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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Former Mayor Sal Panto Officially Announces Candidacy for Mayor

SAL PANTO FOR MAYOR COMMITTEE
P.O. Box 1395
Easton, PA 18042
www.salpantoformayor.com

Campaign Kick-off Remarks
Ringside Restaurant
March 1, 2007

Thank you Randy.

A special thank you to my lovely wife Pam, who has made all of us proud of her work on City Council. I also want to thank my children, my grand children and family members, especially my mother who couldn’t be here this evening but we are taping it for her to watch later. Hi mom, we love you.

I would also like to thank my employer, Gary Strausser, who is allowing me this opportunity.

Tonight is not about Sal Panto.
Tonight is not about resting on past accomplishments.
Tonight is not about who drops the most literature and puts up the most signs.
Tonight is about the City of Easton and the 27,000 people who live here.
Tonight is about our neighborhoods.
Tonight is about developing the whole town not just the downtown.
Tonight is about the biggest issue important to our citizens: vibrant neighborhoods that are safe and clean.
Tonight is about whom do you want providing leadership not only on a day-to-day basis but also in times of crisis.
Tonight is about identifying and supporting a person that has proven leadership and managerial strength.
Tonight is about identifying and supporting a person that can attract an effective staff, a person that will surround himself with good people and continually challenge them to do better.
Tonight is about endorsing a person who makes good decisions and is willing to spend the enormous amount of time necessary to be an effective Mayor.

Tonight I am here to ask for your support and assistance to be the next Mayor of our city. Many people have asked why I am running and who our opponents would be in this race. I am running for Mayor to help make people’s lives and the neighborhoods in our city better. The fact is that regardless of whom we are running against, our team will be running for the issues near and dear to all of our residents and not against someone. We will be running for neighborhoods that people can be proud to call home, for neighborhoods that are safe and clean, for ensuring that police officers are visible in all parts of town, with no neighborhood left behind.

Easton needs a clean, crime-free, and safe environment that provides effective and efficient services providing a higher quality of life for our residents. We will accomplish this by being a very inclusive administration that brings to the table people from all parts of the city, with a diversity that allows all residents to be represented. We will set attainable goals and develop a plan of action for each goal. We will identify a series of milestones to keep us on track to meet the vision in a reasonable frame of time."

As I travel through our city and talk with people it is the one constant - safety. We will make a safe city our top priority. Our objective is to reduce crime by 15% in the first two years and nuisance crimes by 20%. We will do this by manning our police and fire departments at the level required to accomplish our goal. We will give them the technology and tools not only to fight crime and fire but also to prevent crimes and fires. Effective community policing and code enforcement will help us become more proactive than reactive.

Clean neighborhoods restore pride to an area. Clean neighborhoods create safer neighborhoods. We can no longer tolerate vacant structures that house our gangs and drug dealers. Our objective will be to decrease the number of unsecured vacant properties in each neighborhood by 10% within the first year. We will accomplish this objective with the introduction of our “Clean It and Lien It” program. When the Code department is no longer effective in getting the owner to clean and secure their property and before it gets so bad that it goes before the Vacant Property Review panel we will secure and clean the property. We will then place a lien against the property and act on the lien. If the property is purchased by the city we will look to the private sector for qualified developers to purchase the property and proceeds from the sale of the property will be used to continue the program, a re-investment in our neighborhoods.

To further assure clean neighborhoods by the second year we will launch our “Triple B” – a block-by-block systematic code inspection of the entire city with the worst blocks identified through quarterly neighborhood meetings.

Another goal will be to make our city government better every day. This will be accomplished by:

-Determining a customer service baseline and improving our customer service rating every year.
-Making our city government a model of open, honest, ethical and fiscally responsible government.
-Constantly seeking community input and energizing people to participate in their local government.
-We will always strive to do more with less and hold each department accountable for its performance.
-Surrounding ourselves with the best people and challenge them to do better each and every day.
-Establishing neighborhood-based Mayor office hours to make it easier for residents to voice their opinions, give insight into neighborhood concerns, address problem areas and get people involved in city government.

A final goal I will announce tonight is improve our intergovernmental relationships with surrounding communities and have Easton recognized as an asset for the region. We will work cooperatively to establish partnerships to produce an economy of scale savings in providing services to our residents. On the county, state and federal level we will actively engage in pursuing financial participation in the form of grants with a goal of $500,000 per year.

Throughout this campaign we will continue to establish our goals based on conversations with our residents. We will establish goals for all areas of city management including community development, economic development, youth and recreational activities, financial stability and a long-term vision of what Easton can become.

Today Easton is at a precarious crossroad. Great opportunities are being overshadowed by difficult problems in all areas of service. I know what this city is, I know what this city has been, and I know what it can become. That is why tonight I offer my candidacy for Mayor. I believe I have a lifetime of experience that counts. Experience I will put to work for you.

Thank you.

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