Advocate for Independent Web Publishing
[ ? ]
Entries for GOVERNMENT
Cops In A Keystone State
wbrail wb council Government Crime
Comments (0) Hits: (803) Promote (0) Demote (0) Score (0) Permalink

Yeah, so basically Wilkes-Barre needs to professionalize its police department.

Its leaders should have at least a college degree, and maybe while everyone is at it, the department should check out this whole "accrediation" thing. Apparently it was contemplated once but loose as things apparently tended to be, it was never topped off. Perhaps too many folks along the way didn't like the constraints of accredidation. Hmm.

For those not so laser-focused on who gets blamed for what in the report (spoiler though: Lendacky and Foy feast on babies for breakfast while Seargant Myers and the PBA are too busy passing out halos to orphans to be willfully causing turbulence. Why, the report even says in a single flat parenthetical that it found no evidence that Myers was upset about being passed over for that stupid-head job of police chief that only stupid-heads want anyway - so there!, question resolved!) this is a vindication in no way between the parties, but of the sense that the department is woefully juvenile and has been for some time. It has neither the leadership nor the fabric of rank and file maturity to pull it together.

Capture of a section of the PDF report.

The assessors do not assess that Myers had any interest
in becoming police chief.

Oh, there may be a state that it once had of "business as usual" that some might confuse with healthy "good times" for the department, but remember, any such period is the parent of the freaky state of being we have now. Honey, there was nothing healthy about it, ever. And this report is possibly the best thing Wilkes-Barre has to right the ship if only out of shame.

I for one was shocked by how willing the report seemed to directly wade into the politics of personality. But I've never seen a report of its nature before so maybe that is common, and, since all institutions boil down to the people who run it, inevitable. Plucking away at Lendacky and Foy was an easy path because neither holds a college degree for the advanced positions they hold in a field that prides itself on its trending incorporation of a college education. There are now departments in America where not having a college degree would mean you couldn't be a road officer let alone the chief.

Face it, the 26 grand or so to compile the report didn't involve a lot of sweat on that fact alone.

There are other things to muse over from here. What does all of this have to say about Tony George's judgement? Somehow he saw no problem installing such a controversial leader and cared little to address the calamity. That was his absolute preogative among several such preogatives which I maintain that people who were honest about everything could have lived with and worked through. But alas now that we walk through these smoldering ruins by people who were not prepared to do so, we can fairly ask, what was he thinking in the first place?

Also, I hate reading in the many DISQUS threads how Lendacky and Foy, or maybe Myers, are all horrible people. Let's try to remember they are all in fact noble people electing to engage in (physically dangerous) careers on behalf of the community. Nobody here is evil. What is of course apparent is that they have all become principals in a low drama where nobody expects to find any of such crippling level. The police department should not have the air of a "club" where people elbow through each other at personal whim, yet somehow that's what all of this looks like. Seriously, this is why Wilkes-Barre can't have nice rail.

Tony George is going to have to answer for this mess, Lendacky and Foy are going to have to chin up and maybe get out, and the PBA is going to have to live up to the new world it probably beckoned forth which is a professionally accredited police department with an emphasis on education, and a smart approach to dealing with "passive-aggressive" malcontents. The report has put too many eyes on things now for any of that not to happen and I bet Myers and the PBA are excited to see it so.

I might be being sarcastic. ;)

Linkage

Hope for Rail is a Scrappy One
wbrail High Speed Rail Light Rail Current Events Government
Comments (0) Hits: (1102) Promote (0) Demote (0) Score (0) Permalink

Wilkes-Barre Downtown

Question: Should there be a pie in that sky?

Most Luzerne County residents, politicians, and even business leaders simply cannot comprehend the transformation that will absolutely take place over the next 25 - 100 years. Wilkes-Barre today is a depressed bankrupt city where the citizens are so poor and scared the loudest online voices that dominate are those meticulously bemoaning everyone's success as all part of some corruption conspiracy that never ends. Most Wilkes-Barrians who pay attention to these things would be served well by a reminder that in normal economies people don't sit around assessing who has a comfortable job and who does not, nor do they develop deep state theories to explain why people who bothered to acquire better educations and develop as better people, have them. Such thinking is a grunt's lot and in better days,Wilkes-Barre persona was, and will, exist beyond it.

When I write that Luzerne County, and Wilkes-Barre in particular, will be central hub to high speed rail system between Philadelphia and New York City, I'm not joking. This will absolutely happen.

Sure it would happen well enough without this website promoting an imagination for it, but I admit from an egotistical standpoint, I love prescient writing. On opening day in 20-whatever-the-hecks people will stand over my grave wondering how the heck I knew .

With a 1.5 to 2 hour commute time by rail (which would not be the pivot for an automobile commute because people make use of rail time for personal and professional pursuits while riding rail that they cannot while managing a drive), there is no reason downtown Wilkes-Barre cannot become a New York City bedroom community of middle managers and executives. With quality affordable colleges and universities already in the city limits, there is no reason the same system could not fuel a student's depot.

And by the way, that 1.5 or 2 hours can be expected to shrink to even less as technologies improve. Personally I'm shooting for the "one hour" dream. Going downtown might no longer mean a trip to Public Square (or, that "other thing", giggity giggity) so much as it might mean a trip to Bryant Park.

Things culturally do need to change locally and even nationally before the first hints of traction toward this fantastic rail prediction begin to appear. I believe in certain driving events that will transpire, among other things, that will encourage and cement these changes. Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County essentially collapsing might even be one of the first for example. More broadly, a change in how we view nationally funded transportation systems and transportation funding, will happen. Roads and airports stunted our understanding that high speed rail is great for regional intercity travel in certain areas, and if done right for each one, maybe all. But I am convinced we will come to appreciate its efficiencies with the right - and inevitable - prompting. At which point, it will be game on.

Cashing in Rail Might Cash in Rail

That is why it is so exciting to read the Times Leader's report on the local debate to keep or sell old rail for scrap. Selling it might mean an instant infusion of cash (however quickly that infusion's impact might evaporate), particularly when common road thieves seem poised to take it and convert it to cash for themselves whether it is officially sold or not. I mean, it's just sitting there unused and seemingly without purpose - it almost defies common sense not to. At first blush.

But, yielding to some of that higher thinking and emotional intelligence, which thank god, council member Rick Williams is applying, it isn't that easy. If you're not stuck in a grunt mentality that things are, are the way things will always be, you realize there is more value to that unused track than meets the eye. If you get rid of it you might be tripling the cost of a future rail system that might otherwise avoid the re-allocation of right away rights.

To be fair, the question of what might actually wind up constraining future rail development or not if old rail is torn out and sold is a little unknown right now. The Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority has twice now halted on moving forward with the sale idea, wisely taking the time to sort the question out. First it needs to be established if Luzerne County might really lose its precious right of way inroads if they sell, and if so, whether or not the dream certainty of cost for future rail is worth preserving if in fact the answer is yes.

Or in a more moving question whether the answer is something in between. If the rail can be sold, for example, can Luzerne County maintain its future grip on rail by converting the same right of ways to a trail system? Can a token rail network be built of a single track with a scheduled handcar delivering newspapers from one end of the system to the other once a year be implemented?

The latter idea is probably a bit ridiculous but if it gets the job done, fine. The trail idea however, is a good one. We have one here in Buffalo and it's amazing. You wonder "who uses trails" and figure they are a waste of time, until you see one fully developed. Living in Buffalo I am privy to our local trail system that starts here across the street from my loft and stretches for miles until you hit the river from where you can spot the Canadian shoreline. And people use it . It's teaming with walkers, bicyclists, families, joggers, and platoons of all kinds of friends during warm weather. Because it terminates here in Buffalo at a local light rail and bus station, it's a also a viable transportation solution to downtown.

Trails are not abstract afterthoughts, they are tangible assets.

The LCRA is looking into it. To me, the question and the conclusion are a bellwether for what politicians in the area really think about the future of Luzerne County. If they are convinced the area is so hopping for its next cash fix, however inconsequential said fix is, they are willing to give up that hope, that's bad news. Maybe despite such a decision rail will ultimately develop anyway but at a steeper taxpayer cost and more tragically at the cost of even more county esteem.

Keep the rail as a token, guard it, re-purpose the right of way if that results in the same outcome, and leaders effectively nod that the area is rife with its local talent and confidence for its future. Even if the eventual rail network is built nowhere near these existing tracks, their preservation illuminates just how little Luzerne County is willing to risk a certain death spiral for the area's long term future.

