8-4-2007 Safer streets or: Promises, promises, promises

I had to call 911 the other night and request assistance from the police department. Yeah, we were sitting here on the front porch nursing a few beers and doing some crossword puzzles, while the trailer park escapees down on the corner massed quite noticeably.

And as it got louder and louder down there, as it always does, wifey started screaming at the assembled lunatic fringe. Turns out, a girl of approximately 10-years-old was ripping cardboard signs from telephone poles and duct-taping them to parked cars. Earlier that day, the parking enforcement guys had put up temporary “no parking” signs so that the summer workers currently toiling away for the DPW could weed-whack and sweep the entirety of the street in advance of next Saturday’s block party. All a part of the process after those staging block parties secure a permit from the city.

So, with residents of the street yet to arrive home from work and having no idea that we needed the street free of parked vehicles the very next morning, the lowlife adults down on the corner stood idly by and watched as yet another of their children committed what could only be called an act of vandalism. Yes, they condone acts of vandalism coming from their kids. And if that’s not irresponsible enough, they also have no concept of private property rights. Stick it to the guy’s car, honey. Isn’t this fun?

With wifey daring to yell at their criminal-in-training, curses, shouts and taunts flowed right back at her. It was getting louder and louder, and then the visitor that was making the most noise said the following: “Who the eff are you to yell at my niece?” And with that, I was off in search of my cell phone.

Excuse me, but YOU should have yelled at your niece when she took to vandalizing city property, and YOU should have smacked her upside the head when she decided to duct-tape the signs to vehicles that YOU do not own. And by arguing with us, YOU are condoning, if not, rewarding her behavior, maybe even encouraging her to commit further future acts of unprovoked vandalism. Needless to say, this was bad parenting on display for all to be sickened by.

Our always professional police came, the white trash were forced to act civil, at least, for a little while, the temporary signs went back up and the little girl offered plenty of feigned tears to the 2 police officers on the scene. The incident was over, but with the block party exactly one week away, further incidents are expected.

What’s stopping reasonable people from joining the urban setting? Exactly that, bad parenting. When I want it to be, your vehicle is mine to do with what I wish. City-owned temporary signs posted on your street? Nope, my kid decided they need to go. Your street is our playground.

And, who the eff are you to yell at my niece?

From the e-mail inbox Hi Mark, How are you? Hope all is well. I just wanted to ask a favor, our Auxiliary to the W-B Fire Dept. Local #104 has established a fund for the Hockenbury family which were fire victims in the Parsons fire, which unfortunatly their baby girl had passed away. Would you be able to post the fund info on your site, I would sure appreciate it , The fund is established at Wilkes-Barre Postal Federal Credit Union 566 South Main St. P.O. Box 1172 Wilkes-Barre, PA 18703-1172, any funds can be dropped off or mailed to that address and checks can be made out to WBFD Aux. Hockenbury Fund. Thanks so much, and if you can ask everyone to keep this family in their prayers.

Talk to you soon, Sincerely, SXXXXX

I saw the picture of the baby on WNEP. What a cutie. What a shame. I can’t even imagine going through what the parents have already gone through. Nor what they have yet to endure.

Total bummer.

Very recently, the County & State Detectives Association of Pennsylvania, in conjunction with the International Police Association Pennsylvania Region 3, bestowed upon Mayor Tom Leighton the “Francis J. Lederer--Service to Law Enforcement Award” at Split Rock Lodge & Resort.

Here, read it for yourself:


Or you can watch the award being presented:

Now, who was it that said while it’s admirable that the mayor added 21 new police officers, the police officers in this city are “misemployed?” It seems to me that the County & State Detectives Association of Pennsylvania does not agree with that self-serving and incorrect assessment of policing in this city.

Glad I could correct you.

Mayor Leighton‘s opponent in the general election, Linda J. Stets, has an official campaign Web site on this here internet thingamabob.

Linda J. Stets for Mayor

I navigated my way through her site and came to this conclusion: While it’s big on grand pronouncements and suchlike, it’s absolutely threadbare whereas details are concerned.

For instance, from her mission statement:

Safer streets As your mayor I will make your family’s safety my top priority. I want all residents to feel safe walking from their car to their home anytime of the day or night.

Really? How? Now that’s not me picking on her. Seriously, how does she plan to make me feel safer in a town I already feel safe in? And even if you don’t feel safe in this town, the question still begs of her: how?

Oh, allow me to guess. By redeploying the police department? The political upstarts know more about policing than a man who was inducted into the Pennsylvania Police Hall of Fame, Chief Dessoye?

Say what you will about me or my political alliances, but it’s a fair question. How would she go about making our streets safer? And, no, we cannot afford a saturation patrol every night of the year. You see, city finances clearly dictate otherwise, unless she’s willing to dispense with financial responsibility and embrace deficit spending.

So, how?

And she makes mention of “tree lined streets” on her site. Now, that’d be neat and all, to have tree-lined streets like much of Kingston has. But, then again, if we go nuts planting seedlings up and down the length of every city street, we’re going to need to replace our sidewalks within a decade as those seedlings become full-fledged trees.

More Focus on Neighborhood Business District’s. I will not be satisfied until every section of our city is thriving once again.

During the age of bigger and bigger big box stores and Super Duper Walmarts, I’m really not sure what she’s alluding to with this one. More focus on what? Subsidizing small businesses that will ultimately fail in the face of cheaper and cheaper imports? There’s too much focus on the downtown, that’s what the critics of Mayor Tom Leighton repeat to the point of absurdity, but she’s promoting the creation of a downtown in every far-flung neighborhood?

