1-12-2008 Break only in the event of an election

I got a late phone call the other night. It seems that my Aunt Rosemary passed away earlier this week. I always liked her.

Aunt Rosemary was always special to me simply because she was so special to my Mom. Despite the many, many miles between them, they managed to stay in touch with each other until my Mom met her end. Although I missed most of it, it was readily apparent that they had a special bond that was formed long before I was born.

Since my grandparents got on that escalator to wherever it is that devote Christians think it takes them to, I’ve only seen my Aunt Rosemary sporadically at local funerals. That does sadden me. Oddly, I searched and searched and searched, but I could not find her obituary on the internet. Sucks. I don’t know why, but I really did want to see it. Last I knew, she resided in Virginia. But, since she and Uncle Mike were somewhat well-heeled, I’m not exactly sure where they have been living of late.

And while I’m on a somewhat somber note, tomorrow’s appearance in the NFL playoffs by the New York Football Giants will be the second such playoff adventure in two weeks that will play out without an excitedly nervous phone call from my brother Ray as the kickoff grows nearer and nearer. Forever the optimist, I’m sure he’d be brimming with confidence over tomorrow’s match-up with the dreaded cowpokes from Dallas. With that said, his beloved Jints finally won their first playoff game since 2001.

So, with the Jints playoff game on tap, wherever he is, I’m absolutely certain he is not resting in peace today. Damn straight, Ray! And if there are Cowboy fans in Heaven, I’d strongly advise them to keep their lips tightly zipped tomorrow.

Go blue!!!

The following news was fully expected by this internet goober.

From the Times Leader:

Grier's challenge is rejected

The state Department of Community and Economic Development dismissed Grier’s complaints based on the county’s argument that Grier does not have standing to pursue the complaint because he doesn’t own property.

Grier said he plans to appeal the state’s decision in the state Commonwealth Court within the 15-day deadline.

The Wilkes-Barre resident has argued that the money he pays in dog licenses and gun permits should be sufficient to give him standing to challenge the county’s borrowing plan.

“Obviously I’m disappointed. I think it’s a slap in the face to anyone who doesn’t own property,” Grier said of the state’s decision.

Grier said he filed the complaints because he wanted to force the county to be more accountable about how the more than $80 million will be spent. He also questions the legality of using some of the bond money to pay the 2007 deficit.

So, armed only with his imported kryptonite detector, he filed his sure to be ill-fated appeal. And, as always, his latest stunt will end as did all of his previous stunts…in failure. Challenging the county’s meandering budget and barely translucent borrowing plans was one thing. But filing the appeal and then videotaping the acquisition of a dog license is a needless and sophomoric stunt.

This stunt will be just as ineffectual as were his other high-profile stunts. Because, despite all of the bluster about reforming government coming from his Daddy’s lair, there is a commonality to all of his misdeeds in that they always fall far short of their desired results. And, in this, he has much in common with those in elected office that he so frequently targets. He is to governmental reform what government is to fiscal responsibility.

Yeah, he gets a lot of press. And, yes, his has become a household name, despite doing little more than raising a fuss. But I do find it to be a bit ironic that he has become what he processes to despise. Yeah, he is now encouraging people to donate money to his never-ending rage against the machine. He is doing exactly what county commissioners do. He is asking for your money and promising to do the right thing with it and without any real oversight. Interesting.

While exploring the reader’s comments left at Gort’s popular internet haunt,, I was not surprised to learn that our self-styled super hero is still as thin-skinned as ever after launching into a condescending diatribe simply because someone asked a question of him. Which leads me back to that oft-repeated adage we heard so, so many times while trying to grow up: a leopard never changes it’s spots.

Yeah, he cleaned up before running for elected office. Yeah, he pulled the plug on his old Web site, where the slime and slander flowed like a volcanic event. But, if we remember correctly, this is the same guy who has a superiority complex. This is the same guy who apparently feels that everyone not of the same opinion as him is somehow far beneath him. That is, if everyone is corrupt, or purported to be in bed with the corrupt, then they are fair game for his high-velocity insult launcher.

