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            1              SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

 

            2

 

            3

 

            4

 

            5                          HELD:

 

            6

 

            7              Tuesday, January 27, 2009

 

            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, RPR - OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

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            2   CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

 

            3

 

            4

                MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT

            5

 

            6   MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT

 

            7

                MS. JANET E. EVANS

            8

 

            9   MS. SHERRY FANUCCI

 

           10

                MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT

           11

 

           12   MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK

 

           13

                MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

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           15   MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR

 

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            1   (Pledge of Allegiance recited and moment of reflection

 

            2   observed.)

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF:  Roll call, please.

 

            4                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS:  Here.

 

            6                      MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI.  Here.

 

            8                      MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI:  Here.

 

           10                      MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Here.

 

           12                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF:  Here.  Dispense with

 

           14              the reading of the minutes.  Third Order.

 

           15                      MS. GARVEY: 3-A. MINUTES OF THE

 

           16              HEALTH AND WELFARE AUTHORITY REGULAR BOARD

 

           17              MEETING HELD ON DECEMBER 18, 2008.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           19              If not, received and filed.

 

           20                      MS. GARVEY: 3-B. CONTROLLER'S report

 

           21              FOR THE MONTH ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2008.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           23              If not, received and filed.

 

           24                      MS. GARVEY: 3-C.  MINUTES OF THE

 

           25              COMPOSITE PENSION BOARD MEETING HELD ON


 

 

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            1              DECEMBER 17, 2008.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

            3              If not, received and filed.

 

            4                      MS. GARVEY: That's it for third

 

            5              order.

 

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

 

            7                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I just have one

 

            8              thing, if you don't mind, Mr. McGoff.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Please.

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I received an

 

           11              e-mail today about a benefit for Steven

 

           12              Granville.  It's going to be January 31 at

 

           13              Whistle's Pub and Eatery on Franklin Street,

 

           14              downtown Scranton from 7 until 10 p.m., and

 

           15              tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the

 

           16              night of the event at Whistle's.  This

 

           17              includes beverages, appetizers and desserts,

 

           18              and they will also be raffling off gift

 

           19              baskets and you need to be 21 or older to

 

           20              attend, and that came from Julia Miller, so

 

           21              if you can be so kind as to support this

 

           22              benefit they certainly appreciate it.  Thank

 

           23              you.

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI:  Mr. McGoff, I just a

 

           25              few things.  First, if we could just have a


 

 

                                                                       5

 

 

            1              moment of reflection for one of our firemen.

 

            2              He had a very serious operation and he is

 

            3              recovering, Paul Mackrel, so if we can just

 

            4              have a moment of silence to remember him in

 

            5              his recovery.  (Moment of silence observed.)

 

            6              Thank you.

 

            7                      There will be a benefit for Chad

 

            8              Lewis.  He is 37 years old from North

 

            9              Scranton and he is braving cancer.  The

 

           10              proceeds will assist him and his family to

 

           11              pay medical bills.  The price is $15 a

 

           12              person.  It will be at Holy Rosary Hall on

 

           13              Market Street from 6 to 10 on February 21,

 

           14              and I do have tickets with me if anyone is

 

           15              interested, otherwise, you can get them at

 

           16              door.  That's Tommy's son.

 

           17                      The other benefit is for Joseph

 

           18              Noone's, and he also is a cancer victim.

 

           19              His is February 28 at Wise Crackers Comedy

 

           20              Club.  The door is open at seven and the

 

           21              show begins at eight, it's $12 a person,

 

           22              cash bar and there will be baskets and a

 

           23              50/50.  You can call Barb Kelk, K-E-L-K

 

           24              941-9640.

 

           25                      I would just like to recognize the


 

 

                                                                       6

 

 

            1              basketball coach at West Scranton High

 

            2              School, I don't know if you saw the article

 

            3              in the paper, but our couch had prostate

 

            4              cancer and I would like to send him a letter

 

            5              on behalf of council congratulating him for

 

            6              being a survivor and for being such an

 

            7              excellent coach.  We have very proud of him

 

            8              and all of us up here know him very well,

 

            9              and he is an excellent coach and part of his

 

           10              philosophy I'm sure is what's helping him

 

           11              battle his cancer, so I'd just like to

 

           12              recognize him.

 

           13                      I don't know if anyone got in this

 

           14              the mail, but I got this in the mail last

 

           15              week and it was four pages long, and it

 

           16              says, "Make $250,000 in weeks.  Seen on

 

           17              Oprah and 20/20.  Highly respected TV and

 

           18              radio programs.  It's legal.  This is not a

 

           19              pyramid scam."

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI: What are you still

 

           21              doing here, Judy?

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: I said to my husband,

 

           23              "You know, it's not a bad idea."

 

           24                      You only had to invest 200 bucks and

 

           25              you send for a list of people and you would


 

 

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            1              send 200 people a dollar, and this letter,

 

            2              and I thought, you know, it sounds like --

 

            3              it sounded legit to me.  I had Joe

 

            4              investigate it.  He is retired now so he has

 

            5              a lot of spare time, and he went to Oprah

 

            6              and he went to 20/20 and it's a scam, so I

 

            7              wanted to make sure people aware that if

 

            8              they do get this in the mail it is a scam.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI:  You are not getting

 

           10              $200,000.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI:  It has been

 

           12              investigated and it sounds real good, but I

 

           13              guess if it sounds good then it's not good.

 

           14              So I just wanted you to be aware of that.

 

           15                      And I wanted to tell you the reason

 

           16              that I wasn't here last week, I was invited

 

           17              to go to the inauguration of the new

 

           18              president of the United States, Barack

 

           19              Obama.  I had asked for tickets before he

 

           20              even won because I wanted to be there and I

 

           21              wanted to be part of the historical moment,

 

           22              so I was fortunate enough to get tickets,

 

           23              and my daughter came with me.  My husband

 

           24              has bad knees so he wasn't able to come, and

 

           25              it was a wonderful experience.  I do have


 

 

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            1              some pictures here and I made my colleagues

 

            2              a photo, one for each of them, of Barack

 

            3              Obama making his inauguration speech.  It

 

            4              was very momentous, very touching.  When you

 

            5              looked back in the crowd and saw 1.8 million

 

            6              people it was absolutely awesome.

 

            7                      I have only been to one other one, I

 

            8              have been to Bill Clinton's first

 

            9              inauguration as president of the United

 

           10              States.  If you have never been to one it

 

           11              certainly is worthwhile to attend at least

 

           12              one in your lifetime.  It's something that

 

           13              you can't even describe and I'm very happy

 

           14              that I was able to be part of it and I made

 

           15              everyone a photo and you can save it.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: Oh, I will.  Thank you.

 

           17              I think that's the closest I'm ever going to

 

           18              come to an inauguration.

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI: The camera did great

 

           20              and you can see him pretty well and you can

 

           21              save it for posterity.  And, Neil, I made

 

           22              one for you and Kay and Sue, too.  I thought

 

           23              it would be nice for you to hang.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI:  And if anyone else


 

 

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            1              would like one just let me know and I'll

 

            2              make you a copy, and you guys can look at

 

            3              them in the audience later if you would like

 

            4              to.  They are really nice.  And that's all I

 

            5              have for now.  Thank you.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs Evans?

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: Yes.  The Coaches vs.

 

            8              Cancer celebration party will be held at

 

            9              Stirna's restaurant on Market Street in

 

           10              North Scranton this Saturday, January 31,

 

           11              starting at 8:00.  The food will be

 

           12              complimentary courtesy of Stirna's owner,

 

           13              Kevin Gavin, and there will be a cash bar,

 

           14              and all of you are invited to attend.  There

 

           15              will be raffles and gift baskets and it's

 

           16              for a very worthy cause.  There will also be

 

           17              a celebrity guest that evening and if you

 

           18              are available come out to Stirna's and

 

           19              celebrate with the coaches and referees in

 

           20              their effort to fight cancer.

 

           21                      Also, in light of the expiration of

 

           22              the cable franchise contract this year and

 

           23              the ongoing discussions conducted between

 

           24              the mayor and Comcast, I had requested a

 

           25              council caucus with Mr. Sterner, senior


 

 

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            1              director of Comcast.  The caucus will be

 

            2              conducted on Tuesday, February 3, in council

 

            3              chambers and televised to provide the public

 

            4              with access to this discussion.  I have

 

            5              received numerous e-mails and heard

 

            6              countless complaint from Comcast customers,

 

            7              particularly the elderly, and I know that

 

            8              each of my colleagues has fielded numerous

 

            9              complaints as well.  Consequently, it is

 

           10              beneficial to keep the public fully informed

 

           11              of this important capable TV issue.  And

 

           12              that's all I have.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF:  Anyone else?  Fourth

 

           14              order.  Citizens' participation.

 

           15                      MR. SBARAGLIA:  Andy Sbaraglia,

 

           16              citizen of Scranton and fellow Scrantonians.

 

           17              I'm going to start off by asking the

 

           18              questions I asked last week, is the theatre

 

           19              up on their loan, their government loan?

 

           20              Are they current?

 

           21                      MS. FANUCCI: I'm still waiting for a

 

           22              response on that myself.  I put that in and

 

           23              I'm not sure -- I looked tonight on my

 

           24              e-mail before I got here to see if I got it

 

           25              and I did not receive it as of yet.


 

 

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            1                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Well, don't worry

 

            2              about it.  I'll put in a Right-To-Know and

 

            3              they'll handle it.  That's the best way.

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: You should.

 

            5                      MR. SBARAGLIA: That's the best way

 

            6              to get it.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI: All right.  Whatever.

 

            8                      MR. SBARAGLIA: The other was I asked

 

            9              about Boscov's, why are we paying their 108

 

           10              loan, did you find out why, what it's for?

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: As of right now

 

           12              everything on the Boscov deal has not been

 

           13              sealed yet, so until I think the -- we don't

 

           14              know exactly what's going on yet with the

 

           15              Boscov loan, but what you are asking --

 

           16                      MR. SBARAGLIA: We have been paying

 

           17              for three years, probably four years on the

 

           18              loan, on a 108 loan.  That is quite fixed.

 

           19              I'm not talking about the three million.

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI: Oh, then I was

 

           21              mistaken.

 

           22                      MR. SBARAGLIA: I'm talking about the

 

           23              original loan that comes before council

 

           24              saying we are paying two deadbeat loans off,

 

           25              one by Boscov and one with the hotel, and I


 

 

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            1              guess there is -- never mind, I'll probably

 

            2              find out.  It's easier for me to find out --

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI: Good.

 

            4                      MR. SBARAGLIA: -- than it is for you

 

            5              to find out.

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI: Good.  Makes it easier.

 

            7                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Let's go to a new

 

            8              subject.  Our legislature in their wisdom

 

            9              passed a new KOZ law, so here is a little

 

           10              something on it:  The new law allows to the

 

           11              Department of Community and Economic

 

           12              Development to designate up to 15 new KOZ's.

 

           13              Okay?  All the KOZ's we got they are going

 

           14              to add on 15 more.  Okay, the tax referred

 

           15              to in the KOZ may be reduced to zero, well,

 

           16              we all know that, except the deductions made

 

           17              and credits for most state and local taxes.

 

           18              Who pays it?  The taxpayer.  We pay it all.

 

           19              Okay.  Under the new KOZ status on

 

           20              unoccupied parcels, in other words, they

 

           21              haven't been able to do with these possibly

 

           22              for the last ten years, so our legislature

 

           23              said, well, let's give them another seven.

 

           24              So now we are going from ten years to

 

           25              17 years on these parcels that they didn't


 

 

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            1              do nothing with.

 

            2                      Now, there is another thing in here,

 

            3              DCED may approve up to -- may approve up to

 

            4              15 additional KOZ's, entitled as a KOZ tax

 

            5              beginning January 1, 2010.  In other words,

 

            6              when they expire they are going to get

 

            7              KOZ's.

 

            8                      Existing parcels it in the zone, but

 

            9              there is another little stipulation, if for

 

           10              some reason or other after they get that

 

           11              seven years extension if a company occupies

 

           12              a parcel before December 31, 2015, they may

 

           13              receive a KOZ benefit for another ten years,

 

           14              so we are talking about 25 years of KOZ's

 

           15              and that time I would pay $50,000 in taxes

 

           16              without raises that may be coming to the

 

           17              city, to the school district and to the

 

           18              county and these people would have paid

 

           19              nothing.  Do you realize how much a burden

 

           20              the KOZ's have put on the people of Scranton

 

           21              for very limited resources?

 

           22                      Now, from what I heard when we are

 

           23              in that -- I guess for that project over

 

           24              there down off of the highway, I forget what

 

           25              they call it, the Mt. Pleasant project, they


 

 

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            1              took a tax paying piece of parcel and bought

 

            2              it and ripped everything down and I bet they

 

            3              are going to ask for a KOZ for that parcel.

 

            4              So not only are they taking money out of our

 

            5              pockets they are going to build on that

 

            6              parcel, and the only reason -- the only way

 

            7              they could build is if they get a KOZ, so

 

            8              you are going to turn around and give them a

 

            9              KOZ to build another project that was a tax

 

           10              paying project before they acquired it.

 

           11                      And if you notice down here at the

 

           12              old DPW site there was a little article in

 

           13              the paper about a gas station wanting to

 

           14              move in there.  Well, there is no sense

 

           15              getting into it.  Thank you.

 

           16                      THE COURT:  Thank you,

 

           17              Mr. Sbaraglia.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Jean Suetta.

 

           19                      MS. SUETTA: Jean Suetta, Scranton.

 

           20              Bill, the bridge got cleaned today, Bill.

 

           21              The bridge got cleaned.  The sidewalks are

 

           22              cleaned at city hall.  Do I have a fatal

 

           23              disease I don't know about?  I come to say

 

           24              thank you.

 

           25                      MR. COURTRIGHT: You got more clout


 

 

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            1              than we do, Jeannie.

 

            2                      MS. SUETTA:  I didn't get the

 

            3              number.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I have the number.

 

            5                      MS. SUETTA: You never called me with

 

            6              the number.

 

            7                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I have the number

 

            8              right here.  You told me you were coming

 

            9              last week.

 

           10                      MS. SUETTA: Well, I hurt myself.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  You didn't show up

 

           12              last week.

 

           13                      MS. SUETTA: I hurt myself.  Well, I

 

           14              don't have to account to you.  Sherry,

 

           15              anything going on over there, the Sheraton?

 

           16              No bids?  No nothing?  The money is still in

 

           17              escrow?

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI: I'll let you know as

 

           19              soon I hear.

 

           20                      MS. SUETTA: Judy, and you thought

 

           21              that was a scam and you are on city council?

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: And I was going to go

 

           23              for it.

 

           24                      MS. SUETTA: And you're leading us?

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI: I was going to go for


 

 

                                                                      16

 

 

            1              it.

 

            2                      MS. SUETTA: What's going on with

 

            3              North Scranton Junior High?

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: Mrs. Suetta, we have a

 

            5              letter sent to Mr. Langan, I believe, the

 

            6              executive director of Good Will asking for

 

            7              an update on that property and we are

 

            8              awaiting his response.  As soon as it's

 

            9              received, council will --

 

           10                      MS. SUETTA: Because they are not

 

           11              doing nothing up there.  They are keeping

 

           12              the sidewalks cleaned though, I do give them

 

           13              credit there.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: Well, that's a good

 

           15              thing.

 

           16                      MS. SUETTA:  But can I say

 

           17              something?  One of the DPW workers have been

 

           18              plowing and salting Jilly's parking lot.

 

           19              I'm giving them fair warning, I know who he

 

           20              is, don't do it again because I never

 

           21              snitched on anybody, but I will tell.  He is

 

           22              doing the parking lot in South Side, and I

 

           23              know who he is, and it's not right.  He

 

           24              could have did the Greenridge Street with

 

           25              the salting and the plowing he did down


 

 

                                                                      17

 

 

            1              there, and then I wouldn't have to come down

 

            2              here and complain, but I give him fair

 

            3              warning.  I'll call you, Mr. McGoff, with

 

            4              his name if he plows it tomorrow or Billy.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: All right, Jean.

 

            6                      MS. SUETTA: Everyone have a good

 

            7              night.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you, Jean.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Doug Miller.

 

           10                      MR. MILLER:  Good evening, Council.

 

           11              Doug Miller, Scranton.  I'd like to respond

 

           12              to council regarding the University of

 

           13              Scranton tree trimming project.  I raised

 

           14              the issue a few weeks ago.  Council said

 

           15              they are doing us such a huge favor, well,

 

           16              maybe they wouldn't mind doing us an even

 

           17              bigger favor and travel around the whole

 

           18              city and cut trees and install

 

           19              streetlighting, you know, at least we would

 

           20              be getting something from them other than

 

           21              their self-serving project on the hill.

 

           22                      Three weeks ago, council requested a

 

           23              list of cancelled meetings from the past

 

           24              year, but quite frankly, we shouldn't even

 

           25              be addressing this issue to begin with


 

 

                                                                      18

 

 

            1              because there is no reason that this council

 

            2              should be cancelling meetings.  I strongly

 

            3              opposed the cancellation of the last three

 

            4              meetings of the year, as I did state in the

 

            5              past.  I believe you had no reason to do

 

            6              this other than to give yourself an extended

 

            7              paid Christmas break.  The taxpayers have

 

            8              the right to speak at this forum whether you

 

            9              have agenda or not and you violated our

 

           10              rights by not giving us the opportunity to

 

           11              come here.

 

           12                      You know, during your wasted time

 

           13              off you could have discussed issues such as

 

           14              creating impact fees on KOZ's, nonprofits or

 

           15              any other developer that wants to come into

 

           16              this city.  I believe this city is losing

 

           17              out on millions of dollars because this

 

           18              council fails to get creative.

 

           19                      Also, we could have spent time

 

           20              addressing the police and fire contracts.

 

           21              You know, I don't understand why this

 

           22              council is so afraid to address this issue.

 

           23              You know, what if President Obama came to

 

           24              Scranton and one of our schools and

 

           25              businesses had a major fire with a potential


 

 

                                                                      19

 

 

            1              loss of life, but we didn't have any fireman

 

            2              to put the fire out or police officers for

 

            3              traffic control for security, you know, how

 

            4              good would that look in the national

 

            5              spotlight?

 

            6                      I think we need to liken this to a

 

            7              teacher's strike.  When this occurs the

 

            8              teachers hold the students hostage.  Well,

 

            9              this council needs to holds the mayor's

 

           10              legislation hostage until these contracts

 

           11              are negotiated the right away.  You know, we

 

           12              are a distressed city and we look foolish

 

           13              because our elected officials don't know how

 

           14              to lead the right way.

 

           15                      Moving on to the raises.  I totally

 

           16              oppose any raises to this council.

 

           17              Truthfully, I don't know understand what

 

           18              even possessed you to even entertain the

 

           19              thought.  You know, Mr. McGoff stated two

 

           20              weeks ago, and I quote, "It was only open

 

           21              for discussion.  Nothing was set in stone."

