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            1              SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

 

            2

 

            3

 

            4

 

            5                          HELD:

 

            6

 

            7                   Tuesday, April 15, 2008

 

            8

 

            9                        LOCATION:

 

           10                     Council Chambers

 

           11                   Scranton City Hall

 

           12               340 North Washington Avenue

 

           13                 Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

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                            CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER

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            1

 

            2   CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

 

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            4

                MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT

            5

 

            6   MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT

 

            7

                MS. JANET E. EVANS

            8

 

            9   MS. SHERRY FANUCCI

 

           10

                MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT

           11

 

           12   MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK

 

           13

                MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

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           15   MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR

 

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            1                      (Pledge of Allegiance recited and

 

            2              moment of reflection observed.)

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: Roll call, please.

 

            4                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS:  Here.

 

            6                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI.  Here.

 

            8                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI:  Here.

 

           10                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Here.

 

           12                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF:  Here.  Dispense with

 

           14              the reading of the minutes, Third order.

 

           15                      MS. GARVEY: THIRD ORDER.  3-A.

 

           16              CONTROLLER'S REPORT FOR THE MONTH ENDING

 

           17              FEBRUARY 29, 2008.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           19              If not, received and filed.

 

           20                      MS. GARVEY: 3-B. APPLICATIONS AND

 

           21              DECISIONS RENDERED BY THE ZONING HEARING

 

           22              BOARD MEETING HELD ON APRIL 9, 2008.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           24              If not, received and filed.

 

           25                      MS. GARVEY: That's it for Third


 

 

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            1              Order.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF:  At this time I would

 

            3              like to make a motion to remove item 6-A

 

            4              from tonight's agenda at the request of the

 

            5              law office.

 

            6                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Second.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  All

 

            8              in favor?

 

            9                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           10                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

           14              ayes have it and so moved.  Are there any

 

           15              announcements that anyone has?  Mrs. Evans.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: Yes.  The Friends of the

 

           17              Scranton Knights are planning their annual

 

           18              night at the races on Saturday, April 19,

 

           19              that would be this Saturday at Holy Rosary

 

           20              Center at the corner of West Market and

 

           21              Wayne Avenue, Scranton, from seven to

 

           22              eleven, tickets are $10 and I encourage all

 

           23              to go out and support this worthy endeavor.

 

           24                   Also, April 2, 2008, is Earth Day and I

 

           25              believe members of the Sierra Club are


 

 

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            1              asking that we all consider reducing

 

            2              pollution and greenhouse emissions in order

 

            3              to prevent global warming.  They are also

 

            4              asking that you turn off your lights and any

 

            5              nonessential electric items between

 

            6              8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Earth Day,

 

            7              April 22, 2008, and this information was

 

            8              actually passed along to me by a friend of

 

            9              mine who is a science teacher at Scranton

 

           10              High School and I certainly do think this is

 

           11              a worthy endeavor and I hope even though

 

           12              it's election day you will all remember to

 

           13              try to turndown the electricity between 8:00

 

           14              and 9:00 next Tuesday.

 

           15                      Also, please remember in your

 

           16              prayers this week Mr. John Kennedy, Senior,

 

           17              and Mr. Nick Ross, two hard-working

 

           18              compassionate and honorable gentlemen who

 

           19              recently passed away and their families and

 

           20              friends who will dearly miss them and all of

 

           21              those who have died in our city in the last

 

           22              week.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  Mike

 

           24              Osborne.

 

           25                      MR. OSBORNE: Good evening.  My name


 

 

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            1              is Mike Osborne, city residents and also a

 

            2              member of the cable advisory, council

 

            3              appointee to that panel.

 

            4                      I wanted to address a couple of

 

            5              issues concerning 61 and 62.  The first one

 

            6              was a couple of weeks ago Lee Morgan asked a

 

            7              question about how someone would go about

 

            8              requesting one of the channels that the city

 

            9              is eligible for under the current franchise

 

           10              agreement.  Mr. McGoff answered or provided

 

           11              an answer, but I don't think it really

 

           12              answered his question.  He pretty much

 

           13              provided which is really technically true of

 

           14              what the current situation is which is there

 

           15              are two peg channels.  By letter of

 

           16              agreement I believe Channel 61 is controlled

 

           17              or managed by Scranton Today.  Channel 62

 

           18              was the University and Marywood, but their

 

           19              program was supplemented I think originally

 

           20              by request of Adelphia because they weren't

 

           21              providing enough programming, so Scranton

 

           22              Today was kind enough to supplement that

 

           23              program so that they would meet the minimum

 

           24              requirements and I think that's what

 

           25              Mr. McGoff answered to his --their problem


 

 

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            1              being currently especially now considering

 

            2              the state of the contracts or agreements

 

            3              about who is going to run the stations there

 

            4              wouldn't currently be enough programming to

 

            5              go to additional channels even though the

 

            6              city is eligible for more channels under the

 

            7              current agreement, but I think Mr. Morgan

 

            8              wanted to know how he would go about maybe

 

            9              applying for one of those channels.  And the

 

           10              answer to that question is there is no

 

           11              procedure in place for that.  No one ever

 

           12              looked at it, there is nothing covered under

 

           13              federal regulations, there is nothing in the

 

           14              franchise agreement that addresses that

 

           15              which leaves me to me second point or my

 

           16              second topic is and I have e-mailed council

 

           17              about this in the past, there really should

 

           18              be a procedure in place not only for that

 

           19              but the entire management of the station.

 

           20              Other cities that have peg stations have

 

           21              done that.  They have created an ordinance

 

           22              that dictates how the stations are managed,

 

           23              how the management is chosen, equipment

 

           24              ownership, studios, I mean, you can pretty

 

           25              much put into it anything you want, but I


 

 

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            1              think that's the route we need to go because

 

            2              right now, I mean, what happened in the last

 

            3              several months has been, you know, very

 

            4              haphazard and really you can see on the

 

            5              programming on Channel 61 the Scranton Today

 

            6              has been put in a very sad position that

 

            7              they don't know what their future is other

 

            8              than ECTV has been chosen, but there is

 

            9              really no details in place, no one knows

 

           10              when there is going to be agreement or when

 

           11              it goes into effect, when the funding is

 

           12              going to be there, how the funding is going

 

           13              to be accomplished.  I mean, they have asked

 

           14              for a pretty significant amount of funding

 

           15              which the city has never done in the past

 

           16              and the first nine years the city gave

 

           17              Scranton Today nothing and over the last

 

           18              12 months there has been two separate grants

 

           19              of 11 or $13,000 and then $20,000 that you

 

           20              voted on last week, but they are looking for

 

           21              a commitment of up to $313,000 for the first

 

           22              year to get underway and there is really

 

           23              no -- I'm not sure how that's going to

 

           24              happen.  I mean, there is nothing in the

 

           25              budget to cover that.  I mean, I don't see


 

 

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            1              how that's going to happen before the next

 

            2              budget year, but I think the programming

 

            3              suffering we really need a process in place.

 

            4              I think now is the time to do is.  There has

 

            5              been enough experience over the last ten

 

            6              years to kind of have a good grasp of what

 

            7              things are and in Mr. Morgan's case, I mean,

 

            8              if someone -- just not Mr. Morgan, but

 

            9              anyone and who is to say what ideas someone

 

           10              can come up with, someone can come up with

 

           11              something completely original and if they

 

           12              had an idea that would fulfill eight hours

 

           13              of programming a day there should certainly

 

           14              be a means to approach the city, present

 

           15              their ideas and get an answer on whether

 

           16              they can go to Comcast and request the

 

           17              additional channel.  But, again, I think the

 

           18              only way to do that is to create an

 

           19              ordinance that addresses those issues.

 

           20              That's all I have.  Thanks.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you very much,

 

           22              Mr. Osborne.  Bill Jackowitz.

 

           23                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Good evening,

 

           24              Mr. President.  City council members, Bill

 

           25              Jackowitz, South Scranton resident, member


 

 

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            1              of the Taxpayers' Association.  Rules of

 

            2              council, I have asked this question before,

 

            3              do the Rules of Council apply to council

 

            4              members or just speakers?  I hope to get an

 

            5              answer tonight so I can obey by the rules,

 

            6              during motions please.  When I speak at

 

            7              council I provide as much information for

 

            8              council to read so that they have a better

 

            9              understanding of what I am saying.  I try

 

           10              not to say anything that I cannot back up.

 

           11              Tonight I provided council with copies of my

 

           12              retirement orders plus my DD-Form 214 which,

 

           13              by the way, clearly states that I retired

 

           14              under honorable conditions.

 

           15                      In the past I have criticized and

 

           16              complimented city council.  Councilman

 

           17              Pocius, McTiernan, DiBileo, Courtright and

 

           18              McGoff, also Attorney Minora.  Councilwoman

 

           19              Gatelli, Evans and Fanucci.  Also

 

           20              recommended a raise for Kay Garvey which she

 

           21              did receive, good for you, Kay.  I try not

 

           22              to show any favorites.  If I agree with you,

 

           23              I say so.  If I disagree with you, I also

 

           24              say so.  After thinking about it, I now

 

           25              agree with President McGoff, we all have the


 

 

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            1              right to react to statements that are made

 

            2              by speakers and also by council members.

 

            3              The only difference that I see is when the

 

            4              speakers try they are ruled out of order

 

            5              while council members can go on and on

 

            6              without any or interruptions from the chair

 

            7              unless you happen to be Councilwoman Evans

 

            8              which was proven on 8th April 2008.

 

            9                      Council members are allowed to

 

           10              interrupt speakers or to makeup what if

 

           11              stories about the speakers.  Again, no

 

           12              interruptions from the chair.  Two weeks ago

 

           13              on April 2008 is a perfect example.

 

           14              Councilwoman Fanucci addressed me after I

 

           15              had finished speaking.  She stated,

 

           16              "Mr. Jackowitz claims to be this wonderful

 

           17              Army graduate or whatever he claims to be.

 

           18              What if I said to him, 'I think he was

 

           19              discharged from the Army dishonorably.  I

 

           20              think there is a problem here, this is not

 

           21              accurate.'"

 

           22                      My final minute time limit had

 

           23              expired so I had to stand there without

 

           24              having any chance to rebut what she was

 

           25              saying, so I will tonight.  Councilwoman


 

 

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            1              Fanucci, you are partially correct.  I do

 

            2              have wards and letters from the Army, which

 

            3              I can prove.  I have never been in the Army

 

            4              only the Air Force for 20 years of active

 

            5              military service.  I have provided proof of

 

            6              that tonight.  If any council member still

 

            7              has doubt I have many more documents in my

 

            8              vehicle.  I totally support Councilwoman

 

            9              Fanucci's right to free speech, what I do

 

           10              not support is the fact that she used my

 

           11              military career as a stepping-stone to

 

           12              discredit certain speakers who speak at city

 

           13              council.  She had no problem addressing me,

 

           14              so why not address the speakers that she has

 

           15              a problem with.  She went on during the

 

           16              speech to say that I am always respectful

 

           17              and she has no problems with me, but as far

 

           18              as I am concerned the damage was already

 

           19              done when she mentioned my name along with a

 

           20              dishonorable discharge.  Council president

 

           21              allowed this to go on.

 

           22                      Furthermore, I also agreed with

 

           23              Councilwoman Gatelli that her family or

 

           24              anybody's family should not be talked about.

 

           25              When I say that you were not elected to get


 

 

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            1              family members and friends jobs I mean that.

 

            2              Too many elected officials, family members

 

            3              and friends have jobs now with the local

 

            4              government.  This is a fact.  I also agree

 

            5              with the statements that not everything

 

            6              speakers say are accurate.  I may add that

 

            7              not everything council members say are

 

            8              accurate either such as, "I will never vote

 

            9              for any more borrowing, no vacant store

 

           10              fronts in downtown Scranton, parks bring new

 

           11              business to the city, I have no political

 

           12              aspirations," and so on.

 

           13                      So as you can see it goes both ways.

 

           14              Nobody is perfect, but I guess I am

 

           15              wonderful.  When I say that Scranton

 

           16              unemployment rat is at 5.7 percent and we

 

           17              are ranked third from the bottom in the

 

           18              state, that is a fact.  When I say that

 

           19              93 percent of the firefighters voted and

 

           20              91 percent voted no confidence in the chief

 

           21              that is a fact.  When I say the city has

 

           22              been distressed for 60 years that is a fact.

 

           23              When I say that there are more than 50 empty

 

           24              store fronts in downtown Scranton, that is a

 

           25              fact.  When I say that kids should free swim


 

 

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            1              in city-owned pools, I believe that.  When I

 

            2              say that council members vote on issues not

 

            3              knowing what they are voting on that has

 

            4              been proven.  When I say it is the economy,

 

            5              stupid, look around, remember a guy named

 

            6              Ross Perot, he was correct.  The Clintons

 

            7              and Bushes were wrong.

 

            8                      President McGoff has stated that

 

            9              council members can either react verbally or

 

           10              physically to comment on what speakers say

 

           11              about them.  I disagree.  Maybe I am wrong,

 

           12              but I hold elected officials to higher

 

           13              standards.  Going back in time to the late

 

           14              60's, early 70's during the Vietnam

 

           15              demonstrations and race riots I stood on

 

           16              many of the riot control lines being spit

 

           17              on, called a baby killer like millions of

 

           18              MF's.  I did not like it, but I took it.

 

           19              Why, because I swore and oath of enlistment

 

           20              just like elected officials swear an oath of

 

           21              office.

 

           22                      I have never asked anyone to vote

 

           23              for me, nor have I accepted money to be

 

           24              voted into an office to work for the people.

 

           25              There are my opinions and facts, not what


 

 

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            1              if's.  Clearly the official city council

 

            2              record tonight and when you speak about a

 

            3              person's career either past or present at

 

            4              least choose your words correctly.  You want

 

            5              respect then earn that respect, speak to

 

            6              whom you are speaking about.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

            8              Mr. Jackowitz.  Gary DiBileo.

 

            9                      MR. DIBILEO:  Good evening, city

 

           10              council.  How are you tonight?  As an

 

           11              interested observer of meetings of late I

 

           12              just wanted to come tonight and make a

 

           13              couple of observations about a couple of

 

           14              topics, and I think it would be a real shame

 

           15              if the programming and the operations of

 

           16              Channel 61 are taken away from Scranton

 

           17              Today.  I think that they have done an

 

           18              excellent job over the last ten years for

 

           19              virtually no cost to the taxpayers at really

 

           20              educating the electorate and providing

 

           21              public access TV.  Now, as you know, cable

 

           22              money has to be put -- is put into the

 

           23              budget and it's used for paying the bills,

 

           24              the light bill, and the cable company has to

 

           25              provide a public access channel.  Now, I


 

 

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            1              just don't understand how you or Mr. Doherty

 

            2              could justify spending 1 million dollars of

 

            3              taxpayer money at giving it to a new TV

 

            4              company.  Their proposal calls for taking

 

            5              $300,000 out of the budget and giving it to

 

            6              this company to build a TV studio which

 

            7              doesn't exist right now and then over the

 

            8              next four years giving them $200,000 per

 

            9              year, so over the course of the next five

 

           10              years that's $1 million of taxpayer money.

 

           11              It's really not about education, it's about

 

           12              public access and for anybody that has cable

 

           13              TV there are 100 channels in some cases

 

           14              maybe 200 channels of entertainment

 

           15              programming, so I don't think the public

 

           16              access TV station needs to be about

 

           17              entertainment.  So, you were elected to

 

           18              protect the taxpayers and I think it's your

 

           19              job to make sure that taxpayer money isn't

 

           20              taken out of the budget to give to a company

 

           21              to build a TV studio.

 

           22                      So, I ask you if you would do the

 

           23              right thing and if someone tonight possibly

 

           24              could make a motion to let Mr. Doherty know

 

           25              that you don't approve of spending a million


 

 

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            1              dollars of taxpayer money to set up a new TV

 

            2              station.  Scranton Today is just a fabulous

 

            3              company run by fabulous people and they can

 

            4              do it virtually for a fraction of the cost.

