ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gentlemen's rules or: How I learned to love anonymity

I snagged the following comments from a reader who was reacting to parts my “Local bloggers target of FBI probe” post:

Anonymous said...

on the walter thing.. i had no idea and i really would not have cared, but your post piqued my interest and i googled and found the blog you were refering to. if those responses really are walter's i am shocked. i never took him to be that way. it is with a genuinely heavy heart i am honestly reconsidering my vote for him.... i understand being upset, but as the controller of the county i would hope emotions would not rule one's actions... it is one thing to verbally lash out, but to take the time to write something and read it over and then hit the send button.... rationality would have said, getting in the gutter is not a good idea... walter should be well aware elections are not contested under "gentleman's rules" they are down and dirty and an extreme contact sport... to get involved means to have a thick skin... if this was common knowlege, no matter the outcome he had to know it was going to come out.... i am extremely sad..

May 12, 2009 5:44 PM

I, as well as a few others, have told Walter we felt it was a serious mistake on his part to take on the anonymous assassins of the internet world, a foolhardy, ill-advised battle that he could never hope to win. There’s "gentleman's rules." There’s that election period in which those rules usually do not necessarily apply to some variable degree. And as it pertains to anonymous attacks and those cowardly folks who conduct them, there are absolutely no rules at all.

As a matter of fact, I advised him against even reacting to vitriolic comments coming from the anonymous blowhards on local blogs some weeks ago. Advice, by the way, that he did not heed.

I too understand that he was upset. And I also think he let his temper get the better of him. All of which reminds me of some sage advice I received from a Times Leader reporter some years back, in which he strongly suggested that I should never, ever write in anger.

And make no mistake about it, I am not here to defend any of Walter’s angry words sent via e-mail. But when I talked to him when this unfortunate nonsense first began, his concern was not for his reputation, nor did it center on his chances of winning any election. Rather, he was pained that both his wife and daughter were not only startled by it, but rightfully upset over it. And what that suggested to me was, despite any growing warts he may have, his heart is in the right place.

As for his chances of winning next Tuesday, he’s still got my vote. The thing is, I’d rather have a temperamental controller subject to momentary lapses of reason than another do-nothing, no show politico who looks the part, talks up a good show, says the right things and then stands idly by as the corruption parade continues to march on by.

I’d rather have a controller who makes the occasional flub, admits said flub and then publicly apologizes for it than some go-along-to-get-along part-time phony of a political apparatchik who’s only real concern is his golf game at noon.

As for the “dirt” that was recently brought to light, all that the sudden unearthing of that suggests to me is that the half dozen or so boys from the Back Mountain, the boys with the big, big bucks who finance and control the flailing GOP in this county do not want Walter Griffith taking up residency in that courthouse. And neither do those long-entrenched purveyors of scandal, the democrats. And the question that you should be asking yourself is…Why?

Why? Because there’s an extremely good chance he’d be the next Steve Flood, only with hair. Well, some.

And that’s what I want in the next County Controller, someone who will question whatever needs to be questioned, even if it leads to lots of ill feelings coming from his or her counterparts. Even if it leads to the occasional dustup splashing all over Page 1 the very next morning.

So, on election day, do with Walter what you will. And if he’s truly blown his chances of winning based on his rationality and temper when his home life, his family life is being threatened by an unknown twit in league with heretofore unseen political assassins, trust me, you had better never vote for me.

Vote your conscience, man.

“Simply put; Will this be the best Riverfront in Pennsylvania?”--Kayak Dude

Could be. I truly suspect as much. Although, I ain’t seen most of Pennsylvania’s better riverfront amenities.

Be that as it may, the riverfront at Wilkes-Barre now has it’s own Web site, so it can’t be all that bad.

The River Common

An excerpt from the main page:


On Friday, June 19th, the celebration begins with the dedication and grand opening of the Wilkes-Barre River Common. This $30 million new park in downtown Wilkes-Barre includes a fishing pier and boat launch, a quarter mile of paved walkways, ornamental gardens, a 4000 person amphitheater with granite and levee seating, two portals through the levy that reconnect the park with the Susquehanna, and the water fountains at the Millennium Circle. Join us for this historic event that will feature live music, food vendors, a taste or downtown restaurants, kayaking demos, fishing clinics, painting of a community mural, artists and craft vendors, environmental and community groups, and an evening fireworks display.

RiverFest continues on Saturday, June 20th in Nesbitt Park from 1pm to 6pm with live music, exhibits, vendors, food, fun and activities for all ages. Enjoy the chance to view the live birds of prey and live mammals or take a guided hike through the historic Olmsted Park and riparian forest that adjoins the river in Kirby Park. Kids can look forward to pony rides, field games, a moon walk, kids tree climb, rock climbing wall, kayaking demos, arts and crafts projects, live animals, fishing & fly tying demos, and children’s bike safety program with free helmet give away.

If you want to see the valley in a different light, join the sojourn on Saturday, June 20th, and spend four hours on the river, paddling from Harding to Wilkes-Barre, or paddle from Nesbitt Park to Hunlock Creek on Sunday, June 21st. Paddling on the river affords you the chance to see bald eagles, egrets, Peregrine falcons, and river otters. In addition, the site of the historic Battle of Wyoming, remnants of the North Branch Canal, and the site of the Knox Mine Disaster are among the many historic features of the tour.

Whether your interests are in paddling the river or simply enjoying a beautiful day in the park, RiverFest is a chance to participate in the community while acknowledging the splendor and historical significance of the Susquehanna River and the River Common in Wilkes-Barre.

From the e-mail inbox:

Join us for the 10th Annual Wyoming Valley RiverFest on June 19th- 21st, 2009 at the Wilkes-Barre Riverfront Parks. The Wilkes-Barre River Common, a new $30 million park along the Susquehanna will be dedicated and opened to the public on Friday, June 19th. The festival continues on Saturday, June 20th in Nesbitt Park with live music, food, and fun for all ages. Join the sojourn and paddle down the Susquehanna on Saturday or Sunday.

Join me out there. Believe me, you’d be glad if you did. Plus, you’d get to meet the legendary, the infamous…Kayak Dude.

The Battle for the Susquehanna is now long since over. The ragged rebel forces comprised mostly of tree huggers, paddling enthusiasts and hardcore river rats of all ages and backgrounds vanquished the unthinking, unknowing pork-addled ground-based infantry hordes led by the local congressman and his mighty cardboard check.

And what even the hapless, totally unconcerned village fool understood, but the local congressman never could or would come to accept, is that dams degrade free-flowing rivers. But not here. Not this one. Not this river.

Viva la Susquehanna!

Or, as presented in the following slideshow, the tiny Maples defeat the mighty Oaks, and 444 miles of river remain free-flowing to this very day.

The Trees (4:59)



Sam from Wilkes-Barre said...

Dear Sir,
I appreciate your perspective on the issues and want to say that I would have reacted exactly the same way as Walter if the attack was on my family in the disquise of "protecting the People" when in fact it was simply "dirty Politics" Walter has demonstrated his ability to speak out and be respectful to those he is speaking, and Walter has been in front of many a government official who will tell you that Walter has never been "out of Control" when he addresses people when he strongly disagree's with them. This anonymous attack was simply that, an attack to see what would happen, and Walter reacted exactly as I would have given the time frame and the reason for the release of the information.

Anonymous said...

Just one question, if you advised Walter prior to not respond to anon attacks and he did then and did again in an ill tempered way, is it just an occasional flub or rather a pattern of immaturity? Like the original poster stated, it is one thing to lose your temper, but to write it down, read it over and then send it takes time, possibly enough time for a mature rational person to opt not to send it. And since he was advised by someone with blogging chops such as yourself and did not heed your advise on more than one occasion also perhaps demonstrates a lack of reason necessary for the job of controller. I don't think anyone is really worried about Walter being the next Steve Flood. He is emotionally not at Mr. Flood's level. As far as his concerns about his family, he should have been man enough to be upfront with them. Anon political attacks have been going on since the founding of the country. Jefferson financed newspapers under various names to attack Adams. This is nothing new in the internet age, it has been going on for not years, not decades, but centuries. Walter is a good man, however, I too am no reconsidering my vote. I have already removed his yard signs from my properties. I want passion, I want independence, but I do not want a controller who runs amok. I don't want a politician who doesn't realize that the only rules are, there are no rules. As I stated he should have been a man and been honest with his family. Anyone who knew this was out there should have known it was fair game. No one attacked his family, they went after a man who appears extremely self-righteous when he attacks others. He attacks character flaws in others, then goes off on a tantrum when his are exposed.
As the original poster stated I too feel the same way. I don't care about the past. I care about the present and his response is not leadership. He had time, he had advise and he had a delete button... He chose to ignore all.