Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.
It's an archaic title, especially given the number of women holding public office today. Yet those elected to municipal councils and boards sometimes are referred to as “town fathers.”
They are expected to be leaders, setting an example of decorum and working in the public's interest — just as fathers do for their families.
Alas, this Father's Day weekend, too few “town fathers” deserve that distinction:
• Ford City Council on Monday spent an inordinate amount of time bickering about what was included in the minutes of a previous meeting. Personalities clashed. Citizens' concerns — among them, sidewalks in disrepair, flooding streets and speeding truck traffic — aired late in the meeting and without resolve. Everyone appeared too tired after the earlier arguing.
• Kittanning Council has a minor controversy over whether a drug-sniffing dog is needed in the borough. Donated funds are to be used to buy the dog. What's needed is a calm, informative discussion. So far that hasn't happened.
• Some West Kittanning citizens are concerned about the cost of a planned new municipal building. Why not schedule a special session to air public concerns and council's arguments in favor of construction? The issue deserves the time.
Of course, there's room for disagreements and debates at these sessions. But public meetings should be administered so that discussions are (at least to some degree) productive and ultimately lead somewhere. In too many cases, that's not happening.
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