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

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Halliburton is here in Wilkes-Barre...

I ain’t read nothin’ this completely lame-brained since we had us that other mayor--old what’s his name. What was that guy’s name?

Ah, never you mind.

Businessman set to sue city, college

A North Main Street nightclub owner alleges his business and clientele are being unfairly targeted by the City of Wilkes-Barre, which has stepped up police patrols in the area following a rash of high-profile violent crimes nearby.

Thom Greco, the owner of The Mines and a long-time restaurateur, said he sent a letter outlining his complaint to city officials and King’s College, located across the street from the bar at 105 N. Main St.

City Administrator J.J. Murphy confirmed he had seen the Greco letter, which threatened a lawsuit against the city and King’s, alleging The Mines has been singled out from the rest of the Main Street bar scene because of the customers there on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Murphy denied Greco’s club was the target of discriminatory policing tactics. He said the city increased patrols at the behest of students and parents worried about crime in the area.

“We have deployed police officers in that area up and down Main Street,” Murphy said after Thursday night’s city council meeting. “There was a girl who was murdered on North Main just a few weeks ago.

“I thought Mr. Greco would advocate, as he has in the past, for a safe downtown.”

I have to say, that last crack kind of says it all.

But it gets better with this next one:

“My understanding is that the officers have been in front of all the establishments because of the rash of crimes in that area,” Murphy said. “And I know for a fact that the other businesses in the area have complimented the city on the (police) presence.”

Thom Greco can say what he wants, but what you have here is a business owner complaining about an enhanced, highly visible police presence in the area of his establishment.

And if that’s not one for the record books, if that doesn’t beat all, then we’ll have to wait for some businessman to be angered by the installation of new sidewalks and curbs near his shop to top this useless swill. How patently absurd.

All of which takes me back to a previous article on this growing imbroglio:

City’s emphasis on safety takes ironic turn

Safety is a crucial element for the North Main Street area and all of downtown Wilkes-Barre. As more and more area residents and visitors walk city streets at night, use downtown parking lots, attend movies and visit restaurants and bars, they need to feel secure.

It was not so long ago when very few walked in downtown Wilkes-Barre after dark. Now, with a frequent and obvious police presence, security has returned, and so have the crowds.

For local businessman, Thom Greco, it’s not that simple.

The police, Greco says, have been too heavy-handed with patrons of The Mines, his nightclub across North Main Street from King’s College. On a recent night, Greco counted 30 county, city and state officials patrolling his block. In a written complaint to the city, Greco says his club has been unfairly targeted, patrons have been turned away and his business is losing money. He has threatened to sue both the city and King’s College.

While the exact police tactics used near The Mines are still unclear, the irony of the situation is evident. Greco views the heavy police presence as his ruin, while having a large a number of police officers in plain sight has become the most important key to safety in the rest of the downtown Wilkes-Barre.

I have to say, that last paragraph kind of says it all.

Some intrepid reporter should hit the streets the next time the area is blanketed with law enforcement officials after dark and ask those college kids how they feel about recent events.

So what’s our biggest priority here? The profitability of a single bar? Or our dedication to ensuring the safety and well-being of the general public?

And what of the ill-advised precedent Greco is trying to set?

What, we have to have him sign off before undertaking any future saturation patrols? We need his permission first? He determines the need for, the legality of and the overall fairness of any future police deployments en masse? That’s poppycock.

You know, if your guest counts are dwindling as the nearby police presence rises, what does that say about the character of your clientele?

Chief Dessoye…I say mush on with the clampdown.

Deputize me.

This is the gift of idiocy that keeps on giving.

Barrett appointed to Hawkeye board

WILKES-BARRE — City Council Vice Chairwoman Kathy Kane still has questions, but now she has someone to answer them.

For months the most vocal critic of Hawkeye Security Solutions — the nonprofit corporation overseeing Wilkes-Barre’s citywide surveillance camera project — Kane said Thursday night the appointment of a councilman to Hawkeye’s board was “a step in the right direction.”

“Do I still have questions? Yes,” she said during Thursday night’s back-to-back council work session and meeting. “But, I am very pleased administration has decided to work with council on this.”

Kane has criticized Hawkeye and members of the city administration for keeping council in the dark as the more than $2 million camera project moved forward. Mayor Tom Leighton and City Administrator J.J. Murphy, who is also on the board of Hawkeye and has taken the lead on the project, have denied her allegations.

