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            1              SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

 

            2

 

            3

 

            4

 

            5                          HELD:

 

            6

 

            7                   Tuesday, May 13, 2008

 

            8

 

            9                        LOCATION:

 

           10                    Council Chambers

 

           11                 Scranton City Hall

 

           12              340 North Washington Avenue

 

           13                Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

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           23

                            CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER

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            1

 

            2   CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

 

            3

 

            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

           14

 

           15   MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR

 

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            1                      (Pledge of Allegiance recited and

                           moment of reflection observed.)

            2

 

            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.

 

           15                      MS. GARVEY: THIRD ORDER.  NO

 

           16              BUSINESS AT THIS TIME.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: Prior to Fourth Order

 

           18              there are a couple of announcements that

 

           19              people have.  Mr. Courtright, asked if he

 

           20              could --

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I just have one,

 

           22              bear with me here.  Johnny Mattern asked me

 

           23              if I would announce this, this there is

 

           24              going to be the first annual Ride for

 

           25              Robeson, it's for Jimmy Robeson, and it's


 

 

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            1              May 24 this year it's a poker run and the

 

            2              registration is going to be from 9 to 11

 

            3              a.m. at Electric City Harley Davidson in

 

            4              Dickson City.  They are going to ride

 

            5              throughout the area and end up back at

 

            6              Legend's Bar in West Scranton.  It's $20 for

 

            7              the riders and $10 for a passenger and if

 

            8              you are not a rider or a passenger you can

 

            9              come to the festivities at 2 p.m. at

 

           10              Legend's Bar, again, that's going to be on

 

           11              the 24th, this year.  You can call 483-0883,

 

           12              483-0883, and all proceeds from benefits are

 

           13              going to go to the Robeson family and I'll

 

           14              announce it again next week to remind

 

           15              everybody, but it will be the first annual,

 

           16              and I think that's a nice thing that Johnny

 

           17              Mattern and the people from Legend's are

 

           18              doing for the Robeson family.  That's all I

 

           19              have.  Thank you.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: Yes.  On Saturday, May

 

           22              17, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of

 

           23              the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will conduct

 

           24              the Great Strides Fundraising Walk at Nay

 

           25              Aug Park beginning at 10 a.m.  Everyone is


 

 

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            1              invited to participate and you may also drop

 

            2              off donations before the walk at 10:00 as

 

            3              well.

 

            4                      The first Annual Children's Fishing

 

            5              Derby will be conducted May 18 from 10 a.m.

 

            6              to 2:00 p.m., children between the ages of 3

 

            7              to 15 are invited to attend.  Registration

 

            8              will be held along the river banks in the

 

            9              500 block of Dorothy Street and is free.

 

           10              The derby runs from Greenridge Street Bridge

 

           11              to Popular Street Bridge on the Weston Field

 

           12              side of the river.  Refreshments will also

 

           13              be available and prizes will be awarded.

 

           14              Bait, too, will be available if needed and

 

           15              we hope to see you there.  This first annual

 

           16              children's fishing derby is being sponsored

 

           17              by the Lower Greenridge Neighborhood

 

           18              Association.

 

           19                      Also, on Saturday, May 17, a night

 

           20              at the races will be held at the Villa Maria

 

           21              II at 7:00 p.m. to benefit the Sloan Little

 

           22              League Association.  Together with

 

           23              Mr. Courtright I have had the pleasure of

 

           24              once again attending Sloan's opening day

 

           25              ceremonies as they celebrated their 50th


 

 

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            1              Anniversary as a charter baseball

 

            2              association, 1958 to 2008, and both

 

            3              Mr. Courtright and I received Sloan baseball

 

            4              caps and beautiful golden baseballs to

 

            5              commemorate this milestone, so I wanted to

 

            6              thank Sloan so much for recognizing both

 

            7              Mr. Courtright and myself in this lovely

 

            8              way.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Who threw out the first

 

           10              pitch?

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: Mr. Courtright.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: I was told that there

 

           13              was another first pitch.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: And that was me and I was

 

           15              bowling for dollars.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: That was my

 

           17              understanding, that it bounced a few times

 

           18              before it was --

 

           19                      MS. EVANS: Before it just rolled.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: For the third year in a

 

           21              row?

 

           22                      MS. EVANS: Oh, actually, no, I had a

 

           23              good year last year.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Oh, I'm sorry.

 

           25                      MS. EVANS: I forgot to practice this


 

 

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            1              year, but Mr. Courtright saved the day.  I

 

            2              threw underhanded and he did overhand and --

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you for pitching

 

            4              in relief.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: The Annual Armed Forces

 

            6              Day parade will be conducted this Saturday,

 

            7              May 17, in downtown Scranton.  Each year

 

            8              that I attend I'm always very disappointed

 

            9              in the lack of public attendance.  In this

 

           10              election year when each of us decides on the

 

           11              next president of the United States the war

 

           12              in Iraq undoubtedly will weigh in our votes,

 

           13              however, your attendance at the Armed Forces

 

           14              Day parade sets an even stronger message of

 

           15              your gratitude and support for our

 

           16              servicemen and women past and present.  It

 

           17              doesn't cost a penny, it lasts merely an

 

           18              hour, 11 until 12, and I hope that the

 

           19              citizens of this city will come out and

 

           20              show, as I said, their support and gratitude

 

           21              this year.

 

           22                      Also, Deputy Fire Chief Terrence

 

           23              Osborne retired recently from the Scranton

 

           24              Fire Department.  Scranton's loss is now

 

           25              Chambersburg's gain since Terry accepted the


 

 

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            1              position of fire chief in that municipality.

 

            2              Terry devoted his career to serving the

 

            3              people of Scranton.  We recognize his

 

            4              dedication, professionalism and unselfish

 

            5              service and we are very sorry to lose him to

 

            6              Chambersburg, but we wish him great success

 

            7              in his new position.

 

            8                      And, finally, I ask that you

 

            9              remember in your prayers this week Mrs. Anna

 

           10              Schumacher, a well-known, highly respected

 

           11              and dearly loved gentle woman, the mother of

 

           12              Marie Schumacher, our watchdog of local

 

           13              government and regular council speaker, and

 

           14              Mrs. Schumacher was the former owner of

 

           15              Schumacher's meat, and on behalf of all of

 

           16              council our prayers and condolences go out

 

           17              to Marie and her family.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI: I just have a few

 

           20              things.  I also had the armed forces parade

 

           21              as the first item on my agenda for tonight

 

           22              and I would encourage everyone to please go.

 

           23              It is very sparsely attended and I think we

 

           24              need to support our veterans in this time of

 

           25              war.  The Odd Couple, the female version, is


 

 

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            1              going to be held at the Northeast Theatre in

 

            2              the Hotel Jermyn from now through May 25.

 

            3              For tickets you can call 558-1151.  For

 

            4              anybody who hasn't been there it's a

 

            5              wonderful venue for theatre.  It's very

 

            6              small and intimate and the prices are very,

 

            7              very cheap.

 

            8                      We got a notice from Paul O'Hora

 

            9              from the flood control project that the

 

           10              intersection of Nay Aug Avenue and Albright

 

           11              Avenue be closed from May 6 for

 

           12              approximately three weeks due to the

 

           13              Greenridge flood control project.  Once the

 

           14              work is completed Albright Avenue will

 

           15              reopen to through traffic, however, Nay Aug

 

           16              Avenue will be permanently closed, abandoned

 

           17              from Albright to Greenridge due to the

 

           18              construction of the levy.

 

           19                      Also, I would just like to thank

 

           20              Jeff Brazil fr his quick actions repairing a

 

           21              stop sign at the corner of Harrison and

 

           22              Vine.  That's all I have.

 

           23                      MS. EVANS: Oh, Mr. McGoff, one last

 

           24              item I that forgot, I did receive a call

 

           25              this week regarding the spraying for gypsy


 

 

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            1              moths in the East Mountain area and I was

 

            2              told that that spraying should occur at any

 

            3              time during the next week to week and a half

 

            4              and it, of course, depends on weather

 

            5              conditions.  It's not going to be done when

 

            6              the weather is inclement, but if at all

 

            7              possible the office would try to notify me

 

            8              of the exact date, but if East Mountain

 

            9              residents could just keep that in mind over

 

           10              the next week and a half.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Anyone else?

 

           12              Fourth Order.  Citizens Participation.

 

           13              Ozzie Quinn.

 

           14                      MR. QUINN:  Ozzie Quinn, Taxpayers'

 

           15              Association.  I want to refer back to last

 

           16              Sunday in the Sunday Times there was a good

 

           17              article there on blight fight and it only

 

           18              goes to show what we have been trying to say

 

           19              the Taxpayers' Association coming here for

 

           20              the last several years about the blight

 

           21              that's encompassing our neighborhoods.

 

           22                   Since Mr. Doherty has taken over as the

 

           23              mayor there hasn't been any CDBG monies,

 

           24              very miniscule, if at all in regards to

 

           25              neighborhood improvements, it's totally


 

 

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            1              ashame and I just looked at the performance

 

            2              report for -- just for housing in Bethlehem

 

            3              City they had 6 percent for housing,

 

            4              Lancaster 30, Harrisburg 53 and Wilkes-Barre

 

            5              is 11, we had zip.  Okay?  Zip.  So, you can

 

            6              see that Mr. Doherty does not care about the

 

            7              neighborhoods.  He is spending all of his

 

            8              money on these other projects and when you

 

            9              mentioned it would come out and show that we

 

           10              are wasting a lot of money.  The night

 

           11              before the public hearing of the 2008

 

           12              Community Development Block Grant program he

 

           13              said in his speech in regards to the capital

 

           14              improvements, that he wanted to have three

 

           15              million in sidewalks, curbs and street

 

           16              repairs in the neighborhoods.  He had an

 

           17              opportunity to put that money in I which had

 

           18              tried to say offset that capital

 

           19              improvements program in OECD money.  Some

 

           20              people said you can't do it, you can't do

 

           21              it.  We can do it.  And the reason that a

 

           22              lot of communities are getting ahead of us

 

           23              is in housing and other program is because

 

           24              they're parlaying their HOME funds with

 

           25              their CDBG program.  They are just not


 

 

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            1              saying, well, we have a HOME program, that's

 

            2              a housing program.  That isn't enough money

 

            3              to attack blight.  It isn't there and the

 

            4              money he is using he is using for a first

 

            5              time homebuyer's programs.  They had five

 

            6              rehabilitations of single homes last year

 

            7              and since Mr. Doherty they had 30 homes.

 

            8              That is unbelievable for an entire community

 

            9              that has received in the last seven years

 

           10              approximately $30 million in CDBG funds.

 

           11                   Now, it's got to a point where it's

 

           12              ridiculous.  Wayne Evans, he is president of

 

           13              South Scranton Neighborhood Association, was

 

           14              on the planning commission, president of the

 

           15              Architectural Heritage Association, he is

 

           16              quoted in the article and said jobs

 

           17              vanished, the population grew old, absentee

 

           18              landlords scooped up, cheap housing invested

 

           19              little fewer people cared and show and Wayne

 

           20              is very respected man in regards to -- he's

 

           21              a professional realtor.

 

           22                      Bob Neverosky who we spent thousands

 

           23              during the Connors administration to clear

 

           24              up the blight, he said it's creeping back

 

           25              into the neighborhood and Kevin Carson who


 

 

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            1              is the coordinator of the University of

 

            2              Pittsburgh's Urban study's program says that

 

            3              the conventional wisdom is that blight needs

 

            4              to be fought at the neighborhood level.  We

 

            5              are not fighting at the neighborhood level.

 

            6              How many times have I come up there and told

 

            7              you that we have a housing -- old housing

 

            8              stock, 67 percent of our housing was built

 

            9              in 1939 or before and that we need to start

 

           10              investing in our neighborhoods.  Go.  Walk

 

           11              around the neighborhoods, it's ashame.

 

           12              Curbs.  There is no curbs.  Roads?

 

           13              Unbelievable.  Sidewalks.  Forget about it.

 

           14              All right?  A city our size receiving this

 

           15              money and this man is not accountable, he is

 

           16              not being accountable for it.  How are we

 

           17              going to do it?  I don't know because we

 

           18              have a $400,000 long-term, I'm saying

 

           19              $400,000, $180,000 in principal, but you

 

           20              can't just say principal you got to say

 

           21              interest, so you are talking about $400,000.

 

           22              How are we ever going to fix up our

 

           23              neighborhoods?  Is he going to float another

 

           24              bond?  Hell, no, over my dead body.  The

 

           25              fact is that we are in bad shape in the City


 

 

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            1              of Scranton financially and now a

 

            2              physically, I don't if we are going beyond

 

            3              that point of no return in our

 

            4              neighborhoods.  I really don't know because

 

            5              we have so low -- we have a high poverty

 

            6              level of income, high elderly, people on

 

            7              social security owning homes, they cannot

 

            8              fix or repair their homes and they don't --

 

            9              they cannot come to government where they

 

           10              are paying their taxes, federal, state or

 

           11              local it's coming out of their pocket and

 

           12              say how about some money to help me to fix

 

           13              up my home, and this man is looking the

 

           14              other way and to say he is not an elitist?

 

           15              Come on.  Thank you.

 

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

 

           17              Andy Sbaraglia.

 

           18                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,

 

           19              citizen of Scranton.  Fellow Scrantonians,

 

           20              on your 5-B you are putting in for a million

 

           21              dollars again for Lackawanna Avenue, the 500

 

           22              block project, but if you add up everything

 

           23              that went with that project under your list

 

           24              it's close to $3 million.  That's $3 million

 

           25              for cosmetics to something -- our bridges


 

 

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            1              are falling apart, our streets are falling

 

            2              apart, our fire hydrants doesn't have the

 

            3              proper pressure and there is so many things

 

            4              we could do with that money other than pour

 

            5              it into this project.  As you know, the

 

            6              taxpayers are paying for the sidewalks,

 

            7              not the contractor or the developer, but the

 

            8              taxpayers.  The taxpayers paid for the

 

            9              engineering.  All this man did was buy a

 

           10              couple of broken down buildings and come

 

           11              with a plan to add another building if we do

 

           12              away with Buona's, and then he wanted -- I

 

           13              forget what he wanted, he wanted an interest

 

           14              in all of the project -- all of the

 

           15              buildings in that project if they signed on.

 

           16                   We are spending millions and millions

 

           17              of a dollar down there.  We'll never get it

 

           18              back and we already have a historical area

 

           19              in Scranton where Whistle's is down there in

 

           20              that project where the Lackawanna -- the old

 

           21              laundry was and so forth and so on.  That's

 

           22              historical, we don't need another one.  We

 

           23              should be going for the future and not

 

           24              building projects.  I don't even know if the

 

           25              federal government is going to give you that


 

 

                                                                      16

 

 

            1              land over there on the other side of the

 

            2              wall.  If you are familiar with that alley

 

            3              up there, you know, there is wall there

 

            4              that's where they want to build the one area

 

            5              of the park, now they want to put an

 

            6              elevator in and go up higher and get into

 

            7              the federal lands.  Whether the federal

 

            8              government will go with that I don't know,

 

            9              but anyway, the project is getting more and

 

           10              more expensive and we are going to get very

 

           11              little out of it.  I mean, the only person

 

           12              that is really making out in this project,

 

           13              like I said before, is the developer.  He is

 

           14              making a bundle and you and I are paying for

 

           15              it.  All of use are paying for it and unless

 

           16              you have other funds, you know, you are

 

           17              going to get something out of it, beauty is

 

           18              not going to be there, there is no beauty

 

           19              anymore, you can go to any area in the city

 

           20              or in the following area and the same broken

 

           21              down buildings are going to be there and

 

           22              they are old.  They are 100 years old,

 

           23              probably 110 or 115 years old now.  If you

 

           24              wanted to develop the area you should have

 

           25              developed it.  You should have ripped down


 

 

                                                                      17

 

 

            1              the buildings, condemned them, take them

 

            2              down and put up a brand new complex.  He

 

            3              could have built this office building, but

 

            4              then he wouldn't have got all of this money

 

            5              pouring in there.  I mean, it's ridiculous.

