Green Party Joins Other Citizen Groups in Opposing Privatization of Wilkes-Barre’s Parking Resources.
The Luzerne County Green Party is now on record as opposing Mayor Leighton’s plan to sell city parking resources, and revenues, that are needed to assure long-term management of the city. “The sale will provide a quick infusion of cash at first, but that will only assure Mayor Leighton completes his term without huge tax hikes. However, it leaves the city in a mess, and lacking the revenue stream city lots and meters provide, forcing even more burden on Wilkes-Barre property owners and businesses,” explained Dr. Richard Aston, Green Party Parliamentarian.
The Greens further cite that destabilizing parking issues, in the hands of a corporate entity with no obligation to deal with public concerns, will negatively impact on the delicate, but regenerating downtown business community. “In addition to our hope for the success of the new, locally owned businesses downtown; one cannot diminish the obligation the city owes its cornerstone, longtime businesses. Boscov’s, Marquis Art and Frame, Outlet Army Navy, Bartikowsky’s, and Circles on the Square are good examples of quality businesses that persevered during some dark days in Wilkes-Barre. The city must be responsible to those who have taken great risk and sacrifice in the belief that the city will once again thrive. There has been much positive in the direction of business in Wilkes-Barre, but so much more needs to be done,” stated Carl Romanelli, Party Co-chair.
Along with support for local business, the Greens want to thank the many civic and community groups that have already come out against the leasing of city parking resources. “We have been opposed to the Mayor/JJ parking plan for a while now, but we have also been encouraged and inspired by the diverse voices in agreement. Representatives from other third parties, Crime Watch, taxpayers groups, Downtown Business Association, and Downtown Residents association have all made articulate cases for the City Council to NOT approve this expensive scheme. We join them, and demand that Council not ignore the need of Wilkes-Barre, just to further enrich the already comfortable,” Romanelli advised. “It’s like Hawkeye all over again.”
The Luzerne County Green Party has existed since May of 2000, organized around Ralph Nader’s Green Party candidacy for President of the US, and has met monthly since. All of its meetings have been in Downtown Wilkes-Barre. The local presidential caucus (Green Party had a contested primary for president) was scheduled at Boscov’s Restaurant in the Sophia Room last month. The party emphasized that the event was held there in order to reinforce the party’s commitment to supporting local and regional businesses.
The Greens were successful, in coalition with other groups, in passing the now infamous Wilkes-Barre Council Districts Charter Amendment. It also was at the forefront of defending Denise Carey when convicted, ex-judge Michael Conahan attempted to impose fees on Ms. Carey for attempting to petition to amend the city’s charter; in the wake of the closing of the Northampton Street firehouse in 2005.