Now, that launcher may be mothballed for the moment, but, as evidenced by his most recent thuggish internet comments, it’s still a part of his smallish inventory. So, of D.B. Echo we must ask, who the fu>k are you to question the great Tim Grier? Who are you to be so defiantly insolent while fighting for your mere scraps in the long shadow of Luzerne County’s one-and-only caped wonder? Go back to your hole and give us two Hail Gores and four Our Father Chavez’.

And since some have decried Skrep’s regrettable comments after staving off Grier’s legal challenge, let’s explore some of Grier’s past morsels of wisdom and see if we can spot a trend.

Here we go. And I quote…

This is the same guy who accused Tom Leighton of “plotting to save the city/enrich his friends.”

He accused the then city council of “…just listening to Mayor Leighton, nodding, and giving him free reign to empty the taxpayers wallets on behalf of the already wealthy.”

He accused our then city council of “..trying to trick their neighbors…”

He once said to councilwoman Kathy Kane, “If you want the media to protect you, move to Russia.”

Of councilman Tony Thomas he said, “His constituents don’t realize how tied he is to the wealthy powers-that-be.”

Then there’s this nugget he leveled at The City of Wilkes-Barre’s administration: “Those government officials are commonly known as “cowards” or “punk bitches.””

And this one: “Folks, the members of the City of Wilkes-Barre administration are the robber-barons of today.”

Here’s a classic: “Damn near every politician around these parts seems to be suffering from a ‘moral meltdown.’”

City Council again: “You couldn’t find seven people who jointly have less spine than the seven who are currently running the show here.”

This one rocks: “The FBI knows that the DA and the AG are protecting the Mayor, too.”

Straightjacket, anyone?

On the AG: “He stikes [sic] me as the type of guy who is actually protecting his corrupt buddies in order to enrich himself.”

The Mayor: “…more than 1 million dollars in misappropriated bond money was given to Tom Leighton and his cronies running Stalag Wilkes-Barre.”

A local woman whom I will not identify: “” KXXXX “I dress like I’m twenty-five but I look like I’m sixty-five” BXXXXXX.

On Butch Frati: “I’m not picking on Mr. Frati, it’s just that when you hang out with rats, people kinda have to question your background…”

Council and mayor: “Seriously folks, the more I am around these people, the more I realize why they are using their positions in office for personal gain - if they didn’t hold hands to get some kind of collective intelligence going, they would probably all just be standing around drooling and sh*tting on themselves.”

Okay, enough. Notice that we didn’t even get past the city and I’m already getting sick of typing this incendiary tripe. You don’t even want to know what sort of vile phlegm he launched at those employed by the county. Although, with the way things have been going under that cracking dome of late, that sort of vile phlegm has become the flavor of the moment. What those whining about Skrep’s ill-advised gloating fail to realize is that Grier has no problem at all with dishing it out by the shovel load.

Anyway, here’s how it works. While using unconventional and ineffectual methods, Grier lashes out at everyone who does not share his worldview. And when those in positions of power reject his oft-asinine, half-baked antics, they are, by extension or association, also guilty of some crime against humanity. In other words, despite his threadbare resume, he is the all-knowing judge, jury, and executioner of reputations.

Now, say what you will about the performances of our city and county leaders. Obviously, some criticism is clearly warranted. And in respect to the county, change is clearly called for. But, that said, we were allowed to vote just a few months ago. And, we’re going to be voting again in a couple of months from now. If change is what you want, fight for that change. Make it happen. Force it down our throats. Donate time, money or what have you. Get behind a candidate you believe in. And be passionate and tireless.

But if you lose come election night, that does not give you the right to slime everyone in sight. That does not elevate slander and libel to being acceptable on any level. You fight the good fight. And if you manage to lose, you retreat, you rearm and fight that political fight on another day.

I’ve seen the letters to the editors in support of Grier’s antics. I’ve heard many on WILK and on the internet call him a hero. Some have even said he, himself should be a county commissioner. And to that I ask, based on what? Based on the constant tumult he brings and little else? A state of perpetual chaos? Because of a childish video in which the stars are a couple of dog medallions?

He took siege of a voting booth. He videotaped some meetings and edited things out of context. He ran for elected office and he lost. He challenged the proposed budget and he lost. He fought the good fight and he fell short of what he wanted to accomplish. That doesn’t mean he should pack it in and crawl away. But, as evidenced by his newest Web site, now he’s off on his latest adventure. Now he’s a Home Rule proponent. And, as always, while armed with only some of the facts, now he’s off on another tangential exploit sure to bring plenty of attention to himself. And, in my opinion, therein lies what probably motivates him the most: the attention.

Whether he wants to believe it or not, there is a fine line between being a noble crusader and an infantile crackpot. And while he seems to have absolutely no problem with crossing both real and imaginary lines drawn in the political sands, methinks he should be put back in that dusty glass case labeled ‘break only in the event of an election.’ You know why? Because the incessant noise is becoming just that…noise.

Sez me.

Make checks payable to: Timmy versus The World.

From the e-mail inbox Good Morning,

Glad to see you are still around. When lightning took me off line in May you were threatening to move to Music City. Wilkes-Barre needs the likes of you to keep it straight.

As for the Tom Grier situation, can you believe that a person who rents should have less legal standing than a homeowner? Is this Alabama in the 50s?

Thanks. I was wondering what happened to you. As happens all too often, I figured that I managed to piss you off somewhere along the way. Welcome back to these electronic pages.

Should a renter have less legal standing than a homeowner?

No. And I don’t agree than as a renter, you cannot be harmed if your municipality goes financially belly-up. Than again, if you live in public housing and your income is 100% government-provided, the same argument becomes a huge stretch.

The problem with Grier’s argument is that there were legal precedents on the books that would render his argument null and void. Legally, the argument that he had less standing had merit. And if he’s as smart as he wants us to believe he is, he had to know as much. So, if he knew his challenge was probably dead in the water, why did he press on with it? And why cry foul after losing when you knew going in that your legal premise was flawed from the very get-go? Why? Got me. Maybe because he enjoys seeing his name splashed all over the place.

Remember now, we’re dealing here with a thirty-something that has no job, no discernable income…a guy that still lives under his Pa’s roof. While that may sound mean-spirited, I defy anyone to prove to me that’s it’s not completely accurate.

And to be brutally honest, if the county is saddled with long-term debts and the like, that harms him how? The services provided by the county aren’t going to be discontinued. The grass on the dikes will still be mowed regularly. He’ll still be able to act like an adolescent whenever he needs a dog license. Where’s the harm?

Oh, I know. His children and grandchildren will be saddled with paying those debts. That’s the argument du jour, right? Well, assuming that he actually creates any offspring anytime soon, the only thing likely to be injurious to them would be their father’s lack of earning potential. Again, we’re approaching that dreaded mean-spirited thing. But, the thing is, if you endeavor to look like a member of Motley Crue’s road crew, you’re probably doomed to earning roughly what they earn or less. But, you will be able to wipe your ass with all of your impressive degrees. Or, roll them up and smoke them. Whatever. And, I can’t help but to chortle at someone who demands nothing less than complete financial responsibility from practically everyone else he targets, but who covers himself from top to bottom with prohibitively expensive tattoos. Think about it. $1,000, perhaps $2,000 for a couple of ounces of ink? And we think gasoline is expensive?

All I know is, if I ever run into him somewhere along life’s bumpy trail, about the only thing I’ll have to say to him is, “2 Happy Meals and a Big Mac. Hold the pickle.”

Stay in touch.

Want some certifiable proof that minority Commissioner Steve Urban is a partisan politician first, and a leader second?

Try this from the Times Leader:

Home rule redux?

In 2001, Nancy Kemp, then-president of the Luzerne County Forum, started an effort to place a question – whether to form a commission to study the county’s government – on the November ballot. The commission was formed, but voters ultimately shot down in 2003 the Recommended Home Rule Charter for Luzerne County’s government.

