Friday, February 1, 2008

Dan DeMarco responds - UPDATE...

UPDATE: For those of you who would like to contact Dan DeMarco, Ross Township Commissioner, here is his e-mail address:

In regards to comments left on my previous posts, Ross Township commissioner and candidate for a state representative seat Dan DeMarco has responded. He wrote:

Dear “Ticked Off Taxpayer” :

I am not sure exactly how HEARTH has “drained” the North Hills School District of millions of dollars in the past 12 years as you state in your comment. Could you please elaborate on this and if you have any data regarding this I would be extremely interested in looking at it.

Since HEARTH does not pay any real estate tax to the North Hills School District, they also do not pay any real estate tax to Ross Township. I am going to inquire of the Ross Township Finance Director if there is any way to calculate how much money HEARTH has drained from the Township, and if he can determine this amount, I will certainly share it with you.

I think it is also fair to look at the other side of the ledger when discussing the school district’s budget. Were you in favor of the school district spending $10 million about 5 years ago to completely refurbish Martorelli Stadium? Was that a good use of taxpayer’s money? I do not believe it was.

Do you think school district real estate taxes should be eliminated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and replaced by taxes that are progressive, based on the individual’s income and ability to pay? I do.

In reference to your comment, “This is our tax money being used against us and we don’t like it.” I needed to make sure you are directed to my response to “Not a fan of Demarco.” Your tax money would have been used to pay the legal fees of Trek and HEARTH, by ORDER OF COURT!

Once again, I did not make the laws on this matter, but I swore an oath to obey the laws. I am completely lost when it comes to your comment about Ross Township losing “paper” related to St. Benedict’s school. I was not a commissioner back then and I do not have a great deal of knowledge about that matter.

If you could be more specific perhaps I could provide a response.

Dear “Not a fan of Demarco” :

First, the proper spelling of my last name is “DeMarco,” not Demarco.

I am very confused with your statement, “…comment about the “group” not in favor of the Hearth/Trek project hiring a (sp?) engineer…” Please clarify this statement. Ross Township’s engineer does represent the Township and determined that the Trek plan satisfied all provisions of the Ross Township subdivision ordinance.

I believe your comment may refer to my comment that the residents perhaps should have hired their own engineer to study the plan to see if there were in his/her opinion any deficiencies in the plan that would call into question whether the plan satisfied all provision of the subdivision ordinance. I am trying so hard to make you and others understand that this is not about “politics,” this is about LAWS, specifically local laws which are exactly what ordinances are and must be interpreted by the Board of Commissioners and by the courts of Pennsylvania.

We are, BY LAW, supposed to “take of our political hats and put on our judicial robes” when considering subdivision, land use plans and conditional use requests by any property owner. Again, I must impress upon you that the Trek/HEARTH appeal would have been reversed by the Court of Common Pleas and the Court would have ordered that their plan be permitted to proceed.

Would that then have been my fault? And would you have been satisfied that the Court would have not only entered an order permitting the plan to proceed, but also would have ordered that your tax dollars would have to pay for Trek’s/HEARTH’s legal fees?

Dear “Another Ross Twp. Taxpayer” :

Every mother living in the apartments owned by HEARTH is required to work. Therefore, they must pay wage taxes to the North Hills School District and to Ross Township. Likewise, every occupant of the Trek Development must have a job with a minimum income (the specific amount I do not recall) and therefore also will pay wage taxes to the North Hills School District and to Ross Township.

Moreover, they pay income tax to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to the federal government, just like you and me. Accordingly, the following comment you have made is erroneous: “Has it been fair for the past 12 years for the taxpayers to foot the bill for the Hearth children attending the North Hills School District without paying any taxes to the School District?”

Dear “Anonymous” :

I am quite appalled at the shooting of the clerk at the Indian Market last Saturday at Three Degree Road and Babcock Boulevard. The Chief of Police contacted me immediately on Saturday to debrief me on the incident. I likewise was appalled over a year ago when the clerk was shot and died at the beer distributor on Rochester Road.

