Jul 26, 2017

Allentown, Pawlowski and Molovinsky

When I started this blog over ten years ago, one of the things that motivated me was the direction Allentown would be going in under Pawlowski.  The Morning Call writes today that Pawlowski began his political career defeating William Heydt in 2005 for mayor.  There was actually a third candidate, an independent,  also on the ballot that year.

Although, The Morning Call denied me equal coverage,  I held underreported and unreported news conferences on what would become Allentown's most pressing problems in the coming years.  While the paper held interviews and debates with seven Democratic primary candidates this year, they claimed that three was too many when they excluded me from their sponsored debate in 2005.

Back in this blog's earliest beginnings,  I was a chorus of one.  Even bloggers Bernie O'Hare and Chris Casey assumed that the issues I was raising were just sour grapes on my part.

I will not be reporting on the nuts and bolts of the indictment.  To me it's already old news.  I will be reprinting some of my early posts.   Despite the tone of this post,  I take no satisfaction with the current events.  Despite all these new buildings, Allentown has been depreciated over the last ten years.  Our center city streets have become danger zones.  Our schools are failing.  Even our famous parks are falling apart.

Below is a reprinted post from June of 2007.

June 23, 2007


Certainly Maxwell Davison and Robert Wood had Allentown's best interest in mind when they recommended a raise for Mayor Pawlowski. The same gentleman also recommended a manager style city government. There are those complainers who say Pawlowski should be paid less ,because although the manager style was not adopted, he hired one anyway, effectively reducing his own job description. But his supporters, and there are many, feel the mayor is reorganizing the ship of city government to lead us to better times. Here's an idea, why not let these cheerleaders form a collection to show their gratitude to the Mayor. Pawlowski will receive the compensation they feel he deserves, and us malcontents will feel less exploited.

REPRINTED FROM JUNE 23, 2007

Jul 25, 2017

The Pawlowski Predicament.

Blogger Bernie O'Hare has reported that a lawyer associated with Ed Pawlowski expects to be indicted soon, perhaps even today.  Others speculated that this new round of indictments would include Ed Pawlowski.

A New York State Legislator had his bribery/public corruption conviction overturned by the 2nd Court of Appeals, because under the Supreme Court's recent McDonnell decision,  a public official engaging in generalized support for a patron or a contributor is no longer enough to establish a conviction.  Bernie further speculated that perhaps dropping out of the mayoral race might be a condition of bail.  I would think that regardless of what happens in regard to Pawlowski being indicted,  he will be on the ballot come November.   Furthermore, I doubt that an indictment will significantly change his chances of being elected, whatever those happen to be.  His pending indictment has already been baked into the odds.  His constituents, mostly Allentown's minority communities, won't blink over these charges.

In other ballot news, based on a conversation with Ray O'Connell last month,  I expect a decision from him this week about waging a write-in campaign.

In conclusion, I don't see an indictment of Pawlowski changing the election results.  I suspect that a trial won't occur before 2018.

ADDENDUM: Ray O'Connell is making an announcement on August 3th.  Apparently, he is joining the mayoral race as a write-in candidate.

Jul 24, 2017

The Left's Dilemma


My liberal and Democratic friends are still foaming at the mouth about Trump, six months after the inauguration.  While world leaders like France's Macron have come to terms with our election,  half the voters here have not.  Of course what Macron realizes is that the world is potentially a dangerous place, and what North Korea is up to is much more important than who is Trump's press secretary.  It's even much more important than who Donald Jr. met with before the election.

Unfortunately, the ratings driven media would rather profit than inform.  Thus, cable news is still reporting on SNL sketches, rather than threats to our security.  In their mind Trump and his administration is both the enemy and their bread and butter.

I suppose what really astonishes me is the superficiality of this obsession.  Trump has become the news, instead of current events.   While I'll concede that Obama was cool, and Trump is not,  what does that have to do with our economy or security?

Jul 21, 2017

Allentown Is A Roller Coaster


Last night I attended an art opening at the Baum School of Art. It is a continuation of the art show at Muhlenberg College, featuring artists who worked in Allentown during the 1980's. While the show at Muhlenberg exhibits their older work, the show at Baum features their current work.

Some of the artists have passed away, those remaining are now in their sixties and seventies. I knew most of them at the time, through one association or another. Some would frequent Allentown Photographic, a business I operated on 8th Street.

Although, the show was well attended, I cannot say the same for center city. Despite all the current new construction,  even though there were vacant buildings and empty lots in the 1980's, the town was more vibrant back then. Despite Billy Joel's song,  there was even more pride in the town back then.

I do believe that all this new construction will revitalize Allentown, but it hasn't happen yet.

The art shows at Muhlenberg and Baum will run through August 2nd.  Shown above is Life Is A Rollercoaster by Jessica Lenard,  Mixed media, 30X22 inches.

Jul 20, 2017

Allentown's Monuments Of Time


While Allentown City Council has been imploring the feds to rescue the town from our political turmoil, I have been surveying our timeless icons. Although, I cannot predict when Mr. Pawlowski will get a knock on his door, I can report on some needed emergency repairs.

Unlike Pawlowski who is responsible for his dilemma, the WPA structures continue standing despite the neglect. However, unlike people whose integrity is an internal trait, the structural integrity of these stone icons does require some outside attention.

A landing on the double stairway show above is starting to cave in. The seeping water in turn will damage the steps below it.

The bottom of the wall at the Union Terrace double stairway has some missing stones. These need to be replaced ASAP.

Unlike people who can be rehabilitated in prison, once these structures are gone, they're not coming back. In 25 years nobody will remember who Pawlowski was, but hopefully the stone icons of our park system will still be there.

Photos of the WPA structures and the campaign to save them by Molovinsky

Jul 19, 2017

New Superintendent Reaching Out


The new Allentown School Superintendent is reaching out to the parents. He is offering free dinner, baby sitting and a raffle for $20 gift cards to attend one of five open houses in the next two weeks; It's an opportunity to meet him and become a better parent. (Implied, but not stated) In my day parents didn't need to be bribed, but only invited to attend PTA meetings and teacher conferences. I have heard back-channel that he also wants to install free laundromats in the schools, so parents might become more involved.

