Thursday, October 01, 2009

Candidates for Reading, Berks County offices square off at forum

Candidates for Reading, Berks County offices square off at forum: "The two candidates running for City Council's District 4 seat in northeast Reading - Democrat incumbent Stratton P. Marmarou and Libertarian challenger Donald Schwab - criticized the city's move to enter Act 47, the state's protection program for distressed municipalities.

Marmarou said the administration should have had more discussions with council before applying for Act 47 status. And, he said, the city's Financial Stability Panel in August told the city what it needed to do to solve its financial crisis.

Schwab said entering the plan says the city is basically bankrupt."

Ah, good old Stratt. I taught at Albright College in Reading for four years and Stratton Marmarou was the head of campus security, and before that he was a Reading police officer. And always a character. Now I see he on the Reading City Council and the city is in big financial trouble. Reading has quite a history, including the famous Reading Railroad (as in Monopoly), truly legendary political corruption (my friend and colleage John Gardiner wrote a book about Reading called "The Corrupt City" and that about says it), a real Japanese pagoda, and a host of recent problems resulting from deindustrialization, demographic changes, and a shift of development to the surrounding suburbs. But they still have the Reading Phillies and a great place to watch a baseball game. And the pagoda is incredibly cool.

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