1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL
IN RE: FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 46, 2006 - AN ORDINANCE -
6 VACATING THE RIGHT OF WAY KNOWN AS THE 300 BLOCK OF
MAHON COURT BETWEEN MULBERRY AND LINDEN STREETS, AND
7 PARALLEL TO CLAY AND NORTH WEBSTER AVENUES.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
15 6:00 p.m.
19 Scranton City Hall
340 North Washington Avenue
20 Scranton, Pennsylvania
Lisa M. Graff, RMR
25 Court Reporter
1 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
3 MS. JUDY GATELLI, COUNCIL PRESIDENT
5 MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT, VICE-PRESIDENT
7 MS. JANET EVANS
9 MS. SHERRY NEALON FANUCCI
11 MR. AMIL MINORA, ESQUIRE, SOLICITOR
13 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
15 MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
1 MS. GATELLI: I'd like to call this
2 public hearing to order. Roll call, Neil.
3 MS. GARVEY: Mrs. Evans.
4 MS. EVANS: Here.
5 MS. GARVEY: Mrs. Fanucci.
6 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Here.
7 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McTiernan. Mr.
8 Courtright. Mrs. Gatelli.
9 MS. GATELLI: Here. Notice is hereby
10 given that Scranton City Council will hold a public
11 hearing on Thursday, October 12, 2006 at 6 p.m. in
12 Council Chambers.
13 The purpose of the hearing is to hear
14 testimony and discuss the following:
16 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 46, 2006 - AN ORDINANCE -
17 VACATING THE RIGHT OF WAY KNOWN AS THE 300 BLOCK OF
18 MAHON COURT BETWEEN MULBERRY AND LINDEN STREETS, AND
19 PARALLEL TO CLAY AND NORTH WEBSTER AVENUES.
21 Is there anyone that cares to
22 address City Council about this matter? Let
23 the record reflect that there's no one to
24 give testimony. I now declare this public
25 hearing closed.
1 C E R T I F I C A T E
3 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
4 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
5 notes taken by me on the hearing of the above cause and
6 that this copy is a correct transcript of the same
7 to the best of my ability.
LISA M. GRAFF, RMR
11 Official Court Reporter
1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
6 Thursday, October 12, 2006
10 6:30 p.m.
14 Council Chambers
15 Scranton City Hall
16 340 North Washington Avenue
17 Scranton, Pennsylvania
24 Lisa M. Graff, RMR
25 Court Reporter
1 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
3 MS. JUDY GATELLI, COUNCIL PRESIDENT
5 MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT, VICE-PRESIDENT
7 MS. JANET EVANS
9 MS. SHERRY NEALON FANUCCI
11 MR. AMIL MINORA, ESQUIRE, SOLICITOR
13 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
15 MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
1 MS. GATELLI: Okay. Please stand for
2 the Pledge Of Allegiance. Please remain standing for a
3 moment of reflection. Roll call.
4 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
5 MS. EVANS: Here.
6 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Fanucci.
7 MS. FANUCCI: Here.
8 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McTiernan. Mr.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
11 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
12 MS. GATELLI: Here. Dispense with the
13 reading of the minutes.
14 MS. GARVEY: Third order, no business
15 at this time. And for clerk's notes, I received a
16 response to Councilwoman Gatelli's request from the
17 police department regarding illegal parking in the 100
18 block of Wyoming Avenue in front of Diversified. They
19 stated that they monitored this area from September 21
20 to October --
21 MS. GATELLI: Excuse me, Kay. Please
22 in the audience refrain from talking, because we can't
23 hear. The acoustics are very bad up here. So, please
24 if you would. Thank you. Go ahead, Kay. I'm sorry.
25 MS. GARVEY: That's okay. They stated
1 that they monitored the area from September 21 to
2 October 5, and at this time there have been three
3 parking tickets issued.
4 The area was checked throughout the day
5 at various times. The only problem is if more than
6 four buses are stopped in the 100 block of Wyoming
7 Avenue, some of the buses must park in the right land
8 of traffic.
9 This occurs on both the east and west
10 side of the street, but there were no illegally parked
11 vehicles in the bus zones between those hours. They
12 will continue to monitor that location.
13 Second, we also received responses from
14 Mr. James Walsh, vice president of property management
15 at Steamtown Mall, and from Paul Talerico from Colts
16 Buses regarding Councilwoman Evans' request for a
17 letter to be sent about the benches or bus shelters in
19 Mr. Walsh from Steamtown said he was
20 not aware of bench installations in downtown, but he
21 was aware of bus shelters, because there was a meeting
22 and he did approve an installation at both the Mall at
23 Steamtown and Oppenheim Building, provided that the
24 structures were aesthetically consistent with the
25 mall's and Oppenheim's architecture.
1 Since that meeting, he has not heard
2 from Colts or Lamar. He thanked you for your attention
3 to the matter and said to contact him if you had any
4 further questions.
5 I also received a phone call from Paul
6 Talerico from Colts in response to your letter, and he
7 also said the same thing, that there was a meeting
8 about the shelters and that Lamar was supposed to do
9 this at their cost and that they have a contract to
10 provide these sites and that it would be Lamar's
11 responsibility to construct and maintain these
13 He said a more definitive answer should
14 come from Lamar, since that seems to be where the
15 holdup is.
16 Since that time, I received a phone
17 call just this afternoon, probably about four o'clock
18 or 4:10 from Mary Ellen Coleman from Lamar, and she
19 more or less said that this is a work in progress and
20 it hasn't been forgotten.
21 She said that there was a request from
22 Colts to put up historical shelters in the downtown,
23 but the company that made them is out of business, so
24 they're looking for other companies that make the
25 historical shelters and to see what it would cost for
1 this type of shelter.
2 She said that their corporate office is
3 sending out RFPs to see if they can find someone to
4 fabricate them and to be cost effective.
5 They are in the process of doing their
6 business plan for 2007, and hope that it will be
7 included in that plan. That's all I have.
8 MS. GATELLI: Thank you, Mrs. Garvey.
9 I have some announcements. There will be a blood drive
10 sponsored by the City of Scranton firemen and policemen
11 on October the 24th from one 1:30 to 6:30 at the Keyser
12 Valley Community Center.
13 The Hickory Street boy scout troop No.
14 16, the spaghetti dinner, is this Saturday, the 14th,
15 from four to seven.
16 Holy Rosary Parish in North Scranton is
17 having a roast beef dinner Sunday from twelve to five
18 at Stirna's Restaurant.
19 Telespond, October 22, twelve to four,
20 is having a pasta dinner. That is Telespond Senior
21 Services at 1200 Saginaw Street.
22 The Dante Club is having a rigatoni
23 dinner Saturday, the 21st, from four to eight at 916
24 Prospect Avenue.
25 St. Michael's Ukranian Orthodox Church
1 on Main Avenue is selling homemade pierogies every
2 Friday from nine to five.
3 St. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox is
4 having a halupkie dinner Sunday, the 15th, from noon to
6 The Downtown Senior Center is having a
7 flea market on October 21 from eight to four. There
8 will be a breakfast and bake sale.
9 Just for an update, I was happy on my
10 way home from work to see them milling Cedar Avenue.
11 There had been a gas and water project for nine months,
12 and it's been completed, and they have begun the
13 milling. The gas company has started that. I spoke to
14 Rick Turnabi of the gas company.
15 The residents will be getting all new
16 sidewalks. And I spoke to Jim Hoover from the water
17 company, and he said the side streets would also be
18 paved by the first or second week of November.
19 So, that was good. I got a complaint
20 about boulevard avenue, Mrs. Garvey, from Deacon Street
21 out. There was some gas and water work done on that
22 street, and it was supposed to be paved by the city
23 because it's a K road, so if you could ask Mr. Parker
24 when that is going to be paved, I'd appreciate that.
25 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Gatelli I sent last
1 week as part of my request about Boulevard Avenue, just
2 where you're talking about. I drive it every day.
3 It's horrendous.
4 And Mr. Parker told us two years ago
5 that that was going to be done. Still nothing. In
6 fact, parts of Boulevard Avenue were paved, and it
7 stopped right at the convenient mart, which is on the
8 corner -- almost at Fisk Street and Boulevard, and I
9 can't understand that, why you would go so far and then
10 stop, when you can see very well that the road is in
11 deplorable condition.
12 MS. GATELLI: Well, they did the work
13 on it. I talked to Rick today, and he said that he
14 told them that he will not take responsibility for the
15 pave cuts, because the city didn't pave it. So, it's
16 contentious with them, too. So, we will send a
17 follow-up to your letter, Mrs. Evans.
18 Also, the pothole at One Cross Drive
19 and Yesu, potholes on Yesu Lane, have not been repaired
20 as of yet. We can send another letter on that.
21 Oh, I got a response from Donny King
22 about the mini-mart. Mrs. Shumaker will be interested
23 in this. He said the study was completed and the
24 project is in final design with work on the signals
25 expected to begin in the spring.
1 The study recommended a traffic signal
2 at that location. And I have some information here if
3 -- Mrs. Shumaker, if you'd like to see it, I'll have
4 Mrs. Garvey make you a copy.
5 Also, Connell Park is -- the playground
6 is being installed this weekend with the money that we
7 got from Representative Belardi, so they've been
8 working up there all week with machinery, Jeff Brazil,
9 and we're asking for all volunteers to come Saturday
10 and Sunday from nine to five. The Junior Council is
11 welcome to come, and we will have the South Side
12 Steelers -- I talked to Lenny Ash today. He's going to
13 have some volunteers from the South Side Residence
15 But we're asking to not bring any
16 children that are under 16 years of age because of
17 liabilities issues. So, everyone is welcome to come,
18 and I think it will be a great project if we all work
19 on it together.
20 I have another problem that I'd like
21 Mrs. Garvey to address. I had a person that was
22 looking for a first time home buyer loan, and I had
23 them call OECD, and they were told that their
24 application is at the top, but because of Mrs. Gatelli,
25 they cannot process the request because we did not
1 approve the accountants, the consultants, that had been
2 in that department.
3 So, I want the rest of Council to know
4 that that is what they're being told over at OECD. And
5 I'd like Kay to address that in a letter from us and
6 I'd like to know how many employees are over there.
7 MS. EVANS: Thirteen.
8 MS. GATELLI: And what their titles
9 are, because when I was there with Mike Washo, the
10 people in the office did that work. They reviewed the
11 applications to see if the people were eligible, so I'm
12 sure that there's someone over there that has the
13 intelligence and the confidence and the capability to
14 review those. And --
15 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Gatelli, I can
16 actually give you all that information. It's listed --
17 every position and the salary of each is listed in the
18 annual budget, and I do believe, as of this year
19 anyway, there were 13 individuals employed at some
20 handsome salaries. And I agree with you. I'm
21 absolutely certain they have the capability to do this
23 MS. GATELLI: So, please send that
24 letter. Mr. Courtright.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: If I could just
1 briefly for the Council to consider for next week, I
2 think we're all aware of the fact that Matt Burne won
3 the Steamtown Marathon and he's a native of Scranton,
4 of the Minooka Section, so just for the Council's
5 consideration, if -- he qualified for the Olympic
6 trials with his time, so maybe we could consider
7 possibly, if you think about it this week, giving him a
8 proclamation for such a great feet. If we could talk
9 that over, I'd appreciate.
10 MS. GATELLI: Make a motion.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay. I'll make a
12 motion that we give a proclamation to Matt Burne for
13 his success in the Steamtown Marathon.
14 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Second.
15 MS. GATELLI: On the question?
16 All in favor?
17 MS. EVANS: Aye.
18 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Aye.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
20 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The ayes
21 have it and so ordered. That was unanimous, Lisa.
22 Before we get to public comment, I just have one more
23 thing to read.
24 I sent a letter to the mayor, and I'll
25 read it to you: Dear Mayor Doherty, it was my
1 understanding that you would meet with every member of
2 City Council or at least give them the opportunity to
3 discuss the legislation that is before Council
4 regarding the loan of $44 million.
5 I am aware that as of this time, that
6 has not taken place. Therefore, I would like to inform
7 you that until such time that every member of Council
8 has been given the opportunity to meet or discuss this
9 with you, this legislation will remain tabled.
10 Sincerely, Judy Gatelli.
11 And I think that's all I have. Oh, one
12 more thing, in reaction to the investigation we're
13 doing on the illegal immigration ordinance, and I
14 stress the word illegal, I-L-L-E-G-A-L, for those that
15 don't know how to spell, because The Scranton Times
16 obviously doesn't know how to spell that word, and they
17 tried to embarrass me with that cartoon today, but I
18 have thick skin, I can take it.
19 And I'm proud to say they dressed me up
20 as a firemen, so I was very proud to be a firemen for a
22 But I got a letter from Jorge Cornell,
23 he's the head of the Hispanic Resource Network, and in
24 his letter he writes, I believe it is extremely
25 important that we achieve consensus in making a public
1 statement that Scranton City Council is not looking
2 into the Hazleton ordinance for the purpose of
3 recommending its own ordinance, but rather to
4 understand the underlying issues and collaborating with
5 community leaders to strategically address associated
6 challenges in a manner that safeguards the respect and
7 integrity of all our citizens.
8 I commit the HRN and its NEPA Hispanic
9 Leadership Counsel to open communication with Council
10 to provide insight and support, reasonable and socially
11 conscious solutions.
12 So, I suggest that this is a very
13 controversial topic, and I would like Mr. Cornell to
14 come to a caucus next week, if he would, and I'd also
15 like to invite my friend Pedro, who also called me
16 about this, and have them come here next week and we
17 can discuss some of the problems that we are
18 encountering in the neighbors because of illegal
19 immigration, and maybe we can come to some consensus on
20 that or, you know, work together to try to address some
21 of these problems.
22 It's not -- I think I can speak for all
23 of Council that we're not -- certainly not against
24 immigrants. I'm sure all of us up here had
25 grandparents at least that were immigrants. So, we
1 wouldn't be here if it weren't for immigration.
2 But it's the illegal that has us very
3 concerned, and we are taking care of them in the
4 hospitals, we're educating them in the schools. It is
5 costing the citizens money for these illegal aliens,
6 and it is a very big concern in the neighborhoods in
7 overcrowded conditions, as I told you last night, Mr.
9 So, there are many, many issues that we
10 need to address, but I think that Council is willing to
11 meet with you before we proceed with any type of
12 ordinance. So, I'd like you to come next week at
13 quarter to six. We don't have any other public
14 hearings, do we?
15 MS. GARVEY: I don't believe.
16 MS. GATELLI: I don't belive so. So,
17 at 5:45 we will meet with the Hispanic Resource Network
18 and Mr. Gonzales, and whoever else would like to attend
19 is certainly welcome to come. And that's all I have.
20 Mr. Miller.
21 MR. MILLER: Good evening, Council,
22 Doug Miller, Scranton. Just a brief announcement. To
23 any student who is interested in joining the Scranton
24 Junior City Council, you were required to submit an
25 essay, we're asking that you turn those essays in by
1 Wednesday, October 18. We'd appreciate that.
2 Moving on, last week Mrs. Shumaker
3 basically demanded a response from the Junior Council
4 regarding our thoughts on the proposed borrowing and
5 our future here in the city.
6 I would like to tell Mrs. Shumaker and
7 others the reason we didn't respond to this issue is
8 because it is an adult issue, and if we had responded,
9 we would have been considered by some as wise guys and
10 who are we to question the adults.
11 But since Mrs. Shumaker and others have
12 solicited our comments, we now believe we have the
13 right to express our feelings on this issue.
14 And tonight you will hear from a few
15 Junior Council members explaining their thoughts on
16 this borrowing issue, as well as our future here in the
18 And I will first begin with my
19 thoughts. The mayor, once again, has come to Council
20 asking to borrow. Our long-term debt is already over
21 $250 million, but he needs money to balance the budget.
22 I think it's time this mayor makes the
23 necessary cuts so we don't have to borrow every year to
24 balance our budget.
25 You know, we make these cuts, we'll
1 save the city millions and millions of dollars, but for
2 some reason he just won't make the cuts.
3 And we cannot continue to let this
4 mayor get what he wants. Every year he's going to
5 continue to come back and ask for money just to borrow
6 -- just to balance the budget. Now, if we make these
7 cuts, we don't have to borrow to balance the budget.
8 I know where Mrs. Evans stand on this
9 issue, and she is totally against giving this mayor
10 another dime. She knows that we cannot continue to
11 give this mayor what he wants.
12 And tonight I'm asking the rest of this
13 Council to join Mrs. Evans and not give this mayor
14 another dime.
15 You know, it's like when you take a kid
16 to a candy store and you buy him a bag of lollypops and
17 tell him this should last you for a while, and then a
18 week later, the little kid is out of lollypops. His
19 parents say, We're not getting any more. And then the
20 little kid threatens his parents and says, Well, I'm
21 running away, unless you give me more lollipops.
22 Well, guess what? In a couple weeks,
23 after he gets his lollipops, he's back wanting more,
24 because he knows he can get them easily by threatening
25 his parents.
1 But when do the parents say enough is
2 enough and that you cannot continue to give in? You
3 know, people come up to this podium and want the junior
4 council to come up with solutions for this issue, but
5 none of you realize that we're not 18 years old. We
6 cannot vote.
7 But adults like you, Mrs. Shumaker,
8 can, and you did, and look at the mess that we've been
9 put in, and you all voted for.
10 It's now time for you to get us out of
11 this mess, because obviously this administration does
12 not know how. Please don't gamble our future because
13 of politics.
14 I'm asking all adults in this city to
15 get involved, come up with solutions, and prepare us
16 for four future, which you are responsible for
17 building. The mistakes you make today are the mistakes
18 we will pay for.
19 And I'd like to thank Mrs. Shumaker and
20 the rest of the adults who requested we share our
21 views. Thank you and have a great evening.
22 MS. GATELLI: Thank you, Douglas.
23 Anyone else from the Junior Council?
24 MS. ORGAN: I wasn't planning on
25 speaking tonight, so I don't have anything prepared and
1 or organized as Doug, but I would still like to state
2 my opinion.
3 I wasn't going to speak, because I'm
4 applying for college this year, and I really don't know
5 anything about finances, I don't know what you should
6 do, but I do know that $44 million is not a good number
7 to borrow. I think maybe a little bit, maybe $5
8 million, but you have to make the cut backs first.
9 And extending on Doug's opinion, I
10 think it would be great if everyone in the city mailed
11 one suggestion on how to save money. Because look at
12 all the suggestions you would have.
13 It's great, and you guys all come up
14 with wonderful suggestions, and the speakers who are
15 here every week come up with good suggestions, and if
16 you could multiply that by thousands, then there's no
17 way you cannot save money.
18 You just -- all five of you need to
19 stand together and you need to tell him that you're not
20 going to give him the $44 million, and you're going to
21 follow the suggestions from the citizens, because we
22 are the ones who live her and we are the ones who are
23 going to have to pay it off. So, that's all I have to
25 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Very good.
1 MR. PIAZZA: Good evening, Council.
2 James Piazza, Scranton High School. I would like to
3 take this opportunity to speak about a topic that has
4 come up at the previous Council meetings.
5 The topic that I am referring to is the
6 $44 million loan that the mayor wants to borrow. My
7 opinion about the loan is that I think we should not
8 give the mayor the $44 million or any amount of money
9 at all.
10 The reason is that the city is already
11 in debt, so why should we make the city debt get
12 larger? Also, I do not want to be paying off this loan
13 when I get older or I do not want our future generation
14 to be burdened with this.
15 The City of Scranton should be making
16 the debt smaller so that the distressed level in the
17 city can be lifted.
18 As a result from this borrowing, taxes
19 will rise for the citizens of the city, which they do
20 not want to see happen.
21 A question that comes into my mind
22 about the loan is that if we allow the borrowing to
23 occur, will the mayor want to borrow more money in the
25 The answer to this question is probably
1 yes. So, that is the reason why we need to make a stop
2 to this now.
3 Most importantly, many residents of the
4 city cannot afford to pay this loan. The ways that the
5 mayor could fix this problem is by cutting positions in
6 his administration and generating revenue for the city
7 to pay off the debt. Thank you for letting me talk.
8 MS. GATELLI: Thank you, Jim. Anyone
9 else from the Junior Council? The first speaker is
10 Reverend Simmons.
11 MS. SIMMONS: Good evening, Council and
12 Youth Council. My name is Kathryn Simmons. I'm a
13 lifelong Scranton resident.
14 I really had no intention of coming
15 here this evening. I was going to stay home and watch
16 you on Channel 61 and put my poor arthritic knee up and
17 let everyone else come forward and bash the mayor and
18 just smile, but I couldn't do that.
19 I watched last week, President Gatelli,
20 as you held up some pictures and you introduced some
21 people to the city and you said that this is why you do
22 what you do.
23 I had to bring a little person and
24 introduce her to you. This is why I do what I do.
25 This is my great granddaughter Tae Lee. She was born
1 here in Scranton a year ago, and I want her to stay
2 here for as long as God allows her to stay on this
4 I show you from this podium that I am
5 also an ordained minister. Some people have questioned
6 whether I'm really ordained, whether I have any
7 credentials to do what I do.
8 Sorry to tell that you my blessed
9 bishop really did ordain me in Pittsburgh. Sorry if
10 that bothers some people, but what can I tell you?
11 So, I come down here this evening to
12 tell you that you are Council members, and you are not
13 just Council members, but you are community leaders.
14 You chose this. You weren't selected.
15 You chose this when you decided to enter this frame of
16 politics and tell all that you could lead, and I repeat
17 that, you said all.
18 Now you are embarrassing and
19 humiliating various populations of the city. You don't
20 feel comfortable with the Latin population, but you
21 will take their finances and business and their votes
22 at election.
23 Yes, there are some who may turn out to
24 be, quote, outlaws, but that's a few. Take a tour of
25 the prison, you'll see. There's very few who are
1 sitting out there.
2 You're causing children inside schools
3 to lose their self value, you're causing neighborhoods
4 to lose faith in each other, homes to close up and
5 become frightened of their neighbors, you are causing
6 jobs to be lost.
7 I ask you tonight in this place to help
8 stop the hatred. There are enough laws and ordinances
9 in place to abide. It's the enforcement that needs to
10 be done. Let my Tae Lee grow up in a city where these
11 things are talked about as part of past history, not a
12 reason for her to get out as quick as possible.
13 The blood of Reverend Martin Luther
14 King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Mr. Chavez
15 runs rampant through the streets of Scranton until
16 hatred stops.
17 Dr. King would have been here already,
18 he would have led a march from Hazleton to Scranton.
19 Now it will be a spiritual march, but there will be a
20 march until it stops. And that's what I'm asking you
21 for tonight, let the word illegal be passed. Thank
23 MS. GATELLI: Andy Sbaraglia.
24 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia, Citizen
25 of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians, I come before you at
1 a critical time. We are in deep financial trouble, and
2 I'm going to review some acts that were passed by this
3 Council, not another one, but this one.
4 Amending File of Council No. 8, 1976
5 entitled an ordinance as amended provided for the
6 general revenue by imposing a tax at the rate of two
7 mills upon the privilege of operating or conducting
8 business in the City of Scranton. You amended that to
9 one percent. You gave them a 50 percent reduction in
10 your tax. Okay?
11 Now, you follow that with another one,
12 Amending file number No. 7, an ordinance imposing a
13 mercantile license tax of two mills for the year 1976
14 and thereafter.
15 You amended that to one mill. You cut
16 $1 million, according to your own records, out of the
17 city coffers by doing that. But the worse part about
18 it, you raised 200 percent, the people paying this
19 emergency service fee, and I can't understand the logic
20 of it. Now you're yelling you have no money. Well,
21 you cut a lot of money right out of the budget.
22 Do you know how much at two mills a
23 person earning $1 million has to pay, $2,000. A poor
24 worker that earned a million in this city would have to
25 pay $24,000. That's why people that make money don't
1 want to live here.
2 But the problems that arose in this
3 city is through Council, as well as the mayor. And
4 there's no way to get around it. You approved a lot of
5 money that was spent, didn't have to be spent.
6 This mayor wants to do a lot of things,
7 which is fine, but we don't have the money to do it.
8 And now you understand.
9 Like The Times building, God knows how
10 much they've saved on their taxes because the
11 mercantile tax and the city taxes have businesses in
12 Scranton. No wonder why he supports the mayor.
13 Why do you think all them people gave
14 money away? Nobody gives $950,000 to be elected mayor
15 of Scranton without something in return. And this was
16 the return.
17 They got their cut of 50 percent off
18 their taxes that the business pays. This man is
19 committed to business in the city detrimental to all
20 the rest of the taxpayers.
21 I told these people many, many times,
22 if you live in central city, you vote for the mayor,
23 but if you live anywhere else, forget it, because
24 you're going to get socked.
25 Now you're talking about an increase in
1 taxes, 25, 25, 25, which works out to be about 85 or
2 90 percent increase in the next three years. That is
4 What you should do is go back to this
5 tax on the mercantile thing and raise it, the 2.5.
6 That alone would take a lot of the deficit out for this
7 $44 million he wants to borrow.
8 And since the money is being poured
9 into their coffers anyway, they get it back. But as
10 me, I don't get very little from the city. Even my
11 street was paved by the federal government.
12 I didn't even get it, even though I did
13 pay in taxes for the other streets, but my street was
14 paved by the federal government. I pay for my garbage,
15 I pay for my sewage.
16 Since I don't call the police too much
17 and my house hasn't burned down, I don't even use them
18 services. So, my services that I'm using on this city
19 is very little.
20 If you had a million people like me
21 living here, you get by very cheaply. But this man is
22 committed to business. We lost millions. That's the
23 damn problem, I shouldn't say that, but that's the
24 problem with his commitment. It's costing us millions
25 of dollars.
1 That hotel, which I told you, well, you
2 weren't here, but way back when, I said is a hole in
3 the ground. You should have left it that way when he
4 tore it down, because Casey wanted you to fix his
5 hotel, not build a brand new one.
6 Now, you're giving so many -- give so
7 many free parking spaces away at that new medallion.
8 That medallion ain't going to make it. Somebody is
9 going to have to come forward to pay that bond issue,
10 and I don't know where the SRA is going to get their
11 money to pay for the other garage, the Casey Garage.
12 They have to come up with $700,000 at
13 the end of this year. All these monies being spent
14 that didn't have to be spent. They only needed one
15 garage. They didn't need two. Okay. I thank.
16 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mr. Bolus.
17 MR. BOLUS: Good evening, Council. Bob
18 Bolus, Scranton. It was nice to hear the Junior
19 Council come up here tonight and speak, and I think
20 it's a shame when kids have to come here to put adults
21 in their place when it come to the city's financial
22 condition. I say, Shame on you adults if you didn't
23 listen to their plea tonight.
24 In The Times, and, Judy, you touched on
25 it a little bit today, but I think I'm going to touch
1 on it a little more than you did.
2 First of all, The Scranton Times but
3 bankruptcy over the top. Well, they should have had
4 Chris Doherty's picture up there, because that's why it
5 would be there with the flames and the smoke.
6 As far as you putting our the fire
7 holding a hose, I only see you. I don't see the other
8 Council members behind you. You're not the only one on
10 And it had Mexican immigrants. And I
11 believe the issue we've been dealing with is illegal
12 immigrants. And I don't know if The Times knows how to
13 spell illegal, as you said for them, but they were
14 quick to criticize coming into the city when they
15 couldn't spell electric.
16 They're all over the place, but where
17 they need to be. They're all over the place when it
18 benefits them or their buddies.
19 I think they're the ones in this
20 article who discriminated against Mexican immigrants,
21 and I believe that's where you should take your issue
22 to, because it's they who put Mexican immigrants on
23 that paper, not Judy Gatelli or anybody on this
25 I think people should speak English in
1 America. I think it should be a requirement. It's our
2 country, it's nobody else's. If you want to be illegal
3 here, then live by the rules. We all have to.
4 And to be very honest with you, I'd be
5 very proud to stand next to you with the hose telling
6 people where to go in this city. So, be proud about
7 what they said about you, because you are taking the
8 lead and this Council is taking the lead, and we do
9 need an immigration against illegal immigration people,
10 aliens or otherwise in our city. The free ride is over
11 for everyone.
12 This Council has a responsibility to
13 these people or these kids. Keep in mind, Chris
14 Doherty was accustomed to a rubber stamp Council in the
15 past. He had to fall on Gilhooley now, Pocius,
16 Hazzouri, Murphy, they rubber stamped it. Was the
17 budget even legal? Nobody knows yet.
18 But the bottom line is, they now want
19 it on your shoulders. You can't do it. You have to
20 take the time, sit down and understand what you heard
21 from kids tonight how much is enough and when do you
22 say no?
23 The time is now to say no. Don't be
24 intimidated, don't be bullied, don't be chastised by
25 The Scranton Times and other people. They haven't come
1 here and told you how to run the city. They do it from
2 an editorial page, but they only put what they believe.
3 On this Council we don't have the
4 traditional rubber stampers. And I applaud you, and I
5 hope I applaud you when this budget comes back up on
6 the table and you turn it down, and Chris Doherty is
7 then forced to cut his professional salaries, he's
8 forced to make the changes.
9 He does the cutting, he's balanced his
10 budget. Remember that. You hand him money, you're
11 only going to be back here next year, as you were from
12 last year.
13 So, you know, don't bury your head in
14 the sand, as The Times had you the last time. Stand
15 proud, because remember, this future is yours to give
16 or it's yours to take. Don't do anything else from any
17 other circumstances.
18 The bankers came in and said, Hey,
19 look, we'll give you, no matter what your bond rating
20 is. Why? Because the peons in the city will pay the
21 tariff, because you can tax us to death until we lose
22 our homes, we lose our cars, we lose our businesses.
23 The only ones that don't get hurt are
24 your KOZs and your non-profits and those that are
25 taking from the city. And they're taking it, so they
1 could beat the peons to death. And they've been doing
2 that for a long time. Do not allow it, because it's
3 the peons who put you in office to protect them, and
4 you must do that, and you must do it with the integrity
5 and the definition of integrity for the people's rights
6 and benefits here.
7 I questioned $40,000, Judy, when you
8 were chastised by the county commissioners, I was at
9 their meeting, I support you 100 percent. I support --
10 the bell's awful loud here. I feel like I'm in St.
11 Peter's Cathedral. I support you.
12 MS. GATELLI: Finish up your thoughts.
13 MR. BOLUS: I support you 100 percent.
14 I told the commissioners that. I don't believe CMC was
15 entitled to $40,000. They're a progressional business,
16 they're a private business. We don't need to turn
17 around and hand them money.
18 But more importantly, they felt it was
19 the right thing to do to give to the trauma center,
20 which we all knew we need a trauma center. Maybe it
21 should be privately held and owned by the county.
22 Maybe we will make some money.
23 But there's one thing that did come out
24 of this meeting is that there's a landfill fee for over
25 $6 million that the boroughs are going to split up.
1 They're getting $500,000 a piece. The commissioners
2 are going to decide what to do with the rest of the
4 I think now is the time for Chris
5 Doherty to hold his hand out to the county
6 commissioners and take a piece of that pie. Thank you.
7 MS. GATELLI: Thanks, Bob. Ozzie
8 Quinn. Oh, I'm sorry. Pete Bonacuse. Sorry, Ozzie.
9 You're next.
10 MR. BONACUSE: Hi, Council. Peter
11 Bonacuse, taxpayer and investor in the City of Scranton
12 and a stockholder in the City of Scranton.
13 I think it's just a difference of
14 mindsets here versus an investor mindset versus a
15 consumer mindset.
16 I know consumer debt is really bad.
17 Having credit cards and buying shoes with them and
18 trinkets and all kinds of worthless stuff is bad debt,
19 but invested in your home, in real estate is a good
20 debt. Going into debt to fix up a property is good
21 debt. And I think Scranton was a fixer-upper when
22 Chris Doherty came along.
23 I don't know Chris Doherty from Adam,
24 but I know he thinks like me. I see what he's been
25 doing with money. He thinks like me. And I think he's
1 an investor. And we haven't had that.
2 I think we have an opportunity here to
3 help this investor move Scranton along like he's done
4 so far. We're -- Scranton is known nationally now
5 through a sitcom, The Office, it's known, you know,
6 it's not -- and it's known with a good tone.
7 People are coming here to buy property.
8 New money is coming in here to buy property, to buy
9 homes and live here, which is raising our values,
10 raised our property values maybe $40,000, $50,000 in
11 the past since Doherty came to be our mayor.
12 Now, if you multiply that times how
13 many homes in the City of Scranton, which I don't know
14 how many homes there are, take $40,000 average home
15 cost went up, and multiply that by the amount of homes,
16 Chris Doherty took whatever money, I don't know what he
17 had to use, but he used that as leverage and increased
18 the value of every stockholder's home in the city. And
19 every stockholder benefitted. Every family who owns a
20 property in the city benefitted from that.
21 Now, we can continue benefitting from
22 it by approving this $44 million loan, or we can put
23 the brakes on it and we can look at a decrease in
24 value, we can look at a disinterest in Scranton, we can
25 look at the bond holders, for instance, just gave us --
1 just rated our bonds lower now because they see -- it's
2 a confidence problem with Council. There's a decision
3 problem there. They're feeling uneasy, these people
4 that buy these bonds, the investors. They're getting
5 an uneasy feeling and they're saying, I don't know.
6 It's getting kind of shaky over there, guys. I don't
7 think I'm really interested anymore. And, you know,
8 and that's what happens.
9 We got to show confidence. We've got
10 to back our mayor and put all personal differences
11 aside and personalities and different hatreds people
12 have for the guy. I don't even know the guy too well,
13 you know? I just met him since he became mayor, but he
14 seems like a nice guy.
15 But it's just a different mindset,
16 different way of thinking. And we don't teach this in
17 our public schools, which is a big problem. We don't
18 teach about money. We teach about everything else but
19 money, you know? And we've got to wait until we get on
20 the outside to learn about money, and that's a big
21 problem in our society today, but fortunately it's okay
22 for me. I don't need the competition.
23 And about the loan last week, we had
24 someone speak about my -- it's not my loan. You loaned
25 my wife money. She's the majority shareholder in
1 Denise's Salon, LLC, and you loaned her money.
2 And just because you loaned her money
3 doesn't mean I can't come down hear and speak my mind,
4 okay? You're not going to buy me off.
5 And I thought about this all week
6 thinking, Wait a minute. This lady's saying, Hey,
7 after we loaned you that money, and you're still going
8 to come down here and talk good about Doherty?
9 You know, I mean, it was like a payoff
10 kind of mindset, and I don't appreciate that. That
11 ain't happening with me.
12 And I'm not supposed to be here
13 tonight. I told my wife I wouldn't come down, but I
14 had to. I'm really tired now. I've been cutting a
15 tree down all day.
16 But I don't know, just vote for the
17 money. Take a risk. You know, your grandkids are
18 going to be happy you did, guaranteed, twenty years
19 from now when they see the values of their properties
20 that they inherited from you, you know? Or they could
21 be living in a toilet, you know what I mean? So, good
23 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mr. Quinn.
24 MR. BONACUSE: Bonacuse.
25 MS. GATELLI: No, Mr. Quinn is next.
1 MR. QUINN: I'm Bob Ozzie Quinn. I'm
2 president of Scranton and Lackawanna County Taxpayers
3 and Citizens Association, Incorporated. Good evening,
4 Council, good evening, Attorney Minora, good evening
5 staff members, and good evening, Junior Council. I'm
6 glad to see you're going to come to our meeting, our
7 next meeting.
8 I take umbrage with the fact that
9 somebody says that we're bashing the mayor. You know,
10 there's a difference between bashing somebody in
11 regards to a personality and so on. The fact is that
12 that gentleman come up here with unfounded facts, okay,
13 can spill them to you, okay?
14 Now, I come to you with research and
15 founded facts, okay? And if I come and I am not an
16 advocate of the mayor and present these which are
17 adverse to the mayor, I'm not bashing the mayor, I'm
18 just trying to tell the people what's it all about out
19 there and what the taxpayers association feels about
21 We've got to look at the big picture,
22 okay? There has been much rhetoric regarding the $44
23 million bond issue by the city administration.
24 Irregardless if it's $44 million or
25 less, the Scranton and Lackawanna County Taxpayers and
1 Citizens Association, Inc. is strongly against any
2 additional borrowing by the mayor.
3 It is my inclination that at least two
4 members of City Council have already agreed to a single
5 digit figure to borrow and the delay in voting on the
6 single digit is because of the redoing of the bond
7 issue paperwork.
8 As a matter of fact, our association is
9 against any borrowing, be it from any of the three
10 taxing bodies in the City of Scranton; i.e., the city,
11 the school, and the county commissioners.
12 These taxing bodies must look at the
13 big picture regarding the increase indebtedness. It is
14 incomprehensible that three taxing bodies are using the
15 same identical taxpayers as their taxing source.
16 Do not discuss anything with each other
17 or even care what the other one -- other two bodies are
18 doing. This is akin to triple taxation, a property
19 owner has to do in the City of Scranton.
20 Presently the county and the Scranton
21 School District have a combined indebtedness of over
22 $500 million. That's a half a billion dollars.
23 Add this indebtedness to the
24 approximate $200 million plus of the City of Scranton
25 presently owned by way of bond obligations, SRA, SSA
1 and the American Water Company.
2 It is obvious that at least one, maybe
3 two or three of these taxing bodies, will determine
4 whether or not the city taxpayers are in for a whopping
6 This is not up to the mayor. It is up
7 to the present City Council, and what you do on this
8 issue will determine your political future beginning or
9 ending here in this city.
10 The question people ask of me, What is
11 the taxpayer organization recommending to aide with the
12 city's financial crisis? And it is a crisis. There
13 are limited ways to increase revenue without increasing
15 The bottom line for the three taxing
16 bodies is there has to be established rapport amongst
17 elected officials by conducting intergovernmental
19 There must be dialogue from elected
20 officials regarding the debt and triple taxation. Am I
21 a fool to mention this idea? I hope not.
22 I offer two suggestions for the elected
23 officials, first, the three taxing bodies should
24 collectively consider collective and combined public
25 bidding for gasoline, office supplies, infrastructure
1 materials, recreation committees equipment and other
3 Some of the other municipalities in
4 Lackawanna County are presently doing this with state
5 government agencies.
6 Secondly, elected officials with their
7 devised annual budgets do not have a license to spend
8 every red cent allocated in their budget regarding the
9 line items in each of their budget.
10 Since this ordinance on the $44 million
11 bond issue was introduced, the mayor has hired three
12 persons, and his reason was it's in the budget.
13 Well, that's no reason. We're in debt.
14 It doesn't mean that if it says $300,000, that you have
15 to go and spend that $300,000. No, that's crazy. Let
16 me go on before the bell rings.
17 We must -- can I finish the thoughts
19 MS. GATELLI: Yes, you can finish.
20 MR. QUINN: We must mandate that the
21 business administrators take a very close look at every
22 line item in the budgets, city, county, and school
23 board and monitor these budgets so that there are no
24 other -- no other line items that are faltering, that
25 money has to go from one to another.
1 And I see that tonight on your agenda
2 in regards to the -- something come from one to the
3 legal department, $60,000.
4 And that should never -- if you're
5 monitoring a tax line, you should be able to prevent
6 this from going overboard.
7 The taxpayers by public officials
8 cannot continue borrowing. We have to eliminate the
9 rhetoric of the three taxing bodies rationalization of
10 overspending so that we, the taxpayers, can address our
11 indebtedness without continued property increases, like
12 the county's 48 percent property tax increase in 2004.
13 In my role as president of the local
14 taxpayers group for the city, the county, I sincerely
15 hope that I'm not whistling in the wind. I hope the
16 politicals will not consider me naive and subsequently
17 continue lessening the people's buying power for
18 economic development by taking away the taxpayers'
19 money and increase the taxation.
20 MS. GATELLI: Ozzie, are you done?
21 MR. QUINN: Just two sentences, okay?
22 MS. GATELLI: Okay. I don't like to be
23 unfair to the other people, Oz, please.
24 MR. QUINN: I know just what you mean,
25 okay? Okay. Adding not needed administrative
1 personnel; i.e., Paul Sorvino movies, the construction
2 and rehabilitation of Scranton public school barring
3 discussions for the need of a newly constructed school
4 with teachers, the board is deciding this, water
5 slides, that some family can't afford, tree houses,
6 throwing money into parks and then failing to maintain
7 them, selling off our revenue-producing ballparks and
8 golf courses, creating new debts, KOZs, KOEZs, et
9 cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Thank you.
10 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Les Spindler.
11 MR. SPINDLER: Good evening, Council.
12 Les Spindler, city resident. You're probably going to
13 get sick of hearing this, but I have a rebuttal to what
14 a speaker said last week about pit bulls.
15 I'm going to read it word for word,
16 because I have a lot to say. A speaker last week said
17 people who come here and say pit bulls aren't dangerous
18 dogs don't know what they're talking about.
19 Well, this speaker does know what he's
20 talking about, because after my dog was attacked by two
21 pit bulls on June 1, I did some research.
22 As I've stated before, pit bulls were
23 bred in England in the late 1800s to fight in pits;
24 hence, the name pit bull.
25 Pit bull isn't even a real name of the
1 dog. I've said it in the past, I'm not going to repeat
2 it again for people that don't know what they're
3 talking about.
4 The speaker said a poodle can bite you.
5 Well, that's correct. Any dog can bite you, but
6 poodles haven't been known to maim or kill people,
7 which pit bulls have done.
8 She stated if a pit bull isn't
9 provoked, they're okay. Well, that proves to me that
10 the speaker doesn't know what she is talking about,
11 because on June 1, my dog was attached by two pit
12 bulls, not two poodles unprovoked.
13 A man in Taylor was attacked by a pit
14 bull unprovoked. He received 60 stitches in his leg.
15 A 19-year-old woman was attacked by a pit bull next to
16 her home on North Irving Avenue unprovoked.
17 Two weeks ago at West Side High School,
18 a man came in from South Side with pictures that he was
19 attacked by a pit bull, again unprovoked, received five
20 stitches in his leg. And I saw the pictures, as did
21 Council. It was pretty gross.
22 Two Sundays ago, a gentleman was
23 walking his dog by Remick Florist, and, once again
24 unprovoked, his dog was attacked by a pit bull. That's
25 five attacks since June 1, a little over four months,
1 and in none of those attacks was there any mention of a
3 In yesterday's Citizens Voice,
4 Wilkes-Barre is looking into a vicious dog legislation
5 now. Less than a month after a pit ball attacked a man
6 and two children in South Main Plaza, Mayor Tom
7 Leighton is again trying to regulate vicious dogs.
8 It's funny, I don't see Mayor Doherty
9 trying to do anything about this. Police have shot two
10 pit bulls in the city in the last six months after they
11 attacked people.
12 Here's an article from yesterday's, I
13 forget the other name of the paper, The Times Leader in
14 Wilkes-Barre. I have copies for Council.
15 Now, Reading also has vicious dog
16 legislation, and where the highlighted area, that
17 states some of the ordinances there. I'm not going to
18 read the whole thing, because I have other issues I'm
19 going to bring up, but Council can take that into
20 consideration, also.
21 I have to speak about the index cards
22 that an Ann Marie Stulgis brought in last week. I was
23 appalled hearing that, that all that information was
24 strewn all over Dix Court for anyone to pick up.
25 I think that was totally
1 irresponsibility on someone's part, and someone should
2 lose their job over that.
3 And I work in a bank, I'm not going to
4 mention the name, every time there's something thrown
5 out with somebody's account number, it's not thrown
6 out, it's shredded. That information should have been
8 Like I said, Mrs. Gatelli, I know your
9 card was this in there. I wasn't affected. I'm
10 appalled over that. Someone should lose their job.
11 Again, the argument on the immigration,
12 as you said, Mrs. Gatelli, no one is against legal
13 immigrants. I said this as soon as Mayor Doherty said
14 he was against Mayor Barletta's plan, I came here a few
15 months ago and said, Mayor Doherty just put out the
16 welcome mat for all illegals to come here, and it is
18 So, like I said, we have no problem
19 with anybody that's here legally, but it's the illegals
20 we have a problem with.
21 I heard on the news the other day
22 Wilkes-Barre just received a grant and hired 11 new
23 policemen. So, anyhow, Mayor Doherty's Recovery Plan
24 doesn't allow us to get grants to hire policemen. So,
25 I think they should take that Recovery Plan and throw
1 it out the window here, because it's a bunch of crap.
2 Thank you.
3 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mike Dudek.
4 MR. DUDEK: Mike Dudek, 608 Depot
5 Street, Scranton. I don't think I've ever been as
6 serious about any issue as I am today after getting
7 that tape recorded phone call from Mayor Barletta and
8 seeing the cartoon in today's Times.
9 The oldest law ever passed in
10 Pennsylvania in its colony days was written 325 years
11 ago by William Penn. It was the first law that William
12 Peen promulgated, an immigration law.
13 All 12 colonies and England had a law
14 restricting residency and citizenship to the people of
15 the British Isles. William Penn promulgated a law
16 opening Pennsylvania, and this is a quote, to any
17 person who believed in the divinity of Jesus Christ
18 with two exceptions, if you were to persecute someone
19 because of their religion, you were out, and if you
20 were a criminal, a murderer, a rapist, a thief, you
21 were out.
22 This effect -- the effect this law had
23 was to open Pennsylvania up to immigration from all
24 over Europe. Penn did this in 1680.
25 By 1687, the harbor in Philadelphia was
1 bigger than the harbor in London to accommodate all of
2 the ships coming from Europe. By 1720, Pennsylvania
3 went from 13th in population to first, in economic
4 output from 13th to first, because William Penn got rid
5 of the whole concept of illegal immigration.
6 There was no such thing as illegal
7 immigration in Pennsylvania. You're either an
8 immigrant or a criminal immigrant. And if you were a
9 criminal, you were arrested, and you were gone.
10 There was no such thing as illegal. He
11 opened Pennsylvania up. The first group to take
12 advantage of this were the Germans. Those were the
13 first who came within ten months of the promulgation of
14 this law.
15 The second major group to come to
16 Pennsylvania in a big group again were Hessians, the
17 soldiers who came to fight here. Many of George
18 Washington's own soldiers recognized their own brothers
19 and their own cousins among the soldiers who were
20 captured at Trenton.
21 George Washington had the idea to let
22 these men be repatriated to Lancaster County to let
23 them buy farms. That's how we drained off the German
25 The next wave of people to come to
1 Pennsylvania were the Irish in big numbers, then the
2 Italians, then the Slovaks in the turn of the century.
3 At the turn of the century, the
4 metropolitan of Moscow, Russia was so impressed with
5 how Pennsylvania handled its immigration, that when the
6 Bolsheviks were taking power, much of the wealth of the
7 Russian Orthodox Church was transferred to Northeastern
8 Pennsylvania in South Canaan. That is the reputation
9 of the State of Pennsylvania.
10 Who are we to say that the Latino
11 population coming here is a threat? That is
12 ridiculous. The people who come to Pennsylvania, came
13 to Pennsylvania. They have a right to be here. And if
14 a person is an illegal immigrant, I couldn't care less,
15 as long as that person is not a criminal.
16 If he's a criminal in Mexico or a
17 criminal of the Dominican Republican, send them back
18 for prosecution. If they are not criminals, but they
19 are illegal, let them become legal. That's the
20 strength of this country. That's the strength of this
22 We cannot look down on people who want
23 to come here for economic benefit or who want to come
24 here for the benefits of living in an open and just
25 society. That's why they want to come here to begin
1 with. We have no business trying to prevent these
2 people from coming here.
3 What we must do is, for instance, do
4 what Mrs. Gatelli wants to do about making sure the
5 housing is safe, making sure the motivation of the
6 people bringing Latinos here is safe, but other than
7 that, we have no business trying to stop them from
8 coming here.
9 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Christine
11 MS. SANTISSERO: I'm here tonight to
12 speak this evening concerning The Clubhouse Bar and
13 rooming house located at 1201 Capouse Avenue.
14 I am a neighbor who has been living
15 next door for the past 14 years. In the past I've been
16 in contact with the Drug Task Force, the LCB, the city
17 detectives, Mayor Doherty and Paul Ware at the District
18 Attorney's Office about the countless problems of this
19 establishment. I've made hundreds of phone calls with
20 no positive results.
21 During Mayor Doherty's re-election
22 campaign, he visited our house on two separate
23 occasions stating he would look into this matter and
24 help us find some resolution. All calls to him after
25 his re-election have been unreturned.
1 As I have stated, this has been an
2 ongoing problem for years. The owner of this
3 establishment owned another bar in South Side which was
4 closed down for similar reasons.
5 I will begin tonight by starting with
6 my actions in July. I had obtained a police report in
7 July detailing the police calls to this location for
8 the past two and a half years.
9 It state that there were 245 police
10 calls of various natures. Since that time there have
11 been scores of additional calls to that location. Most
12 recently there was a stabbing and armed robbery.
13 As you can read for yourself, these
14 recent crimes are in addition to the occurrences in the
15 past of domestic violence, criminal mischief, public
16 drunkenness and numerous drug-related crimes.
17 The day after I got the report, I
18 dropped off a copy to Paul Ware at the District
19 Attorney's Office. I've been in contact with him
20 countless times to discuss the constant drug activity,
21 fighting, stabbing and robbery.
22 I spoke to him two weeks ago and he
23 assured me that he was finally able to do something.
24 He stated the bar and rooming house will finally be
25 closed in two weeks because of violation of The Crimes
1 Code. That date came and went on Monday, October 9,
2 2006. A promise not kept, The Clubhouse is still open.
3 I've since tried to speak to him
4 leaving many messages. Yesterday he finally left a
5 message for me stating there's an investigation, which
6 he cannot disclose, and he needs to get surveys signed
7 before he can proceed further.
8 In the meantime, the owner has been
9 fast at work replacing windows, doors and emptying the
10 building with trucks of old furniture, bikes, garbage,
11 et cetera. The grass in the rear of the building has
12 been cut for the first time in months.
13 I've also spoken to city inspectors in
14 the past to question the compliance to all regulations
15 of the building codes. I know of at least one window
16 that has been broken for the last three years. The
17 dumpster is too small for their need and it is
18 overflowing every week. The grass and areas around the
19 bar are unkept for weeks at a time.
20 Another issue of concern is that the
21 Scranton School District uses this corner as a bus stop
22 for children attending Northeast Intermediate. Most
23 importantly, elementary-aged students travel unattended
24 past this bar two and from John Adams Elementary School
25 every day.
1 The bus stop could be moved, but young
2 students will still walk past daily to attend John
3 Adams, which is only two blocks away.
4 Both of these circumstances are very
5 dangerous. Most of the time there are many people
6 coming and going to the rooming house during these
7 times, and also at all times of the day and night.
8 This is an extremely treacherous
9 establishment with a long list of incidents that have
10 occurred. It seems only a matter of time before an
11 innocent person, adult or child, are hurt or killed if
12 this building is allowed to stay open.
13 I realize the city has many unsafe
14 areas, this being only one of them, and I would like to
15 thank the Scranton Police for their undying efforts to
16 control every potentially explosive situation that
17 arises on all calls they respond to at this very
18 dangerous location.
19 So, I ask you to drive by and see for
20 yourself. Check into all the statements I have made
21 and review the police reports I've provided. Please
22 check into the more recent calls to date.
23 The Clubhouse has been an ongoing
24 problem for the last ten years. It has gotten
25 progressively worse, but in the last few months, it has
1 become unbearable.
2 I've been told by numerous people at
3 the agencies I've spoken to that the nature of the
4 legal system makes it difficult to remedy such a
5 problem and that there are processes that must be
7 I do understand this. I realize I must
8 appear to you today as a frustrated neighbor, and I
9 readily admit I am extremely frustrated.
10 I do not want to come here today to --
11 I did not want to come here today to speak to you. I
12 was told by the District Attorney's Office, be careful.
13 There may be retribution from this establishment by the
14 owner, the residents, and the patrons.
15 But after researching the PLCB nuisance
16 bar program, I realize I have followed all the
17 procedures to have this establishment closed. It
18 should have been closed because of its problems without
19 my intervening.
20 MS. GATELLI: Go ahead, finish.
21 MS. SANTISSERO: So, I will leave you
22 tonight asking you to pursue resolution to this matter
23 as aggressively and quickly as possible. I would like
24 to thank you in advance for any assistance you can give
25 me in resolving this problem. Thank you.
1 MS. GATELLI: Thank you for coming.
2 And I have been to that property, and as you may know,
3 the South Side Neighborhood was instrumental in closing
4 a similar facility in our particular neighborhood, it
5 took us many years.
6 So, I will call Andy Jarbola tomorrow.
7 I know that it's in the process of being closed,
8 because Andy told me that, and I will see what the
9 holdup is.
10 But I assure you, it will be closed.
11 And don't worry about retribution, you must stand up
12 for your rights.
13 MS. SANTISSERO: The picture are from
14 Sunday, and a lot of that has been fixed actually since
15 we've taken the pictures, just so that you know.
16 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. And I will
17 give you a phone call when I talk to the district
18 attorney. Thank you. Jorge Cornell.
19 MR. CORNELL: Good evening. Given your
20 earlier comments, at this point I'd just like to thank
21 you for acknowledging my letter and your willingness to
22 meet to discuss the issue and be sensitive to it. So,
23 I won't wait for the second bell. Okay. So, thank you
25 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. We'll see you
1 next week. Ron Ellman.
2 MR. ELLMAN: You're all saying, Here he
3 is again. I wrote this down so I won't be on all kinds
4 of tangents tonight.
5 I hate to write something down, because
6 I don't think people listen to you very much really,
7 but you just keep reading and reading and reading.
8 I'm not a happy camper to start with.
9 The way you all are just backing down. You're back
10 pedaling when you don't have to. You've got the mayor
11 over a barrel. And he would listen to you, but instead
12 you're just giving in.
13 I've had dozens and dozens of people,
14 they always want me to do the dirty work and talk to
15 you and say things and they don't come up here. I've
16 invited all kinds of people, you know, they don't come.
17 But there's nobody -- I never talked to
18 one person in favor of borrowing any money. They said
19 they'd just rather see what happens, you know, and see
20 how big a tax raise we have to have.
21 You mentioned your mother a couple,
22 what was it, last week, I think, Mrs. Gatelli, she has
23 someone to fall back on.
24 I've talked to people, you know, like
25 grandmas with their grandkids and all, they don't have
1 no one to fall back on. Most of them are renting that
2 talk to me. Their rents have almost doubled in the
3 last couple years because of the taxes making people,
4 you know, raise their rents. My son's rent went up
5 from $250 to $400 in three years.
6 Anyway, it just seems -- it's not nice
7 to say you've got the mayor over a barrel, but you do.
8 It's just time to stop and see what happens, instead of
9 just borrowing and borrowing.
10 It's never going to stop. It's got to
11 -- you got to terminate it once and for all, and you
12 all just don't even want to. It's like the South Side
13 Complex all over again, when the city said no and the
14 mayor sold it.
15 The city says no borrowing, and, you
16 know, you're going to allow borrowing. Anyway, that's
17 enough of that.
18 Do any of you know where the 2400 block
19 of North Main Avenue is, there's a little cemetery?
20 And I think, oh, I don't know, a year or so ago a
21 little boy cleaned it up for Boy Scouts or something,
22 you know where I mean?
23 I walk by there with Lump all the time
24 at night. As soon as he cleaned it up, the city hired
25 this private company come by, cut down two trees.
1 Then, well, I don't know, a few weeks
2 later they were back, cut down another tree. There's
3 no -- a big healthy trees. There's no lines or nothing
5 Last -- two weeks ago. Now they cut
6 down another 100-year old tree. And the only reason in
7 the world they're cutting them down is they're getting
8 paid by the city to cut trees down. They just go all
9 over cutting trees down wherever they feel like. This
10 is a complete waste of money.
11 You know, just like the safety
12 department, every place you look there's a waste of
13 money here, and Mr. Doherty's mistakes are just never
14 -- he just don't take any responsibility.
15 A couple weeks ago Miss Rosie put me on
16 the bench in front of Gerrity's up at the, you know, up
17 Keyser Avenue, she won't let me go in the grocery store
18 with her because I put things in the basket when she's
19 not looking, and she gets real mad about it.
20 I was sitting on the bench with this
21 little lady, she's waiting for the bus to take her back
22 to senior citizens' high rise, and she recognized me.
23 She said, Oh, you're that handsome young fellow on --
24 she did. Anyways, and I said, Yeah, that's me.
25 MS. GATELLI: You better find out if
1 she has some money, Ron.
2 MR. ELLMAN: Anyway, this poor soul,
3 she said, First I sold my car a couple years ago, that
4 was my last vestige of independence, besides the house,
5 she said, you know, because it just got to be a big
6 expense and I'm old, so I sold my car.
7 And she said, Next I put my house up
8 for sale. She said, The real estate people said it was
9 worth, I think she said, 55, $60,000. She said a whole
10 year went by. Finally she sold it. And after -- she
11 sold it to the highest offer, of course. After
12 everything involved, she got $28,000.
13 The only people buying property around
14 here has to be a complete bargain. You have to steal
15 it. You can't sell houses because the city's going to
16 pot, and everybody knows they've got us over a barrel
17 when you want a loan or have your house looked at.
18 When you mess with somebody's pocket
19 book, they get very irritable, and that's what the
20 mayor has done. It's a sad story, but he just keeps
21 making these mistakes and wanting the people to pay for
23 Monday night when I was walking Lump, I
24 was listening to Mike Savage on my radio --
25 MS. GATELLI: Finish up, Ron.
1 MR. ELLMAN: Pardon?
2 MS. GATELLI: Finish up, please.
3 MR. ELLMAN: Mike Savage said,
4 Everybody could make a mistake, you know, and that's --
5 that happens, but when you make the same mistake twice,
6 you're a fool.
7 And this keeps going on with this
8 borrowing and borrowing and borrowing, and now is the
9 time to terminate it and let it just start healing.
10 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Fred
12 MR. BUDZINSKI: I'm glad to hear Lamar
13 Advertising is responsible for these benches placed in
14 the 100 block of Wyoming Avenue.
15 I have donated $103 put in an envelope
16 and I will turn it over to Mrs. Evans when I see them
17 benches downtown to turn over to the St. Joseph's
18 Children Hospital.
19 Now, I hear a lot of talk about
20 downtown, a lot of these stores are vacant, downtown is
21 dead, they're talking about St. Petersburg Square.
22 I remember downtown you had nine
23 apartments, nine apartments, here's a list of them, and
24 -- let me go back. I remember when there were no
25 apartments there, no apartments and three grocery
1 stores, and you had the Mohican, you all remember the
2 Mohican on North Washington Avenue.
3 And what is needed is a supermarket
4 grocery store and stimulate people coming downtown, and
5 I believe a lot of these empty stores would probably be
6 occupied. So, I think that's where they should go
7 start with that. Thank you.
8 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Pedro.
9 MR. GONZALES: Good evening, Council and all
10 in attendance. My name is Pedro Gonzales, South Side
11 resident and taxpayer.
12 This evening, first off, I want to
13 start with addressing Junior Council. I want to answer
14 Douglas' call for Junior Council members.
15 I have a young lady that goes to West
16 Scranton High, her name is Alana Fernandez. I am
17 confident that Mr. McTiernan and also Senorita Evans
18 knows this young lady and of her. And she already
19 submitted her essay to Mr. Rogan, I think is the
20 principal over there at West, if I'm not mistaken, so I
21 will also get with Douglas at the end of the meeting
22 and how to get this young lady on Council.
23 Second, as you can see from the list of
24 names there, Senorita Gatelli, the speakers on the list
25 tonight, you have a couple of Latino speakers here
2 I believe that the Council's -- the
3 reason for the Council's reasoning for embracing
4 Mr. Barletta's way is not to attack the Latin people of
5 the City of Scranton, but simply to prevent what is
6 happening over there right now.
7 I, for one, believe in La Senorita
8 Gatelli, because she's come to many of our events,
9 she's supported a lot of the Latin people in this city
10 at different times of the year.
11 I personally stand up here and vouch
12 for her. She has no ill-intention towards the Latin
13 people, and I think this is basically just preventive
14 maintenance-type of issue.
15 Hazleton is a whole other world, and I
16 personally would like to keep it that way. No, no
17 ill-intended to anyone in Hazleton or any elected
18 officials of Hazleton, but we do not have the problem
19 Hazleton has right now, and I would like to keep it
20 that way. I would like to definitely keep it that way.
21 Moving on, we talked about the problems
22 that matter or don't matter. I think if Council and
23 some of the Latin leaders of this city sit down and
24 talk about some of the things, I'm confident, very,
25 very confident, that we could come to a united
1 agreement for the Latino people and for the non-Latino
2 people that reside in this city so we can all move
3 forward in a positive and progressive manner.
4 Let us not embrace the Barletta way,
5 let's us embrace our way. And you say to yourself,
6 what is our way? We do not have a way as of yet, but
7 one day after Council and some of the Latin leaders sit
8 down, we will have a way where other cities and other
9 municipalities will look at each other and say, Let's
10 not do it the Barletta way, let's do it the time
11 Scranton way. Once again, my name is Pedro Gonzales,
12 and thank you for letting me express myself.
13 MS. GATELLI: Thank you, Pedro.
14 Charlie Newcomb.
15 MR. NEWCOMB, SR.: Good evening,
16 Council. Mrs. Gatelli, I just would like to start with
17 I do agree with your opening about -- the magic word
18 here is what we're forgetting is, and I'm sure Mr.
19 Gonzales understands, as he just spoke, that he
20 believes in you, the magic word is illegal, not
21 immigrant. It's illegal.
22 And if everybody that's in this city is
23 legal, they're welcomed to live here and enjoy
24 everything that we do, but if not, you have to go.
25 It's as simple as that.
1 The magic word is -- and somebody said
2 before, who are we to say we have no right to do this?
3 The law says they don't belong here. So, the law says
4 if you're illegal, illegal is just the same thing as a
5 criminal. Thank you.
6 Mrs. Evans I'm glad you're back. I
7 just have a few statements to make. I applaud you for
8 last week, the gentleman was here tonight, you do
9 expose some of these speakers, like, with some of their
10 motives, why they do come here. And I guess if, you
11 know, one of my family members were given a loan, maybe
12 I would feel, you know, the same towards the city.
13 Yeah, I'd just like to say, nobody
14 writes all my stuff here. I do. You know, I write all
15 this stuff myself or these are my thoughts, nobody
17 And as far as the CMC goes, I agree the
18 trauma center, that was ridiculous. If you drive up
19 Mulberry Street and you get to the top, did you see the
20 new addition they added on there? For being
21 non-profit, that's a pretty nice size building. I'm
22 sure it cost a fortune.
23 And as far as it goes with dogs, if
24 somebody checks, I believe, last weekend at one of the
25 local hospitals, a person had a finger removed from
1 their hand from a dog bite, a vicious dog. Mr.
2 Courtright, I'm sure you know about that, lost a
4 So, I'll tell you what, there's two
5 kinds of people that have vicious dogs, only two kinds
6 of people, drug dealers, and bad people, it's as simple
7 as that. Vicious dogs, and I use the word vicious
8 dogs, not a certain type of dog, those are the only two
9 people that have those kind of -- have a need for the
10 kind of dog is bad people and drug dealers. Everybody
11 else has poodles and cocker spaniels. Everybody else
12 has killer dogs, and there's a reason for that.
13 Mrs. Evans, I watched a meeting here
14 that you attended, I believe earlier this week, and
15 correct me if I'm wrong with these figures, but was the
16 figure brought up that the city, I know we have
17 Northeast Credit Collections, we pay them, I believe,
18 like, 25 percent or something of all the money; is that
20 MS. EVANS: Well, the city doesn't pay
21 them. That fee -- well, that penalty is attached to
22 the delinquent tax amount.
23 MR. NEWCOMB, SR.: The bill.
24 MS. EVANS: Yes.
25 MR. NEWCOMB, SR.: Yes. So, the city
1 would receive the full amount of the delinquent tax,
2 and NCC would receive the 25 percent penalty.
3 MR. NEWCOMB, SR.: Okay. But we do
4 have to -- we approved their contract for them to do
5 it, like, to collect the money from this, right?
6 MS. EVANS: Yes. Well, I didn't, no,
7 but they were renewed in 2005, I believe, for a
8 three-year contract.
9 MR. NEWCOMB, SR.: For a three-year
11 MS. EVANS: Uh-huh.
12 MR. NEWCOMB, SR.: And the next figure
13 that I heard was, now, just on the garbage fees, I
14 don't know if a figure came up on any -- on the --
15 like, the house taxes and stuff, was the figure $5
16 million that we're owed in delinquent garbage fees, was
17 that figure right, around $5 million?
18 MS. EVANS: I don't recall. I'm sorry.
19 MR. NEWCOMB, SR.: Okay. That's just
20 when -- I heard the conversation. I heard -- and
21 somebody said, what garbage fee, and they said, That's
22 just on the $178 a year garbage fee.
23 Well, like I said, I wasn't sure, but
24 if that figure is accurate, and I'm sure we're owned
25 millions between garbage fees and property taxes, but
1 just on garbage fees alone, if that is $5 million,
2 they're not doing a good job at collecting the money.
3 Because if we add $5 million in our
4 coffers. I mean, and some of these people owe
5 substantial amounts, I mean over years and years and
7 Well, Northeast Credit Collections
8 isn't doing a good -- if we that $5 million in our
9 coffers right now, I know we're not going to -- I hope
10 we're not going to give him the 44, but that would
11 bring it down into the thirties, you know, if we had $5
12 million more in our coffers.
13 So, I think we have to, you know, get
14 more aggressive with these people and tell them to, you
15 know, to get on the back of some of these people and
16 make them pay.
17 But, again, Mrs. Gatelli, I do
18 appreciate, she's not here, but what she was talking
19 about before about the illegals, the magic word is
20 illegal. Some of you seem to like to let that word
21 out, and I just hope that we do have some kind of
22 understanding in the city where everybody could work
23 and live together and not have the problems that
24 Hazleton has before it gets that way. Thank you.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Lee Morgan.
1 MR. MORGAN: The first thing I have
2 here is Reverend Simms was talking about Martin Luther
3 King, and I think it's pretty important to recognize
4 that he was only a civil rights leader for 13 years,
5 and he was assassinated on April 4, I think it was,
7 And I think his -- I think his solution
8 to the problem of immigration in America would be to
9 address it in Mexico where the problem has to be
11 As far as the discussion that
12 Mrs. Gatelli is having here, I agree with the gentleman
13 from the Latin Alliance and from -- and Mrs. Gatelli,
14 because I think they're trying to find a solution, and
15 I think Scranton welcomes everyone here.
16 And I'd like to switch gears and say
17 that Mr. Peter Bonacuse came here and spoke at the
18 podium, and I remember when the new school was going to
19 be built there was another Peter Bonacuse that I knew
20 who was much older than him who was trying to stop the
21 construction of the new school with myself, Peg Paris,
22 Mr. Minicozzi, a couple others.
23 And I hope that the other Bonacuse
24 would talk to this one, I don't know if they're
25 related, but I think it's time to realize one thing,
1 the City of Scranton is getting older, poorer and less
3 It's time to realize that the burden of
4 taxation has become so great that it's almost
5 unbearable. And I have to say that there's a rumor
6 that the mayor is going to get $7.2 million, I don't
7 know if that's true.
8 I hope it's not true. And I'd like to
9 know, maybe the solicitor can tell us this, exactly
10 what is the penalty if we default on the bonds that we
11 have for tax anticipation?
12 MR. MINORA: The exact number, I don't
13 have the exact number.
14 MR. MORGAN: Well, ballpark would be
16 MR. MINORA: I don't have the exact
17 number, but principal plus interest plus penalties.
18 MR. MORGAN: Okay.
19 MR. MINORA: So, what you're paying is
20 a great deal more than what you would pay if you paid
21 principal and interest on time. Every time you default
22 on a loan, the same thing happens.
23 You default on your mortgage, you pay
24 all of the advertising fees that go with advertising
25 that property for sale, you pay the interest, you pay
1 the penalties, you pay the sheriff, and you pay
2 attorneys fees.
3 I don't know if our TANS incorporate
4 all of those elements, but the idea of not paying a
5 debt on time is very penal to the city. We'll pay more
6 money than we would have if we paid it on time. That's
7 an absolute fact.
8 MR. MORGAN: Okay. Now, with what the
9 solicitor has just said, if we take that to be fact,
10 and I'm not saying that what you said isn't a fact,
11 we're going to accept that as fact, don't you think it
12 would be a benefit to the city just to loan the mayor
13 enough money to pay the tax anticipation notes with the
14 agreement that there would be no further tax
15 anticipation notes before December so we aren't going
16 to finance ourselves into next year?
17 That way we'll cover ourselves in the
18 back door and pay the people the money we owe them.
19 But if the mayor says, Well, we've got to pay that and
20 then we need $8 million for the other side of the year,
21 we shouldn't agree to that. We should borrow no more
22 money. I mean, not ten cents.
23 And I'm just really troubled by some of
24 the votes that have taken place here. I know CRF was
25 dead, and then it got resuscitated, and in my opinion
1 that was a bad deal for the city, and I'm not picking
2 on you, Mr. Courtright, that's only my opinion.
3 And, you know, we just see so many
4 maneuvers by Council, by the mayor over so many
5 decades, and that's why the city is where it is. And I
6 just think this, Mrs. Gatelli, you're right for once
7 for standing up for Janet Evans and saying that, Look
8 at, we're not going to deal with you if you aren't
9 going to recognize that there's five councilmen sitting
10 here or however you want to look at yourselves.
11 But, you know, it's just time to
12 include everybody and all the discussions, and it's a
13 shame that Mr. McTiernan isn't here. I don't know
14 where he is, but, I mean, I have an awful lot of
15 questions for him, and that's the person I have the
16 most questions for today. And I just think we have to
17 watch all our pennies.
18 And my last question is this, Under the
19 distressed municipalities statutes, which Mr. Minora
20 may be able to enlighten us on, at what point can the
21 City of Scranton file bankruptcy, considering -- I
22 think we've been under that statute -- I mean, the city
23 is working with the PEL in that regard for over ten
24 years, and when can we file bankruptcy under -- when
25 does it reach the point where somebody is going to have
1 to bail the city out because we aren't getting out of
2 that status?
3 Because, I mean, ten or 15 years is
4 plenty. And all we've done, Mrs. Gatelli, is borrow
5 more and more and more money. And I just hope that you
6 hold the mayor's feet to the fire, and no more.
7 Please, sir.
8 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mrs.
10 MS. SHUMAKER: Good meaning. Marie
11 Shumaker. I'd like start by thanking the members of
12 the Junior Council who spoke out tonight with their
13 comments on a debt that would extend to 2034, and if it
14 were to be approved, would be their responsibility
15 should they chose to stay in the city.
16 Other than that, I have a few comments
17 and a few questions that I'd like to try to get through
18 as briefly as possible, because I would like responses
19 on some of them.
20 First of all, a couple decades ago
21 there was a song, I think it was Pete Segar, who said,
22 Where have all the flowers gone? I would like to know
23 where all the dollars have gone, particularly with
24 respect to the capital budgets.
25 Earlier you were unable to get one
1 department, the parks and recreation listing, of what
2 capital projects were in this year's budget from the
3 administration, and now I would like to know the status
4 of the capital budget receipt and the expected date if
5 that has not been received.
6 Second, I would like to know why the
7 business administration office has not posted the
8 interim audit report on their website, why we have to
9 go to a private Doherty deceit website to read this
10 audit record is, I think, somewhat disgraceful on the
11 part of the city.
12 And in that regard and that audit, and
13 I believe Mr. Newcomb was talking about this, too, how
14 in the world did we ever get to a refuse disposal fee
15 in arrears of $5.7 million? That -- I've never -- of
16 course, I've been attending that long, but I've not
17 heard that discussed, and I cannot believe that that
18 wouldn't be a rather large item.
19 Several times I have brought forth
20 language for a swimming pool maintenance ordinance for
21 the city. I have not seen it come forward from
22 Council, and I would like to know what I've done wrong
23 in submitting that so I may correct it.
24 And I'll comment on the mini-mart,
25 since -- the mini-mart has been dark for about the last
1 week. It appears to be being gutted, and apparently is
2 changing ownership or something.
3 But the lighting is not going to solve
4 the problem of people coming out of that mini-mart and
5 turning left. As a matter of fact, it's going to
6 exacerbate it, because then there's going to be a line
7 when the light is red and they're going to be cutting
8 off, I would be willing to bet you dollars to donuts,
9 the people making the right-hand turn from River onto
11 So, now that it's not in operation, I
12 think, would be a wonderful time to get that sign up
13 there so the new owners or the current owners, if
14 they're just redoing the place, understands that it is
15 a right turn only out of that establishment.
16 And then finally, I just hope that the
17 announcement in the paper this week that Standard and
18 Poors is reducing the city's bond rating and the impact
19 of that on the interest costs which would cause the
20 debt service to balloon to over $7 million annually in
21 the outer years would be the icing on the cake of
22 defeat for that bond measure by all of you.
23 And now if you have any comments on the
24 questions that I asked.
25 MS. EVANS: I can comment on the light
1 at the intersection you mentioned a minute ago.
2 According to a report we received from the city
3 planning commission, a study had been conducted which
4 recommended a traffic signal at that location, and a
5 permit was issued to the City of Scranton for such a
6 signal on May 6, 1997.
7 But the city prior to that had begun a
8 study of all the downtown signals, including the
9 Mulberry, Harrison, Moosic and Meadow Avenue corridors.
10 So, what happened was all of the
11 locations had --
12 MS. SHUMAKER: If I may, I understand
13 all that. What I'm saying is two fold, number one,
14 that light is not going to solve the problem of people
15 coming out of that mini-mart and trying to turn in that
16 very short distance onto Meadow Avenue to get onto 81.
17 It's only going to make it worse.
18 But the light, I understand is part of
19 the overall timing project. As a matter of fact, I
20 spoke with PennDOT last week. I E-mailed Mrs. Gatelli
21 30 of the 50 -- George Parker and his group have turned
22 over the data on 30 of the 50 lights that are involved
23 in the city, and they expect it would be available to
24 go out to bid early next year.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Ms. Shumaker, if I
1 may, I'll talk to George Parker. Putting up a sign is
2 relatively simple. And I know we've been waiting a
3 long time for that to happen.
4 And once the sign goes up, I think the
5 problem is going to be enforcing it, you know what I
6 mean? Is an officer going to have time to sit there
7 and watch that, that one particular place?
8 Of course, if they're going by that way
9 and they see somebody, just as if they see somebody run
10 a traffic light, I think that's the way it will be
11 enforced, if they happen to be there at the time.
12 MS. SHUMAKER: Well, it's a start. At
13 least a certain percentage of the people I would hope
14 would obey the --
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Your concern is
16 they're going to take the left and the people taking
17 the right on river once the light is there, it's going
18 to be worse. I'll tell him that and ask him if he can
19 put the sign up.
20 MS. SHUMAKER: Thank you. And I guess
21 I'll wait until next week for the other items. Thank
23 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Shumaker, can you
24 come out of there two ways on River and on Meadow? You
25 can come out of the mini-mart?
1 MS. SHUMAKER: If you come out on
2 River, you can only make a right turn there.
3 MS. GATELLI: And how about if you come
4 out on Meadow?
5 MS. SHUMAKER: They put an island in
6 there that didn't used to be there. People used to try
7 to cut right across there and get onto 81. They put an
8 island there, and that's stopped. But it's coming out
9 of Meadow Avenue where people are coming --
10 MS. GATELLI: Turning --
11 MS. SHUMAKER: -- and trying to make
12 the right-hand turn onto Meadow in that short distance.
13 Thank you.
14 MS. GATELLI: Okay. Is there anyone
15 else who cares to speak before Council?
16 MR. LYMAN: Raymond Lyman. Some people
17 asked me the reason why I wasn't coming to these
18 meetings, and the reason why I wasn't coming to these
19 meetings was because I got a letter from City Council.
20 The reason why I wasn't coming to these
21 meetings was because I got a letter from President Judy
22 Gatelli and Amil Minor saying that --
23 MR. MINORA: You never got a letter
24 from me.
25 MR. LYMAN: Well, I did get a letter.
1 MR. MINORA: Show it to me, because I
2 want to see who's forging my name.
3 MR. LYMAN: Well, I'll bring it next
5 MR. MINORA: I never sent you a letter.
6 MR. LYMAN: I'll bring it next week.
7 MR. MINORA: I want a copy of the
9 MR. LYMAN: Because I got it with my --
10 a letter from my lawyer.
11 MR. MINORA: Did you bring it with you?
12 MR. LYMAN: I didn't bring it today.
13 I'll bring it next week.
14 MR. MINORA: Who's your lawyer? I'll
15 contact him and get it from him.
16 MR. LYMAN: I'll bring it next week.
17 MR. MINORA: Who's your lawyer? I'll
18 contact him and get it from him.
19 MR. LYMAN: Edward Pulaski.
20 MR. MINORA: Pulaski. Where is his
22 MR. LYMAN: He has one in Peckville and
23 one down here on Luzerne and Lackawanna Avenue. I'll
24 bring it down.
25 MR. MINORA: And he has a copy of that
1 letter, you say?
2 MR. LYMAN: He has the original.
3 MR. MINORA: He has the original of
4 that letter?
5 MR. LYMAN: The letter that was sent to
7 MR. MINORA: Okay. I'll get it from
9 MR. LYMAN: No, I'll bring it down.
10 MR. MINORA: That's okay. I'll get it
11 from him.
12 MR. LYMAN: I'll bring it down. Now,
13 I'm not fighting with you. I want -- and I have a
14 question. Why is this cop doing here?
15 MR. GATELLI: He's here to maintain
16 decorum and order.
17 MR. LYMAN: Because my lawyer said if
18 -- because if you call the cops on me again, because
19 when I was out here the last time --
20 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Lyman, hold it. I am
21 not doing this again.
22 MR. LYMAN: No, I'm not fighting.
23 MS. GATELLI: I don't know to fight.
24 We did not send you a letter to keep you from the
1 MR. LYMAN: You're cutting into my five
2 minutes. Can I speak?
3 MS. GATELLI: I'll give you your five
4 minutes back.
5 MR. LYMAN: Okay.
6 MS. GATELLI: But I'm not going to let
7 you stand there and discredit me or anyone else or the
8 attorney. That is not the truth.
9 If you got a letter, then somebody
10 forged our name. And I told you that on several
11 occasions already. I did not send you a letter not to
12 come here.
13 And Attorney Minora just told you he
14 did not send you a letter to come here. So, if indeed
15 you got one, someone wrote it to you and forged our
17 MR. LYMAN: On City Council letterhead?
18 MS. GATELLI: Well, that's very
19 serious. And they will be arrested for doing that.
20 MR. LYMAN: That's the question.
21 MS. GATELLI: They will be arrested for
22 fraud, and I will go right to the magistrate.
23 MR. LYMAN: I also showed it to my
24 friend Dave, the state trooper. He thinks it's kind of
1 MS. GATELLI: Yes, I think it's very
3 MR. LYMAN: Because I --
4 MS. GATELLI: No letters go out on City
5 Council's stationery, unless Mrs. Garvey types them.
6 MR. LYMAN: And it was typed and
8 MS. GATELLI: Well, she does all the
9 typing. Mrs. Garvey, did you type a letter to Mr.
11 MS. GARVEY: No, I didn't, and I don't
12 believe Neil or Sue did either.
13 MR. LYMAN: I'll bring it down and I'll
15 MS. GATELLI: You bring it, and we will
16 prosecute the offenders to the fullest.
17 MR. LYMAN: I'll bring it down, and my
18 lawyer will bring it down.
19 MR. MINORA: Would you be willing to
20 give a handwriting sample?
21 MR. LYMAN: Yeah, I'll write my name
22 right now.
23 MR. MINORA: When you bring the letter.
24 MR. LYMAN: I'll bring the letter,
25 because I didn't sign it.
1 MR. MINORA: Didn't say you did.
2 MR. LYMAN: And I'm not lying, because
3 I was intimidated. Just like when I went out here that
4 day and the cop threatened -- he threatened to beat me
6 MS. GATELLI: Ray --
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Ray, no cop threatened
8 to beat you up.
9 MR. LYMAN: He didn't?
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: No.
11 MR. LYMAN: You think I'm lying? You
12 think I'm lying?
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah.
14 MR. LYMAN: You're calling me a liar?
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: I do not think a cop
16 threatened to beat you up.
17 MS. GATELLI: What was his name?
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: What was the officer's
20 MR. LYMAN: I don't know who that cop's
21 name was that was here that day.
22 MS. GATELLI: Well, we'll find out.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: Ray, you can't come
24 here and say that, Ray.
25 MR. LYMAN: I'm only saying the truth.
1 I was intimidated. That's why I wasn't here. I wanted
2 to sue the City of Scranton, because I know the truth.
3 I took it to two of your friends and they said it was
4 your name on it.
5 MS. GATELLI: Well, it wasn't, Mr.
7 MR. LYMAN: Hey you can say that it
9 MS. GATELLI: It wasn't.
10 MR. LYMAN: Because I was intimidated.
11 My mother was sickly --
12 MS. GATELLI: Ray, you're out of order.
13 Sit down. Get away from the podium and sit down.
14 Thank you. Next speaker, please.
15 MS. TIGUE: Hello. My name is Crystal
16 Tigue. I'm not here to point fingers or say fact or
17 opinion or anything, but I just have an idea that I'd
18 like to address, you know. I'm sitting there patiently
19 trying to keep calm, cool and collected.
20 I was writing about the immigrant
21 stuff. I thought, Well, the first thing before I even
22 start pointing fingers or even complaining about
23 anything is acceptance comes first before a solution, I
24 always thought.
25 So, why not accept it and try to
1 solutionize what can we actually do, instead of being,
2 you know, lollygaged about the seven deadly sins that
3 really aren't important in life.
4 I'm all for peace. I'm not here to
5 point fingers or beat around the bush about anything
6 really. All I'm trying to say is -- the first thing I
7 wrote was, Maybe countries like in the US, that things
8 that are connected to the US, they are connected, being
9 that it is one land, it's not just the United States.
10 I'm thinking maybe if we can come up
11 with an agreement with the ones that are connected,
12 being that they are people from other countries coming
13 into the United States, maybe we can come to an
14 agreement in sharing and not just being the United
15 States only, and come to an agreement with sharing
16 something, come to an agreement on accepting what's
17 going on and stuff, you know, like Mexico and whatever.
18 Reverend Smith over here gave me the
19 idea to ask you guys where the stats are -- the stat
20 reports are of illegal immigrants coming to Scranton
21 through Hazleton? Maybe if you can address that to me,
22 and it'd be pretty cool, to find out where we are with
23 the immigrants and see how we can actually fix it
24 starting from here.
25 And I'm for peace. I'm all for peace.
1 And I'm not greedy when it comes to the United States.
2 I might have been born here, but I'm not going to claim
3 it as the only thing.
4 I'm not just for the United States, I'm
5 for the world. And being that -- peace, Pocahontas.
6 Pocahontas, it wasn't fair to her either, but she dealt
7 with it. I'm not trying to be, like, all kiddish, but
8 it's true.
9 So, for the sake of, like, not just
10 everyone's foolish selfish thoughts, think of the
11 future of my child that's going to be on the way and
12 your own. So, that's all I've got to say. Those stats
13 will be nice. Thank you.
14 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
15 MS. HUBBARD RENTAS: Good evening,
16 Council members and Junior Council. I want to take
17 this time to introduce myself. My name is Tracy
18 Hubbard Rentas. I am a Latina. I'm an attorney, and
19 I'm an immigration attorney, so I feel that I can speak
20 to the issue that I've been hearing from the citizens,
21 as well as the Council.
22 The first thing I want to say is that I
23 keep hearing this distinction between illegal and
24 legal. The problem with that is it is not that simple.
25 I mean, it would be wonderful if we can say, you, blue
1 person over there, all the blue people are illegal and
2 everyone else is not. It's not like there's a scarlet
3 letter, some way of determining illegal from legal.
4 This is the immigration laws in this
5 country. Immigration law is one of the most complex
6 areas of law. In order to be determined whether you're
7 legal or illegal, it is not simply that you cross the
8 border from Mexico into the United States. That does
9 not make illegal.
10 That means that you entered without
11 admission and enter without inspection, but there are
12 plenty of people here in this country who are citizens
13 who entered that way.
14 The problem is with the definition of
15 trying to distinction between illegal and legal is that
16 I ask you, what does an illegal look like? How do you
18 The courts, the way it's determined by
19 whether you're legal or illegal in this country is that
20 you go before a judge and you have lawyers who argue
21 the law.
22 It is not simply you're from Mexico,
23 you don't speak English, you're brown, you're illegal.
24 It's not true. It is not that you're from Honduras,
25 you snuck over into this country, you must be illegal.
1 Not true.
2 I have clients who've done that, and
3 they are legal in this country. The only thing that
4 has to happen is that I have to fill out paperwork for
6 I tell you that many Hispanics do not
7 know if they're legal or illegal. They come to me and
8 they ask me, am I legal or am I illegal?
9 The immigration laws are so complex,
10 and the problem with trying to say legal versus illegal
11 is truly what you're saying is brown versus white,
12 English speaking versus Spanish speaking.
13 I speak Spanish. I speak it fluently.
14 It was my first language. Now, if I walked in and I
15 spoke only Spanish, does that make me illegal? Does
16 that mean that I'm going to be subject to questioning
17 about what my citizenship status in this country is?
18 I have family members born US citizens.
19 They don't speak English. It's not a matter of, you
20 know, that, you know, that all illegals don't speak
21 English and all legals speaks English. It's not that
23 How do you determine -- there's talk of
24 paperwork. Do you think that all legals -- all people
25 that are here -- all aliens have a green card? What
1 color is a green card?
2 How are you going to have that the
3 Hazleton ordinance would have landlords determine,
4 well, who is here legally? If it takes a court of law
5 with a judge and lawyers to determine who is here
6 legally and who is not, how are ordinary citizens going
7 to do it?
8 It is very, very complex. There's so
9 many different ways in which people gain status in this
11 I want to speak -- I keep hearing about
12 the crisis, the economic crisis in Scranton. And I
13 hear -- I hear it on television ads that -- the idea
14 that illegal immigrants are a drain. No, they're not.
15 It's a misconception.
16 Illegal immigrants pay taxes. As a
17 matter of fact, last year they paid $7 billion in
18 Social Security tax, because they work, but they work
19 under fake Social Security numbers and fake papers,
20 because -- the employers know, but the employers -- if
21 I have this paper, you can't touch me, because how am I
22 supposed to know the paper is fake?
23 They pay taxes. They pay Scranton wage
24 tax. They pay Scranton property tax. They pay
25 education tax, local tax, federal tax, Social Security
1 tax. They pay every single tax that you and I pay.
2 The difference is is they don't get one
3 benefit from it. They will never see a Social Security
4 check, never. And it's not simply -- you know, it's
5 not -- and with respect to the issue of criminal, you
6 know, criminal so that where you have immigrants who
7 are truly involved in criminal activity, not just
8 simply being here, I have no issue with that. I'm on
9 the same page with you, but the problem is is that what
10 you're doing by attempting to do this ordinance is you
11 can't distinguish.
12 You're saying illegal versus legal, and
13 what you're truly saying, whether you realize it or not
14 is if you're brown, you are subject to, you know, to a
15 determination whether you legal or illegal.
16 I had a case where a police officer
17 said, Let me see your green card. It was asked, What
18 color is a green card? Police officer said, I know
19 what it is, I've been trained, it's green. No, it's
21 The green card hasn't been green for
22 many, many years, decades at this point. So, the point
23 is is that if you're here on temporary protected
24 status, you're legal in this country.
25 Do you think you have a green card?
1 You don't. You have a piece of paper, which if I
2 showed it to you, you wouldn't know how to make heads
3 or tails of it.
4 My point is it is not as simple as
5 legal versus illegal, because you don't know the
6 difference. A court of law needs to determine the
8 The problem is is that what you're
9 truly going to have -- what's going to happen is that
10 you're saying Hispanics cannot feel comfortable here
11 because they're going to be targeted, you know, they're
12 going to be targeted, let me see your green card, let
13 me see your status.
14 That's not -- you know, and the other
15 thing is the way that you're truly determined to be
16 illegal in this country is primarily because the
17 immigrant tells you. It's not because immigration and
18 the police are doing their jobs and know.
19 It's because they go up to them and
20 they say, and I have several clients this has happened
21 to in Scranton, I'm looking for Joe Shmoe. Have you
22 seen Joe Shmoe? And they have a picture of an alien.
23 And they say, No, we don't know Joe Shmoe. We have no
24 idea who this person is. Truthfully, they don't.
25 And then they say, Well, where are you
1 from? And the immigrant answers, I'm from, you know,
2 El Salvador. And when did you enter this country? And
3 they answer, I entered two years ago. And how did you
4 enter this country? Well, I walked in from Mexico.
5 And the thing is, the point that I'm
6 trying to tell you is it's not that simple, because if
7 the immigrant knew that he had a Constitutional right
8 to remain silent, immigration couldn't tell you whether
9 they're here legally or not. It's not that simple.
10 And the problem is is that you can't determine between
11 legal and illegal.
12 So, I know that it sounds wonderful to
13 simply say if they're illegal, get out, but if they're
14 legal, leave them here. You can't make that
15 determination. Ordinary citizens can't.
16 And the last thing I would like to say
17 with respect to the whole immigration issue is that
18 it's one of these things that is so politically
19 charged, but understand that what you're seeing in the
20 media, neither one is correct, neither side is correct.
21 Immigrants are not this drain that
22 Senator Santorum would want you to think. In fact,
23 where Scranton is in such economic crisis, they're
24 helping, they're helping your economy.
25 Think about if -- let's say you're gong
1 to get rid of all the illegal immigrants, once you
2 figure out who that is, what you're going to do is
3 you're going to chase all the Hispanics out of
4 Scranton, because no one wants to deal with the
5 discrimination on a daily basis of being asked what's
6 your immigration status, are you here legally.
7 And the problem is what that ordinance
8 in Hazleton is doing is it's telling ordinary citizens
9 that they have the right to ask these questions.
10 The last thing is that that ordinance
11 in Hazleton has been challenged. There are 27 lawyers,
12 the best, the brightest, I've worked with them, I know,
13 challenging that ordinance.
14 I will tell you that I was a
15 Constitutional law scholar. It is very, very, very
16 flawed. It is going to cost the City of Hazleton
17 millions of dollars when they lose, because it's a
18 Section 1983 claim, which means if the Plaintiffs win
19 one thing, you have to say, I'm sorry. All attorneys'
20 fees get paid by the opposing side, twenty-seven
21 brilliant lawyers specializing in civil rights
22 litigation. Do you know what the legal fees that
23 Hazleton is going to have to pay?
24 All I'm saying to you is, I won't be
25 able to be at next week's meeting because I will be on
1 a plane to a conference in Seattle, Washington on
2 immigration, so I'm not going to be able to be there,
3 but I'd love to participate in the discussion and
4 simply say that while it sounds easy, it is not easy,
5 and there is no way that you could tell me who is legal
6 and who is not legal. Thank you.
7 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Ancherani.
8 MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening, Council.
9 I'm Nelson Ancherani, I'm a resident, taxpayer, city
10 employee, member of the FOP. Again, I'm here
11 exercising my First Amendment Rights.
12 I just wanted to say that there were
13 two policemen that attended a Dare School for two
14 weeks, and at that DARE School, they asked the other
15 police officers to list what their low and high were
16 for their wages for the police departments, and I have
17 some comparison.
18 And I know they're always comparing us
19 with Bethlehem. We get here, we get $32,007 for a
20 first-year patrolman, and then it goes up, that's
21 80 percent, then it goes up to $40,009. That's the top
22 rate for a second year patrolman.
23 Bethlehem city, $36,000 to start,
24 $51,000 at the top, $51,000 at the top. Springfield
25 Township, $45,000 to start, $62,000 at the top. York
1 area, $31,000 to start, $65,000 at the top. So, if you
2 think we make decent money, you're wrong. Well, you're
3 not wrong, you're the Council, the mayor is wrong.
4 Anyway, last Thursday evening at the
5 Council meeting, Mrs. Fanucci, you said that we -- that
6 the city is a service industry. That's what we've been
7 saying all along. It's not a business.
8 The Legion of Doomers have been saying
9 that. The mayor is saying he's running it like a
10 business, but we are a service industry.
11 Also last Thursday you said that
12 80 percent of our budget goes to wages. I went through
13 the 2006 budget, and I came up with the wages for 511
14 city employees. Doesn't include OECD. It comes out to
15 $18,175,556. And that could go either way a little
16 bit, because I was doing it from the budget.
17 So, just to go a little bit over -- oh,
18 and that's 27 percent. And just to go over that, I put
19 in, like, another $12 million for the medical and
20 longevity, the clothing allowance, OT, whatever, so
21 that was at $30 million, $30, $31 million. That's
22 40 percent of the 2006 budget. So, there's 60 percent
23 of that budget, which is approximately $45 million that
24 the mayor had to spend.
25 In the business administration office,
1 there's one assistant flood control officer or worker,
2 project coordinator at $40,000, four flood control
3 re-location specialists, totals $135,000, and one flood
4 control engineer, $39,000.
5 And it's paid out of the Fund 06 Bond
6 capital projects. I don't know what that is, but
7 that's in the business administration office.
8 I took note that the $44 million loan
9 is not on the agenda. The mayor and the tabloid
10 editorialists, editorialists Halloweeners, and it's
11 their season, are saying that Council is not offering
12 alternatives if they don't approve the $44 million. I
13 guess they turned their deaf ears when Council gives
14 them at least 35 alternatives. Mrs. Evans gave them a
15 list that includes a QRS system with the fire
17 I say again, and I said it before, that
18 totalling the 2002 through 2006 budgets on the revenue
19 side adding in the borrowed money, it totals
20 approximately $408 million. Deduct the 40 percent for
21 salaries, which is $163 million, and it still leaves
22 $245 million for this mayor to spend, $245 million.
23 We're in a $6.5 million deficit. How,
24 how can we default on a loan? $6.5 million deficit. I
25 say, Where? Just one way to save money. Mrs. Evans
1 gave a lot of money.
2 The rent that the OECD office pays.
3 Why did they move? What's wrong with here, with this
4 city? The juvenile officer, we're up on Mulberry. I'm
5 sure we're paying rent.
6 But anyway, that $408 million, the $6.5
7 deficit, $3.3 million surplus that Connors had, and I'm
8 willing to bet that the next budget is going to be $75
9 million for 2007.
10 And if he gets a $7 million loan, $500
11 million, half a billion dollars, half a billion. Take
12 that $163 million for wages, and what do you have?
13 You've got a lot of money to spend, $300-some million.
14 We don't need a loan. We have the money. Thank you.
15 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Is there
16 anyone else? You can't talk, Honey, you spoke once
17 already. Mrs. Garvey.
18 MS. GARVEY: 5-A, Motions.
19 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Evans.
20 MS. EVANS: Good evening. I'd like to
21 congratulate Mr. Doug Fink, President of Pennsylvania
22 Paper and Supply Company and his staff on the occasion
23 of their grand re-opening as Facility Management
25 Also, I've been asked to make this
1 announcement on behalf of the Junior Council, anyone
2 who wishes to buy a $1 raffle ticket for the
3 handicapped swing set can see Katrina after the meeting
5 And now just a few announcements: The
6 Scranton Police Department received a $40,000 federal
7 grant from the Department of Justice to be used for
8 security and assessments for schools.
9 First of all, vulnerable areas will be
10 identified. This information will be given to the
11 police department to develop solutions; secondly,
12 police officers will instruct classes for both faculty
13 and students regarding drug and alcohol abuse, bullying
14 and internet crime, and, third, Scranton High School,
15 West Scranton High School and Bishop Hannon will each
16 receive a video camera which will digitally record and
17 save up to 30 days. This is a very good step toward
18 better protecting our schools and our children.
19 I also received a response on
20 October 10 from Mr. James Walsh, as Kay noted earlier,
21 Vice President of Property Management with Steamtown
22 Mall partners regarding the covered bus shelters in the
24 Now, we also have a response from Colts
25 and Lamar, and the bus shelters, I believe, will be a
1 reality. We've hit a temporary snag, in that we, well,
2 Lamar must locate a company who manufactures a required
3 part that will be historically in keeping with the
4 buildings on which or near which rather these bus
5 shelters will be installed, but they are coming. And I
6 believe they will be coming in the near future.
7 I also received an immediate response
8 to my inquiries from Mr. Gerald Cross, Executive
9 Director of the Pennsylvania Economy League. And I'm
10 just going to quote from his letter, I'm writing in
11 response to your letter regarding some questions posed
12 by Councilwoman Evans.
13 On the question of insured or bonded,
14 PEL does not carry bonded insurance, and I am not sure
15 if the circumstances under our projects were such
16 insurance might be required.
17 PEL's central division does maintain
18 normal insurance coverage. In regards to our provision
19 for state payment under our contract, PEL receives its
20 payments under a contract with the Pennsylvania
21 Department of Community and Economic Development.
22 Payments are paid under checks issued by the State
23 Treasury Department and are signed by the state
24 treasurer, Robert P. Casey.
25 Also as of May 2006, the Pennsylvania
1 Economy League was paid $1,747,602 by DCED. And I
2 appreciate that immediate response.
3 Now, we also received a response
4 regarding the final audit of 2005. As of October 5,
5 the city's outside labor attorney responded to
6 questions by the auditor, thus, upon the receipt of the
7 city's final analysis portion of the audit, Council
8 will receive a final 2005 audit financial statement.
9 I also note that Council still has not
10 received a capital budget that complies with the
11 requirements of the Home Rule Charter. We requested
12 such by October 10. It has not been received, as I
13 have said; hence, I am to assume that no budget will be
14 passed, as was the case in 2005, when the
15 administration refused to comply.
16 The administration has developed a
17 pattern of Home Rule Charter and contract violations,
18 and a pattern of failing to answer questions.
19 Now, I just noted a moment ago PEL
20 responded to questions within two days, Steamtown Mall
21 Partners responded to questions within one week, but
22 many, not all, but many of our department heads take
23 months to respond or simply never respond at all, which
24 is a slap in the face of Council, and more importantly,
25 a slap to all of the taxpayers of Scranton.
1 This is what they think of you, and
2 this is what they think of elected authority. They
3 would be gone. These people would not be working if I
4 had my way.
5 Now, I do have a list of citizens'
6 requests, but, Neil, you have that. Here comes Neil to
7 the rescue. Thank you so much.
8 Pave Ward Place and 1000 block of
9 Cooper Avenue. Pave Gardier Road on West Mountain.
10 Please fill a very large pothole at the end of Hollow
11 Avenue and the beginning of Pleasant Avenue adjacent to
12 the fire hydrant. Residents have been calling the
13 pothole hotline for two months with no success.
14 Pave the 200 block of Vine Street. It
15 has been ignored for countless years, and a taxpaying
16 business, which is a staple of our downtown, is located
17 on this street.
18 Pave the 600 block of Division Street.
19 The city paved Division recently, but stopped when it
20 reached this block, which is littered with patches and
22 The corner of Division and 16th Avenue
23 is dangerous to motorists and school busses. Vehicles
24 park right to the corner Division Street thereby
25 blocking visibility when attempting to turn the corner.
1 Please place a no parking sign at this
2 location to prevent parking from the gate of the
3 residents' property to the corner of Division and 16th
5 A letter to Attorney Farrell, I would
6 like a response to my letter of October 2, 2006
7 regarding 439-441 Tenth Avenue by Wednesday October 18.
8 And a no parking sign was knocked down
9 by a drunk driver several months ago in front of 72
10 East Parker Street. The sign remains, it is lying in
11 the grass, and I ask that it be installed within the
13 Just to jump back to a request made by
14 Mrs. Gatelli by letter that was mentioned quite early
15 on in the meeting, I believe that if the mayor is going
16 to speak with the five Council members, then he should
17 speak with the five Council members together and
19 I don't believe in these private
20 conversations. I believe that one Council member can
21 be told this amount of information and another Council
22 member may receive entirely different information, but
23 more so, I believe the public who is going to pay the
24 bill for all of this borrowing deserves to be privy to
25 those conversations.
1 And so, if any conversation is to be
2 had, it should be here in Council chambers with the
3 cameras rolling.
4 MS. GATELLI: That's fine with me.
5 MS. EVANS: And --
6 MS. GATELLI: I didn't meet with him
7 either, by the way. I haven't.
8 MS. EVANS: Well, there's two of us
9 then that haven't. Finally, I want to set the
10 financial record straight, at least for the people who
11 watch these meetings.
12 Let's cut through the balderdash you've
13 read and the poppy cock voiced by Mr. Kresefski. The
14 figures you see in the newspaper don't include all the
15 interest, they don't include the authority's debt's.
16 The true Doherty debt is over $208 million that you and
17 I will pay over the next 28 years.
18 I've sat on Council nearly three years,
19 and I've never seen an audit take so long, I've never
20 seen the mayor announce his proposed borrowing in
21 August or even September or October, for that matter.
22 And, friends, I think one plus one
23 equals two. Was this administration purposely stalling
24 an audit to submit a better audit, possibly the audit
25 of 2004 to the Radion Group and Standand and Poors?
1 Did this administration announce its
2 plan to increase the Doherty debt by $44 million in
3 August to push a Council vote in September before an
4 audit or a new budget could be released? Ladies and
5 gentlemen, it doesn't pass the smell test.
6 Now our credit rating has dropped. Do
7 you understand why? As I think a speaker, Mr. Bonacuse
8 perhaps mentioned earlier tonight, a lack of
9 confidence, that is not what is at issue, not according
10 to Standard and Poors.
11 The fact is very simple, the mayor
12 borrowed too much money in his first term of office and
13 our shrinking tax base cannot pay for it.
14 Standard and Poors of Wall Street has
15 vindicated what I've been saying for three years, but
16 we're very lucky. We have a loan shark waiting in the
17 wings salivating to double their money on our taxes by
18 giving Mr. Doherty another $44 million to support his
19 spending, squandering, and, of course, his political
21 Council's indecision demonstrates its
22 weakness. I think Council should have voted on this
23 matter tonight, in fact, weeks ago. Just say yes or no
24 to increasing the people's debt to over a quarter of a
25 billion dollars, from $208 million to well up over a
1 quarter of a billion, B-I-L-L-I-O-N, and just say yes
2 or no to increasing the deficit each year from seven to
3 $10 million, and then add in an extra million or two
4 each year for the health increases and whatever
5 arbitration cases the city losses, or just say yes or
6 no to increasing your debt service from five to $8
7 million per year.
8 And you know what, that increase from
9 the $208 million to the over of a quarter billion and
10 the increase from the borrowing of $5 million to $8
11 million, that's going to happen overnight. And Council
12 needs to step up to the plate and just say yes or no.
13 That's it.
14 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Fanucci.
15 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I actually have
16 nothing at this time. Thank you.
17 MS. GATELLI: Thank you Mr. Courtright.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes. I would just
19 like to reiterate what Mrs. Gatelli said before about
20 the downtown senior center. They have their flea
21 market on Saturday the 21st, and they would also like
22 you to know that they have breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11
23 p.m., and then they'll have soda and hot dogs
24 throughout the day.
25 We have three K-9 officers in the City
1 of Scranton, and I believe two of them competed in an
2 event up at Abington this past week or two, Officer Jim
3 Pappas and Officer Robert Stelmak.
4 Officer Pappas was number one in the
5 overall competition, and Officer Stelmak also received
6 awards, so I would just like to congratulate them on
8 And one other thing, this was brought
9 up last week, and it's been brought up many times in
10 the past, about that we passed a budget last year with
11 an increase for our solicitor.
12 I think if we're going to tell the
13 story, we have to tell the entire story. The entire
14 story is this, when Mrs. Evans, Mr. McTiernan and
15 myself first came on the Council, the previous Council
16 voted, and at this time the mayor did not have a
17 problem with cutting salaries. He cut Mark Walsh's
18 salary from the previous salary that Eugene Hickey had,
19 about $40,000 per year to $22,000 a year.
20 When Mr. Minora took over, it went up
21 to $30,000. So, actually Mr. Minora is making $10,000
22 less than what Mr. Hickey made for many, many years.
23 So, it was an increase. He haven't made it back to
24 where it rightfully should be. So, I just wanted to
25 get that straight.
1 There was no problem cutting salaries
2 back then, so maybe we won't have any problem this year
3 cutting some.
4 MS. EVANS: Mr. Courtright.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
6 MS. EVANS: One interesting fact that
7 I'll add to that scenario, Mr. Hickey, though, remained
8 in the employ of the City of Scranton thereafter, and
9 his $40,000 was being maintained when a position was
10 created for him as an assistant city solicitor in a
11 full-time capacity, and I believe his specialty would
12 have been Worker's Comp., and at the same time, no
13 Worker's Comp. buyouts were occurring.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: You're absolutely
15 correct. I believe it was Mr. Narsavage E-mailed me,
16 and I'll try to get this, he's asking about the truck
17 ordinance, and I have it here in my hand, but it's very
18 lengthy for me to read the entire thing, so I will try
19 to get it to you, I will have it mailed out to you, Mr.
21 And one last thing, I was approached by
22 a woman that does the crossing for the school children
23 at Main Avenue and Luzerne Street, and there's a large
24 number of children that cross that street, and that
25 crosswalk still hasn't been paved. So, Kay, if we can
1 ask Mr. Parker about the crosswalk at Main and Luzerne,
2 if they can do that as soon as possible. There's many,
3 many children walking that way. And I believe that's
4 all I have. Thank you.
5 MS. GATELLI: Thank you, Mr.
6 Courtright. I just have one thing, to send another
7 letter to the mayor to attend City Council next week at
8 5:15, and if he could possibly bring a copy of his
9 proposed budget for 2007 so we can see where he's
10 making the cuts for next year.
11 And, also, Attorney Minora, if you
12 could find out for us exactly what the penalties will
13 be and what things we will be defaulting on.
14 MR. MINORA: The amounts of the --
15 MS. GATELLI: The amounts and the loans
16 that we will default if we don't give him any money at
17 all. Work on that basis of not giving any money at all
18 so we will know how much he should reduce his budget
20 MS. EVANS: There's also, though, a
21 concern here, in that, there's a difference, I'm sure
22 you know, between loans and bond issues. The bond are
24 So, in the event that payment could not
25 be made, the insurance company would make that payment,
1 as has occurred in another Pennsylvania city.
2 The loan payments, I think, are quite
3 the scenario described by Attorney Minora, in that,
4 you'll pay the principal, interest and penalty.
5 MR. MINORA: And usually with a bonding
6 company, the penalties are greater than they would be
7 with a default on a TAN. A bonding company has usually
8 within their bond a more penal paragraph as far as a
9 default is concerned. You'll pay their attorney's
10 fees. Most loans, straight loans, don't have that.
11 But if you actually read your home mortgage, which is
12 the same type of a thing, if you fail to pay that, you
13 will pay the bank's attorney's fees for coming after
14 you. So, those things --
15 MS. GATELLI: Try and give us some type
16 of an estimate.
17 MR. MINORA: It may be very difficult,
18 because we're talking about a number of different types
19 of loans and all of the documents concerned. I mean,
20 I'll do my best to look at that, but generally
21 speaking, it's not a good situation to do. It's going
22 to cost up --
23 MS. EVANS: Oh, it's never good.
24 MR. MINORA: It will cost you way more
25 than it will --
1 MS. EVANS: Not to pay your bills, but
2 I --
3 MR. MINORA: I mean, defaulting is
4 worse than -- you know, a merchant, you own the money,
5 and you own the money, but with a loan, there are most
6 of the time within the loan documents penalizing
7 language that exceeds what you would have, as opposed
8 to failing to pay a merchant.
9 MS. EVANS: But then keep in mind we
10 have a million dollar insurance policy, and, you know,
11 even beyond that, Standard and Poors is not
12 recommending, it would appear, any borrowing, and
13 they're saying that we're over, basically I'm
14 paraphrasing here, we're overextended already and that
15 our tax base cannot support the payment of what's
16 already been borrowed, which is why we're now
17 plummeting in our ratings, so that certainly
18 discourages future borrowing.
19 MR. MINORA: Yeah, I'm not here
20 advocating, I'm just suggesting that a default is a
21 very, very bad thing for the city, worse than failure
22 to pay a merchant by a country mile so to speak.
23 MS. GATELLI: Okay. So, we will --
24 I'll be prepared for that for next week. All right.
25 Mrs. Garvey.
1 MS. GARVEY: 5-B, FOR INTRODUCTION - AN
2 ORDINANCE - SALE OF TAX DELINQUENT PROPERTY AT 977
3 UNION AVENUE, SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA TO RUSSELL AND
4 DEBORAH PRENO, 983 UNION AVENUE, SCRANTON,
5 PENNSYLVANIA, 18510, FOR THE SUM OF $2,600.00.
6 MS. GATELLI: At this time I'll
7 entertain a motion to introduce 5-B.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
9 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Second.
10 MS. GATELLI: On the question? All
11 those in favor.
12 MS. EVANS: Aye.
13 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Aye.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
15 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The ayes
16 have it and so moved. Unanimous.
17 MS. GARVEY: 5-C, FOR INTRODUCTION - AN
18 ORDINANCE - AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 155, 1999 TO
19 CHANGE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR TAKING THE MASTER
20 ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR'S LICENSE EXAM AND TO CHANGE THE
21 REQUIREMENTS FOR TAKING THE MASTER PLUMBERS LICENSE
23 MS. GATELLI: At this time I'll
24 entertain a motion that 5-C be introduced.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
1 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Second.
2 MS. GATELLI: On the question? All
3 those in favor.
4 MS. EVANS: Aye.
5 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Aye.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
7 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The ayes
8 have it and so moved. Unanimous.
9 MS. GARVEY: 5-D, FOR INTRODUCTION - A
10 RESOLUTION - ACCEPTING THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE
11 HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE REVIEW BOARD (HARB) AND
12 APPROVING THE CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS FOR PELLA
13 PRODUCTS, INC., 4 KEYSTONE INDUSTRIAL PARK, DUNMORE,
14 FOR REPLACEMENT OF WINDOWS AT ST. PETER'S RECTORY, 315
15 WYOMING AVENUE.
16 MS. GATELLI: At this time I'll
17 entertain a motion that 5-D be introduced.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
19 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Second.
20 MS. GATELLI: On the question? All
21 those in favor.
22 MS. EVANS: Aye.
23 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Aye.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
25 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The ayes
1 have it and so moved. Unanimous.
2 MS. GARVEY: 5-E, FOR INTRODUCTION - A
3 RESOLUTION - ACCEPTING THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE
4 HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE REVIEW BOARD (HARB) AND
5 APPROVING THE CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS FOR
6 HIGHLAND ASSOCIATES, LTD, 102 HIGHLAND AVENUE, CLARKS
7 SUMMIT FOR REPLACEMENT OF EXTERIOR WINDOWS AND DOORS AT
8 GOODWILL NORTH, NORTH MAIN AVENUE AND THEODORE STREET.
9 MS. GATELLI: At this time I'll
10 entertain a motion that 5-E be introduced.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
12 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Second.
13 MS. GATELLI: On the question? All
14 those in favor.
15 MS. EVANS: Aye.
16 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Aye.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
18 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The ayes
19 have it and so moved. Unanimous.
20 MS. GARVEY: 5-F, FOR INTRODUCTION - A
21 RESOLUTION - ACCEPTING THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE
22 HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE REVIEW BOARD (HARB) AND
23 APPROVING THE CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS FOR LAMAR
24 ADVERTISING, 700 JAMES AVENUE, SCRANTON FOR THE
25 INSTALLATION OF A WALL MOUNTED SIGN AT 428 LACKAWANNA
2 MS. GATELLI: At this time I'll
3 entertain a motion that 5-F be introduced.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
5 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Second.
6 MS. GATELLI: On the question?
7 I have a question. We talked about the benches and
8 that they're being delayed because they have to fit in
9 with the downtown historical appearance, and this
10 billboard is being put on a building that's on
11 Lackawanna Avenue that's in a historic district, and
12 I'm going to be voting no on this, because I don't
13 think that billboards belong on Lackawanna Avenue in a
14 historic district.
15 MS. EVANS: On the question?
16 MS. GATELLI: Yes.
17 MS. EVANS: Yes. I might suggest
18 tabling this legislation until we would receive the bus
20 MS. GATELLI: We can do that, but I'm
21 still going to vote no. So, whatever the rest want to
22 do. Do you want to make a motion to table it and see
24 MS. EVANS: Okay. I move to table Item
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
2 MS. GATELLI: On the question? All
3 those in favor.
4 MS. EVANS: Aye.
5 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Aye.
6 MR. MCTIERNAN: Aye.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
8 MS. GATELLI: Opposed? No. By a vote
9 of 3-1, it's tabled.
10 MS. GARVEY: 6-A, READING BY TITLE -
11 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 46, 2006 - AN ORDINANCE - VACATING
12 THE RIGHT OF WAY KNOWN AS THE 300 BLOCK OF MAHON COURT
13 BETWEEN MULBERRY AND LINDEN STREETS AND PARALLEL TO
14 CLAY AND NORTH WEBSTER AVENUES.
15 MS. GATELLI: You've heard reading by
16 title of Item 6-A, what's your pleasure?
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: I move that Item 6-A
18 pass reading by title.
19 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Second.
20 MS. GATELLI: On the question? All
21 those in favor.
22 MS. EVANS: Aye.
23 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Aye.
24 MR. MCTIERNAN: Aye.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
1 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The ayes
2 have it and so moved. Unanimous.
3 MS. GARVEY: 6-B, READING BY TITLE,
4 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 50, 2006 - AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING
5 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 162, 2005 AN ORDINANCE ENTITLED
6 GENERAL CITY OPERATING BUDGET 2006 BY TRANSFERRING
7 $60,000.00 FROM ACCOUNT NO. 01.040.00042.4550
8 (DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION BUREAU OF INFORMATION
9 TECHNOLOGY CAPITAL EXPENDITURES) TO ACCOUNT NO.
10 01.060.00000.4201 (LAW DEPARTMENT PROFESSIONAL
11 SERVICES) TO PROVIDE FUNDING TO COVER LEGAL FEES.
12 MS. GATELLI: You've heard reading by
13 title of Item 6-B, what's your pleasure?
14 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Madame Chairman, I
15 move that Item 6-B pass reading by title.
16 MS. GATELLI: Do we have a second? No
17 second. That dies for a lack of a second. Next.
18 I just have one question before we move
19 on, that transfer, Attorney Minora, I'd like you to
20 investigate that. They want to transfer $60,000 from
21 technology into the law department.
22 My question is, if the people in the
23 law department have -- are working there and they're
24 supposed to get this money, can they do what Carl Greco
25 did and go to court and get the money? If you can't
1 answer me now, it's fine.
2 MR. MINORA: I can't, because I don't
3 know what happened. In Attorney Greco's situation, he
4 had already done the work, and presumably was
5 authorized by somebody to continue doing the work, so
6 his situation was -- there was no defense not to pay
7 him. I don't know whether this is for future work or
8 work that's past, so --
9 MS. EVANS: I think it was indicated in
10 their response that this could -- this is money that
11 they could even use in 2007, but I think in addition to
12 that, going to court, the city appearing in court over
13 such situations more than once, I think, will appear to
14 be questionable to a judge, would it not?
15 MR. MINORA: I'm sorry. I don't
17 MS. EVANS: In terms of why does the
18 city appear to approve contracts and payments without
19 the approval of City Council. It may become a
20 bothersome issue.
21 In other words, when Mr. Greco took his
22 case to court, that was the first time, but if we're
23 sending or any of these consultants or attorneys are
24 going to court seeking payment, I think then the
25 judicial system may be questioning the practices of the
1 city's administration.
2 MR. MINORA: I can't speak for the
4 MS. EVANS: I know I would.
5 MS. GATELLI: No, would you just look
6 that up, please, for us? I mean --
7 MR. MINORA: Yes.
8 MS. GATELLI: I mean, even though we
9 didn't vote for it, I want to know.
10 MR. MINORA: Yes. That should be easy
11 to find out.
12 MS. GATELLI: If you would. Thank you.
13 MS. GARVEY: Seventh order. 7-A, FOR
14 CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
15 - FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 104, 2006 - AUTHORIZING
16 THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS FOR THE
17 CITY OF SCRANTON TO ENTER INTO A LOAN AGREEMENT AND
18 MAKE A LOAN FROM THE URBAN DEVELOPMENT ACTION GRANT
19 REPAYMENT LOAN PROGRAM, PROJECT NO. 400.24 IN AN AMOUNT
20 NOT TO EXCEED $130,000.00 TO FRATELLI'S PIZZA & PASTA
21 HOUSE, INC. TO ASSIST AN ELIGIBLE PROJECT.
22 MS. GATELLI: What is the
23 recommendation of the chair on community development?
24 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: As chairperson for
25 the committee on community development, I recommend
1 final passage of Item 7-A.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
3 MS. GATELLI: On the question? Roll
5 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
6 MS. EVANS: Yes.
7 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Fanucci.
8 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Yes.
9 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McTiernan. Mr.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
12 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
13 MS. GATELLI: Yes. I hereby declare
14 Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted. A motion to
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
17 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Second.
19 (MEETING WAS ADJOURNED.)
1 C E R T I F I C A T E
3 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
4 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
5 notes taken by me on the hearing of the above cause and
6 that this copy is a correct transcript of the same
7 to the best of my ability.
LISA M. GRAFF, RMR
11 Official Court Reporter