Perhaps these incentives are necessary to get Allentown's low-income parents into the school buildings. If this is the case, I doubt that their interest will extend to more than the free door prizes. If this is the case, I doubt that Allentown will have any more success with these gimmicks than the other large urban areas.

While the student's parents are being invited for a free meal and gift,  the taxpaying homeowners will be receiving their school tax increase.

The school board chose this superintendent for this new route, good luck with that.

Jul 18, 2017

No Thirst For Local News


In a recent post,  I noted that The Morning Call seems to be lowering their firewall  between news and opinion in regard to Mayor Ed Pawlowski.  On what planet have I been stranded?  Firewall is a historic term from the dinosaur age.  It no longer exists in news, whether print or broadcast.  Quite to the contrary,  the media seems to wear their bias as a badge of conviction.

Here at the molovinsky on allentown blog,  being a completely unmonetized endeavor,  I can afford to strive for objectivity.  I even proclaim myself as non-partisan.  Truth be told, it would be very difficult to monetize the blog.  There is less than a thirst for news in this community.

Another truth be told,  I'm interacting with less and less people.  I now only attend meetings to advocate for something or other.  Since our esteemed elected officials actually do very little deliberating at the public meetings,  attendance is becoming less and less productive.

However,  I do survey people at the diners and grocery markets.  Their knowledge or interest in local decisions is minimal. Acutally,  they're  perplexed why people even concern themselves with such matters.

Jul 17, 2017

Lower Macungie's Draconian Policy

Farmland preservation is the yuppie myth of our time.  While liberals love their organic farmer's market, they know nothing of the realities involved.  Don't misunderstand,  I also love rides in the country and photographs of pretty pastures,  but I know where our bread and butter really comes from.

Those farms are of a different era.  While the yuppies, my pejorative term for uninformed liberal idealists, lament coal mines,  they love those farms of yesteryear.  They only still exist not because there is a shortage of open land, but because of an almost endless supply.  The only shortage involved is that of farmers,  those who are still willing to work like horses to eke out a living.  The yuppies even now want to train farmers as props for their delusion.

Farmland preservation funds are now being mostly used by gentleman farmers, with taxpayers essentially paying for privately owned country estates.  

Enter Lower Macgunie Township, which has decreed that future  home owners on previous farmland developments must pay to maintain the roads in their new neighborhoods.  The roads must still be built to township specification, but be privately maintained.  Of course these new homeowners must still pay township taxes, even though they will not be receiving the same service as residents elsewhere in the township. 

Jul 15, 2017

Short Notice WPA Tour


Occasionally, a student calls me about the local WPA. Apparently, my name comes up when doing research on that topic. I have volunteered to take a young woman on a quick one hour tour this coming week. It occurred to me that a few others might be interested in joining us. We will meet in front of the Allentown Art Museum on Tuesday(7/18/17) afternoon, at 1:00,  and depart promptly.

Jul 14, 2017

Beyond Allentown City Council's Purview

Next week Allentown will past an ordinance banning gay conversion therapy, and there were no objections at a widely attended and publicized committee meeting. Let me be the first.  While the intent of the ordinance may be commendable,  it is clearly outside of the purview of City Council.

What motivates this post is council's historical failure to properly regulate things that are in its purview. While there are many such topics,  I will mention some recent examples concerning the park system.

Allentown City Council gave permission to demolish the Robin Hood Dam in Lehigh Parkway, just to solely accommodate the Wildlands Conservancy.  Council approved spending $1.5 million dollars to purchase two parcels for additional parks, while the existing park system is in deteriorating condition.

While much of my activism has centered on the park system, there are others who could cite numerous examples where council has rubber stamped one initiative after another. Some were done to accommodate the mayor, before he lost favor.   The better interests of Allentown's general public should be the only criterion used on council decisions.

Jul 13, 2017

Stairway To Shame


In the mid 1930's, Allentown, and especially it's 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 Union Street, built in 1936. The steps are in a state of disrepair. They lead to the great Union Street Retaining Wall, twenty five feet high and two blocks long, which was completed in 1937. I call upon the Trexler Trust and Allentonians of memory, to insist that these steps are re-pointed and preserved. The current Administration knows nothing of our past, and really has no commitment to our future. Save the things in Allentown that matter.
REPRINTED FROM 2008

UPDATE JUNE 2015:It's seven years later, and I'd like to say there has been some progress, but it hasn't happen. While Pawlowski is on his third term as mayor, we're on our third park director, and not one $dollar has been spent on one WPA project, in all these years. Actually, the state of our historic structures has significantly declined. An indifferent administration allowed The Wildlands Conservancy to demolish the scenic Robin Hood Dam, which was only ten inches high, and was the companion piece to the Robin Hood Bridge. Built in 1941, it was the last WPA structure completed in Allentown. Union Terrace, which was the last large scale WPA project, built in 1937, is rapidly deteriorating. While the park department concentrates on playgrounds and parking lots, it's losing the stone structures which make the park system iconic. They will never be able to be replaced.

UPDATE JULY 2017: Over the years I was able to influence Karen El-Chaar,  Director of Allentown Friends Of The Parks, about the WPA structures.  She in turn prevailed in obtaining a grant from the Trexler Trust to repair the steps at Fountain Park in 2016.  Most of the structures throughout the park system remain in dire need of attention.

Jul 12, 2017

Allentown's Urban Woes


Allentown has been waking up to a new shooting or stabbing practically every day. We're now talking about trying neighborhood policing.  It is nothing new,  going back to the Heydt and Afflerbach administrations, with officers assigned to different districts in the city.  At one point they actually had neighborhood offices from which the officers worked, when not out talking with members of the community.

One thing is apparent, something new needs to be tried, even if it has been done before.  We know from recent experience that having a police chief of color, in itself, makes no difference.

As someone who visits Hamilton Street several times each week,  despite the arena and all the new buildings, there is less activity there than ever.  Unless, and until Allentown can appear safe there will be no meaningful revitalization.  This is the urban dilemma of our times, not unique to Allentown.

Jul 11, 2017

Pawlowski's Paper Problem


Up until recent years, The Morning Call wrote editorials and endorsed candidates for Mayor. They endorsed Ed Pawlowski for mayor in 2005. They certainly will not be endorsing him in 2017. As a matter of fact, it's becoming increasingly difficult for him to find a friendly word about himself in the paper. Bill White, the Call's remaining columnist, has written that it is time for Ed to go. An article in today's paper , by one of their sports writers, takes him to task for his decision to remove the basketball rims in Andre Reed Park.

