Apr 26, 2018

Allentown As The All American City

To we who are native Allentonians, the recent announcement of Allentown being nominated as an All American City once again is amusing. Last time we received that designation(in 1975) there were real things to hang that hat on, but now there are just facades embellished by press agents.

The requirement states that To apply, municipalities must show that they include all segments of their population in community decision-making, including diverse ethnic, racial, socio-economic and age groups, according to the National Civic League. The city must also be able to show “demonstrable, significant and measurable” achievements from the last five years.  Needless to say the city is offering the rebuilt Hamilton Street (NIZ) as its entry for the contest.  I can tell you that the public, and certainly any ethnic public, had no input what- so- ever in the NIZ. I met with the former merchants of Hamilton Street when they were being bullied by strawbuyers to sell their lifetime of work in short order,  while being threatened with eminent domain.

Our local politicians are beaming about Allentown again being nominated. They will send a delegation to Denver when the winners are announced in June.  I suspect that they won't pick me to represent the city.

Apr 25, 2018

A Tale Of Two Bridges

In the mid 50's, it was a big deal to us southsiders when they opened the new 15th Street Bridge. Prior to that, we had to either go over the 8th Street Bridge, or use the old stone arch bridge by the fertilizer plant. The fertilizer plant is long gone, but the old stone bridge is still there. Schreibers Bridge was built in 1828, and rehabilitated in 1920. The new 15th Street bridge was built in 1957, and is now restricted to south bound only, until which time it can be completely replaced. So the new bridge lasted 54 years, while the old stone bridge is still in use, 182 years later.

Recently, I urged Donny Cunningham not to replace the stone arch bridge on Reading Road. His project manager, Glenn Solt, insists that the historic bridge must be replaced. He stated that stone arch bridges look nice on the outside, but inside, they're filled with "crap." Thankfully, Don and Glenn didn't target Schreibers Bridge, because we're really going to need it with the new 15th Street Bridge out of commission. Hopefully, they will reconsider about stealing our history on Reading Road.

above reprinted from November of 2010  

ADDENDUM APRIL 25, 2018:   The 15th Street Bridge has been replaced.  Historic Schreiber's Bridge will now be closed to repair the north side entrance wing, which was damaged by a truck during the new, new bridge replacement.  I did manage to save the Reading Road Bridge.  Hopefully, I can now prevail upon  the new mayor, Ray O'Connell, to save the endangered Monumental Double Stairway in Lehigh Parkway.

Apr 24, 2018

Congressional Candidates Night In Bethlehem

Brith Sholom, the largest Jewish congregation in Bethlehem, is holding a conversation with the 7th District Congressional candidates tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m..  Although all Democrats and the Libertarian are expected to attend, both the Republican candidates had prior commitments.  Marty Nothstein will be at the Lehigh County Commissioner meeting. The candidate's views, especially in regard to Middle East affairs, will be a topic of special interest.   Members of the general public are welcome to attend.
                         WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 2018, 7:00p.m.
                                    Congregation Brith Sholom
                          1190 West Macada Road, Bethlehem, Pa.

Apr 23, 2018

Morning Call Editorials

In his column yesterday, Lehigh Valley congressional candidate Marty Nothstein owes League of Women Voters an apology, Bill White took Marty Nothstein to task for dodging the League Of Women Voters debate. This is the League's debate focused on the new 7th Congressional District primary, which invited all the candidates. White's complaint against Nothstein's decision is fair in its own right. However, Bill White's column is now the de facto political editorials for the paper, and the paper's record is questionable, at best.

For example, in 2005, although I was the first independent to run for mayor in two decades at the time, the Morning Call excluded me from their sponsored debate with Muhlenberg College, televised by Channel 39. Every day for two weeks they promoted the debate, running a quarter page photograph of both Pawlowski and Heydt in the paper. The paper's circulation was considerably larger back then, and those debate advertisements essentially told the public that there were only two candidates running for office, not three. They justified that action by claiming a poll by Mulhenberg showed my support below their threshold for inclusion. At the time the paper's other columnist, Paul Carpenter, ran a column about the inequality of that decision.  I can appreciate that my complaint sounds egocentric, but I assure you that over the years the paper has marginalized many other  candidates as well.

I can accept that Bill White now writes the editorials for the paper, but he should know that at least one local blogger will scrutinize them.

Apr 20, 2018

Spongebaths For The Homeless At Starbucks

Starbucks, in their yearning to be politically correct,  has probably irrevocably degraded their brand, at least in the urban markets.   The policy of restricting restroom use to paying customers is standard procedure in large urban areas.  A white middle class woman told me that she was denied use of the restroom for not being a paying patron at the same Philadelphia Starbucks at the center of the controversy.

Apparently, it is a Starbucks CEO tradition to let PC race ahead of common sense.  Last year they promised to hire 8,000 immigrants.  While nobody is waiting for the immigrants before they buy their latte,  the homeless will start availing themselves of the restrooms.  While my liberal readers, all six of them, will welcome the better restroom facilities for the homeless,  their tune may change next time they use the bathroom in a Philadelphia Starbucks.

If Starbucks' corporate reaction to the incident wasn't enough,  now the Philadelphia Police Commissioner is walking back his previous support of the arresting officers.  He has apologized to the two men arrested, who refused to leave as instructed by the responding officers.  While only reinforcing victim mentality,  I don't see anything productive in these reactions.

photocredit: Bryant/Philadelphia Inquirer

Apr 19, 2018

Dent Turbocharges Congressional Election

With Charlie Dent announcing that he is resigning within weeks,  chances are that a short term incumbent will be running in the November election for the new 7th Congressional District.  With the primary elections coming up in about a month,  the winners will most likely be chosen to compete in  the special election which Governor Wolf will call for after Dent's formal resignation.  The winner of the special election will complete Dent's current term in the 15th District.

Pundits of the cynical nature will assume that Dent is resigning to enhance the chances of his chosen successor to win the November general election.  As it stands right now, I believe that Nothstein and Morganelli are their respective party favorites.

Dent's resignation, for whatever reason,  will not be popular locally in the short term.  However,  he has served his constituents on both the state and federal level for many years,  and he will be appreciated for that long service.

Apr 18, 2018

Bill White's Artificial World

I hate it when Bill White compels me to review him,  as he did yesterday while writing.... since the only people who buy into his propaganda(Hannity) at this point are Trump true believers who are beyond caring about the actual truth of what’s happening.  White was criticizing Sean Hannity at White's Morning Call blog about not disclosing that he (Hannity) had received legal real estate advice from Michael Cohen.  White went on to question both the journalistic integrity of Hannity and Fox News.

Therefore, according to Bill White, a lot of Morning Call readers don't care about the actual truth.  Perhaps Bill should concern himself more with actual truth in the Morning Call's little world.  His paper might be more forthcoming about Allentown's NIZ, and its(The Morning Call) landlord, J.B Reilly.  While the FBI investigation and indictment of Ed Pawlowski finally brought an end to the paper's bromance with city hall,  it continues to praise the NIZ, as if Allentown's revitalization is real, as opposed to a richly subsided staged production at taxpayer expense.