 

           22                      Well, then my question is then if

 

           23              this was only being discussed then why was

 

           24              it on your agenda?  There is a big

 

           25              difference between discussion and voting on


 

 

                                                                      20

 

 

            1              legislation.  Your questionable actions were

 

            2              certainly a big slap in the face to our

 

            3              police and firemen and the taxpayers.  It's

 

            4              time that this council starts listening to

 

            5              the taxpayers' concerns because right now

 

            6              you don't feel you need to.  I think you all

 

            7              need to remember how you got here because

 

            8              apparently some of you have short memories.

 

            9                      Finally, to the taxpayers here, we

 

           10              have been imposed a five-minute time limit

 

           11              here to address you.  You know, we are

 

           12              consistently ignored and stifled, you know,

 

           13              maybe a creative idea would be that we give

 

           14              council a five-minute limit when you speak

 

           15              outside of motions and ramble on.  What's

 

           16              god for the goose is good for the gander.

 

           17              Thank you.

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI: Looks like your

 

           19              campaign started, Doug, huh?

 

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

 

           21                      MS. FANUCCI: Campaign season, huh?

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Bob Bolus.

 

           23                      MR. BOLUS: Good evening, Council,

 

           24              Bob Bolus, Scranton.  It's nice to come back

 

           25              here again and see such a cheerful group,


 

 

                                                                      21

 

 

            1              and some of the issues that are facing our

 

            2              city is money.  We are squandering money and

 

            3              wasting money.  We have no regard for

 

            4              taxpayers in this city.  You've kind of

 

            5              given the mayor free reign to do what he

 

            6              wants, so why don't we start listening to

 

            7              the people and look at some ideas.  There is

 

            8              a lot of creativity around here.  I brought

 

            9              up many issues over the years, not that I'm

 

           10              most creative guy in the city, but I am one

 

           11              of the most practical ones.  I know what is

 

           12              to have to work hard for a buck.  Nobody

 

           13              gives us anything.  I can't pass legislation

 

           14              and force taxpayers to pay my expenses.  Our

 

           15              people have to work for a living and there

 

           16              is no free rides in our companies.

 

           17                      Let's look at the leachate line that

 

           18              came from Dunmore to Scranton out of the

 

           19              landfill.  I brought this up many times

 

           20              throughout the Doherty administration and

 

           21              prior to the Connors' administration

 

           22              changing the agreement.  There is a leachate

 

           23              line that goes from Dunmore down to hear.  I

 

           24              have also said it, we could be a host

 

           25              community to that line even those it's


 

 

                                                                      22

 

 

            1              treated through the sewage authority or

 

            2              sewer authority.  We could charge so much

 

            3              per gallon for every gallon of flow through

 

            4              that comes through that line as a host

 

            5              community.  You need to pass legislation.

 

            6              You need to start paying attention to it.

 

            7              They could bring in millions of dollars to

 

            8              the city coffers, not only in the city, it

 

            9              could also bring it into Dunmore that's on

 

           10              the verge of bankruptcy.

 

           11                      They problem up there is they made

 

           12              be owned by the individual that owns the

 

           13              landfill because he gave them a police

 

           14              station and a DPW garage and they don't want

 

           15              to take this legislation, but they are a

 

           16              partner with the City of Scranton and you

 

           17              need to start looking at these issues.

 

           18                      The golf course money, I don't know

 

           19              where it is, but I would like to know where

 

           20              it is now and what the interest is that's

 

           21              accrued from the first million and a half

 

           22              dollars that was given away to what's left

 

           23              of the money right now.  I think we are

 

           24              entitled to know that.

 

           25                      Look around the city, look at the


 

 

                                                                      23

 

 

            1              valley we live in.  The surrounding area,

 

            2              everywhere you read people are putting in

 

            3              windmills.  Why aren't we looking at

 

            4              entertaining windmills on the mountain

 

            5              sides.  We've got all of West Mountain.  We

 

            6              have East Mountain, we could cut our costs

 

            7              tremendously to the taxpayers in the city by

 

            8              electricity.  Simple thing.  God gave us the

 

            9              nature.  He gave us wind.  People are

 

           10              getting an advantage.  It's being sent to

 

           11              Florida and everywhere else.  Let's use our

 

           12              heads and do it here.  There is grants,

 

           13              there is everything out here to do it that

 

           14              benefit the city.  That's creativity.

 

           15              That's using our head outside of the box,

 

           16              not just giving the mayor $80 million every

 

           17              year to run a business.

 

           18                      And, remember, the mayor on raises,

 

           19              yeah, you need to give a mayor a raise in

 

           20              the city, you are an $80 million a year

 

           21              business.  You need somebody capable or

 

           22              competent that's going to give up something

 

           23              and come here and run it.  Sure, Chris

 

           24              Doherty doesn't care if he gets the money,

 

           25              why?  Because Chris Doherty has a private


 

 

                                                                      24

 

 

            1              business he is involved in.  A business I

 

            2              believe is based outside of the State of

 

            3              Pennsylvania even though it has an office

 

            4              here in Scranton, so he doesn't need the

 

            5              money, so he doesn't need the pay, but if

 

            6              you are to put a bone out in front of

 

            7              somebody and dangle it then dangle it so you

 

            8              get competent candidates that come forward

 

            9              who want to work and run this city to give

 

           10              the city a better future than the handful of

 

           11              politicians that continue to destroy the

 

           12              city.

 

           13                      You know, we could go on and on and

 

           14              on.  I brought out impact fees.  I brought

 

           15              out KOZ's, I brought out the nonprofits, but

 

           16              you are the ones who got to get creative.  I

 

           17              was going to do it a long time ago, I did it

 

           18              once and then said, geez, Bob why don't you

 

           19              get on boards again.  Well, I'm not going to

 

           20              do that.  I don't get paid to do it.  I pay

 

           21              taxes in the city.  I live here, it's your

 

           22              job to do it.

 

           23                      Create the legislation that gives

 

           24              the taxpayers the benefit against your

 

           25              impact fees, your KOZ's and nonprofits.  You


 

 

                                                                      25

 

 

            1              need to start increasing the tax base,

 

            2              decrease the tax rate, tax the burden off

 

            3              the taxpayers.  That's where we need to go.

 

            4                      We are in the limelight of the

 

            5              nation and it's disgraceful to all of us,

 

            6              every Scrantonian to sit here and see

 

            7              everywhere you look that we are distressed,

 

            8              we can't run our city and we haven't been

 

            9              able to run our city.  Why?  Because we are

 

           10              politicians we are looking out for our next

 

           11              seed.  We are looking out for our next step

 

           12              in the political world.  Well, that's not

 

           13              what you are here for or anybody else in

 

           14              this administration.  You are here to do the

 

           15              job for the four years or two years or

 

           16              whatever it is you are appointed to do.

 

           17              Worry about the rest later, it will take

 

           18              care of itself if, in fact, you have done

 

           19              your jobs.

 

           20                      People aren't stupid, but they are

 

           21              hurting right now and you need to take the

 

           22              bull by the horn here and change the course

 

           23              of what Scranton is, that it's a financially

 

           24              secure city not an electric city.  Thank

 

           25              you.


 

 

                                                                      26

 

 

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

 

            2              Jim.

 

            3                      MR. STUCKER:  How are you doing,

 

            4              Mr. Courtright?

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Hi, Jim.

 

            6                      MR. STUCKER: One of my friends, I

 

            7              don't know who he was, he is friend of mine

 

            8              and he knows Sammy Deano, he knows his

 

            9              brother, and he was telling me, when I was

 

           10              at the Circle flea market, and he was

 

           11              telling me that none of yous should have no

 

           12              raise.  None at all.  None of you don't

 

           13              deserve a raise.

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay.  We are not

 

           15              getting one, Jim.

 

           16                      MR. STUCKER: And I was up at the

 

           17              Circle Sunday, up the flea market and I seen

 

           18              a scooter.  I seen it up there Sunday and

 

           19              I'm going to get it, 75 bucks.  It was brand

 

           20              new.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Okay, Jim, just

 

           22              remember what happened the last time, all

 

           23              right?  You can't ride it on the street.

 

           24              That's why you had to get rid of it.

 

           25                      MR. STUCKER:  It's not licensed.


 

 

                                                                      27

 

 

            1              It's electric.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Right.

 

            3                      MR. STUCKER:  If it's electric I can

 

            4              ride it.  Yeah.  Yeah.  And one of my

 

            5              buddy's friends, a lady, it was in the

 

            6              paper, her name is Sally, she just passed

 

            7              away Friday.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Sorry to hear that,

 

            9              Jim.

 

           10                      MR. STUCKER:  She had her leg taken

 

           11              off and she passed away Friday, and I'm

 

           12              still looking for a little bit of work.  Not

 

           13              much.

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Jim, before I forget

 

           15              the guy you used to cut his grass, Bubba, he

 

           16              came to the other day --

 

           17                      MR. STUCKER: Who?

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Bubba from back on

 

           19              Keyser Valley, he said when the weather

 

           20              breaks he will let you cut his grass again,

 

           21              all right?  So I'll let you know after the

 

           22              meeting, he came up to me and told me I

 

           23              forgot to tell me.

 

           24                      MR. STUCKER: You want my number?

 

           25                      THE COURT:  You give it to Neil, all


 

 

                                                                      28

 

 

            1              right?  What do you got, cards there, Jim?

 

            2              Don't we have that number?  Just don't touch

 

            3              his hair like Jeannie did.  When the weather

 

            4              gets good, Jim, he said you can do the

 

            5              grass, all right?

 

            6                      MR. STUCKER: I was working for

 

            7              Sammy, too, the guy that makes the flower

 

            8              boxes.  He has a lawnmower up there, so I

 

            9              give him the lawnmower and I told him I

 

           10              would cut it for 25.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Very good.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Thanks, Jim.

 

           13                      MR. STUCKER: And if I get a scooter

 

           14              I will be happy.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I bet you will.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Lee Morgan.

 

           17                      MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.

 

           18              The first thing I have here is, you know,

 

           19              I'm really happy there is going to be a

 

           20              discussion in council about the franchise

 

           21              fee.  I'm of the opinion that there

 

           22              possibility should be a modified franchise

 

           23              fee granting access to cable companies

 

           24              outside of the area to transmit across those

 

           25              lines.  They can transmit in my opinion on


 

 

                                                                      29

 

 

            1              different frequencies, and have the

 

            2              converter box separate the signal and that

 

            3              way what we could do is we can create

 

            4              competition locally.  Instead of letting

 

            5              Comcast run rough shot over the community so

 

            6              that if another maybe Adams or somebody else

 

            7              can make an agreement in this franchise fee

 

            8              to let them transmit on a different

 

            9              frequency and that way the box separates the

 

           10              both signals and whosoever service you pay

 

           11              for that's the signal you will get through

 

           12              that box, and that way all of the residents

 

           13              much this city aren't prisoners to one

 

           14              company.

 

           15                      The other major problem we have is

 

           16              that, you know, I'm all for a percentage of

 

           17              the franchise fee going to public access

 

           18              television, okay?  I'm also of the opinion

 

           19              that we need to increase the amount of

 

           20              diversity that there is on that channel.  I

 

           21              think that -- I think those are some major

 

           22              problems we have and I think that they

 

           23              should be addressed, but I also think that

 

           24              another part of that franchise fee should go

 

           25              to create a playground program in this city.


 

 

                                                                      30

 

 

            1              I think that the residents of this city have

 

            2              a right to have this franchise fee used in a

 

            3              way that enhances the lives of the citizens

 

            4              who live here instead of letting it get

 

            5              sucked into the budget and disappear.  I

 

            6              think we need to target this to do the

 

            7              greatest amount of good we can for the

 

            8              community.

 

            9                      And on a separate issue, on the

 

           10              stimulus that's going to allegedly come out

 

           11              of Washington that Mr. Obama is trying to

 

           12              craft, when that money comes here we should

 

           13              use that money wisely in the neighborhoods,

 

           14              not in town, not to build a library, not to

 

           15              -- you know, there is so many discussions

 

           16              that allegedly we are going to use this

 

           17              money because we have this project allegedly

 

           18              shovel ready for the new library.  Well,

 

           19              we've got real problems in the

 

           20              neighborhoods.  We have no curbs, we have no

 

           21              sidewalks.  We need major infrastructure

 

           22              repairs in this city.

 

           23                      Now, President Obama has said, and

 

           24              people in Congress and the Senate have said

 

           25              that this is not the last stimulus, that


 

 

                                                                      31

 

 

            1              there will be others, so let's chain this

 

            2              money together.  I mean, we talk about 800

 

            3              and some billion dollars, and there is going

 

            4              to be others it means that we are going to

 

            5              incur an awful lot of debt, and if we are

 

            6              going to do that maybe we should spend it in

 

            7              our communities for the benefits of the

 

            8              residents in this community, like maybe

 

            9              making homes more energy efficient, coming

 

           10              up with a partnership between the laborers

 

           11              or the carpenters union or whatever and

 

           12              start pouring sidewalks and starting an

 

           13              apprentice program in the trades.  I mean,

 

           14              we could do very creative things that can

 

           15              benefit this city, but we have got to stop

 

           16              the mayor or anyone else for that matter who

 

           17              is going to squander this money in the pay

 

           18              to play department, okay?  I mean, you know,

 

           19              I'm not trying to call people crooked, I'm

 

           20              just saying that, you know, we have got to

 

           21              do something for the people in this

 

           22              community and I think that it's time for

 

           23              council to stand up and say, Mr. Mayor, you

 

           24              know, this is our vision for the city.

 

           25                      Mr. McGoff, last week or two weeks


 

 

                                                                      32

 

 

            1              ago you introduced something in regards to a

 

            2              pay raise, so evidently you do have the

 

            3              authority to put something on the agenda,

 

            4              okay?  So it's time to put something on the

 

            5              agenda.  It's time to put something on the

 

            6              agenda for the residents of this city, and I

 

            7              agree with things that Mr. Bolus has said

 

            8              here, that he said many times before in some

 

            9              regards as far as fees, but I really think

 

           10              the most important thing we can do for this

 

           11              city is get rid of the 2.4 percent wage tax.

 

           12                      Let's be realistic here.  I mean, we

 

           13              have terrible blight in the neighborhoods

 

           14              and why?  Because we have allowed the city

 

           15              inspectors to run through the neighborhoods

 

           16              at the mayor's orders and absolutely

 

           17              decimate the neighborhoods.  People have

 

           18              been in these homes for 50 years and now, of

 

           19              course, council passed the rental ordinance

 

           20              and we decide we are just going to tear

 

           21              everything down, okay?  You know what, it's

 

           22              not their fault that they invested in the

 

           23              city and there aren't people to move into

 

           24              those apartments because they fled outside

 

           25              of the city.


 

 

                                                                      33

 

 

            1                      So now they have been left with an

 

            2              investment with no one they can rent to and

 

            3              the city comes down behind them and says,

 

            4              well, we are going to use this ordinance to

 

            5              come in your house whether we should or not

 

            6              and then we are going to allow people to

 

            7              kick doors, act very immature, and condemn

 

            8              people's properties for absolutely no

 

            9              reasons or steal their zoning.  It's

 

           10              terrible.  Thank you.

 

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

 

           12              Ozzie Quinn.

 

           13                      MR. QUINN: Ozzie Quinn.  I'm here

 

           14              tonight as the chairman of the Hill

 

           15              Neighborhood Association Housing and Blight

 

           16              Committee.  You know, the Hill Neighborhood

 

           17              Association has been around since the 70's.

 

           18              It's the only 501-C-3 nonprofit neighborhood

 

           19              organization throughout the city, and it has

 

           20              done a lot of good things for the Hill

 

           21              Section.  Bob Neverosky is the president and

 

           22              he asked me to attend tonight because of the

 

           23              fact that he sent a letter to the OECD

 

           24              regarding the neighborhood stabilization

 

           25              program.  A couple of weeks ago the county


 

 

                                                                      34

 

 

            1              had listed the foreclosures through the

 

            2              sheriff's office and 16 percent of them was

 

            3              from the Hill Section.  Now, why is

 

            4              everything going to South Side?  You know,

 

            5              you have the neighborhood stabilization

 

            6              plan, you have the Elm Street plan over

 

            7              there and here you have the Hill Section,

 

            8              North Scranton, all of the other sections

 

            9              are being left out and we really resent

 

           10              that, okay?  We have over 1,500 members and

 

           11              there is a letter going out shortly, a

 

           12              newsletter going out, regarding what's going

 

           13              on here.  It's a political football

 

           14              everything that comes into this city that's

 

           15              a grant.  It's used for political purposes.

 

           16                      Now, Mr. McGoff, last week you spoke

 

           17              about the University of Scranton, you

 

           18              visited up there and you spoke about the

 

           19              $1.3 million they are going to invest of

 

           20              their money into the campus along Mulberry

 

           21              Street?  Well, you know, I'd like to suggest

 

           22              again from the Housing and Blight Committee,

 

           23              all right, in the late 90's there was a

 

           24              million dollar grant that came into the City

 

           25              of Scranton under former state legislator


 

 

                                                                      35

 

 

            1              Fred Belardi for the 1200 and 1300 block,

 

            2              1400 block of Mulberry Street for new

 

            3              sidewalks, replace the curbs and provide

 

            4              trees and lighting all through there.

 

            5                      Now, the thing what they had to do

 

            6              is they had to match it with $1 million.

 

            7              Now, nobody knows where that million dollars

 

            8              is, but I'm sure it's still in the city, all

 

            9              right?  Now, I would recommend from the Hill

 

           10              Neighborhood Association, okay, and Bob that

 

           11              we use that match of the University of

 

           12              Scranton with that million dollars to

 

           13              improve those three blocks of Mulberry

 

           14              Street in the Hill Section.  Do you

 

           15              understand?

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: What was the year?

 

           17                      MR. QUINN:  It came in in the late

 

           18              -- it was around '99 I believe.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: '99.

 

           20                      MR. QUINN: Yeah, it was a $1 million

 

           21              grant from DCED and it was with a match, all

 

           22              right, but nobody came up with a match, and

 

           23              it's still around there someplace, but it's

 

           24              a good opportunity to get, you know --

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: And you said it was for


 

 

                                                                      36

 

 

            1              the 12, 14 and 14 --

 

            2                      MR. QUINN: 1400 blocks of Mulberry

 

            3              Street.  There was also -- PennDOT was going

 

            4              to come in, also, but moneywise they

 

            5              couldn't come in.  They were also going to

 

            6              get involved in it.  However, that had

 

            7              nothing to do with the grant.

 

            8                      Now, we have a master plan which is

 

            9              also, you know, a comprehensive plan done

 

           10              around 1993 or '94 and it's a very, very

 

           11              much involved plan for every neighborhood in

 

           12              the City of Scranton, and it was a detailed

 

           13              plan on how to remedy some of problems all

 

           14              through the neighborhood and we never used

 

           15              that plan.  I'll bet you -- I'll bet you

 

           16              none -- maybe Judy, she worked up there,

 

           17              ever looked through that master plan.  Now,

 

           18              it's 15 years old it probably has to be

 

           19              updated, but the neighborhood stuff can

 

           20              still be used.  And one example we can use

 

           21              it from with the president's stimulus plan,

 

           22              in South Side - not South Side, East

 

           23              Mountain on the end of Cherry Street in that

 

           24              neighborhood there was a proposal to open up

 

           25              100 acres of land west of Cherry Street


 

 

                                                                      37

 

 

            1              going down to Montage for housing, okay?

