This past Tuesday was election day in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Offices up for election were Mayor, District Attorney, School Board, Controller and City Council. I realize that off year elections have low turnouts but 25% is ridiculous. Approximately 42,000 people live in Wilkes-Barre. Our Mayoral election had about 5,000 votes. For Mayor there were 5,000 votes. That is sad in a city that has been rocked by corruption over and over again.
City Council had a change of 3 members, including the first Republican in over 30 years. He is a amazingly smart man, who has fantastic ideas and genuinely cares about our city. We also elected a woman in her early to mid 20s and she is fantastic. She was born and raised here. Went to college here and is beginning her political career here. We are lucky to have both of them.
District Attorney was between our incumbent and a defense attorney. Our incumbent does not prosecute cases. Their opinion is that they are there to run the office, determine who tries which case. We have a glut of unsolved murders, as well as a charge against a man running for magistrate who is accused of forging signatures on the petition. We had gas gate, which was 67,000 gallons of gas that went missing and no one was prosecuted. As well as another corruption case with the city contracted towing company. The incumbent spent $130,000 as opposed to $45,000 for the challenger. Was it the money or the laziness of voters?
Controller was between a newer face in local politics and a face that runs year after year. The newcomer won. It is believed he will do a good job. Our city needs it. We are broke, crime ridden and littered with corruption. Of the registered voters, Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 1. Republicans have a difficult time running here.
The School Board race had 4 incumbents who were on both the Republican and Democrat ticket. 3 of those 4 voted to merge our schools. The city is outraged by this, yet they got reelected. There was a write in campaign that started 5 weeks before the election and was run solely on Facebook. There was an 11th hour wrote in campaign started. They received about 4% of the vote. Very good here. 56% of Democrats voted straight Dem and 40% of Republicans voted straight Republican. Despite the clamor for change. People went the lazy way and voted straight instead of seeing who the candidates were.
Mayor was interesting. The Democrat candidate was a former Chief of Police, current City Council member and part of the administration’s that helped create the city’s issues. He filed campaign contribution paperwork with several large errors, was in trouble for not putting the proper labels on signage and publicly supported one of the judges convicted in the Kids for Cash scandal. The Republican candidate had a taxis sue, which he was making payments on and never missed a payment. He also was said to not have leadership experience. Apparently the Mayoral cannot attract more then 5,000 votes.
It is very disappointing to listen to people talk, write the paper or Facebook walls about how the city needs a change. Yet when their opportunity to change it arrives, then cannot leave their house for the 15 minutes it takes to vote. This people do not suffer from apathy, they are lazy. They cannot make a change because they truly don’t want to or care to. I do not think that we can change these folks. We are doomed to the same old same old because of these people. We can only make a difference if we get 50% of the registered voters out to vote. Will never happen. The valley with a heart will soon need a transplant.