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 hence, 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 ensure 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 assert that destabilizing parking issues, in the hands of a corporate entity with no obligation to deal with public concerns, will negatively impact 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: long-time 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 sacrificed 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, Green Party state Co-chair.

In addition to commending 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 Leighton/JJ Murphy parking plan for a while now, but we have also been encouraged and inspired by the diverse voices uniting in that opposition. Representatives from other third parties, Crime Watch, taxpayers groups, the Downtown Business Association, and the 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 needs of Wilkes-Barre, just to further enrich the already comfortable,” Romanelli advised. “It’s like Hawkeye all over again,” added Romanelli.

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 held in downtown Wilkes-Barre, and the local Presidential Caucus, since the 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 was also at the forefront of defending Denise Carey when convicted ex-judge Michael Conahan sought to impose fees on Ms. Carey for attempting to petition to amend the city’s charter in the wake of the closing of the East Northampton Street Firehouse in 2005.

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