In our era of reduced newspaper circulation, the Morning Call survived because of corporate affiliation, not journalistic merit.  Although White, now after so many years is a senior tenured employee for the outside management,  he needs to realize that journalistic integrity should start with the home paper.

Apr 17, 2018

Allentown, Syria and Trump

Allentown has one of the largest Syrian Christian communities in the United States.  Most members of that community attend St. Georges Orthodox Church, and have been in Allentown for three or more  generations.  Like other ethnic groups they settled in the 6th Ward in the early 1900's.  Although a minority in Syria,  they are protected by Assad and his father before him.  The Morning Call has been featuring their defense of Assad and their objection to the recent missile attack by the United States.  It is their position that the gas attack was anti-Assad propaganda,  and not carried out by the Syrian Government.

The Syrian civil war continues to be a tragedy.  With over 400,000 deaths and 5 million refugees,  a missile attack on possible gas production facilities is the least of Syria's problems.  Putting aside the  Syrian Christian objections,  the attack has also become a political football with other factions.  The anti-Trumpers find fault with it, or anything he would do.  Because both Britain and France participated in the military action,  the opposition parties in those countries accuse both Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron of kowtowing to Trump.

United States and its allies cannot turn a blind eye to the use of gas and poison even in the most horrendous of wars.  Likewise, the coalition cannot be deterred by threats from Russia.  The response was both measured and appropriate.

photocredit:April Gamiz/The Morning Call

Apr 16, 2018

A Meat Market In Easton

When I was in high school my father owned a small meat market in Easton.  It was called Melbern, and was on South 4th Street. That small row of old buildings was replaced in the early 1980's by the current KWM Insurance Agency.  I spent my high school summers working in the meat market,  and exploring Northampton Street on my lunch breaks.

Recently, I returned to retrace my steps. Back then I would walk down to the circle for lunch,  usually stopping to visit a friend who worked at the lunchmeat counter in the five and dime.  The circle is still busy with a lunch crowd,  even without a NIZ subsidized by Pennsylvania taxpayers.

The buildings, for the most part, are original and charming.  Easton is up and coming,  because it wasn't lucky enough to become revitalized with sterile towers of architectural mediocrity.

I even stopped in to visit Sal Panto at the new city hall. I suspect he saw me coming through a surveillance system,  because his secretary assured me that he wasn't in.

photo of Easton Center Square, 1948

Apr 13, 2018

The Morning Call's Unbashful Cheerleading

The special section in this weekend's Morning Call is called Great Expectation,The Story of Allentown's Renaissance. In this 36-page special section, The Morning Call will take a closer look at the urban renaissance underway in Allentown, the projects that will bring thousands of workers and hundreds of new residents to the city's downtown... Less than 48 hours ago this blogger wrote that molovinsky on allentown was turning the corner on the arena, but I didn't mean that I would condone unfettered cheerleading by the press. In the first of four sections each Morning Call reporter writes an essay referencing Allentown's past, although none of them have any actual memory or experience of that era, beyond the paper's archives. The second section promotes the new businesses arriving and refers to center city as a boomtown. The article omits the reality that taxpayers across the state are subsidizing Allentown's transformation. Section C is about The People Behind the Transformation. Although the paper writes that they are the engine of change, it can also be said that they are the private beneficiaries of public money. The last section may be the worst. It is supposedly essays by civic leaders. Some of them are bystanders, and some of them had absolutely nothing to do with any of it. All four sections are packed with paid advertisements, with the biggest ads coming from those benefitting the most. Yesterday, I reached out to several current and former members of our political establishment, for their opinion of the paper's special edition. They all agreed that it ranged from unbalanced to outright promotion, dressed up as journalism.

 above reprinted from March of 2014

ADDENDUM April 13, 2018: Four years later and the paper is now Reilly's tenant, and pimping the NIZ and his buildings more than ever. Today's paper features that two more tenants are coming to Reilly's new Tower Of Taxpayer Subsidy. The last lines of the article explain that space is still available, and actually provides contact info for Reilly's rental office. Although, The Morning Call has often used Reilly's press releases as news articles, they usually remember to remove the rental contact info.

Apr 12, 2018

The Greg Edwards Mission

My introduction to hearing Pastor/Candidate Greg Edwards speak was at the Hip Hop forum last week.  He spoke eloquently, staying on topic within the time allotted him.  To his credit, he did not mention the campaign, even once.  Edwards is running for the new 7th Congressional District, which for the most part is Charlie Dent's old 15th District.

He has built his non-demoninational  Resurrected Life Community Church into a local social/political force for minority empowerment.  He is CEO of the Resurrected Community Development Corporation, which developed from the church's social and educational ministries.   He is also president of the board of directors for Power Northeast  which sought to remove the previous Allentown school superintendent and replace him with one of their liking.  They succeeded in that task.

I don't know if Edwards will succeed in his quest for congress,  but he is certainly becoming a strong voice in the community.

photo from campaign website

ADDENDUM: An earlier version of this post misidentified POWER NORTHEAST as a component of the Resurrected Life Community Development Corporation,  they are affiliated with Alliance For Sustainable Communities.

Apr 11, 2018

The Hamilton Street Bridge

The current Hamilton Street Bridge was completed in 1959, replacing the former steel trestle bridge. With the new Hamilton Street entrance ramp aligned further to the south, a small portion of front street and a few houses were vacated. Additionally, an entrance ramp was added from Union Street, which previously ended at Front Street. The photo above shows a portion of the earlier bridge and the former A&B meat packing plant, beyond their office building.  The office building has been incorporated into the America On Wheels Transportation Museum.

lower photo shows entrance to former steel trestle bridge, with entrance ramp skirting A&B Packing House.

above reprinted from May 2013

UPDATE APRIL 11, 2018: My father's meat market was at the end of Union Street, before you went over the bridge. At that time there were still houses, people, luncheonettes and train traffic in that busy neighborhood.  I will take advantage of this time, between the former Pawlowski regime and the new O'Connell administration,  to revisit some of my blog posts about Allentown's industrial era.

Apr 10, 2018

Stairway To Shame

In the mid 1930's, Allentown, and especially its park system, was endowed with magnificent stone edifices, courtesy of the WPA; Works Progress Administration. This was a New Deal program designed to provide employment during the aftermath of the depression. Stone masons from all over the country converged on this city and built structures which are irreplaceable. The walls and step structures in Lehigh Parkway, as the Union Terrace amphitheater, are legacies which must be protected. Pictured above is the grand stairway from Lawrence Street (Martin Luther King Drive) up to Jackson Street, built in 1936. The steps are in a state of disrepair. They lead to the great Jackson Street Retaining Wall, thirty feet high and two blocks long, which was completed in 1937. I call upon the Trexler Trust and Allentonians of memory, to insist these steps are re-pointed and preserved. The current Administration knows little of our past.  It's important to save the things in Allentown that matter.

