Friday, December 15, 2006

Stoffa Delivers on Open Space Pledge in Northampton County

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingHe wasn't bashful about it. When he ran for exec, John Stoffa told voters he'd raise their taxes. They elected him anyway and last night he kept that promise. Despite an attempt by a Democratic majority to torpedo Stoffa, they were the ones who ended up being blindsided and looking foolish in the process. And for the first time, Northampton County has a "pay as you go" open space plan. It will cost homeowners a nickel for every hundred dollars assessed.

What is Stoffa's open space plan? Earlier this week, he circulated his own explanation.

"My proposal calls for a half mil of tax, along with utilizing a $10 million line of credit. In the Proposed 2007 Budget, $5 million of the line of credit would be utilized with $3 million State matching Farmland Preservation funds along with $2 million for Environmentally Sensitive Areas. In addition, the half mil of tax ($3.5 million) will allow $1 million for County Parks, an additional $1 million for Farmland, $800,000 for Environmentally Sensitive Areas, $500,000 for Municipal Parks and $200,000 for Debt Service. In total, for 2007, it is roughly $8.3 million. Never in our County's history, have we had such an opportunity to move forward. My fear is that we won't. There will be substitute plans, but there's none as strong as the one that I have proposed."

It's a modest and realistic plan that will generate $84 million over twenty years. And council chambers were packed last night with over forty open space advocates to endorse that proposal. Twenty of them spoke. They included municipal reps from Plainfield, Lower Saucon, Williams, Bushkill, Nazareth and Bethlehem. Most of these municipalities have started their own programs and have kicked in their own dough. And Stoffa himself addressed council in his quiet and casual style. "I'm trying to do what the people want."

But the most compelling speaker, by far, was an 85 year-old William Township farmer, who told us the "sands are running through the hourglass" of his life. He owns a historic 217 acre tract of mostly woodland. It was used during the revolutionary war for ironpit mines and was once inhabited by those powwow doctor responsible for many of the Hexenkopf myths. He'd like that property preserved.

But when it came time for a vote on the half mill tax increase, Charles Dertinger had a torpedo ready for Stoffa. Sure, Dertinger is Council's supposed open space chair, but he doesn't want a tax increase on his record next time he runs for Congress or President or Governor. Neither does Lamont McClure. And Wayne Grube wants to remain council president. So Grube backtracked on a promise to support Stoffa's budget. And these three stooges pulled Diane Neiper and Tony Branco along with them to destroy Stoffa's half mill initiative.

What they decided to do instead was invade the county's two month cash reserve balance, a rainy day fund set aside for large unexpected expenditures like a big union contract or hiring more employees than anticipated. It's irresponsible Afflerbach accounting, the very practice that put Allentown in financial distress. They cooked the books. And in the process, they denied the county an opportunity to establish a regular funding mechanism for open space.

Dertinger and McClure clearly cobbled their majority behind closed doors in violation of the Sunshine Act. Once you start breaking these little laws, you start breaking others. And guess what? Their vote also violated the Home Rule Charter, which prohibits council from playing games with the executive's estimated cash reserve. Duran Hamann, the county's budget director, told council as much and also mentioned that Dertinger's proposal was contrary to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Fiscal Affairs Director Vic Mazziotti told them the same thing. He even provided examples of the kind of trouble they could face by playing games with the cash reserve.

None of this persuaded asbestos lawyer Lamont McClure, who insisted on arguing accounting practices with Mazziotti. Once he had finished making a fool out of himself, Branco and Neiper were both ready to change their votes.

Grube whined he had been blindsided. And erstwhile congressional candidate Charles Dertinger demanded that Stoffa explain why he hadn't warned about the Home Rule Charter.

Stoffa's laconic response - "You're supposed to know that." And he is.

Hooray for our team!