 

            2                      There was a loop street recommended

 

            3              to come in and open that area up, okay, and

 

            4              if we are on our toes we could do something

 

            5              like that.  We could do something by going

 

            6              to that master plan now, pulling out what

 

            7              was recommended, what we paid for for

 

            8              infrastructure in the neighborhoods and use

 

            9              that plan such as that as an example.  We've

 

           10              got to get ahead this year.  We can't be

 

           11              waiting around, and again, we were very

 

           12              satisfied with that neighborhood

 

           13              stabilization program, but we do hope that

 

           14              you will pick up on that $1 million grant.

 

           15              Thank you.

 

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

 

           17              Les Spindler.

 

           18                      MR. SPINDLER: Good evening, Council.

 

           19              Les Spindler, city resident, homeowner and

 

           20              taxpayer.  Mrs. Gatelli, two weeks ago we

 

           21              were talking about meetings being cancelled

 

           22              and you brought up in the Summer of 2005

 

           23              that council worked right through the summer

 

           24              and didn't cancel their meetings and you

 

           25              said that was funny because it was an


 

 

                                                                      38

 

 

            1              election year?  The real reason they worked,

 

            2              Mrs. Gatelli, is because the Hilton was

 

            3              having serious financial problems that

 

            4              summer and they needed help and the council

 

            5              worked through the summer.  They worked with

 

            6              the mayor all summer and Mr. Courtright and

 

            7              Mr. Evans can verify this, and they came up

 

            8              with a plan to bail out the Hilton or there

 

            9              may not have been a Hilton right now, so it

 

           10              had nothing to do with the election, it was

 

           11              just financial trouble that the Hilton was

 

           12              in, and if you didn't walk out when I was

 

           13              speaking two weeks ago and I spoke about

 

           14              that you would have heard it.

 

           15                      Next thing, two weeks ago I had

 

           16              mentioned about Scartelli's plowing the DPW

 

           17              parking lot during that last snow storm and,

 

           18              Mrs. Gatelli, I think you were the one that

 

           19              said there was a snow emergency declared?

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI:  No.  I said maybe

 

           21              there was.

 

           22                      MR. SPINDLER: Well, there wasn't.  I

 

           23              was watching the news all night that night

 

           24              and there was no snow emergency.  The real

 

           25              reason is Scartelli as a matter of fact is a


 

 

                                                                      39

 

 

            1              major contributor to Chris Doherty's

 

            2              campaign and he is just repaying the favor,

 

            3              and I think that's probably criminal and

 

            4              that should be investigated.  We have our

 

            5              own DPW to plow roads, why does Scartelli

 

            6              have to be hired to do it?  It's outrageous.

 

            7              And that's why this city is in such

 

            8              financial difficulty because Chris Doherty

 

            9              is taking care of his friends, and that's

 

           10              wrong.

 

           11                      Mr. McGoff can I approach council

 

           12              with these things?

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Please.

 

           14                      MR. SPINDLER: Okay.  For awhile now

 

           15              I have spoken about Pit Bulls being

 

           16              dangerous.  I got this off of Fox.com,

 

           17              Foxnews.com.  "City is mulling Pit Bull bans

 

           18              in wake of dog attacks."

 

           19                      I'm not going to read the whole

 

           20              article, on the back I have a little

 

           21              paragraph highlighted, "While most dog laws

 

           22              are local, Ohio has a 1987 state law

 

           23              requiring owners to confine purebred Pit

 

           24              Bulls as viscous dogs and buy at least

 

           25              $100,000 in liability insurance."


 

 

                                                                      40

 

 

            1                      And then it goes on to say, "Twelve

 

            2              states prohibit breed specific restriction

 

            3              on bans."

 

            4                      Now, when I brought this up before

 

            5              your solicitor said we can't be breed

 

            6              specific.  Is Pennsylvania one of these 12

 

            7              states?  We are not?

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI:  No, Pennsylvania does

 

            9              not have a breed specific --

 

           10                      MR. SPINDLER: Well, when I brought

 

           11              this before your attorney said we can't be

 

           12              breed specific.  Why can't we if Ohio can if

 

           13              we are not under these 12 states?

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: We can, but it has to

 

           15              be the state that does it, not the city.

 

           16                      MR. SPINDLER: Why can't the city do

 

           17              it?  Because if there is --

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI: For the same reason we

 

           19              couldn't do the smoking ban, Les.  The same

 

           20              exact reason.

 

           21                      MR. SPINDLER:  But there's another

 

           22              paragraph down below where the City of South

 

           23              Milwaukee did their own -- they made a ban

 

           24              on Pit Bulls, also.  I think we can do it,

 

           25              you people just don't want to do it.  If


 

 

                                                                      41

 

 

            1              Chris Doherty asked you to put a Pit Bull

 

            2              ban in you would do it.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  I'm having --

 

            4                      MR. SPINDLER: But when citizens come

 

            5              and ask for things to get done it's not

 

            6              done.  This is a safety issue.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI: Excuse me.

 

            8                      MR. SPINDLER: I'm speaking now.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI:  I'll let you have your

 

           10              time.  If you would, Mr. McGoff.  I told you

 

           11              before that Mrs. Thursby is working on this

 

           12              along with Tom Preamo.  She should have it

 

           13              ready within the next few weeks, and I asked

 

           14              you if you wanted to participate and you

 

           15              didn't want to participate.

 

           16                      MS. SPINDLER: But they are not

 

           17              working on a breed specific ordinance.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI:  No, but they are

 

           19              working on a more stringent dog law for

 

           20              Scranton.

 

           21                      MR. SPINDLER: Well, I'll believe it

 

           22              when I see it.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: If you worked with them

 

           24              maybe you would have given reasons to do

 

           25              that.


 

 

                                                                      42

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: Yeah, you were asked.

 

            2                      MR. SPINDLER: I'm not talking to

 

            3              you, Mrs. Fanucci.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: Okay.  Thank you.

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI: Every time you address,

 

            6              Council, by the way, you are talking to me.

 

            7                      MR. SPINDLER: Mr. McGoff, would you

 

            8              please control her?

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me.  That's

 

           10              unnecessary.

 

           11                      MS. SPINDLER: Hey, it's unnecessary

 

           12              for her to interrupt when I'm talking.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: You asked for a

 

           14              response --

 

           15                      MR. SPINDLER: Not from her.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: She was giving it to

 

           17              you.

 

           18                      MR. SPINDLER: I was talking to Mrs.

 

           19              Gatelli.  That's ignorant for her to

 

           20              interrupt.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: You were speaking to

 

           22              council.

 

           23                      MR. SPINDLER:  Lastly, yesterday was

 

           24              a great deal for the little guy finally in

 

           25              two ways, two corrupt judges in Luzerne


 

 

                                                                      43

 

 

            1              County were arrested, and I hope when the

 

            2              Feds are done down there they come up here

 

            3              in Lackawanna County and arrest some corrupt

 

            4              officials up here and they could start right

 

            5              here in city hall.

 

            6                      Next, about freedom of speech, a

 

            7              gentleman had a four-letter word on his

 

            8              truck down there and his court case was

 

            9              thrown out of court yesterday and that's a

 

           10              victory for the people's freedom of speech.

 

           11              So, Mr. McGoff, I suggest next time you go

 

           12              to gavel somebody out of order you better be

 

           13              careful because the First Amendment is very

 

           14              strong about freedom of speech, and people

 

           15              can come up here and say just about anything

 

           16              they want.  Thank you.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: No, they can't, but,

 

           18              that's okay.

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI:  And just to correct

 

           20              the record, I read that story also about the

 

           21              guy down there that had the "F" word on his

 

           22              truck, the case was dismissed because he

 

           23              took it off the truck, that's why the case

 

           24              was dismissed.  Mr. Nardone, maybe you can

 

           25              check that out for us, but I know he took at


 

 

                                                                      44

 

 

            1              least two or three letters off and he had

 

            2              to.

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI: And I know that I

 

            4              wasn't addressed yet, but I would like to

 

            5              say something, the only people who are mad

 

            6              about rules and regulations in any aspect

 

            7              are the people who are only intending on

 

            8              breaking them, so if there are rules in this

 

            9              chamber and you can't abide by them the only

 

           10              reason you are upset is because you

 

           11              certainly can't abide by them.

 

           12                      So, yes, you are incorrect, freedom

 

           13              of speech is something that is definitely

 

           14              heard here, but we still have council rules

 

           15              and you need to stick with them.  And, Les,

 

           16              my mom told me if somebody always picks on

 

           17              me it's because they really like me, so I

 

           18              think you will be sending me Valentine roses

 

           19              or something so --

 

           20                      THE COURT:  Joanne Williams.

 

           21                      MS. WILLIAMS: Good evening, Council,

 

           22              Joanne Williams.  I really don't know where

 

           23              to begin tonight.  I see much hasn't

 

           24              changed.  The reason why I'm here tonight,

 

           25              I'm a homeowner and a taxpayer.  I came to


 

 

                                                                      45

 

 

            1              speak on a few different subjects.  Today my

 

            2              daughter was on her way to beauty school, a

 

            3              friend of her transports her and other girls

 

            4              to Empire Beauty School.  A police car

 

            5              stopped them almost right in front of our

 

            6              house and told them there were too many

 

            7              passengers in the car, there were four girls

 

            8              in the back and two in the front.  So, my

 

            9              daughter had to walk back into the house and

 

           10              miss a day of school.

 

           11                      Now, I do imagine the police officer

 

           12              was right, okay, and I really -- I think the

 

           13              law is you need a seatbelt for every

 

           14              passenger, but what gets me is that, you

 

           15              know, he picked on six girls who are

 

           16              furthering their education, who were not

 

           17              doing drugs, who were not doing anything

 

           18              wrong, well, maybe illegally not a seatbelt

 

           19              and told Carly to get out of the car or he

 

           20              would fine the driver $100.

 

           21                      Well, I lived in the Hill Section

 

           22              all my life and still reside in the home

 

           23              where I'm at where me and my husband bought

 

           24              15 years ago, and as Mrs. Gatelli knows we

 

           25              had a nuisance neighbor up there for many


 

 

                                                                      46

 

 

            1              years, and I'm wishing the police would

 

            2              enforce other laws that are broken in the

 

            3              city, and within the past year I had two

 

            4              occasions where the police were called to my

 

            5              neighborhood due to the certain nuisance

 

            6              family in our neighborhood, that had

 

            7              disrupted many families.  Well, I had to

 

            8              actually ask one of the officers to leave my

 

            9              home as he stated to me and started

 

           10              complaining to me about his contract and not

 

           11              enough police officers, you know, whatever.

 

           12              And then on the other occasion I was at a

 

           13              neighbor's home on Harrison Avenue where the

 

           14              police officer stated that he was working

 

           15              overtime and he would be rather spending

 

           16              time with his children.

 

           17                      Now, I wasn't going to come here

 

           18              because I thought what kind of professionals

 

           19              are these, but I have kept quiet but

 

           20              sometimes silence needs to be broken.

 

           21                      Also, the negativity here weekly is

 

           22              overwhelming.  They speak of the economy.

 

           23              Well, it's a problem.  I'm a widow now.  My

 

           24              income is under $28,000 a year, okay?  They

 

           25              speak of how the mayor picks his


 

 

                                                                      47

 

 

            1              administration, Well, hello, the president

 

            2              pick their cabinets.  But what always gets

 

            3              to me is why people don't come and speak

 

            4              about the positive of the city.  They speak

 

            5              of the positives, and let's take Nay Aug

 

            6              Park, I know it's a trouble spot for some

 

            7              people, and I know -- oh, I'm used to it,

 

            8              believe me.  And, you know, Mrs. Fanucci, i

 

            9              have to say to you, I admire what you said

 

           10              to the camera a few weeks ago that this

 

           11              council chambers doesn't only belong to a

 

           12              few, it belongs to everyone, okay?

 

           13                      Let's take Nay Aug Park, Christmas

 

           14              light display, thousands who drove through

 

           15              the park to take in the beauty of the

 

           16              season, cars lined up down to Turkey Hill on

 

           17              Mulberry Street.  Let's take the Fourth of

 

           18              July fireworks.  Once again, hundreds attend

 

           19              this marvelous light display.  The Italian

 

           20              Festival, First Night, I could go on, but

 

           21              yet here we continually hear the negativity

 

           22              of this city.  Potholes, how much light

 

           23              displays cost.  I mean, it could go on and

 

           24              on and on, okay?  Scranton isn't the only

 

           25              one with these problems.


 

 

                                                                      48

 

 

            1                      Also, I have to say when I speak of

 

            2              firefighters, I was always taught very young

 

            3              to respect a firefighter and a police

 

            4              officer, firefighters do a dangerous job and

 

            5              they are heroes in my eyes, but my late

 

            6              husband worked for the Scranton Sewer

 

            7              Authority for over 20 years and many a time

 

            8              he crawled down into sewer drains, he worked

 

            9              outside in the heavy equipment, another

 

           10              dangerous job, and I would often worry about

 

           11              what could happen down there.  After my

 

           12              husband's death in 2006, me and my daughter

 

           13              received health care for only one month and

 

           14              then it was gone.  In my eyes every job has

 

           15              a risk.

 

           16                      And now to get to another thing, as

 

           17              to Mr. Talimino, I don't know if I'm saying

 

           18              his name right, if I heard him correctly

 

           19              homemakers and beauticians-- if I could just

 

           20              have a few minutes, I took it personally

 

           21              because my daughter is currently enrolled in

 

           22              beauty school and is enjoying a beautiful

 

           23              and great -- and she is being educated.  I

 

           24              love this city, I have loved it good and bad

 

           25              times, I give credit to Chris Doherty for


 

 

                                                                      49

 

 

            1              moving the city forward.  Well, that's fine.

 

            2              Mr. Talimino, you don't seem to like

 

            3              Scranton so why don't you just leave and

 

            4              take a few of the doomers with you.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Please don't --

 

            6                      MS. WILLIAMS: And in closing, just

 

            7              closing quickly, you know, we talk about

 

            8              Mayor Doherty who he put here and who put

 

            9              there and his cronies, but Mrs. Evans this

 

           10              for you, okay, just quick question.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Please.  Mrs. Williams

 

           12              --

 

           13                      MS. WILLIAMS: I'm almost done.  I'm

 

           14              almost done.  Did you sit on the school

 

           15              board at one time?

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

           17                      MS. WILLIAMS: And after you resigned

 

           18              from the school board is that when you

 

           19              received your job?

 

           20                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

           21                      MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.

 

           23              Williams.  Stephanie Gawel.

 

           24                      MS. GAWEL:  Good evening, Council.

 

           25              How are you tonight?


 

 

                                                                      50

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: Good.

 

            2                      MS. GAWEL:  Mr. Minora is back and

 

            3              I'd like to ask him how are we making out

 

            4              with Mr. McDowell?

 

            5                      MR. MINORA: We are waiting for an

 

            6              opinion still from the Court.  What happened

 

            7              was the Court issued an order, just a two or

 

            8              three sentence order.  When you take an

 

            9              appeal a judge is then required under the

 

           10              appellate rules to file an opinion.  An

 

           11              opinion is his reasoning and case law, he

 

           12              has hasn't.

 

           13                      MS. GAWEL:  Thank you.  All right.

 

           14              I am going to pick on the city.  I don't

 

           15              like to, but you have to bring up the

 

           16              negativity to fix the negative to get the

 

           17              positives, it's as simple as that.  I know

 

           18              there has been like a lot of grievances

 

           19              between the tax office, the police

 

           20              department, the fire department, do any of

 

           21              them ever get resolved?  I mean, like I hear

 

           22              nothing about when they get resolved or if

 

           23              they are ever, you know, taken care of, you

 

           24              know, like all of those that were against

 

           25              Mr. McDowell as far as not showing up for


 

 

                                                                      51

 

 

            1              work and, you know, that sort of stuff, are

 

            2              any of these grievances ever -- could we

 

            3              check into it, please?  Thank you.  You

 

            4              know, because it's getting to be such an

 

            5              issue that like it seems like everything

 

            6              that's swept under the rug and we need a

 

            7              bigger rug at this point.

 

            8                      I understand that the police cars

 

            9              are not up to par, the ones that we do own,

 

           10              like a lot of them don't have the

 

           11              defibrillators in them anymore, they don't

 

           12              have the oxygen in them anymore, I'm not

 

           13              even sure they have their flares and their

 

           14              First Aid kits.  These are the necessities

 

           15              to help the citizens.  I mean, again, what

 

           16              do we do about these issues?

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT: The defibrillators

 

           18              we haven't had for quite awhile, and we

 

           19              should.

 

           20                      MS. GAWEL:  Yeah.  And I understand,

 

           21              also, like if the computers break in the

 

           22              cars they are not getting fixed.  Again,

 

           23              this is --

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  They put the

 

           25              computer stands in the cars and some of the


 

 

                                                                      52

 

 

            1              computers I don't think were ever really

 

            2              operational, so I don't believe we have any

 

            3              police cars with computers in them.

 

            4                      MS. GAWEL:  Now, up to the next one

 

            5              then, this one will get fun.  I know we

 

            6              don't have cameras on the cars, but I

 

            7              understand there is federal funding for

 

            8              this, so why aren't we going after the funds

 

            9              to get the cameras in the cars?  First off,

 

           10              it's safety for our police officers; second

 

           11              off it's great for whether they have to go

 

           12              to Court if there is any issues.  In the

 

           13              long run it could save the city money

 

           14              because if somebody is trying to say the

 

           15              cops did this, okay, you have the cameras.

 

           16              It's right there.  The cops didn't do wrong,

 

           17              you did wrong, you know.

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT: They can't even get

 

           19              the camera that we have to work that's down

 

           20              in the police station.  We've got all of

 

           21              these cameras throughout the city, I don't

 

           22              know what the problem is.  They just don't

 

           23              work correctly.

 

           24                      MS. GAWEL: Okay.  Also, it was

 

           25              mentioned, and I think it was Mrs.


 

 

                                                                      53

 

 

            1              Gatellier, and I could be wrong and I don't

 

            2              think she meant it badly, but I don't think

 

            3              maybe it was thought through all the way, we

 

            4              are talking about the beat cops and you said

 

            5              at one point you had two in South Side and

 

            6              you thought you should be sharing it, cops

 

            7              should not be out there by themselves.  They

 

            8              should be two together at all times.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI: When they are riding in

 

           10              a police car they are by themselves.

 

           11                      MS. GAWEL: Yeah, okay.

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI: Whenever we had a beat

 

           13              cop they were alone, and the bike cop was

 

           14              alone, too.

 

           15                      MS. GAWEL: See, they shouldn't be

 

           16              because, you know, like --

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI: Well, I'm going to

 

           18              disagree with you.

 

           19                      MS. GAWEL: Well, maybe in the cars

 

           20              but not when they are walking because if

 

           21              some drug dealer comes up, you know, comes

 

           22              after the one cop he is by himself.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI:  He is prepared for

 

           24              that, and on a bicycle, too, we never had

 

           25              two officers.