Kane said Leighton called her this morning, offering her the ninth spot on the Hawkeye board. Kane initially accepted, she said, but then told the mayor that Bill Barrett would be a better choice for the public safety initiative. Barrett is a former city police chief and current director of campus safety and security at Luzerne County Community College.

“I trust the board members,” Kane said, “and now I know it (information) will come back to council. I thank the mayor for that.”

I mentioned before that I work all over this entire county. For instance, today I could be working in Wilkes-Barre, tomorrow in McAdoo, Noxen or Avoca the next day. And now they’re telling me my expertise may be needed in Lackawanna County in the coming weeks. Needless to say, I get around.

And my typical job lasts for hours on end, essentially guaranteeing that my customers and I will engage in some idle chit-chat at some point during my work day.

Quite often, they’ll ask me where I happen to reside. And when I tell them that I live in Wilkes-Barre…well, I get one of two reactions. The what-happened-to-that-town thing, or the things-are-really-looking-better-down-there remarks. The first coming from the people that do not visit this city very often, and the former coming from those who do.

As to those who stopped coming here at whatever point, when they give me that look, that look that spells Y-U-K, I always point out that the city is doing much better than advertised, and that it has responsible leadership in place. In short, the big comeback is well underway.

But, never will I suggest that having council people purposely going out of their way at public meetings to needle or to try to embarrass the City Administrator for no practical purpose passes as responsible leadership.

What’s this, like three meetings in a row, three consecutive months with the same quote, “I still have questions?” Really? Then something is seriously amiss. Something is not as it seems.

Here’s the scenario: I run for city council and win in a landslide. And then, I approach both the mayor and his administrator with some pointed questions about a fast-developing city project, questions they refuse to answer. At that point, I block their only means of escape, and the verbal battle of the elected titans is on!

You want some of this? You want out of here? What? You have a meeting to get to? Then answer the effing questions or I am exiting stage left, right over to the City Beat reporter’s cubicle.

What I’m saying is, only one of two possible explanations work for me. Either the city’s executive branch is not answering the questions, or the legislative branch hasn’t been forceful enough in asking them. And rather than have to read that same tired quote--“I still have questions“--the day after the next council meeting, I suggest that the adults act like adults and put an end to this needless, this childish-sounding nonsense coming from my…ahem, “responsible leadership.”

Or, as I am so frequently known to say, “Jesus H. Christ already!!!”

What I’ve been able to dredge up from my vast network of contacts is this:

According to an informed far left-wing South Wilkes-Barre minister, General Murphy is still employed by the U.S. military. And since the military answers directly to the Department of Defense, it has undeniable, but barely traceable links to former vice president Dick Cheney. And since Dick Cheney and Halliburton are inexorably one in the same, it only stands to reason that the Hawkeye Security Solutions contract was secretly awarded to Halliburton as part of a no-bid arrangement.

And there you have it. Halliburton is here in Wilkes-Barre, and is ready to spy on the good people of Wilkes-Barre. Damn that evil Dick Cheney!

Got any more questions?

Jesus H. Christ already!!!

I figure some of you need some advanced warning, or a reminder or something, so here it is.

The 21st annual Thompson Street Block Party is scheduled for Saturday, August 8, 2009. Pencil that one in on the calendar.

You can expect the usual eclectic mix. You know, average folks, dignitaries, surprise guests and Allah only knows. We’ll be doing some video this year. And we’re actually working on doing a “live” set of music.

Yes, Gort, you were right. I did get “stuck on the 80s” for a while there last year, but, you got legs, ain’t ya? Walk up on the porch and request something. Or sing for us. I got lots of karaoke stuff at my disposal.

Hold on. That’s an idea.

The 21st annual Thompson Street Block Party is scheduled for Saturday, August 8, 2009, featuring Gort 42 singing the music of Frank Sinatra, Roxy Music, Hazel O’Connor and The Clash.

Oh, and D.B. Echo with his special blend of grape Kool-Aid distilled just out back of the house.

Be there. Er, here.



D.B. Echo said...

Unfortunately, I won't be able to be there this year, much as I want to. I'm already double-booked for the day...scheduled to work and attending a friend's wedding in (groan) New Jersey. Because of the nature of night shift, I have to take THREE days off in order to attend the wedding and stay the night in (groan) New Jersey.

I'm hoping we can have an informal get-together in the wintry months, after vermin season has passed. Maybe an election night gathering with Walter!

Gort said...

Wait a minute.

You make it sound like I think that being “stuck on the 80s” is a bad thing. Just look at my record collection pal.

I think that you and I should sing a medley from Joe's Garage. I'm sure that will drive away the crowd.