For the benefit of those not so focused on the going ons in Wilkes-Barre let me just paint this quick picture of what is stopping talk of high speed rail.
First, the city is broke. In this meeting they voted to approve a city tax hike which as you can imagine didn't go down well among many, but in particular as the meeting shows, the usual bitchers.
Heh - yeah there should be a degree of sympathy for tax hikes but this lot of objectionates sure make achieving it tough. I honestly think some of these people if not all of them are just organized harassers whose goal seems to be to intimidate and control the meeting process for worse, much to astonishing toleration of the council.
Much of the video is just one obnoxious "tax hero" after another fostering confrontation and self-righteousness though it isn't like they don't have a point of course, I just tend to doubt their authenticity and definitely question their approach. Demanding that city officials solve problems exactly to your expectation or you're no longer playing nice is not being an "accountable" "valuable" citizen.
The Times Leader puts pretty good drapery over the tone and constructiveness of what bordered on just blatant bullying with the tax issue as guise.
Their take on public comment:
Starting with Sam Troy, a half dozen residents and taxpayers pleaded for relief from a tax hike and recommended increases and cuts elsewhere.
Yeah, I think the video will show it was not really that polite.
None of it is flattering to the city since it does show a certain ceiling of civic intellect. At one point Wilkes-Barre city resident Bob Kadluboski "asks" Tony (Mayor Tony George) to stand up when he speaks in what comes off to me more like a way to push Tony's button (Bob has a tendency in my view to control the space as a method of intimidation though he is always left explaining "I'm just doin' this" or "I'm just doin' that!"), which is bait that Tony immediately falls for by shouting back something like "And I'd like you to take off your glasses!" - after which they go back and forth for a few seconds on the subject. It's a head shaking moment that tells us we're a few years out before there's any kind of ground breaking on light rail or whatever.
Can't We All Just Get A Cop?
Then there's the police department drama playing out in open court. A one Commander Foy took the stage to try and shed light on the other side of the coin with respect to the police persecution of Tony George's pick for police chief, Marcella Lendacky. His remarks reinforce my suspicion that there is a single personality or cluster of personalities who are frustrated by loss of previously enjoyed informal control that are predictably trying to manipulate the grand scheme of things as a way to correct.
If that is what none of this is really about, they have not produced anything publicly as of yet that shows why a green executive (if that's what Lendacky really is which I doubt) should not be given a chance to grow into the job. Somewhere there's a survey floating around speaking to how bad she is at the job and how low morale is in the department.
But to give credit to some anonymous survey (which, uh, if the respondents did not use Tor or something similar while filling it out, actually wasn't - the data collected in any web log file is not outright telling, but, it isn't hard to put pieces together or rely on markers to match forms to people with this basic information) you have to completely suspend any notion of the ways and means of pressuring people who in this case would be, as Foy optly notes, most officers who just want to police the cityno matter who the god damned chief is.
With zero other information to go on I feel Foy may be spot on.
Unfortunately in making his points he offended Beth Gilbert (who we have to herald for her work in getting these council meeting videos online), who is a highly respected council woman with great populist favor at present, and rightly so. When we speak of perhaps breaking Wilkes-Barre's intellectual and professional barrier to make way for rail in Wilkes-Barre politics, she and Tony Brooks offer examples of hope.
Beth had sharp rebuke for him over his suggestion that she was a bit too green to involve herself in the controversy as this Facebook embed from her illustrates:
Speaking of the investigation, if it were not for Beth I'd not be in favor of it. As I just wrote I think it's little more than internal power play based on the outward evidence today.
However, in honoring Beth's lead, there can be nothing wrong in my opinion with taking a look if only because it is healthy to vent those pipes before someone gets fucking killed. While all of this is going on, you really have to wonder if you can trust angry cops who want their chief to look bad to do the right thing and interface properly with the public. Wilkes-Barre really, really, doesn't need this.
How to Share
Status quo institutions are attempting to kill the hyperlink and relegate you to social media. Resist by sharing this content's hyperlink. To share this content copy the URL below to your clipboard and paste it to the medium of your choice. Never let the world forget about the World Wide Web.