 

 

                                                                      54

 

 

            1                      MS. GAWEL:  Well, and I don't know

 

            2              why we are doing the parking garages.  And

 

            3              I'm sure if you ask the women up here on the

 

            4              board they would agree with me.  The reason

 

            5              parking garages don't work that well is we

 

            6              as women don't like to be in them alone at

 

            7              night.  They are very scary, they are very

 

            8              unsafe, and they are very uncomfortable.

 

            9              Women will not use parking garages for the

 

           10              most part.  They will park five blocks away

 

           11              and walk before they park in a parking

 

           12              garage.  So, why does this city insist on

 

           13              going after the parking garages?  You might

 

           14              have somebody rethink the issue and

 

           15              understand why we can't get the monies out

 

           16              of the parking garages because girls aren't

 

           17              using them, and there is more girls than

 

           18              there are boys.  Okay.  Thank you.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Gawel.

 

           20              David Dobson.

 

           21                      MR. DOBSON:  Good evening, Council.

 

           22              Dave Dobson, member of the Taxpayers',

 

           23              resident of Scranton.  On 7-B I can't

 

           24              understand why we don't just go with a

 

           25              computerized website where anybody can go in


 

 

                                                                      55

 

 

            1              there and see what's up and get the

 

            2              information they need and not bother any

 

            3              city officials, that way we wouldn't have to

 

            4              have it in writing and you wouldn't have to

 

            5              be a pain in the neck to anybody, so I think

 

            6              that's a better recommendation than throwing

 

            7              railroad ties into the middle of the

 

            8              information highway here.

 

            9                      On this up and coming stimulus

 

           10              package from the federal government, as far

 

           11              as KOZ's and office space if we are

 

           12              overbuilt with anything in the city we are

 

           13              probably overbuilt with office space.  We

 

           14              have a lot of empty office space and we are

 

           15              looking to build more and give 10, 15,

 

           16              20 years or whatever the heck it is to more

 

           17              tax incentives, and it just seems strange to

 

           18              me that with all of the empty office space

 

           19              and so forth we have why we are doing this.

 

           20              It just doesn't add up.

 

           21                      And once again, last week I asked

 

           22              about snow tossed on the streets, I think I

 

           23              just asked on a personal basis, but if

 

           24              somebody could run it in the paper what the

 

           25              ordinance is and snow gets tossed in the


 

 

                                                                      56

 

 

            1              streets and in the courts and so forth it

 

            2              might be convenient for a few people that

 

            3              are removing it, but it's a pain in the neck

 

            4              for people that have to negotiate around it,

 

            5              and if these people knew that they were

 

            6              breaking the law maybe they would change

 

            7              their ways.  Hopefully.

 

            8                      Also, it really shouldn't be done, a

 

            9              couple of years ago we moved snow with four

 

           10              people tag teaming onto snow blowers and

 

           11              cleared down an entire court and the DPW

 

           12              came by and there is a three-foot wall of

 

           13              ice in front of the court that we had just

 

           14              cleared, so there was another day of work

 

           15              down the tubes, but the main problem is that

 

           16              some people just insist on pushing the snow

 

           17              down into a court or something and they are

 

           18              being inconsiderate.  I don't want to argue

 

           19              with neighbors, that goes nowhere, so if the

 

           20              city just announces it hopefully somebody

 

           21              will see the light.  Thank you and have a

 

           22              good night.

 

           23                      Oh, one other thing, instead of

 

           24              KOZ's or office space how about some

 

           25              industrial parks, please?


 

 

                                                                      57

 

 

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

 

            2              Any other speakers?

 

            3                      MS. HUMPHRIES:  You know, I use

 

            4              visual art.  Nothing like beautiful art.

 

            5              Starbucks.  I want you to listen to this

 

            6              when I was down and out for everybody

 

            7              because I think it's kind of for everybody,

 

            8              especially people that died of cancer, that

 

            9              suffer.  The way I see it -- number 299, 29

 

           10              for the angle, nine for the Virgin Mother,

 

           11              "There is a subtle difference between a

 

           12              mission and a promise.  A mission is

 

           13              something you strive to accomplish.  A

 

           14              promise is something you are compelled to

 

           15              keep.  One is individual, the other is

 

           16              shared.  When a mission and a promise are

 

           17              one in the same that's when mountains are

 

           18              moved and races are won."

 

           19                      It was said by Jim Donald, President

 

           20              and CEO, and Susan G. Koman For the Cure.

 

           21                      April is child abuse prevention

 

           22              month.  Wear your blue ribbons, pin each day

 

           23              to show you care about kids and support

 

           24              parents as they do, the toughest job is

 

           25              raising a family, and I feel the toughest


 

 

                                                                      58

 

 

            1              job is changing the nation and the world to

 

            2              the beliefs.

 

            3                      Your Excellency, I got my love

 

            4              letter.  That will go with the documents.

 

            5              I'm going to cry.  I want to hand something

 

            6              to you to pass.  I support everyone, and

 

            7              this is going to go traveling with this

 

            8              white coffin representing the unborn, but

 

            9              everybody that ever died in a violent car

 

           10              accident.  I attempted to get it to where it

 

           11              had to go, God allowed me to be someplace

 

           12              else.  Sometimes it's important, I put God

 

           13              first, my family second, I have to say it,

 

           14              with my mission.

 

           15                      The American vets and American

 

           16              veterans we support our flag.  The active

 

           17              support of the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order

 

           18              of Police, the Pennsylvania Chief of Police

 

           19              Support Association.  This one isn't on yet.

 

           20              This is -- I'm going to cry, the purple

 

           21              support, the military order of the Purple

 

           22              Heart, I'm in the Purple Heart in a special

 

           23              way, so I'm going to pass this document with

 

           24              American Indians.  I'm going to pass this by

 

           25              and then read something and then I'm going


 

 

                                                                      59

 

 

            1              to get off.

 

            2                      I have to get another glass, and I

 

            3              want you to listen tentatively.  For this

 

            4              reason, before the father from every family

 

            5              in heaven and on earth is named that he may

 

            6              grant you in accord with the riches of his

 

            7              glory to be strengthened with power and

 

            8              inner self and that Christ may dwell in your

 

            9              hearts, through faith may have strength to

 

           10              comprehend with all of the Holy ones.  What

 

           11              is the breath and the length and the height

 

           12              and depth, and to know the love of Christ

 

           13              that's surpasses knowledge so that you may

 

           14              be filled with all of the fullness.

 

           15                      I sent this to everyone around the

 

           16              world and everyone that's in office.  To

 

           17              feel doubtfulness of God.  Now, to him that

 

           18              is able and accomplished far more than all

 

           19              we ask or imagined by the power at work

 

           20              within us.  To him be Glory in the church

 

           21              and in Christ Jesus.  To all generations

 

           22              forever and ever.  Amen.  My mission is for

 

           23              peace.  My mission is for love.  My mission

 

           24              is for reconciliation, but also my mission

 

           25              is for justice but also divine mercy.


 

 

                                                                      60

 

 

            1                      I'm attempting to go to the United

 

            2              Nations and then go directly into

 

            3              Washington, but something else occurred.

 

            4              Where I got dropped off the people were

 

            5              afraid that I would be thrown in the

 

            6              psychiatric ward, I had Court orders out of

 

            7              there because I went or --it's so funny, the

 

            8              life we go through, right?  And so I was

 

            9              held in one place, but in the process

 

           10              someone evidently, because the threats on my

 

           11              life ran my daughter off the street, her car

 

           12              was totaled up.  It was a violent wreck, but

 

           13              my daughter crawled out without a scratch.

 

           14                      Now, this work comes in with the

 

           15              police department, Mayor Doherty, I have a

 

           16              lot of documents and they are going to we

 

           17              revealed.  I interceded and I kind of like

 

           18              sifted everybody out --

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: Phyllis --

 

           20                      MS. HUMPHRIES: No, they are going to

 

           21              hear this.  So, therefore, what I'm asking

 

           22              you is I -- Mrs. Evans, I need your help.

 

           23              I'm asking you to come to my house this

 

           24              week.  I want to get this coffin

 

           25              representing the unborn --


 

 

                                                                      61

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Phyllis.

 

            2                      MS. HUMPHRIES:  -- send it to where

 

            3              it's got to go, would you please be kind,

 

            4              and the people that are outside in Scranton

 

            5              that love me come and help me with this.

 

            6              It's a joint affair for the City of Scranton

 

            7              to put us right on the map.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: Please --

 

            9                      MS. HUMPHRIES: Not to pull us down.

 

           10              .that's all I have to say.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           12                      MS. HUMPHRIES: God bless you.  And

 

           13              Mayor Doherty could pray for the protection

 

           14              for me.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           16                      MS. HUMPHRIES:  I'm getting off the

 

           17              cross and I'm giving it to somebody else.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           19                      MR. GERVASI: Good evening, City

 

           20              Council.  My name is Dave Gervasi.  I'm a

 

           21              city homeowner, resident and proud member of

 

           22              our firefighters.  There was a lot of calls,

 

           23              it's been a heck of a couple of days since

 

           24              the Court decision came down so I want to

 

           25              just provide some factual information and


 

 

                                                                      62

 

 

            1              our perspective on some of the things that

 

            2              happened in that Court decision.

 

            3                      It seems to me the media portrayed

 

            4              what happened in our Court case, they

 

            5              basically focused on retiring health care

 

            6              and overtime and our raises, our so-called

 

            7              raises.  I would just like to provide some

 

            8              factual information on that.  Our raises for

 

            9              the period covered in that contract hearing

 

           10              was for 2003 we received zero, and for 2004

 

           11              we received zero; and for 2005 we received

 

           12              zero; and for 2006 for half the year we

 

           13              received a 3.5 percent raise, and for 2007

 

           14              we were given a 4 percent raise.  Sounds

 

           15              okay, but for that three-year period that

 

           16              averages out to 1.5 percent a year, which is

 

           17              much -- is s far below the cost of living,

 

           18              just a cost of living adjustment.

 

           19                      Relative to inflation for that time

 

           20              period we actually lost in buying power

 

           21              6.93 percent so we went backwards with those

 

           22              raises, just on inflation.  A few of my

 

           23              members are here, the three of them are part

 

           24              of this group, the bottom 40 firefighters

 

           25              also had their longevity pay eliminated


 

 

                                                                      63

 

 

            1              which is costing them starting this year

 

            2              approximately a 1,200 cut this year.  The

 

            3              bottom 45 police officers are taking on the

 

            4              average of a 1,300 cut this year.  You

 

            5              compound that with the problem with health

 

            6              care.  Our health care, we now have large

 

            7              deductibles.  Our contributions stood

 

            8              basically the same, our copays have doubled

 

            9              or tripled.  If you have just our increases

 

           10              one doctor visit, one hospital visit, and

 

           11              one prescription during the year our raises

 

           12              are gone.  It's a wash.  So we really didn't

 

           13              get raises.  I guess it could have been

 

           14              worse, we could have gotten nothing and

 

           15              really went backwards.

 

           16                      The decision also said our normal

 

           17              every day labor rights like seniority,

 

           18              things like that, set us back about 40 years

 

           19              even though those issues have nothing to do

 

           20              with the financial recovery of the city.

 

           21              Everyone was talking about retirement health

 

           22              care.  Well, 111 of us current firefighters

 

           23              does not have retirement health care.  We

 

           24              lost that in 1995.  103 of the current 158

 

           25              police officers do not have retiring health


 

 

                                                                      64

 

 

            1              care, but the city chose and so far won the

 

            2              remaining top older guys in the fire and

 

            3              police department will now have no health

 

            4              care in the 11th hour of our career where we

 

            5              never had an opportunity to save and have

 

            6              medical accounts, so the remaining older

 

            7              firefighters have lost it.

 

            8                      My question now, just my personal

 

            9              question is if a police officer is shot in

 

           10              the line of duty and seriously injured or a

 

           11              roof collapses on one of our firefighters

 

           12              what happens to them when they can no longer

 

           13              work?

 

           14                      The 21 or 22,000 dollar huge

 

           15              pensions that we do earn, one is that health

 

           16              care, maybe lost mostly to health care costs

 

           17              if we have to buy our own health care at

 

           18              that point if we could coverage at all

 

           19              because of preexisting conditions that

 

           20              retired us, but maybe they could sell their

 

           21              homes or sign up for assistance or lose

 

           22              their savings all because they simply did

 

           23              their job, but I know most people don't care

 

           24              about that.

 

           25                      But now what you are going to get is


 

 

                                                                      65

 

 

            1              the mayor, a religious article salesman and

 

            2              a retired state trooper, is going to

 

            3              determine the level of fire safety in the

 

            4              City of Scranton.  You are going to have to

 

            5              have neighborhood firehouse closures because

 

            6              after seven years he finally admitted it,

 

            7              response times are going to be longer and

 

            8              it's not going to be what it is right now.

 

            9              They want a 26 percent tax increase, you are

 

           10              paying higher taxes for lesser services and

 

           11              I have been preaching that since at least

 

           12              2001.

 

           13                      And keep in mind, keep in mind not

 

           14              the debt that Mayor Doherty inherited, which

 

           15              the payments at that time were $3.5 million

 

           16              a year, the debt that he created, the

 

           17              payments each year on the debt that Mayor

 

           18              Doherty created cost the city more than it

 

           19              is to run the entire police department.

 

           20                      One more thing, if I may, he made a

 

           21              statement on Friday during the day talking

 

           22              about overtime and he said in the Channel 16

 

           23              camera at his desk he said, and I quote, "We

 

           24              have to worry about overtime."

 

           25                      He said, "Almost a third of the


 

 

                                                                      66

 

 

            1              firefighters working right now are working

 

            2              overtime because of a fixed shift."

 

            3                      Here is the daily for that day, one

 

            4              firefighter was working overtime on the 27th

 

            5              that day.  That's the truth.  Thank you.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF:  Thank you, Mr. Gervasi.

 

            7              Mr. Jackowitz.

 

            8                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Good evening,

 

            9              Council, Bill Jackowitz, South Scranton

 

           10              resident and member of the Taxpayers'

 

           11              Association.  Last week I asked about the

 

           12              $5.5 million money that was coming from the

 

           13              Taxpayers' office, I hope I'll get an answer

 

           14              this evening in regards to a backup plan in

 

           15              case we do not get that 5.5 million.  Has

 

           16              anybody -- have we heard anything yet,

 

           17              Councilwoman Gatelli?

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI:  I heard that we will

 

           19              know within the next two weeks with the

 

           20              audit.

 

           21                      MR. JACKOWITZ:  Okay.  So in two

 

           22              weeks possibly we will now.  Possibly.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI:  Well, I hope so.  It's

 

           24              been a year.

 

           25                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Well, the word is


 

 

                                                                      67

 

 

            1              possibly; right?  We don't know for sure so

 

            2              it's got to be possibly; right?  Okay.  The

 

            3              long-term debt, Councilwoman Evans, did we

 

            4              get any information on what the long-term

 

            5              debt is it because we know it's more than 95

 

            6              million.  Will you be talking about that

 

            7              during motions?

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

            9                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Okay.  Thank you very

 

           10              much.  Okay, now, in regards to,

 

           11              Councilwoman Gatelli, will you be getting

 

           12              paid for last week's meeting?

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI:  Yes, I will.

 

           14                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Can I ask why since

 

           15              you were in Washington?  I mean, I would

 

           16              have liked to have gone and seen President

 

           17              Obama myself, but --

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI: And all the other

 

           19              times--

 

           20                      MR. JACKOWITZ: I had to go to work

 

           21              --

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: Excuse me.

 

           23                      MR. JACKOWITZ:  Can I finish my

 

           24              question, please?

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI: No, you can't.  You


 

 

                                                                      68

 

 

            1              asked me a question and I was -- -

 

            2                      MR. JACKOWITZ: I didn't finish my

 

            3              question.  I had to go to work last Tuesday,

 

            4              I would have loved to see President Obama.

 

            5              If I would have taken a day off I would not

 

            6              have gotten paid.  That's my question.  Now,

 

            7              you can go ahead and answer.

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI: Yes, I am getting paid.

 

            9                      MR. JACKOWITZ: That's all I wanted.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI: I've already donated

 

           11              $625 of my pay back to the city.  Thank you.

 

           12                      MR. JACKOWITZ: I understand that,

 

           13              and in the last three years we've also had

 

           14              19 meetings cancelled, and I have the dates

 

           15              here and I'm not talking about August, and--

 

           16                      MS. GATELLI:  No one else on this

 

           17              dais --

 

           18                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Please be polite,

 

           19              please, and do not interrupt, please.

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI: -- did not give any

 

           21              back.

 

           22                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Please.  Thank you.

 

           23              Yes, you gave back $625, that's possibly two

 

           24              or three meetings.  But, anyway, I didn't

 

           25              come here to argue with you.


 

 

                                                                      69

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: You didn't?

 

            2                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Scranton -- no, I did

 

            3              no.  I came here to get answers.  It's my

 

            4              right as a veteran, a 20-year honorably

 

            5              discharged veteran, Mrs. Fanucci.

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI: I didn't say that.

 

            7                      MR. JACKOWITZ: I'm just saying, and

 

            8              Mrs. Gatelli and Mrs. Evans and Mr. McGoff,

 

            9              and Mr. Courtright.

 

           10                      MS. FANUCCI: Why are you saying --

 

           11                      MR. JACKOWITZ:  So I'm entitled to

 

           12              ask questions, and as far as Joe Decker with

 

           13              his truck, the court ruling came out and

 

           14              said he could have left that four-letter

 

           15              word on there, he chose not to.  He was on

 

           16              Corbett yesterday explaining the whole

 

           17              situation.  He chose not to, so it --

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI:  I don't think so.

 

           19                      MR. JACKOWITZ: -- was a First

 

           20              Amendment right to have that.  Okay, so then

 

           21              we are entitled to basically say whatever we

 

           22              want to say.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI: No.

 

           24                      MR. JACKOWITZ: You know, Scranton is

 

           25              very unique.  I mean the rest of the country


 

 

                                                                      70

 

 

            1              is suffering economic short falls, economic

 

            2              problems, but yet Scranton we don't seem to

 

            3              have those problems because we try to give

 

            4              people raises for no other reason expect

 

            5              they are politically connected or they were

 

            6              elected.  You know, no contracts for the

 

            7              fire and police for seven years, but that's

 

            8              finally going to get resolved.  I mean, I

 

            9              read in the paper today where it says -- "In

 

           10              addition, the mayor foresees reduced man

 

           11              hours through scheduling and layoffs.  The

 

           12              mayor is anticipating elimination of 8 to 12

 

           13              firefighters right off the bat for potential

 

           14              savings of $960,000."

 

           15                      I believe our debt is much higher

 

           16              than $960,000, so let's hope that the

 

           17              firefighters are not going to -- and the

 

           18              police officers is not going to be paid off

 

           19              their backs.

