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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Scranton City Council: Talk Is Cheap

NEPArtisan has a great story about a rumor of who will be selected for the vacant City Council seat. You can link to it here. Two points stood out for me:

Candidate Promises vs. Budget Realities
Many, many people (including me) have been saying for a while that the new Scranton City Council majority simply can't -

a) Retain city employee staffing levels
b) Pay union employees more
b) Reduce taxes

- all at the same time. It simply doesn't work. Now is there plenty-o-fat in Mayor Doherty's budgets? Sure there is. You want to know what? If Janet Evans were Mayor, others would be able to find fat in her budgets as well. That'sn simply how the system works (one person's "fat" is another person's "worthwhile project"). Fat aside, budgets are nothing more than the most basic of mathematical operations: what comes in has to be equal to what goes out. If you increase the cost of what goes out, you can't reduce the amount that comes in.

Typical Scranton Politics
If NEPArtisan's rumor turns out to be true, then I view it as being firm proof that Janet Evans is nothing more than a better-dressed version of every other Scranton politicians that has graced the offices on North Washington Avenue. Why? Clearly, it seems that the council seat candidate referenced in the article is an Evans camp "insider". Remember, Mrs Evan's son has also been her campaign manager, so there would most definitely be a political connection between the person and the selection. The "personal friend as political appointee" game has been played over and over and over again in Scranton. One would think that this is precisely the kind of thing that Mrs Evans has railed against when it has been done by Mayor Doherty. Now let's see if she's any different.

Finally, I want to note that I've only met Janet Evans once, so I don't know her. I do wish her well and I do hope that she is successful at reducing the cost of city government. I do also hope that she can move beyond the "it's Doherty's fault!" rhetoric that's best suited for campaigns and move towards cooperating with all of Scranton's elected officials...not just those she agrees effectively govern. She also has to realize that if you claim to be a different kind of politician, then you actually have to act like a different kind of politician.

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