Express Links

Decorum Thread Explodes
wbrail Government
Comments (0) Hits: (1409) Promote (0) Demote (0) Score (0) Permalink

[ Update 8:30 PM 3/6/17 - The CV has apparently removed or inhibited view of all comments at the thread directed to in this blog posting. Not sure what's up - as comments go they weren't exactly the worst I've ever read. ]

The Citizen's Voice waded into the story regarding public behavior at the Wilkes-Barre City Council meetings and in particular Tony George's decision to no longer mandate the attendance of city department heads, citing the decay of decorum.

The link to the story is right here.

It's the explosive thread that followed that demonstrates what a deep nerve this issue has struck.

Unfortunately my posts of the early evening were all removed from the thread as part of some unexplained "purging" of comments. Thanks CV, I really appreciate taking the time to write things only to have them capriciously removed.

I'm pretty sure my remarks were not removed due to content since they clearly don't violate any rules of the board, but whatever the reason, it's discourteous to your patrons. I mean, dudes, "Citizen's Voice" is literally the fucking name of your newspaper!

What gives!?

Capture of DISQUS Removed Comments

The Citizen's Voice literally plowed through and deleted
all my comments from an important discussion. 
Thanks  CV.

Below are the removed comments if only to preserve the effort. They may not resonate exactly the same outside their native place in the thread but they deliver my respective points:

Removed Comments

  • (Regarding Bob K.) - "...He is not "speaking" at the council meetings. He's bellowing ineffectively and spurring anger and resentment such that nobody in their right minds would sit down with him. The videos are a relatively new feature of the council meetings and gradually they are painting this picture. As noted by others the baseless presumption of "corruption" and the rude sneering by Bob and several others, are increasing sympathy for the council, not whatever cause these people claim to stand for. And I phrase myself that way because I for one don't think people who behave that rotten toward other people are capable of standing for anything good, so it stands to reason to me they are "up" to something else. I am not sure what, but it's organized and its meant to damage, not help...."
  • "...Bob could show up and make his case in 5 minutes, thank the council, then step aside. Everyone would be at ease and the conversation between government and the public would actually flourish. Nobody seems to notice that Bob's lobbing of cannonballs at the council has not actually resulted in achieving any of the answers or good outcomes he purports to stand for. In business, as Trump would be careful to note, if you don't get results and you don't learn from your mistakes, you don't keep your position. Incompetence then, if not the loud and obnoxious behavior, should give cause to everyone posting here no matter where they stand...."
  • "...I think you are talking about the presentation Foy gave to the council in which some of his remarks offended Beth. That was a council-allotted presentation I believe. And even while making his points, contrary as they were to your or many other beliefs, he was polite and respectful. When he was finished he was politely silent while Beth retorted his remarks in offense. Let's agree that if some members of the public were just as cordial even while "attacking", there really would be no problem here. In fact, I'd say increase the speaking time in that case. But that's not what's really happening. You have members of the public using the open forum as an attack vector yelling, directly insulting, badgering for answers to complex questions, insisting on one-on-one interfacing post meeting, and so on and so on. They say they care about fellow taxpayers but their meanness and contradicting affect say otherwise. To me the real motivation has yet to be uncovered but even if I'm wrong about there being one, any good cause could probably do without certain loudmouths. I think department heads at these meetings is a great idea. The better approach in my opinion is to begin enforcing the decorum rules as apparently is being done now. If you want to get down to it you have people like "Bob" to thank for giving Tony an excuse to nip the requirement. So there's that...."
  • "...Yep I made the same observation to Corbett when I called into the same show following Bob K to discuss this issue. Sorick made stinging points sure to aggravate any government hedger and he did it with infuriating politeness and respect. I haven't seen *all* of Sorick's presentations to council, maybe he went off the rails once or twice too for all I know, but the ones that I did left me wondering why everyone else had a hard time seeing how razing the council if it needed to be could be 'done' without busting the decorum. They probably hated Frank more than they do Bob K who comes off more like a sketchy potential violent criminal and proud of it to boot...."
  • "...He is not 'speaking' at the council meetings. He's bellowing ineffectively and spurring anger and resentment such that nobody in their right minds would sit down with him. The videos are a relatively new feature of the council meetings and gradually they are painting this picture. As noted by others the baseless presumption of 'corruption' and the rude sneering by Bob and several others, are increasing sympathy for the council, not whatever cause these people claim to stand for. And I phrase myself that way because I for one don't think people who behave that rotten toward other people are capable of standing for anything good, so it stands to reason to me they are 'up' to something else. I am not sure what, but it's organized and its meant to damage, not help...."
  • "...Bob could show up and make his case in 5 minutes, thank the council, then step aside. Everyone would be at ease and the conversation between government and the public would actually flourish. Nobody seems to notice that Bob's lobbing of cannonballs at the council has not actually resulted in achieving any of the answers or good outcomes he purports to stand for. In business, as Trump would be careful to note, if you don't get results and you don't learn from your mistakes, you don't keep your position. Incompetence then, if not the loud and obnoxious behavior, should give cause to everyone posting here no matter where they stand...."
  • "...I think you are talking about the presentation Foy gave to the council in which some of his remarks offended Beth. That was a council-allotted presentation I believe. And even while making his points, contrary as they were to your or many other beliefs, he was polite and respectful. When he was finished he was politely silent while Beth retorted his remarks in offense. Let's agree that if some members of the public were just as cordial even while 'attacking', there really would be no problem here. In fact, I'd say increase the speaking time in that case. But that's not what's really happening. You have members of the public using the open forum as an attack vector yelling, directly insulting, badgering for answers to complex questions, insisting on one-on-one interfacing post meeting, and so on and so on. They say they care about fellow taxpayers but their meanness and contradicting affect say otherwise. To me the real motivation has yet to be uncovered but even if I'm wrong about there being one, any good cause could probably do without certain loudmouths. I think department heads at these meetings is a great idea. The better approach in my opinion is to begin enforcing the decorum rules as apparently is being done now. If you want to get down to it you have people like 'Bob' to thank for giving Tony an excuse to nip the requirement. So there's that...."
  • "...We don't know the technical or other reasoning behind placing the cameras behind council. Your speculation that something nefarious is behind it is one theory I suppose, though I don't know why they'd care. The video set up as it is is a budget compromise. Wilkes-Barre can't afford the higher end AV methodologies used by some other cities *yet*, but there's no reason to believe that as things get better financially it may. By way of example, audio was very poor in the first videos but then they evolved into somehow integrating the microphone inputs and now it's much better. So the system is evolving. For now, the recording and encoding of the meetings to YouTube is actually a recent breakthrough and a far leap from having to rely on the meetings being recorded by biased members of the public (helpful as they were in doing so). I also think they are as effective as I for one hoped in putting what I deem 'the harassers' on the defensive so I for one have no problem with how the angle is positioned for now...."
What to do About Bob Kadluboski?
wbrail wb council Government Politics
Comments (0) Hits: (1945) Promote (0) Demote (0) Score (0) Permalink

