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            1              SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

 

            2

 

            3

 

            4

 

            5                          HELD:

 

            6

 

            7               Tuesday, February 24, 2009

 

            8

 

            9                        LOCATION:

 

           10                    Council Chambers

 

           11                 Scranton City Hall

 

           12              340 North Washington Avenue

 

           13                Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

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           23

                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR - OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

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            1

 

            2   CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

 

            3

 

            4

                MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT

            5

 

            6   MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT

 

            7

                MS. JANET E. EVANS

            8

 

            9   MS. SHERRY FANUCCI

 

           10

                MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT

           11

 

           12   MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK

 

           13

                MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

           14

 

           15   MR. JOHN WILLIAMS, SOLICITOR

 

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            1                      (Pledge of Allegiance recited and

 

            2              moment of reflection observed.)

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF:  Roll call, please.

 

            4                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

            6                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI:  Yes.

 

            8                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           10                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           12                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Dispense with the

 

           15              reading of the minutes.  Third Order,

 

           16              please.

 

           17                      MS. GARVEY: 3-A.  CONTROLLER'S

 

           18              REPORT FOR THE MONTH ENDING JANUARY 31,

 

           19              2009.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           21              If not, received and filed.

 

           22                      MS. GARVEY: That's it for Third

 

           23              Order.

 

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

 

           25              Announcements from anyone?


 

 

                                                                       4

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.  Please remember

 

            2              all those who have died this week,

 

            3              particularly Mark Boock, a devoted family

 

            4              man, local historian, photographer for the

 

            5              Scranton fire department and selfless

 

            6              gentleman, as well as Linda Fields, a loving

 

            7              mother and grandmother, founding mother of

 

            8              the Women's Resource Center, and

 

            9              humanitarian, and their family and friends

 

           10              they leave behind.

 

           11                      Also, in preparation for her musical

 

           12              study abroad trip to Italy this summer, Dana

 

           13              Cerminaro will be hosting a performance

 

           14              entitled "A song for the ages" on Saturday,

 

           15              March 7, 2009, at St. Luke's Episcopal

 

           16              church, 232 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton.

 

           17              Special guess performer is Jim Cerminaro.

 

           18              All are invited to attend.  And that's it.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF:  I would just like to

 

           20              reiterate the benefits that are coming up.

 

           21              This Saturday, the 28th at the Clarion, at

 

           22              8:00, is for Joseph Nunez, and Saturday

 

           23              March 7th at the 20th Ward Club is the one

 

           24              for Jimmy Chapman, and that's Saturday

 

           25              March 7th from 1 to 5.


 

 

                                                                       5

 

 

            1                      I would also like to acknowledge

 

            2              Mark Boocks passing away.  He was a South

 

            3              Side resident and did attend meetings and

 

            4              showed us his many works that he compiled

 

            5              concerning the fire department, so certainly

 

            6              we are all offering our condolences to his

 

            7              family.

 

            8                      I'd like to congratulate the West

 

            9              Scranton High School boys basketball team.

 

           10              Unfortunately, they had a District II

 

           11              quarter final last evening and they were

 

           12              down by 18, came back to lose it only by two

 

           13              points, but they were a wonderful bunch of

 

           14              boys, coached by our great coach, Jack

 

           15              Lyons, and I would just like to acknowledge

 

           16              them because they did a great job this year.

 

           17                      Also, Scranton high school Stars are

 

           18              putting on a musical called "Honk" at 7:00

 

           19              on Friday, March 6, 7 and 8, at 2:00.

 

           20              Saturday and Sunday it's at 2:00 at Scranton

 

           21              High School Auditorium.  Tickets are

 

           22              available at the door, $7.00 for adults and

 

           23              $5 for students, and many of our Scranton

 

           24              students will be in the play, including my

 

           25              next door neighbor, Ryan Caviston, and one


 

 

                                                                       6

 

 

            1              of my coworker's daughters, Abby Lutz, and

 

            2              they have been in plays before at Scranton

 

            3              High and they do a wonderful job so we would

 

            4              like to give them a little plug too.

 

            5                      I spoke to John McGovern today, for

 

            6              the record, and they are having a meeting I

 

            7              believe he told me tomorrow with the

 

            8              Department of the Treasury to review the

 

            9              audit from the Single Tax Office, so it

 

           10              should be any day now barring any

 

           11              complications with the report to the

 

           12              Treasury Department.  He anticipates having

 

           13              a meeting with the municipality and all of

 

           14              the state holders early next week, so I will

 

           15              keep you apprised of that situation.  And

 

           16              that's all I have.  Thank you.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Courtright?

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah.  I, too, would

 

           19              like to send my condolences to Mark's

 

           20              family, and I need to read this press

 

           21              release again.  I told them -- they asked me

 

           22              if I would do it for two or three weeks, so

 

           23              if you could bear with me.

 

           24                      West Scranton High School would like

 

           25              to introduce the West Scranton High School


 

 

                                                                       7

 

 

            1              directory, the most compressive directory

 

            2              West Scranton High School ever published.

 

            3              The contents of the directory will be

 

            4              divided into four sections, biographical,

 

            5              geographical, class roster, and most

 

            6              importantly, the introductory section

 

            7              showing the school's history and events.

 

            8              All efforts are being made to contact West

 

            9              Scranton High School alumni via phone,

 

           10              e-mail and to verify biographical

 

           11              information.  West Scranton High School has

 

           12              contracted with Alumni Research Incorporated

 

           13              to collect and compile the information into

 

           14              a hardbound library bound volume in an

 

           15              on-line community.  This directory is being

 

           16              made available to West Scranton High School

 

           17              alumni only and is limited edition press run

 

           18              offered only one time.

 

           19                      Alumni Research Incorporated is in

 

           20              the process of contacting those who have

 

           21              provided current telephone numbers and

 

           22              addresses to verify biographical

 

           23              information.  Please help your alma mater

 

           24              keep in touch with you.  If you are

 

           25              interested in replying and you have not


 

 

                                                                       8

 

 

            1              received any communications from Alumni

 

            2              Research, Incorporated, you may call

 

            3              1-800-299-1230.  And that's all I have.

 

            4              Thank you.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Fourth

 

            6              Order.  Last week it was asked if Attorney

 

            7              Cullen could appear and inadvertently time

 

            8              at caucus was not provided, so I would since

 

            9              he was asked to be here this evening I would

 

           10              like to ask Attorney Cullen if he would be

 

           11              the first speaker during civic

 

           12              participation.

 

           13                      MR. CULLEN: Thank you very much,

 

           14              Mr. McGoff.  I appreciate that very much,

 

           15              and I appreciate all members of council

 

           16              allowing me to appear there this evening on

 

           17              a matter which I believe has impact on not

 

           18              only the City of Scranton, but in the larger

 

           19              sense the County of Lackawanna.

 

           20                      With me to tonight is State

 

           21              Representative Kevin Murphy, and Mr. Murphy

 

           22              will share my time that council is so nice

 

           23              to give to me on this matter.  I have sent

 

           24              to council a six-page letter that outlines

 

           25              the state of the affairs for Home Rule


 

 

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            1              Municipality in the Commonwealth of

 

            2              Pennsylvania today.  Some time ago through a

 

            3              legal effort, Mr. Thomas Masevitch of South

 

            4              Scranton sought to challenge the imposition

 

            5              by the county commissioners of Lackawanna

 

            6              County of a 48.4 percent tax hike.  That

 

            7              matter, unfortunately, was not successful in

 

            8              the Court system, but what occurred was the

 

            9              exhausting of all legal remedies that would

 

           10              be available to challenge that type of tax

 

           11              increase.  Essentially, it came down to an

 

           12              understanding of amendment to the Home Rule

 

           13              Charter and Optional Plans Law that would

 

           14              allow, as the Commonwealth Court pointed

 

           15              out, that would allow a municipality that's

 

           16              a Home Rule municipality to impose any

 

           17              level of any amount of taxation upon it's

 

           18              residents without any kind of protections or

 

           19              opportunity to challenge that by any

 

           20              taxpayer or property owner of that

 

           21              municipality.

 

           22                      The letter that I sent to council

 

           23              outlines a motion and the need for a motion

 

           24              to support an effort to State Representative

 

           25              Murphy is in the process of putting together


 

 

                                                                      10

 

 

            1              now with other members of the General

 

            2              Assembly to deal with the issue of how does

 

            3              a Home Rule municipality protect it's

 

            4              residents and property owners in the future

 

            5              and safeguard them against excessive tax

 

            6              increases.  Previously, under the various

 

            7              codes that regulates the conduct of cities

 

            8              and townships and boroughs in this

 

            9              Commonwealth, there has always been some

 

           10              type of protective aspect to the amount of

 

           11              taxation that a governing body of one of

 

           12              those municipalities could possibly enact

 

           13              the tax rate without having the need to go

 

           14              to the Court of Common Pleas of that

 

           15              particular county and ask for permission.

 

           16                      In the county code, for example,

 

           17              Section 1770, limits the amount of tax

 

           18              increase that the county commissioners can

 

           19              make in any one given tax year to five

 

           20              mills.  If they wish to do it more than five

 

           21              mills they have to file a petition in the

 

           22              Court of Common Pleas and come before the

 

           23              judge and explain why they need the

 

           24              additional millage rates.  This has happened

 

           25              with several other boroughs and townships in


 

 

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            1              this region.

 

            2                      When the Home Rule Charter of

 

            3              Lackawanna County was enacted, there was a

 

            4              provision which is known as 302 (C) which

 

            5              required an excessive tax rate levied by

 

            6              county commissioners that exceeded a certain

 

            7              amount as set forth in that section of the

 

            8              Home Rule Charter, it required that

 

            9              excessive tax rate to be approved by public

 

           10              referendum.  It was based on my client's

 

           11              understanding of 302 (C) the challenge to

 

           12              48.4 tax increase imposed by the county in

 

           13              2004 was challenged.

 

           14                      This letter talks about the fact

 

           15              that now that all judicial remedies have

 

           16              been exhausted the matter now becomes one

 

           17              for the legislature to deal with, and we

 

           18              asked in this letter for the opportunity for

 

           19              this council to show that it does share the

 

           20              concerns of those residents of the City of

 

           21              Scranton that pay a county tax, that an

 

           22              excessive tax rate with no protections

 

           23              afforded is not what the legislature

 

           24              probably meant when they gave the idea to

 

           25              Home Rule municipalities in the


 

 

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            1              Commonwealth.  The motion simply statements

 

            2              that the City Council of the City of

 

            3              Scranton supports an amendment to the Home

 

            4              Rule Charter -- excuse me, the Home Rule

 

            5              Charter and Optional Plans Law to permit the

 

            6              reactivation of Section 302 (C) in the Home

 

            7              Rule Charter of Lackawanna County.  That is

 

            8              the protection afforded to residents and

 

            9              property owners from an excessive tax rate

 

           10              and allows them the opportunity for public

 

           11              referendum.

 

           12                      The City of Scranton has a Home Rule

 

           13              Charter and so does the City of Carbondale.

 

           14              Neither one of those Home Rule Charters have

 

           15              a provision like 302 (C) that the county

 

           16              Home Rule Charter has.  So that this matter

 

           17              would not effect the City of Scranton in

 

           18              what type of taxation the City of Scranton

 

           19              can impose or the City of Carbondale.  It

 

           20              would only affect the County of Lackawanna.

 

           21                      The significance is that every

 

           22              resident of the City of Scranton is a

 

           23              resident of the City of the county of

 

           24              Lackawanna and they your constituents, would

 

           25              still be subject to an excessive tax passed


 

 

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            1              by the county on city residents, so to this

 

            2              extent, this measure, this motion, is an

 

            3              attempt to provide support to the efforts by

 

            4              Mr. Murphy in Harrisburg to have this

 

            5              legislation, that is the Home Rule Charter

 

            6              and Optional Plans Law amended to allow the

 

            7              Home Rule Community like Lackawanna County

 

            8              to have it's section, Section 302 (C)

 

            9              reactivated and serve as a protection for

 

           10              county taxpayers from having an excessive

 

           11              tax rate imposed upon them and not having

 

           12              any way to challenge it or to voice their

 

           13              concerns.  The only way now is every four

 

           14              years at the election poles in an election

 

           15              that you can turn out people who do impose,

 

           16              public officials who do impose the 48

 

           17              percent tax hike.  I think we all know,

 

           18              those of you in public service, what

 

           19              happened in the last commissioner's election

 

           20              largely because of that 48 percent tax hike.

 

           21              The trouble is why do you have to wait for

 

           22              four years to do it?

 

           23                      All the other codes that regulate

 

           24              the various municipalities in this

 

           25              Commonwealth provide for some type of


 

 

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            1              opportunity to voice a challenge or to go

 

            2              through a Court proceeding.  Lackawanna

 

            3              County doesn't have one now.  Representative

 

            4              Murphy is committed to preparing this

 

            5              legislation and introducing it, and to that

 

            6              extent I have taken this on behalf of Mr.

 

            7              Masevitch, my client, to contact the City of

 

            8              Scranton and other municipalities asking

 

            9              them for their support.

 

           10                      You have been extraordinarily

 

           11              gracious in your time, and I appreciate

 

           12              that, and my letter has said it all I think,

 

           13              and if you would grant a few more minutes

 

           14              Representative Murphy would like to address

 

           15              this.

 

           16                      MS. FANUCCI: Can I ask a question?

 

           17                      MR. CULLEN: Sure.

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI: I have a question while

 

           19              the attorney is here.  I want to thank you

 

           20              for coming because this is good information

 

           21              for us.  Now, I need to know how this

 

           22              effects us under -- being sanctioned by the

 

           23              state and the Recovery Plan, so say the

 

           24              Recovery Plan says to us we need to up our

 

           25              taxes, is there any way that -- do they


 

 

                                                                      15

 

 

            1              trump this law?

 

            2                      MR. CULLEN: No.

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI: Or then we are in

 

            4              violation constantly and we never get out of

 

            5              a Recovery Plan like the say.

 

            6                      MS. CULLEN:  That's a very good

 

            7              point and I appreciate that, and I looked at

 

            8              that because that was one of the concerns I

 

            9              had coming before the city because of it's

 

           10              current status and the Recovery Plan, and

 

           11              what I did is I looked at the -- I looked at

 

           12              the act that did the research and came back

 

           13              to the conclusion that this would only

 

           14              effect the County of Lackawanna because in

 

           15              it's original Home Rule Charter there is the

 

           16              Section 302-C.  It's technically invalidated

 

           17              now by Court decision, but this legislation

 

           18              if passed in Harrisburg would revitalize

 

           19              that.  The county's Home Rule Charter has

 

           20              that section, but the city's Home Rule

 

           21              Charter has no section like that.  It could

 

           22              not be -- there is no section to be

 

           23              reactivated, that's what I'm getting at, and

 

           24              if -- I mean, we all know if you look at the

 

           25              Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law


 

 

                                                                      16

 

 

            1              there is opportunity for those residents of

 

            2              a Home Rule Municipality to see amendment or

 

            3              change of their charter, that's a whole

 

            4              process that if even if it was put in the

 

            5              play certainly allows and affords the whole

 

            6              democratic experience to that effort.  That

 

            7              would not be brought to bear in this limited

 

            8              circumstance, and in this limited

 

            9              circumstance it would only effect the county

 

           10              of Lackawanna.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I have one quick

 

           12              question for you, if you don't mind.  There

 

           13              was some concern because you have a client

 

           14              and you have a lawsuit that we would become

 

           15              a party to that lawsuit, is that lawsuit

 

           16              done?

 

           17                      MR. CULLEN: Gratefully, I refer to

 

           18              Mr. Masevitch as my client, yes, he was my

 

           19              client.  There is no lawsuit.  The Supreme

 

           20              Court has basically said it's over.  We have

 

           21              exhausted every legal remedy we can.  There

 

           22              is no lawsuit involved in this.  This is a

 

           23              legislative effort that we are trying to

 

           24              coordinate and this is a matter of the state

 

           25              legislature.


 

 

                                                                      17

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI: So we can assume you

 

            2              lost --

 

            3                      MR. CULLEN: Yes.

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: And now this is the

 

            5              only way to try to make it right?  Does that

 

            6              work?

 

            7                      MR. CULLEN:  Well, that's very true

 

            8              and you will see in this a lot of legal

 

            9              opinions and circumstances like this where

 

           10              Courts, whether local or on the appellate

 

           11              level, will say this is a matter for the

 

           12              legislature and because we exhausted all

 

           13              legal remedies, and quite determinedly so,

 

           14              since we exhausted all legal remedies it is

 

           15              now in the hands of the legislature, much

 

           16              like your function as a legislative branch.

 

           17                      MS. FANUCCI: Thank you.

 

           18                      MR. CULLEN: Thank you.

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI: I have a question, too.

 

           20                      MR. CULLEN: Yes, Judy.

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI: Since this is going to

 

           22              affect the Count of Lackawanna have the

 

           23              commissioners been informed of this and are

 

           24              they in favor of it?

 

           25                      MR. CULLEN: I don't know if they're


 

 

                                                                      18

 

 

            1              in favor of it, they have been informed of

 

            2              it.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI: You didn't speak to

 

            4              them?

 

            5                      MR. CULLEN: Not yet.  I haven't had

 

            6              the opportunity to appear in front of them.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI:  And also, Kevin, you

 

            8              might know the answer, is Representative

 

            9              Smith aware of this and he is in favor of

 

           10              it?

 

           11                      MR. MURPHY: This is just proposed

 

           12              legislation at this point.  I haven't

 

           13              discussed it with Representative Smith at

 

           14              any great length.  There are many

 

           15              representatives that know I am working on

 

           16              something to strengthen the code to ensure

 

           17              that the taxpayers are protected, but the

 

           18              specific language hasn't been drafted yet.

 

           19              We will be going over that with the

 

           20              representatives in Harrisburg that serve

 

           21              here locally in the Scranton/Lackawanna

 

           22              County area, but to this point we have not.

 

           23              I'm going to present this not only before

 

           24              the City of Scranton and the council here in

 

           25              the City of Scranton, but before all of the


 

 

                                                                      19

 

 

            1              boroughs, municipalities within the 113th

 

            2              District and every Borough, I believe at

 

            3              this point, every elected official has

 

            4              gotten a copy throughout Lackawanna County.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI:  Did anyone vote on it

 

            6              yet?

 

            7                      MR. CULLEN:  Yes, I can answer that.

 

            8              The Borough of Throop last evening endorsed

 

            9              this motion and passed it and will be

 

           10              sending it to the seven elected officials

 

           11              that are listed on attachment one as a copy

 

           12              showing their support for this.

 

           13                      MR. MURPHY:  One of the reasons that

 

           14              I'm here this evening is we are not in

 

           15              session this week, and because of that it is

 

           16              somewhat time sensitive, there is a lot of

 

           17              boroughs, there is a lot of other

 

           18              municipalities to get to in order to get

 

           19              this message out here, but I wanted to make

 

           20              sure that I could appear before Scranton

 

           21              City Council personally to discuss this, but

 

           22              this isn't the end of the road, this is

 

           23              really just the beginning of the road.

 

           24                      I felt it was very important through

 

           25              the course of the last couple of campaigns


 

 

                                                                      20

 

 

            1              it was brought to my attention by many, many

 

            2              people the unfairness of the 48 percent tax

 

            3              increase in Lackawanna County.  Everyone

 

            4              asked what can you do it about it in order

 

            5              to protect the taxpayer from an overly

 

            6              burdensome tax increase, tax increase such

 

            7              as that, so this is what I propose we do.

