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Friday, November 09, 2007

Totalitarian Pennsylvania is a national joke.

Steve "Side-Saddle" Reed, Mayor For Life of Pennsylvania's capital, gets smacked by reality about as hard as he's beaten the city's budget over the years.

And he wonders why everyone has fled to the suburbs...

The Sentinel: Harrisburg mayor’s dream of the old West is readied for auction in Texas

The mayor of one of Pennsylvania’s most debt-laden cities spent millions of dollars in public money on everything from covered wagons to copper marshal’s badges for a museum about cowboys, Indians and the Wild West.

He did so even though the city is on the other side of the country from the prairies, mining towns and honky tonks of the old West and without telling city council members, who learned about it from a newspaper reporter.

Sound bizarre?

It’s true, and the other cowboy boot is poised to drop Saturday, when bidding starts on hundreds of items at a Dallas hotel — a step that council members forced to try to address a shortfall in the city budget.

The stakes are high for Harrisburg, a city of 47,000 that is best known as Pennsylvania’s capital, 95 miles west of Philadelphia and 1,400 miles east of Deadwood, S.D.

With the city deep in debt, council members will be watching closely to see how much can be reclaimed from the roughly $6.5 million that Mayor Stephen R. Reed said he spent on guns and other old West collectibles.

“If we get less, then it’s just a big mistake and it’s unfortunate for the people of Harrisburg,” said Councilman Dan Miller.

I guess we should be thankful ol' Bareback Reed did not blow the $6.5 million on statues of himself like Stalin did.

When Reed became Harrisburg’s mayor in 1982, his dream was to transform the decaying, shrinking city into a cultural destination, a “city of light” on the Susquehanna River.

Distopia, anyone?

Under Reed’s leadership, hotels and restaurants have sprouted in downtown and the number of businesses on the city’s tax rolls has more than quadrupled. A minor-league baseball team now plays on a park that rose from a trash dump on an island in the Susquehanna.

In 2001, Reed opened the National Civil War Museum on an abandoned reservoir overlooking the Capitol — even though none of the war’s major battles played out in the city. His dream of building the National Museum of the Old West next to it stalled.

“I still think it’s a good idea,” he told reporters at an unrelated public event Tuesday. But, “we need the money right now.”

The man is a certifiable lunatic. Or just an average politician.

Steve, the city had the money. You wasted the money. You are a thief and a liar.

Bad
divine right monarch! Bad!

Reed did not return repeated messages The Associated Press left with an aide, but has defended his spending as perfectly legal. The auction will include items from six collections, and is being touted as the largest Western-related collection ever auctioned.

“This is your unique opportunity to share in this history,” Reed wrote in a letter printed in an auction catalog. “This is an auction like no other.”

To buy the items, Reed tapped an account at the Harrisburg Authority, where his expenditures were approved by officials he had appointed. The authority, which now includes council appointees, oversees parts of the city’s infrastructure and raises money by collecting fees on bond issues it brokers for government agencies.

At least one Harrisburg Authority official contends that some of the money Reed spent should have been off limits for the museums, and questions whether the mayor, in a shopping frenzy, unwittingly paid bloated prices for items that could be fakes.

Reed shelled out close to $30 million on old West, Civil War and other collectibles over 15 years — he even bought an Egyptian mummy — while the city was sliding deeper into debt, said the official, Eric Papenfuse, a council appointee who is the authority’s treasurer.

Certifiable.

City employees are only beginning to catalog what Reed actually bought. Many items, including a 12-gun schooner that was part of Gen. Benedict Arnold’s fleet during the Revolutionary War, are still stuffed into warehouses and storage rooms at city facilities, Papenfuse said.

Steverino heard Arnold had something to do with West Point and, being a brainless statist, naturally thought the schooner was perfect for his Wild West Extravaganza.

“The spending is staggering,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”

About 800 of the thousands of old West items from Harrisburg are scheduled to be auctioned by Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries over two days beginning Saturday. Another two-day auction is scheduled in April and some items will be sold on eBay.

For sale are covered wagons, marshal’s badges, boots, chaps, saddles, “Wanted” posters, letters, photographs, maps, furniture, pottery, decor, artwork, pistols, rifles, knives and more. One item expected to fetch tens of thousands of dollars is a bright red Wells Fargo & Co. stage coach, still in working condition.

Claims about the size of the auction raised eyebrows among dealers. One said he believes the items should bring in more than Reed paid, claiming that a weak dollar is drawing many buyers, including Europeans, into collectibles.

Way to squander your country's heritage, you pinhead. Some decadent foreign potentate is going to use that stage coach as a place to deflower the new members of his harem.

[BTW, Hitler had a thing for cowboy stories, too. I guess men who are less than men like to fantasize about being real men. I wonder if the Mayor For Life parades around his house dressed as Patton?]

“The Western market today has gone extremely wild,” said Don Cappa, a Deer Lodge, Mont., collector and appraiser.

William W. Savage Jr., a professor of western American history at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., laughed out loud when a reporter described the plans for the museum in Pennsylvania.

It is not so funny if you have to live in the middle of the tyranny, Bill.

The Keystone State is known more for its Civil and Revolutionary War history — say, Gettysburg or Valley Forge — than Wild Bill Hickok or the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

If anything, Pennsylvania was something of a launching pad for explorers, being the birthplace of the Conestoga Wagon and the Pennsylvania Rifle, Savage said.

“I wouldn’t say it was the Wild West, but it certainly figures into frontier expansion,” he said.

Miller, the councilman, said that the way Reed pursued the idea was embarrassing. There was no public discussion, no professional to draw up a plan and no curator to create a collection.

“A responsible city would not have gone about it in this way,” he said.

That, kiddies, is the bottom line. The rule of men rather than the rule of law leads invariably to tyranny. Sure, it is only petty tyranny today, but remember that Stalin got his start robbing little banks in the middle of nowhere.

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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