 

            6              Three million dollars for the backyard of

 

            7              that building and he is going to make out on

 

            8              it, not you or I.  What are we going to get

 

            9              from it?  I just hope we even have access to

 

           10              it, but who knows.  Who knows what they are

 

           11              going to do because I seen what they did up

 

           12              at the center.  The first thing they did was

 

           13              block of center alley up there and one used

 

           14              car and asked him to remove the barricades.

 

           15              God knows if they are going to barricade

 

           16              this area in, too.  He is hoping that -- the

 

           17              developer hopes that he can sell these loft

 

           18              apartments and this is added to make the

 

           19              value of the loft apartments more so he is

 

           20              going to get significant value enhancement

 

           21              to his properties and we are going to pay

 

           22              for it.  Our bridges are cracked.  Look at

 

           23              the Lackawanna Avenue, yeah, you are going

 

           24              to get it done if they ever approve that

 

           25              $7.5 million for that 1.5 million you might


 

 

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            1              have got it.  Now it's up to 7.5 million,

 

            2              God knows how long we are going to have to

 

            3              wait for that project.  This is what I mean

 

            4              about the city.  The infrastructure is

 

            5              falling apart.  That's where the emphasis

 

            6              should be put on.  The streets, I mean,

 

            7              police have to provide their own squad cars.

 

            8              How far have we got?  Maybe you bought a

 

            9              fire engine just to park it in the garage

 

           10              because you needed it a fire engine and put

 

           11              it in the garage for a backup, a used fire

 

           12              engine.  I mean, these are all of the things

 

           13              that this man is doing and he isn't helping

 

           14              the city one iota except for individuals in

 

           15              the city.  I said before a long time ago if

 

           16              I was in central city I would support this

 

           17              man 1,001 percent because I was getting

 

           18              something out of it, but I don't live in

 

           19              this city, I live in Providence, and it's

 

           20              falling apart where I live.  Thank you.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Fay Franus.

 

           22                      MS. FRANUS:  Fay Franus, Scranton.

 

           23              I just wanted to say that last week I

 

           24              contacted Lieutenant Thomas of the police

 

           25              department about the signs for the trucks in


 

 

                                                                      19

 

 

            1              Bellevue because there weren't any on

 

            2              Luzerne Street and Lieutenant Thomas is

 

            3              really wonderful.  He has called me like

 

            4              four times.  He has contacted a man named

 

            5              Dave with the DPW and they are in the

 

            6              process of making signs to put on Luzerne

 

            7              Street this way all the blocks are covered

 

            8              which makes sense.  And Lieutenant Thomas

 

            9              stated that there was four arrests this past

 

           10              year, which is good in itself, but four

 

           11              arrests when there is like 20 trucks a day.

 

           12              And he was very -- he was hoping that Chief

 

           13              Elliott could get the van that has the

 

           14              weigh-in machines to come out more often

 

           15              because there is not enough policemen to man

 

           16              that but just the fact that the police

 

           17              stopped the truck, it's usually a $200 fine

 

           18              but because the truck was overweight and it

 

           19              was in the neighborhood they weren't allowed

 

           20              trucks it was a $900 fine.  Think about it,

 

           21              20 some trucks a day at $300 fine, I mean,

 

           22              this city could make -- to say nothing of

 

           23              the fact that the reason they are there is

 

           24              to stop the trucks.

 

           25                      All I know is I appreciate


 

 

                                                                      20

 

 

            1              Lieutenant Thomas and all the work he has

 

            2              done on that and he deserves a big round of

 

            3              appreciation from myself and the people in

 

            4              Bellevue, let me tell you.

 

            5                      Another thing, I hope you follow

 

            6              through with the subpoena tonight, I believe

 

            7              you made a motion last week or are going to

 

            8              make a motion tonight to have subpoenas for

 

            9              the tax office people or whomever, I just

 

           10              hope you follow through on that.

 

           11                      And I also when I ready the paper

 

           12              this morning about certain people not paying

 

           13              their taxes over six years, I don't know if

 

           14              that list is public to the people, but I

 

           15              know it's under FBI investigation, but I

 

           16              hope if any of you can that you will really

 

           17              put your teeth right in there and not let go

 

           18              until the people in this city know who

 

           19              aren't paying their taxes because I don't

 

           20              know how you feel, but I'm sure the same as

 

           21              I do, you know, you work hard and you pay

 

           22              your taxes and somebody gets special

 

           23              treatment it's not right, and I hope

 

           24              something is done about it and I hope the

 

           25              answer isn't always going to be, well, its'


 

 

                                                                      21

 

 

            1              under investigation and I hope because

 

            2              certain people were told to cross these

 

            3              people's names off as having paid these

 

            4              taxes that maybe they won't be able to know

 

            5              who it is, but I hope that's not the case

 

            6              because somebody knows who they were, so I

 

            7              hope in the long run it comes out that

 

            8              people go find out.  And can I ask somebody,

 

            9              anybody up there, does anybody know if after

 

           10              that investigation does the public, myself

 

           11              or anybody, do we have the right to know who

 

           12              those people are?  Is that public record?

 

           13              I'm not saying about the wage tax, I don't

 

           14              know think that is, but as far as the

 

           15              property tax or the school tax is that

 

           16              something we would have a right to know

 

           17              after this investigation?

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: I would defer to

 

           19              Attorney Minora on that.  I'm not sure of

 

           20              the legality of it.

 

           21                      MS. FRANUS: Do you know?

 

           22                      MR. MINORA:  I was assuming those

 

           23              documents were taken by the FBI pursuant to

 

           24              a subpoena.

 

           25                      MS. FRANUS: I know.


 

 

                                                                      22

 

 

            1                      MR. MINORA: While they are under

 

            2              investigation and during the prosecution of

 

            3              any criminal cases that might follow they

 

            4              are confidential, after that they are no

 

            5              longer confidential, at least on the state

 

            6              level, and I might be educated differently

 

            7              on the federal level, but on the state level

 

            8              that's how it goes, I believe it's the same

 

            9              on the federal level.

 

           10                      MS. FRANUS:  So afterwards, after

 

           11              everything, the investigation, the public

 

           12              would have a right to know you think?

 

           13                      MR. MINORA: I believe so.

 

           14                      MS. FRANUS:  Well, thank you very

 

           15              much.

 

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

 

           17              Lee Morgan.

 

           18                      MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.

 

           19              First thing I'd like to say is I really

 

           20              appreciated our discussion last week and,

 

           21              you know, I don't mind people saying

 

           22              something when I leave the podium, but I

 

           23              really would appreciate that if somebody has

 

           24              something to say that I could at least come

 

           25              back to the podium and say something else


 

 

                                                                      23

 

 

            1              and that way because I think the people last

 

            2              week I had a very harsh criticism of Judge

 

            3              Harhut and Judge Corbett.  Now, Attorney

 

            4              Minora tried to I guess defend them in some

 

            5              way, but I think the people here need to

 

            6              realize one thing, Attorney Minora is an

 

            7              officer of the Court and the District

 

            8              Attorney and he works very closely with

 

            9              these judges and he might be so close to

 

           10              them that he may be blind to actually what

 

           11              they do or however you want to put it.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Morgan --

 

           13                      MR. MORGAN: Now, wait a minute.

 

           14              This --

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: No, Mr. Morgan, we went

 

           16              through this last week.  You are really

 

           17              demeaning people that are --

 

           18                      MR. MORGAN: I'm not demeaning

 

           19              anybody.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: You are making comments

 

           21              that are inappropriate.

 

           22                      MR. MORGAN: What comment did I make

 

           23              today that was inappropriate?  Now, I think

 

           24              it's important for people to realize one

 

           25              thing, judges have very broad authorities,


 

 

                                                                      24

 

 

            1              they can do many things contrary to the best

 

            2              interest of the person that stands in front

 

            3              of them.  Some of these things are, but not

 

            4              -- these are just some of the things they

 

            5              can do:  They can abuse their discretion.

 

            6              They can issue orders of the Court that the

 

            7              testimony does not sustain, you know, it

 

            8              just doesn't support their judgment.  They

 

            9              can abuse their discretion.  They can have

 

           10              collusion with special interest groups,

 

           11              okay, and they can do judicial activism and

 

           12              they are all protected by one thing

 

           13              sovereign immunity which means they are not

 

           14              responsible for anything they do, so no

 

           15              matter how much harm they bring to a person

 

           16              the only thing you can do is go to the

 

           17              Judicial Review Board, but then again you

 

           18              always have judges in the newspaper saying

 

           19              all of the wonderful things you are doing

 

           20              but you never hear of all of the terrible

 

           21              things they do, and that's the problem here.

 

           22                   Okay, now, I'm a member of the tax

 

           23              group.  We offered Judge Harhut and Judge

 

           24              Corbett the opportunity to come in and

 

           25              present their record, they didn't want to do


 

 

                                                                      25

 

 

            1              that.  It's a really terrible thing.  It's

 

            2              really a terrible thing to have the power

 

            3              they have and, you know, one time America

 

            4              did have a sovereign, it was George the

 

            5              Third, he was the King of England and we

 

            6              threw him out of here.  In America there are

 

            7              no Kings.  Judges need to lose their

 

            8              sovereign immunity.

 

            9                      Now, to shift gathers.  We are going

 

           10              to sit here and we are going to talk about

 

           11              blight for the next 50 years and in all

 

           12              reality the city's assets have been

 

           13              squandered for so long that we can't even

 

           14              talk about the time frame.  This mayor

 

           15              shepherded the sewer authority deal through

 

           16              with American Anglican, we lost our shirt.

 

           17                   This mayor skirted council by not

 

           18              bringing the rate increases in regards to

 

           19              the sewer authority before council, well,

 

           20              really the council did that.  Council should

 

           21              have voted before the sewer authority could

 

           22              have raised it's rates, they didn't do that,

 

           23              so they allowed the mayor to do this.  The

 

           24              mayor spent all kinds of money at Nay Aug

 

           25              Park.  The county gave us I think $300,000


 

 

                                                                      26

 

 

            1              to build in Hamlin's Grove.  We ripped that

 

            2              building down.  We are going to through the

 

            3              neighborhoods and condemning properties one

 

            4              after another, for what reason I really

 

            5              don't know.

 

            6                      I was told by this city today that I

 

            7              needed a permit to put a storm door on my

 

            8              house.  I mean, I just find that the city is

 

            9              just so out of control.  We have fees for

 

           10              everything.  You know, went to the sewer

 

           11              authority this week to pay my sewer bill,

 

           12              people there are complaining saying I can't

 

           13              believe I'm paying the kind of money I'm

 

           14              paying for my sewer bill every week, they

 

           15              are just totally disgusted.  You see people

 

           16              at the tax office paying their taxes and you

 

           17              know it's really pathetic when you see

 

           18              somebody there and they don't have enough

 

           19              money to pay even one quarter, okay, but yet

 

           20              still we are allowing this money to be

 

           21              wasted.  Soon the money, the city is going

 

           22              to come and look for more borrowing.  We

 

           23              have hundreds and millions of dollars in

 

           24              borrowing.  It's time for the borrowing to

 

           25              stop.  It's time for this council to say we


 

 

                                                                      27

 

 

            1              just can't borrow anymore.  We have lost our

 

            2              bond rating.  We had a gentleman come in

 

            3              here who had his house condemned.  They shut

 

            4              his electric off and then his house got

 

            5              looted.  What are actually we doing for the

 

            6              residents of this city.  I think Ozzie, as I

 

            7              have said it for years, no curbs, no

 

            8              sidewalks, infrastructure just in total

 

            9              disrepair, all of the money going to special

 

           10              interests.  Didn't we loan I believe it's

 

           11              the Cooper's the money to invest in

 

           12              Preferred Produce and now we have something

 

           13              going on with Tink's, I mean, and it's just

 

           14              that the same people in my opinion that are

 

           15              connected come and get help all of the time

 

           16              but the ordinary people they don't get

 

           17              anything.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF:  Thank you, Mr. Morgan.

 

           19              Sam Patilla.

 

           20                      MR. PATILLA: Sam Patilla, Scranton

 

           21              resident, homeowner, member of the Scranton

 

           22              Lackawanna Taxpayers' Association.  Good

 

           23              evening, Mr. Courtright and Mrs. Evans.

 

           24              First, I'd like to give Marie Schumacher and

 

           25              her family my condolences.  That's my rock,


 

 

                                                                      28

 

 

            1              my strength and my solitude.

 

            2                      Secondly, I'd like to address the

 

            3              kids out there viewing this on Channel 61

 

            4              and 62.  You have heard citizens time after

 

            5              time, week after week, month after month,

 

            6              year after year, come to this podium and

 

            7              address city council.  The only way that we

 

            8              are going to be able to institute change,

 

            9              and change is within reach, is if you kids

 

           10              seek positions within the election

 

           11              committees counting the ballots where the

 

           12              taxpayers and the citizens vote.  We have to

 

           13              get the in crowd out of those positions,

 

           14              okay?  When I first got here all I heard was

 

           15              that minorities were causing blight.  It

 

           16              wasn't the fact that all the taxpayers'

 

           17              money is being spent in downtown Scranton,

 

           18              just as everybody else has spoken before me

 

           19              has stated, that money isn't going out into

 

           20              the neighborhoods it's all being poured in

 

           21              here to LLC's, developers, and Doherty

 

           22              cronies.       We want to stop that -- we

 

           23              want to get rid of the rubber stampers, we

 

           24              get people honest people, honest taxpayers,

 

           25              honest residents to count these votes so


 

 

                                                                      29

 

 

            1              that the people who -- the people want who

 

            2              they elect are put in these positions.  You

 

            3              know, our vote should reflect our council,

 

            4              our authorities, our board members, not

 

            5              appointees because that doesn't do anything

 

            6              but create the quagmire that Scranton faces

 

            7              today.

 

            8                      Secondly, I have been saying to

 

            9              myself every since I got here that this

 

           10              mayor has been circumventing Scranton City

 

           11              Council time and time again, be it the

 

           12              Scranton Sewer Authority, be it the

 

           13              Redevelopment Authority, be it any authority

 

           14              that can go out and purchase our delinquent

 

           15              taxes or any Scranton asset and use that

 

           16              asset to obtain loans so that they can go

 

           17              ahead and squander more of our money, put us

 

           18              further in debt, because if those

 

           19              authorities acquire those loans council

 

           20              doesn't have a say so in the matter and we

 

           21              find ourself deeper and deeper down in debt,

 

           22              deeper and deeper into a hole.

 

           23                      You know, it has to stop and our

 

           24              children, our children normally they have to

 

           25              rely on us, we have to rely on our children


 

 

                                                                      30

 

 

            1              because we are surrounded in this society

 

            2              today where it's okay not to vote for a

 

            3              certain person because of their race,

 

            4              because of their gender, not because of what

 

            5              they are bringing to the table, but just

 

            6              because we are brought up not to like a

 

            7              certain people.  That garbage has to stop.

