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            1              SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

 

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            3

 

            4

 

            5                          HELD:

 

            6

 

            7                   Tuesday, June 3, 2008

 

            8

 

            9                        LOCATION:

 

           10                    Council Chambers

 

           11                 Scranton City Hall

 

           12              340 North Washington Avenue

 

           13                Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

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                            CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER

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            2   CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

 

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            4

                MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT (Not Present)

            5

 

            6   MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT

 

            7

                MS. JANET E. EVANS

            8

 

            9   MS. SHERRY FANUCCI

 

           10

                MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT

           11

 

           12   MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK

 

           13

                MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

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           15   MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR

 

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            1                      (Pledge of Allegiance and moment of

 

            2              reflection observed.)

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  Roll call.

 

            4                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS:  Here.

 

            6                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI:  Here.

 

            8                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

            9                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Here.

 

           10                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           11                      (Mr. McGoff not present.)

 

           12                      MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI: Here.  Mrs. Garvey.

 

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

 

           15              MINUTES OF THE COMPOSITE PENSION BOARD

 

           16              MEETING HELD ON APRIL 23, 2008.

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI: Are there any comments?

 

           18              If not, received and filed.

 

           19                      MS. GARVEY: 3-B. MINUTES OF THE

 

           20              SCRANTON POLICE PENSION COMMISSION MEETING

 

           21              HELD ON APRIL 23, 2008.

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: Are there any comments?

 

           23              If not, received and filed.

 

           24                      MS. GARVEY: That's it for Third

 

           25              Order.


 

 

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            1                      MS. GATELLI:  We'll do some

 

            2              announcements before we start with the

 

            3              public speakers.  I just have a few.  The

 

            4              Greek Festival is starting this evening at

 

            5              the 500 block of North Washington Avenue.

 

            6              It's from tonight until Saturday.  The 500

 

            7              block of Adams Avenue for the no parking we

 

            8              are still awaiting word.  Mrs. Garvey has

 

            9              not found any ordinances so she has been in

 

           10              touch with Mr. Hayes and notified him that

 

           11              we wish to pursue an ordinance and that's

 

           12              where that stands.

 

           13                      The beat patrols, I spoke to the

 

           14              mayor and he said within two weeks we should

 

           15              have the beat patrols working so we are

 

           16              happy about that for the summer.

 

           17                      The Community Justice Office, just

 

           18              for the people in South Scranton, we have

 

           19              not had a Community Justice Office since

 

           20              last fall, so we are going to start that up

 

           21              again.  We have a new district attorney

 

           22              that's assigned to us and they will be

 

           23              meeting again every other Thursday at the

 

           24              Renaissance Center from 10 to 2 starting on

 

           25              June 12.  If there are any other


 

 

                                                                       5

 

 

            1              neighborhoods that have Community Justice

 

            2              Offices please notify Kay Garvey and we will

 

            3              announce when your meetings are so the

 

            4              neighbors can go there with complaints.

 

            5                      We talked about McDowell coming here

 

            6              with Attorney Rinaldi and we talked about

 

            7              doing an investigation and issuing

 

            8              subpoenas.  Attorney Minora has been in

 

            9              touch with Attorney Rinaldi, he and

 

           10              Mr. McDowell have agreed to come here to

 

           11              meet with council.

 

           12                      MR. MINORA: He asked to clear it,

 

           13              there is a couple of things they are in

 

           14              favor of doing it, Attorney Rinaldi has some

 

           15              attorney/client privilege questions that may

 

           16              need waiver and he needs to have that

 

           17              cleared with other -- because of his

 

           18              position with probably the city solicitor's

 

           19              office and some others because of the bodies

 

           20              that they represent, so he needs a waiver of

 

           21              privilege in order to speak on some of the

 

           22              things, and Mr. McDowell, on the phone, I

 

           23              didn't speak with him, needs to consult with

 

           24              one other lawyer on his own behalf for other

 

           25              matters and that's how it was described, so


 

 

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            1              they are in favor of it, but there are

 

            2              questions and I have asked them to please

 

            3              get back to me by next meeting and they both

 

            4              -- Mr. Rinaldi said he would try to have

 

            5              both of them give us a result by next week.

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI: Kay.  Thank you.  And

 

            7              that's all I have.  Bill?

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I have just one

 

            9              thing they asked and I emphasize that this

 

           10              is going to be just one day only, I

 

           11              mentioned this little girl's name last week,

 

           12              Riley Jones.  They are going to have a pasta

 

           13              sale, it's going to be from LaTrottoria.

 

           14              The tickets will be on sale again one day

 

           15              only at John Marshall School on Oram Street

 

           16              in the back of the school under a tent, and

 

           17              they are going to hold the ticket sales and

 

           18              it's going to be June 4.

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI: That's tomorrow.

 

           20                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  From 9:00 until

 

           21              11:00 and then they will have sales from

 

           22              1:00 until 2:30 and then you will be able to

 

           23              pick up your dinner at LaTrottoria on

 

           24              Wednesday, June 11, so I'm assuming it's

 

           25              just the ticket sales, Wednesday, June 11


 

 

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            1              from 3 to 6 p.m.  So once again that ask

 

            2              that I emphasize it will be just June 4 so

 

            3              if you would like to help out Riley Jones it

 

            4              would certainly be appreciated 9 to 11 and

 

            5              then 1:00 to 2:30, John Marshall School.

 

            6              That's all I have.  Thank you.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Evans?

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Please remember in your

 

            9              prayers this week Mr. John Myers who

 

           10              recently passed away and his dear family and

 

           11              friends who deeply miss him.  His daughter,

 

           12              Lisa McConalog, is a highly respected and

 

           13              dedicated music teacher at Scranton High

 

           14              School where I teach.

 

           15                      Also, I attended the interfaith

 

           16              service for safety and protection of

 

           17              Scranton firefighters last Wednesday at

 

           18              Bethel AME Church and I was deeply moved by

 

           19              the words and prayers of the Reverend

 

           20              Kathryn Simmons, the Reverend Richard

 

           21              Jackson, Reverend Ray Johnson, Rabbi Joseph

 

           22              Mendelson, and the Reverend Daniel Waters.

 

           23              I was extremely impressed as well by the

 

           24              fifth generational choir, someone whose

 

           25              talented members attend Scranton High


 

 

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            1              School.  They are a credit to their family,

 

            2              church and community.

 

            3                      And just one last announcement, I

 

            4              will not be present at next week's meeting,

 

            5              I will be attending the graduation ceremony

 

            6              of Scranton High School.  I am a teacher of

 

            7              senior students and so those graduates, many

 

            8              of those graduates, are my students.  That's

 

            9              all.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI:  Thank you.

 

           11              Mr. Sbaraglia.

 

           12                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,

 

           13              citizen of Scranton.  Fellow Scrantonians,

 

           14              we got a little paper -- notice in the paper

 

           15              I guess we can believe what the Times put in

 

           16              their big headline, "Taxes won't stop loan."

 

           17                      I know it's in the budget,

 

           18              $11 million, no matter what we get through

 

           19              the tax office that's going to go through.

 

           20              The only good thing about it is we are

 

           21              borrowing to pay off debt.  We are not doing

 

           22              anything really, but putting ourself deeper

 

           23              and deeper into the hole, but I guess that's

 

           24              the way the city is going to operate for the

 

           25              next two years or until we get a new mayor.


 

 

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            1              The deeper we can go into a hole the better

 

            2              I guess the people like it.

 

            3                      Now, I got the city -- the paper

 

            4              quoted something in the paper, I quoted it

 

            5              last week, but it's in the paper and it's

 

            6              printed today, the city operating budget

 

            7              includes an anticipated 13.6 million from

 

            8              property taxes for 2008.  You are spending

 

            9              28 million, the city has approximately 25

 

           10              square miles, 25 square miles and you are

 

           11              spending $28 million of public money in one

 

           12              little section.  It's pork.  When

 

           13              Mr. DiBileo brought it up a long time ago

 

           14              you are right, Judy, you weren't the only

 

           15              ones that got in on this.  Mr. DiBileo

 

           16              brought it up and I said was pork then, it's

 

           17              pork now, it's just longer pork.  It's more

 

           18              pork and it just keeps climbing.  Like I

 

           19              said when he brought it up, he didn't even

 

           20              pay for the engineering, we did.  The

 

           21              sidewalks were paved.  Two of the people and

 

           22              the ends of that project opt out.  You try

 

           23              to get them, Judy, you tried to get them to

 

           24              come before you, Mr. Rinaldi refused to

 

           25              come.  You asked questions of how much money


 

 

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            1              he got invested in this project as a

 

            2              developer, he refuses to answer, but yet we

 

            3              are pouring more and more money into it.

 

            4              There has got to be a good reason for it.

 

            5              It's not very -- you can see it, but they

 

            6              got hidden.  There is a hidden agenda to

 

            7              this deal and pork stinks all the time, but

 

            8              this pork has been going on for a long, long

 

            9              time and it stinks more and more and more

 

           10              and here we stand, a troubled nation, a real

 

           11              troubled nation and the troubled Scranton,

 

           12              but yet you want to put all of this pork in

 

           13              and you watch the bridge project go from 1.5

 

           14              up to 7.5 million.  What are we getting for

 

           15              all of that expense?  Who knows.

 

           16                      I watched the Governor gave 1.5

 

           17              million to I think Humble Industrial Park,

 

           18              okay?  They got 1,100 jobs for that 1.5

 

           19              million.  We got 100 jobs and they are not

 

           20              necessarily Scrantonians because it doesn't

 

           21              matter.  If you get a federal job it doesn't

 

           22              matter where you live and anybody that makes

 

           23              a buck don't want to live in Scranton and

 

           24              that's true.  People don't want to live here

 

           25              because of the high wage tax and the


 

 

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            1              property tax I won't say much about because

 

            2              it's not ungodly, the wage tax is ungodly.

 

            3              The school taxes are high, too, so people

 

            4              don't want to live here, but yet you are

 

            5              pouring millions and millions into what?

 

            6              Six or seven broken down buildings that

 

            7              anybody should -- if they want to build they

 

            8              should pay to tax them up themselves.  I

 

            9              mean, if you buy a house do we ask the

 

           10              government to fix up your house?  I mean, he

 

           11              got a couple of old broken down buildings

 

           12              down there and they want us to fix it up, he

 

           13              wants to pay for all of the interior work

 

           14              and wants to put a park behind it, the only

 

           15              person that's making anything out of this

 

           16              money is the developer.  He is going to come

 

           17              out smelling like a rose because he is going

 

           18              to have a property that's worth more than --

 

           19              a lot more than he invested in it if you

 

           20              ever find out what he invested in it.  I

 

           21              just hope he bought the buildings outright

 

           22              not through tax laws because a lot of times

 

           23              they go up for back taxes and you get a deal

 

           24              on that and you get a building that's real

 

           25              reasonable.  I don't how he acquired the


 

 

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            1              buildings, but as far as I can see that's

 

            2              the only money he got invested in it was the

 

            3              acquisition of them buildings.

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: He purchased them.  He

 

            5              did purchase them.  He did purchase the

 

            6              buildings.

 

            7                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Oh, I said that.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI: It wasn't a tax --

 

            9                      MR. SBARAGLIA: That's the only way

 

           10              he got in is acquisition of the building and

 

           11              then he wants you to fix it.  If I buy a

 

           12              house I'm going to ask come before you,

 

           13              maybe you can give me a grant.  Thank you.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI:  Ozzie Quinn.

 

           15                      MR. MINORA:  I did get a call from

 

           16              Attorney Bill Rinaldi who asked that he and

 

           17              I meet, he has certain information that he

 

           18              can give, certain information he can't give

 

           19              and he wanted to discuss it with me what we

 

           20              wanted, what he was able to give, so I'm

 

           21              going to try and meet with him later this

 

           22              week to answer some of the questions that we

 

           23              have and hopefully I'm not trying to put the

 

           24              kabash to the things, but still get our

 

           25              questions answered, so I'll report back next


 

 

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            1              week.

