Scranton City Council, The Saga Continues…..

“Democracy was regarded as entering into a crisis in the 1960s. The crisis was that large segments of the population were becoming organized and active and trying to participate in the political arena.”
Noam Chomsky; Media Control

Scranton City Council, The Saga Continues…..

Joe Leonardi

I usually don’t post 2 days in a row, but as I was talking about the Scranton City Council Saga to a friend from my campaign and something hit me. It seems that this little turf battle comes down to two teams. Those who support Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty and those who don’t. I find it interesting that those, in a move reminiscent of Soviet Russia, who have opted to pull the plug on democracy are generally considered pro Mayor Doherty.

I started wondering; who will really benefit if City Council proceedings go off the air? Who has the most to gain? The answer is Mayor Doherty. And if it is true, as implied on the radio, that it was ultimately his decision to pull the plug on Channel 61 — the picture really starts to come into focus.

I ran for Congress in the Pennsylvania 11th district, which encompasses the city of Scranton. I became very familiar with Scranton and the concerns of the citizens. It had been made known to me that the Mayor is being groomed to replace Congressman Paul Kanjorski, on the democratic side, when Paul decides to retire. So on the chance that I would have won, I took the time to learn about who may have been challenging me in 2008.

I met the Mayor on only one occasion. He seemed like a nice enough fellow. However, most of those I met in Scranton viewed him as “a snob.” He is perceived as someone who comes from money and looks down on the middle and lower classes. While, I didn’t get that impression personally from him, some of his initiatives do reek of elitism. One in particular has to do with an eminent domain case between Scranton and Buona Pizza. (I will publish a column I wrote during the campaign later this week) Also if you read Monday’s 3/26/07 Corbett’s Corner you may get a sense of arrogance from the column. Everything from the phone message that doesn’t identify the Mayor’s office to this quote from the Mayor himself, “Still, Doherty said that all the people of Scranton have the right to be heard, even if they’re “felons” or “mentally challenged.” I was curious by the qualifiers, why not just say all the people of Scranton? I highly suggest you go to the WILK web site and read the column.

All of the negatives brought up at City Council meetings appear to reflect poorly on the Mayor and his supporters. If the City Council can operate under the radar, or television screen, the discontent with the Mayor will not get the air time it is presently receiving. If the Mayor can ram through his vision for the upper class of Scranton, without the middle and lower classes witnessing the battles on Channel 61 — he can use his favorable majority to finalize his agenda. And of course, the meeting minutes are a good month behind on the web site. So by the time the citizens of Scranton have a chance to react — legislation is pushed through.

If the Mayor and his team on City Council looked good on a weekly basis this would enhance the Mayor’s image and I guarantee those cameras would never have left the chambers. Incumbents have an inherent advantage in maintaining their office or running for higher office, so to observe politicians giving up free television time is, to say the least, odd. However, since the constant Mayor and Council bashing would perhaps hurt the Mayor when he decides to make the leap to Congress: could this possibly influence his decision to approve the removal of the cameras?

Just a thought?

Joe Leonardi



Filed under City Council, Congress, Democratic, Judy Gatelli, Pennsylvania, Scranton

3 responses to “Scranton City Council, The Saga Continues…..

  1. Rich


    There have been a lot of mistakes made by the current administration in Scranton. Some are coming to light in the newspaper now. The mayor is arrogant and sees himself as a union buster. This has cost him. He refuse to adhere to binding arbitration and lost a recent appeal to city’s police department.(act 47). The Mayor also doesn’t like open government, which explains the removal of the cameras.

    He has also cost the city a bundle with his dealings with the American Water Services. (see today’s Times).

    Great article on the currrent situation. I am also very concerned about eminent domain situation and Buona Pizza. Why get rid of viable business that has spent 40 years in the downtown? What is the motivation?

  2. Hi Rich,

    I will be posting my column on eminent domain tonight.

    Thanks for the comment and keep up the dialogue


  3. Jim

    I really don’t know about the reason with the cameras but I am all for them. I want to commend you for being involved. Depite you conservative Bias I like your take on things.
    I too have a conservative bias but I am a Democrat. I believe for a fact that our Democracy is today in grave danger because of the new societal order being followed today.

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