Where is Dave Persing when the City Needs Him?
The world’s media are laying siege to Sunbury. For the past few days they have been engaged in a feeding frenzy stirred up by a local reporter, and the claimed revelations of his exclusive Friday night interview with “Craig’s List Killer”, Miranda Barbour, in Northumberland County Jail.
Everyone from Dr. Phil to Fox News wants a piece of the action and to find a different news angle on the lurid details. They want to speak to the reporter, to the prison warden and to police chief, Steve Mazzeo. Above all they want to learn more about the young accused and her grizzly list of alleged murder victims – “I stopped counting when I got to 22!”
Mayor’s Silence is Hurting Sunbury
Sunbury PA is now intimately linked to the crime. Misinformed reporters are saying it happened here, that the Barbours are local citizens, and that they planned and plotted it here too. Do a Google search for “Craig’s List Killer Sunbury”. You will be amazed how many pages are returned, and from how many states in the US and countries around the world.
In the midst of all this, while the reputation of our city is being trashed mercilessly, there has been nobody out there attempting to redress the balance. Yesterday Joe Bartello hit the nail right on the head. “Where is the mayor??? Sunbury has a reputation because he never defends Sunbury. He should be making statements to clarify that this murderer was not from around here. His silence is hurting Sunbury.”
Were he doing his job and defending the city and its citizens, Mayor David Persing would be coming out, all guns blazing, talking to the media, and putting down the myths, half truths, untruths and innuendos being spread around by the Daily Item. He should be seizing this rare opportunity to educate the national media, starved of facts and curious about our town, and pointing out the good things that are happening in our community.
He should also be offering his support to the real heroes of the hour, our redoubtable Chief of Police, Steve Mazzeo and his dedicated officers. Together they played a major role with their relentless pursuit of the murder suspects, piecing together disparate clues to eventually tie the crime to two people from South Carolina with no connection to Sunbury, and a victim from Port Treverton, whose body was brought into Sunbury and dumped by them in a quiet back alley in the Hill Neighborhood.
Our officers also labored under the handicap of the completely dysfunctional and, to all intents and purposes, useless $200,000 Sunbury security camera system, which seems to have provided them with zero assistance in their efforts to solve this heinous crime.
Mazzeo has subsequently performed manfully as a stand-in PR person, fitting interviews with a multitude of reporters into his already-busy schedule, while struggling to maintain an effective city policing presence despite the handicap of being in charge of an under-manned and under-resourced department.
Serious Questions Surround Reporter’s Ethics
Regarding the local reporter, some serious ethical issues have been raised, and there are also questions surrounding the perhaps underhand means he employed to gain such unfettered access to the prisoner. We are informed that Barbour was persuaded to list him as a “friend” on prison documents, and in doing so went against the strong advice of her defense attorney. Also, the prison warden came under unrelenting pressure to grant access from the reporter’s sponsor, none other than County Commissioner Clausi.
No sooner had the story been compiled than it was being wired out to news agencies near and far, large and small, its author no doubt convinced that he had finally found his ticket out of Sunbury. Surely someone from the assembled world’s media would notice his incredible talent and engaging personality and offer him a position more in keeping with his perceptions of himself as one of the greatest exponents of his craft the planet has ever seen.
The collateral damage which his self-promotion has done to our city seems to have been the last thought to enter his head. Certainly his unwelcome comments have done little to help city property prices, already suffering under the blight of the Persing Administration.
Finally, we shudder to think what kind of impression is being left by our dysfunctional city on the well traveled news staff from CNN, CBS and the rest who have been camped out this week in the vicinity of our police department. As far as the eye can see streets have been lined with walls of snow, blocking off all sidewalk access. How must they feel after struggling over these obstacles, to then find themselves plunging into lakes of slush and ice-cold water on the far side.
They may have stopped just for a moment and pondered what it must be like to live here and to own a business, and to face the monumental difficulties in attracting potential customers – customers who would much rather spend a few minutes driving to the free parking and cleared snow at the Susquehanna Valley Mall than staying here in Sunbury, feeding parking meters and scrambling over frozen barricades in order to buy locally and support our local businesses.