 

            2                      MS. GATELLI: Thank you, Attorney

 

            3              Minora.  Ozzie is not here?

 

            4                      MS. FRANUS:  He is not here.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI: Fay.

 

            6                      MS. FRANUS: Fay Franus.  I'm pleased

 

            7              to hear that you say about Kenny McDowell

 

            8              coming in, I just hope to see him in the

 

            9              next couple of weeks and I hope you put some

 

           10              pressure on him as far as answering as many

 

           11              questions you want answered.

 

           12                      Judy, let me ask you something, I

 

           13              read in the paper today about the

 

           14              $11 million going to be borrowed, you swore

 

           15              that you -- or I shouldn't say swear, you

 

           16              promised that you couldn't vote for anymore

 

           17              borrowing, are you going to vote for this

 

           18              $11 million borrowing?

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI:  No.

 

           20                      MS. FRANUS: Absolutely not?

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI: No.

 

           22                      MS. FRANUS:  Are you going to vote

 

           23              for it, Mrs. Fanucci?

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI: I can answer that

 

           25              question, I mean, I did vote for it in the


 

 

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            1              budget, I knew it was in the budget.

 

            2                      MS. FRANUS:  So when the vote comes

 

            3              for the borrowing are you going to vote for

 

            4              it?

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI:  I would look -- hope

 

            6              in light of the tax office money that this

 

            7              won't have to be done, so I hope for all --

 

            8                      MS. FRANUS:  That tax money we won't

 

            9              be getting possibly until next year, and

 

           10              that's still going to be borrowing.

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: I still believe with

 

           12              the fact that the banks and other people are

 

           13              aware that we have the money coming to us

 

           14              regardless of how much it is that we can

 

           15              come to some type of alternative, you know,

 

           16              aside from borrowing, so I really would

 

           17              rather work on that right now than try to

 

           18              borrow $11 million and that's what I can

 

           19              tell you.

 

           20                      MS. FRANUS: Mrs. Gatelli, why did

 

           21              you vote last week for that Lackawanna

 

           22              Avenue project?

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI: Why did I vote for it?

 

           24                      MS. FRANUS: The three of you.

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI: Because I believe in


 

 

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            1              the project and I'm not going to refuse a

 

            2              grant from the state.

 

            3                      MS. FRANUS: But you are letting out

 

            4              two people?  Are you running for election

 

            5              again?  Are you running for election?

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI: I haven't decided yet.

 

            7                      MS. FRANUS:  When do you think you

 

            8              are going to decide?  I mean, I'm just

 

            9              trying to figure out where --

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI:  Next February I'll

 

           11              decide if I'm running for office.

 

           12                      MS. FRANUS:  Well, I just hope the

 

           13              people know if you are going to be nice and

 

           14              do all of these things that are nice it's

 

           15              because you want to get elected, so I'm just

 

           16              going to sort of keep an eye on you.

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI:  Mrs. Franus, I have

 

           18              been doing nice things for 27 years.  I

 

           19              don't know if you aware of that or not.

 

           20                      MS. FRANUS: Well, I have seen

 

           21              enough, so get a good look at my face

 

           22              because I'm not going anywhere.  I mean, you

 

           23              have no sense of decency when it comes to

 

           24              the people and we are not going to forget

 

           25              it.  You know, I watched the D&C debate last


 

 

                                                                      16

 

 

            1              week --

 

            2                      MS. GATELLI: I don't think that's

 

            3              very.

 

            4                      MS. FRANUS: Well, I think, if the

 

            5              shoe fits wear it, Judy.

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI: And I don't think it's

 

            7              very nice.  I always return your phone calls

 

            8              whenever you have called me and I have done

 

            9              everything you have ever asked me to do.

 

           10                      MS. FRANUS:  Well, what was that,

 

           11              fix a pothole or something?

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI: You asked about

 

           13              McDowell --

 

           14                      MS. FRANUS:  Yes, that's one thing.

 

           15                      MS. GATELLI:  Last week you asked

 

           16              about something else.

 

           17                      MS. FRANUS: What was the something

 

           18              else?

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI:  I forget what it was.

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI:  It couldn't have been

 

           21              too important because you have never done

 

           22              anything for the taxpayers so far.  This is

 

           23              the first time that I have known you that

 

           24              have you done anything that I have asked

 

           25              you.


 

 

                                                                      17

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI:  Mrs. Franus, I'm not

 

            2              going to listen to your badgering.  Just go

 

            3              on.

 

            4                      MS. FRANUS: No.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI; I am not going to --

 

            6                      MS. FRANUS:  I want the people to be

 

            7              aware.

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI: People are aware.

 

            9              People are aware.

 

           10                      MS. FRANUS:  You said you didn't

 

           11              want Channel 61 on television because you

 

           12              didn't like the way people spoke, that

 

           13              should tell you something.  You know why you

 

           14              don't want 61 on television so people will

 

           15              see how you act and they won't see your

 

           16              voting record for the election, the coming

 

           17              election, and that's sad.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI:  That's what this is,

 

           19              all politics.

 

           20                      MS. FRANUS: On your part.

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI:  And you're going to

 

           22              badger up here.

 

           23                      MS. FRANUS: I'm not a politician,

 

           24              Judy.

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI:  So I won't get elected


 

 

                                                                      18

 

 

            1              and who you are going to promote up here,

 

            2              that's all it is all about.

 

            3                      MS. FRANUS: I'm not here to promote

 

            4              anybody.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI: And the station should

 

            6              not be about that.  It should be about city

 

            7              business.

 

            8                      MS. FRANUS:  The station is only

 

            9              showing the people how you act and how you

 

           10              vote.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI: And how you are

 

           12              badgering for political reasons.

 

           13                      MS. FRANUS:  Badger who, me?

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: People badger you for

 

           15              political reasons.

 

           16                      MS. FRANUS:  You are the one that

 

           17              are badgering people, I'm not going to go

 

           18              there.  I said I spoke about that D & C

 

           19              thing last week on television, people were

 

           20              screaming, screaming from the audience, a

 

           21              whole audience was screaming and not one

 

           22              person was called out of order, not one

 

           23              policeman took anybody out of there.  Isn't

 

           24              that amazing how democracy works, that was

 

           25              in Washington DC, but here we are at city


 

 

                                                                      19

 

 

            1              council and you have had me taken out twice

 

            2              by a police officer.  You had cameras

 

            3              removed and people get scanned.  How come we

 

            4              are not scanned anymore?  My gosh, I have a

 

            5              metal keychain.  I mean, how come we are not

 

            6              scanned anymore, Judy?  I mean, are you not

 

            7              threatened anymore?  Can't you -- another

 

            8              thing, how come you are answering me now,

 

            9              but three weeks ago you weren't.  I think

 

           10              it's got something to do with the election.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI:  Yeah, I'm getting

 

           12              ready already for that.

 

           13                      MS. FRANUS: Well, every week.  Every

 

           14              week.

 

           15                      MS. GATELLI:  You are getting ready

 

           16              to push your candidate, that's what you are

 

           17              doing.

 

           18                      MS. FRANUS: I don't have a

 

           19              candidate, I don't even know who is running.

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI: Yes, you do.  Yes, you

 

           21              do.

 

           22                      MS. FRANUS: May I ask --

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI: And I have supporters

 

           24              who run, Fay, and we know what this is all

 

           25              about.


 

 

                                                                      20

 

 

            1                      MS. FRANUS:  Oh, no, we don't, Judy,

 

            2              never have a clue --

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  I know what it's all

 

            4              about.

 

            5                      MS. FRANUS: But no matter what, I'm

 

            6              not running for office and I don't know

 

            7              anybody that is.

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI: Well, you should run, I

 

            9              told you that before.

 

           10                      MS. FRANUS:  This has nothing to do

 

           11              with me, it has to do with me and how you

 

           12              are trying to pull the wool over people's

 

           13              eyes.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: The people will know

 

           15              better.  The people know who has helped them

 

           16              and who hasn't.

 

           17                      MS. FRANUS:  Yes, that's right,

 

           18              namely, Mrs. Evans and Billy Courtright

 

           19              have.  You, McGoff and Fanucci have never

 

           20              helped the people.  You vote all the time

 

           21              against the people and we are not going to

 

           22              forget it.  Don't ever forget it.  I hope

 

           23              you people will never, ever forget.  Never

 

           24              to vote for Judy Gatelli, Bob McGoff and

 

           25              Mrs. Fanucci.


 

 

                                                                      21

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: There is your political

 

            2              advertisement from Scranton, PA.  Thank you.

 

            3                      MS. FRANUS: I'm a taxpayer.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI: Mike Dudek.

 

            5                      MR. MILLER:  Mrs. Gatelli, may I

 

            6              address as I normally do in the beginning?

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI: I didn't have it down,

 

            8              Douglas, you will have to wait.  Mr. Dudek.

 

            9                      MR. DUDEK:  Mike Dudek, 608 Depot

 

           10              Street, Scranton, PA.  I live in the Plot.

 

           11              And the first thing that I want to do is to

 

           12              congratulate the five members of City

 

           13              Council who took my suggestion very

 

           14              seriously about voting for a forensic audit.

 

           15              All I have to ask you to do is to look at

 

           16              what has happened ever since the five of you

 

           17              united together and took that vote, the rats

 

           18              are finally coming out of the Single Tax

 

           19              Office because they all know what this audit

 

           20              is going to bring.  I don't know what it's

 

           21              going to bring and the forensic auditors

 

           22              won't know until they do it, but because you

 

           23              have the political courage to do it as a

 

           24              united council of five something finally is

 

           25              going to be done there.


 

 

                                                                      22

 

 

            1                      Now, I can't make up the stuff that

 

            2              gets printed in our local newspaper, but I

 

            3              will tell you as someone who has taught

 

            4              civics for a number of years, the worst

 

            5              possible perversion of the First Amendment

 

            6              can only occur when a free press decides to

 

            7              get in bed with the government against the

 

            8              will of the people, and I'm just going to

 

            9              use the words of today's editorial to make

 

           10              the point I'm talking about.  "Former Tax

 

           11              Collector Ken McDowell has left this office

 

           12              unaccountable," they were talking about

 

           13              pervasive inattention to detail, "But

 

           14              Mr. McDowell is not alone."

 

           15                      Listen to this, "During his six

 

           16              years at tax collector he was not pressed

 

           17              for accountability by the three principal

 

           18              governments for which the city, from which

 

           19              the office collects an array of taxes,

 

           20              Scranton, the Scranton School District and

 

           21              Lackawanna County."

 

           22                      Now, did I lose my memory or wasn't

 

           23              Mrs. Evans screaming about this for at least

 

           24              the last three years?  Hasn't Nancy Krake

 

           25              come up here at least seven different times


 

 

                                                                      23

 

 

            1              to talk about seven different instances in

 

            2              that city tax office, in the Single Tax

 

            3              Office over the years?  Hasn't Tom Gilbride,

 

            4              the president of the Scranton School Board

 

            5              screamed about this?  Do we all forget that,

 

            6              do we collectively forget that awful

 

            7              headline, "Gilbride a liar" or am I the only

 

            8              one that remembers?

