Providing Lancaster City & County with an Alternative Source for Local News and Commentary  _________________________________________________________
 September 6, 2007    Publisher: LLC       Combined Circulation 80,000 monthly         Volume 1, Number 40

Lancaster DA Ignores Murder of Asst. U. S. Attorney

Four years ago an African-American Assistant U. S. Attorney was murdered in Lancaster County. Despite evidence suggesting FBI complicity, District Attorney Donald Totaro has refused to investigate.

Shortly before midnight on December 3, 2003, Jonathan Luna vanished from his office in the federal courthouses in downtown Baltimore, leaving behind his driving glasses, his cell phone and a half-finished plea deal designed to prevent a court-ordered inquiry into illegal FBI and Justice Department activities involving a murder and the dealing of heroin.

Over the next few hours, Luna�s car was driven from Baltimore to Southern New Jersey, then back to Pennsylvania and parked near the Turnpike. There Luna crawled from the blood soaked back seat and drowned in a shallow stream. He had over thirty stab wounds, many on his back.
A year later, the Lancaster County Coroner rebuffed an attempt by the FBI to have Luna's death reclassified from murder to suicide! The Sunday News editorialized that the "depth of the FBI's commitment to finding out what really happened to Jonathan Luna would seem to be in question."

So why has District Attorney Totaro refused to convoke a grand jury to investigate what appears to be an attempt by the FBI to cover up its own illegal involvement concerning a murder and the sale of heroin in Baltimore? Is it more important to Totaro to get along with the FBI than to do his job? Is Donald Totaro the type of man we really want to be our next judge?

The murder of a model young man, who through dint of will power, hard work and self discipline rose from childhood in an inner city housing project to become a government attorney, calls out for a local investigation.

Intell Panders for Proposed High Group Shopping Center

The lead article in the Local/Business section of the September 1 Intelligencer Journal, subtitled "'Crossings at Conestoga Creek' proposal touted as 'smart growth,'" is a virtual promotional piece for the High Real Estate Group project. Benjamin Bamford, senior development manager for the developer, is the only person interviewed. Bamford sets up straw men and then knocks them down, avoiding real issues such as commercial sprawl and traffic congestion. NewsLanc takes no stand on whether the site should be rezoned from industrial to commercial. But NewsLanc does decry the Intell whoring its news pages on behalf of the developer and its convention center partner, The High Group.

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Authority Seeks 'Two Headed' Director

At the Convention Center Authority meeting on August 30, the board approved a $5,000 budget for an advertisement that would in effect discourage qualified candidates.

Applicants are required to have expertise in the unlikely combination of convention center management and construction supervision!

Is it possible that Chairman Art Morris and others don�t know that it is the responsibility
of architects to supervise construction, oversee change orders, and approve payments? And if the board feels that engaging a construction consultant would expedite the process, then they should hire such a person in addition to a properly qualified executive director.

(The $100,000 a year in added cost for a construction consultant is small change to an Authority that approved $400,000 in extras to construction contracts for the month.)
Is this bifurcated job description an attempt to engage an executive director who once again would be inept, malleable and subject to the influence of sponsor Penn Square Partners?

Hopefully, next week when the county appointees become a majority on the board, the Personnel Committee will be reconstituted and come up with advertisements to attract qualified candidates. Meanwhile, let's not waste $5,000 of taxpayers' money on foolish ads.

Mayor Gray Looks the Wrong Way
Despite what a columnist in the Harrisburg Patriot-News estimated would cost taxpayers $92 in subsidies per round trip, Mayor Rick Gray of Lancaster City supports the proposed Corridor One rail system because "Route 283 is overcrowded already," according to the September 3rd Intelligencer Journal.

However, I-283 goes to Harrisburg while the goal is to improve service to Philadelphia and New York City!
The biggest obstacle to using the commuter line is lack of parking at the train station. Except for early birds, one has to come ahead of time and park a couple of blocks away.

If Gray really wanted to attract more riders, he should have advocated the acquisition of the sites that were for sale across the street from the train station and the building of a parking garage with a pedestrian overpass.
Interstate Hotel & Resorts Impresses

The "suits" representing Interstate Hotel & Resorts, Inc. (IHR) appeared at August 28th Convention Center Marketing Committee meeting and seemed to make a favorable impression. IHR's qualifications for managing convention centers were clarified at the outset. They represent over half a dozen convention centers across the country including major facilities at Oakland, Myrtle Beach, San Francisco and Orlando. IHR went to lengths to demonstrate how their joint management of the center and the forthcoming Marriott would benefit from the sharing of costs and from access to valuable marketing data provided without cost from Marriott.