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Drive Like You’re From Jersey

Last week, I had the unfortunate luck of finding myself driving in Camp Hill on a Friday around lunchtime. People who live in Harrisburg or on the “east shore” generally categorize those who live on the “west shore” or Camp Hill as a bit more affluent, well-to-do and certainly more employed and employable than their Harrisburg counterparts.

Now this, of course, isn’t true for ALL west shore dwellers. There are scores of residents that used to live within the city limits but after their children approach school age, they take that trip across the Harvey Taylor Bridge one last time and settle in with a yard and a driveway; escaping the faltering Harrisburg School District, higher crime and lower quality of life in the Capitol City.

Considering more people are more employed and probably have more urgency of places to go and things to do, I’d think that those on that side of the river would drive a bit more efficiently. But believe me…they don’t.

And Harrisburg drivers – don’t think you’re getting out of this rant either. You can be just as sluggish on the road as the rest of the midstate. I just happen to be hot on the topic of Camp Hill drivers at the moment.

Here are a few tips from a Jersey native on how to get places quicker and navigate more congested roads at 2PM on a Sunday than this area will likely ever see at 4:30 on a Friday.

The gas is on the right!

Step on the gas, grandma! Speed limits are merely guidelines for traveling.

Bob and weave…safely

My bud Jersey Dan and I were driving back to Harrisburg from Hershey the other night and he commended me on my cutting-in-and-out skills. There’s a fine line here, though. Sometimes, you can appear to be a real dick if you too aggressively bob-and-weave. But a steady, gentle cutting in and out of lanes is perfectly fine.

Pass Right, Cruise Middle, Turn Left

Front Street in Harrisburg is incredibly frustrating at times. Mostly, when entering on a busier morning or afternoon. If you’re traveling on Front Street and don’t plan to turn off anytime in the next several blocks, stay in the middle lane! And if you’re in the middle lane, you better be cruising along at least five or seven miles per hour over the posted limit.

Unless You See Otherwise, Turn Right On Red

Just do it, already! If you don’t see a sign advising otherwise, go right on red! It’s totally legal.

Put The Phone Down

No, no. I realize I’m pretty guilty of this one too, but hey…if you’re going to text at a red light, you damn well better have one eye on the light while you’re waiting. You get a three second grace period when the light turns green before I’m laying on the horn.

Finally…

When In Doubt, Be Aggressive

I’m not saying be in a constant state of road rage, but grab your balls and get out there! It’s a competitive world we live in and driving isn’t excluded.

This Is Not A Post About Roller Coasters

Want proof that reforming an Amusement Tax is a great thing?

Look no further than Kennywood Amusement Park in West Millflin, PA.

The 111 year old amusement park had fought local officials for YEARS about the fairness (or lack thereof) of their local Amusement Tax before winning the reform.

Last April, West Mifflin officials and Kennywood brass came to an amicable agreement which made both parties happy…and saved the century-old park nearly two million dollars per year in payouts.

And TODAY- Kennywood announced they’ll be building a brand new roller coaster…to the tune of five million dollars.

Think that the reform of the Amusement Tax had anything to do with that?

You betcha.

Wake up, Harrisburg. It’s 2009. Get with the times or you won’t HAVE any great businesses to tax out of town.

Off The Record- Episode 11

otr-logo1-medHere it is!

Episode Eleven: Battle of The PennLive Bands, Poor State Workers (on the breadline), Trying to explain social networking to the uninitiated elder set, Entourage, The Strip Club Is Coming!, CoTweet, Jersey Bagels, Dave Matthews Telephone Game, We’re Number 1! (In Crime)

Download

Right and Wrong

Seven years.

My grandmother says that things go in seven year cycles.

Seven shit years followed by seven years of triumph.

Seven year chapters of relationships.

You see, my grandmother was married for over fifty years. She’s clearly experienced enough to dispel this wisdom.

Me, however, I’m still in those seven year chapters.

Sold speakers for seven years. Followed by seven years in Harrisburg.

Seven, karmically retributive years.

But in our cycles of life, there are things which we pick up along the way…some from mistakes we’ve made, some from lessons we’ve learned from peers or elders and others yet are life experiences which we take things away from to keep in our moral-pocket the rest of our lives.

Here’s a list. Nothing scientific, but just a handful of items I try to remind myself of daily (or as necessary) to get me through the toughest of times. Feel free to add to this little project..as I’m sure we can share a thing or two with one another.

1. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

In business. At a restaurant. With your mother on the phone. To your son or daughter. I’ve found that you can get virtually any message across to a listener if you simply say it kindly.

