1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
6 Thursday, February 8, 2007
10 6:30 p.m.
14 Council Chambers
15 Scranton City Hall
16 340 North Washington Avenue
17 Scranton, Pennsylvania
23 Lisa M. Graff, RMR
24 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. ROBERT MCGOFF
13 MR. AMIL MINORA, ESQUIRE, SOLICITOR
15 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
17 MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
1 MS. GATELLI: Okay. Please stand
2 for the Pledge Of Allegiance. Please remain
3 standing for a moment to remember our
4 servicemen. Thank you. Roll call.
5 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
6 MS. EVANS: Here.
7 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Fanucci.
8 MS. FANUCCI: Here.
9 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Here.
11 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
13 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
14 MS. GATELLI: Here. Dispense with
15 the reading of the minutes.
16 MS. GARVEY: Third order. 3-A,
17 RECEIPT OF $50.00 DONATION FROM THE HERBERT
18 SANDS FAMILY TO THE CITY OF SCRANTON FIRE
19 DEPARTMENT TO BE DEPOSITED INTO SPECIAL CITY
20 ACCOUNT #02.229544 (FIRE DEPARTMENT
22 MS. GATELLI: Are there any
23 comments? We would just like to thank Mr.
24 Sands for his contribution, and the fire
25 department responded to a carbon monoxide
1 call at his home, and they did an excellent
2 job, as they always do, and we thank them
3 for their service to the city and we thank
4 Mr. Sands for his contribution. Any other
5 comments? Received and filed.
6 MS. GARVEY: Just one thing in
7 clerk's notes that I was asked to discuss
8 tonight. Some people forms that they've
9 been receiving in the mail this week that
10 say school tax bill is enclosed, but when
11 they open it, that's not what's inside.
12 So, I was asked to call the single
13 tax office inside and I spoke to someone
14 there and they said that they don't send out
15 these forms any more, that it's been
16 outsourced to a company that does it now,
17 and evidently this company stuffed the wrong
18 envelopes and sent out the 2006 wage tax
20 I was asked by Mr. Courtright then
21 to pass this information onto the public so
22 it would help with any confusion they might
23 have. So, anybody that is employed should
24 be receiving this form to do their taxes, so
25 don't disregarded it. It has nothing to do
1 with their school taxes. And that's it.
2 MS. GATELLI: Thank you, Mrs.
3 Garvey. I just have a few things. Saturday
4 evening at eight o'clock at the Providence
5 Playhouse at 1256 Providence Road there will
6 be a play call Lovers And Other Strangers,
7 as that's for Valentine's Day.
8 On Friday, tomorrow evening at eight
9 o'clock at the Northeast Theater at the
10 Hotel Jermyn will be the Vagina Monologues
11 in honor of V-Day.
12 Also, tomorrow evening from 5:30 to
13 eight will be the Electric City Trolley
14 Museum Winter in the City party, 5:30 to
15 eight, benefiting Scranton Tomorrow.
16 Saturday starting at four o'clock at
17 the Asberry United Methodist Church there
18 will be a beef dinner. That's at 720
19 Delaware Street.
20 Saturday day from five to seven,
21 there will be a pork and sauerkraut supper
22 at the Court Street United Methodist Church.
23 Friday eleven in the morning to
24 seven at night, the new State Representative
25 Frank Shimkus will be holding an open house
1 in his office at 117 North Main Avenue, and
2 he asks everyone to please stop by.
3 We received an answer from George
4 Parker about the curb cuts on Mulberry and
5 Adams, and he responded that that is under
6 the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania
7 Department of Transportation, so, Kay, we
8 will forward all that Keith Williams
9 information to PennDOT and see if they can't
10 make those repairs expeditiously.
11 I asked about the Rockwell Avenue
12 bridge, and it is in need of replacement,
13 and a new structure is being designed
14 presently. The bridge is on the
15 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
16 improvement plan and is funded for design
17 and construction, with 80 percent federal
18 funds and 20 percent state funds.
19 A public meeting regarding the
20 design alternatives was held in North
21 Scranton on November 25, '03, where citizens
22 had the opportunity to give comments. The
23 project is scheduled for opening of bids in
24 June of '08. So, that's for the people that
25 were inquiring about the Rockwell Avenue
2 We also received an answer from
3 Jerry Cross from the Pennsylvania Economy
4 League concerning the director of public
5 safety. People asked why it was not in the
6 Recovery Plan and why there is such a person
7 serving in that function.
8 His answer was that the 1992 and
9 1996 recovery plans eliminated the separate
10 position of director of public safety.
11 The 2002 Recovery Plan, as adopted
12 by the city and approved by the voters at a
13 public referendum, did provide budgeting for
14 such a position. I hope that this explains
15 Act 47 background. So, that was his answer
16 to that.
17 I talked to Mark Seitzinger
18 regarding the property at 2519 North Main,
19 the Habitat For Humanity house. It is down
20 at the state being evaluated for historic
21 preservations reasons, which is just part of
22 procedure for demolition, and when -- as
23 soon as they get the okay, it will be placed
24 on the demolition list. It is in very
25 hazardous condition.
1 I also talked to Mark about the
2 property on Parker Street that Mr. Elman
3 talked about, and he said that he talked to
4 the owners and they were supposed to have it
5 down within 60 days, and he was going to
6 call them again. They have agreed to take
7 it down themselves.
8 Potholes were repaired on Dix Court,
9 1300 North Washington, 1600 of Muncy, nine
10 and ten of Clay, West Pass Avenue, 140-150
11 Dixon, 1300 of Sanderson, 200 of Cherry, one
12 and two of Popular, Greer Place, 200 of Vine
13 and Greenburn.
14 Inlets were repaired at Palm and
15 Pittston, 1612 Bullwer. A house was boarded
16 up at 1221 Linden.
17 We had snow events on Tuesday,
18 January 20 and Friday, February 2, and a
19 sink hole was repaired at 533 North Filmore,
20 and trees were trimmed -- were removed at
21 Connell Park and Nay Aug Park.
22 I also reported a property on
23 Wyoming Avenue that is sinking because of
24 the Meadow Brook Creek. It is 1713 Wyoming
25 Avenue, and Mr. Matthews is going to take a
1 look at that.
2 And the last thing I have is just to
3 wish my daughter happy birthday. I'm not
4 going to tell you how old she is, but Mrs.
5 Krake knows. And anyone else?
6 MS. EVANS: Yes.
7 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Evans.
8 MS. EVANS: Just three
9 announcements. On February 10, there will
10 be a breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
11 conducted at Saint Peters Lutheran Church
12 Social Hall located at the corner of Taylor
13 Avenue and Ash Street, that is close to
14 Petersburg Corners, benefitting Ginger
15 Dobenhauser, who underwent successful spinal
16 cord surgery but has incurred many medical
17 bills. For further information, please
18 contact Saint Peter's Lutheran at 344-2701.
19 Tickets are very reasonable, $5 for adults
20 and $3 for children under ten. There will
21 also be candy and bake goods for sale.
22 Last year at this time I asked for
23 your financial support of a West Scranton
24 student who wished to participate in the
25 People to People Leadership Program which
1 was conducted last summer in Europe, and
2 thanks to the generosity of so many people,
3 he was able to make this dream a reality,
4 and, in fact, he gave me a lovely photo
5 album of his travels for Christmas.
6 This summer Ryan McClaughlin, who is
7 a ninth grade student at Scranton High
8 School, hopes to attend the People to People
9 Leadership Summit in china.
10 He will attend educational workshops
11 and learn about China's government, history
12 and religions. It's an honor to be selected
13 for this program. And upon his return, Ryan
14 will share his experiences with schools and
15 civic clubs throughout our community.
16 His tuition is $5300, and I hope
17 that some of you who are able will
18 contribute toward Ryan's tuition with any
19 dollar amount that you can spare.
20 Please make all checks payable to
21 People to People, care of Ryan McClaughlin.
22 Checks or cash can be mailed to Ryan
23 McClaughlin, 933 Ferdinand Street, Scranton,
24 PA, 18508. I hope you can help.
25 And, once again, as I announced last
1 week, the Cross Your Heart We'll Have a Ball
2 sponsored by the Scranton Firefighters
3 Auxiliary on Saturday, February 10 from six
4 to 11 p.m. at Saint Joe's Center in Minooka.
5 Proceeds benefit the Scranton Chapter of the
6 American Red Cross. There will be
7 entertainment and a D.J. Tickets are $25.
8 And for ticket information, please call
9 Christine DeStefano at 344-0944.
10 There will also be raffles and a
11 special appearance by Scranton Rehab Two.
12 I'm not quite sure what that is, but I'm
13 looking forward to finding out. Thank you.
14 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else?
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: I just have one
16 thing. The West Side Crime Watch asked me
17 to announce they're going to have a meeting
18 this Monday at seven o'clock, the 12th, at
19 the crime watch building on Bromley Avenue
20 and Jackson Street, and there's going to be
21 a speaker there from the D.A.'s office
22 talking about sexual offenders. So, they're
23 inviting everyone to that meeting. That's
24 this Monday, the 12th, at 7 p.m. that's all
25 I have. Thanks.
1 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else? The
2 first speaker is Andy Sbaraglia.
3 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
4 citizen of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians,
5 your 7-A that came back -- that actually
6 came down from the mayor's office, right? I
7 don't think any of you had anything to do
8 with that.
9 Well, I asked around about it, and
10 somebody said this -- they've been there
11 from, I think, at that pay raise since '99,
12 so I guess I find nothing wrong with it.
13 The mayor seems to think it's okay, and I
14 think it's okay, too.
15 How about your number three here,
16 reports and communication from the mayor,
17 what did he actually report to you?
18 MS. GATELLI: Just the things that I
19 read from the various cabinet officials.
20 MR. SBARAGLIA: Anything specific?
21 MS. GATELLI: The reports I just
22 gave about the Rockwell Street bridge.
23 MR. SBARAGLIA: That's all he gave?
24 Nothing -- nothing about the financial
25 stability of the city, our BB negative bond
1 issue or anything like that?
2 Well, I think maybe you should query
3 him on the financial stability of the city.
4 Most of the people got their raises in their
5 taxes and they want to know what they're
6 getting for their raises in taxes. I think
7 they're getting a snow job for the raise in
8 taxes, but that's my opinion.
9 Things that are going on in this
10 city should never have been done. This city
11 doesn't have the financial backing to do all
12 the things he wanted to do.
13 There used to be a little story, a
14 movie, I guess, long time ago saying one
15 bridge at a time. Where they tried to go
16 too far, you got clobbered.
17 Well, we're in that position now.
18 He tried to go too far, and we got
19 clobbered, and we're going to get clobbered.
20 I would assume -- you should query
21 him again about the Parking Authority. He's
22 already thinking of two new garages, and I
23 find it real hard to figure how he's going
24 to get the money to pay for these garages.
25 We're already -- I'm going to query --
1 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Sbaraglia, could
2 you please stick to the agenda?
3 MR. SBARAGLIA: Well, that was the
4 reports, okay. I was just on the reports.
5 I just got a little carried away on the
7 I would assume that you had that
8 financial report and I have no reason to
9 assume that you wouldn't get something like
10 that in your report from the city. In fact,
11 I find it very --
12 MS. GATELLI: No, it's just weekly
13 communication that comes down from cabinet
14 members or --
15 MR. SBARAGLIA: Wouldn't it be wise
16 to get --
17 MS. GATELLI: PEL --
18 MR. SBARAGLIA: -- exactly how this
19 city is doing financially as we progress
20 weekly at a time?
21 MS. GATELLI: I don't know that
22 they've ever given a weekly report, not that
23 I was ever aware of.
24 MR. SBARAGLIA: Well, somebody
25 should look into it a little more closer.
1 MS. GATELLI: I know Roseann gives a
2 monthly report.
3 MR. SBARAGLIA: I know she does, but
4 I assume maybe we should try to get a little
5 more along the financial line from the
6 reports from the different departments as
7 they keep the budget, so forth and so on.
8 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
9 MR. SBARAGLIA: That would be the
10 wise thing to do. Thank you.
11 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Bill
13 MR. JACKOWITZ: Bill Jackowitz,
14 South Scranton resident. I also would like
15 to talk about number three, reports,
16 communication from mayor, heads of
17 department and interested parties and city
18 clerk's notes.
19 You read two responses from Mr.
20 Parker in regards to blighted buildings that
21 are going to be tore down; is that correct?
22 With all the letters, all the
23 E-mails, all the phone calls, all the visits
24 that have been made to the mayor and to all
25 these heads, requests for them to appear at
1 meetings and answer these questions, those
2 are the only two responses that we received;
3 is that correct?
4 MS. GATELLI: I believe I read more
5 than two responses.
6 MR. JACKOWITZ: There was two about
7 the buildings and then there was one about
8 the bridge, so maybe there was three. I
9 could have been off by one.
10 You know, this would be a good time
11 now to probably start issuing the subpoenas
12 if they're not responding.
13 MS. GATELLI: We are pursuing that,
14 Mr. Jackowitz.
15 MR. JACKOWITZ: I'm just saying,
16 it'd probably be a good time to start,
17 because there's a lot of letters that have
18 been sent.
19 I mean, we keep the post office in
20 business with all the letters that we send
21 to the mayor's office, to all the department
22 heads, so on and so forth, and we don't ever
23 get any responses.
24 And then today, I mean, I was
25 shocked, only two or three responses about
1 blighted buildings. What about the budget?
2 What about the $13, $15, $10 million that
3 has been missing? We still don't have an
4 answer on that one. I don't care what
5 anybody says.
6 These are the questions we need to
7 be answered. Why were our taxes raised?
8 These are questions that -- these are
9 questions that have been sent to the mayor
10 and to the department heads. What about the
11 potholes and all this? You know, everything
12 that's going on in this city.
13 MS. GATELLI: I read an array of
14 potholes that were filled.
15 MR. JACKOWITZ: Right, and there's
16 an array of more of them that still that --
17 MS. GATELLI: Well, yeah, they're
18 there all the time, we know that.