Dertinger, McClure and Grube seriously underestimated Stoffa. They looked like a bunch of phonies out for themselves. Dertinger is complaining he's been "tricked" by a county executive who never deviated from a simple request for a half mill tax increase to fund an honest open space proposal. If Dertinger wants to know who tricked him, he should look in a mirror. The phrase "faithless politician" comes to mind. I think I've heard that somewhere. But I've got a better one for Dertinger, McClure and Grube. The three stooges. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk. What's sad is these are the Democrats. And they're idiotic enough to cry foul after attempting to derail the budget proposed by the Democratic county executive.

Update: The Morning Call has characterized Stoffa's half mill "pay as you go" open space plan as a "farsighted approach" that will save us money in the long run.

104 comments:

Guy-sitting-behind-Bernie said...

The meeting tonight clearly established Stoffa as the most political savvy executive this county has ever seen.

Tonight, the Grube/McClure/Dertinger team had their cojones handed to them - and they deserved what they got. They didn't do their homework. The Administration's stand on the illegality of the budget amendment was unimpeachable - even Dertinger, who introduced the amendment, was forced to vote FOR its recision.

What Bernie didn't tell you was what happened when Ron Angle went off. Yes, he was justified - the amendment violated the Home Rule Charter. President Grube's attempts to quiet Angle were a waste of time. Angle was RIGHT and everybody in the room knew it.

Call it grandstanding, call Angle crazy, but it was ANGLE who forced the debate, and it was Angle who moved to rescind the amendment when Grube helplessly whined "Well, what do we do now?"

Finally, a plea.

Wayne Grube has been a powerful force in Northampton County politics for decades. His legacy is secure - perhaps no other politician has had a stronger and broader influence than he.

But I was embarrassed for him tonight. He repeatedly lost control of the meeting. His efforts to regain order were totally ineffectual.

Wayne, we love you. We appreciate you and the positive effect you've had on all of our lives.

Step down, please. Let our memories of you and your service be good ones. Nobody will think less of you; in fact, we will respect you even more.

Anonymous said...

Many of the folks who will benefit from this are not even born yet! Those are the ones who will look back and thank us...

LVDem said...

Grube has focused far to long on his legacy. Last night is a demonstration of what happens when you hold on for too long, at all costs. What is interesting to me is that his little comedy team is an appointee that lost and a newly elected council member. Without those two, Grube would have stood by his lonesome on this issue.

Good for John SToffa. He hasn't had many victories in his headbutting with council, but he got one last night by the sounds of it.

Now, go take care of your workers.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To Guy-sitting-behind-Bernie, Thanks for the analysis. Ironically, Stoffa has found his ally on Council - Angle. He definitely was a powerful force last night.

But most of the credit goes to Angle, a man that Council has demeaned for a year.

And I agree that Grube needs to step down as council prez. It probably won't happen, but that job is not for him, He can't hear, has no brains, and lets everyone push him around. I think he's be much happier if he were VP. And the county would be better off.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LVDem, Last night was a biggie. An open space victory, and the council Dems werre so worried about being tagged with a tax increase that they made fools out of themselves. Tyhey ought to be ashamed of themselves because they did not act like Democrats but like political hacks furthering their own careers at the expense of everyone else.

And as their true colors were shown last night, this motley ratpack has been just as destructive when it comes to the county employees. Don't get me wrong. I think those contracts d\should be settled by now and Stoffa bears his share of the blame for that failure. But this sleazy bunch has tried to hamstrinmg Stoffa at every opportunity. They tell him once thing and the unions another. Ask Dertinger how much he authorized in councilk and then ask how much he told the unions.

The Dertinger/McClure/Grube combination is a disgrace to the Democratic party.

Anonymous said...

Hurray for our team??? You had better read today's one liner again. You can't see the politics here??? Angle is running for reelection and Stoffa is trying not to get impeached!!!! You talk about things that Mr Reibman would never do-duh!!! He was also a politician, but he wasn't stupid. I hope that you wake up soon and realize that all of this "sincerity, honesty and integrity" that you see in Stoffa is "Polticis as usual".

