Monday, November 07, 2005

Clarifying a few facts in Tarentum race, scheme or not

Today I was shown a copy of a letter Carl Magnetta mailed to voters of the First, Second, and Third Wards in Tarentum. With two years to go in his current term as the Third Ward councilperson, he is running against Ginger Sopcak for the at-large position on the Borough Council. There are some inaccuracies in the facts he reports in the letter.

The relevant portion of his letter reads as follows:

The citizens of Tarentum Borough recently received a note from my opponent, Ms. Sopcak about a so called "scheme" taking place by Tarentum Council.

I wanted to make things clear for the taxpayers. Two meter companies presented their plans at an open water committee meeting Monday, October 10th. The costs were way out of line.

At the regular council meeting on October 17th, a discussion took place and I said to start the discussion, "Tarentum Borough taxpayers cannot handle this debt, furthermore, we just simply cannot afford something of this magnitude. We simply cannot even entertain this idea." Everyone was in unanimous agreement and the issue was dropped. The meeting went on with other business. Closed subject.

Facts speak "loud and clear." Minutes of the meeting are of public record. There was also a reporter from the Valley News taking notes if anyone would need further proof.

I presume that the note to which Mr. Magnetta refers is the campaign flyer handed out by Ms. Sopcak as she has gone door to door. The relevant portion of that flyer reads as follows:

Can you afford higher taxes or higher water rates for a two million dollar water metering system?

Then you must cast your vote for a responsible borough government.

I along with several members of the community circulated a petition urging council to reject a scheme that we simply cannot afford.

Unfortunately, council chose to ignore the clear expression of many in the community. No action or vote of the council was taken. This issue was brushed aside until after the election.

I was an observer at part of the October 10 meeting and at the borough council meeting on October 17. There were also reporters from the Valley News Dispatch present at each meeting (Susan Thompson at the meeting on October 10, and Misty Chybrzynski at the meeting on October 17). As relieved as I am to hear Mr. Magnetta put his views on the meter issue in writing on the eve of the election, I believe there are some inaccuracies in his description of the matter.

I did not write down Mr. Magnetta's words as he opened the discussion, but the words he used in his letter are in accord with my memory. However, I believe his memory is inaccurate when he says that "everyone was in unanimous agreement." I observed a very strong consensus, with one clear and vocal holdout. Joe Davidek voiced his distress about the fact that not accepting the $2 million dollar offer meant that accomplishing the upgrade would take too long for his tastes.

The meeting did go on with other business, but no motion had been made, and accordingly no vote was taken. The matter was not closed.

Mr. Magnetta claims that the minutes of the meeting are of public record. I believe that he is in error again. The council has not yet met since October 17 to approve the minutes that will be in the public record. There is not yet an official record that anyone can check to verify Mr. Magnetta's assertion. Neither the Valley News Dispatch nor I reported any closure on the water meter issue.

I believe that when the minutes of the October 17 meeting are approved they will not show that Mr. Magnetta cast a vote against the two million dollar proposal, although both he and Ms. Sopcak have now verbally spoken against it.

It is good for Tarentum voters to know that whichever candidate is elected to the at-large position, the person who will hold that position is someone with the clear thinking to recognize the unreasonableness of the two million dollar proposal.

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Anonymous said...

I wonder if somebody could enlighten the Tarentum police Department.
1. PARKING ON SIDEWALKS IS ILLEGAL ! (check East Tenth Ave on ANY given day)
2.PARKING ON YELLOW LINES IS ILLEGAL ! (Check in front of the Post office on ANY given day)
3. DISPOSING OF PERSONAL TRASH IN DOWNTOWN CONTAINERS IS ILLEGAL ! (Check in front of the fire trap second hand store,old Grant bldg on Corbett Street on ANY given day)
4.PARKING AGAINST TRAFFIC IS ILLEGAL ! (Again, check on Corbett Street in front of the fire trap second hand store.
Additionally, has the Code Enforcement Officer (another joke) ever checked that Grant Bldg for violations ? Oh, I'm sorry, that would mean he would have to leave the Municipal Bldg.


Stewart said...

Anonymous, thanks for joining me on this virtual bench. You have some valid concerns about what is going on in the borough, even though those issues were not the topic of the post to which you added your comments.

It is not appropriate to refer to another human being created in the image of God as a "joke". It is clear that there are buildings out of compliance with codes, but it is not clear that the code enforcement officer has failed to do his duty.

I would suggest that you raise your concerns about parking and illegal trash disposal more directly with the relevant authorities. (They are not very likely to find your concerns in a comment on a blog post about the electric and water meter issue.)

Anonymous said...

I don't know what happened to my first response but it is out there in space somewhere. Anyway maybe I didn't state it right or maybe you didn't understand what I was saying. I was not refering to anybody as a "joke" but the fact of it being called "enforcement"office. Maybe you could tell me what enforcement has been done. I would be glad to give you addresses in Tarentum, that I am sure the officer drives past every day.
As for being in the wrong blog, the title of this blog is "Clarifying a few facts in Tarentum race, scheme or not" As I said in closing my statements I said for Council to get off their duffs to get things done in Tarentum. Council members ARE elected officials and therefore this IS a fact in the Tarentum race.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, I can not find a blog dedicated totally to Tarentum Council, Police or the Code Enforcement Office. I think the citizens fear retribution. ( I know that is the part of my remaining anonymous) I used my name years ago and I suffered for it with pay backs.
And closing, the Code Enforcement Officer could certainly start with that second hand rat trap on Corbett St. Beleive me we are headed for another drastic fire like we have had with every other salvage store that has been in Tarentum!

Stewart said...

Anonymous, thanks for the clarification about the code enforcement officer. I have not been monitoring that person's work, but I observed at the last Council meeting I attended that he does give a report of his activities. Tarentum Council will meet on Monday, Nov. 21 at 6:30 and visitors are allowed to observe what happens.

Tell me more about the history of fires at salvage shops in Tarentum. I'm somewhat new around here.

Anonymous said...

The fires occured several years ago when Thompsons had the salvage stores in Tarentum. One was in the old Sauls store than ran from 4th Ave. to 5th. Ave. between Corbett and Lock Streets. Now a vacant lot, naturally. The other one, also run by Nick Thompson was a the corner of 5th Ave. and Wood Street, also now a vacant lot. They also had one on Bull Creek Rd. right outside the Tarentum line that burnt. All were VERY devistating fires and thanks to our Maker nobody, including firemen were killed.
Furthermore, welcome to the area and thanks for taking an interest in the happenings around.
I used to be a member of CP many years ago when I was a young person. Rev Ramsey and Rev Coleman were there then. More years than I can beleive !