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02 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
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08 Held:
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09 Thursday, August 11, 2005
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11 Time:
12 12:00 p.m.
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14 Location:
15 Council chambers
15 Scranton City Hall
16 340 North Washington Avenue
16 Scranton, Pennsylvania
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23 Lisa M. Graff, RPR
24 Court Reporter
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0002
01 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
02
03 MR. GARY DIBILEO, COUNCIL PRESIDENT
04
05 MS. JANET E. EVANS, VICE-PRESIDENT
06
07 MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
08
09 MR. JAY SAUNDERS, CITY CLERK
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11 MS. KAY GARVEY, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
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0003
01 MR. DIBILEO: Please stand for the
02 Pledge of Allegiance. Please remain standing for a
03 short prayer. Kay, can we have a roll call, please?
04 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McTiernan.
05 Mrs. Evans.
06 MS. EVANS: Here.
07 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Pocius.
08 Mr. Courtright.
09 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
10 MS. GARVEY: Mr. DiBileo.
11 MR. DIBILEO: Here. Roll call.
12 For the record, we have letters from Mr. McTiernan and
13 Mr. Pocius. Mr. McTiernan is unable to attend today's
14 meeting due to a work commitment. He's actually in a
15 meeting with superintendent of schools Mike Sheridan,
16 and Mr. Pocius will not be attending the meeting
17 today.
18 This is part of his letter, Due to
19 the fact that there is no business on the agenda and he
20 sees no reason to leave his work place due to his busy
21 schedule to attend the meeting with no agenda items.
22 And that is for the record.
23 And if we could -- may I ask that
24 people keep their voices down in the audience, please?
25 If we can dispense with the reading of the minutes,
0004
01 Mr. Saunders.
02 MR. SAUNDERS: 3-A, MINUTES FROM
03 THE SCRANTON-LACKAWANNA HEALTH AND WELFARE AUTHORITY
04 REGULAR BOARD MEETING HELD ON JUNE 16, 2005.
05 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any
06 comments on 3-A? If not, received and filed.
07 MR. SAUNDERS: 3-B, PETITION TO
08 BAN TRUCK TRAFFIC IN THE 1600 AND 1700 BLOCKS OF
09 DICKSON AVENUE AND THE 600 BLOCK OF DELAWARE STREET.
10 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any
11 comments on 3-B? If not, received and filed.
12 MR. SAUNDERS: 3-C, PETITION FOR A
13 STREET LIGHT IN HERTZ COURT BETWEEN GIBBONS STREET AND
14 RIPPLE STREET.
15 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any
16 comments on 3-C? If not, received and filed.
17 MR. SAUNDERS: 3-D would be
18 clerk's notes. Mr. President, the only thing I do have
19 today is just to let everybody know there will be a
20 Council meeting next week. The time is yet to be
21 determined. Call the office, we will be happy to give
22 you that after it has been determined or check the
23 Scranton Times for the advertisement. That's all I
24 have, Mr. President.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
0005
01 Mr. Saunders.
02 MR. SAUNDERS: Fourth order,
03 citizens participation.
04 MR. DIBILEO: Prior to me calling
05 up the first speaker on the sign-in sheet, I've
06 prepared a little statement that I'd like to read at
07 this time.
08 The main purpose of our meeting
09 today and the next few weeks is to begin to address a
10 serious situation facing our city. City Council met
11 earlier today with Spectrum Origination, LLC of
12 New York City, which is the company utilizing its first
13 mortgage position to foreclose on the Hilton Hotel.
14 The City of Scranton, as you may
15 know, has a $3 million second mortgage and is in danger
16 of losing that when the foreclosure is consummated on
17 December the 27th.
18 I felt a meeting would be helpful
19 to open a dialogue between the City of Scranton and
20 Spectrum and City Council. I'm happy to report that
21 the meeting was very cordial and very informative and
22 very open, and we understand each other better than we
23 did prior.
24 Actually City Council had really
25 no information regarding the situation prior to it
0006
01 being reported in the newspaper.
02 Spectrum really is looking for no
03 more than what was promised to them by the
04 administration originally. Now, as I said earlier,
05 since becoming aware of the situation in the newspaper,
06 and it turns out that Spectrum has been dealing with
07 the administration since December of '04, I've done a
08 couple things, I've proposed that City Council forego
09 its traditional August break from business. The bottom
10 line is, we just don't have time to break.
11 September 27 is right around the
12 corner, approximately 45 days away, and we have to try
13 to come up with solutions that will save the city
14 $3 million or more.
15 I've pledged cooperation with the
16 mayor and the administration to put politics aside and
17 seek solutions to the problem for the sake of the
18 future of the city.
19 I've commenced dialogue with
20 county commissioners and with school board officials,
21 which is going to be paramount to this solution. I've
22 spoke today with Commissioner Mike Washo, and have in a
23 call to Commissioner Munchack, and I have spoken to
24 school board president Todd O'Malley, and cooperation
25 is going to be paramount.
0007
01 Without cooperation between the
02 mayor, the City Council, school board and the county
03 commissioners, the hotel will fail, the parking garage,
04 the new parking garage could possibly fail and downtown
05 development could fail as a result of that.
06 We have met with Spectrum earlier,
07 which was basically a fact-finding meeting, and it's my
08 understanding that the mayor right now is on vacation,
09 so between now and the time that he gets back, we'll
10 familiarize ourselves with all the facts and the law
11 applicable to this situation so to avoid the litigation
12 on September the 27th, and we'll develop -- begin to
13 develop proposals with the mayor and with the school
14 board and with the county commissioners to present to
15 Spectrum.
16 So, we'll be busy the next two
17 weeks or so to repeat a mutually satisfactory
18 compromise on all issues. Only a lack of cooperation
19 by local officials can cause the Hilton to fail and
20 subsequently downtown and all of Scranton to suffer as
21 a result.
22 And I'll make sure that we don't
23 fail because of lack of cooperation. And I thank you
24 for that.
25 Now with, that said the first
0008
01 speaker on the sign-in sheet is Mike Dudek.
02 MR. DUDEK: Good afternoon. My
03 name is Mike Dudek, 608 Depot Street, Scranton, PA, and
04 I am not one of the true taxpayers of the City of
05 Scranton.
06 I'm here to talk about two issues,
07 the first one is $5.4 million loan that has been
08 floated around, batted about. One small little thing
09 bothers me about that loan, and the thing that bothers
10 me about it is that Mayor Chris Doherty is a small
11 businessman, we all know that, he relocated his small
12 business out of the city, it's sitting somewhere down
13 in Maryland, he's not a small businessman in Scranton,
14 and I'm afraid that if this loan were to go through, he
15 would be one of the first ones with his hand out in
16 order to borrow the money to bring his business back
17 here.
18 If you think that might be funny,
19 the only thing I can tell you is I have seen stranger
20 things than that happen in the history of the City of
21 Scranton, as far as politics is concerned.
22 The second thing that bothers me
23 is really one of the most insidious lawsuits I think
24 I've ever seen filed in a political nature, the lawsuit
25 recently filed against Gary DiBileo and Janet Evans and
0009
01 other people who ran in the primary in May.
02 When I read this lawsuit, the
03 first question I asked myself was, What was the mayor
04 thinking about? Why would he even want to do this?
05 I heard about it Friday. At least
06 100 people saw me at the Taurus Club Friday, so I heard
07 about it on Friday when Todd O'Malley mentioned it in
08 front of about 100 people, and I was one of them, that
09 this suit was coming down.
10 And I'm thinking to myself, if I
11 were the mayor, I would do everything to stop it.
12 Well, he didn't stop it.
13 And what's insidious about this
14 suit is that he filed it in federal court. There is
15 nothing in that filed suit for a federal judge to hear,
16 not one blessed word of it. It's fit for a federal
17 judge to hear.
18 If I were a federal judge and I
19 were reading it, I would teel Mr. Williams of
20 Loop Street, the man who filed it, that I don't have a
21 the jurisdiction, because everything you have talked
22 about has to do with an election in the City of
23 Scranton, a state election code. You have shown no
24 federal violation of anything whatsoever.
25 And so, in thinking about it, why
0010
01 would he file it? And then it hit me like a ton of
02 bricks in the back of the head.
03 MR. DIBILEO: I'm sorry, Mr.
04 Dudek. Again, I'm going to ask members of the audience
05 to please refrain from speaking while there's a person
06 at the podium. Thank you. Go right ahead,
07 Mr. Dudek.
08 MR. DUDEK: A constitutional
09 lawsuit like this would cost a campaign anywhere from
10 $180 to $250 an hour for legal fees. That means you
11 have to have a lawyer to put in at least six hours of
12 research on the case to defend you, two hours in court
13 to listen to this nonsense get thrown out, and then it
14 hit me, if the mayor can outspend Mr. DiBileo by
15 3 to 1, all he really has to do is attack his money,
16 attack Mr. DiBileo's campaign money, drain him down to
17 nothing and then have him have nothing to run with when
18 September rolls around.
19 Well, I'm going to make a promise
20 to you, I am going to re-read that lawsuit. If I can
21 find any reason whatsoever to tie that suit into the
22 Constitution, I will file a friend of the court brief,
23 an amicus in your behalf in federal court, against that
24 suit and ask the federal judge to see the connection
25 between the Constitution and that suit to give the
0011
01 judge the jurisdiction to throw it out himself. Thank
02 you.
03 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Thank you,
04 Mr. Dudek. I don't know what it is that you're
05 referring to, but it sounds good to me. Okay. Joanne
06 Williams.
07 MS. WILLIAMS: Good afternoon.
08 Joanne Williams, city resident and taxpayer. First of
09 all, listening to Mr. Dudek, Mayor Doherty never filed
10 this lawsuit, so that is a false statement.
11 Now to go on. This summer has
12 been wonderful in the City of Scranton. All free
13 concerts and movie nights across the city have been
14 very popular.
15 The Summer In The City billboards
16 and posters reflect the colors and life that are coming
17 back to our city. My family and friends used to
18 complain that Scranton was becoming a boring town, but
19 now we're thrilled to see much going on.
20 Nay Aug was packed this weekend
21 with a lot of people. I was at the Jazz Festival. It
22 was a tremendous hit. The pool was really crowded,
23 too, and also I walked Monday night around 7:30 around
24 the park, people walking.
25 And what I really was interested
0012
01 in was how families were cycling in the park. And as I
02 was walking, one of the dad's said to me, didn't know
03 him, Joanne, tell Mayor Doherty the park is great.
04 And I want to personally thank
05 Mayor Doherty again for all he's doing, a fantastic
06 job.
07 I also want to talk about last
08 week's Council vote on selling the business loan for
09 $5.2 million. I am absolutely appalled that the
10 majority on this Council is so against economic
11 development of this city.
12 And I ask you, Mr. DiBileo, to
13 schedule another vote on the matter when all five
14 Council members are present.
15 And another thing, like,
16 Mr. DiBileo, why are you scheduling meetings when
17 Mr. Pocius and Mr. McTiernan cannot attend? Not
18 everyone has their own business like you and
19 Mr. Courtright, and also Mrs. Evans is a school
20 teacher, she has the summers off. People have
21 obligations to their employers.
22 But, you know what, thinking about
23 it, Mr. DiBileo, I don't think you can fool me, maybe
24 other people, we know that you scheduled a meeting at
25 noon so that Mr. Pocius and Mr. McTiernan could not be
0013
01 present and vote to sell the loans.
02 If you wanted to keep the city
03 from bringing in millions of dollars just because you
04 care more about your political campaign than you do
05 about the future of Scranton. It just shows how
06 selfish and shortsighted you are.
07 And if I can ask you a question,
08 why are you schedule meetings during the August
09 recess? You were just saying about this Spectrum
10 thing --
11 MR. DIBILEO: You want me to
12 answer now?
13 MS. WILLIAMS: Shortly, briefly.
14 MR. DIBILEO: Let me say this, I
15 can only control myself getting to these meetings, I
16 can't control Mrs. Evans, Mr. Courtright, Mr. McTiernan
17 and Mr. Pocius.
18 Last year when school became out
19 for the summer, the middle of June, we met every
20 meeting at twelve noon last summer, because people
21 wanted to do that, so we did have a few noon meetings,
22 and that's not out of the ordinary, but I cannot
23 control Council members attending.
24 And just for the record, these are
25 all regularly scheduled meetings, you know why I
0014
01 scheduled a meeting during August and that we're not
02 breaking, and this is the third meeting in a row that
03 Mr. Pocius and Mr. McTiernan have not been here. I
04 can't control that.
05 MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. DiBileo, I just
06 stated to you, these other two Council people have
07 obligations.
08 MR. DIBILEO: We all have
09 obligations.
10 MS. WILLIAMS: But you own a
11 business. You can walk out whenever you want to and
12 Mr. Courtright.
13 MR. DIBILEO: Excuse me. We all
14 have a life.
15 MS. WILLIAMS: Okay. Let me
16 continue, Mr. DiBileo.
17 MR. DIBILEO: And we all have to
18 be here. It's our obligation to be here.
19 MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. DiBileo, let me
20 continue. It's my turn to talk up here, okay?
21 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. Go ahead.
22 MS. WILLIAMS: Right. All right.
23 Well, I know why you're scheduling them, I'll tell you
24 why, you're hoping that these Council meetings can
25 serve as an arm for your political campaign. Free
0015
01 advertisement.
02 If you were really actually using
03 these Council meetings to get things accomplished, it
04 would be one thing, however, all you seem to be doing
05 is slinging mud and blowing hot air, and it's our tax
06 dollars that you're wasting.
07 And you know, Mr. DiBileo, and I
08 hope the people who listen to me, Scranton doesn't need
09 a change in the mayor's office, it needs a change in
10 City Council chambers.
11 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
12 Mrs. Williams. Les Spindler.
13 MR. SPINDLER: Good evening,
14 Council -- or good afternoon, Council.
15 Les Spindler, Bullwer Street, Scranton.
16 Mrs. Williams mentioned about free
17 advertising, well, what do you call all the banners and
18 billboards and commercials that we still don't know
19 who's paying for them? What do you call all that?
20 Isn't that free advertising?
21 Everywhere you go there's banners,
22 billboards. Those billboards are about $1,000 a
23 month. I know, Mr. Courtright, last week you bought
24 that up, did we find out who's paying for that?
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: I believe
0016
01 Mr. Saunders did. Didn't you, Mr. Saunders?
02 MR. SAUNDERS: Yeah. It's coming
03 out of the OECD funds.