As a local political blogger, I find this new attitude by the paper interesting. Although,  Bill White has criticized the Ray O'Connell write-in effort, no one at the paper has yet to directly endorse Nat Hyman. In the days of the editorials, the paper claimed a firewall between the editorials and the news. Now, there are no editorials, but the firewall seems to be lowered.

In the primary election with a crowded field, Pawlowski cobbled together a coalition of mostly minority voters.  Ray O'Connell doesn't see Pawlowski garnering much more than those 1,700 votes in the general.  How the other 5,000 or so votes will divide is the question.  Will the plurality go to O'Connell or Hyman,  or will the divided vote allow Pawlowski to win once again?

Jul 10, 2017

Injury To Allentown's West End

After the "improvement"

For almost a hundred years the western stretch of Chew Street beyond Muhlenberg College had a quiet elegance to it. This was by no accident, as the neighborhood was developed by General Harry Trexler, also father of the park system.

Regular readers of this blog remember that recently I lamented the decision to blacktop the cement streets.  Little did I know that the macadam would only be the first assault on the neighborhood.

Despite the fact that virtually no cars park on Chew Street in that area, parking lanes have been painted. Although, there is little traffic or even walkers, cross walks have been painted on four sides of each corner. Add the double yellow lines and bike logos, and you have a blinding smorgasbord of paint.

There's something wrong when an improvement depreciates the value of a neighborhood.

Before the "improvement"

Jul 7, 2017

The Politics Of Local Basketball


Mayor Pawlowski had three of the four basketball nets removed from Andre Reed Park after neighbors complained of rowdy late night playing. According to The Morning Call, a youth coach has accused Pawlowski of accommodating a few neighbors over the need for youth basketball, to curry political favor in the neighborhood.  Cynthia Mota is crying foul because of the deprived youth.  Dennis Pearson is threatening to move back to Allentown and run as a write-in candidate, unless the courts are restored.

When contacted by phone,  the founder of this blog and park activist Michael Molovinsky, said that the trouble started when Pawlowski renamed the park from Irving to Andre Reed.  Furthermore,  they removed one set of WPA steps, rather than repair them.  When you have a park department that forsakes it's history and iconic structures for recreation,  then suspends the recreation for politics, what do you have left?

photocredit: The Morning Call

ADDENDUM:This story attracted the attention of both myself and blogger Bernie O'Hare. Both of us paid homage to Dennis Pearson, an east Allentown activist for many decades, who recently married and is in the process of moving.

Jul 6, 2017

Pawlowski Forsakes Iconic Park Structures

Despite my efforts for the last six years, the city has given no maintenance to the WPA structures except by necessity of circumstance. I began my campaign to save the WPA structures on this blog in 2010, and conducted public meetings at the Allentown Library. Fortunately, the director of the Friends Of Allentown Parks, Karen El-Chaar, attended a meeting and developed an interest in the mission. I subsequently gave her a private tour of the structures, and she invited me to conduct two public tours of the structures for her organization.

Although, I was told for years that money was in the park budget for renovation of the wall in Lehigh Parkway, no maintenance was ever performed. After a portion of the wall collapsed several years ago, it was only rebuilt because it was actually a retaining wall for the park entrance road.

Karen El-Chaar then secured a grant for the steps at Fountain Park from the Trexler Trust. At that time, I prevailed on the city to have the stone masons do an emergency repair on the steps at Union Terrace.

So, besides a collapse necessitating a repair, and a modest grant from the Trexler Trust,  nothing has been done by this administration to preserve this unique legacy bestowed upon the Allentown Park System.  Next week, I will reprint several posts on the structures with appropriate updates.

photo: El-Chaar and Molovinsky in Lehigh Parkway

Jul 5, 2017

Allentown's Treasures Deteriorate


The Allentown Park Department just completed installing 18 concrete pads throughout Lehigh Parkway for the Disc Golf Course. While the starting pads were unnecessary and unsightly, not one $dollar or ounce of cement was applied to the deteriorating WPA structures. Shown above is the top of the double stairway in Lehigh Parkway. While the top landing seen in the photo is in poor condition, the stair landings below are completely crumbling. Water is seeping down through the flagstone landings and undermining the steps themselves.

Unfortunately, it is clear that the current park director has no appreciation for these irreplaceable structures. Her background is completely in recreation, hence the new frisbee launch pads.
One would think that after the adjoining wall collapsed from neglect,  the administration would have realized that some preventative maintenance was long overdue.

These structures were designed in 1928 by a nationally recognized landscape architect hired by Harry Trexler himself.  Although, the Great Depression delayed construction,  they were then built by the WPA in 1935.  They are part of Trexler's legacy, and their neglect is becoming inexcusable.

Jul 4, 2017

A Letter From The Mayor

Office of the Mayor of Allentown

Dear Ce-Ce, Mike, and Robert, 

I wanted to take time away from my busy schedule as mayor to thank you for all your efforts on my behalf. After the primary I was very concerned about my chances to be re-elected in the fall, but your efforts to mount a 3rd party write-in campaign for my good friend Ray is just the shot in the arm my campaign needs to guarantee success again in November. I couldn't do it without your support.

Together we can keep Allentown Moving Forward. 

Your truly, 

Mayor Ed Pawlowski

 July 3, 2017 at 1:40 PM



The above comment, meant as a parody, was submitted by Scott Armstrong.  Scott is a partisan,  and in his view my recent posts recognizing  Ray O'Connell's write-in campaign is heresy.   My intent here is not to once again analyze whom such a write-in campaign would benefit, but rather my position as a blogger.


I separate my personal political preferences from my blogging. I will not color my words to promote one candidate over another.  I will not refrain from observations, even if they contribute to an undesirable  candidate's victory. In the campaign there will be many mailings and promotions from the candidates and their surrogates, but this blog isn't one of them.   

Jul 3, 2017

As Allentown Turns


LATE MORNING EDITION

 The presses were down overnight, but we expect to be back to normal publishing hours by July 4th; Then again, Cedar Park Pool was suppose to be open by now. Otherwise, here at molovinsky on allentown, the staff remains intrigued by the race for mayor.

