Thursday, February 01, 2007

Wilkes-Barre council districts

Thanks to Mark for the graphic.

The biggest electoral change in the history of the city of my birth takes effect this year. Instead of electing seven at-large members of the city council the choice will now be five seats chosen by districts. Some are fretting that this will reduce city government to some sort of tribal warfare and deal making such as you vote to pave my road and I'll vote to repair your bridge, etc. That may come to pass but I hope not. In the end the overall health of the city is in everybodys interest.

We can all wax nostalgic about Mr. Peanut walking around Public Square and the big department stores that dominated the landscape but those days are over. Like any small city Wilkes-Barre needs a vibrant, clean and safe downtown. That benefits all residents and I've seen progress in the last few years. Still a long way to go but there has been progress.

Not to say I'm happy with everything that has been going on. It seems like every developer has his hand out and wants to get out of paying property taxes for every proposed project. Sometimes it comes across as blackmail. "Give me a tax break and a government loan or I won't build this project." The city, Luzerne County and the W-B Area school district are always happy to oblige. My economics training tells me you should do things because they make business sense not to lower your tax bill.

The TL has rundown of some the announced council hopefuls.

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