11-10-2007 The Pats vs. the Patsies

“You’re on your way to complete and total failure.” WILK’s Steve Corbett, pre-election, on Wilkes-Barre’s chances if it reelected Mayor Tom Leighton.

In my less than humble opinion, our electronic voting machines take some of the fun out of election night. In past years, I would take off the day after from work and sit here glued to WILK and WNEP.com all night, just waiting for the updated numbers. And somewhere around 1 a.m. or so, the majority of the races would be declared and I could hit the bunk. Those days are long gone.

Consider what happened Tuesday night.

First of all, on election night, all I really care about are the city and county-wide elections. I don’t care about Lackawanna county. I don’t care about who the next mayor of Sugar Notch might be. Although, I certainly do know who it won’t be. And I don’t care about some judge candidate who’s name I have never heard before and cannot even begin to try to pronounce. It’s city, county and the deadbolt gets locked. G’nite.

At 8 0’clock this past Tuesday night, Sue Henry and ole what’s his name went live on WILK with election night coverage. They had reporters in the field, plus oodles and oodles of calls from voters, candidates and “activists” alike. And like all media outlets on election night, WILK was doing it’s level best to report the breaking news just as fast as humanly possible. You know, scoops and suchlike.

Before very long, both David Yonki and Gort 42, fellow internet writers, were on the blower to WILK making predictions and generally adding their two cents and such. Actually, what they had to add was fairly impressive, so I’m thinking those local print folks who cover local politics ain’t got much on us bloggers. Good job, guys.

Meanwhile, back at the modest adobe, I e-mailed the final numbers from Wilkes-Barre’s many precincts to Sue Henry at WILK at 8:52 p.m.. And after a quick e-mail exchange, WILK reported as much at 8:57 p.m.. My point is, the Citizens’ Voice claim that the winners in Wilkes-Barre was “first reported” by the Voice at 9:14 p.m. is totally bogus. As far as Wilkes-Barre was concerned, WILK had the scoop first. Well, that is, thanks to me.

Getting back to those electronic voting machines, there was no late night and a case of beer on this election night. We had the winners in Wilkes-Barre by 9 p.m., I turned my radio off at 9:30 p.m. (Sorry Sue), I watched an hour of television and contently retired for the evening at 10:30. And needless to say, a part of me still misses those big, green monsters. And a very minute part of me was jealous while watching the paper ballot fiasco up in Lackawanna county. What? I’ll need two, maybe three days off and tons more beer for the next election?

Count me in.

Much has been written about the one-man-show that is the invisible Luzerne County Republican party, but I think Sam Troy kind of encapsulated the entire mess when he called WILK hysterically ranting about “the Democratic Machine,” and how it could bring about the end of Democracy as we knew it. Thankfully, after about a minute, Sue Henry abruptly cut him off as updated numbers were coming in from the field.

Spare me the ridiculous rant from the man who waged a last-minute write-in campaign against a very popular incumbent and had his nutsack handed to him. What did he expect, a different result? A story book ending and an offer from Hollywood to tell his story?

First of all, the Republicans in this city got exactly what they wanted: a smaller council elected by districts. And with that, we were told to expect to see the Republicans make significant electoral inroads. In fact, Walter Griffith himself predicted a “Republican revolution.” And despite all of their bluster and all of their designs on power, they got sent home in a loud and grotesque manner. They got spanked. Slaughtered, if you will.

And herein lies the problem. The problem is the players themselves. Yeah, Steve Urban called for a new coach. And I see on Gort’s blog that Walter wants to be the new coach. But, you can’t shine sh*t, kiddies. Yep, if the Patriots defeat the Jets 52-0, that suggests that much more than a new coach is needed. In a nutshell, what those Jets probably need most is players that are much more competitive. Players that have a chance.

Look, you folks on the outside looking in, literally, reinvented the local political wheel. And after a yet another rather handy defeat at the polls, you’re bitching about the wheel again? It’s that dreaded “Democratic machine” flexing it’s enormous muscles again?