 

            8                      I propose that we amend the Home

 

            9              Rule Charter and Municipalities both because

 

           10              Lackawanna County, as counsel had stated, is

 

           11              really the only place where this is

 

           12              applicable.  It's not going to have a

 

           13              subsection, it's not going to effect the

 

           14              City of Scranton, but it will effect all of

 

           15              us as taxpayers, and has the councilman

 

           16              stated, the citizens of Scranton are also

 

           17              taxpayers of Lackawanna County.  So that's

 

           18              the intent of the legislation, to protect

 

           19              the people, to make sure that there is a

 

           20              check and balance in place as there is here

 

           21              in the City of Scranton, but with just two

 

           22              people being majority commissioners here in

 

           23              Lackawanna County it's too much power, it's

 

           24              too burdensome on the taxpayers and

 

           25              potentially it could have been in excess of


 

 

                                                                      21

 

 

            1              100 percent, so this is just an effort to

 

            2              protect the taxpayer.

 

            3                      I know when you asked the question,

 

            4              Councilwoman Fanucci, whether council lost

 

            5              his particular pursuit --

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI: It wasn't to be mean, I

 

            7              was trying to see this is why we --

 

            8                      MR. CULLEN: There is always a winner

 

            9              and a loser.

 

           10                      MS. FANUCCI: It wasn't a shot.

 

           11                      MR. MURPHY: That was fine, but I'm

 

           12              sure all attorneys are somewhat sensitive

 

           13              not having decisions not going in their

 

           14              favor before any Court.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: But sometimes the law

 

           16              is not on your side and that's what it's

 

           17              about.  I mean, that's basically --

 

           18                      MR. MURPHY: That's exactly right, so

 

           19              he did exhaust all of the avenues that were

 

           20              available to him as far as the Court system

 

           21              in effort to protect the best interest of

 

           22              his client and Lackawanna County and at this

 

           23              point the amending of this legislation I

 

           24              think is what has to done, so I'm going to

 

           25              try to pursue that, and I want to thank all


 

 

                                                                      22

 

 

            1              of you, Councilmen, Councilwomen, for your

 

            2              time it was very courteous of you, and I

 

            3              don't have anything further unless you have

 

            4              any questions of me.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI:  Is the school district

 

            6              involved in this, too?

 

            7                      MR. CULLEN: Yes, I'm sorry, I should

 

            8              have pointed that out.  I have made sure

 

            9              that every school district in this county

 

           10              has received copies of this.  All the

 

           11              members of the school district, the

 

           12              superintendents.  I have had a few

 

           13              preliminary discussions with the Scranton

 

           14              School District, evidently, they had a

 

           15              couple of other issues that we wanted to get

 

           16              out of the way, but they would like to look

 

           17              at this one and we would probably be

 

           18              addressing them about and the school

 

           19              district is aware as well as ever other

 

           20              school district in town.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Thank you,

 

           22              Attorney Cullen.

 

           23                      MR. MURPHY: If I may one last point

 

           24              of information, there is going to be a rally

 

           25              at the Scranton State School for the Deaf


 

 

                                                                      23

 

 

            1              this Saturday at noon.  That's another cause

 

            2              that we are working on.  It was put into the

 

            3              Governor's budget, the funding for the

 

            4              Scranton State School for the Deaf would be

 

            5              cut and the school would be closed this

 

            6              coming fall.  We are working hard and we are

 

            7              talking with top aids in the Rendell

 

            8              administration to try to remedy the

 

            9              situation.  To this point, we don't have a

 

           10              solution, but I want to make sure that we

 

           11              study this, we look at this a little bit

 

           12              closer and we find out if there are other

 

           13              alternatives that we could keep this school

 

           14              and we have make sure that the proper

 

           15              studies are done, the proper transition is

 

           16              in this place so that the students, if they

 

           17              were to have to close that school, that the

 

           18              studies would be done, that these questions

 

           19              could be answered by the Secretary of

 

           20              Education, with you'll due respect to him,

 

           21              we had many questions that he couldn't

 

           22              answer and we have to try and help out, and

 

           23              I have pledged to the alumni, to the parents

 

           24              and to the students and faculty up in the

 

           25              Scranton State School for the Deaf to be


 

 

                                                                      24

 

 

            1              involved in trying to keep that school open,

 

            2              so that would be Saturday at noon up at the

 

            3              Scranton State School for the Deaf.  Thank

 

            4              you.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

            6              Representative Murphy.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI: If we have any more

 

            8              questions who should we call, which one?

 

            9              Who wants the phone calls?

 

           10                      MR. CULLEN: You have my card, feel

 

           11              free to contact me, I appreciate your time

 

           12              and your graciousness this evening.

 

           13                      MS. FANUCCI: Thank you so much.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Andy Sbaraglia.

 

           15                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,

 

           16              citizen of Scranton.  Fellow Scrantonians,

 

           17              your five I guess it would be "B", we are

 

           18              looking for a half a million dollars for the

 

           19              Connell building again.  What are we looking

 

           20              for there where it says $500,000?

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: It's basically a change

 

           22              in name, that's all.

 

           23                      MR. SBARAGLIA: I was told that

 

           24              building was recently sold; is that true?

 

           25                      MS. FANUCCI: One of the partners had


 

 

                                                                      25

 

 

            1              changed, so it wasn't that the whole system

 

            2              -- of the whole sale had changed, just one

 

            3              of the partners had changed.

 

            4                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Why wasn't it down

 

            5              though?

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI: Because they were

 

            7              actually changing for the same corporation.

 

            8              It would be like Bill and I going into

 

            9              business together, which would be fun.

 

           10              Right, Bill?  You and I going into business

 

           11              and Bill deciding he is going to go out of

 

           12              business, well, I'm still the primary

 

           13              holder, so now I'm going to take on someone

 

           14              else, and you have to make it legal.

 

           15                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Was there a deed

 

           16              transferred?  What happened?

 

           17                      MS. FANUCCI: I believe that the

 

           18              primary person is still the same person in

 

           19              charge.

 

           20                      MR. SBARAGLIA: But there was a deed

 

           21              transferred, wasn't there?

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, I think you have

 

           23              to do that legally, yes.

 

           24                      MR. SBARAGLIA: So basically if they

 

           25              had taken like $1,000 we would have got a


 

 

                                                                      26

 

 

            1              transfer fee on it?

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI: I don't know that.  I

 

            3              can find that out answer for you.  Do you

 

            4              want me to find out for you?  I mean, it

 

            5              depends because I'm not sure if you don't

 

            6              change totally the person who is in charge

 

            7              of the deal itself, I don't know that.

 

            8                      MR. SBARAGLIA: But you do know that

 

            9              the deed was transferred, that means there

 

           10              was a real estate transfer.

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: Of course.

 

           12                      MR. SBARAGLIA: And it was done for

 

           13              one buck, but in the mean time you want to

 

           14              give them $11 million.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: They just changed

 

           16              names.

 

           17                      MR. SBARAGLIA: I don't care who they

 

           18              changed.  There was a deed transfer, that

 

           19              means real estate was transferred.

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI: No.

 

           21                      MR. SBARAGLIA:  In other words, if

 

           22              you transfer real estate, no matter what you

 

           23              do --

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI: That's a very awkward

 

           25              of looking at it, Andy, it's a name change


 

 

                                                                      27

 

 

            1              on a document.  You have to do things

 

            2              legally, but the dollar is pretty much a --

 

            3              you know, if you sell your wife your car and

 

            4              you want to change it over they are going to

 

            5              make you pay a dollar.

 

            6                      MR. SBARAGLIA: I realize why it's a

 

            7              dollar, but it could have just as well been

 

            8              a thousand dollars, but then they would have

 

            9              had to pay transfer tax.

 

           10                      MS. FANUCCI:  It's the same person.

 

           11              It's the same person.

 

           12                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Regardless.  I seen

 

           13              people in a bank account where they had

 

           14              somebody else's name on it, it was their

 

           15              money with someone else's name on it they

 

           16              died and there was a tax imposed, and

 

           17              actually an inheritance tax, so if you want

 

           18              to cover this, okay, but it's still

 

           19              $11 million you want to pour into these

 

           20              people.

 

           21                      MS. FANUCCI: Absolutely.

 

           22                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Why?  What is so

 

           23              important of that building that you are want

 

           24              to spend 11 1/2 dollars to fix?

 

           25                      MS. FANUCCI: Are you asking me a


 

 

                                                                      28

 

 

            1              question?

 

            2                      MR. SBARAGLIA:  Yes.

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI:  Oh, this is a good

 

            4              one.  Why?  Because we want the job

 

            5              creation.  We want to fix the building.  We

 

            6              don't want an empty building sitting down

 

            7              there.  As of next week if we pass this

 

            8              legislation 40 people are going to start

 

            9              work, 40 union people are going to walk

 

           10              downtown and start work.  What do you mean,

 

           11              why?  With this economy the way it is that's

 

           12              a very strange question to ask.

 

           13                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Not, it's not.  It's

 

           14              a --

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: You want an empty

 

           16              building?

 

           17                      MR. SBARAGLIA: How many people are

 

           18              being foreclosed upon?  How many people are

 

           19              losing their homes?

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI: Right.  And this will

 

           21              give them an opportunity to work.

 

           22                      MR. SBARAGLIA: No.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: What are you talking

 

           24              about?

 

           25                      MR. SBARAGLIA: They are not the ones


 

 

                                                                      29

 

 

            1              that are losing their homes.  I worked in

 

            2              construction --

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI: You are mixing apples

 

            4              and oranges.  Ask the question that stays

 

            5              the same on track.

 

            6                      MR. SBARAGLIA: That's what you

 

            7              believe?

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI: Absolutely 100 percent.

 

            9                      MR. SBARAGLIA: You can believe that.

 

           10              I believe in the people.  I believe in all

 

           11              of the people.

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI: The people who want to

 

           13              work and people want to make money.

 

           14                      MR. SBARAGLIA: All the people.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: The people who want to

 

           16              work.

 

           17                      MR. SBARAGLIA: No, somebody is

 

           18              making out on this, 11 1/2 dollars that man

 

           19              is making out, the person who owns that

 

           20              building is getting 11 1/2 dollars worth of

 

           21              equity put in while other people are losing

 

           22              their homes.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI:  That's not true.

 

           24                      MR. SBARAGLIA: And soon.  You know

 

           25              that and I know that.


 

 

                                                                      30

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI: I would not say that.

 

            2                      MR. SBARAGLIA: When you take away

 

            3              from the people --

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: That's not true.

 

            5                      MR. SBARAGLIA: The state is in debt

 

            6              2 1/2 billion because of people like this.

 

            7              Things aren't being done like this.  They

 

            8              are not really creating that many jobs.  I

 

            9              don't care if they put 100 people in there

 

           10              and fix that building up, they wouldn't be

 

           11              Scrantonians. , they would be from Dunmore,

 

           12              they would be from all over.  All you would

 

           13              get out of them, if are lucky, would be the

 

           14              52 bucks.  If you are lucky, and you might

 

           15              need even get that.  You got to look at

 

           16              Scranton first, last, and always.

 

           17                      MS. FANUCCI: You definitely do.

 

           18                      MR. SBARAGLIA: You got to look at

 

           19              everybody in Scranton what you are doing

 

           20              when you take money, huge amounts of money,

 

           21              and give them one individual or one

 

           22              contractor, them people are making money.

 

           23              The people that own the Connell building are

 

           24              going to make money on this deal.  You are

 

           25              denying it or not denying it?  You know they


 

 

                                                                      31

 

 

            1              are going to make money and vast amounts of

 

            2              money.  Thank you.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: Ozzie Quinn?

 

            4                      MS. SUETTA: He went home.  He got

 

            5              sick.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: Les Spindler.

 

            7                      MR. SPINDLER: Good evening, Council,

 

            8              Les Spindler, city resident, taxpayer and

 

            9              homeowner.  I have to echo what

 

           10              Mr. Sbaraglia said, I was going to talk

 

           11              about this, too.  You dump millions and

 

           12              millions of dollars into the Connell

 

           13              building.  The people that bought this

 

           14              building couldn't fix it up or what with

 

           15              their own resources then they shouldn't have

 

           16              bought the building.

 

           17                      Job creations, Mrs. Fanucci?  What

 

           18              jobs are going to go in there, like the same

 

           19              jobs that were created in the Southern Union

 

           20              building?  That's a joke.  That was supposed

 

           21              to be filled with jobs.  How many people are

 

           22              in there, 10 or 20 maybe?  If that.  It's a

 

           23              joke.  Job creation?  There aren't any jobs

 

           24              in this city.  The Connell building is not

 

           25              going to create jobs, all it is going to do


 

 

                                                                      32

 

 

            1              is line certain people's pockets.  It's

 

            2              going to be an empty white elephant just

 

            3              like the Southern Union building.

 

            4                      Moving on, Mrs. Gatelli, you

 

            5              answered my question, I was going to ask

 

            6              about the audit for the tax office.  The

 

            7              only question I have, what took so long?

 

            8              Can't anybody do an audit in this city in a

 

            9              timely fashion?  I mean, it was months and

 

           10              months ago and that was brought up.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI: It's a year ago.

 

           12                      MR. SPINDLER: Oh, a year?  Okay, a

 

           13              year ago.  Next thing, Mr. McGoff, it was

 

           14              brought up last week about people not paying

 

           15              parking tickets and you said maybe the DA's

 

           16              Office is not going to investigate it, well,

 

           17              that's not going to happen, Mr. McGoff,

 

           18              because people in the DA's Office names are

 

           19              on that list, so not to worry, I have a call

 

           20              into the Attorney General's Office, I have a

 

           21              contact there, and hopefully this will be

 

           22              taken care of, but it's funny how names

 

           23              weren't mentioned in the Doherty newsletter.

 

           24              I could guarantee you if Mr. Courtright and

 

           25              Mrs. Evans didn't pay parking tickets their


 

 

                                                                      33

 

 

            1              names would be in the newspaper.

 

            2                       In last Friday's Doherty

 

            3              newsletter, Mr. Doherty talked about some

 

            4              accomplishments, talked about improvements

 

            5              to the neighborhood parks, rising real

 

            6              estate values, construction projects that

 

            7              include the Connell building, new medical

 

            8              college and the 500 block of Lackawanna

 

            9              Avenue.  First of all, I have as much to do

 

           10              with the medical college coming here as

 

           11              Chris Doherty did.  He had nothing to do

 

           12              with that medical college coming here, it

 

           13              was Bob Mellow.  Just because he is the

 

           14              mayor of the city he takes credit for the

 

           15              college coming here?  It's a joke.  And then

 

           16              the parks and the Connell building, and the

 

           17              500 block of Lackawanna Avenue?  Is that

 

           18              going to bring jobs into our city and going

 

           19              to make our kids want to stay here?  Is it

 

           20              going to bring young people into this city?

 

           21              I don't think so.

 

           22                      I could just see my daughter coming

 

           23              to me when she is out of school, "Dad, you

 

           24              know, I have a job offer out of town for

 

           25              $65,000 a year, but I think I'll stay in


 

 

                                                                      34

 

 

            1              Scranton because we have a dog park and a

 

            2              treehouse."

 

            3                      It's a joke.  The man has done

 

            4              nothing to keep our young people in this

 

            5              city.  Moving on, Mr. Doherty also said city

 

            6              hall is leaner and more efficient under his

 

            7              watch.  Yeah, it's leaner, he illegally laid

 

            8              off the SIT clerks and it's costing the city

 

            9              $1.74 million.  That's all this man is doing

 

           10              is costing the taxpayers money.  It's

 

           11              ridiculous and I hope the people realize

 

           12              this when it comes May.

 

           13                      Lastly, Mrs. Fanucci, I couldn't be

 

           14              happier you decided to run for reelection.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: I heard you are running

 

           16              my campaign, is it true?

 

           17                      MR. SPINDLER: Now a lot of

 

           18              taxpayers' best interest who you haven't

 

           19              served in the past three and a half years

 

           20              can vote you out of office.  Thank you.

 

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

 

           22              Tom Ungvarsky.

 

           23                      MR. UNGVARSKY: Good evening, city

 

           24              council.  I'm Tom Ungvarsky, and I'm a

 

           25              member of the Scranton and Lackawanna County


 

 

                                                                      35

 

 

            1              Taxpayers' Association. About three weeks

 

            2              ago, city council met with Austin Burke

 

            3              concerning making Mt. Pleasant a KO.  You

 

            4              met in council office, not out here.  I wish

 

            5              Mr. Burke had the courtesy to come out here

 

            6              to this podium and answer some of the

 

            7              questions such as what it's going to cost

 

            8              the city to make that a KOZ.  We have

 

            9              already given him $250,000 from the City,

 

           10              and I understand the State of Pennsylvania

 

           11              has given him 2 /12 million, and I'm sure

 

           12              once construction starts he will be back

 

           13              here looking for grants.

 

           14                      And as far as what it costs the

 

           15              city, I believe that parcel of land has

 

           16              already paid $15,000 a year in taxes, but

 

           17              more than that for the length of the KOZ the

 

           18              City of Scranton will be losing all property

 

           19              taxes that would have been collected on

 

           20              that, all mercantile taxes for anyone in

 

           21              there and I believe all profit taxes.

 

           22                      Now, I'm at a lost really.  I can't

 

           23              understand how we would even consider

 

           24              turning that into a KOZ.

 

           25                      I see on this weeks agenda we are


 

 

                                                                      36

 

 

            1              going to give the Connell building another

 

            2              grant of a million dollars.  I guess again

 

            3              we are going to send good money after bad.

 

            4              It seems as though there are a few members

 

            5              on city council who can't help but give out

 

            6              grants.  There is not a grant that they have

 

            7              ever seen that they haven't liked, and I

 

            8              would to know the difference between a

 

            9              developer from out of town who comes in here

 

           10              and gets a grant and landlords from out of

 

           11              town.  It seems like they are both taking

 

           12              money out of the city.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr.

 

           14              Ungvarsky.  David Bergerhoff.

 

           15                      MR. BERGERHOFF: David Berghoff,

 

           16              North Scranton.  I really don't have much to

 

           17              say tonight, lucky for some of you, I'm

 

           18              sure, but Mrs. Evans, and I guess the rest

 

           19              of you, you kind of blew off the question

 

           20              about the North Scranton Junior High School.

 

           21              I mean, yeah, you did read a form a couple

 

           22              of weeks ago and you said something about a

 

           23              500 seat auditorium, I wonder if any of you

 

           24              have seen this building lately, like in the

 

           25              last 10, 15 years, three-quarters of the


 

 

                                                                      37

 

 

            1              building still has busted, broken windows,

 

            2              guaranteed loaded with lead paint, and there

 

            3              is plenty of other stuff that you said that

 

            4              was done on that building or removed that

 

            5              hasn't been done I can guarantee that as

 

            6              well.  I specifically asked questions, is

 

            7              this project even approved?  No answer on

 

            8              that.

 

            9                      Maybe people would come here less

 

           10              every week if you guys actually started

 

           11              answering questions, and maybe if you were

 

           12              honest that would help, too.  But, I mean,

 

           13              give me a break on the North Scranton Junior

 

           14              High School you have to find out more for us

 

           15              as far as where the money is being spent or

 

           16              it went.  Did it just go to the front of the

 

           17              building which is all that looks it's been

 

           18              done in the last 15 years.  As I stated last

 

           19              week or two weeks ago, there wasn't enough

 

           20              dumpsters out there to do half the work that

 

           21              needs to be done in that building.  There is

 

           22              drug dealing going on up in that building,

 

           23              there is three or four access points to that

 

           24              building that I guarantee there is homeless

 

           25              people living up in that building right now.


 

 

                                                                      38

 

 

            1              God only knows what takes place up there.  I

 

            2              see kids walking up there and leaving their

 

            3              every single day.  Yes, I reported this, and

 

            4              I don't know if anything is being done.

 

            5              It's pointless.  I mean, they could at least

 

            6              seal up these entrances to say the least.