 

            5              Now, I don't know for sure, but I would say

 

            6              that since they have received so little

 

            7              money over the years that 10 percent of what

 

            8              this new company is supposed to get might be

 

            9              enough for Scranton Today to continue to

 

           10              operate.  So, no panel that's appointed by

 

           11              Mr. Doherty should be able to spend taxpayer

 

           12              money.  I think that's responsibility and I

 

           13              wish that you would look at this closely and

 

           14              consider making a motion and protecting the

 

           15              taxpayers.

 

           16                      Another thing I'm very happy to see

 

           17              is that the medical school is progressing

 

           18              very well.  I think that's going to be a

 

           19              great thing for our community Thanks to

 

           20              Senator Mellow and Governor Rendell and I

 

           21              wish you would keep it going as best you

 

           22              can, but let's make sure that nobody gets

 

           23              hurt in the process and the thing is I would

 

           24              hope that someone alternative low income

 

           25              housing can be provided and recreational


 

 

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            1              facilities can be provided for anyone who is

 

            2              going to be affected by the medical school,

 

            3              but, of course we need the medical school

 

            4              and I can't wait for it to come.

 

            5                      Lastly, election day is just one

 

            6              week away and I would hope that everyone

 

            7              exercises their right to vote for next

 

            8              Tuesday, I encourage that, and on the local

 

            9              level it seems that in talking to some

 

           10              people that some voters seem to be

 

           11              discouraged, that they say that, for

 

           12              example, politicians say one thing yet do

 

           13              another, they say that it seems that

 

           14              politics is for the wealthy and not the

 

           15              average person and they even say that it

 

           16              seems like FBI raids on public facilities,

 

           17              public offices are becoming commonplace in

 

           18              our area these days so they wonder if it's

 

           19              worth voting, so I would just encourage that

 

           20              everyone vote, the only way to effect change

 

           21              in this town and in this country is to vote,

 

           22              keep on voting and vote in even greater

 

           23              numbers and I thank you and have a good

 

           24              evening.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. DiBielo.


 

 

                                                                      19

 

 

            1              Mike Ferguson.

 

            2                      MR. FERGUSON: Good evening, Council.

 

            3              My name is Michael Ferguson, I'm a Scranton

 

            4              taxpayer and resident.  Our city has seen

 

            5              college students come and go, most students

 

            6              from the University of Scranton, Marywood

 

            7              University, go into out of area or

 

            8              out-of-state employment to further their

 

            9              education.

 

           10                      As semesters from both the

 

           11              universities wind down we can expect yet

 

           12              another population decline.  It seems that

 

           13              our city is surviving off or our students

 

           14              population.  Where would Scranton be without

 

           15              our universities and night clubs?  Scranton

 

           16              has six well-respected night clubs in our

 

           17              downtown and now Scranton leaders voted to

 

           18              establish a smoking ban.  Why enjoy

 

           19              something and just destroy it.  What part of

 

           20              illegal do council members not understand?

 

           21              Haven't you learned your lesson the first

 

           22              time around?

 

           23                      According to MySpace.com

 

           24              Pennsylvania residents have signed a

 

           25              petition to stop the ban.  As of April 9,


 

 

                                                                      20

 

 

            1              2008, 472,000 people including residents

 

            2              from Ohio has signed the petition.  I find

 

            3              it laughable that the same high school

 

            4              students that claim they brought the idea to

 

            5              city council first are the same ones that

 

            6              have the highest percentage of smokers.

 

            7              Smoking can't be that bad, can it, Mr.

 

            8              Miller?

 

            9                      Our city needs to pay attention to

 

           10              those who matter the most.  Our men and

 

           11              women of the Scranton Fire Department.  For

 

           12              far too long our council has played to the

 

           13              tune of Mr. Doherty's trumpet.  Council

 

           14              members must put their political lives on

 

           15              the line and press Mr. Doherty to sit down

 

           16              with unions and agree to the new contract.

 

           17              How hard is it to sit down and listen and

 

           18              talk?

 

           19                      I must applaud Mr. Doherty, however,

 

           20              for putting $10 million into our zoo.  Our

 

           21              zoo was once on the worst zoos in the

 

           22              nations list.  It is time to bring it back

 

           23              from the dead.

 

           24                      Our downtown roads are far worse

 

           25              than roads in most cities like Allentown


 

 

                                                                      21

 

 

            1              which was rated as the most deplorable roads

 

            2              in the state.  I hope this sends a message

 

            3              to the mayor, DPW and especially city

 

            4              council.

 

            5                      Finally, let's take care of the

 

            6              establishments we do have, particularly our

 

            7              night clubs.  Remember what I said before,

 

            8              we couldn't be electric without our spark.

 

            9              Night life brings business, business brings

 

           10              tourism, catching on yet?  We need to

 

           11              rebuild our night life with our without a

 

           12              smoking ban.  Our downtown is changing,

 

           13              which is good, but our night life is dying.

 

           14              If we don't save our night life we could

 

           15              safely say the 200 to $300 million

 

           16              Mr. Doherty brought into Scranton was for

 

           17              nothing.

 

           18                      As 2009 nears I can envision a new

 

           19              mayor, three new council members and a new

 

           20              tax collector.  Right, Mr. Courtright?

 

           21              Thank you.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Ferguson.

 

           23              Reverend Simmons.

 

           24                      MS. SIMMONS: Good evening, Council

 

           25              members and Junior Council members.  I'm


 

 

                                                                      22

 

 

            1              Reverend Katherine Simmons of Florence

 

            2              Midtown Crime Watch and I have come tonight

 

            3              to talk to you about an issue that

 

            4              apparently has been overlooked by this

 

            5              council for this past year.  I know that

 

            6              when the announcement of a local medical

 

            7              school was issued many were excited and

 

            8              accepting of a new future for this area.

 

            9              However, if a positive plan is not done

 

           10              appropriately then the true cluster of evil

 

           11              begins to rear it's head, and so it is

 

           12              happening here.  I have known for a long

 

           13              time that those replaced in the political

 

           14              seats of this beloved city are not really

 

           15              concerned with the maintenance of the black

 

           16              culture or the rise of the economically

 

           17              disadvantaged to a more liveable status, but

 

           18              I never believed that those elected would be

 

           19              so arrogant as to say to a total

 

           20              neighborhood community, and I quote, "You

 

           21              have absolutely no business here, get out."

 

           22                   In the area known as Florence Midtown

 

           23              apartments we were promised some 30 years

 

           24              ago that if we allowed the destruction of

 

           25              the then neighborhood we would receive a


 

 

                                                                      23

 

 

            1              newer, safer and more protected community.

 

            2              Now, we are being told that what little

 

            3              cultural history we have left is again to be

 

            4              destroyed and we are to be sent on our way.

 

            5              This has me very emotional, as you can tell.

 

            6              The other day someone told me that we are

 

            7              not the only neighborhood in the city to be

 

            8              torn down and we built.  Well, I say here

 

            9              tonight, my arrogant friend, we are not

 

           10              being rebuilt just destroyed.  This

 

           11              community is a loving complex with good

 

           12              neighbors and areas left to teach our

 

           13              children about their past.  If you walk up

 

           14              Adams Avenue through the complex you will

 

           15              hear the voices of the Williams, the

 

           16              Parkers, the Greenes, the Wilsons, etcetera.

 

           17              Now there is to be nothing left and we have

 

           18              no participation in any attempt to save at

 

           19              least part of it.  We at Florence Midtown

 

           20              are not against a medical school, never have

 

           21              been.  We are against the way it is being

 

           22              done and we will fight to the end to make

 

           23              sure you do not destroy the very souls this

 

           24              school is to try and heal.

 

           25                      I know that city council is not


 

 

                                                                      24

 

 

            1              representative of the minority citizens, the

 

            2              economic disadvantaged or union members.

 

            3              Proof, a union rally three weeks ago and not

 

            4              one soul from this council came to support

 

            5              the nurses, but yet you want a medical

 

            6              school built.  Not one of you have contacted

 

            7              myself or Mr. Scelara concerning the

 

            8              problems facing our tenants if this complex

 

            9              is indeed sold.  No one has approached the

 

           10              African American community, the biracial

 

           11              community or the Indian community to discuss

 

           12              the total destruction of this historical

 

           13              area that was left from the last attempt to

 

           14              rid the city of minorities and poor.  I

 

           15              would keep this for future reference.

 

           16                      Yes, our cultural history is

 

           17              different, our economic status is different,

 

           18              but we have one thing in common, we vote,

 

           19              and you may need our votes some day to

 

           20              maintain your seats, perhaps it is time that

 

           21              a truly culturally diverse, economically

 

           22              literate and unionized council take seat and

 

           23              really represent this city.

 

           24                      As I go to my seat let me say, I

 

           25              keep hearing what a wonderful addition this


 

 

                                                                      25

 

 

            1              medical college will be to this area.

 

            2              Pardon me if I ask a question this evening,

 

            3              if an area surrounded by high-rises that

 

            4              house the elderly and the disadvantaged both

 

            5              sides of a shelter that houses homeless, why

 

            6              is this area so important, but pardon me if

 

            7              I answer this myself, they do need cadavers,

 

            8              don't they?

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Reverend

 

           10              Simmons.  The next name, John Scelara.

 

           11                      MR. SCELARA: Good evening, ladies

 

           12              and gentlemen, council members.  My name is

 

           13              John Scelara, I'm a life-long resident of

 

           14              Scranton presently residing at the Midtown

 

           15              Florence apartment complex on Adams Avenue.

 

           16              I am also the current president of the

 

           17              Midtown Florence tenant council, but even

 

           18              more important than that I am a veteran of

 

           19              the Vietnam and a disabled veteran of the

 

           20              Desert Storm.  Throughout our history, the

 

           21              returning veterans was told he or she would

 

           22              have some choices with regards to where a

 

           23              veteran decides to reside.  Other veterans

 

           24              along with our families live to call Midtown

 

           25              Apartments home.  We all made the choice


 

 

                                                                      26

 

 

            1              because of affordable housing and location.

 

            2              Now we are being told that a medical school

 

            3              is being built in our backyard.  The school

 

            4              will either replace the building I reside in

 

            5              with classrooms and labs.  The mayor has

 

            6              said this is good for Scranton, this is

 

            7              progress.  My questions are this:  How is

 

            8              putting any veteran and a family out of a

 

            9              dwelling and neighborhood good for Scranton?

 

           10              How is it that maybe another veteran --

 

           11              making another veteran homeless can be

 

           12              called progress?  While growing up as a

 

           13              young boy and then a young man I listened to

 

           14              our city leaders and others say how much

 

           15              need there was for low income housing and

 

           16              today there is still not enough low income

 

           17              housing for our aging Korean War and Vietnam

 

           18              conflict vets.  Some of our Desert Shield,

 

           19              Desert Storm veterans have reached their

 

           20              late 50's and are fast approaching 60's.

 

           21              No, I say again, no.  Members of council, we

 

           22              do not need to be tearing down the Midtowns

 

           23              of our town, they are needed.  Thank you.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Andy

 

           25              Sbaraglia.


 

 

                                                                      27

 

 

            1                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,

 

            2              citizen of Scranton, fellow Scrantonians, I

 

            3              know you are going to table 6-A, but it

 

            4              brings up an important question and the

 

            5              question just like the question last week

 

            6              with the social security numbers, how did

 

            7              this get on the agenda?  How did it get

 

            8              there?  Who called up?  I was told that the

 

            9              president of the Lackawanna County College

 

           10              called he said the article in the paper said

 

           11              that and not anything to do with actually

 

           12              the medical school, and this is important to

 

           13              find out who called up and got this piece of

 

           14              legislation on the agenda, that's where you

 

           15              have to investigate.  Social security

 

           16              numbers, the FBI will take care of that and

 

           17              the D.A., too, but this is important.  Who

 

           18              has that much political pull to call up and

 

           19              have something put on the agenda without

 

           20              even telling the people involved that they

 

           21              were going to do it?  There is something

 

           22              wrong in this city and if you don't see it,

 

           23              you are blind.  You got your head in the

 

           24              sand, you had it in the sand, you are

 

           25              destroying this city.  There is 300 families


 

 

                                                                      28

 

 

            1              there.  When this first came up I said the

 

            2              place to put this was over at the

 

            3              University.  As this progressed, it's still

 

            4              no longer anything really, it's a premed

 

            5              school two years and then they go somewhere

 

            6              else.  That's it.  It's a two-year school

 

            7              now and then it goes out somewhere else.  It

 

            8              could have been placed on the University,

 

            9              but then they wouldn't have control of the

 

           10              money and probably control of the project.

 

           11              This is a money game.  It has nothing to

 

           12              with a medical school, it's a money deal,

 

           13              spending government money, your and I,

 

           14              everybody's money what little or no

 

           15              advantage to the city.

 

           16                      But really a medical school should

 

           17              have been placed at the university and

 

           18              pre-med should have been there anyway.  You

 

           19              have nothing to with the school board, but

 

           20              if you went up there and looked at the

 

           21              playground there is a million dollars worth

 

           22              of development on that ground that they sold

 

           23              for a million dollars, plus it's a kid's

 

           24              park but why care about the children of

 

           25              Scranton?  We want them to pay to go


 

 

                                                                      29

 

 

            1              swimming, we want them to do everything.

 

            2              All they have to do now is just be here,

 

            3              that's it.  We are going to destroy their

 

            4              parks.  This administration has a process of

 

            5              destroying all of the city parks other than

 

            6              Nay Aug.  We lost the South Side Complex

 

            7              essential housing area.  Them little kids

 

            8              could play in the river, why not?  The worst

 

            9              they can do is drown, who cares then, right,

 

           10              they are only little kids, but you sat --

 

           11              you didn't do it, but the council before

 

           12              you, I think two before you sat there and

 

           13              did that with no regard to the children of

 

           14              the city and this playground that they are

 

           15              taking away from the children you have no

 

           16              regard again for the kids that live in that

 

           17              neighborhood probably because they are poor,

 

           18              why should we care about the poor, they

 

           19              don't pay taxes all they do is exist.

 

           20                      This administration does not care

 

           21              about the poor of this city, they showed

 

           22              that when they stopped that project in town

 

           23              for drywall not being placed where it should

 

           24              have been placed and nobody knows if that

 

           25              was legal or not legal, but the main thing


 

 

                                                                      30

 

 

            1              is they wanted the people out there.  There

 

            2              is somebody that wants to acquire all of

 

            3              that land that has tremendous political

 

            4              power in this city and they are using their

 

            5              influence to drive out the poor.  Who it may

 

            6              be, I don't know, but whoever it is you got

 

            7              to find out who put this piece of

 

            8              legislation before you.  It made you look

 

            9              like fools.  It actually did, to put

 

           10              something like that before you and then they

 

           11              pull the rug out of you.

 

           12                      Let's go with the 7-G before I get

 

           13              hearing too much about that because this is

 

           14              important, too.  You got to follow the money

 

           15              chair.  If this is going to the SRA for

 

           16              one million you got to follow -- if you

 

           17              approve his there is two things you got to

 

           18              do, you got to see how much the SRA actually

 

           19              paid the city, how much we got, and when

 

           20              they sold the contracts to NCC entities that

 

           21              are there how much they received from that

 

           22              entity because this could be a shell game

 

           23              and this administration is very good on

 

           24              shell games, moving money one place to

 

           25              another place to another place, selling the


 

 

                                                                      31

 

 

            1              DPW sites continually just so they can build

 

            2              up a reserve found and pay off these bonds,

 

            3              well, eventually it is going to collapse and

 

            4              you have appointed it.  I just hope they

 

            5              pass a law down in Harrisburg that holds all

 

            6              public officials responsible for their

 

            7              actions.  Then half these things would never

 

            8              come before you because you know you would

 

            9              liable for them.  Thank you.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

           11              Mr. Sbaraglia.  Ozzie Quinn.

 

           12                      MR. QUINN:  Ozzie Quinn, President

 

           13              of the Scranton/Lackawanna County Taxpayers'

 

           14              Association.  Good evening.  Tonight you

 

           15              went through "B" applications, decisions

 

           16              rendered by the Zoning Hearing Board held on

 

           17              April 9, 2008, without even a wink.  If you

 

           18              were at that zoning board you would know

 

           19              that they did something that is going to

 

           20              cause a lot of havoc in the City of

 

           21              Scranton.  They approved three to two,

 

           22              Mrs. Cook voted against it, she was one of

 

           23              them, 3 to 2 to allow a variance in a 1-A,

 

           24              R-1-A zone.  You just don't do it.  You just

 

           25              don't put a business in an R-1-A zone unless


 

 

                                                                      32

 

 

            1              it's in exceptional condition.  Now, I

 

            2              called Harrisburg, Harrisburg told me that's

 

            3              insane.  So, this is what you are doing with

 

            4              ECTV, you are taking them and you are

 

            5              putting them in a R-1-A zone.  I was around

 

            6              and Judy you was around when the Hill

 

            7              Neighborhood Association and what was going

 

            8              on up in the hill and what the planned zone

 

            9              was that from Vine Street up would be 1-A so

 

           10              people could not use commercial enterprises,

 

           11              people could not take single homes and make

 

           12              them into multi-family, that way they could

 

           13              stop that residential blight from keeping on

 

           14              increasing in the Hill Neighborhood.