More than four years after home rule’s defeat by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent, David Capin is gathering support for another try. The self-proclaimed “non-politician” said his – and others’ – “total dissatisfaction” with the county’s (majority) leadership has forced him to resurrect the home rule issue. The 47-year-old Kingston resident has already garnered support from some voters and minority Commissioner Stephen A. Urban.

Here’s the scary part:

Commissioner Urban, who backed the study of county government in 2001 but did not favor the proposed charter in 2003, supports home rule and Capin. He said his previous opposition stemmed from specific charter concerns, including an increase in staff and payroll and a legislative branch (county council) chosen at-large as opposed to by districts.

“When I saw the final plan, the creation of the larger payroll could have added about $1 million to the payroll of a county that was already in financial difficulties,” Urban said. “I would support home rule with all districts (similar to how Wilkes-Barre chooses its council members). I think it would sort of level the playing field. At-large members would always be Democrat because of the makeup of the county.”

Urban, who spoke before and attended some previous study commission meetings, said he would do the same if voters supported another commission.

“I would support home rule with all districts (similar to how Wilkes-Barre chooses its council members). I think it would sort of level the playing field. At-large members would always be Democrat because of the makeup of the county.”

Yes, he would support dividing the county into competing fiefdoms, provided that some or most of them were republicans. And if that ever came to pass, the endless bickering for increasingly scant resources would be debilitating.

Would the committeeman from Incest Township support the funding of a major project in the county seat, Wilkes-Barre? Not on your life. Not when his constituents are demanding that the Hooper Creek dam be replaced.

Would the committeeman from the Wilkes-Barre district be in support of a gigantic cargo airport down in that southern end of the county? It’s not likely, when both the valley and city need lots of work.

Why would the elected from my town be in support of remodeling your town?

Well, as long as the embarrassingly inept local republicans make some electoral inroads, Dr. No would support pitting local municipalities against one another. So, once again, he proves that he is to bipartisanship what Skrep is to adept management.

What a freak show. We’ve got one guy supporting Home Rule only because it’s the latest vehicle he’s glommed onto for self-aggrandizement. And then we’ve got this other guy who fancies it because of his propensity to play partisan politics. If there’s a true selfless leader in this balls-to-the-wall mentally incontinent mix, I don’t see him.

Maybe we should start drinking heavier.

I dunno.

Then we‘ve got our newly elected Sheriff, Michael Savokinas.

First, he brazenly told us that he fully intends to employ a past sheriff that we threw out of office because of scandal.

There’s one demerit.

Then, he ups and announces that he intends to keep his full-time job in addition to his position as sheriff.

There’s another demerit.

Due to massive public outcry, he reversed that decision and says he resigned from his other job.

That’s all well and good, but in my mind, he stays at two demerits.

I attended part of that meet the candidates soiree they held in the Mt. Zion church basement some months ago. I was there to here Tom Leighton and Linda Stets and meant to beat it out of there soon after they were done speaking.

If memory serves, Savokinas and the former sheriff he ousted were the first two speakers after the diminutive Dr. No. And Savokinas went on at length about how much better the sheriff’s department would operate if he were to be elected. Yeah, they’d clean up the monstrous backlog of outstanding warrants and what have you. Yeah, this would be the model that other sheriffs departments would hope to emulate. Yup, this here department of ours would be so completely fu>king good…you get the idea.

Funny, though, not once he mention bringing back a former sheriff that we showed the door to. And not once did he mention his intention of working a minimum of 80 hours a week, half of it for the county.

So, in effect, what he has clearly demonstrated since the campaign is how to become a one term wonder without even trying.

There’s a new sheriff in town.

Repeat after me: Yawn.

A bit long-winded, but that’s what happens when I actually bother to fire up the word processor these days. You’ll live.

Time for some NFL football. If nothing else, I think we can all agree that the New York Football Giants rule.

Uh, don’t hold me to that.

‘Til next time.