The City of Allentown is embarking upon a $3.8 million dollar capital plan to change the nature of our parks, funded in large part by the Trexler Trust. Although a number of fads will be accommodated, not one dollar is earmarked to preserve the existing WPA treasures. General Trexler envisioned the parks as a reserve for the passive enjoyment of nature. Among the new Disney-World type plans are a wedding pavilion in the Rose Garden, and the largest playground in eastern Pennsylvania to be built in Cedar Park. The trail through Cedar Creek Park will have lights installed, and the picnic areas will be expanded. Anybody driving past Cedar Beach on a Monday morning sees the trash generated currently by only a few picnic tables. How many more park workers will be required to deal with the consequences of these new plans? The playground is being billed as a "Destination Playground", who will pay to keep that clean? Allentown should build and monitor numerous playgrounds throughout center city, within walking distance for children and parents. The Trexler Trust and The City of Allentown have a responsibility to first repair and maintain these iconic stone edifices which are unique to Allentown.

photo info: the dedication stone is on the Union Street wall. The steps shown in the photo here go through a tunnel in the wall and climb up to Spring Garden Street. They are in total disrepair. This posting is a combination of two previous posts, which appeared on this blog last September.

above reprinted from June of 2015 and years earlier

UPDATE APRIL 10, 2018: My campaign to save the WPA structures has been on going  for over a decade. About 10 years ago, I organized meetings at the library to bring attention to the neglect inflicted upon these structures. In the process I tutored Karen El-Chaar, from Friends Of The Parks, on the issues. She then was able to obtain a grant from the Trexler Trust,  and repoint the Fountain Park Steps. I organized efforts to dig out and reveal the WPA Spring Pond and Boat Landing, both of which were discarded decades earlier. Because of the neglect, the Lehigh Parkway wall collapsed, but has since been partially rebuilt, to allow use of the entrance road into the park. In cooperation with Friends Of The Parks,  I conducted tours of Lehigh Parkway, featuring its history and WPA structures. During the Pawlowski regime I offered my advice to City Council on the traditional park system and WPA, but it was rejected.  I again make the same offer to Mayor O'Connell and the new administration.

Apr 9, 2018

Another Blackeye For Allentown

The front page of the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer, and three full inside pages, were devoted to numerous women telling how they were sexually exploited by the director of the Allentown based Cadet Drum and Bugle Corps.  The women, spurred on by the current Me Too movement, paint a sordid picture of what was considered a local success story.  It takes enormous courage for a woman to speak out and have her name and photograph end up in the paper.

Although, both he and his attorney deny any criminal wrongdoing, and he resigned on Thursday, this abuser had been band director since 1982.  Some of the victims were teenagers at the time of the alleged assault. Considering how long he was in that position of power,  expect to see more women come forward.

ADDENDUM: Those interested in the sordid details of this story can find such in Sunday's Inquirer.  My interest is the backstory, that the Cadet board was informed back in January of the allegations. That allegation was made anonymously, and demanded that the director resign back then, or the story would be made public.  Furthermore, a comment in the Morning Call suggests that the local newspaper may also have been previously informed of the allegations.

UPDATE: The above post was published at 5:03 this morning.  At 7:05 am,  two hours later, The Morning Call came out with a second apology from the Cadet board,  acknowledging that they could have shown more sensitivity to the victims in their initial statement.  Perhaps, The Morning Call will divulge if the newspaper indeed had prior reports of these abuse allegations?

Apr 6, 2018

In The Allentown Trenches Blogging

When you're a non-partisan blogger in Allentown, you end up pissing everyone off, sometimes in the same week.  Such was the case this week.  I started the week by pissing off the liberals disclosing that Cynthia Mota worked for Hasshan Batts, whom she was nominating for Mayor. Although Bill White's column implies that his paper made that revelation,  we know better than that.

My post on the Hip Hop Forum annoyed some conservatives by giving voice to something they consider to have no redeeming value.  Although, the progressives approved of it,  a previous post on the concert itself was vilified by them.

Yesterday's post on the Rescue Mission annoyed everybody.  While the Mission has sacred cow status in Allentown, especially with the liberal Democrats,  Republicans sit on its board of directors.  The bottom line is that they're top heavy,  receiving only a 66 out of 100 rating from Charity Navigator. They spend over $800,000 a year fundraising.

My only safe ground for the week was my post on the threat to the architecturally iconic post office,  which  resulted in no less than two groups starting an effort to preserve it.

This blog has no allegiance to any politician, party or organization.  I call it as my institutional knowledge indicates.  Although I regret when a post offends someone,  I cannot walk on eggshells and produce a meaningful blog at the same time.

Apr 5, 2018

Indentured Servants of The Rescue Mission

Long time subscribers to this blog know that I have a problem with the Rescue Mission and other assorted sacred cows.  Fifty years ago the Mission gave a cot and bowl of gruel to forty or so men a night and was run on a shoe string.  Today, they still give the cot and gruel to about 60 men,  but take in over $3 million dollars a year..  Although they fundraise endlessly, they're sitting on almost $6 million in the bank.

While I have blogged about them being overfunded before, I wasn't really tuned into their slavery program.  As Pawlowski's trial began,  City Council awarded them a three year contract to clean Hamilton street for $845,000.  The Mission turns around and uses this contract to solicit more donations, by advertising that they provide employment and job training for the downtrodden.  What they do not reveal is that they deduct for room and board from the wages they pay,  making their workers something between indentured servants and slaves.

These sacred cows in the valley make the donors feel good about themselves.  Gunther looks like a hero making meatballs for an annual spaghetti dinner at a local church.  Those who bid on a meatball feel good about themselves.  Don't let  a cynical blogger like myself ruin your appetite.

Apr 4, 2018

Hip Hop At The Library

Last night Cheryl Johnson Watts of the Allentown NAACP was the MC of a free wheeling symposium on Hip Hop at the Allentown Library. A full house was treated to the history, philosophy and business aspects of that genre. While some described hip hop as an urban musical expression rooted in inner city oppression, others saw its cross demographic appeal as an agent of change. Local promoter Mark Hunt, pictured above, promised to bring more hip hop to the PPL Center.

In addition to defining hip hop, the panel was a stage for showcasing local leadership. Pastor James Rivera of Ridge Avenue is a longtime agent of change in the 6th Ward. Rev. Gregory Edwards hopes to represent the community in the 15th Congressional District.

Allentown Police Captain Glenn Granitz explained the challenges of the city providing entertainment and public safety at the same time. John Moser of The Morning Call wrote a detailed report of the meeting. The last speaker, and the only white member of the panel, was activist Robert Trotner. He simply stated that he really knew nothing about hip hop, but learned a lot last night.... I'm in his group.


Apr 3, 2018

Barbarians At Allentown Post Office Gate

In the 1930's, the "New Deal" was good to Allentown.  Our park system was enriched by monumental stone construction under the WPA. We also received one of the architectural gems of our area, the magnificent art deco post office. Constructed during 1933-34, no detail was spared in making the lobby an ageless classic. The floor is adorned with handmade Mercer tiles from Doylestown. Muralist Gifford Reynolds Beal worked thru 1939 portraying the Valley's cultural and industrial history.