 

            9                      Mr. Gilbride took very, very

 

           10              positive steps to try to get that

 

           11              information and he has been getting pilfered

 

           12              by this paper for doing it.  Janet Evans has

 

           13              been trying to push for this information, we

 

           14              have political cartoons of her, we have

 

           15              editorials lambasting her and occasional

 

           16              news articles lambasting her, and it's just

 

           17              so demeaning, but yet who is rising like out

 

           18              of this like a Phoenix?  It kind of reminds

 

           19              me of the 1953 version of the movie the "War

 

           20              of the Worlds", the '53 version where the

 

           21              Army is on one side of the valley and the

 

           22              death ray is on the other side of the valley

 

           23              and up comes the death ray, the flying wing

 

           24              flies over the death ray and drops a nuclear

 

           25              bomb on us, much like the nuclear bomb that


 

 

                                                                      24

 

 

            1              have been dropped on you.  And the death ray

 

            2              absorbs the power of these nuclear bombs and

 

            3              every time I think of it I keep thinking of

 

            4              Mrs. Evans who keeps coming out of this

 

            5              getting stronger and stronger and stronger.

 

            6              It's almost the same thing.  I mean, that

 

            7              you see in the movies, but again, I want to

 

            8              congratulate the five of you for your unity

 

            9              of purpose because if you had not done that

 

           10              we would still be waiting for information,

 

           11              we would still be waiting for answers, but

 

           12              you put the pressure on.  This is a very

 

           13              good demonstration of your power as city

 

           14              council people.  You have the power to scare

 

           15              people when they need to be scared.

 

           16                      There was a good Jesuit priest at

 

           17              the University of Scranton who taught an

 

           18              ethics course, and I hope this will stay

 

           19              with you the way this has stayed with me,

 

           20              whenever you come across a difficult

 

           21              situation especially the kind of situations

 

           22              you have on council, apply three tests:  Is

 

           23              the action I'm going to take good or bad,

 

           24              right or wrong, proper and improper.  If

 

           25              it's good, if it's right, and it's proper do


 

 

                                                                      25

 

 

            1              it because then you cannot possibly go

 

            2              wrong.  Thank you.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI: Thank you.

 

            4              Mr. Spindler.

 

            5                      MR. SPINDLER: Good evening, Council,

 

            6              Les Spindler, city resident, homeowner.

 

            7              After this week or whatever school year is

 

            8              over I guess the former Bishop Hannon

 

            9              building is going to be vacant, I think that

 

           10              would be an excellent place for a medical

 

           11              school to go instead of misplacing people

 

           12              from their residences on Washington Avenue

 

           13              or wherever it's going to be.  It's already

 

           14              a school, you know, they don't have to do

 

           15              any building in there or anything.  Some

 

           16              people might argue there is no parking, but

 

           17              there is a parking lot right next door to

 

           18              it, if it's not big enough they can build a

 

           19              parking garage right next to.  We all know

 

           20              Chris Doherty loves building parking garages

 

           21              so there we go.  Enough on that subject.

 

           22                   The next thing, I was here quite a few

 

           23              weeks ago when a gentleman spoke to me about

 

           24              the bridge, upper Linden Street past the

 

           25              U-Haul there that the sidewalks were caving


 

 

                                                                      26

 

 

            1              in and they with were all in bad shape and

 

            2              anyone look into that?

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Les, I asked and I

 

            4              do not believe that's going to be included

 

            5              in the project on Lackawanna Avenue.

 

            6                      MR. SPINDLER: Oh, I understand that

 

            7              it's a different bridge.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I thought possibly

 

            9              it was, but it's not.  As far as repairing

 

           10              it I haven't gotten an answer on it.

 

           11                      MR. SPINDLER: Yeah, something should

 

           12              be done with that.  It's a mess.  Next

 

           13              thing, Mrs. Gatelli, Mrs. Garvey, thank you

 

           14              for this ordinance from 1980 about the dogs.

 

           15              One thing I have to read here, struck me

 

           16              kind of strange, Section two, running at

 

           17              large it's called, "It shall be the duty of

 

           18              every police officer or authorized agency to

 

           19              seize and detain any dog or dogs which are

 

           20              running at large."

 

           21                      I'm not going to read the whole

 

           22              thing.  Why would it be the duty of the

 

           23              police officer, I never heard of them having

 

           24              to do anything with dogs, it should be the

 

           25              animal control officers.  First of all,


 

 

                                                                      27

 

 

            1              police officers aren't equipped to capture a

 

            2              dog, especially if it's a dangerous dog, I

 

            3              mean, what are they supposed to do, hit it

 

            4              over the head with a billy club or what?  I

 

            5              don't know how they could put that in the

 

            6              ordinance.

 

            7                      MR. COURTRIGHT: They can issue

 

            8              citations, I believe, Les.

 

            9                      MR. SPINDLER:  Pardon me, Bill?

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I believe the

 

           11              police officers can issue citations, that's

 

           12              why that would be in there.

 

           13                      MR. SPINDLER: Oh, okay.  I talked

 

           14              about the $11 million more in the paper

 

           15              today, Stu Renda was talking and he said

 

           16              it's possible the city might not get any of

 

           17              that, but I think he is just told that by

 

           18              the mayor to make sure council will vote to

 

           19              have $11 million, but you didn't see Chris

 

           20              Doherty's name mentioned at all in that

 

           21              article, but yet in a separate article about

 

           22              the houses being torn down in west side the

 

           23              mayor said we'll be there for six months, we

 

           24              are tearing down all of the houses, the

 

           25              blighted houses, but when it comes to the 11


 

 

                                                                      28

 

 

            1              million dollars it didn't mention him, but

 

            2              we know he is behind him.  We don't need to

 

            3              borrow anymore money.  The city is in enough

 

            4              debt as it is and instead of tearing down

 

            5              all of these blighted houses I think we

 

            6              would be better off repairing them and

 

            7              fixing them up and giving them to families

 

            8              that need them and let they pay taxes on

 

            9              them.  When they are torn down they are

 

           10              going to be empty lots with weeds growing

 

           11              and just places for people to dump garbage.

 

           12              They are going to be no good at all.  If

 

           13              they were repaired and given to people to

 

           14              pay taxes at least the city would be making

 

           15              some money on them.  Thank you.

 

           16                      MS. GATELLI:  Thank you.

 

           17              Mr. Ellman.

 

           18                      MR. ELLMAN: Hello, Council.  Ronnie

 

           19              Ellman, homeowner, and still working on it,

 

           20              member of the Taxpayers' Association.

 

           21                      I saw your husband on his motorcycle

 

           22              and you were noticeably absent?

 

           23                      MS. EVANS: Well, I'm not a real risk

 

           24              taker, I like to keep my appendages where

 

           25              they are.


 

 

                                                                      29

 

 

            1                      MR. ELLMAN: Maybe you ought to start

 

            2              on a scooter and work your way up to like

 

            3              what he got.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: I think I would be on a

 

            5              tricycle.

 

            6                      MR. ELLMAN: Miss Judy, I'll get you

 

            7              and take you for a ride.  Miss Judy, while

 

            8              I'm thinking of it, do you remember, I don't

 

            9              know, a year or so ago I was talking about a

 

           10              house, a condemned house near me and those

 

           11              people living in it, they have -- I don't

 

           12              know the story at all, but they have taken a

 

           13              house and remodeled it and fixed it all up

 

           14              on the outside, I suppose it's the same on

 

           15              the inside, but, you know, people keep

 

           16              coming up here and saying tearing down all

 

           17              of these houses isn't the answer, you know.

 

           18              Again, I'm going to say you're going to be

 

           19              like Memphis, thousands of vacant lots where

 

           20              they torn down houses.  Nobody rebuilds, you

 

           21              know, they are just vacant.  I'm from

 

           22              Memphis and I know what I'm talking about.

 

           23              The city is really funny looking, you go

 

           24              down any street and there is vacant lots

 

           25              everywhere and I'd say half of them, you


 

 

                                                                      30

 

 

            1              know, aren't being kept up by neighbors and

 

            2              all.  It's not nice looking.  I don't know

 

            3              what the answer is with them all because I

 

            4              know there is some blighted ones.

 

            5                      The old Smith house has been vacant

 

            6              three or four years, but it's probably still

 

            7              of sound structure.  I had no idea what it's

 

            8              worth and what's going on.  The house behind

 

            9              me has been remodeled several times and it's

 

           10              now it's condemned and it's not too bad

 

           11              looking, I don't even know what happened to

 

           12              it.  It's Section 8, I think everybody just

 

           13              tore it up over the years.

 

           14                      You know, when I go to the Taurus

 

           15              Club I have to make frequent trips to the

 

           16              men's room and, Mr. Courtright, you know,

 

           17              you can't believe the conversations that go

 

           18              on in a minute or two, isn't that the truth?

 

           19              Really.  So, the other day two men were

 

           20              talking and they were talking about

 

           21              Mr. McDowell and these are, you know, some

 

           22              business people, one is an attorney I

 

           23              believe, and they said if there is

 

           24              $12 million accounted for how much is

 

           25              unaccounted for we don't know what happened


 

 

                                                                      31

 

 

            1              with it, and that's a thought that I haven't

 

            2              seen in the paper or anything, you know,

 

            3              it's probably the truth.  This shouldn't

 

            4              have happened, you know.  I never heard of

 

            5              nothing like this in a city.

 

            6                      I went this morning to see Mr.

 

            7              DeNaples to pick up a check for the swimming

 

            8              and we were talking about a couple of

 

            9              different things and I was thinking when I

 

           10              left this is such a good man and I was

 

           11              thinking a couple of weeks ago I mentioned

 

           12              that I would have liked to seen Mr. Bolus as

 

           13              the mayor, he is a intelligent man and a

 

           14              successful businessman and Father Sica just

 

           15              always being crucified in the paper at every

 

           16              chance.  These people, just these three

 

           17              people, have probably done more in

 

           18              10 minutes of their lives than the Lynett's

 

           19              have for this city in the last 100 years,

 

           20              just the whole family, you know, this

 

           21              newspaper you can't rely on it, you have to

 

           22              rely on that -- this station to keep the

 

           23              people of this city informed what's going

 

           24              on.  These people out here, you know, they

 

           25              have such a bad reputation with the


 

 

                                                                      32

 

 

            1              newspaper, let me just finish my train of

 

            2              thought here, you can't turn this TV off.  I

 

            3              think Mr. Miller showed his gross immaturity

 

            4              last week with this statement.  If you had

 

            5              any future political aspirations I think you

 

            6              hurt them really.  I have heard nothing but,

 

            7              you know, of course, the people I talk to

 

            8              are for the station, but a lot of

 

            9              disappointment in your statement.  Thank you

 

           10              very much.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI: Thank you.  Mr.

 

           12              Jackowitz.

 

           13                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Good evening, Madame

 

           14              President, council members, Bill Jackowitz,

 

           15              South Scranton resident, member of the

 

           16              Taxpayers' Association.  April 2008 the

 

           17              unemployment rate for the Scranton/

 

           18              Wilkes-Barre rose another tenth of a

 

           19              percentage point, we are now at 5.9, still

 

           20              ranked 13th out of 14th metro area in the

 

           21              state.  The only metro area that has a

 

           22              higher unemployment rate is Johnstown which

 

           23              is a much smaller area.  Johnstown's

 

           24              unemployment rate is 6.1 percent.  The

 

           25              state's unemployment rate is 5 percent, also


 

 

                                                                      33

 

 

            1              the national unemployment rate is a 5

 

            2              percent, so, again, as the numbers show

 

            3              Scranton is again at the bottom of the

 

            4              economic ladder of the state.  I am

 

            5              confident that self-proclaimed stooge number

 

            6              one, Councilwoman Fanucci, will have

 

            7              something to say about this.  Possibly more

 

            8              jobs than McDonald's like she referenced

 

            9              last week or maybe high-end stores.  How

 

           10              about real jobs that actually pay a liveable

 

           11              wage, not part-time job for students or

 

           12              senior citizens jobs, but yet every week the

 

           13              residents are informed how good things are

 

           14              in the area.

