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Bite The Bullet?
According to the July 2 County Transcript, (Susquehanna Boro) council and the mayor want the property owners of the boro to “bite the bullet.” I have no interest in biting a bullet, and I am pretty darn sure I am not the only one.
The astonishing article seemed to capture a council delighted with the prospect of cramming a decree down the throats of its loyal subjects, lamentations of a mayor puzzling with subjects who just refuse to use their driveways and garages, and applauding themselves with inventing problems and then posing excellent solutions.
I don’t consider a blanket ban on “on-street parking” a solution. Beyond my feeling that it is utterly unnecessary, I feel it is an attempt on council’s part to remain relevant and flex an authoritarian muscle. Frequently, it is best when lawmakers don’t add to the already overwhelming heap of laws.
I have driven on boro streets for almost 30 years now, and aside from the occasional delivery truck I have never waited as long as I have with the improperly timed traffic light to the Shops Plaza (maybe that is something the council and mayor can work on).
I do have some questions that may or may not be deemed “intelligent.”
1. Since for most homeowners, their house is their largest investment, how will a blanket ban affect property values?
2. How many residents presently have no other parking?
3. What if I have visitors at my house; will they be introduced to Susquehanna’s hospitality with a parking ticket?
4. How will the boro help residents offset costs associated with obtaining convenient, legal parking?
5. Council cites “big” fire trucks as one of the primary reasons for the ban. They are great for parades, but are “big” fire trucks that are unable to navigate town streets really a wise investment or even necessary in our small town?
6. Will houses with no possible parking solutions be condemned, and who will compensate the homeowner?
7. Will the resultant makeshift parking add to or detract from the aesthetics of the town?
8. What will the long-term effects be, and will it make Susquehanna a more desirable place to live and visit?
These are just eight questions; I bet there are hundreds more.
Cars are, in fact, a necessity of our daily lives. People get cars because they need them, especially in a small town with almost no jobs and very little else. Is it our fault we have to drive for almost everything? Our local government seems to think so. It seems they want to take a very punitive approach to leading.
May I remind council and the mayor, as elected officials you work for the people. The people need officials to be problem solvers, not gung-ho authoritarians. Please! Just do no harm.
A Wonderful Program
We just completed a pilot summer program at the Susquehanna Community Elementary school with our four-year old. The name of the program is T.A.P.S., which stands for Transition Activities for Parents and Students, sponsored by a grant through CARES (Childcare Agencies, Resources and Educational Services). It is designed to help pre-school children get accustomed to the classroom setting and school rules.
This is a wonderfully organized program that was very helpful to us as parents, and to our daughter.
We are fortunate to live in a county that cares so much about the education of our children.
We would recommend it to anyone that has the opportunity in the future.
Stacie and Jess Hilton
The House On The Hill
Well, it is gone; when after all this time, occupants, and paint colors, my childhood home at 319 Jackson Ave. in Susquehanna is no longer standing.
A couple of months ago, someone mentioned it had been torn down, and of course, I had to go see for myself. By that time, all there was left was a big hole where it once had stood.
I thought how small the lot looked that once held the wooden frame. We never owned it, but rented it through the years, as did the Lubbe’s who lived there before us.
In my mind, retracing my steps through every room, this house was a big part of the neighborhood. It had no furnace back then, just an oil heater and a coal stove to heat it, which by today’s standards would be grounds for freezing to death.
I have a lot of memories being brought up there with my brothers; it helped form the person I am today.
My mother once told me when she traveled from England to start her life in Susquehanna, the last part of her journey was by train. She asked the conductor what Susquehanna was like, and he told her, “It’s not a bad little town.” That’s the way I feel about it today.
Carol Lubbe MacGeorge
Take A Stand
At a recent meeting concerning zoning, in Silver Lake Township, approximately 800 people showed up. The supervisors allowed each person three minutes to present their case either for or against zoning. Many people waited in line for their chance to speak during the allotted one and a half hour meeting. My observation was that only one person spoke in support of zoning, and the balance were totally opposed to it. A show of hands several times during the meeting resulted in 100% opposition.
Creation of the Zoning document was started by Northern Tier Coalition planning during 2001. The coalition is comprised of 12 municipalities in northern PA. The supervisors spent many man-hours over the last eight years, preparing the zoning document. The result was a zoning document that the supervisors wanted. Had someone spent the time and effort to explain to residents the detail of what would have been covered, the effort would have been suspended at a much earlier time. Many people expressed very strong feelings in opposition to what the supervisors were trying to put over on the people. The total consensus of the group was that they chose to live in Silver Lake Township for the lifestyle freedoms offered and they didn't want the restrictions and associated costs of zoning. Reading through the document convinced me that it was more like an agreement of what I would have to conform to if I wanted to live in a gated community.
We have the normal ordinances to cover most situations or conditions. These are relatively straightforward documents that are easily understood by citizens or supervisors.
Silver Lake is a friendly township with open minded, thinking people who made an Independent candidate the top vote-getter during the last county commissioner election. Many residents still remember when garbage service was included in their taxes. Now we pay $60.00 per month or $720.00 per year and it’s not a tax. The people are looking for supervisors who will lessen the tax burden, not increase it. The desire of all attendees is that zoning will be put in suspension and at some later time, if relevant, a more friendly zoning document would be presented.
Silver Lake Township
For The People
In response to the July 2, 2008 article “Susky To Ban Street Parking”
The proposed parking ban in Susquehanna Borough has risen many times over the years. It reared its shadow just a couple of years ago in the form of an all winter ban on parking. The contention that snowplows couldn’t get through our streets was heavily weighted as the primary reason for the ban. (Even though they do get through and the streets somehow get plowed.) The council recommended that parking just be completely banned, even if it didn’t snow for weeks on end. I and my then neighbor, Dr. Andrew Whitehead, disagreed with the borough’s intent. We both lived on the end of West Main Street. We both had driveways. We both used our driveways. But aside from the other considerations I’ll get to shortly, that wasn’t the spark that set us off.
I remember the young Susquehanna councilman walking towards me, down the middle of West Main Street, with other members and officials walking abreast of him. I walked into the street with the eerie feeling that this was like the Wyatt Earp shootout at the “OK” Corral. I stopped them and asked what they were doing. The young councilman replied that they were surveying the parking situation on the street with the intent of an all winter parking ban. I felt a little twinge of old west sidearm draw. But, I have a driveway, I use it, and I try to NOT park on the street. However, when the drains on the street above me and the snow accumulation grows, the water run off comes down the hill and ends up in my driveway as a sheet of ice. It is rare that I leave a vehicle on the street but occasionally it is a necessity when things like this happen. It also occurred to me that when we have guests and family over, sometimes we need the street to accommodate the extra parking. But all of my personal concerns were miniscule compared to the next question I asked of him. “What about the homeowners on this street that have absolutely no place to park?” His reply floored me as he said, “well it only affects four or five houses”. I recouped my thinking and then asked, “But what about the old folks that live in those houses, how are they going to get home?” His response, “They can park in the shops area downtown and walk”.
I don’t have a grandmother living in Susquehanna. If I did, and if she were still alive, I’d sic’ her on him for being so disrespectful. She would have also reminded him of how many tax dollars she had fed to the borough over the years. Dollars to represent her and all of her neighbors equally. To look out for all of us “little old ladies”.
Abraham Lincoln uttered very profound words with his Pennsylvania Gettysburg Address. He was talking about the price that all of the dead soldiers had just paid and his hope and aspiration “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
My grandmother understood those words. She even traveled to South American countries with the Peace Corp. to help those words ring for all people, not just us Americans.
She wasn’t alone. Abraham Lincoln’s words were so profound, so powerful that they even traveled to the ears of China via The Three Principles of the People, developed by Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the People’s Republic of China, who spent time in America and used Lincoln’s principles as part of his philosophy to make China a free, prosperous, and powerful nation.
It hasn’t worked quite as Lincoln intended, in these other countries for lack of a true democracy allowing its roots to grow deep and strong. We ought not to be chopping down Abraham’s vision in our borough. We too need a governing body that is of the people, by the people, for the people.
Mr. Kuiper is quoted as saying, “These streets were designed for horse-and-buggy, not big fire trucks. We’ve (all) just got to ‘bite the bullet’… no more parking.” Apparently Mr. Kuiper is forging ahead with the former young councilman’s platform.
In response to this thinking and apparent consensus by the borough council, concerning our horse-and-buggy streets, ummm how bout’ we just get smaller fire trucks. Better yet, eliminate the fire department, and then we won’t even have to deal with the “big bad fire trucks” at all.
Pretty dumb suggestion on my part, isn’t it? Doesn’t really address the problem nor offer a tangible, long term solution. And neither does banning all parking on all streets all of the time solve the parking problems.
Should we get smaller fire trucks or perhaps widen the streets? Considering our Real Property Values are severely at stake, including those with off street parking, I’d vote to find other solutions. Maybe instead of opposite side of the street parking, we could enact odd and even day opposite street parking? Then one parallel street would be open at all times.
My grandmother had ‘fire red hair’ and she would have gotten a ‘hoot’ out of the ‘smaller fire trucks’ suggestion. She would have danced around her small kitchen table, while grandpa sipped on some of his homemade apple cider, and we all would have laughed and hollered. Then she would have gotten very still, leaned over the table, and very quietly said, “Now let’s find a solution that is FOR the people”.
Oh, and did I mention that I did a cursory internet search throughout the State of Pennsylvania, and by golly Gram, I couldn’t find a single one that ever banned parking for all of it’s citizens, every street, all of the time.
Susquehanna Borough Taxpayer since 1981
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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