Our cat sits bedazzled by the confrontation between WB City Council and Bob. Original You Tube video here.

I honestly don't mean to make this blog all about Wilkes-Barre City videos. Someone should do that - start a blog devoted to nothing but the antics of the people who show up at those meetings, but not me. I really want to focus on its core theme of rail transit development in Luzerne County.

That being said, I seem to be the only blogger fascinated enough by what's going on to say anything. So I'm just going to say it: Something needs to be done about Bob.

We can explore what this something should or might be in future postings but for the second, let's just agree on the problem. In my opinion Bob Kadluboski is engaging in serial harassment. There may have been a time when he was just being colorfully adamant, even a lovable champion, but to this author his behavior has exceeded what should be tolerated. He claims to have a piecemeal purpose to justify himself, taxes, corruption, "rights", things that normally hold up and endear a little tolerance on behalf of everyone. But now he just seems to enjoy being intimidating, controlling, and one can construe fairly, even threatening, depending on the subjective sensitivities and interpretations of the people who are targeted.

His usual technique is to bait someone on the council into an argument on high topic at first, and once this is accomplished, ride that tether down to trivial battles over how much time he is allowed to speak or over whether or not he should be allowed to respond to a response to the first admonishment. Every address to him is skillfully spun to add another prompt that leads to louder and more intimidating behavior.

Harassment is never clearly defined in a single instance or by a single set of behaviors. The very nature of harrassers, stalkers, and the ilk therein, is to embed their activity into legitimate overhead (in this case, the right to speak at public hearings). Instead, harassment is delineated as a pattern of behavior that must be carefully documented over time. Certainly the very videos depicting all of this could be used to sway a prosecutor.

Maybe nobody wants to go there - maybe I'm just the nut for calling it out. Maybe the city council and Wilkes-Barre citizens are afraid like the beaten wife who would prefer to manage her abusive husband's bouts rather than act firmly and with breakage to suburban tranquility.