Although, write-in votes are normally a tremendous hill to climb, Ray could easily create an effective machine election day. A write-in no longer has to have his name spelled out correctly. Any version that conveys the voter's intent suffices. The voters would only need to type in RAY. He already has enough support to man all the polling stations. If he can be competitive with campaign funds remains to be seen. It will be an interesting race.

Jun 30, 2017

Blood In The Water, Allentown 2017

The last time the Republican Party actively participated in Allentown politics was 2005,  when Bill Heydt ran for mayor against Pawlowski.  In 2009 Tony Phillips was a default Republican candidate, left to his own devices.  In 2013 the party fielded no candidate,  and Michael Donovan was the second man on the ballot as an independent.  Now come 2017,  with Pawlowski facing a pending indictment, and the party apparently thinks that the city is in play again, for the first time in twelve years.

Ray O'Connell told me that he has received numerous calls telling him that he will only benefit Pawlowski if he runs as a write-in.  The Republican's aren't saying that they want their man to win, but instead that nobody should do anything that will enable Pawlowski to win office again.  They're saying that Ray should put the city first,  not his own ambition; How civic minded of them!

Now, I'm not saying that the Republicans are wrong in their calculations about Ray being a spoiler, but I'm questioning their motive;  Is it a better Allentown they seek, or a Republican Mayor for the first time in over a decade?

Many of my posts offend one party or another,  sometimes both.  Readers should understand that I'm nonpartisan, and that this blog's mission is to provide informed commentary.

Jun 29, 2017

O'Connell's Methodology

In a call yesterday, Ray O'Connell stated that he is employing a methodology to determine if he can win in November.  His team is conducting a poll of registered voters.  If they determine that a plurality of voters will support him, he will proceed waging a write-in campaign.  He expects the survey to be completed by late July.

I don't initiate such conversations; I find them to be somewhat constricting.  If I express any doubt here about everything that I am told,  the caller usually takes even more offense than I normally cause.  Likewise,  although I will occasionally endorse a candidate,  I have no interest in an on-going promotion of any candidate or office holder.  However,  I am always available to hear out anybody.  I never want this blog to misrepresent anybody's position.

I do believe that O'Connell is trying to be scientific about his decision.  If emotion and enthusiasm cloud his data,  we'll know the morning after the election.

Jun 28, 2017

The Ray O'Connell Do-Over


A week ago I posted how Ray O'Connell is apparently going to wage a write-in campaign for mayor.   Yesterday, Bill White used much the same material for his Morning Call column.  Both White and Bernie O'Hare think that O'Connell will be the spoiler guaranteeing Pawlowski's victory.  What gives that viewpoint more weight with me is that Scott Armstrong comes to the same conclusion.

However, I think that the outcome could be different.  Hyman will take all the Republican voters, although they are in the minority.  Pawlowski and O'Connell will divide the Democratic vote, perhaps allowing Hyman to still prevail.

Bill White asked O'Connell if he was indeed running as a write-in, and Ray replied,  "I have not made a decision yet."  Although, I'm unsure of the election outcome,  I do take O'Connell's answer as a yes.

Jun 27, 2017

Allentown's Anti-Corruption League


While Allentown is beginning it's week on Mondays, The Anti-Corruption League is gathering in a North 4th St. coffee house. It's leader, Robert Trotner, has been supporting idealistic concepts and candidates for years. Of course, when you juxtaposition Trotner's ideals with Allentown's reality, he is about 0/20. Never the less, he forges on. Yesterday he was hoping that somehow, someway write-in candidate Ray O'Connell saves the day for Allentown come November. O'Connell, as of this time, has yet to verify his off ticket write-in candidacy.

Robert Trotner on left, with Eugene McDuffie

Jun 26, 2017

Cedar Beach Pool Leaks Integrity


When I was a boy in the early 1950's, Cedar Beach Pool already starting serving the residents of Allentown.  About five years ago then park director Greg Weitzel, under Pawlowski, wanted to build a destination water park,  almost like a commercial amusement park. The plans alone cost $80,000. The idea was so gradiose,  that even Allentown City Council, which was still in it's rubber stamp mode,  balked.  That monstrosity would have extended from the current pool area up to Hamilton Blvd.

Several years ago when the pool supposedly developed a bottom crack, and the city said that it couldn't be fixed, I doubted it.  Last year, when the city said that the old pool walls weren't thick enough,  I doubted it. Now the renovation project has another problem.  The new filter isn't large enough for the pool's volume of water.  The renovated pool actually has less water than the original, because it no longer contains a deep diving area, and there is a large island bisecting the middle. Perhaps they should have just used the old filter.

I don't know when the renovated pool will be finally completed,  but I do know that it won't last anywhere near the sixty five years that the previous one did.

ADDENDUM: Link to Cedar Beach Pool history, courtesy of a reader.

Jun 23, 2017

Brown's Bet


While Pat Browne certainly has been good for J.B. Reilly and the Allentown NIZ, he has also directly benefitted the taxpaying citizens. He led the fight for the long overdue Pension Reform legislation, and now is resisting the push to legalize video gambling machines outside of the casinos.

Pennsylvania has a long storied history about gambling. When I was growing up, people were jailed for selling games of chance, or even organizing card games. In the late 1970's, compromising because of the need for additional revenue, they organized the state lottery. That evolved into the state actually promoting that you must Play To Win.

Needless to say, passing the casino bill was the big gambling frontier.  There is now real competition for our gambling dollars.  Browne claims in the above mailer that he is fighting to keep the state's own Lottery Fund viable, to sustain the various programs which it supports.

Jun 22, 2017

Stevens Park



My apologies for an earlier post where I acted so haughty about Stevens Park. Ive been sick the past couple weeks. That being said had family over today and bragged about the new park. Took my 2 yr old and a couple other toddlers with parents. Trash everywhere! Dirty needles...I picked up 6 heroin used bags. I was horrified! We left, kids in tears. Me on the verge! I went later with husband and cleaned it up. Ive been so excited for the young neighborhood kids....it will soon just get totally trashed. And Im moving......