Unfortunately for history and culture, this architectural gem is now being targeted for NIZ private/public enrichment.  Several architectural treasures were demolished for the arena, along with Allentown's mercantile history. The Postal Service has signed off on the building, and the developer is chomping at the bit. The real tragedy is that the other new buildings are not even full, but with private construction being funded by taxpayers, there is no need to worry about such details as occupancy rates.  Efforts to save this irreplaceable building may start and end on this blog.  The Morning Call, itself a partner in the NIZ,  has taken a back seat on such matters.

The 83 year old photograph, part of my private collection,  is the contractor's documentation of the project's progress. The back of the photo states; Taken Sept 1 - 34 showing lobby, floor, screens, desks, completed & fixtures hung  

Apr 2, 2018

Time For Cynthia To Resign

The time has come for Cynthia Mota to resign from Allentown City Council. Although she works for Promise Neighborhood of Lehigh Valley, which is directed by Hasshan Batts, she didn't disclose that connection when she voted eleven times last Thursday to make him mayor. Cynthia appears to have zero conception of what constitutes a conflict of interest.

In late January Batts met with councilwoman Mota to discuss the needs of families in Allentown.  By early February  Promise Neighborhoods hired Mota as Community Manager.  Apparently, Mota and Batts are also concerned with their own family needs.

In addition to reaching out to the city, Promise Neighborhoods is reaching out to the state, to see what resources they can harvest there.  They seem to be forming the perfect vehicle to become a depository of politically correct funding.  Care to make a donation?

ADDENDUM: Emily Opilo of The Morning Call writes on Twitter at 2:50 pm: So Allentown Councilwoman Cynthia Mota does work for Allentown Promise Neighborhood and was hired by Hasshan Batts, the same candidate she voted for in 11 rounds of voting for mayor. But that doesn't appear to violate the city's ethics ordinance. I'll have a story explaining. 

Will the paper provide proper attribution to this blog?

UPDATE:The Morning Call story on Mota is out. Mota should be ashamed for not disclosing that she worked for Batts, and The Morning Call should be ashamed for not disclosing that this blog broke the story.

UPDATE APRIL 3, 10:45 AM.  I have been assured by the Morning Call reporter, despite the timeline, that her report was derived completely independently of mine.

Allentown's Minority Divisions

In my post on Friday I wrote about some minorities complaining about being underrepresented in the city government.  An irony is worth noting:  In a large part, minorities elected Ed Pawlowski last November.  Photographs at his campaign victory parties, in both the primary and general election, except for his family, show mostly people of color.

I'm not a politically correct person, nor particularly sensitive.   On Thursday evening environmental activist Dan Poresky told council that he has known Hasshan Batts for months,  and how capable Hasshan is of keeping multiple balls in the air.  Poresky has involved himself in local politics since before 2005, when he supported Pawlowski.  Dan is connected to Joyce Marin, who is on the board of Promise Neighborhoods, which employs Hasshan Batts as director.  Hasshan, with his expedited online doctorate, is apparently the current darling of the enlightened private/public funded salary trough of United Way/Renew/Pool Foundation and other Lehigh Valley bastions of feel good about yourself liberalism.  How contrived to support someone from that trough,  rather than candidates like O'Connell and Thiel, who have spend decades involved within the Allentown community.

A comment placed on the previous post by the local NAACP  indicates that they thought Hasshan Batts received far too much attention, and that Cheryl Johnson Watts received too little.  There are apparently various subgroups in both the local Hispanic and black politically active populations. Although my perspective as an outsider is somewhat limited,  I appreciate that their influence is growing year by year.

ADDENDUM: Cynthia Mota is employed by Promise Neighborhoods Of Lehigh Valley.  On Thursday she was in essence voting for her boss, Hasshan Batts.  SHE SHOULD HAVE DISCLOSED THIS CONFLICT OF INTEREST TO THE CITIZENS OF ALLENTOWN.

Mar 30, 2018

Mota Leads Pandering Show

Last night Allentown City Council, in addition to electing an interim mayor, conducted a wholesale pandering exhibition beyond compare. Leading the show was Cynthia Mota. When I entered council chambers, Hasshan Batts was giving his interview for mayor. I was rather surprised, because Mr. Batts wasn't scheduled for an interview. However, because half the chamber was full of his supporters, Council succumbed to crowd pressure and voted to allow Batts to proceed.

Before council voted for mayor, Mota said that council has to respect the wishes of the people, obviously referring to Batt's supporters. Now, of course among the many reasons not to accommodate the crowd was that few of them were ever there before,  and probably won't ever be back again. Never the less, Mota pleaded with them to stay involved and attend council meetings.

When council finally voted, Mota voted for Mr. Batts eleven times, before finally switching her vote to give Ray O'Connell the mayorship.

ADDENDUM: Last night and today in the press everyone is referring to Hasshan Batts as Dr. Batts.  In 2008, Mr. Batts was heralded as having a Master's Degree and put in charge of a youth program.  Despite that opportunity,  he operated as a major cocaine dealer and was incarcerated.  He is now being heralded as having a Doctorate Degree, and again has been placed in charge of a program.  A segment of the black community feels that they are underrepresented in city government, and tried to impose Doctor Batts as mayor last night, so that the greater community can make amends for the minority underrepresentation.  Dr. Batts may well be rehabilitated.  However,  there are numerous black leaders in the community with no legal issues which they could rally behind.  Rather than a one night demonstration, they should encourage someone to enter the primary elections in 2019.  I do not fault Batts or his supporters for their effort last night, but council's pandering was inappropriate.

Mar 29, 2018

Everything Through Trump Prism

There was quite a bit of buzz about the Rosanne show redo. While it did very well in the number of viewers,  facebook and other social media were awash with snarks, almost all based on the snarker's view of Trump. Because Roseanne portrayed a supporter, or at least a voter for Trump, Trump's opponents took to spraying their venom on Roseanne. She's a pig, as crude as ever, was the overall tone of their rants.

I never imagined that Trump would polarize the country in the way that he has.  The liberal media has taken to considering Saturday Night Live bashes as news.  Roseanne Barr has always been well tuned to popular sentiment,  and I suspect is well poised to produce another classic series.

ADDENDUM: An opinion piece on CNN concedes that the show is good, credits the known liberals involved, such as Sara Gilbert, but discredits Roseanne. That so typifies the distorted prism through which MSM has chosen to operate.

Mar 28, 2018

From Outside Allentown

Hi Michael. I'm 31. A financially struggling single mom. I was born and raised here. Grew up in Salisbury, moved to Emmaus at 10 and now living in Lower Macungie. I know this whole area very well. I waitressed and bartended at different places so I know the people and the issues. I've always seen this area as a place that will one day flourish.... I follow the news and can see what is happening around me. ... I feel people not living in Allentown but living in the Lehigh Valley have no say in Allentown... I've lived in all 3 areas and I don't feel rooted. I want to get involved in local politics but which section is the question??... Where do people like me who want to see a change and want to help fit in? Jess
Shown above is the core of a longer note I received yesterday. Like the young woman above, I currently live just beyond Allentown's border, in South Whitehall. Over the years I attended countless Allentown City Council meetings. There are regulars there who have attended the meetings faithfully for decades. I believe that the problems and solutions of Allentown cross the borders into the townships every day. Although non-residents cannot run for elected office, the decisions made there may affect them more significantly than those made at their township meetings.

photo/The Morning Call

Mar 27, 2018

Right Time For John Bolton

I fully understand that many liberals have the notion that John Bolton is a warmonger....That is simply misinformation. As I was impressed with Trump's selection of Rex Tillerson in year one,  I consider Bolton another quality appointment.  I believe that in our extreme polarized political climate, any appointment made would be criticized.  However, considering Iran's aggression across the middle east,  Bolton has the necessary background to inspire caution in our adversaries.

