Diamonds to both the organizers responsible for the Pop Up Shop experiment in Wilkes-Barre and the vendors who have been participating. Extra diamonds in particular to Thursday night’s event, “Shop Pop Up for a Cause,” which not only helped draw people to the downtown shopping district but benefited Brighter Journeys, a non-profit focused on helping special needs children in Luzerne County. Only time will tell if the pop-up retail notion is a passing fad or a viable business model, but it is a growing trend in the U.S. and other countries, and it’s nice to see Wilkes-Barre hop on that train. Turning one evening into a fundraiser was a clever bonus to further entice people to participate.
Coal to the current owners of the former Huber Breaker for failing to comply with a court order to clean up the property. This muddled mess involves drums filled with an unidentified liquid — an appalling development in its own right — and a lawsuit alleging the two people behind owner Paselo Logistics stole money and scrap metal. It continues the sad end for a once iconic breaker that stood like a titan in the Wyoming Valley, an imposing testimony to the reign of King Coal that deserved a much better fate. The hope of turning the breaker into a museum may have been a noble if Quixotic dream lost forever, but it deserves a more dignified demise than this.
Diamonds, cautiously, to Luzerne County Council for voting against a property tax increase. The final consequences of the upcoming budget remain uncertain, and it may end up that cuts and rejection of proposed new positions prove to be a mistake. But the decision to avoid a 2 percent increase and look for added savings seems so far to be reasonably thought out as council works through the complex budgeting process. A tax hike is usually better than a structural deficit or a loss of needed services, but avoiding the added burden for property owners is always preferable when possible.
Coal to state legislators for the raise they will see in 2018. Yes, it is modest at 0.8 percent. And yes, it is automatic thanks to a law that tied raises to changes in the federal consumer price index. And yes, some lawmakers prefer to donate the increases to charity or to the state, knowing taking the money looks bad to struggling taxpayers. But Harrisburg has had a remarkable penchant for failing to do even the most fundamental task of creating a budget on time. Bluntly, they do not deserve any pay increase these days.
Diamonds, on the other hand, to state lawmakers who came up with $2.3 million to help pay for long-overdue work on the Solomon Creek floodwall. Wilkes-Barre is now about halfway to fully funding the needed repairs, helping Mayor Tony George keep a campaign promise to fix the Depression-era wall.
Coal to both sides in the seemingly perpetual teacher contract dispute at Dallas School District. No specific criticism here, just a call for consensus and an end to the acrimony.
— Times Leader