Tuesday, December 11, 2007

An Open Letter To The Borough of Philipsburg, PA

So, an entire summer of nothing, and then, suddenly, three tickets in five days? What, do your CEOs only work certain months, like when you're desperate for revenue?

If you think I'm paying these tickets, you have another thing coming.

And what are you going to do, suspend my license? Yeah, that'll solve the problem.

You people need to seriously get your act together. You expect your residents to shell out $25 a clip for parking tickets? HA! Let me guess: You need to pay off that brilliant Front Street renovation, don't you. Dipped a little too far into the budget for that, did we?

Listen to me, and listen good. My girlfriend lives here in this building. She has an 11 month old son. And the closest free parking available is blocks away. What you're telling me is, we either have to bundle up and carry a fairly large (but not obese) toddler several blocks in the middle of Central PA's winter weather, or we have to run several blocks, bring our vehicle back here, and fight with the people trying to park in these same spots for Representative Conklin's office, right? We have no choice, because a resident with no off-street parking has no business PARKING IN A NON-METERED SPOT IN FRONT OF HER APARTMENT.

Look. You people are a joke. You can't even hire a Borough Manager without squabbling amongst yourselves. How do you expect to run an entire town when you people let your petty personal bullshit get in the way of actually accomplishing anything? You just had to make a circus out of the situation with John Knowles and make a big deal out of hiring someone new, only to pick up someone who came with controversy already installed.

How much did you spend on Front Street? $2 million? Money well spent, eh? No, not hardly. So Front Street now looks like Bellefonte, minus the hills. And what's that going to do, hmm? Yeah, it looks nice, and it'll be a while before you have to repair it again. But what about the rest of the town?

Still looks like a festering redneck hellhole to me, kids.

And what financial benefits was fixing Front Street supposed to bring? I don't see any businesses stampeding over each other to get any of the many available storefronts. Nope, just looks like Bellefonte without the hills to me, and only for four blocks. The rest of the town? Still looks like it did in 1985. It showed its age pretty badly back then, and how do you think it looks after 22 years without any real effort to correct or stifle it?

Looks like Front Street used to. But hey, Front Street looks good, so money well spent, right? Right. Pat yourselves on the back.

Meanwhile, Philipsburg simply can't afford a police department, can it. Couldn't waste $2 million on a police department when we can make Front Street look like Bellefonte, could we? Glad to see you have taxpayer money priorities lined up there, kids.

Hello. Wake up. You live and work in a SEVERELY ECONOMICALLY DEPRESSED REGION. Looking to your past isn't going to save your future. Yes, Philipsburg has minor historical significance. But that's pretty much limited to anything with "Rowland" in its name. And don't even get me started on how you (the owners) and the board of directors at the Rowland have fucked up that gem. The Rowland is the best asset you people have at your disposal, and you're letting it stagnate, and the whole time, it's going deeper and deeper into debt.

But hey, Front Street looks nice, doesn't it? You bought some pretty Xmas lights and banners, and you're really, really proud of it, aren't you?

You don't need my $75. What you need is for all of you to be fired, with prejudice, and replaced with people who can actually manage a town like this without some stupid pet project that will blow up in their faces. Yes, the Front Street project WILL BLOW UP IN YOUR FACE. What seemed like a nice idea at the time will come back to haunt you down the road.

When your pipe dreams of a historical revival burst, and Philipsburg is finally swallowed by the sprawl of State College (and yes, that will eventually happen, give it two decades), your stupid decisions now will transform Philipsburg into an afterthought. It will be an eyesore. The people? They'll be no less trashy than they are now. It'll become State College's bastard child.

But hey, Front Street will look nice, won't it.

I'll be waiting for your response. Since you people are so concerned with the past, you can type it up on your precious typewriter and send it Pony Express to the address associated with my license plate number. And I'll expect detailed explainations as to exactly why you spent $2 million on Front Street and not a police department, or on any serious sort of economically viable development whatsoever.

And you can bet I'll publish every word you say right here, because your letter is a Government Work, and all Government Works are in the public domain.

You know, Pittsburgh (my adopted home) has a permit system that excuses residents from tickets on the streets they live on. It allows them to park in areas otherwise designated similar to the particular block of Presqueisle in question. Why don't you consider that? Your CEOs obviously like to pick and choose when they give out tickets, so that'll give them more of their precious free time to drive around jamming out to Neil Diamond.

Or would you like to come here and tell my 11 month old step son that he'll have to brave the cold just to make it to his Aunt's house?

Get your acts together, people, unless you want your names forever tied to the decline and ultimate downfall of a once-proud Central Pennsylvania town. You make the call. And you make it without my money.

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