Harrisburg Happening

Sunday, June 25, 2006

GSA, Federal Courthouse, Reed and King

I just read in the Patriot that once again, the GSA is raising crime as a concern at the Jackson Lick potential site for their new, secure Taj Mahal. Here's how the Patriot's reporter (and budding paperback crime novelist) John Luciew put it:

"Yet GSA officials have expressed misgivings about Jackson-Lick, saying it is the most expensive option because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would demand replacement costs for the lost units. The GSA also has concerns about crime there. "

Two points - if crime is so terrible in and around Jackson Lick, how do all the elderly residents manage?

And how much crime would really remain around what is bound to be the most secure federal courthouse ever built? Surely a few federal marshals can protect the federal workers and visitors who will work there. This isn't the Green Zone in Baghdad. It seems to me what's showing is that to the federal government, an African-American mixed class neighborhood is crime infested. GSA, unless you have figures to prove it, your prejudice is showing. Show us the crime figures for the area, if they exist. After all, the rest of us who happen to live where you want to put your fortress want to know. Am I supposed to arm myself to go the the Broad Street Market? Do I need a Doberman to walk to the river?

Come on - take the challenge. Show us the numbers.

And where is Mayor Reed on this? Luciew quotes pointman Randy King as follows:

"Regardless of whether they choose Jackson-Lick or Cumberland Court, we expect the new courthouse to have a very substantial economic spinoff impact on the surrounding blocks and neighborhoods," said Randy King, Reed's spokesman.
"Neighboring property values are most assuredly going to be profoundly impacted for the better," he said.
The opposite is true of the Third and Forster site, according to Reed's office. King calls the proposal "simply unacceptable."

Thanks for taking sides - clearly to the Reed crowd, the disabled and the working poor have less value than the upper-middle class folks on Green. Shame, Shame, your lack of social conscience is showing, too.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Neighborhood Crime Stats, Online

Would you like to know exactly where crime is taking place, and what type? On a regular basis? Maybe even online? Oh, while we're at it, how about the complete crime statistics reported to the FBI by neighborhood, in pdf format online? Sounds like a pipe dream, doesn't it?

Well, one city is doing just that, in response to public demands that something be done about crime.

No, the city is not Harrisburg. It's Savannah. It seems the police chief there listened to city residents, who asked him for accurate information. To quote the Chief, "It's another service we're trying to provide to the public to make sure they are aware of what's going on in their community."

And it is part of their effort (successful so far) to cut the crime rate dramatically.

"The idea is to give residents more information so they can work with officers to reach the department's goal of reducing crime by 15 percent this year, police spokesman Sgt. Mike Wilson said."

How about it, Mayor Reed. Trust the citizens to help you make Harrisburg a better place, instead of hiding the facts from us. Why should we have to resort to asking to see the police blotter?


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Welcome City of Harrisburg

A warm welcome to the City of Harrisburg. Yes, Mr. Reed and Mr. King, read and comment if you want. We would love to engage you in conversation about Harrisburg. I trust you enjoyed reading the posts you selected and I do hope you will come back soon. Oh, yes, thanks for reading my blogger bio, too.

School district funding

Anon wanted me to start a thread on the Harrisburg School District problems - so here goes. Anon says:

"Anyway--did anyone attend the Harrisburg School District meeting tonight? There are furlough rumors, program cut rumors, etc.Sorry--I can't trust the Patriot News to report unbiasedly on this subject anymore."

Challenge to Patriot News Reporters

Over the weekend, the Attorney General settled the Crawford case for an undisclosed amount. It seems they were on the sidelines because Crawford had also sued the State Police for allowing corruption to exist at the agency. My guess is there must have been some damning evidence, but now it will never see the light of day - unless someone at least gets a look at the settlement agreement. And that someone should be the so-called free press in this town. So here's my challenge to the Patriot News:

File a Pennsylvania Right to Know lawsuit demanding to see the confidential settlement. Because the settlement involves the public's pursestrings, the information is subject to disclosure (just like JoePa's salary and PHEAA's expenditures) File the lawsuit within 90 days, or I will as a taxpayer.

Go ahead, show us you care about public corruption. Take the challenge.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Deleted posting

I deleted a posting - nothing inapproriate, just out of an abundance of caution in a crazy world

Rape Down Nationwide

First, the good news. Those who crunch the crime statistics report that rapes are down nationwide - down quite significantly. And they don't know why. Let's hope it's not that reporting is down, or that law enforcement (as appears to be happening in Harrisburg) don't know a sexual assault when they see one.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Midtown Crime Watch - What a Joke!

Is there no end to the arrogance of the people in the know in this town? Now I read that Midtown Crime Watch has a good working relationship with the police and don't want the Patriot to do a negative story about how they were not informed about the attempted rape, because:

"Randy King didn't misspeak when he said we were informed," Fitzgibbon said. "We were informed -- but not directly by the police. We have a really good working relationship with the police, so I don't want an article to go out saying the police aren't doing their job.
"Although I am a little frustrated in these types of issues that this information isn't forthcoming from the police and the city. But I understand there has to be a balance. If they report every single thing, it makes it sound like the city is going to hell in a hand basket."

In other words, as long as the folks on her list know what's going on, the rest of us can stay in the dark.

HELLO MS. FITZGIBBON - I DIDN'T GET THE MEMO. And the city is going to hell in a handbasket - to use your tired cliche


Friday, June 16, 2006

Harrisburg - Rape Capital?

The powers that be at City Hall have done it again. According to the Patriot News, the attempted rape along riverfront park in broad daylight last Saturday wasn't reported to the media because city officials assumed it was just another simple assault. Randy King, Mayor Reed's clueless or very clever mouthpiece (depending on the motivation) justified City Hall's silence and failure to warn the women of this fair city this way:

"When it occurred Saturday afternoon, nobody had any idea that this was a potential sexual assault," said city spokesman Randy King. "The victim didn't provide us with any information that led us to believe that. In fact, we didn't know it was a potential sexual assault until Mr. Newcomer was being interviewed" Wednesday night. "

"We were viewing it as simply an assault," King said. "And there had been no previous incidents like that."

So Harrisburg didn't alert the media a dangerous predator might be on the loose. Oh, they do say they called the Midtown Crime Watch group. I didn't get the memo, nor did most women I know, including quite a few who jog along that very path.

Come on, folks. The woman said she was jogging along the river when the man grabbed her and pushed her into the bushes. She fought back and screamed and he ran away. That's a classic stranger rape scenario. Couldn't be more classic unless she was a nun in clerical garb. If Randy can't see that, he needs some serious training.

Or perhaps this is just another way to hide crime statistics for the City of Harrisburg. Because Harrisburg has one of the highest per capita rape rates in the country. Here's some food for though, Mr. King. According to the 2004 FBI reported crimes statistics, Washington, D.C. had 39 rapes per 100,000 people. Little 'ol Harrisburg clocked in at 105 per 100,000 people. So there you have it. Even under-reported, Harrisburg has more rapes than notoriously dangerous Washington, D.C.

Randy, Randy, Randy. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Look what brought crime down in another city

Savannah is reporting a decrease in crime over last year, which the city attributes to putting more cops on the beat. Dah! Why didn't Reed think of that?

"Extra officers on the streets like the ones out this weekend have helped drop crime in the county by more than 16 percent, interim Chief Willie Lovett said. The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department's goal for 2006 is to decrease crime by 15 percent. As of Monday, crime is down 16.4 percent compared to the first six months of 2005, Lovett said."


Maybe we should try that?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Murder up in small-town America

According to the just released crime report,

"A further examination of violent crime data for the population groups showed that cities with populations from 100,000 to 249,999 had the greatest increase in the number of murders, up 12.5 percent."

The complete data is at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/2005preliminary/index.htm

Guess it's time to move to a major metro area

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Neighborhood deteriorating?

Some people just don't get it. When you board up your property, you invite crime.

Today, Chip Fissel of Fissel's at Third and the Broad Street Market put a sign in his window - which reads "Due to the deterioration of the neighborhood, there will be no more window displays." The sign is over some very ugly material covering one of the two plate glass windows of his shop.

Now, what do you think has contributed to the "deterioration" he cites? My bet is he has. For over two years, his other plate glass window has been covered in plywood. The damage occurred during a hurricane. He never replaced it.

It is well known that when property is well taken care of, there is less crime. When homes are boarded up, crime increases. So he has only himself to blame. Of course, we all suffer when a thoughtless property owner doesn't do the right thing and repair damage.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Where's the Patriot on this story?

While doctors face increased costs and decreased reimbursements from various health insurers and consumers pay more and more for their health care coverage, the Blues certainly aren't singing the blues. In fact, their profits are up - way up in the case of Central Pennsylvania's Capital Blue Cross. And their CEO has to gall to say its due to decreased medical utilization because we are managing our health better. More like they put up more roadblocks to usage . . .