 

           15                      Last week we were told that we

 

           16              should be happy that Scranton has restaurant

 

           17              and bar jobs available.  As a Scranton

 

           18              resident I found that be to very insulting.

 

           19              Scranton residents deserve much better than

 

           20              restaurants and bar jobs.  The consumer has

 

           21              no money to spend and in Scranton we no

 

           22              longer have a consumer because most people

 

           23              have no money unless you happen to be

 

           24              politically connected and able to get

 

           25              yourself a state job.


 

 

                                                                      34

 

 

            1                      By the way, I find it very

 

            2              interesting last week when Councilwoman

 

            3              Gatelli stated that taxpayers' money was

 

            4              spent for her new husband's retirement party

 

            5              from the school district.  Councilwoman

 

            6              Gatelli's own words, not mine.  I have

 

            7              attended retirement parties and promotion

 

            8              parties in my 29 years of government

 

            9              service, including my own, and never have I

 

           10              heard of taxpayers' money being used to pay

 

           11              the bills for the party.

 

           12                      Mr. Minora, as an assistant district

 

           13              attorney I would like for you to look into

 

           14              this matter because if taxpayers' money was

 

           15              spent on a retirement party a crime has been

 

           16              perpetrated.  The guests at a party pay for

 

           17              the expenses, not the taxpayers.

 

           18                      Also, I would like to see an

 

           19              investigation into the city controller's

 

           20              office.  Something is not right there either

 

           21              just like the Single Tax Office.  Last week

 

           22              I found it very amusing to hear an appointed

 

           23              tax collector tell an elected council person

 

           24              that it was none of his business what the

 

           25              interest rate is.  No wonder why we have a


 

 

                                                                      35

 

 

            1              12.2 million dollars in excess, taxes have

 

            2              not been collected in years, and we have

 

            3              been distressed for 17 years.  Also, I find

 

            4              it interesting that all of the questions

 

            5              that Mr. McGovern and Mrs. Vitale would not

 

            6              answer appeared in the Doherty Times-Tribune

 

            7              on Sunday.  The Doherty Times-Tribune

 

            8              investigative reporters have been working

 

            9              hard, just four years too late.

 

           10                      As far as the 500 block of

 

           11              Lackawanna Avenue, I started speaking on

 

           12              this project in 2005, 2006, and 2007.  I was

 

           13              lied to, mislead and told that answers were

 

           14              forthcoming and still have not come and what

 

           15              do we have in 2008?  More lies, misleading

 

           16              statements and a much larger bigger bill.

 

           17              What a city.

 

           18                      As far as South Scranton, what a

 

           19              mess.  I was born, educated and live in

 

           20              South Scranton and it is a mess and has been

 

           21              for at least the past 27 years and getting

 

           22              worse everyday.  Someone in the local

 

           23              government should step up and do something

 

           24              about this.  Oh, I forgot, we are planting

 

           25              trees.  That will solve everything.  What a


 

 

                                                                      36

 

 

            1              city.  Now the mayor is going to clean up

 

            2              West Scranton, how about completing South

 

            3              Scranton first?  Now I see where the city

 

            4              will borrow another $12 million.  We have to

 

            5              repay the loan from 2005, 5.5 million and

 

            6              another 5.5 million to cover the 2008 budget

 

            7              which, by the way, was approved by the

 

            8              current city council without having the

 

            9              money available.

 

           10                      What a city.  Approve the 11 million

 

           11              and put the city into a deeper distressed

 

           12              debt status, worry about the money next

 

           13              year, remember, for seven years Mayor

 

           14              Doherty has gotten his way every year.

 

           15              Council has supported his budgets, borrowing

 

           16              and Recovery Plan.  The citizens get the

 

           17              government they deserve, Thomas Jefferson

 

           18              once said.  Respect is something that is

 

           19              earned not a right.  You cannot believe what

 

           20              a politician or elected official says.

 

           21              Their voting record is all that matters.

 

           22                   And as far as Doug Miller, he IS a

 

           23              harmless, inexperienced kid and president of

 

           24              one.

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI:  Thank you for your


 

 

                                                                      37

 

 

            1              kind comments.  Mr. Dobson.  No?  Is there

 

            2              anything else that cares to speak?

 

            3              Mr. Davis.

 

            4                      MR. DAVIS:  Salaam aleikum, peace

 

            5              and blessings of the law be with you.

 

            6              Excuse my costume.  I was laying there in

 

            7              the bed and I said someone called me on the

 

            8              telephone and said, "Jim, did you know that

 

            9              they had lined off the streets in front of

 

           10              the school down on Wyoming Avenue even

 

           11              though they are going to close it down?"

 

           12                      And it was -- they used to the same

 

           13              paint as they did at Prep and yet they have

 

           14              not done any of streets in central city as

 

           15              far as crosswalks are concerned and I said,

 

           16              yes, I knew that, but I have gone before

 

           17              city council and I have asked them several

 

           18              times.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. Davis, could I

 

           20              interrupt you for one second?

 

           21                      MR. DAVIS: Go ahead.

 

           22                      MR. COURTRIGHT: This past Sunday I

 

           23              believe it was when I was going through town

 

           24              there was somebody doing lines.

 

           25                      MR. DAVIS: Where?


 

 

                                                                      38

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  And I asked him who

 

            2              he worked for, all right?  He is working for

 

            3              a contractor so evidently, I don't know for

 

            4              a fact because I haven't looked into it,

 

            5              evidently the city has hired a contractor to

 

            6              paint the lines throughout the city, so from

 

            7              what -- now he is just a worker telling me

 

            8              this, what this gentleman told me they going

 

            9              to paint I believe on the weekends all of

 

           10              the lines in the city.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: And many got them painted

 

           12              already.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  So that would be a

 

           14              good thing in my eyes.  You know, if we are

 

           15              getting them done.  I just think there

 

           16              wasn't the manpower, and I'm not making

 

           17              excuses for them, but there wasn't the

 

           18              manpower to do it.  They only had three

 

           19              people in this department, so evidently

 

           20              maybe, Kay, we can look into it.

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI: I talked to Jeff

 

           22              Brazil, they did hire a contractor.

 

           23                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So, we are going to

 

           24              get them painted and I was all upset about

 

           25              it as much as you are.


 

 

                                                                      39

 

 

            1                      MR. DAVIS: Thank you.  I realize

 

            2              that, that's the reason why I didn't keep

 

            3              hanging on you for it.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I just -- they are

 

            5              going to be painted, thank God.

 

            6                      MR. DAVIS: Let's hope they at least

 

            7              go through -- they should be able to do

 

            8              something about doing it on a consistent

 

            9              basis since the traffic is so high in these

 

           10              areas and we do have a lot of kids, we have

 

           11              a lot of senior citizens that walk these

 

           12              streets and accidents are prone to happen if

 

           13              things are not taking care of properly.

 

           14                   I have gone to other cities and the one

 

           15              thing that you notice in every large city

 

           16              that you go into is that the pedestrian

 

           17              lines, the street lines are well taken care

 

           18              of and it takes the whole city look clean.

 

           19              It makes the whole city look well taken care

 

           20              of and policed and we don't have that there.

 

           21              That is the reason why many people don't

 

           22              respect it.  That's why people overrun the

 

           23              lines and accidents will occur.  I saw two

 

           24              old ladies today almost get hit by cars

 

           25              making left turns and not really looking


 

 

                                                                      40

 

 

            1              well and they were in the crosswalks, but

 

            2              that's neither here nor there.  We can't

 

            3              protect everyone in the world or everyone in

 

            4              the city but we are not doing our jobs.

 

            5              That's your job to make sure that we are

 

            6              safe and secure in this environment and you

 

            7              are not doing it.  I don't think so.

 

            8                      I hear the problems about the

 

            9              $12 million, you know, every time you talk

 

           10              about being depressed or without money the

 

           11              people that hurt the most are the people

 

           12              down at the bottom of the chain, those who

 

           13              don't have the jobs.  The last ones hired

 

           14              are the first ones fired, you have heard

 

           15              that before.  We know that for an exact, you

 

           16              know, we know that be true, but yet I'm

 

           17              saying to you, you cannot keep doing this,

 

           18              you cannot keep ignoring the public from

 

           19              it's bottom because eventually they are

 

           20              going to revolt and if they revolt that

 

           21              means it's going to get nasty, and that's no

 

           22              good.  We don't even come here to represent

 

           23              us as it stands right now because they know

 

           24              that whatever we say is going to be

 

           25              overlooked and not taken care of.  We don't


 

 

                                                                      41

 

 

            1              have that kind of sense of responsibility

 

            2              from what we say to you.  I spoke about

 

            3              those streets out there for how much years

 

            4              and now they finally get a contractor?

 

            5              Before they told us that they didn't have

 

            6              the money for the paint or they didn't have

 

            7              the money for the people to do it and then

 

            8              they go out and they hire a contractor to do

 

            9              it?  There is something wrong.  I mean,

 

           10              maybe it's me.  Maybe I'm not the right

 

           11              person to ask for things like painting the

 

           12              crosswalks or being earnest and sincere

 

           13              about making people safe when they walk the

 

           14              streets, but I try and I'm glad that we

 

           15              finally found someone to do something about

 

           16              it and I hope it gets done all the way down

 

           17              to Lackawanna Avenue because this is -- our

 

           18              kids that's all how far they walk.  Our kids

 

           19              don't bus, that's all there is to it, but we

 

           20              need you to stay on this one if you can.

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI: Thank you.

 

           22                      MR. DAVIS: If you be earnest and

 

           23              sincere with us for a change instead of

 

           24              raising all -- instead of asking for more

 

           25              loans and more money and more money and just


 

 

                                                                      42

 

 

            1              make sure the things that are being paid for

 

            2              by us right now are not being done.  You got

 

            3              to do something about being a representative

 

            4              to us and for us and you are not.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI:  Thank you.  Anyone

 

            6              else care to speak.

 

            7                      MR. DAVIS: Just Silly.  Silly.

 

            8                      MR. MILLER:  Good evening, Council,

 

            9              Doug Miller, president of the Scranton

 

           10              Junior Council.  Boy, two weeks to go.  I

 

           11              certainly won't miss this, I'll tell you

 

           12              that much.  You know, politics as usual.

 

           13              You know, I guess it's not a bad thing to

 

           14              speak towards the end of the meeting, it

 

           15              gives me an opportunity to respond to some

 

           16              comments that are made, I don't usually have

 

           17              that opportunity in other weeks.

 

           18                      First, I would with all due respect

 

           19              to Mr. Ellman and his statements about

 

           20              ruining my political career and things like

 

           21              that, you know, maybe if people came up

 

           22              here, Mr. Ellman, and conducted themselves

 

           23              in a professional manner and acted like

 

           24              adults I wouldn't have to make statements

 

           25              like that.  You know, I'm all for open


 

 

                                                                      43

 

 

            1              government and I feel everyone should have

 

            2              the opportunity to see their government in

 

            3              action, but it's ashame that you have to

 

            4              ruin it for all and that's what I feel about

 

            5              that.

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI: Douglas --

 

            7                      MR. MILLER: -- and respect your

 

            8              thoughts.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI: -- just speak, Honey.

 

           10                      MR. DAVIS: He should be addressing

 

           11              council.

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI: Excuse me.

 

           13                      MR. DAVIS: That's what we were told.

 

           14                      MR. MILLER: Things will never

 

           15              change.  As far as Mr. Jackowitz'

 

           16              statements, president of one, or whatever he

 

           17              said, well, I could say that at least I'm

 

           18              here.  You know, there is kids out there

 

           19              that have done worse things, at least I'm

 

           20              here dedicated because I love this city and

 

           21              for two years I have been out in this city

 

           22              doing community service projects, where have

 

           23              you people been?