 

           20                      Also, in regards to "Towns have high

 

           21              hopes for stimulus by President Obama," you

 

           22              know, President Obama ran on the campaign

 

           23              promise of change.  I hope and pray that we

 

           24              get change, and right now I really haven't

 

           25              seen much change locally, you know, we still


 

 

                                                                      71

 

 

            1              have people putting their personal likes and

 

            2              dislikes before that of the community.  They

 

            3              were elected to represent the City of

 

            4              Scranton and part representing the City of

 

            5              Scranton is attending meetings.  It's as

 

            6              simple as that.  I'm not going to say no

 

            7              more on that, but he says in today's paper

 

            8              you want to be in front of the person who is

 

            9              making decisions, Mr. Doherty said, and he

 

           10              is referring to Senator Bob Casey.  I hope

 

           11              change, change, you no longer want to be in

 

           12              front of the person who is making the

 

           13              decisions.  You want the person who is

 

           14              making the decisions to make the right

 

           15              decisions, not the politically connect

 

           16              decisions, not the favoritism decisions that

 

           17              have been made in this country for years and

 

           18              years and years and in this city for the

 

           19              entirety of the entire life of this city.

 

           20                      Let's hope President Obama is true

 

           21              and is telling the truth when he says he

 

           22              wants change, and change means if you are

 

           23              paid to do a job and you are elected to do a

 

           24              job you do that job irregardless of your

 

           25              personal wants or your personal rights or


 

 

                                                                      72

 

 

            1              dislikes.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

            3              Mr. Jackowitz.

 

            4                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Good evening.  Marie

 

            5              Schumacher, resident and member of the

 

            6              Taxpayers' Organization.  I will not be

 

            7              presenting my state of the city report this

 

            8              evening as the full audit report was not

 

            9              received in the clerk's office until

 

           10              yesterday nor has the findings of the

 

           11              forensic audit of the Single Tax Office's

 

           12              1.2 million dollar mystery account promised

 

           13              by the end of this month, as I recall, been

 

           14              made public.  However, I am able to report

 

           15              general fund expenditures for last year

 

           16              exceeded revenues by $3,295,979.53 which is,

 

           17              indeed, troubling.

 

           18                      I was also somewhat perplexed by a

 

           19              $5,000 US Postal services charge in the

 

           20              business administration office for the month

 

           21              of December.  That seems awfully steep for

 

           22              an administrative office.  Can any council

 

           23              members share what mailing resulted in that

 

           24              $5,000 charge or must I file another

 

           25              Right-To-Know?  Mrs. --


 

 

                                                                      73

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI:  Excuse me, I think

 

            2              that possibly the Pitney Bowes machine is in

 

            3              there and that's used for --

 

            4                      MS. SCHUMACHER: This is postal

 

            5              service not --

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI:  I'm sorry.

 

            7                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  I'll do a

 

            8              Right-To-Know.  Thank you.  Mrs. Gatelli, in

 

            9              your absence last week I requested you and

 

           10              as finance chair to get PEL here within the

 

           11              next six weeks to provide their perspective

 

           12              and answer questions.  The question I would

 

           13              like PEL to answer is what happened?  PEL's

 

           14              letter transmitting the revised and updated

 

           15              Act 47 Recovery Plan states, in part, "These

 

           16              deficits can be avoided and future

 

           17              operations can be balanced if the city

 

           18              promptly adopts and implements a revised and

 

           19              updated Recovery Plan.  To that end,

 

           20              attached is the city's proposed revised and

 

           21              updated Recovery Plan covering the remainder

 

           22              of 2002 and the period 2003 through 2005."

 

           23                      The voters passed the Recovery Plan,

 

           24              so what happened?  What have they been doing

 

           25              since that plan expired three years ago?


 

 

                                                                      74

 

 

            1              They owe the taxpayers an answer.  So,

 

            2              please, Mrs. Gatelli, bring PEL here and

 

            3              allow us to question them.

 

            4                      Now, I would like to switch gears

 

            5              and move to the Mt. Pleasant Corporate

 

            6              Center issue.  I didn't think it was

 

            7              possible to keep a secret in Scranton, but

 

            8              council and the Chamber of Commerce managed

 

            9              a caucus prior to last week's council

 

           10              meeting that flew in under the public's

 

           11              radar.  While I did not arrive here last

 

           12              week in time to hear the presentation, I

 

           13              assume it was similar to the one I heard

 

           14              last night at the Scranton School District

 

           15              meeting.  Last July, the Pennsylvania

 

           16              Legislature passed a law allowing for KOZ

 

           17              and KOEZ extensions.  Slipco and the Chamber

 

           18              are requesting extensions for the Mt.

 

           19              Pleasant development across from the high

 

           20              school.  I was most disappointed in their

 

           21              presentation.

 

           22                      First, they claim the project to

 

           23              being a no-go without the extension.  Next,

 

           24              they say they have been working on this

 

           25              project for four years.  For three of those


 

 

                                                                      75

 

 

            1              four years the KOZ expiration was known to

 

            2              be 2010.  So why did they continue with this

 

            3              project if the KOZ is a necessity?  To me,

 

            4              it says KOZ is not a necessity.

 

            5                      Also, the Chamber people said it is

 

            6              a seven-year extension, however, what they

 

            7              didn't reveal is what was stated earlier,

 

            8              and that is if the company occupies a parcel

 

            9              before 1215 -- 2015, they may receive KOZ

 

           10              benefits for ten years, and the ten-year

 

           11              clock doesn't start ticking until the date

 

           12              of occupation, so much of this project could

 

           13              be KOZ until 2025.

 

           14                      City taxpayers cannot afford to

 

           15              underwrite this venture especially when the

 

           16              majority of jobs, also revealed last night,

 

           17              may not be newly created, but rather

 

           18              relocated.  Further, one of the potential

 

           19              tenants will be moving out of a Scranton

 

           20              business which is currently not in a KOZ

 

           21              into this KOZ zone or proposed KOZ zone so

 

           22              we lose twice.  I think that's wrong.

 

           23                      Also, I'm somewhat perplexed as to

 

           24              why there is not an agenda item on the

 

           25              Neighborhood Revitalization Act.  As I


 

 

                                                                      76

 

 

            1              understand it, the RFP stated that council,

 

            2              city council, had to approve or endorse the

 

            3              application and I would think a resolution

 

            4              should have been here because last time I

 

            5              looked at that it was supposed to have gone

 

            6              in on the 25th of January with awards by the

 

            7              31st, so why no -- why no resolution,

 

            8              because I do have several comments on

 

            9              that -- and I may just read my letter next

 

           10              week, but I don't know what's holding that

 

           11              up.

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI:  I don't know about the

 

           13              resolution, but I know we made a motion

 

           14              approving the revitalization project.

 

           15                      MS. SCHUMACHER: You did that before

 

           16              you even wrote it.  How could you approve

 

           17              something you had never even seen yet?

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI:  How could you refuse

 

           19              $3 million for housing?  I would never do

 

           20              that.

 

           21                      MS. SCHUMACHER: I wouldn't either,

 

           22              but it's -- it is how the money is proposed

 

           23              to be spent, that's the issue.

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI:  It's going to be spent

 

           25              on helping for foreclosures, redoing


 

 

                                                                      77

 

 

            1              apartments, redoing homes.

 

            2                      MS. SCHUMACHER: All in South Side

 

            3              according to the application.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI: No, not --

 

            5                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Yes.

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI: Well, that's where the

 

            7              big problems are in case you didn't realize,

 

            8              that, Mrs. Schumacher.  You haven't lived

 

            9              here for your whole life so maybe you didn't

 

           10              realize that.

 

           11                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Thank God.

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI: That South Scranton is

 

           13              in dire straights.  You might not have

 

           14              realized that.  Same as the Hill was years

 

           15              ago, right, Ozzie?

 

           16                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Yeah, and you moved

 

           17              the problems to South Side.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Ungvarsky.

 

           19                      MR. UNGVARSKY: Good evening, City

 

           20              Council.  I'm Tom Ungvarsky and I'm also a

 

           21              member of the Scranton/Lackawanna County

 

           22              Taxpayers.  Last week you passed a grant for

 

           23              the Connell building.  Apparently no one on

 

           24              city council or in the administration knows

 

           25              of Gresham's law which states that if you


 

 

                                                                      78

 

 

            1              chase good money after bad money the good

 

            2              money becomes bad money.  Right now we are

 

            3              chasing $30 million down the 500 block of

 

            4              Lackawanna Avenue and the chances are we

 

            5              will never see any of it back.

 

            6                      We now put another $4 million into

 

            7              the Connell building.  We reduced their

 

            8              taxes, we built them a garage, and probably

 

            9              never see any of that money back.  It seems

 

           10              we have money for wealthy developers,

 

           11              however, we cannot settle a contract with

 

           12              police and firemen.  It's speaks a lot for

 

           13              this administration.

 

           14                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Hello, Bill.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Hi, Chris.

 

           16                      MR. SLEDENZSKI:  Hi, Janet.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: Hi, Chris.

 

           18                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Janet, close your

 

           19              eyes.  You can't see.  You can't see it.

 

           20              Not you three, just Janet.  You can't see

 

           21              it.  Don't look.  Don't look.  Is she

 

           22              looking?

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI:  She is not looking.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Tell her to open her

 

           25              eyes up.


 

 

                                                                      79

 

 

            1                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Open your eyes,

 

            2              Janet, open your eyes.

 

            3                      MS. EVANS: Oh, thank you.  Very

 

            4              handsome you are.

 

            5                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: I told you.  I take

 

            6              after your husband, Janet.

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: I know.

 

            8                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: One thing, Billy,

 

            9              these firemen are doing a good job

 

           10              downstairs.  Keep it up, Boys, I'm proud of

 

           11              yous.  Thank you.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Ellman?

 

           13                      MR. ELLMAN: Ronnie Ellman.  I wasn't

 

           14              going to talk, but I wrote a couple of notes

 

           15              down.  Boy, the police have been busy this

 

           16              week, haven't they?  They have done a good

 

           17              job, I seen it in the paper.  I stopped to

 

           18              get a lottery ticket a couple of days ago at

 

           19              the Convenience Store on North Main and

 

           20              there is a fellow in the wheelchair and he

 

           21              said he is going down the sidewalk on the

 

           22              2800 block of North Main, there is a little

 

           23              garage, and they put a concrete island up to

 

           24              where he can't use it across the sidewalk

 

           25              and, I don't think that's right.  I didn't


 

 

                                                                      80

 

 

            1              see it myself, he was telling me about it,

 

            2              but I don't think you can block a sidewalk

 

            3              for whatever reason there was.  There was

 

            4              something like that on the 2,500 block of

 

            5              North Main there is a big house with four or

 

            6              five, six cars there all of the time and

 

            7              they completely block the sidewalk, which

 

            8              doesn't bother me, because I don't walk down

 

            9              there because my dog Lump died last year, in

 

           10              fact, a year ago today, so I don't walk down

 

           11              there, but the little preschoolers are

 

           12              coming and going from the bus and they are

 

           13              on North Main Avenue, which is like a

 

           14              racetrack, and it's a dangerous situation

 

           15              because they are always playing when they

 

           16              get off the bus and that's, you know, four

 

           17              or five cars is a couple of hundred feet and

 

           18              when it shows they never clean the sidewalk

 

           19              anyway, the kids are in the street, so I

 

           20              wish something could be done about it and I

 

           21              would like to -- I got an absentee landlord

 

           22              next door to me who just doesn't care what

 

           23              caliber of people he rents his house to and

 

           24              what conditions it's kept in and I phoned

 

           25              Mr. Liptai and I have talked to Mr. Wallace


 

 

                                                                      81

 

 

            1              and a couple of people and I would like to

 

            2              say how much cooperation I got, I couldn't

 

            3              believe it.  I mean, just immediate they

 

            4              came over there, the man has a bogus trailer

 

            5              and he has been running a business out of

 

            6              the house and they did a fine job.  It

 

            7              surprised me.  And I'd say in a half hour

 

            8              they were at the house after I phoned to see

 

            9              what they could do.  It seemed like people

 

           10              like this are just what ruins the

 

           11              neighborhood.  I got a Section 8t house up

 

           12              the street, the person that got it

 

           13              originally has moved and there is someone

 

           14              else in there, and it just -- it's just a

 

           15              bad situation.  They ruined the whole

 

           16              neighborhood and it looks like they ought to

 

           17              lose their status as a Section 8 house.

 

           18                      And I come to my favorite subject,

 

           19              Mr. Doherty.  Oh, I don't know, in '77, to

 

           20              get off the subject for a second, I bought a

 

           21              new Camero up at AJ Chevrolet and my sons, I

 

           22              think they were 14 and 16 or something, they

 

           23              went to Atlanta for Christmas to see their

 

           24              momma and they ran into a bridge with my new

 

           25              Camero, and they fixed it.  That's when I


 

 

                                                                      82

 

 

            1              was working for Mr. DeNaples, and they fixed

 

            2              the car so they could get back up here and

 

            3              the car would only turn left.  This is the

 

            4              truth.  The wheel would go straight and turn

 

            5              left, it wouldn't turn right because they

 

            6              bent the frame and everything, and it took a

 

            7              lot of planning when you wanted to figure

 

            8              out where you were going to go this way and

 

            9              this way and crossing streets and then if

 

           10              you missed a parking place you were really,

 

           11              you know.  It just reminds me of all of the

 

           12              circles that Mr. Doherty is going in this

 

           13              city, you know, he is just a luxury we can't

 

           14              afford, you know, and keeps -- this week in

 

           15              the paper they were talking about extending

 

           16              the KOZ seven years or something.

 

           17                      You know, if Mr. Doherty and

 

           18              Mr. O'Malley were on the ball years ago they

 

           19              would have sold KOZ's because everybody in

 

           20              the city would have bought one, I certainly

 

           21              would have bought one, but extending them

 

           22              it's like I complained about this KOZ on

 

           23              Lackawanna, one of the best pieces of

 

           24              property, I have talked to some other people

 

           25              who have mentioned it, one of the finest


 

 

                                                                      83

 

 

            1              pieces of property is KOZ in the county,

 

            2              that big car lot, you know where I mean, on

 

            3              I think it's 7th and Lackawanna there across

 

            4              from the U-Haul, but KOZ's have killed us,

 

            5              you know.  How many KOZ's -- how did this

 

            6              help us out there with those 150 houses on

 

            7              Keyser Avenue, you know, it's an abomination

 

            8              to go by there and see that sign KOZ.  Now

 

            9              they want to extend this seven years?

 

           10              Mr. Doherty or whoever is in office next is

 

           11              going to the well and it's going to be

 

           12              empty.  You just cannot keep sucking the

 

           13              blood out of the people in this city.  Thank

 

           14              you.

 

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

 

           16              Anyone else?  Mrs. Evans?

 

           17                      MR. STUCKER: What about them

 

           18              skateboards?

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: You can't, Jim.  Thank

 

           20              you.  Mrs. Evans.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: Good evening.  The 2007

 

           22              independent audit was received yesterday.

 

           23              This appears to be financial state of the

 

           24              city as of December 31, 2007.  The total

 

           25              principal debt for general obligation bonds,


 

 

                                                                      84

 

 

            1              the Scranton Redevelopment Authority,

 

            2              Scranton Parking Authority, Sewer Authority

 

            3              and capitalized leases is $159,162,385.  The

 

            4              audit states that the city guaranteed the

 

            5              bonded debt of each authority, and that the

 

            6              Redevelopment Authority is financially

 

            7              dependent upon the city.

 

            8                      The total long-term Doherty debt is

 

            9              $2,073,340,228.  That is over a quarter of a

 

           10              billion dollars which will not be paid in

 

           11              full until the Year 2039.  Keep in mind,

 

           12              these figures do not include the

 

           13              $11.1 million borrowed by the city in 2008,

 

           14              and the $1 million line of credit with

 

           15              Pennstar back used by the Parking Authority

 

           16              in 2008 to cover a budget hole in 2009.

 

           17                      Thus, the 2008 figures will increase

 

           18              by another 12 million in principle alone.

 

           19              In my six years as councilwoman I have told

 

           20              you the truth, these are the financial

 

           21              facts, and we as residents and taxpayers of

 

           22              Scranton must decide in 2009 whether to

 

           23              increase this debt or to stop the borrowing

 

           24              and spending and pay down the debt.

 

           25                      This behemoth has been allowed to


 

 

                                                                      85

 

 

            1              feed and grow for seven years.  The Doherty

 

            2              debt has been glamorized, sanitized,

 

            3              justified, apologized, and spun by this

 

            4              administration and a local newspaper for too

 

            5              many years.  Ask yourself, have you finally

 

            6              had enough?  Is your daily life better from

 

            7              the $273 million Doherty debt?  And then do

 

            8              something about it for your parents, for

 

            9              your children and for yourself.

 

           10                      Now, for the last two weeks I asked

 

           11              my colleagues to consider an amendment to

 

           12              File of Council No. 82 of 2007 which was

 

           13              provided to each of them.  The original

 

           14              ordinance approves penalty, interest, and

 

           15              fee schedules for collection of delinquent

 

           16              real estate taxes.  Now, I believe that

 

           17              every property owner must pay his fair share

 

           18              and I firmly believe that delinquent taxes

 

           19              must be aggressively pursued and collected,

 

           20              however, I do not believe in doubling or

 

           21              tripling the cost of delinquent property

 

           22              taxes owed to make Northeast Credit and

 

           23              Collections wealthy, and I do not believe in

 

           24              taking a family home by sheriff's sale for

 

           25              delinquent taxes that have increased so


 

 

                                                                      86

 

 

            1              significantly due to this 2007 ordinance

 

            2              that a person cannot beg, borrow or steal

 

            3              enough money to save his home from a

 

            4              sheriff's sale.

 

            5                      Research demonstrates that

 

            6              homeowners fall delinquent because of

 

            7              employment losses, health care crises, and

 

            8              that is the number one reason, meager fixed

 

            9              incomes and the costs of college educations

 

           10              for their children, and they cannot dig

 

           11              themselves out when an original delinquent

 

           12              tax of say 500 balloons into 1,500 or more.

 

           13                      When this ordinance was passed in

 

           14              June of 2007 by the council majority, it was

 

           15              a great worry to me, but it has become

 

           16              increasingly dangerous in today's free

 

           17              falling economy, particularly, in light of

 

           18              the unemployment recession and cutbacks that

 

           19              are suffered by the working families and

 

           20              senior citizens of our city.  I therefore

 

           21              proposed this amendment to eliminate the

 

           22              sheriff's sale of homes and any penalties,

 

           23              interest and fee schedules related to the

 

           24              sheriff's sale process.  I also decreased

 

           25              the costs of three provisions of the


 

 

                                                                      87

 

 

            1              original ordinance because they had been

 

            2              significantly increased from what was

 

            3              charged prior to the enactment of this

 

            4              ordinance.

 

            5                      An equally important note, is the

 

            6              fact that the city does not receive the

 

            7              money collected from these penalties,

 

            8              interest and fees.  NCC pockets this money.

 

            9              Again, the city must aggressively collect

 

           10              delinquent taxes, but it's purpose should

 

           11              not be to fill the coffers of collection

 

           12              agencies and to possibly take people's homes

 

           13              in this recession, and so this amendment was

 

           14              born.  It will save the delinquent taxpayer

 

           15              a minimum of $1,735 and save his home.

