Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Arena and Justice

The arena in Wilkes-Barre Township received a new name today.

Wachovia Bank, soon to be Wells Fargo, decided not to extend the contract.  The name of the successful bidder becomes public.

Let's hope it's an organization that has the money-- one that won't pay for the naming rights on the backs of its workers.  I trust the new company hasn't cut employee benefits, forced them to take unpaid leave, hasn't trimmed its payroll.

On the other hand, advertising, in the form of naming rights, might be a good thing for any company.  It can increase the customer base, although I have yet to meet anyone who's opened a checking account because of a name on a building.

They celebrated the arena's tenth anniversary the other day.  I've covered a few job fairs here.  I've been outside as people waited in line for tickets.  I've been outside to watch circus animals in their tiny enclosures.  In that ten years, I've seen exactly one hockey game and one arena football game.  Most of the arena events are on weekends.  I work weekends.  I also don't like crowds.

The tenth anniversary of the arena brought back a lot of memories, mostly concerning the referendum on public funding for the project.  Arena Yes! lost, barely.  The whole thing was poorly handled.  You were made to feel anti-progress and un-American if you opposed public funding.  A lot of people were for the arena, but against taxpayers footing the bill.  There's nothing wrong with that.  If it was such a good investment, private concerns would line up for a piece of the pie.

If you want to beat the competition, understand the competition.  I never got the feeling the Arena Yes! people understood the mind set of those who opposed public funding, and it showed.  It was a tough sell.  They couldn't get their point across, and they squealed like stuck pigs if you dared to explore both sides of the issue.

That was then.  This is now.  After ten years, the arena is a success.  There's a long road ahead.  One tenant, the Pioneers, is gone.  Hockey still draws a crowd, but not as large as the early years.  The building will eventually need updating.  Perhaps, the biggest challenges are yet to come.

>>>UPDATE:  It's Mohegan Sun.  I'm okay with that.  The company has the money, and no one forces you to go to the slots parlor.

I cannot let the day pass without a few words on the two day Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice hearing in Plains Township.  The commission is looking into the "kids for cash" scandal in Luzerne County Court.

I was there for some of it.  I read about all of it.  The hearings were fascinating.

I am not alone when I say that I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Judges Conahan and Ciavarella were running a massive criminal enterprise, and NO ONE KNEW!  Thousands of kids were railroaded by Ciavarella.  Yes, many were bad kids and deserved to be sent away, but ALL deserved legal representation.  Ciavarella denied them that right.  EVEN THE ACCUSED HAVE RIGHTS IN THIS COUNTRY. 

A current judge and former district attorney said no one complained to him, and he saw nothing wrong, despite the fact that THOUSANDS of cases were tainted.  The FBI had to arrive to clue him in.

The current district attorney and former assistant district attorney during the crime spree said pretty much the same thing, and added "You tell me how to stop a judge from being a criminal."  Hey, you're the chief law enforcement officer in the county.  FIND A WAY!  If you can't, ask the feds for help.

The chief public defender said he should have known what was going on in Ciavarella's courtroom.  Gee?  Ya think?

It was two days of excuses, on top of excuses, on top of excuses.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

It seems a lot of people committed a crime almost as bad as those of Ciavarella and Conahan.  That crime?  They just didn't care.