The above comment appeared on a community facebook page. I have redacted the writers name. The Morning Call did a pictorial spread on the the renovated park, but of course the women above gives us an actual nitty gritty experience from visiting the park. Despite the reality of who will congregate there after hours, and whatever nefarious activity that may take place, it is important to provide attractive parks within the urban center for children.   However,  the nature of the neighborhood requires that the park receive extra cleanup and surveillance.

As a frequent critic of the  park system, allow me to commend the Parks Department on a renovation well done.

photocredit: The Morning Call/Harry Fisher

Jun 21, 2017

Writing In An Allentown Mayor


I recently heard that Ray O'Connell was going to wage a write-in campaign for mayor, and Ce-Ce Gerlach's Facebook post might be a confirmation.  According to Ce-Ce's post, she already has about 2,000 voters interested. If O'Connell will be actively participating in this effort remains to be seen.

Yesterday, I endorsed Nat Hyman, and wrote elsewhere that I believe that the hill is too steep for either an independent or write-in candidate to prevail. While some others might think that the more candidates the better for Pawlowski, as was the case in the primary, in the general I think O'Connell voters will help Hyman. In addition to O'Connell, Luiz Garcia is also being  encouraged to wage a write-in effort. Because O'Connell and Garcia were primary candidates, election law precludes them from now running as independents.

Although still only June, the fall election for mayor has begun in earnest.

Jun 20, 2017

Allentown's Fall Election


Although I took no position and made no recommendations in the primary races this past May, that will not be the case for November's election. Yesterday, Nat Hyman's started placing sponsored spots for mayor on facebook. I will be supporting Hyman because it's beyond time for Pawlowski to move on. Hyman has an extensive background in business and also firsthand familiarity with Allentown's housing issues.  He apparently will be playing hardball, which will be necessary to win. The Morning Call has revealed that he did in fact finance the challenges to his primary opponents.  It will not be a gentlemanly contest.

On the county level I will be supporting Bob Smith for Commissioner, and Brad Osborne for Executive. Both of them have appropriate experience for the positions.

Further recommendations may follow in contested races.

Jun 19, 2017

The Blog, Why?

Over the weekend I told someone that I have been producing a blog on local politics and history every weekday for ten years.  She simply, sincerely asked why in the world would I want to do that?  Understand that this blog is not monetized in any way. None of the posts are used by another publication, which then subsequently pays me. I'm not motivated by comments and feedback.  I actually eliminated the anonymous said option,  reducing the amount of comments received.  Of course none of this answers the why question.

Before the blog I felt compelled to speak out against those actions and inactions which I thought reduced the unique quality of life called Allentown.  I expressed myself at city council and through letters to the editor. I suppose it's the same compulsion which made me run for office twice as an independent.  Both council and the editors are grateful for this blog,  it helps keep me away from them.

I didn't tell the woman who asked the why question that I usually post the blog before 4:30AM. She already thought that I was nuts.

Like the donut maker, I get up early

Jun 16, 2017

The Paper's Morning Yarn


The Morning Call headlines that the new Strata Loft apartments are all spoken for before the building is even finished.  I have claimed that this is erroneous at the most innocent, and an outright informercial at the more dubious.  I think that after three years of their articles we can dismiss the innocent error option. I have discovered that many of the apartments are both vacant and rented at the same time.  Apparently, City Center LLC has included some apartments with commercial office leases.  A number of the apartments are assigned to the hockey team.

Needless to say if all the apartments were really rented to people living in them,  restaurants wouldn't be closing, and the Moravian Bookstore could have sold a few books.

We find  Rite-Aid coming back, and less pricey eateries going into the closing upscale locations.  Between market forces and the pressure for inclusionary housing*, we know who will be living in the new apartments soon enough.    Today, someone mentioned to me how she and her husband dine in Bethlehem and Easton, but not Allentown.  They feel Allentown has no charm or ambience.  They certainly would have no desire to walk around in Allentown after their meal.  There was organic growth in Bethlehem and Easton which grew to meet a demand.  In Allentown, a developer keeps building to take advantage of an unprecedented tax incentive.   The Morning Call can act like a public relations firm instead of a newspaper,  but they can't put patrons at restaurant tables or in the upscale stores.

* I suppose you could EXCLUDE people by announcing that the units are full before they're completed, and have a waiting list.  Would the paper cooperate with such a scheme? ADDENDUM: I do not see any need for inclusionary housing in Allentown. There is no shortage of apartments available in downtown, nor has gentrification created a market shortage. The idea that a certain percentage of new luxury units should be set aside for people of less income is social engineering beyond the notion of this blog.

Jun 15, 2017

When Guns Belong To The Left


When the horrendous knifing occurred against the defenders of the Muslim girl,  the violence was attributed to Trump supporters.  Nobody will be blaming yesterday's shooting on Bernie Sanders, nor should they.  However,  on facebook I see the outrage about the Alexandria shooting still heaped upon Trump.  He apparently made everyone in the country hateful,  as if there was no violence before him. 

Let us hope that this unfortunate incident creates some reflection about the hostility expressed toward Trump, and the propensity for violence from such vitriol.

photo: 1908 Colt, 25 caliber

Jun 14, 2017

Lehigh Valley Of Denial


I apparently have been cursed with giving a damn about Allentown.  As I have posted before,  I'm amazed about how consumed people are about Trump and Washington, and how indifferent they are about their own back yard. Even those supposedly involved in local issues seem eager to find some kool-aid.  People find reality too disturbing.  I suppose that's why a newspaper columnist can regularly write about grammar, with nobody wanting to hear about the local shenanigans,  like electing a mayor facing federal indictment.   I suppose it's like the funny pages,  people want distractions.

Even here in the political blogosphere people want a version of the truth, as opposed to the actual truth.  A popular blogger always has an agenda about who he is promoting or attacking. He can sprinkle in a few descriptions like honesty and integrity and keep selling it, not unlike new and improved shampoo at the supermarket.

