Calls for discipline, action against embattled Erie City Council members continue
ERIE, Pa. - Jeff Harvey loved Erie so much that he moved back here with his family.
The key word: “loved,” in the past tense.
“As an Erie citizen, it is my belief that certain members of city council should step aside until legal matters are resolved,” Harvey said to Erie City Council members during the public comment portion of the meeting Wednesday.
Harvey said it's because of the actions of city council President Sonya Arrington, actions that had her federal indicted on wire fraud charges last month, for allegedly stealing more than $70,000 from the non-profit she founded, Mothers Against Teen Violence. Arrington pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court on April 19.
Harvey also the inaction from council members to stop Councilman Mel Witherspoon from threatening violence against a speaker at the May 2 meeting.
“I want elected officials to fight for the citizens of Erie, not challenge them to a fight,” said Harvey.
Despite that demand, city solicitor Edward Betza said that right now, Council does not have the authority to remove Arrington. The city has no pertinent legislation that calls for members of council to be removed if they are under federal investigation for neither city nor non-city activities.
“Let's please try to be respectful, but let's try to bring things to Council that Council can take action on,” Betza said.
Once of those things: the future of the McBride Viaduct. Activists leading the lawsuit to save the structurally-deficient, East Ave. bridge, say the lights lining the sides of it have been shut off. They want them back on, for the safety of pedestrians.
“By taking the lights down, you've essentially said to every second and third shift worker that uses the viaduct 'you don't matter’,” said Adam Trott, of Erie CPR, the activist group working to save the bridge.
That cooperation, would help those like Harvey, his wife and their six children ready to call Erie home.
“I do want to love this city again,” Harvey said.