Bolton, in addition to being a former United Nations Ambassador, was involved in national security positions with both Bush Administrations. He may well be the most informed candidate on national security issues that Trump could have chosen.

Mar 26, 2018

The Allentown School Dilemma

The Allentown School District has projected a $28 million dollar shortfall in the 2018-19 budget. A professional cost cutting firm has recommended various cutback strategies, none of which will help with the educational challenges faced by the district.  A local informed citizen, Lisa Zezoney, suggested on social media;
No disrespect meant here but maybe the people on the school board should have their eyes on their present jobs rather than where they want to position themselves in the city...this deficit is a surprise.

Despite its relative small size and quaintness,  Allentown has the large city urban school problems faced across the country....A poor population in need of better schooling.   The building boom in center city has not translated into significant higher tax revenue for the school district.

This blog has declared Ray O'Connell the new mayor, well before the official decision in early April.  With O'Connell being a former school administrator,  any benefit that can be realized by more cooperation between the district and city is likely.

this blogger attended Jefferson Elementary School shown above

Mar 23, 2018

Congratulations To Mayor O'Connell

molovinsky on allentown has declared Ray O'Connell Allentown's new mayor today, Friday March 23rd, at 12:30 pm.   Although the official announcement will not be made until April 6th,  the blog's editorial board has decided to go ahead with our congratulations.

Ray will make an excellent mayor and we look ahead to reporting good things about his administration and positive changes in Allentown.   Once again,  our congratulations.

ADDENDUM: There was some speculation on social media that this post was satire,  it is not! With Roger MacLean apparently not submitting his name,  I am convinced that Ray has the necessary votes with no contention.  I am sincere in my sentiment that Ray will do a good job, and with my congratulations. While other media may report on the next week's interviews as serious deliberation,  I consider the matter closed.

Allentown Voters Are The Peanut Gallery

When I was a small boy, Howdy Doody, although a puppet, was a television star. The live audience in the TV studio was composed of children and was called the Peanut Gallery.  That term has become a metaphor for a group with no real power.   According to an article in the Morning Call the citizens of Allentown can have a say in picking the next mayor.  They can attend the upcoming city council meetings and ask and comment about the applicants for interim mayor. Although the article implies that council will value their opinion,  in reality they are just another Peanut Gallery.

I'm not sure who will be chosen next mayor.  Although the article mentions that the charter may prohibit Roger MacLean from being eligible,  the same charter rule would apply to Ray O'Connell.  My hunch is that acting solicitor Dan McCatrhy's opinion on the charter will be disregarded, and that O'Connell will get the four votes.  If MacLean decides that he likes the view from the fifth floor of city hall, he may fight for the position and get the nod.  If indeed council decides to go outside of their current or immediate former self,  Charlie Thiel will prevail.

Although the Peanut Gallery may hoot, holler and ask questions,  their opinion will not count.

Mar 22, 2018

Blogosphere Censorship

Yesterday Bernie O'Hare had a post on Charlie Thiel. In the comment section at 4:20pm, someone essentially stated that Ray O'Connell ran as a write-in to block Hyman, so that he(O'Connell) could replace Pawlowski by appointment, after the conviction. Those who know O'Hare know that when he supports someone, he isn't beyond spinning the obvious, and bashing the opposition. I commented yesterday after Bernie tried to negate the 4:20 comment about O'Connell. When I awoke this morning, I discovered that O'Hare deleted my comment. Like Popeye, I ain't taking that!!!! Bernie and I have gone around on this topic before, and while I will not make my own post on this subject until after the appointment of the interim mayor, I will reprint my deleted comment here today.
Considering how most of the comments on O'Hare's blog are anonymous, you would think that he would allow a signed comment like mine to remain, but apparently not, if it's contrary to the narrative that he is promoting.

Mar 21, 2018

Allentown's Rotating Police Chief

As some of you may know, Allentown is once again in the market for a new police chief.  The current one, Glen Dorney, is taking the top position in South Whitehall.  He is probably doing so because although the department is smaller,  a new interim mayor being selected next month could give him the heave ho anyway.

In my opinion the national searches were a disaster.  First we brought in Chief Stephen Kuhn, who turned the department inside out and upside down. Next came Joel Fitzgerald,  whose son ended up suing for violating his civil rights, after he was acquitted for pointing a gun at county detectives.  The young Fitzgerald was represented by Jack McMahon, who would return to Allentown and defend Pawlowski.

I wouldn't mind acting mayor Roger MacLean  appointing a new chief from within, and have the interim mayor appointed next month honor that appointment. MacLean is former chief himself, and spend his career in the department.  No mayor, acting, interim or elected, has ever been better equipped to pick a chief.

ADDENDUM: The first version of this post erroneously stated that Stephen Kuhn was hired by Pawlowski. He was hired by his predecessor,  Roy Afflerbach.

Mar 20, 2018

Lehigh's Failing Grade

Among the many groups of people I have no use for are college professors. Spend your life surrounded by 18 year olds, and you become a Peter Pan. I snickered when I read that Lehigh's Peter Pans want to revoke Donald Trump's honorary degree from 1988.

A faculty spokesperson said the motion isn’t about Trump’s politics,  but his behavior, as well as his sexist, racist and Islamophobic comments.  While most people who have such honorary degrees conferred upon them have no real qualifications,  to then take back a degree 30 years later, after the person achieves the Presidency of The United States?

Despite their denial,  their vote is so awash in politics,  one must question if they themselves deserve the degrees which they have.

The Lehigh Trustees wisely decided against revoking Mr./President Trump's degree.  Enter Bill White, Morning Call Columnist and Lehigh journalism teacher. Bill agrees with the students and late night TV hosts that Donald Trump has character defects. He believes that the trustees don't want to offend their wealthy Republican donors, but doesn't understand the principles beyond that not to revoke the degree.  Bill has forgotten that when Trump was awarded that degree in 1988, he was a real estate expert and Art Of The Deal best seller.  Bill has forgotten that before politics in 2014, Trump was a reality TV star with the Apprentice.  Lehigh charges $66,000 a year to take classes with Bill White,  who displayed no insight beyond the TV hosts he eagerly awaits every night.

Mar 19, 2018

Stepchildren Of Allentown's Corruption

Back in the day before the FBI raid on Allentown City Hall,  those interested in corruption in Allentown were pretty much limited to myself and O'Hare.  Missing in action was the Morning Call.  Although they would occasionally use this blog as an unattributed source, they avoided my most controversial exposés.  Among them was my revelations about the Neuweiler Brewery.

