This was originally published in the February 9th today’s the day Harrisburg Weekly Bulletin that goes out every Sunday. Subscribe at the top of this page.
This winter has hit the city hard so far with cold and snow and ice. The streets are a mess, sidewalks crusted with frozen slush, and the river seems not to be moving.
Want some heat? Then look to Harrisburg City Council Chambers where in the past week, 7.5 hours have been spent publicly reviewing the budget and interrogating new mayor Eric Papenfuse on his plan for governance.
Personalities are strong. Emotions are high. Distrust is the common motif.
The Papenfuse Administration is not alone. City Councilors are drilling the Harrisburg Receiver’s Team, too. On municipal finance and sinister intentions that may or may not be there.
And that’s how many of those long hours in City Council Chambers have been spent—in a hunt for the menace in the numbers, even a smidgen, in order to sound the alarm.
At least that’s what some of the Councilors seem to be saying. However, at times it’s a challenge to understand what is being asked or what information is actually being demanded.
Sometimes the demand takes over the answers as rants persist too long.
Others are inciting the crowd, too. Outside of City Council Chambers whispering conspiracy in ears and broadcasting it’s all a lie and proclaiming we’re doomed as a city.
“The plan and this administration are false!” say insiders still sore about the outcome.
“Parking will be the end of that town!” outsiders claim with a fist.
And business owners yell, “We didn’t know!” months after they shrugged the engagement away.
In the middle is a large crowd trying to figure out what’s going on, ready to roll along but are so pulled by the tug of contention.
Yes, it’s ornery in the city right now, but let’s remember it’s still just the start of the year.
40 days in is all we got so far. There’s still time to see what’s really going to happen next—to see what the results of the parking deal are, to see what the Papenfuse Administration’s strengths & weaknesses will be, to see what will the residents do to make this city better.
Let just see what’s going to happen in Harrisburg, especially after these first few months melt away and we see what it’s actually like after a long and numbing winter.
Meant literally and metaphorically.