These are random acts of violence. The County police are still investigating the beer distributor shooting. The Ross Police will continue to investigate last Saturday’s shooting. If your comment is meant to imply such problems with the HEARTH plan, then perhaps we need to rethink not only the HEARTH plan, but also permitting any retail businesses and banks to operate in Ross Township.

I believe the motive in both shootings mentioned above was the theft of money in a cash register. We also had at least one bank robbery in Ross Township last year, perhaps two. I can get back to you on that if you’d like to know for sure.

Dear "Anonymous" :

I've been reading for a few weeks now about this "candidate" who those opposed to Trek/HEARTH have been saying will enter the race for the 21st state legislative district seat. Time is quickly running out for this candidate to file nomination petitions and financial disclosure statements with the Pennsylvania Department of State in order to appear on the ballot.

I love good challenges, so I do hope the candidate has all his/her paperwork in order to be accepted for filing with the Department. Oh, by the way, my petition to appear on the ballot was circulated by the sisters at the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh. Many votes up there for me. I guess Anonymous thinks I "caved under pressure" from them.

I did not cave under pressure. I honored my oath to follow the law. It is rather disappointing that what is being bashed is the good work and deeds of the Catholic Church and the concept of assisting those less fortunate to become self-sufficient, hard working contributors to our community. Moreover, the easy past is being a candidate who bashes a current elected official for doing his/her job by honoring their oath to follow the law.

The hard part is being an elected official who honors his/her oath and then gets bashed by the candidate and his/her supporters. I've endured it for 8 years and will continue to do it. And because I honor my oath as an elected official and my Roman Catholic upbringing, I will gladly assist Anonymous if ever he/she needs it from Ross Township or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with the understanding that whatever it is he or she needs, I must always follow the law.

The bottom line is this: You may disagree with me and you may not like me, but when/if you need me, I'll be there to help in any way I can.

So who says that your local leaders don't listen to you? DeMarco does and love him or hate him he is an open ear to residents.

Remember, he has agreed to an interview. E-mail questions to by Super Bowl Sunday.

Working to keep you posted...


Ticked off taxpayer said...

Mr. DeMarco: What about laws that protect neighborhoods? Are we not allowed to protest when we feel this project "Hearth/Trek" will not be an asset to our neighborhood. What happened to the 1st amendment of free speech. Why do we have commissioners that vote and then change their vote when threatened with a law suit? Why have public meetings when citizens speak out they are accused of discrimination? You show us one neighborhood where this type of housing has been built and the neighborhood didn't turn into a ghetto.And I think you answered your own question when you stated that Hearth doesn't pay any Real Estate taxes.Maybe you should find out from the School District what it costs to send a child to North Hills School District and figure what it has cost the taxpayers of Ross Twp. with Hearth paying nothing. Oh forgive me they pay 1% local wage tax. This is how they have cost Ross Twp. taxpayers a great amount of money. Now they want to add another 30 or 40 kids to the School District. The $10 million spent on the Stadium is a drop in the bucket compared to what Hearth has cost the taxpayers. At least we have something to show for the money spent on the Stadium. Also you and the Ross Twp. commissioners can come and clean up the mud that is left after a rain on Rodenbaugh and Roseland Ave. You can also help the people clean out their basements from the water that runs off this property. Maybe the management group that will cut their grass and shovel their driveways will clean it up. Our tax money at work.

Anonymous said...

mr demarco,
Guess you know who is running against you after last night. I will be supporting him. I have my walking shoes and my call list ready.
The neighborhood will be very interested in what you said in "dan demarco responds-UPDATE
my petition to appear on the ballot was circulated by the sisters at the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh. Many votes up there for me."

Jeff said...

Who is running against DeMarco?

Who is running? That person must come out of hiding later this month (by law) -- so just tell this Tattler at: