On of my regular readers, Dave, lives in the slate belt, and attended last night's meeting. Here's his report.
"Here we go .. GEO called it a night at 8 PM sharp amid howls of complaints yet unanswered by the citizenry present. A lot of rude folk despite the BASD super asking for civility and written questions from the audience. Ron will be on the local news at 10 PM as they were interviewing him as I exited. Sat by Bill White the MCall blogger. I estimated the crowd at 300 or better. The GEO show was glossy and high tech and they did answer the big questions and you can tell they have done this a lot. The ACLU contingent handed out flyers and urged people to call ALL their local gov't rep's and say NO to this project. Gracedale petitions were everywhere but they were polite in asking for signers as well as a guy selling NO PRISON signs for $10 outside the doorway to the parking lot. I want to hear more . .. a lot more before advising anyone how this goes down. Good and bad in any endeavor. Political activism alive and well in the Slate Belt. Hang on ... it's gonna be a bumpy ride.
"Page two. Did not see John Stoffa there and not sure about the Twsp. supers as I only know Ed Nelson on sight. All local construction crews to be used at union scale. 300 officers and another 200 support staff at prevailing community wages, whatever that means? Use local vendors and attempt to hire from the surrounding area where possible and qualified. They admit the abuses do occur and they have paid heavy fines. They have some baggage, in other words, and say they are improving as they grow. They said also that they will be giving the public access to communities that have similar facilities ... phone numbers and contacts for anyone to call and ask about GEO and how they feel about them. Ron took some shots from the crowd at times but did not respond or acknowledge the hecklers."
Thanks, Dave. I understand that Northampton County Exec John Stoffa was there, too, and in fact left with Ron.
An Express Times story is here. The Channel 69 Video Dave mentions is below.