19 MR. JACKOWITZ: I mean, there's just
20 letter after letter after letter sent. You
21 know, what about the money for the soldiers?
22 Have we ever got an answer to that one?
23 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Minora, I think
24 they're going way off the agenda items.
25 MR. MINORA: I agree, I agree.
1 MS. GATELLI: Please, stick to the
3 MR. JACKOWITZ: I am sticking to the
5 MS. GATELLI: No, there are no
6 reports on there for you to address.
7 MR. JACKOWITZ: What I'm asking,
8 though, is for City Council to get the
10 MS. GATELLI: You ask that at public
11 participation at the end of the meeting.
12 MR. JACKOWITZ: You know, we need to
13 get the reports. That's what the reports
14 are about.
15 MS. GATELLI: No, it's not. That's
16 to review any reports that are here.
17 MR. JACKOWITZ: Right. And I'm
18 saying that maybe it's time to subpoena to
19 start issuing --
20 MS. GATELLI: Well, we are working
21 on that. I said that once already.
22 MR. JACKOWITZ: I understand that.
23 It doesn't take long to send a subpoena out.
24 MS. GATELLI: Oh, it certainly does,
25 Mr. Jackowitz.
1 MR. JACKOWITZ: No, it doesn't. It
2 doesn't take long at all. All it takes is a
3 little ingenuity and ambition, that's all it
4 takes. Thank you.
5 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Talamini.
6 MR. TALERICO: I have nothing on the
8 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Garvey. Oh, I'm
10 MR. GERVASI: Thanks, Mrs. Gatelli.
11 When you were reading the reports, you read
12 a letter from Gerald Cross from the
13 Pennsylvania Economy League, I don't want to
14 go off track here, but I believe it just
15 said simply that there's a public safety
16 department now because it was budgeted; is
17 that actually what he said?
18 MS. GATELLI: Basically, yeah. I
19 didn't read the whole thing in total, but
20 you can have it if you'd like.
21 MR. GERVASI: In my opinion, the
22 Pennsylvania Economy League is either --
23 their incompetence is staggering or they're
24 not going to give you a straight answer.
25 Just to educate you a little bit if
1 you don't know, the Pennsylvania Economy
2 League is hired by who? Does anyone know?
3 By the Department of Economic and Community
4 Development with the state, DCED. And
5 that's totally controlled by the secretary
6 of DCED, who is totally controlled by the
8 There is no legislative oversight to
9 anything PEL does or DCED does. They're
10 solely controlled by the governor. So, when
11 you ask a question of Mr. Cross from the
12 PEL, he needs permission from the
13 department's secretary, whose boss is the
14 governor. There is no oversight, there's no
15 one else to tell, there's no one else to
16 complain to.
17 And maybe you should send another
18 letter to him saying why was it okay to have
19 a public safety department created under the
20 Doherty Administration, when it wasn't okay
21 to do it under the Connors Administration?
22 Maybe you should ask him specifically what
23 changed to make that happen.
24 That might be a better solution,
25 because, and I don't want to get off track
1 here, but these are the same people who
2 wrote this letter that sat here weeks ago
3 and said there is no alternative instead of
4 -- there is no other alternative than to
5 borrow $44 million to keep the city afloat,
6 when it was you, Mrs. Gatelli, who asked one
7 simple question of the mayor, how much do
8 you really need?
9 And I think you knocked it down to
10 $19 million from $44 million, and I believe
11 it ended up $10 million.
12 I wonder what Gerald Cross from the
13 Pennsylvania Economy League thinks if he
14 made and a $33 million error on one-year's
15 budget. So, I wouldn't take any of his
16 letters with too much credence, and I would
17 probably send another letter to follow up
18 with a little detailed information why it
19 was okay for Mayor Doherty and not Mayor
21 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
22 MS. EVANS: Mr. Gervasi, if I could
23 just respond quickly. First to the last
24 point that you made, actually PEL was aware
25 that it was only going to be $10 million in
1 borrowing early in December before the
2 motion was ever made here at Council. It's
3 contained in the PEL summary notes of their
4 weekly meetings.
5 MR. GERVASI: Really?
6 MS. EVANS: Yes. But just to go
7 back to the point about the public safety
8 director, it does say in '92 and '96, the
9 recovery plans as adopted by the city
10 eliminated the position.
11 These provisions were initiated to
12 reduce expenditures during the period of
13 time covered by those specific recovery
15 I, you know, I'm just adding my own
16 thoughts at this point, but it appears that
17 we are in far worse financial straits today
18 than we were in those years, yet we maintain
19 the position.
20 But he then goes on to elaborate,
21 the 2002 Recovery Plan as adopted by the
22 city and approved by the voters at a public
23 referendum providing -- or provided for the
24 budgeting of such a position.
25 Again, I'm just going to inject, I
1 recall perusing the Recovery Plan, but I
2 must admit, I myself as a citizen, I don't
3 recall recalling that exact line, that this
4 was an addition. I think we were all too
5 concerned at that time about a potential tax
6 increase, because we were told Recovery
7 Plan, yes, or tax increase.
8 MR. GERVASI: Right.
9 MS. EVANS: And I know that's what
10 was looming in many people's minds. But
11 setting that aside, administration
12 difficulties in the operation of the city's
13 police and fire bureaus during the
14 implementation of the '92 and '96 recovery
15 plans were a factor in the funding of the
16 director of public safety position in the
17 2002 Recovery Plan.
18 I am questioning if they're implying
19 that there were great problems within the
20 departments during those years or that -- in
21 fact, was there not a public safety director
22 in the nineties?
23 MR. GERVASI: Yes, there was.
24 MS. GATELLI: Yeah, it was Jimmy
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Jim Klee.
2 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Jimmy Klee.
3 MS. EVANS: Yes, and then he was
5 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Yes.
6 MS. EVANS: Correct?
7 MS. GATELLI: The position was
9 MS. EVANS: According to the
10 Recovery Plan.
11 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Right.
12 MS. EVANS: Because --
13 MR. GERVASI: It was called
15 MS. EVANS: -- because they were
16 trying to reduce expenditures, and
17 apparently because you had administrative
18 difficulties in the nineties. I don't know
19 if that's true or not.
20 MR. GERVASI: I don't recall.
21 MS. EVANS: But that's the entire
22 justification for the insertion of the
24 MS. GATELLI: You're welcome.
25 Anyone else?
1 MS. KRAKE: My name is Nancy Krake.
2 And just finishing up on the last remarks
3 that were made here, when the Pennsylvania
4 Economy League came to speak to Council,
5 Harry Miller told myself and Ann Marie
6 Stulgis out in the hall that he did not want
7 a public safety director because he didn't
8 like Jimmy Klee. He told us flat out. And
9 there were several people there.
10 So, that just proves how political
11 they are, and it has nothing to do with
12 economics, sorry to say.
13 I'd like to speak a little bit about
14 7-A. It's the only thing on the agenda,
15 because apparently everything else is
16 perfect in this city.
17 This is a raise for the secretaries
18 for all of our pension boards. They haven't
19 had a raise in over five years. It is a
20 substantial amount, compared to what they
21 already receive, but it is well deserved.
22 I can't even tell you how much value
23 it is to have correct records, accurate
24 records, up-to-date records, and dependable
25 people to do this.
1 The city just recently lost two
2 lawsuits concerning the non-uniformed
3 pension, and I guarantee that they
4 absolutely had something to do, their
5 losing, that is, with the -- how those
6 records were kept and how the rules are made
7 available or not made available. In fact,
8 I'm sure some of them -- or one of them will
9 be appealed.
10 This is a continuing process. They
11 constantly need to be updated. And I think
12 that Council should vote yes for these
13 raises. Thank you.
14 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Anyone
15 else? Mrs. Garvey.
16 MS. GARVEY: 5-A, motions.
17 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Evans.
18 MS. EVANS: Thank you. Good
19 evening, and Happen Valentine's Day to
20 everyone, and particularly to all of us
22 February also marks the annual
23 celebration of Black History Month. At
24 Scranton High School, students have created
25 beautiful ribbon pins under the direction of
1 their art teacher, Ms. Ruddy. And, in fact,
2 I'm wearing one of those pins this evening.
3 We proudly wear these pins as a show
4 of support and respect for our black
5 community and leaders, among other school
7 Now, with each shared celebration, I
8 hope we continue to grow in understanding,
9 respect and unity.
10 I received a timely response from
11 Chief Elliott regarding dangerous driving
12 around the area of Boulevard Avenue that I
13 would like to read.
14 Please be advised that my office has
15 received a letter from Councilwoman Janet
16 Evans concerning dangerous driving
17 conditions around Boulevard Avenue from
18 Parker Street to the Throop line.
19 She has stated that citizens have
20 complained of drunk drivers and speeding
21 vehicles in this area. Please increase
22 traffic enforcement in this area. If you
23 have any questions, please contact my
25 And so, I with to thank Chief
1 Elliott and Lieutenants Mackey, Thomas, Arby
2 and Crofton for their attention to this
4 Council also received two prompt
5 responses from Mr. Parker. First, as was
6 mentioned a few moments ago, the handicapped
7 curb cuts in Downtown Scranton, and Mr.
8 Parker's second response involves a repeat
9 of his prior decision regarding parking at
10 the intersection of South Main Avenue and
11 Dartmouth Street.
12 He continues to view this as a
13 police enforcement issue, when no parking
14 signs would simply solve these never-ending
16 You see, a business opened a few
17 years ago at this location, and Council was
18 informed about two years ago, perhaps a
19 little more, that this new business did not
20 appear before the zoning board and did not
21 have adequate parking for employees and
22 customers as a result.
23 Since the administration turned a
24 blind eye for this business, the
25 administration should provide relief for the
1 parking problems caused by the business by
2 placing no parking signs on South Main
3 Avenue and Dartmouth Street.
4 And, Kay, would you please look up
5 the traffic study of that vicinity that was
6 conducted by the state ?
7 Over the last few months, I've
8 maintained an open mind in relation to
9 obtaining financial information from this
10 administration. I visited the mayor's
11 office, and last Friday, I stopped into
12 OECD. I've requested information by motion,
13 through written correspondence, and in
15 This pattern of unanswered requests
16 is now into its fourth year. In fact, when
17 I spoke to Ms. Hailstone on February 2, she
18 was unaware of my requests and stated that
19 she could not provide any information
20 without the approval of her boss. I
21 explained that her boss had given his
22 approval on television at a September 2006
23 public caucus meeting.
24 Eight months after the initial
25 request and five months after the mayor went
1 on record publically agreeing to provide
2 information, the iron curtain still stands.
3 Meanwhile, our tax bills arrived
4 this week, and I've heard numerous
5 complaints from my fellow Scrantonians who
6 can't forward this tax increase. Their
7 income simply are not keeping pace with
8 their taxes.
9 They're trying to decide which of
10 their necessary bills to pay and on which
11 ones to risk penalties and fees.
12 I am very, very sorry to all of you.
13 I tried to help you with a no tax increase
14 budget, but a majority of Council did not
16 Because of these tax hikes,
17 exorbitant tax anticipation notes and
18 continued borrowing, I've attempted over and
19 over to see the city's finances. I've asked
20 your questions to no avail.
21 This history of lack of information,
22 coupled with a borrow and spend policy
23 buttresses the need for subpoenas.
24 Because it appears quite possible
25 that the administration may oppose
1 subpoenas, I believe Council must pay
2 meticulous attention to each detail and
3 place itself on firm legal ground.
4 Therefore, Attorney Minora will
5 prepare a resolution for next week's Council
6 meeting of February 15, 2007 to subpoena all
7 financial documents from 2002 through the
8 present from a select number of municipal
9 authorities and departments.
10 And as these investigations
11 conclude, another wave of subpoenas will
12 follow for the remaining authorities and
13 additional departments.
14 In this way, we hope to establish
15 proceedings to strengthen our case in court,
16 if necessary, and to receive information in
17 an orderly, manageable manner.
18 And finally, I have citizens'
19 requests for the week. Place a stop sign at
20 the end of Mulberry Street at the dead end
21 passed the CMC at Nay Aug Park. A city
22 resident who very nearly has been struck by
23 a car twice while walking at Nay Aug has
24 already written to Public Safety Director
25 Ray Hayes and has received no results.
1 CMC employees apparently exit this
2 parking lot very quickly, and on February 2,
3 2007, this gentleman was nearly hit again.
4 Please address this safety hazard as soon as
6 Add Ward Place to the paving list.
7 This would be, I believe, my third year of
8 making that very same request. Meanwhile,
9 all the streets and allies surrounding Ward
10 Place were paved, but for some reason, and I
11 really can't provide the reason, I don't
12 know, this short stretch of street has
13 always been ignored. So, I'm hoping this
14 may be the year.
15 Christmas trees still remain on the
16 curbs in some areas of Scranton, including
17 East Mountain. Please add the 100 and 200
18 blocks of Mary Lane and Cross Drive to the
19 paving list per residents' requests.
20 A letter to Ms. Hailstone and Mr.
21 Kresefski, are there UDAG funds or other
22 funds available in the operating budget for
23 the purchase of a steam cleaner and
24 solutions which will be used to clean
25 graffiti from both city-owned and
1 privately-owned buildings?
2 According to code, building owners
3 have 30 days in which to clean graffiti,
4 and, of course, during the winter that time
5 period is extended, because it's very
6 difficult to do the work under inclimate
8 And I do know, as I'm sure my
9 colleagues do, that Mr. Lomma sent Council a
10 letter inquiring about the initiation of an
11 ordinance whereby property owners would be
12 forced within a 30-day period to remove
13 graffiti. But as I said, we already have
14 this on the books. So, it's my hope that
15 the city would purchase this equipment.
16 And, in fact, thanks to some of our
17 city inspectors, I have a number of
18 companies here with the appropriate
19 equipment and solutions that are needed that
20 the city can look at and price out to
21 certainly get the best cost for this.
