Daily as I read from afar the online editions of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, I get the sense of how a doctor must feel as he stands at the end of a hospital bed reading a patient's chart who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness for which the doctor has tried every known and experimental treatment, but for whom nothing has worked. The doctor struggles mightily just to extend the patient's life span, but yet he knows all is hopeless. It's a sad way for this old hillbilly to start my day, and I ask myself why I continue, and even ask myself why I contribute to the online comments, but I guess I am just an old romantic who keeps hoping to read that a cure has been found and the city of my youth will once again be youthful and vibrant.
From my vantage point, and from my experience of living in Wheeling, it is disgustingly obvious to me that Wheeling is being treated by totally incompetent doctors, in the form of the city manager, the mayor, and the city council. No doubt good folks all, but totally unprepared to deal with a dying patient, and totally lacking in the courage to make the tough decisions that offer hope for resuscitation.
The latest and absolutely ludicrous idea the mayor has announced is his hope to raise the sales tax by one-half of one percent to 6.5 percent, with a corresponding decline in the Business and Occupation tax. One thing you don't do with a dying patient is inject them with the medicine that is killing them.
Admittedly Wheeling, as a patient, has been enduring a long and slow illness for a number of years and if recognized early on probably would not be termed as fatal, however, past administrations and the current one in particular, have just made one mistake after another and they appear to have no inkling to study their poor decisions, reverse course, and develop a new and workable plan that will have the blessing of the patient's family, i.e., the citizens.
A few of the mayor's unexplainable obsessions are as follows: his idea to base the reincarnation of Wheeling on of the Capitol Theatre, an idea beyond foolishness; his lack of planning for the demolition and rebuilding of the downtown 1100 Block; the East Wheeling recreation field with its yet undisclosed myriad of secret contributors; the outlandish moving and remodeling of the City Council chambers; the beyond foolish idea of wasting taxpayer's dollars on the vacant Market Street Plaza; and all of this while ignoring the blight that is Wheeling, with its outdated and deteriorating infrastructure including the continual rupturing of water pipes that remind some of Old Faithful.
Couple this with the city manger's sleight of hand TIF financing, and the idea is born to lay the cost of these egotistical massaging ideas on the taxpayers.
The cure for Wheeling is simple: 1) recognize that it is now a small town and get the stars out of your eyes; 2) reduce the city employee size to necessary personnel only with special emphasis on the reduction of the fire and police departments; 3) concentrate on cleaning up the entire city; 3) plan as if the casino is going to fold, which it probably will; 4) foreclose on and sue vacant property owners and delinquent tax payers; 5) review and eliminate the tax exempt status of unworthy recipients within the city and county; 6) and please, quit kowtowing to the has-beens of Wheeling that in their senility don't realize the Fort Henry Club has closed and Bill Lias has died.
Fill this prescription and recovery will start, slow of course, but for sure. It's more than you have now.
William H. Hefner
Palm City, Fla.