for more than three years,” Leighton said. “During that time we have had to make a lot of difficult and unpopular decisions, all of which were done under the watchful eyes of Wall Street. But now we can look forward to a brighter financial future.”

Leighton said some of the decisions that had to be made included closing two firehouses and reducing staff. “We couldn’t even get insurance,” Leighton said. “We had to go to Wall Street and plead and beg. But with the cooperation of council, we are coming back. I’m ecstatic that this city has finally gotten its financial credibility back.”

This is the part of the financial equation that the howling critics had either lost sight of, or never understood in the first place. Yes, we needed to balance the budgets, finish the fiscal years in the black, pay off the overdue debts from the previous administration and be generally thrifty whereas emergency spending was concerned. The city was operating in the black for the past three years, but there was still some frightfully important unfinished business left to take care of.

The Times Leader story mentioned that we’re “on the road to financial recovery.” What those who were so loudly advocating the spending of scant revenues on this, that and damn near everything never came to grips with was that while we may have been paying our bills in a timely manner, the city was not in a position to be spending willy nilly style every time somebody went and got a political axe to grind.

Another new firehouse would be wonderful. More firefighters on the payroll would be desirable. On and on it goes, and where the spending stops nobody knows when the activists are telling the tale.

But as he said all along, Mayor Leighton promised to make the tough decisions--the unpopular decisions--until the day finally came when Wilkes-Barre was no longer considered a financial pariah to the many watchful financial institutions.

So, visit his new Web site and send your heartfelt apologies along.


I knew this one was in the works but as I had previously hinted at, I was just too pooped to post.

City council seat endorsement divisive

WILKES-BARRE – Political controversy continues to build as the May 15 primary approaches, already splitting the Democrats for the city council seat in District E.

This comes after the 6th Legislative District Committee for the Democratic Party endorsed candidates Tuesday night at Mayor Tom Leighton’s campaign headquarters. All endorsements were made by 28 members of the committee after contenders from District E and D pitched for positions.

The committee unanimously endorsed Mike Merritt for the incumbent-free District E, although the other four candidates were against any endorsement in their district.

Except for Merritt, the remaining aspirants, Virgil Argenta, Ron Silkosky and Charlotte Raup, pitched for no endorsement. Frank Mattello Jr., who did not pitch at the meeting, also did not want any endorsement.

But Merritt’s approval didn’t surprise the remaining candidates.

“You got five people and someone’s related,” said Raup, president of the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition. “Who do you think they picked.”

Candidates of District E believe that Merritt is a relative of William Brace, the chairman of the district committee.

Candidates of District E believe that Merritt is a relative of William Brace, the chairman of the district committee. (???)

Do newspaper reporters do any homework at all anymore?

Fact: The District E endorsement went to Bill Brace’s relative by marriage.

Fact: The other candidates suspected…um, knew damn well the endorsement would go to Bill Brace’s relative.

Fact: The endorsement means little or nothing to the educated voters not prone to being mindless myrmidons who typically vote as the 6th Legislative District Committee commands them to by way of hollow endorsements.

In fact, to those of us that absolutely detest the thought of pulling that straight party lever, or voting for only the anointed candidates, this particular endorsement is an insult to our intelligence. Explain to us in great detail how Mike Merritt stands heads and shoulders above the other candidates in this district. ‘Splain it.

Nothing against him, but after reading about him in the local newspapers, it’s painfully obvious Mike Merritt is no more qualified than I am. So, if I ran, do we honestly believe I’d get the endorsement over the district chairman’s kinfolk? If you believe that, I’d like to sell you some patented Rosie O’Donnell diet snacks. They work really, really well.

Weeks ago I asked 2 people very high on the political food chain who they would prefer to see elected to a city council seat from District E, and they both answered honestly only because they knew our conversation was “off the record.” And they both said they wanted to see Mike Merritt elected in this district.

Sorry, guys, I understand the yearning to have reasonable people elected, people that will not be self-aggrandizing obstructionists, while the city is definitely poised and ready for better things.

But at the same time, this is the sort of transparently obvious and dubious malarkey that gets the far less than educated voters opining away about “The Machine,” “The Good Ole Boy Network,” or whatever it is that they call it these days. This is exactly why so many people are so completely jaded about the political comings and goings in this area.

The relative gets the endorsement?

“I care less about the nomination,” Argenta said. “I represent the people, not the party.”

I’ve certainly had my political differences with this guy over the years, but that was perfectly stated.

Bill Brace can do or say whatever he wants, but this district is going to see a decidedly two-horse race come election night. And as far as I’m concerned, Mike Merritt will not be a factor in that photo finish.

We’ve got an historic election on our hands in these cobbled-together neighborhoods of ours, but the 6th Legislative District Committee for the Democratic Party obviously sees it as business as usual, i.e., party politics.

And the voters of Nord End will throw that time-worn and useless twaddle back in their faces.

Sez me.

This could prove to be some interesting reading soon enough: Blogging from the campaign trail.

From the e-mail inbox Mark:

A Senator in my kayak? Probably not…I'm on too many watch lists as it is. However, if he does join us at Riverfest, we can ease my Nimitz class kayak up along his port side and edumacate him on the value of a free-flowing river. If he seem less than receptive to us lower-class river-rat voting citizen types, I know a section of the Susquehanna that tends to send kayaks spinning and flipping in a hurry. We can ease away and tell him to paddle like heck through all the boils and eddies, then we can place odds on whether he spins or flips. Or swings to the left…or right. Sorry.

Speaking of flipping the vessel, how about the latest letter in the 4/9 T/L from that Luzerne County Sportsmen's group? Now they're invoking all that is holy? Sad as it is, that's what they'll need to get the dam approved at this point. This guy must be what they call crazy smart, because I found it very difficult to follow his erratic line of reasoning. Did he eventually make any valid points?

Anyway, I hope you didn't run over the bunny with the Hummer after it didn't see its shadow. Then again, with the snow squalls we hit in the Poconos on Sunday, no self-wespecting wabbit would be outside anyway.



C’mon, let’s flip the senator. It’s not like he’s going to drown or anything. Although, when CNN shows up, we’ll take the credit for fishing him out of Kanjorski’s muck.

Yeah, the Sportsman dude’s letter, how completely lame was that? In my mind, not even worth mentioning. I wonder what the good congressman promised that group for coming forward as the sole un-elected proponents of a toxic man-made lake. Another boat launch downstream somewhere? Whatever.

Snow? Please, go easy with that word. I am so ready for summer, and so not participating in winter anymore, I am literally freezing my ball bearings off while out and about cycling in shorts.


As much as I love this city and always did, I am seriously considering relocating the entire brood down to Tennessee.

The thing is, I never, ever pictured my family being fragmented, I never wanted it to be fragmented, and I can’t stand it being fragmented as it currently is. So, if the kids need to join the out-migration parade out of town in search of well-paying employment, why not join them if it means I’ll get to watch all of my grandkids grow up together? Why not?

As far as my employment is concerned, a transfer is only a phone call away. As far as my ties to Wilkes-Barre come into play, my grandparents and my mother are dearly departed, so it’s not like I’d be missing them by moving away to another state. My brother and sister are a whole other issue.

Anywho, I always wanted to live here. I always pictured myself dying here…but who knows? We shall see.

By the way, the breaking news is that Grandkid #5 is due in early November. I don’t think they build bikes quite that big, do they?

So, I’m beat, I’m getting rich quick, but I’m still here.


Pizza and a movie