 

           16                      Therefore, I move to amend File of

 

           17              Council No. 82, 2007, to approve penalty,

 

           18              interest and fee schedules for the

 

           19              collection of delinquent real estate taxes

 

           20              by striking:  3(j) Eight Hundred and No/100

 

           21              Dollars for the preparation and filing of a

 

           22              Writ of Execution for Sheriff Sale.

 

           23                      3(k) The actual filing, service,

 

           24              execution and poundage fees, if any, for

 

           25              service and execution by the Office of the


 

 

                                                                      88

 

 

            1              Sheriff of the County which are in effect at

 

            2              the time of such filing, service and

 

            3              execution as established by the Office of

 

            4              the Sheriff of the County or such other

 

            5              instrumentality of government as shall be

 

            6              charged with the establishment of such fee.

 

            7                      3(L) One Hundred Seventy-five

 

            8              Dollars for the preparation, filing, and

 

            9              conduct of proceedings to effect service of

 

           10              process.

 

           11                      3(m) Thirty and no dollars for costs

 

           12              occurred in connection with the reissuance

 

           13              of Writs.

 

           14                      3(p) Twenty-five and no/100 dollars

 

           15              for the preparation and filing of any

 

           16              praecipe, petition or motion to continue a

 

           17              judicial or sheriff's sale.

 

           18                      3(q) Four Hundred and no/100 dollars

 

           19              for attendance by legal council counsel at a

 

           20              Judicial, Sheriff or Tax Sale.

 

           21                      And by striking the following dollar

 

           22              amounts:

 

           23                      3(a) Twenty-Five and No/100 dollars

 

           24              per lien;

 

           25                      3(b) One-Hundred Sixty and No/100


 

 

                                                                      89

 

 

            1              dollars;

 

            2                      3(c) Thirty-Five and No/100 dollars;

 

            3                      3(u) The portion of the statement as

 

            4              follows: And no more than $225.00 per hour

 

            5              commensurate with the attorney's normal

 

            6              hourly.  And inserting in their place:

 

            7                      3(a) Ten dollars;

 

            8                      3(b) Forty Dollars;

 

            9                      3(c) Thirty dollars.

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Second.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

           12                      MR COURTRIGHT:  On the question,

 

           13              Mr. McGoff, I didn't vote for this ordinance

 

           14              when it came down the first time and when I

 

           15              looked at -- for the most part when I looked

 

           16              at Mrs. Evans' motion most of the things

 

           17              appear to be things that would come up for a

 

           18              sheriff's sale.  So, therefore, I'll be

 

           19              voting in affirmative.  I didn't vote for it

 

           20              the first time around, but I would just like

 

           21              people to understand that I don't want

 

           22              anybody to misunderstand the fact that,

 

           23              yeah, you have to pay your taxes and I don't

 

           24              think anybody up here, and I don't think

 

           25              Mrs. Evans' motion is that, you get away


 

 

                                                                      90

 

 

            1              with it, it's just the fees and the fines

 

            2              attached to if you find yourself, you know,

 

            3              behind the eight-ball, again, with the way

 

            4              the economy is I don't believe that people

 

            5              aren't paying their taxes because they just

 

            6              don't want to, it's because they can't and

 

            7              most of them for legitimate reasons, and so

 

            8              I'm not opposed to having a collection

 

            9              agency collect the taxes.  When this

 

           10              ordinance came through I was opposed to the

 

           11              fees that were attached to it, and so I'll

 

           12              be voting in the affirmative for that

 

           13              reason.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: I would like to comment,

 

           15              when this ordinance was originally presented

 

           16              I felt that there were two purposes to it,

 

           17              one was to act as a deterrent to chronic

 

           18              delinquents, in other words, it forced

 

           19              people to pay their taxes on time.  The

 

           20              second purpose I thought was punitive and

 

           21              directed primarily at absentee landlords,

 

           22              that if people were not going to pay, were

 

           23              not going to -- were refusing to pay taxes

 

           24              that there should be some punitive damages

 

           25              for those people.  The amendments that are


 

 

                                                                      91

 

 

            1              being proposed, of those the only one that

 

            2              has been assessed to the present time is

 

            3              3(l), the $175 for the preparation, filing

 

            4              and conduct of proceedings to effect service

 

            5              of process.  That was assessed against

 

            6              taxpayers who were delinquent 2003 --

 

            7              between 2003 and 2006.

 

            8                      I would say that that was supposed

 

            9              to act as a deterrent.  That was supposed to

 

           10              encourage people to pay their taxes.  The

 

           11              first three months after this was enacted

 

           12              the number -- the amount of money in the

 

           13              that went directly to the city treasury was

 

           14              $130,000.  People were deterred from not

 

           15              paying their taxes and went and paid them.

 

           16              This was an increase over previous years.

 

           17                      I think to that effect that it has

 

           18              acted as a deterrent, that it has encouraged

 

           19              people to pay taxes.  The other thing is

 

           20              that the number of delinquent taxpayers for

 

           21              2008 is going to be significantly lower than

 

           22              those in 2007, 2006.  Again, it has -- it

 

           23              has encouraged people to pay their taxes on

 

           24              time.  The other measures that are in here,

 

           25              as Mr. Courtright said, have to do with


 

 

                                                                      92

 

 

            1              sheriff's sale.  I would say that these have

 

            2              never been assessed.  There has not been a

 

            3              shifts sale in the City of Scranton, and

 

            4              that these costs that would go along with

 

            5              the sheriff's sale are to be incurred by the

 

            6              delinquent taxpayer.  If we remove these and

 

            7              the city were for some reason to ask to

 

            8              execute a sheriff's sale these fees would

 

            9              still -- these court costs would still have

 

           10              to be paid and they would then devolve to

 

           11              the taxpayer.  The city would have to pay

 

           12              these fees, and I for one do not want to pay

 

           13              for the fees for delinquent taxpayers.

 

           14                      By removing these what we do is we

 

           15              would take the teeth out of the law and

 

           16              really end of protecting chronic delinquent

 

           17              taxpayers and place a further burden on the

 

           18              people who do legitimately pay their taxes.

 

           19                      I think the ordinance was meant to

 

           20              be punitive.  It was meant to be a

 

           21              deterrent.  There has not been a sheriff's

 

           22              sale, nobody's home have been taken.  Nobody

 

           23              has lost their home because of these

 

           24              penalties or fees.  To me, what we have done

 

           25              since this went into effect is pretty much


 

 

                                                                      93

 

 

            1              prayed upon, you know, prayed upon people's

 

            2              fears that their home could be taken when,

 

            3              in fact, you know, nothing has been done to

 

            4              do that.  This ordinance to me has been

 

            5              effective, it has not burdened the people

 

            6              who pay their taxes on time.  What it has

 

            7              been a burden to are those people who are

 

            8              chronically late and those people who refuse

 

            9              to pay their taxes, and I think it's a

 

           10              necessary item and I think that it has, as I

 

           11              said, proven to be effective.

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: Go ahead.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI:  I just have several

 

           14              comments.  I was in favor of this ordinance

 

           15              when this first came down and I am going to

 

           16              continue to be in favor of it.  I think that

 

           17              when you spend enough time in the

 

           18              neighborhoods you realize that the slum

 

           19              lords try to take over.  They do not pay

 

           20              their taxes.  When I worked upstairs for

 

           21              Jimmy Connors, Ozzie Quinn worked up there

 

           22              with me, I don't know if he will recall, but

 

           23              he did a study on landlords that didn't pay

 

           24              their city tax.  They did pay their county

 

           25              and they paid their school district because


 

 

                                                                      94

 

 

            1              they have remedies of which to punish them.

 

            2              They would have a sheriff's sale.  The

 

            3              county has already had several I believe

 

            4              sheriff's sales already of which the city

 

            5              was accused of taking homes it was, indeed,

 

            6              the county that had some tax sales within

 

            7              the last several months, and when we did the

 

            8              study there were landlords that paid all of

 

            9              their bills except city tax.

 

           10                      There was one gentleman, I won't

 

           11              mention his name because he has since passed

 

           12              away, and he was one of the largest slum

 

           13              lords in South Scranton and he had numerous

 

           14              properties, none of which city tax was paid.

 

           15              So, that is why I will be voting in favor of

 

           16              this ordinance.  It for the slum lords, the

 

           17              slum lords that are deteriorating your

 

           18              neighborhoods.  They are all out of town,

 

           19              most of them, and they don't care about the

 

           20              citizens of this community, and it's time

 

           21              that they pay their fair share.  I have not

 

           22              had anyone -- I shouldn't say that.  I had

 

           23              two people since this ordinance passed call

 

           24              me with some problems and the problems were

 

           25              addressed.  One gentleman had problems with


 

 

                                                                      95

 

 

            1              having cancer and that was one of the

 

            2              reasons that he wasn't able to pay his taxes

 

            3              on time.  We certainly will oblige people

 

            4              that have an unnecessary hardship.  I don't

 

            5              think is adverse to that.

 

            6                      Another gentleman it was a garbage

 

            7              fee and the bill was being sent to the wrong

 

            8              address, so that also was rectified, but I

 

            9              have not received any other calls except

 

           10              those two on I do think the absentee

 

           11              landlords are learning now that they must

 

           12              respect our community and they must pay for

 

           13              the properties that they have in the City of

 

           14              Scranton, and the rental registration, also,

 

           15              with that but that's off the question.

 

           16                      MR. QUINN: Mrs. Gatelli, I never

 

           17              performed any kind of a study you were

 

           18              talking about.

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI: Well, I knew you would

 

           20              say that, Ozzie.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me.

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: But, in fact, there was

 

           23              a study, maybe it wasn't you, but someone in

 

           24              the office.  There were 300 landlords that

 

           25              weren't paying city taxes.


 

 

                                                                      96

 

 

            1                      MS. QUINN: I'd like to have a copy

 

            2              of that because I was not involved.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Quinn, please.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI: Go ahead.  Who else is

 

            5              next?

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: Mrs. Fanucci, if you want

 

            7              to speak first because I already spoke one

 

            8              time, so take --

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI: Oh, okay, we are taking

 

           10              our turns.  I'm definitely going to support

 

           11              this again and not support the motion to

 

           12              remove any of these fees.  This to me is,

 

           13              again, being used as a scare tactic to our

 

           14              seniors.  The way that it is being discussed

 

           15              and talked about is not accurate to what

 

           16              actually goes on.  If you have a problem and

 

           17              you are behind in your taxes and you are

 

           18              having financial difficult you call them

 

           19              from day one and they setup and help you

 

           20              through it.  It's not that they are coming

 

           21              to take your house.

 

           22                      But, we still have worry about the

 

           23              taxpayers, the people who are out there

 

           24              paying their taxes and keeping this city

 

           25              going.  They still have rights, too.  You


 

 

                                                                      97

 

 

            1              know, you have people living next door as,

 

            2              you know, our buddy, Mr. Ellman got up today

 

            3              and said, you know, you have people living

 

            4              next door to you who are destroying our

 

            5              neighborhoods.  They are not pulling their

 

            6              weight.  They are not taking care of -- they

 

            7              are not paying for your firemen and your

 

            8              policemen.  They are not doing anything, and

 

            9              that's the problem.  We for so long have

 

           10              been in that cycle of letting that part go.

 

           11                      Now, the tax office claims, oh, we

 

           12              had a lot of taxes this year, you are darn

 

           13              right we did.  You know why?  Because this

 

           14              went out.  And when it went out the money

 

           15              started coming in.  We can trace it right

 

           16              back.  We are not in phase 20 where people

 

           17              are losing their homes.  None of that has

 

           18              happened, and I find it almost sick that

 

           19              it's being used as a scare tactic.

 

           20                      We want you to pay your taxes,

 

           21              obviously, we need you to pay your taxes.

 

           22              Right now we need our taxes more than we

 

           23              need, I mean, that's our problem, we need

 

           24              the money.  I think it's sad that you have

 

           25              to do things like this.  I think it's sad


 

 

                                                                      98

 

 

            1              that you have to pass this type of

 

            2              legislation, but everyone doesn't go out and

 

            3              voluntarily do this, and as Mrs. Gatelli

 

            4              said, that was the nor.  People were paying

 

            5              their county, paying their school tax and

 

            6              letting us just ride, and that's not fair.

 

            7              We still have to function because we provide

 

            8              those services.  We do as the city, not

 

            9              everyone else.  We get the least chunk of

 

           10              tax and yet we are the ones that are

 

           11              providing your safety, your police, your

 

           12              firemen, cleaning up your city.

 

           13                      So, no, I think it's okay.  It's

 

           14              okay that we have to do this.  Sad that we

 

           15              do, but I certainly am going to support the

 

           16              fact that we need our taxes.  And to the

 

           17              little, you know, elderly people that they

 

           18              are claiming are losing all of this, if you

 

           19              are having a problem call.  We will take

 

           20              care of it.  We will help you.  We are not

 

           21              out to get rid of you.  We are not out to

 

           22              scare you out of our city.  That's people

 

           23              using that because you have to remember now

 

           24              election time is coming, so saddle up, but

 

           25              I'm telling you right now this is a good


 

 

                                                                      99

 

 

            1              thing because we need money and the people

 

            2              who are paying their taxes deserve to know

 

            3              that they are not footing the bill for

 

            4              everyone else who is not paying their taxes,

 

            5              and I will be standing by my decision to --

 

            6              I will not be voting for this, so that's

 

            7              all.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Slum lords, I agree every

 

            9              city has them, however, I look over the

 

           10              ordinance as it was originally drafted and

 

           11              passed, nowhere in it does it contain the

 

           12              word slum lord, exceptions for illness, or

 

           13              other mitigating circumstances, there are no

 

           14              exceptions written into this ordinance.

 

           15              Twenty-three penalties, fines, costs.  I

 

           16              wouldn't call that a deterrent, I would call

 

           17              that Draconian.

 

           18                      Now, everyone is saying this a scare

 

           19              tactic because it's an election year.  Well,

 

           20              tonight, very coincidentally as I was

 

           21              walking in here, because other than council

 

           22              no one really had any knowledge of what this

 

           23              ordinance contained or what would transpire

 

           24              at this time, but I was stopped by a woman

 

           25              in tears who told me, and she didn't want


 

 

                                                                     100

 

 

            1              her child to hear this, that she had a

 

            2              delinquency of $8,000 on the home in which

 

            3              she lives currently.  She is divorced and as

 

            4              part of that settlement her husband was to

 

            5              have kept up on the taxes.  She got a letter

 

            6              this last week stating that the $8,000 was

 

            7              due, but now that $8,000 has become $40,000,

 

            8              and she is in tears and crying to me and

 

            9              asking me, "Mrs. Evans, what am I going to

 

           10              do?  I'm going to lose my house."

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: That happened in one

 

           12              year?  From 8,000 to 40,000 in one year?

 

           13              She had no knowledge previous to this?

 

           14              That's amazing.

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: No, no, no.  This is what

 

           16              has brought it up.  Now, I suppose I could

 

           17              go to NCC and intervene for her, and I will

 

           18              try, but I do know that I think what we are

 

           19              saying here tonight is if we are connected

 

           20              in some way to NCC we can go down there and

 

           21              try to help out our people.

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI: Oh, that's sick.  First

 

           23              of all, that's sick.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: But you know what --

 

           25                      MS. FANUCCI: That is so un -- I


 

 

                                                                     101

 

 

            1              can't believe how unprofessional and that

 

            2              you would -- you always put those

 

            3              insinuations out there.  It's almost

 

            4              ludicrous.  No.  Anyone can call NCC.  If

 

            5              you are in financial difficulty you don't

 

            6              need to be connected.  You need a phone.

 

            7              You pick up and say -- if you let something

 

            8              go from $8,000 to $40,000, that's a problem.

 

            9              Pick up the phone.  Don't come here because

 

           10              guess what, all we are going to do is pick

 

           11              up the phone and call, but you don't have to

 

           12              be connected.  Another political problem

 

           13              that goes on, but go back to her because I'm

 

           14              sure she has more for you.  Ridiculous.

 

           15                      MS. GATELLI: First of all --

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: No, excuse me, I was

 

           17              talking, but that's okay.  I know that

 

           18              Mrs. Fanucci finds it very difficult to

 

           19              abide by the Rules of Council or to show

 

           20              respect to her colleagues or to audience

 

           21              members.

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI: Was that respectful to

 

           23              sat --

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: Go ahead.

 

           25                      MS. FANUCCI: Was that respectful to


 

 

                                                                     102

 

 

            1              me --

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Please.  Mrs. Fanucci--

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI: Or to anyone up here.

 

            4              Oh, I know I respect people --

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Please.

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI:  -- respect on my side,

 

            7              not hers.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Again, case in point.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI: Yeah.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: And it's not deserving of

 

           11              acknowledgment, but the facts are the facts,

 

           12              and people don't come here making up

 

           13              stories.  When this was passed in 2007 we

 

           14              are not in a recession, but obviously, as I

 

           15              said before, Scranton is a recession proof

 

           16              city, and we are all so well off that we

 

           17              chose not to pay our taxes, and if we take

 

           18              let's say an $8,000 and make it into a

 

           19              $40,000 that will cause us to scurry right

 

           20              down to NCC and make our payment payments.

 

           21                      I do think basically what it comes

 

           22              down to is this, if you're really serious

 

           23              about collecting delinquent taxes and

 

           24              getting the money the city is owed and you

 

           25              know you can't get blood from a stone and if


 

 

                                                                     103

 

 

            1              you are really sincere become extending a

 

            2              helping hand in a difficult financial time

 

            3              or in a difficult medical time then you are

 

            4              going to vote to approve this amendment.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else on the

 

            6              question?

 

            7                      MS. HUMPHRIES: I have a question?

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: No, Phyllis --

 

            9                      MS. HUMPHRIES: About taxes.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: No. All those in favor

 

           11              of the amendment to File of Council No. 82,

 

           12              2007, signify by saying aye.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Opposed?

 

           16                      MS. FANUCCI:  No.

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI:  No.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF:  No motion defeated.

 

           19                      MS. EVANS: On a related matter,

 

           20              council received a parking lot report of

 

           21              fees paid and owed for 2007, 8 and 9, two

 

           22              hospitals, two private lots and an elderly

 

           23              high-rise owe 2009 fees only.  The only

 

           24              delinquency for 2007, 8 and 9, is the Forum

 

           25              Garage.  Fees for the Forum are listed as


 

 

                                                                     104

 

 

            1              the $4,755 per year for a total of $14,265.

 

            2              Apparently, no penalty or interest has been

 

            3              added to the delinquency according to the

 

            4              invoices.  This figure also seems to be a

 

            5              great difference from the original amount

 

            6              reported to have been owed.  Since the

 

            7              report does not contain years prior to 2007,

 

            8              I don't know if the Forum gave possible

 

            9              additional delinquencies, but I would like

 

           10              to know.  So, Kay, please send a request to

 

           11              Licensing, Inspections and Permits for the

 

           12              years 1998 to 2006.