 

           24                      Moving on, I would like to also

 

           25              address some statements that were made last


 

 

                                                                      44

 

 

            1              week, didn't have the opportunity to do

 

            2              that.  Generally, I don't like to respond to

 

            3              critics, but I feel in this case I must do

 

            4              so.  First, let me make it quite clear here,

 

            5              that no one puts me up to saying anything.

 

            6              I don't allow anyone to dictate and I speak

 

            7              for myself.  The speaker that made the

 

            8              comment is a perfect example of someone that

 

            9              is told what to say.  You know, many of the

 

           10              Legion of Doom or whatever they like to call

 

           11              themselves address council with speeches

 

           12              written for them by others to help promote

 

           13              elected official's agendas.  The same

 

           14              speaker also made a sarcastic remark

 

           15              regarding the amount of members on Junior

 

           16              Council.  Since our inception two years ago

 

           17              nearly 20 high school students have served

 

           18              on our council.     Currently the number has

 

           19              dipped to two members, not one as inaccurate

 

           20              once again.  You know, maybe if the speakers

 

           21              that attended these meetings acted like

 

           22              normal human beings and set a good example

 

           23              we might have a full table of high school

 

           24              students, but the truth is parents don't

 

           25              want to send their kids here because they


 

 

                                                                      45

 

 

            1              don't want to put them in front of this

 

            2              every week and this is truly sad and

 

            3              pathetic and I feel sorry for all my

 

            4              classmates who are missing out an

 

            5              opportunity to learn about their government

 

            6              because it's a great opportunity for them.

 

            7                      Now, moving on here some business

 

            8              here.  Earlier in the day we received some

 

            9              news about the Pennsylvania smoking ban

 

           10              bill, it's being sent for a final vote.

 

           11              Earlier this morning the House and Senate

 

           12              Conference Committee discussed an ordinance

 

           13              that was approved 5 to 1.  The lone no vote

 

           14              was Senator Bob Mellow, he voted, no, due to

 

           15              the fact that the bill that he proposed

 

           16              would allow Scranton and Allegheny County to

 

           17              reenact their ordinances that we adopted a

 

           18              year ago, so he would like to see those

 

           19              changes made so that can happen.  Hopefully,

 

           20              talks will continue and we all get on the

 

           21              same page and hopefully at the end of the

 

           22              day we will have a smoking ban in

 

           23              Pennsylvania and we can move forward and

 

           24              have Governor Ed Rendell sign the bill.

 

           25                   Last Thursday, the Scranton Junior City


 

 

                                                                      46

 

 

            1              Council and West Scranton High School paid

 

            2              tribute to Captain James Robeson and the

 

            3              West Scranton High School Alumni, also,

 

            4              joined by family and friends and special

 

            5              guests we unveiled a plaque that honors

 

            6              Captain Robeson.  This plaque will hang in

 

            7              the alumni room and will act as a lasting

 

            8              tribute to Captain Robeson.

 

            9                      In addition, a scholarship was

 

           10              formed in Captain Robeson's name.  The

 

           11              scholarship is presented to Senior Matt

 

           12              Gavern, and on behalf of junior council I

 

           13              would like to thank everyone that helped

 

           14              make last Thursday a very special day for

 

           15              the West Side community.  With that said, I

 

           16              say thank you.

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI: Thank you.

 

           18                      MR. SLEDENZSKI:  Hi, Jude.  Well,

 

           19              Judge, we lost another one.

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI: Yeah, but they --

 

           21                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: It's been a good

 

           22              year.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI: They had a good year.

 

           24                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: I know.  Billy, you

 

           25              are the best up there, Bill, remember that,


 

 

                                                                      47

 

 

            1              Bill.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Thanks, Chris.

 

            3                      MR. ANCHERANI:  Good evening.

 

            4              Nelson Ancherani, no Mr. McGoff so I'll

 

            5              speak like he is here anyway.  First

 

            6              Amendment Rights, expressing my opinions.

 

            7              Here it is June 3, '08, three more meetings

 

            8              and you will start your two months summer

 

            9              vacation, July and August.  When you return

 

           10              in September you will have two months and

 

           11              the administration will be presenting it's

 

           12              209 City of Scranton budget.  My prediction

 

           13              it will be another record budget, but that

 

           14              is really nothing new.  Every budget that

 

           15              was presented by this administration was a

 

           16              record budget.  And you three rubber

 

           17              stampers, Ms. Gatelli, Mr. McGoff and Ms.

 

           18              Fanucci voted for the lasted one.  When you

 

           19              think about it for the last seven years it

 

           20              was rubber stampers who voted for the last

 

           21              seven budgets.

 

           22                      Last week Mr. McGoff expressed that

 

           23              he didn't want to be the ringmaster.

 

           24              Evidently, it is his belief that these

 

           25              council meetings are a circus.  I tend to


 

 

                                                                      48

 

 

            1              disagree.  What I see are concerned citizens

 

            2              and taxpayers coming to council meetings

 

            3              expressing their concerns for a city that

 

            4              has been home for many of them for their

 

            5              entire lives and others who have come to

 

            6              Scranton to live and make Scranton their

 

            7              homes.  They wouldn't stay here if they

 

            8              didn't like it or love their city, so those

 

            9              of you who call council a circus all I see

 

           10              is concerned residents and taxpayers who

 

           11              want to know where their 600 million went

 

           12              and where it was spent.  They also want to

 

           13              know why the roads and streets aren't paved

 

           14              when the city will take in 600 million in

 

           15              revenue by the end of this year.  In fact,

 

           16              once council raises the 11 million loan the

 

           17              city is going past the $11 million loan the

 

           18              city is looking for, it will 611 million.

 

           19              We know where $5.5 million went and we had

 

           20              to pay American Anglican 5.5 million for an

 

           21              arbitration the city lost for violating the

 

           22              contract.

 

           23                      Getting back to the ringmaster

 

           24              remark, Mr. McGoff, if you are don't want to

 

           25              be ringmaster keep your performers in two.


 

 

                                                                      49

 

 

            1              Last week when I was speaking Mrs. Fanucci

 

            2              interrupted saying, "That would me.  Just

 

            3              say Sherry Fanucci.  Don't say certain

 

            4              people, come on. "

 

            5                      Mr. McGoff, you bang your gavel when

 

            6              audience members speak out from the back of

 

            7              the room, but yet you let Ms. Fanucci

 

            8              interrupt me, but then again, you show your

 

            9              selectiveness.  You are the ringmaster of

 

           10              double standards.

 

           11                      How about this in today's Scranton

 

           12              Slimes, 6-3-08, "Scranton, taxes won't stop

 

           13              loan," by Stacy Brown, shaft writer.

 

           14                      Stu Renda, business administrator,

 

           15              or in other words, the city's lead

 

           16              cheerleader is beginning to prepare the

 

           17              sheep for the shearing.  Stu is preparing

 

           18              the taxpayers for another $11 million loan

 

           19              that the city wants to take out.  A 5.5

 

           20              million is earmarked for a 2005 loan.

 

           21              Question, Stu, why weren't payments made on

 

           22              that loan and if it's three-year loan why is

 

           23              5.5 million needed now?  Stu was quoted, "I

 

           24              spoke to Mr. McGovern Monday, in looking at

 

           25              our books it seems that probably five


 

 

                                                                      50

 

 

            1              million in wage tax collection is ours."

 

            2                      Stu, if you looked at your books

 

            3              earlier maybe you would have discovered that

 

            4              the city wasn't getting it's wage taxes.

 

            5              Another question, how can the city need 11

 

            6              million more now when by the end of the year

 

            7              the city will have received $600 million in

 

            8              revenue and loans.  600 million.  How could

 

            9              we need 11 million more?  I can't

 

           10              understand, but think about it, borrow 11

 

           11              million more it will probably translate into

 

           12              a 30 million payback.  Add this one to the

 

           13              approximately 400 million long-term debt and

 

           14              it will go to approximately 430 million

 

           15              long-term debt.

 

           16                      Mr. McGoff, you made a remark about

 

           17              doing your homework on agenda items,

 

           18              hopefully, you will start.  Maybe you can

 

           19              lose that rubber stamp.  Please think about

 

           20              the taxpayers, have mercy.

 

           21                      And as long as I have a little bit

 

           22              of time we'll go back to the issues:  15

 

           23              million in raises cumulatively over the last

 

           24              seven years, 59 new hires, 30 clerical

 

           25              positions lost.  Potholes.  5.5 million


 

 

                                                                      51

 

 

            1              American Anglican arbitration loss paid by

 

            2              the Sewer Authority, again, causing a

 

            3              56 percent raise in sewer bills.  12.2

 

            4              million found in the tax office.  Index

 

            5              cards with employee's, city information

 

            6              social security numbers thrown in the

 

            7              dumpster behind city call and blowing around

 

            8              the court.  The person who retrieved them is

 

            9              threatened with arrest instead of trying to

 

           10              find out the reason and who threw them out.

 

           11              Thank you.

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI: Thank you.  Mrs. Evans.

 

           13              Oh, I'm sorry, he is usually last.  Nelson,

 

           14              you let somebody get by.

 

           15                      MR. HEWITT: Thank you, city council.

 

           16              My name is John Hewitt, city resident and

 

           17              taxpayer, homeowner, also a member of the

 

           18              Scranton Fire Department.  I'm here for

 

           19              particularly one reason, I'm also a member

 

           20              of the Black Sheep organization from West

 

           21              Scranton.  That organization does a lot of

 

           22              fundraising for the sick children throughout

 

           23              the area.  Being a member of that group at

 

           24              one of the recent meetings a motion was made

 

           25              to donate $500 to the police and


 

 

                                                                      52

 

 

            1              firefighters' memorial.  With that being

 

            2              said, I have a check for the $500 and if

 

            3              that's okay I'll give that to Mr. Miller.

 

            4                   Also, on behalf of the fire department

 

            5              I want to thank Junior City Council members

 

            6              and the group from West Scranton High

 

            7              School, I'm sure Jimmy would be honored

 

            8              knowing that he is being honored like he has

 

            9              been throughout the last couple of weeks and

 

           10              also I know his family is very touched by

 

           11              the help and support from this community.

 

           12              So with that said, I'll give it to

 

           13              Mr. Miller.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: Thank you very much.

 

           15                      MR. MILLER:  I know I spoke, but I

 

           16              have to on behalf of Junior Council thank

 

           17              the Black Sheep organization and Mr. Hewitt

 

           18              for their support for the police and

 

           19              firefighters' memorial.  With everyone

 

           20              working together we know we can reach our

 

           21              goal and very soon we will see a police and

 

           22              firefighters' memorial, so thanks to the

 

           23              Black Sheep organization and Mr. Hewitt.

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI: Thank you again.

 

           25              Anyone else?  Mrs. Evans.


 

 

                                                                      53

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: Good evening.  Last week

 

            2              we briefly discussed some issues pertaining

 

            3              to Channel 61.  After skimming today's

 

            4              newspaper as well as the Sunday Times I am

 

            5              more convinced than ever of the necessity

 

            6              for Channel 61, 62 and it's operator of

 

            7              Scranton Today.  The banner headline for

 

            8              Tuesday, June 3, "City, taxes won't stop

 

            9              loan."

 

           10                       What a surprise.  The mayor intends

 

           11              to borrow again as he has done each year

 

           12              since 2003.  The real surprise would be if

 

           13              he announced for even one fiscal year that

 

           14              he will not borrow millions of dollars.

 

           15              Perhaps in 2009 during his political

 

           16              campaign he will go cold turkey.  He appears

 

           17              to borrow annually to pay for previous

 

           18              borrowing and, of course, to keep pace with

 

           19              his champagne and caviar spending habits.

 

           20                   Oddly, however, according to the

 

           21              April 2008 report of the city controller

 

           22              dated May 22, 2008, the 5.5 million 2005

 

           23              loan appears to be sitting in an account, in

 

           24              fact, there is close to 5.9 million listed

 

           25              for that account, but this is all old news.