Although the FBI and  Justice Department decided to prosecute Pawlowski and Company on nine deals,  I suspect that the menu actually had many more choices.  Among them may have been the current Neuweiler Brewery deal.  When Ruckus Brewing was introduced as an applicant for the Neuweiler Brewery, I wrote about it here, way back in 2013.  My research revealed that Ruckus had no experience at the time in either actual beer brewing or real estate.  What they did have was a business consultant very connected to the administration in Allentown, Mike Fleck.

Although Pawlowski and Fleck were indicted and convicted,  the Allentown Commercial Industrial Development Authority proceeded with handing over the brewery to Ruckus.  Ruckus received numerous deadline extensions on their application, and represented the brewery as a done deal to raise cash. All these irregularities were previously reported on this blog, and ignored by the local press. They are currently permitted to rent out space as is in a building in which the previous owner was arrested and jailed for not correcting code violations.

When shenanigans occur in Allentown,  this blog is often the first source to chronicle the questionable activity.

For the full story on the Neuweiler Brewery, please follow the links provided below. 

Post on Neuweiler Brewery from May 29, 2008

Post on Neuweiler Brewery July 11, 2012

Sequel to July 11, Post (July 16, 2012)

Post on Neuweiler Brewery May 2, 2013

Post on Neuweiler Brewery Jan. 31, 2013

The Neuweiler Brewery, A Pawlowski/Fleck Shenanigan, July 8, 2015

Morning Call Catches Up To Molovinsky On Neuweiler Sept. 30, 2015

Mar 16, 2018

Allentown's City Council Broom

There are at least a couple of facebook groups devoted to Allentown politics. It is on these groups where one finds opinions about Allentown from those who care most about local politics, besides just at election time.  Over and over I keep seeing people post that Allentown needs a clean broom sweeping.  Although I wouldn't argue with that notion longterm,  they must remember that city council is picking the next mayor.

Some people are even suggesting that the chosen candidate should ask all the department heads to tender their resignations, and that each person in each position should go through an reevaluation.  In all due respect,  let us keep a working city government. There are buildings to inspect.  There are streets to repair.  There are taxes to collect.

Roger MacLean, the acting mayor, is an experienced administrator.  I expect that whoever gets appointed as interim mayor will also have experience.  There are many competent people working at city hall.

The opinion by acting solicitor Dan McCarthy that O'Connell and MacLean are ineligible to be appointed interim mayor on April 6 seems to be gaining steam,  especially with council retaining McCatrhy at least through that date.  Ironically, Candida Affa has been calling for a new face that isn't tainted for the top spot.  Nobody is more tainted than her,  having been Pawlowski's last diehard supporter. She is throwing the last hand grenade in Pawlowski's behalf.

It is my hope that council and the city avoid a purge mentality, and we can benefit from their existing institutional knowledge.

1962 postcard of Allentown City Hall

Mar 15, 2018

Charlie Thiel's New Campaign

In addition to Charlie Thiel submitting his application to city council for interim mayor, he has taken to publicize his bid on social media. Although council has sought applications, the $64 thousand dollar question is whether O'Connell and MacLean are eligible themselves under the charter? While it is common knowledge that O'Connell wants the appointment, the next question centers on MacLean; Does he want to remain mayor beyond the current 30 days? If so, but he and O'Connell are advised that they are ineligible, only then does Charlie's application become viable.  Assuming we reach that point, the vote lies with 7 people, not the public, which Thiel is now reaching out to.

On the subject of the upcoming appointed interim mayor,  I was victimized by a fabrication the other day from Bernie O'Hare in his post promoting Ray O'Connell, and I chose to refrain from setting the record straight.  My reply will have to wait until which time the new mayor is appointed.  Unlike pompous O'Hare,  I have no desires or delusions about being a junior kingmaker.

Among other members of the public who have expressed an interest in the mayor vacancy are Nat Hyman and supposedly Sam Bennett.  Council will start public deliberations on March 26.

Mar 14, 2018

Rapper Fabolous, The Aftermath

Sometimes a blogpost has an afterlife, and yesterday's post on the Fabolous concert seems to fit that bill. Feedback on facebook was extensive, and Fabulous himself used his page to explain his short appearance. Seems as if he was restricted to about a 20 minute show, in order to prevent the venue from charging the promoter a surcharge.  He showed grace about his show being shorted, and appreciation for his fans.

My post yesterday was criticized for repeating things reported in The Morning Call,  which referred to the audience as unruly, both inside and outside the arena.  Others found my post racially insensitive, for repeating what they referred to as stereotypes. There was pushback against me using the word riot in my blog title.

Needless to say, I do not determine booking criteria for the PPL Arena. While the Morning Call article might have that effect, this blog does not,  despite my illusions of grandeur.  However, what does occur to me is that those who defend the crowd behavior as normative are doing this genre of music no favor.

photo of Fabulous performing at PPL Arena

Mar 13, 2018

Allentown's Hip Hop Rap Riot

According to news sources the hip hop rap concert at PPL arena over the weekend was quite a raucous event.  Audience members were supposedly climbing over the seats to get pricer seats than they paid for.  The headliner was Fabolous.  After the event a street brawl erupted outside at 7th and Hamilton, which resulted in eight arrests, after the Allentown Police called for backup from surrounding police departments.

For a city which wants to make that area a dining destination, perhaps such street theater should be avoided?

The Morning Call actually reviewed the concert as if it was a cultural event.  That's like reviewing the clothing fashions worn by gang shooters.  Anybody who buys and reads newspapers could care less about what the reviewer thought about the performance. The arena is financed with our state taxes, taxes which have to be made up with more taxes.  Why would management rent to an outside promoter and allow such a high risk act?  Were they kowtowing to political correctness?  The paper then ran a subsequent article, outlining five things that went wrong with the show.  There was actually a sixth problem,  they should have never allowed the show in the first place.

photocredit: WFMZ/Channel69

Mar 12, 2018

Post Pawlowski Allentown

Living here in Post Pawlowski Allentown, with the drama over,  is more relaxing.  Although Ed Pawlowski was entitled to the best defense his former campaign fund turned defense fund could afford, there was a little too much Jack McMahon for my taste.  McMahon was here previously to defend Pawlowski's police chief's son.

Pawlowski is scheduled to be sentenced in late June.  While I certainly agree that he should be on unsecured bail and is no flight risk,  he is a home risk.  It's a burden to the public to be submitted to his continuing social media presence, where the only remorse expressed is that he cannot continue to lead Allentown forward.

While forced to surrender his fifth floor office at City Hall, Pawlowski continues to hold office on facebook, where both he and his uninformed followers still proclaim that he loves Allentown, and that he revitalized it. They both ignore the facts that the NIZ happen because of others, and that he wanted to ride that confusion out of town, either to Harrisburg or Washington.  The only thing that he can hope now to get from those places is a pardon.

Mar 9, 2018

The Rise And Fall Of Ed Pawlowski

I may know a little more about Ed Pawlowski than others, because in 2005 as an independent, I ran against him as the third person on the ticket.  Before working for Afflerbach,  Pawlowski worked at the Alliance For Building Communities,  which is dedicated to low income housing.

