Not Cease from Exploration

Friday, October 11, 2013

Courtright getting Clobbered

I give credit to the Jim Mulligan for Mayor (of Scranton) campaign for being pretty direct in criticizing Democratic candidate Bill Courtright.  Here are two fairly recent mass emails I received from the Mulligan campaign.

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For Immediate Release
October 9, 2013
Contact: Matthew Beynon - (703) 307-8633

Where's Bill? (Volume 1)
Courtright's Platitudes Versus The Twelve-Point
Mulligan Plan For Transparency & Consensus
SCRANTON, PA - Over the past week, the Jim Mulligan for Mayor of Scranton, PA campaign has offered its detailed plan to save Scranton from the current crisis it faces. Sadly, the Courtright campaign has not done the same even though it has had the opportunity to step forward and show leadership when asked during media interviews.

Despite Mulligan offering detailed proposal after proposal, the Courtright campaign has continued to only list feel-good platitudes that will bring no solutions to Scranton's problems. Courtright says he "cannot say right now" what he would do to solve the city's problems (SOURCE: The David Madeira Show, October 8, 2013). After 10 years of campaigning, don't the voters deserve more from Bill Courtright?

Courtright Platitudes

Bill Courtright's plan to better "communicate" with the Scranton City Council is to simply "communicate."  
  • "Communication - work with council and others to solve our problems" (SOURCE:www.courtrightmayor.com, October 7, 2013)
What does "communicate" mean? Courtright provides no details, no plans on how he intends to improve relations with City Council - he is simply asking the voters of Scranton to trust him to "communicate," but how can we trust him to communicate with City Council when he isn't even communicating with voters?

Bill Courtright calls for a "transparent" government, but what does that mean? 
  • "Transparency - The Mayor is the steward of the city, it is the people's city"(SOURCE: www.courtrightmayor.com, October 7, 2013)
Again, Courtright does not outline what he would do to make city government more transparent other than to say he will have a "transparent" government. How does the Courtright vision of transparency translate to relationships with voters across Scranton? How does Mr. Courtright's transparent government improve Scranton's financial situation? Sadly, voters are forced to have blind faith in Mr. Courtright to be "transparent" at a time when the City is at a crossroads.

The Mulligan Plan

Counter to the Courtright platitudes, Jim Mulligan has provided a detailed 12-point plan for how his Administration will govern openly and effectively with all city stakeholders.

With Citizens/Taxpayers/Businesses
  • Monthly Open Office Hours, including evenings, for stakeholders to meet with Mayor.
  • Have community liaison available for anyone needing help from City, all calls go to one place.
  • Frequent listening tours/town hall meetings with citizens, business owners, and neighborhood groups to find out what Scrantonians want from City government. By creating a dialog we will address issues and formulate solutions.
  • City Hall will be open and transparent. 
With City Council
  • Maintain open communications with City Council members at all times.
  • Formally meet with Council members at their pre-Council meeting caucuses. 
With Non-Profits/Colleges & Universities/Hospitals
  • SILOT    - Service in lieu of taxes to help the City. For example, seek educational expertise to analyze City challenges.
  • PILOT- These payments would be used to fund capital projects of the City rather than funding the operating budget. The non-profit could designate its PILOT to a particular capital project or equipment purchase.
  • Establish internship program to help small businesses. The City would act as a facilitator to provide support for local businesses in partnership with our local colleges and other non-profit groups. 
With County, School District and Surrounding Communities
  • Join SAPPA Regional Planning Group.
  • Foster cooperative business relationships with the County, School District and surrounding communities by formulating ways to reduce costs of all governments through co-operating purchasing and shared services.  Seek help from the State to foster collaboration among all parties. 
With State Officials and Local Legislators
  • Frequently meet with our local legislators and State officials to discuss City issues, seek solutions and collaborate.

At a time when Scranton voters need to know what they're getting, it's clear Scranton cannot afford Bill Courtright.

