As the year 2007 comes to a close, I wish to express a few brief thoughts on recent events and conditions. (Well, I thought it would be brief!)
FIRST, though, welcome to the new blog, Media Muddle. It is here where I intend to offer opinions on events and situations, mostly local but state and national, that surface in the press, as well as take on some of the ridiculous and ludicrous efforts of what today is called the press.
Now, on to the New Year opinions to start with.
1. You didn't see me at the New Year's Eve festivities in York City this year. I am upset that the officials of this event moved the finale to Sovereign Bank Stadium, even if it is just for one year. This has become a tradition. There are festivities at locations east, west, north and south of the square. Continental Square was the hub and, when it was time to count down and bring in the New Year, everyone converged to the square for a nice show, the countdown with the White Rose, and grand finale including fireworks. This year, everyone has to trek north, out of the perimeter of the night's earlier festivities and go to the stadium. Officials act like a bunch of first-graders wanting to show off a new toy, no matter how inconvenient it could be or the hammer that could potentially smash a tradition. Just to show off a new stadium which, incidentally, should never have had a dollar of public government money in it, since it is a private, for-profit business venture. I like the stadium. I've been there to games. But this was too much.
2. My best wishes to Mayor Brenner and his police commissioner and the city council that they soon find the wisdom to clamp down and end the violence -- especially the gun violence -- that plagued the city in 2007. I have been sending a sympathy card showing a black rose to the mayor, the police commissioner and president of city council every time there has been violence involving a gun since this summer. Actually, I am in arrears. In the past week, there were three incidents, so I have three sets of cards that have to be sent out. Yes, yes. I know this is a problem with every city. But, for the sake of whoever, SOMEONE has got to be smart enough to get something to work to reverse the trend. Apparently, there are no such intelligent minds in York.
3. Same goes for education and the York City School District. This has been the saddest problem I have seen in my life as far as the community is concerned. I grew up in York. I went to schools in York. I graduated from York High. And look at what the hell the city school district is today. It's in shambles. But we have our school board, albeit powerful and mighty and especially willing to steal more of yoru hard-earned money to promote this program and that program and whatever program and on and on. And what has it accomplished? Not a damned thing. I was shocked, totally shocked when I heard the reports earlier this year about the schools I attended. Half of the students aren't graduating. Aren't even finishing. Over 800 -- I can barely imagine this -- over 800 students in the York City School District are HOMELESS. What has the school board done to address these issues? Damned if I know. I don't hear them publicly kicking and screaming and demanding change to other community issues that would be needed to help solve these problems. The school board's grade? A flat "F-".
4. So it boils down to this, and here are some things I think should be addressed -- and officials should publicly and loudly demand them if the problems need to be solved by another agency or level of government:
A. Make parents responsible for what their children do -- that was the reason for "under-age" anyway, wasn't it? If they are held accountable -- including financial and possibly even criminal jail time, I believe parents would much more carefully watch what the hell their kids are doing. (isn't it interesting how easy it is to play blame games and escape responsibility?) This includes the vandalism and terror that groups of middle- and high-school students cause, just for fun, among neighborhoods they walk through and the disturbances they cause -- which darn near ties up the staffs of city police and sheriff's deputies on a daily basis when schools leave out every afternoon. When a kid causes a problem, his/her parents should be responsible for it and held accountable, civil and/or criminal.. I'd bet most of it stops in a few months.
B. Track down the missing fathers. They are responsible for the child's actions as well as the mothers that many of the fathers abandoned.
C. Stop having the York City Police officers play mommy and daddy to the adults engaging in domestic disputes. For crying out loud, these people are adults and if they can't handle a confrontational crisis, guide them to a source of help other than law enforcement. If a cop has to go to a home to stop a domestic dispute, it should be a well-known rule that one, or both, of the parties are going to be arrested. If you don't want to be arrested, don't start being abusive to start with.
D. Able-bodied prisoners sent to York County Prison should be on work details to do some of the county's work. It's not a temporary hotel. I don't like the term "chain gangs," but I do believe prisoners should earn their keep. Prison, whether local or state or federal level, should be a place you don't want to go to, not a place you are proud to say to your friends later that you've been there. Along with that, when the sentence is finished and you are released, no one should hold it against you. You did the crime, you did the time and paid the price and your debt to society is paid.
E. RabbitTransit should expand and maintain better routes covering more hours to enable more people to keep their gas-guzzling cars parked and take the bus to work, play, appointments or shopping. The service they have now is nothing more than token service.
F. York's emergency services should take a real good look at how they dispatch emergency equipment. Everything is overkill. Now, there are problems recruiting volunteers as more and more volunteers quit. Why? How would you like to spend all those hours training and then be called constantly from work or other activities for a minor incident that never required your services in the first place. Frustrating, isn't it? And you know what this will lead to -- paid departments. There go your taxes again. Bet me on this one.
G. And this is a wish list on the national scale. Restore our privacy. The so-called privacy provisions which medical and other services have to annually remind you "they are out to protect you" is really a scam. Any government agency can get your information in all sorts of ways today -- and you don't even know it. If you only knew just how far your privacy -- even in your own bedroom -- is violated "to protect your rights." Yea, right.
H. And with that, my biggest wish: That politicians quit their constant lying, back-room agreements with special interests, and begin telling the truth and actually looking out for the people they are supposed to be representing. Thank God, none of them are named Pinochio, are we'd have a ton of legislators who couldn't get in the door because their nose is, well, way out of whack. The problem is, your lawmakers actually think they are representing you by the way they do business now. What a joke, If they were, there would be no more property taxes, only taxes based on fair transactions, and run-away school boards would be stripped of their arrogance and held responsible and proud of the education of the children, not in their buildings and sports facilities.
That's it for now, in my humble opinion. I might sound mean, but I feel that I am truthful. In my heart I am really, really concerned about the direction our whole nation is heading.
Disasters are coming if we continue and don't change course. I wish you all a Happy and a Prosperous New Year and pray to God that things will change for the better if we see the light and take the challenge.