As Pawlowski gave the same speech to every city group during that campaign,  he didn't seem terribly insightful to me.  His campaign power point presentation, night after night, actually became painful to endure.  I also noticed that he injected that little half laugh into his replies,  intended to connote sincerity.

After being elected, he practiced cronyism to a level not previously seen in Allentown.  Jobs and positions became anything but merit-based at City Hall.  During a candidate night at the NAACP, he pointed out into the audience and told certain people that they would be hired if he was elected.  Helping him succeed with this pandering was the Morning Call reporter assigned to the election, who never reported on these incidences.  Every article was written to make Pawlowski shine.

Although City Council earlier in 2005 had rejected the concept of a managing director in favor of keeping a strong mayor form of government,  they allowed Pawlowski to hire his own managing director soon after being elected.  This person,  like Pawlowski, was not from Allentown.  They combined the Park and Recreation Departments,  and hired someone with a recreation background from Penn State. The next three park directors all had the identical background.

Pawlowski's resignation speech delivered yesterday afternoon repeated all the misconceptions fostered unto his supporters by both himself and The Morning Call;  It is the notion that Allentown is better off now than before he became mayor.  Certainly there are new buildings on Hamilton Street.  Certainly J.B. Reilly is much better off than before the NIZ, which Pawlowski had nothing do to with, but is Allentown really better off?  I think not.   In yesterday's speech, Pawlowski mentioned that he rejuvenated the parks.  Although he purchased a catalog of plastic playground equipment, the parks are much worse off now. One pool has closed since he became mayor, and another is slated to close. The iconic WPA structures are barely hanging on. Truth be told, the little work done on them is because of my efforts. Besides neglecting our traditional park system, he abused the former small merchants of Hamilton Street. He concentrated all his efforts in center city, ignoring both south and east Allentown. Although he and The Morning Call may like to think that his administration was accomplished, I think that he was one of the worst mayors in Allentown's history.

Students of this blog may realize that although I criticized his park and other policies from the beginning, I never accused him of pay to play. However, after following the trial, there was no doubt that he was guilty as charged. His resignation becomes official at 5:00pm today. Although I don't drink, I'm almost tempted to go to happy hour tonight.

Mar 8, 2018

Park Follies And Misappropriations

Over the years this blog and myself have established credibility and expertise on Allentown's traditional park system and the WPA. I must report what I consider to be a major shenanigan by the mayor. $1.3 million dollars was taken to purchase two heavy industrial areas, to supposedly add to the park system. This $million plus dollars was taken from the water/sewage lease, which is being used as the mayor's discretionary fund, instead of the dedicated pension relief,  promised at the time. $950,000.00 was used to buy the parcel at Union and Basin Streets, near the city sewage plant. This is one of the oldest industrial areas in the city, and certainly not needed for more park land. Allentown has not been able to maintain the existing park land, or the features within it. The Fountain Park Pool has been abandoned, and the WPA structures are crumbling. The other just purchased parcel is the old fertilizer plant location,  along Martin Luther King Dr., west of the crumbling Schreibers Bridge. We have an administration with no memory or knowledge of Allentown's past. Anybody who knew what went on at the fertilizer/rendering plant, would not want their grandchildren playing there. The city's rationale for these purchases is to expand the biking paths and connect the parks. That's the folly, and now the misappropriations. Allentown has supposedly allocated money to engineer the repair of the leaning WPA wall in Lehigh Parkway. I know why the wall leans. Years ago, the stone shoulder between the park entrance and wall was blacktoped. As cars and city trucks drive around the curve, pressure is exerted against the wall. That strip of asphalt needs to be removed, and the stone buffer restored. The problem with the engineering study is that it's the third time it has been appropriated. In the last two budgets money was actually budgeted to repair the wall, now the process begins again. What happen to the previous appropriations? Must molovinsky on allentown now also establish expertise in forensic accounting?

reprinted from June 26, 2014

UPDATE JULY2015. The wall collapsed in Lehigh Parkway, closing the traditional entrance to the park.. Over the past several years I had met with two park directors and the city engineer, to no avail, trying to save the wall. Recently, I have reported a problem to the current park director about the Union Terrace WPA structure, that needs immediate attention. The new parcels, rather than connecting the parks,  are connecting the neglect.

UPDATE MARCH 8, 2018: Local news sources are reporting that Mayor Pawlowski is expected to resign today.  If this welcome news will have a positive effect on the park system remains to be seen. A potential mayoral contender told me that if he were in charge, I'd be working for the park department, planning WPA renovations.  I never asked for a job, nor do I want one.  However, when I did ask City Council to appoint me as a volunteer liaison on WPA matters,  I was met with silence.  A park employee told me that there is significant money in the new budget for WPA repairs.  Again, that is nothing new. How it will be appropriated remains to be seen.  There is one thing for sure;  Whoever the new mayor might be,  whatever the park budget might be,  my advocacy for the WPA structures will continue.

Mar 7, 2018

Storm Over Allentown

With the pending heavy snow today,  City Council has postponed tonight's meeting which might have approved Tom Muller as Managing Director.  More importantly,  Pawlowski's appearance in front of the judge on Friday has also been called off.  There was speculation that Pawlowski might have resigned as mayor at that appearance,  depending on what demands were imposed by the court.

After speaking to several city employees in the last couple days,  I can tell you that these storm related postponements are salt on the city's wounds.  Morale has bottomed out and is only going lower.  The word paralysis was used.   I do not mean to imply that the snow will be not be plowed, or other essential services not performed.  Rather, strategic planning is on hold, with no one at the top to give the go ahead.

While Pawlowski may still receive some personal empathy from a few former supporters,  everybody has requested that he resign from office.   HIs continued refusal to do so illustrates how truly superficial is his regard for Allentown.  

1983 record snow storm in Allentown, Morning Call photo

Mar 6, 2018

Pawlowski As A Charlatan

Since Pawlowski's conviction last Thursday I have read numerous articles where people,  even a juror, think that his only fault and mistake was running for Governor and Senator.  If not for needing huge sums of contributions for those campaigns,  he would have remained the savior of Allentown.  While some of these people are under-informed, others are misinformed, and some are actually part of Allentown's ethical problem. Worse, even an article by a Morning Call reporter repeats this nonsense; Allentown residents thought so highly of Pawlowski that last year,... They re-elected him to a fourth term. He only won because it was a three way race, with his support coming from the most uninformed of the voters.

The extensive new construction in Allentown is the result a unique state incentive plan called the NIZ.  While it is occurring in Allentown because of State Senator Pat Browne,  Pawlowski had little more to do with it than you or me.  Because he is mayor,  he was allowed to cut the ribbons,  and claim credit for the new construction,  but it was a gross distortion of the truth.  He did however  hope to capitalize on that distortion and get elected to higher office as a result of the confusion.

Using distortion and confusion comes naturally to Pawlowski.  He never had respect for a level playing field,  and always was willing to step on people to achieve his objectives.  Those who think that his faith based work was sincere,  should remember Jim and Tammy Baker.  Before he had bigger targets to leverage,  he played the small fries off each other.  Over his first few years he took the Hamilton Street cleaning contract away from one small fry to give it to a bigger small fry, who could influence more potential voters. Over the years his fries got bigger, but he remained a small time charlatan. Perhaps the saddest part of the trial was seeing people humiliate themselves by saying that they contributed to Pawlowski because they thought that he would make a good governor or senator.  They didn't have much choice, either humiliate themselves or confess to bribery.

