The calendar has changed.
So have some of the names and faces.
Unfortunately, it’s beginning to look like 2014 could bring more of the same for Johnstown City Council.
When Frank Janakovic was sworn in as mayor, it created an opening on council, as he was forced to resign his councilman position in order to assume his new post. But the selection of a seventh member could be every bit as tricky as it was the last time the board faced a similar situation. That was last year, when the death of Ann Wilson resulted in an opening. A dozen people applied for the post, but the sitting members – most of whom still sit on council – could not agree on a replacement. Pete Vizza, William Gentile Jr. and former Mayor Tom Trigona voted twice for Fred Mickel. Marie Mock, Janakovic and former Councilwoman Rose Howarth supported Anthony “Red” Pinizzotto in the first vote, then backed Angela Gorzelsky in the second vote in what they hoped at the time would be a compromise selection.
The strategy didn’t work, as Vizza, Gentile and Trigona held their ground.
After the 45-day deadline to fill the post passed, a three-member panel of Cambria County judges, consisting of David Tulo-witzki, Patrick Kiniry and Linda Rovder Fleming, was assigned the task of appointing a member. Ultimately, the judges decided on Joseph Taranto – one of the original applicants – to fill the void.
So, here we sit, nearly a year later, in a similar situation. At least one of the council members is confident that history will not repeat itself.
“I’m optimistic,” Vizza told our Dave Sutor. “There were a lot of people in that field last time that were good.”
Excuse us if we don’t share his optimism. We’re hopeful that plenty of good people will again apply for the position; we’re just not so sure that council members will agree on what constitutes an acceptable candidate. The more pessimistic among us might say the most important characteristic is which faction the candidate sides with – the Vizza/Gentile/David Vitovich group or the Janakovic/Mock/Nunzio Johncola block – on key votes. That’s the way it broke down when the members voted for a replacement to the deputy mayor seat that Janakovic previously held. Vizza, Gentile and Vitovich voted for Vizza while Janakovic, Mock and Johncola voted for Mock.
We’re afraid that council will continue to be split along those lines and be unable to agree on a seventh – and likely tie-breaking – member. The best-case scenario, of course, would be for an independent-minded, clear-thinking individual who would help bring the two factions together.
Mock shared similar sentiments with Sutor.
“I’m hoping we can (get past the division),” she said. “I think, at this point, we’ve just got to move ahead. This kind of stuff is nonsense. We’re not going to get anywhere by doing this. We’ve got to move ahead. I want somebody on council that is a free thinker, a clear thinker with common sense and not influenced by anybody.”
We’d love for that to be the case. But, if history is any kind of guide, we’re not betting on that happening any time soon.
The calendar has changed.
Proceed with caution | Motorcyclists face spring obstacles
This past weekend’s mild weather brought out an abundance of motorcyclists. Bikers were riding everything from the smallest dirt bikes to the largest highway cruisers.
Readers' Forum 4-17 | Aiding others despite circumstances
On April 9, I could not believe what I was seeing. A knife-welding student had cut and slashed 21 of his classmates and a security guard at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Westmoreland County. I saw a lot of heroes that day.
Readers' Forum 4-16 | Don't get caught in the spin
This is a response to the abundance of “spin” used by Katie Dorian on April 13 (“ ‘Spin’ column will cause vertigo”) and Debra Taczanowsky (“Everyone must stand up against ‘spin,’ ” April 8) condemning such spin.
Enjoy the fun of fishing | Three million trout available to anglers
A popular saying seen on T-shirts and bumper stickers reads, “A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work.”
Fitting tribute to Marine | Documentary of Michael Strank in works
It is a small, volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean, 750 miles south of Tokyo. Normally, an island that is only 8 square miles – 4 miles wide by 2 miles long – would not receive much attention.
Readers' Forum 4-15 | Can we survive constantly changing weather?
Does it matter if we believe in global warming? It is what it is, and we will die anyhow.
Readers' Forum 4-14 | A wonderful day for the kids
I would like to say job well-done to the students and staff of the Greater Johnstown School District for managing a wonderful event called Kiwanis/Key Club Pancake Day that took place on April 5 at Greater Johnstown High School.
Above the law? | City, manager ignore open records stipulations
Rules were made to be broken, according to an old adage.
And it seems to us, and several Johnstown residents, that that adage is what City Manager Kristen Denne adheres to.
Readers' Forum 4-13 | 'Spin' column will cause vertigo
I decided to take the advice Debra Taczanowsky offered in her column, “Everyone must stand up against ‘spin’.” I had a hard time standing up, though, after her spin knocked me flat on the floor.
Readers' Forum 4-12 | Cast, crew put on uplifting entertainment
Kudos to the Conemaugh Township Area High School Music Department on its outstanding production recently of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
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