22 And what I'm hoping we can do is
23 loan this equipment to the victims of
24 graffiti. People who have had their
25 buildings covered with this type of tagging
1 are certainly victims, not perpetrators, and
2 it's a very, very costly endeavor to have
3 your building repainted.
4 And so, again, I would like to see
5 the city make this purchase and then loan
6 the equipment to the victims so that they
7 can remove graffiti from their property in a
8 timely and cost effective manner.
9 Citizens wishing to use the
10 equipment could provide a security deposit
11 which would be returned to them at such time
12 as they return the equipment to the city.
13 Also, residents of South Side are
14 concerned about the lack of removal of
15 illegal vehicles in their area. They report
16 that other sections of the city have
17 benefitted from this service, which appears
18 to be deficient in South Side.
19 A letter to Mr. Seitzinger, 1419
20 Gardner Avenue, this is a condemned house
21 where a carport has already collapsed. When
22 will it be demolished?
23 And I have just one last item. I
24 don't believe, although I'll be frank with
25 you, I haven't seen a newspaper in probably
1 close to two weeks now, so if I'm in error,
2 I would appreciate the correction.
3 If the mayor has not as yet
4 presented his state of the city address, is
5 anyone aware that he has? No?
6 MS. GATELLI: I didn't hear
8 MS. EVANS: Then I would move that
9 City Council send a letter to the mayor
10 requesting that the state of the city
11 address be presented here in City Council
12 chambers in the evening, perhaps at seven or
13 7:30 for all of the citizens of Scranton, an
14 open invitation to all the shareholders of
15 our city. That was a motion.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
17 MS. GATELLI: On the question? All
18 in favor.
19 MS. EVANS: Aye.
20 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Aye.
21 MR. MCGOFF: Aye.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
23 MS. GATELLI: Aye. Opposed? The
24 ayes have it and so moved.
25 MS. EVANS: Thank you. And that's
2 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Fanucci.
3 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I'm going to
4 answer a few questions from last week. I
5 was -- actually sat down and talked to some
6 of the people from OECD after last week's
7 meeting trying to find out some of the
8 answers which we were looking for.
9 One of the questions that was --
10 came up last week was how many people have
11 defaulted on our loans that we've given
12 through the city.
13 There's been four total. I'm going
14 to give you exactly who they were. They
15 were Hackett's Bar, and three of the four
16 partners have paid the city. The final
17 person is meeting this month to settle up
18 with the city on that.
19 Preferred Produce is another one.
20 They have a small loan with the city and
21 they are in talks about options. I don't
22 know if that would be refinancing or paying
23 out, I don't know what those options are
24 right now.
25 K & A Imports was another one, and
1 they are working on an agreement and have
2 said that they are settling up.
3 And last is Whistles. They are in
4 litigation with the city now. The loan was
5 given in the 1990s. They had trouble making
6 payments in the nineties. And, like, around
7 I'm going to say the last election, they
8 were looking to extend the terms of the
10 It was sent to Council and approved,
11 and then they never showed up and signed.
12 So, they have not done anything with that.
13 The terms were extended. They never showed
14 up, signed the papers, and they have not
15 paid any money in 2004, 2005 or 2006, and
16 they are headed towards a sheriff's sale,
17 from what they had said.
18 Now, we were talking last week and
19 asked questions about what is the benefit of
20 having people sign for themselves if they
21 are in a loan agreement.
22 Well, the benefit is that when they
23 do default or if they do default, which we
24 do not like them to do, they secure the loan
25 and then allows us to get their personal
2 We want to go into -- that allows us
3 to go into their homes, take their homes or
4 property. That entitles us to retrieve the
5 same amount of the loan.
6 And believe me, I do not want that
7 to ever happen to anybody. I'd rather
8 everyone be very successful and pay up.
9 I also want to note that both -- all
10 four of these, two were in the last
11 administration and two were in this one, so
12 I wanted to make that clear.
13 As far as the loan from last week,
14 the new ones, this was a primary loan. This
15 was not a secondary loan. So, that is
16 something that we were not aware of at the
18 The mayor has no ties to this
19 company, are not involved in any way. And
20 if he were to be, he would have to comply
21 with the Home Rule Charter and make sure
22 that he told us right up and disclosed that
23 right from the beginning.
24 The job creation is not minimum
25 wage. These job are sales positions and
1 positions of stocking and showroom
2 positions. They were not -- the are not
3 small baseline positions.
4 The city gets the building if they
5 default. That is in the underwriting, we
6 will get the building, and all of the
7 equipment. Also that is in the loan.
8 Mrs. Shumaker had asked about
9 personal financial requirements. What I was
10 told is it is all in the underwriting and
11 has to be in the underwriting. They could
12 not qualify for the loan without doing that,
13 but they could not give the personal
14 information out because it is personal
16 But they wanted everyone to know
17 that every loan and project has to comply
18 with HUD. HUD takes care of looking and
19 overseeing all of these.
20 So, not only do they have to go
21 through their own regiment, but HUD has to
22 approve it.
23 There is no connection to the Elm
24 Street project. We were talking about that
25 last week. That is the Scranton Tomorrow's
1 project where I believe they're putting
2 money into South Side and redoing the
3 streetscape. That project is not even
4 designated where the money is going or how
5 it's --
6 MS. GATELLI: Excuse me, Mrs.
7 Fanucci. Whoever has the cell phone, could
8 you please turn it off?
9 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Or tell them
10 I'll call them back.
11 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
12 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Okay.
13 MS. GATELLI: I'm sorry.
14 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: That's all
15 right. Scranton Tomorrow has no involvement
16 in this project. And what they said to me
17 was we cannot guarantee that we won't do a
18 streetscape in front of their or maybe put a
19 light up.
20 But as of right now, no monies are
21 designated for that loan that we were
22 talking about regarding the loan from last
24 I do want to say something, and this
25 is just -- I want to apologize to the
1 families of the people who are seeking these
2 loans and the seller.
3 The Noonan family was part of our
4 community for, you know, 80 years. They're
5 a wonderful company. And when people get
6 up, and I don't know if it's -- I don't want
7 to say it's intentional.
8 But when you get up and you accuse
9 someone of being tied into -- you know, I
10 know we want to get the mayor at all costs
11 and try to tie him into everything, but when
12 you do that, you accuse other people of
13 doing wrong things.
14 So, we offended not only the people
15 who are selling the property, but we were
16 offending the people who were buying the
17 property, also.
18 And I want to apologize from this
19 forum, and I'm also going to ask that we
20 stick to Council's rules when it comes to
21 speaking about others in this forum.
22 We cannot insult and accuse people.
23 You know, they're good people in this city
24 and they're looking to spend money here and
25 put their faith and their businesses here,
1 and that is something that I believe that we
2 should stand by.
3 And we can have questions, but we
4 don't have to accuse them of being a part
5 of, like, the bigger scheme of life and all
6 that silly stuff.
7 So, I'm going to ask that we stick
8 to rules of Council and stop defaming
9 people, like, from the podium, and I think
10 that's a pretty good thing to ask for.
11 The smoking ban. How about me?
12 Yeah, I'm starting with the smoking ban.
13 There was a statewide poll that was
14 conducted in Pennsylvania. Sixty percent of
15 the people were in favor of the smoking ban
16 to 37 percent who were not.
17 Now, I'm going to tell you, 64
18 percent to 35 percent women, 56 percent to
19 40 percent. The men weren't too quick to
20 jump on board, I'm going to assume the cigar
21 smokers, but don't quote me on that.
22 I'm going to say this, it's a
23 wonderful place -- it's wonderful to be
24 pretty progressive. We are on the cutting
25 edge, and I'm pretty happy to say, you know,
1 we were ahead of the curve on this. This is
2 what legislation is about.
3 I had someone ask me and say, why
4 didn't you start off at the state level?
5 You should have started off at the state
6 level. That is not what we are about.
7 Legislation to start off at a City Council
9 The city speaks, the state listens,
10 and then, you know, they respond to it, and
11 that's what this is all about. This is what
12 we're here for.
13 So, I want to say thanks for coming
14 out. And the people who are supporting
15 this, and the people who aren't, take a
16 breath and relax, because I think it's going
17 to be here to stay. So, I just hope that we
18 can all get together and realize that this
19 is for the health of our residents. And I
20 want to say thank you. And that is all I
22 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mr.
24 MR. MCGOFF: I --
25 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Gatelli, I'm so
1 sorry. Can I just ask you a question,
2 though, before we go on? I, first of all,
3 want to say, I'm thrilled that you got the
4 information about the defaulted loans.
5 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Yeah.
6 MS. EVANS: Did they provide you,
7 though, with the actual paperwork, the
8 backup on all this?
9 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: They won't give
10 us the underwriting on anything, because
11 that is people's personal financial
12 information, and they said there is no way
13 -- HUD has to take it, but we are not
14 entitled to that because people have to
15 write out their bank accounts and what --
16 you know, their personal -- you know, that
17 is not information we get.
18 But they said in our backup and
19 everything that is available through HUD we
20 can get outside of having the underwriting.
21 So, if we need to get that, it will
22 be. But nobody really is in any litigation.
23 There's only one person we've ever had to
24 take to court to get the money. Everyone
25 else has really complied and stepped up and
2 MS. EVANS: Well, like I said, I'm
3 very glad that you were able to get that.
4 It's a piece, a large piece, of what I was
5 looking for from OECD since July.
6 There's a little bit more, maybe
7 you'd be able to get that for me, as well,
8 but I do have to say, I have such a question
9 in my mind now.
10 You know, I was there last Friday
11 the day after our Council meeting hoping to
12 obtain this information so that perhaps we
13 could avoid a subpoena with OECD, and Ms.
14 Hailstone tells me she doesn't know what I'm
15 talking about.
16 I enumerated everything I had been
17 asking for for eight months, and then --
18 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I actually
19 didn't speak to Ms. Hailstone.
20 MS. EVANS: Well, when I was there,
21 there was only -- it was Ms. Hailstone and I
22 think one other employee, and then she, as I
23 said, did say, which I can understand,
24 because I don't want anyone in any type of
25 jeopardy or difficulty.
1 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: No doubt.
2 MS. EVANS: But she did insist that
3 she had to ask her boss' permission. And I
4 respect that, because as I said, I don't
5 want to place any employee in jeopardy.
6 But, again, this just doesn't seem
7 to fit together. You know, Ms. Hailstone
8 says she needs the permission of her boss to
9 release this information, and then I'm very
10 grateful that you got some of it, and I'm
11 hoping you'll find a way to get more of it,
12 but do you see what I'm saying? It's --
13 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I think it
14 might be the rapport that I have because I
15 am -- that is my committee, and I do try to
16 meet with them at least every other week, if
17 I can. I try to do phone conferences with
19 So, maybe that's what it was. We
20 were all on a conference call and maybe
21 that's why it was easier.
22 But, yeah, definitely I can get any
23 information hopefully. I'd be willing to
24 get it. I do believe it's a lot easier to
25 ask in person than it is to write them a
1 letter, because, as you know, you know --
2 MS. EVANS: Exactly. That's why I
3 made the trip after work, but I don't know.
4 I just -- I can't seem to find a credible,
5 plausible explanation for why I can't get
6 any answers. I'm glad someone is though.
7 MS. GATELLI: Mr. McGoff.
8 MR. MCGOFF: I'll concede my time to
9 Mrs. Fanucci and Mrs. Evans. Nothing at
10 this time.
11 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Courtright.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay. All right.
13 I'm trying to get my composure. Okay. Kay,
14 I know a while back we asked -- maybe I
15 should ask Mrs. Fanucci to do this --
16 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Maybe you
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: -- OECD about
19 getting this UDAG funds, it was $25,000 for
20 Channel 61, and I don't think we got any
21 kind of answer, did we?
22 MS. GARVEY: No.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: Maybe you can send
24 a letter, and maybe, Mrs. Fanucci, you can
25 shoot down there and ask them personally.
1 Because I know they sorely need it,
2 and we all agreed on asking for that $25,000
3 for 61. So, if we can ask that question.
4 Last week I brought up about
5 handicapped parking for people that have
6 driveways and for people that have garages,
7 and I also brought up about people that were
8 allowed to park in a handicapped space out
9 in front of an individual's house, and a
10 retired state trooper sergeant Jerry Tallo,
11 he was the head of the traffic division for
12 the state police and taught for many, many
13 years at the police academy the vehicle
14 code, he sent me information on all the
15 questions that I had.
16 I showed it to Mr. Minora. He's
17 going to look at it closely. And I sent it
18 down to the police department for them to
19 scrutinize and see if, in fact, there's
20 something we need to do or something we
21 could do with that. So, I want to thank Mr.
22 Tallo for the information.
23 After last week's meeting, because I
24 brought up about people calling me about the
25 smoking ban, I got a couple more calls,
1 three, to be exact, and they had suggestions
2 of things that maybe we might -- amendments
3 that we might be able to make if we're
4 willing to make any amendments.
5 And what I asked him were -- one
6 guy, I was in my car when he called, so I
7 couldn't write it down, and I asked the
8 other two people if there are any business
9 owners that have suggestions, that they
10 think we might want to entertain for
11 amendments, if you would E-mail it to me or
12 send it to me in writing, then I can compile
13 something and maybe show it to everybody on
14 this Council and see if members on this
15 Council are willing to make any amendments.
16 I spoke to one girl today in the
17 post office and she was really happy about
18 the smoking ban. She went somewhere to eat
19 and she said it was much more enjoyable, but
20 she agreed that she wouldn't have a problem,
21 this seems to be one of the big problems,
22 and I don't know if there's anything we're
23 going to be willing to do about it, but
24 restaurants that have bars in the
25 restaurant, some of the people while waiting
1 to be seated at their table, they'll go to
2 the bar and have a drink and maybe they want
3 to smoke, some people after they're done
4 eating will go back to the bar.
5 And she kind of gave me the idea,
6 and other business owners ask that, you
7 know, would it be possible -- would we
8 consider an amendment where if it was a
9 restaurant that had a bar, if they kept it
10 separate with either walls or a door and
11 proper ventilation, if we would consider
12 making an amendment to that smoking ban for
13 that particular area.
14 And I said I didn't know, I didn't
15 know the answer to that, I can't answer for
16 anybody else, but I asked for them to put it
17 in writing for me.
18 So, any of you business owners that
19 are feeling some pain with this that want to
20 send it, if you'd just please E-mail it to
21 me or send it to me in writing, and then
22 when I compile the, altogether, we can
23 discuss it in caucus. And if there's
24 anybody here --
25 MS. EVANS: Can I give you my
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Go right ahead.
3 Oh, I thought you were going to give it to
4 me now.
5 MS. EVANS: Not now. When my
6 computer is back up, I will E-mail you.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. So, I
8 mean, there might be -- I know there's some
9 people that think that there's one or two
10 people on this Council that won't budge the
11 least little bit on this smoking ban.
12 And I don't know. I think if it's a
13 reasonable request, I think we'll all
14 consider it. So, if you want to send them
15 to me, I'll be happy to take them and
16 compile a list and I'll put it before this
17 Council. And if it's something this Council
18 thinks is doable, then maybe we can make an
19 amendment. That's about the best I can do
20 for that. And I thank you. That's all I
22 MS. GATELLI: Thanks, Mr.
23 Courtright. Mrs. Garvey.
24 MS. GARVEY: Fifth order, no
25 business at this time. Sixth order, no
1 business at this time. Seventh order. 7-A,
2 FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES
3 - FOR ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 79,
4 2007 - AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING FILE OF
5 COUNCIL NO. 38, 2001, PROVIDING FOR AN
6 INCREASE IN THE VARIOUS PENSION BOARD
7 SECRETARIES SALARIES AS FOLLOWS: SECRETARY
8 TO THE NON-UNIFORM PENSION BOARD, FROM THREE
9 THOUSAND DOLLARS ($3,000.00) PER YEAR TO
10 FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS ($4,000.00) PER YEAR;
11 SECRETARY TO COMPOSITE PENSION BOARD FROM
12 THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($3,000.000) PER YEAR
13 TO FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS ($4,000.00) PER
14 YEAR; THE SECRETARY TO THE FIRE PENSION
15 BOARD, FROM THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS
16 ($3,000.00) PER YEAR TO FOUR THOUSAND
17 DOLLARS ($4,000.00) PER YEAR; AND SECRETARY
18 TO THE POLICE PENSION BOARD, FROM THREE
19 THOUSAND DOLLARS ($3,000.00) PER YEAR TO
20 FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS ($4,000.00) PER YEAR,
21 SAID RAISES TO BE EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2007.
22 MS. GATELLI: As chairperson for the
23 committee on rules, I recommend final
24 passage of Item 7-A.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
1 MS. GATELLI: On the question?
2 MS. EVANS: Yes. We had a brief
3 caucus meeting earlier this evening
4 regarding this particular piece of
6 And though it isn't palatable in all
7 ways to provide pay increases to employees
8 when the city is so direly distressed, on
9 the other hand, I listened to -- well,
10 actually I listened to presentations on both
11 sides of this issue, and I found the
12 arguments of those in favor to be very
13 compelling, particularly because I was
14 informed tonight that the city was involved
15 in two lawsuits because some of these
16 pensions were improperly handled and the
17 city lost both of those cases, and those are
18 very costly endeavors; however, it appears
19 that the -- all of these boards are well on
20 their way to becoming orderly, effective,
21 and I think handling their duties and
22 responsibilities in a very competent
24 I had requested if a pension
25 administrator might be able to assist in
1 performing these extra duties, and it
2 appears that the pension manager himself has
3 requested this almost constant assistance of
4 these secretaries.
5 And, so, because of these situations
6 involving litigation and making sure that
7 our retirees receive the proper amount of
8 pension reimbursements, I'm going to be
9 voting in favor of this. And I think
10 probably the last item I learned this
11 evening was that these individuals had not
12 received a raise since 1999.
13 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else on the
14 question? Roll call.
15 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
16 MS. EVANS: Yes.
17 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Fanucci.
18 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Yes.
19 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Yes.
21 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
23 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
24 MS. GATELLI: Yes. I hereby declare
25 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.
1 MS. GARVEY: Eighth order.
2 MS. GATELLI: Douglas Miller.
3 MR. MILLER: Good evening, Council.
4 Doug Miller, President of Scranton Junior
5 City Council. I'd like to start off tonight
6 by wishing West Scranton High School
7 principal Mr. Kevin Rogan the best of luck.
8 He is retiring, and I hope he does enjoy his
10 He served his time. He was a
11 wonderful educator and administrator.
12 MS. EVANS Wonderful man.
13 MR. MILLER: And he will be missed
14 by the faculty, staff and students of West
15 Scranton High School.
16 I'd like to address the smoking ban
17 tonight. I'd like to clear something up
18 once and for all. The Junior Council
19 continues to get criticized regarding this
20 issue. People continue to come up here and
21 say that we were the ones that pushed for
22 this ban.
23 And you can go back in The Scranton
24 Times archives and pull up articles, and
25 you'll see that it was the tenth grade
1 students of West Scranton High School.
2 So, I suggest to anyone before they
3 come up here and accuse us of anything, you
4 know, do your homework. It's really
5 starting to get frustrating.
6 You know, Mrs. Evans raised the
7 issue tonight, which I thought was a great
8 idea regarding the state of the city address
9 where the mayor should come here.
10 As far as I'm concerned, I know now
11 special invitations are sent out to certain
12 special businessmen in the city.
13 MS. EVANS: Yes.
14 MR. MILLER: And, you know, I agree
15 with you 100 percent. I think it should be
16 here. You know, these are the taxpayers,
17 you know, these are the ones that, you know,
18 work hard every day, and, you know, I agree
19 that, you know, it should be held here, so
20 hopefully he will consider that.
21 Tonight is the Junior Council's one
22 year anniversary, and I would like to
23 highlight our first year.
24 Since our inception we have
25 completed numerous community service
1 activities. During this past summer, we
2 completed five city park cleanups, and we
3 are planning to clean more city parks this
5 Our other completed projects include
6 purchasing and installing American flags for
7 a few of our city parks, we've also
8 purchased recreation tables for a few of our
9 city parks, and we have raised $640 for
10 Channel 61 by co-sponsoring a breakfast with
11 Santa at Scooter's Hot Dog Hut in Dunmore.
12 We have also instructed senior
13 citizens how to use the new electronic
14 voting machines, which took place at the
15 Steamtown Mall, and we also continue to
16 assist city residents with any help they
17 need in their community.
18 On Thursday, April 20, 2006, we
19 received a proclamation from Scranton City
20 Council for our service to the community.
21 Our current projects for this year
22 include raising funds to purchase a
23 children's handicapped accessible swingset
24 for Nay Aug Park.
25 We have also applied for a grant
1 from the Tony Hawk Foundation for a skate
2 park for our city.
3 There are many more projects
4 currently in discussion that we will
5 announce throughout the year.
6 We have had a lot of interest from
7 other communities regarding our Junior
8 Council. Recently the City of Wilkes-Barre
9 contacted us regarding the formation of a
10 Junior Council of their own, and our message
11 to them was that we will reach out and
12 support them in any way we can.
13 In this past year, I have learned so
14 much about our city government and its
15 citizens. I would encourage more young
16 adults in the city to become involved,
17 because we are the future of this city, and
18 the decisions made today are the ones that
19 will affect us tomorrow.
20 And we as the Junior Council will
21 continue to carry our message. The future
22 starts now.
23 After this Junior Council was
24 formed, we did receive criticism from just
25 about everyone. They said that this wasn't
1 our place to be. But as I stand here
2 tonight one year later --
3 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
4 MS. MILLER: -- I think we have shown
5 these critics what we can do. We have
6 accomplished a lot and we will continue to
7 work hard to make our city a better place.
8 I would like to thank all those who
9 have supported us over our first year, and
10 we appreciate your support and assistance
11 and we look forward to continue our success
12 together. Thank you.
13 MS. GATELLI: Thank you, Douglas.
14 MR. MILLER: And at this time I'd
15 like to bring Jimmy Piazza, Scranton Junior
16 City Council member who would like to
17 address Council, thank you.
18 MS. GATELLI: Bill Jackowitz. He
19 said he'll do it later. Mr. Jackowitz.
20 MS. EVANS: Congratulations, Junior
21 City Council. And you had lovely, lovely --
22 MR. JACKOWITZ: Bill Jackowitz,
23 South Scranton resident --
24 MS. EVANS: -- party down there
25 tonight. I'm sorry.
1 MR. JACKOWITZ: I hope my time
2 hasn't started.
3 MR. MINORA: I stopped it.
4 MR. JACKOWITZ: Thank you. Bill
5 Jackowitz, South Scranton resident,
6 taxpayer, retired United States Air Force.
7 Believe it or not, Scranton,
8 Pennsylvania has low income to moderate
9 income people residing in the City of
11 There are homeless people residing
12 in the City of Scranton, also. Some of
13 these homeless people actually work, which
14 means that they pay Scranton, Pennsylvania
15 wage taxes, which, by the way, is one of the
16 highest in the United States.
17 Some may say that this is not their
18 problem, others may say that the poor and
19 the homeless are this way because of their
20 own choosing.
21 In some instances, they are correct,
22 but not all. My belief is that the major
23 problem in Scranton, Pennsylvania and the
24 surrounding area is lack of employment, but
25 more importantly, the lack of family and
1 individual sustaining wages and benefits.
2 I personally find it appalling when
3 City Council announces new jobs and
4 companies moving into the city paying low to
5 moderate wages, but more appalling is the
6 fact that some of these business are being
7 rewarded with low interest loans or no
8 interest loans to start or to refinance
9 their business with taxpayers' money.
10 Whether federal, state, county or
11 city, this is not government money, this is
12 citizens' money. The government has no
13 money. The Scranton Plan has not worked.
14 Where has the plan taken Scranton?
15 Look around. Visit with the low income and
16 moderate income families.
17 Ask the Pennsylvania Economy League,
18 the Scranton Chamber of Commerce, past and
19 present mayors or mayor, City Council
20 members, do you live in low income housing
21 or work at low income or moderate income
23 Some Scranton Chamber members reside
24 outside Scranton City limits. They pay no
25 Scranton taxes, but yet the chamber was not
1 in favor of the minimum wage increase.
2 The Elm Street Project and the South
3 Side Project has been publicized as a way
4 for low income and moderate income families
5 to purchase their own homes.
6 Mrs. Fanucci, Mr. McGoff and Mrs.
7 Gatelli just made that dream more difficult
8 by voting to raise homeowners' taxes. Which
9 will it be, more homeowners or more homes
10 for sale and vacant or more people renting?
11 Scranton and the surrounding area
12 again this quarter, last in per capita
13 income and wages. Austin Burke, September
14 has gone and went. Austin Burke was going
15 to be here in September. Where is he? He's
16 still not here. And also, where is the
17 mayor to address these questions?
18 Again, we got the lowest hourly wage
19 of the fourteen metro areas in Pennsylvania.
20 This has been going on for over 30 years.
21 Low wages means low taxes.
22 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
23 MR. JACKOWITZ: People don't have
24 tax money. So, you know, let's get it
25 together, people.
1 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mr.
3 MR. JACKOWITZ: Thank you, Veterans,
4 for allowing me to speak.
5 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Sbaraglia.
6 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
7 citizen of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians,
8 I'm glad we got a little information on our
9 default loans, but was there a dollar amount
10 attached to these loans? How much were
12 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Well, in
13 different cases. The problem is that, you
14 know, for what the loan was taken out at, a
15 lot of times if three of the partners paid
16 or two of the partners paid what is left,
17 you know, is not, so you might have, like, a
18 $15,000 loan that was originally, like,
19 $120,000, or so -- total -- the highest one
20 was the Whistles loan, the highest one, and
21 that's probably why that's in litigation.
22 The rest, I believe, were all under.
23 One was thirty, and the other one, let me
24 see here, the other one was, like, 27.
25 MR. SBARAGLIA: What's wrong with
1 The Hilton? We forgot about that?
2 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I'm just
3 telling you what was defaulted from our
5 MR. SBARAGLIA: They should have
6 told you we lost, like, three and a half to
7 $4 million on The Hilton.
8 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Do you want me
9 to get information on that for you?
10 MR. SBARAGLIA: No, I already have
11 the information, it's just that they should
12 have gave it to you, unless you want to
13 request it for the last month or something.
14 I assume you requested it back for,
15 you know, a time period or all default
16 loans. But the Hilton was a big default,
17 and it should have been reported to you.
18 And what you should request is are
19 they paying off any loans to prevent them
20 from being in default like they did with The
21 Hilton. You know, we were paying off their
22 loan long before they went default, and that
23 was a sad, sad state of affairs. So, God
24 knows what else is going on in that office.
25 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: These are
1 personal loans, though, so I think that this
2 is a little different than The Hilton -- the
3 whole legislation for The Hilton. Amil,
4 would that be a separate type of -- when
5 you're dealing with big corporation like The
6 Hilton, I image that the loan was not the
7 same type of loan as these small personal
8 loans that we are giving out through OECD.
9 MS. EVANS: We were --
10 MR. MINORA: You're not --
11 MS. EVANS: If I may, we were making
12 payments on a Section 108 loan for The
14 MR. MINORA: The city was. Yeah, I
16 MS. GATELLI: Well, we did that for
17 The Globe Store, too.
18 MR. MINORA: Yeah.
19 MS. GATELLI: You know, there's
20 things you have to do to try to keep
21 something in your community.
22 MR. MINORA: In larger developments,
23 it's tough -- it's obvious a person can't --
24 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: That's why they
25 probably did not give me that information.
1 MR. MINORA: Yeah, they didn't have
2 personal guarantees.
3 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Okay. This
4 wasn't a personal guarantee loan. That's
5 what I did ask for was the loan request from
6 last week.
7 MR. SBARAGLIA: Yeah. Well, we
8 requested all the loans, including the LLC
10 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I didn't ask
11 for LLC.
12 MR. SBARAGLIA: I mean, personal
13 loans is one thing, but limited partnership
14 loans are more liable to be what's there.
15 And when a -- limited partnership
16 loans, they're only limited to what their
17 liability was. Them are the loans that are
19 I mean, you took the smallest
20 amount, but it's important that you find out
21 actually the status of this loan, all loans,
22 and find out how much is left from the loans
23 we did sell, how much money is still in the
24 kitty from that.
25 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Right.
1 MR. SBARAGLIA: That's important,
3 MS. EVANS: Uh-huh.
4 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: You know, Andy,
5 I did ask for those, because they seem to be
6 the ones every week that seem to be
7 scrutinized the most. And we give away the
8 little small loans seems to be a very big
9 issue here, so that is why I asked for that
10 information. It might have been my fault
11 for the way I directed the question.
12 MR. SBARAGLIA: Yeah, we wanted a
13 total picture, not a limited picture.
14 MR. MINORA: That's three minutes.
15 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I'll work on
16 that for you.
17 MS. EVANS: We sold our best loans
18 in the CRF deal --
19 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Well, that was
20 a different -- that's a different ball game,
22 MS. EVANS: -- and so we -- the
23 loans that are remaining are those that
24 would be not as palatable -- you know, I
25 don't want to --
1 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I know what you
3 MS. EVANS: -- but those that were
4 always paid in a timely fashion and, you
5 know, were really what constituted a strong
6 loan portfolio for the city loan, those were
8 MS. GATELLI: Yeah, we couldn't sell
9 the Whistles', because they were already
11 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: They didn't
12 want them?
13 MS. GATELLI: You wouldn't buy a
14 defaulted loan.
15 MS. EVANS: CRF basically selected,
16 I think, the loans that they wished to
17 purchase, so they took our very best.
18 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Okay.
19 MS. GATELLI: Angelica.
20 MS. CAMPBELL: Good evening,
21 Council. My name is Angelica Campbell. I'm
22 a Scranton resident and a sophomore at West
23 Scranton High School. I'm here this evening
24 to speak about a grave issue of public
25 importance, the use of handheld cell phones
1 while operating a motor vehicle.
2 Some of you may be wondering what is
3 so dangerous about talking on a cell phone
4 while I'm driving a car.
5 The danger begins before the
6 conversation is even started. In order to
7 dial a phone number, the driver must take
8 his or her eyes off the road.
9 Receiving a call may startle a
10 driver who might then need to search and
11 reach for the phone causing further
13 Holding a cell phone up to your head
14 severely limits the driver's vision and
15 completely occupies one arm.
16 Numerous other cities and towns have
17 already been use of handheld cell phones --
18 MS. GATELLI: Excuse me. Could the
19 audience please stop talking, because we
20 can't hear.
21 MS. CAMPBELL: -- cell phones --
22 MS. GATELLI: Please. If you want
23 to talk, go out in the hallway. We can't
24 hear her at all. Start again, honey.
25 MS. CAMPBELL: Over?
1 MS. GATELLI: No, that's not what I
2 heard, Mr. Hubbard. Thank you for telling
3 me that, though.
4 MS. CAMPBELL: Numerous other cities
5 and towns have already banned the use of
6 handheld cell phones while driving.
7 Among the most recent is Brooklyn,
8 Ohio. Carbondale, Pennsylvania is also
9 considering such a law.
10 The State of New York and New
11 Jersey, among many others, have outlawed the
12 dangerous practice, as well.
13 It is time for this Council to
14 consider an ordinance that will not hurt
15 city business and will, in fact, make
16 everyone much safer on roads.
17 A study conducted by the United
18 States Department of Transportation and
19 released last April reports that nearly
20 eighty percent of vehicle crashes involve
21 forms of cell phone usage.
22 Furthermore, drivers who are using
23 cell phones are four times as likely to be
24 seriously injured in a crash.
25 For all these reasons, I'm asking
1 Council to make a motion to ban the use of
2 handheld cell phones while driving. Thank
3 you for allowing me to evoke my right of
4 free speech as guaranteed by the First
5 Amendment of the United States Constitution.
6 Thank you.
7 MS. GATELLI: Thank you very much.
8 Attorney Minora, I have a lot of information
9 on the cell phone bans. I looked it up on
10 the internet on all the states that have
11 banned, and I'll forward that to you to look
12 at it.
13 MR. MINORA: Thank you.
14 MS. GATELLI: The Piccolinos, are
15 they here?
16 MR. PICCOLINO: I hope you guys
17 aren't getting tired of seeing me.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Bring pizza next
20 MR. PICCOLINO: I just have two
21 quick questions. Did you find out anything
22 from the OECD, Mrs. Fanucci, when you talked
23 to them at all?
24 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: No. All I
25 found out is that you are -- they are in
1 some type of discussions, but I do not know
2 what is going on with that block or how it's
4 It seems to be right now they are in
5 litigation, so there's nothing that OECD can
6 tell me. I think it's in the hands of the
7 courts right now, from what I understand.
8 MR. PICCOLINO: Right. Discussions
10 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I imagine
11 attorneys. It's all attorney discussions
12 right now.
13 MR. PICCOLINO: Definitely not with
14 ours, so --
15 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Yeah, I --
16 well, I don't know that. All I know is that
17 it's in the hands of the courts right now.
18 And as far as OECD is concerned, it's in the
19 hands of the attorneys.
20 MR. PICCOLINO: Okay. What about
21 all the legal fees pertaining to, like, the
22 eminent domain and this lawsuit, do all the
23 taxpayers and us take care of this with the
24 city or --
25 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I'm not sure on
1 how that -- I think maybe Attorney Minora is
2 best to answer that. I'm not sure who pays
3 for eminent domain. I do believe it's part
4 of the state.
5 MS. GATELLI: I think I know.
6 MR. PICCOLINO: I know what we pay,
7 and if it comes --
8 MS. GATELLI: I'm not sure, but I
9 believe when this Council -- when I first
10 came on this Council, that was one of the
11 first pieces of legislation that we passed
12 was $250,000 for eminent domain.
13 MR. MINORA: That's true.
14 MS. GATELLI: And I believe the vote
15 was 5-0. I could have Mrs. Garvey look it
16 up, but I'm sure that we voted for the
17 eminent domain money.
18 MR. PICCOLINO: Okay. In regards to
19 a petition, would that help us in any cause?
20 Because right now we have a ridiculous
21 amount of names, and they are registered
22 voters in Scranton. Does that help at all?
23 MS. GATELLI: Why don't you ask --
24 your attorney would be the best one to ask
1 MR. PICCOLINO: Okay. That's it.
2 MS. GATELLI: Boyd is an expert in
4 MR. PICCOLINO: That's why they're
5 trying to get rid of him.
6 MS. GATELLI: He was our lawyer for
7 the Steamtown Mall.
8 MR. PICCOLINO: Okay. That's it.
9 Thank you very much.
10 MS. GATELLI: You're welcome.
11 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Did they do
12 eminent domain at the Steamtown?
13 MS. GATELLI: Absolutely.
14 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Yeah, so there
15 was eminent domain at the Steamtown Mall,
16 too, so Boyd probably can help you.
17 MS. GATELLI: I hope I help your
18 business, Boyd. Ron Elman is next.
19 MR. ELMAN: You sneaked up on me.
20 You know, every time I don't show up here,
21 somebody says where were you Thursday, like
22 I'm missing family dinner or something.
23 MS. GATELLI: We were the first ones
24 to ask where you were.
25 MR. ELMAN: I was at the Taurus
1 Club, to be truthful.
2 MS. GATELLI: I hope you were having
3 a burger.
4 MR. ELMAN: No, they didn't pick me
5 up and put me outside, like they usually do.
6 You know, I don't want to get anybody mad at
7 me, I'm not a crusader or anything.
8 This is a very important issue, what
9 I'm going to bring up here. It's about the
10 factory on Dixon Street that people -- some
11 people came last year about all the lime
12 dust in the air, and it was just put under
13 the carpet.
14 This is serious. I've been down
15 that street, and your car creates huge
16 clouds of fine dust, and it's lime dust.
17 You know, it's terrible for you.
18 The grass is dead. There's a bunch
19 of vacant houses up and down the street that
20 people have abandoned, it attacks the paint
21 on the car.
22 And it's not in that area, it's over
23 the whole city. If you leave a car for a
24 few hours at The Giant parking lot, you'll
25 see it in the summertime. It's just fine
1 dust on your windshield.
2 And I allege it's coming from that
3 plant. You know, I'm not naive enough to
4 think the plant is going to close, but
5 that's KOZ.
6 And I was told by an employee,
7 there's not a -- there's not even as many
8 people working there now as when they
10 I don't know how true this is, but
11 I'd like to know when that plant was -- when
12 they bought the property and when the KOZ
13 was given, because I was told it happened
15 You know, I just -- I'm not -- I
16 don't know the facts and I can't find them
17 out. I've tried. I had somebody on the
18 computer trying to find out. You can't find
19 out nothing.
20 They got a half dozen different
21 names which should ring a bell about their
22 credibility right there.
23 But I really got started in this
24 because I was told about the KOZ status.
25 There's 15 acres of concrete blocks or
1 whatever they're manufacturing, they should
2 be Saran wrapped or in boxes. That's where
3 all the dust is coming from.
4 I don't know. You know, a high
5 school kid can go down there and take a
6 sampling and see this stuff isn't healthy.
7 It's over the whole city, this area. And I
8 just think it's past time.
9 It was shoved under the carpet last
10 year, and it needs to be brought up and
11 taken care of.
12 You know, there's strength in
13 numbers, and it looks like it's just time
14 for the people and for you people up there
15 to get together and quit politics.
16 Everything is politics around here. It
17 doesn't stop.
18 I was watching Ms. Fanucci and Ms.
19 Evans talking to each other and it looked
20 like a glimmer of hope there would be
21 something started here instead of the
22 indifference that, you know --
23 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
24 MR. ELMAN: -- that we see up there
25 all the time. You know, like I said, I'm
1 not trying to alienate myself with the
3 And I want to thank you for finding
4 out about that house, because I can't
5 understand the way Mr. Minora explained it
6 to me, there's a loophole in the law where
7 people walk away from the property with the
8 money and let the taxpayers tear it down,
9 and that's not right.
10 MS. GATELLI: Thank you, Mr. Elman.
11 MR. ELMAN: Yeah. You know, we
12 shouldn't do that.
13 MS. GATELLI: Charlie Newcomb.
14 MR. ELMAN: Can I just say one other
16 MS. GATELLI: Go ahead. Finish up.
17 Your time has been up.
18 MR. ELMAN: The bartender one time
19 at The Taurus Club come up to me one time
20 and gave me two chips. I said, Boy, I got a
21 lot of friends out here. She said, No, they
22 give you the chips to keep you in your seat
23 so you leave them alone.
24 And sometimes I get the feeling when
25 I look at you, you wish it was over with and
1 I'd sit down again. Thank you.
2 MS. GATELLI: Charlie Newcomb.
3 MR. NEWCOMB, SR.: Good evening,
4 Council. I haven't been here in a while. I
5 was recovering from some surgery, and it's
6 been a tough road and still recovering, but
7 I felt like I had to come here tonight to
8 mention a few things.
9 Right here I got my property taxes,
10 and I've been hearing a lot of complaints
11 about the taxes, but I just want to -- I
12 think you did increase the 25 percent with
13 the budget, but I don't think a lot of the
14 direction is where it should be.
15 I just got mine alone, but, again,
16 Lackawanna County reassessment they were at
17 my door last week, so the reassessment
18 people are out. They were in West Side last
20 But anyway, my real estate taxes for
21 2006, my bill was $1939 for the whole year
22 for all three of them. This year it's
23 $2044, which is an increase of $105.
24 Well, total city taxes for 2006 was
25 $368.55. The total for 2007 is $462.
1 They come out to about -- that's $94
2 increase, roughly about $38.75 a month.
3 We're trying to run, now, this is just
4 myself, but we're trying to run the city on
5 $462.90 for full police, full firemen, full
7 School tax, 2006 was $1105.80, and
8 2007 was an $1154.16, $48.35 increase. The
9 county tax for 2006 was $492.33. We had a
10 decrease this year, which was $467.80. It's
11 about $35 a month.
12 I bought my home in 1999. My total
13 taxes were $1250. As of right now, I just
14 spoke, they're $2044. Ninety-four and a
15 half percent of that was the school
16 district's budget. The rest for was from
17 the City of Scranton.
18 So, and I don't appreciate a
19 25 percent tax increase either, because this
20 all includes -- I have to pay 2.4 percent
21 more of my wage tax because my employer only
22 took out one percent.
23 Now, $2,000 for myself and my wife
24 it's not really, knock on wood, fortunately
25 a problem, because that's less than one pay
1 period's worth of money, but my point of it
2 is is in Duryea, I pulled some records with
3 Century 21, my home was built in 1982, to
4 buy a home right now for this amount of
5 money with these taxes, I pulled a home in
6 Duryea, you know what their total taxes
7 would be?
8 I understand it's not -- they don't
9 have full fire, full police and everything
10 else, but that same home that's valued at
11 the same amount of money as mine with the
12 new Luzerne County reassessment for all
13 three of them, $685.30. Now, where do you
14 think people are going to go live?
15 So, my point of it is, I think a lot
16 should be directed at the school board. The
17 city of Scranton, we don't make a lot of
18 money on our taxes for what we have to pay.
19 But there is a majority -- I mean,
20 my children are grown, raised, they're out
21 of school, and I understand we all have to
22 pay school taxes, but I think the direction
23 shouldn't be here, it should be more with
24 the school district.
25 And one more thing about the smoking
1 ban --
2 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
3 MR. NEWCOMB, SR.: Okay. I guess
4 I'll come back next week. Thank you.
5 MS. GATELLI: Thanks, Mr. Newcomb.
6 Mrs. Shumaker.
7 MS. SHUMAKER: Marie Shumaker.
8 First I'd like to wish the Junior Council a
9 happy first anniversary, and then I'd like
10 to follow that by saying I'm disappointed
11 that there's still no answers from the
12 budget questions that I raised and
13 subsequently submitted in writing a month
14 ago, and I hope that those will be
15 forthcoming maybe as early as next week.
16 I would like to ask Mrs. Fanucci on
17 that 408 Cedar Avenue, LLC, if you address
18 the issue of how a program that only exists
19 for seven years, which is The Enterprise
20 Zone Program, is able to give a loan for
21 25 years. Could you maybe get that answer
22 for next week? Thank you.
23 I'd like to follow up, last week
24 Mrs. Gatelli told me she had an answer to my
25 question on why we are paying an increase of
1 $253,049 for parking authority citation
2 issuers, meter maids, and only getting
3 $120,000 increase in revenue, and that
4 includes -- that would include the addition
5 of the 241 meters around the Moses Taylor
6 and Mercy Hospitals. It was --
7 MS. GATELLI: The transfer was only
8 $52,000. Where did you get the $252,000
10 MS. SHUMAKER: The budget.
11 MS. GATELLI: Oh. Well, the
12 transfer was only $52,000.
13 MS. SHUMAKER: No, the budget.
14 MS. GATELLI: I don't have it with
16 MS. SHUMAKER: But it was explained
17 to me that the city operating budget pays
18 100 percent for the citation issuers,
19 50 percent for SPA's administrative costs,
20 and we had to buy new parking meters.
21 Well the new, parking meters would
22 come out of a capital budget, and so the
23 question still remains, why would we pay an
24 increase of twice what we expect in increase
25 revenue? So, I'd also like an answer to
2 Nothing has been done about the
3 erosion on -- just south of the Route 81
4 South entrance to -- from River Street onto
6 After the last snowstorm I noticed
7 that there were tire tracks and somebody had
8 missed that had four-foot drop by less than
9 a foot, and we're going to -- if somebody
10 doesn't put a horse up there or do something
11 soon, we're going to have an automobile in
12 there and maybe someone injured, and that
13 really needs to be addressed. It's a true
14 safety issue. I took a picture, but it
15 doesn't show the depth, so I didn't bring
17 Next I'd like to quote from an
18 article that was in the paper called City
19 Hall Monitor several days ago. I'd like to
20 read a quote from the chairman of the
21 Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation
23 It says, Taxpayers deserve to know
24 how Philadelphia spends its $3.7 billion
25 budget. We are the voice of reason. We're
1 there to make sure what comes out of the
2 budget process is balanced, fair and
3 fiscally responsible.
4 I think, and the --
5 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
6 MS. SHUMAKER: I'll be back next
8 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
9 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I just want to
10 say thank you for giving my cousin that nice
11 plug. Lori Kavulitch is my cousin.
12 MS. SHUMAKER: Well, we will be back
13 next week.
14 MS. GATELLI: Jim Davis.
15 MR. DAVIS: Assalaam Alaikum. My
16 name is Jim Davis, and I first start by
17 saying Happy African American Month, and I
18 really wanted to talk about the history that
19 we have and where we've come from and why
20 we're here.
21 I don't think that many of you know
22 that the African American has been here in
23 Scranton for almost as long as the city has
24 been in existence, number one; number two,
25 in the roaring twenties we were here as coal
1 miners, we were here as butlers or as
2 waiters and et cetera, and we're still here
3 as the same thing.
4 But the thing is, our rights never
5 caught up. It seem as though our chance for
6 advancement are not as lucrative, are not as
7 available as they are for the rest of the
9 Now, you don't have to agree with me
10 on this, but, Mr. Courtright, the lines on
11 the street outside, you thought I forgot
12 about you, right? No. But you did such a
13 great job over in West Side. I figured we
14 can do the same thing in Central City.
15 But let's see if we can spread some
16 of that wealth around just a little bit.
17 I've talked to several people on the police
18 force who are supposed to be in charge of
19 the lines and stuff like that, but nothing
20 can happen, for some reason or another. I
21 don't know why. Please, see if you can
22 intercede for me.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: It's the DPW, and
24 they're not going to do it now because of
25 the weather. But I've asked, Mr. Davis,
1 more than one time.
2 MR. DAVIS: We've had some good
3 weather, too.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't dispute
6 MR. DAVIS: Okay. This is primarily
7 for the kids that we have out there. I want
8 the kids to feel free to talk, to ask, to
9 study, to do the very best that they can.
10 You're not going to always get the
11 credit as due you, but I say to you like
12 this, if we can help as your mentors, we
13 will be glad to do so.
14 There are five minority-owned
15 churches in Scranton, all of which are set
16 up to help you as mentors through their
17 Sunday school and through the churches.
18 You mothers and fathers, get your
19 kids to church. That's where we learned our
20 black history. We didn't wait for the
21 school to teach us our black history. It
22 was a part of our education and our
23 religious education.
24 And I feel very proud of that, and
25 it's allowed me to be able to stand here
1 today, because I learned public speaking at
2 Sunday school, not in Tech High School.
3 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
4 MR. DAVIS: I thank you for your
5 time. Will you do something? Put a fire
6 under them, please, before some kids get
7 killed up there.
8 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
9 MR. TALAMINI: Joe Talamini, citizen
10 of Scranton. I had a couple of questions,
11 Mrs. Evans, if I could beg your indulgence
12 after the meeting. I don't want to take up
13 my time asking, so if you don't mind.
14 Number one, Mrs. Gatelli, last week
15 I mentioned the potholes and the complaints
16 of the senior citizens and those who are
18 You said you would -- you had talked
19 to them about it. Apparently somebody
20 didn't get the message, because one of
21 ladies got stuck in a pothole at four
22 degrees on Wednesday morning. She was stuck
23 there for ten minutes until a police officer
24 came along and helped pushed her wheelchair
25 out of there. I'd just like to mention
1 that. I don't know what DPW's doing, or
2 whoever it is.
3 MS. GATELLI: It's not the DPW, it's
5 MR. TALAMINI: PennDOT, okay.
6 MS. GATELLI: And Mrs. Garvey will
7 call them tomorrow.
8 MR. TALAMINI: Would you please,
9 Mrs. Garvey? Because this woman is severely
10 handicapped, she can't get out of her
11 wheelchair. She sat there in a rut for ten
12 minutes until a police officer came along,
13 got out of his car and helped push her out
14 of that rut.
15 I mean, it's a very serious
16 situation when you -- someone like us, we're
17 not handicapped, we're not disabled, we can
18 move, but she couldn't.
19 It's just another incident, and, I
20 don't know, maybe the Council can join me.
21 I don't want to bring religion in this,
22 maybe the Council can join me, we'll write a
23 letter to the pope and see if we can get a
24 dispensation to have something done in this
25 town, because it seems to be the only way
1 we're going to get anything done.
2 Another item I had, and this refers
3 to, again, the subpoenas. This I'll ask you
4 again afterwards. You mentioned something
5 and I missed out on it.
6 I would like to suggest that the
7 young lady who was here, I didn't get her
8 name, she suggested the cell phone ban, I
9 couldn't agree with her more.
10 I almost got hit by a young lady
11 coming up Mulberry Street the other day who
12 made a left turn on Wyoming Avenue with a
13 cell phone in her ear, and she completely
14 ignored the traffic light, she completely
15 ignored me walking across the street, and
16 then proceeded to blow me of with a signal.
17 I thought it was very nice.
18 If I had gotten her license number,
19 believe me, I would have reported her. If I
20 had a brick, I would have thrown it through
21 her windshield. It was that nice.
22 The other thing I'd like to mention,
23 and, again, I'd like to commend the Junior
24 Council on one year and for the fact that
25 they supplied us with coffee tonight, which
1 was the first time since I've been coming
2 here that I've gotten anything out of this
3 city, so I appreciate it very much. Thank
4 very much.
5 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. There's no
6 one else on the list, so if you would like
7 to speak, come up.
8 MR. MATIJEWSKI: Good evening.
9 Robert Matijewski, resident. At last week's
10 meeting I took a tally of how many speakers
11 ran out of time during both segments of the
12 citizens participation.
13 I found that during the first part,
14 only one person ran out, but during the
15 second part, 13 people ran out of time, out
16 of maybe, I'd say, 20-some speakers, which
17 is close to a majority, if not, you know,
18 beyond that.
19 But I think some were allowed to
20 finish what they had to say, but some were
21 forced to sit down, but I don't think that's
22 a fair or efficient way to run the meetings.
23 I mean, there's a difference between
24 being efficient and then also, you know,
25 cutting out information that the people want
1 to say and get across to the law makers.
2 So, maybe an amendment to extend the
3 second part of the citizens participation
4 for three minutes to five minutes would be
5 appropriate just to consider. I don't know
6 if it would pass, but -- also in regards to
7 the smoking ban, I saw a couple articles in
8 The Scranton Times about My Mother's Table
9 who have been hurt -- their business has
10 been hurt by the ordinance.
11 And what I find ironic about this is
12 that the owner had a partial smoking ban in
13 effect, and he didn't lose any business, but
14 now he's lost business from even longtime
16 And I thinks it's an example of what
17 a citywide ban is doing, which is smokers
18 are not smoking, and these non-smokers
19 aren't coming out and replacing their
21 I mean, if this ordinance isn't
22 erased, suspended or at least revised, then
23 I don't foresee a very prosperous future for
24 for these hurting establishments.
25 It's like vegetarians trying to ban
1 meat. You know, if you have a personal
2 opinion on a choice like that, I mean, I
3 don't know about forcing that into law. You
4 know, you don't have to support a business
5 because of policy.
6 I hope it doesn't come down to
7 Veteran businesses leaving the city and just
8 have all tax free establishments, because
9 there's no revenue there, and because half
10 of them won't last as long as the exile
11 businesses did.
12 I hope that you could try to
13 consider what will be best for everyone and
14 not just a select group. Thank you.
15 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
16 MR. SPINDLER: Good evening,
17 Council. Les Spindler, city resident. Last
18 week Mrs. Fanucci said it was an insult that
19 I dragged Jim Connors into this.
20 Actually all I did was ask a
21 legitimate question why PEL wouldn't allow
22 Mayor Connors to have a public safety
23 director, but they let Mayor Doherty have a
24 public safety director, an assistant public
25 safety director and two secretaries.
1 The only insult here is to the
2 taxpayers of this city that you refuse to do
3 your job as a Councilperson and get the
4 answer to the question I asked well over a
5 month ago.
6 Mr. Connors no longer works for the
7 taxpayers of this city, you do. And being
8 that you meet with PEL, you would be the
9 logical person to get the answer.
10 You don't want to get the answer,
11 because you know, as well as I do, that it
12 is wrong and it's just another example of
13 the corruption in the Doherty
15 Mayor Doherty continues to violate
16 his own Recovery Plan by making new hires,
17 and PEL looks the other way.
18 Just as Buona Pizza is filing a
19 lawsuit in federal court, I think it's time
20 for the taxpayers to also get the federal
21 government involved to see if we can get our
22 questions answers, because asking City
23 Council doesn't seem to be working.
24 Mr. Courtright, you brought up about
25 these signs and the crosswalks. Well, I've
1 seen them in Dunmore and in Wilkes-Barre,
2 and what they say is they say state law,
3 yield to pedestrians in crosswalk.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: Right.
5 MR. SPINDLER: And I don't see any
6 reason why we couldn't get them here. I
7 don't know how we go about it, but --
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: Well, we have one
9 that I found, one down near Scranton High
10 School, so I'm waiting to hear from Mr.
12 MR. SPINDLER: I think we can use a
13 lot more. Okay. In the paper this week we
14 had three close calls with potential
15 abductions the Hill Section, and I see we
16 still have a policeman in here. Maybe if we
17 had more policemen on the street, these
18 things could be prevented.
19 They're just wasting their time in
20 here, and we almost had three tragedies. I
21 think we should try to avert them instead of
22 having police here. They don't even want to
23 be here and they're not needed here. Thank
25 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Mr. Spindler, I
1 have a question for you. Mr. Spindler, also
2 working for the taxpayer, I need to know,
3 did you write that first part of that
4 speech? Because I was told --
5 MR. SPINDLER: I write everything.
6 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Okay. Let me
7 just ask you, I'm just asking you --
8 MR. SPINDLER: I write everything.
9 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I was told that
10 when you put your glasses on, that that was
11 a que that it was for someone else.
12 MR. SPINDLER: Well, you're getting
13 false information. Maybe you're gullible
14 and believe everything.
15 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Well, see, now,
16 this is what I'm trying to say. False
17 information is not good from this podium.
18 I'm glad we can clear that up. Thank you.
19 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Hubbard.
20 MR. HUBBARD: There's nothing false
21 about my information.
22 MS. GATELLI: Oh, we would never say
23 that about you.
24 MR. HUBBARD: Regardless, seven
25 months I've been coming here. I'm getting
1 sick of coming here. I'm almost also
2 getting sick of the fact that in three
3 minutes I can't cover what I need to cover
4 for an entire neighborhood association in
5 three minutes. I can't do it.
6 So, every week I'm put off on three
7 minutes to come back, is another week we
8 don't have what we need in lower Green
9 Ridge. So, you definitely should think
10 about amending the three minutes, because
11 it's not enough time to cover issues.
12 Those pictures, there's two
13 photographs in there of the riverbank
14 completely under water, then there's
15 pictures of the riverbank damaged after the
16 water receded.
17 There's also a picture of a manhole
18 cover at the intersection of Nay Aug and
19 Albright Avenue that was destroyed during
20 the flood.
21 Somebody stuck a blue plastic
22 55-gallon drum in that hole. Then the city
23 came by and put up a sawhorse over the top
24 of the hole. It's not a pothole, it's a
25 manhole. Sorry, mom, but it is.
1 MS. GATELLI: Don't answer your
3 MR. HUBBARD: Well, it's a manhole
4 cover. It's full of dirt and mud. There's
5 a plastic oil drum buried inside this
6 manhole cover.
7 Now, there's also another picture of
8 the riverbank that's damaged, and 20 feet
9 from that riverbank is a two-story high pile
10 of modified dirt.
11 The entire block of Glenn Street by
12 the Laceworks is full of dump truck loads,
13 tri axle loads of dirt, probably 20 piles of
14 dirt within the one block of Glenn Street
15 right there.
16 The whole street's blocked with
17 dirt. They barricaded it right off and
18 filled it with dirt.
19 Pretty ironic that we have a
20 riverbank that's damaged, eroded, half worn
21 down, but 25 feet from that riverbank, a
22 block and a half away from the DPW facility
23 sits several large piles of dirt and a
24 mountain of modified.
25 Now, I was told that that dirt is
1 there -- they're storing the materials they
2 need to build the levee in our neighborhood.
3 Well, that's great. We get to look
4 at the stuff sitting in our neighborhood
5 every day as we drive by, knowing full well
6 that it's getting trucked out of our
7 neighborhood and put into other
9 The Army Corps of Engineers came in
10 and put a temporary levee system behind the
11 Cottone Building on Market Street. Well,
12 the entire 1700 block and 1600 block of Nay
13 Aug Avenue by the CK Salon and this Cottone
14 Building and Phillips' Auto Body and The
15 Giant have absolutely no riverbank at all,
16 nothing. It's perfectly flat.
17 So, whatever they put upstream as a
18 temporary measure, the water is just going
19 to come over the bank at the 1700 block of
20 Nay Aug, it's going to go right up Market
21 Street, flood Mr. Walker's antique cars
22 again, get McMullen's.
23 You know, it's quick. It's amazing
24 how quickly when you have contributors in
25 the area to the mayor that there's a
1 temporary measure put up four blocks from a
2 neighborhood that was under ten feet of
4 The picture -- there's a Suburban in
5 that one photograph. There's also a picture
6 taken from me sitting in a kayak. That
7 Suburban would have bee under 3 feet of
8 water if it was there when I was sitting in
9 my kayak taking that photograph. Seven
10 months. On July 11, Mr. Hayes promised us
11 temporary flood protection.
12 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
13 MR. HUBBARD: We have seen nothing,
14 nothing. The dirt is sitting there. We're
15 -- and I'm past my three, but you know what,
16 next week is one more week longer, one more
17 week closer to --
18 MS. GATELLI: I'll call the
19 gentleman from the flood -- the Army Corps
20 and see what --
21 MR. HUBBARD: I've spoken to Mr.
22 Garabino. I'm waiting for a date.
23 MS. GATELLI: -- the status is.
24 MR. HUBBARD: The meeting is coming
25 up. He's got a new man on the project in
1 Wilkes-Barre, I think, and they're trying to
2 get him up to speed, and then they're going
3 to give me the date for the quarterly
5 He's going to tell you what he tells
6 me. The Army Corps' mission statement is
7 flood control. The responsibility of flood
8 protection falls on the City of Scranton.
9 That riverbank is still the city's
10 problem. It's not the Army Corps, because
11 they haven't even put it out to bid for the
12 work in that neighborhood yet. It's two
13 years away.
14 It's still the city's problem. It's
15 got to get taken care of. If lower Green
16 Ridge gets flooded again this year, I mean,
17 it's getting to be ridiculous.
18 This need to be taken care of. I'm
19 tired of coming before you guys, only to
20 find out that nothing is getting done.
21 I mean, the floor flood siren is a
22 step. I'm glad they're going to notify me
23 when the river is coming over the bank. I
24 would rather not have the river come over
25 the bank.
1 MS. GATELLI: Okay. Thanks, Dan.
2 MR. HUBBARD: The city needs to be
3 held accountable.
4 MR. MCCLOE: Good evening. My name
5 is Brett McCloe, and I want to talk a little
6 bit about the smoking ban. I've been a
7 waiter in this city for almost 20 years, and
8 I have a unique perspective on what exactly
9 is happening here.
10 And as we come to the sixth week of
11 this smoking ban, I think it's about six
12 weeks now, I'm sort of left with an uneasy
13 feeling, sort of like a crisis, a political
14 disease, an involuntary, yet voluntary
15 capitulation of privilege.
16 I use the two words together to
17 describe the duality of the American public
18 and its fickle nature.
19 We involuntary give up our right to
20 choose every time we voluntary lay down our
21 privileges and allow ourselves to be herded
22 around like sheep.
23 These sheep, better yet sheeple,
24 blindly follow elected shepherds to lead us
25 to a PC promise land.
1 This PC promise land has a high
2 price tag, both real and intangible. This
3 price tag will benefit those businesses and
4 municipalities who have not yet bowed down
5 to the will of, not the people, but the
6 politically correct moment.
7 This smoking ban was instituted and
8 won by default, not by the people. This
9 politically correct moment was never
10 intended to include the people.
11 For some reason we, the people, both
12 smokers and non-smokers, have given up our
13 right to choose and put it in the hands of a
14 few people.
15 Some of these shepherds had no
16 competence in our ability to make the
17 decisions whether to use our legs to walk
18 into a restaurant that has a smoking section
19 or to walk away from the restaurant that has
20 a smoking section.
21 Apparently these shepherds have no
22 confidence that the market could support and
23 adapt to maybe just a few restaurants having
24 no smoking.
25 Politics has decided what the shape
1 of the market will look like. The obsolete
2 concept of a free market society has eroded
3 -- has been eroded by political correctness
4 and the unwillingness to seek alternatives.
5 They have taken away not just the
6 smoker's but also the non-smoker's right to
8 Just because a non-smoker agrees
9 with the smoking ban, doesn't mean that they
10 haven't lost bits and pieces of a God given
11 right to choose.
12 Let the market decide. Allow the
13 businesses -- the businesses to either pass
14 or fail the test of hospitality. It's all
15 about hospitality, privilege and choice.
16 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
17 MR. MCCLOE: I will probably finish
18 this up next week. I have a lot more to
20 MS. GATELLI: Thanks, Mr. McCloe.
21 MR. GORDON: Good evening, Council.
22 Pat Gordon, Scranton taxpayer, homeowner.
23 I'm here because I'm -- I know everyone's
24 been talking about the tax increase.
25 I got my letter in the mail this
1 week, too, and the majority of the Council
2 sees fit that we have the tax increase, now
3 I would like some things done.
4 When Mrs. Evans was the contact
5 person for the DPW, I'm the one that put in
6 the constant complaints of the conditions on
7 Cooper Avenue and Ward Place.
8 Diamond Avenue runs parallel with
9 Cooper. It's like an ice skating rink it's
10 so smooth.
11 I know Mr. Courtright also knows
12 where I'm talking about, because I saw him
13 this past weekend at Tell's Market.
14 All I want -- I'm not complaining
15 about the taxes, that's what you voted on,
16 that's what I'm stuck with.
17 I would like something to be done.
18 I rebuilt. If you -- any of you drive down
19 there, I had the curbs. I had water coming
20 onto my property. I had the curbs rebuilt
21 myself. Who paid? I paid. Who bought the
22 material? I did. I don't know. I don't
23 know how to pave a street.
24 You at Mrs. Evans' request came and
25 what they call cold patched these potholes
1 on Ward Place. It's less than the size of a
2 football field that leads from Cooper to
3 Diamond Avenue. These cold patches break up
4 in a matter of a month and a half.
5 So, before I get all excited here,
6 all I'm going to do is request that the
7 Council look into something being done.
8 But the DPW sees it. They pick up
9 my garbage every Tuesday morning. They have
10 to drive over it, so I'm sure they're aware
11 of it, as I am. Thank you, Council.
12 MS. GATELLI: Thank you very much.
13 MS. FRANUS: Fay Franus. Mrs.
14 Gatelli, I'd like to see some documentation,
15 if it's possible, for the 2006 TAN series B
16 plan. How would I get that? Could you get
17 that for me? I also want to know do you
18 have documentation as to when that was paid?
19 MS. GATELLI: I'll get it for you.
20 MS. FRANUS: Do you have
22 MS. GATELLI: Not with me tonight.
23 MS. FRANUS: Okay. How about where
24 was the remainder of that money spent, the
25 $9.5 million, where was the remainder of the
1 $10 million spent? How was it spent? That
2 was a question.
3 MS. GATELLI: I know it was a
5 MS. FRANUS: Well, I'm waiting for
6 an answer. My time -- i only get three
7 minutes, you know, I --
8 MS. GATELLI: Well, you better use
9 it wisely, Mrs. Franus.
10 MS. FRANUS: Well, I'm going to ask
11 you again. How was the remainder of that
12 money spent?
13 MS. GATELLI: This is -- Council is
14 not a question and answer period.
15 MS. FRANUS: It certainly is.
16 MS. GATELLI: No, it isn't.
17 MS. FRANUS: What is it, to come
18 here and just sit and make statements and
19 walk away? I come here to get information
20 that we need to know that we don't have, and
21 it's your obligation to me and to everybody
22 in the City of Scranton to answer my
23 questions, since I'm paying your salary and
24 everybody else in the City of Scranton is
25 paying your salary.
1 MS. GATELLI: And who pays your
2 salary, Mrs. Franus?
3 MS. FRANUS: Who pays it? The
4 company I work for.
5 MS. GATELLI: Yeah, who do you work
7 MS. FRANUS: Oh, you have to be
9 MS. GATELLI: Who do you work for,
10 Mrs. Franus?
11 MS. FRANUS: My paycheck -- my pay
12 is not coming out of the taxes of the people
13 of Scranton.
14 MS. GATELLI: It's a utility.
15 MS. FRANUS: Well, let's put it this
16 way, but I do a good job.
17 MS. GATELLI: Isn't it? So, I pay
18 your salary, too, when I pay my water bill.
19 MS. FRANUS: And that's right, you
20 do. But you know what, when I go to work, I
21 do my job correctly.
22 MS. GATELLI: And when I go to work,
23 I do my job, too.
24 MS. FRANUS: You don't represent the
25 people like I do.
1 MS. GATELLI: I don't represent you,
2 Mrs. Franus. No, I don't.
3 MS. FRANUS: I can't believe you
4 even say such a statement. And why wouldn't
5 you represent me? I pay your salary.
6 MS. GATELLI: Because you don't
7 think I represent you. That's why.
8 MS. FRANUS: You said it, I didn't.
9 I know you don't, because you raised our
10 taxes 25 percent. Mrs. Gatelli, Mrs.
11 Fanucci, and Mr. McGoff very nicely raised
12 our taxes 25 percent.
13 Do you realize the position you're
14 putting these people in that won't have
15 homes, that cry at night because they don't
16 know how they're going to pay their bills,
17 thanks to you, Mrs. Gatelli, Mrs. Fanucci
18 and Mr. McGoff?
19 Do you realize how they feel at
20 night? What are they going to do? Thank
21 God I have a job. What about these people
22 that can't afford this? What are they to
24 Maybe they should come to 709
25 Connell Street and knock on your door, since
1 you have all the money in the world and
2 don't seem to worry about it. And, yes, you
3 do represent the people. Unbelievable.
4 And last week you made a statement
5 about me saying that I meet with people to
6 tell me what to say.
7 First of all, what I do is my
8 business, not yours. But what you do is my
9 business, because you're putting your hands
10 in my pockets taking my money out. There's
11 the difference.
12 What you do is my business. What I
13 do is not your business. It never will be.
14 I go to work and I come home and mind my own
16 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
17 MS. FRANUS: I don't take money out
18 of other people's pockets like you.
19 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
20 MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.
21 The first thing I'd like to say is in
22 representative government, this Council
23 represents everyone, whether they voted for
24 you or whether they didn't, and I really
25 think that everybody really needs to
1 consider that in elective office.
2 I asked a couple times about Mark
3 Seitzinger's qualifications, and I've asked
4 for them in writing, but I haven't received
5 any information whatsoever, none, and I
6 would like to have some, if I could,
7 possibly by tomorrow or Monday. Is that
8 possible, President Gatelli?
9 MS. GATELLI: I don't know that we
10 can get that information, Mr. Minora, from
11 personnel. I said that before.
12 MR. MINORA: I'm not sure that
13 personal information is available, you know
15 MR. MORGAN: I'm not talking about
17 MR. MINORA: -- which may include
18 addresses and things like that.
19 MR. MORGAN: I'm not talking about
20 personal information, I'm talking about
21 qualifications. I'm not asking you where
22 this man lives, I'm not asking you any of
23 those questions.
24 My questions were to the point and
25 they were asked in writing, and I would like
1 a response.
2 And if you do not intend to furnish
3 me with that information, then I will
4 proceed forward in another venue. But I
5 think --
6 MS. GATELLI: I think you should ask
7 the personnel department.
8 MR. MORGAN: Possibly, but I started
9 here. And if you have no intentions of
10 answering my question, then I think then in
11 writing you should tell me so, since I
12 requested that information from you in
14 The other question I have is,
15 there's been some statements here in regards
16 to the city and finances and a lot of other
17 things, and I think that the major problem
18 we have in this city is we have duplication
19 and we have cronyism.
20 We have Mr. Hayes, who has an
21 assistant, Mark Seitzinger. I can't
22 understand why he needs an assistant. We're
23 a city of 67,000 people. That position
24 didn't exist until the mayor created it.
25 Now we're looking at the Scranton
1 Sewer authority, where we have Mr. Barrett
2 running that and a consultant telling him
3 how to run it, and then we've brought Mr.
4 Scopelliti from Parks and Recreation to help
5 Mr. Barrett.
6 I think what we did is we've created
7 a ton of jobs for a ton of political
8 operatives throughout this city's
9 administration, and this administration and
10 previous administrations.
11 Now we have where Council has voted
12 and decided to follow a course of action
13 calling for a subpoena.
14 And from what I've been led to
15 believe outside this chamber is that your
16 solicitor doesn't feel that's prudent.
17 And I don't think that that's a
18 decision for him to make at all. I think
19 that was voted by Council, and I think those
20 subpoenas need to be pursued, as broad as
21 the motion was and the vote.
22 I think that for once and all, for
23 once and -- for once and all, the people in
24 this city have to hold elected officials
1 And another question I have is, how
2 many employees work for the Scranton Sewer
4 And another question I have is, was
5 there a $10 million loan that came through
6 Council for Preferred Produce?
7 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
8 MR. MORGAN: And I'd like to have an
9 answer to that question at the next Council
10 meeting, considering that that business
11 filed bankruptcy and is gone.
12 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Right. They
13 were the one who defaulted.
14 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
15 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: It wasn't $10
16 million. Mr. Morgan, I do want to ask --
17 say one thing about what you were
19 As far as Mr. Seitzinger, I don't
20 believe that the mayor was the one who
21 created the job. Actually it was a group of
22 people in the Hill Section meeting with
23 President Gatelli and myself who decided
24 that it would be a great idea to have the
25 blight task force.
1 We actually decided as a group that
2 it would be a wonderful thing. This was not
3 to assist Director Hayes, it was to start a
4 whole new program.
5 MR. MORGAN: My question was to his
6 qualifications, and my questions --
7 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Well, I can
8 tell you right now, to look at a bad house,
9 you don't need many -- I can spot it a mile
11 MR. MORGAN: You most certainly do.
12 You most certainly do have to be qualified
13 for any job you hold.
14 And my questions were very specific
15 and to the point, and those are the
16 questions I would like answered.
17 And your opinion is directly yours,
18 okay? But whether he's qualified or not,
19 that's another matter to be decided by his
20 qualifications. Thank you.
21 MS. KRAKE: To continue that
22 conversation, I remember when Mrs. Gatelli
23 had a task force of current employees from
24 the -- all of the people that were in
25 license and inspections and that were all
1 qualified and that are still qualified.
2 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: I don't think
3 he's not qualified. Did somebody come out
4 and say he was --
5 MS. KRAKE: I don't think anybody
6 said that. I think you're jumping to that
7 conclusion, and I'm sorry that you feel that
9 MS. GATELLI: My goodness.
10 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: First of all,
11 that's not -- I was answering a question
12 from him. I didn't jump to any conclusion.
13 He said that the mayor appointed him. I
14 said that it wasn't the mayor. We decided
15 as a group --
16 MS. KRAKE: This is my time to
17 speak. Thank you.
18 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: No, go ahead.
19 MS. KRAKE: And since you have
20 reported to OECD, Mrs. Fanucci, perhaps you
21 can let Ms. Hailstone know that before she
22 does a loan, she may want to have all the
23 information so we won't need to ask the
24 questions that apparently offended people.
25 They were simple questions and they
1 should not have been offended by them. If
2 they're legitimate, no one should be
3 offended by the truth.
4 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: It was the
5 assumption --
6 MS. KRAKE: Excuse me.
7 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Hold her time
8 for a second and let me finish this. It was
9 not that they were offended by the
10 questions, they were offending that you were
11 assuming and people were acting as if the
12 mayor had some part in this.
13 And they were not acting, they were
14 acting alone, and --
15 MS. KRAKE: Once again, those are
16 feelings. That is not what was said here.
17 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: That's exactly
18 what was said here last wee. That's exactly
19 what was said here last week. Continue your
21 MS. KRAKE: Mrs. Evans, you said you
22 went to speak to Mrs. Hailstone --
23 MS. EVANS: Yes.
24 MS. KRAKE: -- and she told you that
25 she had to ask her boss, the mayor?
1 MS. EVANS: Yes.
2 MS. KRAKE: But Mrs. Fanucci said
3 she's able to get much information from Ms.
4 Hailstone, so it seems to me that the mayor
5 must have said it's okay to give the
6 information to Mrs. Fanucci, but not to Mrs.
8 Once again, this is another example
9 of why we need a subpoena. You've been
10 asking these questions for many years now,
11 and you have -- if you had been provided the
12 answers to your requests, we would not be in
13 the position now that we need to get loud
14 with each other, that there are accusations.
15 Simple answers to simple questions
16 are not hard, unless people are hiding
17 something. And I'm very sorry that people
18 get hard feelings over these things. Thank
20 MS. EVANS: I think it might be
21 interesting, I'm sorry to interrupt, I think
22 it might be very interesting if I had the
23 time or we would find some who had the time
24 to peruse all of the meetings of the minutes
25 since I was initially seated in January of
1 2004, to ascertain the number of times that
2 I have requested information and been
3 denied. I think it would be astounding.
4 MS. STULGIS: I have a couple of
5 things regarding PEL and the public safety
7 I was at home when the first three
8 minute time period was, and Mrs. Krake
9 mentioned the conversation that we had with
10 Harry Miller in the hall. It was quite
11 uncomfortable for him, because he didn't
12 want to answer any questions, he didn't feel
13 he had to.
14 He did tell us that they didn't like
15 Jimmy Klee, and so they decided to get rid
16 of the public safety department.
17 He also said that they got rid of
18 the public safety department, a director,
19 because they felt that the police union was
20 winning too many arbitrations.
21 Now, that's rather ironic, since
22 we've never won arbitrations like we've won
23 them in the last couple of years.
24 We've won enough that the city is up
25 to about one million in legal fees fighting
1 us, and we still continue to win.
2 One of our latest wins was an en
3 banc hearing in Commonwealth Court and en
4 banc means in front of the entire penal of
5 Commonwealth Court judges.
6 And by the way, not only did we win,
7 but it was a unanimous decision. There was
8 no descenting votes. All Commonwealth
9 judges voted in our favor.
10 So, if we're winning arbitrations,
11 either the city is wrong, or the unions are
12 wrong, the arbitrators are wrong, the county
13 judges are wrong, the Commonwealth judges
14 are wrong, I guess the whole world is wrong.
15 Also, I learned something rather
16 interesting last evening. I understand that
17 there is a letter that was sent to the mayor
18 from PEL, and that letter was sent shortly
19 after the results of the results of the
20 binding arbitration came down for the police
22 In that letter, PEL suggested to the
23 mayor that he accept the arbitrator's
24 decision and not appeal, because no one
25 really won. Everyone made sacrifices.
1 I'm wondering if one of you would be
2 able to get that letter, since it certainly
3 would be extremely interesting, because it's
4 costing us as taxpayers a whole lot of money
5 in more arbitrations and more court cases.
6 In fact, I just read our latest
7 brief, because we're in county court right
8 now, on this same subject, and if PEL
9 recommended it be accepted, I'd like to know
10 why, why it could happen that it would be
12 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Stulgis, do you
13 have the proximate date when that occurred?
14 MS. STULGIS: No, but I will get it
15 for you.
16 MS. EVANS: That would be very
17 helpful. And then, Kay, if we could send a
18 letter to PEL requesting a copy of that
20 MS. STULGIS: Thank you very much.
21 I'd really appreciate that.
22 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
23 MS. STULGIS: Quite enlightening.
24 Real quick, has anybody found out who's
25 responsible for paying back the money that
1 we gave It's About Thyme to start up and
2 then they sold?
3 MS. EVANS: I don't have that
4 information. That was part of what I was
5 seeking, since it was a business located
6 within, I believe, the Kane Building, which,
7 of course, About Thyme did not own, so I was
8 trying to ascertain who would have repaid
9 that loan, if it has been repaid, if not,
10 who's making the payments or was it a
12 MS. STULGIS: Thanks.
13 MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening,
14 Council. I'm Nelson Ancherani, resident,
15 taxpayer, city employee, and financial
16 secretary of the FOP exercising my First
17 Amendment Rights.
18 Money has to come from somebody.
19 Does everyone remember those words? They're
20 the famous words of our mayor within the
21 last two years he said that.
22 Since 2002, I've been coming to
23 Council saying that we would pay down the
24 road with a huge tax increase. That time is
25 upon us.
1 Tax bills are arriving in the mail,
2 and they aren't pretty. Complaints are
3 coming in already. We all know who to thank
4 for these bills, the mayor and his B.S.
5 fiscal manager, borrowing and spending, and
6 three Councilpersons, Mrs. Gatelli, Ms.
7 Fanucci and Mr. McGoff.
8 Two weeks ago I spoke about our
9 taxes being raised 25 percent in the next
10 three years and how that equates into an
11 almost 100 percent increase in those three
13 There was a remark at the end that
14 -- at that meeting that 2008 and 2009 taxes
15 weren't voted on yet.
16 Getting to that remark about the
17 25 percent increases not being voted on, the
18 three Council members, Mrs. Gatelli, Ms.
19 Fanucci and Mr. McGoff, who voted for the
20 tax hike, and the $10 million loan, and the
21 $14,500,000 tax anticipation notes, have
22 shown to me that the concerns of the
23 taxpayers who pay the bills were ignored.
24 The three Council members that voted
25 for the tax increase and loans and TANS had
1 an opportunity to pass a budget that would
2 have eliminated the need for the tax hike
3 and the $10 million loan.
4 We are now facing a $300 million
5 long-term debt that will stifle our
6 grandchildren for the next 28 years or more.
7 The administration from the last
8 five years has been blaming the unions for
9 the financial situation we are in.
10 Union people have been coming here
11 addressing the requests for the $44 million
12 down to $10 million saying not to give the
13 city the loans, and you turned deaf ears to
14 them, but yet the unions will get the blame.
15 You were given the opportunity to
16 enact more revenue-producing ideas to help
17 out our financial situation, but yet the
18 ideas were ignored, and a record $77 million
19 budget was passed for this year.
20 The raises and new hires wages that
21 the mayor put into the budgets have
22 increased from the $6 million last year to
23 around $9 million cumulatively this year.
24 The above figures could have been
25 reduced substantially, if the budget Mrs.
1 Evans produced was enacted and there would
2 have been no need for a tax increase if the
3 cuts and revenue areas were enacted.
4 Therefore, based on past actions
5 taken by Mayor Doherty --
6 MR. MINORA: Three minutes.
7 MR. ANCHERANI: -- Ms. Gatelli, Ms.
8 Fanucci and Mr. McGoff, I have no choice but
9 to believe that come budget time in November
10 and December of this year, a 25 percent tax
11 increase will be enacted for each year, and
12 I predict record budgets totalling $80
13 million and $85 million for 2009.
14 Again, I'm sure that it will be
15 blamed on the unions instead of the fiscal
16 mismanagement that this city practices.
17 Money has to come from somebody.
18 Now we know from who. Taxpayers beware.
19 The tax man cometh with this 100 percent
20 increase. Thank you.
21 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Hi,
22 Chrissy. Close your eyes, you can't see th
23 is. Don't let her see it, Bill.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, Chris.
25 MR. SLEDZINSKI: Don't look. Don't
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: That's nice.
3 MS. GATELLI: Oh, thank you,
4 Chrissy. I'll use it tomorrow. I'll show
5 Mr. Rogan. It's his last day.
6 MR. SLEDZINSKI: Billy, I got a
7 question for you. We need more cops on the
8 street, Bill. Will you look into that for
9 me tomorrow for me or what?
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'll see if they
11 can get up there, Chris.
12 MR. SLEDZINSKI: All right. Thanks,
14 MR. DODSON: Dave Dobson, resident
15 of Scranton. I'd like to express some
16 support on this cell phone issue.
17 A few months ago, and I don't have
18 the article, but it was determined that a
19 person operating a cell phone and a motor
20 vehicle is the equivalent, at the very
21 least, of .10 consumption of alcohol.
22 So, it's a very serious safety risk,
23 and they are virtually -- this was a
24 scientific study that determined that people
25 that are operating cell phones while driving
1 are operating the same as if they were
2 clinically drunk or illegally drunk.
3 And the only thing I'd like to say
4 on the smoking ban, I got tired of being
5 redundant, I didn't say anything for weeks
6 now, when majority versus minority, it's
7 he's easy to cite that a lot of people are
8 against it and a few people are for it or
9 it's 60/40 or 70/30, but what do we do with
10 that type of reasoning if a portion --
11 75 percent of the population determines that
12 25 percent are vermin and they need to be
13 disposed of?
14 That type of reasoning is just --
15 I'm not trying to vilify anybody, but that
16 type of reasoning doesn't have -- it's not
17 entirely based in sound political and
18 constitutional law.
19 So, I'd appreciate it if it was just
20 modified someday. I don't want to pick on
21 anybody or offend anybody's sensibilities,
22 but the majority doesn't always rule in a
23 constitutional democracy.
24 Democracy -- the Greek side of
25 democracy, women didn't have a right to
1 vote, they had slaves and so forth.
2 So, I would appreciate if we would
3 quote the polls a little less as if they
4 were sent down from up higher power or
5 something. Thank you. Have a good night.
6 MS. GATELLI: Thank you very much.
8 MR. PIAZZA: Good evening, Council,
9 I'm James Piazza, Scranton High School. One
10 year ago I was appointed to be on the Junior
11 City Council, which I will never forget.
12 This was a great experience for me,
13 because I was able to get give back to the
14 community in many ways, and also I had the
15 opportunity to learn about how local
16 government operates.
17 The way that I gave back to the
18 community was by helping out with projects
19 that the Junior City Council took part in.
20 The projects included the park cleanups, the
21 Woodlawn project and the Santa breakfast.
22 I learned that everyone needs to
23 work together to get the job done, which is
24 why our projects are successful.
25 On the other hand, our project could
1 not be successful if there is disarray among
2 people in a group.
3 I was very proud to receive a
4 proclamation from the Scranton City Council.
5 The park cleanups were meant to make the
6 city look more attractive.
7 All of our projects were meant to
8 show the residents of the city that we care
9 about the city and want young people to get
11 I urge young people to become
12 leaders in their community and take part in
13 local government.
14 After reflecting on the past year, I
15 enjoyed taking part in the Junior City
16 Council meeting at Scranton High school.
17 This meeting was very informational,
18 because we got to hear what issues students
19 in high school have about the city. As a
20 result, we should have more meetings in high
21 schools in the future.
22 Finally, it was nice to spend our
23 anniversary with Council. Thank you.
24 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else? Motion
25 to adjourn.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
2 MS. NEALON FANUCCI: Second.
4 (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