 

            7                      I also asked for accessibility

 

            8              perhaps for a citizen's panel or some people

 

            9              to at least go in this building and see if

 

           10              any work has really ever been done.  You

 

           11              know, I seen names of work that was proposed

 

           12              to be done in the future, they seem to ring

 

           13              true with the name of people who are running

 

           14              this project.  This is where my concerns and

 

           15              questions come from and the none of them

 

           16              have been addressed or answered.  I didn't

 

           17              think they would, but I'm going to keep the

 

           18              asking the question.  I'm going to come here

 

           19              every week whether I like it or not because

 

           20              I can watch this at home as Mr. McGoff so

 

           21              aptly pointed out to me, so I don't want

 

           22              mind watching it at home and I don't min

 

           23              coming here when I feel it's an important

 

           24              issue, and this is just one of the issues.

 

           25              I listened every week and I hope there is


 

 

                                                                      39

 

 

            1              more I can pick on about because you guys

 

            2              never answer the question, and God knows

 

            3              that the Elm Street Park project is going

 

            4              along because that's the only thing we have

 

            5              hear from Mrs. Gatelli, I even see it's

 

            6              probably going to be your campaign thing

 

            7              because I see it in the paper quoted for

 

            8              you.

 

            9                      Ms. Fanucci was more than happy too

 

           10              point out that's it's very stressful doing

 

           11              this job and, you know, apparently politics

 

           12              is a tough job.  Well, welcome to the real

 

           13              world.  And you know, it's funny, because I

 

           14              implore anybody who is thinking voting this

 

           15              election, and I really would like a lot of

 

           16              people to come out, these people win by very

 

           17              few amount of jobs.  You don't need a lot to

 

           18              win a council seat, so all you got to do is

 

           19              vote for somebody different.  I don't care

 

           20              --

 

           21                      THE COURT:  We don't do politicking

 

           22              from the podium.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: That's all we do.

 

           24                      MR. BERGERHOFF: Well, I'm not a

 

           25              politician, I'm just stating an opinion.


 

 

                                                                      40

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me.

 

            2                      MR. BERGERHOFF: I'm just basically

 

            3              stating an opinion.  I'm not running for

 

            4              politics, and I'm not supporting any

 

            5              candidates.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF:  We have asked people to

 

            7              not advocate voting or not voting for any

 

            8              particular person.

 

            9                      MR. BERGERHOFF: That's fine.  If

 

           10              none of you did campaigning either then I

 

           11              guess I'll be fine with that.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: It's inappropriate.

 

           13                      MR. BERGERHOFF:  Perhaps if you just

 

           14              did your job then that would be campaign

 

           15              enough, but we can watch the way you treat

 

           16              us and that's your campaign as far as I'm

 

           17              concerned.  Again, I will implore people to

 

           18              watch You Tube if you really want to see

 

           19              camera work done on this council here and

 

           20              see what it's really all about.

 

           21                      You know, the Al Boscov's thing, I

 

           22              like Al Boscov, he seems to have done a lot

 

           23              for the city, but it's scary to me to think

 

           24              that the whole downtown lies on the back of

 

           25              one man, as he stated, you're so quick to


 

 

                                                                      41

 

 

            1              accept the fact that he said that if he

 

            2              fails the mall fails, the whole downtown

 

            3              fails.  Well, that's great we put all our

 

            4              hopes on one businessman who has proven when

 

            5              you give that business up it fails and he

 

            6              has got properties all over this city that

 

            7              you're giving government grants and

 

            8              government funding and it doesn't seem to be

 

            9              given us a dime except the fear factor that

 

           10              if he leaves he takes everything with him.

 

           11              Well, I'm not going to give into that

 

           12              either.  If we are going to give him the

 

           13              monies because we support what he has done

 

           14              and not because he's scared to take it.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

           16              Mr. Bergerhoff.  Sam Patilla.

 

           17                      MR. PATILLA: Good evening,

 

           18              Mr. Courtright and Mrs. Evans.  Can I swap

 

           19              with Daniel?  Can I swap my time with Daniel

 

           20              because I really want to hear what he has to

 

           21              say.  Come on, Daniell.

 

           22                      MR. HUBBARD: Gets me home to my dad

 

           23              earlier.  Thank you.  Lately we have seen

 

           24              articles in the paper, you know, talking of

 

           25              progress and movement in the city.  My


 

 

                                                                      42

 

 

            1              question is where is the progress in

 

            2              Scranton?  There are actually less

 

            3              businesses in the downtown now than there

 

            4              were two years ago or eight years ago

 

            5              because the mall is not full, and if it is

 

            6              it's a turnover rate of every few months for

 

            7              some of the businesses, so let's talk about

 

            8              the progress in the downtown, and we are

 

            9              going to run through a little list of I

 

           10              guess what we call progress.

 

           11                      Quint's Army/Navy, empty.  Scranton

 

           12              Enterprise Center, empty spaces available.

 

           13              Scranton Bakery building, one or two spaces

 

           14              is still an empty space.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: And 60 jobs created.

 

           16                      MR. HUBBARD: Thank you.  Please.

 

           17              Please.  Two empty spaces in the Scranton

 

           18              Enterprise Center.  Scranton bakery building

 

           19              was restored and has one empty store front.

 

           20              The Citizens Bank on the corner of Wyoming

 

           21              and Lackawanna, empty, the entire building.

 

           22              Third floor above Alexander's empty and

 

           23              looking for tenants for office space.

 

           24                      The empty building next to the

 

           25              incoming Kildaire's, three empty retail


 

 

                                                                      43

 

 

            1              spaces.  The former Grabowski train store,

 

            2              two empty store fronts.  The Gianetta Music

 

            3              Building across the street from Giovanni

 

            4              Picolino's pizza store, two empty store

 

            5              fronts.  Empty.  Mulberry Street:  American

 

            6              Warhorse.  PCX Print Center has a space for

 

            7              rent.  600 block of Mulberry, two empty

 

            8              store fronts.  Spruce Street, 610 Spruce,

 

            9              one empty store front, Scranton Life

 

           10              Building, 426 Spruce, the former Boccardo's,

 

           11              the KOZ units above the Martini Bar, 414

 

           12              Spruce.  Helen Schwartz's building.  Linden

 

           13              Street.  Now, Linden is a tough one because

 

           14              we have demolished half of the street to

 

           15              hide the lack of progress because let's face

 

           16              it, a bulldozer knocking down an empty

 

           17              building is progress where an empty building

 

           18              is just an eyesore.  317 Linden, 419 Linden,

 

           19              Flashbacks, moved to Adams Avenue.  The 400

 

           20              block of Adams Avenue in the Scranton Center

 

           21              building, office spaces available with

 

           22              parking.  North Washington Avenue, Mulberry

 

           23              Plaza, right across the street, office space

 

           24              is available.  205-207 North Washington,

 

           25              Wyoming Avenue, 36,000 square feet of office


 

 

                                                                      44

 

 

            1              space available in the Oppenheim building.

 

            2              A space above Curry Donuts on the second

 

            3              floor.  The Semian Gress building,

 

            4              commercial space for rent.  214 Wyoming, 217

 

            5              Wyoming, 320 Peen, 306 Penn, 312 Penn, 220

 

            6              Penn, 119 Penn, 120 Franklin, empty space

 

            7              next to Whistle's in the same building and

 

            8              201 Franklin, the corner of the medical

 

            9              office building empty.  42 plus empty office

 

           10              suits, spaces or retail spaces in this city,

 

           11              not included in that list are empty spaces

 

           12              in the Steamtown Mall.

 

           13                      Now, from that list I purposely left

 

           14              out some several important structures.

 

           15              Southern Union, Connell building, 500 block

 

           16              and the new business park.  You know why,

 

           17              because they are not needed because we have

 

           18              43 empty office spaces in the downtown.

 

           19              Just the downtown.

 

           20                      Now Charlie Brown's closed.  That's

 

           21              in Scranton, another business shut down in

 

           22              this city.  How many businesses and empty

 

           23              spaces do we have just outside of downtown?

 

           24              So where is the progress?  How can you

 

           25              justify hundreds of millions of dollars in


 

 

                                                                      45

 

 

            1              taxpayer money being dumped into the 500

 

            2              block of Lackawanna Avenue and the Connell

 

            3              building and a new proposed business park

 

            4              when I would say a good almost 50 percent or

 

            5              more of our downtown is sitting empty?  So

 

            6              there is no progress.  The debt that's been

 

            7              created over the last eight years has driven

 

            8              this city backwards generations, so how can

 

            9              you say there is progress?  We have not

 

           10              brought any revenue producing businesses

 

           11              into this city that can overcome the amount

 

           12              of debt that's been accumulated so we are

 

           13              operating at a deficit so where is the

 

           14              progress.  How can you claim progress in a

 

           15              city that's going backwards?

 

           16                      Our debt outweighs any revenues

 

           17              coming into this city from businesses, and

 

           18              let's face it, if you are not going to

 

           19              change the mercantile tax and you are not

 

           20              going to change the wage tax and not going

 

           21              to change the tax structure on businesses in

 

           22              this city, nobody is going to come to this

 

           23              city and open a business when they can go to

 

           24              Moosic, Archbald, Dickson City, Old Forge

 

           25              and open a business in a close proximity to


 

 

                                                                      46

 

 

            1              the City of Scranton that people don't care

 

            2              that they are not in Scranton.

 

            3                      I mean, really do we honestly care?

 

            4              Is it really that difficult to go up to

 

            5              Dickson City or Moosic for us?  Most of us

 

            6              do it every day, so why could businesses

 

            7              open here with an oppressive mercantile tax

 

            8              and wage tax.  There is no progress in this

 

            9              city.  The only thing that's progressed is

 

           10              the level of our debt.  I mean, if you went

 

           11              back eight years I guarantee there were more

 

           12              businesses in the downtown, mom and pop

 

           13              shops especially, Deemer's, all of the other

 

           14              shops, some of these places I read off are

 

           15              these little store fronts that are empty,

 

           16              that were businesses that have stayed in

 

           17              this city, but you know what, there is no

 

           18              traffic.

 

           19                      Our downtown is supported by

 

           20              government welfare.  County, state, city,

 

           21              and federal employees.  By 5:00 in the

 

           22              evening this down is a ghosttown.  You could

 

           23              drive a golf ball down any major street in

 

           24              the downtown on Saturday or Sunday and you

 

           25              wouldn't hit a single person.  So, please,


 

 

                                                                      47

 

 

            1              if you are going to campaign, campaign on

 

            2              something, but don't campaign on progress

 

            3              because it's quite obvious to the people in

 

            4              this city that we have gone backwards,

 

            5              generations that are going to have to pay

 

            6              for this debt.

 

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

 

            8              Bill Dwyer.

 

            9                      MR. DWYER: Good evening, members of

 

           10              Council.  My name is Joe.  I'm with the

 

           11              House of Hope Ministries.  It's our local

 

           12              ministry housing single girls, girls who are

 

           13              pregnant, soon to be mothers with children

 

           14              and senior citizens who are displaced

 

           15              because they don't have the means today to

 

           16              support themselves.  I'm asking you today to

 

           17              help me in an endeavor we are trying to put

 

           18              forward in the community, and that is to use

 

           19              the available city-owned lots to raise food

 

           20              for the food pantries.  We have -- it's an

 

           21              ecumenical project in that several of the

 

           22              houses of worship of all different faiths

 

           23              have come together and have brain stormed on

 

           24              how we can best meet the needs of the local

 

           25              food pantries and the soup kitchens, and the


 

 

                                                                      48

 

 

            1              idea was proposed that we use the available

 

            2              space to plant fruits and vegetables on

 

            3              these open lots.  We met with Mayor Doherty,

 

            4              he likes the idea.  We met with several

 

            5              other people and they have not only

 

            6              supported us, but they have asked if they

 

            7              could become volunteers to help plant the

 

            8              seeds and harvest the produce.  I'm here

 

            9              asking for your endorsement and your support

 

           10              in helping us to bring this project to

 

           11              fruition.  Thank you.

 

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

 

           13              Jean Seta.

 

           14                      MS. SUETTA: Jean Suetta, Scranton.

 

           15              I'm not picking on you today, Bill.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you, Jeannie.

 

           17                      MS. SUETTA: Do we get grants for

 

           18              recycling?

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.

 

           20                      MS. SUETTA: We do?  Well, then why

 

           21              is the mayor jeopardizing that?

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI: Why?

 

           23                      MS. SUETTA: Because he has the

 

           24              television ad, Great Scranton, with the guy

 

           25              from "The Office," throwing plastic bottles


 

 

                                                                      49

 

 

            1              in the garbage.  I'm sure you seen the ad,

 

            2              where the guy takes the bottle and hits him

 

            3              in the head, but they are throwing plastic

 

            4              bottles in the garbage and there is not one

 

            5              recyclable container up at Nay Aug.  Not

 

            6              one.  As a matter of fact, there is none

 

            7              around the city.  They are only little blue

 

            8              containers, can't they put them out there?

 

            9                      And the streets, we all know they

 

           10              are deplorable.  Years ago when at they were

 

           11              bad we used to take the coal ashes and throw

 

           12              them in the holes.  I know they can't get

 

           13              hot patch, it ain't open yet, and the hot

 

           14              patch is no good.  If they threw the ashes

 

           15              in the hole at least it would be some kind

 

           16              of consistency there.

 

           17                      And, Judy, my friend went through

 

           18              the park to see the Christmas lights and he

 

           19              made a donation and he asked how many people

 

           20              went through, and you said 235,000 cars.

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI: I did?

 

           22                      MS. SUETTA: Yeah.  I don't know if

 

           23              you were being sarcastic or what, but if

 

           24              235,000 cars went through and they gave a

 

           25              dollar each --


 

 

                                                                      50

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: Whoever told you that

 

            2              is mistaken.

 

            3                      MS. SUETTA: John McKeean.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI: Well, he didn't tell

 

            5              you the truth, because I don't know how cars

 

            6              went through there.

 

            7                      MS. SUETTA: Well, you were there at

 

            8              the box --

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI:  I was volunteering.

 

           10                      MS. SUETTA:  Yeah.  You were there.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI: I didn't say how many

 

           12              cars went through because I don't know.

 

           13                      MS. SUETTA: Well, I don't think he'd

 

           14              lie to me.

 

           15                      MS. GATELLI: Well, maybe somebody

 

           16              else standing there said it, but I never

 

           17              said it because I don't know that.

 

           18                      MS. SUETTA: There's only one Judy

 

           19              Gatelli I know.

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI:  Well, I didn't say it.

 

           21                      MS. SUETTA:  All right.  He said you

 

           22              did.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI: Well, I didn't say it.

 

           24                      MS. SUETTA: Because if that many

 

           25              went through --


 

 

                                                                      51

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI:  I'll have to ask

 

            2              Mr. Dougher how many went through.

 

            3                      MS. SUETTA:  Yeah, because at a

 

            4              dollar a piece that's $235,000 and only

 

            5              $46,000 --

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI: I'll ask him how many

 

            7              if they have a record of it.  They do give

 

            8              us an account of how much money was

 

            9              collected.  We don't recall the amount.

 

           10                      MS. SUETTA: And who is the engineer

 

           11              that put the island down on Lackawanna

 

           12              Avenue by Coney Island?  They are doing

 

           13              construction on this side.  There is two

 

           14              parking places in front of Coney Island and

 

           15              the Scranton Hobby Center.  How are these

 

           16              people going to compete with anybody with

 

           17              this thing they put down the middle?  Why

 

           18              would they even to that?  Take the parking,

 

           19              there is no parking.  And you can't park in

 

           20              the bank they will tow you.

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI:  I know Coney Island

 

           22              has some spots on the side.

 

           23                      MS. SUETTA:  There is two.  There is

 

           24              two in front.

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI: No, I mean on the side


 

 

                                                                      52

 

 

            1              of the building.

 

            2                      MS. SUETTA: Do they?

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  When you go in the

 

            4              court.  You have to go in the court.

 

            5                      MS. SUETTA: How many people know to

 

            6              go in the court?

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI:  I don't know.

 

            8                      MS. SUETTA: You can't double park

 

            9              because there is only one lane, and when you

 

           10              are making a left-hand turn you got to -- if

 

           11              you're trying to go straight then your stuck

 

           12              through two lights.  Who put the island

 

           13              there?  Whose idea?

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't know.

 

           15                      MS. SUETTA: You like my Polish beads

 

           16              for Fat Tuesday?

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI: Mardi Gras.  Did you

 

           18              have your Paczacki's today?

 

           19                      MS. SUETTA:  No, I went up to

 

           20              Charlie Brown's today and it was closed.  It

 

           21              pissed me off.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Please.

 

           23                      MS. SUETTA: I know.  I know.  And

 

           24              the Bishop, while he get condemned them

 

           25              churches wait until I start on him.


 

 

                                                                      53

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI: Yeah, don't.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Don't start on him.

 

            3                      MS. SUETTA: You know, if he won't

 

            4              open the church let everybody go up to

 

            5              DeNaple's landfill, with Bobby Kazern is his

 

            6              name, say the mass, and we'll give him all

 

            7              the blessing.  You know why, we have to kiss

 

            8              his dupa.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Please.

 

           10                      MS. SUETTA:  That's not a curse I

 

           11              could have used the one and why don't we

 

           12              just call him a donkey name.  All right.

 

           13              I'm not picking on you, Bill.

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you.

 

           15                      MS. SUETTA:  Have a good night.  Why

 

           16              wouldn't he let the policewomen have

 

           17              representation when they were having that

 

           18              hearing over what's his name calling them

 

           19              whores?  He wouldn't let them have no union

 

           20              representation at all.  I don't think it's

 

           21              right.  I mean, I know what it's like to be

 

           22              a woman working with all men.  I was the

 

           23              first garbage woman and I took more guff

 

           24              than you can handle, but I dished it out

 

           25              back.


 

 

                                                                      54

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT: We believe that.

 

            2                      MS. SUETTA: But why can't they use

 

            3              the ashes?

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI:  I know they have been

 

            5              using cold patch because I seen some of them

 

            6              being filled.

 

            7                      MS. SUETTA: Some of the holes are

 

            8              like MINES.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI: I know.  I saw them

 

           10              using it on the viaduct and they are using

 

           11              cold patch right now.

 

           12                      MS. SUETTA:  I came down Hochiman

 

           13              trail to get here today over Albright

 

           14              Avenue.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Jean.  Bob

 

           16              Martin.

 

           17                      MR. MARTIN: Distinguished members of

 

           18              council, Bob Martin, president of the

 

           19              Fraternal Order of Police.  When I spoke

 

           20              before you last week I neglected to address

 

           21              one very important issue.  Over the weekend

 

           22              I was in Philadelphia and it became more

 

           23              poignant to me when I made that neglect and

 

           24              that was I failed to recognize the men and

 

           25              woman I represent.  I want to come before


 

 

                                                                      55

 

 

            1              you say I'm proud to do that and I am proud

 

            2              to do that because they come to work

 

            3              everyday under extreme and unbearable

 

            4              adverse conditions, and that is the

 

            5              disgraceful way that they are being

 

            6              disrespected in this city.

 

            7                      And the incident that I'm referring

 

            8              to in Philadelphia I'm sure you are all

 

            9              aware, the Friday night before I addressed

 

           10              you was there was a fallen police officer,

 

           11              25-year-old police officer in Philadelphia

 

           12              left his wife five months pregnant, and I

 

           13              failed to recognize them and I hope the

 

           14              citizens and the City of Scranton and the

 

           15              council don't fail to recognize and

 

           16              appreciate what they do every day and what

 

           17              they have been doing.  Not only do they come

 

           18              to work every day, but they come to work and

 

           19              they do a stellar job, it's unbelievable

 

           20              that they do that for me, and I just want

 

           21              everybody to understand that I am thankful,

 

           22              my family and myself personally thank them

 

           23              for coming in every day and working under

 

           24              the conditions they do and doing the job

 

           25              that they do.  I just want to say thank you.


