by Brian Kelly
I have a much different outlook now that the election is over and my vegetable garden is in along with my wife’s beautiful flowers. I have returned to regular daydreaming, and the primary election is no longer the premier item on my mind. So, as noted in a previous press release, I repopulated my campaign website with my original ideas for the city. Why should I want to do that?
There are a lot of dreams and ideas and plans on this site that continue to apply for the sitting Wilkes-Barre Council. Council has seven months left to do some effective work. Additionally, this note applies to the November Wilkes-Barre mayoral candidates who won primaries and those, such as George Brown, who may choose to take another shot at the voters through the write-in mechanism.
Like all Wilkes-Barre residents, I want the city to be safe and successful. So, as a vehicle to offer help for whoever emerges as mayor, I am restoring the campaign thought website as it was. I will post new ideas such as this press release as appropriate. I am not mounting a write-in campaign. The restoration of the site has nothing to do with a future Kelly run for mayor. Kelly is not running for mayor. The articles, downloads, and menu options may help Brown, George, or Sorick if they choose to look beyond their own campaign platforms.
Though the site name remains www.briankellyformayor.com, Brian Kelly (me) is no longer running for mayor. I heard rumors that George Brown may attempt a write-in campaign. Good for him. He’d do better a second time, as would Tony George and Frank Sorick. That’s what democracy is all about. I would suspect that George Brown would have money left from the primary to go a long way to pay for a write-in campaign. I see some of his billboard signs are still up, so who knows?
Yes, citizens of Wilkes-Barre, I certainly do wish that I were one of the candidates for mayor but God has other plans for me.
I made my run for mayor so that I would become the mayor of Wilkes-Barre. It was not so that I would ruin anybody else’s chance to become mayor, no matter what they may think. I ran for mayor so that I could be the mayor of Wilkes-Barre and thus be a positive instrument to help make the city a better place to live. I planned to win the race. I still have major debt that anybody can donate to help me with.
Citizens of the city have already decided that I am not their candidate to implement these ideas but they have yet to vote on the ideas. Wilkes-Barre media outlets did not offer citizens good selection points with which to compare candidates.
Too many people seem to think that I ran only so that other candidates would lose. The supposition was that I did not care about being mayor. Some speculate that I might have been paid to run. Again, this is not the truth. I did not run for mayor so that Darlene Duggins Magdalenski would win or that George Brown would win or that Tony George would win. My objective was not to “steal” votes so that George Brown would not win. Nice theory, but I ran so that I would win. Why would I be $4,000 in debt today if somebody had bankrolled me to mess up another candidate? I planned to beat them all. My plan just was not as good as theirs. Winning the primary was my goal — not ruining somebody else’s chances to win. I did not succeed.
On the Democrat side, I was simply beaten by two better campaigners with excellent funding. I was almost beaten by a third. I give them all their due credit.
On the Republican side, there were 252 write-in votes cast. Luzerne County staff chose not to count the write-in votes. Since I solicited Republican votes in all of my advertising, I could claim all 252 write-ins. However, even 252 would still not have been enough to beat Frank Sorick (496) for the Republican nomination.
I am not ever going to be mayor of Wilkes-Barre and I am okay with that. As a young adult, I got over not ever beating Mickey Mantle out for the center field position on the Yankees. Likewise, I have gotten over not ever becoming mayor of my city. In fact, I got over it in the first non-tired day after the election — just a day or two later.
Not being a candidate for mayor now means that for me to help my city, I need to be able to discuss the ideas that I developed with those candidates who won the primary election. I promise to support the candidate who gives my ideas their best airing and who permits me to explain the advantages in as many meetings with them as it takes. So far, I regret to say, nobody has asked for a meeting with me. However, I do have a strong feeling that the requests will be coming rapidly, especially if George Brown chooses to launch a write-in campaign. A Brown write-in campaign may help the city more than it even may help George Brown.
I do plan to endorse a candidate based on the job I think they will do for the city. Even if the candidate whom I endorse does not win in November, I still hope to be able to work with the victor, if he chooses to permit me to help implement the best ideas for Wilkes-Barre.