I’ve seen this rule be ignored by countless people I’ve encountered. Particularly bosses or figures of authority. “Ask nicely” I was always taught. No need to be a dick, right?

2. Attitude is everything.

Great attitude = great results.

Bad attitude = bad results.

I’ve seen this in action and have caught myself when I’ve just generally got a bad attitude about a situation. Life’s short. No need to sweat the small stuff, right?

3. Regardless of what your mother said, a moderate about of sex, drugs and rock and roll are just as essential as your daily multivitamin.

Maybe more “sex” and “rock and roll” than “drugs” (depending on your definition). And perhaps it’s what I do for a living..but I can’t go a week without at least a little of each of those three items.

4. Be nice to girls.

I’m always astounded when I read in the paper about someone physically hurting a woman. Maybe it’s just how I was raised, but it just seems like there are things that one wouldn’t need to be taught. If she’s really that tough to deal with, walk away. But always take the high road.

And on that note..

5. Bros before Hoes.

Women come and go. But a bro is always supposed to be there. So fellas- ya’ll should know that if your best bud breaks up with his girl, she is, forever, off limits. And if you break that rule, you’re a douchebag and a cheat for life. It’s just another one of those things that one would think that dudes would respect and unconditionally know…but unfortunately, that is not the case.

6. Hold the door for the person behind you.

There’s a rule to this though…I generally use the twenty-foot-rule. If I’m entering a building and there’s someone behind me who is walking at a moderate pace, I’ll hold the door for them. It’s just courteous. Then again, if they’re lollygagging along, all bets are off.

7. Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.

If I were to discount everyone in Harrisburg prior to meeting them myself based on the opinions of others, I’d likely not have any friends. People make bad decisions from time to time and leave a bad taste in the mouths of some. Occasionally, it happens. But I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt until they wrong me personally.

That said…

8. Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice…shame on me.

Once a thief always a thief? Perhaps. But generally, the ‘one strike’ rule tends to hold up.

That’s it. It’s by no means a complete list. And I’m sure I’ll add to it.

What are some of your rules to live by?

In The Garden Of Eden, Baby

I’m positively speechless. The reckless, irresponsible, disrespectful, illegal, immoral and downright idiotic behavior of Harrisburg City Council President Wanda Williams has taken the reputation of the City of Harrisburg to an all new low.

About a week ago, Council President Wanda Williams ordered the bulldozing of a community garden located in a blighted neighborhood and maintained and managed by a local organization called Green Urban Initiative.(GUI)

GUI leases vacant lots owned by the city for the purpose of providing space for public gardens to be cultivated. Anyone so inclined may rent a box stocked with fresh soil for ten dollars from GUI and plant and garden to their hearts content.

One resident – Sylvia Regal – opposed the garden. She somehow believes that this community garden – plots of dirt growing carrots and cucumbers and tomatoes and radishes – added to the culture of crime, drugs and violence which exists heartily in many sections of Harrisburg.

So she bent the ear of Williams who, in turn and with zero authority to do so, ordered the demolition of the community garden. Poof. Overnight, she made a call and rallied a bulldozer and crew of city employees to get out there and tear that garden down.

The public was OUTRAGED. And rightfully so. Not only did The City of Harrisburg blatantly violate the terms of it’s own lease (the plots required the city to give tenants thirty days notice prior to any changes being made to the property), a member of city council DOES NOT have the singular authority to order ANY work to be done in the city without due process.

Obviously, there are many layers to this rotten onion. Not the least of which is the blatant racial tension that’s reared it’s ugly head in the way of comments from some neighborhood residents and Sylvia Regal herself regarding the nerve of these people coming into a neighborhood that isn’t theirs and planting a garden.

But what is most dumbfounding, frustrating and shocking is Council President Wanda Williams absolutely psychopathic indifference to the public’s outcry. In a statement delivered at Council tonight, Williams alleged that GUI wasn’t properly maintaining the lots and allowing weeds to overgrow to a point of being an eyesore.

In some crazy, fucked up, twisted logical twist and turn, Williams also somehow tied this garden to drug use, drug sales, prostitution, sex acts, rodent infestation and a decrease in public safety.

Didja read that? Let me type it again – and bold, italic it so you can get it loud and clear:

Williams also somehow tied this garden to drug use, drug sales, prostitution, sex acts, rodent infestation and a decrease in public safety.

