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Acting ‘as a father,’ mayor takes away basketball hoops

June 19, 2013

Users of Memorial Park have lost their pool and now they are temporarily unable to play hoops at the basketball court. By order of Mayor Gabriel J....

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(75)

bornandraised

Jun-19-13 2:15 AM

wonderful, now you're just going to force them to other areas.

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MrShaman

Jun-19-13 5:37 AM

"wonderful, now you're just going to force them to other areas." - bornandraised

*

Maybe you should have thought-about-that, before making such a mess.

Enjoy the walk!

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streetmachine

Jun-19-13 5:40 AM

TAKE AWAY THERE DRUGS CAMERAS WERE INSTALLED TO SEE WHAT IS GOING NOW SO YOU NOW KNOW WHO IS DOING IT OTHERS USE THOSE HOOPS TO

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wwhickok

Jun-19-13 6:13 AM

Frankly..with all due respect, has anyone every paid attention to the large groups of sometimes as many as 30 kids, teenagers, and some adults even, that use the basketball courts? The groups are 90% African American. That's not racial, that's the truth. It's my belief that if you asked them, they'd all say they're originally from Philly (or at least the majority would).

The shooting several months back (last year I believe) was amongst African American individuals.

There are Caucasian individuals who use these courts and are probably part of the problem, and we all know there is plenty of caucasian criminals in this city, however, if you 'cut off the head of the snake' the body dies. It's not hard to see who's leading the charge and where they are from.

I know you say "others use the hoops too" but..do they? Personally I don't even let my brother-in-law go to Memorial Park, he's just a young teenager and frankly, I think it's too dangerous there for him.

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michaelpaternostro

Jun-19-13 7:05 AM

How about instead of acting like a "father" act like a Mayor. Have the police send in somebody undercover, get the "goods" and arrest the "bad apples" and put them behind bars where they belong. You know laws are being broken i.e. drug paraphernalia, littering etc. so do something about it! Put up more cameras. Why should nobody be able to use the park which is owned by the taxpayers of the city? Demand that the city act on what they have before them instead of caving in to the thugs and criminals.Get a spine and stop acting like a jellyfish!

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rick424

Jun-19-13 7:35 AM

You go get 'em Mr. Mayor! That will teach them for sure. No more drugs there now or ever after this severe punishment. Maybe they should try this in NYC.

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michaelpaternostro

Jun-19-13 7:42 AM

Furthermore, you can't "father" those who have probably never been "fathered"in the first place. If they have parents, they are probably where the bad examples got "displayed" and "instilled" in the first place. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Taking away the "hoops" wont solve anything.

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acrman

Jun-19-13 7:46 AM

thanks daddy, what a jerk.now watch that areas crime rate go up.

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spike2

Jun-19-13 8:22 AM

wwhicock - who do you exspect to use the hoops in a predominantly minority neighborhood? I doubt if the drug users are playing basketball. Should we close down everything on Franklin Street? Two shootings there and caucasians. Taking down hoops for behavioral problems will have absolutely no effect on drug use. nosferatu - offensive. People accuse others of racism far too often on these LTE's, when no intent exists. In your case it does. You aren't a solution, you are part of the problem.

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wwhickok

Jun-19-13 8:28 AM

I'm not being racist at all actually. I pass Memorial Park every day on my way home from work. I haven't lived in the neighborhood however in quite some time, I live in the West End of Newberry. So, has it significantly increased in the # of minorities? Then I suppose, you're right, that explains why 90% of the individuals who use the courts are African American. I'm also not there to see whether not those are the individuals creating the problems. That's not what I was saying. What I WAS saying was that the 'issue' was made out to be the court, well, on that court, most of the individuals are African American. As far as your question about Franklin Street, I'm not suggesting "shutting down" anything. Do I think the right approach is start 'grounding citizens'...no..not at all..in fact I think it's silly. But IF the problem is the people using the courts, it'll be known quite quickly because those individuals will no longer be at the park. It's my guess however, the

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wwhickok

Jun-19-13 8:31 AM

will only increase at Memorial Park now that there won't be so much of a crowd to witness it. Cameras or not, they're always avoidable. Who is creating the crime? I don't have an answer to that, however, what I do know, is that when you look at the papers every day, the pictures speak for themselves. This city in general has seen an influx of people from Philadelphia, some of them good..many of them not.

I've been saying for a VERY long time that the parks are unsafe and that it needed to be addressed. However, I do agree with you Spike, and others, that taking away from the people who aren't the problem, isn't going to solve the problem.

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wwhickok

Jun-19-13 8:33 AM

Oh, btw, you referred to me as being racist. I should let you know that my brother-in-law is in part African American. I am not remotely racist, however, I'm also not so naive or 'sensitive' as to not be willing to admit where a large part of the problem lies. To me, I think the biggest issue with Parks in this city rests at Flanigan Park and the surrounding areas.

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NotaCriminal

Jun-19-13 8:33 AM

Isn't that why we have a police department?

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MarcusY

Jun-19-13 8:34 AM

This just shows the absolutely staggering incompetence of our mayor. Punish the good and the bad together instead of accepting responsibility for the problems the city is facing. "Hey - I saw some graffiti on some playsets at local parks and I think kids smoke pot there. Let's remove the playsets! That will solve the problem!" Seriously stupid.

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wwhickok

Jun-19-13 8:38 AM

One last thing.. @nosferatu;

Are you suggesting that if you're white and you hang out with someone that is African American, you're a "Wigger"? First of all, I agree with Spike on this; as I said, my intent was not to be offensive or come off as racist, so Spike, if you feel I did so, I apologize.

