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



Sunday, April 3, 2011

$4,780,960.00: Ignoring my neighborhood?

As is usually the case on a typical Saturday night, I played Civilizations IV into the wee, wee hours of the morning, all the while listening to the police scanner.

If I had to sum up what I like to call Corona Night in a single word, I’d have to go with idiocy. The police were going from one outbreak of idiocy to the next, with nary a moment’s rest. Altercations. Public drunkenness. And fun-filled combinations thereof.

This is anecdotal in nature, but a veteran scanner listener would probably call it a trend too consistent to not to be considered the norm. That is, when the police respond to bar brawls and start running identifications through the computer system, a great percentage of them come back as being suspended…D.U.I.-related.

The way I see it, if you’ve already lost your driving privileges due to excessive alcohol consumption, I’d say you’ve had enough bar hopping.

I know, I know. It must be me.

The cops say the Legion employees were sleeping in front of the wall of surveillance camera monitors. So then the Legion honcho says, no, the cops were sleeping in front of the monitors.

Again, is it me?

Let’s see, when you enter the main entrance to police headquarters, you are immediately confronted by the room where the wall of monitors is located. And the only thing between yourself and the monitors is a wall of glass.

So, yeah. If I’m an on-duty police officer, that’s the exact location I’d pick to nod off for a spell, right where the general public and members of the local media enter the structure. Yeah, that’s where I’d snooze.

Whatever, man!

With the exception of Karen Ceppa, all of the various and sundry candidates for Wilkes-Barre mayor and city council positions have adopted the tired ‘fix the neighborhoods’ bit as the anchors of their campaign platforms. Practically every candidate for any city office since 2004 has repeated this well-worn mantra because it’s easy and lazy.

We were told as recently as 2003 that our downtown was dead in the water, and that it would never again regain any semblance of it’s former glory. And now that those claims have been thoroughly debunked, I guess it does make some sense to take a contrary position as a way of appealing to voters.

So here we are a little more than a month away from voting for critical positions in the city, and we’re left to pick and choose from a lengthy list of contrarians. The downtown is booming, so somebody must be neglecting the neighborhoods. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

As I’ve said a number of times on these electronic pages, when I traverse my neighborhood--my voting district--I do not see these obvious signs of neglect no matter where I look. Sure, there are some properties that need attention. And we do have a smattering of drug houses and habitually problem properties. But in a country driven by unemployment payments and bath salts, what community doesn’t have it’s fair share of warts?

A good while back, I approached a high-ranking city official and requested a list of improvements made in the city since 2004. No small request, but unlike some here on the Internet might tell you, I did not have to contact a Philadelphia law firm to have my request for information fulfilled.

Anyway, I have city-wide data, as well as a list of improvements by voting districts. And so as to reduce my chances of coming down with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, I will list the improvements made in my voting district--District E.

Paving…total dollar value of paving (since 2004, mind you); $1,185,000.00, 21 streets, 4 miles.

North Main Street wall repairs…$150,000.00.

Court Street wall repairs…$25,500.00.

Upgrades to weir Street pump station and Brookside levee system…$220,000.00.

Murray-Courtright demolition…$1,500,000.00.

North Washington Street (temporary) bridge repairs…$50,000.00.

Catch basins repaired or replaced…210, $480,000.00.

Sewer repairs…$204,460.00.

Mill & Laurel Run Creek merge…$185,000.00.

Hollenback Golf Course…$650,000.00.

Hollenback firehouse…No dollar figure listed.

George Avenue sidewalks…$135,000.00.

Total…$4,780,960.00.

Ongoing…construction of new homes and townhouses on Courtright Street.

Planned for 2011:

Construction of the Sidney Street bridge will begin in the fall…projected at $2,600,000.00.

Reconstruction of the Court Street wall.

Paving on North Washington Street and Wilkes-Barre Boulevard.

That’s one district, folks. That’s my neighborhood. And that’s quite the financial outlay from an administration that supposedly, as the factually threadbare like to say, ignores the neighborhoods.

If some cheery candidate comes to your door looking to glad-hand, make them give you more than that factually incorrect “neighborhoods” spiel. Ask them if they’ll be able to increase upon the number of projects completed and the dollars already devoted to our neighborhoods while the state and Fedrule spigots run dry. And if they claim that they can, then ask them where the funding will come from.

Make them fidget and sweat.

Later

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you are right though I beleive we can not lose sight of continuing to improve the city. It is not perfect and it could improve more but more importantly, where will the future money come from to continue the improvements and to cover the city's overhead. I want to have input on the budget and listen to the people in all districts and then sit with the Mayor and council to look at the expenses and then make the tough decisions. I also think that too many current council members are out of touch and the majority of the population do not have a way to contact them. All council members should be available to the people who voted them into position. They should then take the list of concerns and bring them to the Mayor. The Mayor can not field all of these calls or
e-mails. That is what council members should be doing. Also what are their e-mail addresses. Maybe I am not computer smart enough to find their e-mail or phone numbers on the city's website. I will make mine available and will return every call and e-mail.
Mark even though you are not in my district I am curious to hear what concerns you have and what you want to see the administration try to accomplish. Please share this with me and your followers. I think it will be insightful.