Johnstown City Council proclaimed Pride Month at a Ceremony in Central Park on Tuesday, but getting to that point was not a simple task. There were months of confusion over the process. The typically monotonous process of issuing a City Proclamation became a months long dispute between members of the Johnstown City Council and a longtime Political Rival, and was finally settled Tuesday at a Celebration of the LGBTQ community in Central Park.
That’s because, back in April, John Debartola, the head of the Keystone Alliance and Gaylife Newsletter presented Draft Language for the Proclamation to Councilwoman Laura Huchel. Huchel said she was all for the proclamation, but not to John’s Organization: which has also been used as an outreach for Debartola’s personal vendettas against the Council, City Groups like Vision 2025, and his Political Advocacy as he previously ran for Mayor against Janakovic.
And it wasn’t the first time. The same thing happened in 2015, with Council at first expressing concerns the Proclamation would be given at a combined Pride Prom for Teens and an Awards Show with Drag Queens and an open bar. Council then eventually agreed to give the Proclamation at a Council meeting. This time they agreed at first to present the Proclamation at the same time as Juneteenth during their week long Festival, before agreeing to attend Tuesday’s event specific for Pride.
Johnstown Mayor Frank Jankovic proclaiming Pride Month in a Ceremony at the Central Park Gazebo. Janakovic saying: “There was a little bit of confusion here and there, but it turned out for the best. The city had always intended to make an announcement whether through the newspaper or TV or I think it turned out better by doing it today in Central Park.”
Philip Bayush, who accepted the Proclamation saying: “It was a little bit of a struggle to get to this point. But here we are on a bright sunny day in Central Park celebrating Pride for the Johnstown community.”
The Second Annual Pride Event in Johnstown will be held on July 2nd at the Bandshell in Roxbury Park.