 

           15                      Now, ECTV asks for an unnecessary

 

           16              hump, they said they wanted a variation -- a

 

           17              variance and they said because of a

 

           18              hardship, okay?  Well, it's an unnecessary

 

           19              hardship, you know, they put it upon

 

           20              themselves by asking to go up there, by

 

           21              doing that they are not allowed a variance.

 

           22              Mr. Neveroski and Mr. Ungvarsky spoke about,

 

           23              Mr. Ungvarsky is a member of the Hill and

 

           24              they spoke about how it's going to ruin the

 

           25              neighborhood, which I said by allowing that


 

 

                                                                      33

 

 

            1              variance.  Once you set that precedent, and

 

            2              Attorney Minora will tell you, in law you

 

            3              have set something that's going to keep on

 

            4              going and going again and you are going to

 

            5              back to the old zoning, you are going to

 

            6              have spot zoning all over the city.

 

            7                      Now, I believe that this ECTV along

 

            8              with Mayor Doherty, okay, is a conspiracy

 

            9              along with city council members, some city

 

           10              council members, three of you, the zoning

 

           11              board and Mr. Monsure to get Scranton Today

 

           12              the hell out of here, there is no doubt in

 

           13              my mind.  They have approved with an RFP

 

           14              which you never saw before in the history of

 

           15              the City of Scranton presented by the mayor

 

           16              that gives them in their proposal the mayor

 

           17              approved $1 million as a previous speaker

 

           18              said.  That $1 million has to come from

 

           19              Comcast monies, 25 percent they are asking

 

           20              of Comcast money each year.  Now, I want to

 

           21              explain something, that money has to be

 

           22              transferred then by the city council; am I

 

           23              correct?  And it has to be transferred from

 

           24              Comcast over to ECTV, please do not do it,

 

           25              okay?  We got something up there that we are


 

 

                                                                      34

 

 

            1              paying not a red cent by the taxpayers and

 

            2              you want to put $1 million on a city that is

 

            3              so far in debt, over a quarter of a million

 

            4              dollars in long-term debt, you want to give

 

            5              them $1 million.  What a conspiracy.  What a

 

            6              way to get rid of Scranton Today.  You ought

 

            7              to be ashamed of yourself and the way that

 

            8              you are presenting this here to the people

 

            9              of the city and you are expect to ram it

 

           10              down their throats.  It's ashame,

 

           11              it's unbelievable that you can do that and

 

           12              I'm sorry that Mr. Monsure is part of this.

 

           13              He is running a nonprofit and he wants to

 

           14              get them in that building so they will eat

 

           15              and keep is winterized all winter and he

 

           16              won't have to pay for that.  Okay?  They

 

           17              want high-tech, high digital equipment

 

           18              without any bid, okay?  Would Comcast carry

 

           19              that type of electronic equipment?  High

 

           20              digital and HD, okay, and they won't allow

 

           21              that, and why should they go out and just do

 

           22              this without any bids?  What do we forget?

 

           23              We forget about bids in the City of

 

           24              Scranton?  It's ashame and, city council,

 

           25              you got to put a stop to this as the


 

 

                                                                      35

 

 

            1              previous speaker said.  You got to put a

 

            2              stop to it.  You three people got to stand

 

            3              -- not you, Bill, you three people got to

 

            4              stand up and say, "It's the end of it.

 

            5              Mayor Doherty you are killing Scranton."

 

            6                      You don't have to be a financial

 

            7              wizard to know that you are doing things to

 

            8              get rid of Scranton today for his election.

 

            9              He does not like what's going on through

 

           10              that 61 camera, it's obvious.

 

           11                      Sorry.  On the other thing here is

 

           12              7-F you do not need a solicitor in Human

 

           13              Relations Commission.  I do not know that

 

           14              attorney, I'm sure he is a great attorney,

 

           15              but $95 an hour just for not winning cases I

 

           16              don't know what's going on.  Thank you.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Quinn.

 

           18              Les Spindler.

 

           19                      MR. SPINDLER: Good evening, Council,

 

           20              Les Spindler, city resident.  I'm so glad

 

           21              Mr. DiBileo came tonight because he

 

           22              enlightened me about something I was unaware

 

           23              of, Chris Doherty wants to give the new

 

           24              company a million dollars over five years,

 

           25              well, our firefighters and police men and


 

 

                                                                      36

 

 

            1              woman haven't had a raise for six years and

 

            2              he has a million dollars to throw into this

 

            3              TV station and Ozzie Quinn is right, it's

 

            4              just a conspiracy because he doesn't want us

 

            5              talking here while he is running for

 

            6              reelection next year.  This is nothing but a

 

            7              conspiracy, but, again, we have a million

 

            8              dollars to throw in a TV station, but not a

 

            9              penny for firefighters and policemen.

 

           10              That's wake up, Council, and do what's right

 

           11              for a change, all right, and not listen to

 

           12              what Chris Doherty tells you to do.  I'm not

 

           13              talking to Mr. Courtright or Mrs. Evans

 

           14              either.

 

           15                      Okay, last week, Mrs. Fanucci, I

 

           16              asked if you went to the fundraiser if you

 

           17              had paid for it and you said do I go to a

 

           18              bar and pay for my drinks.  What does one

 

           19              thing have to do with to another?  I'm not

 

           20              an elected official.  If you get invited to

 

           21              a fundraiser you are expected to pay and on

 

           22              that subject again you are all Democrats up

 

           23              there.  It was a Democrat fundraiser why

 

           24              were only three people invited?  That reeks

 

           25              of impropriety and I think it might even be


 

 

                                                                      37

 

 

            1              an ethics violation because you people

 

            2              receive gifts not -- you people that's like

 

            3              a gift going to a fundraiser and not paying

 

            4              and if I can get the phone number for the

 

            5              Ethics Board I will be giving them a phone

 

            6              call.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI: I'll be happy to give

 

            8              it to you after the meeting, Mr. Spindler.

 

            9                      MR. SPINDLER: I won't be staying

 

           10              that long.  Next thing, last week I was

 

           11              driving by the Robeson house and I saw about

 

           12              30 people fixing it up, later on I learned

 

           13              it was off-duty firemen doing what Captain

 

           14              Robeson started, they were finished

 

           15              remodeling his house.  I think that was a

 

           16              very honorable thing they did and I just

 

           17              commend the firefighters on their work and

 

           18              it shows the comradery they have in their

 

           19              union and they deserve a raise.

 

           20                      Next thing, last Saturday a citizen

 

           21              came up to me and he said he rides his bike

 

           22              up on the upper Lackawanna Avenue bridge,

 

           23              the one past the U-Haul and he said he can't

 

           24              ride, the sidewalks are caved right in,

 

           25              Mr. Courtright, I don't know if you go up


 

 

                                                                      38

 

 

            1              that way or not, when I went by it's

 

            2              disastrous.  The sidewalks are broken in

 

            3              half, they are caved in, I don't know if

 

            4              that's PennDOT or if that's the city but

 

            5              something has to be done with those

 

            6              sidewalks.  It's a really safety hazard.

 

            7                   The next thing, Mrs. Evans, thank you

 

            8              for having that hole fixed on Franklin

 

            9              Avenue, but they didn't do it correctly.

 

           10              Already you can see a little depression how

 

           11              it's sinking in, all they did was fill it

 

           12              in, fill it in.  There is a void underneath

 

           13              there, until that void is filled in that's

 

           14              going to keep sinking and I said that, hey,

 

           15              I said, there is a void underground you can

 

           16              see right in it.  So, if we can maybe have

 

           17              them look into that again.

 

           18                      MS. EVANS: Okay.

 

           19                      MR. SPINDLER: Thank you.

 

           20              Mr. McGoff, last week you gave Mrs. Evans a

 

           21              hard time about speaking, but you let

 

           22              Mrs. Fanucci interrupt Mr. Williams and

 

           23              didn't say a word to her.  So, you have to

 

           24              stop discriminating, Mr. McGoff, and treat

 

           25              everybody up there equally.  Thank you.


 

 

                                                                      39

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Spindler.

 

            2              Brett McCloe.

 

            3                      MR. MCCLOE:  Good evening.  My name

 

            4              is Brett McCloe, Scranton taxpayer,

 

            5              homeowner.  Next Tuesday Pennsylvania

 

            6              primaries will be held and I encourage

 

            7              everyone who is registered to vote to

 

            8              realize the importance of doing so.  We must

 

            9              all go out to vote.  It's important to

 

           10              believe that your vote counts.  It's

 

           11              important also to believe that America

 

           12              starts here because as the saying goes all

 

           13              politics is local.  This fact has been

 

           14              demonstrated this weekend by Mr. Doherty and

 

           15              others who all of a sudden decided to

 

           16              champion the everyday hard-working,

 

           17              overtaxed and underpaid citizens of

 

           18              Scranton.  I applaud them all for their

 

           19              hypocrisy, your gesture will be duly noted

 

           20              with every piece of oppressive legislation

 

           21              you will pass this year.  Despite

 

           22              Mr. Doherty's objection to Mr. Obama's

 

           23              perceived insensitive statements about small

 

           24              town America, elitism is alive and well in

 

           25              Scranton, Pennsylvania, it always has been


 

 

                                                                      40

 

 

            1              and Mr. Doherty's vision of Scranton's

 

            2              future depends on bringing in elites to fill

 

            3              up these conduits in downtown Scranton.

 

            4              Better, not bitter, is just a fanciful

 

            5              slogan.  We need to be bitter about

 

            6              nepotism.  We need to be bitter about

 

            7              cronyism, classism, economic racism.

 

            8              Elitists are here in Scranton.  Elitists are

 

            9              a part of our local government.  To all of a

 

           10              sudden believe that somehow our mayor is not

 

           11              an elitist is insane.  The same insanity

 

           12              that allows us to vote for the same people

 

           13              over and over again and expect different

 

           14              results.  I'm not going to say what

 

           15              Mr. Obama said was right or the way he said

 

           16              it was acceptable, but what I will say is

 

           17              Mr. Doherty was very hypocritical and wrong

 

           18              to champion the cause of the everyday man

 

           19              and woman of Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Like

 

           20              bowling on gravel I'm not expecting my

 

           21              message to get a strike, I'm not expecting

 

           22              the essence of my message will get through

 

           23              because most people have seem to have

 

           24              already made up their minds and demonize

 

           25              bitter truth.


 

 

                                                                      41

 

 

            1                      I guess all I really want to say is

 

            2              just take a look around, all politics is

 

            3              local.  Look for the truth within the insult

 

            4              and above all vote.  Thank you.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. McCloe.

 

            6              Gerry Knight.

 

            7                      MS. KNIGHT:  Good evening,

 

            8              Mrs. Evans, how are you tonight?  I'm here

 

            9              tonight on a problem that I received this

 

           10              afternoon while I was out on my recorder, on

 

           11              my telephone.  I got a threatening call from

 

           12              someone in this place that I am not allowed

 

           13              to come here anymore and I should shut my

 

           14              big mouth and they don't like me.  Well,

 

           15              it's too darn bad.  You don't like me, you

 

           16              don't have to like me.  I don't ask you to,

 

           17              but I'll be dammed if I'm not going to speak

 

           18              my freedom first, so you keep your mouth

 

           19              shut, Courtright.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: I'm Mr. McGoff.

 

           21                      MR. KNIGHT: You just shut up, it's

 

           22              my five minutes.  If there is any man in

 

           23              this room that has the backbone --

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight -- Mrs.

 

           25              Knight, you need to address council not --


 

 

                                                                      42

 

 

            1                      MS. KNIGHT: And anybody in this room

 

            2              that is the man or the thing, the lowest

 

            3              crawling creepiest thing that called me

 

            4              today that didn't even leave his name and

 

            5              said to me I better watch out, I have to be

 

            6              afraid.  I'm not afraid of any man in this

 

            7              whole God Damn world.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight --

 

            9                      MS. KNIGHT: I know God damn is not

 

           10              allowed.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Please --

 

           12                      MS. KNIGHT: But I'm not tired of

 

           13              this.  That you have to -- you have to be --

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight,

 

           15              Mrs. Knight, again, you have a right to

 

           16              address council.

 

           17                      MS. KNIGHT: I'll counsel you.  You

 

           18              don't know what it is to counsel, that's

 

           19              your whole darn problem.  You three think

 

           20              it's funny and you, Sherry, you are the one

 

           21              that brought it up the other week, we are

 

           22              supposed to be a happy family here, but when

 

           23              somebody talks about you, you rip into them

 

           24              like you want to tear them apart and you,

 

           25              too, Judy, you are the same way, you both


 

 

                                                                      43

 

 

            1              got the same attitude, but Mr. McGoff when

 

            2              they act up you don't pound your hand down

 

            3              or point your finger.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI:  Yes, he does.

 

            5                      MS. KNIGHT: And I'll tell you one

 

            6              thing, whoever called me today he better

 

            7              stand up because I want him to --

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight --

 

            9                      MS. KNIGHT:  -- face me face to face

 

           10              and tell me exactly what he means.  If he

 

           11              has got the bones, back bones to do it and

 

           12              if not he is the most lowest piece of --

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight, you made

 

           14              your point.

 

           15                      MS. KNIGHT: I made my point.  I

 

           16              don't think I made my point because if this

 

           17              man was big enough he would stand up and my

 

           18              phone number is unlisted so I'd like to know

 

           19              how the heck this man got my phone number,

 

           20              so it didn't come from somebody in council

 

           21              that might have had some connection -- yeah,

 

           22              talk to him, talk to him, Sherry.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight.

 

           24                      MS. KNIGHT: You write him notes back

 

           25              and forth, you are like two little kids off.


 

 

                                                                      44

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight, we are

 

            2              getting off city business.

 

            3                      MS. KNIGHT: Oh, you don't even know

 

            4              how to run council yet.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

            6                      MS. KNIGHT: And I wish the hell they

 

            7              could revote the vote the whole three of you

 

            8              out.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Please.  Candace

 

           10              McColligan.

 

           11                      MS. MCCOLLIGAN: Candace McColligan,

 

           12              Scranton resident.  Elliott Brown of the New

 

           13              York Sun was happy to report that in 2007

 

           14              New York City's bond rating increased to AA,

 

           15              the third highest rating available and a

 

           16              record high for that city.  This was a huge

 

           17              turn around from the late 1970's when the

 

           18              city had no bond rating at all and nearly

 

           19              went bankrupt?  Sound familiar.  It took

 

           20              prudent fiscal planning and outstanding

 

           21              management of finances to turn that city

 

           22              around and for it to recover from a time

 

           23              when the city was swimming in debt.  The

 

           24              problems arose from administrations who

 

           25              relied on debt to finance operations which


 

 

                                                                      45

 

 

            1              only supported the downward spiral that that

 

            2              city was facing.  Again, sound familiar?

 

            3                      In Scranton this situation is all

 

            4              too close to home except we are doing the

 

            5              exact opposite of what New York has been

 

            6              able to accomplish.  Our bond rating is not

 

            7              increasing, it has continued to diminish

 

            8              under this mayor, being downgraded even

 

            9              further recently.  How can we look to this

 

           10              mayor and feel that he is doing what is best

 

           11              for this city when the world foremost

 

           12              provider of independent credit ratings has

 

           13              shown no competence in the financial

 

           14              management found here.