This from the Patriot News:

"Capital Blue Cross books increase in profitCapital Blue Cross saw its profits and reserves increase in 2005. The health insurer, based in Susquehanna Twp., had a profit of $186 million, up from $54 million in 2004. Its reserves swelled to $795 million, up from $616 million. A Capital executive attributed some of the strong performance to decreased use of medical services resulting from wellness and disease management programs. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department, which recently set limits on acceptable surplus levels for the state Blue Cross-Blue Shield plans, said Capital’s reserves are within the acceptable range. "

Why aren't their reporters asking the obvious questions - like:

1. Where's the study connecting decreased use of medical services with wellness and disease management programs?

2. Why isn't someone pushing the Insurance Department to lower those reserves?

What really galls me is that I pay premiums now, which are set aside for their potential future losses. I'm funding their future payouts for what will probably be other insureds. How about rebating some of those surpluses to the policy holders? I could put that into a long term fund for my future medical costs.

Monday, June 05, 2006

GSA snooping

The GSA is back, this time coming from my blogger profile. And they're visiting my other blogs too. Guess they are doing some background research. Have we touched a nerve?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

What's up on Pennlive Harrisburg forum

Somebody posting as hbgtruth and somebody posting as Waters2. As far as I can tell, they both seem to think they have something on the other and hbgtruth has another problem with Jason Smith. Pretty strange stuff, but I presume Milton will delete it soon - as he probably should.

"636. Divorce Settlement by hbgtruth, 6/3/06 18:13 ET Re: Measuring/Communicating City-wide Priorities by jasonsmith, 6/3/06
After the bitch slapping Smithy got in his divorce settlement, he'll have to move to a refrigerator box down by the river pretty soon. "

And this:

"632.4.3. HBGTRUTH by Waters2, 6/3/06 13:11 ET Re: Where is the Mayor? by Rollonroll, 6/3/06
HBGTRUTH, DO NOT dis me in any form. I'll go on this forum, television, radio and tell EVERYTHING (with documentation) that I've collected and can validate as Truth. Trust me, I'll turn this whole joint out. WHTM is chomping at the bit for some of this fire I have that will burn everyone from Giorgiones to Corleones to Clare Jones.
That little a#$ bit of money ($200,000.00) was from 2003 and assisted entities, city wide, that were constantly overlooked by administration and former Council. (orphanages to Youth baseball leagues)
And for you to reference $200,000 like it's the millions pilfered from this city over the years by Camp Hill residents, Congressmen, Senators, and Commissioners is the mark of a Patriot News subscriber. When did you ever see $200,000.00 last for two years in this city and actually have real results?
Trust me, b/w what the Waters' family has documented on this joint and the lines you're crossing by even referencing me, it WILL be a long hot summer.
Let me live, Baby, cause I know who YOU are, hbgtruth, and the next body laying out will be yours. Go play somewhere like Homeland with your boy Milt, Kid, I'm busy.
PS. I still have the Milt Lopus tape for the WHOLE city to hear. DFWM,F. "

and this:

"632.4.3.2. Dirty Laundry by hbgtruth, 6/3/06 18:20 ET Re: Where is the Mayor? by Rollonroll, 6/3/06
Please, let air some dirty laundry, then the truth will be known as to why you were removed from an administrative job in a school building to a job in the district office away from children. You might have been the only one who lost by a bigger margin than Smith in the primary. "

Friday, June 02, 2006

The rising crime rate in Harrisburg

I'm not one to worry much about crime most of the time. But the recent rash of shootings in Harrisburg is beginning to concern me. In the past, cities with notoriously high crime rates also have had problems with rouge police officers. In cities like NY and New Orleans, bad cops have been known to take up with some in the criminal element, and taken payoffs in exchange for turning a blind eye to gambling, prostitution and drugs. The end result, of course, is more crime. I'm beginning to wonder if that might be at the core of Harrisburg's problem, too. Could there be bad cops out there taking payoffs? I'm just suggesting that such behavior tends to be linked to some of the problems we are seeing. I hope the Police Chief and the Mayor have a good internal investigations unit looking for this sort of thing. Now, the Mayor has been calling for tougher sentencing and urging us to hold district magistrates to the fire when it comes to releasing defendants back onto the streets. I hope he is likewise looking at his officers and checking their arrest rates and response times for problems. And cameras in all the patrol cars wouldn't hurt, either.