But the whole "Wigger" comment absolutely comes off as racist and Offensive.

Why is it racist? Because if you're calling those of us who hang out with African Americans, or play sports with them Wiggers, what are you calling them?

I myself, and my brother in law, have African American Family Members and friends. They're all good people. Something was mentioned in another article that I think should be brought up here too. There are many successful, good hearted African American and/or Minority individuals within this city. They're often overlooked because of those that aren't good hearted, that are part of the problem.

I also think that there's so much MORE o

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wwhickok

Jun-19-13 8:39 AM

-continued- of a focus on "Caucasian Success" that those who genuinely aren't good people, who are criminalistic and who are adding to the problem in the city, are often overlooked.

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wwhickok

Jun-19-13 8:42 AM

I understand it's an extra expense, but why not either A) Hire a Security Officer to Monitor the parks?

Or

B) Ask for Volunteers to do so (i don't know how realistic this is however)

I do agree with y'all, in my initial comment I was supportive of this action because my first thought was.. "Well at least they're doing something"...however, looking at it from the perspective the rest of you are, it's definitely the wrong something.

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ericwilliamsport

Jun-19-13 8:54 AM

@wwhickok

You aren't racist you just think a group of people who are black are automatically from Philly and are dangerous. Clearly you aren't racist. I have news for you, a group of (30) 9 year olds of mixed race, means roughly the same thing... you aren't going to get any playing time at that basketball court.

Here's a thought. Go introduce yourself and say you wanted to know if you could get in on the game. But no, instead, you just drive by on fourth street and lock your car door at 35mph.

@thearticle - What kind of drug paraphernalia? Are we talking needles? Are we talking cocaine? If so, lets get the cops involved, not streets & parks. Just because the park closes for 2 weeks doesn't mean that stuff won't come back.

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z3r0c00l

Jun-19-13 8:56 AM

Race has nothing to do with this. Taking away youth activities is the wrong answer. No pool, no basketball court, and little other in the city for youth to do does not add up to high quality of life for families looking to relocate. The real action should be preventative and not reactive. Patrol the area, enable law enforcement to handle and clean up the situation. If indeed the people playing basketball were are related to drug activities, those people will now have more time for their primary focus, “drugs.” We need to provide an outlet for youth in social activities, & industry aligned education to offer them an improved life and contributor to our city. This is the real fix. The city is not growing, not adding new industry, we’re going backwards. Gas does not count since the secondary industries are not being built around gas. You can’t sell gas if you have no customer. We’ve been complacent.

So, take away the hoops and concentrate on drugs. This is the message we are sending

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spike2

Jun-19-13 9:18 AM

No wwhic**** the racist comment was not towards you. I prefaced that with nosferatu. That was directed to his "wiggers" comment. Given all "our" words that are edited and not crude or offensive, I couldn't believe that "wiggers" makes it through.

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RollingWithHusky

Jun-19-13 9:24 AM

I walk my dog through Memorial park routinely. I've encountered large groups of young people and adults playing basketball on the courts. For the most part the people I've encountered have been polite and friendly.

In the Summer, the park is sometimes crowded by a diverse crowd of adults and children, families, a daycare group, etc. To suggest that only one group is responsible for the condition of the park seems purposefully divisive.

As for the litter, on any given day of the week you can walk through the park and see trash cans overturned, not just around the basketball courts, but throughout the park. The weeds are permitted to grow unchecked around the tic-tac-toe board at the playground and when city employees mow the park, they mow right over debris, chopping it up and distributing it over a larger area. I've watched them do it.

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RollingWithHusky

Jun-19-13 9:31 AM

(cont.) Closing the pool was a mistake, as it was always active in the Summer. Taking away the basketball hoops is a mistake, as the basketball courts are used more than any other area of the park by a diverse group of people of all ages. You can't take away access to activities, exercise, socialization because of a few boneheads and then complain about gangs and kids up to no good.

I would suggest that the responsible adults in the city should be leading by example, trying to better maintain public areas, supporting police patrols of known trouble spots and taking action when they know illegal activity is taking place, rather than punishing the entire community.

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Shirly

Jun-19-13 9:45 AM

Honestly, young Gabe, please note that this town does not need another father - we need a decent mayor! And, if there truly is a drug problem/litter problem/whatever problem at the basketball courts then put some police presence there! Let the guys do some undercover work. If you really do have film at eleven then for dog's sake USE IT!

(@wwhickok - you should get yourself a column in the paper or take an editing class. You've got some good ideas but really, put them in an article.)

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JohnZook

Jun-19-13 10:08 AM

OK, nobody is going to do it so I will. STREET MACHINE- Would you please kind enough to clarify your post. "Your message came in garbled."

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wwhickok

Jun-19-13 10:08 AM

First of all Eric, we're not talking about 9 year olds, and are you suggesting there isn't an influx of "Philadelphians" in Williamsport?

You're right, I am assuming that those at the courts are some that are from Philly. However, my point was in no way shape or form suggesting that everyone that comes from Philly is a criminal or that all those using the courts are.

Having said that eric, I understand completely where you're coming from. I agree, this has nothing to do with race. I was simply stating an Observation, however, poorly worded.

RWH, you're right, it is divisive to try and blame one group of people for these problems. Obviously that is the way I came across, despite it not being my intent, so I apologize for that.

What I will say is, even closer to my home, at Jackson Elementary, not long ago I spent an hour picking up all the trash that the high school kids (and i'm sure younger kids as well) throw on the ground. In addition to an over abundance o

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