Bernie O'Hare said...

But most of the credit goes to Angle, a man that Council has demeaned for a year.
********************
I misspoke. What I meant to say is that most of the credit goes to Stoffa, a man that Council has demeaned all year. He desrves accolades on this one.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:09,

The politics you mention came in the disingenuous maneuver by Dertinger et al to avoid being tagged with a tax increase. It continued as Dertinger and his cronies trampled upon the Home Rule Charter. And they cried foul because Stoffa interfered with their attempt to sink his open space initiative. How dare he insist on following the Home Rule Charter! Today's one-liner was intended for Dertinger, McClure and Grube, a true group of phonies.

The good government came from Stoffa, who followed through on the pledge he made when he first sought public office. He kept his promise, something that Dertinger and McClure might want to try every now and then.

Democrats like McHale were never fooled by Dertinger and McClure. Others like Neiper and Branco quickly abandoned Dertinger and McHale when they learned he was breaking the law.

Angle is running for re-election in a safe district. Unless he's caught in bed with an altar boy, he's going to be re-elected. He has no need to play politics. And incidentally, politicians don't host radio talk shows. For the second time in his life, Angle actually supported a budget that included a tax increase. Why? It was good government.

Dertinger and his crowd couldn't even be bothered to read the very short sections of the Home Rule Charter dealing with county finance. That, quite simply, is bad government.

And Stoffa represents "politics as usual?" I don't know what the hell you're smoking, but Stoffa is pretty much the anti-politician. The Express Times correctly labelled him the anti-Reibman. He wouldn't accept contributions from county contractors or anyone seeking a job with the county. That's politics as usual? He promised voters a tax increase. That's politics as usual? He was willing to listen to employees instead of running and hiding like Reibman. That's politics as usual? He was willing to sit down on a radio show and listen to everyone with their complaints, from disgruntled employees to taxpayers who don't like paying those disgruntled employees. Is that politics as usual? And instead of cobbling together majorities for his agenda, Stoffa has been content to let council do its own thing. That's politics as usual?

I'll tell you what is "politics as usual." A Democratic party chair who gets the county exec to hire his daughter to work in the elections office. Or a county exec like Reibman who has a "pool party" in the midst of a hurricane for campaign contributors/county contractors to drop by with their checks.

What Dertinger and McClure seek is a return to that culture. You're letting your animosity towards Stoffa cloud your judgment about what really happened last night. For some people, there is nothing Stoffa can do that will make them happy

Altar Boy said...

Ron Angle rode me bareback all night last night.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Others like Neiper and Branco quickly abandoned Dertinger and McHale when they learned he was breaking the law."
******************
I meant to say that Neipoer and Branco abandoned Dertinger and McClure, not McHale. Sorry.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Altar Boy, Last night was supposed to be my turn.

guy-sitting-behind-bernie said...

But--- I'm the only one with photos of Ron is spike heels and fishnets

Bernie O'Hare said...

I've got one of him and Jolly Joe. That's the only reason they let me guest host.

LSTresidentPIA said...

How was there a Northampton County Council Meeting last night? I thought they were the first and third Thursday's of the month?
How can I get a schedule? Why is there nothing on the website?

Nature Boy said...

Any clue how DCNR's Lehigh Valley Greenways Program might play into NC's Open Space Program?

LSTresidentPIA said...

A half of mill for the county and a half of mill in the township to preserve open space. What a crock.
I am very much for open space but why do I have to pay for it? I have other things like health insurance that that I need more. And you know Bernie I am not a pro-developer type of person.

Thank you Mr. McClure for voting no. I am sure that some of the county employees who are living on food stamps and need other types of assistance might agree. What about the seniors who can barely afford to hold onto their homes because of high school taxes?

Why couldn't a bond be floated or the money borrowed? The county has money problems, but at the same time has how much in savings? Why not use that money and get the labor contracts and all the other finacial woes under control? Open space is important, but if that guy wants his farm saved then he should do it. Other poeple do.

