State College Mayor’s Chaotic Last Council Meeting

Story posted December 4, 2019 in News, CommRadio by Josh Portney

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- After nearly 20 years of service to the State College Borough, Mayor Donald Hahn presided over his last meeting on Monday. The meeting started with a surprise appreciation gift for Hahn, as State Representative Scott Conklin presented Hahn with a Citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for his impressive career of service to the borough.

“[The award] was wonderful,” Hahn said. “Scott and I go way back...and I think he does a great job.”

Hahn received another token of appreciation and then got right to business. However, the Borough’s political drama didn’t take a break, even for Hahn’s last meeting.

After passing a zoning amendment that would allow a cat cafe adoption business to operate in the Urban Village, council opened the floor for debate on the hottest topic of the night: the Summers on Allen proposal to temporarily close a part of Allen Street for a few weeks in the summer for a festival.

For nearly an hour, Council heard from dozens of business owners and residents with varying viewpoints about the proposal. Arguments ranged from the loss of parking revenue to alcohol regulation to business opportunity and so much more, with council members interjecting into the public discussion at times.

The drama continued with a fight over a color run 5K proposal for a church fundraiser. Councilwoman Theresa Lafer immediately criticized the proposal, citing concerns about the material in the color run powder.

“If the dust, as they described it, is detrimental to our storm sewers, I can’t imagine what it does to human lungs,” Lafer said. “Would you eat talc?...To me, except for the fact that it’s colorful and outdoors, that’s what it is.”

She sparred with fellow Councilman Dan Murphy over a political maneuver to remove the restrictions on the color powder, which sparked another debate between Council President Evan Myers and Hahn. After a heated debate that even involved the Borough Manager, the council voted 4-3 to advance the measure and allow the color run.

The meeting concluded by foreshadowing the next political battle: the search for a new mayor. Council reviewed the questions for the mayoral candidates and finalized the procedures for the forum, which was held on Tuesday.

 

 

Josh Portney is a freshman studying Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email jxp776@psu.edu.