 

           13                      Also, council would like to know

 

           14              what procedures are followed to collect

 

           15              parking lot delinquent fees.

 

           16                      A Court order -- or rather a Court

 

           17              ruling last Friday, awards pay raises to

 

           18              firefighters for 2006 and 7, and management

 

           19              rights to the mayor.  According to the

 

           20              mayor, the raises could immediately cost the

 

           21              city about $360,000.  The mayor's 2009

 

           22              budget allocates $1,440,450 for Court

 

           23              awards, so it seems the cost of this award,

 

           24              as well as the forthcoming police ruling,

 

           25              has been foreseen and covered.


 

 

                                                                     105

 

 

            1                      Further, the city's year-end cash

 

            2              position, and this should be interesting I

 

            3              think to some of in the audience who

 

            4              mentioned expenditures exceeding revenues at

 

            5              the end of the 2008, the city's year-end

 

            6              cash position was approximately $3 million

 

            7              after repayment of the 2008 TAN-B.  After

 

            8              about $1.5 million in year-end payables, the

 

            9              city had 1.5 million to carry over in 2009.

 

           10              I have to wonder if the Court reviewed such

 

           11              recent financial information or if the Court

 

           12              used outdated city audits to arrive at their

 

           13              decisions?  Does the Court approve the

 

           14              numerous violations of the Recovery Plan

 

           15              made by this administration, specifically,

 

           16              unprecedented raises for management and job

 

           17              creations?  Does it approve of Doherty debt

 

           18              that has ballooned to hundreds of millions

 

           19              of dollars since 2003?  Perhaps the creation

 

           20              of the massive Doherty debt for Nay Aug, a

 

           21              treehouse, a park, bridge and trail, park

 

           22              landscaping and fish ponds, garages,

 

           23              buildings, management pay raises,

 

           24              consultants, lobbyists, high powered

 

           25              attorneys, etcetera, isn't pertinent.


 

 

                                                                     106

 

 

            1                      We live in Scranton and we have a

 

            2              bird's-eye view of what has transpired, and

 

            3              I have a better view of the finances than

 

            4              does the average guy.  I know the municipal

 

            5              unions did not cause the budget, borrowing

 

            6              and debt to spiral out of control since

 

            7              2002.  They have very little, if any, impact

 

            8              on the debt of these last seven years, and

 

            9              more important, management rights will not

 

           10              cure the Doherty debt.  The money that can

 

           11              be realized from management rights is like

 

           12              one corn stalk in a 5,000 acre corn field of

 

           13              debt and the mayor isn't finished.  He is

 

           14              building a third garage, a library in South

 

           15              Side, a greenhouse at Nay Aug and all in

 

           16              2009.  He doesn't seem to be too worried

 

           17              about controlling costs in this recession,

 

           18              does he?

 

           19                      It's the dollars and cents that

 

           20              matter most to the taxpayers.  We don't view

 

           21              safety as a waste of our tax dollars and

 

           22              many of us don't want our money spent on

 

           23              this mayor's personal agenda.  It is

 

           24              preposterous to believe that management

 

           25              rights alone will end a structural deficit


 

 

                                                                     107

 

 

            1              and pay off the Doherty debt.

 

            2                      Here is a slice of reality, the next

 

            3              six to seven administrations and our

 

            4              children and grandchildren will pay the

 

            5              Doherty debt.

 

            6                      Further, without an independent

 

            7              public safety study, I do not feel

 

            8              comfortable giving our mayor the power to

 

            9              decide the manpower of our fire and police

 

           10              departments and which fire stations will

 

           11              close.  Even without full control prior to

 

           12              this Court ruling, the mayor and his safety

 

           13              director managed to take beat cops off the

 

           14              streets and now we should hand him the

 

           15              reigns?  No mayor in my memory has had the

 

           16              required knowledge, skill, and experience to

 

           17              adequately run these departments.  Can we

 

           18              afford inexperience and politics in our fire

 

           19              and police departments in this day and age?

 

           20              It's a bigger gamble than any you could take

 

           21              in Las Vegas.

 

           22                      And, finally, I have requests for

 

           23              the week, for Mr. Brazil I would like to

 

           24              resubmit the following:  A third request for

 

           25              a copy of the snow removal policy.  We have


 

 

                                                                     108

 

 

            1              been trying to obtain this information since

 

            2              November 8, 2008.

 

            3                      Also, residents in the Plot wish to

 

            4              know when the streets will be paved and

 

            5              residents also requested the installation of

 

            6              stop signs at Dorothy Street and North

 

            7              Garfield Avenue as well as Rebecca Avenue

 

            8              and Hawthorne Street or Rebecca and

 

            9              Bulworth.  Responses have been awaited on

 

           10              these issues since October 28.

 

           11                      In addition, the report on road or

 

           12              infrastructure projects with the city which

 

           13              have been proposed to NEPA for potential

 

           14              funding from the stimulus program is due to

 

           15              city council on or before February 1.

 

           16                      For Mrs. Moran, in Human Resources,

 

           17              the second request for printed copies of

 

           18              both the acceptable usage policy and the

 

           19              acceptable usage guideline of the City of

 

           20              Scranton's information technology resources,

 

           21              involving the internet and electronic mail.

 

           22                      A letter to Mr. Seitzinger, 615

 

           23              Beech Street, the house was condemned, but

 

           24              neighbors report that electricity was never

 

           25              shut off.  Lights remain on and the former


 

 

                                                                     109

 

 

            1              tenants were seen entering and exiting the

 

            2              house on several occasions.  The front door

 

            3              is broken in.  Please turn off utilities and

 

            4              address the front door as soon as possible

 

            5              and provide council with a written update on

 

            6              or before February 9.

 

            7                      City residents report, and I think

 

            8              you might have talked about this last week,

 

            9              Mr. Courtright, lights out from Krispe Kreme

 

           10              on Moosic Street to the Radisson Hotel.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: The hot donut signs?

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: No, I'm talking about the

 

           13              lights that -- the streetlights, yeah, and

 

           14              he says there are operational during the

 

           15              summer months, but during last winter and

 

           16              this current winter they are not.

 

           17                      And then residents complain that

 

           18              snow removal is not performed on the River

 

           19              Street and Harrison Avenue bridges

 

           20              sidewalks.  They called the city for help,

 

           21              but the city told them it's the state's

 

           22              responsibility.  They then phoned PennDOT

 

           23              and PennDOT claims it's the responsibility

 

           24              of the city.  I'd like to see the bridge

 

           25              walkways addressed after snow and ice


 

 

                                                                     110

 

 

            1              storms.  I agree the roads come first, but

 

            2              the job of snow removal doesn't end there.

 

            3              And that's it.

 

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

 

            5              Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI: I would just like to

 

            7              report that the property at 1101 Cedar

 

            8              Avenue where the Bistro used to be is going

 

            9              to be rehabilitated.  The gentleman is going

 

           10              to the zoning board in February for a

 

           11              variance to put in four apartments.  There

 

           12              was an owner of a little over a year ago

 

           13              that did receive a variance to put

 

           14              apartments in there, but that variance has

 

           15              lapsed, so they will be seeking a variance.

 

           16                      Also, there are someone complained

 

           17              about a boat parked near South Scranton

 

           18              Intermediate School, I did mention

 

           19              previously that boats were in a lot of the

 

           20              neighborhood streets and obstructing vision,

 

           21              however, they are legal if they have a

 

           22              licensed plate on the trailer and a current

 

           23              inspection sticker, so the boat near South

 

           24              Scranton Intermediate School is, indeed,

 

           25              legal to be there.


 

 

                                                                     111

 

 

            1                      I sent one of the inspectors to the

 

            2              corner of Cherry Street and South Washington

 

            3              Avenue.  If anyone is familiar there, I

 

            4              received complaints from many of the

 

            5              business owners there, particularly

 

            6              Mr. Lomma, about the railroad cars that are

 

            7              parked on the railroad tracks in that area.

 

            8              Mr. Cortez did, indeed, go out and to the

 

            9              site, I have pictures.  All of the cars are

 

           10              covered in graffiti, they are rusted, and

 

           11              they are in deplorable condition, so he

 

           12              wrote up a report, sent it to the

 

           13              Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad, they

 

           14              apparently seem to want to correct the

 

           15              problem.

 

           16                      We got a response from the attorney

 

           17              in New York for the railroad and he is

 

           18              claiming that it's an Interstate Commerce

 

           19              Facility, the vehicles are rail freight

 

           20              cars, etcetera, and they are defined under

 

           21              federal law.  With the concurrence of my

 

           22              colleagues, I would like to send this

 

           23              information to Congressman Kanjorski being

 

           24              that it's a federal issue, and see if he

 

           25              can't help us in some way.  I think that we


 

 

                                                                     112

 

 

            1              are not going to get anywhere trying to

 

            2              approach this with the letter that we got.

 

            3                      MS. EVANS: You know what, that's

 

            4              true, because that's been brought up for two

 

            5              or three years now.

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI:  Yes.

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: And obviously --

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI: It's still there.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: Right.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI:  And, you know, if

 

           11              anyone needs to take a ride over there to

 

           12              see it, it really is deplorable, and it

 

           13              affects the neighborhood and there are

 

           14              several businesses there, also, so with the

 

           15              consent of my colleagues I would like

 

           16              Mrs. Garvey to forward this to Congressman

 

           17              Kanjorski and see if he can't help us solve

 

           18              this important issue.  Thank you.

 

           19                      Also, I met with Representative Ken

 

           20              Smith concerning the cell phone, the

 

           21              handheld cell phone ban.  He is a cosponsor

 

           22              of a bill in Harrisburg, and he gave me a

 

           23              copy of it, and I would like to also with

 

           24              the consent of our colleagues if they would

 

           25              send a letter to Representative Smith and


 

 

                                                                     113

 

 

            1              Representative Murphy supporting House Bill

 

            2              No. 8227 of 2007 that is cosponsored by

 

            3              Representative Smith.  Would you all be in

 

            4              agreement with that?  Thank you.

 

            5                      I also got a copy of the parking lot

 

            6              study of who has paid and who hasn't paid.

 

            7              I have contacted the law department and I

 

            8              contacted Mr. Seitzinger, I know that it's

 

            9              only from 2007, however, they are delinquent

 

           10              as far as I know from at least 1995.  I know

 

           11              that because that's when I worked there and

 

           12              when I sent the bill shortly thereafter I

 

           13              was presented with the lawsuit concerning

 

           14              the matter, so I told Sally -- I believe her

 

           15              name is Sally in the law department, they

 

           16              were trying to look it up on the docket down

 

           17              at the Courthouse.  They had no record of it

 

           18              in the law department, so she is trying to

 

           19              look up the docket at the courthouse, and I

 

           20              will keep the public and my colleagues

 

           21              updated as I get some information on it, but

 

           22              it is delinquent since at least then.  Mr.

 

           23              Seitzinger thought it would be upwards of 60

 

           24              some thousand dollars that is probably owed

 

           25              on that, so I'll keep you up-to-date on


 

 

                                                                     114

 

 

            1              that.

 

            2                      I'd like to thank Mr. Brazil for

 

            3              filling the potholes on the viaduct.  There

 

            4              was one dandy one there that could swallow

 

            5              you right up.

 

            6                      Zoning.  I have contacted Attorney

 

            7              Penetar, who is the zoning board solicitor,

 

            8              I had some concerns about recent

 

            9              construction of garages in residential

 

           10              neighborhoods.  If any of you have seen any

 

           11              of the garages they are more like pole barns

 

           12              and many people seem to be putting them up

 

           13              as accessory structures, so I was concerned

 

           14              about reducing the size of these accessory

 

           15              structures and I asked Mr. Penetar -- or

 

           16              Attorney Penetar, and you can change --

 

           17              amend the zoning ordinance by two ways, by a

 

           18              motion of council or by a written request of

 

           19              any person, entity or the planning

 

           20              commission, and then once it's introduced

 

           21              you must go through the municipal planning

 

           22              code, etcetera.  So I asked him to look into

 

           23              the pole barns.

 

           24                      Also the windmills, I know somebody

 

           25              brought up windmills tonight, and Attorney


 

 

                                                                     115

 

 

            1              Penetar and I talked about windmills and

 

            2              getting them zoned for the City of Scranton,

 

            3              and he is going to ask the zoning board and

 

            4              I would like to ask anyone, including my

 

            5              colleagues, if there are any ordinances

 

            6              relating to zoning that you think are a

 

            7              problem and you would like to see amended

 

            8              please get them to the office to Mrs. Garvey

 

            9              at your earliest convenience because I do

 

           10              intend to make a motion to amend the zoning

 

           11              ordinance and at least these two items will

 

           12              be included, the size of the garages in

 

           13              neighborhoods and the windmills, so if

 

           14              anybody has any other interests please bring

 

           15              them forward.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: Daron Northeast.

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI: Yes, that's good one.

 

           18              I just have a letter I'd like to read that I

 

           19              have submitted to the Scranton Times as a

 

           20              letter to the editor.  I wanted to read it

 

           21              because I know not all people get the

 

           22              Scranton Times, but there were three letters

 

           23              recently from residents very concerned about

 

           24              why I don't give my pay back and why we

 

           25              don't meet in August, so I'd like to read my


 

 

                                                                     116

 

 

            1              response:

 

            2                      "This is in response to three

 

            3              letters that appeared in your newspaper from

 

            4              Gina Olivetti on January 19 and Rob Sequin

 

            5              and Bill McAndrew on 1-24.  Apparently their

 

            6              comments are in reference to statements made

 

            7              verbally at a recent council meeting.

 

            8              However, they failed to report all of the

 

            9              information, whether intentional or not felt

 

           10              necessary to tell.

 

           11                      Recently, speakers at council were

 

           12              stating that since the current majority has

 

           13              been in control, a recess of meetings in

 

           14              August of each year and several weeks in

 

           15              December has occurred and is unacceptable.

 

           16              I asked the city clerk, Mrs. Garvey, to look

 

           17              back a few years to check on those

 

           18              allegations.  She provided the information

 

           19              to me from 1999 to the present.  In all of

 

           20              those, city council recessed for the month

 

           21              of August except 2005, a mayor campaign

 

           22              year, how coincidental, and early in

 

           23              December.

 

           24                      Some of the current council members

 

           25              have been on council since 2002 and no one


 

 

                                                                     117

 

 

            1              ever questioned them.  The writer's asked

 

            2              why don't I donate my salary from council

 

            3              for those times.  Why would they single out

 

            4              one council member when there are five?

 

            5              Politics?

 

            6                      And for information purposes, I am

 

            7              the only council member to donate a portion

 

            8              of my salary back to the city.  I along with

 

            9              the mayor and administration gave 5 percent

 

           10              of our salary back in 2007.  I gave back

 

           11              exactly $625.

 

           12                      I once heard a saying, "Never let

 

           13              the facts interfere with the good story."  I

 

           14              guess that's what the letters were about.

 

           15              It's election time and appears the mistruths

 

           16              and misrepresentations will be bountiful.

 

           17              What is stated or written doesn't have to be

 

           18              truthful as long as it's hurtful.

 

           19                      Any one who thinks a council person

 

           20              only works on Tuesday night is very mistaken

 

           21              and they have no concept of a council

 

           22              person's duties and obligations.  Dozens of

 

           23              e-mails, letters, phone calls, stops at the

 

           24              grocery store and the mall take place

 

           25              constantly.


 

 

                                                                     118

 

 

            1                      Please be aware that none of this

 

            2              will interfere with the way I feel about my

 

            3              city and especially my neighborhood.  I am

 

            4              beginning my 28th year as a neighborhood

 

            5              activist of which I have never received

 

            6              payment other than self-reward.  My hope is

 

            7              that my city and my neighborhood will be a

 

            8              better place to live.  I will continue to

 

            9              fight neighborhood blight, abandoned houses,

 

           10              drug houses and zoning problems, and

 

           11              absentee landlords and keeping cops on the

 

           12              streets of our neighborhoods and keeping our

 

           13              neighborhood fire stations open.  Thank you

 

           14              for listening."

 

           15                      That's all I have.

 

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

 

           17              Mrs. Fanucci.

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, as always, I'd

 

           19              like to piggyback on my other two council

 

           20              women.  Once I get here it's like, oh, well,

 

           21              there is nothing for me to say, but I do

 

           22              want to talk about the money and the job.

 

           23              Be careful what you wish for.  If you want

 

           24              to start gauging us by the meetings, which

 

           25              we are only here to pass legislation, the


 

 

                                                                     119

 

 

            1              only reason we have meetings, that's it, and

 

            2              you want to pay us and believe that this is

 

            3              our job, you might just get people who

 

            4              actually only work the three hours we are

 

            5              here a night once a week, which is

 

            6              ridiculous.

 

            7                      You have no clue, and it's okay.

 

            8              The people who get up here and claim that we

 

            9              are getting paid for our meetings don't

 

           10              understand, and I don't blame them they

 

           11              don't understand because they don't have the

 

           12              job, but it is -- you want to pay us for

 

           13              just this then do you want a council person

 

           14              actually just come here and legislate and

 

           15              leave and not worry about anything else all

 

           16              week long?  I personally would love it.  It

 

           17              would be the best job I would ever have

 

           18              because none of the work I do actually

 

           19              happens here, all I do is legislate here.

 

           20                      All week long I make phone calls.  I

 

           21              talk to people, I help them, I make

 

           22              connections between people who need help,

 

           23              need this, it's what we do all week long and

 

           24              there isn't one of us up here who doesn't do

 

           25              it.  It's our job.  This is just here to


 

 

                                                                     120

 

 

            1              legislate and my belief is that the people

 

            2              are mad and angry because they can't come

 

            3              here to complain, so maybe the problem is

 

            4              more of a grandstanding than it is actually

 

            5              worrying about what happens in their city

 

            6              and the legislation that takes place.  Maybe

 

            7              they should get their own show.  Maybe 61

 

            8              could get them their own show and they can

 

            9              still go and complain often and then they

 

           10              won't feel like they miss out.  That is not

 

           11              why I'm here.  I listen to what happens, I

 

           12              try to help the city, I legislate.  I leave

 

           13              her and I work all week long as everyone

 

           14              does.

 

           15                      So, it is sort of amusing that they

 

           16              want to pay us per meeting and, you know,

 

           17              oh, the three hours you were here, the four

 

           18              hours.  It's almost ridiculous, so I

 

           19              certainly won't even entertain that

 

           20              discussion.  To me, it's just more

 

           21              grandstanding and something to complain

 

           22              about which is, you know, par for the

 

           23              course.

 

           24                      I did have a good suggestion, people

 

           25              that were up here last week and they were


 

 

                                                                     121

 

 

            1              saying that there aren't any jobs, and I got

 

            2              numerous e-mails from hairstylists saying,

 

            3              "Goo to beauty school because we are making

 

            4              about 50 and 60,000 dollars a year and we

 

            5              are in small salons."

 

            6                      So I found that very ironic and fun

 

            7              considering that people were up here bashing

 

            8              them, so maybe it is you need to go and find

 

            9              jobs that, you know, are something that

 

           10              maybe you can enjoy, so the people who are

 

           11              here complaining maybe, you know, they won't

 

           12              complain about hairstylists so much when

 

           13              they realize they are actually, you know,

 

           14              making some money for themselves.