God knows we sure do need a few good plays called from above in order to help the city be safe, affordable, and clean. Right now, I do not know if any of the three candidates — Brown, George, or Sorick — will choose to alter their existing plans to incorporate the notions I put forth when I was a candidate, but I do know those ideas are the best for Wilkes-Barre. Citizens of the city have already decided that I am not their candidate to implement these ideas but they have yet to vote on the ideas. Wilkes-Barre media outlets did not offer citizens good selection points with which to compare candidates.
As an aside, in my day job, I help companies solve problems and then I bill them for the effort that I put into the solution. I am a problem solver. If I were being paid at my IT consulting rate for the Wilkes-Barre City solutions that I put forth over the six months of active work and six months of preliminary work before the active campaign, I would never have to work another day in my life.
I knew that just because I was a regular guy, regular guys would not necessarily vote for me. So, to have a chance at gaining their respect, I had to solve on paper many of the problems facing the City. To this end, I worked very hard trying to form the right dreams, ideas, and action plans. In this way, I knew that if elected, Wilkes-Barre’s game plan for the future would be a winning plan.
Besides personal research, I interviewed some extremely bright people about the needs of the city, especially how to solve the major crime problem and eliminate the druggies and the gangs. The folks I spoke with like our city, and their ideas would have been a big part of any solution that I would have implemented as mayor. I would recommend these ideas and plans to the candidates who are in a position to become mayor and to the candidate who actually becomes mayor.
I failed to become mayor but my effort was not a complete failure as it produced a lot of documentation that can be of great assistance to building a new city plan if the unique approaches are examined properly, considered, and implemented. Therefore, I believe that as of today at least, I can still help any of the candidates — those who prevailed in the primary election, and any write-ins.
I can help the candidates have what I believe would be a platform for success that would help position Wilkes-Barre for a Return to Glory! In so doing, It would also assist the endorsed candidate, who espouses such positive action plans for the city, in a way that helps them achieve the honor of becoming the next mayor of Wilkes-Barre.
Therefore, as noted above, I have decided to make myself available well before the fall election to meet with the mayoral candidates. Frank Sorick, Tony George — and now George Brown — are welcome to call. They all know how to reach me. All of these candidates could use the votes achieved by Ms. Magdalenski and myself in the primary election. Besides those who did not vote in the primary there are about 700 voters who did vote and are in this category that may find an independent endorsement to their liking.
If Mr. Brown teaches Democrats how to write-in the name BROWN as he is launching his write-in campaign, he again becomes a formidable candidate against both Tony George and Frank Sorick,
I do hope that at least one of the three candidates shows enough confidence in me that they will adopt the detailed plan for success that I have built for Wilkes-Barre. Based on their reaction to the plans I have produced for the good of Wilkes-Barre, I will eventually choose to endorse one of the three for mayor.
My decision will be based on the look of their detailed plans for the city. The selected candidate would agree to implement a number of suggestions from my detailed list as favored by the citizens. These, of course would not be business as usual plans.
Each day, all of us must realize that the mayor of our city has not yet been chosen. Tony George may be the front-runner, but he has not yet won. The people still have an opportunity to speak again for the candidate with the best ideas, even if those ideas have been enhanced since the primary election. I hope to help all candidates with some fresh ideas if they are willing to accept them.
Now, having no office to gain, I am hoping to help the people review and evaluate my well-documented plans for the city and vote for the candidate who they believe can achieve the best of the best.
This is not a light decision for Wilkes-Barre. Voters would know that I would examine in detail all of the platform points that each candidate proposes — especially their crime program. However, just as important for our decision are the individuals the candidate will choose to administer the city. Who will they be? Will they be old guard, or new guard, or will they be of the people? Personnel such as city administrator, public safety director, and other vital city positions are key to our success. Therefore, I would need to know this information before I endorsed a candidate and offered guidance to the electorate. Some candidates from past experience in these positions would move the city backwards, and so this is very important.
I have been very lucky in this campaign. Unaligned voters (non-politicians and non-political-appointees) in the city came out for me on both sides of the aisle. There were many others who I met in my campaign walks that I know I had almost convinced to vote for me.
Unfortunately, the malaise in Wilkes-Barre is so severe that their apathy as just a part of a whopping 79% of potential voters who did not vote, was far too great to come out to the polls even on a sunny day.