 

 

                                                                      54

 

 

            1              Today's headline was discussed at city

 

            2              council as far back as December of 2007 and

 

            3              as recently as last week's council meeting.

 

            4                   By viewing council meetings on Scranton

 

            5              Today Channel 61 you, the viewers, learned

 

            6              of this 11 million Doherty debt package

 

            7              seven months ago.  You learned about the

 

            8              over quarter of a billion dollars in

 

            9              long-term debt.  You learned that tax

 

           10              information is none of your business.  You

 

           11              learned that tax office representatives

 

           12              didn't answer all of council questions and,

 

           13              in fact, they still have not done so.  You

 

           14              were shocked by those answers, just as you

 

           15              were shocked that it took two months and the

 

           16              suggestion of the subpoena to obtain an

 

           17              audience with tax office appointees.  Yet, I

 

           18              was not shocked because that is the precise

 

           19              behavior of much of the Doherty

 

           20              administration.  Transparency and

 

           21              accountability only apply outside of city

 

           22              hall.

 

           23                      Further, I take umbrage with the

 

           24              Scranton Times for their failure to

 

           25              investigate and report the truth,


 

 

                                                                      55

 

 

            1              specifically over the last seven months, but

 

            2              that's only one confined example.  The Times

 

            3              writers state that city and county officials

 

            4              charged with oversight of the tax office

 

            5              failed to notice or intervene.  That is not

 

            6              true.  Reporters, however, failed to

 

            7              investigate and write about repeated

 

            8              requests for information and declined

 

            9              appearances by not only Ken McDowell, but

 

           10              city department heads as well over the last

 

           11              several years at Scranton city council.

 

           12                      I noticed questionable procedures

 

           13              and failures at the Single Tax Office in

 

           14              December of 2007 and even years before that

 

           15              I spoke at council meetings about my

 

           16              concerns.  Where were your EMS refunds?

 

           17              Where were tax rebates?  Why wasn't everyone

 

           18              responsible for paying the taxman?  And you,

 

           19              the viewers, can attest to it.  Without

 

           20              Scranton Today Channel 61 you would know

 

           21              only what this mayor and his friendly

 

           22              newspaper wish you to know.  The real truth?

 

           23              I brought problems up about the tax office

 

           24              and Mr. McDowell right here, right to the

 

           25              forefront.  What did the newspaper do?  It


 

 

                                                                      56

 

 

            1              endorsed Mr. McDowell for political office

 

            2              more than once.

 

            3                      Now, the mayor wants 11 million in

 

            4              borrowing again, he doesn't need it.  He

 

            5              doesn't cut costs, he expands them.  He and

 

            6              the BA never worried about the numbers from

 

            7              the tax office in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

 

            8              What does that tell you?  Remember, the 5.5

 

            9              million from the tax office remarkably and

 

           10              coincidentally will fall into the mayor's

 

           11              lap in 2009 just in time for a reelection

 

           12              campaign.

 

           13                      Scranton Today Channel 61, they must

 

           14              be replaced in order to prevent information

 

           15              from reaching the public.  After all, if you

 

           16              can't control the TV station then you can't

 

           17              spin the information and if you can't spin

 

           18              the information you have got to terminate

 

           19              that station.  Now, what can you do?  Fight

 

           20              for Scranton Today and Channel 61, protect

 

           21              your right to the truth and read critically

 

           22              because sometimes the only pages of the

 

           23              newspaper that appear to contain the whole

 

           24              truth are the obituaries.

 

           25                      Also, I have proof that a complaint


 

 

                                                                      57

 

 

            1              was forwarded in February 2008 to the Ethics

 

            2              Commission and others against Electric City

 

            3              TV, but it mysteriously disappeared from the

 

            4              legal department and the Ethics Commission.

 

            5              I would assume that everyone received this?

 

            6              No.  Then, I'll share it with you or if you

 

            7              would like Neil can make copies for

 

            8              everyone.

 

            9                      I also have some requests for the

 

           10              week.  A letter to Mrs. Novembrino, city

 

           11              controller, council requests copies of

 

           12              invoices and/or vouchers, unpaid receipts

 

           13              for audits of the Scranton Single Tax Office

 

           14              by McGrail, Merkel, Quinn and Associates for

 

           15              2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005.  Although the

 

           16              attempted audit in 2005 is reported to have

 

           17              been unsuccessful, was the firm paid for

 

           18              Mr. Marce's work?  Please provide copies and

 

           19              any written responses on or about June 13,

 

           20              2008.

 

           21                      A letter to Mr. Greg Sunday,

 

           22              business administrator, Scranton School

 

           23              District.  Council requests copies of

 

           24              invoices and/or vouchers and paid receipts

 

           25              for audits of the Scranton Single Tax Office


 

 

                                                                      58

 

 

            1              by McGrail, Merkel, Quinn and Associates for

 

            2              2002,3, 4, and 5.  And please provide copies

 

            3              of any written responses on or before

 

            4              June 16, 2008.

 

            5                      A letter to McGrail, Merkel, Quinn

 

            6              and Associates, please provide copies of

 

            7              cancelled checks from the City of Scranton

 

            8              for audits and any work performed in

 

            9              relation to these audits of the Scranton

 

           10              Single Tax Office for 2002, 3, 4, and 5.

 

           11              Also, did your firm submit a proposal or a

 

           12              bid for this work?  Please respond on or

 

           13              before June 16, 2008.

 

           14                      A letter to HR director, Mrs. Moran:

 

           15              Please provide the city's justification for

 

           16              the termination of the Health Care Cost

 

           17              Containment Committee.  I understand that

 

           18              negotiations with the clerical union have

 

           19              been finalized and that this committee is

 

           20              not an issue for other municipal unions.

 

           21                      A letter to Mr. Seitzinger, in March

 

           22              2008, you sent a response to city council

 

           23              regarding a property at Luzerne Street and

 

           24              14th Avenue in which you indicated that the

 

           25              problems would be addressed.  As of June 2,


 

 

                                                                      59

 

 

            1              2008, the garbage and recycle bin remain on

 

            2              the sidewalk 24/7.  The former garage area

 

            3              is still littered with chunks of concrete

 

            4              and piles of dirt.  This is the third

 

            5              request for action.  Neighbors believe that

 

            6              the owner must have political connections

 

            7              since this mess has remained despite

 

            8              complaints, registered by three members

 

            9              council and residents of the area for

 

           10              approximately two years.  Please provide a

 

           11              response on or before June 9, 2008.

 

           12                      A letter to the board of directors

 

           13              of Electric City TV, why does the name of

 

           14              Chris Balton no longer appear on ECTV's

 

           15              contact page?

 

           16                      943-45 Providence Road, in-ground

 

           17              pool remains uncovered and contains water

 

           18              despite the fencing at this abandoned

 

           19              property and the neighbors are concerned for

 

           20              the safety of children.

 

           21                      And, finally, in relation to

 

           22              discussion that city council had last week

 

           23              with regard to a piece of legislation on

 

           24              which we were voting, specifically, a grant

 

           25              for the 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue, the


 

 

                                                                      60

 

 

            1              Moran family has responded to the statements

 

            2              that were made at last week's council

 

            3              meeting.  I don't want to read this entire

 

            4              letter, it's quite lengthy, it is addressed

 

            5              to Attorney Minora and Mrs. Fanucci.  It

 

            6              begins, "The original Coney Island and the

 

            7              entire Moran family are deeply concerned

 

            8              about the false, misleading and defamatory

 

            9              statements that you made at the May 27,

 

           10              2008, city council meeting.

 

           11                      We expect you to retract your

 

           12              respective comments and offer a public

 

           13              apology to correct the record at tonight's

 

           14              meeting which happens to be the two-month

 

           15              anniversary of the still unsolved arson.

 

           16              And it goes on explaining some of the

 

           17              statements made about opting out and the

 

           18              filing of an injunction and the Moran family

 

           19              states, "You know perfectly well that we

 

           20              never filed an injunction.  The next time

 

           21              you state that we filed an injunction

 

           22              against the city or anyone that was

 

           23              dismissed by the Court produce the affidavit

 

           24              bearing our signatures filed with the

 

           25              request for relief, the index number and the


 

 

                                                                      61

 

 

            1              judge's order.  They don't exist."

 

            2                      They do go onto address I think

 

            3              many, many of the misleading statements that

 

            4              were made about them.  They are concerned

 

            5              about the eminent domain proceedings against

 

            6              Buona Pizza which is also located within the

 

            7              legislated project area, of course, they are

 

            8              concerned for themselves and they have many,

 

            9              many questions that have not surprisingly

 

           10              gone unanswered through the years because

 

           11              for many years, at least from when Mr. Moran

 

           12              and has told me, it was impossible to talk

 

           13              to Mr. Rinaldi and Mr. Rinaldi remains

 

           14              secretive, although, we are going to meet

 

           15              with a representative obviously of the

 

           16              developer.  I think it is important to know

 

           17              all sides of the story.  It's not my side of

 

           18              the story, but Moran's side of the story

 

           19              and, you know, it might suggest that the

 

           20              newspaper look more closely into this and

 

           21              read the letter that was sent to council

 

           22              because I think -- I would have to agree

 

           23              with the Moran's there possibly are

 

           24              misleading statements being made at city

 

           25              council and they shouldn't have been, but


 

 

                                                                      62

 

 

            1              I'll leave that now to the Morans, I'll

 

            2              leave that to Mr. Rinaldi and I'll leave

 

            3              that to the Scranton Times, and that's it.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Fanucci.

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, I'm going to pick

 

            6              up on that.  I did receive a letter from the

 

            7              Morans asking me to retract my statements

 

            8              and I certainly will not be doing so.  I

 

            9              will agree that there has been many

 

           10              misleading statements made from this podium,

 

           11              it was not by me, but I definitely will make

 

           12              and I'm going to make a motion tonight that

 

           13              in light of the fact that it's the two-month

 

           14              anniversary of the arson that took place for

 

           15              Coney Island that we send a letter, Kay, to

 

           16              the D.A.'s Office requesting that they take

 

           17              over the investigation of the arson so that

 

           18              maybe we can get some closure for this

 

           19              family on what happened with this arson, so

 

           20              I'd like to do that in the form of a motion,

 

           21              I'd also like to cc our director, Director

 

           22              Hayes as well as Chief Davis, and that they

 

           23              also join into recommend that the D.A.'s

 

           24              Office take this over and looks into in this

 

           25              arson for this family.  And that's in the


 

 

                                                                      63

 

 

            1              form of a motion.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I'll second that.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  On the question?

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question, I

 

            5              just, I wouldn't want my second to be

 

            6              misunderstood, and I don't think it's

 

            7              Mrs. Fanucci's intentions that the Scranton

 

            8              Fire Department can't handle it, I'm sure

 

            9              they could.

 

           10                      MS. FANUCCI: Oh, God, no, of course.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm sure they could,

 

           12              just looking for a little bit more help

 

           13              maybe in the form of the manpower and maybe

 

           14              in the form of resources, so I wouldn't want

 

           15              to be misconstrued that we are saying that

 

           16              our department couldn't handle it, I'm sure

 

           17              they could, but we could all use a little

 

           18              help now and then.

 

           19                      MS. FANUCCI: I certainly did not

 

           20              mean to imply that, I hope I did not, but

 

           21              that's not my intention.

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: Anyone else on the

 

           23              question?  All those in favor?  Aye.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           25                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.


 

 

                                                                      64

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

            2                      MS. GATELLI:  Opposed?  The ayes

 

            3              have it and so moved.

