A recent court ruling all but ensured the destruction of the Garman Theatre by making the obvious assertion that Bellefonte Borough Council represents the people of Bellefonte.
Unfortunately, it said nothing about the quality of representation.
When she voted to allow the demolition of the Garman, Vana Dainty claimed that, despite the huge crowd of Garman supporters in attendance, no one she had spoken to was in favor of saving the structure.
And when downtown merchants unanimously pleaded for support of the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association’s arts and tourism development plan and offered evidence that more downtown housing would do little to help the local economy, Dainty disagreed, claiming that residents of developer Ara Kervandjian’s subsidized-housing project would bring in lots of “expendable income.”
In spite of ubiquitous yard signs, rallies and hundreds of thousands in donations from locals, Borough Manager Ralph Stewart claimed (accurately, if not cynically) that there was no proof that the majority of residents wanted the Garman to be saved.
Moments after shrugging off one of the largest preservation efforts in Bellefonte history, Mayor-elect Tom Wilson told the CDT he’d like to see more community involvement.
Does Dainty understand economics better than virtually all of our local business owners? Did Stewart get majority support before quietly cooking up the sweetheart deal that benefits Kervandjian? Is there a list of mayor-approved community involvement activities I don’t know about?
Can I get a judge’s opinion on that?
Bellefonte deserves better, and in the coming election cycles I hope more voters demand it.