Providing Lancaster City & County with an Alternative Source for Local News and Commentary  _________________________________________________________
 May 5, 2007                                         Publisher: LLC                                    Volume 1, Number 31
Ted Darcus Resigns Chair to
Allow Art Morris' Nomination…
Yet Another Dirty Trick?

By relinquishing his chairmanship of the Convention Center Authority prior to the expiration of his term, Ted Darcus makes way for newly appointed Art Morris to assume the position. Morris was nominated chair at the May 3 LCCCA nominating committee meeting, subject to a vote May 31 by the full board.

Since the Bylaws call for election of officers each January, this assures a City appointee will control the apparatus of the Authority for four more months beyond Sept. 15 when Darcus' term ends and majority control reverts to the County. The chair is the chief executive officer.

Now the public can see what $7 million in Stevens & Lee legal bills has wrought: Schemes to delay county appointees from taking control and investigating past abuses, over payments and possible illegal activities.

Will the monopoly newspapers, a 50% project sponsor, report these shenanigans and editorialize for an interim appointment to expire Sept. 15? Do pigs fly?

Newspapers Distortions Watch

BIAS: New Era 5/1/07 Article: "When the Lancaster County Commissioners secretly sold the county's nursing home to a private buyer, outraged citizens protested."

WATCHDOG: There were formal discussions of the transaction at two public commissioners meetings. So it was no "secret." The error was in not allowing additional time for public input. Molly Henderson voted to postpone the vote for at least another week and was overruled by commissioners Pete Shaub and Dick Shellenberger.

BIAS: "It was later learned that county appraisals of the property evaluated only the nursing home and no other buildings on the property."

WATCHDOG: There were three independent appraisals. Appraisers are required to evaluate based on the highest and best use for a property. If they thought subdivision would generate a greater price, they should have so stated. Note that the Almshouse by itself is only valued at $150,000.

BIAS: The April 29 Sunday News states: "There are drawbacks [to trolley cars], to be sure. Tracks on the street are going to inconvenience some drivers. Of course, city officials who have been trying for years to 'calm' traffic through town see some good in the notion of slowing the rush of vehicles."

WATCHDOG: The most serious objections to trolley cars are not mentioned. By their nature, trolley cars run silently, cannot swerve to avoid accidents, nor can they be brought to a quick stop. One of the reasons that trolley cars were eliminated in the USA is their extreme threat to pedestrians and especially children. The danger would be compounded in Lancaster due to our relatively narrow streets and curb side parking. Trolley cars remain in use in the former Soviet Union and cause an appalling amount of accidents and pedestrian fatalities.

Editorial: Vote No to Donald Totaro for Judge

On at least two high profile occasions, District Attorney Donald Totaro displayed his unsuitability for the office he currently holds, let alone being qualified for the position of county judge.

Totaro kept a grand jury in session for almost a year studying whether the county commissioners had violated the Sunshine Act by holding discussions outside of their public meetings of the possible sale of the Conestoga View Nursing Home.

Periodically he took repeat interrogations of the commissioners, causing each individually to fear that Totaro knew of some shady dealings of which he or she was not aware and that somehow would be indicted.

In fact, it was simply a ploy to get them to plead to having committed a minor violation and to pay a couple of hundred dollars in fines, when in fact the findings of the grand jury virtually exonerated them and castigated the vagueness of the Act itself.

But the monopoly Lancaster Newspapers treated the violations with daily banner headlines as though
they were the crime of the century and succeeded in hounding Commissioner Dick Shellenberger from seeking a second term.

Just as grievously, Totaro ignored the request by the three minority members of the Convention Center Authority (LCCCA) that he investigate the billing of almost $7 million dollars by the law firm of Stevens & Lee without their submitting any information beyond "For Professional Services Rendered." And this was at the time when serious questions were raised about the same law firm for allegedly over billing the county by hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Conestoga View transaction.

Totaro's excuse was that the FBI had already looked into the matter. The FBI would not substantiate his statement. And with only a single FBI agent for Central Pennsylvania and without any complaining member of the LCCCA being interviewed, Totaro's explanation lacks credibility.

The public needs a judge who is responsive to the laws and fair play, not a tool of the powerful corporate elite. recommends its readers reject the candidacy of Donald Totaro.

132 days left until county
appointees become majority on
Convention Center Board.

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