 

            8              We had information brought before us from

 

            9              the Single Tax Office about improprieties

 

           10              and rather than our elected and appointed

 

           11              officials pursuing that information they

 

           12              chose to go after a bunch of women, well,

 

           13              two women, and if that doesn't reek of

 

           14              cowardess I don't know what it, what does,

 

           15              because that really, really shows the lack

 

           16              of backbone of our elected officials when

 

           17              you got to go after a 74-year-old woman

 

           18              instead of somebody spending our money to

 

           19              pay off a bar tab.  You know, when I first

 

           20              got here the big thing was conduct, demeanor

 

           21              when people came up to the podium, taxpayers

 

           22              don't get that same type of respect, the

 

           23              council president sits up there and turns

 

           24              his head when one of his associates go off

 

           25              on their little tangents, you know, this


 

 

                                                                      31

 

 

            1              garbage has got to stop.  And like I said

 

            2              before, the way to get rid of the excess

 

            3              baggage and for those kids out there

 

            4              listening to me, especially minorities,

 

            5              especially those of you in college, when you

 

            6              go down to that election office you request

 

            7              a position counting ballots and if they tell

 

            8              you, no, you get back to us and we'll send

 

            9              that information straight to the feds.  You

 

           10              can laugh all you want because I'm not the

 

           11              one to play with, okay?  The reason this

 

           12              city is in the condition that it is today

 

           13              because brothers, sisters, wives, husbands,

 

           14              cousins are being given these positions

 

           15              managing our money.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Les

 

           17              Spindler.

 

           18                      MR. SPINDLER:  Good evening,

 

           19              Council, Les Spindler, city resident,

 

           20              homeowner.  Sorry to hear about Terry

 

           21              Osborne, although, I'm glad he got a better

 

           22              position, I'm sorry he hear he got it, we

 

           23              lost a good man.  Seems like we are losing

 

           24              all of our good public safety people.  We

 

           25              have our younger police officers fleeing


 

 

                                                                      32

 

 

            1              this city like mice from a burning building,

 

            2              now it looks like our firemen also want to

 

            3              leave because they haven't had a raise in

 

            4              such a long time they cant make ends meet

 

            5              and all Chris Doherty talks about is tearing

 

            6              down houses in west side and opening up

 

            7              coffee shops down town.  He doesn't care

 

            8              about the public safety officials.

 

            9                      Next thing, I want to commend

 

           10              council on looking into issuing subpoenas to

 

           11              get the people from the tax office in here

 

           12              to answer questions, but even if they come

 

           13              here I don't know if will do any good

 

           14              because they are probably just going to say,

 

           15              we can't answer questions because it's under

 

           16              FBI investigation, so I don't know what good

 

           17              that's going to do.  I guess it's got to be

 

           18              done anyway.

 

           19                      Next thing, Mr. McGoff, a few weeks

 

           20              ago I brought something about the dangerous

 

           21              dog legislation, are you going to look into

 

           22              that at all?

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI: Would you like me to

 

           24              answer?

 

           25                      MR. SPINDLER: Yes.


 

 

                                                                      33

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI:  Les, I looked into

 

            2              that and Tom Preamble from the Planning

 

            3              Commission was doing one from them and it's

 

            4              supposed to be up in the law department, but

 

            5              from what I understand we cannot be breed

 

            6              specific.

 

            7                      MR. SPINDLER: I didn't say that, I'm

 

            8              just saying dangerous dogs, I didn't say any

 

            9              breed.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI:  So, I asked Tom if he

 

           11              could follow through on that and get

 

           12              something to council.

 

           13                      MR. SPINDLER:  Okay.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: So, we are working on

 

           15              it, but you cannot be breed specific in

 

           16              Pennsylvania.

 

           17                      MR. SPINDLER: No, I understand.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI: Because the state law

 

           19              supersedes.

 

           20                      MR. SPINDLER:  Any dog can bite you,

 

           21              but you never heard of a Chihuahua killing

 

           22              somebody.

 

           23                      Next thing, awhile back I mentioned

 

           24              something about the village at Tripp Park, a

 

           25              woman came up to me and is having problems


 

 

                                                                      34

 

 

            1              up there, and I think it might have been

 

            2              you, Mrs. Gatelli, who said we have a new

 

            3              city engineer and he was going to look into

 

            4              that, did he look into that at all, do you

 

            5              know?

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI: I'm not sure, but could

 

            7              we do that, Kay, send something to

 

            8              Mr. Brazil and the new city engineer?

 

            9                      MS. GARVEY: Okay.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI:  To see about that list

 

           11              that George Parker had for Tripps Park.

 

           12                      MR. SPINDLER:  That's a disgrace

 

           13              that that project isn't done yet.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: I don't want to say too

 

           15              much about that because council is being

 

           16              sued.

 

           17                      MR. SPINDLER: I understand.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI: So I don't want to say

 

           19              too much publically.

 

           20                      MR. SPINDLER:  This is for you, Mrs.

 

           21              Evans, not far from where I live at the 1700

 

           22              block of Elizabeth Street it's right -- it's

 

           23              a dead end there, right where Tripp Park

 

           24              softball complex there, right at the end of

 

           25              the street on the right-hand side there is a


 

 

                                                                      35

 

 

            1              sewer storm drain there, just passed the

 

            2              storm drain there is a hole in the ground,

 

            3              somebody has a five gallon tub stuffed in

 

            4              the hole, my kid could fall in there, and

 

            5              the neighbor told me the other day she has

 

            6              called twice about it and nobody has come

 

            7              up, but it's a big hole and I think

 

            8              something should be done, it's a really a

 

            9              safety hazard.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: Absolutely.

 

           11                      MR. SPINDLER: Lastly, last week

 

           12              Mrs. Fanucci I couldn't come here, but I

 

           13              heard the replay and you said you listen to

 

           14              the -- let me get this straight here, you

 

           15              only represent the people that e-mail you or

 

           16              call you.  Well, you are an elected

 

           17              official, you should represent everybody

 

           18              that lives in the city, not just people that

 

           19              e-mail you and call you.  Thank you.

 

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

 

           21              Jean Suetta.

 

           22                      MS. SUETTA:  How was your Mother's

 

           23              Day, everybody?  Jean Suetta.  How was your

 

           24              Mother's Day?

 

           25                      MS. FANUCCI: Nice.


 

 

                                                                      36

 

 

            1                      MS. SUETTA: As Judy announced they

 

            2              are doing the work down lower Greenridge.

 

            3              Now in front of my house I got trucks

 

            4              zooming by, buses zooming by, everybody is

 

            5              zooming to go get a fake tan and a kid, a

 

            6              little girl run out in the road she was "C"

 

            7              hair away from getting killed and you know

 

            8              what that "C" word is, and I'm not saying

 

            9              it.  I'm going to show you the signs that we

 

           10              have down in our neighborhood.  I mean, they

 

           11              go from one stop sign, 30 miles an hour to

 

           12              get to another stop sign.  Here's our

 

           13              pictures to protect our children.  You know,

 

           14              I'd rather have seven-foot of water in my

 

           15              cellar than a kid get killed.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah, I agree.

 

           17                      MS. SUETTA:  This is across the

 

           18              street from my house, I have a man come

 

           19              there today he says, "Jeanie, where is that

 

           20              sign?"

 

           21                      I said, "Across the street."

 

           22                      You can't even see that.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: No, you can't.

 

           24                      MS. SUETTA: How about getting the

 

           25              street zoned, a street sign?


 

 

                                                                      37

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Can you give me

 

            2              your e-mail?  Is your address on there.

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI: Why don't you write

 

            4              your address down.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Can you put your

 

            6              address on there.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI: Neil has it.  Give it

 

            8              to Neil.

 

            9                      MS. SUETTA: Neil, you coming to my

 

           10              house, Honey?  You know, it's not even about

 

           11              the Scranton Times.  They had a cartoon in

 

           12              there with Obama with a sword and Hillary

 

           13              with her arms cut off.  Now, that's nice for

 

           14              our kids to see.  The only paper in town and

 

           15              they are showing shit like that.  Sorry,

 

           16              feces like that.  You know, please get us

 

           17              some speed signs, some signs down there.

 

           18              Shut up, you are coming to my house.  You

 

           19              know, you've had the rest you haven't had

 

           20              the best.

 

           21                      And, now, you know, the mayor spent

 

           22              all of money up the at Nay Aug, that poor

 

           23              lion died, why couldn't he take some of that

 

           24              money and get Dr. Doolittle.  Give me an

 

           25              answer.


 

 

                                                                      38

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT: How do I answer

 

            2              that?

 

            3                      MS. SUETTA: Did you ever see the

 

            4              movie?

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: No, I didn't, I'm

 

            6              sorry, Dr. Doolittle?  No, I didn't see

 

            7              that.

 

            8                      MS. SUETTA: No?  That was a good

 

            9              one.  And everybody get out and support our

 

           10              troops, please, you know, it is a shame.

 

           11              Years ago it used to three deep when I was a

 

           12              kid and now we got one deep coming down the

 

           13              road.  Thank you.  You want my address?  You

 

           14              want my phone number?  Just get a speed

 

           15              limit sign.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Jim Stucker.

 

           17                      MS. SUETTA: And I got him a job

 

           18              today cutting my neighbor's yard.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Great.

 

           20                      MR. STUCKER:  Right on Greenridge

 

           21              Street, Market Street, all the way up the

 

           22              top of the hill, Oak Street, too, there is

 

           23              car parked on the sidewalk you can't walk.

 

           24              What happened was right on Market Street

 

           25              right across from that there is a cars right


 

 

                                                                      39

 

 

            1              on the sidewalk, people can't walk, right

 

            2              upon the sidewalks this morning they had a

 

            3              car parked.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, Jim, we'll

 

            5              take care of it.

 

            6                      MR. STUCKER:  And where the buses

 

            7              are, where the buses downtown, we need

 

            8              somebody out there to take care of the cars

 

            9              parked where the buses are and where that

 

           10              bank is.  People park there, there is no

 

           11              reason to park there where that bank is, the

 

           12              bank on this side of the street.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, Jim.

 

           14                      MR. STUCKER: And back in Murphy's,

 

           15              same place, on Murphy's, I complained about

 

           16              it last time about it, they didn't cut the

 

           17              grass, they didn't pick the bottles and

 

           18              cans.  And they closed that barber shop down

 

           19              and then Murphy's Bar is up and I don't know

 

           20              what.  I mean, I used to cut the grass

 

           21              there, I don't do it no more.  They got to

 

           22              get them bottles and cans up there they are

 

           23              going to get rats there again.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Okay, Jim.

 

           25                      MR. STUCKER: And we still need the


 

 

                                                                      40

 

 

            1              signs on that Providence Square.  There is

 

            2              no signs in the top -- from the top -- from

 

            3              the bottom down, from the bottom up signs

 

            4              that laundry mat there is no signs up there.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Jim, I'm going to

 

            6              come up there one day and meet you up there

 

            7              and we are going to get this squared away

 

            8              once and for while, right?

 

            9                      MR. STUCKER: There is only maybe

 

           10              five or six signs.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, well, I'm

 

           12              going to come up and meet you up there one

 

           13              day and try to take care of what you want to

 

           14              get taken care of.  I tried to explain it to

 

           15              you before, you don't seem to understand

 

           16              what I'm telling you, all right, but I'll

 

           17              try to tell you in person, not here, all

 

           18              right?

 

           19                      MR. STUCKER:  All right.  I've been

 

           20              taking care of the garbage and the cans.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF:  Good.

 

           22                      MR. STUCKER: They are throwing them

 

           23              back in the yard and, I mean, what happened

 

           24              the wind blows them out in the street, not

 

           25              the garbage guys the wind blows them out in


 

 

                                                                      41

 

 

            1              the street, so --

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Jim.

 

            3                      MR. STUCKER:  And we still need some

 

            4              signs, stop signs, a couple of them on

 

            5              Market Street, a couple on Oak Street where

 

            6              you go down that dip where the creek is,

 

            7              where Oak Street is there is a dip there,

 

            8              there is a car always abandoned on the

 

            9              sidewalk, everyday and everybody walk and

 

           10              nobody can -- somebody is going to get hit

 

           11              there.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  We'll take care of

 

           13              it, Jim.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you very much.

 

           15              David Dobson.

 

           16                      MR. DOBSON: Dave Dobson, Taxpayers'

 

           17              Associate, resident of Scranton.  On the

 

           18              gypsy moth issue, I still haven't been able

 

           19              to find out, I have been trying to contact

 

           20              the number and I did contact somebody, but

 

           21              then I was referred to a voice mail on

 

           22              getting our parks sprayed by the forester.

 

           23              It would be nice to know if they plan to

 

           24              include that instead of spraying a bunch of

 

           25              trees on the mountain side that really is


 

 

                                                                      42

 

 

            1              gypsy moths need to be dealt with there, but

 

            2              our parks and trees are dying, they are

 

            3              attacked year after year after year and you

 

            4              go up there in the late summer and the

 

            5              leaves are eaten off the trees so badly that

 

            6              you can't even get any shade, so I'll

 

            7              continue to try to contact that number.

 

            8              Hopefully, I'll be -- it won't be the county

 

            9              controller at the helm.

 

           10                      Trash in courts, a couple of people

 

           11              stopped me, like, I don't really have

 

           12              anything to do with trash in courts, but

 

           13              they have asked me to bring up the subject

 

           14              again.  These people with no trash barrels

 

           15              or leaving trash out even a day before that

 

           16              gives skunks and possums and whatever or

 

           17              cats, dogs that are strays to get into the

 

           18              this garbage and it's really ugly and it's a

 

           19              lot of the litter that's around is more a

 

           20              matter of this blowing around than people

 

           21              throwing things outs of their cars which is

 

           22              undoubtedly also a problem.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI: Mr. Dobson, could you

 

           24              leave the address with Neil where that

 

           25              garbage is being left out over 24 hours?


 

 

                                                                      43

 

 

            1                      MR. DOBSON:  It's pretty rampant.

 

            2              It's pretty rampant.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  Well, if you can give

 

            4              us a specific area they can be cited for

 

            5              leaving it out early.

 

            6                      MR. DOBSON:  What we should do is

 

            7              maybe have the trash collectors document

 

            8              these people and advise them that they

 

            9              should get cans.  I'm not even sure of the

 

           10              addresses.  I walk my dog through the courts

 

           11              so he doesn't stop to relieve himself on

 

           12              somebody's doorstop which is --

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI:  I'm not sure we have

 

           14              an ordinance that requires a container.

 

           15                      MR. DOBSON: Well, maybe that's

 

           16              something to consider.

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI: I'm really not sure

 

           18              about that.

 

           19                      MR. DOBSON:  Perhaps we should

 

           20              consider that some day because it is a big

 

           21              health problem, too.

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI:  Maybe we can look into

 

           23              that if there is such an ordinance.  I don't

 

           24              believe there is from my recollection, but

 

           25              there is for 24 hours.


 

 

                                                                      44

 

 

            1                      MR. DOBSON: But, any type of edible

 

            2              garbage should be in a can and if you have

 

            3              some small construction debris or something

 

            4              a bag is acceptable, but not what I see, and

 

            5              it's rampant and there is many, many and

 

            6              many people that are just to tossing bags

 

            7              out there the day before or whatever and

 

            8              that's just not good enough if you want a

 

            9              clean neighborhood.

 

           10                      I would like to talk about voting.

 

           11              It's not only a right, it's also a duty and

 

           12              a privilege.  Our Single Tax Office and

 

           13              county controller issues are a prime

 

           14              example.  Six years in one office and he

 

           15              also won election to a better office.

 

           16                      Also, getting reliable information

 

           17              from all sides is paramount to responsible

 

           18              voting.  Party activists decide an election

 

           19              too often with low voter turn out.  This has

 

           20              been the norm for too long, it's also

 

           21              imperative to read such documents as the

 

           22              constitution, federal and state, and many,

 

           23              many, many publications on these issues and

 

           24              from both sides right and left.  Tolerance,

 

           25              empathy and consideration of other citizens


 

 

                                                                      45

 

 

            1              is also imperative.  Authoritarianism was a

 

            2              typical tool that regressive economics,

 

            3              special interests and single issue voters

 

            4              and it only tends to eliminate voices that

 

            5              need to be heard.  Please, all voters,

 

            6              inform yourself impeccably and make it your

 

            7              goal to vote in November and develop a

 

            8              questionnaire such as how often is this

 

            9              person present at the podium and how they

 

           10              vote and the issues that seem to be ill

 

           11              advised.  Thank you and have a good night.

