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Times Leader Rips'em One
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Well damn Times Leader people, tell us what you really think of the two city mayoral candidates why don't you?

The newspaper played free blogger for a piece and more or less, mostly more, told people what it really thinks about the two standing candidates for mayor Tony George and Frank Sorick. I mean, it's not news what they feel since most of us feel exactly the same way, it's news that they unflung the shutters over that little window facing public square and really let it rip.

They were restrained enough to make the most stinging part just a subtitle, "Candidates’ lackluster performance have some asking for current mayor to run" , but the meat of the article is little better. The entire analysis of the mayoral debate is a back-handed "bleccch" as much as it is a not-so-subtle push to get Tom Leighton to shoot for a write-in campaign, something the piece itself notes isn't usually successful. A smart man (or paper) however understands that in a city of 40,000 or so where only a few thousand might be considered "electorate reactive" maybe you don't actually need that many people scritching in a name to win - hey, it's a strategy Tony and Frank are probably banking on themselves. The In Focus piece strikes me as a bit of not-so-subtle ego-stroking for Tom to get him up and running. Just to be sure, they followed up with a piece actually suggesting that Tom get up and running. Nice.

Okay so the newspaper has basically found a way to endorse a presently non-running candidate for mayor as well as a way to massage that "non-running" part to just "running". Check. Does anyone really disagree?

Well, certainly the Leighton Hating Machine does. But that loud voice which I assume is really just 50 or so of the same people with really good Facebook and Disqus skills who milk "Kids for Cash" into the long-running yet ambiguoulsy demonstrated theme of "all Wilkes-Barre politicians are corrupt" for whatever damned reason they have to do it, probably doesn't represent most people. I believe the silent "pondering class" is much wider and stronger than we suspect and at the end of the day I believe they could be swayed to overlook our lovable campy candidates to keep Tom well in place even if it means doing a really weird physical thing at the polls.

Times Leader, Don't Do it the Write Way

That being said I really believe Tony and Frank deserve their shot. Particularly the latter who I increasingly favor despite his ideology because the usual ideological patterns seem effectively shattered in a town without an economy anyway, and at least Frank is pro-tech pro-open pro-"can we at least keep up with real cities" infrastructure. One will notice that during the debate Frank raised the issue of encouraging an app that would allow people to take pictures of blight, zap'em to an agency handler of one sort or other, and really make it tough for crap to bleed out everywhere. I actually disagree with the Times Leader that no specific answers were ever given by either of the candidates as this very specific answer was not only specifically specific, why, it was terrific! But what was Tony George's idea in response? Get the trash people to take notes, who needs an app? Technically there isn't anything wrong with that except that it highlights Tony's absolute lack of appreciation for the modern ways. Dude, it's called crowdsourcing, and the entire point is to make sure we don't just rely on a few dozen people feeding a very narrow information channel. We empower everyone . It's the age we live in now for the better and tax-freak or not, Frank is spot on. Sure Frank's a tax obsessed bastard but he's thinking about a lot more than ways and means that he just happens to be comfortable with to get things done. That kind of contemporary compatibility in my mind will in fact bring a high speed rail terminal to Wilkes-Barre a decade closer than being just an anti-crime obsessed bastard.

I admire the Times Leader's piece for its pointed take on the candidates but am wary of its agenda to "mold the old" to keep the current institution going. Trying to manage politics in Wilkes-Barre outside the arena of actual politics is common but murky - maybe those 50 or so gripers have a point. I don't think Tony or Frank are polished but their campaigns are what are on the block today and now. If a city newspaper wanted to be the voice of reason suddenly, why didn't it take a stand earlier on things like the perpetual theme development of our area as corrupt by whoever those "50 or so people" are in the first place? Something that feeds the hurricane of simple-mindedness and roars it that much closer to power.


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