One of the assertions I agree with in this Times Leader piece is that the bottom of political participation in Wilkes-Barre has fallen out. And why is that? Hammer meet nail because the article brings you both together. It's because the reasonably intelligent people who might run for office fear the local tactic supreme of being harassed and directly intimidated during public meetings.
The woefully underated point of the article is made thus as:
Qualified candidates want to run, but don’t because they choose not to be subjected to the ridicule and disrespect that routinely occurs at public meetings.
You Tube is rife with counteless examplesof what the article's author is thinking about, but here's an example from Justin Vacula's You Tube Channel which depicts an overbearing speaker who drives his five minutes away making demands and insisting on intricate explanations for complex business processes right there and then to him .
Notice at one point (at about 6:10 on the counter) the speaker calls out Tony George (a current mayoral candidate) as some kind of exception to whatever it is he's bellowing on about. You would think Mr. George, apparently having the speaker's favor, would seize upon the opportunity to de-escalate emotions to both comfort the other council members as well as clear the speaker from the docket peacefully so that the government business of that evening might proceed peacefully. Instead, he rests solemnly on his hand seemingly more ingratiated by the flattery that such a powerful man likes him if he likes nobody else. That rather than doing something, anything, to help restore law and order to the meeting. It's scary because it's almost as if he thinks what's happening in this video is just fine by him .
Hey Tony, think you might lend a hand here? This lunk seems to like you!
The bulk of the video is actually tame compared to the beginning when he assails one of the council members with the question "are you that stupid!? " right to his face. This happens at 1:37. In any professionally run city the "speaker" would have been tossed out immediately and indeed it looks like that was about to happen. However for whatever reason the offended councilman backs the police officer off and the speaker is allowed to continue, although everyone looks rightly nervous about it. Well, maybe except Tony George.
My point with all this, and much in line with the editorial, is that before we can consider whether it's the politicians or any of the platforms against crime they stand for that are important or not, someone needs to address the runaway harassment and intimidation that goes on at those meetings so that professional-grade candidates do in fact enter the election races. It's no longer funny, cute, or patriotic. Everyone needs to stop looking at this systematic harrassment of public meetings as normal or just.
And Tony George, if you want to be my mayor, you need to demonstrate that any of these antics that have been going on for years as far as I can tell, will no longer be tolerated should you reign supreme. Along with your law and order platform for the city at large, you need to come up with a plan to bring law and order to Wilkes-Barre City Council meetings, even if that means bothering people who "kind of like you". Work it into your platform.
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