 

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

 

           13              There are no other speakers signed in.

 

           14              Anyone else that would wish to speak?

 

           15                      MR. DAVIS: Salaam aleikum.  I come

 

           16              here tonight because I heard of a young man

 

           17              from Valley View who died in his sleep of

 

           18              asthma, but the act that was committed by

 

           19              his fellow students and the school boards of

 

           20              our area was gigantic.  It showed such a

 

           21              humanness.  It showed that we can be very

 

           22              human to people when they are in need, and I

 

           23              came to thank the kids for what they did.  I

 

           24              think that what you have done shows a great

 

           25              sign for our kids and the future and our


 

 

                                                                      46

 

 

            1              city and the future.  There is a certain

 

            2              humility that it takes to stand there and

 

            3              ask people to give you money and then there

 

            4              is a certain humility that it takes to give

 

            5              people who need funds and help.  I think

 

            6              it's a great product that we have to look at

 

            7              finding what we should do help you even

 

            8              more.  I don't think that we are doing as

 

            9              much as we can with our high school students

 

           10              and our kids in our community for what they

 

           11              have given back to us and I think they can

 

           12              give so much more, but we have to give a lot

 

           13              also.  That was my major reason for coming

 

           14              tonight.

 

           15                      The second thing is I'm perplexed.

 

           16              You say you went to build a medical hospital

 

           17              outside of the Technical High School, out of

 

           18              the old Technical High School now called

 

           19              Northeastern when everybody in the world is

 

           20              trying to get green space, save green space

 

           21              is what's so necessary for our kids to

 

           22              adjust to their needs and their wants.  We

 

           23              seem to be destroying and building

 

           24              high-rises.  I was going to say something

 

           25              before when I heard you are going to be


 

 

                                                                      47

 

 

            1              voting principals of establishing this

 

            2              building, but I kept saying it myself they

 

            3              won't do it, it doesn't make sense to me.

 

            4              This is an impoverished area you are talking

 

            5              about.  You are talking about people who are

 

            6              under the, you know, under the guise of

 

            7              under paid, undernourished, etcetera, and

 

            8              yet they want to take the green space that

 

            9              they have outside of Technical High School

 

           10              or Northeastern High School and put a

 

           11              medical center there?  I don't understand.

 

           12              We have so much space.  We have so many

 

           13              places we can put our medical center, and I

 

           14              couldn't understand it and I still don't

 

           15              understand it, but I understand that it's a

 

           16              private nonprofit organization and they will

 

           17              be going into a property which is private

 

           18              nonprofit, also, or nonprofit, nontaxable

 

           19              area so we are not losing anything, we are

 

           20              not gaining anything except we are losing a

 

           21              space for the kids that have so little, who

 

           22              have a place to play and have a place to

 

           23              enjoy themselves without problems, so it's

 

           24              probably too late for me to do anything or

 

           25              for you to do anything about it, but I ask


 

 

                                                                      48

 

 

            1              to you start thinking a little more about

 

            2              where we are placing these things, where we

 

            3              are placing these building and things like

 

            4              that especially when we our kids have very

 

            5              little to look forward to now.  If you start

 

            6              taking away their one little free space that

 

            7              they do have then I think we are harming

 

            8              themselves and I think it's going to go come

 

            9              up and bite us later on, maybe not now,

 

           10              because our kids are young, but I'm quiet

 

           11              sure we are seeing all things that shows

 

           12              that violence is but a step away from these

 

           13              kids and we are not gathering all of our

 

           14              intents.  Our intention is to guide our

 

           15              children in a way that's Godly or in proper

 

           16              manners and instead we see that our kids are

 

           17              going off, they are going off the main path

 

           18              and we are not bringing them back, at least

 

           19              I don't see it and perhaps it might be that

 

           20              I'm ignorant.  Thank you.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Davis.

 

           22                      MS. BLOOM: Hi.  My name is Diane

 

           23              Bloom and I'm here on behalf of the annual

 

           24              Unity Festival.  First of all, for those of

 

           25              you who I haven't seen the Black History


 

 

                                                                      49

 

 

            1              month dinner I want to thank you again for

 

            2              your participation, coming out, and my

 

            3              mission in this town is to inspire multi-

 

            4              ethnic social involvement and participation,

 

            5              to encourage a communal bond of all cultures

 

            6              in Lackawanna County and to make this our

 

            7              collective vocation, the building and the

 

            8              development of one strong community with

 

            9              traditional greatness and a communal

 

           10              foundation on which all of our children can

 

           11              grow and become positive, productive and

 

           12              proud people, and this is not an easy task.

 

           13                   For the last six years I have been

 

           14              faced with many obstacles.  Some obstacles

 

           15              are part of my own personal and professional

 

           16              development, some obstacles are necessary in

 

           17              the development of foresight and

 

           18              perseverance, and then there are the

 

           19              unnecessary obstacles that just plain wear

 

           20              me down and completely obstruct my mission.

 

           21              So I'm here tonight to ask for your help

 

           22              with one of these obstacles that I deem

 

           23              unnecessary.

 

           24                      I'm currently planning the fourth

 

           25              annual Unity Festival which will be held at


 

 

                                                                      50

 

 

            1              Nay Aug Park on August 2 of this year and

 

            2              for the past three years the festival has

 

            3              successfully celebrated the merging cultures

 

            4              in our area and promoted fellowship in the

 

            5              community by providing a venue for local

 

            6              merchants to sell, young artists to perform

 

            7              and to assist in the outreach of nonprofit

 

            8              organizations that enhance the quality of

 

            9              life of families in our region and it has

 

           10              been successful and it has been growing

 

           11              every year.

 

           12                      My concern tonight is in providing a

 

           13              venue for local merchandise vendors.  Every

 

           14              year I am faced with a new challenge for

 

           15              having these vendors at this event.  Now,

 

           16              the event as I speak about people who are

 

           17              not in a position to start a business for

 

           18              one reason or another, some vendors are

 

           19              hobbyist that look for opportunities to sell

 

           20              their unique heritage specialties that we

 

           21              have as such at the Unity Festival and some

 

           22              vendors make items to sell just for the

 

           23              Unity Festival, some vendors are trying to

 

           24              make ends meet and some vendors are trying

 

           25              to finance future hope for a business.


 

 

                                                                      51

 

 

            1                      Now, my vendors are charged a

 

            2              nominal fee to participate in the Unity

 

            3              Festival which offsets costs for me and they

 

            4              are required to have a one-day transient

 

            5              license from the City of Scranton as part of

 

            6              that agreement.  Now, the cost of that

 

            7              permit has long been a simple application

 

            8              that costs $17.  Food vendors have always

 

            9              paid $100 and they are in a separate

 

           10              category and these are not the ones I'm

 

           11              taking about tonight, tonight I'm talking

 

           12              about the merchant vendors.  The last year

 

           13              it was brought to my attention that the

 

           14              process which changed to where it was no

 

           15              longer a simple two to three page

 

           16              application that could be filled out in one

 

           17              day, but it was disparagingly changed to a

 

           18              20-page application requiring a background

 

           19              and criminal record check that took up to

 

           20              two weeks to get for a $17 one-day permit.

 

           21                   Today I found out that it has again

 

           22              been changed and even more disparaging.  Now

 

           23              there is no one-day $17 transient license,

 

           24              now a vendor must purchase an annual license

 

           25              at a cost of $100.  Now, this will eliminate


 

 

                                                                      52

 

 

            1              many of my vendors who only look forward to

 

            2              selling you that one day and who can only

 

            3              hope to make a couple of hundred dollars.

 

            4              The profit margin is greatly affected,

 

            5              especially since this is an additional cost

 

            6              to participating in the festival.  I can't

 

            7              help or feel this is mean spirited tactic to

 

            8              discourage the disadvantaged person who

 

            9              relies on an occasional vending opportunity.

 

           10              I may be wrong, I don't know, but every year

 

           11              it gets increasingly difficult for people to

 

           12              get a vending license.

 

           13                      Now, yes, I'm told that this new

 

           14              license for $100 gives vendors the right to

 

           15              spend any time throughout the year, but that

 

           16              is only in Scranton and they are still

 

           17              subject to permit fees if they are traveling

 

           18              vendors.  Some vendors only get an

 

           19              opportunity two or three times in the summer

 

           20              to vend if the weather permits.

 

           21                      Well, I know my time is up, but what

 

           22              I'm asking is some help with this.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI:  We will look into

 

           24              that, Diane.  I'll look into that for you,

 

           25              but I just would like to tell you that I


 

 

                                                                      53

 

 

            1              have noticed in the warm weather that there

 

            2              are vendors on street corners and maybe

 

            3              that's why it has become a little different

 

            4              in the office and if it has I'm happy for

 

            5              that because I don't like to see people on

 

            6              corners selling goods when there is a store

 

            7              nearby that they are interfering with, a

 

            8              festival is different, but --

 

            9                      MS. BLOOM: And that's

 

           10              understandable.  My son started selling

 

           11              vending on Lackawanna Avenue which afforded

 

           12              them the opportunity to own their own store

 

           13              downtown, Scranton Now.  Had they had to

 

           14              face this $100 they wouldn't have been able

 

           15              to start as vendors and grow to be business

 

           16              owners.  So, I'm concerned about that cost

 

           17              and some people only get two or three times

 

           18              a year which would it be cheaper if they

 

           19              would just pay per time that they were going

 

           20              to vend instead of paying $100.

 

           21                      MS. FANUCCI: Leave you contact

 

           22              information with Neil so that I can contact

 

           23              you and if there is more information we

 

           24              need.

 

           25                      MS. EVANS: Weren't you also informed


 

 

                                                                      54

 

 

            1              though by a representative of the

 

            2              administration about the increase in the

 

            3              fee?

 

            4                      MS. BLOOM: Well, just when I went

 

            5              there this morning I was checking to make

 

            6              sure everything -- I have everything in this

 

            7              order.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Which office specifically

 

            9              did you visit?

 

           10                      MS. BLOOM: Licensing and permits.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: I would think though that

 

           12              if there were any increase in a fee that

 

           13              would have been run by city council because

 

           14              I know in the past when, for example, fees I

 

           15              believe were increased for vending machines.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT: The amusement

 

           17              license came before us, those fees were

 

           18              increased.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: Let us look into and

 

           20              someone will contact you.

 

           21                      MS. BLOOM: I appreciate it.

 

           22                      MS. EVANS: The amusement license is

 

           23              what this falls under?

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Oh, no, no, that

 

           25              was one of the one that came before us.


 

 

                                                                      55

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: Right.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Just as an example.

 

            3                      MS. EVANS: Oh, okay, but what I'm

 

            4              saying is I would think that this could not

 

            5              have occurred without our --

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI: Actually, I think that

 

            7              they just stopped using the other license.

 

            8              So, you know, if you only have one to apply

 

            9              for, this is the one that was also there.  I

 

           10              don't think it's an increase, I think this

 

           11              was the one that was always there.

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI: They are not giving the

 

           13              single day voucher.

 

           14                      MS. FANUCCI: Right.  The one that

 

           15              was always there for $100.

 

           16                      MS. GATELLI: We'll check on it and

 

           17              get back to you.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Chris, I was running

 

           20              to the men's room, Chrissy, but I got

 

           21              something for you.  The Sloan Little League

 

           22              Association wanted me to give you this hat.

 

           23              This is their 50th anniversary hat and they

 

           24              asked me to give that to you.

 

           25                      MR. SLEDENZSKI:  Thanks, Bill.


 

 

                                                                      56

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT: You're welcome,

 

            2              buddy.

 

            3                      MR. SLEDENZSKI:  Well, Jude, what

 

            4              happened yesterday we got --

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI: I know, it was

 

            6              terrible.

 

            7                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: I don't even want to

 

            8              talk about it.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI:  Terrible.

 

           10                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Terrible, terrible,

 

           11              but, we are still in this.  West is still

 

           12              the best team in the league, and you know

 

           13              that.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: Absolutely.

 

           15                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: West is best, you

 

           16              know that, Bill.

 

           17                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  Good evening,

 

           18              Council, Marie Schumacher.  First, I heard

 

           19              from several people that Mrs. Evans was kind

 

           20              enough to make some very kind comments about

 

           21              my mother.  She was very special not just to

 

           22              me, but to a lot of other people and I

 

           23              appreciate the comments.  I'm sorry I wasn't

 

           24              here to hear them and I thank you for taking

 

           25              time away from your Mother's Day to come


 

 

                                                                      57

 

 

            1              over and pay your respects as did many

 

            2              others in the gallery that are here now and

 

            3              I thank them all, it was very comforting.

 

            4                      As to why I'm here tonight, you

 

            5              know, I have been around this earth myself

 

            6              for quite awhile, mom was 94 so you can

 

            7              probably figure out how old I am, and I

 

            8              remember when it was a great place.  I

 

            9              really don't think it's a great place

 

           10              anymore.  It's a shell, but it's got a lot

 

           11              of potential and I would like to read the

 

           12              preamble to the Home Rule Charter to start

 

           13              tonight.

 

           14                      It says:  "We, the people, of the

 

           15              City of Scranton in adopting this Home Rule

 

           16              Charter, recognize that government is

 

           17              competent only when those who compose it

 

           18              work as trustees of the people.  As a

 

           19              servant of the people, good government must

 

           20              be responsive to their basic human needs."

 

           21                      And then it concludes with one more

 

           22              sentence.  Now, you all took the oath of

 

           23              office I believe to uphold that and tonight

 

           24              I would like to make a plea to you to start

 

           25              new and to start using your ears to listen


 

 

                                                                      58

 

 

            1              and when things sink in to go out and

 

            2              investigate some of the things.  A lot of

 

            3              the things that have been brought forth from

 

            4              this podium should have been investigated

 

            5              and I would say that, you know, for the

 

            6              monopoly newspaper as represented by

 

            7              Mr. Brown.  A perfect example, today's

 

            8              monopoly newspaper article on the Single Tax

 

            9              Office is a good example.  I must preface

 

           10              this by saying that I'm offended that

 

           11              employees and Single Tax Office officials

 

           12              met with reporters but apparently will not

 

           13              meet with council.  I find that very

 

           14              offensive, however, the main point is that

 

           15              the admission of the Single Tax Office

 

           16              solicitor the collections ceased almost

 

           17              completely for the last six years.

 

           18                      Now, citizens, including myself,

 

           19              have noted budget discrepancies that should

 

           20              have peaked the interest of council members

 

           21              to go out and investigate and find out why

 

           22              the figures didn't seem to add up.  We have

 

           23              talked about wage tax collections, two weeks

 

           24              ago I revealed that the rental property

 

           25              registration collections so far are about 3


 

 

                                                                      59

 

 

            1              percent of what should have been collected

 

            2              and I would be willing to bet that nobody

 

            3              went back and asked why or what's been doing

 

            4              to bring that up and I find that very sad

 

            5              and I don't think it's representing the

 

            6              people who elected you and acting in the

 

            7              best interest.  I think in that regard and

 

            8              in many others I think you should either do

 

            9              away with the ordinance that requires those

 

           10              things or follow through and make sure that

 

           11              everybody complies, not just a few.  I think

 

           12              that is incredibly unfair.

 

           13                      Now, another example, during the

 

           14              2007 budget presentations it's peanuts for

 

           15              money, but you can do go down the list of

 

           16              revenue items and I would tell you you can

 

           17              find a discrepancy almost in every line one

 

           18              if you go back there, every line item.

 

           19                      So, this was a small one though,

 

           20              during the 2007 budget presentation I asked

 

           21              why the revenue from theatre license had

 

           22              gone from $3,000 in 2006 to zero in 2007,

 

           23              incidentally, it was zero again for this

 

           24              year.  Does anybody know why?  I don't know.

 

           25              On April 18th I sent a Right to Know letter


 

 

                                                                      60

 

 

            1              to Mr. Seitzinger requesting the locations

 

            2              of the parking facilities on which the

 

            3              $54,000 2007 budget figures were based with

 

            4              annotations for those excluded to arrive at

 

            5              the reduced 2008 budget amount.  The

 

            6              response I got was, "The city will need

 

            7              additional time to review it's files and

 

            8              pull responsive documents, if any.  The city

 

            9              will respond within the next 30 days."

 

           10                      Now, I'm sorry, but I think that

 

           11              that should be a simple record, that's a

 

           12              spread sheet.  Here they are, here are the

 

           13              collections, did they pay, didn't they pay,

 

           14              follow-up.  I mean, are they using chisel

 

           15              and stone up there or do they have

 

           16              computers?  This is simple stuff, you know.

