Archive for July, 2008

Mayor’s Amtrak parking plan proposal better

Posted on July 28th, 2008

In response to the NewsLanc article “Revised Amtrak plan still inadequate”:

Lancaster mayor Rick Gray has been calling for a parking garage at the Amtrak station. Might this be the best solution? Shouldn’t those behind this plan be working with the Lancaster City government to come up with a design that best benefits all parties, even if it means that Lancaster City would need to build a parking garage across the street?

An earlier NewsLanc article mentioned that the Amtrak station upgrade plan will ignore the Lititz Pike bridge relocation for the time being. It is clear that there is a conflict with the Amtrak plans and PennDOT’s planned realignment of the Lititz Pike bridge with Duke St. Is this not a waste of taxpayer dollars? Shouldn’t Amtrak and PennDOT be working together right now, instead of after both projects are under construction?

Watching the plans for the Lancaster Amtrak station proceed without dealing with the realities of the situation is like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

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People are gullible

Posted on July 27th, 2008

The sad fact is, the vast majority of Lancaster County residents either don’t care, or they believe in what their elected officials tell them, or they believe what Lancaster Newspapers tells them. This is why the single biggest governmental fiscal fiasco in Lancaster County history is under construction right now at Penn Square. People like Dale High knew very well that the vast majority of people would let them get away with this, and they did.

The “Urban Renewal” fiasco of the 1960s and 1970s has forever cut the commercial and historic heart out of Lancaster City, but since it was done with mostly Federal dollars the impact on local taxpayers was muted. The “Urban Renewal” project of the 21st century will end up costing Lancaster City and County residents far more, for far longer, than the original “Urban Renewal” fiasco did.

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New Jersey Court Bars Towns from Moving Sex Offenders

Posted on July 27th, 2008

(Editor’s note: The following is from a bulletin from the National Apartment Association.)

New Jersey towns cannot prohibit convicted sex offenders from living near places such as schools, playgrounds and day care centers, a state appeals court ruled recently. In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel said Megan’s Law is the exclusive law governing the treatment of sex offenders.

The court further stated municipal ordinances restricting where they can live “interfere with and frustrate” statewide efforts to monitor offenders and reintegrate them into society.

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Revised Amtrak Plan still inadequate

Posted on July 27th, 2008

The recently announced design for parking to the west side of the Amtrak Station tends to maximize the space at hand, but the treatment in front of and to the east of the station is disappointing, only accommodating 28 vehicles, far less than currently exists.

Unlike the existing condition, there is no parallel or perpendicular parking off the wide drives and emphasis is put on creating loading zones for multiple buses. Yet who has seen more than one bus at the station at a time?

Is there really a need for super-wide drives and a separate canopy and a dedicated bus loading area?

NewsLanc recommends that bus service be de-emphasized and yet another 35 parking spaces be added. Commuters could use over a hundred.

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SUNDAY NEWS

Posted on July 27th, 2008

SUNDAY NEWS

In his July 27 column, “Waging war on culture of debt”, Gil Smart states “Our national savings rate is zero; and while it’s rarely discussed, this is one reason our economy has been so resilient. The moment Americans stop spending money they don’t have is the moment the economy careens into the ditch.”

WATCHDOG: Not necessarily so. When consumers deposit savings in banks or invest in stocks and bonds, their savings may help fund capital investment. Dollars used to build plants and expand businesses do at least as much to stimulate the economy as does consumer consumption. For example, we could invest in alternate forms of energy and thus lessen our dependence on oil.

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LANCASTER POST

Posted on July 25th, 2008

LANCASTER POST

The lead article on July 25 is “Shades of Gray: an Interview with Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray”

WATCHDOG: Talk about a “Puff Piece!” What a dedicated mayor and charming guy the mayor is. Sample quote: “Our goal is continuous improvement.”

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SD of L’s Sports Program in Disarray

Posted on July 25th, 2008

Editor’s note: The following is a reprint of an April article:

Many of us can recall times when McCaskey High School was a strong contender in county and state-wide sports. But not now.

On the positive side, McCaskey youths continue to excel in boys’ and girls’ basketball with 22 and 5 and 17 and 11 win / loss records respectively during the winter of 2008. Students also compete well in boys’ track with a record of 8 and 1 and in cross country with boys 13 and 8 and girls 10 and 11.

Football was 3 and 7, off from past years. Boys’ wrestling was 5 and 8.

But, deplorably, the boys’ soccer team went 1 and 17 while the girls’ were 6 and 10 with 2 ties.

Girls’ volleyball was 3 and 14. Girls’ tennis 1 and 13. Girls’ field hockey 2 and 16.

Boys’ baseball 4 and 16. Girls’ softball 5 and 14.