I also have an agenda, but it's not to promote some politician or judge, who I hope comes to like me  and invites me to dinner.  I fight for our parks and our history.  Along the way if I offend some officials in the process,  so be it;  I don't mind eating by myself.

photocredit: K Mary Hess

Jun 13, 2017

Bernie Schools Dershowitz


Yesterday, Bernie O'Hare took former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz to law school.  Bernie proclaimed that Dershowitz is wrong and absurd about Comey and Trump, and that nobody is above the law.  Bernie even provides a link to a court case to supposedly prove his point.  How does Bernie do it, prove that perhaps the most esteemed authority on Constitutional Law in the country is wrong?  Easy,  just a little word play here and there, ala O'Hare. Dershowitz never said that Trump was above the law.  He simply said that as President he hires and can direct the FBI director to open and close files, and that as President he can pardon people. Therefore, in a specific situation such as the Flynn matter, Trump's constitutional authority options preclude an obstruction charge.

The point here isn't really O'Hare vs. Dershowitz,  that's only a  contest in Bernie's head.  It is the arrogance of O'Hare, and his tendency to bully. If it is attacking Gracedale while supporting John Stoffa, or doing a 180, and defending Gracedale while attacking John Brown,  he can out-twist Chubby Checker.  Furthermore, he keeps twisting, if he is proclaiming an ernest city council candidate a criminal, or trying to marginalize another blog, such as this one, calling it Molovinsky On Anything But Allentown.  Of course, that doesn't apply to Bernie, if he wants to write about Trump. Bernie complains that Trump puts loyalty above honesty.  How this feud with Bernie started was that he felt that I was being disloyal because I questioned a disclaimer he made about Morganelli. His highness actually used the word loyalty.  The only reason it is a feud is that with this blog I have the ability to defend myself, most of his victims do not have that option.  Of course, by defending myself he claims that I'm attacking him and his honor,  which he thinks is much more important than mine, or yours.

photo of Bernie O'Hare checking every signature trying to stop the Save Gracedale ballot initiative in 2011

Jun 12, 2017

The Comey Commotion


I don't normally follow such things, certainly not blow by blow.  My interest comes from the left's hope and prayer that these revelations undo Trump.  My initial impression is that Trump is as unfamiliar with government protocol as any outsider could be.  He apparently has no interest in behaving more like an insider.  This demeanor infuriates his opponents,  delights his base, and frustrates those bi-partisans like myself,  who are inclined to defend, but not support.

Comey appears to be a genuine star,  who could certainly have a political future, if he so chooses.  In the portion of his testimony that I saw, he embodied sincerity.

Trump and his lawyer claimed the testimony as a vindication for Trump.  It should be noted that no less of a legal authority than Alan Dershowitz has stated that Trump was well within his constitutional power even if he had directly ordered Comey to back off an investigation.  However,  I suspect the scrutiny over who said what, and its legality, will take years.

photocredit: Doug Mills/New York Times

Jun 9, 2017

Pension Reform In Pennsylvania


It's not often that I have anything especially good to say about our boys in Harrisburg.  Today is the exception.  I congratulate the state house for finally passing a pension reform bill.  Needless to say it will disappoint those who sought greater reform, however, for Harrisburg it is as much as I hoped for.  Understand that even under a Republican Governor, with Republicans in charge of both houses,  it failed to pass.

Although 50% of the pensions for teachers and state workers will remain guaranteed,  the other half will be governed by the market,  as it is for most people in the private sector, those who still even have a pension.  No previous or existing employee's pension will be affected by the reform,  which will only effect new employees, starting in 2019.

Tax relief advocates now hope to shift school taxes from real estate to income.  I don't think we will see that anytime soon, if at all.

Jun 8, 2017

Bernie The Blog Lawyer


The local blogosphere has its own self-proclaimed legal authority, Bernie O'Hare.  Between Bernie's background and his temperament,  he's a whole courtroom; prosecutor, judge and jury.  Anyway, what brings us to this post is Bernie's statement last week that I implied that a commentator using a pseudonym might be Bernie, while knowing that wasn't the case.  Bernie is simply wrong.  By design,  people comment either anonymously or with a pseudonym to keep their identity hidden.  In some cases I might happen to know who the person is,  but in this case, I do not.  Bernie states that I knew he doesn't use a sock puppet because he told me so several times.   Actually, what that reveals is that I harbored this suspicion, and questioned him about it.  Although, I was polite enough to not further question his denials, it doesn't mean that I accepted them as gospel.

Bernie is offended because he considers such speculation an affront on his honor,  which he is seeking to repair because of some issue in his distant past.  Regardless of Bernie's personal history, or whether my speculation is correct or not,  he should not disparage my reputation because he's defensive about his own.

ADDENDUM: I would have preferred to place this post as a comment on O'Hare's post about me.  However, he made it clear that a comment from me would be deleted.

UPDATE:  Bernie posted Friday June 9th, describing this post as an attack on him.  In reality, this post is a response against his accusation that I made a speculation that I knew to be untrue.  I suppose he believes that he is so persuasive that his readers will accept such distortions.

Armstrong Suit Makes National News


A lawsuit started by Scott Armstrong and Steven Ramos made national news yesterday as the media picks up on the ghost teacher problem in Pennsylvania. As reported years ago on this blog, the head of the teacher's union who does not teach is paid by the Allentown School District. Armstrong, a former school board member, initially made this outrage public. Needless to say he became a target of the union, and was subsequently voted off the board. It says something about Allentown, that someone being recognized nationally for protecting the taxpayers, could not get re-elected to the board.

I believe that Armstrong's departure from the board didn't bode well for the district.  In a less than color blind search for a new superintendent, all finalists were of color.  The board and district seems hellbent on trying strategies which are proven failures from elsewhere.

I'll leave you with breaking tip, not yet known by the local main stream media.  The district is changing the payroll schedule, which will delay paychecks, and annoy everybody.

Jun 7, 2017

We Are Still In

Lafayette College has joined and signed the We Are Still In agreement,  a reaction campaign against Trump not signing the Paris Accord.  The college's president said climate is not a partisan issue.  Bi-partisan and college hardly go together,  they're much more comfortable with bi-sexuals than Republicans. : )  Anywho, although it's wonderful for the college president to be pro-active about climate change,  I wonder how she is preparing the students for jobs in the real world.  Trump didn't sign because he doesn't believe in climate change, but because he's afraid that the accord may make United States less competitive in world markets.  By most standards we are already more advanced in pollution measures than most countries.

Institutional politics are the current public relations rage.  Amazon, which opened in the Lehigh Valley with horrendous working conditions in its warehouse, signed on to the agreement. We are a Sanctuary City and Starbucks pledged to hire immigrants. Years ago a coffee house charged a buck for a cup, and people talked politics. Now they charge $4.19,  and pour their politics down your throat.

