I've been pretty vocal regarding the fiscal mis-reporting by Tony George, Wilkes-Barre candidate for mayor. I stand with the Times Leader who once editorialized that the area is lacking any truly qualified mayor in the sense that we expect our mayors to interface with high finance business interests and act as stewards of local social policy and leadership.
Let's hope Tony means hope and change -- for the local political tone
While there are overtones of concern about these things injected in the campaign rhetoric by either Tony or Republican candidate Frank Sorick, the real gist of these campaigns seem oriented around people who are angry about not having jobs (hence the meticulous monitoring and bitching about those who might have seemingly cushy government jobs and appointments), out of towners who don't own homes yet have the audacity to demand social relevance, and abstract comparisons between what Wilkes-Barre is today versus what it may have been "way back when".
This admittedly snooty viewpoint of mine aside (who am I anyway? Mr. Fucking "Prince Sophisticate" or something?) I am happy that the gripers and complainers seem to have a candidate on an apparent winning trajectory that satisfies their little universe. If there's anything good about a Tony George mayorship it has to be that it will finally shut everyone the hell up. A "pacifier" mayor isn't going to stop the long-range goal of building a high speed rail terminus in Wilkes-Barre, and if it qualms the unprofessional comments online and at Wilkes-Barre City Council meetings because hecklers have a populist mayor they influenced into office, it will probably help. Major business players taking note of the absence of screaming children in our community might well have a reason to believe that maybe it's a professionally run town after all -- if nobody sneezes.
"I Am Not a Book" ... Keeper
Case in very point is this whole campaign finance mess. Even before he is elected, something that would screech the smoke if not outright fire of corruption were it a mistake of anyone in the city's current leadership, the community is squarely cutting this man a break. Missing is all the noise about how corrupt "all Wilkes-Barre politicians are", or speculative droppings that maybe the FBI is sniffing at Tony's feet, ready to bear down on him with some certain mythical prosecution, or cries that he should quit, turn himself in, or jump off a bridge -- or any number of such willful expressions aimed at, say, Thomas Leighton over the past X years.
And the lack of transparency question? The big issue that drives loudmouths to dominate Wilkes-Barre City Council meetings in droves? The hardest thing Tony supporters have had to swallow here is that transparency ain't so easy after all, is it? Given the week-long (and even ongoing) silence about this issue by the Tony campaign, it's a safe bet Wilkes-Barre isn't going to see a fully realized WWW site, including Internet live streaming of Wilkes-Barre City Council meetings, while Tony is mayor. Damn.
Do I think he deserves a break? Yes, because as we all seem to sigh, he is a simple man who's truth and honesty we believe in. But guess what, all the politicians before him that the "theme machine" has worked out against Leighton and others, deserve the same break. The rotten unprofessional attacks developed, polished, and launched by anti-Leightons have been all the rage until now. Now that the same run-of-the-mill trip-up seems to be impacting their man with a case that qualifies for their wrath on the grounds of incompetency or corruptive intent as much if not more, the Leighton Critic League expects everyone to throw a switch in their head and forget the standard modus operandi of accusations and near slanderous critique this sort of thing has traditionally garnered. It's hypocrisy at its blatant worst though I hope that once the ego wears off that this whole thing will be a teaching moment and the tone of politics moving forward will finally improve. A rationale climate of professional discourse and debate will be what it takes to connect the big cities to Wilkes-Barre by rail.
Barring any more revelations, I will probably vote for Tony because all things being equal Democrats support transit projects. While Tony is far and removed from thinking or commenting on such things, it's just a wise move to vote for the party at large that has a traditional willingness to develop infrastructure whereas conservatives, republicans, tend not to. If I had to vote on apparent wit and intelligence alone, particularly in wake of the finance reporting fiasco, Sorick would be the clear choice. But taking Frank's party affiliation at face value, he can not be for infusing large government projects into our lives which connecting Wilkes-Barre to New York City will certainly take. Ultimately I am left to vote for what benefits my ideal vision for Wilkes-Barre, not which threatens it, even though, again, neither candidate is thinking about that.