At the end of the day, this isn’t about a community garden being torn down. Rather, it’s about a glaring example of just how incredibly unqualified some of our elected officials are and react to situations from a state of emotion, instead of logic and reasoning.

Will Wanda Williams face any repercussions from her egregious actions?

Probably not. Which isn’t surprising. The people who make the laws are the ones who break them so viciously and without punishment.

The best way the public can punish Wanda Williams is by simply voting her out of office next term. She clearly doesn’t care about her entire constituency.

Drive Like You’re From Jersey

Last week, I had the unfortunate luck of finding myself driving in Camp Hill on a Friday around lunchtime. People who live in Harrisburg or on the “east shore” generally categorize those who live on the “west shore” or Camp Hill as a bit more affluent, well-to-do and certainly more employed and employable than their Harrisburg counterparts.

Now this, of course, isn’t true for ALL west shore dwellers. There are scores of residents that used to live within the city limits but after their children approach school age, they take that trip across the Harvey Taylor Bridge one last time and settle in with a yard and a driveway; escaping the faltering Harrisburg School District, higher crime and lower quality of life in the Capitol City.

Considering more people are more employed and probably have more urgency of places to go and things to do, I’d think that those on that side of the river would drive a bit more efficiently. But believe me…they don’t.

And Harrisburg drivers – don’t think you’re getting out of this rant either. You can be just as sluggish on the road as the rest of the midstate. I just happen to be hot on the topic of Camp Hill drivers at the moment.

Here are a few tips from a Jersey native on how to get places quicker and navigate more congested roads at 2PM on a Sunday than this area will likely ever see at 4:30 on a Friday.

The gas is on the right!

Step on the gas, grandma! Speed limits are merely guidelines for traveling.

Bob and weave…safely

My bud Jersey Dan and I were driving back to Harrisburg from Hershey the other night and he commended me on my cutting-in-and-out skills. There’s a fine line here, though. Sometimes, you can appear to be a real dick if you too aggressively bob-and-weave. But a steady, gentle cutting in and out of lanes is perfectly fine.

Pass Right, Cruise Middle, Turn Left

Front Street in Harrisburg is incredibly frustrating at times. Mostly, when entering on a busier morning or afternoon. If you’re traveling on Front Street and don’t plan to turn off anytime in the next several blocks, stay in the middle lane! And if you’re in the middle lane, you better be cruising along at least five or seven miles per hour over the posted limit.

Unless You See Otherwise, Turn Right On Red

Just do it, already! If you don’t see a sign advising otherwise, go right on red! It’s totally legal.

Put The Phone Down

No, no. I realize I’m pretty guilty of this one too, but hey…if you’re going to text at a red light, you damn well better have one eye on the light while you’re waiting. You get a three second grace period when the light turns green before I’m laying on the horn.

Finally…

When In Doubt, Be Aggressive

I’m not saying be in a constant state of road rage, but grab your balls and get out there! It’s a competitive world we live in and driving isn’t excluded.

Some More Pretty Notable Shows Coming Through This Summer

Got another list of some pretty awesome shows coming through the region from my buddy Joe again. Bookmark this page. Add em to your calendar. Go rock.

