Who knew? Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania!

State capital mulls bankruptcy. We had to memorize all fifty state capitals in Miss Holme’s Fifth Grade class at Riverside School back in 1963-64, but I don’t believe I’ve thought about the city since. Where the hell is it, anyway?


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11 responses to “Who knew? Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania!

  1. XYount

    How ’bout those high heels she wore every day, and that Bettie Page hairdo!

  2. From Harrisburg to Greenwich

    Here is the story of how I brought Harrisburg to this sad end of its glory as a state capital. (Pennsylvania moved it there from Philadelphia to prevent the British from sailing up the Delaware River to destroy the government.)

    The former mayor there and I left that city in the mid-60’s for college. I had a dream to travel the world, gain wisdom and riches, and after forty years to return, where the poor citizens would beg me to become mayor, and save their sorry city and state.

    Well I ended up at Yale, where my former class-mate Billy Scranton, saved that city and state from the melt-down at Three Mile Island in 1978.

    In 2005 I returned to Harrisburg to find that my friend, the openly gay mayor, had almost singled-handedly saved the city from ruin from its lowpoint, starting with his election in 1982. I proposed a grand scheme to him to honor the city as Lincoln’s fulfillment of the new birth of freedom. (Harrisburg was Lee’s objective in the northern campaign of 1863, but Gettysburg was his “Waterloo.”)

    I accepted a $5000 retainer for my “concept” to obtain federal funding for this memorial, which was taken from the DPW budget in December of that year. At Christmas an ice storm hit both Greenwich and Harrisburg. With my weather skills I predicted a complete melt-off and recommended saving the money for salting.

    In Greenwich this worked perfectly, but in Harrisburg, it was a disaster of epic proportions. The Mayor there claimed the DPW budget was short the $5000 needed to pay for salting services over the holiday weekend. A political firestorm ensued with the City Council, and effectively brought an end to the mayor’s career.

    Last fall, the black, Bible-thumping “Esther” of the City Council’s Presidency was elevated to become the new Mayor. The gay comptroller is pushing the City to declare bankruptcy, and it is my fault. I weep for the city, as well as Lincoln’s promise of a “new birth of freedom.” Oh if I had only stayed in Greenwich!

  3. ac

    Ms. Holmes was my favorite teacher I had her in 78. I wish every child could have a teacher like her.

  4. ac

    Yes she still had the ford falcon cool car. She actually taught right up to when she died in 1986.

  5. From Harrisburg to Greenwich

    The significance of the posting – a legally sanctioned bankruptcy filing by a State Capital – needs to be seen in light of the other subjects of the day:

    1. Unfunded government pension obligations.

    2. Government capitulation to excessive union contract demands for future funding of benefits.

    3. Expectation of maintenance of the American dream – without the dreamers, the patriots, or the bill-payers.

    4. The knife in the back of every state capital – that the state opts itself out of paying its share of the city tax bill for its own installations. That is – it declares itself to be tax-exempt.

    In Harrisburg, only 20% of the properties actually produce a tax revenue to pay for city services.

  6. Born in the Burg

    Issue for Harrisburg is the debt of a trash to steam project that they backed with the City’s general obligation pledge. Project didn’t work out and they are now on the hook and the debt service has put a huge dent in the City’s budget.

  7. from the burg too

    That’s a bit like saying sub-prime mortgages caused the world-wide financial meltdown .

    The burg’s big trouble actually started with the real meltdown at Three mile.

  8. Born in the Burg

    City owes $68mm in debt service this year on the trash to steam deal. Their entire proposed budget for the year is $64mm. Agree that is has been a long slow decline for them, but many other local govts have dealt with that same economic hand. This deal is what will push them to Chapter 9.

  9. from the burg too

    Interestingly, Harrisburg has the “strong-mayor” form of government, whereas Greenwich has the
    “no-mayor” system in terms of power.

    I have been undecided myself as to which works better. But once a strong-mayor or strong-governor (a la New Jersey) goes bad, you never want it to happen again.

    Greenwich seems to have gone through that cycle with a bad bonding experience. Thus the pay-as-you-go policy, with every municipal improvement voted on by the “representative town meeting” form of government. This leads to equally ridiculous results.

  10. Arouet

    Similar story on wires about Colorado Springs (no BR, but eliminating what was once viewed as “essential” to stay out of BR).

    No consensus on what is public vs private good. Govts mandate health care–but only in the ER. Nothing is more inefficient than an ear infection or sore throat in an ER.

    But about that stadium . . . we need a bond issue because the Yankees can’t pay for it out of their own resources.