Monday’s news items [HARB agenda; taxes & services & fringe groups] – 1/13/2020

The Historical Architectural Review Board of the Borough of Columbia will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, in council chambers of Borough Hall, 308 Locust St., Columbia. Agenda items include:

 172 Walnut St.; James Leonard, owner. Replace an existing railing on a second-story rear side porch with a new wooden railing.

 350 Locust St.; Cimarron Investments, owner. Remove a projecting pent roof above the ground floor of the building’s facade and east elevation. Alter the one-story wing on the building’s east elevation to construct a new two-story interior stairway.

 155 Bridge St.; William R. Pflumm, owner. Install new two-part vinyl window sash within ten infilled window openings across the building’s south facade.

“‘Mona Lisa of Mustangs,’ | driven by Steve McQueen in ‘Bullitt,’ sells for $3.74m”The Boston Globe

Columbia’s situation is like Lancaster’s | Take a look at what Lancaster’s Mayor, Danene Sorace, has written about in this column, “Lancaster city needs more revenue options to stay afloat.” In the column she identifies the revenue streams that fund the services the city provides for residents, visitors and business enterprises. City governance differs from borough governance, yet the revenue possibilities are quite similar.


She references the Local Tax Enabling Act which, “Empower(s) cities of the second class, cities of the second class A, cities of the third class, boroughs, towns, townships of the first class, townships of the second class, school districts of the second class, school districts of the third class and school districts of the fourth class including independent school districts, to levy, assess, collect or to provide for the levying, assessment and collection of certain taxes subject to maximum limitations for general revenue purposes; authorizing the establishment of bureaus and the appointment and compensation of officers, agencies and employes to assess and collect such taxes; providing for joint collection of certain taxes, prescribing certain definitions and other provisions for taxes levied and assessed upon earned income, providing for annual audits and for collection of delinquent taxes, and permitting and requiring penalties to be imposed and enforced, including penalties for disclosure of confidential information, providing an appeal from the ordinance or resolution levying such taxes to the court of quarter sessions and to the Supreme Court and Superior Court.”

Lancaster’s mayor does some great “’splaining” about what the city with its budget deficit: “To understand how the revenue-generating tools granted to us in 1965 relate to our budget today, I did a little experiment. What would it take to use these tools to address our structural deficit over the next five years?”

This is no different from what Columbia’s borough council faces as it grapples with revenue shortfalls.


prohibitionFrom the Lancaster New Era, January 16, 1920 – the day Prohibition began in the US. Prohibition (sometimes referred to as the “Noble Experiment”) was the result of the efforts of a fringe groups — societies, “organized as part of a new Temperance movement, which attempted to dissuade people from becoming intoxicated. At first, these organizations pushed moderation, but after several decades, the movement’s focus changed to complete prohibition of alcohol consumption.”

The spoils of war!spoilsCredit … Kiana Hayeri for The New York Times”

The cost of war in spoils | A Growing U.S. Base Made This Afghan Town. Now It’s Dying.”The New York Times



  1. On “Columbia’s situation is like Lancaster’s…”

    I read this article in the Sunday LNP with some fascination.
    For 20 years, Lancaster City has experienced unprecedented growth and revitalization. The arbiters of all things moral, cultural and political, The NY Times, has designated this medium sized urban clump of buildings and streets as “Hip & Cool.”
    Hell, even the Bent Creek crowd has moved into their million dollar “loft living spaces” to experience the culinary and artistic renaissance!
    And, they even have a Do-Gooder/SJW crowd demanding their piece of the riches for any and all sub-culture venerated by The Progressive Stack! Why, it can soon be its own little Portland Maine! Portland Oregon! Start decriminalizing everything, you will have yourself a little East Coast San-Fran!

    Makes you think with all that “growth” and “revenue,” where’s the money going?

    Hey, Mayor of Lancaster, maybe cut your $95,000 a year Chief of Staff?
    Right, Jess? If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

    • Mr./Ms. JAO (Just An Observer) … You make some great points. You do have us stumped with the acronym “SJW.” Off-topic, but we saw this acronym last week in a Webinar: S.A.O.D. Stands for Severe Acronym Overload Disorder.

      We have to agree on the salary for the chief of staff; somehow again, government is loaded with cash and spends like a capitalistic private sector enterprise. That’s a vicious trail, because it leads to the constant need to get more to pay more.

      For us, it’s like having an baby white elephant for a pet; it just eats more and more.

      It’s fine if you can afford it, but wouldn’t a cat, a dog or a parakeet be a satisfactory substitute. Unless, of course, you can get somebody else to pay the food, veterinarian and other bills.

      • SJW is a Social Justice Warrior…
        Also, I don’t think years of “Activism” and an MBA from an elite liberal arts college afford one a $95,000 a year “Chief Of Staff” job.
        But, as we all know, Woke is Big Business.
        Just like Government.
        But, hey, once all The SJWs get into positions of power, they can reform The System, right?
        Sure. Sure.

  2. Thanks for explaining the acronym. Decades in the military and then working with Homeland Security just have me rely hating acronyms. I recognize that folks love them and jargon, but really with they’d go away.

    Went to the Urban Dictionary and found this explainer for SJW, too: “(Social Justice Warriors) The overly offended blindly ignorant scum of the internet whom’st report anything and everything that offends them.”

    And to you, JAO and everyone, good night.

  3. Acronyms are intentionally and unintentionally used to confuse readers. People who use them are often too lazy to type WTH(What the Hell) they mean. Perhaps it’s done mostly by people who grew up in South Central PA. You may know them. They are the ones who say and write things like “This needs done,” leaving out the proper words “to be.”

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