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Media Borough coup d’état explanation

Aug 23

Media Borough coup d’état explanation

Part 1 of 7: Outlining the recent changes in Media Borough Council.

The recent changes in Media Borough Council have created quite an imbroglio, which manifested itself in a extremely long and arduous meeting last Thursday night (August 19th, 2010) at Borough council chambers.

The majority of public comments seemed to reiterate the shock, dismay and sadness that many residents felt based on the method in which the change occurred.

For background material:

There has been a lot of talk outside of the public eye as to the motivations behind the changes, but after hearing the public comments from the council members themselves last Thursday night, I have my own theory. I’ll try and reiterate the valid points I gleaned from the proceedings last Thursday night (August 19th, 2010), and offer my insights. But first  …

The summary

Borough council consists of 7 members and the mayor who does not have a vote unless it comes to a tie between members. The current council consists of 5 (alleged) Democrats and 2 Republicans.

Last month’s Borough Council meeting, out of the blue, Republican Pete Alyanakian ousted sitting President Peter Williamson and Vice President Monica Simpson (after 6 months) by nominating himself as Borough Council President and Monika Rehoric as Vice President. Democrat Rehoric and Democrat Dawn Roe broke with their party affiliation and voted Mr. Alyanakian into office by a 4-2 margin. Dr. Eric Stein, a Democrat, was not at the meeting for personal reasons.

The crux of the issue, in my humble opinion, was the manner in which it happened. Williamson, Simpson and Mayor Bob McMahon were completely blindsided by the move, and simply asked “Why?”

Mr. Alyanakian responded by reading a prepared statement which is quoted in its entirety here.

The circus

The meeting on August 19th, 2009 started at 7:30 PM and after some basic business of approving minutes, the fun began with comments from the public.  Some selected quotes:

  • “This is a disgrace … The democrats and republicans used to work together …”
  • Gayley street resident: “No one died, no one has been dismissed… this is simply a change of roles, a very minor occurrence in the scheme of things… We should commend [Roe and Rehoric] for voting with the courage of their convictions…”
  • “I am dismayed at the two women’s votes. We voted for a democratic majority, they ran on a democratic ticket. I suggest that these two women resign and run as independents in the fall.”
  • “When a body of politicians serves the public interest, the room is empty … so obviously the public has not felt like their interest are being served …” (The room was overflowing)
  • Another resident lamented the fact that Dawn Roe has been harassed based on her vote and that the harassment is deplorable.

Many people asked direct questions to the council members:

  • I (Kent Davidson) criticized the back-room method of making this change, and directly asked Monika Rehoric and Dawn Roe to explain why they voted and what, specifically, they intended to accomplish with the new structure.
  • Former Borough Council member Brian Hall gave a brief history of his experience with Peter Williamson, and asked Peter specifically to comment on his opinion of the changes.
  • At the end of the meeting, another resident asked the “new leadership” why this was done in secret (answered by Jim Cunningham), and asked Mr. Alyanakian directly why he made this change.

The explanations

If I were to summarize the themes which appeared to be the hot-button topics of the night, the primary themes appeared to be:

  • The 3rd Street Dam project (which has been an issue for over 13 years)
  • Media Theater in need of capital improvements
  • The sale of 1 West State Street (formerly Brodeurs)
  • Lack of parking in town
  • Disputes among Borough Council members about “nothing getting done”
  • The Media Business Authority and its internal issues
  • “The pending emergency” put forth by the new leadership

In the next few days, I will cover, in detail, the responses from each Borough Council member, and offer some explanations for their behavior.

Tomorrow: Monika Rehoric is not a Democrat

One comment

  1. Bob Dimond /

    This is my first time on this site. I love it. Thank you, keep me posted.