 

           15                      If this mayor is doing such a great

 

           16              job, why isn't our bond rating increasing as

 

           17              one would expect under excellent leadership?

 

           18              I suspect the bond rating is an accurate

 

           19              reflection of what is really happening, too

 

           20              much spending, no priority placed on paying

 

           21              down debt, and decision making based on

 

           22              political gain, rather than in the interest

 

           23              of the taxpayers, whose numbers I might add,

 

           24              are dwindling, yet another confusing sign

 

           25              for a city that is supposedly becoming more


 

 

                                                                      46

 

 

            1              not less attractive.  Unfortunately, it does

 

            2              at appear that the people of this city,

 

            3              whose eyes are opened to the problems around

 

            4              them, have anyone on their side who can or

 

            5              will do what is right and put it an end to

 

            6              too much borrowing and too much spending.

 

            7                      When I last spoke about the problems

 

            8              I see in the actions of the mayor and how

 

            9              they violated the wording of the Recovery

 

           10              Plan it appears that the answer was that PEL

 

           11              says it's okay.  Since when does anyone need

 

           12              PEL to define what is right and wrong,

 

           13              ethical or moral?  I certainly don't.  If

 

           14              each of you reads the Recovery Plan and

 

           15              looks openly at the raises given by this

 

           16              administration, it's obvious that this mayor

 

           17              doesn't even hold respect for a plan he had

 

           18              a hand in writing.  How much respect should

 

           19              we expect him to have for anything if that's

 

           20              the case?  If he is willing to blatantly

 

           21              violated his own language and do so with no

 

           22              remorse for his actions is there anything

 

           23              that he will follow, anything we could

 

           24              possibly believe we could trust him with or

 

           25              will he do whatever he wants because he


 

 

                                                                      47

 

 

            1              knows this council will not stand up and

 

            2              expose his wrongdoing?

 

            3                      Just because DCED or PEL, who are

 

            4              being paid for their opinion, will not stand

 

            5              up doesn't mean that the rest of you should

 

            6              turn a blind eye.  No one should do what is

 

            7              right solely for a fear of punishment

 

            8              otherwise and no one should do what is wrong

 

            9              solely because they know they will not be

 

           10              held accountable for those actions.  You

 

           11              cannot expect legal standards to replace

 

           12              ethical ones.  You cannot expect that if you

 

           13              say you are doing what is best for us we

 

           14              will believe you when your actions so

 

           15              obviously show otherwise.  You will never

 

           16              get respect if your actions are not

 

           17              respectable.

 

           18                      If you can't think independently

 

           19              then don't parade yourself as a public

 

           20              servant because most of you are doing many

 

           21              things, but few of them seem to be motivated

 

           22              by serving public interests.  We expect more

 

           23              of our government officials because that is

 

           24              what they owe to us, and that is what Mayor

 

           25              Chris Doherty owes us and that is what you


 

 

                                                                      48

 

 

            1              owe us and nothing less.  Thank you.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.

 

            3              McColligan.  David Dobson.

 

            4                      MR. DOBSON: Good evening, Council,

 

            5              Dave Dobson, resident of Scranton, Taxpayer

 

            6              Association Associate and a final comment, I

 

            7              don't see anything on here as to the

 

            8              proposals that were entered last week on

 

            9              Channel 61's behalf and Scranton Today, but

 

           10              much has been said tonight so I'll make that

 

           11              part brief.

 

           12                      Much of the equipment that has been

 

           13              proposed and purchased of this equipment is

 

           14              over qualified and over quality for the

 

           15              application.  It's very expensive and very

 

           16              few people will benefit for a number of

 

           17              years and, furthermore, it may be obsolete

 

           18              before most of the viewers can benefit.

 

           19              It's all high definition equipment and it's

 

           20              basically you won't see a high definition TV

 

           21              in most households for years.

 

           22                      On 7-C, very concerning, certainly

 

           23              taxes need to be paid and collected, in

 

           24              realizing that please review and correct

 

           25              back collection practices, amend them, so


 

 

                                                                      49

 

 

            1              that the penalties are more equitable for

 

            2              all.  In the past comments have been made

 

            3              that were overbuild, I heard it by

 

            4              officials, and this is a reckless statement,

 

            5              his opinion is obsolete.  High population

 

            6              densities are more fuel efficient, more

 

            7              suitable for mass transit and eventually the

 

            8              suburbs will wither, 50-mile commutes are

 

            9              causing the greater energy consumption and

 

           10              greenhouse gases, let's be ready for an

 

           11              influx.

 

           12                      Down at the Scranton Library there

 

           13              is a great deal of wonderful documentaries

 

           14              on some of these subjects, "The

 

           15              Corporation," Extreme Wealth" and "Death to

 

           16              the Suburbs" to mention just a few and if

 

           17              you ever obtain these DVD's and tapes and

 

           18              view them you will plainly see that the

 

           19              future is in the city, but we have to

 

           20              realize that as Scrantonians and start to

 

           21              invest and keep our closets clean so that

 

           22              when the influx comes we are ready for it

 

           23              and can be a positive influence on the city.

 

           24              Thank you and have a good night.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Dobson.


 

 

                                                                      50

 

 

            1              Charlie Newcomb.

 

            2                      MR. NEWCOMB: Good evening to all

 

            3              council members.  I just wanted to touch on

 

            4              two topics.  First topic I want to talk

 

            5              about I was sitting at home last week and I

 

            6              seen the discussion that was brought up to

 

            7              you the Single Tax Office and the only thing

 

            8              I would like to say about that I am appalled

 

            9              as a taxpayer, the only person I feel that

 

           10              should -- anything should be done to right

 

           11              now is if there was some wrongdoing with the

 

           12              checks that were brought in front of you,

 

           13              I'm sure that will taken care of at a later

 

           14              time with the FBI or something else, but I

 

           15              will tell you what, I want to call, I want

 

           16              to use the word mole, I want to use the word

 

           17              whatever you want to use, whoever faxed that

 

           18              paperwork over to Mr. Williams I feel it

 

           19              violated the law, should definitely be fired

 

           20              and maybe put in prison that's what I would

 

           21              like to say about that and end that.

 

           22                      And I think Mrs. Gatelli mentioned

 

           23              it a couple of weeks ago, there is lot of

 

           24              people that come to the podium here and

 

           25              claim to be taxpayers and homeowners, but if


 

 

                                                                      51

 

 

            1              you do some investigation you will find out

 

            2              that they are neither, but I want to clear

 

            3              up a little bit about this 25 percent tax

 

            4              increase that we have been hearing for year

 

            5              after year after month after month after

 

            6              month.

 

            7                      In front of myself I have mine, I

 

            8              repeat my own tax bills, and I'm just going

 

            9              to go back a little bit here from -- I'm

 

           10              going to start with 1999, we purchased our

 

           11              home, our home was built in 1982.  My first

 

           12              tax bill that was $1,200 when I bought the

 

           13              home, I'm not going to go through all of the

 

           14              years, but I'm just going with '07 and '08,

 

           15              I just gave you '99 the first year, $1,200.

 

           16                   In 2007 my total taxes were $2,044 and

 

           17              in 2008 for this year my real estate bill

 

           18              was $2,139,98.  My whole city tax is

 

           19              $247.55.  For my land tax, my city

 

           20              improvement is $215.35 for a total of

 

           21              $462.90, that had one increase of my

 

           22              25 percent increase when we issued it and it

 

           23              caused by taxes to go up $74.40 which was my

 

           24              increase.

 

           25                      My whole Lackawanna County tax,


 

 

                                                                      52

 

 

            1              which we did have a 48 percent tax increase

 

            2              there a few years ago, my whole county tax

 

            3              is $437.98.  Last year's school tax was

 

            4              $1,064.16, this year's school tax for 2008

 

            5              was$1,197.60.  All of these increases for

 

            6              all of these years all come from the school

 

            7              district.  My taxes average like $96 a year

 

            8              as I bought the house that went up.  The

 

            9              City of Scranton's taxes are very, very low

 

           10              when you look at, I mean, no one appreciates

 

           11              a 25 percent tax increase, but I wish the

 

           12              taxpayers would realize out there it's not

 

           13              the City of Scranton, most of your money is

 

           14              paid to the school districts.

 

           15                      And just a little bit on that end,

 

           16              whoever negotiated that contract for our

 

           17              taxes for the school district for the

 

           18              teachers paying $8,000 a year I think we are

 

           19              going to be in trouble next year or so which

 

           20              nobody should ever pay $8,000, whoever

 

           21              negotiated that contract was a very, very

 

           22              bad union official, but just take into

 

           23              consideration in your taxes that I just gave

 

           24              you these figures, next year I believe they

 

           25              said in June of this year unless there is


 

 

                                                                      53

 

 

            1              something held we should be getting our

 

            2              Lackawanna County Reassessment bills with an

 

            3              average, so next year maybe your Lackawanna

 

            4              County tax will go up, but I just wanted to

 

            5              clear up this 25 percent increase and I

 

            6              don't -- people should be down there

 

            7              screaming at the school board meetings more

 

            8              than, like I said, my taxes were $1,200 in

 

            9              1999, they are $2,100 in 2008, and only $74

 

           10              and $106 of that were raised between the

 

           11              county and the school, all -- I'm sorry, the

 

           12              county and the city, all the rest of these

 

           13              taxes are paid to the Scranton School

 

           14              District, so I think the council is getting

 

           15              a lot of abuse for something that is very,

 

           16              very trivial and people should really be

 

           17              looking at their school taxes because that's

 

           18              what -- if we don't get money from the

 

           19              gambling down the road our taxes are going

 

           20              to be a lot higher than what they are now,

 

           21              so everybody please look at that and

 

           22              everybody comes up here and screaming and

 

           23              blaming the same three council people for

 

           24              the 25 percent tax increase, you should be

 

           25              at the school board meetings because,


 

 

                                                                      54

 

 

            1              believe, me every year you pay more than

 

            2              25 percent.  Thank you.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Newcombe.

 

            4              Jim Stucker.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Jim, before you say

 

            6              something can I just say something?  Last

 

            7              week when I said I would look for money for

 

            8              you, people e-mailed me and people came to

 

            9              me and gave me money for you because they

 

           10              said week after week you came and you said

 

           11              you cut the mayor's hedges and he didn't pay

 

           12              you, so they want to give you some money, so

 

           13              I'm going to give it to Neil, all right, and

 

           14              so -- not all of it, but it's what they

 

           15              gave, okay?

 

           16                      MR. STUCKER: All right.  No problem.

 

           17              Thank you.

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT: You are welcome.

 

           19                      MR. STUCKER:  I have little problems

 

           20              where I live, across the street on the top

 

           21              the hill there is a white church, there is a

 

           22              house there, big rats in the back, a guy has

 

           23              a truck up there, a pickup, he seen rats and

 

           24              you see a lot of skunks up there, they are

 

           25              not doing nothing with that building and


 

 

                                                                      55

 

 

            1              there is a couch, a bunch of cars, I walked

 

            2              around there the other day, up at alley and

 

            3              they seen it all and beyond that my own

 

            4              landlord he bought that lot across the

 

            5              street, but where he is at he had people --

 

            6              people had parties up on the top, by the

 

            7              wooden fencing, Joe the maintenance guy tore

 

            8              it up, throw it back in the yard so he

 

            9              bought the hall out, John Massa, and there

 

           10              is -- behind the pizza shop yesterday they

 

           11              cleaned that up back there, remember I told

 

           12              you about it, they cleaned it up yesterday,

 

           13              all the leaves and grass, the brush and

 

           14              everything back there, so I have been

 

           15              looking around for a lot of goings on, you

 

           16              know, and expect things so I come back and

 

           17              tell you.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: We appreciate your

 

           19              efforts, Jim.

 

           20                      MR. STUCKER: I'm moving in two

 

           21              weeks, so maybe I don't know how long I will

 

           22              be moving, so I'll be in the City of

 

           23              Scranton on Adams and Mulberry.

 

           24              Mrs. Fanucci, you have the right to do what

 

           25              you want.  It's your money, if you want to


 

 

                                                                      56

 

 

            1              go to the bar and have a beer.  No, it's

 

            2              your business.

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI: Thank you.

 

            4                      MR. STUCKER: Yeah.  All right?

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Jim.

 

            6                      MR. STUCKER:  Thank you.  I'm

 

            7              waiting for my ride for Pat, I called him up

 

            8              Parrot Avenue he told me leave it on his --

 

            9              on his phone, he is supposed to come and

 

           10              pick me up between 8:30, I don't know what

 

           11              time he is going to be pick me up, he said

 

           12              he was.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: I'm sure he will be here

 

           14              soon.

 

           15                      MR. STUCKER:  He told me to leave it

 

           16              on TV, he's a hard worker, he works at the

 

           17              airport, the Wilkes-Barre airport.  He is up

 

           18              there working everyday, so -- I'll be

 

           19              working for John Masure a little bit and I

 

           20              worked up in Dunmore for that guy at the

 

           21              drugstore, Joe his name is.  I worked up

 

           22              there cleaning his yard Saturday, he paid me

 

           23              good.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Good.  Good, Jim.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: All right.


 

 

                                                                      57

 

 

            1                      MR. STUCKER: In the middle of that

 

            2              -- in the middle where the laundry mat is

 

            3              they didn't pick them leaves up yet the

 

            4              city, will you please take pictures of that

 

            5              and have the city over there do that,

 

            6              please?

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF:  Someone will contact

 

            8              DPW and look into that.

 

            9                      MR. STUCKER:  And behind the bar

 

           10              where the bar is in the back the paper and

 

           11              glass is still there, bottles and everything

 

           12              there, all right.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Jim.

 

           14                      MR. STUCKER:  Have a good night.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF:  You, too.  Other

 

           16              speakers?

 

           17                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Marie Schumacher,

 

           18              resident of Scranton and member of the

 

           19              Scranton Lackawanna County Taxypayers'

 

           20              Association.  I'd like it start off by

 

           21              saying thank goodness for Nelson who noticed

 

           22              what nobody else on council seemed to have

 

           23              noticed regarding the Midtown apartments,

 

           24              that will result in that ordinance being

 

           25              tabled tonight I trust.


 

 

                                                                      58

 

 

            1                      Two weeks ago Mr. Courtright

 

            2              suggested I write to Solicitor Minora

 

            3              regarding why the Home Rule Charter Section

 

            4              312 does not mean what it says and, in fact,

 

            5              investigations cannot be performed.  I wrote

 

            6              him a letter on the 4th of April and with

 

            7              your permission, Mr. McGoff, I'd like to ask

 

            8              Mr. Minora when I could expect a response?

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes, you may.

 

           10                      MR. MINORA: I never received your

 

           11              letter.  Where did you send it?

 

           12                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  I sent it in care

 

           13              of Kay Garvey, city clerk, as per

 

           14              Mr. Courtright's instructions.

 

           15                      MS. GARVEY: It's probably in the

 

           16              office.

 

           17                      MR. MINORA: I'll take a look at it.

 

           18                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  Thank you.  Next,

 

           19              it's been a month since a special emergency

 

           20              meeting was called by the Scranton school

 

           21              board regarding the pot of gold that was

 

           22              found at the Single Tax Office or actually

 

           23              more specifically in Dunmore at Fidelity

 

           24              Bank, I would like to know, I have checked

 

           25              the paper, has a forensic auditor been hired


 

 

                                                                      59

 

 

            1              to perform this audit that was --

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: Would you like a

 

            3              response?

 

            4                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  Yes, please.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: Not that I know of, we

 

            6              are trying to schedule a public meeting with

 

            7              Attorney McGovern and Mrs. Vitale, we are

 

            8              running into some problems there in that

 

            9              Attorney McGovern is not anxious to become

 

           10              involved in a public caucus of city council,

 

           11              but it's my feeling at least that that is

 

           12              how the meeting should be conducted because

 

           13              this is the people's money, so Mr. McGoff is

 

           14              going to be pursuing that for us.

 

           15                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Okay.  Thank you.