Cut me a major break!

Here’s the scoop, the one team remains strong, while the other team is beyond inept and it’s management cannot afford to attract better players. In this city, this county, we’ve got the equivalent of the Pats versus the Patsies. This is not proof of rampant corruption. This is not the end of Democracy as Sour Grapes Sam knows it. And this is not going to change anytime soon, unless the Patsies finally get their sorry acts together and present some attractive candidates for a change.

Seriously, when the best and brightest you’ve got to offer politicizes an “out-of-wedlock” child to score points with the voters, you Republicans have about as much a chance of getting yourselves elected as I do growing a fourth leg.

And don’t get me wrong. I’d love the choices a viable Republican party could bring to the local voting environment. But, your top dog, Steve Urban, seems content with being the tiniest fish in the pond as long as he keeps his ineffectual position. Walter Griffith has some serious staying power, but practically no chance of ever being elected. So, who should lead the Republicans back from the electoral abyss? In my mind, there’s only one person savvy enough to actually make a difference. And that one person came damn close to becoming the Mayor of Wilkes-Barre back in November of 2003.

Speaking of bloggers, David Yonki said the following on WILK: “We never do rumors and we never try to be mean.”

We? Dave, who is “we?” ‘Cause, from what I’ve seen on the internet of late, that’s got to be a very, very, very short list.

From the Citizens’ Voice:

Democratic commissioners keep majority

Did not surprise me in the least. Neither did the fact that Maryanne Petrilla finished first. I don’t think I was alone by voting for Petrilla, but not Skrep. Actually, I voted for Petrilla and William Jones. Skrep and Urban can kiss off as far as I’m concerned. In fact, I did not vote for a single incumbent. Not a single one. None.

Petrilla, being from the southern end of the county and also being a woman chairman, is in a truly unique position and hopefully she’ll be a breath of fresh air. Although, in a one party county, I’m not suggesting that anyone should be holding their breath while waiting for something earth-shattering. We shall see.

Citizens’ Voice again:

Leighton cruises to victory”

“So much has been accomplished over the last four years and there was a lot of mud thrown throughout this campaign by our opponents, but we took the high road,” Leighton said. “We stayed positive. We stayed focused and we went on with what we accomplished during the last three and half years and that was a lot. There was so much that we couldn’t put all of it out there. There’s much, much more to accomplish and we are going to do it with the team right behind me.”

This is the reason I went to bed so early and feeling so content.

This was a contest between a candidate that promises only what can be delivered and a candidate that promised an infinite list of things that cannot be paid for, therefore not delivered. Did you see her ad in the Citizens’ Voice on Monday? It was just about a full page ad, and with the smallest type possible. In other words, it was gargantuan. Funny though, with that type looking like an anthill while viewed from a plane, I wonder how many of our seniors--the bulk of our voting bloc--could have even read it without a kick-ass magnifying glass in hand.

Tom Leighton won every voting ward, which did come as a surprise to me. With Linda Stets promising the folks in Parsons everything short of a domed, climate-controlled neighborhood, I figured she’d fool a great preponderance of the people living up there. Much to their credit, they were not fooled and consider this my official apology to them.

They flatly rejected her in the mayoral race, as well as the race for city council.

It should be noted that while Tom Leighton said he took the high road, Stets took the low road right from the get-go. Hers was an accusatory, vitriolic and vicious campaign every step of the way. But, just to be fair, she need not be singled out for any of that. Most the noisier activist/candidates in this city never have anything positive to say except about themselves.

Try this comment I copied from the readers‘ comments at Gort‘s internet haunt:

t.g. said…

Yeah, split my ticket, too. I also wrote in against Lupas - myself. That guy couldn't judge 'best crayon scribble by a toddler' at the county fair, and he damn sure shouldn't be deciding anyone's fate. Gave one of my commissioner votes to Urban and threw the other one away, as the other three were all on the same team. Looks like four more years of the same sh*t in Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County. Watch out - if you feel something funny in your pants it is more than likely Skrep reaching for your wallet.

7 out of 10 people in Wilkes-Barre like hostile government, high taxes, government secrecy, and lying politicians. No wonder I feel so out of place.

“7 out of 10 people,” heh?

Here’s a guy who ran for both mayor and council in the May primary calling “7 out of 10” voters in this city stupid. He has an unearned superiority complex, but answer me this: How the hell are you going to get yourself elected or affect significant change by calling the voters of this city stupid? I mean, who’s the stupid one? The guy biting the hand that could one day feed him? Or the so-called ‘stupid’ folks who clearly recognize a charlatan when they see one?

Now, why is again that “the machine” keeps on winning?

Um, because only the absolutely verifiable meatheads of the candidates seeking office refer to the voters as being complete imbeciles. Because only the losers running around calling all the others the losers. Because accusations without proof, slander and libel does not come across as vision.

7 out of 10 voters are stupid. Gotcha. Not anywhere near your intellectual equivalent. Gotcha.

Now, let’s see how you do iffin’ you decide to run an elected office again, the well-read laughing stock that sees a laughing stock no matter where he looks.

So, Tom Leighton ran on his lengthy laundry list of accomplishments and crushed the pretender to the throne.

Stupid, stupid voters.

One more Voice story:

Cronauer, Merritt join W-B incumbents

Congrats to all. I think we’ve got a capable team in place.

It was an exciting night for newcomer Merritt, 46, strategic account support manager of InterMetro Industries, who won the seat in District E, which includes North End, Brookside and portions of Miners Mills.

“I can’t wait to get started,” Merritt said.

As for Merritt, he was nice enough to keep an eye on the mighty Hummer while I voted. And when I exited the polls and saw that the Hummer wasn’t spirited away, I said something along the lines of, “Good job. Jeez, I should have voted for you.”

Fact is, I did vote for him. And after interacting with him a few times, I feel good about that vote. I honestly think he’s going to hit the ground running, whereas reclaiming our neighborhoods from the vermin goes. I ran into him at Oh Yes on Monday and he stood there eyeballing what he claimed were 2 drug dealers. They sure as hell looked the part. But while he stared at them intently, he had a partial scowl on his face that was mostly unforgiving. He looked deadly serious.

Still, though, I will kick his ass at fantasy football.

So, the first-ever Mayor of Nord End is in place. We’ve got a decent council and a great mayor. So other than the county government, what’s not to like?

Finally, from the Times Leader:

Griffith says he’s not done

Griffith carries a copy of the city charter everywhere he goes. It’s his bible and he constantly refers to it before he addresses council.

Griffith may have lost in Tuesday’s election, but he certainly doesn’t feel defeated.

“I’ll still discuss the issues – debt, the budget, overspending,” Griffith said. “The taxpayers can count on me to be their representative even if it’s not as their elected councilman. I’ll be at council’s meeting Thursday night.”

While that’s all well and good and certainly commendable, the voters in your district did not choose you to represent them. You are not their representative.

And based upon the childish parting shot you had for your opponent after getting spanked on election night, I think you need to check your ego at the door to council chambers, and you need to refrain from the overzealous nature of your typical reformist banter. If what they wanted was you, they would have voted for you. The truth is, they did not.

They’re not liars and cheaters and sleaze balls and nepotists. They are the people who won on election night. So tone down the rhetoric and make like a responsible watchdog for once.

Speaking of a clear lack of responsibility, as well as self-restraint:

Stets, 55, who is Luzerne County Commissioner Steve Urban’s wife, ran with the motto: “Our neighborhoods — our essence.” She also lost the city council race in District D, which includes Parsons and a part of the Heights.

“I feel sorry for the taxpayers of the City of Wilkes-Barre. I think they’re in for a big surprise,” Stets said, predicting Leighton would raise taxes again. “I want to thank all my supporters and I hope they follow local government more closely before they vote again.”

Yeah, a big surprise. (???)

The big surprise being that they voted correctly two times in a row, in ‘03 as well as in ‘07.

Go figure.

‘Til next time.