 

           17              You have got a lot of people here are who

 

           18              concerned and I'm sure people at home

 

           19              watching that would even volunteer to help,

 

           20              but everything we say that asks questions is

 

           21              looked at as confrontational and not

 

           22              constructive and I disagree and I'll finish

 

           23              up next week I guess.  Thank you.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.

 

           25              Schumacher.


 

 

                                                                      61

 

 

            1                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Good evening, Council

 

            2              president, council members, Bill Jackowitz,

 

            3              South Scranton resident, member of the

 

            4              Scranton Taxpayers' Association.  Every week

 

            5              residents and taxpayers of Scranton must

 

            6              listen to council members and other elected

 

            7              officials of Scranton and Lackawanna County

 

            8              telling them how hard they are working for

 

            9              the people, but yet nothing ever changes for

 

           10              the better.  The above-mentioned communities

 

           11              still rank at the bottom of all state and

 

           12              national unemployment charts, low wages, low

 

           13              wage base, blight, taking over the

 

           14              community, houses being torn down creating

 

           15              more blight.  We all know that these

 

           16              properties will not be taken care of, the

 

           17              city will just allow them to become

 

           18              overgrown and infested with rodents.  The

 

           19              rodents and animals will make their way into

 

           20              the neighborhoods causing problems fro the

 

           21              residents.  When you ask for help from the

 

           22              elected officials you will be ignored or

 

           23              told that there is nothing that they can do.

 

           24              It is not their problem.

 

           25                      Furthermore, the residents were


 

 

                                                                      62

 

 

            1              informed last week that the police

 

            2              department has terminated the beat patrols

 

            3              for the neighborhoods.  We are also informed

 

            4              that new police officers that have been

 

            5              hired are a long way from being on the

 

            6              streets.  It seems that someone screwed up.

 

            7              My question is that someone, a resident --

 

            8              was that someone a resident or an elected

 

            9              official or an appointed official being paid

 

           10              by the Taxpayers of Scranton, meaning the

 

           11              residents who pay taxes like myself.

 

           12                      Also, my understanding is that the

 

           13              cameras which the city paid $250,000 for

 

           14              last year are still not operational.  Will

 

           15              they ever become operational?  But yet city

 

           16              council members still preach about how hard

 

           17              they work.  Answering phone calls and

 

           18              e-mails is not work.  Also, I know for a

 

           19              fact that all e-mails are not answered.

 

           20              This is not work.  Work is when you are out

 

           21              on the street talking with the citizens,

 

           22              visiting them at their homes, listening to

 

           23              their problems and seeking solutions, not

 

           24              telling them, "This is not a city problem,

 

           25              we can't help you."


 

 

                                                                      63

 

 

            1                      Work like you did when you were

 

            2              campaigning for the office.  Sending letters

 

            3              to the administration and department heads,

 

            4              knowing that you will not receive an answer

 

            5              is not work either.  Going to that person's

 

            6              office or home if need be and demanding

 

            7              answers, now that is work, that is if you

 

            8              can find them in their office.  Coming to

 

            9              council meetings unprepared or telling

 

           10              speakers that you will address that issue

 

           11              during motions or next week and then just

 

           12              skip right over the issue, that is not work

 

           13              either.

 

           14                      If you are not willing to put

 

           15              24 hours a day, seven days a week in your

 

           16              council responsibilities then in my opinion

 

           17              you are not worthy of being a council

 

           18              member.  That is not -- this is not a

 

           19              part-time job.  Scranton is a full-time

 

           20              community with 24-hour a day problems.  One

 

           21              of the reasons I would never run for

 

           22              political office I enjoy my free time,

 

           23              apparently, so do elected in Lackawanna

 

           24              County, elected officials and appointed

 

           25              officials.


 

 

                                                                      64

 

 

            1                      By the way, I'm still waiting for an

 

            2              answer for three years of questions that I

 

            3              have asked, but I do understand that council

 

            4              members are too busy work for the residents

 

            5              of Scranton.  I was glad to hear the pothole

 

            6              machine being mentioned last week, that was

 

            7              one of my questions.  Also, what about that

 

            8              asphalt machine, pave cutting machine that

 

            9              Scranton residents paid $18,000 for.

 

           10              Remember, we shared with the county and

 

           11              other communities?  Where is that machine

 

           12              and how many times has Scranton used it?

 

           13              Another question that I have been waiting

 

           14              for years to have an answer.

 

           15                      For months now we have been speaking

 

           16              about the Jerry Springer show when we should

 

           17              have been speaking about the Archie Bunker

 

           18              show, "All in the Family."

 

           19                      We now know what a balanced

 

           20              political ticket is, Irish, Italian, Polish

 

           21              and so on.  I must advise the local

 

           22              Democratic leadership that we are missing

 

           23              and African American, Black, Native American

 

           24              Indian, Latino and Mexican.  We need to

 

           25              really work on that immediately so that we


 

 

                                                                      65

 

 

            1              can have equality, the population is

 

            2              growing.  No wonder why Lackawanna County

 

            3              and Scranton the county seat is distressed.

 

            4              Hundreds of million dollars in debt, no good

 

            5              jobs, hire unemployment, and hard working

 

            6              politicians who consider answering e-mails

 

            7              and phones as during their jobs for the

 

            8              residents.  Oh, by the way, they can miss

 

            9              meetings any time they feel like it, walk

 

           10              out of meetings when they do not want to

 

           11              hear what a taxpayer has to say, stay

 

           12              completely away from their office for weeks,

 

           13              campaign outside of the state for another

 

           14              politician while still claiming to be doing

 

           15              their job.

 

           16                      Oh, and I almost forget about the

 

           17              Single Tax Office and the Housing Authority.

 

           18              Now is the time for laughs and giggles, so

 

           19              go ahead and laugh and giggle, you elected

 

           20              officials.  Some elected officials have two

 

           21              last names so they can fulfill two

 

           22              nationality requirements, so now we know how

 

           23              people are selected to run for elected

 

           24              office.  No joke.  This is real.  Welcome to

 

           25              Scranton and Lackawanna County, distressed


 

 

                                                                      66

 

 

            1              city, 17 years, federal investigations in

 

            2              the tax office, federal investigations in

 

            3              the housing office, but, yeah, our elected

 

            4              officials are working for us.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

            6              Mr. Jackowitz.

 

            7                      MR. ELLMAN: Good evening, Council.

 

            8              Ronnie Ellman, homeowner and member of the

 

            9              Taxpayers' Association.  Mrs. Evans, have

 

           10              you gotten over being slighted about the

 

           11              party?

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI: Oh, we are still on the

 

           13              party?

 

           14                      MR. ELLMAN: You know, they

 

           15              inadvertently overlooked me, too, and I was

 

           16              just wondering.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: Well, actually, I never

 

           18              felt slighted and probably had I been

 

           19              invited I couldn't have afforded the price

 

           20              of the ticket and without paying the price I

 

           21              don't think I would have wanted to attend.

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI: I liked it and I didn't

 

           23              pay.

 

           24                      MR. ELLMAN: I would have liked to go

 

           25              and talk to Brother Bill, we could have


 

 

                                                                      67

 

 

            1              discussed Jennifer Flowers and Paula Jones.

 

            2              I better get off that, Miss Rosie is

 

            3              watching.

 

            4                      Mr. McGoff, last week I was watching

 

            5              the program and you were talking about

 

            6              the University said they weren't paying

 

            7              giving any money for lights and so forth

 

            8              because it's in litigation, but how can they

 

            9              control the park.  I have three or four more

 

           10              women tell me that kids cannot play there.

 

           11              They can't have their cake and eat it.

 

           12              Either they pay, and I don't see any sense

 

           13              in putting lights up where people don't want

 

           14              it, there would be lot of trouble there,

 

           15              this whole deal just stinks.  It just -- the

 

           16              people in this whole city are against it.

 

           17              It's just something wrong, you know, when

 

           18              they still control this park and said that

 

           19              kids can't play there.  I heard or read that

 

           20              letter that the University had about it --

 

           21              it's nonsense.  It's too much people saying

 

           22              they cannot use the park.

 

           23                      And, Miss Judy, I would just go

 

           24              back, I only have a couple of notes I wrote

 

           25              real kick.  I was watching Andy on TV and he


 

 

                                                                      68

 

 

            1              made such an intelligent statement before,

 

            2              you know, about all the waste that keeps

 

            3              going on, it doesn't stop.  You know, Miss

 

            4              Judy, March 11, I know it was March 11, my

 

            5              39th birthday was March 10, so you may --

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI:  My 39th will be in

 

            7              August, we can celebrate together, Ron, we

 

            8              are probably the same age.  I'll be 39, too.

 

            9                      MR. ELLMAN: You made a statement

 

           10              that you all were talking about the firemen

 

           11              and you said that if I was unhappy with

 

           12              things I would go see my union boss and

 

           13              superintendent, I don't remember word for

 

           14              word, well, in the city you're our

 

           15              superintendent, you people are our bosses

 

           16              and nothing is being done when people tell

 

           17              you things.

 

           18                      I occasionally go up and down Market

 

           19              Street and little Jimmy is right, there is

 

           20              cars parked from like where the fire station

 

           21              is past the laundry mat turns it into one

 

           22              lane.  I'm just saying, nothing is ever done

 

           23              about it.  I was by there today, no,

 

           24              yesterday when I went to the club and there

 

           25              is three or four cars parked, they stick out


 

 

                                                                      69

 

 

            1              right there, but the line is not straight if

 

            2              you have ever been the line is all over the

 

            3              place, I don't know, you know, why it's

 

            4              painted that way, but the cars on the other

 

            5              side where there is parking, you know, it's

 

            6              just like they said, it's just a dangerous

 

            7              situation.

 

            8                      You know, people keep getting on me

 

            9              about being on Mayor Doherty, two weeks ago

 

           10              I said I would love to see him build a zoo,

 

           11              I'm not against the man, I'm just not for

 

           12              him.  Well, he is a dreamer, you know, his

 

           13              ideals they are not reality.  He is like

 

           14              somebody just wants a perfect city, but it's

 

           15              not going to be that way, you know, just

 

           16              think what this place is going to be like in

 

           17              20, 30 years, the three universities are

 

           18              going to control all of the projects, all of

 

           19              this area will be nonprofit, you know, it's

 

           20              coming to that.  There is no way to avoid

 

           21              it.

 

           22                      The Lackawanna College had no

 

           23              business buying a little tiny school

 

           24              building and expecting to advance and not

 

           25              take over all of these buildings, you know,


 

 

                                                                      70

 

 

            1              it was poor planning.  You got to put your

 

            2              foot down sometimes, you can't keep taking

 

            3              these houses and buildings and three-story

 

            4              apartment buildings and everything off the

 

            5              payrolls for nonprofits, there's just no way

 

            6              you can -- it just won't work.  It's an

 

            7              impossibility.

 

            8                      I was talking to a boy at Sheetz

 

            9              Sunday, this will just take a second, he was

 

           10              desperate, he bought $5 worth after gas.

 

           11              And I said, you know, I was joking with him

 

           12              and I said, "You are not going to go very

 

           13              far on $5."

 

           14                      He said he lived up -- well, I got

 

           15              six gallons for $25, that only takes my car

 

           16              75 miles, anyway, he told me he lived up in

 

           17              the Hill Section and his rent has gone up

 

           18              $100 since September, you know, and he said

 

           19              his landlord tells him it's because of taxes

 

           20              and insurance, you know, his landlord has it

 

           21              covered, but people can't afford it for

 

           22              crying out loud.  You know, when I got back

 

           23              from --

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Ellman --

 

           25                      MR. ELLMAN: No, let me tell you,


 

 

                                                                      71

 

 

            1              from the Scranton Sewer Authority I got $104

 

            2              back, I have been paying for a duplex for

 

            3              12 years, that's what kind of Scranton --

 

            4              that's how Scranton has got, $104, I have

 

            5              been paying, my last bill was $72 or $68 I

 

            6              should have gotten 30 from it.

 

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

 

            8                      MR. ELLMAN:  All right.  Thank you.

 

            9                      MS. KRAKE: Good evening, Council.

 

           10              My name is Nancy Krake.  First I would like

 

           11              to say that property tax is public

 

           12              information.  As far as I know, that is not

 

           13              what's being investigated at the Single Tax

 

           14              Office so if anyone wants to look into that

 

           15              you could do that at any time.

 

           16                      Also, I would like to thank

 

           17              Mr. Patilla for understanding exactly what

 

           18              happened in the case of the lovely lady who

 

           19              just recently retired from the Single Tax

 

           20              Office.  She is the one that had the courage

 

           21              to do what she felt was correct even though

 

           22              perhaps it wasn't entirely correct, but she

 

           23              was the courageous one.  The people that are

 

           24              attacking her are not.

 

           25                      Also, Mr. Ellman, he probably wasn't


 

 

                                                                      72

 

 

            1              here in the beginning, but that is the

 

            2              mayor's plan to make everything nonprofit in

 

            3              that area, so he picked right up on that,

 

            4              it's not poor planning, that is the mayor's

 

            5              plan.  I believe the gentleman's name is

 

            6              Mr. Florida, I forgot the whole story, but

 

            7              at one time it was in the newspaper.

 

            8                      There was an article in the

 

            9              newspaper today that -- I was thrilled to

 

           10              see that finally everything Mrs. Evans was

 

           11              talking about, especially during budget

 

           12              time, was made transparent.  She had plugged

 

           13              those amounts into her budget and apparently

 

           14              she was right on the money as usual.  It's

 

           15              very sad that no one believed it, but

 

           16              perhaps maybe council could look into

 

           17              opening the budget as they do have the power

 

           18              to do.  I'm sure you can speak further on

 

           19              that, Mrs. Evans, in your time.

 

           20                      And, also, something Mr. Courtright

 

           21              had said, it's kind of interesting that what

 

           22              one little computer glitch could do.  That

 

           23              was our tax collector's claim what was wrong

 

           24              all of these years was a computer glitch.

 

           25              Well, it had to be monumental.


 

 

                                                                      73

 

 

            1                      The mayor, speaking of wonders,

 

            2              proclaimed that five of that $12 million was

 

            3              his.  Well, I believe, first of all, what he

 

            4              meant was it was ours and, of course, maybe

 

            5              he didn't; second, he seems very sure of

 

            6              this amount almost as if he already knew

 

            7              what it was.

 

            8                      Another sad situation, the city

 

            9              would like very much to abolish the Health

 

           10              Care Cost Containment Committee, probably

 

           11              haven't heard much about it recently,

 

           12              however, under the Connors' administration

 

           13              it saved $5 million.  We haven't met in

 

           14              many, many months and meetings with this

 

           15              administration have been fruitless.  Why

 

           16              would the city like to abolish this very

 

           17              useful committee?  I'm not able to give an

 

           18              answer on this, I'm told I don't need to

 

           19              know the reason why.  Perhaps council would

 

           20              feel differently now that I brought this to

 

           21              your attention.  Will this be another

 

           22              debacle like the former tax collector where

 

           23              no one in this administration is held

 

           24              responsible for monitoring when million

 

           25              dollars are no longer collected and in the


 

 

                                                                      74

 

 

            1              case of the Health Care Cost Containment

 

            2              Committee millions of dollars in savings are

 

            3              no longer realized?  I would hope that this

 

            4              would raise a red flag for council.  Thank

 

            5              you very much.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF:  Thank you, Mrs. Krake.

 

            7              Anyone else?

 

            8                      MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening.  Nelson

 

            9              Ancherani, again, First Amendment Rights.

 

           10              Just a little history, we have been in

 

           11              distress 17 years now and for since 2002,

 

           12              I'm going to go back over some of the issues

 

           13              since we have been getting away from them.

 

           14              We have collected in revenue in loans 600

 

           15              million by the end of this year.