Upcoming Baltimore/Southcentral PA Shows

5/21: Justin Jones @ Ottobar
5/23: Todd Snider @ Rams Head Live
5/24: Jason Isbell (acoustic) @ Capitol Theatre
5/24: Simon Felice @ ABC *Free*
5/15: DJ Jazzy Jeff @ Ivy
5/28: Justin Jones @ Ottobar
5/30: City and Colour/David Bazan/Dan Romano @ Rams Head Live
5/30: Suckers/Devin/Minimus The Poet @ Ottobar
5/31: Dawes @ Capitol Theatre
6/01: With Lions (Former Lake Trout/Benzos)/Among Wolves/The Water @ Ottobar
6/01: Gary Jules @ ABC
6/01: Man Man/Raleigh Moncrief @ Chameleon Club
6/02: Dawes/Carolina Chocolate Drops/Jukebox The Ghost/Etc @ Appel Farm Fest
6/02: The Roots/De La Soul/James Murphy/Tune-Yards/St. Vincent/The Hood Internet/Star Slinger/Etc @ The Roots Picnic
6/02-6/03: Charles Village Festival *Free*
6/03: Matt Schofield @ Snail Pie Lounge
6/03: Radiohead/Caribou @ Verizon Center
6/03: Phantogram @ Rams Head Live
6/03: Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds @ Long’s Park *Free*
6/03: Federal Hill Jazz and Blues Festival *Free*
6/04: Justin Jones @ Ottobar
6/06: Man Man/Raleigh Moncrief @ Ottobar
6/07: Bowerbirds/Basia Bulat @ Ottobar
6/07: JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound/Black Box Revelation/7Horse @ West Mount Vernon Park *Free* 6/08: Alvin “Youngblood” Hart & His Muscle Theory @ Snail Pie Lounge
6/09: Ghostland Observatory/etc @ Starscrape Festival
6/09-6/10: HONfest *Free*
6/10: Foster The People/The Kooks/Kimbra @ Merriweather
6/10: Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Long’s Park *Free*
6/10: Hoots & Hellmouth/O’Death/The Extraordinaires/Etc @ Dock Street Music Fest *Free*
6/12: Two Door Cinema Club/Clap Your Hands Say Yeah/Bad Veins @ Rams Head Live
6/13: Theresa Andersson @ ABC
6/14: MarchFourth Marching Band @ ABC
6/14: Of Montreal/Yip Deceiver/Chappo @ Recher Theatre
6/15: Scott Lucas & The Married Men/The Dig @ Metro Gallery
6/15: Reel Big Fish @ Power Plant Live *Free*
6/16: Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival *Free*
6/17: Bonnie Raitt/Mavis Staples @ Pier Six
6/17: Mia Borders @ Long’s Park *Free*
6/19: Nada Surf/WATERS @ Chameleon Club
6/19: Santigold/Theophilus London @ Rams Head Live
6/19: Cory Branan/Audra Mae @ Golden West
6/20: Zach Deputy @ ABC
6/20: Johnny Corndawg @ Ottobar
6/20: Fiona Apple @ The Lyric
6/21: The Mynabirds/Sean Bones @ ABC
6/22: Hammer No More The Fingers @ Golden West
6/22: Lucero @ Rams Head Live
6/22: The Crystal Method @ Bottle & Cork
6/23: Childish Gambino@ Pier Six
6/23: The Deer Tracks @ Metro Gallery
6/23: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy @ Dogfish Head *Free*
6/24: Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion @ Long’s Park *Free*
6/24: Zammuto (ex The Books)/The Dialogue @ Ottobar
6/26: Los Campesinos!/Yellow Ostrich @ Ottobar
6/26: The Lumineers @ ABC
6/27: Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three @ Capitol Theatre
6/27: Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band @ ABC
6/28: Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds @ Dogfish Head *Free*
6/28: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue @ Bottle & Cork
6/29: The Head and The Heart (opening for a fucking terrible band) @ Hersheypark Stadium
6/29: Secret Mountains/Son Step/Lands & Peoples/Happy Family @ Golden West
7/01: The Lumineers @ Rams Head Live
7/04: The Roots/Etc @ Philly 4th of July *Free*
7/05: Meshell N’Degeocello @ Baltimore Soundstage
7/05: Nada Surf/WATERS @ Rams Head Live
7/08: City Rhythm Orchestra @ Long’s Park *Free*
7/11: Rhett Miller @ Bottle & Cork
7/13: Delta Rae @ Chameleon Club
7/15: Victor Bailey @ Long’s Park *Free*
7/15: Crocodiles @ Ottobar
7/17: Neko Case/Kelly Hogan @ Rams Head Live
7/19: Elizabeth Cook @ ABC
7/19: Delta Rae @ Dogfish Head *Free*
7/19: The English Beat @ Bottle & Cork
7/20: Dick Dale @ ABC
7/20: The Hold Steady/The War on Drugs/The Lumineers/JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound/etc @ XPoNential Fest
7/20-7/22: The Black Keys/Jack White/The Killers/The Flaming Lips/Death Cab For Cutie/John Legend/Passion Pit/Cake/Cold War Kids/The Head and The Heart/Grouplove/Charles Bradley/Bombay Bicycle Club/Cults/Ra Ra Riot/Polica/Blind Pilot/The Felice Brothers/Heartless Bastards/J Roddy Walston & The Business/Reptar/Etc @ Firefly Festival

