10-19-2007 A Yankee in Knoxville?

Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say that there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.--Francis Vincent Zappa

After reading the following newspaper story that I have so cleverly linked to below, I had one question and one question only: Why now?

Seriously. Why now?

From the Citizens’ Voice:

City removes political signs from public property

WILKES-BARRE — Public works employees removed 14 political signs Monday from public property on Pennsylvania Avenue and city parks, all of which belonged to Walter Griffith, Republican candidate for city council in District A.

“I’m not surprised,” Griffith said.

Griffith’s signs were the only ones public works employees removed Monday. His signs were piled up in the public works garage at 2 p.m. Monday, despite a memo informing city council candidates stating they must remove signs from public property by 5 p.m. Monday.

The memo, from Assistant Solicitor Bill Vinsko, states that signs are permitted on private property with the owner’s permission, but are prohibited on “public property and within right-of-ways for limited access highways.” The memo also states the signs my be kept in “good condition and repair.”

“Our zoning law protects the aesthetics of the city and the beauty of our community without infringing on any First Amendment, free speech rights,” Vinsko stated in the memo.

Now, my question went unanswered, because, quite frankly, I wasn’t all that concerned about the signs or why they were being paid attention to all of a sudden. There’s some old ordinance being dredged up and I sincerely do not care. Why quibble over the mundane, right? Why the caterwauling over the banal? There’s an old law, it’s being enforced and there it is. Get with the program. No biggie.

All of which draws from me a characteristic yawn.

I heard Walter Griffith on the Sue Henry show this morning and he had the following to say: “Just treat us fairly. That’s all we’re asking. If you’re going to apply the law, apply the law equally.”

Fair enough. If some of Walter’s wayward signs are being tossed into the shredder, then all of the other offending election signs need to quickly follow suit. Kill ‘em all!

In all honesty, I’d just assume pass a new law banning election signs altogether. It’s one thing to stick a couple in the lawn in front of your overpriced lean-to, but some people really get carried away with both the number of signs and the placement of the signs. Plus, they don’t seem to remove them with the same sense of urgency they had when they put them up in the first place.

In response to the next story that I have linked to, Walter had a further comment or two that borders on the hysterical.

Yup, the Citizens‘ Voice again:

Police pay Stets a visit

WILKES-BARRE — A police officer came to Republican mayoral and city council candidate Linda Stets’ home Tuesday after she removed political signs of her opponents, Mayor Tom Leighton and Council Chairman Bill Barrett, from a city employee’s tree lawn.

Stets believes tree lawns are public property and putting political signs there violates a 1960 ordinance, which states that political signs can’t be on public property.

The city began enforcing the ordinance Monday. The only political signs removed were 14 belonging to Walter Griffith, Republican city council candidate in District A in South Wilkes-Barre.

Stets said she was doing health inspector Ed Pesotski a “favor” by removing Leighton’s and Barrett’s signs from his tree lawn.

She put the signs on his porch. Pesotski saw Stets removing the signs and called police. No charges were filed as of Thursday.

“The ordinance states there can be no signs on public property and that includes tree lawns,” Stets said. “If they’re not public property, then why aren’t they taxed?”

Yeah, in response to this needless and ill-advised prank, Walter said, “It’s very clear that you can’t put them on the tree lawn.”

Okay, enough with being juvenile. Enough with the juvenile stunts--conduct which is quite unbecoming a mayoral candidate--and enough with the asinine tit-for-tat mentality that is completely imbecilic.

What’s this? They ripped mine down so I’m a gonna rip theirs down, too? Grow the fu>k up already!

Walter mentioned “…the bully-mentality from our government officials…,” to which our beloved talk show host chimed in with by saying, “It’s oppression.”

Alright, everybody take a chill pill in a neutral corner. Jesus H. Allah! The sh*t these people worry about! No wonder everybody is gray, overly, overly medicated and riddled with misdiagnosed ulcers.

First of all, let’s not get carried away with the hysterical tyranny and oppression rant, since Tim Grier seems to have the local patent on all of those wide-eyed fiddlesticks.

If city employees have been directed to enforce some obscure law, so be it. Deal with it. Whine if you must, but control yourselves. Exercise some self-restraint, completely the opposite of which Linda Stets seems capable of.

Question: Who the hell is she to be approaching people’s homes and touching anything? Who deputized her? Steve Urban? Is she the self-appointed Election Sign Enforcement Officer?

As far as I’m concerned, Ed Pesotski screwed up. Rather than calling the police, he should have sprinted outside and turned the garden hose loose on her with a robust, “Who the fu>k are you to touch anything I placed in front of my home?” What’s with the kid stuff coming from the woman who would be king? If some youthful hooligan pulled the very same thing in front of her newspaper covered front windows, she’d be calling for his arrest, chastising the mayor for not hiring enough new police officers and reminding us once again that she can operate a gun.

The hose, Ed. The freaking hose.

And to Linda, if you want to be a mayor, try acting like one.


The signs I could care less about, but the lack of astute thought, and the clear lack of adept political smarts is frightening. This is exactly why I would never even consider voting for these short-sighted people. Because they don’t think before they speak. Or, in this embarrassing case, think before they babble on cluelessly.

Let’s review, shall we?

“It’s very clear that you can’t put them on the tree lawn.”--Walter

“The ordinance states there can be no signs on public property and that includes tree lawns,” Stets said. “If they’re not public property, then why aren’t they taxed?”

You two geniuses just told every single resident of this city that they do not own the tree lawns in front of their homes, and that they have no right to be mucking about with them. Nope, you can’t put election signs on them. Nope, you can’t put garishly painted stones, hazing balls or imported decorative thingies on them. And, no sir, you cannot let that annoying puppy of yours crap on them anymore.