 

           16              Fifteen million has gone for raises and new

 

           17              hires.  Thirty clerical positions were lost

 

           18              and 59 new hires.  Potholes.  The $5,500,000

 

           19              American Anglican arbitration loss paid by

 

           20              the Sewer Authority causing a 56 percent

 

           21              raise in sewer bills, 12.2 million found in

 

           22              a tax office.  My opinion, hidden.  Index

 

           23              cards with employees, with city employee's

 

           24              information, social securities throwing in

 

           25              the dumpster behind the city hall and


 

 

                                                                      75

 

 

            1              blowing around the court, the person that

 

            2              retrieves them threatened with arrest

 

            3              instead of trying to find out the reason and

 

            4              who threw them out.

 

            5                      There is an undersized bath house up

 

            6              at the Nay August, we had 25 percent real

 

            7              estate tax levied on city taxpayers while

 

            8              12.2 million dollars hidden, in my opinion,

 

            9              in a secret bank account.  There were two

 

           10              more proposed 25 percent tax increases, but

 

           11              they weren't enacted.

 

           12                      Channel 61 being forced off the air.

 

           13              Seven years of labor strife under this

 

           14              mayor.  Numerous arbitration losses by the

 

           15              city after the mayor vowed not to have any

 

           16              arbitrations in light of the amount of

 

           17              losses by the Connors' administration.

 

           18              Seven record budgets by this administration.

 

           19              $400 million long-term debt, excessive B&S,

 

           20              borrowing and spending.  Violations of the

 

           21              mayor's recovery plan by the mayor while

 

           22              blaming the city unions for the dire

 

           23              financial straights of this city.

 

           24                      A green, no, I'm wrong, it's a black

 

           25              fish pond up at Nay Aug, a bridge to no


 

 

                                                                      76

 

 

            1              where, possibly to that old Buddha park that

 

            2              burned down right after it opened years ago.

 

            3              A collapsed amphitheater roof.  I don't know

 

            4              if there was insurance on that.  Returning

 

            5              soldiers from Iraq not being made whole.

 

            6              Homeowners losing homes to a $2,000 penalty

 

            7              imposed for delinquent taxpayers.

 

            8              Consultants for people who were supposed to

 

            9              be experienced.  $803,000 to the parking

 

           10              authority this year even though the parking

 

           11              authority received a $35 million loan and I

 

           12              see that the work has started on the Connell

 

           13              Building, that was in the paper that once

 

           14              that loan was gotten that work could start

 

           15              there.  There was a AAA bond rating for

 

           16              $1 million only to fall back to junk bond.

 

           17              Paid $4,000 plus for the light building for

 

           18              monthly rent for OECD office while space at

 

           19              city hall goes unused.  Undersized police

 

           20              buildings.  Parking lot not finished with

 

           21              the paving.  Cracks in the walls, floor

 

           22              tiles separated.

 

           23                      Over $750,000 paid for a public

 

           24              safety office when it was a violation of the

 

           25              previous recovery plan.


 

 

                                                                      77

 

 

            1                      $300,000 for Christmas lights at Nay

 

            2              Aug, that doesn't count the electricity and

 

            3              doesn't count putting them up and taking

 

            4              them down.

 

            5                      Trust fund not setup for money for

 

            6              from the sale of the golf course.  Charging

 

            7              fees at Nay Aug, lost police arbitration for

 

            8              Lake Scranton in the amount of $50,000.

 

            9                      11-02 South Side complex fiasco

 

           10              began.  There was thousands spent on new

 

           11              furniture for the mayor's office when he

 

           12              took office, thousands spent on new flower

 

           13              pots, what does it cost now to put the

 

           14              flowers in there?  Frosted glass on the door

 

           15              to the mayor's office so gawkers couldn't

 

           16              look in.  Forced out at least 100 city

 

           17              employees with full benefits and hiring 100

 

           18              city employees to replace them with full

 

           19              benefits.  We'll continue.  Thank you.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF:  Thank you, Mr.

 

           21              Ancherani.  Anyone else?  Mrs. Evans?

 

           22                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  First, in

 

           23              response to a concern raised by Mrs.

 

           24              Schumacher, unfortunately, there are not

 

           25              enough inspectors to enforce ordinances in


 

 

                                                                      78

 

 

            1              this city.  In theory, of course, the

 

            2              ordinance is very good, appears to be very

 

            3              useful and, in fact, I'm sure it is used to

 

            4              address specific problems as they arise, but

 

            5              until we have more workers employed rather

 

            6              than managers, administrators, I really

 

            7              don't think we are going to see our

 

            8              ordinances fully addressed, unfortunately.

 

            9                   The Single Tax Office remained in the

 

           10              news today, but the information reported was

 

           11              far from new.  It came as no surprise since

 

           12              I publically stated at several council

 

           13              meetings that some select residents were not

 

           14              paying taxes while senior citizens and

 

           15              working families were.  I was at times

 

           16              mocked and attacked by some for making these

 

           17              statements.  Despite attempts to bring

 

           18              Mr. McDowell to council to discover not only

 

           19              those whose tax records disappeared, but

 

           20              also tax rebates which were seriously

 

           21              delinquent and delinquent wage taxes that

 

           22              were never collected.  Mr. McDowell never

 

           23              appeared at council with the exception of

 

           24              the swearing in ceremony as city tax

 

           25              collector which was conducted in these


 

 

                                                                      79

 

 

            1              chambers.

 

            2                      As a result, when developing my 2008

 

            3              budget I included the collection of

 

            4              delinquent wage and business taxes as a

 

            5              revenue source of $3.5 million.  I believe

 

            6              that -- or, excuse me, I believed that

 

            7              delinquent wage and business taxes had not

 

            8              been pursued actively for many years.  In

 

            9              addition, I received recommendations from

 

           10              the tax office employees, one of which

 

           11              suggested that the office auditors be

 

           12              allowed to collect delinquent wage taxes

 

           13              aggressively.

 

           14                      Also, the dollar amounts in the

 

           15              mayor's budget did not appear to reflect

 

           16              these monies and they certainly did not

 

           17              match the monies collected for delinquent

 

           18              wage and business taxes during the prior

 

           19              administration.  I further suspected that

 

           20              some residents who worked outside of the

 

           21              city were never paid the wage tax to

 

           22              Scranton.  Also, some residents who owned

 

           23              two homes, one of which would be located

 

           24              outside of Scranton, were using their second

 

           25              property as their address in order to avoid


 

 

                                                                      80

 

 

            1              paying some taxes to the city while at the

 

            2              same time their primary residence was

 

            3              located in Scranton.

 

            4                      Now, how can I prove to my

 

            5              colleagues, the newspaper, and my

 

            6              constituents that my suspicions were facts?

 

            7              I invited two tax office employees, two

 

            8              auditors in the office to speak to council

 

            9              in December 2007 on the topic of delinquent

 

           10              wage and business tax collections.  In order

 

           11              to protect these two women and their jobs I

 

           12              requested Mr. McDowell's permission to allow

 

           13              them to discuss these tax collection

 

           14              processes with council.  He adamantly

 

           15              refused to allow these women to speak to us.

 

           16              Again, I was met with cynicism and attacks

 

           17              even by some of my colleagues and the

 

           18              newspaper ignored the facts, it never

 

           19              bothered to research or investigate what I

 

           20              presented.

 

           21                      My budget created a surplus without

 

           22              any borrowing that was to be used to reduce

 

           23              the wage tax, again, my proposals to

 

           24              eliminate borrowing, curb spending and lower

 

           25              the wage tax and my budgets were ignored or


 

 

                                                                      81

 

 

            1              at times painted as Christmas grinch-like.

 

            2                   I'm not a member of the good old boys

 

            3              club.  I'm not considered a bankable player

 

            4              by either faction of the Democratic party.

 

            5              I'm not the politician most likely to be

 

            6              appointed to any committee or political

 

            7              office nor am I endorsed by my lifelong

 

            8              political party until I win an election on

 

            9              my own.  Why?  I don't play the game and I

 

           10              don't play because I choose not to play.  I

 

           11              don't owe anyone anything and I'm not for

 

           12              sale.  This explains why newspaper editors

 

           13              and cartoonists derive me, reporters

 

           14              collectively report my work and why the good

 

           15              old boys ignore me.  It also explains why

 

           16              the people, the little guy, why they place

 

           17              their trust in me.

 

           18                      Now, to the new appointee of the

 

           19              Single Tax Office who has no business

 

           20              badmouthing council from his glass house

 

           21              clearly he is not familiar with my record or

 

           22              the minutes of council meetings over the

 

           23              last four and a half years.  The

 

           24              gamesmanship, I might suggest, is entirely

 

           25              one-sided.  The tax office in the last two


 

 

                                                                      82

 

 

            1              months has played a game of hide and seek

 

            2              and in the last week a game of hide and

 

            3              speak in refusing to speak publically to a

 

            4              governing body.

 

            5                      On May 27, I am told, the two new

 

            6              appointees, Mr. McGovern and Mrs. Vitali,

 

            7              will finally visit our chambers.  I hope by

 

            8              that date a forensic audit will have been

 

            9              initiated because I am concerned that the

 

           10              12.2 million dollars in the Fidelity Bank

 

           11              will be pushed on a back burner as the city

 

           12              becomes increasingly embroiled in the

 

           13              details of the Stadium Club bill scandal.

 

           14                      And on a related topic, on April 17,

 

           15              2008, a letter was sent by city council to

 

           16              NCC and Attorney Abrahamsen requesting the

 

           17              report of the monies received from the

 

           18              collection of delinquent property taxes by

 

           19              the city, NCC and the law firm of Abrahamsen

 

           20              and Associates.  To date, we have received

 

           21              no response.  I would anticipate

 

           22              particularly in light of disclosures by

 

           23              Mr. McGovern that these numbers should be

 

           24              climbing as the privileged may scurry to pay

 

           25              the taxes which appear to have been


 

 

                                                                      83

 

 

            1              concealed since 2002.  No doubt the fines,

 

            2              fees, penalties and costs enacted by the

 

            3              delinquent tax collection ordinance of 2007

 

            4              must apply to each of these individuals

 

            5              without exception.

 

            6                      Kay, please send a second letter

 

            7              requesting the original information on or

 

            8              before June 2, 2007.

 

            9                      Next, the issue of Channel 61 and

 

           10              Scranton Today.  I understand that Electric

 

           11              City TV is now involved in litigation and it

 

           12              appears most unwise to proceed with any fund

 

           13              disbursement to ECTV during ongoing

 

           14              litigation.  Therefore, the urgency of the

 

           15              $20,000 appropriation to Scranton Today

 

           16              grows daily.  Mr. McGoff, were you able to

 

           17              speak with the mayor on this issue?

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: It's my understanding

 

           19              that ECTV was going to assume Channel 61

 

           20              sometime in June.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: And that would assume

 

           22              though according to their RFP that they will

 

           23              have received the disbursements of monies

 

           24              from the city prior to that because the

 

           25              three-month, as I said before, according to


 

 

                                                                      84

 

 

            1              the proposal they submitted the clock begins

 

            2              to tick, the three-month clock, from the

 

            3              date they receive their money?

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: I actually had spoken

 

            5              to them, also, and they confirmed that they

 

            6              will be running at the end of -- well, they

 

            7              said by the end of this month, so that's all

 

            8              I know.  They didn't say anything about the

 

            9              funding or we need the funding or it has to

 

           10              be here in time, that was time frame, so --

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: Well, then perhaps it's

 

           12              possible that they have received funding

 

           13              without our knowledge.  I really wouldn't

 

           14              know.  I can't imagine though that they

 

           15              would be up and running in this amount of

 

           16              time without those monies since they were to

 

           17              be used for equipment purchase and salaries

 

           18              of individuals.

 

           19                      MS. FANUCCI:  Right.

 

           20                      MS. EVANS: I'm going to move tonight

 

           21              that city council amend the 2008 operating

 

           22              budget to transfer $20,000 from the

 

           23              contingency account to the appropriate

 

           24              department for donation to Scranton Today

 

           25              for the continued operation of Channel 61.


 

 

                                                                      85

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

            3                      MS. EVANS: Well, we need a second.

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: He seconded it.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: Oh, did you, I'm sorry.

 

            6                      MR. COURTRIGHT: You couldn't hear.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?  I'll

 

            8              comment, I don't think that if ECTV is going

 

            9              to take over operation of Channel 61 that

 

           10              it's -- I don't believe it's necessary to

 

           11              give money to an organization that is going

 

           12              to be leaving the operation of Channel 61.

 

           13              I don't believe that that's necessary and I

 

           14              will vote, no, on the motion.

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: I would suggest though to

 

           16              ECTV that they might want to follow the

 

           17              example of the University of Scranton who,

 

           18              although, it's a slightly different

 

           19              situation, we can still apply the same

 

           20              principals.  They purchased the South Side

 

           21              complex, provided a security deposit which

 

           22              the mayor immediately spent, yet because

 

           23              they are involved in litigation now for

 

           24              several years, as they themselves have

 

           25              admitted, they have not touched those


 

 

                                                                      86

 

 

            1              fields, obviously, because they know that

 

            2              they may well not own those fields and,

 

            3              again, I'm suggesting that ECTV might take

 

            4              at look at their future in this case since,

 

            5              again, they are involved in litigation now

 

            6              which could reverse the direction that they

 

            7              are pursuing and in that event I really

 

            8              would hate to see city government meetings

 

            9              taken from the viewership.  I really don't

 

           10              want to see the screen go black, and as

 

           11              Mr. Courtright requested several weeks ago,

 

           12              if those funds are not used in their

 

           13              entirety they are to be returned and I

 

           14              believe that those who are responsible for

 

           15              the operation of Scranton Today who served

 

           16              the city for ten years on a voluntary basis

 

           17              I believe these individuals would be honest

 

           18              enough, possess the integrity to use those

 

           19              monies wisely and to return any unused

 

           20              funds.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. McGoff, if I

 

           22              could just say this, I think we covered this

 

           23              ground once before and we voted to give them

 

           24              the money and it hasn't come forward, so I

 

           25              don't think it is any different than what we


 

 

                                                                      87

 

 

            1              did before, as Mrs. Evans said, I said in

 

            2              the past if they did not utilize the money

 

            3              it would be returned to us.  I think all she

 

            4              is asking to do now is to in the form of a

 

            5              motion to open the budget so that we have

 

            6              the power to turn the money over to them.  I

 

            7              believe the majority of us voted and it

 

            8              passed to give them the money.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: Yes, I think that might

 

           10              have been a 5/0 or if not a 4/1 vote and

 

           11              over a month has transpired since that first

 

           12              motion and I believe council has been very

 

           13              patient waiting any response from the mayor,

 

           14              it's not been received.  Council, granted

 

           15              it's a strong mayor city, but on the other

 

           16              hand, according to the Home Rule Charter

 

           17              council also possesses it's own powers.

 

           18              They are separate but equal powers and I do

 

           19              believe on behalf of the citizens of

 

           20              Scranton, Lackawanna County and even those

 

           21              areas beyond we owe the people the ability

 

           22              to keep up with their government and

 

           23              particularly in the City of Scranton I think

 

           24              this has become apparently more important

 

           25              than ever.


 

 

                                                                      88

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else on the

 

            2              question?

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI: I mean, I might as well

 

            4              say now because of the time frame I think --

 

            5              I definitely don't think it's necessary to

 

            6              worry about $20,000 and go through the

 

            7              ordeal of opening up a budget for such an

 

            8              issue.  I mean, if I was going to open up

 

            9              the budget and spend the money I certainly

 

           10              would pick a bigger issue.  So this is not

 

           11              something that -- if they had said to me,

 

           12              "We are not going to get to running until

 

           13              August," then that would be a different

 

           14              story, but considering the time I just don't

 

           15              think it's necessary to open up the budget.

 

           16              That's all.

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI:  Just for the record, I

 

           18              was also told that they would be operational

 

           19              by the end of the month.

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI: And I don't even know

 

           21              about a lawsuit, I don't know where -- and

 

           22              it really doesn't matter to me if they are

 

           23              in litigation or not in litigation, you

 

           24              know, we are litigation right now and we are

 

           25              still functioning as a council, so I'm


 

 

                                                                      89

 

 

            1              certain that, you know, it doesn't have any

 

            2              impact on businesses if, you know, you can

 

            3              function under litigation all the time, so

 

            4              that's all I have.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  On the

 

            6              motion to open the budget and donate $20,000

 

            7              to Scranton Today for operation of Channel

 

            8              61, all those in favor signify by saying

 

            9              aye.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: Aye.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF:  Opposed?

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI: No.

 

           14                      MS. FANUCCI: No.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: No. The motion is

 

           16              defeated.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: I also have a report and

 

           18              some citizen's request for the week.

 

           19              According to Mr. Dougher, Parks and

 

           20              Recreation Director, I believe Thursday, May

 

           21              8t, regarding the graffiti at the Dorothy

 

           22              Street playground.  Mr. Dougher reports that

 

           23              his department will be painting the slides

 

           24              to get rid of the graffiti as soon as they

 

           25              are able.  He also wanted everyone to know


 

 

                                                                      90

 

 

            1              that they are continuing to check on all

 

            2              parks and are periodically putting in new

 

            3              playground mulch.  Thus far, Weston Park,

 

            4              Weston Field and Crowley Field are finished

 

            5              and they are continuing with each section of

 

            6              the city working their way over eventually

 

            7              or ultimately, I should say, to Connell

 

            8              Park.

 

            9                      Now, a letter to Mr. Seitzinger and

 

           10              Attorney Patterson regarding a property

 

           11              adjacent to 939 Aker Avenue, the homeowner

 

           12              at 939 Aker Avenue has maintained this lot

 

           13              for seven years.  Since 2006 he has been

 

           14              trying to purchase the property with no

 

           15              success despite contacting several city

 

           16              departments.  Please provide a response to

 

           17              council on or before June 2, 2008.

 

           18                      The curbs in front of the Dante

 

           19              Club, 1916 Prospect Avenue were damaged by a

 

           20              city snow plow again this past winter.

 

           21              Please repair as soon as possible since this

 

           22              presents a safety hazard to pedestrians as

 

           23              they approach and exit the premises.

 

           24                      The rear of 730 North Irving Avenue,

 

           25              residents of the block report that the


 

 

                                                                      91

 

 

            1              delipidated garage has neither been raised

 

            2              nor repaired.  They stated it is a fire and

 

            3              safety hazard.  This is the third request in

 

            4              the last six months.  I'm going to ask that

 

            5              our office make a copy of this photo, and

 

            6              residents of this vicinity now believe that

 

            7              the owner is receiving preferential

 

            8              treatment because of his close ties to the

 

            9              mayor, and in light of so much that occurs

 

           10              in this city I really don't find that be a

 

           11              farfetched perception, so if we could please

 

           12              have a written report of action taken on or

 

           13              before May 23, 2008.

 

           14                      1310 West Locust Street, neighbors

 

           15              complain of a delipidated boarded-up house

 

           16              where rats have been sighted.  Despite calls

 

           17              to the proper departments no action has been

 

           18              taken.  When will this property be

 

           19              addressed?  Please provide a written

 

           20              response on or before June 2, 2008.

 

           21                      And was stated I think by

 

           22              Mr. Spindler earlier, the 1700 block of

 

           23              Elizabeth Street at the end of the street on

 

           24              the right-hand side there is a very large

 

           25              hole next to a catch basin and I would like


 

 

                                                                      92

 

 

            1              the DPW to fill that immediately.

 

            2                      Also, a letter to maybe the Human

 

            3              Resources Department with copies to the

 

            4              mayor and Mr. Renda why is the

 

            5              administration seeking to abolish the Health

 

            6              Care Cost Containment Committee and if

 

            7              council members agree I would like it sent

 

            8              on behalf of council, and I would like a

 

            9              response to that before, well, let's say or

 

           10              on or before May 19, 2008.

 

           11                      And I have to say that I am

 

           12              disappointed in the vote on tonight's motion

 

           13              concerning Scranton Today and Channel 61.

 

           14              Let us just say that what's transpired over

 

           15              the last six to eight months surely doesn't

 

           16              pass the smell test and I think sometimes

 

           17              it's important to stand up and be counted,

 

           18              stand up on so many issues where you know

 

           19              things are wrong.  Everyone has that

 

           20              obligation I believe to stand up and do the

 

           21              right thing.  And I think that someone

 

           22              mentioned tonight about voter apathy, it's

 

           23              no wonder it exists when you look at those

 

           24              you elected who don't stand up who are

 

           25              afraid to stand alone, who are afraid to


 

 

                                                                      93

 

 

            1              sever ties, who, well, for whatever reasons

 

            2              the right things just don't seem to be done

 

            3              and sadly people who pay the price are all

 

            4              of the taxpayers and I don't think we are

 

            5              going to see any changes in any of these

 

            6              situations until somebody comes in with a

 

            7              big broom and sweeps this building clean.

 

            8              That's it.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI:  I just have a few

 

           11              items to report that I was concerned about.

 

           12              The property at 924 Cedar Avenue has been

 

           13              demolished.  It was a fire damaged property

 

           14              that was been in deplorable condition.  The

 

           15              one next to it 922 is still awaiting

 

           16              approval from the bank, it's a foreclosure

 

           17              so there is a little bit of a problem with

 

           18              it.  The property at 1101 Cedar Avenue, the

 

           19              inspector is going to be issuing citations

 

           20              on that property.  1356 Penn Avenue, notices

 

           21              has been sent out to the owner of the

 

           22              property, and citations have been issued.

 

           23              3244 Pittston Avenue is a property that has

 

           24              been abandoned for a long period of time in

 

           25              deplorable condition, all of the approvals


 

 

                                                                      94

 

 

            1              are in for demolition and there is a problem

 

            2              with the heirs of the property and

 

            3              Mr. Seitzinger is working with them on that

 

            4              matter.

 

            5                      I received an answer from Chief

 

            6              Elliott last week.  I asked or two weeks ago

 

            7              I asked to send a letter about the beat

 

            8              officers and I was very saddened when I read

 

            9              his letter that there are no officers

 

           10              assigned to the Community Development

 

           11              Program which is what we already knew due to

 

           12              managing obligations within the collective

 

           13              bargaining agreement.  They have to have 140

 

           14              officers and when they don't they pull the

 

           15              officers from the neighborhood beats to keep

 

           16              the full compliment of 140.  He said that

 

           17              some of the openings are occurring due to

 

           18              people out on long-term illness or injury,

 

           19              military activation or resignations.

 

           20                      When openings occur in the

 

           21              department they get a candidate from the

 

           22              civil service list.  The current civil

 

           23              service list does not require officers to

 

           24              have attended the police academy so when

 

           25              they are selected they have to go to the


 

 

                                                                      95

 

 

            1              academy which lasts approximately six

 

            2              months.  This causes a delay in getting the

 

            3              officers on the street after hiring them.

 

            4                   "Recently we have hired eight officers,

 

            5              four are currently in the police academy,

 

            6              two have already been activated to the

 

            7              military and two will be finished with the

 

            8              police academy and going through our

 

            9              in-house training program.  These are the

 

           10              officers that would be assigned to the

 

           11              Community Development Program, but by the

 

           12              time they finish we will be looking to hire

 

           13              more officers due to recent heart and lung

 

           14              hearings.  It is anticipated that we will

 

           15              have four more officers leave on work

 

           16              related disabilities.  One other officer has

 

           17              indicated that he may leave within the next

 

           18              few weeks for another department.

 

           19                      We currently have three other

 

           20              officers activated for military and there

 

           21              are currently 11 officers out on long-term

 

           22              injury or illness.  The priority is to fill

 

           23              the 140 compliment then we fill the grant

 

           24              positions such as the school resource

 

           25              officers and the community development


 

 

                                                                      96

 

 

            1              officers.

 

            2                      After reviewing the staffing

 

            3              situation and contractual issues, I cannot

 

            4              assign officers to beats in neighborhoods at

 

            5              this time.  As soon we are able to have

 

            6              these officers returned, I will advise you."

 

            7                      I couldn't know what we can do about

 

            8              that situation, but as a neighborhood leader

 

            9              for 27 years I find it reprehensible that we

 

           10              don't have beat officers and I would like to

 

           11              make some kind of a motion that they

 

           12              investigate any means possible, I know when

 

           13              I worked in OECD we had, oh, I forget what

 

           14              they call them, like reserve officers and I

 

           15              know it would have to go through the police

 

           16              contract to have that type of a person be

 

           17              used, but, you know, with these things

 

           18              happening and people getting sick and

 

           19              getting deployed into the Army, I think we

 

           20              need some type of a backup so that our

 

           21              neighborhoods are protected.

 

           22                      So, you know, I would like to a make

 

           23              a motion that maybe, Bill, you could meet

 

           24              with as the public safety with Ray Hayes or

 

           25              someone to try to rectify this.  It can't go


 

 

                                                                      97

 

 

            1              on.  I mean, we can't have this with the

 

            2              summer coming.

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I would be happy to

 

            4              do that.  I think part of our problem is

 

            5              somebody dropped the ball when it came to

 

            6              giving the civil service test, so there was

 

            7              no list available to draw from then they

 

            8              gave the test and by the time they gave the

 

            9              test and they hired the people from that

 

           10              list then they had to go through Act 120.  I

 

           11              believe that we should always have a list

 

           12              with a sufficient amount of people to draw

 

           13              from and that's, in my opinion, is why we

 

           14              are in the situation we are.  All of that

 

           15              stuff in there is absolutely true, but there

 

           16              was no list available.

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI: I'll make a motion that

 

           18              we have Bill meet with the Chief and Ray

 

           19              Hayes on our behalf as a council to see what

 

           20              we can do to rectify this for the summer.  I

 

           21              mean, it's an emergency as far as I'm

 

           22              concerned.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: I'll second that.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?  All in

 

           25              favor?


 

 

                                                                      98

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

            6              ayes have it and so moved.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI: And I only have one

 

            8              other thing, I don't know if you mentioned

 

            9              it when I was in the bathroom, the rental

 

           10              registration program.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: I addressed what Mrs.

 

           12              Schumacher had said.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI:  Did you send any

 

           14              letters?

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: No, because I do believe

 

           16              the problems comes from a shortage of

 

           17              manpower.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI: Well, I do, too, but I

 

           19              would like to write a letter also to

 

           20              Seitzinger and the mayor concerning the

 

           21              rental registration program.  Wayne Evans

 

           22              and I met with the mayor several years ago

 

           23              and that was one of our top priorities in

 

           24              our particular neighborhood which is in such

 

           25              an upheaval and we have pressed for that


 

 

                                                                      99

 

 

            1              program and we wanted extra people hired

 

            2              because it would in the end reap more money

 

            3              coming in and they certainly would pay for

 

            4              their salaries, so I would like to send a

 

            5              letter if council would approve asking the

 

            6              mayor and Mr. Seitzinger to come up with a

 

            7              plan, possibly meet with Wayne and I, to

 

            8              discuss it again and see what we can do to

 

            9              get it going the right way.  Is everyone in

 

           10              agreement?

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI: Okay, thanks.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: If I could add though, a

 

           14              speaker at a recent meeting suggested that

 

           15              perhaps senior citizens, retired individuals

 

           16              would be utilized, for example, for just

 

           17              this program and rather than the city paying

 

           18              wages, their hours of work could be deducted

 

           19              from the city property tax payments that are

 

           20              owed annually, and I think that could be a

 

           21              win-win-win situation in that so many

 

           22              retirees are still anxious to work.  They

 

           23              are on very limited fixed incomes and this

 

           24              is going to help them with their tax bills

 

           25              and it helps the city.


 

 

                                                                     100

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI:  I agree with you

 

            2              there, but I don't know how the union would

 

            3              accept that because they would be taking a

 

            4              job from a union person.

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI: There is some violation

 

            6              there.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI: I don't know if there

 

            8              is a liability.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: I think it's worth

 

           10              discussing.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI: Yeah, we can put it in.

 

           12              But there might be a liability, too, if

 

           13              they're not actually an employee, you know,

 

           14              doing city business, but we'll put it in.

 

           15              Thank you.  That's all I have.

 

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

 

           17              Mrs. Fanucci.

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI: I only have one comment

 

           19              about the Unity Festival and the evolution

 

           20              of that permit is ridiculous.  I actually

 

           21              spoke out in the hall about it, I'm going to

 

           22              talk to Mr. Seitzinger about it in the

 

           23              morning and see if there is something we can

 

           24              do because this the time of year where all

 

           25              summer long is when we have every festival


 

 

                                                                     101

 

 

            1              and I really don't think it's necessary for

 

            2              people to, you know, have to use $100 permit

 

            3              constantly if you are not going -- I maybe,

 

            4              you are just one festival, maybe you are

 

            5              just going to do one, and I know there is

 

            6              some issues last year with this festival,

 

            7              also, with the food and the health -- the

 

            8              Director of Health and the problems, there

 

            9              is some problems there with permits and

 

           10              saying that they didn't have them when they

 

           11              did have them, so obviously we need to have

 

           12              a better system when it comes to that, so

 

           13              I'm actually just going to talk to

 

           14              Mr. Seitzinger tomorrow.  And that's all I

 

           15              have.

 

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

 

           17              Mr. Courtright.

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.  I just go

 

           19              back to what Mrs. Gatelli was talking about

 

           20              with the police and all of us up here have

 

           21              campaigned and knocked on some doors, some

 

           22              have knocked on lots of doors and I don't

 

           23              know one thing I have always heard was most

 

           24              of the people in this city would like to see

 

           25              more police officers, and I have even heard


 

 

                                                                     102

 

 

            1              and nobody wants their taxes raised, I'm

 

            2              going to get killed for raising the taxes,

 

            3              but I have had people actually tell me, many

 

            4              people tell me, "I wouldn't mind having my

 

            5              taxes raised if I knew the money would go

 

            6              directly to putting a cop on the street."

 

            7                      All right?  So, if agreeable by the

 

            8              rest of council when I meet with Director

 

            9              Hayes and David Elliot I think right now for

 

           10              this summer the only answer would be that we

 

           11              would have to pay overtime to have police

 

           12              officers get on the street and I for one am

 

           13              agreeable to that, I don't know if the rest

 

           14              of council would be agreeable to doing that?

 

           15                      MS. GATELLI:  Yes, because it's

 

           16              block grant money.

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I don't know if you

 

           18              could use that block grant money for

 

           19              overtime.

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI: Yeah, I think they

 

           21              could as long as they are in a beat patrol.

 

           22              I'm pretty sure.

 

           23                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  We'll ask that and

 

           24              because I think right now that's the only

 

           25              answer for the immediate future is it pay


 

 

                                                                     103

 

 

            1              overtime to the officers that are willing to

 

            2              work it, so I'll suggest that if that's okay

 

            3              with the everyone.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI:  Absolutely.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you.  I did

 

            6              talk to Director Hayes, my phone is going

 

            7              off, sorry about that.  I did talk to

 

            8              Director Hayes about Adams Avenue, he is

 

            9              handling the situation, and I believe we'll

 

           10              have it rectified soon.

 

           11                      Cameras, somebody brought up about

 

           12              the cameras that are around the city and

 

           13              being monitored hopefully by the police

 

           14              department, I believe it was last week they

 

           15              were operational for maybe a day or two so,

 

           16              I don't know if they were testing them out

 

           17              or not, I know that they are operational as

 

           18              we speak.  I think they will be operational

 

           19              in the very near future.  Some people that

 

           20              have viewed them for the day or so that they

 

           21              were testing them said that the quality was

 

           22              very, very good, so hopefully they will be

 

           23              up and running soon.  I know some people are

 

           24              opposed to having them, I'm in favor of

 

           25              them.  I think they could be a deterrent and


 

 

                                                                     104

 

 

            1              an aid to the police officers and an extra

 

            2              set of eyes.

 

            3                      Rockwell Avenue, I got two calls

 

            4              last week about the lights going up on

 

            5              Rockwell Avenue.  Those people on Rockwell

 

            6              Avenue don't want to have those lights put

 

            7              up in that field, and they actually asked

 

            8              about a petition, Kay, if you can just make

 

            9              people on Rockwell Avenue feelings known to

 

           10              Mark Dougher that they were not in favor of

 

           11              having those lights in that field.