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Paid for by Friends of Jim Mulligan



AND



For Immediate Release
October 8, 2013
Contact: Matthew Beynon - (703) 307-8633

 Shhh... The Courtright Plan Is "Secret"
SCRANTON, PA - Today, Scranton mayoral candidate Bill Courtright appeared on The David Madeira Show to discuss his "plan" to address the problems facing Scranton. One problem, he wouldn't tell Madeira's listeners what his plan is... or as he said, he "can't say right now." So shhh, it's a "secret."

Jim Mulligan said: "Bill Courtright has been running for office in Scranton for a decade now and he's relying on the people of Scranton to just trust him that he'll have a plan in place? I have put forward a detailed plan to address the problems facing our city and I have been open and honest with all voters about the direction I would like to take Scranton. The voters deserve a race based on competing plans and competing visions. I have provided a plan, my opponent has only alluded to secret plans he cannot discuss 'right now.' Our city is at a crossroads and we need that debate now."

Bill Courtright on The David Madeira Show

Courtright: "I've been dealing with Senator Blake on a program that is not only going to try to eradicate the blight that we have in the City of Scranton, but at the same time bring revenue into the City of Scranton... the Senator and I are going to push forward on this program and get this done."

Madeira: "Get what done?"

Courtright: "It's a program that would, uh, I can't say totally eliminate blight but try to eliminate blight and at the same time bring revenue into the City of Scranton."


Madeira: "What is it?"

Courtright: "Uh, I can't say right now."

Madeira: "Oh, ok, it's a secret."

Bill Courtright doesn't have a plan to solve our problems. Scranton cannot afford Bill Courtright.

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Paid for by Friends of Jim Mulligan


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Now I will confess that I've already expressed support for Jim Mulligan, but that's in large part because of what the above notes:  namely that Bill Courtright has no real plan for Scranton.  In fact, you get the distinct impression that Bill Courtright is running for Mayor simply because, well, it's his time to run for Mayor.  That or the reality of Konsil President Janet Evans having so soiled her own political landscape through her toxic battle with sitting mayor Doherty that she wouldn't stand much of a chance winning herself.  This means that there was an opening for [insert name of Democratic City Insider HERE] to run for Mayor now.  

Insert Name = Bill Courtright, consummate Scranton political insider and glad-hander.

What's next?  Well the 800 pound gorilla in the room is the support that public safety unions have (not so loudly) expressed for Bill Courtright.  Let's not forget that Scranton doesn't have a revenue problem, it has an expense problem.  Bill Courtright will not bite the hand that feeds him, and make no mistake about it that support from police & firemen (and their families and friends) are feeding Bill Courtright.  I do think...and have said here repeatedly over the years...that Scranton has an outstanding police force and that those who risk their lives for city residents need to be compensated fairly.  However, Scranton is broke...functionally bankrupt...and there are few to no more major revenue sources left to tap.  The only thing left is for Scranton to reduce operating expenses, and I do not believe that would ever happen if Bill Courtright were elected Mayor.   

The bottom line for me is that Bill Courtright seems incapable by design of doing anything that would upset the status quo in Scranton, particularly when it comes to labor costs.  He's simply too attached to the traditional world of Scranton politics.  Is Jim Mulligan any different?  I don't really know for sure, but I am willing to take a chance on what I don't know as opposed to what I do know.    

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

How does "the Mulligan plan" create revenue.
Its all fluff!
Hasn't he been part of the problem for 12 years, as a solicitor for nearly every department????
How van someone manage a 90 million dollar bubget when they can't manage their own finances??

Anonymous said...

Exactly!!
He has been part of "the Doherty problem"
Having city hall open at night, meeting with council in secret,
Joining SAPPA...doesn't bring in MONEY!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

So we have a lawyer who is the solicitor of the Scranton Sewer Authority who didn't pay his sewer bill, a lawyer who was solicitor of the city and was delinquent on his garbage fees and has/had numerous judgements against him even though a part of his lawyering was collecting delinquencies? He appears to be a walking, talking, contradiction of himself. Then again, in Scranton he sounds perfect for the job!