 

 

                                                                      56

 

 

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

 

            2              Marie Schumacher.

 

            3                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Good evening.  Marie

 

            4              Schumacher, resident and member of the

 

            5              taxpayers' organization.  Tonight I would

 

            6              like to ask why in our progressive city we

 

            7              can't pay our property taxes using a credit

 

            8              card as you can in other places that are

 

            9              fairly progressive.  At least that way it

 

           10              dulls the pain if we get extra points on

 

           11              our --

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Rewards.

 

           13                      MS. SCHUMACHER: So I would like

 

           14              someone to look into why we can't pay our

 

           15              property taxes with credit cards.  Next,

 

           16              Alexander's Salon, the agreement, this keeps

 

           17              cropping up, and it's very troubling.  Late

 

           18              in December of '08 Joe Pilcheski requested a

 

           19              copy of the agreement which he received I

 

           20              believe in early February and posted to his

 

           21              website.  I read it there, but I had also

 

           22              requested to review that same agreement via

 

           23              Right-to-Know, and my appointment was today,

 

           24              and lo and behold when I went down there

 

           25              today it was total different agreement from


 

 

                                                                      57

 

 

            1              the one that was provided to Mr. Pilcheski

 

            2              just a few weeks ago, and I don't understand

 

            3              that and I would like to know why the two

 

            4              agreements are different.

 

            5                      If I had to vote, I'd like to vote

 

            6              in favor of the one that I reviewed this

 

            7              afternoon because that took away the no

 

            8              payment at all for three years and if the

 

            9              requisite number of employees had been hired

 

           10              the loan would turn into a grant in three

 

           11              years, that also has also been deleted in

 

           12              what I reviewed today.

 

           13                      MS. FANUCCI:  Which one was that

 

           14              one?  I'm confused, was it the one that --

 

           15                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Alexander's

 

           16              agreement, the quarter of a million

 

           17              dollars--

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI: Yeah, but you are

 

           19              saying there was two, so which amount was

 

           20              that agreement that you read today.  Both --

 

           21                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  You are taking my

 

           22              time.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI:  Well, I'm asking you

 

           24              -- if you don't want to -- I can't help you

 

           25              if I don't know what the heck you are


 

 

                                                                      58

 

 

            1              talking about.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Just hold the time for a

 

            3              moment.

 

            4                      MS. SCHUMACHER: I said it's the same

 

            5              agreement --

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Schumacher?

 

            7                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Yes

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: Just maybe to answer --

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI: It's not clear.  Go

 

           10              ahead.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Well, the agreement --

 

           12              the agreement that was originally -- or the

 

           13              legislation that was originally presented to

 

           14              us as a loan that would turn into a grant,

 

           15              that was I believe, my recollection is that

 

           16              we sent that back and changed it to --

 

           17                      MS. FANUCCI: What you say.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: -- a loan only and that

 

           19              that is the legislation that was passed.

 

           20                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  Well, what --

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: That is strictly a loan.

 

           22                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  Well, then it's

 

           23              rather incredible that Mr. Renda would send

 

           24              in response to a Right-To-Know request to a

 

           25              citizen just several short weeks ago the


 

 

                                                                      59

 

 

            1              agreement which was signed and stated that

 

            2              there were no payments due for three years

 

            3              and --

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI:  You didn't receive

 

            5              that?

 

            6                      MS. SCHUMACHER: No.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI: Was it your

 

            8              Right-To-Know letter?

 

            9                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  I said Mr.

 

           10              Pilcheski did that and he posted it on his

 

           11              website, I read it there, and then I went in

 

           12              today and reviewed it and it had been marked

 

           13              up, it had not been marked up until January

 

           14              of '08 which was -- and I believe you

 

           15              approved that in April of 2007, so --

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: I can't explain why the

 

           17              difference.  All I can do is tell you that

 

           18              the deal -- or the Alexander's legislation

 

           19              was a loan.

 

           20                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Thank you, because

 

           21              that was very troubling to see two different

 

           22              things with the same -- now, onto Mt.

 

           23              Pleasant.  I received also in response to a

 

           24              Right-To-Know, I asked for a list of the

 

           25              KOZ/KOEZ properties by map number, and I


 

 

                                                                      60

 

 

            1              received that subsequent to the meeting last

 

            2              week.  The Mt. Pleasant Corporate Center is

 

            3              on that list, but I have also been informed

 

            4              that the property taxes were paid on that,

 

            5              so I didn't again find that out this

 

            6              afternoon, so I will do some more

 

            7              investigating before next week.

 

            8                      Now, I also recall reading that

 

            9              Tripp Park had a water problem and judge --

 

           10              well, one of the judges anyway, said that

 

           11              the city was partly responsible and I have

 

           12              here a Rosemount resident sued Old Forge

 

           13              developer and here is what the Borough of

 

           14              Old Forge did.  It said, "The Borough is

 

           15              also seeking permission to temporarily

 

           16              repair the development's roads and to pass

 

           17              that cost onto the developer by judgment and

 

           18              municipal lien and to assess fines and costs

 

           19              if they fail to do so within 30 days."

 

           20                      Has the city done a similar thing

 

           21              with the village of Tripp Park issue or are

 

           22              those poor people still subject to water?

 

           23              Does anybody know?

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI:  We are not involved in

 

           25              the litigation.


 

 

                                                                      61

 

 

            1                      MS. SCHUMACHER: It's not litigation.

 

            2                      MS. GATELLI: Well, it was a result

 

            3              of a lawsuit --

 

            4                      MS. SCHUMACHER: It was decided by a

 

            5              judge.

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI: -- and we are not, you

 

            7              know, we are not involved in that.

 

            8                      MS. SCHUMACHER: But what action is

 

            9              the city taking?

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI: Until it's through

 

           11              litigation.

 

           12                      MS. SCHUMACHER: But what action is

 

           13              the city taking in response to that, that's

 

           14              what I'm asking.  Here is a suggested way

 

           15              that another municipality --

 

           16                      MS. GATELLI: We will have to ask

 

           17              Attorney Patterson.

 

           18                      MS. SCHUMACHER: I would like that.

 

           19              Thank you.  And now concerning all of these

 

           20              grants to all of these private developers,

 

           21              we get no equity out of them, I would like

 

           22              to implore all of you to get with our state

 

           23              representatives and ask them to do something

 

           24              that would benefit everybody and that is

 

           25              instead of giving the money with all kinds


 

 

                                                                      62

 

 

            1              of strings attached that you have to give it

 

            2              to a developer, give it to the city to

 

            3              reduce the wage tax.  That would be fair to

 

            4              every business.

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI: You can't do that.

 

            6                      MS. SCHUMACHER:  Yes, I know,

 

            7              Mrs. Fanucci, that it's not --

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI:  It was Bill that said

 

            9              it --

 

           10                      MS. SCHUMACHER: You --

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: -- to me and I agreed.

 

           12                      MS. SCHUMACHER: You shook your head.

 

           13                      MS. FANUCCI: You are speaking, but

 

           14              you can't do that, but, go ahead.

 

           15                      MS. SCHUMACHER: But with legislation

 

           16              you can, and you should be down on your

 

           17              knees imploring people to give the money to

 

           18              the city to reduce that wage tax so that we

 

           19              can be competitive with those -- at least

 

           20              those who are around us who only have a 1

 

           21              percent wage tax, and so it's fair to

 

           22              everybody and it reduces taxes and it

 

           23              doesn't give developers a gift.

 

           24                      And now I would start -- like to

 

           25              start reading a letter that I wrote to the


 

 

                                                                      63

 

 

            1              Secretary of the Department of Community and

 

            2              Economic Development.  I guess I'll do that

 

            3              next week.  Thank you.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.

 

            5              Schumacher.  Bill Jackowitz.

 

            6                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Bill Jackowitz, South

 

            7              Scranton resident and member of the Scranton

 

            8              Lackawanna County Taxpayers' Association.

 

            9              First of all, I would like to remind people

 

           10              that the government, any government, any

 

           11              branch of government can't give anybody

 

           12              anything until they first take it from

 

           13              someone else, and that someone else are

 

           14              myself, and you people, anybody who has ever

 

           15              paid taxes of any sort that's who the

 

           16              government takes their money from and 11 1/2

 

           17              million dollars of public taxpayers' money

 

           18              for 40 jobs it doesn't add up unless those

 

           19              jobs are each paying $500,000 to each one of

 

           20              those 40 people, it doesn't add up.  This is

 

           21              all public taxpayers' money.

 

           22                      Okay.  Now, I would like to read

 

           23              something about the First Amendment because

 

           24              we have this discussion a lot around here.

 

           25              "Oklahoma City police officer pulls man over


 

 

                                                                      64

 

 

            1              from anti-Obama sign on vehicle.  The police

 

            2              officer who stopped the Oklahoma city

 

            3              motorist, Chip Harrison, and confiscated a

 

            4              sign from his car and told him he has a

 

            5              right to his beliefs, but the Secret Service

 

            6              could construe this as a threat against

 

            7              President Obama.

 

            8                      According to the incident report

 

            9              released this morning, the sign which read

 

           10              "Abort Obama not the unborn" was returned to

 

           11              Harrison later that day the report said.

 

           12              The police spokesman, Steve McCool, said

 

           13              this morning that the sign was taken in

 

           14              error and Oklahoma city residents should not

 

           15              be worried that their First Amendment Rights

 

           16              will be violated.

 

           17                      Harrison told the officer that in

 

           18              his opinion the words "Abort Obama" meant to

 

           19              impeach him.  He told the officers he does

 

           20              not believe in abortion because he is a

 

           21              Christian.  Harrison was stopped on the

 

           22              Westbound Interstate 248 at 8:45 a.m. on

 

           23              February the 12th according to the police

 

           24              report.  Harrison said he later received a

 

           25              call from a person who said he was a


 

 

                                                                      65

 

 

            1              lieutenant supervisor for the internal

 

            2              investigation's department and wanted to

 

            3              know his location and return his sign to

 

            4              him.

 

            5                      According to Harrison, the

 

            6              supervisor said the Secret Service has been

 

            7              contacted on the matter and told him the

 

            8              sign was not a threat to the president.

 

            9              Harrison was asked if he would like to file

 

           10              a complaint, and he said he was not sure,

 

           11              but would take the paperwork just in case,

 

           12              but his run-in with the law wasn't over yet.

 

           13                      The Secret Service called and said

 

           14              they were at my house, Harrison said.  After

 

           15              talking to his attorney Harrison went home

 

           16              where he met the Secret Service.  "When I

 

           17              was on my way the Secret Service called me

 

           18              and said they weren't going to ransack my

 

           19              house or anything, they just wanted to walk

 

           20              through the house and make sure I wasn't

 

           21              part of any hate group."

 

           22                      Harrison said he invited the Secret

 

           23              Service agents into his house and they were

 

           24              very cordial.  We walked through the house

 

           25              and my wife and two-year-old were in the


 

 

                                                                      66

 

 

            1              house, Harrison said.  He said the

 

            2              interviewed him for about 30 minutes and

 

            3              then left not finding any evidence Harrison

 

            4              was a threat to the president.

 

            5                      I'm still in contact with the lawyer

 

            6              right now, Harrison said.  I don't know what

 

            7              I'm going to do.  Harrison said he feels his

 

            8              First Amendment Rights were violated.

 

            9              McCool said the officer that pulled over

 

           10              Harrison misinterpreted the sign.  We had an

 

           11              officer that his interpretation of the sign

 

           12              was different than what was meant McCool

 

           13              said.  You got an officer who had a

 

           14              different thought on what the word abort

 

           15              meant.  McCool said the sign basically meant

 

           16              Obama should be impeached and it was not a

 

           17              threat.  The officer shouldn't have taken

 

           18              the sign, McCool said.  That was Harrison's

 

           19              First Amendment Right to voice his concern.

 

           20                      McCool said although the sign should

 

           21              not have been confiscated the situation was

 

           22              made right in the end.  We always try to do

 

           23              the right thing and in end we did the right

 

           24              thing by returning the sign McCool said."

 

           25                      The same thing happened with Joe


 

 

                                                                      67

 

 

            1              Decker down in Kingston with his four-letter

 

            2              sign in the back of his vehicle.  The first

 

            3              Amendment is very strong and we have the

 

            4              right as citizens to express our opinions

 

            5              and city council rules or whatever do not

 

            6              matter.  We, as citizens, have the right and

 

            7              it's been proven over and over and over and

 

            8              in Court how strong the First Amendment is,

 

            9              and every military person who has ever

 

           10              defended this country defended the First

 

           11              Amendment right and no one, no one is going

 

           12              to take that away, so when people come up

 

           13              here at this podium or anywhere and speak

 

           14              their mind and say what they believe you do

 

           15              not have to listen to them, you do not have

 

           16              to believe what they say, but you cannot

 

           17              stop them from saying what they want to say

 

           18              because that is the First Amendment Right in

 

           19              the constitution and every single American

 

           20              has that right and it was proven again, just

 

           21              like the lady who cursed at her toilet, that

 

           22              case was thrown away, also.

 

           23                      So as an American citizen, you have

 

           24              the right to express yourself at any time if

 

           25              you want to do just that, and another


 

 

                                                                      68

 

 

            1              person's opinion is just that.  Their

 

            2              opinion.  It's not the law.  And if you go

 

            3              to Court nine out of ten times the person is

 

            4              going to be allowed to say what they want to

 

            5              say.  And again, just another case, so, you

 

            6              know, we could talk about city council

 

            7              rules, they mean absolutely nothing.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone other speakers?

 

            9              Mr. Patilla?

 

           10                      MR. PATILLA:  Good evening, Mrs.

 

           11              Evans and Mr. Courtright.  The reason I

 

           12              requested that Daniel come ahead of me,

 

           13              since Phyllis and I relocated to Scranton

 

           14              three years ago, and I don't consider a

 

           15              doggy park, a $350,000 doggy park or the

 

           16              things that's going on in Nay Aug Park to be

 

           17              progress, okay?  I consider family

 

           18              sustaining jobs, the creation of family

 

           19              sustaining jobs, that's progress.

 

           20                      You know, getting outside

 

           21              communities to come into Scranton and spend

 

           22              their money, that's progress.  You know,

 

           23              given 11.5 million dollars to a crony

 

           24              developer for a garage, that's not progress,

 

           25              that's just more same of the same.


 

 

                                                                      69

 

 

            1                      And, Mr. Courtright, I have one

 

            2              question, what's the status of the Hilton?

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT: As far as what?

 

            4                      MR. PATILLA:  Is it in foreclosure,

 

            5              has it been sold or --

 

            6                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  As far as I know

 

            7              it's still operational.

 

            8                      MR. PATILLA: Okay, the reason I

 

            9              question that is that I know at one point I

 

           10              read somewhere where they had not only a

 

           11              state but a federal lien against that

 

           12              business and awhile back it was a $3 million

 

           13              loan from the city made to that organization

 

           14              and I'm just looking for some type of leeway

 

           15              when the taxpayers are going to get their

 

           16              money back, you know, because with the case

 

           17              with many of the deals made within this

 

           18              city, you know, and it has been spoken on by

 

           19              other speakers, the taxpayers are often left

 

           20              with their hands held out and their pockets

 

           21              empty, you know, you give our money to these

 

           22              organizations and these individuals and we

 

           23              don't reap any of the benefits, you know.

 

           24                      You know, as I look on the agenda,

 

           25              the $3 million for Boscov's, now, actually,


 

 

                                                                      70

 

 

            1              if that money were to remain in Scranton I

 

            2              wouldn't have a problem with it.  Well,

 

            3              actually I would be because you are talking

 

            4              it from the low to moderate income people

 

            5              again, but if the money was actually used

 

            6              invested to pursue job creations here in

 

            7              Scranton then I don't think anybody would

 

            8              really have a problem with that, but we all

 

            9              know that's not the case, you know?

 

           10                      I think that the owner, as well

 

           11              intended as he might be, needs to take a

 

           12              closer look at consolidation and close down

 

           13              some of the stores that aren't performing as

 

           14              well in order to get the financing that he

 

           15              needs.  Luckily, the taxpayers have an ace

 

           16              in the hole being that this application had

 

           17              to go through HUD and they are not tied into

 

           18              Scranton politics and with any luck they

 

           19              will send this thing right back to you

 

           20              telling him to go take a hike, you know,

 

           21              because since I have been here all I see is

 

           22              millions upon millions of taxpayer money and

 

           23              assets poured into these projects or scams

 

           24              is what they actually are, and we get

 

           25              nothing in return but more headaches.


 

 

                                                                      71

 

 

            1                      You know, this country is in a

 

            2              tailspin and then to have your mayor stand

 

            3              on WYOU television and tell the world that

 

            4              we are in great shape when our police or

 

            5              fire unions having had paid costs of -- paid

 

            6              increases and cost of living increases for

 

            7              six or seven years, you know, we just

 

            8              settled with the clerical union.  You know,

 

            9              we have an abundance of senior citizens

 

           10              trying to decide rather to eat or pay their

 

           11              bills thanks to NCC, and you know the bogus

 

           12              deals made by this man.  You know, there is

 

           13              no way you can consider this progress

 

           14              because it's not progress.

 

           15                      Each week you have individuals and

 

           16              Scranton taxpayers a long-time Scranton

 

           17              residents come before you with bonafide

 

           18              suggestions, I heard one earlier, the

 

           19              gentleman talking about using some of the

 

           20              lots for vegetable gardens and flower

 

           21              gardens, something I think I said two and a

 

           22              half years ago, you know?

 

           23                      As our elected officials and our

 

           24              appointed officials sometimes individuals

 

           25              have to take the wax out of their ears, they


 

 

                                                                      72

 

 

            1              have to get off their little high horse and

 

            2              they have to actually pay attention to what

 

            3              the bill payers -- those actually paying the

 

            4              bills are saying.

 

            5                      You know, nobody has anything

 

            6              against you personally because, like I said,

 

            7              half the people don't even know you on a

 

            8              personal level.  You know, they just know

 

            9              you as their representative and they look

 

           10              for you for guidance when things don't go

 

           11              right, and if they come here and they ask a

 

           12              question and they get shot off or blown off

 

           13              or ridiculed, you know, that hostility is

 

           14              self-created, and it's not what -- it's not

 

           15              what we are looking for.  All we want is a

 

           16              reason why you spend our money on such and

 

           17              such a project?  Why is that individual

 

           18              getting our money when it should be going to

 

           19              a business within Scranton?  I can't recall

 

           20              too many agendas that I have read since I

 

           21              came to this city that the money actually

 

           22              went to a developer with roots to Scranton.

 

           23                      And one more thing before I go, this

 

           24              morning I got my letter of expungement from

 

           25              the bogus charges back in 2007, I believe,


 

 

                                                                      73

 

 

            1              and I want a $25,000 loan from OECD so I

 

            2              could buy a frame and hang it up, all right?

 

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

 

            4                      MR. PATILLA: Now, if you got the

 

            5              individual at OECD given his father and

 

            6              other family members, money --

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Patilla, thank you.

 

            8                      MR. PATILLA: -- Then I want my

 

            9              money, too.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: Mr. Patilla, you can't

 

           11              return, but I did want you to provide you

 

           12              just a bit of information about the Hilton,

 

           13              the city continues to pay annual payments on

 

           14              the Section 108 loan for the Hilton Hotel,

 

           15              that's been ongoing now for that I'm aware

 

           16              of since at least 2004.  As for the

 

           17              $3 million, I believe that I can say safely

 

           18              the city will never see that money because

 

           19              at the time that the threatened foreclosure

 

           20              was occurring an agreement was struck

 

           21              between the mayor and the owners of the

 

           22              Hilton at that time and part of that

 

           23              agreement was that the city would see it's

 

           24              $3 million at the time of sale of the Hilton

 

           25              hotel to yet another purchaser, but it is


 

 

                                                                      74

 

 

            1              the sale price that is highly questionable

 

            2              because if memory serves me correctly I

 

            3              think it was something like 30 to 35 million

 

            4              dollars, and I don't believe we are going to

 

            5              see any group coming in and making a

 

            6              $30 million purchase of the Hilton Hotel.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Evans --

 

            8                      MR. PATILLA: Thank you, Mrs. Evans.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF:  -- and Mr. Patilla.

 

           10              Any other speakers?

 

           11                      MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.

 

           12              The only thing I have is it seems tonight

 

           13              that the agenda basically only has to do

 

           14              with the Connell Building, and to be honest

 

           15              with you, you know, I mean, even the

 

           16              president of the United States is talking

 

           17              about ending all the waste of money and that

 

           18              we really have to do something about the

 

           19              problem we have of misspending the money and

 

           20              the revenues that we take in, and for the

 

           21              life of me with all of the millions of

 

           22              dollars that we have put into this building

 

           23              I really don't see how it will ever benefit

 

           24              us and, you know, I have to agree.

 

           25                      I mean, I know I came late today, I


 

 

                                                                      75

 

 

            1              went to meet with some candidates for judge,

 

            2              but I'm just really troubled because it just

 

            3              seems that after almost two decades of

 

            4              coming here to these council chambers I

 

            5              haven't really seen anything that benefits

 

            6              the average every day Scrantonian, almost

 

            7              nothing.  I mean, we have got a drug problem

 

            8              in the city that a playground program could

 

            9              have helped to alleviate by, you know,

 

           10              giving young adolescents and young children

 

           11              another avenue to keep their minds occupied

 

           12              in the summer.  It would have fought

 

           13              vandalism.

 

           14                      We have a mayor with all kinds of

 

           15              plans and building parking garages and

 

           16              things that the residents of this city just

 

           17              can't pay for.  I mean, I have to be honest

 

           18              and tell you that I've got a very good job,

 

           19              probably better than most people in this

 

           20              city and I don't mean that to belittle

 

           21              people that make less money than me, but

 

           22              when your tax bills come it's just heart

 

           23              wrenching, and then to see the way the

 

           24              agendas spins through this council.  I mean.

 

           25              If the waste is ever going to end it's going


 

 

                                                                      76

 

 

            1              to end here.  I mean, this council is going

 

            2              to be the people that are going to make this

 

            3              city turn around and grow, and for the life

 

            4              of me -- I mean, Mr. Hubbard came up here

 

            5              and spoke about all of the vacant

 

            6              properties, commercial properties in the

 

            7              downtown, well, that's a problem throughout

 

            8              the whole United States.  The only country

 

            9              that's even close to us is Great Britain

 

           10              that has a vacancy rate almost as high as

 

           11              ours, and it just seems that when things

 

           12              come up to council they just pass them.  I

 

           13              mean, this is millions of dollars.

 

           14                      The budget came through and then --

 

           15              and it's passed and then later on you turn

 

           16              around to the residents and say, well, that

 

           17              was in the budget, we got to raise this, we

 

           18              got to do that, tax anticipation notes every

 

           19              year.  I mean, tons and tons of debt.  I

 

           20              mean, how long can you beat a dead horse

 

           21              until it's actually dead?

 

           22                      Is there any real hope for the

 

           23              residents of in city that to ever pay the

 

           24              debt they owe?  I don't think there is and I

 

           25              have to say that if this is all you can put


 

 

                                                                      77

 

 

            1              on the agenda for the benefit of

 

            2              Scrantonians maybe we should just abolish

 

            3              council, because evidently if we can't do

 

            4              anything good.

 

            5                      I mean, you know, we have no

 

            6              dangerous dog ordinance.  We have -- I

 

            7              brought pictures in here at one time where a

 

            8              dog was ripped to sheds right in his own

 

            9              yard.  I mean, you know, you have got to

 

           10              actually come back to reality here sometime

 

           11              soon.  Good luck.

 

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

 

           13              Anyone else?

 

           14                      MR. ELLMAN: I will.  Well, Ronnie

 

           15              Ellman, homeowner and member of the

 

           16              Taxpayers' Association and a taxpayer.  I

 

           17              paid my taxes this week under protest.  I

 

           18              wasn't going to come tonight, but Miss Rosie

 

           19              through me out of the house so she could get

 

           20              some work done so you can blame her for the

 

           21              inconvenience.

 

           22                      You know, I spend all of my time at

 

           23              the grocery store talking to people and I

 

           24              have come to the conclusion that council

 

           25              doesn't hear the people of the city.  I


 

 

                                                                      78

 

 

            1              haven't talked to one person in the past

 

            2              month or so that thinks Boscov's is worth a

 

            3              darn.  He is going to take our money and it

 

            4              will be in an Easton Bank.  He is a

 

            5              dinosaur, well, the business is a dinosaur.

 

            6              It's not going to make it.

 

            7                      Last Sunday I went to John's Big

 

            8              Lot's and I got Miss Rosie a set of

 

            9              stainless eight pieces for $20, and in the

 

           10              same paper Boscov's had ten pieces for $200.

 

           11              You know, their buyer is out of touch or

 

           12              something.  You know, I don't care what the

 

           13              experts say, you can't keep in business with

 

           14              things like this going on.

 

           15                      I have heard nothing -- I haven't

 

           16              heard one person say that they favor any

 

           17              more KOZ's.  I won't call Mr. Burke any

 

           18              names tonight, but he is just a big stuffed

 

           19              shirt, like I said.  He is a bag of wind, he

 

           20              got a $200,000 salary so what's he care if

 

           21              all of the KOZ's are seven more years.

 

           22              There are people like me that had to pay

 

           23              taxes this week and it's a struggle.  It's

 

           24              like borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.  It's

 

           25              ashame.  I talked to three or four people


 

 

                                                                      79

 

 

            1              when I was down their paying taxes and there

 

            2              is no happy campers down there, I'll tell

 

            3              you, with the way the city is being run.

 

            4                      You know, you people you refuse to

 

            5              acknowledge what's happening.  We are not

 

            6              making any progress.  You know, this very

 

            7              television, and I don't mean anything

 

            8              adverse to this young man, this television

 

            9              was taken something good and turning it into

 

           10              something bad.  I went to the library and

 

           11              got a tape you can't hear nothing, you can't

 

           12              see nothing, they are terrible, and then if

 

           13              you compare it to what we had it's like

 

           14              sixth-graders or somebody could probably do

 

           15              better.

 

           16                      Well, I got a whole bunch more

 

           17              notes.  I would like to say one thing though

 

           18              before I leave, I have talked to some people

 

           19              about the licensing practices, I guess, of

 

           20              the city for these little vendors that come

 

           21              up like the Latino affair and the big car

 

           22              show and they can only enhance this city and

 

           23              they are in business one or two days.  It's

 

           24              so ridiculous to have somebody over there

 

           25              chasing them down and wanting $100 for


 

 

                                                                      80

 

 

            1              whatever it is for fees.  I think the city

 

            2              ought to be able to get together with some

 

            3              kind of licensing for these people that are

 

            4              only in business a day or two or three out

 

            5              of the whole year.  I spoke to a man at the

 

            6              St. Joseph's and he said he didn't have to

 

            7              pay any fee, but I have had a couple of

 

            8              people when I watch them play soccer down

 

            9              there during the summer and they said they

 

           10              were bothered for fees and they are in

 

           11              business, you know, one day for a couple of

 

           12              hours, not even a day, a couple of hours

 

           13              trying to sell some tacos.

 

           14                      And they did the same thing at the

 

           15              car show last summer.  That can only help

 

           16              the city, my God, there was probably hundred

 

           17              cars there from out-of-state and there is a

 

           18              chance for something to grow and those

 

           19              people the vendors that were there they paid

 

           20              $25 to be there then the city comes along

 

           21              want licensing and it's not right, you know.

 

           22              It's just greed.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI:  Mr. Ellman, if they

 

           24              are selling food they have to have a license

 

           25              so that the health inspector can inspect


 

 

                                                                      81

 

 

            1              their food products so no one will get sick.

 

            2                      MR. ELLMAN: I don't know what the

 

            3              man was selling that day at St. Joseph's --

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI: Tacos.

 

            5                      MR. ELLMAN: But I imagine it was

 

            6              food.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI: Well, they had to have

 

            8              a permit to sell food.

 

            9                      MR. ELLMAN: And I don't know if you

 

           10              knew Sammy Diana died, I don't know if you

 

           11              knew Sammy, he used to have the -- he was

 

           12              telling me he said I might not go another

 

           13              year because it's gotten some expensive and

 

           14              he told me some kind of exorbitant rate that

 

           15              he paid downtown, I forgot what it was.

 

           16                      MS. GATELLI:  For the Festival.

 

           17                      MR. ELLMAN: Five, six hundred

 

           18              dollars or so.

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI: For La Festa.  That's

 

           20              different than us.  They pay that to La

 

           21              Festa.

 

           22                      MS. ELLMAN: Well, I'm just saying,

 

           23              he told me it he had grown so much that he

 

           24              wasn't going anymore.

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI: Well, he's still -- his


 

 

                                                                      82

 

 

            1              family is still there.

 

            2                      MS. ELLMAN: Well, I know he is not.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI: The boys are still

 

            4              there, Marlow and Angel.

 

            5                      MR. ELLMAN: Thank you.

 

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

 

            7                      MS. KRAKE: Good evening, Council.

 

            8              My name is Nancy Krake.  I would just first

 

            9              of all like to remind everyone if they are

 

           10              able to pay their delinquent real estate

 

           11              taxes before April 1 in the City Treasurer's

 

           12              Office, thereby, bypassing NCC's very large

 

           13              fines.  I would also like to remind council

 

           14              president, current and past president, that

 

           15              I would have assumed you would have a

 

           16              learned what happens when you suppress and

 

           17              oppress the speakers.  They just scream that

 

           18              much louder.  So, I really -- that being

 

           19              said, believe that there should be no

 

           20              problem when someone says they would like

 

           21              everyone in the city to exercise their right

 

           22              to vote.  There is nothing wrong with that

 

           23              statement.  I don't think anyone here said

 

           24              it tonight in any way that was offensive, so

 

           25              I'm just going to put that out there every


 

 

                                                                      83

 

 

            1              week, also.  There is a flag behind you and

 

            2              you are to uphold those laws.

 

            3                      Last week, Ms. Fanucci once again

 

            4              said that legal fees would be coming to the

 

            5              city.  They do not come to the city, they go

 

            6              to the attorneys that collect them.  She

 

            7              also alluded to the fact that a person owed

 

            8              taxes all that information is public, she

 

            9              did not say the name, however.  So, once

 

           10              again, any of the fees in the ordinances

 

           11              that was passed by this council for legal

 

           12              services do not come to the city coffers.

 

           13                      Legislation to enforce collection of

 

           14              wage tax would be what I would assume that

 

           15              this council next is going to be pushing

 

           16              because they are extremely interested in

 

           17              collecting delinquent wage tax -- or, excuse

 

           18              me, delinquent real estate tax, they will do

 

           19              anything, in fact, to collect that, impose

 

           20              huge fines and fees, they want it to be

 

           21              punitive but nothing, nothing for wage tax,

 

           22              which is where all of our money lies.  I

 

           23              think it will be a very large source of

 

           24              revenue since we have eight years to

 

           25              collect.


 

 

                                                                      84

 

 

            1                      Also, several weeks ago I asked a

 

            2              question about why the 2009 budget does not

 

            3              have -- or, excuse me, has the fact that the

 

            4              clerical union health care costs have gone

 

            5              down 32 percent and Mrs. Fanucci was going

 

            6              to ask I believe she said Stu Renda and Lisa

 

            7              Moran for the answer to that.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI: We didn't receive it.

 

            9                      MS. KRAKE: We did receive it?

 

           10                      MS. FANUCCI: We did not receive it.

 

           11                      MS. KRAKE:  Oh, you did not receive

 

           12              it.  Okay, I would again then ask if anyone

 

           13              on council would be able to get that

 

           14              information what the active cost is for

 

           15              health care for the clerical union and what

 

           16              the retiree health care costs are and why

 

           17              it's gone down 35 percent and what that

 

           18              refers to?  Does it refer to the active

 

           19              35 percent in combined amount?  What I'm

 

           20              asking for is a breakdown.

 

           21                      MS. FANUCCI: A breakdown of the

 

           22              retired and active.

 

           23                      MS. KRAKE: And where these figures

 

           24              come from.  We are self-insured and it was

 

           25              very curious to me that the numbers were


 

 

                                                                      85

 

 

            1              identical for the costs of 2007 and 2008 for

 

            2              health care, so apparently we use the exact

 

            3              same amount of claims, that's the cost of

 

            4              claims is the same for those two years.  I

 

            5              don't think that's humanly possible, but

 

            6              that is what the city said.

 

            7                      And, also, a good friend reminded me

 

            8              tonight of a quote by Leona Helmsley that

 

            9              the little people pay taxes, and I would

 

           10              just like this council to remember that.

 

           11              Thank you.

 

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

 

           13                      MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening.  Nelson

 

           14              Ancherani, First Amendment Rights.  From the

 

           15              Scranton slimes on Saturday 2-21-09,

 

           16              "Scranton Police:  City owes 1.47 million."

 

           17              By Jeremy Burton staff writer.  I quote,

 

           18              "The Scranton police union is claiming the

 

           19              city owes 1.47 million from a 2004

 

           20              arbitration award over the elimination of

 

           21              department of clerks.  The city union

 

           22              attorneys argue their cases Friday in front

 

           23              of an examiner from the State Labor

 

           24              Relations Board after which business

 

           25              administrator Stu Renda called the sum


 

 

                                                                      86

 

 

            1              outrageous."

 

            2                      Outrageous.  How about that?

 

            3              Outrageous.  I'll tell you what's

 

            4              outrageous.  Never have I heard Stu Renda

 

            5              open his mouth and call the following

 

            6              outrageous: Stu's 46,000 pay increase from

 

            7              2003 when he started his employment with the

 

            8              city and the newly created position at

 

            9              $39,000 a year.  He now makes $85,000 a

 

           10              year.  Twice the base pay of a second-year

 

           11              patrolman.  Now, that's outrageous.

 

           12                      How about this for outrageous?  Stu

 

           13              Renda on 12-31-01, the principal debt left

 

           14              by the Connors' administration was

 

           15              $35,925,000.  The long-term debt at the time

 

           16              was $75,668,00.  On 12-31-07, the end of the

 

           17              sixth year of the Doherty reign, the

 

           18              principal debt was $159,163,00, an increase

 

           19              of 123 million.  The long-term debt at the

 

           20              end of it 2007 was $237,340,000.

 

           21                      This 273,340,000 doesn't include the

 

           22              11.1 million extra borrowed in 2008 or the

 

           23              one million borrowed by the Scranton Sewer

 

           24              Authority at the end of the 2008 to balance

 

           25              the Scranton Sewer Authority 2009 budget.


 

 

                                                                      87

 

 

            1              The long-term debt with the extra borrowing

 

            2              would be approximately 300 million, an

 

            3              increase of 198 million long-term debt.

 

            4                      More outrageous, the 25 percent tax

 

            5              increase in 2007 voted and approved by none

 

            6              other than our three council members, Ms.

 

            7              Fanucci, at the time council president Ms.

 

            8              Gatelli, and Mr. McGoff.  This 25 percent

 

            9              tax increase was the first of three

 

           10              25 percent tax increases wanted by the mayor

 

           11              and the infamous, invisible Pennsylvania

 

           12              Economy League.  What makes it more

 

           13              outrageous is that while the taxpayers of

 

           14              the city were strapped with the 25 percent

 

           15              tax increase, 12.2 million was sitting in a

 

           16              secret account in the Single Tax Office.

 

           17              The taxpayers were taxed for nothing.  Now

 

           18              that's outrageous.

 

           19                      Another outrageous, close to

 

           20              three-quarters of a billion dollars, that's

 

           21              the total amount of the 2001-2009 city

 

           22              budgets along with the borrowing for the

 

           23              revenue side of the budgets.  It does not

 

           24              even include the tax anticipation notes.

 

           25              Where was three-quarters of a billion


 

 

                                                                      88

 

 

            1              dollars spend?  Outrageous.  I heard the

 

            2              question where is Waldo, but where is Stu.

 

            3                      There are many more outrageous

 

            4              items, but not enough time to cover them

 

            5              all.  More from the slimes article, "That's

 

            6              the whole purpose here, Mr. Renda said,

 

            7              calling the unions numbers smoke and

 

            8              mirrors.  We are trying to save money and

 

            9              these guys are slamming it down our

 

           10              throats."

 

           11                      How does it feel, Stu.  We union

 

           12              members have been getting it slammed down

 

           13              our throats for eight years now and I don't

 

           14              hear a peep from you about that.  Your

 

           15              statements are so hypocritical.  I didn't

 

           16              hear you trying to save money by giving back

 

           17              your $46,000 raise.  Your $46,000 raise is

 

           18              more than our base pay.  The second year

 

           19              that -- the second year that you worked for

 

           20              the city you got a $5,000 raise.  I didn't

 

           21              hear you complaining.  I don't hear you

 

           22              calling the $20 million in raises and new

 

           23              hires outrageous or smoke and mirrors.  All

 

           24              I hear is hypocritical hypocrite's comments.

 

           25                      If the city was trying to save money


 

 

                                                                      89

 

 

            1              the smart thing to have been done was not to

 

            2              violate the same contract for the second

 

            3              time after losing in arbitration the first

 

            4              time.  Thank you.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr.

 

            6              Ancherani.

 

            7                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Last one.  Best for

 

            8              last one, right, Bob?

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: There you go.

 

           10                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Hi, Billy.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Hi, Chris.

 

           12                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: These cops they are

 

           13              doing a really good job, all of them are.

 

           14              I'm proud of all of them.  Keep it up down

 

           15              there.  I'm proud of you.  Thank you.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: Chris, I got your note.

 

           17                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Okay, Janet.

 

           18                      MS. EVANS: Okay.  Take care, Billy.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: And I like the shirt,

 

           20              I'm going there right after the meeting.

 

           21              Anyone else?  Mrs. Evans.

 

           22                      MS. EVANS: Good evening.  Today

 

           23              council's office received a report from the

 

           24              Scranton Tax Office, and was indicated the

 

           25              forensic auditors are meeting with


 

 

                                                                      90

 

 

            1              Pennsylvania Department of Treasury this

 

            2              week, and if all goes well the final report

 

            3              should follow shortly.  I certainly hope

 

            4              dispersement of funds will also follow

 

            5              shortly.

 

            6                      We also received the first tax

 

            7              distribution for 2009.  It is an as follows:

 

            8              Real estate:  $1,325,521.  Earned income tax

 

            9              or wage tax: $3,479,966; and the EMS tax

 

           10              which technically now has been changed to

 

           11              the LST or local services tax $374,461.

 

           12                      At last week's council meeting, I

 

           13              moved to support a state amendment of the

 

           14              Home Rule Charter law in order to safeguard

 

           15              and protect taxpayers from excessive taxes.

 

           16              My colleagues requested further information

 

           17              from Attorney Chris Cullen, whose

 

           18              correspondence requesting council's support

 

           19              triggered my motion last week.  He did

 

           20              appear before council and the public this

 

           21              evening in order to further explain this

 

           22              motion and the excessive tax situation in

 

           23              the county.  He fielded the questions of

 

           24              city council.

 

           25                      Currently, as I said, there are no


 

 

                                                                      91

 

 

            1              protections available that give property

 

            2              owners in Lackawanna County, and

 

            3              specifically Scranton, the opportunity to

 

            4              contest excessive county tax rates other

 

            5              than exercising their right at the voting

 

            6              poles every four years.  As it stands,

 

            7              Lackawanna County may enact without any

 

            8              limitations whatsoever an excessive rate of

 

            9              taxation and impose excessive taxes upon

 

           10              taxpayers.  Certainly we all remember the

 

           11              48 percent tax increase of 2005 levied by

 

           12              the county.

 

           13                      This motion will not incur any

 

           14              expense and does not involve city council in

 

           15              litigation.  It does not effect Scranton's

 

           16              Home Rule Charter since our charter contains

 

           17              no language which addresses tax rates.

 

           18              Rather than, it will apply only to

 

           19              Lackawanna County and a governing body,

 

           20              obviously, to which all of us in Scranton

 

           21              pay taxes.  As elected officials, I believe

 

           22              we have the duty and responsibility to

 

           23              protect Scranton residents who are also

 

           24              county residents from excessive tax

 

           25              increases.  Therefore, I move to approve and


 

 

                                                                      92

 

 

            1              support the proposed motion in support of

 

            2              amending Section 2962 (b) of the Home Rule

 

            3              Charter and Optional Plans Law, 53 Pa.

 

            4              C.S.A. Section 2962 (b) to prevent or

 

            5              eliminate enactment and imposition of an

 

            6              excessive millage rate, specifically in

 

            7              excess of 5 percent of the preceding year's

 

            8              rate of millage by the governing body of the

 

            9              Home Rule Charter municipality.  Such

 

           10              amending legislation will be prepared and

 

           11              introduced by State Representative Murphy.

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI: I just have a few

 

           13              questions.  You have to second it, but --

 

           14              where is Mr. Courtright?

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: You are going to second

 

           16              it so we can discuss it?

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: We seem to be at a -- I

 

           18              know that Mr. Courtright did second it last

 

           19              week, if you would wish to wait until

 

           20              Mr. Courtright is seated for a second.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I apologize.

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: That's okay.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: Just for information's

 

           24              sake, Mrs. Evans made the motion that she

 

           25              made last week concerning the legislation


 

 

                                                                      93

 

 

            1              talked about by Attorney Cullen earlier, and

 

            2              she made the motion and it has not been

 

            3              seconded.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Could you please

 

            5              restate it for me, I'm sorry?

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: It's the same.

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: It's identical to last

 

            8              week.

 

            9                      MS. Gatelli:  She changed the

 

           10              county --

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I'll second it.  Are

 

           12              we on the question?

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Now we are.  On the

 

           14              question.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Here is my take on

 

           16              it.  It appears to me from what he had

 

           17              spoken about this evening, I wish I had

 

           18              known what the other government entities

 

           19              were interested in, that I don't know, but

 

           20              from what he had said this evening kind of

 

           21              hit home with me that I don't want to get

 

           22              into any elections, but I do know when I

 

           23              stood at the pole last election and many

 

           24              that came through that's what they were

 

           25              upset about, was the large tax increase.


 

 

                                                                      94

 

 

            1                      He stated to us that it's not going

 

            2              to -- you know, it's not going to impact the

 

            3              city, which I believe, it's going to impact

 

            4              the county, but will it impact the city

 

            5              residents if, in fact, it was enacted and my

 

            6              one concern was would we be a party to his

 

            7              lawsuit, and evidently his lawsuit is over

 

            8              he had lost it, all right?  The way it looks

 

            9              to me is that the legislation is there in

 

           10              the County's Home Rule Charter and he is

 

           11              looking to have it resurrected, so at this

 

           12              stage of the game I'm in favor of this, so

 

           13              I'm in favor of what he is doing.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: I would -- there are a

 

           15              number of things I questioned.  First of

 

           16              all, the fact that the Pennsylvania State

 

           17              Constitution is being amended in order to

 

           18              allow this to take place, I don't see how

 

           19              any other Home Rule Charter is not involved

 

           20              and people that I have talked to about this

 

           21              in the past week are also of the same -- or

 

           22              of the opinion that all Home Rule

 

           23              municipalities will be affected.  What we

 

           24              have is Mr. -- or, excuse me, Attorney

 

           25              Cullen's interpretation.  I believe there


 

 

                                                                      95

 

 

            1              still is a constitutional issue as to

 

            2              whether this will or will not apply to other

 

            3              Home Rule Charter municipalities, so that's

 

            4              one question that I have.

 

            5                      The second is that we are being

 

            6              asked to approve something that is not in

 

            7              it's final form.  The amendment or the end

 

            8              of the motion says legislation will be

 

            9              prepared, so that what we are -- we are

 

           10              being asked to approve something that's

 

           11              not --

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI: Seen.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI: That we didn't see yet.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: That we have not seen

 

           15              and so we could actually vote on approving

 

           16              this and then the legislation could be much

 

           17              different than what we voted on.

 

           18                      Also, in speaking with other people,

 

           19              the idea everyone of establishing the 5

 

           20              percent limit, and it's not -- it's 5

 

           21              percent on the rate of millage, which for

 

           22              Lackawanna County would mean that any

 

           23              millage rate over two would be subject to

 

           24              referendum which means that to me any

 

           25              attempt to raise taxes in Lackawanna County


 

 

                                                                      96

 

 

            1              would then be referred to a referendum, and

 

            2              referendums are by nature very cumbersome,

 

            3              especially if it would apply to other

 

            4              municipalities as well.  Referendums tend to

 

            5              be expensive, and if in the history of

 

            6              referendums on tax increases is one that

 

            7              says voters rarely, rarely vote to raise

 

            8              taxes, and so what you end up doing through

 

            9              referendum is stagnating government and the

 

           10              only thing that many governments can then do

 

           11              is either reduce the number of jobs or

 

           12              reduce services.

 

           13                      And while I recognize that the

 

           14              48 percent rate increase that was enacted

 

           15              was certainly not well-received, I think the

 

           16              end result was that the electoral process

 

           17              worked and those people were removed from

 

           18              government, and while they there are no

 

           19              specific guarantees for years, the electoral

 

           20              process I think has served as a -- a

 

           21              safeguard against exorbitant rates, so at

 

           22              this point in time I cannot -- I don't think

 

           23              I can vote to approve this motion.  Perhaps

 

           24              after seeing the legislation and getting an

 

           25              interpretation from others as to how it will


 

 

                                                                      97

 

 

            1              affect our municipalities, perhaps I would

 

            2              think differently, but at this time I can't

 

            3              vote "yes" for it.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI:  I'd like to speak,

 

            5              also.  I'm just uncomfortable voting on a

 

            6              motion for another governmental body.  I

 

            7              think that if the charter is going to be

 

            8              changed for the county then the county

 

            9              should be involved in the discussion.  I

 

           10              wouldn't want the county or the school

 

           11              district making motions determining what we

 

           12              are going to do on this platform.  We were

 

           13              all elected and we make our own decisions.

 

           14              I'm very uncomfortable making a decision for

 

           15              the county commissioners.

 

           16                      I do agree that that tax increase

 

           17              was very cumbersome, especially for the

 

           18              elderly and the poor of this community, but

 

           19              I think that we have an obligation to meet

 

           20              with the county commissioners and get their

 

           21              take on this particular item.

 

           22                      Also, I don't every call us voting

 

           23              on motion when legislation hasn't even been

 

           24              prepared yet.  I mean, we have addressed

 

           25              bills that are before the legislature


 

 

                                                                      98

 

 

            1              approving them or agreeing with them or

 

            2              disagreeing with them, House Bills that are

 

            3              before the legislature, but I don't recall

 

            4              as long as I can have been on here ever

 

            5              agreeing to a motion when we haven't seen

 

            6              what it is yet, so I'd also like to see at

 

            7              least a draft copy of that and to meet with

 

            8              the county commissioners.

 

            9                      I would be willing, if my colleagues

 

           10              would see fit, I would be willing to table

 

           11              this until we met with the county

 

           12              commissioners and get a little more input.

 

           13              I am not adverse to it, but I just need to

 

           14              get a little more facts, so I would be more

 

           15              comfortable in voting for it.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I would agree with

 

           17              just two points there:  Number one, that

 

           18              maybe we do need to get the county

 

           19              commissioners in, but it looks if you don't

 

           20              withdraw the motion it's going to fail

 

           21              anyway, and also to get a look at the actual

 

           22              legislation, you know?  So just a suggestion

 

           23              maybe if you withdraw it and resurrect it at

 

           24              some point --

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI:  And the school


 

 

                                                                      99

 

 

            1              district, too, because they have the same

 

            2              taxpayers.

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  -- if it's going to

 

            4              fail 3/2.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI: And what is the school

 

            6              district going to do?  You know, it's the

 

            7              same thing with the KOZ's.  Everything comes

 

            8              to city council, you know?  Nobody else

 

            9              gives their input.  It's always on us, and I

 

           10              don't think that's fair.  I think everybody

 

           11              should have a say when it involves the whole

 

           12              county.  Why are the five of us responsible

 

           13              for the whole county?  Let's find out what

 

           14              the school district wants, they are the same

 

           15              taxpayers and they are the same county

 

           16              people.  So, you know, I think we should all

 

           17              meet.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Courtright?

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I just think that at

 

           20              this point in time, again, I repeat myself,

 

           21              that if you don't withdraw it's not going to

 

           22              pass anyway.

 

           23                      MS. EVANS: Well --

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Right?  And then in

 

           25              order for it, as we all know, to be brought


 

 

                                                                     100

 

 

            1              up again, it would have to be --

 

            2                      MS. GATELLI: You don't have to

 

            3              withdraw it, can't you just simply table it.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: I don't wish to withdraw

 

            5              it or table it, and I do think that, first

 

            6              of all, the language has been provided.

 

            7              Everyone received the language together.

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI: He said the legislation

 

            9              was not drawn up.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: The legislation has not

 

           11              been drafted, but it is quite evident that

 

           12              the legislation will repeat what is

 

           13              contained in the motion of support.  A

 

           14              motion of support can't simply support

 

           15              something nonexistent.  It spells out quite

 

           16              clearly what it is to be supported.

 

           17                      As for each of us making our own

 

           18              decisions, perhaps to an extent that's true,

 

           19              but what we all do have in common or what we

 

           20              all should have in common is that we make

 

           21              our decisions in the best interest of the

 

           22              taxpayers, and it is those very taxpayers

 

           23              who are addressed in this support of

 

           24              legislation, and I sadly believe what I

 

           25              think I'm hearing tonight is that my


 

 

                                                                     101

 

 

            1              colleagues aren't interested in preventing

 

            2              an excessive tax increase.  They are not

 

            3              interested in the taxpayers --

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI:  Well, that's the

 

            5              whole -- that's what this was all about.

 

            6              This was all about the --

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: -- of Scranton.

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI: This was all about

 

            9              that, Mrs. Evans.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: No, it wasn't.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI: Yes.

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: Not at all because this

 

           13              is not --

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: No, you are doing

 

           15              something to the county and they are not

 

           16              involved.  That's wrong.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: And when the county --

 

           18              when the county levies excessive taxes

 

           19              against the people it --

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI: You vote them out.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: It swears to protect and

 

           22              serve --

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: They vote them out.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: They are wrong, and there

 

           25              should be an opportunity more than once


 

 

                                                                     102

 

 

            1              every four years.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, and I didn't

 

            3              speak on this yet.  I do agree that at some

 

            4              point this needs to be looked at, but I

 

            5              believe that that's what we have, you know,

 

            6              we have our representatives.  Let them look

 

            7              at this.  Let them drawn the legislation up.

 

            8              Bring it back to the table and let's discuss

 

            9              it.  Let them do their jobs.  This is not at

 

           10              our level that we should be deciding this.

 

           11                      Hey, if I wanted to decide to have

 

           12              more money, let's make a motion now, we'll

 

           13              take half of it--

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: But we --

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: -- we won't have to

 

           16              worry about it.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: We are not -- we are just

 

           18              deciding if we support preventing excessive

 

           19              tax increases.

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI: And I think certainly

 

           21              think this needs to be looked at in many,

 

           22              many drafts.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: No, we are being asked

 

           24              to support --

 

           25                      MS. EVANS: Well --


 

 

                                                                     103

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI: It is.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me.  We are being

 

            3              asked to support a particular piece of

 

            4              legislation.  Your interpretation is that it

 

            5              would save taxpayers excessive rates.  I am

 

            6              not sure that that is correct, and while you

 

            7              are characterizing our intentions as not

 

            8              caring, I think that that's -- that let us

 

            9              speak for ourselves.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: Well --

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: We are -- I am saying --

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: I don't --

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me.  I am saying

 

           14              that at this point in time I cannot vote on

 

           15              a piece of legislation I am not sure the

 

           16              effect that it is going to have, and there

 

           17              are constitutional questions, there are

 

           18              legal questions, there are economic

 

           19              questions that are unanswered, and that is

 

           20              not caring, that is being diligent.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: Well, I think it's doing

 

           22              your due diligence to say that, yes, there

 

           23              are economic issues, there is certainly job

 

           24              and services that are unnecessary that

 

           25              should be cut.  There have been a number of


 

 

                                                                     104

 

 

            1              no bid contracts throughout several county

 

            2              administrations that should not occur, but

 

            3              yet we are very free and easy with spending

 

            4              the people's money.  Why?  Because it's not

 

            5              our money, it's their money, so it's almost

 

            6              like it's Monopoly money, and if I gave you

 

            7              the impression that I'm inferring that you

 

            8              do not care, I'm sorry, but I do believe

 

            9              that you are a talented apologist.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: For whom?

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI:  It's amazing.

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: Well, it's certainly not

 

           13              on behalf of the taxpayers.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: For whom?  You are

 

           15              calling me an apologist, I'd like to know

 

           16              who you feel that I am apologizing for?

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: Well, perhaps the county

 

           18              commissioners.  Perhaps --

 

           19                      MS. FANUCCI: The county

 

           20              commissioners --

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI: Well, why don't we ask

 

           22              them and see?

 

           23                      MS. EVANS: Perhaps the mayor.  Well,

 

           24              I don't know that the county commissioners

 

           25              are going to turn over their right to


 

 

                                                                     105

 

 

            1              excessive taxation.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Why is that whenever

 

            3              somebody expresses an opinion that is

 

            4              opposite yours you automatically assume that

 

            5              they are not acting in the interest -- in

 

            6              their own interest or speaking for

 

            7              themselves?  I feel that that's insulting

 

            8              to --

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: I certainly don't mean to

 

           10              insult you --

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Nobody questions you.

 

           12                      MS. EVANS:  -- Mr. McGoff, but I

 

           13              think it is very clear from everyone's

 

           14              voting record who works on a mayor's agenda

 

           15              and who works on a people's agenda.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Could I just state

 

           17              one more thing.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF:  Sure.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I lost my train of

 

           20              thought here.  We are five individuals,

 

           21              everybody is entitled to their opinion.  I

 

           22              think for me personally it would be just

 

           23              sending a letter that, you know, I am

 

           24              interested in seeing this legislation

 

           25              because ultimately we are not going to have


 

 

                                                                     106

 

 

            1              the say in whether this legislation passes

 

            2              or not, it's going to happen down in

 

            3              Harrisburg.  I haven't talked to the county

 

            4              commissioners, and maybe I would have liked

 

            5              to beforehand, but they will have their

 

            6              opportunity as we do.  Mr. Cullen, I

 

            7              believe, is going to present his case to

 

            8              everyone and then each individual governing

 

            9              body will be able to say whether they are

 

           10              going to support it or not support it.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI: Well, why are we always

 

           12              first?

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't know.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: Because I brought it up

 

           15              last week and it was tabled because you

 

           16              wanted more information and the information

 

           17              was provided and now it seems though we have

 

           18              the information for whatever reason we don't

 

           19              have the fortitude to take the step.  We

 

           20              would rather wait until everyone else

 

           21              receives a presentation, see what they want

 

           22              to do, and then base our decision on what

 

           23              other people are doing or maybe what, you

 

           24              know, what the point is to put the pressure

 

           25              on the other governing bodies rather than


 

 

                                                                     107

 

 

            1              taking responsibility ourselves.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI:  Well, quite frankly, I

 

            3              will not make a decision based on one

 

            4              person's side, which is what you want us to

 

            5              do.  We had one presentation here tonight.

 

            6              I'm to assume that everything that was

 

            7              stated was accurate in what would happen,

 

            8              but I don't know that so I think it would be

 

            9              only prudent to talk to the other governing

 

           10              bodies that actually would be exempted by

 

           11              this also to talk to the state to make sure

 

           12              that what we said about not being effected

 

           13              under the Recovery Plan this wouldn't effect

 

           14              us.  I know he said that, but I don't know

 

           15              that for a fact.

 

           16                      This was information for me to start

 

           17              investigating and understanding more, but to

 

           18              certainly vote on it right now after hearing

 

           19              one side is not something that I think

 

           20              anybody should do.  I don't think that

 

           21              that's in the best interest of the taxpayer

 

           22              or the people.

 

           23                      MS. EVANS: It isn't, but that's what

 

           24              always occurs at city council whenever we

 

           25              get information from OECD or the mayor's


 

 

                                                                     108

 

 

            1              office or Stu Renda, it's pretty much taken

 

            2              as the, you know, letter of the law.  It's

 

            3              not researched --

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, when OECD --

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: Everyone doesn't read the

 

            6              complete comparison and then votes for it.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI:  When I get information

 

            8              from OECD that means it had to go through

 

            9              the state, through HUD, information that is

 

           10              backed by other entities.  This isn't just

 

           11              off-the-cuff information.  Here is what --

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: Well, we are still

 

           13              waiting for the answer on the $10,000, that

 

           14              you know, was a type of laundering from one

 

           15              entity to another.

 

           16                      MS. GATELLI: Well, that has nothing

 

           17              to do with on the question.

 

           18                      MS. EVANS: No, but it's just an

 

           19              example of the responses or lack thereof

 

           20              that you get in these situations.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. McGoff --

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: My representative

 

           23              doesn't even know anything about it.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Please, I am going to

 

           25              call for a vote on this, if we can.


 

 

                                                                     109

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: Well, can't we table

 

            2              it?

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI:  I'd rather table it,

 

            4              but --

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI:  Mr. Williams, if she

 

            6              doesn't withdraw it can somebody make a

 

            7              motion and table it?

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: Anybody can do that.

 

            9                      MR. WILLIAMS: I don't believe so.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI: No?

 

           11                      MR. WILLIAMS: I don't think so.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone can -- well,

 

           13              Robert's Rules of Order say that anyone can

 

           14              vote to table it.

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: I have it.  Would you

 

           16              like to look it up?

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT: While they are

 

           18              looking it up, Mr. McGoff, I would like to

 

           19              answer what Mrs. Gatelli said --

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI:  We need more

 

           21              information.  We had a lawsuit.  He has a

 

           22              vested interest.  He had a client that filed

 

           23              a lawsuit.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: And the lawsuit --

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI:  He lost.


 

 

                                                                     110

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: It's exhausted.  It's

 

            2              over.  That's right.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  Yeah, he lost.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: And as Mrs. Fanucci said

 

            5              earlier, because that was unsuccessful now

 

            6              you look for a legislative redress.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI: Right.  And I say let

 

            8              them do it and then we'll support it.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF:  At this point in time

 

           10              we just seem to be talking back and forth.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI: Well, I'd still like to

 

           12              make a motion to table it until we get more

 

           13              information.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF:  Attorney Williams, I

 

           15              should have mentioned that earlier, Attorney

 

           16              Williams is representing Attorney Minora

 

           17              this evening at council.

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  While he is looking

 

           19              that up, just a sidebar to what Mrs. Gatelli

 

           20              just said about why are we all always first,

 

           21              a lot of the things that come here that

 

           22              bothers me also sometimes.  It's always city

 

           23              council first, and I'm going to say this, I

 

           24              hope I don't get in trouble with this, the

 

           25              only time we weren't first was when we were


 

 

                                                                     111

 

 

            1              talking about the $12 million and then we

 

            2              were last, you know?

 

            3                      So sometimes that does bother my why

 

            4              are we always first, and in this particular

 

            5              instance it doesn't really even bother me as

 

            6              much because I have read and understood as

 

            7              much as I could on there and I just my only

 

            8              thing is I think that he said he was going

 

            9              to go to each governing body, and they are

 

           10              all going to be able to say whether they

 

           11              would like to send a letter of

 

           12              recommendation or not, what I had hoped

 

           13              maybe that it might have been a little bit

 

           14              better thing that happened was that a

 

           15              representative from each one of us might

 

           16              have gotten together, and that didn't

 

           17              happen, that might have been the better way

 

           18              to go, but it didn't and so we are where we

 

           19              are.  Did I talk long enough for you to get

 

           20              --

 

           21                      MR. WILLIAMS: I think you did.

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: And Attorney Minora

 

           23              wasn't here to review it to give us his

 

           24              legal opinion.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: Have you --


 

 

                                                                     112

 

 

            1                      MR. WILLIAMS: Actually, you were

 

            2              correct, Chairman.  Anybody can make a vote

 

            3              to table a motion and then discussion is

 

            4              allowed on the motion to table the vote.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI:  Well, I'm restating my

 

            6              motion to table the issue until we get some

 

            7              more information.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI:  I'll second that.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question to

 

           10              table?  All in favor of tabling say aye?

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: Aye.

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI: Aye.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Opposed?

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT: No.

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: No.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF:  No.  So the motion to

 

           17              table is defeated.  Now, we will since the

 

           18              motion is still on the table I'd like to

 

           19              call for a vote.

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI: What was the vote to

 

           21              table it?

 

           22                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Three/two.

 

           23              Defeated.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Three/two.

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI:  I missed that one.


 

 

                                                                     113

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: A vote on the motion,

 

            2              all in favor of the motion by Mrs. Evans

 

            3              please signify by saying aye.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: Opposed?

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI:  No.

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI:  No.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF:  No.  The motion is

 

           10              defeated.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  Also, at last

 

           12              week's meeting --

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI:  I'm still going to go

 

           14              back to there because I'm sorry, but I

 

           15              didn't understand what happened.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Three people voted

 

           17              against tabling it, Mrs. Evans, myself and

 

           18              Mr. Courtright.

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI: Okay.

 

           20                      MS. EVANS: Also at last week's

 

           21              meeting, council and you, the viewers,

 

           22              learned that the State Department of

 

           23              Community and Economic Development or DCED,

 

           24              is currently using Scranton as it's proving

 

           25              ground for Act 47.  The spawn of DCED which


 

 

                                                                     114

 

 

            1              empowers them to keep a municipality

 

            2              distressed for indeterminate periods of

 

            3              time.  Twenty-three municipalities were

 

            4              designated as distressed since 1987 and out

 

            5              of those 23 only six cities have had that

 

            6              designation lifted.  Roughly three-quarters

 

            7              of these cities remain distressed.  I

 

            8              thought Scranton held the record at 17

 

            9              years, however the municipalities of Farrell

 

           10              and Aliquippa tie for the award at 22 years

 

           11              of distressed status.

 

           12                      DCED has a unique relationship with

 

           13              the Pennsylvania Economy League or PEL, a

 

           14              professional recovery plan author and

 

           15              coordinator.  The longer a city remains

 

           16              distressed the longer PEL employees keep

 

           17              their jobs.  Evidently, PEL enjoys greater

 

           18              job security than do you unions or many of

 

           19              you employed in the private sector.  They

 

           20              appear to be accountable to no one since

 

           21              they are unable to solve problems in 22

 

           22              years, yet they may maintain their

 

           23              positions.

 

           24                      However, at least two Pennsylvania

 

           25              cities have narrowly escaped Act 47


 

 

                                                                     115

 

 

            1              designation, Erie and Altoona.  Their mayors

 

            2              not only seek legislative changes to the

 

            3              binding arbitration rules of Act 111, but

 

            4              equally important they seek a reduction in

 

            5              the designation of tax exempt properties in

 

            6              their cities in order to improve their

 

            7              financial health.  Scranton, on the other

 

            8              hand, encourages the encroachment of tax

 

            9              exempt properties and seems to avoid any

 

           10              discussion or push toward reducing their

 

           11              numbers.

 

           12                      Scranton prefers to finance a battle

 

           13              in the Court system to emasculate Act 111,

 

           14              and as a result has made itself the pawn of

 

           15              DCED not the Guinea pig.  In scientific

 

           16              experimentation, the rodent subject of the

 

           17              study or guinea pigs, mice, etcetera, do not

 

           18              chose to participate.

 

           19                      Through it's multi-year costly court

 

           20              battles Scranton has positioned itself to

 

           21              become the pawn of DCED and it's a dangerous

 

           22              game to play because the Commonwealth Court

 

           23              did not seem to rule on years 2008 through

 

           24              2014 as did the arbitrators.  Commonwealth

 

           25              Court ruled on only 2003 through 2007.


 

 

                                                                     116

 

 

            1              Ladies and gentlemen, Commonwealth Court

 

            2              judges seem to leave the years 2008 through

 

            3              2014 quite open-ended in an apparent lack of

 

            4              faith in a Recovery Plan.  That's the key

 

            5              the administration and even the newspaper

 

            6              seem to negligent, and that arbitration

 

            7              award is vastly more expensive than the

 

            8              contract the unions and administration shook

 

            9              hands on in the fall of 2008.

 

           10                      In fact, that arbitration will dwarf

 

           11              the ruling by the Commonwealth Court, and

 

           12              this seems to be the case of the city

 

           13              cutting off it's nose to spite it's face.

 

           14                      Further, the differences between

 

           15              Scranton and the merely six of 23 cities who

 

           16              have freed themselves from the yolk of DCED

 

           17              and PEL, is that this administration is

 

           18              wasting taxpayers' money, borrowing away our

 

           19              future, amassing monumental debt and

 

           20              fighting a legal battle that some

 

           21              Pennsylvania cities are too wise to spend

 

           22              their limited funds on and that is what also

 

           23              separates us from those very fortunate

 

           24              cities like Erie and Altoona who have

 

           25              avoided the claws of Act 47 and PEL.


 

 

                                                                     117

 

 

            1                      Until DCED, PEL, and the conscience

 

            2              of the newspaper expose the financial

 

            3              mismanagement and call for an end to

 

            4              borrowing, unnecessary spending and debt

 

            5              madness, they all continue to fail the very

 

            6              people they profess to serve and inform.

 

            7                      Next, council received a copy of the

 

            8              letter from Congressman Kanjorski to

 

            9              Assistant Secretary Woodley of the Army

 

           10              Civil Works urging him to use part of the

 

           11              4.6 billion dollars Congress appropriated to

 

           12              the Army Corp to complete the Scranton Flood

 

           13              Control Project with particular emphasis on

 

           14              the lower Greenridge area bordering the

 

           15              Scranton Lace Works.

 

           16                      In addition, we also received

 

           17              correspondence from the oversight committee

 

           18              of the PEG channel and they have submitted

 

           19              questions to ECTV, ECTV is providing those

 

           20              responses I believe this week, and there

 

           21              will be a meeting conducted between

 

           22              representatives of ECTV and the oversight

 

           23              committee.  In the mean time, however, ECTV

 

           24              indicates that after long delays they are in

 

           25              the process of purchasing new equipment and


 

 

                                                                     118

 

 

            1              establishing new programming.

 

            2                      And, finally, I have citizens'

 

            3              requests for the week:  First, a letter to

 

            4              the Army Corp of Engineers, please provide a

 

            5              timeline for the completion of the flood

 

            6              project in lower Greenridge, particularly,

 

            7              the area bordering the Scranton Lace Works,

 

            8              to city council on or about March 13.

 

            9                      A letter to Chief Elliott and ECTV:

 

           10              Is it possible for the police department to

 

           11              tape a regular segment for broadcast on ECTV

 

           12              presenting Scranton's most wanted list of

 

           13              criminals.  Perhaps a police officer could

 

           14              provide photos of the perpetrators and a

 

           15              contact number for citizens to provide

 

           16              information or sightings.  The Sunday Times

 

           17              provides a similar service, however, many

 

           18              residents do not subscribe to the newspaper.

 

           19              Public access television provides a free

 

           20              manner in which to transmit important

 

           21              information to the citizenry who can be a

 

           22              valuable asset to fighting crime, as is so

 

           23              often the case in "America's Most Wanted."

 

           24              And that was presented to me by a number of

 

           25              city residents.


 

 

                                                                     119

 

 

            1                      Mr. McGoff, a resident of North

 

            2              Cameron Avenue asked me to ask you if you

 

            3              would -- oh, he is not here.  Will you tell

 

            4              Mr. McGoff to please call him regarding the

 

            5              water problems on his block.

 

            6                      Also, residents of Theodore Street

 

            7              request paving of the street from North

 

            8              Scranton Junior High to Ralph Avenue.

 

            9              Although some of the surrounding streets

 

           10              haven't been paved in the past -- or rather

 

           11              have been paved, they report that this

 

           12              stretch of road hasn't been paved in ten

 

           13              years.  Potholes are so large that hubcaps

 

           14              land in yards when vehicles hit them

 

           15              unexpectedly.

 

           16                      Also, PEL summaries of meetings

 

           17              conducted with administrative

 

           18              representatives haven't been received for

 

           19              close to two months.  Please provide

 

           20              summaries of all meetings held in January

 

           21              and February 2009.

 

           22                      Fill potholes in Fleet Place and the

 

           23              500 block of South Decker Court; right,

 

           24              Chris?

 

           25                      MR. SLEDZENSKI: Yeah, they are bad


 

 

                                                                     120

 

 

            1              back there.  They are a mess.

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: I believe it.

 

            3                      MR. SLEDZENSKI: They are mess.  They

 

            4              are mess.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: Absolutely.  We got a lot

 

            6              of those.  I request to pave the rear of

 

            7              Matthew Avenue and the 200 block I think it

 

            8              might be of Ash Street to Mr. Brazil.  I'll

 

            9              give you, Kay, the copy that was placed in

 

           10              our mailbox to send along to him.

 

           11                      Also, if we can find out who is

 

           12              responsible for the creation of the island

 

           13              in the 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue, and

 

           14              it might be I think a good idea for DPW to

 

           15              consider placing some recyclable containers

 

           16              in the park over the summer months

 

           17              particularly when people are picnicking and

 

           18              enjoying the environment so much, and that's

 

           19              it.

 

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

 

           21              Mrs. Gatelli?

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: I just have several

 

           23              things to report.  I received -- we all

 

           24              received it in other mailboxes about

 

           25              Pennsylvania property tax and rent rebate


 

 

                                                                     121

 

 

            1              program for 2008.  The deadline for rebate

 

            2              on property taxes or rent paid is June 30,

 

            3              2009.  And you call the Department of

 

            4              Revenue anyone who needs assistance, the

 

            5              toll free number we can please see if we can

 

            6              get it on the television, Mrs. Garvey, it's

 

            7              1-888-222-9190, and we probably can put the

 

            8              income levels also on Channel 61 and maybe

 

            9              the newspaper will also put it in to remind

 

           10              people.  Some people probably don't even

 

           11              know that they are entitled to it.

 

           12                      And I received an answer about a

 

           13              problem up in the Hill Section with noise.

 

           14              It was sent by Attorney Penetar and it is

 

           15              about the bursts on that property.  The

 

           16              neighbors state that the website states it

 

           17              provides worldwide internet services to

 

           18              other businesses 24 hours a day.

 

           19                      "Business services is a permitted

 

           20              neighborhood commercial use.  My opinion is

 

           21              that we would be fighting a losing battle in

 

           22              the courts to try to say that providing

 

           23              internet services is not a business

 

           24              service."

 

           25                      So they are trying to say that that


 

 

                                                                     122

 

 

            1              business is allowed in that neighborhood.  I

 

            2              will be contacting those neighbors because I

 

            3              feel that it is similar to cases that we

 

            4              have had before in my neighborhood that we

 

            5              have fought and won, by the way, and if the

 

            6              neighbors are willing to pitch in a small

 

            7              amount of money to get an attorney then we

 

            8              can see where we can go from there, but

 

            9              apparently the opinion stands, and I think

 

           10              the only other recourse is to hire an

 

           11              attorney and fight it as a nuisance.

 

           12                      The noise is there, it does not

 

           13              exceed the decibel level, but it is

 

           14              continuous, a continuous buzzing sound, and

 

           15              in my opinion, and I'm not an attorney, but

 

           16              it is certainly a nuisance, especially for

 

           17              the people that live in that particular

 

           18              area, so I will be contacting them if they

 

           19              don't watch it on television and we will see

 

           20              if we can't get an attorney to take the case

 

           21              and try to fight it as a nuisance rather

 

           22              than through the zoning, and that's all I

 

           23              have.  Thank you.

 

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

 

           25              Mrs. Fanucci?


 

 

                                                                     123

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI: I only have a few

 

            2              things.  I want to speak on the Connell

 

            3              building again and my views on that.  I will

 

            4              always vote, and I have said this from day

 

            5              one, for anything that will create any type

 

            6              of economic development in the city.  I will

 

            7              vote for grants.  I want them here.  I do

 

            8              want them in any other part of the state.

 

            9              So, yes, I could be righteous and say, well,

 

           10              we are not going to spend money here, but if

 

           11              someone else is going to get it I want it.

 

           12              I want it in our city, so I will always do

 

           13              that and I will always vote for that.

 

           14                      Yes, and I do agree somebody got up

 

           15              and say the job creation at 40 jobs does not

 

           16              pay what we are putting into it.  Of course

 

           17              not.  It's almost -- that's a ludicrous

 

           18              statement.  Of course we are starting off

 

           19              with 40 jobs because the first group of the

 

           20              union employees are going down to start the

 

           21              project.  Does that mean what we are ending

 

           22              up with?  It's almost like comparing apples

 

           23              and a bowling ball.  It just doesn't even go

 

           24              together.  Of course, we need to start

 

           25              somewhere and at this stage of the game


 

 

                                                                     124

 

 

            1              where we are in our city I will create any

 

            2              job.  Three jobs are better than no jobs.

 

            3              Four jobs, better.  So, yes, I will always

 

            4              be voting for legislation for progress in

 

            5              the neighborhood downtown and everywhere

 

            6              else.

 

            7                      I also want to speak on some of the

 

            8              points that were brought tonight about DCED.

 

            9              DCED does not consider us as even started

 

           10              the Recovery Plan, whether we like or not,

 

           11              this is not a fact that has to do with me.

 

           12              It is not a fact that has to do with us.

 

           13              It's how they look at us.  We can sit here

 

           14              and we can cry and yell and scream and until

 

           15              we comply with the regulations that we are

 

           16              sanctioned with we are not getting out of

 

           17              recovery.  We will not be recovered.  We

 

           18              will be in the Recovery Plan until that

 

           19              happens.

 

           20                      So as much as we want to talk about

 

           21              it and blame everyone, and blame is always

 

           22              good, blame isn't going to solve any of our

 

           23              problems here.  It's time to look forward.

 

           24              I think when we get a new revised Recovery

 

           25              Plan, well, then we will see.  Do I agree it


 

 

                                                                     125

 

 

            1              all can work?  I don't know.  I don't know,

 

            2              but until it is actually, you know,

 

            3              implemented we don't know.

 

            4                      And, no, it's not Scranton who

 

            5              decided, the voters decided.  76 percent

 

            6              voted for this plan, so it is not just an

 

            7              off-the-cuff decision.  The voters spoke and

 

            8              were listened to, whatever reasons you want

 

            9              to give, I mean, we have ever heard

 

           10              everybody's assessment of why, but still

 

           11              unless they spoke to 76 percent of the

 

           12              people they don't know why.  Everyone had

 

           13              their own decision when they walked into

 

           14              that room to make.  They made it and this is

 

           15              what we have to deal with.  We can cry about

 

           16              our past, we can cry about where we are now,

 

           17              but until we decide to change it and to move

 

           18              forward and do what we need to do to break

 

           19              this city out of recovery we are going to be

 

           20              here, and we are going to cry about it next

 

           21              year, and another week from now and next

 

           22              month.

 

           23                      No, it's time to work together and

 

           24              get out of this, and as far as I'm concerned

 

           25              when you look at it, it's not going to be


 

 

                                                                     126

 

 

            1              tomorrow and it's certainly not going to be

 

            2              next year and it's not going to be two years

 

            3              from now.  The recovery is going to take a

 

            4              long time.  Why?  Because we certainly

 

            5              didn't get into it in an hour.  Just like

 

            6              the rest of the country, nobody got into the

 

            7              situations they are in without everyone

 

            8              else.

 

            9                      And I also want to speak on the

 

           10              legislation that was brought forward tonight

 

           11              by Representative and Mrs. Evans.  I would

 

           12              have liked to look at that.  I would have

 

           13              liked to be able to investigate what that

 

           14              legislation had to do and how it would

 

           15              effect everyone, but again, we have seen all

 

           16              over the state and all over the country what

 

           17              happens when you don't have anybody working

 

           18              together.  We see it all the time.  You know

 

           19              why?  You know how you know?  You are in it

 

           20              now.  You are in it now.  Play against this

 

           21              one.  Stop against this one.  I'm not doing

 

           22              that, because this one wants to do that.

 

           23              I'm not going to help, I'm not going to do

 

           24              that.  If this one is going to stop it I'm

 

           25              going to start it.


 

 

                                                                     127

 

 

            1                      You are here.  So this is how you

 

            2              got where you are now.  This is it how the

 

            3              taxpayers got where they are because nobody

 

            4              would sit down at the table, so to me to

 

            5              pass legislation for the county and decide

 

            6              how they are going to run their house when

 

            7              I'm busy trying to get my house in order,

 

            8              this is where I need to worry about.  I

 

            9              can't worry about what they are doing

 

           10              because, quite frankly, I don't know what

 

           11              they are doing.  I don't know what their

 

           12              business entails because I don't work on it

 

           13              every day.  I know where we are and I know

 

           14              why we are here just like everyone else does

 

           15              in your home.  You know right where you are.

 

           16              It's because your insurance rates went up,

 

           17              it's because your housing bill went up, it's

 

           18              because your electric bill went up, not any

 

           19              different than your city.  We have the same

 

           20              thing.  We are paying employees, you know,

 

           21              everybody is in the same situation.  It's

 

           22              not even any different.

 

           23                      So this wasn't something we got into

 

           24              overnight, it's not something we are going

 

           25              to get out of overnight, but hopefully if we


 

 

                                                                     128

 

 

            1              work together, it's sad because I would have

 

            2              liked to sit down with the county, I would

 

            3              have liked to find out exactly how that

 

            4              would effect would them and what it would

 

            5              have brought forth for them, and talk to the

 

            6              representatives who are, you know,

 

            7              supposedly on this.  I would like to know

 

            8              what their views are because they certainly

 

            9              have a different view than I do as a council

 

           10              person, so that makes me sad that that

 

           11              didn't go through because I would have liked

 

           12              the opportunity to see where that would have

 

           13              lead, but that really is all I have.  So,

 

           14              thank you.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Courtright?

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes, Crisp Avenue

 

           17              Bridge, I actually got a call from

 

           18              Representative Kevin Murphy the other day,

 

           19              somebody was in there asking him a question

 

           20              about it, it was supposed to happen last

 

           21              August and then they got a year extension,

 

           22              so my understanding is that this August

 

           23              barring any other unforeseen thing happening

 

           24              that the Crisp Avenue Bridge will start this

 

           25              August.


 

 

                                                                     129

 

 

            1                      Scooters.  I have almost been

 

            2              labeled, people call me Scooter when they

 

            3              see me, for God's sake, and so I guess we

 

            4              call that our laugh, but on a serious note,

 

            5              I have had more than one person ask me about

 

            6              this, and this is on a serious note, about

 

            7              we have some of the seniors citizens driving

 

            8              the scooters downtown here or --

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI: Jazzy's.

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Jazzy's for lack of

 

           11              a better name, and one individual almost

 

           12              struck somebody the other night.  The person

 

           13              was all dressed in black, their jazzy

 

           14              scooter or whatever name you want to give it

 

           15              was dark, no lights on it, no flag that some

 

           16              of them have on it, and so I'm going to look

 

           17              into what the police department, and we are

 

           18              also going to ask --did we send a letter

 

           19              yet, Kay, to him?

 

           20                      MS. GARVEY: No we didn't send a

 

           21              letter, but I did make a phone call and he

 

           22              returned that call and Sue took the

 

           23              information from him, there are no

 

           24              regulations as far as he is concerned or

 

           25              they are concerned that state that you have


 

 

                                                                     130

 

 

            1              to have either flags or anything on them.

 

            2              They are considered pedestrians.

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT: My understanding is

 

            4              they shouldn't be -- they are not allowed to

 

            5              be on the road at all, but I will check with

 

            6              the police department and find out further.

 

            7              This one woman was very upset.  She almost

 

            8              ran right over somebody, and we certainly

 

            9              don't want to see that happening.

 

           10                      Mr. Pleasant, a couple of people

 

           11              came that have questions about it, and I

 

           12              have questions about it I think the rest of

 

           13              council have questions about it, so if there

 

           14              is some questions that you the citizens want

 

           15              us to ask about Mt. Pleasant if you would

 

           16              write them down and get them into the office

 

           17              we can ask them for you because I don't

 

           18              think any of us has decided what we are

 

           19              doing there, or the majority anyway haven't

 

           20              decided what we are doing there yet.  We

 

           21              would like to get a feel for what the school

 

           22              district is going to do, so if you have

 

           23              questions by all means if you can hand them

 

           24              into our office and I'll see if we can't get

 

           25              them answered for you.


 

 

                                                                     131

 

 

            1                      Although, I would love to do what

 

            2              Mrs. Schumacher said and take the money and

 

            3              do away with the wage tax and reduce it or

 

            4              property tax, whatever tax you call it, we

 

            5              simply can't do that.  I believe she said we

 

            6              could do it by legislation.  That I don't

 

            7              know how you accomplish that, if she can

 

            8              enlighten me to that maybe we can look into

 

            9              it, but I believe that grant money that we

 

           10              give out is specifically designed for what

 

           11              we are giving it out for.

 

           12                      And I'll ask for one letter to ECTV,

 

           13              a growing number of people are losing their

 

           14              patience with this station.  They do not

 

           15              like the fact that they just get the one

 

           16              shot with the camera, and I have told them

 

           17              that there are two remote cameras up there,

 

           18              they have just not operational yet, so if we

 

           19              can ask them when those remote cameras will

 

           20              be working and when they are going to do

 

           21              something with the sound.  We have, for

 

           22              those of you don't see it, for lack of a

 

           23              better word a boom with a microphone on it

 

           24              up against one of the speakers that have

 

           25              been left here, and I'm sure they have plans


 

 

                                                                     132

 

 

            1              on making the situation better here, but if

 

            2              they could update us on when that might

 

            3              happen, and we did have a conversation with

 

            4              OECD about if, in fact, they sell the

 

            5              building that ECTV is in what would become

 

            6              of the money that we gave to them and

 

            7              preliminarily what I'm being told is that,

 

            8              you know, the money for the equipment,

 

            9              obviously, the equipment would go with them.

 

           10              The $10,000 we haven't gotten an answer yet

 

           11              on the $10,000 that they invested in that

 

           12              building, so I'm still waiting to hear what

 

           13              type of answer we would get back to that so

 

           14              I asked for an answer in writing so I could

 

           15              ready that to you, and that's all I have.

 

           16              Thank you.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

           18              Mr. Courtright.  Apparently when I was out

 

           19              of the chamber when Mrs. Evans asked about

 

           20              the flood control project, I did talk to

 

           21              Paul O'Hora and he told me that the bids for

 

           22              the remaining part of the project were going

 

           23              out and that Mrs. Garvey reminded me of

 

           24              that, and I thought I had a date, and I'm

 

           25              looking through my notes here and I can't


 

 

                                                                     133

 

 

            1              find out where I wrote that, but you did

 

            2              give me a date and I'll see if I can locate

 

            3              it, but that the bids are going out and as

 

            4              soon as they acted on a bidder that the

 

            5              remaining part of the project should begin

 

            6              in the Spring of 2009.  What he didn't have

 

            7              was a specific timetable for completion.  He

 

            8              said that that is a rather difficult thing

 

            9              to get from the Army Corp of Engineers.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: From what I understood

 

           11              was that the costs have risen as the project

 

           12              progressed and that wasn't I guess initially

 

           13              envisioned because it's taken more time, and

 

           14              I would think that's why Congressman

 

           15              Kanjorski is getting involved in trying to

 

           16              find the funding to make up that difference

 

           17              and move it along.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Okay.  But that is what

 

           19              I found out from Mr. O'Hora.

 

           20                      As far as the action tonight on the

 

           21              proposed bill from Representative Murphy, I

 

           22              would be more than happy to, you know,

 

           23              reconsider this when the actual legislation

 

           24              is presented to the state house and have a

 

           25              more accurate look at what is being


 

 

                                                                     134

 

 

            1              presented and maybe, you know, maybe at this

 

            2              point in time we can have a better

 

            3              understanding of what's being done.

 

            4                      I did attempt today, it was a

 

            5              seminar on intergovernmental something, I

 

            6              forget the long title that went with it, but

 

            7              basically it was conducted by the county

 

            8              commissioners and it had to do with

 

            9              regionalization of services.  I don't know

 

           10              that anything specific came from that, but

 

           11              what they are going to do is to continue to

 

           12              meet and to discuss the possibilities of,

 

           13              you know, ways in which municipalities can

 

           14              share services, not consolidate, but simply

 

           15              share services and hopefully through shared

 

           16              services reduce tax burdens.  As I said, it

 

           17              was the initial meeting and more are

 

           18              scheduled, but it seemed to be a step

 

           19              towards doing something that would in some

 

           20              way provide for continuation of services

 

           21              that people are now receiving without

 

           22              increasing taxes in order to continue it, so

 

           23              I will hopefully attend meetings in the

 

           24              future and also keep you informed as to

 

           25              what's being done there.


 

 

                                                                     135

 

 

            1                      ECTV, I happen to be in city hall

 

            2              the other day and ran into Mr. Darcy and

 

            3              Mark while they were in the chamber here

 

            4              with someone from Comcast who was, I

 

            5              believe, working on the sound and trying to

 

            6              do something with the equipment that is

 

            7              here.  I was told, don't hold me to, you

 

            8              know, dates, but I was told the cameras that

 

            9              are present here could be operational, at

 

           10              that point in time they said within two

 

           11              weeks, and they said the expectation is that

 

           12              they will have four cameras operational

 

           13              during the meetings and that the

 

           14              presentation of the meetings should be

 

           15              enhanced through the use of those.  Again, I

 

           16              am merely repeating what I was told.  Do not

 

           17              hold me to that two-week time limit.

 

           18                      The other things, it seems that

 

           19              every couple of months we get into an

 

           20              argument about freedom of speech and things

 

           21              in council.  I don't know of anybody who has

 

           22              been denied their freedom to speak here, at

 

           23              least in my recent memory, and I think it's

 

           24              become a moot point, but with that said, the

 

           25              law is quite clear that the Courts have


 

 

                                                                     136

 

 

            1              ruled and even at the local level that, yes,

 

            2              government entities do have a right to set

 

            3              limits to establish rules for the operation

 

            4              of their meetings, and the claim that

 

            5              anybody can say anything they want here is

 

            6              not true.  There are limits.  There are

 

            7              always limits.  That is the basis of the

 

            8              Bill of Rights.  That it is a limited right.

 

            9              It is not an absolute, and that those limits

 

           10              are established through precedent and the

 

           11              Court have sat a precedent for what can be

 

           12              done in governmental meetings such as ours.

 

           13                      And also, there was no attempt

 

           14              tonight to deny anybody the right to say,

 

           15              you know, go out and vote.  What we have

 

           16              said before is that it borders on coming in

 

           17              and asking someone to vote for or to not

 

           18              vote for a particular candidate is to me

 

           19              using our dais as a political tool and we

 

           20              have asked the people not do that.  I think

 

           21              that that's a legitimate request.  To ask

 

           22              people to go out and vote, no problem, but

 

           23              when you mention particular candidates and

 

           24              to vote for or not for particular candidates

 

           25              I think we have gone too far, and that is it


 

 

                                                                     137

 

 

            1              all I was trying to do.

 

            2                      And the last thing, yes, I did speak

 

            3              to the commissioners about the motion that

 

            4              Mrs. Evans made tonight.  I also listened to

 

            5              Attorney Cullen and his presentation.  I

 

            6              believe that that's what we are supposed to

 

            7              do.  Because I disagreed with what I heard,

 

            8              because I may have had some questions about

 

            9              what I heard, because I spoke to the

 

           10              commissioners, and just for point of

 

           11              reference, I didn't speak to Mayor Doherty

 

           12              about it because I didn't think that it had

 

           13              anything to do with the mayor's office,

 

           14              therefore, I didn't ask him, but if that

 

           15              makes me an apologist, I don't believe that

 

           16              makes me an apologist for anyone.

 

           17                      I have been reminded that I should

 

           18              go and do my homework, and I believe in this

 

           19              case that's what I did.  I went out and did

 

           20              my homework and made an independent decision

 

           21              on the information that I received and I

 

           22              attempt to do that in any situation, and I

 

           23              believe that -- or to me it was insulting to

 

           24              be referred to as an apologist, and I think

 

           25              that we should treat one another in this


 

 

                                                                     138

 

 

            1              council with more respect than that, and

 

            2              that is all I have.  Thank you.

 

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

 

            4              INTRODUCTION -- A RESOLUTION - A LENDING

 

            5              RESOLUTION NO. 55, 2008 ENTITLED " A

 

            6              RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER

 

            7              APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO APPLY FOR AN

 

            8              EXECUTE A GRANT FOR HOUSING AND

 

            9              REDEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE (HRA) IN THE AMOUNT

 

           10              OF FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS $500,000.00

 

           11              THROUGH THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

 

           12              DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC

 

           13              DEVELOPMENT (DCED); AND IF THE APPLICATION

 

           14              IS SUCCESSFUL TO COORDINATE THE USE OF THE

 

           15              GRANT FUNDS FOR THE PROJECT TO BE NAMED AS

 

           16              THE "CONNELL BUILDING" WITH

 

           17              "JEFFERSON-WERNER, LLC", THE DEVELOPER, OR

 

           18              ITS DESIGNEE TO REFLECT THE CHANGE OF THE

 

           19              DEVELOPER AND RECIPIENT OF THE GRANT FROM

 

           20              JEFFERSON-WERNER, LLC TO SCRANTON-CONNELL,

 

           21              LP.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll

 

           23              entertain a motion that Item 5-B be

 

           24              introduced into it's proper committee.

 

           25                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  So moved.


 

 

                                                                     139

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI:  Second.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

            3                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.  I would like to

 

            4              know if the grant was approved by DCED?

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI: Already you mean?

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: Yeah.  It was submitted

 

            7              early, like the first week of September in

 

            8              2008.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI: I don't think they can

 

           10              give us the legislation without approval

 

           11              from DCED.

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: Well, this is the back --

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI: If the application is

 

           14              secured.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: This is the

 

           16              application, but didn't this already go

 

           17              through?

 

           18                      MS. EVANS: Yeah.  What I said was

 

           19              right, the legislation passed I think maybe

 

           20              September 7th or 9th of 2008, this exact

 

           21              legislation minus the change to the name

 

           22              from Connell.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: Right.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: And so my question is has

 

           25              this grant been approved by DCED.


 

 

                                                                     140

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI: I would imagine, but I

 

            2              don't know.  Do they have to agree to file

 

            3              it under the new name?  I don't know.  I can

 

            4              find that out.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: And also if you could

 

            6              find out if it was approved was the money

 

            7              received by this -- I know the city must

 

            8              receive it first then it disperses then to

 

            9              the developer, so I would really like to

 

           10              table this legislation and the next piece of

 

           11              legislation until we get the answers to

 

           12              those two questions before we move this

 

           13              along.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: I'll second that.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: That's fine.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Are you making a motion

 

           17              to table both 5-B and 5-C?

 

           18                      MS. EVANS: To table 5-B and 5-C

 

           19              until the two questions are answered, they

 

           20              are the same questions for the million and

 

           21              the $500,000, and that way we will have the

 

           22              answer and then change their name.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: On the motion to table

 

           24              item 5-B and 5-C all in favor signify by

 

           25              saying aye.


 

 

                                                                     141

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF:  Opposed?  No. The ayes

 

            6              have it and so moved.

 

            7                      MS. GARVEY: 5-B and C have been

 

            8              tabled.  SIXTH ORDER.  NO BUSINESS AT THIS

 

            9              TIME.  SEVENTH ORDER.  7-A. FOR

 

           10              CONSIDERATION - BY THE COMMITTEE ON

 

           11              COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT  FOR ADOPTION - FILE

 

           12              OF COUNCIL NO. 61, 2009- AUTHORIZING THE

 

           13              MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS FOR

 

           14              THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO MAKE APPLICATION TO

 

           15              THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND

 

           16              URBAN DEVELOPMENT ("HUD") FOR A SECTION 108

 

           17              FEDERAL LOAN GUARANTEE IN THE AMOUNT OF

 

           18              THREE MILLION DOLLARS ($3,000,000.00) AND IF

 

           19              SUCH APPLICATION IS SUCCESSFUL, TO ACCEPT

 

           20              THE LOAN PROCEEDS AND DISTRIBUTE THEM TO

 

           21              BOSCOV'S, INC. FOR AN ELIGIBLE PROJECT, AND

 

           22              FURTHER TO AMEND THE CITY OF SCRANTON'S

 

           23              CONSOLIDATED PLAN FILED IN 2004 AND THE

 

           24              FISCAL YEAR 2009 ANNUAL ACTION PLAN FOR THE

 

           25              COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT ("CDBG")


 

 

                                                                     142

 

 

            1              PROGRAM TO INCLUDE AND PERMIT SUCH SECTION

 

            2              108 APPLICATION AND LOAN ACTIVITIES.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF:  What is the

 

            4              recommendation the Chairperson for the

 

            5              Committee on Community Development?

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI: As Chairperson for the

 

            7              Committee on Community Development, I

 

            8              recommend final passage of item 7-A.

 

            9                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: I know that questions

 

           12              were raised about this and I did provide a

 

           13              rather lengthy explanation last week after

 

           14              having been in contact with Mr. Boscov and

 

           15              his controller for five to six days and I

 

           16              can tell you that Boscov's is current on all

 

           17              of it's taxes, not only for the mall, but

 

           18              for the office buildings it owns as well and

 

           19              I would venture to say, because I don't have

 

           20              all of my materials with me this evening,

 

           21              that Boscov's is paying over 1.2 million

 

           22              dollars annually in taxes, and that's

 

           23              certainly tax revenue in this economic time

 

           24              we can ill afford to lose, and we can ill

 

           25              afford to put even more people out of


 

 

                                                                     143

 

 

            1              business -- or rather more people out of

 

            2              jobs, and I do think that all of the stores

 

            3              within the mall are codependent, they need

 

            4              one another to survive, and I think even the

 

            5              stores outside of the mall in our downtown

 

            6              are codependent and they need the mall to

 

            7              survive.  So, I am voting "yes" on this.

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI:  And just for the

 

            9              record, the jobs that are there, Mrs. Evans,

 

           10              are all low to moderate income people, so,

 

           11              that's who is being employed.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  Roll call,

 

           13              please?

 

           14                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           15                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

           16                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.

 

           18                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           19                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           20                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           22                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           24              Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           25                      MS. GARVEY: 7-B. FOR CONSIDERATION


 

 

                                                                     144

 

 

            1              BY THE COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT -

 

            2              FOR ADOPTION -  RESOLUTION, 107, 2009 -

 

            3              ACCEPTING THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE

 

            4              HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE REVIEW BOARD

 

            5              ("HARB") AND APPROVING THE CERTIFICATE OF

 

            6              APPROPRIATENESS FOR SCRANTON-CONNELL, LP,

 

            7              700 SOUTH HENDERSON ROAD, SUITE 300 B, KING

 

            8              OF PRUSSIA, PENNSYLVANIA FOR FAÇADE MASONRY

 

            9              REPAIR/RESTORATION; REPAIR OF LIMESTONE AND

 

           10              TERRA COTTA BLOCK ELEMENTS; POINT BRICK;

 

           11              REPLACEMENT OF MISSING BALUSTERS;

 

           12              REPLACEMENT OF ROOF WITH EPDM SYSTEM;

 

           13              REPAIR/REFINISH ALL EXISTING UPPER AND LOWER

 

           14              SASHES AND SURROUNDING CASEWORK ON WINDOWS,

 

           15              INCLUDING FABRICATION WHEN NECESSARY TO

 

           16              MATCH ORIGINAL TO THE CONNELL BUILDING,

 

           17              119-129 NORTH WASHINGTON AVENUE, SCRANTON

 

           18              PENNSYLVANIA.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: What is the

 

           20              recommendation of the Chair for the

 

           21              Committee on Community Development?

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI:  As Chairperson for the

 

           23              Committee on Community Development, I

 

           24              recommend final passage of Item 7-B.

 

           25                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.


 

 

                                                                     145

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?  Roll

 

            2              call, please.

 

            3                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

            5                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.

 

            7                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

            9                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           11                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           13              Item 7-B legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           14                      MS. GARVEY:  7-C. FOR CONSIDERATION

 

           15              BY THE COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT -

 

           16              FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 108, 2009 -

 

           17              AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE

 

           18              CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND APPLY FOR A

 

           19              GRANT THROUGH THE COMMONWEALTH OF

 

           20              PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AND

 

           21              ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (DCED) FOR A GROWING

 

           22              GREENER II MAIN STREET AND DOWNTOWN

 

           23              REDEVELOPMENT GRANT IN THE AMOUNT OF ONE

 

           24              MILLION DOLLARS ($1,000,000.00).  IF THE

 

           25              GRANT APPLICATION IS SUCCESSFUL, THE CITY


 

 

                                                                     146

 

 

            1              WILL ACCEPT THE GRANT FUNDS AND DISTRIBUTE

 

            2              TO "SCRANTON-CONNELL, LP" AND ITS GENERAL

 

            3              PARTNER "SCRANTON-CONNELL, GP, LLC" FOR THE

 

            4              "PROJECT" TO BE NAMED AS "CONNELL BUILDING

 

            5              ADAPTIVE RE-USE".

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: What the recommendation

 

            7              of the Chairperson for the Committee on

 

            8              Community Development?

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI: As Chairperson for the

 

           10              Committee on Community Development, I

 

           11              recommend final passage of Item 7-C.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Second.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question,

 

           15              Mr. McGoff, I did speak to representatives

 

           16              from the carpenters union and the

 

           17              bricklayer's union and they did tell me that

 

           18              they believe the work being done there will

 

           19              be done by local union people.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF:  Roll call, please.

 

           21                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           22                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

           23                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI.  Yes.

 

           25                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.


 

 

                                                                     147

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

            2                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

            4                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

            6              Item 7-C legally and lawfully adopted.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI:  Motion to adjourn.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  So moved.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you for your

 

           10              participation.

 

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                                                                     148

 

 

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

 

            2

 

            3        I hereby certify that the proceedings and

 

            4   evidence are contained fully and accurately in the

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

            8   ability.

 

            9

 

           10

 

           11

                                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR

           12                       OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

 

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