I will encourage those who met with me and who spoke with me, to vote for at least somebody in the general election. Our vote is the only mechanism by which we the people can effect change and help make our city okay again.
Again, I want to express my sincere thanks to the Democrats and the Republicans in Wilkes-Barre who voted for me in my deep desire to clean house at city hall. I was an unknown and remain so but I am no longer running for office. Now, having no office to gain, I am hoping to help the people review and evaluate my well-documented plans for the city and vote for the candidate who they believe can achieve the best of the best.
My numbers in the campaign were very weak compared only to the well-financed candidates. In the fall, we cannot accept a 21% turnout rate. We need everybody to vote. The game is reset in the fall. This is your best chance to complain or endorse the policies you like.
Remember, the election is not yet decided. Despite whatever anybody says, it is not decided. The people actually do get another chance. To the extent that the non-voters especially are not happy, they need to know that if they can get off their duffs in the general election, they can change the course of what will otherwise be history in Wilkes-Barre.
Most citizens of Wilkes-Barre are not happy with the idea of having poor government in perpetuity. What matters is that the future mayor of Wilkes-Barre has the best plan to resurrect this city and prepare it for a return to okay-ness, and then to greatness, and then to glory. Along the road to glory, the winning candidate must have the best plan to restore civility and safety.
Remember that when people get a second look, they sometimes change their minds. Sometimes all it takes is a hard look in the mirror. I have already had some of my most helpful supporters tell me that Frank Sorick is the guy I must support in the general election. One gentleman’s rationale was that he had voted for me, a long shot, because he wanted major changes that would not occur with current council members who had been idle for too many years. He noted that during those years, the city sank into its pit of drug and gang crime on its way to oblivion. His advice makes a lot of sense. A Republican would surely shake things up whereas a Democrat may simply sign up for more of the same. As a voter in Wilkes-Barre, it is your call.
Many have spoken about Tony George’s victory and what this does if George Brown chooses not to take a second chance as a write-in candidate. The winning margin was very thin. The worst thing that could happen to a Tony George assured victory is that Darlene Duggins Magdalenski with almost 200 votes to possibly offer and Brian Kelly with almost 500 votes to possibly offer choose to back a good guy like Frank Sorick or another good guy like George Brown if he chooses to run as a write-in candidate.
And, so, that is a big reason why I put my www.briankellyformayor.com website back up. Look at the site. Check out the crime ideas. There are many differences with the same-ole approach. Do you want a focused violent crime unit or business as usual? The current police chief may be a great guy who grew up when crime was more easy to solve and the big problem was not gangs and druggies and people thinking it is ok to shoot other people.
Would the people not like a well-experienced public safety director/police commissioner, who knows how to solve violent crime problems? The current chief would work for this new highly experienced individual. Saturation patrols will always help but a violent crime unit and a tough violent crime experienced police commissioner would be the most effective solution. Instead of a fly swatter, this new approach would be like spraying a can of Raid on the bad guys and destroying them rather than looking for the fly swatter each time a gun shot is heard in the city.
I do believe in redemption. Tony George is not your typical go along with the program guy. He is a good man, as is George Brown. Tony George was not at all silent on council and most of the time on the issues that were discussed, he was on the losing side. His ideas should have won a number of times. He always took the people side. For me, that is a step towards redemption.
Frank Sorick is a Republican Tony George. In city council, George Brown has always been a good thinker who maybe now he knows that the regular people are the most important despite his huge donor base. I would love to see George Brown adopting the Kelly plan for crime in Wilkes-Barre. Redemption can work well for both Brown and George.
When I meet with Mr. George and Mr. Sorick, and hopefully Mr. Brown if he runs as a write-in, I will know where Wilkes-Barre stands if it is placed in any of their hands. When I know, I promise to let you know at www.briankellyformayor.com, and at my favorite local web site, www.wilkes-barrerecord.com.
Please do your civic duty and vote in the general election on November 3.
When you vote, you will know that you have helped Wilkes-Barre survive and regain its moxie in a tough world.
Without voters, we have no democracy. So, Please vote!
Brian W. Kelly, M.B.A. Information Technology Consultant,
Retired IBM Senior Systems Engineer,
Retired Assistant Professor, Business & Information Technology
Marywood University, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18509