 

           16              And then I'd like to know if there is a code

 

           17              inspection and real property condemnation

 

           18              policy and procedure, I have searched every

 

           19              place I can on the city website, I have

 

           20              searched other places, and I can't find

 

           21              anything.  For instance, when a complaint is

 

           22              made against a homeowner's property for over

 

           23              a code violation, for instance, as was

 

           24              several weeks ago that somebody had 40 cats

 

           25              in their home, must that complainant be


 

 

                                                                      60

 

 

            1              identified and must the homeowner provide

 

            2              immediate access to the inspector?

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI: No.

 

            4                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Does access to one

 

            5              inspector open the door to all other kinds

 

            6              of inspectors?

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI:  Yes.

 

            8                      MS. SCHUMACHER: If code citations

 

            9              are made is there a statutory right with

 

           10              specific length of time to make connections?

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI: Um-hum.

 

           12                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Are homeowners

 

           13              advised of their rights in writing at a time

 

           14              of such an inspection and are homeowners

 

           15              advised of taxpayer funded agencies

 

           16              available to help resolve these problems?

 

           17              You know, the list goes on.  Is there a

 

           18              policy and a procedure and where can the

 

           19              average taxpayer find that?

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI: I believe it's in the

 

           21              BOCA Code.

 

           22                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  The BOCA Code is

 

           23              not on the site.  That only deals with the

 

           24              codes, it does into the deal with the

 

           25              condemnations.


 

 

                                                                      61

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: Yeah, but it tells the

 

            2              rights of the owners and, yes, there is due

 

            3              process and there is an appeals board if you

 

            4              don't agree and all of these things are in

 

            5              place at one time, I just assume they are

 

            6              still in place.

 

            7                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  I would certainly

 

            8              like to see that in writing and something

 

            9              provided to homeowners and I think a review

 

           10              of the policy to shut off electricity when

 

           11              temperatures are below zero needs to be

 

           12              reviewed as well.  That maybe a policy to

 

           13              force changes or to force fixes in

 

           14              electrical problems, but shutting off

 

           15              someone's power in the middle of winter is

 

           16              -- I think it may be policy but it doesn't

 

           17              have a lot of common sense behind it.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI:  I don't think it is

 

           19              policy.  I think there are extenuating

 

           20              circumstances --

 

           21                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  I was told by an

 

           22              inspector --

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI: -- to what you are

 

           24              referring to, you don't know the whole

 

           25              story.


 

 

                                                                      62

 

 

            1                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  But, I was told by

 

            2              an inspector that is policy.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI: Well, I don't believe

 

            4              that.  You can't turn the power off in the

 

            5              winter, PPL won't do it either.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.

 

            7              Schumacher.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Kay, could we please try

 

            9              to obtain a copy of whatever policies are in

 

           10              place with regard to what Ms. Schumacher

 

           11              requested and if all of council could

 

           12              receive copies, please, and the information

 

           13              also regarding the appeals board.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Hubbard.

 

           15                      MS. HUBBARD:  Good evening, Council.

 

           16              Liz Hubbard, Scranton resident, taxpayer,

 

           17              voter, whatever.  I just have a couple of

 

           18              questions.  Was anybody ever investigated

 

           19              for tossing all of those cards with the

 

           20              personal information to the alley behind

 

           21              city hall?

 

           22                      MS. EVANS: Not to my knowledge.

 

           23                      MS. HUBBARD: Nobody from the Human

 

           24              Resources Department was called into the

 

           25              D.A.?


 

 

                                                                      63

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: Not to my knowledge.

 

            2                      MR. HUBBARD: Interesting.  I mean,

 

            3              the only one they seem to be after at the

 

            4              time was Ann Marie Stulgis and all she was

 

            5              doing was picking them up so some identity

 

            6              thief didn't come along and get them.  I

 

            7              find that very bizarre that they are now

 

            8              investigating Mr. Williams.

 

            9                      Okay, second question, the Human

 

           10              Relations Commission what does that do?  Who

 

           11              is on it --

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: We have a --

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: Yes, last week I read the

 

           14              of names of the membership of the committee

 

           15              which I don't have with me this evening, but

 

           16              apparently there is a link on the city's

 

           17              website, go to OECD and there will be a link

 

           18              there for the Human Relations Commission

 

           19              that shows you a brochure about them.

 

           20                      MR. HUBBARD: Okay.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: And I can tell you this,

 

           22              and I will then be quiet, this was formed so

 

           23              that anyone who lives or works in the city

 

           24              is given a local body to go to with their

 

           25              problems and if need be it can be taken back


 

 

                                                                      64

 

 

            1              to the Pennsylvania Commission.

 

            2                      MR. HUBBARD: You mean, if I have a

 

            3              problem I can go to these people?  I'm

 

            4              surprised they are not inundated.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: I agree.

 

            6                      MR. HUBBARD: I'm back to skunks

 

            7              again.  What can you people -- what can the

 

            8              city do?  Can you put it into the budget?  I

 

            9              mean, this is ridiculous.  I have to take my

 

           10              dog out at night on a leash when I have a

 

           11              running tie on, but it goes too far into the

 

           12              dark.  I'm not out there in the freezing

 

           13              cold in my night shirt so my dog doesn't get

 

           14              skunked because there is one prowling

 

           15              around.  So, I mean, can't you guys try to

 

           16              do something?  And, I mean, I'm not the only

 

           17              one with the problem, it's all over the

 

           18              city.  And I think it's the city's

 

           19              responsibility to take care of it.  They are

 

           20              worried about people having 40 cats in their

 

           21              house, well, how about the 40 skunks in my

 

           22              neighborhood?  You know what I mean?

 

           23                      Okay, next thing, awhile back Mrs.

 

           24              Fanucci said that when companies are coming

 

           25              -- looking to come into town they look at


 

 

                                                                      65

 

 

            1              the parks.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI: Parks and recreation

 

            3              actually.

 

            4                      MR. HUBBARD: Parks and recreation, I

 

            5              would think they would be looking for

 

            6              industrial parks, but once they got a ride

 

            7              over some of our streets I think that they

 

            8              would be looking in another state.  I have

 

            9              never in my life seen roads in as bad as

 

           10              condition as the streets in Scranton and

 

           11              don't blame it on the winter because they

 

           12              were like that last fall.  Some of them were

 

           13              impassable and I drive an SUV.  I mean, if

 

           14              you have a little car you would be losing it

 

           15              in the potholes, so instead of spending all

 

           16              of this money improving the parks they

 

           17              should be fixing the roads.  Okay, that's

 

           18              all I have for tonight.  Please do something

 

           19              about these skunks.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF:  Thank you, Mrs.

 

           21              Hubbard.

 

           22                      MS. KRAKE: Good evening, Council.

 

           23              My name is Nancy Krake.  I would first like

 

           24              to ask council to find out exactly how much

 

           25              money the law firm of Abrahamsen, Moran and


 

 

                                                                      66

 

 

            1              Conaboy has made in the past year.  I know

 

            2              that is public information and I would also

 

            3              like that directly contrasted to the amount

 

            4              of money the city has taken in, face value

 

            5              of the tax and the penalty, so it would just

 

            6              be a small spreadsheet.

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: Mrs. Krake, you are

 

            8              referring to the delinquent tax --

 

            9                      MS. KRAKE: Yes, I am.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: -- collection obviously

 

           11              and in direct relationship to the amounts

 

           12              you have allowed them to charge per the

 

           13              ordinance you passed.

 

           14                      This Friday, this past Friday, the

 

           15              Pennsylvania Economy League testified here

 

           16              in council chambers that the city is worse

 

           17              off now than they were 16 years ago.  The

 

           18              questioning here revealed how the

 

           19              Pennsylvania Economy League has fallen on

 

           20              it's own sword and the sad part about that

 

           21              is, is that we are also all on that sword.

 

           22              Before we were declared distressed and fell

 

           23              under the dictatorship of the Pennsylvania

 

           24              Economy League who are by the way only

 

           25              consultants, Harry Miller said we had a


 

 

                                                                      67

 

 

            1              $6 million structural deficit.  Now we have

 

            2              a $11 million structural deficit.  It is not

 

            3              because of the employees.  We have not

 

            4              received raises, and each step of the way

 

            5              there were choices to be made.  Every piece

 

            6              of legislation that was passed for a

 

            7              previous council and this council was a

 

            8              choice.

 

            9                      Unfortunately, you all chose, the

 

           10              majority of you, not Mrs. Evans or

 

           11              Mr. Courtright, Mr. DiBileo and the past

 

           12              councils, did not choose to take the mayor's

 

           13              word as law.  We have had a junk bond rating

 

           14              given to us that was testified here also by

 

           15              financial expert from PNC Bank and also we

 

           16              dramatically worsened our status over the

 

           17              past three years.  These are two financial

 

           18              experts that the mayor refers to, with their

 

           19              testimony that is, when justifying his huge

 

           20              tax increases, and huge borrowing in the

 

           21              budgets that have been passed by this

 

           22              council, Mrs. Evans budgets did not contain

 

           23              that borrowing.  Oh, he also uses these when

 

           24              he is negotiating with the workers.

 

           25                      However, at the state of the city


 

 

                                                                      68

 

 

            1              address the mayor talks out of the other

 

            2              side of his mouth and tells us how great the

 

            3              city is doing, in fact, I hear that from

 

            4              Mrs. Fanucci quite a bit also and what a

 

            5              great job he personally has done, so it

 

            6              truly is the tail of two cities.  It just

 

            7              depends on what side of the tracks you are

 

            8              on.

 

            9                      Harry Miller, also has a double

 

           10              identity thing going on or amnesia, however

 

           11              you want to look at it, when asked when he

 

           12              wasn't monitoring the city's financial

 

           13              downward spiral, which is his job, our

 

           14              downward spiral, excessive raises, borrowing

 

           15              and spending on the mayor's pet projects,

 

           16              his answer was, "I don't recall."

 

           17                      In fact, he said that probably 10 or

 

           18              15 times during his testimony.  So from 2002

 

           19              to 2008 he can't remember.  They actually

 

           20              have a contract with the state yearly, I

 

           21              think it should be cancelled.  This is all

 

           22              about the choices the mayor has chosen and

 

           23              how he has chosen to spend our money.  He

 

           24              has chosen to spend it on nonvital services,

 

           25              personnel and pet projects while expecting


 

 

                                                                      69

 

 

            1              citizens to take cuts in public safety and

 

            2              services.

 

            3                      This council also participates in

 

            4              the process of choosing how our money will

 

            5              be spent, in fact, you are going to do it

 

            6              again tonight.  It's ashame that the

 

            7              overseer from the state has turned a blind

 

            8              eye to this administration's financial

 

            9              mismanagement and it's truly a shame that

 

           10              this council has chosen to do the same

 

           11              thing.

 

           12                      And I'm sorry, Mrs. Evans, I forgot

 

           13              to ask you to run for mayor last week, so

 

           14              I'm asking you to please consider running

 

           15              for mayor.  Thank you.

 

           16                      MR. ELLMAN:  Ronnie Ellman,

 

           17              taxpayer, member of the Taxpayers'

 

           18              Association.  I got something here

 

           19              someplace, I think I should have left the

 

           20              club a couple of hours earlier.  Here it is.

 

           21              I just got a mish-mosh of a couple of things

 

           22              I wrote down.  Shame on all five of you for

 

           23              the vote last week.  I remember six,

 

           24              eight years ago, ten years ago, whatever it

 

           25              was I think, it was Mr. Hazzouri sat up


 

 

                                                                      70

 

 

            1              there and said, "If I had read it I wouldn't

 

            2              have voted for it."

 

            3                      You voted on something that concerns

 

            4              700 people and taken 50, 55 houses off the

 

            5              tax rolls like it's nothing.  That's not

 

            6              right.  You should have a lot of concern and

 

            7              study before this was done.  Now, yesterday

 

            8              the paper says they are going to take

 

            9              another 16 acres off which is four or five

 

           10              houses an acre.  Mr. McGoff, where are we

 

           11              going to get money for all of this stuff

 

           12              that's coming up, all of these houses?

 

           13              Where is it going to come from?  You are

 

           14              talking about a hundred, $200,000?  What's

 

           15              going to make it up?  I want to see the

 

           16              medical school, but it doesn't have to be

 

           17              and displace 700 people.  I'd like to see,

 

           18              you know, the trade for the armory, but we

 

           19              don't have to tear down a whole neighborhood

 

           20              for them.  There is -- I said last week you

 

           21              got to stop somewhere with all of this taken

 

           22              everything after the tax rolls.  I had a

 

           23              fellow tell me Sunday there is a new yard

 

           24              ornament in the city, it's called a "For

 

           25              Sale" sign.  Every place you look there they


 

 

                                                                      71

 

 

            1              are stuck in the ground and he is right and

 

            2              he is trying to buy a house -- well, not in

 

            3              the city, he has been looking at property,

 

            4              he is trying to buy a house and every time

 

            5              he watches this program and reads the paper

 

            6              he gets chased out of town.  I don't know.

 

            7              I'm not an advocate for the poor or the

 

            8              homeless something but these people they

 

            9              need some help, it's not right to just

 

           10              displace 700 people that don't need to be

 

           11              displaced.  It's the same exact thing like I

 

           12              said last week, you did without now it's

 

           13              just a waiting game to see if you are going

 

           14              to give it to Lackawanna College or

 

           15              whatever.  That property should have been

 

           16              fixed up immediately and I have had several

 

           17              people that are in the construction business

 

           18              said it wouldn't have been anything to have

 

           19              repaired.  It needed sheetrock to make it a

 

           20              fire resistant, you know, but nobody cared.

 

           21              Nobody cared about all of these people that

 

           22              are scattered all over the place, they heard

 

           23              the same cock and bull story from everybody.

 

           24                   You know, I have talked to them and

 

           25              Mr. Davis comes up here and he never got a


 

 

                                                                      72

 

 

            1              home back, nobody pays a bit of attention

 

            2              when he says but he comes up with some

 

            3              thoughts sometimes for you people.  You

 

            4              know, I remember when Mr. Bolus was running

 

            5              and the newspaper just couldn't wait to say

 

            6              something adverse against him, but I

 

            7              guarantee you this city wouldn't be in this

 

            8              kind of shape if Mr. Bolus had made mayor, a

 

            9              businessman.  He's probably forgotten more

 

           10              about how to run a big business than Doherty

 

           11              will ever know.

 

           12                      Borrowing is an addiction for crying

 

           13              out loud.  It's as bad as smoking and

 

           14              gambling and everything else people get

 

           15              addicted to and Mr. Doherty has got an

 

           16              addiction to borrowing.  He can't control

 

           17              himself, he can't stop himself.  It just

 

           18              goes on and on and on.  You can't imagine

 

           19              how big many people have come up to me in

 

           20              the past few years when I'm in the grocery

 

           21              store or somewhere and talk about this.

 

           22              They are losing property and it's just

 

           23              terrible.      Right across the street, like

 

           24              I have said before, that place before, four

 

           25              little old ladies that wanted to stay in


 

 

                                                                      73

 

 

            1              their house, they are healthy, they just

 

            2              couldn't afford the insurance and the taxes

 

            3              and I'm talking about houses that were paid

 

            4              for.  They just couldn't keep the upkeep.

 

            5                      I got a bill yesterday from the

 

            6              gas -- the water company.  My water has been

 

            7              cut off, you know, they keep sending me

 

            8              bills.  I got -- I paid $200 in February and

 

            9              $300 last month for gas, I don't have any

 

           10              gas in my house.  I don't know they come and

 

           11              investigated it and said my meter is going.

 

           12              It can't be going, I don't have no water,

 

           13              there is houses sitting there empty.

 

           14                      Well, you all were talking about it,

 

           15              there is some people that the governor

 

           16              allowed the utilities of this state, he just

 

           17              gave them cart blanc to do what they want.

 

           18              There is no advocate for people like me to

 

           19              go to fight them.  Thank you.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Ellman.

 

           21                      MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening.  Nelson

 

           22              Ancherani, resident and taxpayer, city

 

           23              employee and financial secretary of the FOP.

 

           24              First Amendment rights, voicing my opinion.

 

           25              Quote, Ms. Gatelli from 4 April '08 council


 

 

                                                                      74

 

 

            1              meeting:  "I'm going to address

 

            2              Mr. Ancherani's comments.  I know that you

 

            3              have a point to make.  I want you to be

 

            4              aware if I vote for a tax increase doesn't

 

            5              mean that I'm voting against the unions.