 

           12                      I believe it was Mrs. Evans talked

 

           13              about the health care committee and

 

           14              Mrs. Krake.  I believe under the Connors'

 

           15              administration it accomplished a great deal

 

           16              and I would like to see it brought back if,

 

           17              I mean, I guess it's not going away but they

 

           18              haven't been meeting, but let's get it as

 

           19              active as possible because I don't think

 

           20              anybody whether you on the administration

 

           21              side or on the union sides wants to see

 

           22              health care costs go up.  We would all like

 

           23              to contain it and reduce it and hopefully we

 

           24              can reenact it and get this thing going.

 

           25                      We are getting a lot of homes tore


 

 

                                                                     105

 

 

            1              down and some people are in favor of that,

 

            2              some people are not in favor of it.  The

 

            3              fact of the matter is they are being torn

 

            4              down and the question that has gone before

 

            5              council is when the city tears down a

 

            6              property, a building, and the property

 

            7              remains there and it doesn't appear to be

 

            8              maintained, someone in the neighborhood has

 

            9              to go over and clean it up or a neighboring

 

           10              business is cleaning it up, I know one in

 

           11              particular, I don't know want to mention

 

           12              their name, that it's very frustrating

 

           13              because they go over, it's across from their

 

           14              business and they go over as often as

 

           15              possible and try to clean up or the weeds

 

           16              start to grow.  There is a property at the

 

           17              corner of Jackson Street and Hyde Park

 

           18              Avenue that they dump some dirt or ash in

 

           19              there and I believe the city when they tore

 

           20              the house down and it's creeped out into the

 

           21              sidewalk, there is no more sidewalk, so I

 

           22              would ask, Kay, if it's okay with everybody

 

           23              here that we ask Mark Seitzinger could he

 

           24              give us a list of the properties in the City

 

           25              of Scranton that Scranton has demolished the


 

 

                                                                     106

 

 

            1              property and is it the city's responsibility

 

            2              to maintain them because I do know sometimes

 

            3              when we tear them down or probably most of

 

            4              the town they are not in our possession.  We

 

            5              tear them down and put a lien against the

 

            6              homeowner, so what do we do, 30 more

 

            7              properties are being torn down, we certainly

 

            8              don't want 30 properties overgrown or as Mr.

 

            9              Jackowitz said, rats running around or

 

           10              whatever the case maybe, Mr. Spindler maybe,

 

           11              how do we manage all of these properties

 

           12              once they are torn down because I know that

 

           13              they are not available for immediate sale,

 

           14              sometimes it's difficult to buy a property

 

           15              that's been torn down, just what kind of

 

           16              handle are we going to get on these

 

           17              properties that are being torn down, is

 

           18              there a game plan, if you could just bring

 

           19              us up to speed on that I would appreciate

 

           20              that.  And that's all I have.  Thank you.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           22              Mr. Courtright.  Very briefly, just to

 

           23              respond to Mr. Dobson, I do in speaking with

 

           24              Mr. Santolli I was told that there are areas

 

           25              in the parks that are being looked at as


 

 

                                                                     107

 

 

            1              possible areas where spraying will occur, so

 

            2              they are not being ignored and Mr. Santolli

 

            3              has taken care of or will take care of the

 

            4              situation.

 

            5                      And I will speak with Mark Dougher

 

            6              tomorrow as far as I have to speak with him

 

            7              on another issue and at least see if I can

 

            8              find out if there -- what -- are there any

 

            9              current plans and if so before there is any

 

           10              definitive plan made about Rockwell that at

 

           11              least there be some consultation with the

 

           12              people in the neighborhood as to their

 

           13              wishes.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: Just on that for a

 

           15              minute, Mr. McGoff, excuse me, I don't want

 

           16              to interrupt, Connell Park has lights and,

 

           17              as you know, I live one house away from the

 

           18              field where the lights are and I can

 

           19              honestly say that the lights are not a

 

           20              problem.  The way they put them up and there

 

           21              is shields around them so that they don't

 

           22              shine into the neighborhood they shine on

 

           23              the field and I remember when the Lackawanna

 

           24              Little League was going to put lights in and

 

           25              all of the neighbors, you know, got in a


 

 

                                                                     108

 

 

            1              panic about it and they have lights now,

 

            2              too, and I don't think it's a problem.  So

 

            3              just to be aware that when they are put on

 

            4              the field they are put on the field not to

 

            5              shine in the neighbor's homes, so I don't

 

            6              know if that will help the neighbors at all.

 

            7                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't think they

 

            8              are as much concerned about the lights as

 

            9              they are saying that, you know, they've

 

           10              driven by the South Side Complex and

 

           11              sometimes those lights aren't turned out so

 

           12              they figure the kids are going to be hanging

 

           13              there all night long, you know, doing

 

           14              whatever it is they are going to do because

 

           15              there are lights there, that's their

 

           16              concerns.  I don't think it's so much about

 

           17              the light on the field, there is a

 

           18              basketball court there and they are hanging

 

           19              out there sometimes later at night without

 

           20              the lights.  I think they are afraid if the

 

           21              lights go up, and I don't know if you've

 

           22              driven by the South Side Complex sometimes

 

           23              they left them on all night long.

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI: Yeah, I don't know why.

 

           25                      MS. EVANS: Even when there were no


 

 

                                                                     109

 

 

            1              games.

 

            2                      MS. GATELLI: Yeah, I don't know why

 

            3              they do that.  At Connell Park they turn

 

            4              them off, the people at Connell Park.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So, I think that's

 

            6              the concern, but maybe Mr. Dougher can speak

 

            7              with the neighbors, if he wouldn't mind go

 

            8              out there and talk to the neighbors.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF:  And that's all.  Mrs.

 

           10              Garvey.

 

           11                      MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER.  5-B. FOR

 

           12              INTRODUCTION - A RESOLUTION - RATIFYING THE

 

           13              ACTIONS OF THE OFFICE OF ECONOMIC AND

 

           14              COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND OTHER APPROPRIATE

 

           15              CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND APPLY FOR A

 

           16              GRANT THROUGH THE PA DEPARTMENT OF

 

           17              CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES (DCNR) IN

 

           18              THE AMOUNT OF $1,000,000.00 ACCEPTING THE

 

           19              GRANT, IF SUCCESSFUL, COORDINATING AND

 

           20              DISBURSING THE GRANT FUNDS FOR THE PROJECT

 

           21              TO BE NAMED AS "500 LACKAWANNA AVENUE

 

           22              REDEVELOPMENT PARK, PLAZA AND PEDESTRIAN

 

           23              COURT."

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll

 

           25              entertain a motion that Item 5-B be


 

 

                                                                     110

 

 

            1              introduced into it's proper committee.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  So moved.

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI: Second.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: Yes, as I looked through

 

            6              the backup for this particular legislation,

 

            7              I noticed a few items on which I'd like to

 

            8              some specifics and clarification, for

 

            9              example, on the bottom of one of the pages,

 

           10              number four, partnerships, I'd like to know

 

           11              what the dollar amount is of contribution

 

           12              from the 500 Lackawanna Development Company

 

           13              itself.  We have dollar amounts listed from

 

           14              the US Department of Transportation, the

 

           15              Pennsylvania Department of Transportation,

 

           16              the Pennsylvania House Financing Agency,

 

           17              etcetera, but curiously I see no dollar

 

           18              amount listed for the actual developer, so I

 

           19              would like to know how much their own money

 

           20              they have invested.

 

           21                      Also, I noticed on the following

 

           22              page that the City of Scranton and the

 

           23              Scranton Redevelopment Authority are going

 

           24              to provide CDBG funding as well as UDAG

 

           25              funding and I would like to know the exact


 

 

                                                                     111

 

 

            1              dollar amount that's connected to both of

 

            2              those allocations because even, you know,

 

            3              not knowing those amounts it appears that we

 

            4              have 14, possibly $15 million in taxpayer

 

            5              money, whether it's through the Commonwealth

 

            6              of Pennsylvania or the federal government

 

            7              invested in this project, and I think it is

 

            8              important to know what the city is putting

 

            9              into this in addition to that 14 or

 

           10              $15 million and exactly what the owner

 

           11              himself is putting into this.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question,

 

           13              Mr. McGoff, I think this is one of the first

 

           14              big pieces of legislation when Mrs. Evans

 

           15              and myself came onto council and I believe

 

           16              at the time all five of us were very much in

 

           17              favor of this project, but there has been

 

           18              some turmoil since then and I, too, would

 

           19              like to know the dollar amount that the

 

           20              developer is putting into it.  I think a

 

           21              later you are going to see UDAG monies, I

 

           22              have never been able to find out how much

 

           23              money is in the UDAG fund, that seems to be

 

           24              a big mystery here.  I'm going to vote to

 

           25              move it ahead this week and then I'm going


 

 

                                                                     112

 

 

            1              to do a little bit more investigation myself

 

            2              and maybe the answers that Mrs. Evans will

 

            3              be getting and I'll make my decision next

 

            4              week.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: I just want to point out

 

            6              that what we are asking, what the resolution

 

            7              asks for is permission to apply for an

 

            8              accepted grant, that there is no encumbrance

 

            9              upon the city or the taxpayers in terms of,

 

           10              you know, spending money from the city

 

           11              budget or anything else, that this is --

 

           12              this is simply an attempt to apply a grant

 

           13              from a particular program that would go --

 

           14              that is project specific, it's money that

 

           15              cannot be used for any other project, that

 

           16              it would be from this -- from the Department

 

           17              of Conservation and Natural Resources for

 

           18              improvement of that one specific area of the

 

           19              project and that none of that -- if, in

 

           20              fact, that money is received, it is my

 

           21              understanding that none of that money would

 

           22              go directly to the developer that it would

 

           23              go to the project itself.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: And I agree, that's

 

           25              exactly the case, this is a grant.  The city


 

 

                                                                     113

 

 

            1              will not be repaying this, but let's face

 

            2              it, this benefits the developer in that it's

 

            3              going to attract a lot of traffic to his

 

            4              business location, but beyond that my

 

            5              concern is for what additional monies the

 

            6              city will invest in this project.  I think

 

            7              like Mr. Courtright said, it's important to

 

            8              know the dollar amounts attached here to

 

            9              UDAG and CDBG.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI: We can ask Kay to get

 

           11              that.

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: Well, that's what I

 

           13              initially asked for --

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: That's not a problem.

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: -- as well as the

 

           16              developer's slice of the pie here, so I'll

 

           17              vote, yes, as Mr. Courtright indicated and

 

           18              then I'll make my final decision once that

 

           19              information has been received.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF:  All those in favor of

 

           21              introduction signify by saying aye.

 

           22                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           25                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.


 

 

                                                                     114

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

            2              ayes have it and so moved.

 

            3                      MS. GARVEY: SIXTH ORDER.  NO

 

            4              BUSINESS AT THIS TIME.  SEVENTH ORDER.  7-A.

 

            5              FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES

 

            6              - FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 26, 2008 -

 

            7              AUTHORIZING THE HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION

 

            8              FOR THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO ENTER INTO A

 

            9              CONTRACT FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES WITH MARK

 

           10              T. MCGRATH, ESQUIRE TO ACT AS ITS SOLICITOR

 

           11              FOR ONE (1) YEAR BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2008

 

           12              THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2008 AT THE RATE OF

 

           13              NINETY-FIVE ($95.00) DOLLARS PER HOUR.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: I don't know when we

 

           15              put an amendment on this, but I would like

 

           16              to add an amendment to this motion/

 

           17              resolution before we --

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Would now be

 

           19              appropriate?

 

           20                      MR. MINORA: Now would be the time.

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI:  I would like to amend

 

           22              the resolution to make a cap of $20,000.  I

 

           23              make that in the form of a motion.

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI: Second.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  All


 

 

                                                                     115

 

 

            1              those in favor?

 

            2                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

            7              ayes have it and so moved.  The resolution

 

            8              would then read:  At a rate of $95 per hour

 

            9              not to exceed $20,000 annually," or

 

           10              something similar.

 

           11                      MR. MINORA: Correct.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Do we need to reread it.

 

           13                      MS. GARVEY: Yes.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Please.

 

           15                      MS. GARVEY:  FOR CONSIDERATION BY

 

           16              THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -

 

           17              RESOLUTION NO. 26, 2008 - AUTHORIZING THE

 

           18              HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION FOR THE CITY OF

 

           19              SCRANTON TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT FOR

 

           20              PROFESSIONAL SERVICES WITH MARK T. MCGRATH,

 

           21              ESQUIRE TO ACT AS ITS SOLICITOR FOR ONE (1)

 

           22              YEAR BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2008 THROUGH

 

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

 

           24              ($95.00) DOLLARS PER HOUR NOT TO EXCEED

 

           25              $20,000 ANNUALLY.


 

 

                                                                     116

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the

 

            2              Committee on Rules, I recommend final

 

            3              passage of Item 7-A as amended.

 

            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              BY THE COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT -

 

           20              FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 30, 2008 -

 

           21              AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE

 

           22              CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO A

 

           23              LOAN AGREEMENT AND TO EXECTUE A PROMISSORY

 

           24              NOTE, IN THE AMOUNT OF $60,000 BY AND

 

           25              BETWEEN THE CITY OF SCRANTON AND CACHE


 

 

                                                                     117

 

 

            1              SUPRIS LIMITED FOR ENTERPRISE ZONE

 

            2              COMPETITIVE GRANT FUNDS TO BE DEDICATED TO

 

            3              THE CACHE SUPRIS LIMITED PROJECT.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: What is the

 

            5              recommendation of the Chairperson for the

 

            6              Committee on Community Development?

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI: As Chairperson for the

 

            8              Committee on Community Development, I

 

            9              recommend final passage of Item 7-B.

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Second.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

           12                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.  As I indicated

 

           13              last week, I'm not going to be voting in

 

           14              favor of either 7-B or 7-C because so many

 

           15              questions and discrepancies have arisen

 

           16              concerning the Office of the Economic and

 

           17              Community Development and until those

 

           18              questions are answered publically by Mrs.

 

           19              Aebli I'm going to be approving anymore

 

           20              loans.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  Roll call,

 

           22              please.

 

           23                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS:  No.

 

           25                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.


 

 

                                                                     118

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.

 

            2                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

            4                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

            6                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

            8              Item 7-B legally and lawfully adopted.

 

            9                      MS. GARVEY:  7-C. FOR CONSIDERATION

 

           10              BY THE COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT -

 

           11              FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 31, 2008 -

 

           12              AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE

 

           13              CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO A

 

           14              LOAN AGREEMENT AND TO EXECUTE A PROMISSORY

 

           15              NOTE, IN THE AMOUNT OF $36,000 BY AND

 

           16              BETWEEN THE CITY OF SCRANTON AND F&M

 

           17              RESTAURANT LLC D/B/A/ YANNI'S GREEK BISTRO

 

           18              FOR ENTERPRISE ZONE COMPETITIVE GRANT FUNDS

 

           19              TO BE DEDICATED TO THE F&M RESTAURANT LLC

 

           20              D/B/A/ YANNI'S GREEK BISTRO PROJECT.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: What is the

 

           22              recommendation of the Chairperson for the

 

           23              Committee on the Community Development.

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI: As Chairperson for the

 

           25              Committee on Community Development, I


 

 

                                                                     119

 

 

            1              recommend final passage of Item 7-C.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Second.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question.  Roll

 

            4              call, please.

 

            5                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            6                      MS. EVANS:  No.

 

            7                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.

 

            9                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           10                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           11                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           13                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           15              Item 7-C legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           16              Thank you for your participation and

 

           17              cooperation.  A motion to adjourn.

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  So moved.

 

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            2                     C E R T I F I C A T E

 

            3

 

            4        I hereby certify that the proceedings and

 

            5   evidence are contained fully and accurately in the

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

            9   ability.

 

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                                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI

           13                       OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

 

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