Photographs taken on the morning of Wednesday 20th November by a concerned citizen show a serious and potentially life-threatening situation involving the City Department of Public Works – director Councilman Kevin Troup.
Danger – Men at Work
Workers can be clearly seen, in flagrant violation of OSHA safety regulations, standing in a front loader bucket hanging garlands from lampposts. Why is this so dangerous? If the machine’s engine stalled, or simply ran out of fuel, the hydraulic pressure would fail instantly, and the heavy bucket would fall like a stone, throwing anyone within out onto the road. It could also do some serious damage to any vehicles parked underneath where they were working.
While the Persings were living high on the hog during their trip to Oklahoma City last week, others less fortunate were facing up to the prospect of a huge tax hike for the City. We hate to say it, but we told you so. Rather than a $400,000 budget reduction under Joe Bartello we face a $400,000 increase, following the same well trodden path that Persing has taken before – increasingly wasteful expenditure brought about by irresponsible policies pursued by a corrupt and incompetent administration.
Shamokin has already gone down this road and Sunbury is charging headlong in pursuit. When this latest increase proves not to be enough, stand by for an appeal to the county court for an increase in tax limits. Then, rather than going to 25 mil, we can see our tax rates going to 35 mil or even higher – a sure fire recipe for disaster, driving more good people out of Sunbury, leading to increased property blight and a rapidly decreasing tax base.
Unfortunately, this time there is nobody in City Hall who will stand up to such profligacy. With the departure of Councilmen Snyder and Bartello and their replacement by the incoming Henry and Reichner, the collective IQ of those running City Hall has probably halved, and Persing can look forward to little or no informed opposition to his misconceived plans for the next 4 years.
There are thousands, if not millions of people in America, who are happy the election is over so they can finally stop hearing about “the candidates,” “the issues,” and just “politics” in general. I too was one of those people. That is, up until 4 years ago when my dad was elected to the Sunbury City Council. At that moment I had a reason to care about politics, although I never understood it and I never really paid attention.
When he was elected, he had many ideas on how to improve the city. Whether it was concepts for businesses in the city, ways to improve efficiency of our city employees, or hopes of helping citizens in the city who are less fortunate and need financial or physical assistance improving their homes.
I followed his journey through the ups and downs of being a public official in Sunbury while I was in college but didn’t have a lot of extra time to help. When I finished my last semester of classes in graduate school, I finally had some free time to spend helping video record the City Council meetings on Monday nights.
On Tuesday evening, Mayor David L. Persing had a wonderful opportunity to start the healing process for his deeply divided city. He had the chance to be magnanimous in victory, to hold out an olive branch to his opponents and to chart a new way ahead for the city which would be acceptable to a vast majority of its citizens.
Instead he went into attack mode with a bellicose and threatening speech, more reminiscent of Nazi Germany than the Land of the Free, a speech which has spawned a YouTube video entitled “Defiant Mayor with only 60% of vote calls opposition, evil, garbage, makes threats”.
In response to the huge level of interest being shown in Joe Bartello’s proposals to end unnecessary and wasteful spending, and to cut the City Budget, his campaign tonight released the following statement:
“My proposals to reduce the city budget are based on the removal of service duplication, the elimination of waste and a much more professional system of city-wide management.
“The availability of finance for city services is, to a large extent, dependent on the state of the local economy. I will make it a priority to actively pursue industries to bring more jobs to Sunbury and help our economy grow.
A vital piece of Sunbury’s historical fabric and a huge potential tourist attraction has a massive question mark hanging over its future.
We all know that Vinny Clausi wants to close the prison and put the county into debt by building a new larger unit in his own backyard at Coal Township. What is not so widely known is that Vinny also wants to demolish the existing prison building and sell off the stone.
I don’t think I am alone in finding it strange that Mayor David thought it necessary to divert two of our police officers from their normal duties of protecting our citizens in order to accompany him while campaigning in the Market House last Saturday. It may not have been his intent, but many people found their presence to be intimidating, and kept well clear.
The question has to be asked, Why? Why divert our hard working officers from their regular duties at a time when reports indicate they are unable to deal with more than 50% of the calls which come their way.
Does Mayor David feel threatened walking the streets of our City these days? Does he believe that he has upset so many people that his safety in Sunbury can no longer be guaranteed? This despite all the many improvements he claims to have introduced during his long reign?
If it is no longer safe for political candidates to be out on their own, then how about extending the same courtesy to his rival for Mayor – Councilman Bartello? I am sure he is in more need of it than our illustrious leader.
Wendy Lynne Lee, Professor of Natural Philosophy, Bloomsburg University
Frackers – Why Sunbury?
Professor Wendy Lee
The gas fracking industry invariably looks for poor neighborhoods within which to locate its operations. This way they reckon the people will be easier to subdue and overcome as they are unable to generate an effective resistance to the plans. This is exactly what happened up at Riverdale in Lycoming Country with the water pumping station, when they wanted to dispossess a community living in mobile homes in an economically marginal neighborhood in order to set up operations there.
It is the same story with Moran Industries and Clean Harbors when they wanted to use the old Celotex Site in order to construct a frack waste processing plant. It is not currently proceeding, but it is certainly conceivable that they could come back if they can obtain the DEP permit that they were not able to obtain originally.
Mayor Persing has to know that they targeted that location because Sunbury, despite him having been mayor for most of the time since 1990, despite the fact that he claims to have done a ton for Sunbury, the Celotex site remains utterly blighted and is targeted by companies such as Clean Harbors precisely because it is an easy target and has rail transport.