 

            6              You know, maybe you feel that that's the end

 

            7              result but, um, if a union contract comes

 

            8              before me and there is a significant raise

 

            9              in it I certainly would vote for it.  I

 

           10              certainly would vote for another tax

 

           11              increase so the unions could get a raise.

 

           12              I'm afraid to do that."

 

           13                      Ms. Gatelli, I believe you are

 

           14              missing the point, the unions want to be

 

           15              treated fairly and with respect.  I don't

 

           16              think that is too hard of a request.  The

 

           17              unions have been against tax increases and

 

           18              BS, borrowing and spending, from the

 

           19              beginning of this mayor's administration.

 

           20              We have spoken out against them.  This mayor

 

           21              has given out raises to his favorites and

 

           22              hired new employees, 59 of them, to the tune

 

           23              of $15 million since he took office.  He has

 

           24              also eliminated at least 30 clerical

 

           25              workers.  If the mayor followed past


 

 

                                                                      75

 

 

            1              practice, and I am emphasize past practice,

 

            2              his favorites would have gotten raises over

 

            3              the last seven years, that would have been

 

            4              based on the clerical worker's raises, but,

 

            5              no, he gave out exorbitant raises to his

 

            6              favorites and this council, namely, Miss

 

            7              Fanucci, Mr. McGoff, and yourself,

 

            8              Mrs. Gatelli, along with previous councils,

 

            9              by voting for his budgets went along with

 

           10              these raises and new hires, some new

 

           11              positions and their wages.  One new deputy

 

           12              director, licenses and inspection, $50,000.

 

           13              Ten new employees in the business

 

           14              administrator's office with the combined

 

           15              wage total over 1.5 million, over $500,000

 

           16              in a public safety office.  Mrs. Gatelli,

 

           17              please don't vote for a tax increase to pay

 

           18              union raises, this could be done without tax

 

           19              increases.  You gave up two chances to make

 

           20              the playing field even by ignoring Mrs.

 

           21              Evans' proposals for budgets that would have

 

           22              negated tax increases.

 

           23                      So, Mrs. Gatelli, taxes do not have

 

           24              to be raised.  All that has to be done is

 

           25              get the 12.2 million plus from the secret


 

 

                                                                      76

 

 

            1              accounts.  We now have $400 million in

 

            2              long-term debt, and that's not because of

 

            3              the unions.  There was a speaker who said

 

            4              his 25 percent taxes voted on by Ms.

 

            5              Gatelli, Ms. Fanucci and Mr. McGoff were

 

            6              raised I believe $100.  He has now seen that

 

            7              25 percent tax increase cumulatively double.

 

            8                   Ms. Hubbard, guaranteed the streets

 

            9              will be paved for the election next year and

 

           10              if you don't want to hit a pothole go to Nay

 

           11              Aug.  How about this hullabaloo over the tax

 

           12              office, social security numbers, maybe now

 

           13              we will find out if anyone isn't paying

 

           14              their fair share of taxes like us peons.

 

           15              Ms. Fanucci, was arguing with Jim Williams

 

           16              last week about social security numbers, all

 

           17              of those index cards that were in the court

 

           18              behind city hall and in the dumpster were

 

           19              retrieved so that none of us employees would

 

           20              have had identity theft, but I didn't see an

 

           21              investigation after that.

 

           22                      The City of Scranton has decided not

 

           23              to fund Scranton Today.  That's what's

 

           24              running across their screen, programs will

 

           25              be curtailed, yet we can fund ECTV with


 

 

                                                                      77

 

 

            1              hundreds of thousands, maybe a million.

 

            2              This is it like déjà vu only with the

 

            3              soldiers who served in Iraq and who haven't

 

            4              been made whole since returning from Iraq.

 

            5              This is a shame.  We can't give $20,000 to

 

            6              our soldiers, but we will be shutting down

 

            7              Channel 61 just in time for the elections

 

            8              that will be taking place next year.  Shut

 

            9              it down and muzzle the people.  Thank God

 

           10              for the Internet and Dohertydeceit.com.

 

           11              Thank you very much.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

           13              Mr. Ancherani.

 

           14                      MR. SLEDENZSKI:  Hello, Bill.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Hi, Chris.  Up a

 

           16              little bit?

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yeah, pick it up.

 

           18                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Billy, you got --

 

           19              the site on the fields now for that little

 

           20              league, so, Bill, let's put the kids on it

 

           21              this Saturday, right, Billy?

 

           22                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  0kay, Chris.

 

           23                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Thank you.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Thanks, Chris.  Anyone

 

           25              else?  Mrs. Evans.


 

 

                                                                      78

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: Good evening.  I wish to

 

            2              return to the three topics which were

 

            3              discussed at our last council meeting.

 

            4              First, a speaker presented evidence of

 

            5              wrongdoing within the Single Tax Office.

 

            6              The evidence presented to council contained

 

            7              no confidential taxpayer information, to my

 

            8              knowledge only Attorney Minora received

 

            9              confidential information on April 8 which he

 

           10              correctly refused to handle.

 

           11                      Since then, the DA has been

 

           12              investigating the release of that

 

           13              information, but equally important it seems

 

           14              that no one is too concerned about the

 

           15              misabuse of public funds.  Apparently,

 

           16              someone recognized the wrongdoing and tried

 

           17              to bring it to the attention of public

 

           18              officials, elected officials.  When that

 

           19              failed, it was brought to the attention of a

 

           20              member of the public an ultimately to you,

 

           21              the public.

 

           22                      Today the hunt is on to locate the

 

           23              whistleblower who wrongly released two

 

           24              taxpayers information to verify the

 

           25              authenticity of the party payment, but no


 

 

                                                                      79

 

 

            1              light shines on the misuse of public monies.

 

            2              Perhaps the money for the Stadium Club was

 

            3              repaid by the guilty party, but the true

 

            4              outrage must be the arrogance of using

 

            5              taxpayer money to pay a personal bill.  If

 

            6              anything, the only listen learned from the

 

            7              situation seems to be that whistle-blowers

 

            8              are punished, wrongdoing and crime are not.

 

            9              It's been neatly swept under the rug.  It

 

           10              certainly makes one wonder what else has

 

           11              occurred that you and I will never know.

 

           12              How much occurs regularly in each government

 

           13              entity.

 

           14                      Second, council discussed Channels

 

           15              61 and 62 at our previous meeting.  I want

 

           16              council and the public to be aware that

 

           17              ECTV's proposal states that it will be fully

 

           18              operational within three months of being

 

           19              informed by the committee announcement, and

 

           20              three months within receiving Phase I funds

 

           21              for equipment and operational expenses,

 

           22              thus, I don't know if the funding has yet

 

           23              been released, and until that occurs the

 

           24              three-month clock has not begun to tick.

 

           25                   If council agrees I would like to go a


 

 

                                                                      80

 

 

            1              copy of the letter of agreement between ECTV

 

            2              and the city from city solicitor Patterson

 

            3              as soon as it is completed.  Is that

 

            4              agreeable?

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Sure.

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  Meanwhile, I

 

            7              hope that legislation is introduced at

 

            8              council's next scheduled meeting to provide

 

            9              funding to Scranton Today -- or, yes,

 

           10              Scranton Today TV to continue live coverage

 

           11              of all government meetings.

 

           12                      Third, the legislation to amend the

 

           13              zoning board ordinance for the area of

 

           14              Midtown apartments was introduced last

 

           15              Tuesday and was removed from the agenda

 

           16              earlier tonight.  I question the area of the

 

           17              city this ordinance affected prior to the

 

           18              vote last week to clarify the legislation

 

           19              since I had no map available.  I only

 

           20              intended to approve legislation for the land

 

           21              sold by the school district for the medical

 

           22              school headquarters.  Legislation including

 

           23              this ordinance is drafted by the city's

 

           24              legal department at either the mayor's

 

           25              request or at least with his approval, yet,


 

 

                                                                      81

 

 

            1              officials of the medical school, residents

 

            2              of Midtown apartments, and council members

 

            3              know nothing of the plans of the mayor and

 

            4              Lackawanna College.

 

            5                      In most work places and homes such

 

            6              an action would be termed trying to pull a

 

            7              fast one or trying to get other over on

 

            8              someone else and, sadly, in our city such

 

            9              machinations have been fairly regularly and

 

           10              many folks have grown to expect it, and

 

           11              worse, accept it.  That is what is

 

           12              inappropriately called progress in Scranton,

 

           13              moving forward.  I believe the better way in

 

           14              which to affect progress and move forward is

 

           15              to present your plans openly, publically,

 

           16              include all affected parties, provide for

 

           17              the needs of the people who are affected by

 

           18              your plan and then together we move forward.

 

           19                   Thus, for as much I support the

 

           20              location of the medical school in Scranton I

 

           21              won't support legislation to evict residents

 

           22              without their knowledge and approval and

 

           23              replacement housing for them nor will I box

 

           24              in officials of the medical school without

 

           25              their knowledge and consent.       I also


 

 

                                                                      82

 

 

            1              have some updates and requests.  The

 

            2              residents are thrilled that the cars on

 

            3              South Cameron and South Merrifield were

 

            4              removed and they were finally able to clean

 

            5              the curb areas and the street in front of

 

            6              their homes.

 

            7                      The potholes on DeSalle's Avenue

 

            8              were filled and the people there are

 

            9              thrilled as well.

 

           10                       April 19 through May 3 is the

 

           11              "Great Pennsylvania Cleanup" and I encourage

 

           12              you to enjoy the string weather and join

 

           13              with the few neighbors and family members

 

           14              help to spruce up your neighborhood, if you

 

           15              are able of course.

 

           16                      Also, as I mentioned before next

 

           17              Tuesday April 22, is not only primary

 

           18              election day in Pennsylvania, but also Earth

 

           19              Day, and I do hope everyone will make an

 

           20              attempt to conserve resources on that day

 

           21              whether by saving electricity from 8:00 to

 

           22              9:00 p.m. or carpooling to work, walking or

 

           23              taking the bus to your destination,

 

           24              recycling, etcetera.  And I thank a very

 

           25              nice woman and her mother for Tripp Park for


 

 

                                                                      83

 

 

            1              making us aware of these dates.  I'd also

 

            2              like to see the DPW pursue a street sweeping

 

            3              schedule during the time period of the

 

            4              "Great Pennsylvania Cleanup."

 

            5                      I also have a wonderful letter from

 

            6              a Boy Scout, Ray Posluski, whose Eagle Scout

 

            7              project is to resurface East Scranton Soccer

 

            8              Field on April 19 and 20.  He needs topsoil,

 

            9              seed, and assistance in hauling away trash

 

           10              and rocks that will be removed from this

 

           11              field.  I hope the City of Scranton DPW can

 

           12              help this young man this weekend.  So, Kay

 

           13              if you would please call and send a memo to

 

           14              Mr. Brazil and Mr. Dougher tomorrow --

 

           15                      MS. GATELLI: I just want to

 

           16              interrupt for a minute because I talked to

 

           17              this Boy Scout and they are helping him.

 

           18                      MS. EVANS: I'm thrilled.

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI:  And also the county

 

           20              commissioners have donated the seed, the

 

           21              soil, they gave him a dumpsters, between all

 

           22              of them so it's all taken care of.

 

           23                      MS. EVANS: Excellent.

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI:  Saved you a letter,

 

           25              Kay.


 

 

                                                                      84

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: He is well on his way,

 

            2              fortunately.  I also have some citizens'

 

            3              request for the week.  Theodore Street

 

            4              between Return Avenue and Brick Avenue and

 

            5              traveling up toward North Scranton Little

 

            6              League on the left-hand side, please clear

 

            7              the garbage and litter from these areas.

 

            8                   Euchlid Avenue off Main Avenue

 

            9              traveling toward the Village at Tripp Park,

 

           10              please pick up tires and litter.  The corner

 

           11              of Ferdinand Street and North Keyser Avenue,

 

           12              businesses in the area report that a

 

           13              business at this address is selling vehicles

 

           14              without a license and that the location is

 

           15              not zoned properly for this type of

 

           16              business.  Please investigate this and

 

           17              provide a written response to council on or

 

           18              before April 28.

 

           19                      A letter to Attorney Patterson which

 

           20              I mentioned before regarding the copy of the

 

           21              letter of agreement between the city and

 

           22              ECTV and I'll also add a speaker's request

 

           23              this evening, Kay, I believe you took the

 

           24              information down earlier concerning the law

 

           25              firm of Abrahamsen, Moran and Conaboy and


 

 

                                                                      85

 

 

            1              what dollar amount they have received from

 

            2              the collection, the pursuit and collection

 

            3              of delinquent taxes, and we would like to

 

            4              compare that to the actual dollar amount

 

            5              received by the City of Scranton.

 

            6                      And, finally, I just wanted to

 

            7              address one point, city taxes, I agree

 

            8              certainly are lower than those of the school

 

            9              district and a 25 percent tax increase is

 

           10              nominal depending on who is paying the bill

 

           11              and making that statement.  It may not be a

 

           12              backbreaker for me or for anyone up here or

 

           13              for some of you in the audience, in the

 

           14              listening audience, we are fortunate.

 

           15              However, that amount of money is vital to

 

           16              senior citizens who social security didn't

 

           17              see a 25 percent increase, whose pensions

 

           18              didn't see a 25 percent increase, but whose

 

           19              cost of living has seen at least a

 

           20              25 percent increase in terms of utility

 

           21              increases and costs, the co-pays for

 

           22              Medicare and drugs and all of the

 

           23              necessities of life as you advance in age,

 

           24              so I think it's very important whenever we

 

           25              are looking at a topic not to simply focus


 

 

                                                                      86

 

 

            1              on how does it affect only me, will it have

 

            2              affects, ramifications for others and

 

            3              particularly in Scranton which is a city of

 

            4              a high percentage of senior citizens we are

 

            5              talking about a group, a large group who is

 

            6              very negatively impacted by tax increases,

 

            7              and I think it behooves all elected

 

            8              officials to remember the people they serve.

 

            9              That's it.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Evans.

 

           11              Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI:  Last week someone

 

           13              asked about the leaves behind the

 

           14              amphitheater at Nay Aug, indeed, they are

 

           15              going to be used for mulch again this year

 

           16              as they were last year.

 

           17                      I would like to reiterate a few of

 

           18              the announcements I had last week.  The

 

           19              spaghetti at the Dante Club on April 26 and

 

           20              the school play at West Scranton High School

 

           21              is this weekend, Friday, Saturday, and

 

           22              Sunday.

 

           23                      I would also like to announce a

 

           24              commendation for two of our employees who

 

           25              made the Sunday paper, Jim Lunney, who was a


 

 

                                                                      87

 

 

            1              fire inspector and Marty Monahan, who is a

 

            2              detective and they worked together in an

 

            3              arson and they were successful, so I think

 

            4              council should congratulate them.

 

            5                      I would also like to congratulate

 

            6              Joe Madsen, anyone who travels in the lower

 

            7              South Side knows that his market was

 

            8              affected by a storm and the roof caved in

 

            9              over a year ago and he has reopened and we

 

           10              wish him the best of luck, he is one of the

 

           11              few neighborhood grocery stores left in our

 

           12              community, so we wish Joe a lot of luck.

 

           13                   And the last thing I have is I would

 

           14              like to make a motion, Telespond Senior

 

           15              Services on Saginaw Street provides adult

 

           16              DayCare and respite services to people in

 

           17              our community and they are applying for a

 

           18              grant at the Weinberg Foundation and they

 

           19              need a letter of recommendation from a

 

           20              governmental body, and they have asked if

 

           21              city council could please give them a letter

 

           22              of recommendation.  Anyone who has had

 

           23              anything to did with Telespond Senior

 

           24              Services knows the advantage they serve our

 

           25              elderly in this community and their


 

 

                                                                      88

 

 

            1              families, so I would make a motion that we

 

            2              send a letter on behalf of city council in

 

            3              favor of Telespond receiving a grant from

 

            4              the Weinburg Foundation.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: Second.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  All

 

            7              in favor?