 

           15                      Also, I want to talk about what goes

 

           16              on here.  I'm sure, and this is going to

 

           17              include you, Amil, I'm not sure what we can

 

           18              do, but election time is coming and, you

 

           19              know, as we are a haven for every elected

 

           20              person with every type of -- we have enough

 

           21              political posturing that goes on daily in

 

           22              this chamber, so is it possible that there

 

           23              is something we can do once someone decides

 

           24              they are running, you know, like we had our

 

           25              buddy up here tonight, he is running for


 

 

                                                                     122

 

 

            1              council, is he going to come up here every

 

            2              week, make his speeches and grandstand to

 

            3              the public and it's like a free

 

            4              informercial, which I don't think it's our

 

            5              place to have to entertain that, so I'm

 

            6              wondering is there anything we can do?

 

            7                      MR. MINORA:  I think the answer to

 

            8              that has to do more with the content of what

 

            9              he says rather than the fact that he or she

 

           10              is on the podium.  In other words, if they

 

           11              are talking about city business they

 

           12              certainly, whoever they are have a right to

 

           13              do that, when they are fostering their own

 

           14              candidacy I think that's outside of our

 

           15              rules.  This isn't a podium, and you've

 

           16              enforced that in the past, not to put forth

 

           17              somebody else's campaign or your own

 

           18              campaign or your own running for a

 

           19              particular office, so I think you can stop

 

           20              that, but as long as someone is speaking on

 

           21              city business I think they have a right to

 

           22              do that.  I don't think you can do that as

 

           23              long as --

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI:  The air time was what

 

           25              I was concerned.  I remember when I was


 

 

                                                                     123

 

 

            1              running there was an equal air time act that

 

            2              you cannot have one candidate on with visual

 

            3              air time without equal time for another

 

            4              candidate, so I'm wondering how that

 

            5              postures in with us.  I mean, does that have

 

            6              anything to do --

 

            7                      MR. MINORA: That gets into whether

 

            8              or not they are promoting their own campaign

 

            9              as opposed to making public comment on a

 

           10              public issue within the city.  If they are

 

           11              promoting their own campaign that's the

 

           12              reason why they should be gaveled down

 

           13              because then we would be under an obligation

 

           14              to invite his or her opponent --

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: Yeah, every time they

 

           16              would speak; right?

 

           17                      MR. MINORA: Well, it's a --

 

           18              unfortunately, the president has a very fine

 

           19              line to walk on.

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI: Right.  Maybe if we can

 

           21              just state every time somebody stands up who

 

           22              is actually running for office before they

 

           23              speak they are running for office or

 

           24              something that people know, I mean, to me it

 

           25              is just -- it's going to be a circus, I


 

 

                                                                     124

 

 

            1              mean, not any more than it normally is, but

 

            2              it could get out of control.  If we all

 

            3              remember the last election, mayoral election

 

            4              it was -- it was a down right circus and I

 

            5              would love to just try to stop that if it's

 

            6              possible.  But, of course, we won't, but I

 

            7              was just saying it would probably be a great

 

            8              idea.

 

            9                      As far as a lot of legislation we

 

           10              spoke about tonight, and the way it actually

 

           11              is something I have to speak on, the NCC

 

           12              deal, I'm sorry, Bill, I'm sorry.  Bill, he

 

           13              gets a little restless, but constantly

 

           14              insinuation, innuendoes, you know, oh, maybe

 

           15              the good old boy network, this, that.  There

 

           16              is no place for that here.  It's almost

 

           17              absurd that it has to be brought up

 

           18              constantly.  I'm not going to be a part of

 

           19              it, I'm not going to let it be said because

 

           20              it's not true.  It's to make you nervous.

 

           21              They want you to be nervous about it.  Oh,

 

           22              I'm not part of the group.  Oh, I'm not --

 

           23              no, we are not up here sitting for our own

 

           24              health, we are up here for you, and these

 

           25              people right here one, two, three, four,


 

 

                                                                     125

 

 

            1              five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten are all

 

            2              here for whatever reason they have to be

 

            3              here, but our position is to be here for

 

            4              you.  Does that mean I'm going to agree with

 

            5              him?  No.  Not absolutely.  You know what

 

            6              they say, well, you are here to speak with

 

            7              the taxpayers.  Well, all taxpayers don't

 

            8              think alike.  All taxpayers don't believe

 

            9              what's being said.  All taxpayers have

 

           10              different views, and just because I don't

 

           11              believe that we shouldn't have development

 

           12              downtown or I don't believe that big

 

           13              developers would be invited to Scranton so

 

           14              they can develop and that they could bring

 

           15              the money to our city, I believe all of

 

           16              that.  I love the infrastructure.  I love

 

           17              the fact that we are building downtown.  I

 

           18              love new businesses, I love small

 

           19              businesses, so just because I don't agree

 

           20              that we shouldn't let them come in, doesn't

 

           21              mean you don't have a places here, and I'm

 

           22              going to say that every single week, every

 

           23              single week.  This is your venue, not ten

 

           24              people, and that's all I have.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.


 

 

                                                                     126

 

 

            1              Fanucci.  Mr. Courtright.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Geez, I wish I had

 

            3              that much to say like everybody else, but I

 

            4              don't have a lot to say tonight.  I would

 

            5              like to -- I noticed today a very deep hole

 

            6              that DPW filled it in and I thank them for

 

            7              that.  Mrs. Gatelli brought up about the 100

 

            8              block of Cedar Avenue, I'm so happy to see

 

            9              something being done there, and I'm not

 

           10              going to mention the gentleman's name, but I

 

           11              have seen other properties that he has done

 

           12              over and he does a really nice job, so I

 

           13              think the people that live in that

 

           14              neighborhood in South Scranton are going to

 

           15              be very pleased with what this guy does, and

 

           16              I have seen the type of tenants that he puts

 

           17              in his place afterwards.  He doesn't invest

 

           18              all of this money and let people come in and

 

           19              destroy his property, he maintains them

 

           20              very, very well, so I think the people who

 

           21              live over there will be pleased with him,

 

           22              I'm very happy that it's him that is taking

 

           23              over that property.

 

           24                      I just want to comment on, I think

 

           25              it was Mrs. Gatelli brought it up, about the


 

 

                                                                     127

 

 

            1              fundraiser on February 21 for Tommy Lewis'

 

            2              son.  Tommy is a very good friend of mine

 

            3              and I would love to see everybody come out

 

            4              there and support his son with this

 

            5              terrible, terrible thing that's happened.

 

            6                      And one other thing, I believe that

 

            7              when we go live we had many more viewers,

 

            8              and I've always believed that, and since we

 

            9              have been live the letters and the calls are

 

           10              coming in more to me than we were when we

 

           11              weren't live and for the last two or

 

           12              three weeks I received a letter from I'm

 

           13              going to say a gentleman, it could be a

 

           14              woman, but patriotic.  The letter has the

 

           15              flag on it, and then they put stamps on the

 

           16              back of the letter that they are patriotic

 

           17              and I think there were some there for --

 

           18              they are very, very affectionate toward they

 

           19              like dogs I believe it was, but they have

 

           20              asked me questions about the bridges, they

 

           21              have asked me about smoking in downtown

 

           22              bars, and I can't answer you back because

 

           23              you don't put your name on there, you don't

 

           24              put your address on there, you don't put any

 

           25              phone number, I have to way to answer the


 

 

                                                                     128

 

 

            1              questions that you are asking me.

 

            2                      I know the one week you asked me why

 

            3              I gave Jeannie Suetta a phone number or why

 

            4              I was going to get her the phone number for

 

            5              the DPW and I didn't call them myself, and

 

            6              the answer to that is that she asked me for

 

            7              the phone number so I was getting it for

 

            8              her.

 

            9                      But I have no problem answering your

 

           10              questions is you give me some way of

 

           11              communicating back with you because what I

 

           12              can't do is, and you might not like me

 

           13              saying this, I get a lot of calls and a lot

 

           14              of things left on my machine and a lot of

 

           15              letters, if I were to sit here every week

 

           16              and answer all of those questions on the air

 

           17              we would be here even longer than what we

 

           18              are now, but I would love to answer your

 

           19              questions so give me some way of

 

           20              communicating back to you.

 

           21                      If you chose for me not to mention

 

           22              your name or tell anybody you communicate

 

           23              with me, I will certainly, you know, make

 

           24              sure that happens.  I never say anybody's

 

           25              name here or talk to anybody else if you


 

 

                                                                     129

 

 

            1              want it confidential I will keep it

 

            2              confidential, but I would be speaking longer

 

            3              than everybody combined if I were to answer

 

            4              every single letter and phone call on the

 

            5              air here mand that's all I have.  Thank you.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF:  Thank you,

 

            7              Mr. Courtright.  First, I meant to mention

 

            8              this before as an announcement, I received a

 

            9              letter from Reverend Kathryn Simmons

 

           10              concerning the Bethel AME temporary

 

           11              emergency shelter, apparently they are

 

           12              having dinner to honor three people who have

 

           13              contributed to the center and also to serve

 

           14              as a fundraiser for the emergency shelter.

 

           15              The dinner is February 24, at 7:00 p.m., at

 

           16              Genetti Manor in Dickson City.  It says here

 

           17              tables are being sold at $500 per table, 10

 

           18              persons at a table, which if my grade school

 

           19              math works out I guess to $50 per person.  I

 

           20              don't know if they are doing individual

 

           21              people, but I will give you the number of

 

           22              the I'd assume it's the shelter, it's

 

           23              570-335-2765, and if anybody has interest in

 

           24              attending I'm sure that Reverend Simmons

 

           25              will entertain your calls.


 

 

                                                                     130

 

 

            1                      The other thing, Mr. Quinn mentioned

 

            2              the grant from 1999 for the 12 to

 

            3              1400 blocks of Mulberry Street,

 

            4              coincidentally, I had received a phone call

 

            5              during the week from the gentleman about the

 

            6              same thing and I will look into that for

 

            7              Mr. Quinn and for the gentlemen that called

 

            8              and find out what the status of that money

 

            9              is or what the status of that grant, and if

 

           10              it can be used in conjunction with the

 

           11              University project in some way, and the

 

           12              caucus that we had with the Chamber of

 

           13              Commerce last week was -- at least the

 

           14              information was given to the members of the

 

           15              council I wanted to say two weeks before

 

           16              they appeared, but if not two weeks,

 

           17              certainly at least one week in advance, so

 

           18              there was no -- it wasn't a secret caucus by

 

           19              any means, and what was -- what we are being

 

           20              asked to do was to consider a letter

 

           21              being -- a letter of approval being sent, we

 

           22              cannot extend the KOZ's.  What Mr. Burke

 

           23              told us that they would like to apply for an

 

           24              extension and have the approval of the

 

           25              taxing bodies that would be affected by the


 

 

                                                                     131

 

 

            1              extension of the KOZ.  We have not -- we as

 

            2              a council have not had an opportunity to

 

            3              discuss that and I would suggest that

 

            4              perhaps that during next week's caucus what

 

            5              that would be something that we can address

 

            6              in some way and at least get an idea about

 

            7              what is taking place, and I also would like

 

            8              to make contact with the Scranton School

 

            9              Board to get an idea of what they may be

 

           10              thinking as far as the extension is

 

           11              concerned, so I will attempt to contact the

 

           12              president of the school board and find out,

 

           13              you know, what discussions they may have

 

           14              had.

 

           15                      As far as the county is concerned,

 

           16              the county has already sent a letter of

 

           17              approval concerning a KOZ, I'm going to say

 

           18              in Jessup or somewhere in the Valley View

 

           19              School District, so I would assume that the

 

           20              county would if they have approved or sent a

 

           21              letter of approval for one extension that

 

           22              they would probably do so for, you know, for

 

           23              others, but it is something that we need to

 

           24              discuss as a council and hopefully next week

 

           25              we can address that during caucus.


 

 

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            1                      And perhaps the last thing, I'm

 

            2              looking at some notes, just a response to

 

            3              last week when I mentioned the things that

 

            4              the University of Scranton was proposing, I

 

            5              believe that development from anyone is good

 

            6              for the city, and James Madison way back

 

            7              when the constitution was being drafted made

 

            8              the statement that self-interest properly

 

            9              motivated would be what runs the country,

 

           10              and I think this is a case of it.

 

           11                      You know, certainly the University

 

           12              has a self-interest in improvements that are

 

           13              made along Mulberry Street.  That does not

 

           14              mean that it's detrimental to the city in

 

           15              any way, and I think that their motivation

 

           16              to do this is of great benefit to the city.

 

           17                      And as far as the comment that

 

           18              Mr. Miller made about discussing raises

 

           19              being a slap in the face to the fire and

 

           20              policemen, firemen and policemen, we as a

 

           21              council have caucus with the head of the

 

           22              firemen's union and police union and allow

 

           23              them to discuss the status of contract

 

           24              negotiations which essentially had to do

 

           25              with, you know, discussing raises for them.


 

 

                                                                     133

 

 

            1              The attempt to have a discussion on raises

 

            2              was not intended to be disrespectful to

 

            3              anyone, it was merely doing what we had done

 

            4              for others and, you know, simply offering

 

            5              the opportunity for discussion and certainly

 

            6              a chance to say, no.  Nobody said that these

 

            7              things were going to be approved, but it

 

            8              certainly would have given people an

 

            9              opportunity to say no, and I think that

 

           10              would be all I have.

 

           11                      MR. MINORA:  May I be allowed a

 

           12              personal comment?

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Yes.

 

           14                      MR. MINORA: A week or two ago one of

 

           15              the speakers made a disparaging remark about

 

           16              hairdressers.  My mother was a hairdresser

 

           17              and making money as a hairdresser she raised

 

           18              four boys, three of which are now lawyers

 

           19              and one a doctor, and one of the lawyers was

 

           20              elected judge along the way.  She taught us

 

           21              the value of hard work and honesty, and so I

 

           22              would like to at least say a positive

 

           23              comment about hairdressers because I have a

 

           24              soft spot in my heart for them.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Attorney


 

 

                                                                     134

 

 

            1              Minora.

 

            2                      MR. MINORA: Thank you.

 

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

 

            4              INTRODUCTION - AN ORDINANCE - AUTHORIZING

 

            5              THE SALE AND TRANSFER OF A PARCEL OF LAND

 

            6              ACQUIRED BY THE CITY THROUGH THE FLOOD

 

            7              CONTROL PROJECT BY SEALED BIDS TO THE

 

            8              HIGHEST BIDDER, PROPERTY MORE COMMONLY KNOWN

 

            9              AS 620 RACE STREET, SCRANTON, AND MORE FULLY

 

           10              DESCRIBED IN DEED DATED JULY 21, 2004, DULY

 

           11              RECORDED IN THE LACKAWANNA COUNTY RECORDER

 

           12              OF DEEDS OFFICE IN RECORDS BOOK 1278, PAGE

 

           13              0002.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF:  At this time I'll

 

           15              entertain a motion that Item 5-B be

 

           16              introduced into it's proper committee.

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI:  Second.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  All

 

           20              in favor signify by saying aye.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The


 

 

                                                                     135

 

 

            1              ayes have it and so moved.

 

            2                      MS. GARVEY: SIXTH ORDER.  NO

 

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

 

            4              FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON

 

            5              FINANCE - FOR ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL NO.

 

            6              59, 2009 - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER

 

            7              APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO MAKE A

 

            8              SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION FROM THE

 

            9              CONTINGENCY ACCOUNT TO INCREASE THE SALARY

 

           10              OF THE DEPUTY CITY CONTROLLER TO INCLUDE

 

           11              $4,814.00 TO BE PAID AT REGULAR SALARY

 

           12              INTERVALS BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2009.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF:  What is the

 

           14              recommendation of the Chairperson for the

 

           15              Committee on Finance.

 

           16                      MS. FANUCCI: As Chairperson for the

 

           17              Committee on Finance, I recommend final

 

           18              passage of Item 7-A.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  Roll

 

           21              call, please?

 

           22                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           23                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

           24                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.


 

 

                                                                     136

 

 

            1                      MS. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

            3                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

            5                      MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

            7              Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.  Just

 

            8              for procedural sake, should we make the

 

            9              motion to amend prior to reading or after

 

           10              it's read?

 

           11                      MR. MINORA:  Prior to that.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Prior to?

 

           13                      MR. MINORA: Yes.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Prior to the reading of

 

           15              7-B, I would like to a make a motion to

 

           16              amend 7-B to read:  PURSUANT TO SECTION 702

 

           17              OF THE RIGHT-TO-KNOW LAW, THE CITY OF

 

           18              SCRANTON, AS AN AGENCY OF THE COMMONWEALTH,

 

           19              IS NOT REQUIRED TO FULFILL ANONYMOUS

 

           20              REQUESTS FOR ACCESS TO RECORDS; AS SUCH, THE

 

           21              CITY OF SCRANTON OPEN'S RECORDS OFFICER WILL

 

           22              ACCEPT WRITTEN OR VERBAL REQUESTS FOR ACCESS

 

           23              TO RECORDS THAT ARE ACCOMPANIED BY NAME,

 

           24              MAILING ADDRESS AND CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBER

 

           25              OF PERSON MAKING THE REQUEST.


 

 

                                                                     137

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: I'll second that.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?  All in

 

            3              favor of the amendment signify by saying

 

            4              aye.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

           10              ayes have it 7-B is amended.

 

           11                      MS. GARVEY: 7-B. FOR CONSIDERATION

 

           12              BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -

 

           13              RESOLUTION NO. 101, 2009 - AS AMENDED -

 

           14              PURSUANT TO SECTION 702 OF THE RIGHT-TO-KNOW

 

           15              LAW, THE CITY OF SCRANTON, AS AN AGENCY OF

 

           16              THE COMMONWEALTH, IS NOT REQUIRED TO FULFILL

 

           17              ANONYMOUS VERBAL REQUESTS FOR ACCESS TO

 

           18              RECORDS; AS SUCH, THE CITY OF SCRANTON'S

 

           19              OPEN RECORDS OFFICER WILL ACCEPT WRITTEN OR

 

           20              VERBAL REQUESTS FOR ACCESS TO RECORDS THAT

 

           21              ARE ACCOMPANIED BY NAME, MAILING ADDRESS AND

 

           22              CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBER FOR THE PERSON

 

           23              MAKING THE REQUEST.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the

 

           25              Committee on Rules, I recommend final


 

 

                                                                     138

 

 

            1              passage of Item 7-B.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  Roll

 

            4              call, please.

 

            5                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            6                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

            7                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.

 

            9                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           10                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           11                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           13                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           15              Item 7-B legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           16              Thank you.  Motion to adjourn.

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI:  So moved.

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF:  Thank you for your

 

           20              participation.

 

           21

 

           22

 

           23

 

           24

 

           25


 

 

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            5

 

            6                     C E R T I F I C A T E

 

            7

 

            8        I hereby certify that the proceedings and

 

            9   evidence are contained fully and accurately in the

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

           13   ability.

 

           14

 

           15

 

           16

                                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR

           17                       OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

 

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