Well, hell. If that’s the case, then why should we bother to maintain them? Why should we have to drag the lawnmower out there, the weed whacker and, or the leaf blower? Why should we have to trim them? Why do we bother pulling weeds, or wasting our own hard-earned cash on prohibitively expensive defoliants?

Hell, those two rattlebrained political malingerers who pretend to know everything worth knowing have gone on the record as saying we do not own them, we have no rights at all to them, and in Stets’ discomforting case, she reserves the right to raid them at any given time without prior notice, and without a warrant.

Well, hell. If that’s the case, then why don’t you two geniuses figure out how much it’ll cost the city to maintain them from here on out. It’s not our property, so why should we have to keep after it? Hire a couple of dozen new DPW employees and take it away. If it’s clearly city property, then let the city take care of it. I can’t even put a frickin’ yard sign on it? Yeah, well fu>k you, too. You do it.

Many thanks to both Walter and Linda for clearing up that gray area for us. Now we know. It’s black and white now. We have no rights to it at all, so we don’t have to take care of it anymore. Awesome.

Rather than pulling weeds and getting calluses over the weekend, let’s drink. Yeah, plug in that Flying V and make some serious noise, boy. What? You’re particular to AC?DC? Oh, sorry. Then plug in that Gibson SG and have at it, baby! Here come those Jesus freaks, again. Quick, no more AC/DC, put on something lewder and cruder. Whoopee! We’re free from weeds! No more scooping the poop! No more sweeping up, and no more hosing! Opal, you hot lil’ bitch! Get me a goll danged beer and shake that funkin’ thing, will ya!?! The two big city geniuses have spoken!

It’s times like these that make me want to pee on the political flyers I get in the mail.

And the other question that comes to mind is, Do we really want to vote for a woman who’s actions in this case clearly mock what the America Idiotz have been up to?

No, she didn’t damage anything. No, she didn’t leave any graffiti in her wake. But, wasn’t a line crossed? No defacing, or ruining or smashing went on here. But do we really want to condone candidates for elected office feeling free to touch whatever it is that we put in front our homes? Impulse control is not a prerequisite for the job? They can touch whatever they want and feel free to waltz up on our porches when they think we’re not looking? Is that cool with you?

Consider that neat little GIF I put at the top of my front page. You know, the “No Stets” animation.

Okay, that was very immature of me. I know it. But as a juvenile struggling to become an adult, that’s to be expected of me. I’m a jerk. You know it and I know it. So what? I’m just a freaking guy that writes on the internet, so who cares? Who cares what I do, say, or create? I’m just a goober on the internet and matter about as much as a fiord fly buzzing around a candidate’s debate.

Nothing I do should shock you short of revealing the enormity of that thing I cannot lawfully expose in public. Although, you can hope.

Anyway, I put that stupid anti-Stets animation on the front page, but I do feel passionately about it, and her hoped-for ascendancy to the mayoralship. If Mars and Venus collide, while the Devil deals with frostbitten toes and Linda Stets somehow became our mayor, I would be out of here. I mean that. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we’re not out of the woods yet and we are in no position to forget just how far we’ve come. With all of that said, all of the gains that have been made could disappear overnight if we elect the wrong people at this critical juncture in this city’s history.

Tom Leighton is not a perfect man. He gets frustrated too easily at times, and at other times he barks back quite angrily. I know firsthand that much of his frustration with us is borne of our frustration borne of our omnipresent impatience. We want stuff and we want it now. But, with stuff comes price tags. Basically, he’s done the best he could with what little he was given and we’re all going to have to temper our expectations to some degree. But, all things considered, he has been measured, professional and hardworking.

Take a quick glance at his campaign Web site. Just a quick glance. C’mon, hurry up.


Okay, that site is a reflection of himself. Measured, professional, you know, well done.

Alright, now take a peak at Linda Stets’ campaign site. C’mon, c’mon. I ain’t got all day.


Notice anything? Yep, that animated graphic. Practically the same one I put on my front page. Yep, that same one that was juvenile coming from me. That same immature slap that came from me. That same misguided, ill-advised tomfoolery that is expected from some lowly pajama blogger, but not from a serious, viable candidate for mayor in a third-class city.

And as far as I’m concerned, that animated GIF on her campaign site is a reflection of her: vitriolic, inflammatory, incendiary and accusatory. In still other words, it’s far, far less than professional and about as juvenile as any idiotic internet blogger could come up with.

There is no etiquette, decorum or rules of decency with her campaign. And despite her threadbare resume, she exudes an elitism that is troubling, if not, downright disturbing. Her aloofness seems to be matched only by her attack dog approach to those who she disagrees with. And I can only imagine what might be store for us if she were the mayor and one of us challenged her authority at a city council meeting. I’m betting she’d be one part vitriolic, one part acrimonious, one part caustic and one part booming voice. I’m betting she’d be to rationality what Sue Henry is to meanness.

And if that’s what you want to lead this city on into the future, I will be bicycling through the streets of Knoxville, Tennessee with my grandchildren. And the name of this site will be changed to “A Yankee in Knoxville.”

I suffered through eight long, painful years with one clueless mayor, and I’m not going to do it again. I can’t, I won’t and I’m getting too old to be so all-consumed with fighting off the advancing forces of abject idiocy.

If Linda Stets (time out while I do something totally uncharacteristic called praying) were to become our next mayor, I would be beyond content to turn in my Reticulitermes Flavipes badge and head down south to fight off the dreaded Formosan termites. Sorry, but I’ve had more than my fair share of incompetence bordering on moonstruck whereas my city’s leadership is concerned. I do not have another electronic straight jacket within me.

Make checks payable to: Leighton for Mayor.

Sez me.

‘Til next time.