Boys’ swimming was 1 and 10; girls’, 0 and 11.

When it comes to soccer, observers have noted the lack of drills and lessons at the middle school level and the sole reliance on scrimmaging. Spectators at practices fretted that the kids were learning no skills and simply practicing their mistakes.

Moreover, a failure to post the starting date for soccer practice on the McCaskey web site prevented most of the youngsters from attending practice until school started.

It is not enough for coaches to be well-meaning and good players. They need to be versed in teaching skills and team play.

To this end, several soccer coaches from the School District of Lancaster attended a training clinic by ONE on ONE Soccer. McCaskey boosters funded the session. However, an offer by the boosters for additional training and coaching assistance was declined.

Inner-city youngsters have enough problems with self-esteem without belonging to teams that continuously lose. The school district owes more to its youngsters than 1 and 17 and 1 and 13 records. It isn’t the kids. It’s the athletic program!

NewsLanc will continue to explore the issue of the breakdown of the SD of L sports program. We are not suggesting lack of zeal or commitment; rather a failure to teach the teachers and possible reluctance of coaches to learn.

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INTELLIGENCER JOURNAL

Posted on July 25th, 2008

INTELLIGENCER JOURNAL

A column by Jeff Hawkes on July 25th is entitled “City’s deficit spending must end.”

WATCHDOG: Click here for a rib splitting response by Lanco Yokels.

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Insights on Lancaster Exceptionalism

Posted on July 25th, 2008

Hubris and greed may be related….It is a term I define [as]: “arrogant pride”. Mostly associated with the Greek Tragedy “Oedipus”. The conotation of “hubris” is that it ultimately leads to the downfall of he [who] holds the trait.

Greed is associated with hubris in this way: a man seeks sinister means for profit because he presumes he is so great he deserves that profit.

This concept is promoted by the “sheep” who believe that those with money and power have obtained them by some Divine Right of God and have more wisdom. Whole civilizatons have risen and fallen with this cycle.

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EDITORIAL: Did SD of L School Board make the wrong choice?

Posted on July 25th, 2008

NewsLanc has been sitting on evidence of bungling, ineptitude and total failure to properly administer the School District of Lancaster’s athletic program. Our preference was for behind the scenes discussions that would spare public criticism and discord.

Meetings were held last spring with Athletic Director Allen McCloud and later Assistant Superintendant Drue Miles with McCloud in attendance. It was pointed out that McCloud had failed for four years to file the hitherto requisite annual reports. The approximately twenty page reports explained in detail how each team had performed in the prior year and set forth plans for improving performances in the coming year.

Instead McCloud simply provided his boss with team scores!

Miles, to whom McCloud reports, was totally unaware that he was to receive an annual report and, from appearances, patently oblivious and neglectful of his sports oversight responsibilities. Promises were made to accept an offer, without cost, for outside sports experts to help better train the coaches; none was carried out. The excuse was that coaches with abysmal team records felt they didn’t need any training on how to conduct drills and teach skills! What more can be said about a lack of leadership?

Due to failure to discharge routine duties, McCaskey continued its descent from sports power house to sports weak sister over the last decade and morale among staff and players plummeted.

Much information was reported by e-mail to incoming superintendent Pedro Rivera last spring and NewsLanc asked for an opportunity to meet with Rivera to brief him in confidence as well as for an interview. There was no response.

Since Rivera took office in July, NewsLanc has made repeated efforts to obtain a meeting. None has been scheduled.

In a brief encounter after the recent school board meeting, Rivera assured NewsLanc’s publisher that he knew about the athletic programs problems and was eager to meet with him. Still no meeting was scheduled despite requests.

Do we in Rivera have another public official who hides and obfuscates? Why is he unwilling to meet with concerned citizens, let alone one who has long been a benefactor of inner city youth? Why does he turn his back on legitimate requests from media?

Because of the sports program’s dysfunction, kids have missed the opportunity to participate on competitive teams. Because of a failed sports program, many have been discouraged and have dropped out of school. How long will this sorry condition be allowed to continue?

NewsLanc will be reporting further on the athletic department’s dysfunction and will likely begin investigating reports of other school district problems with the hope that public attention will lead to transparency and improvements.

Rivera needs to do some ‘house cleaning’ immediately if he hopes to earn the confidence of the public. And if he doesn’t, then the public should insist that the school board reflect on whether they made the right choice.

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Credo

"....I have never made it a consideration whether the subject was popular or unpopular, but whether it was right or wrong; for that which is right will become popular, and that which is wrong, though by mistake it may obtain the cry or fashion of the day, will soon lose the power of delusion, and sink into disesteem." Thomas Paine, Common Sense, on "Financing the War", March 5, 1782

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