7-22-2007 Tony vs. Tony

To those of you who have begrudgingly adopted this sissified form of manliness so as to appease your “better half,” throw that sh*t in her face and get yourself down to Movies 14, and buy a ticket to see Live Free Or Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis. Trust me, Froto Potter he ain’t.

Dudes, what’s not to like about buildings, cars, helicopters, and people being blown up, shot to pieces and, or pummeled with high-velocity rounds large enough to down a planet? What don’t we like about Bruce Willis punching the snot out of some arrogant karate-chopping Asian chick? That flick is nothing but a flurry of uncontrolled violence from beginning to end. It’s exactly what guys like, well, if they dared to be honest within earshot of the women with the leashes attached to their shrinking testicles.

Than again, don’t go getting yourself in trouble on my account. There’s got to be a sappy chick flick down there that the two of you can “enjoy” together. And make sure to tear up. She’ll appreciate that, your, um, your feminine side.

Yippie-ky-aye, fothermucker!

After we exited the theater, we stood there with our faces pressed against the windows at the site of our long-overdue Januzzi’s Pizza situated directly underneath the theater. And as I said to wifey, sans tables, the place looks ready to start serving. The back-of-house areas seems ready to go. The damn soda cases are stocked with sodas and what have you. The claw machine is powered-up and ready to rip off little kids. A hostess sign is in place, as well as high-chairs and booster seats for the rodents. A ceiling fan in what looks to be the dining room was even spinning. Yet, the new pizzeria/restaurant is near a month overdue.

So, after the short trek home and some jiggering with my ‘06 bock party slideshow, we called Januzzi’s and ordered some goodies for home delivery, as we so often do. And when the kid showed up with hot, tasty morsels in hand, I asked him when the long-awaited Januzzi’s in downtown Wilkes-Barre was finally going to make it’s big debut. His answer? Tomorrow. For you local Republicans, that would be today. You’re welcome.

Now, I could really care less about some ‘good things come to those who wait’ brilliance. As an American, I typically get to demanding that which I want by…say, yesterday. And since the new Januzzi’s was said to be open by June 1st, I say it’s about time. Finally, it’s pizza and a movie in downtown Wilkes-Barre. And since Zach and I are scheduled to take in the new Transformers epic, pizza and a movie is now the amended plan.

Yep, pizza and a movie. Despite all of the negativity, despite the cavalcade of voices that said nothing will ever work in Wilkes-Barre, I’m looking forward to pizza and a movie just a few blocks removed from my front door.

‘Bout time.

Here’s one I was thinking about, being an ex-restaurant manager and all.

Is this downtown big enough for two hoagie shops? Seriously, in the long run, will both the Subway and Quizno’s remain standing as the long-empty storefronts continue to be filled? My guess is that they won’t both be standing. My guess is that, while they both serve quality products, and they both lack not for cleanliness, the difference-maker will be the service. And based on my personal experiences, Quizno’s wins that battle hands-down.

What was the old Friendly’s gambit? Quality, service, cleanliness and friendliness. Sorry and all, but those fast-multiplying business owners from central Asia know absolutely nothing about incorporating friendliness into their approach to customer service, or what a genuine smile can do for their businesses. That’s not racism or bigotry on my part, that’s years upon years worth of experience speaking.

We shall see.

So, the rumors were true, just not entirely accurate. Our former top cop, Tony George, is going to run for a council seat against incumbent councilman Tony Thomas, as well as the Republican challenger, Vincent Guarneri, in District B. And since I live in a whole other voting district, I truly do not care.

Sure, I have beaten up on Tony George in the past, but I do realize that serving under the former mayor left little wiggle room for his immediate underlings. That is to say, it was his inept way or the early-retirement highway. So, it’s probably not completely fair to blame former chief Tony George for the undeniable fact that our police department was deleted by almost 40% while he was still strolling the halls at police headquarters.

And, yes, I once called the former mayor, the former police chief and the former fire chief “The Axis of Mediocrity.” And while I stand by that charge still today, I do understand that the two underlings were hamstrung by an administration that seemed to be making it’s most crucial of decisions by way of a Ouiji Board.

Will we need more than twenty or so police officers in a Third Class City?

Whoa! I told you! The board, the ghosts of mayors past say we won’t.

Will 30-year-old fire trucks covered with rust ensure public safety?

Ah! Look at that! Sure they will.

This much I will say about Tony George’s performance as chief. If the mayor of the city charges me to maintain the peace with far, far less than I need to make it happen, I’m gonna start squawking to the press when they start trying to hold my feet to the fire after things start going horrible wrong. I’m not going to defend the status quo, which in this case, was a city of 42,000-plus residents being patrolled by all of 3 police cars on a given shift. Playing politics is fine and all, but not when the city is clearly under siege and clearly under-defended. If it were my call to make, I would opted for the early retirement package, held a press conference and embarrassed my direct superior, the then Mayor of Wilkes-Barre. It’s called integrity.

Hold on. The CD is goofing on my train of thought.

Obey your…MASTER!!! MASTER!!!

Ah, what’s a Sunday morning without a loud, nasty dose of Metallica? If it ain’t loud, it ain’t worth a fu>k, I always like to say.

Sorry about that.