Mar 5, 2018

The Pawlowski Aftermath

It was interesting reading the comments on facebook and elsewhere Friday morning. Proclamations of a new day and fresh start, especially by local current politicians, are amusing. I don't know one who wasn't in bed with Pawlowski at one time or another over the years. I don't know one who didn't benefit by those ties. Pawlowski specialized in developing the ties that bind. I was also amused by his sycophants who expressed sympathy to his wife; Lisa Pawlowski was very much part of the insider loop, and exerted herself against his opponents throughout his reign.

Gotta love State Representatives Schlossberg and Schweyer chiming in about moving forward from this painful chapter. They must have forgotten all the yes votes they gave Pawlowski when they served on city council.

Although I appreciated blogger Bernie O'Hare's acknowledgment that this blog first educated him about Pawlowski, I  disagree with him about Bill White occasionally questioning the mayor's motives. Bill White was silent until the FBI raided city hall in 2015.  As a columnist, he had the leeway to question the administration throughout the years. The paper's blatant promotion of the NIZ has been a journalistic compromise. The Morning Call building was included in the NIZ, even though it stood alone across the street from the district. Not only does the paper turn a blind eye toward their obvious  conflict of interest,  but Bill White actually referred to me as misguided in my criticism of the district.

Now that Pawlowski's resignation is inevitable, former supporters are climbing over each other, purporting to be reformers. Ironically, the charter rules may preclude the two most eager candidates, O'Connell and MacLean, from being eligible.  Although Nat Hyman is interested in gauging the temperature, I know back-channel that certain council members have no appetite for that idea. Charlie Thiel may well end up the default candidate, if O'Connell and MacLean are indeed blocked by the city charter.

I would hope that whoever is appointed will come to somewhat resent this blog.  Otherwise, I may not be properly fulfilling its mission.

Welcome to Molovinsky On Allentown. This blog is produced every weekday to illuminate local politics and history.  I am an independent monitor and an occasional activist.  The blog is loyal only to issues, not elected officials. Your comments are welcome and your readership is appreciated.

above photo from The Morning Call

Mar 2, 2018

A Window On Pawlowski

By now most followers of Allentown politics know that Ed Pawlowski was found guilty of almost all charges late Thursday afternoon.  Although I'm very mindful of my privacy,  today I will reveal a personal experience with Ed Pawlowski. I make this revelation not to dwell on my reputation, but as a window on his character. Although his sycophants and others may think that his only fault was his political  ambition,  they are mistaken.  Over the years numerous people were bullied by Pawlowski.  Most of them didn't have the voice to speak out.

In 2005, as an independent and the third candidate on the ballot for mayor, I debated Pawlowski and Heydt at the WFMZ studio. After the debate,  an audience member told me that Lisa Pawlowski was telling audience members that I was a slumlord.  Not hearing it myself, I let it drop.  In the beginning of 2008, I conducted a series of SPEAK OUT meetings at an intercity church.  A Morning Call reporter told me after the meeting that when she called Pawlowski for comment,  he told her that I was just a slumlord.  The reality was that I operated buildings between 4th and 12th Streets for decades, without one code violation or tenant complaint. There was absolutely no basis for the untrue slander by Pawlowski, other than a flaw in his character.  At the end of 2008 he repeated the falsehood, but this time in front of me and others outside the city council chamber.  I asked him how he would feel if I told people that he was a corrupt politician?

Over the years this blog has not concerned itself explicitly with the  contributions and corresponding favors which convicted Pawlowski yesterday.  My concern has been the consequences and policies, which have compromised our assets, such as the park system.  My concern is with the unlevel playing field for small business owners.  A comment last night stated that Bernie(O'Hare) and I have been vindicated.  Pawlowski will be gone soon,  but many people who cooperated with him remain, along with the policies they implemented.

Mar 1, 2018

The Transfiguration Of Ed Pawlowski

After I read in the paper that Ed Pawlowski's defense attorney asked the jury to send him(Ed) back to the people who so love him and the city he has saved, I realized that Pawlowski must be holy, because he surely didn't save Allentown in a civic sense. Although Jack McMahon tried to convince the jury that Ed was responsible for the NIZ and its new construction, in reality that was a arrangement between Pat Browne and J.B. Reilly. Although it happen on Ed's watch, his only part was to cut a few ribbons. However, both the out-of towners and low information types do think that Pawlowski was responsible, because the true NIZ story is hard to grasp.

Pawlowski was hoping to use this confusion as his ticket to ride out of town, either to Harrisburg or Washington. As it turns out, he will probably get his ticket, but not to where he had hoped.

deity image from Bernie O'Hare's Ramblings

Feb 28, 2018

The Corruption Of Allentown Pennsylvania

Whether Mayor Edwin Pswlowski is convicted or not, nobody can have any doubt about the corruption this city has experienced over the last decade. Every contract was negotiated not for the taxpayer's sake, but rather the position of the mayor. These distorted criterion infected every department. Those who follow this blog realize that while both local politics and history are my topics of choice, the park system is my passion.

Although the Cedar Beach Pool contract was investigated as corrupt, it was not the only questionable decision made by the park department under Pawlowski. First and foremost,  two new parcels should have never been purchased; This is the land by Basin Street, and the former fertilizer plant land along Martin Luther King Drive. The existing park system has been neglected since Pawlowski was elected in 2005, with the iconic WPA Stone Structures literally crumbling.

If the administration and city council had taken suggestions made on this blog to heart, the entrance wall of Lehigh Parkway would have never collapsed. I do not possess unique insight, but rather the simple understanding that Allentown has a magnificent park system which needs only to be maintained.

blogger surveying  entrance road wall after it collapsed in Lehigh Parkway

Feb 27, 2018

From Homeless To School Director

This is my second post on Ce-Ce Gerlach; The first was this summer, when I covered her block party fundraiser to buy uniforms for the students. Yesterday, I decided to sit down with Ce-Ce and learn more about someone in Allentown's future. She has been instrumental in attempting to share Allentown's good fortune from the arena's NIZ, with the city's less fortunate inter-city residents. Ce-Ce talks their language; She lived in her car for six months, about five years ago. Only 27 years old, she has emerged as a spokeswoman and advocate for Allentown's silent majority. Coming from the poor side of the tracks in Washington D.C., she knows first hand how little of opportunity can spill over from affluence, to a nearby population mired in the poverty cycle. In addition to being a leader on the coalition for community benefit from the NIZ, and the school board, she is on the city's Human Relations Board. She's open to more responsibilities, and even elected offices, in her mission to improve lives in downtown Allentown.
photocredit:Harry Fisher/The Morning Call

above reprinted from December of 2013

UPDATE: February 27,2018   Ed Pawlowski has blocked Ce-Ce's appointment to the Park and Recreation Commission.  In doing so he has further insured that she will be recognized as a reform candidate, and succeed in her quest for City Council in 2019.