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Charlie Robertson's timeline as mayor of York

Written by Staff Report/The York Daily Report | Aug 25, 2017 6:27 AM

 

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Mayor Charlie Robertson speaks at a York College event in March 2000. (Photo: York Daily Record file photo)

 

A timeline of Charlie Robertson's career as mayor of York:

November 1993 -- Democrat Charlie Robertson beats Republican Anne Berry, winning 54 percent of the vote, to become mayor of York.

October 1994 -- Robertson begins his quest to bring minor-league baseball to York. His first idea is to renovate Bob Hoffman Stadium, but he later draws up plans to build a $24 million stadium.

June 1994 -- Robertson plans to bring police dogs back. A former York Police officer, Robertson says they would be used for sniffing out drugs. But the idea strikes fear in many residents, who recall the dogs being used to attack black people in the 1960s. The dogs do not return.

August 1994 -- Robertson suggests bringing a roller-coaster to Memorial Park. The idea sputters, but is an early example of just how imaginative Robertson can be.

November 1995 -- Robertson fires Police Commissioner Russell Clanagan
because he failed to move into the city and comply with the city's residency ordinance.

September 1996 -- Crispus Attucks introduces plans to build a $19 million center in the inner-city for residents to eat, shop and drink coffee. Robertson supports the project and helps CA acquire the property along Boundary Avenue. By 2001, it has a Starbucks.

October 1996 -- Robertson directs his staff to tow a broken down Chevrolet Caprice off the streets. Hundreds of cars would follow suit as Robertson looked to clean up the city.

November 1996 -- A public opinion survey shows 26 percent of respondents think Robertson should make snow removal his top priority. Robertson buys new equipment and restructures plow routes to remove snow from alleys.

March 1997 -- Bruce Leroy Loucks is arrested in Robertson's company at a fire scene. There was a warrant out for Loucks' arrest, which Robertson said he did not know about. Loucks had been Robertson's friend since Loucks was a kid.

November 1997 -- Robertson defeats Anne Berry for the second time on his way to a second term. This time, he wins 58 percent of the vote.

June 2000 -- The York County District Attorneys office seeks to form a grand jury to investigate the murders of a white police officer, Henry C. Schaad, and a black woman, Lillie Belle Allen, killed during 1969 race riots.

August 2000 -- George Street turns two-way. Robertson had wanted to make the citys north-south corridor accessible to drivers going into the city.

October 2000 -- Robertson says he would like to annex Yorks neighbors,
West York and North York. The idea goes nowhere, though, as officials from the two boroughs express no interest in joining the city.

April 2001 -- Robertson helps break ground at the $35 million Susquehanna Commerce Center on West Philadelphia Street. The project becomes a symbol of the mayors pro-economic development platform.

April 26, 2001 -- The grand jury recommends the arrest of 11 people in connection with the murder of Allen. It does not name Robertson, but says a police officer shouted white power and was seen supplying ammunition.

May 15, 2001 -- Robertson narrowly beats York Councilman Ray Crenshaw in a Democratic primary. He wins, despite rumors surrounding his possible connection with the officer named by the grand jury.

May 16, 2001 -- A tearful Robertson says he will surrender himself to police the next day. He is accused of supplying ammunition to a gang of white men who had shot at Allen on North Newberry Street.

May 17, 2001 -- In handcuffs, Robertson is arrested. He says he is innocent of all charges and vows he will stay in the race for mayor.

Charles Robertson was a community personality who became a figure of controversy when he was arrested in 2001. Wochit

 

May 24, 2001 -- Robertson drops out of the race for mayor after his advisers pressured him. He later says he wished he had stayed in the race.

June 4, 2001 -- Robertson's top aide, Eric Menzer, quits after serving seven years as economic development director. Robertson later says Menzer pressured him to quit the race.

June 25, 2001 -- The York County Democratic Party picks Controller John Brenner to replace Robertson on the ballot in November. Brenner had gained fame by opposing the use of taxpayer dollars to fund Robertson's baseball project. Robertson had scolded Brenner for not being a team player.

July 16, 2001 -- Robertson leads City of York trucks across the new North George Street Bridge. It offers a smooth ride over the railroad tracks, which had been bumpy.

November 6, 2001 -- Brenner wins 53 percent of the vote in a three-way race versus Republican Betty Schonauer and write-in Ray Crenshaw. An exit poll shows that if Robertson had been in the race, 36 percent of voters would have picked him.

November 20, 2001 -- After seven years of fairly level taxes, Robertson introduces a 40 percent property tax increase for 2002. About 250 residents later attend a York City Council meeting to protest a plan some say would require city-sponsored events and
programs to shut down.

October 1, 2002 -- Opening arguments begin in the trial of Robertson and two others who are charged in Allen's death.

October 19, 2002 -- After deliberating for two days, the jury announces its verdicts: It finds Robertson not guilty of first- and second-degree murder. It finds the two other defendants, Robert N. Messersmith and Gregory H. Neff, guilty of second-degree murder. 

Source: York Daily Record/Sunday News archives

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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