But to the rest of us cats looking on, something really has to be done sooner or later.

Can't We All Just Get A Cop?
wbrail wb council Government Politics
Comments (0) Hits: (1069) Promote (0) Demote (0) Score (0) Permalink

The December 22 Wilkes-Barre City Council video has been posted online, and, oh brother, what a doozy!

December 22, 2016 Wilkes-Barre City Council Meeting (original post at YouTube).

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.

Dibs for Cache Scandal Rocks WB
wbrail Politics Government Crime City Tech
Comments (0) Hits: (1088) Promote (0) Demote (0) Score (0) Permalink

Update 8/24/18: Justin Bodnar pleads guilty.

Hi everyone Happy New Year!

Let this be the year when city and county leaders wake up and aggressively push for rail connections to New York and Philadelphia. Catering to a crumbling "fortress" mentality where job prospects are so tight there are legions of people monitoring commentating on the well-off positions of others daily, is a dead end. Wilkes-Barre needs its imagination rallied and a preposterous project if only to forget about its problems. I with WBRAIL will do my best to ignite this.

Now, Dibs for Cache

In the meantime there are non-rail related things to muse over. Like this Leighton e-mail "espionage" kind of thing that resurfaced in the news recently. This to me has always been an astonishing story and which has led to this writer's incidental exchange with alleged hacker Justin Bodnar in the comment section about the story at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Independent Gazette.

Screen capture of online exchange with Justin Bodnar

A chance WBRAIL exchange with someone identifying themselves as Justin Bodnar about stolen e-mails.

You'll notice in this breezy passing of words that Justin had yet (and still has yet) to be convicted of anything and was perhaps a little over confident at the time that he wouldn't. However, a trajectory on a path toward conviction became apparent just before Christmas, to his surprise or not. I have to imagine he's had a lot of mental and emotional time to adjust to the probability he'd wind up facing real legal consequences, so he's not likely sweating this as much as might be assumed.

But really, this entire story is incredible is it not?

In catching up on it it appears that Justin, somehow, (and "technically allegedly" still) acquired e-mails of then Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton and offered to sell them to an effective affiliate of the Wilkes-Barre City Taxpayers Association (WBCTPA). A group which I interpret as a local "economic supremacist" group (do NOT confuse that with any assertion that they are racially supremacist which they are not) which aligns taxpayer status with civil morality over renters, the homeless, and those choosing alternate lifestyle models - a series of groups which are likely the collective majority. The basis of this organization and those which orbit it rhetorcially goes along the lines of something like "we are homeowners, when we fail to dominate local political decision making, our Just Position is oppressed."

The WBCTPA is a pretty organized and professional operation by my take, though I tend to believe the obligation of government runs deeper and must be more encompassing than they perhaps acknowledge. WBRAIL officially favored its one time president, Frank Sorick, for mayor in a contest against ultimate winner Tony George, the latter who I simply felt was not modern enough and far too invested in a manipulative cliche platform of "law and order". Frank enjoyed and seemed to appreciate modern technology and its promises to address not just crime but a wide range of civil issues in a city basically absolutely broke. Ideology was easy to overlook at the time. WBRAIL expects a high speed rail terminus in Luzerne County and there is no way that a platform of hunkering down against "out of towners" to solve city woes will ever wind up manifesting that expectation.

Apparently Mark Robbins, and by association, the WBCTPA, struck Justin as the ideal channel to try and "sell" the stolen e-mails, although in the offer e-mail Justin indicated that he was willing to move on and sell it to other interested parties if they themselves were not. And this is where it all starts to get the most interesting.

Mark runs WBTRUTH, which as another independent blog I respect completely, though I do find its messaging somewhat daunting. It's a website with content in line with the theme of the WBCTPA, albeit, difficult to read. "Corruption" is the topic basically sprayed at the blog at a high level, but which consists of sentences and paragraphs which are difficult to derive any conclusion from. Whatever it is, Mark basically thinks politicians in the area are corrupt and the blog reflects this in shrill.

In Justin's evident mis-judging of the general morality of Mark and the WBCTPA, the group promptly reported the solicitation to police. I am sure in hindsight Justin feels pretty embarrassed by this miscalculation; he probably had ideas of cohorting in subterfuge with WBCTPA (or more precisely Mark Robbins), satisfying a financial gain, maybe, but probably more important the fantasy of hacking drama mixed with high politics. To the extent that Wilkes-Barre represents any degree of high politics, that is. Such an unfolding always works out well on TV or in the movies, but in real life, let's just say there can be mixed results. Justin was foiled by receiving one of the more "mixier" results.