 

            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. GATELLI: That's all I have.

 

           15              Thank you.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           17              And are you getting 10 percent of all the

 

           18              tickets sales?  Mr. Fanucci.

 

           19                      MS. FANUCCI: I do have a few

 

           20              comments.  Candace got up tonight and spoke

 

           21              about the bond rating and I myself am sad

 

           22              that we did lose the bond rating, but,

 

           23              unfortunately, we started off with not

 

           24              having a bond rating when this

 

           25              administration took over.  It was


 

 

                                                                      89

 

 

            1              reinstated, and you are not going to be

 

            2              happy with the answer, because of plans and

 

            3              the recovery they gave us the chance to be

 

            4              able to receive a bond rating.  Because none

 

            5              of that has taken place and obviously with

 

            6              the way that this has played out what they

 

            7              said this week, it's not going to happen, so

 

            8              because the Recovery Plan has not been

 

            9              followed our bond rating has gone.  So, I

 

           10              too, feel very sad for that.

 

           11                      As for being a respectable public

 

           12              servant, I certainly am, I follow my own

 

           13              path.  It might not be your path because you

 

           14              have your own motives as I do, my motives

 

           15              are the same, to make the city as great as

 

           16              it can be just like your motives are to get

 

           17              up every week, but please don't question

 

           18              being respectable.  I understand that your

 

           19              personal agenda is very strong, but I can

 

           20              guarantee you that I am very respectable and

 

           21              very strong on what I believe in and when I

 

           22              vote on something I vote because I honestly

 

           23              believe it's the best thing for the City of

 

           24              Scranton.

 

           25                      And I'm also going to speak on


 

 

                                                                      90

 

 

            1              Mr. Jackowitz.  Mr. Jackowitz, I am sorry

 

            2              that you believe that you were put forth as

 

            3              not -- as being dishonorably discharged, but

 

            4              I'm going to say something, I was using an

 

            5              example.  You are defending people, speakers

 

            6              who got up and were speaking of things that

 

            7              were not factual, information that was

 

            8              detrimental to not only myself and my

 

            9              family, but others and you were defending

 

           10              them and what I did was used an example

 

           11              saying how would you feel or how would this

 

           12              be and, in fact, in the statement said, we

 

           13              know it's not true, but still how would you

 

           14              feel.  And, unfortunately, you felt the

 

           15              brunt of that and I proved my point, it is

 

           16              not a great position.  You have spent two

 

           17              weeks obviously in turmoil when you could

 

           18              have been working on something that was a

 

           19              little more productive.  I know that

 

           20              feeling, it is not a good feeling and for

 

           21              that I am sorry, but I certainly did not put

 

           22              forth that you were not a honorable,

 

           23              honorable person who served our wonderful

 

           24              state, wonderful country, and everything

 

           25              else, so I do want to say that.


 

 

                                                                      91

 

 

            1                      As for last week, I find it hard to

 

            2              believe that I actually became the bad guy

 

            3              for Mr. Williams coming up and presenting

 

            4              the paperwork here.  Actually, I don't find

 

            5              it hard to believe I find it pretty, how do

 

            6              I want to say, pretty obvious that that

 

            7              would happen, but I'm going to say in light

 

            8              of that it's funny that certain, you know,

 

            9              you fight for rights, you fight for things

 

           10              in your own respect, but then when it turns

 

           11              the table and it's not quite what you want

 

           12              or for the rights of everybody else the

 

           13              taxpayers who actually would be suffering if

 

           14              their personal information got out to the

 

           15              public.  Identity theft right now is the

 

           16              easiest crime that is committed, it happens

 

           17              all over, but for some reason that's okay in

 

           18              this situation.  It is not okay.  You want

 

           19              something that doesn't pass the smell test,

 

           20              that does not pass the smell test.

 

           21                      I believe those dots need to be

 

           22              connected and I find it absolutely appalling

 

           23              that in the middle of such a bad situation

 

           24              you are in looking to find our $12 million

 

           25              how it got there, who has it, who desevers


 

 

                                                                      92

 

 

            1              it, that this goes on.  So, no, I am not

 

            2              going to -- because I yelled at the

 

            3              situation, I thought the situation was

 

            4              absolutely appalling and I'm going to

 

            5              continue that.  Now, I am going to blame the

 

            6              guy and shoot the messenger who brought it,

 

            7              no, but at certain points everyone is

 

            8              involved.

 

            9                      And, also, I think that actually

 

           10              might be it.  Yeah, I want to talk about us

 

           11              being declared distressed.  That is still

 

           12              something that I believe that we should

 

           13              always fight for and we don't want to be

 

           14              distressed.  I don't think that the city is

 

           15              benefiting right from our distressed label

 

           16              either, but we still need to get out of it

 

           17              and the way I read it, unfortunately, hasn't

 

           18              changed, so I do believe that we need to do

 

           19              what we can do and, unfortunately, I believe

 

           20              that when you pay a lot of money out for

 

           21              Blue Cross it's still considered a raise and

 

           22              an increase, $12 million capped we still

 

           23              paid a lot more money than that, so I know

 

           24              myself when you have a bigger by in,

 

           25              Mr. Ancherani is already getting his pen,


 

 

                                                                      93

 

 

            1              God Bless us and save us, so, you know, that

 

            2              to me is still considered an increase.  It

 

            3              is something that was not -- that is one of

 

            4              the negotiations.  But, yes, should we sit

 

            5              down and get it over with?  Absolutely.  Get

 

            6              your raises, let's move on, let's do what we

 

            7              can do, but as far as being the person who

 

            8              keeps raising the taxes I feel like I've

 

            9              raised them 65 times or 75 times now, until

 

           10              we have money coming that is more than going

 

           11              out we still have to function, and that is

 

           12              all I have.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF:  Thank you, Mrs.

 

           14              Fanucci.  Mr. Courtright.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yeah, I spoke on

 

           16              this couple of times since I have been on

 

           17              council, and I'm bringing it up again

 

           18              because of the medical school legislation,

 

           19              most of the time, not all of the time, but

 

           20              most of the time when we get an ordinance

 

           21              that comes through most of the time I vote,

 

           22              yes, to introduce it in Fifth Order because

 

           23              that's what it's for introduction, so that

 

           24              whoever committee it will if it's introduced

 

           25              into their committee they will go and


 

 

                                                                      94

 

 

            1              research it and hopefully get back to us,

 

            2              and I'm not saying just table it, but it is

 

            3              their committee and then we decide because

 

            4              we have two or three meetings.  I think

 

            5              that's what's happened this week.  We passed

 

            6              it, last week we passed it, you know, to be

 

            7              introduced and then we found out it wasn't

 

            8              what we thought it was going to be.  I don't

 

            9              think we were voting yes on things we didn't

 

           10              know about, that's the process that it

 

           11              takes.  So, like I said, most of the time I

 

           12              vote for introduction, but that's just what

 

           13              it is, it's introduction, and it gives us an

 

           14              opportunity to look at it and if we don't

 

           15              believe it then we can vote it down.

 

           16                      And I just have one other thing, and

 

           17              I don't know, I'm going to ask Kay if she

 

           18              can send something, I'm going to ask Mr. Stu

 

           19              Renda if he can answer this, I think he may

 

           20              be the best one to answer this, since I have

 

           21              been on this council just about everyone

 

           22              that has come to this podium and spoke about

 

           23              PEL doesn't care for PEL, doesn't believe

 

           24              they are worth the money and doesn't believe

 

           25              they have done anything for this city, and


 

 

                                                                      95

 

 

            1              that's been the common cry since I have been

 

            2              here.  So, I would ask Mr. Renda if he could

 

            3              find for me and for council or for the

 

            4              public if you he would be able to research

 

            5              just how much money the state is paying PEL

 

            6              since they have been on the payroll and what

 

            7              it is that maybe Mr. Renda since he is the

 

            8              business administrator believes that they

 

            9              have done for the City of Scranton, and does

 

           10              he think it's worth having them still

 

           11              because I just -- I don't know that anybody

 

           12              comes since I have been here that thinks

 

           13              they have done anything that's worth the

 

           14              money we are paying them.  We are still

 

           15              distressed, so if he can answer those

 

           16              questions for me I would appreciate it.  If

 

           17              he can't if he would direct me to who would

 

           18              be able to answer those questions about PEL

 

           19              I would certainly appreciate that.

 

           20                      MS. EVANS: Mr. Courtright, I agree

 

           21              with what you are saying and I'm certainly

 

           22              very far from an advocate of PEL, I also

 

           23              believe we are much more distressed today

 

           24              than we were in not only when council voted

 

           25              to enter distressed status approximately


 

 

                                                                      96

 

 

            1              15 years ago, we are more distressed today

 

            2              than we are in 2002, however, I don't

 

            3              believe that it's as simple as Mr. Renda's

 

            4              opinion or council wanting to lift that

 

            5              status, I think the city or council would

 

            6              have to petition DCED for the lifting of

 

            7              distressed status and as a result we would

 

            8              have to prove why we should have that

 

            9              designation lifted from us and, frankly, you

 

           10              know, I don't know -- I don't know what we

 

           11              have to defend that.

 

           12                      You know, on the one hand as someone

 

           13              said earlier tonight if you listen to the

 

           14              state of the city address which is delivered

 

           15              to businesses it certainly sounds as if all

 

           16              is well as prospering and, you know, we have

 

           17              recovered and when you look at the financial

 

           18              statements and, you know, you look at the

 

           19              audits and you listen to what PEL actually

 

           20              has to say when they will open their mouths

 

           21              and speak, you know, you don't have to have

 

           22              a PhD to know that the city is truly buried

 

           23              in debt.

 

           24                      So, I think as much as I agree with

 

           25              you, I absolutely do, I don't know what it's


 

 

                                                                      97

 

 

            1              going to take to be able to get that monkey

 

            2              off your back at any time soon because now,

 

            3              as I said, we are in so much debt.  We are

 

            4              going to be paying this off for 30 years,

 

            5              so, you know, that 25 percent we are going

 

            6              to be looking at increase after increase

 

            7              after increase over the next at least

 

            8              28 years, we are looking at having to borrow

 

            9              another 111 million this year to add to that

 

           10              grand total.  That money has to be paid back

 

           11              unlike the City of Scranton who likes to

 

           12              forgive loans, no bank, you know, no one is

 

           13              going to come to the city and say, "We

 

           14              forgive you."

 

           15                      Why?  Because your full faith and

 

           16              credit was pledged for every one of those

 

           17              borrows.  So, you know, you are it, you are

 

           18              the answer to all of the problems we just

 

           19              raise your taxes and raise them and raise

 

           20              them and raise them and until all of the

 

           21              debt service is paid down unfortunately.

 

           22              I'm sorry, Mr. Courtright.

 

           23                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I would just like

 

           24              to see what Mr. Renda's answer is because he

 

           25              would speak on behalf of the administration


 

 

                                                                      98

 

 

            1              and I'm curious to see if the administration

 

            2              agrees with the speakers that come here week

 

            3              after week, month after month with their

 

            4              claims about PEL, and if the administration

 

            5              agrees with the speakers then maybe this

 

            6              council can get together with the

 

            7              administration and see if there is something

 

            8              we could do about it because we hear it all

 

            9              the time.  I have heard it five years now

 

           10              and it seems like we can't do anything, but

 

           11              maybe possibly if the administration the

 

           12              reason speakers that this time council the

 

           13              administration can work together to try and

 

           14              get it lifted.  But, as you said, they are

 

           15              saying we are in worse shape now than we

 

           16              were when we first became distressed so I

 

           17              don't know if that's a possibility, and

 

           18              that's all I have.  Thank you.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

           20              Mr. Courtright.  First thing I'd like to

 

           21              make mention of is I received a letter from

 

           22              the American Cancer Society concerning the

 

           23              Relay for Life which is to be held on

 

           24              June 21 and 22.  More information I'm sure

 

           25              will be provided as we get closer to the


 

 

                                                                      99

 

 

            1              date, but they are having a planning

 

            2              breakfast which I will hopefully attend and

 

            3              I'll find out more about the Relay for Life.

 

            4              I participated in it when I was in the

 

            5              Poconos working at Pocono Mountain and it's

 

            6              certainly a worthy cause and can be a useful

 

            7              and enjoyable experience.

 

            8                      Also, I received a letter, we all

 

            9              received a letter from Dr. O'Malley, Jack

 

           10              O'Malley from the University of Scranton,

 

           11              they are conducting an American Sport

 

           12              Education Program instructor training

 

           13              workshop.  The purpose of it is to have

 

           14              qualified teachers instruct volunteer

 

           15              coaches, those who coach little league and

 

           16              bitty basketball, that type of thing so that

 

           17              children may benefit from volunteer coaches.

 

           18              The program is one that is conducted in a

 

           19              number of areas and they have invited a

 

           20              variety of people to attend this workshop

 

           21              and also the parks and recreation staff of

 

           22              the city and the county I believe to be

 

           23              participants in the program once it's up and

 

           24              running; and, also, there is going to be the

 

           25              creation or they are going to propose the


 

 

                                                                     100

 

 

            1              creation of the Joe Bocchicio Sports

 

            2              Foundation in honor of Joe Bocchicio who was

 

            3              a teacher in the City of Scranton or in the

 

            4              Scranton School District and a soccer coach

 

            5              for many years.  I will also hope to attend

 

            6              this program and provide more information

 

            7              following.

 

            8                      We did receive a response from

 

            9              Attorney McGovern at the Single Tax Office

 

           10              about the public caucus and I will get back

 

           11              to him concerning that.  Mr. McGovern when I

 

           12              spoke to him previously was cautious about a

 

           13              public caucus.  Due to the number of the

 

           14              investigations and the number of issues that

 

           15              are currently involved at the Single Tax

 

           16              Office, he was I'm going to use the word

 

           17              cautious about a public caucus.  He was

 

           18              willing to come and speak to council in a

 

           19              closed caucus, some members of council felt

 

           20              that that was not enough and I will

 

           21              further -- I will ask him, you know, again

 

           22              if we can meet in a more public manner, but

 

           23              he was not -- I should say he was not

 

           24              reluctant to meet it was just a cautious

 

           25              attitude that he had as far as being public.


 

 

                                                                     101

 

 

            1                   Also, in dealing with -- Mrs. Evans

 

            2              asked on behalf of I believe Mrs. Krake for

 

            3              some figures about the delinquent taxes,

 

            4              have we ever received a complete accounting

 

            5              of the finances I would say from the

 

            6              delinquent taxes as to who has received what

 

            7              and how much money it was?

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: There is a line item in

 

            9              the budget, but then again -- I'm sorry, but

 

           10              then again I was saying there is a line item

 

           11              in the budget, in the city's annual

 

           12              operating budget, but having never hired and

 

           13              been involved in a contract for third party

 

           14              collector of delinquent real estate taxes

 

           15              before, I don't believe, you know, such a

 

           16              comparison would ever have been drawn

 

           17              because this is a new situation.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: I was just going to

 

           19              suggest that the possibility of rather than

 

           20              just finding out piecemeal that perhaps we

 

           21              could receive from NCC and, you know, and

 

           22              maybe the Redevelopment Authority, you know,

 

           23              a complete accounting of how that process

 

           24              has taken place and of money that has been

 

           25              received.


 

 

                                                                     102

 

 

            1                      And a response to Mr. Jackowitz,

 

            2              yes, the Rules of Council apply to all of

 

            3              the council members as well and I hopefully

 

            4              make an attempt to do that.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI:  Yes, you do.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: As far as the invitation

 

            7              to meet President Clinton at Mr. Doherty's

 

            8              house, I do want to -- when the invitation

 

            9              was offered I have not ever had an

 

           10              opportunity to personally meet a president

 

           11              of the United States, I was not going to

 

           12              decline the invitation, it was an invitation

 

           13              that I thought was a significant, you know,

 

           14              thing to do.  It was extended and accepted

 

           15              just as I might accept an invitation to a

 

           16              dinner party at someone's else's house.

 

           17              There was no ticket price for the event, it

 

           18              was simply an invitation to meet the

 

           19              president which I did and very pleased for

 

           20              it.

 

           21                      Mrs. Schumacher, I will try on find

 

           22              out where we are in the process or where the

 

           23              Single Tax Office is in the process of

 

           24              hiring the auditor for the investigation.  I

 

           25              am not sure where it is at this point in


 

 

                                                                     103

 

 

            1              time, but when I speak to Mr. McGovern

 

            2              concerning the caucus I will ask him where

 

            3              we are in that process, and that is all that

 

            4              I have.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: Mr. McGoff, I'm sorry, I

 

            6              have just one last item and this was a

 

            7              little note that was delivered from Attorney

 

            8              Minora, a speaker tonight said that

 

            9              Mr. Liptai went to North Main Avenue last

 

           10              week, Mr. Liptai is a city inspector, and

 

           11              had a cleanup and a towing of a car

 

           12              accomplished and he wants to thank

 

           13              Mr. Liptai very much for a job well done.

 

           14              We all thank Mr. Liptai for a job well done.

 

           15              Thank you.

 

           16                      MS. GATELLI: I just have one more

 

           17              thing, I just want to tell you that I also

 

           18              met Barack Obama.  I got a ticket to that

 

           19              too, so anyone who is interested I have his

 

           20              picture and Hillary's picture on my desk.  I

 

           21              wasn't prejudiced to either one, I met both

 

           22              of them, and that was a free ticket, too.

 

           23              Thank you.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: And me, I just must be

 

           25              out of the loop because I didn't get invited


 

 

                                                                     104

 

 

            1              to either.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Mrs. Garvey.

 

            3                      MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER.  NO

 

            4              BUSINESS AT THIS TIME.  SIXTH ORDER.  6-A,

 

            5              that has been withdrawn, so we will move to

 

            6              6-B. 6-B. READING BY TITLE - FILE OF COUNCIL

 

            7              NO. 22, 2008 - AN ORDINANCE - ESTABLISHING A

 

            8              "NO PARKING" ZONE ALONG THE WESTERLY SIDE OF

 

            9              HARRISON AVENUE (S.R. 6011) FROM MULBERRY

 

           10              STREET SOUTH 265 FEET TO ALLOW FOR SIGHT

 

           11              DISTANCE FOR A PROPOSED DRIVEWAY BY MR.

 

           12              EUGENE O'NEIL FOR A PROPERTY LOCATED AT

 

           13              319-321 HARRISON AVENUE.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: You have heard Reading

 

           15              by Title of Item 6-B what is your pleasure?

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I move that Item

 

           17              6-B pass Reading by Title.

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI: Second.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

           20                      MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question,

 

           21              very briefly, Mr. McGoff, I'm still waiting

 

           22              for information from the law department to

 

           23              make sure that we don't need an engineer's

 

           24              table and as soon as I get that information

 

           25              to me in before final passage.


 

 

                                                                     105

 

 

            1                      MS. GARVEY: You probably didn't get

 

            2              a chance to see it because I just received

 

            3              something from Attorney Patterson that she

 

            4              got from the engineer, just late this

 

            5              afternoon, maybe about 5:30 she brought it

 

            6              by so that is in your packet, you probably

 

            7              didn't read it yet.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I didn't see it.

 

            9              Thank you.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  All those

 

           11              in favor signify by saying aye.

 

           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. GARVEY: SEVENTH ORDER.  7-A. FOR

 

           19              CONSIDERATION FOR THE COMMITTEE ON RULES -

 

           20              FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 21, 2008 -

 

           21              ACCEPTING THE GIFT OF A POLICE VEHICLE VIN

 

           22              NUMBER 2G1WF55K059191621 FROM POLICE OFFICER

 

           23              JOSEPH J. HARRIS FOR USE IN THE CITY'S FLEET

 

           24              PURSUANT TO A LEAST AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE

 

           25              CITY AND OFFICER HARRIS.


 

 

                                                                     106

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: As chairperson for the

 

            2              Committee on Rules, I recommend final

 

            3              passage of Item 7-A.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?  Roll

 

            6              call, please.

 

            7                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

            9                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.

 

           11                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           13                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           15                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           17              Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           18                      MS. GARVEY: 7-B. FOR CONSIDERATION

 

           19              FOR THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -

 

           20              RESOLUTION NO. 22, 2008 - AUTHORIZING THE

 

           21              MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS

 

           22              TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO A LEASE/POLICY

 

           23              AGREEMENT WITH OFFICER JOSEPH L. HARRIS

 

           24              GOVERNING THE USE OF OFFICER HARRIS'

 

           25              "PRIVATE CRUISER" AS DEFINED HEREIN."


 

 

                                                                     107

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the

 

            2              Committee on Rules, I recommend final

 

            3              passage of Item 7-B.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question.  Roll

 

            6              call, please.

 

            7                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

            9                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.

 

           11                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           13                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           15                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.

 

           17                      MS. GARVEY: 7-C. FOR CONSIDERATION

 

           18              FOR THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -

 

           19              RESOLUTION NO. 23, 2008 - ACCEPTING THE GIFT

 

           20              OF A POLICE VEHICLE, VIN NUMBER

 

           21              2G1WF55K349356334 FROM POLICE OFFICER

 

           22              RICHARD IANNUZZO FOR USE IN THE CITY'S FLEET

 

           23              PURSUANT TO A LEAST AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE

 

           24              CITY AND OFFICER IANNUZZO.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: As chairperson for the


 

 

                                                                     108

 

 

            1              Committee on Rules, I recommend final

 

            2              passage of Item 7-C.

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Second.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question.  Roll

 

            5              call.

 

            6                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            7                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

            8                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.

 

           10                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           12                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           14                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           16              Item 7-C legally and unlawfully adopted.

 

           17                      MS. GARVEY: 7-D. FOR CONSIDERATION

 

           18              FOR THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -

 

           19              RESOLUTION NO. 24, 2008 - AUTHORIZING THE

 

           20              MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS

 

           21              TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO A LEASE/POLICY

 

           22              AGREEMENT WITH OFFICER RICHARD IANNUZZO

 

           23              GOVERNING THE USE OF OFFICER IANNUZZO'S

 

           24              "PRIVATE CRUISER" AS DEFINED HEREIN.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: As chairperson for the


 

 

                                                                     109

 

 

            1              Committee on Rules, I recommend final

 

            2              passage of Item 7-D.

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Second.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  Roll

 

            5              call.

 

            6                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            7                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

            8                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.

 

           10                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           12                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           14                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           16              Item 7-D legally and unlawfully adopted.

 

           17                      MS. GARVEY: 7-E. FOR CONSIDERATION

 

           18              FOR THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS - FOR

 

           19              ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 25, 2008 -

 

           20              AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE

 

           21              CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO A

 

           22              SUPPLEMENTAL REIMBURSEMENT AGREEMENT NO.

 

           23              040809-E WITH THE COMMONWEALTH OF

 

           24              PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION,

 

           25              REGARDING THE LACKAWANNA AVENUE BRIDGE


 

 

                                                                     110

 

 

            1              PROJECT FOR THE PURPOSE OF INCREASING THE

 

            2              COMMONWEALTH'S INCURRED COSTS FOR

 

            3              CONSTRUCTION, UTILITIES AND RIGHT-OF-WAY.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: What is the

 

            5              recommendation of the chairperson for the

 

            6              Committee on Public Works?

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: As chair for the

 

            8              Committee on Public Works, I recommend final

 

            9              passage of Item 7-E.

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Second.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  Roll

 

           12              call, please.

 

           13                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

           15                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           16                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.

 

           17                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           19                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           20                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           21                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           23              Item 7-E legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           24                      MS. GARVEY: 7-F.  FOR CONSIDERATION

 

           25              FOR THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -


 

 

                                                                     111

 

 

            1              RESOLUTION NO. 26, 2008 - AUTHORIZING THE

 

            2              HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF

 

            3              SCRANTON TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT FOR

 

            4              PROFESSIONAL SERVICES WITH MARK T. MCGRATH,

 

            5              ESQUIRE, TO ACT AS ITS SOLICITOR FOR ONE (1

 

            6              YEAR BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2008 THROUGH

 

            7              DECEMBER 31, 2008 AT THE RATE OF NINETY-FIVE

 

            8              ($95.00) DOLLARS PER HOUR.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: As chairperson for the

 

           10              Committee on Rules, I recommend final

 

           11              passage of Item 7-F.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: Yes.  The Human Relation

 

           15              Commission was established in 2003, it is

 

           16              now 2008 evidently, and for a period of at

 

           17              least four years it appears as though this

 

           18              commission has functioned without benefit of

 

           19              an attorney.  I believe they meet only

 

           20              quarterly.  I would suggest perhaps they

 

           21              could share the solicitor of another

 

           22              commission who doesn't meet monthly or

 

           23              weekly.  I know that the commission is

 

           24              describing situations that involve the

 

           25              necessity of legal advice for individuals


 

 

                                                                     112

 

 

            1              who come to them with problems, but I think

 

            2              as they have done in the past they could

 

            3              refer those individuals to the Pennsylvania

 

            4              Human Relations Commission or perhaps to an

 

            5              attorney who does pro bono work or in some

 

            6              cases if necessary the Public Defender's

 

            7              Office.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question,

 

            9              Mr. McGoff.  Kay, do they have litigation,

 

           10              I'm under the understanding they have

 

           11              litigation going on?

 

           12                      MS. GARVEY: They been presented with

 

           13              a case, yes.

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  That's why they

 

           15              need an attorney.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: It seems a discrimination

 

           17              case, but I would think in that event, you

 

           18              know, they can obtain legal representation

 

           19              hopefully free or at a reduced cost

 

           20              elsewhere or perhaps the state commission

 

           21              would step in, but, I mean, if that's the

 

           22              first discrimination case that they have

 

           23              handled in over four years it's -- I don't

 

           24              know, it would seem not to be a very active

 

           25              committee.


 

 

                                                                     113

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't know, would

 

            2              that be possible, Mr. Minora, do you know if

 

            3              that would be possible for them?

 

            4                      MR. MINORA: To obtain legal advice.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: To obtain free legal

 

            6              advice.

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: Or share a solicitor,

 

            8              maybe the Civil Service Commission.

 

            9                      MR. MINORA: Even if they shared

 

           10              another lawyer that lawyer would charge his

 

           11              fee, so I don't understand the savings

 

           12              behind that idea.  Whether or not they could

 

           13              obtain free legal advice or not, I don't

 

           14              know, but if they are in the middle of

 

           15              litigation and they need a lawyer somebody

 

           16              is suing they need a lawyer.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: Maybe they could obtain

 

           18              the services of an attorney already in our

 

           19              employ who would take the position at a

 

           20              lower hourly rate maybe for example a $60

 

           21              per hour right since he would be receiving

 

           22              extra work from the city.

 

           23                      MR. MINORA: I can't speak to that,

 

           24              all I know is that, you know, somebody doing

 

           25              a job would certainly want to get paid


 

 

                                                                     114

 

 

            1              that's -- defending a lawsuit is a

 

            2              significant undertaking, it's not just

 

            3              writing a couple of letters, it's a

 

            4              significant undertaking and it requires

 

            5              hours and hours of one's time.  If you are

 

            6              asking me do I think somebody would take

 

            7              that for free, I guess the way I answer that

 

            8              is I wouldn't want be to represented by the

 

            9              guy who would take it for free.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI: Is there a possibility

 

           11              to table this and we can have Mike Hanley

 

           12              come in, he was the one --

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I think that might

 

           14              be a good idea.

 

           15                      MS. GATELLI: I make a motion that we

 

           16              table it for a week.

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Second.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: There is a motion to

 

           19              table Item 7-F.  On the question?  All those

 

           20              in favor signify by saying aye.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The


 

 

                                                                     115

 

 

            1              ayes have it and Item 7-F is tabled.

 

            2                      MS. GARVEY: 7-G. FOR CONSIDERATION

 

            3              FOR THE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE - FOR ADOPTION

 

            4              - RESOLUTION ON.  27, 2008 - AUTHORIZING THE

 

            5              SALE OF THE 2007 TAX CLAIMS AND THE

 

            6              ANTICIPATED 2008 TAX CLAIMS TO THE

 

            7              REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF

 

            8              SCRANTON, AND AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION OF

 

            9              AN AGREEMENT OF SALE AND PURCHASE RELATING

 

           10              THERETO; AUTHORIZING THE CONTINUED RETENTION

 

           11              OF MUNICIPAL REVENUE SERVICES, INC AND THE

 

           12              LAW FIRM OF ELLIOTT, GREENLEAF AND BALABAN

 

           13              RELATING THE TRANSACTION.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: What is the

 

           15              recommendation of the chairperson for the

 

           16              Committee on the Finances?

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI: As chair for the

 

           18              Committee on Finance I recommend final

 

           19              passage of Item 7-G.

 

           20                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?

 

           22                      MS. EVANS: We did receive responses

 

           23              to the questions I posed, the original

 

           24              contract was signed November 28, 2007.  So,

 

           25              indeed, just few short months ago.  Mr. Doug


 

 

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            1              Hein also indicates the length of the

 

            2              contract with MRS runs the duration of the

 

            3              collection program.  In other words, if

 

            4              collections come in quickly the program

 

            5              could if the city so opted be ended in three

 

            6              years as long as the note with the bank is

 

            7              paid off.  There would be no liability to

 

            8              either the city or SRA for this.  If

 

            9              collections come in more slowly, the

 

           10              contract would end with the bank note which

 

           11              is four years in length.

 

           12                      Now, my concern with this is that

 

           13              this legislation goes hand-in-hand with the

 

           14              ordinance that increased the cost,

 

           15              penalties, fines, and fees for the

 

           16              collection of delinquent real estate taxes

 

           17              for the taxpayers of the City of Scranton,

 

           18              and it isn't something that is set locally,

 

           19              this is a state law.  If you want to employ

 

           20              an agency such as MRS, a municipality must

 

           21              draft and approve a company legislation that

 

           22              provides for these additional fees, costs

 

           23              and etcetera.

 

           24                      Now, what was enacted by this

 

           25              administration at or with the approval of


 

 

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            1              the majority of council has been in my mind

 

            2              a Draconian procedure and we have seen

 

            3              countless cases already where a very small

 

            4              amount of money has ballooned, you know,

 

            5              from, for example, $400 up to $2,000 and I

 

            6              tried to amend that particular ordinance to

 

            7              make it more fair to the people of this city

 

            8              who find themselves in very, very much

 

            9              difficult financial situations and that

 

           10              ordinance puts them in fairly rapid danger

 

           11              of a sherif's sale and losing their homes.

 

           12              And, so, because that ordinance was not

 

           13              amended it stands on the books as originally

 

           14              drafted I really can't continue any contract

 

           15              with Municipal Revenue Services, although, I

 

           16              do believe that the service they offer is

 

           17              certainly worthwhile for a city, but the

 

           18              city has just been unreasonable in the

 

           19              drafting of the legislation that goes

 

           20              hand-in-hand, so I will be voting, no.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question,

 

           22              Mr. McGoff, I guess what I have to say is

 

           23              somewhat similar to what Mrs. Evans said, I

 

           24              was opposed to MRS, I was opposed to the

 

           25              rates that the SRA has set and they weren't


 

 

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            1              changed, so that's what my position lies now

 

            2              with MRS with the rates.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI:  I would just ask you

 

            5              to please contact the school district

 

            6              because I know they sell their liens, too,

 

            7              if you can get up some information of how

 

            8              they sell their liens, too, you know, for

 

            9              next week.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: It's in seventh now.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI: I just want it for

 

           12              information.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Roll call, please.

 

           14                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           15                      MS. EVANS:  I'm sorry, no.

 

           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:  No.

 

           22                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           24              Item 7-G legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           25              Prior to adjournment, by prior agreement and


 

 

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            1              discussion next week's meeting will be

 

            2              cancelled for election day.  Motion to

 

            3              adjourn?

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  So moved.

 

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            1                     C E R T I F I C A T E

 

            2

 

            3        I hereby certify that the proceedings and

 

            4   evidence are contained fully and accurately in the

 

            5   notes of testimony taken by me at the hearing of the

 

            6   above-captioned matter and that the foregoing is a true

 

            7   and correct transcript of the same to the best of my

 

            8   ability.

 

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                                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI

           12                       OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

 

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