Anyway, I took serious issue with the two department heads who, literally, held public safety in their hands trying to tell me that everything was fine, when the exact opposite was clearly the case. When 3 police officers are tied up at one scene, and not a single neighborhood is playing host to a patrolling police car, things are not exactly copasetic. And when ‘surround and drown’ becomes the chicken-sh*t modus operandi when structures get to going Poof! in the middle of the night, I’m here to tell you that the selfless hard-chargers, the folks they correctly call heroes, are being misemployed, if not, neutered altogether. And when your job description includes ensuring the safety of the public, doing with less, or doing it incorrectly will not cut it.

Although, the elections of 2003 were a necessary course correction, and public safety has been seriously enhanced since then.

Here’s the part of this I do not understand, and could never endorse:

George has filed as an Independent candidate for council in District B, which includes parts of South Wilkes-Barre, Rolling Mill Hill and the Iron Triangle section.

George, 55, will challenge Democrat incumbent Thomas Jr., and Republican candidate Vincent Guarneri, in the November general election. Thomas and Guarneri are both 48 years old.

George changed his party affiliation from Democrat to no affiliation (or Independent) back on April 9, one week prior to the deadline, said Leonard Piazza, director of elections for Luzerne County. He filed for council on Thursday, Piazza said.

Excuse me for being so brash, but, what’s with the end-run around the primary election?

If what Tony George has to offer is so appealing, why didn’t he go head-to-head with Tony Thomas back in May? If the neighborhoods have become so bleak, while Thomas was making with the “rubber stamp” myrmidon routine, why didn’t George rise up and unseat him then? If Tony George truly is the man, why did he shy away from the time-tested political battle? Why the end-run? Why the last minute political chicanery? Why the subterfuge dressed as a stratagem? Why? You tell me. Something personal, I’m left to suppose.

A check of the archives at The Times Leader showed a rift that developed between George and Thomas in 2003. In a story printed April 26, 2003, George called Thomas a “hot dog vendor” and council member Jim McCarthy “a bartender” after the two complained about rising crime in the city.

At the time, George said of McCarthy, “He’s a bartender. He’s not an expert on drugs and prostitution. He wants to shoot his mouth off, but when the time comes, he shuts right up.”

George said he was referring to an incident when McCarthy complained of drug trafficking at his bar – McCarthy’s Tavern on the Hill – but he wouldn’t testify against suspects. McCarthy’s response was, “I don’t know what he’s (George) smoking, but he better change brands.”

Honestly, not very many of us civilians are experts on fighting drugs and prostitution. But, we do have eyeballs, and some us have police scanners. And when police officers are continually responding to potentially violent calls without back-up, I’m telling you it doesn’t take an expert on criminal justice to know that things are not good, or what they are purported to be.

If a Wilkes-Barre cop told me I didn’t know what I was talking about and to shut up, I would. But, when Tony George was our top cop, I would have made no such concession when faced with the same in-your-face confrontation. Sorry, but it takes significantly more than 50 or so officers to pacify a city of this size. And especially during a time when societal decay has become so prevalent. Tony Thomas may be a lowly “hot dog vendor,” but just as I do, he’s got eyeballs. And during that past administration’s run, our eyes did see the same thing: a clear lack of a police presence in our downtown, as well as in our neighborhoods.

So, to the newly-emerged Independent that claims he’s going to “help…bring back” our neighborhoods, I’d say you had your shot at just that a few years ago and failed miserably in that pursuit. Yeah, back in 2002, we had a mere 3 police cars trying and failing to patrol 5 zones, oh, but now you’re going to fight for the neighborhoods?

You know, if you’ve got a serious beef with Tony Thomas, why not rendezvous with him at the Mayflower playground after dark and have at it? C’mon, man, kick his ass the old-fashioned way. ‘Cause, you wanna know what, you’re not going to kick his ass on election night.


All I know is, while Tony Thomas no longer represents me or my section of the city, I like him in that he’s refreshingly candid. He’s not a great orator, he’s no disciple of Gentleman Jim, but he speaks his mind and then some.

Fight nice, boys.

Scratch that.

Fight dirty. It’s much more fun, and much more effective when done correctly.

Does this city, or does our county election bureau have an ordinance on the books that mandates the timely removal of election signs? Seriously, how much longer do I have to put up with the election signs posted by a two-time city council loser?

I know they breed prodigiously during the run-up to any election, but, being that the last election came about three months ago, can we get the losers to remove their urban clutter, or what? Is the political graffiti permanent, or do I have some recourse by which I can make it all go away? When does this pass being sour grapes and become littering?

I’ve got a guy bitching to the newspapers that he wants the Murray Complex on Courtright Street removed from the landscape. Meanwhile, he still has his election signs plastered all over the dilapidated building in question. And since posting those signs has to be approved by the owner whereas private property is concerned, and since that property is in receivership, I’m guessing that authorization to post those signs from the owner was never even sought after.

He’s still got election signs in place on Beaumont Street, Courtright Street, by the Cross Valley Expressway and Allah only knows where else. So, are they permanent, or, with his chances of being elected now long expired, can I take my Zippo and dispatch with them by way of arson?

Please advise.

‘Til next time.


Grafitti >