You have to imagine the position Mark and the taxpayer association found itself in and whether they wondered, in all honesty, if the story someone was attempting to enroll them in, was genuine. It's quite possible they sensed someone's "operation" to discredit their group by involving them in a scuffle based on a criminal foundation and acted as they did to, as it were, "confound their enemy" circa good ol' Mark Twain's advice. When they were contacted by the FBI to help in a sting against Justin, maybe they were actually surprised. "Wait a minute, you mean the stolen e-mails are really stolen e-mails!?"

Mark agreed to participate in a sting operation against Justin that involved drops under train trestles, marked bills supplied by the FBI, and a "Breaking Bad-esques" meeting at a fast food restaurant to seal the exchange. This Times Leader report details the whole sordid (Sorick?) affair in detail.

In all, kind of cool huh?

There is at note, maybe, a valid moral component in play on the side of Justin Bodnar with respect to his motivations. As an extra layer of intrigue, Justin was, as my capture above would allude, one of the kids deemed an official victim of the "Kids for Cash" scandal. Locally everyone knows about this scandal but to wayward externals this is the one cited by Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story . The specific segment can be viewed online here.

Perhaps that fact leads to the final twist of irony wherein Mark Robbins, the very one who flatly rejected Justin's presumption of interest in his trove, and the very one who was key to Justin's likely path toward some kind of prison sentence (after Justin Bodnar himself I mean), believes that the system should, in the end, go easy on him.

Council Meeting Posted
wbrail Government
Comments (0) Hits: (997) Promote (0) Demote (0) Score (0) Permalink

The city posted YouTube video of the October 20 City Council Meeting.

The prospects for high speed or intercity light rail were not discussed. Still, here's the embed.

Wilkes-Barre City Council Videos Will Happen
wbrail Government
Comments (0) Hits: (1353) Promote (0) Demote (0) Score (0) Permalink

I left Facebook briefly (you can read about why at my personal blog, though, if you know me personally you could have also predicted that I'd be back in a few weeks - can't keep away) and completely missed hearing about Beth Gilbert's success at bringing video recordings of Wilkes-Barre Council meetings to the public.

It happened at a city council meeting on May 12 and as speculated in my previous post the cost to pull it all off will be minuscule - $600. But for that little bit of money the effects will be far-reaching and transformative. It's hard to tell how much Mayor George had anything to do with it but at least we can say he apparently isn't hampering the project; it's going to happen. Videos will be recorded using the purchased equipment and then uploaded to a dedicated YouTube channel. Prior to the vote to make this happen the Times Leader ran an editorial in support of the move complete with eloquent reasoning as to the whys.

Capture of a section of Wilkes-Barre city website showing downloadable agendas.

Online Minutes Add to Digital Population of Wilkes-Barre City Council Meetings

This isn't the only bit of digital transparency entering the newfound Wilkes-Barre technological zeitgeist, I see by perusing the Facebook feed of weeks old that Tony George has capped the advance by pointing out that council minutes will also be made available at the city website.

  <<< Newer Older >>>  
DaveCam 24/7
Twitter Feed
Activity Metrics

Top Rated Entries
Does Lack of Professional PR Hurt Wilkes-Barre?1
Tony George Fiasco Exposes Hypocrisy 0
Passenger Rail Talks Are Back On0
 
Most Electrified
Where this Blog Is Going291746
Keeping Safe, VERY Safe Over the Holiday58111
Wilkes-Barre is Player in Hyperloop Study21826
 
Most Commented
Keeping Safe, VERY Safe Over the Holiday28915
Wilkes-Barre is Player in Hyperloop Study10608
Wrapping Up My 2019 New York Gallivant4289
 
Recently Archived Entries
See all archived entries.
Wrapping Up My 2019 New York Gallivant0
Is the De-Monetization of Breaking News At Hand?0
The Ugly Truth About Blogging Today0
Wilkes-Barre is Player in Hyperloop Study0
Openness.org No Longer Points Here0
Google and Alexa Differences0
How to Make a False King0
Hire Me The Onion!0
Busted Chair, Happy Cat0
Parkside Underground Transformer Fire0