Sorry, ain’t happening.

Improved Services - Better Snow Removal - Recycling - Newspaper Pick-up - Clutter Clean-up - Cleaner Streets and Streams. From the time the clutter clean-up program was eliminated we have consistently seen a rise illegal dumping throughout our city streets, railways, parks, and streams.

Well, there’s only two possible ways to deliver upon all of that pie-in-the-sky promising. Either dramatically increase overtime spending, or hire plenty of new employees. Sorry, but balanced budgets that will not make. Unless, of course, we’re simply going to “deploy” our meager resources better.

And if we’re going to hire additional DPW workers, will we still be able to afford “safer streets?” Our current mayor hired 21 new police officers, while shrinking the ranks of our DPW, and still presented balanced budgets at the beginning of and black ink at the end of every fiscal year.

Look, I’m all for having everything we could ever desire. But, before anything else, I want financial responsibility. If we can’t afford it, I don’t want it. If the city is to a robust future, it must stick with the pay-as-you-go model.

Ask the Tough Questions: Who is up for promotion, and who at City Hall are they related to? It is time to put a stop toNEPOTISM! All too often we see sisters, and cousins of the administration being given unfair promotions, and opportunities unattainable to anyone else. I will demand accountability from everyone, or you "the public" will know why. Who financed your campaign, and how many favors do you own them?

Um, wasn’t this the very same lady that dated a county commissioner and then was given some significant authority over the operation of Luzerne County Community College? And based on what? Her educational or administrative experience?

This election year boast just doesn’t pass the smell test. It doesn’t.

Whatever. If anyone thinks I’m being unfair, tell me how. Enlighten me by way of the e-mail inbox. Like I said, her platform is threadbare, some of her assertions are laughable, and it’s painfully obvious she has absolutely no experience suggesting that she should be put in charge of a $37 million budget.

Nah, come November, she needs to be rebuked at the polls in a loud and grotesque manner.

Sez me.

It‘s a damn shame what George W. Bush did to those unsuspecting people in Minneapolis.


Did I ever tell you how George Bush ate my children?

From the e-mail inbox

A Wake-up Call to Congress

Investments in Infrastructure Cannot Wait

The need for a new national investment in our national infrastructure has never been clearer. It is an issue that goes far beyond political considerations.

Every American should understand why it is time for Congress to adequately fund the basic systems that keep our society operating safely. As states continue to struggle with rising costs for health care and public safety, the federal government must bear its fair share of responsibility for maintaining the important networks that keep America running. Beyond being a matter of public safety, it is crucial to our economic security.

The United States is the only one of the G-7 nations that has not invested in a major infrastructure repair program in the past 15 years. I believe the federal government should adopt a capital budget that would fund desperately needed repairs to our transportation infrastructure, as well as water and sewer system improvements. This is a position I’ve advocated for many years.

Looking only at transportation, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that more than 27% of America’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of structurally deficient bridges — nearly 6,000 statewide.

Under my administration, Pennsylvania has made record, annual state investments for the maintenance and construction of highways and bridges — $2.37 billion in 2006-07 compared to $1.78 billion in 2003-04 — but we are struggling to keep up with our aging infrastructure, rising construction costs and dwindling federal resources.

In 2006, PennDOT invested an unprecedented $558 million in 867 bridge projects statewide with $133 million being spent on bridge preservation and the remaining $425 million devoted to rehabilitating and replacing structurally deficient bridges, including ones damaged by floods. Despite this record level of investment, great needs still exist.

Pennsylvania is working diligently to ensure its bridges and highways are safe. We will continue to act immediately whenever problems or concerns are identified. But the fact remains that every structure – no matter what it cost to build – eventually will need to be repaired or replaced. It’s time for society to stop categorizing all public infrastructure projects simply as “spending;” we must recognize them for what they truly are: investments in our people and our nation’s future.

Governor Ed Rendell

You can’t argue with any part of that, but what Congress wants and what we want are two diametrically opposite things of late. Plus, nobody votes for anyone else based on how many new bridges were built, or how many aging bridges rebuilt in a given voting district. Infrastructure improvements are expected, not rewarded.

By the way, I heard somebody on Steve Corbett’s putrid show going on and on about how the 8th Street Bridge was bucking and shaking just the other day. The emasculated caller said he was frightened and then some. Putz. Thing is, I was also on that bridge on the very day in question and I’m here to tell you it did nothing of the sort. Not even a quiver.

But, if you’re suddenly worried about traveling the length of our area’s many bridges, just wear your seat belt and roll the passenger side window all the way down. And if the bridge collapses and you’re not crushed flat, you’ll be alright. Enjoy a nice, refreshing swim to shore. But don’t swallow the water.

Oh, and if you happen to be crushed flat like a horribly prepared pancake, Bush did it.

And, don’t worry, the casinos will pay for everything we need.

Thanks to this Web portal of mine, I have come to know many, many people that I would have otherwise not known. And with our 18th annual block party exactly one short week away, there is no way I can extent an invitation to everyone. No slight was intended.

So, if you’re interested in attending the yearly blowout, drop me a line. And if not, well, that’s your loss.

And remember, while requests are always welcome, no rap, no hip-hop and no country music, y‘all.

I hope to see you there. Er, here.

‘Til next time.