7/20-7/22: Artscape Baltimore *Free*
7/21: Wilco/The Avett Brothers/Dr. Dog/Kathleen Edwards/Patterson Hood/Mike Doughty/Good Old War/Delta Rae/etc @ XPoNential Fest
7/22: Dawes @ Long’s Park *Free*
7/22: Counting Crows/Diego Garcia/etc @ XPoNential Fest
7/22: Hot Chip/Sleigh Bells/James Murphy @ Merriweather
7/27: Alejandro Escovedo @ Baltimore Soundstage
7/28: Of Monsters and Men @ The Piazza @ Schmidt’s *Free*
7/29: MarchFourth Marching Band @ Long’s Park *Free*
7/29: Hot Club of Detroit @ Snail Pie Lounge
7/29: Moonface/Siinai @ Talking Head
7/31: Bombay Bicycle Club/Plants & Animals @ Rams Head Live
8/02: Civil Twilight @ Bottle & Cork
8/04: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings/etc @ Merriweather
8/05: MGMT/Atlas Sound @ Musikfest
8/05: Lúnasa @ Long’s Park *Free*
8/06: Joe Cocker/Huey Lewis & The News @ Musikfest
8/08: New Sweden @ Musikfest *Free*
8/09: Jane’s Addiction @ Musikfest
8/10: The Sprinto Band/Delta Rae @ Musikfest *Free*
8/10: Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds @ Snail Pie Lounge
8/11: Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds @ Musikfest *Free*
8/12: Booker T. @ Long’s Park *Free*
8/14: Jane’s Addiction @ The Lyric
8/14: Citizen Cope @ Bottle & Cork
8/17: Pearl and The Beard @ Lancaster Square *Free*
8/17: Davina & The Vagabonds @ Snail Pie Lounge
8/17-8/19: Philadelphia Folk Festival
8/18: Trombone Shorty/Justin Townes Earle/Magic Slim & The Teardrops/JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound/Etc @ Hot August Blues & Roots Fest
8/18: My Morning Jacket/Band of Horses @ Merriweather
8/19: Joshua James @ Long’s Park *Free*
9/05: Built To Spill/Helvetia/Revolt Revolt @ Ottobar
9/19: Florence & The Machine/The Weeknd/The Maccabees @ Merriweather
9/22: Afghan Whigs/The Roots/The Antlers/Sharon Van Etten/Charles Bradley/Etc @ ATP I’ll Be Your Mirror
9/23: The Avett Brothers @ Pier Six
10/14: The Campbell Brothers @ Snail Pie Lounge

How To Begrudgingly Send An Agent A Disputed Hundred Bucks

I have a love/hate relationship with booking agents. Most promoters do. We mutually understand that one does not exist without the other, but both are equally important to an artists’ career. The agent must ensure that the act gets booked into the smartest situations for the most lucrative payments. Conversely, the promoter must ensure he gets the most professional and promising acts at a rate that’s both fair to the act and commensurate to what they are worth in his market.

Most agents and I get along just fine. We’ve been working together long enough that they understand that I know my market and what we can generally expect from ticket sales for an act. They also know that I’m as persistent as I am because, in order to book shows in little old Harrisburg, one must be persistent.

All that said, once in awhile I’ll come across some asshole who has watched one-too-many episodes of Entourage and deserves the little respect he shows when dealing with a venue. However small my market is and no matter how challenging selling tickets in Harrisburg can be, I pride myself on how well we treat the acts that choose to play Harrisburg. Everyone’s got options and no one needs to play Harrisburg like they’d need to play Philadelphia or New York City on a record release tour.

I’ll keep this long story short : a few months ago, an act played one of my rooms. (I’ll leave out names to protect the innocent) The particular show they were playing was sold out a week in advance, they were the opener and we didn’t necessarily need the act on the bill. The show was what I call a “gift” – when a show sells out in advance, the opening act is getting tremendous exposure to a crowd that isn’t there to see them, but will still buy their merch and hopefully come back to see them when they return down the road.

From the start, it was agreed that they needed to load in at a specific time and were to be paid one hundred dollars. The day of the show, the band missed their load in time and wound up arriving over two hours late. Subsequently, we had to push the doors back about thirty minutes. They played their set, loaded out their gear and left sometime after. Normally, the band tracks down the promoter and asks to get paid. This band didn’t. They just left.

A week later, I got an email from the agent asking to send their check. Gladly, I dropped it in the mail. A week after THAT, I got another email asking me to send a different check cut to a different name because the band wasn’t able to cash checks in their band’s name.

Sure. Send the old one back and I’ll send you ANOTHER hundred dollar check.

Another couple weeks pass and I don’t see the check in the mail. From time to time, I’d see their band name pop up in the subject line of an email and I would delete it, assuming they were getting in touch to get a return date. Why would I want to book a return date for a band who showed up two hours late to a sold out show and caused me this much grief? There are literally hundreds of other bands I’d rather develop.

Fast forward a few months and I get a voicemail from the agent that was around three minutes long, chock full of expletives, accusations, threats and a demand for his bands hundred bucks.

Having some built up steam to blow off, I called the guy back and the conversation played out like two dogs barking at eachother through a fence. We hung up on each other and that was that.

About twenty minutes later, I decided to call the guy back, hoping to calm things down. After all, this was two type-a personalities in a pissing match over a hundred bucks. But the expletives and accusations kept flying, so I blew it off. Fuck it. Not worth it.

And sure, I’ll send you your hundred bucks.

Which is, if you’re still with me, where this story gets fun.

At first, I thought “Hmm, I’ll send him a hundred bucks in pennies.” – but decided the shipping would be too expensive.

And then, it was “A hundred bucks in crumpled up ones” -

But I knew I could do better.

So here’s what I decided to do. To settle this pissy hundred dollar dispute.

Remember- this band DID get their check for a hundred bucks but couldn’t cash it and I never got the check returned to me to issue a new one…

First, I went to the bank and got a hundred dollars in one dollar bills -

 

 

 

 

 

Then, I visited the party supply store and bought two pounds of glitter and confetti -

 

 

 

 

 

After my stop at the party store, I visited the adult shop up the road and looked for the nicest pink dildo I could find.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On my way home, I stopped by the post office and got a shipping box that would fit all of the goodness that I could pack into it -

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s the “how to” section of this post -

Take fifty of the one dollar bills and crumple them up as much as possible and layer them at the bottom of the mailing box -

Next, lay the pink dildo in the center of the dollar bills. *This is important because you want the dildo to be at the bottom of the pile*

Now, take one of the pounds of confetti and cover up the fifty ones and the pink dildo – (sort of like a dildo lasagna)

Then, the second layer of crumpled up one dollar bills -

Then, your other pound of confetti -

Finally, seal the box up good and tight ensuring that the confetti stays completely inside the box as to surprise the recipient as much as possible.

Take it down to the post office, mail it off and sit back and wait!

Now I’m not saying sending a pink dildo inside two pounds of confetti and a hundred crumpled up dollar bills is the way to settle EVERY disputed debt, but sometimes, when dealing with a shitty agent, there’s really no other way.

PS- This is perfectly acceptable behavior in the music industry.

Patriot News Does 180, Headline Calls Reed “Scam Artist”

Remember a few years ago when I’d bang my head against the desk for the repeated lauding the Patriot News would bestow on former Mayor Stephen Reed?

It seemed like Reed couldn’t fart without writers like John Luciew calling it something like “a new fragrant aroma to fill the air of the city of Harrisburg”

Back when the Sports Hall of Fame, Capitol View Commerce Center, The Incinerator, Restaurant Row and dozens more projects were announced that never came to fruition were “s’poda” be saviors of Harrisburg’s economic crunch, The Patriot News (and it’s website, PennLive) would write accolade after accolade for the man dubbed “Mayor For Life” during his 28 year reign at City Hall.

Interviews, profiles, editorials, endorsements and features would make one think that Stephen Reed was the Messiah, once here to rescue this riverbank city from it’s own devices, demographic disparity and limited tax base. But today, Heather Long sung a different tune with regard to the former leader.

In a long-overdue editorial in today’s Patriot News, Long said this about Reed: “…it’s hard not to wonder how different Harrisburg might be if the mayor who left the city with a financial mess and a smoke-drenched office to clean up had been in office a lot fewer years.”

Which, if you’ve been reading the Patriot News for the past few years, would likely leave you scratching your head as well.

One may argue that print media and traditional newspapers are in the twilight of their lives, on a life support system powered by the traffic these sites get from the comment sections and local fluff pieces. But after citizen activists like Eric Papenfuse, Bill Cluck, Jim Roxbury, Tara Auchey and this blogger have been beating the “Reed fucked up!” drum for the past several years, it’s about friggin’ time the Patriot got on board.

Maybe they’re taking a cue from the huge web traffic they garnered with the Sandusky scandal and realizing that they’re better off reporting the truth and doing actual investigative journalism than piggy-backing off the AP or placating the local good-ole-boys.

There are probably a hundred angles the Patriot can take when talking about the three decades of fiscal irresponsibility and mismanagement this city has suffered from. And probably hundreds of charges that can (and hopefully will) be levied on the people who drove us into this ditch.

But the local newspaper cannot live on the fence. They must take a stand and REPORT on what has actually happened inside Harrisburg city hall over the past thirty years.

And Heather Long took a step in the right direction today.

http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2012/03/harrisburgs_mayor_reed_goes_fr.html