It's nothing short of amazing to me that I'm the guy that penned the once well-received moniker "Hose Dudes," I'm probably the only resident of Wilkes-Barre still in possession of a Hose Dudes mug collection, the T-shirt collection, as well as the pink "Hose Chicks" T-shirt.
Yet, I am now, and have been for some time, deemed to be persona non Grata by those who once vociferously cheered me on.
And I'm all good with that. Completely. I'm happy to admit that I'm smart enough to recognize that there is an ebb and flow to the prescient issues of the day. But it's become readily apparent that, for some, the issues remain the same no matter who happens to be the elected leader of the city.
Allow me to reprint a reader's comment that was sent my way...
Marc, I read your first post and the comments. I agree that the guy from Wbonline would have done a little more research than just reiterating the half truths the mayor has been using for his reasoning for firehouse closures.
I've read that the firemen have lost 20 men through retirement or whatever over the last few years and no one was replaced. My question as a taxpayer is what did the mayor do with the savings from the salaries of all those people. Please don't say it all went to the police because although I'm not as well informed as you are, the city received grants for a good number of those much needed police officers. God Bless.
April 16, 2010 11:31 PM
Trust me, the guy from Wilkes-Barre Online is alive, well and still given to doing hours upon hours of research. By the way, research which would include a few telephone conversations with the very man who negotiated the most recent contract that the rank-and-file firefighters agreed to, was well-received, but was summarily dismissed just as soon as the then-vacationing union leadership caught wind of it.
Spare me the soft-pedaled insults. Spare me this utter nonsense that I no longer do my necessary homework, simply because I abandoned my former, long-running Web site because I no longer wanted to be pigeonholed into writing about every minute detail about Wilkes-Barre.
Now I challenge you to do some necessary homework.
Name for me an administration of Wilkes-Barre, past and present, that the union leadership of the fire department did not go to war with, disparage in public, stage public protests against, or claimed was ignoring public safety. Go for it.
The way I remember it (no research required), the union leadership has waged war against every mayor it has ever run across during my adult years. It hates the 6 years of Leighton. It railed against McGroarty for 8 years. And it staged public protests during the 8 years of Namey, when Namey openly suggested that the fire department be scaled back due to the escalating costs of maintaining it at it's then-present levels. Sound familiar?
Trust me, this is really not hard to follow. This is yet another glaring example of public sector unions ignoring financial realities, ignoring the financial plight of those they are sworn to serve, and trying to systematically browbeat elected officials into spending more than they have at their disposal. Er, at our disposal.
As far as the long-overdue swelling ranks of the police department is concerned, their ranks began to swell just as soon as Mayor Tom Leighton correctly and smartly took advantage of an updated state law and raised the occupational privilege tax from $10 to $52 per resident, and then invested the immediate $1 million windfall in the hiring of 11 new police officers.
Look, I'm not going to waste much more of my important time arguing with the "anonymous" public sector, unionized employees who continually seek unfettered access to my wallet, as well as every other imported wallet. Sorry, kiddies, but Washington and Harrisburg come first. And based solely on their woeful financial predicaments, I'd say you localized union brothers are very close to being sh*t out of luck.
Now let us take a stroll to the email inbox:
Like you , I have been a long time supporter of WBFD. It is time to take a real look at the city, its future and its past. Compared to similar departments in the United States Wilkes Barre has a Unbelievable retirement package, past administration agreed to this in a spend now pay later attitude....Guess what later is now. and it is breaking the already strained back of the city. If it was just about staffing levels then why not take the FIREMAN who drive the ambulances and put them back in the Engines. Oh yeah, the union won't allow that. The city already uses per-diem paramedics why not use per-diem drivers. (non-firemen).
There are a great many firemen up for retirement........and sadly it is this group that won't give an inch. At sometime in the future the city will be forced to to break the union in order to survive......The city could be reduced to paid fire engine drivers and volunteer firemen. Across the board new realistic contracts need to be agreed to by the unions and the city.
Police: Say what ever you want......the city has change so much...crime, violent crime is much more prevalent. And it seems every punk has a gun. No one wants to hear it but the police officers are still out numbered on the streets. The cancer or bad areas of the city are growing..........is that the mayors fault......Hell no!!
I thank you for staying clear on the issues the city faces. With the decrease in tax base and future revenue looking bleak no matter who makes up the administration of W_B City............more hard to swallow decisions need to be made. I consider many of Wilkes Barre City's Firefighters personal friends they need to relook at the overall picture .
Keep typing the truth.....
Name deleted by your most hated of authors.
Where is it written that while the increasingly horrified private sector stares down the loaded barrel of the Great Depression II, the public sector should have their every financial demand met, no matter how unreasonable, or how completely self-serving and how completely devoid of the reality of the financial sophistry may be?
There is an old Yiddish phrase that aptly applies here...