NewsLanc.Com

    Providing Greater Lancaster with an Alternative Source for Local News and Commentary  _________________________________________________________
December 29, 2006                      Publisher: NewsLanc.com LLC                           Volume 1, Number 18
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Comment
Lancaster Newspapers anoint Thibault as
Shaub successor!

According to the Dec. 28 Intelligencer Journal, former Lancaster County Commissioner Paul Thibault has announced acceptance of an appointment to the Board of Commissioners.

However, this is before Pete Shaub resigns, an evaluation of candidates by President Judge Louis J. Farina, and the position being offered to Thibault.

Apparently the monopoly Lancaster Newspapers, Inc. desires to dispense with the formalities.

The Intell quoted Thibault saying he "would be honored to take a seat at the commissioners' table once again."

In anointing Thibault - - a strong convention center supporter - - Lancaster Newspapers have once again allowed its 44 percent sponsorship of the $175 + million mostly publicly funded and debt guaranteed project to influence its journalistic integrity.



Witchhunt by D.A. Totaro?

District Attorney Donald R. Totaro’s extended Grand Jury investigation of the county commissioners for Sunshine law violations yielded two $100 fines each for Commissioners Pete Shaub and Dick Shellenberger, and a single $100 fine for Commissioner Molly Henderson.

Questions have been raised concerning the extraordinary cost in staff and grand jurors' time about a matter that both Shaub and Shellenberger had publicly apologized for in April, 2006.

The case against Molly Henderson was doubtful, involving her presence at a single staff presentation more than a year and a half after several meetings of the other two commissioners at the law firm of then county solicitors, Stevens & Lee.

Henderson apparently agreed to the citation rather than spend her primary re-election campaign in court defending a summary complaint.

Perhaps now that Totaro has completed his half-year pursuit of $500 in fines, he and his staff (and possibly the Grand Jury) can find time to directly investigate the expenditures of over $17 million by the Convention Center Authority as has been formally requested by three members of the Convention Center board.


In 260 Days

County appointees become the majority on the Convention Center
Board and take charge.


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Art Morris Revenue Sharing Proposal Has Merit
But Mayor Gray must first help himself!

In what may prove to be an historic column in the Dec. 24 Sunday News, former Lancaster Mayor Art Morris studiously compares the deteriorating fiscal situation of Lancaster City with the growing good fortune of Manheim Township and makes a compelling case for a countywide revenue sharing program.

According to Morris, "The City is in the unenviable position of having a much lower tax base than Manheim Township but having to provide

services to a population of 55,000 while Manheim Township serves a little more than 33,500 persons."

Morris also points out that the very nature of being an urban center of a region creates a need for more core services and cites as an example that the cost to the City of providing police service is 2.8 times greater despite the City only having 3/5th the population.

Nevertheless, the countywide public

cannot ignore the contradiction of providing aid to the City while the City ignores sound fiscal policy by heavily subsidizing and providing $38 million in guarantees for the Convention Center / Hotel Project.

Earlier this year the PKF Consultants' Feasibility Study indicated the project would run a deficit of as much as $4.8 million annually. At the now higher price tag, the deficit could reach well over $5 million annually.

Do the Lancaster Newspapers abide by the American Society of Newspaper Editors' "Ethics Code"?

"Independence. Journalists must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety as well as any conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict..."

"Truth and Accuracy. Good faith with the reader is the foundation of good journalism...Significant errors of fact, as well as errors of omission, should be corrected promptly and prominently."

"Impartiality...Articles that contain opinion or personal interpretation should be clearly identified."

"Fair Play. Journalists should respect the rights of people involved in the news, observe the common standards of decency and stand accountable to the public for the fairness and accuracy of their news reports."

Center Authority pays consultants $234,709 for October!

Stevens & Lee* (lawyers): $86,516.68

Fenningham, Stevens, Dempster (lawyers): $36,115.91

Holland & Knight (lawyers): $3,218.41

Bulls Advisory Group ("Executive Advisory Services"): $50,617.73

Cimbrian (formerly Kelly Michener public relations): $23,262.50

Cooper Carry (architects): $3,808.80

Growth Business Development ("Advisory Services"): $14,400.00

High Associates ("Developer's fee"): $16,769.00

*Stevens & Lee is also the registered lobbyist for High Industries, the general partner of Penn Square Partners.