Jun 6, 2017

Trexler Park Pond Probably A Thing Of The Past


The pond at Trexler Park may be a thing of the past. Supposedly, the dam gate was breached over the weekend.  I examined it in the last several months, and it appeared in good enough condition to me. Last year, when the second, lower pond next to it developed a sinkhole,  it was never restored.

Understand that the Wildlands Conservancy doesn't like dams and ponds, and that the Conservancy dictates policy, for both Allentown and South Whitehall Park Systems.  If anybody doubts that reality,  just visit Cedar Park by the Rose Garden and try to find the creek.  The Conservancy has a riparian buffer hiding the creek from both view and access.  The weed wall buffer provides no ecological benefit, because the storm water system is piped directly into the creek, bypassing the buffers anyway.  Never the less, this is the Wildlands' policy.  In South Whitehall, the Conservancy has installed a son of one of their officers as Park Director.  In Allentown, the Park Director does as she is told.

Those who appreciate the iconic park system gifted upon Allentown by both General Harry Trexler and the WPA,  can only learn about the degradation of the park system here at this blog. The local paper, The Morning Call, has refused to publish my protests against the Wildlands Conservancy, and the consequences of their influence on our park systems.

Although, the Trexler Trust should insist that the dam gate be replaced (it's only a few pieces of lumber stacked in a rack) they probably also have a working relationship with the Wildlands Conservancy.  Trexler Park was the private estate of Harry and Mary Trexler.  The now empty pond was always the heart of the park.

Jun 5, 2017

Trump And The Inarticulate Truth


A comment on a local blog stated that the terrorists in Britain had no connection to the countries on Trump's travel ban. Actually, in reality they did. The Manchester bomber had returned from trips to both Syria and Libya just before he set off the bomb at the concert. The erroneous comment appears on a local blog post admiring Britain's stiff upper lip, and taking Trump to task for his out of context remark about not being alarmed in London. I think that in this war we're better off erring on the side of caution. While we lament that Trump doesn't sound presidential, British PM Theresa May laments that they have been too politically correct about radical Islam.

Yesterday on facebook, I saw some locals talking about moving to France because Trump opted out of the Paris Accord. I though that they had already moved to Canada after the election in November. Meanwhile, while they blather about moving, Trump is trying to keep them safe here, in spite of themselves and their criticism of him.

Jun 2, 2017

Bernie The Movie

In a post yesterday, Bernie O'Hare kidded that they're making a movie about him.  A reader questioned who would play the part of Bernie?  There was a suggestion that George Clooney play the part.  I doubt that Clooney is available for a movie in Nazareth, but for the last couple of years I've seen countless comments on Bernie's blog about the Mediterranean Manslab.  Supposedly the Manslab has forgiven Bernie for any association with his prolonged incarnation, and might consider the part.  Of course, the woman Bernie calls CRaZy should be the female lead.  Hopefully, she can forgive him for putting the judgement he won against her on his blog sidebar for a year.  At the premiere, the former mayor could introduce the local celebrities, assuming he forgives Bernie.  Security could be handled by the former police chief, assuming he forgives Bernie.  Because Bernie's blog readers are mostly anonymous, he can invite them on the blog, instead of by mail.  Wonder if I'll be invited?

Jun 1, 2017

Shock Comedian Goes Too Far

Kathy Griffin has used shock as part of her act for over a decade. If it was simulating sex with Anderson Cooper,  or whatever. However, her severed Trump head photo shoot has cost her the New Year's Eve CNN date.  Actually, I was surprised that Cooper kept agreeing to that gig, as he evolved into a broadcast journalist.

Although CNN might now be even more anti-Trump than MSNBC,  Griffin's stunt was even too much for them.  You cannot be associated with something like that, and still purport to be a news outlet.  Griffin has sincerely apologized, after she realized the damage. Even people on the left, such as Chelsea Clinton, spoke out against severed head image. Perhaps, we have reached the low point in permitted desecration of the President.

On a more subtle note, writer Thomas Ricks suggested that General McMaster resign from his position as a security adviser,  rather than enable Trump with his good reputation.  After his article appeared in Politico,  Ricks has been making the rounds on commentary shows, repeating his recommendation for McMaster literally word for word on each show. Being anti-Trump has become a cottage industry in itself.

May 31, 2017

The Morning Call's Backyard Look At History


Readers of this blog know that I concern myself with local history. This past Sunday the Morning Call did a large piece on Camp Crane,  which trained ambulance drivers at the fairgrounds during the First  World War.  Although certainly historical, I doubt if the article garnered much attention.  What brings me to this topic is the important historical issues that they have avoided, some I suspect for political reasons.

I never succeeded in getting the paper to report on the threat to Wehr's Dam, despite the voters expressing their support and concern by referendum this past November.  Call me a conspiracy nut, but I believe that they are providing cover for the Wildlands Conservancy.

Bogert's Covered Bridge in Lehigh Parkway is in deplorable condition.  Understand,  the Park Department purchased two large parcels for new parks at an inflated price, but never funded maintenance for the covered bridge.

It's nice to remember what happen at the Fairgrounds 100 years ago,  but irreplaceable historic structures which are in peril should be getting the paper's attention.

photocredit: K Mary Hess,  Wehr's Dam from under Wehr's Covered Bridge

May 30, 2017

Away From Allentown


Recently another blogger criticized this blog for being absent in the recent primary election. In reality, I wasn't absent at all,  I wrote a couple dozen posts about the election. As matter of fact,  I was painfully spot on in my analysis. The key word is painful, because the political situation in Allentown is somewhere between pathetic and watching paint dry.

I have written this past six months quite a bit about Trump. Seems like he has captured a lot of attention, if not obsessions from both supporters and detractors.  The latter certainly dominate the media.  Although, I was never a supporter, I became a defender after he was duly elected.  With his tweets and oafish behavior, he certainly doesn't make that position easy or comfortable.

My attitude about Trump has taken yet another turn. While I'm astonished by his hoof and mouth disease, I believe that he might accidently be the right man for the pressing problem of our era, Islamic radicalism.  It's a complicated,  ever changing problem with sides and factions constantly in flux.  However, the worse thing we could do is minimize the reality of the threat.  As articulate, intelligence and suave as Obama was,  he was way too politically correct for that challenge.

While molovinsky on allentown will never takes its eye off of our fair city, I cannot write about paint drying every day, as the greater world turns so violently.

ADDENDUM: Readers of the local blogosphere may have noticed that O'Hare and I aren't getting along very well.  Although I won't go blow by blow,  a minimal response is appropriate .  He obviously is much more sensitive about his integrity than anyone else's, or mine.  HIs anonymous commenters have declared me anti-Catholic, because I questioned the Pope about Egypt.  According to the comments there, you are here at a hate blog.    Furthermore,  they claim that I have lost my creditability, and supposedly have deleted entire posts.  While I often write that I appreciate your readership,  I suppose I should express extra gratitude,  for your continued visits to such a hateful place.

May 29, 2017

Trump And The Pope



Facebook was ablaze last week with old pictures of the Pope smiling with Barack Obama, but frowning with Donald Trump. Even Bill White ran the picture on his facebook page, and asked for captions. My submitted caption was at least you didn't call the Pope dour. Of course, in the real world there were plenty of pictures of Pope Francis smiling with the Trumps.

As a Jew,  it's nice to say nice things about the Pope, but I have a problem with him recently. Last month when he visited Egypt, he told the Christians there that they should forgive the Muslims for the church bombings.  On Friday morning terrorists shot up a bus, killing another 28 Coptic Christians. Although forgiveness might be a holy reaction, it along with the fear of being labeled Islamophobic, won't increase anybody's security.

 In a Trump bash full of contradictions, CNN's website on Friday blamed Trump for not being forthright enough in his speech in Saudi Arabia. They said he should have mentioned the chaos in Libya, Yemen and Syria. If they know that, they should realize that a travel ban from those areas might have some merit. However, they would rather be contridictory, than support any idea from the Trump administration.

May 26, 2017

Knife To A Gunfight


Great Britain is upset about some information given to the USA that was leaked.  What they should be upset about is that although the Manchester bomber was a person of interest, he was walking and plotting around.  It's a shame when political correctness allows New Orleans to remove its history,  its a crime when political correctness kills teenage girls.

England has at least until now been pretty clueless.  One would think that after a policeman was beheaded in London, they would realize that the radical are among them.  Here in the United States our former president and his attorney general wanted to close Guantanamo Bay,  and avail our foreign enemies to our civilian legal rights.  With all of Donald Trump's shortcomings, at least he understands that we are at war.

He also apparently understands that we shouldn't both be protecting the world, and paying for it.  Although, he may be a pushing and shoving oaf, yesterday he bluntly told our NATO allies that they must pay up.

Some people delighted that the Trump travel ban was again rejected by a federal court.  They are apparently more concerned with Trump being set back, than their own security.  Our enemies must find our priorities amusing.

May 25, 2017

Back To The Future With Emma

Although the Progressives, who campaigned against the waste to energy plant and the water lease this year, didn't like Emma Tropiano back in the day, or now, here's a history lesson they may find interesting. Shown above is Emma camping out by the entrance to Kline's Island on October 13, 1989. Her statement to the press. "The deal with the Lehigh County Authority to open Kline's Island to outside sewage sources has promoted massive development in western Lehigh County, drawing potential commercial and industrial development away from Allentown and resulting in higher taxes for city property owners." She was running against The First Mayor For Life Joe Daddona's fourth term. His reply. "It's obvious once again that Emma, because of her lack of knowledge and understanding of a problem, is shooting from the hip and hitting herself in the foot." She was also outspoken about the direction the city was heading in: Is Allentown in an ugly decline, with drugs, crime, filth and mismanagement rotting away the core of the Queen City, as challenger Emma D. Tropiano insists? Or is it squarely facing its problems and coming up with sound, creative solutions, as Mayor Joseph S. Daddona says?" The Morning Call, Nov. 5, 1989.

reprinted from November of 2013

ADDENDUM: On Tuesday Bill White repeated his quote about Emma from 2001; I like Emma, but she wouldn't know fresh ideas and positive leadership if they were driving down Hamilton Street in a blue Cadillac. Bill has made Emma one of the symbols of his Hall Of Shame. Bill White protests against this designation, coined by yours truly years ago, and cites the philanthropic Cipko Brothers as proof that the Hall isn't limited to shame. However, I remember back when, and the gag about them was their ridiculous toupees, which White featured in photographs. Philanthropic or not, their toupees put them in the Hall, not their charity. Anyway, I digress. Bill White has been wrong about Emma for over 40 years.  The problem is that now a whole generation of people disparage her, based on  Morning Call distortions.

May 24, 2017

Moshe Dyan


Moshe Dayan on born on a kibbutz near the Sea of Galilee in 1915. When he was 14, he joined the outlawed Haganah, an underground defense force to protect Jewish settlements from Arab attacks. Although caught and imprisoned by the British for two years, he would fight for them in Lebanon during WWII, losing his eye. In the 1948 War of Independence, he fought on all the fronts, defending Israel; by 1953 he was Chief of Staff of the Israeli Armed Forces. In 1956 he led the Suez Campaign.

In 1967 he was Defense Minister for the Six Day War. He remained in that position through the War of 1973. Although a genuine hero in every sense of the word, he was held responsible for the initial success of Egyptian forces in the surprise attack on Yom Kippur (1973), and would resign from his position.

Israel is too small of a country, and it's enemies too numerous, for any miscalculations regarding it's security.

reprinted from February 2013

The Wailing Wall


Israel had hoped that Jordan would not join the Arab forces against them in 1967. It was not to be; their artillery opened fire on Israel. Israeli paratroopers fought with small arms in the Old City. They were ordered to use no artilley, which could damage Holy Shrines.

Although Israeli Jews and Christians were barred from both the Wall and Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the twenty years of Jordanian rule, Israel immediately opened access to all. Administrative control of the Temple Mount, upon which sits the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque, were immediately given to the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic Trust).

The Wailing Wall is the Western Wall of the Mount, which is considered the closest and only remnant of the Second Jewish Temple, and is the holiest site in Judaism. No matter where in the world, all Jews have always prayed facing Jerusalem and the Wall. reprinted from April 2010