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: Also, in regards to the

 

            5              letter, I did receive asking me to change my

 

            6              statements and there was a lot of may I say

 

            7              alluding to the fact that my statements are

 

            8              not only inappropriate from this standpoint

 

            9              because also I work for the Governor's

 

           10              Office, as if I would have something to do

 

           11              with loans.  I always said I wish I was as

 

           12              important as people give me the credit for

 

           13              being, but I'm certainly not.  I wish I

 

           14              could give grants and loans out and do

 

           15              everything for the state, but unfortunately,

 

           16              the Governor does not think as highly of me

 

           17              as the Moran family does.  So I had nothing

 

           18              to do with the decision to decide who gets

 

           19              the money on Lackawanna Avenue.

 

           20                      I do believe that these are issues

 

           21              that should not be discussed on a normal

 

           22              basis at Council chambers, I believe this is

 

           23              how we get into our problems.  You know, the

 

           24              law is out there for reasons to take, you

 

           25              know, take over.  I mean, if there is a


 

 

                                                                      65

 

 

            1              problem you go to the Court and you settle

 

            2              it.  Just like the eminent domain process,

 

            3              just like anything that goes on in America.

 

            4              We have people out there suing council on a

 

            5              daily basis.  Some of them have been made it

 

            6              into a permanent career, but that's what

 

            7              it's about, so, there is no need to come

 

            8              here waiving papers and discussing things

 

            9              constantly that already have taken on their

 

           10              own way which is the system, which is the

 

           11              Court system, and they are out there to help

 

           12              them and in the end if it works out I think

 

           13              it will be wonderful thing if they can prove

 

           14              what they need to prove and I will not be

 

           15              retracting any statements.  That's all I

 

           16              have on that.

 

           17                      On the 11 million in borrowing.

 

           18              This definitely was not a big surprise to

 

           19              anyone who has read the budget.  This was

 

           20              not a big, you know, windfall that all of a

 

           21              sudden the mayor came to us and said, "Oh, I

 

           22              need 11 million."

 

           23                      We knew this was coming up.  We know

 

           24              we that we're floating a bond for

 

           25              $5.5 million and at some point you got to


 

 

                                                                      66

 

 

            1              pay for the bond.  Now, do I want to borrow

 

            2              the money?  I certainly don't want to borrow

 

            3              the money.  I believe in light of what's

 

            4              going on in the tax office now as I had

 

            5              stated to Mrs. Franus before that I hope

 

            6              that we can sit down and come to some type

 

            7              of an arrangement where we do not have to

 

            8              borrow, and maybe the banks will see that we

 

            9              are hopefully getting some money or maybe

 

           10              the audit will show something more than we

 

           11              are expecting which I hope would be the

 

           12              fact, so I am going to sit down this week

 

           13              and try to dedicate as much time as I can to

 

           14              finding some alternate solution so we do not

 

           15              have to borrow.

 

           16                      If you think that that's an easy

 

           17              decision up here that is probably the

 

           18              hardest decision we have to make.  At some

 

           19              point you have to, you know, decide whether

 

           20              or not we can borrow more money, I would

 

           21              rather not borrow money, so that is

 

           22              something that I would be committed to this

 

           23              week and hopefully deciding some great

 

           24              answer will come up and we'll figure out a

 

           25              way or maybe the bank will let us, I don't


 

 

                                                                      67

 

 

            1              know, but I'm going to find out.  I'm going

 

            2              to try and see what I can do it.

 

            3                      So, let's talk about the Stooge

 

            4              comment, which I love, I would like to

 

            5              address my wonderful who believes they might

 

            6              be my colleague, Mr. Jackowitz, calling me

 

            7              Stooge number one because I said that all

 

            8              jobs are welcome in the City of Scranton.

 

            9              You get up here and you discuss that we are

 

           10              very much unemployed in our city and yet

 

           11              it's a problem that I said all jobs are

 

           12              welcome, that we need minimum paying jobs,

 

           13              we need large paying jobs, we want them all.

 

           14              So, anyone out there who is contemplating on

 

           15              starting a business or coming to the city

 

           16              please do not be afraid if you feel your

 

           17              jobs are not up to certain people's par, we

 

           18              want everyone welcome here, come here and

 

           19              please employ everyone in our city, so that

 

           20              we aren't a statistic because, yes, some

 

           21              people need jobs that are not as high paying

 

           22              because they can't do jobs that are high

 

           23              paying.  I, myself, wish that I could go out

 

           24              and get myself a job that's worth $200,000 a

 

           25              year, I can't even with all of my wonderful


 

 

                                                                      68

 

 

            1              connections, can you imagine that, but

 

            2              that's life and we welcome everyone here and

 

            3              the most successful cities in America and

 

            4              all over the country there is a McDonald's s

 

            5              and there are wonderful companies employing

 

            6              people for the large amounts of money,

 

            7              that's what it's about.  So I'm sorry that

 

            8              in the same token of the conversation you

 

            9              got a little off base by saying we don't

 

           10              want your jobs, but yet we have very

 

           11              unemployed.

 

           12                      And as far as being a stooge, the

 

           13              taxpayers make their own decision, they look

 

           14              around, they see what's going on.  I don't

 

           15              believe that they need people getting up

 

           16              here week after week with very sad sarcastic

 

           17              motives telling them how to feel and what to

 

           18              think because, quite frankly, it's not

 

           19              really working out.  It doesn't make me look

 

           20              bad it actually makes you look bad.  And

 

           21              that is all I have.

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: Mr. Courtright.

 

           23                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.  As far as

 

           24              demolishing the properties, I understand

 

           25              that there is pros and cons and some people


 

 

                                                                      69

 

 

            1              are for and some people are against, but my

 

            2              one concern remains the same and that is

 

            3              when the property is demolished sometimes,

 

            4              many times the city does not own the

 

            5              property, they demolish for whatever reason,

 

            6              it's a health hazard or whatever the case

 

            7              may be, a danger, and that remains a concern

 

            8              of mine what becomes of the property after

 

            9              we demolish them and I think I believe I

 

           10              asked last week possibly Mr. Renda, not

 

           11              Mr. Renda, Mr. Seitzinger, give me an idea

 

           12              of what their game plan was in there, with

 

           13              that said, I got a call this week

 

           14              coincidentally, I mentioned there was an

 

           15              empty lot the city had tore down a building

 

           16              on the a corner of Jackson and Hyde Park

 

           17              Avenue, when the gas company I believe it

 

           18              was doing all of the streets throughout the

 

           19              city last year they dug it out they had to

 

           20              repave them on that empty lot they placed a

 

           21              great deal of gravel and they spread it out

 

           22              nice and evenly, every time it rains very

 

           23              hard al that gravel travels halfway down the

 

           24              block into about the 120-122 of South Hyde

 

           25              Park Avenue, the people just can't pick it


 

 

                                                                      70

 

 

            1              up anymore, it's extremely, heavy, so if

 

            2              Mr. Seitzinger would take a look at that

 

            3              particular lot for me and see if there is

 

            4              something they can't do with that, I had

 

            5              mentioned last week you can barely see the

 

            6              sidewalk anymore because the gravel has

 

            7              migrated out almost to the road and the one

 

            8              gentleman actually has buckets because he

 

            9              doesn't have a wheelbarrow, he has buckets

 

           10              of this gravel that he swept up from the

 

           11              front of his house and put in the backyard,

 

           12              it's too heavy for him to carry back up the

 

           13              street, it's over half a block.  There was

 

           14              another gentleman that put it in a

 

           15              wheelbarrow and wheelbarrowed it back up the

 

           16              street, so I don't almost think that they

 

           17              need to be doing that.

 

           18                      The mission or the church or

 

           19              whatever that think we are calling that is

 

           20              down on Olive Street there, I got a letter

 

           21              about that today that I guess it's still in

 

           22              operation, it's still in full swing and not

 

           23              even people from the neighborhood that are

 

           24              sending me, passersby are upset that the

 

           25              people are hanging out in front of it now,


 

 

                                                                      71

 

 

            1              so I hate to be a burden to Mr. Seitzinger,

 

            2              but I guess this falls under him again if he

 

            3              it can take a look at that and let us know

 

            4              what the status is on that.

 

            5                      And Meadow Avenue and River Street,

 

            6              I guess this would go to Mr. Brazil, what's

 

            7              the status of that light up there if they

 

            8              could just update us on that.  I know you

 

            9              are going to kill me, Kay, with all of these

 

           10              unanswered questions.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI: I don't want to

 

           12              interrupt you, but I think that I was told

 

           13              they are not going to put a light there

 

           14              because they're putting it in --

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  They were going to

 

           16              put one lower, right.  If he can clarify

 

           17              that for us because they are putting a light

 

           18              about a block down and I know everybody

 

           19              would look to see one at Meadow River, I

 

           20              guess it would be --

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI:  And I think PennDOT

 

           22              did the study.

 

           23                      MR. COURTRIGHT: If they could let us

 

           24              know, then I'll be happy to ask about it.

 

           25              And one last one, Kay, sorry about this,


 

 

                                                                      72

 

 

            1              Greenridge Street and Wyoming Avenue there

 

            2              was -- I think it was the Greenridge

 

            3              Presbyterian Church, I don't know who owns

 

            4              it now, but it has been boarded up and the

 

            5              neighbors aren't happy with the way it's

 

            6              being maintained if somebody could take a

 

            7              look at that.

 

            8                      I got a call from one of the Times

 

            9              reporters today asking me about something

 

           10              about the tax office and coincidentally they

 

           11              asked about something I was going to ask a

 

           12              question on myself tonight and this was

 

           13              monthly reports, I was asked did I know that

 

           14              the city was supposed to be receiving

 

           15              monthly reports from the tax office and I

 

           16              said I didn't know that when I had first got

 

           17              on council and I'm sure you will read it in

 

           18              paper, so I won't say the whole conversation

 

           19              that I had with him, but, anyway, could we

 

           20              find out I guess it would be from either

 

           21              Mrs. Novembrino or Mr. Renda, are we now

 

           22              getting monthly reports, I believe we have

 

           23              been getting them from the last couple of

 

           24              months from the tax office because their

 

           25              understanding --


 

 

                                                                      73

 

 

            1                      MS. GARVEY: We did get one report.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT: We did get one?

 

            3              Okay.  I'm going to talk about this, and I

 

            4              really don't want to, but for me sometimes

 

            5              when I'm in Main Avenue or I'm in the post

 

            6              office or whatnot somebody will yell to me,

 

            7              "Hey, did you get that's guy's scooter yet?"

 

            8                      You know, that's been the cry they

 

            9              have been giving me for a couple of years

 

           10              now about Mr. Stucker's scooter and then

 

           11              they would ask a lot of times about the

 

           12              money for cutting the mayor's hedges that we

 

           13              gave Jimmy a little money, now they are

 

           14              asking me when he is going to get the rest

 

           15              of the money, so much make a little

 

           16              humorous, but this isn't too humorous, the

 

           17              last week, I'll try to say this as

 

           18              diplomatically as possible, the last week

 

           19              when I would say hello to somebody or was at

 

           20              a local club that has a lunch the last

 

           21              Thursday of every month, say, hey, you

 

           22              didn't finish eating that, none of your

 

           23              business they are telling me.  I say,

 

           24              "What's up?"

 

           25                      "None of your business."


 

 

                                                                      74

 

 

            1                      So the comment I'm getting from

 

            2              everybody from Burger King to the post

 

            3              office is none of your business, and some of

 

            4              the people are a little irate about it, they

 

            5              thought I was being insulted they thought I

 

            6              should have answered that strongly, they

 

            7              have given me what they would said which I

 

            8              can't repeat here on the air, but the common

 

            9              thing from all of the people and it's

 

           10              continuing about this comment that it was

 

           11              none of my business what the interest was,

 

           12              and this is most of my -- I'm talking about

 

           13              school teachers, former school teachers,

 

           14              former principals, judges, just several

 

           15              different people said the same thing to me,

 

           16              you know, that's an insult for them to say

 

           17              that to elected officials, and I say, you

 

           18              know, I can handle that, we get insulted

 

           19              quite a bit, but I think the insult is to

 

           20              the people whose taxes flow through that

 

           21              office because they all say the same thing,

 

           22              it's not only your business, but it's our

 

           23              business, too, and I believe it is.  So,

 

           24              maybe now you will stop saying to me it's

 

           25              none of my business when I talk to you, I'd


 

 

                                                                      75

 

 

            1              rather you ask me about Mr. Stucker's

 

            2              scooter, all right, but I felt I had to say

 

            3              something because some people felt I should

 

            4              have said something at the time and maybe I

 

            5              should have, I don't know, but I was kind of

 

            6              taken back a little bit, so that's all I

 

            7              have.  Thank you.

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI: Thank you.  I just have

 

            9              a few items, when I'm hearing about

 

           10              demolition and blight and people wanting

 

           11              houses to be rehabilitated, and you go to

 

           12              the neighborhoods and you talk to the people

 

           13              around that structure that's been abandoned

 

           14              for four or five years and obviously no one

 

           15              wants to buy it and no one is taking care of

 

           16              it and there is drug activity there, there

 

           17              is kids going in and having beer parties in

 

           18              there, there is rodents, you can go ask any

 

           19              of those neighbors if they want that house

 

           20              rehabilitated and I will guarantee you that

 

           21              they will say they want the house to come

 

           22              down.  They don't want it rehabilitated,

 

           23              they don't want an apartment house

 

           24              rehabilitated because they will get an

 

           25              apartment with 40 people living in it that


 

 

                                                                      76

 

 

            1              all say they are related to each other.

 

            2                   There is another theory in the

 

            3              neighborhoods about density and if you read

 

            4              neighborhood journals they will tell you

 

            5              that increased density of homes causes

 

            6              blight in neighborhoods.  As you know, there

 

            7              aren't as many people living in Scranton as

 

            8              there were many years ago so we do have an

 

            9              abundance of homes which one of the speakers

 

           10              comes here and says, you know, I think you

 

           11              just want to get rid of the homes, yeah, we

 

           12              do.  That is one of our goals in South

 

           13              Scranton, in lower South Scranton, get rid

 

           14              of the density and make some green space.

 

           15              They don't want the houses one on top of

 

           16              each other three, four and five units in

 

           17              them, so that is the theory behind some of

 

           18              the demolition issues.

 

           19                      Yes, there are programs to

 

           20              rehabilitate homes.  There are two beautiful

 

           21              homes that were rehabilitated on the 100

 

           22              block of Pittston Avenue that I would

 

           23              welcome anyone to go and see from Lackawanna

 

           24              Neighbors, they are fantastic.  They are old

 

           25              homes that have been redone and they are


 

 

                                                                      77

 

 

            1              magnificent.  So, yes, we do rehabilitate

 

            2              some of the homes, but some of them that

 

            3              have been abandoned for four and five years

 

            4              go and ask those people and they want them

 

            5              torn down.

 

            6                      There is the issue about the grass,

 

            7              and I agree there that that, too, does

 

            8              become a problem, but many of them would

 

            9              rather the grass than the social pollution

 

           10              that comes with some of these abandoned

 

           11              homes.  I suggest that as a council, if my

 

           12              colleagues would agree, that we send a

 

           13              letter to the magistrates in the city to

 

           14              encourage them and we'll send a copy to

 

           15              Mr. Seitzinger and Mr. Oleski to use

 

           16              community service to cut some of these lots

 

           17              in the summertime.  We do that in South

 

           18              Scranton, Magistrate Russell, and we just

 

           19              had our recent meeting and we are going to

 

           20              buy some lawnmowers and weedwhackers to give

 

           21              to these people that have to do community

 

           22              service and we do get quite a lot of them

 

           23              cut down, so if you guys would agree --

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Can I just say one

 

           25              thing?


 

 

                                                                      78

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: Sure.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I think it was

 

            3              Magistrate Kennedy and Magistrate Russell I

 

            4              had spoken about this several years ago and

 

            5              they are all for that program, the only

 

            6              problem they have is that I guess the people

 

            7              that are doing community service have to be

 

            8              supervised, somebody has to say they were

 

            9              there "X" amount of hours, so they probably

 

           10              would be looking for volunteers.  I mean, I

 

           11              would be willing to take my turn to

 

           12              volunteer to supervise, maybe I'll even do

 

           13              some work, but anyway, that's the problem.

 

           14              All the magistrates are in favor of that,

 

           15              but you need somebody to document that they

 

           16              were there for "X" amount of hours and I

 

           17              think it would be a great program.

 

           18                      MS. EVANS: I think one other problem

 

           19              though that maybe we can think about

 

           20              addressing is that many of the homeowners

 

           21              next to these now abandoned lots, and as you

 

           22              said they are very happy to have the houses

 

           23              torn down, they wanted it for a long time, I

 

           24              have never heard a complaint in the

 

           25              neighborhood about it, but they do complain


 

 

                                                                      79

 

 

            1              about what you just mentioned and often

 

            2              times an adjacent homeowner wants to buy

 

            3              that property because he or she is taking

 

            4              care of that property anyway, they take care

 

            5              of their own and they don't want an eyesore

 

            6              right next to them, so they do it

 

            7              voluntarily, and usually it's not a lot

 

            8              that's going to be large enough for anyone

 

            9              to build another home on, it's just a small

 

           10              parcel of land that they would like to buy,

 

           11              but yet through the years time and time

 

           12              again I have had people approach me, I think

 

           13              you have to, Mr. Courtright --

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI:  It's cumbersome.

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: Many people want to do

 

           16              that and yet for whatever the reasons it

 

           17              never -- well, I shouldn't say never, it

 

           18              very rarely ever happens for anyone, I think

 

           19              we should be actively trying to allow those

 

           20              neighbors to buy those pieces of property

 

           21              because they will take care of them.

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI:  Yeah, I agree there

 

           23              and they do go through the Vacant Property

 

           24              Review Committee for anyone that's

 

           25              interested in purchasing a property you can


 

 

                                                                      80

 

 

            1              call OECD and they will put you in contact

 

            2              with the Vacant Property Review Committee

 

            3              and you can purchase the property through

 

            4              them.  It does take several years which is

 

            5              frustrating.

 

            6                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Mrs. Gatelli, I

 

            7              don't know maybe I will make this

 

            8              suggestion, maybe you already know, you

 

            9              worked there, as they are getting ready to

 

           10              tear down these properties maybe OECD can

 

           11              get on top of it and find how you can get

 

           12              clear title because I think you right, the

 

           13              people -- I saw it happen on Watress Street

 

           14              where the people on either side bought half

 

           15              and they expanded their yards, so they know

 

           16              what properties they are going to be tearing

 

           17              down maybe they can start through the

 

           18              process of -- because, again, if the city

 

           19              tears it down that doesn't necessarily mean

 

           20              it's the city's lot.  They have to take it,

 

           21              and that takes time, a lot of time, so maybe

 

           22              -- and they might be doing that already.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI: Well, they do the

 

           24              Pittsburgh Plan.  You know, I don't agree

 

           25              with the Pittsburgh plan.


 

 

                                                                      81

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI: It's cumbersome.

 

            2                      MS. GATELLI: I don't know any other

 

            3              way to do.  I know years ago we would have

 

            4              council neighborhood meetings we wanted to

 

            5              sell them all for a dollar, you know, just a

 

            6              quitclaim sale and sell them for a dollar,

 

            7              but there was some legality, you know, that

 

            8              we weren't allowed to do it for some reason.

 

            9                      MR. MINORA:  The Pittsburgh plan.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI: Well, we didn't want to

 

           11              do the Pittsburgh plan because it takes too

 

           12              long.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Well, if anybody

 

           14              could expedite that it would be greatly

 

           15              appreciated.

 

           16                      MS. GATELLI: Yes.  Absolutely.  The

 

           17              next thing I wanted to talk about was the

 

           18              loan.  I do know that it was in the budget

 

           19              that I voted to pass, however, I was hopeful

 

           20              at the time, and I did tell the mayor that I

 

           21              was not interested in borrowing anymore

 

           22              money.  I did speak to him today.  I told

 

           23              him about my feelings and he said that it is

 

           24              a last resort and they are looking for

 

           25              avenues to not borrow anymore money, so I am


 

 

                                                                      82

 

 

            1              going to keep in contact with Mr. Renda and

 

            2              hopefully we will not have a necessity to

 

            3              borrow anymore money.

 

            4                      The pool, I think some of you

 

            5              mentioned a problem with the swimming pool,

 

            6              I had a problem with a pool, someone

 

            7              complained about a pool and I called Patty

 

            8              Jennings, the health inspector, and the very

 

            9              next day the pool was drained and taken care

 

           10              of, so if anyone has a problem with the

 

           11              pool, with water that's stagnant and

 

           12              smelling you can call the Health Department

 

           13              in the city and, like I said, Patty took

 

           14              care of it immediately, and I would like to

 

           15              commend her for that.  Bill likes to do that

 

           16              with employees now and then and she really

 

           17              did an excellent job, the next day the pool

 

           18              was drained.  And she can be reached at

 

           19              348-4193 and then there is a menu and you

 

           20              would push for the health inspector.

 

           21                      As far as Channel 61, there will be

 

           22              a Channel 61, we will be on television.  As

 

           23              you can see we are still on.  So, you know,

 

           24              for the people that say we are not on we are

 

           25              on and we are going to remain on, you know,


 

 

                                                                      83

 

 

            1              one way or another we will be on television,

 

            2              so I'd say not to worry about that.  And

 

            3              that's all I have that are tonight.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: Mrs. Gatelli, I'm sorry,

 

            5              I just wanted to add though in this case

 

            6              with this particular pool they have already

 

            7              been in contact with that office and the

 

            8              city had been out there already, but the

 

            9              owner of this abandoned home apparently is

 

           10              ignoring what's been outlined by the city,

 

           11              so I'm just hoping the city then will go to

 

           12              the next step.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI: To the magistrates,

 

           14              yeah, and have to file a citation.  Mrs.

 

           15              Garvey?

 

           16                      MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER.  NO

 

           17              BUSINESS AT THIS TIME.  SIXTH ORDER.  NO

 

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

 

           19              FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON

 

           20              COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT - FOR ADOPTION -

 

           21              RESOLUTION NO. 34, 2008 - AUTHORIZING THE

 

           22              MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS

 

           23              TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO A GRANT AGREEMENT

 

           24              WITH THE PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF

 

           25              CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES (DCNR),


 

 

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            1              BUREAU OF RECREATION AND CONSERVATION IN

 

            2              ORDER TO ACCEPT THE GRANT OF $50,000.00 FROM

 

            3              THE HERITAGE AND OTHER PARKS APPROPRIATION

 

            4              FOR SWIMMING POOL IMPROVEMENTS IN THE CITY

 

            5              OF SCRANTON.

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI: What is the

 

            7              recommendation of the Chair on Community

 

            8              Development.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI: As Chairperson for the

 

           10              Committee on Community Development, I

 

           11              recommend final passage of Item 7-

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Second.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI:  On the question?  Roll

 

           14              call, please.

 

           15                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

           17                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.

 

           19                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           21                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           22                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           23                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           24                      (Mr. McGoff not present.)

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI: I hereby declare Item


 

 

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            1              7-A legally and lawfully adopted.  Motion to

 

            2              adjourn.

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  So moved.

 

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

 

            2

 

            3        I hereby certify that the proceedings and

 

            4   evidence are contained fully and accurately in the

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

            8   ability.

 

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                                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI

           12                       OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

 

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