04 MR. SPINDLER: Well, it sounds
05 like free advertising to me.
06 MR. SAUNDERS: Did we get a dollar
07 amount, Jay?
08 MR. SAUNDERS: No. I didn't get a
09 dollar amount on it yet.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay.
11 MR. SPINDLER: Okay. Yesterday
12 morning I put the morning news on, it was talking about
13 the Wilkes-Barre Council meeting, people were concerned
14 about crime in Wilkes-Barre, and who was at the meeting
15 but their mayor, Tom Leighton.
16 It's funny how I've heard
17 Tom Leighton shows up at every Council meeting in
18 Wilkes-Barre. Mayor Doherty hasn't been at one Council
19 meeting like he promised. Broken promises. I guess he
20 thinks he's better than Tom Leighton.
21 Well, he should drive through
22 Wilkes-Barre and see the economic development down
23 there. I'm there every day, there a state office
24 building going up, there's a new movie theater going
25 up, South Main Avenue, there's a bunch of store fronts
0017
01 being taken over, and none of them are KOZs. That's
02 economic development.
03 Okay. Crime in the area,
04 unfortunately we had a murder a week and a half ago or
05 so. Last week Reverend Simmons was here about things
06 that happened to an apartment somewhere on
07 Washington Avenue, somebody's car was keyed.
08 Tuesday's paper there was a
09 juvenile robbed at knife point up on Keyser Avenue. On
10 Linden Street there was a man severely assaulted by
11 five or six men the other evening.
12 This administration keeps saying
13 there's no crime in the city. They must be living in a
14 dream world.
15 And moving on, recently the
16 Scranton Times has increased its campaign against the
17 Council and the people who speak here.
18 Primarily this has occurred in its
19 editorial cartoons. They went so far as to describe
20 this Council as a nuisance and a dive, which needed to
21 be closed.
22 As a resident, it is truly sad to
23 see what has become of the newspaper. What is saddest
24 of all that they are so far down the path that they
25 have chosen for themselves that they can't even begin
0018
01 to see what they've become.
02 What they most remind me of is
03 Mr. Potter from It's A Wonderful Life. Here is a man
04 whose determination to control everyone and everything
05 in this city was so overwhelming, that it become an
06 obsession and ultimately led to his very wretched
07 existence.
08 Basically Mr. Potter had
09 everything but the Bailey Build And Loan, and that was
10 the business which allowed the working guy, who earned
11 a decent living, a chance to live in a comfortable
12 home.
13 The Scranton Times wants to
14 control the thoughts and minds of all people. They
15 don't want any one or anything to be expressing views
16 which differ even slightly from their biased
17 propaganda.
18 This is why they are so against
19 this Council and the televised meetings on
20 Channel 61. These meetings allow other viewpoints to
21 be stated, and most importantly, allow the disclosure
22 and uncovering of actions or facts which are
23 unflattering to the candidates or campaigns to be
24 exposed before the voters, and the Scranton Times can't
25 stand that.
0019
01 They have done an will continue to
02 do anything to ridicule, degrade and even stop these
03 meetings from being televised because they don't want
04 all the facts, good or bad, from getting to the
05 people, except, of course, those which are first
06 filtered by them and then written in their very biased
07 editorials and articles.
08 It's truly sad what has become of
09 our paper. With that in mind, I must say this to the
10 Times, you're not getting our building and loan, and
11 you're not going to stop these meetings, and you're not
12 going to intimidate we, the taxpayers, from exercising
13 our rights and what we uncover and discuss before this
14 Council the facts about the current administration that
15 you chose to ignore.
16 In this one paper town, this is
17 all we, the hardworking people, have left. We won't
18 stand for you degrading it, and we won't let anyone
19 take it away. Thank you.
20 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
21 Mr. Spindler. Julie Jones.
22 MS. JONES: Good afternoon,
23 Julie Jones.
24 MR. DIBILEO: Good afternoon.
25 MS. JONES: First of all to
0020
01 comment a little bit on Mrs. Williams, I want to thank
02 up guys for taking time out to have these meetings.
03 I don't know where she was coming
04 from with that, but I think if something is really
05 important to a person, they would try their hardest to
06 be here at the meetings.
07 I go to work, for instance, last
08 night -- I go to work at nine o'clock at night. I got
09 home at eleven o'clock this morning. Here I am.
10 Because it's important for me to be here.
11 So, I feel that Mr. Pocius and
12 Mr. McTiernan can make an effort to be here. Three
13 weeks in a row is ridiculous.
14 They made the time Sunday to spend
15 up at Lackawanna County Stadium with the big hoopla for
16 Ceco & Associates.
17 If they can make the time for that
18 that half the residents in the City of Scranton can't
19 do because they don't have the money to do it, then
20 they can make the time to come to these meetings.
21 I come back today because I got
22 flooded with calls from South Side residents. They
23 asked me to keep coming until they had their
24 neighborhood back. And I said I would.
25 Well, last week we were told to go
0021
01 through the proper channels before we come to you.
02 Well, the proper channels are exhausted or our concerns
03 have fallen on deaf ears. That is why as citizens we
04 come to you for help.
05 Let me give you an example of the
06 proper channels, my son got bit by a dog in the spring,
07 I filed a police report, and that is as far as it went.
08 Now, you have ten days before you
09 have to get the painful rabies shots. I called
10 everybody and anybody in the City of Scranton.
11 Couldn't get in touch with nobody.
12 Final on Day 8, which is two days
13 left before my son had to start shots, the animal
14 control guy was at my door. Why? Because
15 Judy Gatelli called the city for me. There's an
16 example of going through the proper channels and it
17 falling on deaf ears.
18 Another thing I would like to
19 mention, Mr. McTiernan isn't here, if anybody knows
20 about the cops at the high schools, are they supposed
21 to be there from the time the school opens until the
22 time the school ends? I've asked several people this,
23 and I have not gotten an answer.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm not quite
25 sure. I believe they are, but I'm not quite sure.
0022
01 I'll find out for you, though.
02 MS. JONES: Because at
03 Scranton high somebody is going to get hit with a
04 vehicle. They have two police officers there, one
05 directs up in the circle, and one works down at the
06 light to switch the light so the kids can cross.
07 I asked Mr. McTiernan and several
08 other people why when I go to pick up my son there's
09 nobody working the lights. Well, he was called out on
10 an assignment. I thought the resource officers were
11 there for our kids and they were supposed to be there
12 until three o'clock, 3:30 until our kids left.
13 And if that's the case, if they do
14 have to get called out, I've never ran into that at
15 South. Officer Kearney was there every single day.
16 Take the cop from up the top and put him at the lights,
17 because I think the teachers and kids can drive out
18 safely, and let them be down at the light to cross
19 these kids, because you know you got your kids that are
20 going to wait and you've got your kids there that are
21 going to keep on walking, and somebody is seriously
22 going to get hurt in front of that school this year.
23 I know pick my son up in front of the school because I
24 do not want him down at the light.
25 Has anybody found anything out
0023
01 about the Connell Park funding?
02 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. Saunders.
03 MR. SAUNDERS: No, we didn't get a
04 response back on that, yet.
05 MS. JONES: Okay. I guess I was
06 thinking, I don't know if this is feasible, but out of
07 the grant money we got for Connell Park, possibly if
08 there's money through there that we could use for the
09 fencing, okay?
10 A little birdie told me that
11 fencing quotes went out, so evidently something is in
12 the works. When they put the fencing up, I would hope
13 they would put something on the top of the fence that
14 would deter people from coming over the fence.
15 Also, I would request that the
16 deadend of Genet where the path goes up where everybody
17 is doing their foot traffic, if somehow we could block
18 that package.
19 I'd like to challenge anybody to
20 come to South Side during the day or at night and you
21 tell me if South Side doesn't need more cops. I'm not
22 saying the rest of the city should suffer, but
23 South Side is in dire need of cops.
24 If the cops could only patrol
25 South Side for crime and gangs as they do for their
0024
01 saturation patrol for speeders and people that go
02 through the stop signs, maybe South Side would be a
03 little bit better.
04 I came here last week to speak, I
05 was really -- I didn't know if I should come or not,
06 because I didn't know because of our situation if I was
07 going to have retaliation. Well, I did.
08 I was out over the weekend, and
09 only because I woke up and I went outside, and a
10 neighbor called me over, and I said, Bob, what's up?
11 And he goes, Did you have anybody at your door today?
12 I said, I don't know, I just woke up. I said, Let me
13 ask my son. He said, Yeah, mom, but they said you had
14 to be 18.
15 They were selling vacations. I
16 said, They were what? He said, They were selling
17 vacations, mom, and they had radios on the back of
18 their parents. I said, Okay. So, I called the cops.
19 Oh, yeah, we have word of that.
20 Just don't let them in. It's a scam. Never asked me
21 what they looked like, what they were driving.
22 Two houses they asked to go in and
23 use the bathroom. Another elderly woman was on her
24 back porch, one was talking to her, the other one was
25 at her front door trying to get in. This is what we're
0025
01 dealing with. It's ridiculous. Can I finish my
02 thought?
03 MR. DIBILEO: Yeah, go ahead.
04 MS. JONES: Back to retaliation,
05 that was the day I was helping out the neighbors. My
06 son was inside and our three dogs were outside. I came
07 back across the street after being at the neighbor's
08 house, and my eight-week old puppy was gone.
09 We searched for him frantically
10 for an hour and a half looking everywhere we could
11 think to look. We knew somebody that was in connection
12 with Valley View. They called security for us and
13 asked us to please watch for a white puppy to show up
14 up there.
15 She also said in return to
16 security, I want you to pass the word that if I come to
17 work tomorrow and there's a white puppy up there that
18 doesn't belong to somebody, that person will be
19 evicted, because that's one strike, you're out.
20 Once that phone call went in, it
21 was ironic, an hour and a half our puppy got returned
22 to us on our back porch in a milk crate. But now
23 because I'm coming to the meetings, now we're going to
24 suffer even more, and I just don't think it's fair.
25 Obviously our address is going to
0026
01 get out because of what we're speaking about, but
02 that's just a for instance. Now I'm here again today,
03 I guarantee by next week something else is going to
04 happen.
05 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Julie.
06 MS. JONES: So, I just ask for
07 your help, and if you will look into that Connell Park
08 money for me, I'd appreciate it.
09 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
10 MS. EVANS: Jay, did that letter
11 go out to Mr. Scopelliti about Connell Park and closing
12 off that pathway between Valley View and the backyards
13 of the residents?
14 MR. SAUNDERS: I believe so, yes.
15 MS. EVANS: And there's no
16 response yet?
17 MR. SAUNDERS: No.
18 MR. DIBILEO: I think that it's
19 probably safe to say that something will be happening
20 at Connell Park very soon, Julie.
21 And not to say this in a negative
22 way, traditionally a lot of things happen just before
23 an election, so I think you will be seeing something
24 happening at Connell Park, and which is a good thing.
25 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Jones, also if
0027
01 you could leave your phone number with Kay Garvey, our
02 secretary for before you leave, because I'd like to
03 have Mr. Scopelliti speak with you directly and perhaps
04 he would come up and you can show him exactly what
05 you're talking about, what your concern is.
06 MS. JONES: The only response we
07 got, and I thought it was from last week's meeting an,
08 Officer Crawfton came up to the house, but it wasn't
09 from the meeting. I thought maybe Council had sent him
10 up, because my husband asked me to come outside. He
11 came up because of the gang meeting. I told him my
12 problems.
13 He said, You know, the police
14 department, which everybody knows, their hands are
15 tied. They do help us as far as if somebody does
16 something, but as far the path, it's in the city's
17 hands. So, I mean, something has to be done. Like I
18 said, the neighbors have had it. It's just
19 ridiculous.
20 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
21 Larry McAndrew.
22 MR. McANDREW: Good afternoon,
23 Council. Larry McAndrew, Scranton resident, Scranton
24 taxpayer. I first want to make an announcement that
25 this copying Monday, August 15, right here in the
0028
01 Scranton City Council chambers, the newly formed
02 Scranton Lackawanna County Taxpayers and Citizen Group
03 will meet here.
04 We have taken into consideration
05 the input from city residents and county residents that
06 our group should expand and involve citizens issues,
07 also.
08 We first want accountability in
09 our government, but now we're expanding. So, this is
10 your community. I think it's important that you should
11 attend these meetings.
12 Again, it's August 15, Monday
13 evening at seven o'clock at our Council chambers right
14 here.
15 I see that Mr. Saunders and
16 Mr. Walsh, our solicitor, isn't here. I have a
17 question to ask. Several weeks ago Mr. Lee Morgan
18 brought up about dog ordinances, especially pit bulls,
19 and I want to get an update on that, if possible.
20 I'm not just saying pit bulls, I'm
21 concerned about aggressive dogs. Where do we stand on
22 this issue? Do we have an answer?
23 MS. EVANS: I think we're going to
24 have to wait to have Attorney Walsh address your
25 question next week, but as I'm sure you're aware, as
0029
01 well, the city already has some ordinances with regard
02 to pets; for example, leash laws and licenses and such,
03 but I know that Mr. Walsh has been looking at and
04 putting some teeth into either existing legislation or
05 the creation of new legislation, and I really couldn't
06 comment on that for you in his absence.
07 I wouldn't want to say anything
08 that could be incorrect, so I think we're best to leave
09 it to him next week.
10 MR. McANDREW: Okay. Mr. DiBileo,
11 I want to compliment you right now for taking an
12 initiative here with this crisis about this Hilton
13 Hotel, and the other two members that are here.
14 We all do have a life, but it's
15 important that we attend these meetings here. The
16 other two Council members should be here, and now isn't
17 the time for our mayor to go on vacation.
18 Talking to Austin Burke, the
19 president of the Chamber of Commerce, he told me that
20 Lackawanna Avenue and that Hilton is our gateway.
21 Well, this is some gateway, we're so many millions of
22 dollars in debt.
23 And the mayor already quoted in
24 the paper that the citizens are losing $3 million here,
25 that he's writing this off. I want to thank you
0030
01 personally for trying to get some of this money back.
02 Thank you.
03 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
04 Mr. McAndrew. Raymond Lyman.
05 MR. LYMAN: Raymond Lyman.
06 Raymond Lyman, Phelps Street. I'm running for
07 Pine Brook president because Jerry Richardson is
08 stepping down and Mary Shalipko doesn't want to run, so
09 I'm running for association president.
10 MR. DIBILEO: Good luck, Ray.
11 MR. LYMAN: And this Monday I'm
12 asking -- I'm inviting City Council to come down for
13 the meeting.
14 MS. EVANS: Where are the meetings
15 conducted, Mr. Lyman?
16 MR. LYMAN: Do you know where the
17 police substation is, that substation that that Mayor
18 Doherty and City Council has it, but see, I want to I
19 have the meeting hall, you know where that Jukebox Bar
20 is, I want to have that bar closed because it's a
21 nuisance bar, and I want to turn that bar into a
22 community center and also a rec. center for the
23 children, that's one of my ideas.
24 I want to get some grants from the
25 city and the state and the federal, and I want the city
0031
01 to help us, you know, like they did to West Scranton,
02 their association, like, how they got a building, how
03 they purchased a building for down -- for our
04 association, get us that building, that, and do that
05 for us, because the children have nothing over there,
06 nowhere to go, nowhere to play, so they don't get into
07 trouble.
08 And I also want -- I'm trying to,
09 like, once I become president, I also want to start a
10 new crime watch, People Watching People, a new idea,
11 because we have a lot of elderly people.
12 I saw this on A & E, it was called
13 People Watching People. It was a new program where
14 senior citizens watch senior citizens. And I'm also
15 trying to get -- I want to get grant money to fix the
16 sidewalks.
17 Well, you seen them, Janet Evans,
18 when you went down to the -- to get flyers for your
19 thing, how they're up like this.
20 And there's people who are on
21 wheelchairs and they can't go on the sidewalks, they
22 have to go on the road, and that's kind of dangerous.
23 And you remember in 1991, that
24 federal law was passed, that they have to -- well, you
25 know that law that's been passed.
0032
01 MS. EVANS: Yes.
02 MR. LYMAN: We could be violating
03 that law and that can be a lawsuit on the city. And I
04 also want to the Chip Feldman playground, I want to ask
05 cooperations to build a skate park, a main, you know, a
06 full maintained skate park for the children.
07 There's a lot of children in
08 Pine Brook and, you know, the one up in -- I don't want
09 to saw the word projects, but where Jim Davis and
10 Cathryn Simmons, they have been asking for a skate
11 board park, and they can come down, and my
12 neighborhood, they could come down, Penn Ridge can come
13 down there and play there.
14 And we could also rent out that
15 building of the community center and they could have
16 meetings there, too, and even rent that out as a, like,
17 weddings and parties and put that into the treasury.
18 MS. EVANS: Mr. Lyman, can I ask a
19 question?
20 MR. LYMAN: What?
21 MS. EVANS: Has the
22 Plot Neighborhood Association been meeting monthly.
23 MR. LYMAN: I don't know about the
24 Plot.
25 MS. EVANS: I'm sorry. Not the
0033
01 Plot, Pine Brook.
02 MR. LYMAN: Yeah, they had a
03 meeting last month.
04 MS. EVANS: They had a meeting
05 last month?
06 MR. LYMAN: Yeah.
07 MS. EVANS: Have they had regular
08 monthly meetings, would you say, over the last year?
09 MR. LYMAN: Yeah.
10 MS. EVANS: When are those
11 meetings conducted?
12 MR. LYMAN: Every month.
13 MS. EVANS: Yes, every month, but
14 would it be the -- since you indicated this Monday,
15 there --
16 MR. LYMAN: This Monday is a
17 meeting.
18 MS. EVANS: Would it then be the
19 third Monday of every month, is it a regularly
20 scheduled --
21 MR. LYMAN: It's a regularly
22 scheduled meeting. See, what I want to do is I want to
23 do a weekly meeting, compared to their monthly meeting.
24 MS. EVANS: Right.
25 MR. LYMAN: That's what I want to
0034
01 do.
02 MS. EVANS: I'm just trying to
03 ascertain when the meetings are, because I have not
04 noticed any advertisements in the newspaper.
05 MR. LYMAN: Yeah, that's what
06 Jerry never did. He puts a little flyer on the window.
07 He don't put it in a -- oh, sorry, he puts it on the
08 window in a store and on the window in the thing. He
09 don't put it in the newspaper.
10 MS. EVANS: Because I think you
11 remember, I had attended those meetings --
12 MR. LYMAN: Yeah.
13 MS. EVANS: -- when they had them
14 advertised.
15 MR. DIBILEO: Ray, Mrs. Evans is
16 speaking.
17 MR. LYMAN: Oh, I'm sorry. I'm
18 just answering her question, Gary. I'm sorry.
19 MR. DIBILEO: Yeah.
20 MR. LYMAN: And I told --
21 MR. DIBILEO: Excuse me, Ray.
22 MS. EVANS: Yes. I just wanted to
23 add, Ray, that I think it's to everyone's benefit to
24 get those meetings advertised once again, because most
25 people are not aware that they're even occurring.
0035
01 MR. LYMAN: And I just got two
02 more things to say on my paper and I'll go, Gary, is
03 that okay?
04 MR. DIBILEO: Do you mind bringing
05 it back next week, Ray?
06 MR. LYMAN: Well, I won't be here
07 because I have a doctor's appointment.
08 MR. DIBILEO: I can only give you
09 another couple of seconds so it's fair to everybody.
10 MR. LYMAN: Well, is that okay?
11 MR. DIBILEO: Make it real quick.
12 MR. LYMAN: Okay. I'm just going
13 to have block parties for the neighborhood and then
14 have weekly meetings. Thank you.
15 MR. LYMAN: Thank you. Bye.
16 MR. DIBILEO: Bob Bolus.
17 MR. BOLUS: Good afternoon,
18 Council. Bob Bolus, Scranton.
19 MR. DIBILEO: Good afternoon.
20 MR. BOLUS: It's kind of
21 interesting to hear Mrs. Williams today talking about
22 advertising and everybody getting a free ride, other
23 than who's her major person that she wants to support.
24 I have here about Chris Doherty
25 ads in the paper, Come Out And Enjoy scranton This
0036
01 Summer, basically sponsored by Chris Doherty. Well,
02 it's taxpayer dollars paying for it out of OECD.
03 I would ask that a motion be made
04 today, and I brought this up many times in the past,
05 that any signs in the city, whether they're
06 Restoring The Pride or anything else in this city
07 that's paid by OECD or any city money period would
08 include, not only the mayor, but all members of
09 Council.
10 This is a unity here. Things
11 aren't done just by the mayor, they're done by this
12 Council, and I would ask that you pass a motion today
13 to have this done, because this is an unfair way for
14 somebody to use our tax dollars, I'm objecting to it,
15 not to pay for campaign funds.
16 Mr. Doherty has done that in the
17 past and he's never been questioned on using his
18 campaign money out of corporations. I think we should
19 cut that out right now.
20 So, you know, she also questioned
21 why we're having meetings here. Well, Mr. Pocius
22 should be here, he gets paid to be here. He's trying
23 to get a pension from the city, just like Mr. Hazzouri,
24 but they want to not do anything to get a pension.
25 You know, we're paying for it. You know, they can't
0037
01 show up, they shouldn't be paid.
02 I took time from a business --
03 well, she's gone or Ms. Williams is here, I took time
04 from my business because I'm concerned about Scranton,
05 just as everyone else is here, and a sitting councilman
06 should do that.
07 As far as the suit by
08 Mr. Williams, I think it's an absolute joke. It
09 belongs in a state court, not a federal court, if any
10 court at all.
11 It's amusing that Catalano,
12 Williams and Ms. Marinucci would have an issue, when
13 they could not field a candidate for mayor, a
14 Republican candidate for mayor, because no one has
15 confidence in their leadership or their ability to
16 financially support a candidate or even support and
17 help a candidate to get elected.
18 If they were so concerned about
19 the party, why didn't one of them run for mayor? They
20 had that opportunity.
21 Catalano was quick to criticize
22 Casey, and I have his thing here, the letter to the
23 editor, about ads that are being done on the bus by the
24 Scranton Times, which I think are another campaign deal
25 by the Times paying for something, you see them on TV,
0038
01 Better Together, Casey Running For Senate. Well, I
02 think every candidate running should be given equally
03 time now because it's wrong to do and it should be
04 stopped.
05 But Barbara Marinucci is on the
06 Redevelopment Authority, her brother is on the
07 Recreation Authority, both appointed by Chris Doherty,
08 a democrat, and the mayor of the City of Scranton, and
09 she wants nothing to do with Democrats, as she stated,
10 yet she calls herself a Republican leader.
11 Well, I'm a Republican, and
12 Marinucci, Williams and Catalano don't speak for me or
13 the other Republicans that voted for Mr. DiBileo. And
14 we'll join -- I will join with any others that will
15 help defend this suit against Williams or anyone else
16 as a Republican.
17 And I want everybody to remember
18 one thing, I'm a Scrantonian by birth, a Republican and
19 a resident by choice, and they should understand that.
20 You know, we have to move
21 forward. Doherty is taking claim that he's done so
22 much in the city. Well, we have the new DPW
23 headquarters, if was Connors, Mayor Connors, who had
24 the foresight to obtain the old Jaunty Mill Complex.
25 No cost to taxpayers. And the money to build a new
0039
01 facility, nothing to do with Doherty.
02 The small business incubator was
03 fully funded with state and federal dollars during the
04 Jimmy Connors administration. Nothing to do with
05 Doherty, yet he wants to take it where he improperly
06 relocated taxpaying businesses already paying taxes in
07 the building, just like he did his own campaign
08 office.
09 The Hilton, costs us a $10 million
10 state grant, as well as the $3 million in taxpayers
11 dollars that are in jeopardy, but Doherty did that.
12 Connors initiated the hotel. It was brought by Jimmy.
13 Casey Park, Mayor Doherty poured
14 money into it to rehab it, and then tore it down. A
15 little kid with toys, unlimited money, a deficit
16 spender, he could care less. Build it, take it down,
17 he's not paying for it, but he wants to run ads that
18 he's giving us parks.
19 The Casey Laundry Building with
20 the artists, lofts and art studio. It was
21 Mayor Connors who had the foresight to save this
22 building and obtain it from the city.
23 Now, what else has Mayor Doherty
24 done -- initiated besides Nay Aug Park, Southern Union
25 12 jobs, Aventis Pasteur, KOZ contributor, and now
0040
01 another Irish bar, which I have no problem about
02 anybody coming to Scranton, but we're giving an
03 Irish bar a KOZ status to put other Irish bars out of
04 business.
05 The Market Street bridge, Jimmy
06 Connors was the one to do it; Doherty is taking
07 credit. Providence Square, started with Jimmy Connors,
08 not Chris Doherty.
09 The bridge would have been done if
10 Doherty didn't even intervene and stopped it.
11 East mountain Road, I live on East Mountain Road,
12 Chris Doherty wasn't there when that took place. That
13 started, it was funded by the Connors administration,
14 with Brian Reap and other people that were here,
15 Senator Mellow. It wasn't done with Chris Doherty, yet
16 he wants to say he's doing so much up on
17 East Mountain, the flood control project. I can go on
18 and on and on.
19 But the one I like the most is
20 Chris Doherty's picture locking up South Side, Tony &
21 Mary's, when it was this Council majority that brought
22 the residents from South Side here to these chambers
23 and made happen what happened.
24 Judy Gatelli, you guys did it.
25 Chris Doherty was nowhere there. And I wrote a letter
0041
01 to the editor saying the only thing he did was take a
02 lock and locked up South Side, because he didn't know
03 where it was for the last four years.
04 He's our leap year mayor, he's
05 running around campaigning saying he's done great
06 things for everybody, but he had nothing to do with
07 closing a bar, it was the DA and the officers and the
08 people who did the investigation that did what had to
09 be done, and that's what made this city different.
10 And just one final thought I have
11 here, there is a taxpayers association meeting that we
12 held here, and I spoke at it, and it's my understanding
13 61 won't air it because I made comments about an
14 individual's record, well, that individual's record was
15 well-publicized in the media, and there was no secret
16 that I brought something out somebody didn't already
17 know about, and I'm kind of surprised that we've had
18 tremendous support with 61 to air our meetings and
19 other meetings, that they should give consideration and
20 not be impartial as to what the citizens are trying to
21 do. Thank you.
22 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
23 MS. EVANS: Mr. Bolus, I think
24 it's very interesting, very coincidental, that you
25 enumerated so many projects today that were initiated
0042
01 by former Mayor Connors, and in some instances,
02 initiated and pushed along by Councilman Reap, and it
03 just so happens that this week, in fact, I ran into
04 Mr. Connors, and we were having a very nice
05 conversation, but I did ask, you know, Why did you
06 never blow your own horn? Why did you never tell the
07 people about all the projects?
08 Yes, you know, I heard about the
09 Hilton, I heard about the mall, but really, I don't
10 think everything that was initiated and well toward
11 accomplishment was ever known by most citizens.
12 And you know what he answered? My
13 parents taught us you never give yourself credit for
14 what you do, and if I ever dared try, my brothers would
15 have given me hell for it. And, again, it's not the
16 way of the Connors family.
17 And I remember having even a
18 similar conversation months ago with Mr. Reap,
19 concerning his involvement with the East Mountain flood
20 control project and road project, and I was thanking
21 him very much for all of that groundwork he did. And I
22 said, Again, outside of your neighborhoods on
23 East Mountain, people don't know this. Why weren't you
24 tooting your own horn? And I got the same answer, I
25 don't need the credit.
0043
01 And I think what was nice,
02 however, if we go back politically and historically
03 speaking to that time period, Council was always
04 invited by Mayor Connors to attend every ceremony,
05 every opening, every project discussion, and I believe
06 that was done, not just from a sense of fairness, but I
07 think perhaps Mayor Connors recognized that City
08 Council represents the people, and by a virtue of
09 having Council there, he was acknowledging the people's
10 role and inviting the people to those openings.
11 So, I know you mentioned earlier
12 that Council's name should be on banners and
13 advertisements and such, and I would say to you, I
14 didn't want to interrupt at that point, but I would say
15 to you, I don't have any desire for that, you know. I
16 think what is important is you do your job, and if you
17 do your job, people know, and most importantly when you
18 do the right thing, the guy upstairs knows, and that,
19 after all, is the bottom line.
20 MR. BOLUS: Well, if I may, Janet,
21 the guy standing at the podium does also, but in
22 fairness to the Council, I'm talking even the two book
23 ends that aren't here, they are part of the Council,
24 and all Council members, we want to see that.
25 It's our tax dollars that are
0044
01 paying for those banners, and we want to see it, and
02 I'm sure the majority of the people here that is
03 watching this would want to see that, too. That's in
04 fairness to the people who represent us. It's not just
05 one individual.
06 But let me take, if I may, take
07 Mr. Connors one step --
08 MR. DIBILEO: I'm sorry, Mr.
09 Bolus. I'm going to have to ask you to bring it back
10 next week.
11 MR. BOLUS: I used to criticize
12 Mr. Connors at this podium just like anyone else, but
13 one thing about Jimmy, is in South Side you could keep
14 your cars unlocked when he was the mayor. Thank you.
15 MR. DIBILEO: Lee
16 Morgan.
17 MR. MORGAN: Good afternoon,
18 Council. My name is Lee Morgan, and I'd like to start
19 by saying that the Scranton Lackawanna Taxpayers and
20 Citizens Association would like to thank Council for
21 not passing CRF, because they feel that that was the
22 worst thing that could have happened to this city, is
23 letting that go through Council and let that situation
24 come completely out of hand.
25 And, you know, I don't know why
0045
01 Mr. McTiernan wasn't here for the vote or Mr. Pocius
02 wasn't here for the vote, but it really turned out to
03 be a very positive thing for the citizens of Scranton
04 to have that vote turn out the way it did, and we thank
05 you.
06 The other thing I have is that we
07 had a taxpayers group meeting here, we applied for
08 $425,000 worth of community development money, for a
09 playground program, to fix furnaces and replace
10 furnaces in people's homes when they didn't have the
11 money and they were going to meet whatever parameters
12 were necessary to help them, and we also put in for
13 money to take condemned properties, they're owned by
14 people of low to moderate income, and repair them so
15 they could remain in their homes.
16 We've also decided that we're
17 going to try to look into the last 23 years of
18 community development money and find out where all this
19 money went, because we feel that a lot of it has been
20 misappropriated and wasted.
21 In regards to the dog laws, in
22 order to create a dog law that I think would have
23 teeth, I think what we need to do is require the people
24 who have concern breed dogs be required to carry
25 insurance on the dog when they pick it up at the pet
0046
01 shop and Bring it inside the city limit, because then
02 you're not telling people what kind of dog they can
03 have or they can't have, just that we recognize this
04 dog as being a threat, and, yes, you can have this dog,
05 but you will have this dog properly insured. And maybe
06 that will change people's attitudes.
07 In regard to the last meeting we
08 had with the taxpayers and citizens group, Channel 61
09 decided not to air that segment, and I find that, as I
10 sat down with Mr. Finnerty, I'd say at least for 15,
11 20 minutes, you know, he made his feelings known, and I
12 told him that I didn't agree with his statements and
13 that I felt it was important to let people see what was
14 happening.
15 And I think this thing cuts a lot
16 further than what is visually seen. You know, it's
17 been alleged, and, you know, alleged doesn't mean it
18 happened, but it doesn't mean it didn't happen, that
19 they want top shut Channel 61 down, Mr. Mellow and a
20 couple other elected officials don't want the people to
21 be heard, and I think it's important for everybody to
22 call the Scranton Public Library and get a hold of
23 Mr. Finnerty --
24 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. Morgan, it's
25 Finnerty, Jack Finnerty.
0047
01 MR. MORGAN: I'm sorry. I
02 mispronounced his name, not on purpose, though, and
03 communicate with Barbara O'Malley,
04 Attorney Brian Lenahan, Colon Preate, Emily Preate,
05 Joanne Boar, Lou Danzo, Paul Coalezzi, Rabbi Aaron
06 Pillar and Reverend Warring.
07 Because every one of these
08 meetings should be televised. You know, we're watching
09 other shows that are taking place, Living In The City
10 and numerous other shows, and I think that what they're
11 afraid of is there's a group of people coming together
12 ready to question tons of things that have gone on
13 here.
14 Council records have been
15 requested, all records across a very broad spectrum
16 have been requested. We're trying to move the Council
17 meetings onto Comcast or satellite.
18 This is a group that's only met
19 for three weeks, three times, well, not three weeks,
20 but has met three times. We have a very, very sure
21 idea of where we're going and we're going to make
22 change here.
23 And like I said to the next
24 Council that's going to be seated here, we are going to
25 hold you responsible, and we are going to hold this
0048
01 Council responsible. We're going to hold this mayor
02 responsible, we're going to hold every elected
03 representative of the people responsible.
04 We are not a partisan group, and I
05 just want everybody to please remember that. And you
06 know what, show up on Monday, all right, everyone,
07 whether you agree or disagree with what's going on.
08 Everybody's opinion is important, and we're going to
09 move this city forward. And you know what, it takes
10 people to do that, and we'd appreciate it. Thank you.
11 MR. DIBILEO: That's it for the
12 sign-in sheet. Are there any other speakers?
13 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
14 citizen of Scranton, Main Ave., if you want my address.
15 Jay, what is the status of that letter of credit I've
16 been asking for the last month?
17 MR. SAUNDERS: Well, there was a
18 mix-up, Andy, that was my mistake that I was looking in
19 the wrong direction, but everything is in place. I
20 should have that by next meeting.
21 MR. SBARAGLIA: Okay. It's good
22 to find out about it. I'm just curious, because I was
23 curious even at the names of the people who did the
24 audit, who is it, Doherty and Murphy who did the audit
25 for the SRA?
0049
01 Okay. Now, let's get back to this
02 hotel. Does anybody remember what the original deal
03 was at the hotel, that the hotel conference center was
04 supposed to build a garage?
05 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. Sbaraglia, I
06 should mention that there is litigation involved in the
07 situation --
08 MR. SBARAGLIA: Has it been
09 initiated?
10 MR. DIBILEO: Us getting into
11 details of --
12 MR. SBARAGLIA: Has it been
13 initiated? If it hasn't been initiated, it isn't in,
14 it's just planning of legal litigation. I will explain
15 then -- you don't have to. If you want, I'll give this
16 whole scenario.
17 MR. SAUNDERS: Mr. President, I
18 talked to our solicitor earlier today, he recommended
19 that Council not speak on that subject because of the
20 potential litigation.
21 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
22 MR. SBARAGLIA: Okay. Then I'll
23 speak on it. They could sue me. Okay. Originally
24 when they got together, this developer was supposed to
25 build a garage.
0050
01 Well, they couldn't build a
02 garage. Okay. We gave them a million and a half for
03 the Casey Hotel lot, and I was told in a few months'
04 time we would have got it for free, so there's a bonus
05 we gave them.
06 We took the money that was
07 earmarked for the original Casey Garage, and that went
08 to the them, so there's another million dollars or a
09 million and a half that we poured into this garage.
10 Now, let's get down to the real
11 nitty-gritty. They went to the county two years ago
12 and borrowed $21 million to pay off these bondholders.
13 Why -- what happened to that money and why wasn't
14 Spectrum paid from that bond money? There's other
15 bondholders involved. All you have to do is contact
16 the county.
17 The county initiated the bonds
18 that went through one of their development agencies.
19 In fact, I hand-delivered it to quite a few people when
20 it was done at that time.
21 Now, somewhere a long the line
22 money has been either wasted, squandered or mismanaged.
23 The mayor has been paying off bonds on this hotel in
24 the tune of over $600,000 for the last four and a half
25 or five and a half years. That was never brought up.
0051
01 They couldn't even pay off the
02 bonds four years ago, so they've been not paying them
03 all the way along, but yet they got this $21 million
04 that was supposed to get them out of debt.
05 This is important. You met with
06 the bondholders. You should meet with the people who
07 are running the hotel and ask what happened to this
08 money. There's where the quirks is. The money that
09 was just borrowed two years ago, $21 million, and it
10 might have been a little more, which I have home, I
11 have all the documents on it because I attended all the
12 meetings.
13 I had come to this Council many,
14 many times before telling you things are not feasible;
15 meaning, that these people cannot pay it.
16 You keep on granting grants and
17 everything to people and they're not feasible. They
18 only can do anything if we give them the money to do
19 it, and that's not right.
20 We live in America, we live under
21 a capitalism system, not a socialist system, and this
22 is what it's getting to be. All the development in
23 this town is being done with public money, and we're
24 not getting anything for it.
25 At the end of these KOZs, there's
0052
01 no guarantees, except for a few homes, they can't take
02 them out, but the businessmen can move out of town any
03 time they want, plus the KOZ did not give any kind of a
04 limitation to where people had to come from, otherwise
05 you can move from one side of town into a KOEZ and
06 again attack the taxpayers.
07 This is what's been done. I have
08 come for three and a half years before you telling you
09 the same thing over and over and over again. The
10 taxpayers in Scranton is not getting a fair shake.
11 And if you even look at some of
12 these contracts -- now, I live in Providence, but if
13 you ever look at all the cosmetics that was put up
14 there that could have been put into more sidewalks,
15 they took off wooden poles and put metal poles, not
16 because they needed them, just because they looked
17 better. Okay. I won't go over, because I'll only get
18 more angry. Thank you.
19 MR. DAVIS: My name is Jim Davis,
20 and I'm from Central City Scranton. Mr. Sbaraglia,
21 thank you. Thank you for all the research you have
22 done, thank you for the hours that you have spent
23 trying to inform us of what is occurring in Scranton.
24 Many of our dollars and our cents
25 are not being used properly. Who do we accuse of
0053
01 mismanagement?
02 How can we say that OECD are
03 placing their funds or by placing their time and their
04 efforts into a mayor which may have put them in their
05 position is not collusion?
06 How can we say that UNC that has a
07 program that's supposed to last for 12 months out of
08 the year for the children in this city always comes up
09 short in the summertime when our kids need supervised
10 like more than ever before?
11 There are no evening programs at
12 the Progressive Center, no evening programs at the
13 Bellvue. When our kids need it the most right now
14 before school starts, we can got our hands on them
15 where we can start mentoring them so we can make sure
16 that gap that keeps growing and growing with our
17 kids stops growing and we become an integral part of
18 the community.
19 I am tired. I am tired of
20 arguing, I'm tired of listening to these debates of
21 people who say they're doing the best for our city and
22 the best for our children, and our children keep
23 hurting for it.
24 I think that UNC has mismanaged
25 their funds. I can accuse them of that, because I see
0054
01 right now, and I have talked to those who work with
02 them, and say they cannot hire people to run a program
03 that's going to extend itself all the way through the
04 summer.
05 How can you not plan 12 months out
06 of a year for a service agency that's supposed to be
07 helping those that are unfortunate?
08 How can you stop because of a camp
09 ends and the plight of the people that you're supposed
10 to be helping, that you say that you're helping, and
11 the grants come through here, the money goes out of
12 here, and nobody questions the fact that they are not
13 doing the job for 12 months.
14 I came here last year and made the
15 very same statements. I think, Mr. DiBileo, you may
16 remember that, because it was Murphy who told me to
17 stop talking about it.
18 I'm not a complainer, but what I'd
19 like to do doesn't matter. When I get credit for it,
20 that doesn't matter. The fact that there are three
21 kids that are graduating, three African American young
22 men who are graduating from Scranton High School this
23 year who desire to go on and become teachers, is a
24 beautiful, beautiful prize for us.
25 They want to come back to Scranton
0055
01 and teach. They've heard of our complaints that there
02 are no minorities in this teaching system, and they
03 have dedicated their lives right now to this purpose.
04 I cannot mention their names,
05 because we haven't cleared it with their families, and
06 that is a respect that we have for our kids, but we
07 love them for it and we hope and pray for them that
08 they get nothing but success in the future.
09 My last point is, I talked to --
10 there are merchants on Linden Street who would like to
11 have garbage cans placed on Linden Street. We can keep
12 the streets clean if they would extend the garbage cans
13 from the post office just down to Wyoming Avenue
14 alone.
15 It gets to look very, very nasty
16 and dirty there because of the bars when they let out,
17 the people start throwing things anywhere they can, and
18 the street cleaners don't have enough time to clean up
19 behind them.
20 No. 2, the young man that's
21 usually here, Mr. Budzinski, he's always talking about
22 benches on Wyoming Avenue,the 100 block of
23 Wyoming Avenue, if we can't give our senior citizens
24 benches where they can rest while they're waiting for
25 their buses -- they want to be independent, they don't
0056
01 want to be taxies everywhere they have to go, they
02 can't afford that, they don't like being out in the
03 weather, they like walking the street, walking to their
04 buses, give them benches, please. That's not a big
05 thing.
06 We're quibbling over little
07 things. Our kids don't have things and our parents
08 don't have what they want to just have a good quality
09 of life and so we're falling short. That's our
10 failure.
11 And not just the Council, but we
12 are responsible also to our parents and our children.
13 So, that's the reason why we come here. And thank you
14 for being here this summer. Thank you for being
15 responsible.
16 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
17 Mr. Davis.
18 MR. O'BRIEN: Good afternoon. My
19 name is Michael O'Brien, and I'm a lifelong resident of
20 Scranton and current a senior at Georgetown University.
21 I'm here today to speak today
22 about what I believe is the enormous progress that has
23 been made in the City of Scranton over the past three
24 years under the leadership of Mayor Chris Doherty.
25 As I mentioned before, I'm
0057
01 entering my senior year of college, and I look forward
02 to returning to Scranton to work up on graduation of
03 law school.
04 With each successive year
05 returning from school, I have noticed substantial
06 progress in the City of Scranton, and I believe this is
07 no small part due to the efforts of Mayor Doherty and
08 his administration.
09 Over the course of the past three
10 years, the City of Scranton has added 3,000 new jobs,
11 restored our parks citywide and introduced over
12 $250 million in new economic development.
13 We have a new police and DPW
14 headquarters and over 500 city blocks have been paved
15 in the past three and a half years.
16 As a young citizen of Scranton who
17 looks forward to building a life and a career in our
18 city, I believe it is absolutely necessary that we
19 continue to work in the interest of more economic
20 development and raise the stain of negativism from
21 public debate.
22 This coming election will decide
23 whether our city will truly move forward in improving
24 the lives of its citizens, and I intend to vote for
25 Mayor Christopher Doherty. Thank you.
0058
01 MS. EVANS: Mr. O'Brien, forgive
02 my asking, but are you from Green Ridge?
03 MR. O'BRIEN: Yes.
04 MS. EVANS: Yes, a very large
05 family?
06 MR. O'BRIEN: It's a wonderful
07 family. I know at least one of my children would have
08 attended school with one of your sisters.
09 MR. O'BRIEN: Yeah.
10 MS. EVANS: And I want to say it
11 again, it's a fabulous family, and I hope very much
12 that you're going to be here.
13 MR. O'BRIEN: Thank you very much.
14 I appreciate it.
15 MR. WALSH: Thank you,
16 Mr. O'Brien. We certainly hope that after graduation,
17 that you can stay here and have a career here and raise
18 a family here.
19 And the only thing I'd like to ask
20 you to bring back next time, many people hear about the
21 3,000, I'd love to see that on paper someday.
22 That's a great number, and I
23 really hope it's true. Some people wonder where the
24 3,000 jobs are, so if you can come back with that.
25 MR. O'BRIEN: I'll bring it back
0059
01 next week.
02 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Good.
03 Go right ahead.
04 MR. GERVASI: Good afternoon,
05 ladies and gentlemen. My name is Dave Gervasi, I'm a
06 citizen of the City of Scranton, member of the fire
07 department.
08 A few things were mentioned here
09 today and I'd like to maybe correct it or state my
10 opinion on them.
11 No. 1, I see Mr. McTiernan had a
12 meeting today, and I think that's justifiable, he wrote
13 in proper that he had an important meeting, he is the
14 principal of a high school, and, you know, sometimes
15 you can't make meetings.
16 Mr. Pocius, I think it's
17 unconscionable that he said because the mayor did not
18 send up an agenda, he saw no need to be here.
19 I don't believe, as Ms. Williams
20 stated, that he had something else to do, I think the
21 letter read in the beginning said that Mr. Pocius said
22 it wasn't necessary to be here because the mayor did
23 not send up an agenda.
24 Well, it's my opinion that he's
25 been carrying the mayor's water for this whole time,
0060
01 and I guess it's not important that if somebody had any
02 concerns for him this week, that he couldn't let the
03 city know about it or he's not concerned about citizens
04 that come up here and may have concerns or statements
05 or ideas for the betterment of the city. I think it's
06 unconscionable that he's not here today.
07 As a matter of fact, if I showed
08 up for work unexcused with no excuse, I'd be docked
09 pay. I think maybe his pay should be docked this
10 month. Just my opinion.
11 Mrs. Williams made a statement
12 about billboards, it's only my opinion, I'm not
13 speaking for the firefighter union, I think billboards
14 are okay, I think it's okay to advertise for people to
15 come into the city, but what gets me is that why aren't
16 we advertising outside of the city for people to come
17 to the city? And why is there 3 foot pictures of the
18 mayor on these advertisements?
19 That doesn't sound like promotion
20 to the city, that sounds like taxpayer paid for
21 self-promotion of the mayor. That's the probable I
22 think people have with this.
23 Some of these projects that are
24 going on in town, I remember for years since I was a
25 little kid, if a project was going on from the SRA,
0061
01 there would be a billboard saying, Mayor Doherty, or,
02 I'm sorry, whatever mayor the project was, there would
03 be Council members, members of the board of the
04 authorities and the people that were working on these
05 projects.
06 All I see are Restore The Pride
07 and Mayor Doherty Mayor on those things that are
08 taxpayer paid. That's, again, self-promotion.
09 So, we are in indirectly with our
10 tax dollars paying for his campaign, and that's
11 unconscionable.
12 Another issue I have is this
13 lawsuit. I mean, I don't know if I -- you know, I
14 don't think people just crawled out from underneath
15 rocks, but Mr. Williams, according to the paper, is the
16 chairman of the 113th legislative district for the
17 Republican party; is that correct?
18 MS. EVANS: Apparently.
19 MR. GERVASI: Does anybody know
20 who his boss is in the Republican party? That would be
21 Barbara Marinucci, would it not, the chairman of the
22 city Republican party.
23 MS. EVANS: I think the title I
24 read in the paper is executive director.
25 MR. GERVASI: Okay. But she's
0062
01 basically his boss in the Republican party. Is that
02 the same Ms. Marinucci who is appointed by
03 Mayor Doherty to be on the SRA board, which frankly, I
04 think, circumvents our system of government and they
05 get to spend any kind of money any time they want
06 without any oversight by this Council or by
07 Controller Novembrino. I think it's obvious where that
08 lawsuit came from.
09 The other point I would like to
10 make is this, and this really got my goat, apparently
11 they're going to try to make myself a political
12 football in this campaign.
13 I was notified by, I believe, four
14 people in the last two days that a poll is being
15 conducted, and it sounds like a push poll, it sounds
16 like it's coming from the Doherty campaign, and it
17 basically says all these wonderful accomplishments he
18 did and what people think about them.
19 At the end of the poll, it was
20 kind of shocking, because I can't believe it, at the
21 end of the poll they said, We're going to mention five
22 names to you, and we want to know if you approve of
23 them or you don't approve of them or what your opinion
24 are of these people.
25 And the first name that was
0063
01 mentioned was mine, and the second name was
02 Ann Marie Stulgis from the FOP union, and the third one
03 was you, Mr. DiBileo, the fourth one was Mayor Doherty,
04 and the fifth one was Sam Vitras, the head of the
05 DPW union.
06 Now, I was shocked that they would
07 actually put me, I'm a fireman, in a poll, a political
08 poll, but for the last three weeks on certain websites
09 and on people talking in the street, apparently what
10 they're going to try to do, Mr. DiBileo, is they're
11 going to try to attach me and you and Ann Marie Stulgis
12 and Sam Vitras apparently at the hip.
13 And there's been many statements
14 said, and I want to make this perfectly clear to the
15 people, there has been many statements said that if you
16 win for mayor, quoting from these websites, that you
17 are going to give away everything to the unions.
18 Well, let me just make this
19 perfectly clear to everyone in the City of Scranton, we
20 have a law called Act 47 and we have a recovery plan.
21 nothing that we are fighting in court and in
22 arbitration on this recovery plan has to do with the
23 economics of the recovery plan, saving the city money.
24 It has to do with illegal violations of labor law that
25 we're never going to give up because it's our right to
0064
01 have these certain guidelines and laws.
02 The financial parts of the
03 recovery plan state, and I believe even Mr. Gilhooley
04 said it, that the recovery plan is boilerplate language
05 and the intent of Act 47 is to negotiate, I'm sorry,
06 first to get input from all groups involved, which this
07 is the first time that did not happen, Mayor Doherty in
08 back rooms with the PEL and certain members of the old
09 rubber stamp Council created this recovery plan without
10 our input or without anyone else's input.
11 It also states in the law that
12 once you have the recovery plan in place, that
13 contracts are to be negotiated within the financial
14 perimeters of the recovery plan.
15 What we're fighting has nothing to
16 do with the financial parameters. It has to do with
17 violating our labor laws, that's what we're fighting in
18 arbitration, and we're going to win that part but.
19 But I want to make everything
20 perfectly clear, that if Mr. DiBileo wins for mayor and
21 you try to give away the bank to us, it's not going to
22 happen, because under the law, the plan coordinator and
23 the Office of Economic and Community Development from
24 the state has to approve any contracts that are
25 negotiated between us and the police.
0065
01 You cannot give away the bank
02 under the law. So, when people start hearing this
03 rhetoric how they're going to start tying the unions in
04 with you, that you're in bed with us or something, it's
05 a lie, it's false and it's against the law.
06 if you become mayor, you will have
07 to negotiate contracts with us under the financial
08 perimeters of the recovery plan. That's something
09 we're all going to have to live with, no matter who the
10 mayor is.
11 So, I want to make that perfectly
12 clear, so when they try to pull this baloney and this
13 deceitful campaign thing that's going to be coming down
14 the pike real soon, I believe. Thank you very much for
15 your time.
16 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
17 Mr. Gervasi. And with all due respect, don't take this
18 the wrong way, but, you know, there are a lot more
19 taxpayers than there are members of city unions, and
20 that's who is important in this situation. I'm glad
21 you made that clear, though, regarding the laws. Thank
22 you.
23 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: Good afternoon,
24 Council. First I'd like to ask, can we look into the
25 Home Rule Chatter or any correct legislation to see how
0066
01 many meetings a person can actually not show up at,
02 not attend?
03 I don't know if there's something
04 on the books for that, but if we can look into that,
05 that would be a good thing to start.
06 I heard you read the letter this
07 afternoon, Mr. DiBileo, the reason why Mr. Pocius is
08 not here, and I just think that it's totally
09 unacceptable.
10 And I'd like to say for the record
11 that I do not agree with Mr. McTiernan probably
12 99 percent of the time on things that he votes on or
13 statements that he makes, but one thing that I have to
14 say for the record is that we always can agree to
15 disagree, and I firmly believe that if he had somewhere
16 else to go, he probably has to be there, because I
17 don't see the arrogance copying off of him like I see
18 coming off of Mr. Pocius.
19 And we heard a lot today about the
20 mayor and how good he does, and I respect everybody
21 that comes up here, but I have a couple of questions
22 that have yet to be answered, and these are directed at
23 the mayor and people that support him, and if they can
24 get me these answers, I'll stand corrected.
25 Can you please answer my questions
0067
01 of the following, How come our wage tax hasn't been
02 reduced? You already asked the question of the 3,000
03 jobs. How come the mayor didn't fulfill his promise
04 and show up at any of these meetings? How come the
05 police department was decreased by 24 people? Why does
06 the mayor hide from the residents? Why doesn't he
07 implement a QRS system? Why are ordinary citizens
08 intimidated? What happened to the money from the
09 South Side Complex and why isn't it in a trust? And I
10 wrote these questions, nobody else.
11 I would also like to ask this
12 Council to possibly have these meetings in the evening.
13 It is very inconvenient for some people to attend these
14 noon meetings. The park situation is very difficult.
15 But I agree with the speaker that
16 spoke at the last meeting, if we can get the tickets
17 validated, I think you'll have a lot more people here.
18 And I would also ask the question,
19 and I know it's not happening now because the mayor is
20 on vacation, but why is it okay for the mayor to park
21 in front of City Hall in a 15-minute time zone, and if
22 I park there for 17 minutes, I'll get a ticket I have
23 to pay? Why is that acceptable?
24 I would also like to thank you,
25 Mrs. Evans, for addressing the ponding problem in front
0068
01 of my house, and I'll make sure the administration
02 doesn't ignore this problem like they have in the
03 past.
04 I've been asking here for two
05 months how much money we paid on the advertisements of
06 The Summer In The City, and I saw at the last meeting
07 you also would like to find out, did we find out how
08 much money we spent on this advertising?
09 MR. SAUNDERS: Not yet.
10 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: There's a
11 surprise. A few weeks ago I literally almost vomited
12 when I saw Mayor Leap Year on TV putting a padlock on
13 Tony & Mary's.
14 Where was he when the residents of
15 South Scranton were looking for him for the last three
16 and a half years when the criminals were running
17 rampant, when people were fire bombing each other's
18 cars? When South Side was basically out of control, he
19 was nowhere to be found.
20 Judy Gatelli, the residents of
21 South Side and the district attorney's office closed
22 this bar, not Mr. I Know Where The Cameras Are And
23 We'll Show Up For A PR Opportunity.
24 It's disgusting and I truly think
25 the people are seeing through this fakeness that's
0069
01 going on.
02 I also saw on Channel 16 that the
03 Sewer Authority was fixing a broken pipe up at Nay Aug
04 Park, a sewer pipe. I have a few questions about this
05 pipe. How long was it broke before it was repaired?
06 Was this ever brought to the attention of the city
07 before? I think it was.
08 And if there's no sewer at Nay Aug
09 Park, as we all know, and the feces from the zoo is
10 going into the Davis Trail, then where is the sewer
11 going for the human waste from the pool house? Was
12 that ever connected to the sewer? Just a question to
13 throw out there. I don't know the answer honestly,
14 that's why I'm asking.
15 This past week there was a
16 headline in the paper for a lawsuit that everybody's
17 talked about here today by a so-called Republican who
18 speaks for other Republicans.
19 First, I am sick and tired of
20 people in this city speaking for me. I obviously have
21 a mouth and it's obvious that I know how to use it.
22 The lack of leadership that this
23 Republican party lacks is a joke. Where were these
24 people when I and the other Republicans wanted
25 candidates to run for office? They were nowhere to be
0070
01 found and there was no candidates.
02 In my opinion, the chairman and
03 co-chairman are truly Democrats. The co-chairwoman is
04 a puppet for the mayor and the chairman is good at
05 making one thing, hoagies.
06 Over 200 Republicans, I, being
07 one, switched my party because of the lack of
08 leadership that these people portray.
09 I was a Republican since the age
10 of 18, because I chose to be. I switched my party
11 because they enforced me to.
12 Over 600 people took the effort to
13 vote Republican with a sticker. What do you say to
14 them, regardless who they d for in this last election,
15 do you say to them, Sorry, your vote doesn't count?
16 I say to these so-called
17 Republican leaders and spokespeople for them, Come out
18 of the closet and switch your party.
19 Occasionally I have been talked
20 about on some local websites, every day you people are
21 talked about, also.
22 First let me say that if I am the
23 first thing that you think of when you sit down on your
24 computer screen or your computer and type on the
25 screen, I'm accomplishing my mission. I am irritating
0071
01 the crap out of you.
02 So, give me my ammunition weekly,
03 because there's also a pole asking if people know
04 people that come to these meetings, and I say that if
05 we're making that type of ideas to put into the mayor's
06 head to ask if people that come to these meetings, if
07 you know who they are, we're accomplishing our
08 mission. And it amazes me how scared these people are
09 of us, and I love every second of it.
10 I would also like to know how many
11 televisions we have in City Hall in this building and
12 how many are hooked up to watch these meetings,
13 because for years the television was down at the police
14 desk for the officer to watch, and it was taken away at
15 the beginning of the Doherty Administration because it
16 was stated to them that they want them to focus on
17 their work.
18 So, if we're paying department
19 heads $60, $70,000 a year to watch us on TV, you are
20 not doing what you said you're going to do for the desk
21 officer.
22 So, I'd just like to know how many
23 TVs are actually here and how many people are watching
24 us right now on taxpayers' dime.
25 Finally a few weeks ago I asked a
0072
01 question here that, in my opinion, affects the
02 taxpayers, and when I was done, I got a couple comments
03 from Mr. Courtright, Mr. DiBileo and Mr. Walsh, but let
04 me say this to clear the air, if I come to this podium
05 and I ask, Mr. Courtright, How many kids do you teach
06 in your karate school, that is totally out of line and
07 none of my business; if I come to this podium and I say
08 to you, Mr. DiBileo, How many people do you insure in
09 your business, again, I am totally out of line, and
10 that's none of my business; if you, however, moved your
11 business into a KOZ while on Council, that is a
12 conflict of interest, and it is my business.
13 I never ever, ever said anything
14 about the integrity of the people that work at
15 Ceco Associates. By the looks of the Market Street
16 Bridge, they're pretty good at what they do.
17 I don't appreciate Mr. Pocius
18 putting words in my mouth, and I say to him, like he
19 likes to say all the time, Read between the lines and
20 watch the tape.
21 If I want to know that a
22 councilman's business is getting a free ride in this
23 town, I have every right to know, because who is going
24 to pay for the lost taxes that they will leave behind?
25 You and me and all of the real taxpayers.
0073
01 If you think that what is wrong,
02 then I ask each and every one of you the following
03 question, What do you say when a business who is here
04 for over 30 years and they move in a KOZ because of one
05 of their principal employees are on City, I ask you, do
06 you think this is right or wrong?
07 And I say to you, I know what I
08 call it, and I said it before, it's a form of some kind
09 of payback. Thank you.
10 MR. DIBILEO: If you could just
11 give me a second, Mrs. Stulgis. I just want to say
12 that Mr. Newcomb has a right to criticize the political
13 figureheads within the city, if he chooses to do so on
14 a political basis under Freedom Of Speech, however,
15 what I don't agree with is bringing those persons'
16 personal life or business involved at the podium; for
17 example, Mr. Catalano's business was mentioned, and Mr.
18 Catalano runs a great business, it's really a staple in
19 West Scranton, and we're very lucky to have
20 Mr. Catalano's business there for as long as he has,
21 and I would just ask all speakers, not just you,
22 Mr. Newcomb, to please refrain from bringing a person's
23 personal life or personal business into play with any
24 criticism, but if you want to criticize us as elected
25 officials, you have a right to do so, if you want to
0074
01 criticize or comment on any political party leadership,
02 I suppose that that's fair game, also, you know, under
03 Freedom Of Speech, but, you know, let's not bring any
04 business or personal life into it, such as
05 Catalano's Market, which is a terrific establishment.
06 And that's all I have.
07 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: I never
08 mentioned his business name, I am mentioned what he
09 does and he does good, so I think you took me out of
10 context.
11 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. I just wanted
12 to make that clear. Thank you very much.
13 MS. STULGIS: I'm Ann Marie
14 Stulgis, city resident and president of the local FOP.
15 Just a few little things first, we
16 heard today about the free concerts and how nice they
17 were, except they really aren't free and we don't have
18 the mayor to thank for them. They cost us well in
19 excess of $30,000. So, instead of free concerts,
20 perhaps we could give credit where credit is due and
21 say the taxpayer funded concerts, because that's who's
22 paying for them.
23 Also comments regarding these
24 meetings being held throughout August, I would suggest
25 that before people say anything, that they take a look
0075
01 at the Home Rule Charter, because for years Council has
02 been in violation of the Home Rule Charter, in that,
03 the Home Rule Charter mandates Council meet every week.
04 They don't say, Oh, you can take a month off. It
05 mandates these meetings. So, in fact, I congratulate
06 you on finally having a Council that lives by the Home
07 Rule Charter. You three deserve a lot of credit.
08 Also, the OECD advertising for the
09 city, it's amazing that under OECD they are allowed to
10 advertise for the city, however, you advertise out of
11 the city to bring people to the city, you don't
12 advertise in the city when someone is running for
13 office and put his picture all over it. I find that
14 interesting, as well as questionable.
15 Also I happened to be watching
16 that television station, I can't think of it now, it's
17 CPN or something, I forget, anyway our Governor was on
18 and he was on with a representative of Pennsylvania
19 State Police and they were touting this, quote,
20 innovative and wonderful plan for Pennsylvania State
21 Police.
22 And the governor said he really
23 hoped that PSTA, which is the bargaining unit for the
24 Pennsylvania State Police, would go along with this,
25 because it is so wonderful and so innovative and will
0076
01 put more troopers on the road.
02 He stressed that in fact the
03 legislature, he himself and his staff, worked for
04 months to put something this innovative together. Do
05 you know what it is? It's taking troopers who are
06 doing clerical work, putting them on the road and
07 hiring clerical employees.
08 It's innovative and it's also what
09 the city taxpayers are paying thousands upon thousands
10 of dollars to fight against. It's exactly what the
11 mayor is fighting us on the SIT clerks.
12 Evidently the FOP is extremely
13 innovative and our mayor is in disagreement with the
14 legislature and the governor and going backwards. I
15 found that interesting.
16 Also, I happened to be out
17 Saturday evening at a local restaurant and I learned
18 that there's a problem, it wasn't in the
19 Sensorship Alliance, because there's no crime in
20 Scranton, but there is a group of two individuals, the
21 restaurant owner filled me in because they had been hit
22 the night before, who are going to local restaurants,
23 at least three of whom are in the City of Scranton that
24 they've done in the last few weeks, ordering meals,
25 ordering in this case three bottles of champagne,
0077
01 lobster, eating very well and skipping out. It's a
02 continuing problem. As I said, they've hit local
03 restaurants, and it hasn't been put in the paper, and I
04 just think people should be made aware of that so
05 restaurant owners don't get stuck, as did these others.
06 Also, if I may back track a little
07 bit, while the governor was talking, he stressed the
08 main reason he wanted PSTA to accept this innovative
09 plan is because crime is up so much in Pennsylvania,
10 particularly in the Northeast section of Pennsylvania,
11 and that gangs are starting to get a very strong
12 foothold in this state, and again he said, particularly
13 in the northeast section of the state. Perhaps he
14 should talk to our mayor.
15 And lastly, I'd like to speak to
16 you again about our military. I'm sure you're all
17 aware that over the last few weeks there's been an
18 inordinate number of young men and women killed in Iraq
19 and Afghanistan, and this city has in absolutely no
20 way, shape or form backed up the employees of the city
21 would have been there.
22 Currently we have one police
23 officer there, we have others who have recently come
24 home. The city has done nothing except harass them and
25 harass their families while they were over there. They
0078
01 have done nothing but give them a hard time.
02 Originally they had agreed to make
03 up the difference in salary, the police officers' based
04 salary versus the military's salary, and then somehow
05 Ms. Moran got the idea that these men were making a
06 fortune and were making way over their salaries and
07 consequently they were taking advantage of the city.
08 Think of what they're doing over there, who is being
09 taken advantage of. These are kids. So, they stopped
10 it, they didn't pay the last few that were there.
11 I supplied the city with their
12 federal W-2s from the United States government. As it
13 happens, these two particular individuals were gone
14 from the beginning of January through the end of
15 December. Perfect, one year.
16 $22,000 is what they made.
17 $22,000 over their putting their lives on the line
18 every day so that we can sit here, and the city has
19 refused to pay them anything.
20 We then, when Mr. Pocius while he
21 was running for office, coincidentally, brought up --
22 he brought up a member of his family coming home from
23 Iraq and how pleased he was and how what a great job
24 they were all doing, he even cried a few tears as he
25 sat up there, so we thought maybe he really cared, and
0079
01 we approached him and asked him if he would at least
02 ask for $200 supplement a month while they were on
03 active duty.
04 One of the members of our union
05 asked him from this podium and asked him again, and he
06 got a little bit nasty at one point and demanded to
07 know budget line items in the budget. Now, how would
08 we know that? That was totally uncalled for. And
09 needless to say now that he's not running for office
10 anymore, he seems to have lost interest, and we have
11 not received any support for the veterans.
12 We do intend to pursue it because they did it and they
13 should be continuing to do it.
14 But it's interesting, we don't
15 have money, we don't have money to support those young
16 men over there or their families, but we do have money,
17 $700 to buy two signs for a basketball team, we have
18 that money?
19 We have thousands of dollars to
20 buy plaques and awards. And are you aware that when
21 the mayor sends flowers to a funeral home for someone
22 who passes away, the taxpayers are paying for it? He's
23 billing the taxpayers. Are you aware of that? We can
24 do that, but we can't support the military.
25 One of my very favorite is, we
0080
01 paid close to $400 for an ice sculpture for in front of
02 City Hall. It melted. What do we have to show for
03 it? It's appalling.
04 MR. DIBILEO: Mrs. Stulgis, can
05 you document the fact that the flowers are paid by
06 taxpayers?
07 MS. STULGIS: Absolutely, sir.
08 MR. DIBILEO: Okay.
09 MS. STULGIS: Everything I say, I
10 can document.
11 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. Thank you.
12 I'd like to quickly -- come on up, Mrs. Yetkowsaks,
13 but as a testament, I should have mentioned this
14 earlier when I talked about bringing up somebody's
15 personal business, as a testament to the quality of a
16 Scranton business, and we're talking about
17 Catalano's Market, Catalano hoagies are actually
18 enjoyed by people in California.
19 My friend comes in every other
20 month, and he'll end up taking -- his friends ask him
21 to take Catalano hoagies back to California for them.
22 So, you know, please let's not get into the personal
23 business of people at the podium. Thanks. Go right
24 ahead, Mrs. Yetkowskas.
25 MS. YETKOWSKAS: Regina
0081
01 Yetkowskas. Before I make my presentation, I would
02 like to give each member of City Council a complete
03 copy of Mr. Farrell's letter of June 6, 2005.
04 MR. DIBILEO: Yes.
05 MS. YETKOWSKAS: I read
06 yesterday's newspaper editorial. To me, the editorial
07 tries to make two points, first, it blithely glossed
08 over the fact that Mr. Doherty had his manufactured
09 image severely tarnished by the total loss of a
10 $3 million loan to the Hilton Hotel.
11 The local newspaper has been
12 scrambling to correct the people's current perception
13 that Mr. Doherty wastes money, not only by
14 irresponsible spending, but also by converting a
15 reasonably safe loan into a high risk gamble.
16 In its editorial, the local
17 newspaper essentially tries to minimize Mr. Doherty's
18 loss of the $3 million by saying that's the risk
19 Mr. Doherty took when he voluntarily moved Scranton
20 back from a first position as creditor to a second
21 position. This was not a risk he took. It was very
22 bad judgment. Now we see the sad results.
23 Even the local newspaper admits
24 the city, meaning we, the people, will have to repay
25 the $3 million by deducting $241,000 each year from our
0082
01 annual Community Development Block Grant funding.
02 That's almost a quarter of a
03 million dollars which could go a long way to improve
04 the quality of life for the people and even eliminate
05 swimming fees.
06 In order for Scranton to pay off
07 the $3 million Mr. Doherty lost, it will take over
08 12 years. Whether he wins or not, Mr. Doherty will not
09 be around to make sure the debt is paid. Only the
10 people will still be here. We pay the bills for
11 Mayor Doherty's negligence.
12 The second point the local
13 newspaper editorial makes to rehabilitate Mr. Doherty's
14 fiscal irresponsibility is to blame City Council for
15 not allowing Mr. Doherty to sell the city's
16 $5.2 million loan portfolio with a claimed loss of
17 $350,000 so that Mr. Doherty could then take the
18 remaining money and dispose of it as he desires without
19 informing City Council.
20 The basis for Mr. Doherty's
21 request to sell Scranton's $5.2 million loan portfolio
22 is a June 6, 2005 request over the signature of
23 Robert Farrell, city solicitor, in which he asks
24 Council's approval of a resolution to have the mayor
25 enter into a sales agreement with CRF to sell the
0083
01 $5.2 million loan portfolio.
02 If Council would please look at
03 the next to the last page of Mr. Farrell's request in
04 the document I just gave you, there is a chart prepared
05 by Mr. Farrell or someone for him which sets forth the
06 names of the companies who borrowed money from the city
07 and make up the $5.2 million of loans, together with
08 the then market value and the average percent of par of
09 the loans.
10 Examination of the chart shows it
11 has important arithmetic and calculation errors to the
12 point that one must conclude they are not mere errors,
13 but rather constructive numbers to mislead the people.
14 Permit me to explain.
15 I don't know where the newspaper's
16 editorial got the figure that the city will lose
17 $350,000 by the sale of the loans. It is obvious the
18 newspaper violated a cardinal rule of journalism, and
19 that is to verify statements of fact.
20 If the newspaper would check the
21 addition and division in the charts's last column, it
22 would learn that by adding each item in the percent of
23 par column and dividing by 19, the number of loans, it
24 would result in an average of 87.32 percent, not
25 91.88 percent as set forth in the chart.
0084
01 This simply means that instead of
02 the city losing $350,000, the city will lose $631,838.
03 That is more than a quarter of a million dollars, more
04 than stated by the newspaper.
05 Now, would the newspaper
06 editorialize that it is worth selling the loans to lose
07 $631,838?
08 I am the first person to say that
09 City Council also made a bad decision when it approved
10 Mr. Doherty's request to move Scranton into a second
11 position on the Hilton loan. Apparently Council tried
12 to cooperate with the mayor at that time, but when
13 Council did not approve the sale of the city's loans,
14 Council showed it learned a lesson and will not again
15 blindly follow Mr. Doherty into future financial
16 ventures, unless it is first fully informed as to
17 whether it is worth selling the loans for a loss of
18 $631,838, and if so, what Mr. Doherty will do with the
19 money received.
20 For one thing, he could turn it
21 over to the various municipalities authorities and not
22 go through Council to spend the money.
23 But the newspaper continues to
24 carry Mr. Doherty's water. It seeks another Council
25 vote to have the city sell its $5.2 million loan
0085
01 portfolio, even though Mr. Doherty showed bad judgment
02 on the $3 million Hilton loan. The newspaper wants
03 Mr. Doherty to have millions of dollars more to do what
04 he wants with no Council oversight.
05 This is like having the fox guard
06 the hen house. I urge City Council not to even
07 consider another vote on the proposed loan sale.
08 Thank you.
09 MS. EVANS: I just wanted to make
10 one brief statement of clarification with regard to
11 Ms. Yetkowskas' presentation, it was not this
12 City Council that voted to place the city in a second
13 lien position with regard to the Hilton Hotel And
14 Conference Center, that occurred prior to the seating
15 of this Council.
16 So, I just wanted everyone to
17 understand that this Council had no involvement in the
18 paperwork that transpired between 1999 and 2004.
19 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Any
20 other speakers?
21 MS. PILOSI: Good evening,
22 Council. Violet Pilosi, resident and a property owner,
23 taxpayer. I'd like to kind of get away from the
24 subject of politics and get back to something that
25 affects us all, like the taxes.
0086
01 In this week's paper I read an
02 article saying, Conversion Of The Aging Connell
03 Building Into Upscale Apartments Has Yet To Begin.
04 Developer John Worthington has said, The majority of
05 the back taxes on the building would have to be
06 eliminated to make the project viable.
07 Well, here we are again. In the
08 past I have come to this podium and I have said,
09 well, here we are in the middle of that book, Games
10 people play. Well, I would like to change the title of
11 that book to, Game Politicians Play, and I'd like to go
12 to the chapter that says, Let's make a deal.
13 I have asked in the past and never
14 received a figure on the actual taxes paid and those
15 that are forgiven, a ration. I think I asked for that
16 two years ago, and I never did get it.
17 I think that it's up to Council to
18 get involved in these deals. When Mr. Worthington,
19 Wolfington, bought this building, he knew he had to pay
20 the back taxes. What he doesn't pay, we, the people,
21 have to pay.
22 Also, he has enough money that he
23 also owns the former Corning facility in
24 Benton Township, which he also plans a major
25 conversion, and they have haven't heard from him
0087
01 neither.
02 Mr. Doherty says he expects work
03 on the Connell Building to begin this fall. Well,
04 maybe you can find out for me, does he also expect the
05 taxes to get paid in full by this fall?
06 And if he doesn't, I would expect
07 that you intervene and see to it that 100 percent of
08 the taxes get paid, just like I have to pay 100 percent
09 of my taxes.
10 Also, maybe you can find out for
11 me, the Redevelopment Authority, they owed over
12 $50,000 in taxes on the 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue,
13 what ever happened with that?
14 Mr. Greco told me himself that
15 that was an error. Well, how come there's never an
16 error made on my property to reduce my taxes and wipe
17 my taxes off the roll? That's a lot of money.
18 You couple that 50K from the
19 Redevelopment Authority and the money John Wolfington
20 owes, that sure would help the city. We're a depressed
21 and a distressed city. We need to be collecting every
22 penny of taxes that's due us, not be forgiving taxes
23 from people that are millionaires and billionaires.
24 The poor people can't even afford to pay for it.
25 On another note, and by the way, I
0088
01 do expect that you will look into this and take action,
02 positive action, not passive action, there's a
03 difference.
04 The rumor mill is working
05 overtime, and I have this to say to some people, if you
06 have anything to question about me, don't ask my
07 friends, my neighbors, my family, ask me. I might not
08 tell you the truth, but I guarantee you I won't lie to
09 you either.
10 Most of the people, I would say
11 99 percent of the people that come to this podium to
12 speak, they speak their own words, it comes from their
13 heart. They might have some written notes, as I do,
14 however, there is just one person that comes with a
15 manuscript in a three-ring binder composed by a ghost
16 writer attorney.
17 Now, it is not the contents that
18 bother me, I am neutral, I am open to hear both sides,
19 three sides, five sides, whatever; however, why is this
20 man not man enough to come to this podium to speak for
21 himself, as we all do?
22 I would appreciate having an
23 answer to that. And that's all I really have to say
24 here tonight. And I thank you for listening to me.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
0089
01 MS. KRAKE: Good afternoon,
02 Council. My name is Nancy Krake. I have a couple
03 different topics this week. My first question, I
04 believe it would be to Mr. Courtright, last week I was
05 made aware that two police officers were sent to
06 Nay Aug Park, and I was wondering if they were CommD,
07 and if they were, I believe federal law says they're
08 only to be used in low and moderate income areas.
09 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'd have to ask.
10 I don't know if they were sent there or not, but I do
11 not believe CommD officers are allowed up there. I can
12 ask -- Jay, can we ask the police chief, did we send
13 CommD officers to Nay Aug?
14 My understanding is they have to
15 be low to moderate income areas, and I don't know if
16 Nay Aug qualifies as that. So, Jay, if you can get
17 that question asked for us, please.
18 MS. EVANS: Excuse me on second,
19 Mrs. Krake, please. Can we ask if the CommD officers
20 are used to patrol events throughout the city, for
21 example, La Festa Italiana, any type of car shows, in
22 other words, events where large crowds are expected,
23 the St. Patrick's Day parade.
24 I have heard from several
25 different sources that oftentimes CommD is pulled and
0090
01 placed on those such events.
02 MR. COURTRIGHT: Can we add that
03 there, Jay, events and La Festa Italiana, what
04 Mrs. Evans said? That I'm not quite sure on, if they
05 can use them down there or not, but I just don't think
06 that Nay Aug qualifies as low to moderate income area,
07 but you can get that answer, can't you, Jay? Thank you
08 you.
09 MS. KRAKE: Thank you.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: You're welcome.
11 MS. KRAKE: Just a few comments on
12 Mrs. Williams, she never ceases to amaze me. I don't
13 know how she couldn't have heard Mr. DiBileo's very
14 sober thoughts about why Council was meeting through
15 August, and I know it made me stop and think and also
16 Mr. McTiernan and Mr. Pocius are not here, and as
17 having been a member of an organized bargaining unit
18 for several years, I'm wondering it they aren't really
19 doing an informational picket or on strike, so maybe we
20 can check into that. And if they'd like to join an
21 organized bargaining unit, we'd certainly take them in
22 the machinist union.
23 I am grateful City Council
24 meetings will be held through the month of August,
25 even though the administration has chosen not to send
0091
01 any business for council's agenda. I'm sure some
02 Councilpersons may not agree, but citizens
03 participation and Council's motions are also very vital
04 parts of any Council meeting.
05 In fact, many citizens have had
06 their problems addressed directly after expressing them
07 at this podium. Now, it's not just Council answering
08 the people, but apparently the administration watches
09 the meetings and literally runs up the stairs to quell
10 any potential negative issues.
11 Channel 61's broadcast of the
12 weekly City Council meetings has taught this
13 administration a lesson accountability.
14 The citizens of Scranton are the
15 real winners, when all points of view are fairly
16 presented. Before a person's concerns may have been
17 ignored, but now the administration perceives this as a
18 chance to show how compassionate they are.
19 I am well aware of what little
20 regard this administration has for its employees, but
21 to all of a sudden feign concerns for citizens they
22 previously ignored is very hurtful.
23 These very real people are a lot
24 smarter than the administration is giving them credit
25 for. Many of these people have, approximately 1,000 of
0092
01 them, cancelled their subscription to the Scranton
02 Times recently, most recently.
03 It would be shocking to hear this
04 large number, except that it ties into the
05 approximately 3,000 loss in population Scranton has
06 experienced in the past three and a half years.
07 Apparently these aren't the people
08 that got the jobs, Mr. DiBileo. Or if it is, they're
09 not living here. It may have something to do with wage
10 tax, we're just guessing here.
11 But as long as the Scranton Times
12 is satisfied with what the mayor does, we should all be
13 satisfied. They're extremely satisfied with community
14 reinvestment funds taking over our loans, even though
15 we don't know what the $5.2 million will be spent on,
16 if they're taking our best loans, and that we no longer
17 have revolving loan program. That's okay.
18 Another thing they also seem to be
19 in support of is the lawsuit, even though this lawsuit
20 has disenfranchised all Republicans who voted for
21 Mr. DiBileo in the primary.
22 I would like to know if the
23 administration controls the newspaper or if the
24 newspaper controls the administration.
25 This mayor has created a division
0093
01 among Scrantonians, and our hope is for a mayor who
02 would unite us so we can move forward together.
03 Thank you.
04 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
05 MR. STUCKER: Hi, Mr. DiBileo.
06 MR. DIBILEO: His, Jimmy.
07 Jim, before you say anything, I understand that you
08 went through some medical procedures, and we're hoping
09 that everything is okay, and it's good to see you back,
10 Jim.
11 MR. STUCKER: Yeah, I had a
12 serious operation.
13 MR. DIBILEO: Yeah.
14 MR. STUCKER: I had a valve put
15 in.
16 MR. DIBILEO: How are you feeling
17 now, Jim?
18 MR. STUCKER: A little sore.
19 MR. DIBILEO: Well, you look good.
20 MR. STUCKER: Yeah, I can't walk
21 from here. I can't from my house to anything in town
22 at all. I can't work no more, so --
23 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. Courtright and I
24 were actually in the hospital together visiting a
25 patient that the day that you were having your surgery,
0094
01 and we tried to look you up, but you were, I think,
02 having surgery at the time you were asking, so we're
03 happy that everything came out okay.
04 MR. STUCKER: Two and a half hours
05 underneath the knife. I had a lot of people come and
06 see me. My buddy Pat came, a lot of my friends. They
07 said I'm lucky, boy. They said I'm lucky. The doctor
08 says, You're lucky, Jimmy.
09 MR. DIBILEO: Wow.
10 MR. STUCKER: I can't ride the
11 bike or nothing. So, we have a little problem over
12 where I live now. We still didn't get the lines put in
13 on Moosic Street. We still didn't get them lines put
14 in, and I want to know when are we going to get them
15 put in or not.
16 MS. EVANS: You mean traffic lines
17 or crosswalks?
18 MR. STUCKER: Cross lines.
19 MS. EVANS: Crosswalks?
20 MR. STUCKER: Yeah.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Speak up a
22 little.
23 MR. STUCKER: Yeah. We need
24 crosslines. We need lines to go across walking. They
25 go pretty fast down through there on Moosic. We need a
0095
01 stop sign hooked on the pole.
02 MS. EVANS: Do you know what
03 block? Are you talking about Moosic Street?
04 MR. STUCKER: Moosic Street.
05 MS. EVANS: What block are you
06 focusing on?
07 MR. STUCKER: Well, it right on --
08 it ain't too far from the gas station, right by the
09 Chinese food and the gas station. We need lines
10 there. I'd like to get them put in and see if it would
11 slow it down or not.
12 MS. EVANS: We'll look into that.
13 MR. DIBILEO: Jay, could you look
14 into that for Jim?
15 MR. SAUNDERS: Yes, I will.
16 MR. DIBILEO: Okay, Jim.
17 MR. STUCKER: And our garbage has
18 been picked up. I'm looking for another place, like,
19 three rooms or something cheap for myself.
20 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. All right.
21 We'll see if we can help you find something.
22 MR. STUCKER: Okay. All right.
23 All right.
24 MR. DIBILEO: All right, Jimmy.
25 Glad to see you're doing better, Jim. Welcome back.
0096
01 MR. STUCKER: Yeah.
02 MR. DIBILEO: Now, if there's no
03 further speakers.
04 MR. SAUNDERS: Fifth order. 5-A,
05 motions.
06 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. Mrs. Evans,
07 do you have any motions or comments this afternoon?
08 MS. EVANS: Yes. First my prayers
09 are offered for Paul McGloin, Jr. and his parents. We
10 wish him a full and speed recovery.
11 And it's very unfortunate that
12 crime has spread now to every part of our city, and
13 it's not a perception, it's a cold hard reality, and
14 it's also in some instances a cold hard reality that
15 people aren't helping other people when they're in
16 need. And it's, I think, a sad testament to our
17 society and our community.
18 It is week one. Eleven days ago I
19 offered an invitation that the mayor come and meet with
20 Council and Spectrum privately to discuss the
21 foreclosure of the Hilton, the loss of the $3 million,
22 and even more importantly, a potential $4 million
23 shortfall in our city budget.
24 Now is the time to explore all
25 possibilities, not in September where the Hilton is
0097
01 concerned and not in November and December where the
02 city's budget is concerned.
03 But the mayor did not attend
04 today's private caucus meeting with Spectrum, and
05 obviously the mayor has not attended any meetings with
06 Council regarding budgetary shortfalls.
07 And it seems to me that the mayor
08 very well may be standing by his decision to borrow
09 money in order to balance his budget again, but I want
10 him to know, and I want you to know, that I am equally
11 obstinate and I am standing by my decision not to
12 borrow money to balance a budget, because what the
13 mayor is doing in his borrowing is nothing short of a
14 deferred tax increase.
15 It's not coming in the mail this
16 week, but it's coming. And when it comes, it's going
17 to be of monumental proportions, it's either going to
18 be one large hit or one continuous line of annual
19 hits.
20 At last week's meeting, and again
21 today during citizens participation, there's been much
22 discussion of the billboards and banners and signs that
23 are littering our city over these summer months, and if
24 such city items are indeed purchased through OECD, and
25 I recognize they are costly purchases, I don't see, and
0098
01 I think it has been remarked already, I don't see the
02 usefulness of such a display every few blocks within
03 our city.
04 We need to advertise or promote
05 our city outside city limits, outside state limits.
06 Let's attract and invite people into Scranton, because
07 we do know what the city has to offer as its lifelong
08 residents, and I'm finding the complaints that I'm
09 receiving from the citizens of Scranton are incessant.
10 They want their money used in a more beneficial
11 manner.
12 They would like, for example, more
13 police patrols, they would like the police to have
14 police cars to drive, they would like their streets
15 fixed.
16 And we've heard other issues
17 today, people are looking for improvements at various
18 parks. There are so many better ways in which to spend
19 this money, and it's not a matter of being in
20 opposition to promotion of our town. We need to do
21 that, we should be doing that, but let's do it maybe in
22 Binghamton or Montrose or maybe out in York, down in
23 Reading.
24 But when you're doing it in
25 Scranton, you're not promoting the city, you're
0099
01 promoting one man's face and name, and we're all paying
02 to do that for him.
03 That's why I would like, even
04 though he's absent today, I'd like Attorney Walsh to
05 investigate the possibility of Council taking action to
06 stop this type of wasteful spending that's occurring at
07 the OECD office.
08 OECD is not an autonomous branch
09 of government. They possess numerous line items in our
10 city's budget, and rather than our just talking around
11 this week after week and beating a dead horse, because
12 I don't believe it's going to stop on its own, I think
13 we're only going to see more during the fall months,
14 maybe we'll have autumn in the city, but I think
15 Council has to stop talking and do something about it.
16 So, I would hope that Mr. Walsh
17 can come up with what is most advisable, most proper
18 for Council to do during the month of August in order
19 to stop the financial bleeding that's going on over in
20 OECD.
21 MR. DIBILEO: Mrs. Evans, if I
22 can, perhaps we can direct Mr. Walsh to write to HUD,
23 the Office of Housing and Urban Development, if indeed
24 OECD is paying for these posters and billboards, you
25 know, within the city limits and we seem to not be
0100
01 promoting ourself to the people we want to attract,
02 perhaps we should give copies of these posters and
03 billboards to HUD and have Mr. Walsh ask them for a
04 response on whether or not this is appropriate.
05 MS. EVANS: And I think to
06 accompany that, we would also like to have the costs,
07 itemized costs, for billboards, number and costs;
08 advertisements in the Scranton Times, numbers and
09 costs; signs, numbers and costs; banners, numbers and
10 costs.
11 MR. DIBILEO: I'm also, sorry.
12 I'm also assuming that the ad I've been asking about in
13 the first edition of the Scranton Times where the mayor
14 was congratulating the Scranton Times on their new
15 newspaper, perhaps that was paid by OECD money, also.
16 MR. SAUNDERS: I talked to
17 Sara Hailstone about this, and I did describe that
18 piece, along with the banners and the posters, she said
19 that was paid for by OECD money.
20 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. Well, that's
21 another ad we should ask about the appropriateness of,
22 just to be sure. We don't want to put at risk any
23 future economic development monies by not going by
24 whatever the proper rules are of spending this money.
25 MS. EVANS: Well, thankfully,
0101
01 though, Mr. DiBileo, it appears that when you take HUD
02 money and it's either used improperly or you've wasted
03 it, you only have to pay them back through future CDBG
04 allocations maybe over the next 12 years, so for all
05 future administrations and generations, you're going to
06 have a lot of missing funds.
07 Also, Jay, for next Thursday, I'd
08 like to have a number of pieces of legislation ready to
09 go, first of all, regarding the parking in front of
10 Buona Pizza and Coney Island, we've discussed that at
11 Council now for a period of many weeks, also the
12 revised parking signs at the Malokite Church in
13 West Scranton, and I also would like the renters
14 ordinances prepared, as well.
15 And if that, please, could find
16 its way on our agenda for next Thursday. And also,
17 have you been able to set up a caucus meeting with
18 Mr. Rossi concerning Council's independent audit?
19 MR. SAUNDERS: No. The only
20 confirmation I have on any caucus will be
21 September 1, would be Director Hayes and Chief Elliot.
22 I will confirm that this week.
23 MS. EVANS: Can you contact them
24 and see if they could possibly come in next Thursday
25 MR. SAUNDERS: Yes, I will.
0102
01 MS. EVANS: And also I had
02 mentioned a caucus concerning gang violence and
03 identification and getting the heads of the
04 neighborhoods in, as well as the DA., etc., can you get
05 to work on that and let's get that scheduled, too?
06 MR. SAUNDERS: Yeah, the letters
07 are in process. Kay was actually off on Monday and
08 Tuesday, so they're in the process now.
09 MS. EVANS: Okay. And we can just
10 follow those up with phone calls. I think that would
11 be something that we should look toward August to
12 schedule prior to even the opening of school sessions.
13 MR. SAUNDERS: Okay.
14 MS. EVANS: Okay. And, Kay, I'd
15 like you to send a letter to Mayor Doherty about his
16 proposal to build a road from Olyphant Avenue to
17 Marywood University.
18 Residents of Olyphant Avenue are
19 adamantly opposed to this road construction. Such a
20 multi-million project will very likely require a
21 portion of city funding, even if it receives both state
22 and federal funds, and such local finances as we're
23 experiencing currently simply can't afford to bear the
24 cost of unnecessary road construction at this time.
25 Also, the residents believe that
0103
01 they will suffer the loss of their privacy and a
02 decline in their property values.
03 As a Councilwoman, I would suggest
04 that Marywood construct a parking garage, multi-level,
05 on the current site of one of their parking lots; in
06 other words, why not build up, rather than sprawling
07 out into our neighborhoods?
08 And finally, the shifting of
09 traffic from one Green Ridge neighborhood to another
10 should not be considered the optimal solution in this
11 case.
12 And changing the topic briefly,
13 I've learned that our older police cars have well over
14 $100,000 miles on them, I'm sure this isn't any news to
15 you, Mr. Courtright, and many of them are breaking
16 down often leaving shifts short-handed in terms of
17 vehicles, so I was wondering if you could keep your
18 eyes and ears open for any type of potential funding or
19 grants for which we might apply in order to get the
20 department additional vehicles, particularly before
21 winter, and also, Jay, I'd like a letter to
22 Mr. Kresefski asking are there any monies available in
23 the budget or in the contingency fund for the purchase
24 of police cars.
25 And finally, I have a request
0104
01 list, and I'm just going to enumerate a few, this one,
02 the residents of the 900 block of Monroe Avenue are
03 very upset that the ponding and the clogged drains
04 haven't been addressed, and this is ongoing since June,
05 and I think it's time something gets done over there.
06 I know I'm tired of saying it, they're even more tired
07 of waiting.
08 A flooding problem at
09 459 North Cameron, this is my third request and I want
10 a written update on that from Mr. Parker.
11 Roundwoods Place, there are large
12 potholes to be filled. And as was mentioned earlier by
13 the audience, I'd like a letter to Mr. Scopelliti
14 regarding the sewer conditions at Nay Aug Park related
15 to both the zoo and the pool house.
16 Where is this sewage from zoo
17 cages and the pool house emptying into? And is it true
18 that the areas of the Davis Trail and the gorge are
19 being contaminated? And have soil and water tests been
20 conducted?
21 I'd also like a letter to
22 Southern Union, and in that letter I would like to pose
23 the following questions, What is the total number of
24 jobs within the Scranton Southern Union office? How
25 many jobs have been created at the Scranton
0105
01 headquarters? How many employees in the Scranton
02 office reside in Scranton? What will be the impact of
03 a potential sale of PG Energy on the employees in the
04 Scranton office? If Southern Union should relocate
05 corporate headquarters to Texas, will the Scranton
06 building be placed on the market for sale, and will
07 tenants of the Scranton building receive KOEZ status?
08 I'd also like PEL summaries for
09 July. I do have the July 11th summary, but nothing
10 thereafter, so from that point to what is current.
11 And from listening to some of our
12 audience complaints today, I'm also going to request a
13 letter to OECD regarding the placement of benches in
14 the 100 block of Wyoming Avenue, how might OECD be able
15 to assist with that. If their response is negative, if
16 we could include in the letter to Mr. Kresefski the
17 possibility of any money or monetary transfers within
18 the budget for the purchase of a few benches. And
19 that's all I have. Thank you.
20 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
21 Mrs. Evans. Mr. Courtright, any motions or comments?
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes,
23 Mr. President. I, too, would like to send best wishes
24 out to Paul McGloin, Jr. I hear he's doing better.
25 I find it hard to believe that
0106
01 somebody would come and complain that we're having
02 meetings in August, when traditionally we would take
03 that time off. I think all of us were looking forward
04 to having the month off, but in light of the fact that
05 we have such a critical situation with the Hilton and
06 Mr. DiBileo asked if we would be willing to come in in
07 August, and I think we all did in an effort to help the
08 city now we're being criticized for coming to work when
09 we're not supposed to be here? I don't understand
10 that.
11 Jay, I don't know, I asked about
12 having an ordinance either updated or put on with the
13 panhandling, and I guess because Mr. Walsh isn't here
14 we didn't get that on this week, if we could possible
15 do that for next week, I'd appreciate it.
16 And one last item, I don't know if
17 the city is or is not paying for flowers for funerals,
18 and nothing against anybody that they've sent flowers
19 to, because I don't know if they have, but if we're
20 going to do that, how are you going to determine who
21 you're going to send them to? I mean, you have to send
22 them to every resident, to be fair.
23 So, Jay, if we can look into that
24 and see are we sending flowers out, and if we are, how
25 are we determining who we're sending them to, all
0107
01 right? That kind of caught me off guard here today, so
02 I'm curious to find that information out, if I could.
03 And I believe that's all I have, Mr. President. Thank
04 you.
05 MS. EVANS: Mr. Courtright, last
06 summer, were Council meetings conducted at noon by and
07 large?
08 MR. COURTRIGHT: I think from the
09 middle of June on, we came in at noon.
10 MS. EVANS: I thought it was after
11 the --
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: After school got
13 out.
14 MS. EVANS: After the school
15 year. And it seems to me that Council, all members of
16 Council, were present at almost every one, if not every
17 one of those noon meetings last summer, so I think --
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: I think you're
19 right.
20 MS. EVANS: -- it would seem that,
21 you know, if we could do it last year, we can certainly
22 continue to do it this year.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: If you can recall
24 in the back in caucus, I think one of the things we
25 said why we wanted to have them at noon where there
0108
01 were some people that throughout the year couldn't get
02 here at nighttime, and maybe it we would afford them
03 the chance if they were a second shift employee or a
04 third shift to come here at noon, you know, for a few
05 of the meetings. So, I think that was one of the
06 reasons that was driving us to do it last year at noon.
07 I mean, to me personally, it doesn't matter whether we
08 do them at noon or seven o'clock.
09 And as far as obligations, and I
10 knew I had to do this when I ran for Council, I
11 actually leave work and miss work every Thursday to
12 come here. And I'm not complaining, I knew that's what
13 I had to do when I ran for Council.
14 I don't broadcast it because I
15 don't think it was of any importance, but I think
16 everybody tries to get here when we could and I think
17 we try to afford everybody the opportunity last summer
18 if they couldn't make it at night meetings, that
19 throughout the summer they would have the opportunity
20 to come at noon.
21 MS. EVANS: And maybe,
22 Mr. DiBileo, you might want to consider conducting the
23 remainder of the meetings at seven o'clock in order
24 that Mr. Pocius might be able to attend after all.
25 MR. DIBILEO: That would be fine
0109
01 by me. I remember that last year, and I even think
02 earlier this year when we talked about the summer
03 sessions everyone was in favor of noon meetings --
04 MS. EVANS: Yes.
05 MR. DIBILEO: -- as opposed to
06 evening, so, I mean, no time is ever, you know,
07 perfect.
08 MS. EVANS: For everyone.
09 MR. DIBILEO: You have to, you
10 know, work around your schedule as best you can. And
11 we get paid to be here, so you have to give it your
12 best effort to get here. But, yeah, let's consider
13 seven o'clock, as opposed to twelve noon, if it's going
14 to be easier for most of us to be here.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: I have no problem
16 with that. That's all I have, Mr. President. Thank
17 you.
18 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. There's
19 no agenda items today on our agenda, and that's okay.
20 You know, if the administration chooses not to do
21 business, you know, possibly to make it look like these
22 meetings aren't necessary, you know, that's their
23 decision.
24 As I said earlier, the main reason
25 for our meetings is to help try to avoid the loss of
0110
01 $3 million to the City of Scranton, which would
02 devastate us, and that's why we're here.
03 Now, I'm not trying to pick on
04 anybody in particular, but Mr. Pocius gave us a letter,
05 part of which I read earlier, the second part says
06 that, Also, I will not attend the caucus/executive
07 session with the Spectrum Group to discuss their
08 pending litigation against the City of Scranton. The
09 reason being is that any discussions entered into by
10 those City Council members attending could have a dire
11 effect on the city in the outcome of this legislation.
12 Now, in my opinion, that stands
13 exactly as the opposite of what is needed in this
14 situation. Spectrum told us in this meeting that they
15 have been attempting to negotiate, talk to, the city
16 administration, the mayor and his attorneys and have
17 basically gotten nowhere. They were very happy to be
18 here today.
19 The meeting, as I said, was very
20 positive, and, you know, how we got here to the
21 situation is not important, I think, but how we move
22 forward from here is what is important, and that's to
23 literally save the city through cooperation of elected
24 officials, and I think that's what's needed.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. President,
0111
01 could I just jump in for one second?
02 MR. DIBILEO: Sure.
03 MR. COURTRIGHT: If in fact we
04 didn't have this meeting today and Spectrum didn't come
05 in and about the 45 minutes that they were in there, I
06 learned so much about what's going on over at the
07 Hilton that I had no idea about before.
08 I don't want to say, because I
09 don't want to cause any problems, but when they said
10 they started to go through this with the mayor's
11 office, it has been for quite some time, and I don't
12 know if we have a right to know, but we were basically
13 left up out in the cold here.
14 And after today, I learned an
15 awful lot about what's going on over there at the
16 Hilton, and I think it was invaluable that we have them
17 here today.
18 MS. EVANS: And I'd just like to
19 add, as was already noted, I believe, in the newspaper,
20 Spectrum has been meeting with the mayor since December
21 of 2004, so the mayor has been very well aware of
22 what's been transpiring.
23 Spectrum also stated that they
24 were not aware that they would have needed the approval
25 of City Council or other governing bodies for a number
0112
01 of the issues that are facing them.
02 And, you know, in addition to the
03 fact that they're not receiving responses from the
04 administration, they were not even aware that City
05 Council, county government and school district
06 government is involved in this process.
07 Obviously they must have been led,
08 or it seems anyway, they must have been led to believe
09 that only the mayor can handle this.
10 And I think, you know, from the
11 past we've seen too many instances of reckless
12 fast-paced decisions being made, because one person is
13 making them in an attempt to create a myriad of
14 projects simultaneously, which now appear to be
15 crumbling before our eyes one by one, by one.
16 Are they salvageable? Some of
17 them definitely yes. Are they worth salvaging? Yes.
18 But there has been no caution, no research, it seems to
19 me, or very at best exercised in so many crucial
20 decisions, and that needs to stop.
21 And if City Council, like
22 Mr. Courtright said, has to stay here overtime, that's
23 fine with me, I have no problem, because here we were
24 two parties, Council and Spectrum, not allowed to speak
25 to one another. That's highly unusual. That's all.
0113
01 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. You
02 know, as you've said, Mrs. Evans, in some situations
03 things are moved forward very quickly, but in this
04 particular case, it appears the brakes were really put
05 on this one, for what reason, I'm not exactly certain,
06 but now we'll have to take it and try to make the best
07 of it. So, that's our goal. And that's all I have.
08 MR. SAUNDERS: 5-B, no business at
09 this time. Sixth order, no business at this time.
10 Seventh order, no business at this time.
11 MR. DIBILEO: Seeing there's no
12 business, I'll entertain a motion we adjourn.
13 MS. EVANS: So moved.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
15 MR. DIBILEO: We're adjourned.
16 (MEETING WAS ADJOURNED.)
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0114
01 C E R T I F I C A T E
01
02
02 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
03 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
03 notes taken by me on the hearing of the above cause and
04 that this copy is a correct transcript of the same to
04 the best of my ability.
05
05
06
06
07
07 ______________________________
08 LISA M. GRAFF, RPR
08 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER?
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