Anonymous said...

"Woe is me LST," you'll pay a boat load more in the long run for development than you will now for open space. That's the nature of the beast & that's why you have to pay for it.

LSTresidentPIA said...

I am already paying for the development going on in the township, in higher and higher school taxes. I have read alot about the fiancial aspects of development versus saving open space. Open space plans to truly be affective should have been put in place 30 years ago.
One thing that I have noticed after spending months sitting at township meetings is that all this open space is makeing it real estate values affordable and overinflated. For those of us who want to live in the valley, it is more and more difficult.

It is a shame that to make a point you have to resort to name calling. You sound like one of the users from the mcall forums or possibley a township council member say Tom Maxfield... or Glen Kern

It is interesting that officals from Lower Saucon actaully came to a council meeting. I have been trying to get them to one for months to discuss the situation with the stone-arch bridge with the county.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Nature Boy, Unfortunately, I left my notes from the meeting at the courthouse today. But 2 DCNR reps were among those who addressed council last night. And they made clear that they intended to match the county contributions, and in a big way. With the matches, the county will have actually $11.5 this year to deal with open space.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LST,

It's too bad you missed last night's meeting. It was a special meeting bc the regular meeting would fall too close to Christmans. Councty council's meeting scheduled should be published on the web.

As far as your complaints about open space are concerned, let me tell you something. I was one of the persons who opposed the county's attempt to float a $37 million open space bond. I spent weeks handing out fliers and even sued over how the question was presented. My concern was that the program was too vague and that all it would end up doing is encourage even more development around little islands of green. I also didn't like the idea of borrowing the money, which could end up costing voters three times that amount.

Stoffa's plan is nothing like that. It's "pay as you go," snd it depends also on matching contributions from the state and municipalities. It is also specific. It's a good plan. Even Angle supported it.

You have complainted repeatedly about Toll Bros. and how their trucks endanger that historic bridge near your residence. The best way to stop that kind of crap is to preserve as much open space as possible. Three Lower Saucon Supervisors were among the 20 who addressed council last night.

This is the only tool we have against developers. If we don't buy the land, they certainly will.

Tom Glen Kern Maxfield, Jr. said...

Dear Gentle Sensitive LST,

Not so sure "woe is me" constitutes name calling. But God, you're fun to pick on!

With development instead of open space, you'll continue to pay even higher & higher school taxes...as you must already know. And shoulda, coulda, woulda ain't gonna do squat now.

We need to preserve as much open space ASAP so that 30 years from now folks aren't lamenting the same thing you're lamenting today.

LSTresidentPIA said...

Sorry Bernie, the best way to stop the damage to the bridge is to have the township cite the offending vehicles. It has become an issue of more and more overweight vehciles using it and it is no longer just the developer. I saw 12 vehicles in the month of October alone use it that were of questionable weight. When I attempted to talk to council about it, they told me that they did not want to hear it and told me that since they were not about to waste the police's time ofr money doing a checkpoint at the bridge that I should sit there.

The fact remains with the growing popualtion, in the world, people need places to live. Didn't the the population in the US reach some milestone in September like 3 hundred million or something?
I could show you lots of properties that maybe should have not been built, espicailly ones that are along waterways and so forth. I believe thatthey should be public domain, but they aren't. None of us know what historic things happened on our proerties, who might be buried there, so on. Who says that my house belongs where it is , maybe that developemnt should be there and that land not developed?

Nature Boy said...

Thanks, Bernie re: DCNR/NC open space program question.

When you get your notes back from the courthouse, will you please post the names of the two DCNR reps who were at last night's council meeting? Thanks.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To: Tom Glen Kern Maxfield, Jr., Last night there were 20 wloquent speakers during courtesy of the floors. I took notes for every one, but left them at the courthouse. I know one of the speakers was a gentleman named Maxfield or Mayfield. