2 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
8 Tuesday, March 11, 2008
11 Council Chambers
12 Scranton City Hall
13 340 North Washington Avenue
14 Scranton, Pennsylvania
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER
3 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT
7 MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT
MS. JANET E. EVANS
10 MS. SHERRY FANUCCI
MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
13 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
16 MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR
1 (Pledge of Allegiance recited and moment of reflection
3 MR. MCGOFF: Roll call.
4 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
5 MS. EVANS: Here.
6 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
8 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.
9 MS. FANUCCI: Here.
10 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Gatelli.
11 MS. GATELLI: Here.
12 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Here. Dispense with
14 the reading of the minutes.
15 MS. GARVEY: THIRD ORDER. NO
16 BUSINESS AT THIS TIME.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Prior to citizens'
18 participation, if anyone has any
19 announcements, any council members have any
20 announcements to make? Please.
21 MS. EVANS: I'd like to congratulate
22 Jason Dominic, Scranton High School wrestler
23 for achieving his 100th career win and for
24 being the first in Scranton High School's
25 history to win a medal in wrestling at state
1 level competition. Also, I'd like to
2 congratulate Scranton High School girl's
3 basketball team who made it into the elite
4 eight, unfortunately, we lost our game on
5 Friday night, but still the team is
6 outstanding and went farther than has ever
7 been accomplished before and so I would ask
8 my colleagues if we could bring in the
9 Scranton High girl's varsity basketball team
10 for a proclamation and Jason Dominic as
12 MS. FANUCCI: Of course.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Fine by me.
14 MS. EVANS: Wonderful. Kay, I'll get
15 all of the information for you. Thank you.
16 MR. MCGOFF: FOURTH ORDER. CITIZENS'
17 PARTICIPATION. Doug Miller.
18 MR. MILLER: Good evening, Council,
19 Doug Miller, president of the Junior City
20 Council. On behalf of Junior Council I am
21 pleased to announce that our council has
22 organized a charity basketball game between
23 the Scranton police and firemen tentatively
24 scheduled for Friday, April 4, beginning at
25 7:00 p.m. at Scranton High School. Tickets
1 are $3.00 each and all proceeds will benefit
2 a police and firefighters' memorial. More
3 details will be announced next Tuesday.
4 I would like to share a few thoughts
5 on the city's smoking ordinance as well as
6 the future of this ordinance. Last week
7 Mr. Talimini expressed his concern over the
8 city's smoking ordinance and that he would
9 like to see the city move onto other issues
10 that have more of an impact on our
11 residents. I beg to differ with
12 Mr. Talimini. This issue has the most
13 impact on our residents because this deals
14 with the health and safety of our residents.
15 Over a year ago students from West Scranton
16 High School came before this council and
17 proposed a ban on smoking with the
18 intentions of protecting our city and
19 residents. This proposal was supported by
20 the majority of council, the mayor and many
21 other city officials. Unfortunately,
22 challenges were made against our ordinance
23 and we can no longer enforce this ban.
24 However, we have now put pressure and
25 the state to step up and enact a
1 comprehensive statewide smoking ban. This
2 issue is certainly being discussed in the
3 house and senate of our Commonwealth. A
4 bill that would put limitations on smoking
5 all across the state has the support from
6 Representative Shimkus and many other state
7 legislators, but as in any other proposed
8 bill there is opposition. Senator Bob
9 Mellow has not made a commitment to
10 supporting a smoking ban in our state.
11 Recently many ad campaigns have asked
12 Senator Mellow to support a ban on smoking.
13 I believe it is the job of the elected
14 official to listen to the public and
15 85 percent of Pennsylvanians want a
16 comprehensive smoking ban passed.
17 So, I would ask tonight that council
18 make a motion to send a letter to Senator
19 Bob Mellow and other state representatives
20 in the area asking them to listen to the
21 majority and support a statewide smoking
22 ban. The time to act is now.
23 Yesterday, Scranton had the
24 privilege of hosting Senator Hillary Clinton
25 at a rally at Scranton High School. This
1 event marked the first campaign stop for
2 Mrs. Clinton and Pennsylvania has now become
3 a key state in determining the democratic
4 nominee. Ian Miller and I were proud to
5 represent Junior Council at this event.
6 Junior Council understands the importance of
7 this election and that our future is hanging
8 in the balance. For two years we have
9 encouraged young adults to become more
10 involved in their government and I believe
11 we have done a good job in accomplishing
12 that mission.
13 Last week council discussed getting
14 students to register to vote. You know, at
15 Scranton High it's the PTA that gives
16 students the opportunity to register and at
17 West Scranton High School my fellow
18 classmates and I had mail-in registration
19 forms distributed to students throughout the
20 school. On behalf Of Junior Council, I
21 strongly recommend that students get out and
23 Finally, I would like to comment on
24 the setting of yesterday's event. Scranton
25 High School hosted the event the High School
1 Principal Brian McGraw began the rally by
2 making a few openings remarks. He
3 recognized our city's elementary schools,
4 our middle schools and Scranton High School.
5 He read a list of the school's
6 accomplishments and declared his school the
7 campus of champions.
8 While he may give credit to his
9 school, there is another high school across
10 town that he failed to recognize, West
11 Scranton High School and as a student and
12 resident of West Side I was totally ashamed.
13 West Scranton has a track record of being
14 successful and building fewer leaders. Our
15 school has many accomplishments that I could
16 read, but I would need more than five
17 minutes to read them. The disrespect
18 towards West starts here at council when two
19 weeks ago when the back to back District II
20 West Scranton Invader football team was here
21 to receive the proclamation of this council
22 a member of this council touted Scranton
23 High's accomplishments in front of their
24 team, their family and friends. Many
25 westsiders were very disappointed and
1 believed that their men deserved to be
2 treated better.
3 You can declare yourself the campus
4 of champions, but there is only one true
5 saying around here, West is best. Thank
7 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Douglas.
8 Andy Sbaraglia.
9 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
10 citizen of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians, I
11 usually talk on agenda items, but as you can
12 see the agenda is very lame in this session
13 so I'd like to do a little recap.
14 Mrs. Fanucci stated that she only knew
15 Whistles was in default, but we all know the
16 hotel Hilton was in default for millions of
18 MS. FANUCCI: That's right.
19 MR. SBARAGLIA: So that's just one
20 and we forgave a loan to I think it was 501
21 South Washington Avenue, we forgave that
22 loan, whether they would have went into
23 default or not I do not know but we forgave
24 the loan so they wouldn't be in default.
25 MS. FANUCCI: Who was that, do you
2 MR. SBARAGLIA: Ask your lawyer
3 because me and him went around on that many
5 MS. FANUCCI: Okay.
6 MR. SBARAGLIA: And the loan was
7 forgiven. So, we start it. Mrs. Gatelli
8 said she wouldn't vote for any borrowing,
9 but yet when we voted the budget in there is
10 a ten million borrowing attached to it so,
11 hence, you all voted for another $10 million
12 of borrowing, so forth and so on.
13 You got the amusement tax, I haven't
14 seen it come forward yet, but I assume from
15 what Attorney Minora said it would apply to
16 the churches, too, to all nonprofits and a
17 church definitely is a nonprofit so any kind
18 of an outdoor facility they have falls under
19 this ordinance and since it's in the budget
20 you can't change it because we couldn't even
21 petition against it, that's the reason why
22 all of these things are in the budget, why
23 that ungodly tax on the poor people for not
24 paying their -- able to pay your taxes and
25 as you know if you read the papers the
1 country is really in bad shape and there is
2 a lot more people than ain't going to be
3 able to pay their taxes and the people who
4 proposed this knew that. They knew exactly
5 what they were doing and that's why they did
6 it. Nothing happens by accident, everything
7 is planned in advance.
8 There was a good article about Wall
9 Street West in the paper and you had the
10 different entities coming in, I think one
11 with was over there in the Oppenheim
12 building, the other one is down there in the
13 old incubator and there's $25 million up for
14 grabs and that's one of the reasons they are
15 really interested in it. Now, whether
16 anything comes out of it I have no idea, but
17 there is money available from that program
18 and I don't know if the article stated that
19 University was doing a little on currency
20 exchange. Now, whether that was going to be
21 paid out of that fund I do not know or even
22 how far into this thing it's going to be
23 because if you move another center from Wall
24 Street West somewhere in the Poconos or
25 somewhere in this area there's a lot
1 involved and let's hope New York never gets
2 bombed. I really -- 9-11 has stuck in all
3 of us and I never want to see that again
4 happen, but there is a lot of things even
5 with that that happened. All of the people
6 that was in on 9-11 and really tried to
7 clean up that area and look for bones and so
8 forth and so on they kept them working long
9 after they knew there would be no bodies
10 found, no one alive anyway, just to get at
11 the vaults, gold. That was the only reason,
12 the day they hit that gold vault they
13 stopped digging so this is how the
14 government cares.
15 You are in trouble today. You are
16 in trouble everywhere. The government is
17 becoming our enemy whether we want it or
18 not. The government is no longer on the
19 side of the people, they are on the side of
20 special interests and even if the city
21 special interests really, really have the
22 upper hand on the city. You are going to
23 have to pass taxes, increasing tax, more
24 increasing taxes on the people of Scranton
25 and the reason why is all of the give
1 always, all of the KOZ's, all of this, all
2 that, whatever happened and in the end it
3 really isn't going to matter because it's
4 not going to work. It hasn't worked, it
5 will not work. I mean, you can put all of
6 the restaurants you want downtown it ain't
7 going to make much of a difference. You
8 need jobs. This is what's wrong with the
9 country today. Thank you.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Ozzie Quinn.
11 MR. QUINN: Ozzie Quinn, property
12 owner and member of the Taxpayers'
13 Association. Let Mayor Doherty stump -- did
14 a little squeezing here today when Hillary
15 announced that her husband left office they
16 had -- didn't have a deficit, you know, and
17 she said that when Bush come in now they
18 have a deficit and so it reminded me like
19 when Connors left it was the same thing
20 happened, it was like déjà vu and here we
21 are again with this big debt here and that's
22 what I want to address tonight; and being
23 critical of the situation, you know, which I
24 am as a Taxpayers' Association president, we
25 have to be because it has gotten out of hand
1 and it's got to a point now that we have to
2 look for ways that we are going to pay off
3 this debt or we are going to be doing this
4 for a lifetime our great grandchildren,
6 Now, as the finance chairperson,
7 Mrs. Gatelli, you weren't here last week and
8 I spoke about Park Gardens and I suggested
9 the possibility that there start to be a
10 line of communication made between the
11 housing authority and the city regarding the
12 possibly selling the Park Gardens for the
13 sale proceeds and also additional revenue
14 every year would be in continuity of taxes
15 coming into the city and, you know, because
16 we have to get out of this debt, you know.
17 The other thing is there here, and I spoke
18 about it many times is this House Bill 1275,
19 the property tax elimination which is still
20 hanging out there and none of our
21 legislators seem to be backing it and around
22 the state they are, 26 associations,
23 taxpayers' association over 10,000 members
24 are backing it and it would eliminate the
25 property tax, which is great, 58 percent of
1 your tax bill. It would eliminate 1 percent
2 of the wage tax, it would bring it down to
3 two and a quarter percent and it would
4 eliminate the amount of money that the
5 school board is in debt and that's over
6 $200 million.
7 And, actually, there isn't any
8 increase in any taxes. What happens is the
9 sales tax is expanded. Attorney Minora
10 wouldn't like it because one of the things
11 is it's expanded to put a sale's tax on
12 attorney's fees and so on and like that, and
13 so there are a lot of attorneys in the House
14 of Representatives, but it's one way of
15 getting at some of the taxpayers' problems
16 in the city and that's that wage tax and
17 that hurts with our economic development.
18 The other thing is when you talk about
19 is House Bill 2018 which you had a public
20 hearing on last week and that's called the
21 Tax Exempt Property Municipal Assistance
22 Act, and what is that, okay? That is what
23 we are talking about the Johnstown flood,
24 the 18 percent that was going on since 1936
25 with the wine, okay, they are taking in over
1 240 million dollars in taxes every year and
2 there is a bill that was introduced by a
3 representative from out in York and
4 cosponsored by one in North Hampton and
5 actually what it does if you have properties
6 that are tax exempt, you have over
7 17 percent of your properties are tax
8 exempt, you would be eligible for this
10 Now, Scranton, okay, 22 percent of
11 the properties are exempt so Scranton would
12 be eligible under this here and Scranton
13 would be able to get 2 million dollars a
14 year windfall every year, okay? Again,
15 nothing on the state representatives. If
16 you people would get behind these two bills
17 and push them, please.
18 MS. GATELLI: We did.
19 MR. QUINN: So, these are ways that
20 you can start to get some revenue in and,
21 you know, it's something that we would be
22 getting all the time, I mean, we would be
23 getting this revenue from Johnstown flood.
24 We would be getting the Park Gardens revenue
25 coming in every month plus the original
1 sale, okay. And, please, I'm not here just
2 to hear myself talk. I hope that you will
3 listen, please, and I'm not here, you know,
4 to criticize about, but we are a problem and
5 I'm trying to offer ways and things that we
6 can do, okay?
7 Now, you know, I think I sent out a
8 letter on February 5 and another letter on
9 February 12 to the OECD Right to Know for
10 that money that is surplus and projects and
11 that the UDAG's and they said there isn't
12 any money there, you know, and unequivocally
13 I'm all for that fire truck, okay, I hope
14 you get a hook and ladder, you know, and
15 what I want to do is the fact that when you
16 look at here, one moment, please, $350,000
17 is taken from other projects, okay, and they
18 are telling me there is no money over there.
19 Now, they are trying to make a fool out
20 of me and I don't like that and I don't
21 appreciate it, okay, and it's not very
22 transparent what they are doing and it's not
23 ethical and it's corrupt and we don't like
24 it here, the taxpayers in the City of
25 Scranton. Thank you.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Quinn.
2 MS. EVANS: Mr. Quinn, if I may just
3 address very quickly the issue that you
4 mentioned HB2018, as soon as I became aware
5 of that we discussed that at council and
6 immediately in unanimous agreement sent
7 letters to both state representatives and
8 Senator Mellow requesting their full support
9 of that bill and notifying them of the, you
10 know, great boom it would for the City of
11 Scranton and it's distressed status.
12 MR. QUINN: That was when it was
13 introduced, now it's actually out of
14 committee and they had a public hearing on
15 it, so I hope that you can do something with
16 it, okay?
17 MS. EVANS: We'll work on it.
18 MR. QUINN: Thank you very much.
19 MS. GATELLI: Mr. McGoff, may I say
21 MR. MCGOFF: Yes.
22 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Quinn, just a
23 suggestion about that OECD problem that you
24 are having, there is a representative in
25 Philadelphia that oversees the OECD
1 Department so I would suggest that you get
2 that name and send them the letters that you
3 are sending over here.
4 MR. QUINN: I have already talked to
5 Steve Stein, thank you.
6 MS. GATELLI: Thank you.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Les Spindler.
8 MR. SPINDLER: Good evening, Council.
9 Les Spindler, city resident. First I have
10 to clear the air about some comments made
11 last week by Doug Miller. He said several
12 others have stated at this podium that we
13 shouldn't be concerned about a memorial to
14 honor our great men and women, rather we
15 should be involved in their contract
16 negotiations. I don't know what anyone else
17 said, but what I said was that the unions
18 would rather a contract then a memorial.
19 Not once did I refer to Junior Council,
20 check the minutes.
21 He also directed a question to me
22 saying, "Isn't it the job of a mayor,
23 council and the unions to negotiate
25 Well, you are half right, Doug.
1 Council cannot negotiate contracts. It's
2 only up to the mayor and the mayor hasn't
3 done his job in six years. Not once has he
4 sat down and negotiated with unions. All he
5 has done is cost the taxpayer billions in
6 lost arbitrations.
7 Since I'm sure Chris Doherty will be
8 at Hillary's -- by Hillary's side at the
9 parade on Saturday maybe you can ask her for
10 some advice on how to negotiate contracts,
11 since she is a union supporter while our
12 mayor is union buster.
13 Moving on, I think the idea that --
14 the idea of an office park where Scranton
15 Block was located is a terrible idea. There
16 are signs in windows all over downtown
17 Scranton advertising office space, and also
18 if office space is in such demand why is the
19 Southern Union building still vacant? Why
20 don't we use what we have?
21 Next thing, I want to read a letter
22 to the editor that I sent to the Doherty
23 newsletter but part of it was deleted: "In
24 response to the cartoon by John Cole in the
25 Sunday Times of February 24, when I saw this
1 cartoon I was outraged. His degrading of
2 the Scranton firefighters is an insult to
3 them and an insult to the citizens and
4 businesses of Scranton who these
5 firefighters help to protect. These brave
6 people risk their lives every time they are
7 called to a fire or to rescue a citizen who
8 may be in peril. While John Cole safely
9 sits behind a desk drawing pictures.
10 While I understand Mr. Cole has
11 every right to express his opinion with
12 pictures, it is my opinion he should use
13 more discretion in a case like this. I am
14 shocked your paper would let something like
15 this be published and I'm asking for an
16 apology for these heroes by Mr. Cole and the
17 Lynett family."
18 Lastly, we have a treehouse at Nay
19 Aug over $600,000, a bridge to no-where over
20 $1 million, a long-term debt over
21 $3 million, last week's city council meeting
22 with Mrs. Fanucci absent, priceless. Thank
24 MS. FANUCCI: I'll give you that one,
1 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,
2 Mr. Spindler. Bill Jackowitz.
3 MR. JACKOWITZ: Good evening,
4 Mr. President, Scranton City Council. Bill
5 Jackowitz, South Scranton, and member of the
6 Taxpayers' Association.
7 I passed out the current
8 unemployment rates for the Scranton/
9 Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area.
10 Unemployment rate is up 3/10 of a point for
11 January 2008, and we are up to 5.7 percent,
12 the national rate is 4.9 percent, the state
13 rate is 4.8 percent respectively. Again
14 Scranton is showing a decline in jobs. Yet
15 the mayor and Austin Burke still mislead the
16 citizens by telling the citizens that things
17 are improving and they are working hard to
18 improve the situation in Scranton. The
19 facts show that these statements are
20 inaccurate. The Scranton Times-Tribune
21 needs to report the news and the truth about
22 the deplorable economic situation in
23 Scranton. Print the truth, not visions and
24 dreams. Lackawanna County 5.7 percent
25 unemployment rate. That's Scranton, and
1 that's not even an accurate rate because
2 there are so many people, there are
3 thousands of people who are not even counted
4 anymore because they have been unemployed
5 for so long they are not even counted, let's
6 get the truth out, let's get he tell facts
7 out and I hope council addresses this
8 tonight in motions.
9 Okay. I also passed out this
10 institution on religion and public policy
11 and they are going to have a convention here
12 in August. We are going to have foreign
13 nationals come here and they are going to be
14 here for three days. I lived in five
15 foreign countries. I probably know more
16 about foreign nationals then any of you five
17 sitting up there because I've lived with
18 them and I've dealt with them. They are not
19 going to come here to spend money, they are
20 going to expect everything to be given to
21 them and they are going to get it, so we
22 really need to look at it. Also, they are
23 talking about building here, they may
24 actually move here. Well, if you read the
25 pamphlet, and I hope you do, it's only four
1 pages long, you are going to see that
2 they're a nonprofit organization. Do we
3 need other nonprofit organizations moving
4 into Scranton and raping us again? No, we
5 did not, so we need to really look at this.
6 Also, if you go to page three on the
7 pamphlet that I gave you, you will see, "How
8 we are funded." Well, they are funded
9 through donations, that's their main way of
10 getting monies through donations. Do we
11 want these people walking around this city
12 asking for donations plus getting the tax
13 exempt because they are nonprofit
14 organizations? I don't think so.
15 So we need to talk, you know, I have
16 asked 100 times for Austin Burke, Chamber of
17 Commerce, to attend a city council meeting,
18 Miss Fanucci promised that he would be here
19 in September of 2005, he hasn't showed up
20 yet, I really think someone needs to get
21 ahold of him, we need to talk about this
22 because this city cannot afford this. I
23 fetch all of the information for city
24 council like I always do. When I come up
25 here to talk I bring my information with me,
1 I'm not afraid or ashamed to fetch like some
2 people are, okay?
3 Now, I was glad to hear about Rescue
4 1 truck. The fire department is in dire
5 need of equipment. I proved that to you two
6 weeks ago when I gave you a list of all of
7 the equipment that they have, so we
8 really -- I really appreciate this and I
9 hope this Rescue 1 truck is approved and I
10 hope that the fire department gets what they
11 need because they need a lot of equipment
12 and I'm really shocked -- I can't understand
13 that, first of all, that a state doesn't
14 require the fire department to have any
15 standards or to have any policies, I find
16 that -- I mean, is Pennsylvania that far
18 You know, I've got 28 years of
19 experience in security and law enforcement
20 and in the military and I tell you what we
21 didn't move without a policy or without a
22 procedure and we got the city fire
23 department and the fire departments in the
24 state not doing this? This is a very
25 serious safety issue, and this issue needs
1 to be addressed and for people to make
2 statements such as, well, they have
3 training, but they don't need any policies,
4 I disagree with those statements completely.
5 Anybody who is involved in any type of an
6 emergency situation, rescue operation,
7 recovery operation that provides for safety
8 of the citizens, the primary responsibility
9 of any elected official whether it be a
10 councilman, a senator, a mayor, a president,
11 is to provide for the safety and the
12 protection of their citizens and I tell you
13 what, that's not happening here in Scranton
14 and that needs to be corrected, and just
15 because you are a friend of somebody that
16 does not make that person to be qualified to
17 be in that position or be in that job and
18 that's another problem that happens in this
20 It's happened year after year after
21 year, that's why Scranton has been
22 distressed for 16 years. That's why we have
23 the highest unemployment rate in the city or
24 in the state and we are above the national
25 average every single month, why? Because
1 friends get jobs, family members get jobs,
2 it doesn't matter if they are qualify and
3 Councilwoman Fanucci even said that months
4 ago. Qualifications and standards don't
5 mean anything. I disagree with you, it
6 means everything. We need to get our act
7 together and get it together right now.
8 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,
9 Mr. Jackowitz. I apologize, the next name
10 on the list is James Hoffa. If, in fact he
11 is speaking, Stacy, you've got a real story
12 there, but I didn't know if there was
13 someone named James Hoffa that did want to
14 speak. Nick Boyle. No? Elliott Syzkowski.
15 MR. SYZKOWSKI: Hello, my name is
16 Elliott Syzkowski and I'm a sophomore at
17 West Scranton High School. I have come here
18 tonight to ask you to support a
19 comprehensive smoking ban in Pennsylvania.
20 I ask you to urge Senator Mellow to push for
21 a comprehensive smoking ban. Over
22 50 percent of Americans are covered by a
23 smoking ban, why not Pennsylvania? Why is
24 it that every state surrounding Pennsylvania
25 gets to breathe clean air, but we don't? In
1 Pennsylvania there are about 860,000 people
2 with asthma, about 340,000 people with
3 chronic bronchitis and close to 3 million
4 people with cardiovascular disease. Why is
5 this? Is it because the American Lung
6 Association only passes 11 counties in
7 Pennsylvania for having decent air to breath
8 and only two counties get credit for having
9 good air quality?
10 You may ask, what does this have to
11 do with the smoking ban? Well, let's
12 compare Pennsylvania to a state with a
13 smoking ban in effect. Let's take our
14 neighbors Ohio, for example. They have
15 about 135,000 people less with asthma, about
16 60 less people with chronic bronchitis and
17 800,000 less people with cardiovascular
18 disease. And in Ohio only nine counties
19 fail the American Lung Association criteria
20 for clean air. Some say a smoking ban
21 infringes their rights, but don't you think
22 not having a smoking ban infringes the
23 rights of those who do not smoke? Why
24 should a nonsmoker have to breathe -- why
25 should a nonsmoker have to breathe the smoke
1 of a smoker? If the smoker doesn't care
2 about their health that's fine, but why
3 should a nonsmoker have to risk their health
4 every time they go out in public?
5 Why should the 860,000 people with
6 asthma in Pennsylvania have to be confined
7 to their homes because it hurts when they go
8 around and smoke. My mother has asthma and
9 anytime we sit in a nonsmoking section of a
10 restaurant she has a hard time breathing
11 because she can still smell and even taste
12 the smoke that wanders over and so can I,
13 and probably everyone here knows what it
14 feels like to have it out in your room
15 because someone decides to blow smoke.
16 So, in conclusion, a comprehensive
17 smoking ban is not something we should want
18 and hope eventually happens, it's something
19 we need and we need to push Senator Mellow
20 who needs to vote to pass a comprehensive
21 smoking ban so when someone goes out to a
22 public place for a good time they can have a
23 good time breathing, too. So, I ask you at
24 council to send a letter to Senator Mellow
25 stating your commitment to a comprehensive
1 smoking ban in Pennsylvania.
2 Also, if anyone is listening wants
3 to call Senator Mellow or e-mail I have his
4 e-mail address, Mellow@Pasenate.com and his
5 office number is 346-5721. Thank you.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you very much,
7 Eric. If you are going to stay I'm sure
8 that some of the council members will be
9 addressing that issue during motions.
10 MR. SYZKOWSKI: Thank you.
11 MR. MCGOFF: Sam Patilla.
12 MR. PATILLA: Good evening,
13 Mrs. Evans and Mr. Courtright. Sam Patilla,
14 Scranton homeowner, taxpayer, a member of
15 the Scranton/Lackawanna Taxpayers'
16 Association. I came here tonight because
17 Phyllis gets kind of upset with me. We are
18 going through the conserving energy phase
19 here when I tell her to turn off lights and
20 close doors behind you, she doesn't realize
21 that, you know, we are being billed three
22 times for the same amount of energy and in
23 case of gas five times, you know, you have
24 transition charges, you have distribution
25 charges, you have customer charges, same
1 amount of electricity, same amount of gas,
2 but three separate charges for each one and
3 each one goes up a different level, but she
4 doesn't understand, she thinks that I'm
5 picking on her when I ask her to do these
6 things, but I'm not, because what council,
7 the county, the state and the federal
8 government fail to realize is that while our
9 job rates aren't going up everything else
10 around us is, okay?
11 Since I have relocated to Scranton
12 here I have seen tax cuts not a one. Not a
13 one, but I have seen $35 million given in
14 bonds to the Scranton Parking Authority,
15 quadruple raise in property taxes. A
16 94.5 percent tax increase divided 25 percent
17 per year for the next three years. I have
18 seen high salaries for unqualified
19 personnel. I have seen $8 million given
20 through the Mayor. I have seen a million
21 dollars given away to Southern Union. I
22 have seen 56 percent increase in the sewer
23 rates. I have seen 25 million in TANS. I
24 have already seen other spending increase in
25 violation of the Home Rule Charter, job
1 creations and pay raises. I haven't seen
2 reduction in the size of government, and all
3 over this country now you are hearing those
4 cries, even today while I was watching the
5 council representative debate on the Clean
6 Air Act, you know, Governor Rendell once
7 brought $850 million, the House of
8 Representatives are up in arms. No more
9 borrowing. The same thing we have been
10 crying about here in the City of Scranton,
11 no more borrowing, we can't afford it.
12 You know, the bond insurers their
13 ratings are being cut, they are being
14 downgraded. You know, you talk about
15 refinancing, you are not going to save any
16 money refinancing right now. This whole
17 country is in dire straights. It's going to
18 cost us more in the long-term. I'm a baby
19 boomer as many the people here in attendance
20 are, we're baby boomers. Our time is short,
21 the clock is ticking. We won't be here that
22 much longer and when we retire we want the
23 money that we put into this system. We
24 don't want to have to hear that, no, that
25 has to go and pay for Doherty's bills or
1 Rendell's bill or Bush's bills because of
2 wasteful spending because our elected
3 officials didn't do the job that they were
4 elected to do, they care about corporate
5 America and big business than they did the
6 everyday American citizen. We don't need
7 them. We don't want them.
8 I have seen, oh, before I forget,
9 Ms. Evans, I would like to know as of today
10 the cost that that lawsuit that Judy Gatelli
11 has filed against that website how much that
12 is costing the Scranton Taxpayers of today
13 in lawyer fees because I know they are
14 billing us for this quadzillion because
15 taxpayers are paying for that. I have seen
16 the regular program such as the Home
17 Investment Partnership program, the
18 emergency shelter grant, the Community
19 Development Block Grant to fund
20 company-owned companies and individuals. I
21 seen the sheltering of taxpayers' funds
22 between the Scranton Housing Authority, the
23 Scranton Parking Authority, the Scranton
24 Sewer Authority, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
25 No accountability. We can't even audit our
1 tax office which is a ludicrous. It doesn't
2 make any sense. Why we cannot audit our tax
3 office. Where is our tax money? We pay our
4 taxes. The county did an audit, they found
5 that the taxpayers over paid, they are
6 reimbursing money. The same should be done
7 here in Scranton, okay? All we hear is they
8 want to increase our spending. What you
9 people have to realize Scranton is the only
10 one increasing our taxes, the county is
11 going to have to increase our taxes, the
12 Commonwealth is going to have to increase
13 our taxes, the state, the government itself,
14 the Federal Government of the United States
15 of America is going to have increase our
16 taxes in order to get all of this yes, yes,
17 yes, yes, voting being done at the local
18 levels in order. Thank God those
19 representatives in the house are voting no
20 to Governor Rendell oppressive the he be
21 paid $150 million dollars as of right now.
22 My clock only got two minutes, that's why I
23 brought that. That's why I brought that
24 because I heard people tell me you cut my
25 time down and I don't know appreciate that.
1 I brought this big clock here and I --
2 MR. MINORA: You got your five
4 MR. PATILLA: I got two minutes.
5 MR. MCGOFF: That you, Mr. Patilla.
6 MR. PATILLA: Next time I'm going to
7 give it to you, Miss Evans, because somebody
8 told me he was cheating me out of my time.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Patilla.
10 MR. PATILLA: And I've spoken for two
11 minutes and I'm going to go because I don't
12 want Judge Geroulo getting mad at me, but
13 next week I'm giving this to Miss Evans so
14 you be prepared, you are not cutting me
16 MR. MCGOFF: Andrew Porter.
17 MR. PORTER: Good evening, City of
18 Scranton. A little tired this evening, but
19 everything is good. First I'd like to say
20 to my friends and Italian citizens, I'm
21 sorry, not Italian, but Irish citizens as
22 well as visitors coming into the Scranton
23 area during the holiday season, Happy St.
24 Patrick's Day and travel safe and have a
25 good day.
1 The wind of change is in the air.
2 Who would have thought that in the Year 2008
3 that the United States of America would have
4 a woman president or possibly a man of
5 color. Yesterday the great Senator from New
6 York, Hillary Rodham Clinton, came into
7 Scranton, her roots, she found her roots.
8 You know, Roots is a book, a movie, but she
9 found her roots and she came back, but she
10 didn't just come back -- and she does come
11 back, she does come back, but this time
12 particularly she didn't just come back for
13 the fact that she loves Scranton, she came
14 back she needed our votes, she needs help.
15 That's what I have been telling you guys all
16 along. In order for this city to be a great
17 city we have to help each other.
18 Now, if you vote for Hillary because
19 she is a woman as opposed to this man of
20 color then you are a fool and Hillary will
21 tell you that, okay. She doesn't want your
22 vote because she's the best route other than
23 a man of color, no, she wants your vote
24 because of who she is. And I like Hillary,
25 she is a great woman. She stuck by her man
1 through thick and thin when he was in the
2 office through all of the controversy, she
3 did great things. She came out, she became
4 a senator, she did great work as a senator,
5 all right, and then she comes before us as a
6 candidate for the United States of America,
7 that's the sign of a good woman, possibly a
8 great woman, all right, and that's the
9 reason why she could get my vote, not
10 because she is a woman rather than the
11 alternate man of color, all right?
12 We need to come together as a city.
13 This is, again, as I say, this is not our
14 city, this is God's city, we just happen to
15 live in it and he is overseeing everything
16 that we do every minute, every hour, we need
17 to help each other. Stop making promises
18 that we can't keep and keep the promises
19 that we make. We need to find a way to love
20 each other and not hate each other.
21 Now, as far as the mayor and as far
22 as any politician it's their job, they want
23 to be in office, so they are going to tell
24 you what they need to tell you to get in
25 office and stay in office, all right?
1 Hillary is here because she needs your help.
2 At the end of the day, at the end of the
3 day, right, there is no difference between
4 Hillary and Barack. There is no difference.
5 One is going to be the president and the
6 other one is going to be the senator and you
7 think they are going to hate each other?
8 No, they love each other and they respect
9 each other right now, but in the midst of
10 the fight, in the midst of the fight these
11 are the things that happen, so we say we got
12 a bad mayor, all of the people that come up
13 here and you got a bad mayor, you got a bad
14 city council, the mayor is running for
15 office, is he running for mayor? Who is
16 your alternate? The mayor is not afraid. I
17 remember seen him in the Happenings, I see
18 him in the paper, some people say he owns
19 this paper, he owns the black paper, he
20 owns, this, so what? If you got a beef,
21 deal with it.
22 Let me draw a parallel to you, a lot
23 of people may not understand what I'm
24 saying. Let's talk about the City of
25 Scranton, that's more important than
1 anything. This is God's city. This is the
2 chosen city, all right? So, now if we draw
3 that parallel the Superbowl Giants and God
4 up there is looking down on us, all right,
5 and he is saying, no, uh-huh, they are not
6 going to make it, but God loves us and he
7 still gives us a chance. He is not ending
8 it yet, all right? So here we go, God
9 saying, no, they are not going to make it,
10 all right, Superbowl Champions, the Giant's
11 at the start nobody gave them a chance.
12 At the start, nobody gives us a
13 chance, the City of Scranton, because we
14 don't give ourselves a chance. The mayor
15 needs help. He may be the able to identify
16 it. If you have -- you have given him the
17 power to do certain things and not have
18 walked with him along the way, all right?
19 And things have mushroomed, all right? So,
20 now he is asking for another six years,
21 right? Now here we go. Coach Conlin, I
22 wasn't a great fan to him, but his team got
23 together and they pulled for him and they
24 stuck with him and he grew and he grew and
25 he grew and I'll talk again maybe next week.
1 I don't even like to be up here, but
2 somebody got to do it. Look at the lines at
3 the high school, Scranton High School,
4 hundreds of people, maybe thousands. If you
5 want to make a chance then come to city
7 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
8 MR. PORTER: Come to city council,
9 they need you right here. There should be
10 lines outside city council. If you stay
11 home and say that nothing is going to
12 change, nothing is going to change.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Porter --
14 MR. PORTER: But if you love your
15 city then you come here and you make your
16 city what it needs to be and your help, your
17 mayor and you help your city council and you
18 help each other.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Porter --
20 MR. PORTER: God bless you all.
21 MR. MCGOFF: Your time -- it is
23 MR. PORTER: Have a safe St.
24 Patrick's Day.
25 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you very much.
1 Lee Morgan.
2 MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.
3 You know, I really don't have very much to
4 add today to what's already been said,
5 especially by Andy Sbaraglia and a couple of
6 other speakers here, and I would have to
7 agree that this city is frozen in the eyes
8 of indifference. This council really
9 doesn't care about the residents of this
10 city, it's pretty blatantly right in their
11 face to be honest with you, I mean, we've
12 put $10 million of dollars worth of
13 borrowing in the budget. We borrow and
14 borrow. You know, I had an opportunity, I
15 drove down I think it was Prospect Avenue
16 the other day, we are talking about a great
17 Renaissance in South Side, South Side is a
18 mess. I counted I think seven empty
19 apartments and five houses for sale in one
20 block. There is houses all over South Side
21 for sale. All over South Side, for that
22 matter all over the whole city, and you
23 would think that maybe this council would
24 want to change the way things are done here.
25 A city of 140,000 people down to 60 or
1 70,000 people and the only one that's really
2 doing any building in this city is the
3 University of Scranton all of the taxpayers
4 in this city are paying for it. It's just
5 terrible and now, you know, a lot of times
6 people talk about more often than not
7 seniors living on a fixed income but, you
8 know, the problems in this country cut well
9 beyond that because now people have to chose
10 between food, shelter, or medicine. It's
11 terrible. This country has just gone into a
12 total tailspin and we have to look at the
13 elected officials we have elected to govern
14 us and we have people on this council who
15 say one thing and do the direct opposite,
16 give the mayor permission to borrow money,
17 buy equipment the city doesn't need and not
18 have the equipment the city does need and
19 I'd like to say that in my own personal
20 opinion I think that everybody on this
21 council knew that Chief Davis wasn't
22 qualified to be the chief of the fire
23 department, never heard it discussed.
24 You didn't hear this council really
25 jump up and scream and yell when they
1 allowed the sewer authority to raise our
2 rates in contradiction to law because
3 council had an oversight on that, they
4 didn't do anything. Exactly what is this
5 council doing except shifting money from one
6 account to another or borrowing? What
7 honestly can we say this council has
8 actually done for the residents of this
9 city? We have viscous dog attracts in the
10 city, I don't see any legislation come from
11 council to address that problem. I really
12 haven't seen this council address any real
13 problems in this city. We talked about a
14 youth program in the city and playgrounds,
15 they never materialized. We are charging
16 kids to go to swimming pools. Where are we
17 here? We are pumping all of this money like
18 previous speakers have said to special
19 interests as the neighborhoods just decay.
20 No sidewalks, no curbs. We have the mayor
21 saying an election cycle when Mr. Murphy was
22 council president that he was going to do
23 whatever it took to fix the streets in this
24 city and they are worse than ever before.
25 So really, you know, I think that
1 this council really needs to take a look at
2 what it's to doing and to have a council
3 president say that he wasn't going to go
4 fetch anything for anyone I don't really
5 take serious offense to that because this
6 council has voted for things with no
7 information for a long time. This isn't a
8 new revelation here. I mean, the
9 information was supposed to be left outside
10 of this door so that the residents who came
11 here and want to discuss issue at this
12 council could look at the backup
13 documentation to have an idea what's going
14 on, and even that's never complete. And
15 then we have council vote to get subpoenas
16 and they quash their own vote. I mean, we
17 don't want to know what's going on. We have
18 various things in the City of Scranton being
19 used at employment agencies for the mayor.
20 Sewer authority, Parking Authority,
21 borrowing out of control, yet we are going
22 to sell people's homes, we're going to raise
23 their taxes, we are going to make life
24 totally unlivable here and, I mean, I have
25 people come up to me and say, "We had to
1 move out of that city, we just couldn't live
2 here anymore," but what about all of the
3 people that have vacated their houses and
4 just left them here vacant and people who
5 can't sell their homes. And what about all
6 of the investors who are city residents who
7 own homes, let's not talk about landlords
8 from outside of the city, let's talk about
9 people that actually own properties are
10 rentals in the city and they can't rent them
11 because of the outrageous amount of taxation
12 going on here, 2.4 for the city and one for
13 the school district, they can't even rent
14 them. The city tax rates are out of control
15 and all we are doing is we are borrowing to
16 give the mayor more money to waste and it's
17 time for this council to find out who is
18 really important because you are not a cult
19 on your own. This isn't a cult of
20 personality here. You are elected here to
21 represent the people and it's just not
22 happening. Thank you.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Morgan.
24 Cody Slack.
25 MR. SLACK: Hello. I've got a short
1 thing to say. I'm from West Scranton and
2 I'm against the smoking ban because I feel
3 people should be able to relax and enjoy
4 this area during or after a meal. If you
5 ban smoking many restaurants and bars will
6 lose business. If you ban smoking because
7 it's dangerous to other's health you might
8 as well ban alcohol, too. More people will
9 die from drunk drivers than they will from
10 secondhand smoke. Many people argue that
11 they shouldn't have smell the smoke while
12 they're eating. The solution to that is not
13 to sit near the smoking section. In
14 conclusion, I ask for you on behalf of
15 myself and all others who oppose the smoking
16 ban to tell Senator Mellow not to pass the
17 smoking ban, and that's about it. Thanks.
18 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Cody. Marie
20 MS. SCHUMACHER: Good evening. Marie
21 Schumacher, city resident and member of the
22 taxpayers' group. Because I have been
23 running out of time week after week I want
24 to start by listing some of the items
25 requested of the law development using the
1 Right to Know statute that have gone
2 unanswered. First, I requested the
3 principal amount of non-electoral debt for
4 the city and each of it's authorities and
5 how close in either dollars or percent the
6 aggregate comes to the Commonwealth limit on
7 non-electoral debt.
8 Second, I've requested to review the
9 contract with Forever Young treehouse,
10 Incorporated, for the Nay Aug treehouse.
11 I have requested the amount of legal
12 fees by attorney or law firm paid in the
13 Year 2006.
14 I have asked whether the City of
15 Scranton participates in the Government
16 Finance Officer's Association Financial
17 Reporting and Budget Awards Program and if
18 so have any awards been received.
19 I have asked if the city has a
20 manual that documents each source of
21 revenue, it's legal basis and limitations
22 and the history and if so is a copy
23 available at the Albright Library or
24 someplace else for review?
25 Now, I'll step there as I have other
1 items, but I first want to point out that
2 the last two items were among the many
3 recommendations in the $25,000 study the
4 city commissioned early in Mayor Doherty's
5 first term. It seems few, in any, of those
6 recommendations were embraced. What a waste
7 of $25,000 worth of taxpayer's dollars.
8 I would also like to report I talked
9 to Mrs. Patterson this afternoon and she
10 said -- promised to look into those letters,
11 those Right to Know letters because she says
12 that's not her policy.
13 Now, to 5-F on the agenda tonight.
14 There are two aspects to the fire truck
15 issue. First is the abject failure of
16 council to notice the mayor's first capital
17 budget included by the million and half
18 dollars for fire station renovations and
19 equipment spread over the five years, but
20 none of it was spent. Then, last year when
21 you received the mayor's new five-year
22 capital budget for the next five years there
23 was nothing in that account until 2010.
24 Now, that's seven years without a
25 capital expenditure for the fire department.
1 Is there any one of you who really believes
2 you may keep a department up-to-date without
3 making any capital investments for seven
4 years? Shame on you.
5 Now to the proposed ordinance at
6 hand. Unless there are readily available
7 answers to the following questions I believe
8 5-F should be tabled until answers are
9 available. First, after the $239,156.45 is
10 transferred out of the clearing of banks and
11 streams account how much will remain? What
12 approved projects for which the budget was
13 approved in the beginning will not be
14 accomplished because of the transfer?
15 Two: After the $74,470.75 transfer
16 from the fire hydrants account how much will
17 remain and how many hydrants would that
18 amount have bought?
19 Three: After the $30,000 that's
20 transferred from the Neighborhood Police
21 Precinct account how much will remain and
22 what activities will not be accomplished?
23 Four: After the $56,286.98 is
24 transferred from the Emergency Relief
25 Account -- or, excuse me, Emergency Flood
1 Relief account how much will remain? The
2 mayor was quoted in the monopoly newspaper
3 as saying the new fire truck will be
4 purchased from the operating budget. This
5 is a budget from OECD funds and federal
6 funds, it is not from our operating budget.
7 Is also a capital expense, so I would
8 recommend that we do it right and we
9 reallocate the capital budget to buy this
10 fire engine from the capital budget.
11 Next, I know it's a done deed, but I
12 was parked in the 100 block of North
13 Washington Avenue this past week and I had
14 some time left on my meter when I finished
15 with my business and so I went into the
16 Oppenheim Garage and I would like to say I
17 totally agree with Dan Hubbard, I walked
18 through there, granted some work needs to be
19 done, but I would love for the edification
20 of the structural engineer who said that
21 building needs to be demolished. It is
22 ashame that we are wasting all of that money
23 to demolish that structure and build a new
24 garage. Period. Next, I'll be back next
25 week. Thank you.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.
2 Schumacher. Other speakers?
3 MR. DAVIS: Salaam aleikum. My name
4 is Jim Davis and, first of all, I want to
5 say the 24th of March is the last day you
6 can register to vote. For those of you who
7 have not registered to vote please go out
8 and register vote and I only ask of you to
9 vote if you are going to vote with your
10 conscience. Let's vote to do things the
11 right way. Let's stop giving people power
12 over us who don't desire to do the best for
13 us, but in order to do that you are going to
14 have to listen to them and you are going to
15 have be very, very circumspect in your
16 listening and in your dealings. That's
17 number one.
18 Number two, I spoke to you last week
19 about the Washington West project area and
20 how they sit there with nobody working on
21 them or doing anything about them and Mr.
22 Courtright took the seat and said that
23 something is being done. I have not yet to
24 find -- do you know where I could find the
25 floor plan or the rebuilding plan or
1 something that goes along with that project?
2 Is there anywhere --
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't know the
4 plan they have. If you go the Housing
5 Authority I would imagine that's where they
6 would be able to tell you what they're going
7 to do over there.
8 MR. DAVIS: When you go to the
9 Housing Authority for anything you have to
10 talk to Mr. Baker. Mr. Baker he is not
11 available at the present time.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: There is somebody
13 taking his place?
14 MR. DAVIS: Excuse me?
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: There is somebody
16 taking his place and they have --
17 MR. DAVIS: Oh, yes, there are, but
18 they don't know what to say. They don't
19 have an answer for me.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't know.
21 MR. DAVIS: So perhaps you can
22 intercede for me.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: They have a board
24 just like a panel.
25 MR. DAVIS: I know, I have gone to
1 their board meeting. I have sat there when
2 they were making the decision to close down
3 the apartments over there. I saw who was
4 there and I saw why they were doing it.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'd try and call
6 over there and see if they will tell us
7 what's going on.
8 MR. DAVIS: We just want a plan.
9 What's going on. Our community is really
10 hey, voting wise we have lost any number of
11 people that were voting participants in the
12 community, they are gone, and you know what
13 happens in Scranton when you lose your
14 voting power you lose your rights. You
15 don't even bring up the project here that
16 has anything to do with central city. You
17 don't say anything about the playyards of
18 central city. Everything is in South Side
19 or West Side or Greenridge, but nothing in
20 central city. We have kids here, top. We
21 can't get anything done here. We don't have
22 representation. That's the thing that you
23 don't seem to understand when I come before
24 you and I ask someone is there any one among
25 you that will stand up and say, I'll
1 represent central city? I'll represent the
2 kids and the residents of central city. No,
3 I don't see that happening. I don't hear it
4 in your plans. I don't each know if any of
5 you have ever walked through central city.
6 It does doesn't sound like you have or know
7 of it all. Maybe a few of you have gone to
8 school at Tech High School or Central High
9 School or something like that, but I don't
10 see it. I don't see it your plans. I don't
11 see it in your questioning of people who
12 come here with ideas. Okay. The
13 development of central city is most
14 important to me because our tax base is
15 being totally destroyed. Totally. And now
16 it's either senior citizens or rentals and
17 you know they don't give up taxes, so,
18 therefore, I understand why you are ignoring
19 me. You can't get anything out of them,
20 there is no sense of you doing anything for
21 them, I understand that. It's a cruel dog
22 eat dog existence and I'm sorry that it has
23 to come down to that and I don't think
24 Scranton was always like that. From where I
25 understood we had good people there would
1 take care of the streets for us, the fire
2 unions were run, it just seems as though we
3 have lost our desire to do an adequate job
4 for adequate people and we are not being
5 very honest about it. I think maybe you
6 should start looking in the mirror at
7 yourselves and saying what is going on and
8 why haven't you done anything. I thank you
9 for your time.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Davis.
11 MR. DAVIS: Be of good cheer. We're
12 not and you can tell by what we have said up
13 here so far, there is a lot of displeasure.
14 There's got to be a reason for it.
15 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Anyone else?
16 MR. GATELLI: Mr. McGoff, may I say
17 something, please? I would just like to
18 respond to Mr. Davis. This council
19 unanimously voted to give money to the Boys
20 and Girls Club which services the downtown
21 children, central city. We almost fully
22 funded I believe the new United States
23 Neighborhood Centers building on Olive
24 Street which also services the children of
25 central city, so I think that we are
1 concerned about the kids that live in
2 central city and we have done what we needed
3 to do to help them, so I would just like to
4 clarify that. Thank you.
5 MS. DAVIS: Look at the amount that
6 you funded them this year.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
8 MR. DAVIS: Versus what happened in
9 the past.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Davis.
11 MS. WILLIAMS: Good evening. Joanne
12 Williams, I'm a life-long taxpaying resident
13 of this great city. I have listened to a
14 woman who has spoken at this podium a few
15 times in the last few months, correct me if
16 I'm wrong, I'm told she is the wife of a
17 Scranton firefighter. Also, that she has
18 only resided in our city for three to
19 four years. It was very hurtful to me to
20 hear her down our parks and cities. How can
21 someone who has lived in our city for such a
22 short period of time not knowing any history
23 let alone have any history in our city start
24 judging it. I am a true Scrantonian born
25 and raised here from the babyboomer
1 generation and I will probably live the rest
2 of my life here. I have lived through the
3 ups and the downs because a true Scrantonian
4 truly loves this city. I remember my
5 parents brought me to Nay Aug Park as a baby
6 and a young child. I remember the duck's
7 pond, the amusement rides, Lake Lincoln and
8 the heights my dad would take his children
9 on over the old bridge as we all witnessed
10 nature, the beauty of nature. As a teenager
11 we would all play basketball, baseball, went
12 swimming, rode bikes and as young adults we
13 had our wedding day pictures taken in our
14 beloved Nay Aug Park.
15 Unfortunately, this beautiful park
16 was slowly deteriorating before our eyes.
17 It became for quiet several years a drug
18 infested lonely place where Scrantonians
19 would no longer gather as we once did. With
20 Chris Doherty's first term for mayor he
21 promised to restore our parks and thank God
22 he did. We once again have a beautiful and
23 safe park where families gather yearly for
24 reunions, relaxing green space that you can
25 enjoy as walkers have once returned to Nay
1 Aug. A handicap treehouse where you can
2 enjoy the true beauty of our various trees.
3 A new bridge where you can view the
4 breathtaking nature of our streams and woods
5 that surround you with the beauty of
6 wildlife. I could go on and on.
7 My point is this, speakers who come
8 to this podium week after week and speak
9 negative about our city are not in my eyes
10 in my heart true Scrantonians.
11 Another thing is on December 30,
12 2007, at 11:00 p.m. an abandoned house
13 caught fire. This home was located directly
14 at the rear of my next door neighbor's home
15 and very close to mine. The fire department
16 did a fantastic job, but most importantly,
17 Chief Tom Davis, dressed in full gear, spoke
18 to both me and my neighbors. He calmed our
19 fears and reassured us. I witnessed him
20 handling his crew professionally. Chief
21 Davis is a respected citizen of the city.
22 After all I'm hearing in these meetings is
23 the negative criticism, I felt compelled to
24 voice what I had witnessed on that night.
25 In closing, I would like to compliment
1 Mr. Doug Miller and Junior Council and their
2 strive to plan trees in South Scranton. I
3 cannot believe the negative remarks made on
4 a simple tree. One speaker stated the care
5 cost for a tree and also root problems. I
6 truly believe it's a scare tactic to get
7 residents disinterested in planting a tree
8 in front of their properties. It's going to
9 take quite some time and many years for you
10 to have root problems. And, remember, trees
11 are a gift from God. They don't only
12 provide beauty, they provide oxygen, clean
13 air to help us breathe. They provide us
14 shade and they shelter the birds and
15 squirrels. They bring us beautiful blossoms
16 in the spring and vibrant colors in autumn.
17 I am asking council to plant these trees in
18 South Scranton. If we don't use the grant
19 money to do so we will lose it and basically
20 isn't a gift from God such as a tree truly
21 worth any amount? Please plant those trees.
22 Thank you.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.
24 Williams. Anyone else?
25 MR. BOYLE: Good evening. I'm Nick
1 Boyle and I'm a student at West Scranton
2 High School, I play for the West Scranton
3 football team, in fact, I just came from
4 practice right here just now and I felt it
5 fit to come here because I thought it was
6 important enough to talk to you about a
7 comprehensive ban on smoking. Now, me being
8 an athletic person, I also seek to stay
9 healthy inside physically and me being
10 almost 17 I have been in the working field
11 for a little while now and I always thought
12 it was unfair that I had to be subject to
13 other people's habits of smoking by
14 injecting in secondhand smoke.
15 Now, I am asking you as my
16 representatives to send a message urging
17 Senator Mellow to put a comprehensive ban on
18 smoking. Thank you.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Nick.
20 MR. TALIMINI: Joe Talimini, City of
21 Scranton resident. I wasn't going to speak
22 tonight, but I find that I'm in a position
23 where I have come up here and not only
24 defend myself but defend my right to smoke.
25 I have the right to smoke. I have heard
1 most of it before, I have read most of it
2 from the American Lung Association, the
3 American Heart Association. Actually, I
4 hate to tell you, you know, but I'm 76 years
5 old, I come from a family that smoked all of
6 their lives, they all died in their 80's and
7 early 90's, and I have never forced anybody
8 to be in my company when I smoke a cigarette
9 and I usually try to be considerate enough
10 not to light up a cigarette when somebody is
11 eating. However, in 1950 and 1951 I fought
12 in Korea for the right to for you people to
13 sit up there in judgment and for kids like
14 this to sit over here and make accusations
15 based on whatever somebody else said. I
16 fought for that right. I've got a purple
17 heart, I got a couple of other metals, I'll
18 be damned if I'm going to let you or anybody
19 else tell me whether I can smoke or not.
20 And if Senator Mellow doesn't agree
21 with you, that's his right, too, I have got
22 rights and I'm going to defend them. You
23 got your rights, all for it, but please
24 don't set up these kids to come up here like
25 this. It's ridiculous. If you don't have
1 the guts to stand up for yourselves, quit.
2 MS. GATELLI: I have to answer. May
3 I answer that, please? The children are
4 from Tom Murray's history class and that's
5 why they are here.
6 MR. TALIMINI: I didn't say it was
8 MS. GATELLI: Well, I'm just
9 answering it because there are speakers that
10 come here --
11 MS. FANUCCI: Set up.
12 MS. GATELLI: Set up.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Ancherani.
14 MR. ANCHERANI: Chris is going last.
15 MS. GATELLI: Show them your new
17 MR. SLEDZENSKI: Oh, I will.
18 MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening. Nelson
19 Ancherani, resident, taxpayer, city employee
20 and financial secretary of FOP, First
21 Amendment rights. Last week Miss Fanucci
22 wasn't at the meeting when I remarked about
23 your remarks from the previous meeting. You
24 defended the Recovery Plan and denied that
25 any violation took place by the mayor when
1 he gave out raises and new hires to the tune
2 of $15 million under Section 2, wages on
3 page 64 of the plan. You were going to give
4 me the page number where provisions are made
5 for the unions to get raises. I believe you
6 were referring to page 64, Section 3,
7 personnel costs. I pointed out three more
8 violations in Section 3 alone where
9 4,268,465 more was spent on raises in new
10 hires for the years 2003, 4 and 5 than was
11 allowed under the plan. That's 4,268,465
12 more than was allowed for the three years
13 combined. They are violations. In fact,
14 three more violations. You said you read
15 all 109 pages of the plan. If page 64 was
16 not the page you were referring to please
17 let me know in motions what page and section
18 you are referring to.
19 I know you believe what is written
20 in black and white because you said at one
21 time you believed the mayor's budgets. You
22 voted for the last two record budgets along
23 with Miss Gatelli and Mr. McGoff. I'd like
24 to remind everyone in case you forgot, but
25 the totals of all of the current mayor's
1 budgets and the totals of all the loans
2 taken out by this city under this mayor is
3 over the $600 million mark for monies taken
4 out of revenues. Around June or July of
5 this year when the city borrows 11 million
6 more and a new record budget is passed in
7 November by Mr. McGoff, Miss Gatelli and
8 Miss Fanucci. The total will be over 700
9 million. I would predict closer to the
10 three quarter billion mark or 750 million
11 for money taken in in revenue. And since
12 the city is still claiming, and I use that
13 word loosely, that we are still distressed
14 and that we are going to need 11 million
15 more to borrow this year that we will have a
16 deficit or a claim of a deficit. Where did
17 600 million go? Nay Aug, Davis trail, the
18 green, I mean, the black fish pond and I
19 almost forgot, you won't hit a pothole in
20 Nay Aug.
21 As for what this city owes I believe
22 is 108 million in debt without interest.
23 Tack on the interest and it is approximately
24 300 million in long-term debt for the next
25 28 or more years. Oops, I forgot about the
1 300 -- or, I'm sorry, 35 million loan that
2 the Scranton Parking Authority took out last
3 year and that has an approximate 95 million
4 pay back. We have to add this among to our
5 debt since we are financing the Scranton
6 Parking Authority to the tune of $803,000
7 for citation issuers for this year alone.
8 That is more like $400 million. By the way,
9 does anyone up there no how many citation
10 issuers the parking authority has and what
11 their salaries are for the year? Did anyone
12 forget these famous words? Money has to
13 come from somebody. They were said by our
14 mayor and guess what, taxpayers, guess who
15 that money to pay back that debt is going to
16 come from? And we only get three guesses.
17 In two months Armed Forces Day will be
18 here and this city still has not paid our
19 returning solider from Iraq, the less, and
20 that's right, the less than $20,000 to make
21 them whole yet the city can find $60,000 for
22 trees in South Side, a million to the
23 Connell building from Growing Greener when
24 they have over $200,000 in delinquent taxes
25 waived when the building was purchased by
1 the new owner with Wolfington. Poor people
2 are going to lose their homes because they
3 have $2,000 in fees tacked onto their
4 already delinquent taxes that they can't
5 afford to pay and the rich get taxes waived.
6 Where is the justice? Fair is fair, but I
7 did forget, we live in the City of Scranton.
8 MS. EVANS: Mr. Ancherani, Mr.
9 Wolfington still owes property taxes on
10 Southern Union. Not Southern Union, the
11 Connell building, I'm sorry.
12 MS. SLEDZENSKI: Should I take it
13 off, Jude?
14 MS. GATELLI: Yes, take it off. It's
16 MR. SLEDZENSKI: I know. I always
17 look good, Jude. Right, Jude?
18 MS. GATELLI: Yes, you do.
19 MR. SLEDZENSKI: Bill, these fire
20 fighters for the City of Scranton do a job
21 downstairs. Keep it up down there, guys,
22 we're proud of you up here.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Chris. Is
24 there anyone else? Mrs. Evans?
25 MS. EVANS: Thank you. Good evening.
1 I ask you to remember in your prayers
2 Mr. Thomas Burke, a retired firefighter that
3 passed away recently and his dear family and
4 friends he leaves behind. Also, a friend is
5 having cancer surgery on Thursday and I hope
6 you will remember him in your prayers as
8 Mr. Lee Namey responded to my
9 questions regarding the empty Southern Union
10 building on Lackawanna County. He checked
11 with the state and confirmed that Southern
12 Union remains in the KOEZ program. Any new
13 tenants will be part of the KOEZ program
14 until it's expiration. The job creation
15 requirement was merely an initial
16 requirement. Southern Union, in other
17 words, only had to create the jobs not
18 maintain them. This is the way in which the
19 law was written according to Mr. Namey.
20 According to the mayor, the Flexible
21 Foam Warehouse which housed toxic materials
22 was a dangerous situation that was resolved
23 immediately. We demanded the business
24 remove the materials and they did and that
25 was a quote from our mayor. Now, either the
1 mayor has a selective memory or is not
2 telling the truth. A letter was sent from
3 the inspector's office to the assistant
4 chiefs and fire chiefs on December 9, 2004.
5 Foam products were to be removed in
6 December 2004. Toxic carpet foam lined the
7 interior of the building floor to ceiling,
8 wall-to-wall. Further, there was no
9 sprinkler system. The issue first became
10 public at the April 21, 2005, council
11 meeting I believe. At the April 28 meeting
12 I discussed the fact that Chief Davis
13 suspended any further action on this
14 travesty as of December 21, 2004. The
15 matter was not revisited until approximately
16 April 18, 2005, when members of the safety
17 committee raised the seriousness of the
18 issue again. As of April 19, 2005,
19 Mr. Fiorini, former director of Licensing,
20 Inspections and Permits in the City of
21 Scranton and Deputy Chief Osborne intended
22 to proceed with citations, however, Flexible
23 Foam was granted an additional 5 to 7 days
24 to remove the toxic material by someone
25 other than Mr. Fiorini or Deputy Chief
1 Osborne and I don't blame the chief for his
2 role in this potentially dangerous matter.
3 He takes his orders ultimately from only one
4 man who has publically acknowledged that he
5 alone controls every department in city
7 You know, I remember a time seven
8 years ago and prior to that when council
9 questioned a mayor and dared to vote against
10 a mayor's agenda and I remember a time seven
11 years ago or more when a newspaper
12 scrutinized every word and action of a
13 mayor. Today, neither dares to scrutinize
14 this mayor's words and actions. The
15 newspaper, like council, takes his word for
16 everything and anything and never strays
17 from the mayor's agenda.
18 Also, I have an update on fire
19 hydrants. In July 2007 the safety committee
20 agreed to use data provided by the water
21 company to paint city fire hydrants to
22 reflect water flow. Firefighters
23 volunteered to perform the painting since it
24 would benefit them to locate fire hydrants
25 situated in obscure areas of neighborhoods.
1 The administration was to setup the
2 procedure, but to date the administration
3 has not done so. Kay, would you request a
4 written update from Mr. Seitzinger for the
5 letter of February 21, 2008, please?
6 And I also have some citizens'
7 request for the week, one that I just
8 received this evening it regards cars parked
9 on the sidewalks at 918, 922, 924 Greenridge
10 Street and the individual claims this is a
11 hazard especially when it snows and I'll
12 give this to you, Neil, along with my
13 requests from citizens I have received.
14 A letter to Mr. Brazil, DPW, 337 --
15 339 Putnam Street, this road was paved by
16 Locust Ridge. Because of improper paving
17 the homeowners' property floods in summer
18 months and ices over in winter months.
19 Please visit the location, speak with the
20 homeowner and determine what can be done to
21 alleviate the problem.
22 A letter to Mr. Brazil and
23 Mr. Luciani. Residents of Parker Street
24 would like to know if the industrial pump
25 has been purchased. If it has not when did
1 you intend to make the purchase? The pump
2 is needed for flooding on Parker Street and
3 was promised in 2006. Please respond on or
4 about March 21, 2008.
5 Please send an inspector to Luzerne
6 Street and 14th Avenue. Neighbors report
7 that garbage cans and recycling bins remain
8 on the sidewalk at all times. The area
9 where the garage stood is littered with
10 broken concrete, an old water heater and
11 other debris. Please address as soon as
13 Council also received a responsible
14 from the University of Scranton concerning
15 preparations for the St. Patrick's Day
16 parade weekend which I will mail to the
17 concerned residents of the Hill Section who
18 have contacted me.
19 Also, in response to
20 Mrs. Schumacher's concerns, I would like to
21 know, as she mentioned, the dollar amount
22 that remains currently in each of the
23 accounts after these funds have been removed
24 for the purchase of a fire truck and if we
25 could pose the question as well why is this
1 money not being taken from the capital
2 budget and could council please have those
3 responses prior to next Tuesday's meeting.
4 And, finally, I'd like to wish all of
5 you a very happy and a very safe St.
6 Patrick's Day weekend. I hope you will all
7 come to Scranton and enjoy parade day with
8 all of us. That's it.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Evans.
10 Mrs. Gatelli.
11 MR. GATELLI: Well, Mr. Murray I
12 think is gone, but I wanted to welcome all
13 of the students from West Scranton High
14 School, some of them are still up there and
15 thank you for participating in the council
17 I'd like to wish a speedy recovery
18 to Matae O'Tallo, a very special friend of
19 mine, and also a prayer for a fellow
20 employee and a friend, a young woman who
21 passed away this week, her name is Sandra
22 Ancelimi, if you would keep her in your
23 prayers and also another school district
24 employee who is a very dear friend of mine
25 who is very, very ill and suffering terribly
1 and his name is John D'Angelo if you would
2 keep them both in your prayers.
3 I would like to make a motion that
4 we send a letter to Senator Mellow urging
5 him to pass the comprehensive smoking ban.
6 There are at least 40 some states that have
7 passed it. The country of France, the
8 Country of Mexico, there are whole countries
9 putting in a smoking ban and for some reason
10 the State of Pennsylvania just doesn't get
11 it. If they put a comprehensive one in it
12 would be fair for everyone. There is no
13 problem with it in New York. Whenever I go
14 to New York the restaurants are full, the
15 bars are full, they just get used to it and
16 it's fair for everybody. And regardless of
17 what anybody says about secondhand smoke not
18 affecting your health, I can't believe you
19 could possibly make such a statement. There
20 are studies upon studies of medical
21 information that secondhand smoke does,
22 indeed, affect your health, especially
23 children and it affected my health. I
24 smoked for 35 years and I have chronic
25 pulmonary disease from it. So, yes, indeed,
1 of course when you smoke it hurts you, but
2 the smoke that the other person is breathing
3 is hurting them also. So I'd like to make a
4 motion that we encourage Senator Mellow
5 since he seems to be the one that is sitting
6 on the fence here and I believe it's because
7 of the casinos that there is a problem. I
8 had heard that Atlantic City called
9 Pennsylvania and said, "We'll do it if you
10 do it," so everybody is willing to do it but
11 nobody wants to be the first one of the
12 casinos, I don't care if they smoke in the
13 casinos to tell you the truth, let's get a
14 ban at least on the restaurants, a
15 comprehensive ban, so I'd make a motion that
16 we send a letter to Senator Mellow to
17 encourage him to get this done one way or
18 the other.
19 MS. FANUCCI: I'll second that.
20 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
21 MS. EVANS: I would just like to add
22 that I have always felt if a smoking ban is
23 to be enacted it must be a statewide smoking
24 ban because this is the only measure that
25 provides a level playing field for all
1 businesses throughout the Commonwealth.
2 It's my fervent hope, however, that indeed
3 it includes all businesses, casinos
4 included. There can be no exceptions
5 because if there are you are opening the
6 door to discrimination suits and I don't
7 think we can afford to see the State of
8 Pennsylvania entangled in lawsuits going
9 forward. We have many needs throughout the
10 Commonwealth and we don't have enough money
11 to fund them as it is so I don't think we
12 need to be spending money needlessly. So,
13 my opinion is it goes statewide and it
14 includes everyone, every place or nothing at
15 all. And I do believe that the majority of
16 the people who reside in the Commonwealth of
17 Pennsylvania are in favor of the smoking ban
18 and I believe, too, that the majority of
19 city residents would favor that.
20 And as a representative of all of
21 the people I know Mr. Davis questioned if
22 any of us represent central city and I
23 didn't want to respond at that point, but I
24 would respond to him now. I do. I feel I
25 represent every section of the city, not
1 one, but all sections. So, again, I feel
2 that because the majority would favor this I
3 have got to represent that majority and so I
4 would be voting, yes, but unlike
5 Mrs. Gatelli I do care if the casinos are
6 exempt. I don't want them exempted. I want
7 everyone on board.
8 MS. GATELLI: Well, I'll agree.
9 We'll send it for everything. Absolutely.
10 MS. FANUCCI: If we are still on the
11 question I think I should at least have to
12 say absolutely that you know that there is
13 no question about how I feel about the
14 smoking ban. I still believe and I'm
15 thrilled that we did what we did in the
16 first place just to finally say this it what
17 we want and this is what we need as a city
18 and a state. It is inevitable that it's
19 going to happen. It has to happen because
20 it is happening everywhere. If Mexico can
21 do it and, you know, I don't like to say it
22 out loud, but they smoke a lot more than we
23 do. If they can do it then I think that
24 this is a very big issue for all of us.
25 Listen, everybody's right to smoke,
1 this is another issue, you know, Mr.
2 Talimini gets up and he is almost offended
3 that I'm going to tell him he can't smoke.
4 I'm not saying you can't smoke, I'm saying I
5 don't want your smoke. I don't want it
6 inhaled what you are having, and I'm very
7 happy that your family has done very well
8 and that's very lucky, but most people have
9 not done that well. Most people have died
10 very horrible deaths and a lot of them were
11 nonsmokers. In fact, I myself have family
12 members who have suffered with cancer due to
13 secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke. Not
14 their's, so the number one cancer that is
15 caused by secondhand smoke is kidney cancer
16 right now, so if people are diagnosed with
17 kidney cancer they are saying that is from
18 secondhand smoke. They have no other
19 reason. I mean, it's just terrible, but I
20 guess Mrs. Schumacher thinks that funny, but
21 I find it a wonderful thing. I find that
22 the support is beyond. I find that these
23 kids have been nothing but courageous
24 getting up here because I'll tell you to be
25 able to get up in front of people who have
1 been nothing about cruel and very
2 disheartening as far as citizens are
3 concerned is not easy and I do commend them
4 for even having the guts to say what they
5 feel and to call them anything but
6 courageous is just absurd. They have not
7 brought this forth because, so that we
8 could, you know, sit here and dispute. They
9 came here and said this is what we want.
10 They didn't leave us an issue, they said
11 this is what we want and we believe in it
12 and how smart are they that they can see
13 something that a lot of elected officials
14 have not seen yet, and I just want to thank
15 them for at least coming forward whether or
16 not you like or agree with their views they
17 still are enacting what they feel which is
18 their right to speak and their right to do
19 what they feel is correct and I want to
20 thank them for that.
21 So, yes, obviously, I am all for the
22 smoking ban. I'm for all inclusive. I feel
23 that that is going to be the issue that's
24 leading them right now, in fact, this
25 morning the reason they have not done a
1 permanent structure of the law is because
2 that is the issue, so I hope that we can
3 come to some understanding and if you are
4 out there call and tell them what you want
5 that's what they are there for. That's what
6 your legislators are there for. That's all
7 I have.
8 MR. MCGOFF: The motion is to send a
9 letter to Senator Mellow urging his support
10 and his vote for the comprehensive smoking
11 ban. All those in favor.
12 MS. EVANS: Aye.
13 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
14 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
16 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
17 ayes have it and so moved.
18 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. The other
19 thing I have is they keep repeating about
20 the charges on the delinquent properties. I
21 voted on that, I believe in it, and I'm
22 going to keep my stand on that. You need to
23 pay your taxes. I was always told and
24 always heard when I was a little girl there
25 is two things you do in life, you die and
1 you pay your taxes. So, pay your taxes and
2 you won't have any fees. There are plans
3 for people that are having a problem, but I
4 do believe in the charges and I do believe
5 we are getting a lot of the absentee
6 landlords which is what I would like to be
7 focused upon.
8 People are talking about jobs we
9 don't have enough jobs here. They are
10 right. We don't have enough jobs here. I
11 am disappointed in the Chamber of Commerce,
12 I have been for many years. I don't think
13 that they bring enough high paying jobs in
14 the City of Scranton. They are usually very
15 low paying, so I do agree with that, but I
16 would also like to state that that's a
17 problem in the whole country.
18 Some cities across America are all
19 suffering the way we are. If you think that
20 it's only Scranton, PA, you are badly
21 mistaken. Every small city in America is
22 suffering. They are suffering with all of
23 the foreclosures. You read U.S.A. Today the
24 they are at a high in the country
25 foreclosures. The economy is very, very
1 bad. There is no jobs, jobs are been taken
2 by illegals. People aren't paying taxes.
3 The economy is not good. Gas is high,
4 utilities are high, the taxes are high,
5 everyone is borrowing. Check every city in
6 America you will find out that it's all
7 across the country. We need a change in our
8 government and I think it's coming.
9 And the only other thing I have to
10 say is I wore my shamrocks from Mr. McGoff.
11 He likes his shamrocks so I wore them for
12 him tonight and Happy St. Patrick's Day to
13 everyone and I hope that everyone goes to
14 the parade, as Mrs. Evans said, and I hope
15 that the tavern owners will oblige the
16 District Attorney, City Council and the
17 Lackawanna County Commission on Drug Abuse
18 and Alcohol Abuse. This is a time for
19 families to be together, not a time for an
20 another tragedy, not a time for people
21 throwing up in front of your grandchildren
22 on the street. It's really disgraceful that
23 that happens and I'm ashamed to say I live
24 here when those kinds of things happen. I
25 know the mayor is going to have a lot of
1 policemen out and I hope the district
2 attorney has a lot of his detectives out to
3 prevent some of these incidents from
4 happening and that people are all adults and
5 know that they shouldn't be drinking like
6 that. They shouldn't be inebriated to the
7 point of vomiting, that's not good for you
8 either, and it's certainly not a good
9 example when we take our children and our
10 grandchildren to the parade. So I hope that
11 everyone acts responsibly and the tavern
12 owners if they would only cooperate and open
13 later or open even after the parade as the
14 Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse
15 suggested that would really be wonderful and
16 they could make their money later. I mean
17 the people are still going to go there, so
18 that's my only desire and I hope that
19 everyone that does go has a good time and
20 happy St. Patrick's Day.
21 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Fanucci.
22 MS. FANUCCI: I have a few answers
23 that might help clear some things up. As
24 far as the money that's allocated for the
25 firetruck, the $23,000 that was allocated
1 for the big hole collapse over in South
2 Side, if you remember when that happened.
3 They had put that money aside for that and
4 it ended up to be state funded so they
5 didn't need it, so that's what that money
6 was for and this might help with Mrs. Evans,
7 also, the fire hydrants are not the city's
8 property anymore, so that money, and all
9 accounts, every time we do this, the account
10 will end up at zero. Every project is
11 funded as every project. It is not one big
12 lump account and I thought I made that clear
13 a few weeks ago. When you have one project
14 there is a certain amount of money that's
15 allocated for that project. When the money
16 runs out or if there's still more money
17 still left in that account it is not in all
18 lumped together, it is only for that one
19 project, every project has it's own little
20 blurb of account. The fire hydrants are not
21 the city's responsibility anymore, that is
22 why that money is available because the city
23 is not in charge of that and we actually
24 received a letter stating that I think it
25 was from the water company saying that they
1 did not feel it was necessary to have a
2 painting of that and, Kay, do you remember
3 it was awhile ago that letter?
4 MS. GARVEY: Yeah, we did get a
6 MS. FANUCCI: We did get a letter
7 saying that they did not feel that was
8 something that they wanted to take part in,
9 in considering they are the ones in charge
10 of the fire hydrants now that might be their
12 I also, obviously, I spoke on the
13 smoking ban and I also wanted to say about
14 to Mr. Ancherani, Mr. Ancherani, I was sick
15 and I'm sorry I did not get the information
16 I do have it and Candace is home, too, and
17 she is waiting for my response, also. I
18 will give you exactly what I was told from
19 them when I sat down in a meeting with them
20 to make sure that I was on the right page
21 with this because I certainly didn't want to
22 give you misinformation, but I do have all
23 of that information for you and I will leave
24 it with Kay this week, everything for that.
25 And, Candace, the reason I didn't do it is
1 because I don't have a scanner so I couldn't
2 scan it and send it to you, but you will get
3 it this week, also.
4 And as far as the Southern Union
5 building, there has been a lot of talk about
6 Southern Union and, you know, every time I
7 open my mouth about Southern Union it always
8 comes back because when it changes for some
9 reason it's not allowed to change and what I
10 am told they are not selling Southern Union
11 right now. They are not willing to sell it.
12 They don't even want to rent it right now,
13 so I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind
14 that, but I do believe that there are people
15 who did reach out to talk to them and they
16 didn't even want to have a discussion. So,
17 I'm not sure what the plan is there or why,
18 but if I do find out I certainly will let
19 everyone know, but I inquired about that
20 also, how come it's not even being shown,
21 you know, a lot of people are coming in, we
22 have businesses coming and why aren't they
23 given the option and that's what I was told,
24 so I thought that should be told, and that
25 is all I have.
1 As far as St. Patrick's Day
2 everybody have a great time, enjoy your
3 families and please be careful.
4 MS. EVANS: Mr. Courtright, can I
5 just say one thing before you start about
6 the fire hydrants? Yes, I'm aware that the
7 water company owns them and the water
8 company tests them because the city does not
9 have the equipment to do that, but I do
10 believe the water company turns over all of
11 the information regarding the hydrants to
12 the city and I don't believe they were
13 opposed to the painting of it. Everyone was
14 in agreement it wouldn't really be at any
15 cost other than the paint --
16 MS. FANUCCI: Right.
17 MS. EVANS: -- because the fire
18 department is going to take care of it and
19 everyone on the committee was in agreement,
20 it was just a matter of setting up a
21 procedure and that's the hold-up since July
22 the administration did not come up with the
23 procedure so the firefighters are still
24 waiting --
25 MS. FANUCCI: To paint.
1 MS. EVANS: -- to paint.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. McGoff, I met
3 with the fire department this week on Chief
4 Davis. A sidebar was the fire hydrants. We
5 spoke with Dave Schreiber, maybe next, Dave,
6 if you have the opportunity maybe you can
7 come and give us your explanation of it. I
8 don't know that I would do justice to what
9 you told us so I think it would be better
10 coming from you.
11 We met, Mr. McGoff and myself with
12 Mr. Davis and now we have met with a fire
13 department representatives from the union
14 and my hope from the very start was to be as
15 far as possible to both sides and try to
16 have a resolution come up that was fair to
17 all concerned and to be as impartial as
18 possible and that's still my hope.
19 With that said, I would like to make
20 a motion that Scranton City Council send a
21 letter to Mayor Doherty and to Scranton Fire
22 Fighter union president Dave Schreiber
23 recommending to them to use an outside
24 agency or an individual to conduct an
25 investigation into the allegations brought
1 to Scranton City Council by the Scranton
2 Firefighters' Union against Chief Tom Davis.
3 MS. EVANS: Second.
4 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
5 MS. EVANS: I know that
6 Mr. Courtright wanted to make this motion
7 last week but postponed doing so because of
8 the absence of two council members, so that
9 they would have the opportunity to cast
10 their votes this evening and I do believe
11 that such an independent investigation is
12 warranted because none of us are
13 appropriately experienced or schooled to
14 pass judgment in this situation. So, I do
15 think, however, it should follow due process
16 and that an outside agency, someone who is
17 familiar with the concepts of firefighting
18 and fire management should come in and sort
19 this out and make the proper recommendations
20 and if the situation has no merit and the
21 fire chief's name is cleared so be it. All
22 to the better, if on the other hand they
23 found the charges have merit and they make
24 recommendations for improvements or changes
25 then they should be made and if they are not
1 I feel that's going to reflect very badly on
2 this administration, and particularly on
3 this mayor who contends that he is in charge
4 of the fire department and I do believe that
5 is the most fair solution in this situation
6 and I can't imagine that the mayor as a
7 reasonable man would refuse an independent,
8 objective investigation.
9 MS. GATELLI: I just have a real
10 problem with this. If I had a problem at
11 work and one of my bosses was either
12 harassing me in some fashion or asking me to
13 do something say with a student with
14 medication or something that I knew would
15 hurt that student, my first recourse would
16 be to call my union. My union would then
17 meet with me and the person that I was
18 accusing of doing X, Y and Z to and we would
19 try to find a resolution. If that didn't
20 happen I believe the next step is we would
21 go to the superintendent of schools and
22 plead our case to him. The next step after
23 that would be to go in front of the school
24 board and bring the problem to them.
25 If all of those avenues don't work
1 then an arbitrator or a mediator person is
2 brought in to hear the case and it's settled
3 in that fashion. When I called to find out
4 if any grievances were ever filed in the
5 fire department I was told that there was
6 only one grievance filed, so my concern is,
7 number one, who are we going to get to come
8 in here for an independent study, my second
9 question is why wasn't the union contract
10 followed through the grievance procedure
11 which Mr. Gervasi said there is a grievance
12 procedure and I checked and there is, so why
13 don't we go through those steps and have an
14 arbitrator come in and decide is this right
15 or is this right in case number one. Case
16 number two, is this right or is this right?
17 So, you know, that's how I feel about it. I
18 think that we should go that route. I don't
19 know who I would pick as an independent
21 MS. EVANS: We don't pick.
22 MS. GATELLI: Well, who picks?
23 MS. EVANS: If I understand
24 Mr. Courtright correctly it's going to be a
25 joint decision between the firefighters'
1 union and the mayor. They have to decide on
2 a mediator that they both agree upon. One
3 side can't demand, you know, Mr. X and if
4 the other side has any type of opposition to
5 that then Mr. X will not be the individual;
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: I think -- I hope
8 everybody is understanding, I'm saying this
9 is just us recommending to them because
10 that's why Mr. Minora had no problem. I'm
11 not saying we are ordering them or
12 compelling them, we simply don't have that
13 right. I'm just saying we make a
14 recommendation. If both sides of the
15 firefighters' union and the mayor agree then
16 that would be up to them to determine who
17 they would pick and how the process would
19 My problem is this because some
20 people agree with us being involved and some
21 people can't. Believe it or not, the last
22 two weeks have been consumed with this, it
23 really has, I know a lot of firefighters and
24 I know Tom Davis and I have some very, ery
25 good friends that have been lifelong friends
1 of Tom Davis and, unfortunately, sitting on
2 this council sometimes you are put in
3 positions that are not enviable, and this is
4 one of them, and I'm just trying to be fair
5 to both sides and that's all I'm looking
6 for, and it's just a recommendation. They
7 don't have to take our recommendation, but
8 what do I do when such things are brought to
9 me, I can't simply put my hands over my ears
10 and say, "This is not my job."
11 And maybe technically it isn't, I'm
12 just saying it's just a recommendation, it's
13 not an order, it's not us compelling them in
14 any way, shape or form because I think if I
15 was doing that Mr. Minora would be jumping
16 up telling me you can't do that. And I
17 believe when we discussed this about two
18 weeks ago I thought all of us with the
19 exception of you, Mr. McGoff, were, you
20 know, in favor of that and, again, it's a
21 recommendation. They don't have to take our
23 MS. GATELLI: Well, I mean, I'm not
24 saying I wouldn't be in favor of it, I'm
25 just saying why didn't they go through the
1 procedures that I would have to go through
2 in my school district?
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: If you can read, and
4 I don't even know if it's in the minutes
5 that we did, but I don't want to say
6 anything on the air here that maybe I
7 shouldn't say, but there is minutes from
8 when we spoke with Chief Davis and there is
9 minutes that why Kay took the time to type
10 every single word is beyond me, but she
11 typed every single word that is on the tape
12 and there might be some answers to that in
13 there, I just don't want to say here on the
14 air because I'm afraid if somebody --
15 MS. GATELLI: And, Attorney Minora,
16 you don't see any problem with this?
17 MR. MINORA: Well, it's only a
18 recommendation and both parties can reject
19 it or one party can reject it.
20 MS. GATELLI: Then what?
21 MR. MINORA: Well, they are grievance
22 issues that --
23 MS. GATELLI: Yeah, but I would like
24 to see them get a resolve to it.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Absolutely. That's
1 my goal is a amicable resolution.
2 MR. MCGOFF: I would like to
3 interject, I have been involved in the same
4 meetings as Mr. Courtright, I have listened
5 to Chief Dais and I have listened to
6 representatives from the firefighters'
7 union. I will say that I have gone back and
8 forth on this knowing that Mr. Courtright
9 was going to make this motion, I have gone
10 back and forth. At some points I have been
11 adamantly opposed. At one point I was in
12 favor. As I think about it there are
13 merits, there are merits to this, but in the
14 long run it's my belief that nothing will
15 accomplished by it, that in the end all
16 that's going to be done even if this -- even
17 if an arbitrator were to be called in the
18 best that could come out of it would be
19 recommendations which the mayor could then
20 reject or approve.
21 I don't know why the fire -- these
22 recommendations can't simply be met. There
23 is a process now for making these
24 recommendations. Why do we need a third
25 party to step in at this point, that the
1 firefighters have already been meeting with
2 the mayor and certain committees to resolve
3 some of the issues, issues dealing with
4 standard operating procedures are being
5 addressed, issues dealing with relations
6 between the chief and firefighters are being
7 addressed, the safety issues are being
8 addressed. I don't see -- I think you used,
9 Mrs. Evans used the term due process. I
10 think it has gone through due process. I
11 think that the process has been followed and
12 I believe that we are resolving the issue.
13 I think that adding another layer to this is
14 simply redundant and unnecessary, and as I
15 indicated to Mr. Courtright earlier in the
16 day, I will -- I am not in favor of this
18 MS. FANUCCI: Like I stated last
19 time, at the end of the day the mayor is
20 going to say what he said which is, "I'm not
21 removing him," so to keep going through this
22 over and over again for "I'm not removing
23 him" just seems to be spinning on our wheels
24 and spinning other people's wheels and now
25 spending $30,000 on a consultant to come in
1 and sit and do this. I'm thrilled that they
2 are sitting down -- there is no cost? Okay.
3 I'm thrilled -- why, does the union pay for
5 MR. SCHREIBER: Through the
6 Mediator's Association.
7 MS. FANUCCI: Oh, the Mediator's
8 Association, but in the instances where this
9 has happened before, even the one where I
10 read today where there was eight
11 firefighters that had perished in a fire
12 they tried to remove the chief and it didn't
13 happen. It was -- you know, this to me
14 seems like we just keep spinning or wheels
15 over and over again. The mayor made a
16 statement, it's his administration, if
17 that's what's going to happen that's what's
18 going to happen. He is not going to remove
19 the chief.
20 As far as them sitting down, I think
21 it's wonderful that now at least the
22 firefighters are sifting down with the mayor
23 on a regular basis, maybe this is something
24 that can start the communication process,
25 maybe this is something that can, you know,
1 spearhead maybe signing and deciding on
2 their contracts and negotiating that way.
3 This to me seems like we are going to go
4 backwards now where we have communication
5 taking place which can only be beneficial
6 under any circumstances and now we are going
7 to throw a wrench into that, and I'm afraid
8 if that happens we are just going to keep
9 dividing and dividing and dividing. The
10 stance is the same, we know it's going to
11 take place, so to go through all of this it
12 is not something that I believe in, it is
13 not something that I would be voting for and
14 that's all I have to say.
15 MS. EVANS: If I just might add, if
16 the fire fight department presented dates
17 and locations, photos, affidavits, anything
18 of that nature and that goes ignored by
19 anyone then shame on you because you allowed
20 it to happen, but, again, the final onus in
21 this is on the mayor's shoulders and if he
22 refuses a mediator or an arbitrator then
23 shame on him. That's says an awful lot
24 about his judgment and the value he places
25 on the men and women of the Scranton Fire
1 Department and the men and women and
2 children of the City of Scranton.
3 And incidentally, there is one final
4 recourse and I have mentioned to
5 Mr. Courtright before as Chairman of the
6 Public Safety Committee he is empowered by I
7 believe it's a state law, a regulation, to
8 call for an investigation, single handedly
9 without a vote of city council and without
10 interference from the mayor and if all of
11 this fails, Mr. Courtright, I believe that
12 is what you should do. If it were my
13 committee that is what I would do and I
14 trust your judgment. I believe that you are
15 very knowledgeable in terms of your public
16 safety committee and you are very close to
17 the men and women of the public safety
18 departments and I'm sure that you will at
19 all times put their best interest first.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm not real sure
21 about what you are speaking about, I know
22 there is such a thing and I certainly hope
23 to avoid that, that was one of my reasons I
24 wanted to do this. If we were to send this
25 letter to the mayor and to the firefighters'
1 union then this council has done due
2 diligence and then the decision would be
3 placed on the mayor. If that doesn't happen
4 then I'm going to have to step back and take
5 a look at see what is my obligation. Again,
6 it's a position that I don't like being in,
7 but I'm here and there is not much I can do
8 about it. I'm here, it is my committee, and
9 I thought two weeks ago four of us were in
10 agreement. I believe you both said it was a
11 good idea, didn't you?
12 MS. GATELLI: Yes, I did think it
13 was a good idea, but when I t talk to the e
14 union where I work and got other union's
15 opinions on it, I still don't understand why
16 they are not following the grievance
17 procedure. They will get an arbitrator in.
18 That's what happens when you don't settle
19 the case; am I right, Amil? With the
20 grievance procedure at the end the
21 arbitrator or mediator, or whatever you word
22 you want to use.
23 MR. MINORA: You will have a fact
24 finder of some form.
25 MS. GATELLI: So like are we in it
1 when they should be filing grievances? In
2 the school district we file grievances for
3 our problems.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: And without
5 disclosing everything in the public that
6 happened in there I believe they are telling
7 us, the firefighters, I'm trying to say this
8 so I don't put anything out there that I'm
9 not supposed to put out there, that they
10 more or less have done that and that's --
11 MS. GATELLI: But there is no
12 grievances. I have looked, there is none.
13 MS. FANUCCI: There would have to be
14 a record.
15 MS. GATELLI: There is no grievances
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: I just don't want to
18 expand on it any further, I'm afraid that I
19 will say something that I'm not allowed to
20 say, you know, in case this goes further
21 than this and I disclose something that I
22 shouldn't disclose, but I believe it would
23 be in the minutes, I believe it's in the
25 MS. GATELLI: I would like to make a
1 motion that we table this. I was absent
2 last week, I apologize, I was absent for
3 personal reasons. I'd like to table it for
4 a week and maybe council can meet with our
5 solicitor before the meeting next week.
6 MS. EVANS: Well, you know, I'm not
7 opposed to that, but I think we need to stop
8 putting so many hats on our solicitor. He
9 is an assistant --
10 MS. GATELLI: Well, is paid very
11 handily for giving his opinion.
12 MS. EVANS: Well, yes, he is,
13 however, you know, I think he is very
14 knowledgeable in criminal law, and I know he
15 served with OECD for many years, but I don't
16 know that we have an expert in this type of
17 law and I really don't know that we need
18 anyone to dictate what's right and wrong
19 here. It's very simple, we have taken it as
20 far as we can as a group. It needs to go to
21 the next step.
22 MS. GATELLI: I don't have enough
23 information right now to vote, yes, and I
24 apologize, Dave, so if I can't get a motion
25 to table it until next week I'm going to be
1 voting, no, and I have to apologize for that
2 because I don't have enough information. I
3 don't know about those meetings. I don't
4 know what was said at them, I don't know why
5 you didn't say something long before this
6 you know, and if you did then why didn't you
7 file a grievance.
8 MR. SCHREIBER: We did.
9 MS. GATELLI: And if you did then
10 why didn't you file a grievance? I
11 certainly wouldn't let this happen in my
12 medical room at West Scranton High School.
13 MR. SCHREIBER: We did.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Why don't we -- I'll
15 be willing to withdraw my motion for this
16 week, and let me say this, I know three of
17 us can't meet with anybody, but obviously
18 Mrs. Fanucci and Mrs. Gatelli have
20 MS. GATELLI: We can meet in caucus
21 because it's personnel.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Take a look at the
23 minutes, there's a tape of the firefighters,
24 there is no tape of Chief Davis, but there
25 is minutes, and then maybe you and Mrs.
1 Fanucci can sit down with Mr. Schreiber and
2 Mr. Judge and have a conversation that me
3 and Mr. McGoff had and I know they can
4 answer the question for you, I just don't
5 want to answer them, I'm afraid of saying
6 something --
7 MS. FANUCCI: No, and I certainly
8 don't want to discuss it out here.
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: -- that I'm not
10 supposed to say that would jeopardize one
11 side or the other.
12 MS. GATELLI: I mean, there is a
13 person's livelihood here, too, I mean
14 whether you like you like the guy or not,
15 would you like it to be you that we are
16 talking about up here every week?
17 MS. EVANS: Well, I don't think--
18 MS. GATELLI: No, I don't think you
20 MS. EVANS: Please, let's -- I agree
21 with you, but let's not make these blanket
22 statements about you like someone or you
23 don't like someone. It has absolutely
24 nothing to do with it.
25 MS. GATELLI: That's what I said.
1 It's charges. I'm not friends with him.
2 MS. EVANS: And I don't know the man
3 other than --
4 MS. GATELLI: You want charges
5 against you at West Scranton High School and
6 everybody talk about at the school board
7 meeting about you? I don't.
8 MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me --
9 MS. EVANS: No, but if I were guilty
10 of it I'm sure that there would be.
11 MS. GATELLI: Oh, no, I'm sure you'd
12 want your privacy. It's a personnel matter,
13 and I think it's offensive that it's even
14 being discussed up here.
15 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Gatelli, please.
16 Please. Mr. Courtright, has indicated that
17 he would like to withdraw the motion to give
18 council members additional time to review
19 the information.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: I will withdraw my
21 motion so that everybody on council has
22 ample time to make an educated decision, I'm
23 only trying to be as far as we possibly
24 could so I will withdraw my motion for
1 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
2 MS. GATELLI: Thank you,
3 Mr. Courtright.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: You're welcome.
5 Okay. You know, I started when I first was
6 on council trying to give compliments to
7 city workers and I can got away from that a
8 little bit because every department is
9 willing to -- clerical, police, fire, DPW,
10 but I would just like to thank John Traino,
11 John Pizzo and Gerry Shock for the work they
12 did this week on the roads. It's difficult
13 to keep them, I know horrible the potholes
14 are horrible in this city, it's difficult to
15 keep them. We're only using coal patch
16 right now, I mean, they are out there and
17 doing the best they could. Another issue,
18 I'm not quite sure where I go with this and
19 I'll come in here tomorrow when I get a
20 letter to Kay, I have had people from
21 parents, people that are employed by the
22 Scranton School District and the police
23 officers I don't know why, but it just
24 seemed two different or three different
25 instances in the last week and a half they
1 came to me and asked me about it and it's
2 the roads around schools, congestion in the
3 mornings and in the evenings or in the
4 afternoons I should say when school is being
5 let out, and I'm just trying to get the
6 second one I've had corresponding to in
7 particular is Willard school, and they asked
8 me why we couldn't take a look at in having
9 one-way on Hampton Street and Vine Street
10 where the school is and they cited, and I'm
11 sorry I forget the town that they told me, I
12 actually have a person pull me over Saturday
13 night and put the window down and explain
14 this to me, one town actually does this I
15 guess around all of schools and so I'm going
16 to take a look at Willard School, I believe
17 we would try to consider taking a look at
18 making Pine Street heading one-way heading
19 east and making Hampton Street a one-way
20 heading west to alleviate a lot of problem.
21 They had a child hit there the other day,
22 there was a child killed on the corner of
23 Hampton and Eynon some years ago coming from
24 school. I guess right now being we don't
25 have a George Parker anymore in the city I
1 think I will speak to Lieutenant Mackey, he
2 is head of the traffic division, and ask him
3 what his recommendations are and what he
4 thinks about doing this and maybe we can try
5 Willard School as a pilot program, but it is
6 a legitimate concern.
7 Someone brought up tonight, I didn't
8 think I was going to have something to say
9 tonight, but such much was brought up,
10 someone brought up, and I forget what they
11 were saying, they were talking about dogs,
12 viscous dogs I forget who it was, but I had
13 gotten a call two weeks ago from a woman
14 that is very, very well versed in dog
15 grooming and dog obedience and she told me,
16 I believe she said it was Reading that they
17 tried to -- or they did I guess enact an
18 ordinance of her viscous dog, a specific
19 breed and it was overturned, you cannot cite
20 any specific breed for a viscous dog. You
21 might be able to make a viscous dog
22 ordinance in general, I don't know the
23 answer to that one, but not any one specific
24 breed and that's been tried and thrown out.
25 Maybe next week Mr. Minora can give me
1 an answer for this one, I guess a lot of
2 people are sending Right no Know letters all
3 of a sudden and they are asking me, one
4 person was asking me when they send a Right
5 to Know letter and they don't get an answer
6 in a time frame, whatever, I don't even know
7 what the time frame is, what do they go from
8 there? You know, maybe next week you can
9 answer that.
10 MR. MINORA: I'll be glad to talk to
11 you about it.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: And, Kay, if council
13 agrees you can send it for all of council,
14 but if not you can just send it from me,
15 about another subject about the Housing
16 Authority, I can't recall who told me that
17 there is going to be work done on Washington
18 West and they are going to tear it down and
19 rehab it and I can't recall who it was so we
20 can't go back and ask them, if we can send a
21 letter to whoever is in charge now, whoever
22 it taking Mr. Baker's job and then carbon
23 copy the board and ask them if they can
24 update us on what's going on over there and
25 then maybe we can satisfy Mr. Davis'
1 question there.
2 And, lastly, I too wish everyone a
3 Happy St. Patrick's Day, but I spoke to Dave
4 Elliott a couple of weeks back about what's
5 going to take place as far as law
6 enforcement on that day and he got back to
7 me, we do have, you know, they don't want to
8 give out specific numbers of who we are
9 going to have on the street, you know, kind
10 of give away their plan, but they have
11 beefed up patrols during the parade. They
12 have beefed up patrols on the second shift,
13 the police department I spoke to the
14 University of Scranton and the University of
15 Scranton does have, I don't know how many,
16 but they do have officers that have arrest
17 powers and at one time they didn't have the
18 authority to arrest anybody, they do have
19 officers that have arrest powers. There is
20 going to be a larger presence of police,
21 when I say that being state police due to
22 the fact that Mrs. Clinton is going to be in
23 the area so there will be a state police
24 presence there, also. I don't know 7:00 or
25 9:00 is going to make a difference, I think
1 if we had 11:00 or 12:00 maybe it would make
2 a difference, but I guess 9:00 is better
3 than 7:00, and that's all I have. Thank
5 MR. MCGOFF: I, too, would just like
6 to make mention of the parade, St. Patrick's
7 Day parade. I am a member of the parade
8 committee. My work on the parade committee
9 is very limited. I help out with the actual
10 race that's held prior to the parade and
11 actually very rarely get to see all of the
12 parade itself, but I do know that the St.
13 Patrick's Day parade committee works very
14 hard to provide a family oriented parade.
15 They are not in the business of working to
16 support local drinking establishments, their
17 intent is to have a family parade that can
18 be enjoyed by, you know, hundreds of people
19 from around -- thousands of people from
20 around the area and it is my hope as it is
21 everyone else's here that the people do come
22 to the parade and that people do act
23 responsibly and enjoy what is intended to be
24 a great day, a fun filled day for families.
25 Just a response to a couple of things
1 that were said, Doug Miller mentioned the
2 tentative day for a basketball game to
3 support the firefighters' memorial game
4 between the Scranton Police and Scranton
5 Fire Department or members of, and I believe
6 that Doug has received some confirmation
7 that the game will be or can be held at
8 Scranton High School, hopefully, we will
9 have some more information for you as Doug
10 indicated and hopefully it can be attended
11 my those who, you know, support the
12 memorial, and again, enjoy -- it can be an
13 enjoyable evening and one that can be
14 beneficial as well.
15 I do want to take up the task for
16 his comments about Principal McGraw, I'm
17 sure that Principal McGraw was not acting
18 out of disrespect and the things that he
19 said he was merely being an advocate of the
20 school that he represents and the school
21 where the event was being held. I have
22 known Mr. McGraw for a long time, he is a
23 graduate of West Scranton High School and
24 I'm sure would never be disrespectful to the
25 school or to the students that attend West
2 MS. EVANS: And he did mention there
3 were two great city high schools.
4 MR. MCGOFF: Yes, he did. To
5 Mr. Quinn, we received a letter from
6 Representative Kanjorski dealing with that
7 property tax. I would like to -- I don't
8 know that if he received a copy of that or
9 Mr. Quinn is not here, I don't have a copy
10 of it with me, but I will try to pass that
11 onto him so may see what Representative
12 Kanjorski's response was to the elimination
13 of the property tax.
14 One thing when Mr. Porter was
15 speaking, that as we get into this primary
16 which is probably going to be contested, I
17 thought Mr. Porter was on the verge what I
18 don't want to call improper, but at least
19 somewhat inappropriate statements. We would
20 hope that we can keep political speeches in
21 favor of a candidate, of any particular
22 candidate out of council meetings. This
23 isn't the venue for it. I don't know that
24 he was trying to do that. But, as I said,
25 was tentative at times as to where he was
1 going. In the future I would hope that we
2 do get out and support the candidates of our
3 choice, I just hope that it's not from this
5 And the last thing I believe, I
6 remember only because it was someone, a
7 friend of mine, had asked from the school
8 district, I'm not sure exactly when it was,
9 but I know that the Scranton School District
10 has requested that some schools where there
11 are traffic problems that we look into
12 designating those streets as one way, so I
13 know that the school district has looked
14 into this and hopefully we can do something
15 to alleviate the congestion around. It is
16 dangerous around some of the schools
17 particularly as people double park I know I
18 travel by Whittier School and also Marian
19 Catholic Elementary School and two blocks of
20 Orchard Street for probably a good half hour
21 there are people double parked, buses
22 loading children and people driving around
23 buses and trying to get through the traffic.
24 It can be a dangerous situation and
25 hopefully we can arrive at some resolution.
1 I know it's been going on for many years,
2 but I think as more children are being
3 driven to school, be it on buses or private
4 cars, that it's becoming more of a problem
5 especially in some of the schools where the
6 streets are narrower so I guess we should
7 look into that and see what can be done.
8 And that is all that I have for now.
9 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McGoff, if I could
10 say something on behalf of, Mr. Courtright
11 had mentioned before about me taking the
12 minutes of a meeting that was held between
13 some firefighters and yourselves, I just
14 wanted to clear for the record because some
15 people may know that I am married to a
16 firefighter and I try to keep my
17 professional life and my personal life
18 totally separate, I have nothing to do with
19 anything like that, I was asked by council
20 members to come in and here and take those
21 minutes. When there was such a volume of
22 information being given it almost became
23 impossible for me to right down everything
24 so I did tape only on their agreement for me
25 to do that tape and then I was to type up
1 those or write down everything for council.
2 That tape will go no where. It was only
3 meant for me to take the minutes and for
4 council to listen to the tape if they so
5 choose to do, so those minutes were typed
6 up, I have them ready for you in my office
7 we just didn't get a chance to go over them
8 tonight and the tape is also there, so
9 whatever Mr. McGoff says that's fine with
11 MS. GATELLI: We can get them
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah. Yes, she has
14 them. Can I ask one thing of council? I
15 have not disclosed to anyone the answers
16 that Mr. Davis gave me and I believe you all
17 have a copy of that, maybe you weren't here
18 when she passed them out.
19 MS. GARVEY: Yeah, it was in your
20 box from last, Judy, you probably have yours
21 in there.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: And now there is the
23 copy of the tape, which I asked Kay get
24 involved actually, and I can't believe you
25 typed that whole thing, but you did, you are
2 MS. GARVEY: It was impossible to
3 write down everything that were taken by --
4 I did it word for word so I didn't take
5 anything out of context.
6 MS. EVANS: We needed her.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: But, anyway, I would
8 ask that we don't disclose these to anybody
9 because this is so sensitive, it really is.
10 I mean this has consumed my entire last two
11 weeks, it really has and it's confidential
12 and there is -- people's livelihood is at
13 stake and I just hope they can keep it to
14 ourselves and make whatever decision we make
15 if everybody in is in agreement with that.
16 MS. GATELLI: Absolutely.
17 MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER. 5-B. AN
18 ORDINANCE - CREATING AND ESTABLISHING
19 SPECIAL CITY ACCOUNT NO. 02.229588 ENTITLED
20 "CITY OF SCRANTON ARSON TASK FORCE ACCOUNT"
21 FOR THE RECEIPT AND DISBURSEMENT OF GRANT
22 FUNDS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AND
23 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (DCED) FOR THE CITY OF
24 SCRANTON ARSON TASK FORCE.
25 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
1 entertain a motion that Item 5-B be
2 introduced into it's proper committee.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
4 MS. GATELLI: So moved.
5 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
6 MS. GATELLI: I'm in the move seat
7 now, Bill.
8 MS. EVANS: I told Mrs. Gatelli,
9 welcome to the right side.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: There you go.
11 MR. MCGOFF: Is that opposed to the
12 wrong or the left?
13 MS. EVANS: Anyway you want to look
14 at it.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Depending on the
16 day, I guess.
17 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
18 those in favor signify by saying aye.
19 MS. EVANS: Aye.
20 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
21 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
24 ayes have it and so moved.
25 MS. GARVEY: 5-C. FOR INTRODUCTION -
1 AN ORDINANCE - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND
2 OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS OF THE CITY
3 OF SCRANTON TO ACCEPT AND DISBURSE GRANT
4 FUNDS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AND
5 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (DCED) FOR THE CITY OF
6 SCRANTON ARSON TASK FORCE.
7 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
8 entertain a motion that Item 5-C be
9 introduced into it's proper committee.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
11 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
12 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
13 those in favor signify by saying aye.
14 MS. EVANS: Aye.
15 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
16 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
18 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
19 ayes have it and so moved.
20 MS. GARVEY: 5-D. FOR INTRODUCTION -
21 AN ORDINANCE - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND
22 OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS OF THE CITY
23 OF SCRANTON TO ACCEPT AND DISBURSE GRANT
24 FUNDS FROM U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND
25 SECURITY FEMA GRANT.
1 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
2 entertain a motion that Item 5-D be
3 introduced into it's proper committee.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
5 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
6 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
7 those in favor signify by saying aye.
8 MS. EVANS: Aye.
9 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
10 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
12 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
13 ayes have it and so moved.
14 MS. GARVEY: 5-E. FOR INTRODUCTION -
15 AN ORDINANCE - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND
16 OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE CITY OF
17 SCRANTON TO ENTER INTO LEASE AGREEMENTS WITH
18 VARIOUS LITTLE LEAGUE, TEENER LEAGUE, MISS-E
19 LEAGUE, AND JUNIOR AND/OR MIDGET FOOTBALL
20 LEAGUE ASSOCIATIONS FOR THE USE OF CITY
21 OWNED PROPERTY IN CONNECTION WITH APPROVED
22 LITTLE LEAGUE, TEENER LEAGUE, MISS-E LEAGUE,
23 AND JUNIOR AND/OR MIDGET FOOTBALL LEAGUE
24 ACTIVITIES FOR A THREE-YEAR PERIOD
25 COMMENCING APRIL 5, 2008 AND ENDING APRIL
1 14, 2011.
2 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
3 entertain a motion that Item 5-E be
4 introduced into it's proper committee.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
6 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
7 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
8 MS. EVANS: Yes. I have a few
9 questions, is this a new lease that has been
10 drafted, if you could find that out, Kay,
11 please prior to next week. Also, do all of
12 the entities listed in the backup, it
13 follows Exhibit A, have each of those
14 entities received a copy of the new lease
15 because I do, for example, have a question
16 about Section 21, "Termination by lessor:
17 City may terminate this lease at any time it
18 should determine that public necessity and
19 convenience require it to do so by serving
20 upon tenant in the manner herein provided a
21 written notice of it's election so to
22 terminate which notice shall be served at
23 least five days prior to the date in the
24 notice named for such termination."
25 Well, that, in fact, is saying that
1 at the discretion of the city any teener
2 league, little league, etcetera, can be
3 notified that they are no longer permitted
4 to use that property and they have a matter
5 of days to pull out and I don't think that's
6 something that you even want to entertain
7 when season schedules, etcetera, are setup
8 well in advance and parents have planned for
9 that and children as well, so, that is why,
10 Kay, please I would like all of these before
11 we are voting on this again or if we might
12 table it until we get the answers I would
13 really appreciate that.
14 MR. MCGOFF: Can we just move it to
15 Sixth Order and if we can get the
16 responses --
17 MS. EVANS: Okay.
18 MR. MCGOFF: I think we should have
19 the answers by next week.
20 MS. EVANS: And then, as I said, too,
21 though my concern is that each of those
22 people -- or they are not people, the
23 officers would receive, I'd like to know
24 that each and every one received and read
25 the lease before we pass it.
1 MR. MCGOFF: And just for
2 clarification you asked if this was a new
4 MS. EVANS: They had leases before --
5 MS. GATELLI: They have to redo
7 MR. MCGOFF: A new lease for --
8 MS. GATELLI: A newly written lease
9 because I know that when it passed there
10 have been leases, but for the last perhaps
11 two years there really hasn't been a lease
12 passed, a lease agreement, it's been ongoing
13 day-to-day, so that --
14 MR. MCGOFF: So that particular item
15 may be new.
16 MS. EVANS: Is this a newly written,
17 newly drafted lease.
18 MR. MCGOFF: Okay. I will try to
19 find that out as expeditiously as possible
20 for you -- or for us. We an are on 5-D,
21 excuse m, 5-E, excuse me. Anyone else on
22 the question? All those in favor of
23 introduction signify by saying aye.
24 MS. EVANS: Aye.
25 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
1 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
4 ayes have it and so moved.
5 MS. GARVEY: 5-F. FOR INTRODUCTION -
6 AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL NO.
7 49, 2006 - ENTITLED. "AN ORDINANCE
8 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE
9 OFFICIALS OF THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO TAKE AL
10 NECESSARY ACTIONS TO IMPLEMENT THE
11 CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION FOR COMMUNITY
12 PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS (AS
13 AMENDED) TO BE FUNDED UNDER THE COMMUNITY
14 DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM, HOME
15 INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP (HOME) PROGRAM AND
16 EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT (ESG) PROGRAM", BY
17 TRANSFERRING $239,156.45 FROM PROJECT NO.
18 95-003.2 AND $74,470.75 FROM PROJECT NO.
19 01-026 AND $30,000.00 FROM PROJECT NO.
20 01-96,1 and $85.82 FROM PROJECT NO. 05-215
21 AND $56,286.98 FROM PROJECT NO. 05-15 TO
22 PROJECT NO. 07-19 PURCHASE OF A FIRE TRUCK.
23 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
24 entertain a motion that Item 5-F be
25 introduced into it's proper committee.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
2 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
3 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question,
5 Mr. McGoff, quickly. The truck that was
6 purchased wasn't really meant for this area,
7 the hills take it's toll on these trucks
8 here and I don't think that truck was meant
9 to do what they had it doing and the Rescue
10 1 is the one that's out there all of the
11 time they are responding to every accident,
12 so I'm very happy that we are going to do
13 this and I hope I don't open up a can of
14 worms here, I thought somebody would cover
15 this question why we are taking the money
16 from the flood project and I think we can
17 answer that question at the time, the other
18 thing I would say that's probably the first
19 one that's going to respond there if there
20 is a flood, so kind of surprised we didn't
21 get questions about now we will because I
22 opened my thought.
23 MS. EVANS: If they're allowed to.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm being told they
25 are, so we'll see it.
1 MR. MCGOFF: All those in favor
2 signify by saying aye.
3 MS. EVANS: Aye.
4 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
5 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
8 ayes have it and so moved.
9 MS. GARVEY: SIXTH ORDER. NO
10 BUSINESS AT THIS TIME. SEVENTH ORDER. 7-A.
11 FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC
12 SAFETY - FOR ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL NO.
13 15, 2008 - AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 16,
14 1988 WHICH AMENDED FILE OF THE COUNCIL NO.
15 298, 1986 ENTITLED "AN ORDINANCE, AS
16 AMENDED, CREATING AND DEFINING A CENTRAL
17 BUSINESS DISTRICT; PROVIDING FOR THE REMOVAL
18 OF EXISTING PARKING METERS WITHIN THE
19 CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT AND PRESCRIBING
20 PARKING TIME LIMITS; DEFINING OFFENSES AND
21 PRESCRIBING PENALTIES; PROVIDING FOR THE
22 ENFORCEMENT THEREOF; AND REPEALING
23 CONFLICTING AND INCONSISTENT ORDINANCE, BY
24 DETAILING THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF
25 THE SCRANTON PARKING AUTHORITY ACTING AS AN
1 AGENT FOR THE CITY OF SCRANTON," BY AMENDING
2 SECTION 5.(B) SERVICE VEHICLE PARKING
3 PERMITS BY INCREASING THE COST OF THIS
4 PERMIT TO $150.00 PER VEHICLE.
5 MR. MCGOFF: What is the
6 recommendation of the Chairperson for the
7 Committee on Public Safety?
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: As Chairperson for
9 the Committee on Public Safety, I recommend
10 final passage of Item 7-A.
11 MS. EVANS: Second.
12 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? Roll
13 call, please.
14 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
15 MS. EVANS: Yes.
16 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
17 MS. GATELLI: Yes.
18 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.
19 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
20 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
22 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
24 Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.
25 MS. GATELLI: I make a motion to
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
2 C E R T I F I C A T E
4 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
5 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
6 notes of testimony taken by me at the hearing of the
7 above-captioned matter and that the foregoing is a true
8 and correct transcript of the same to the best of my
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI
13 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER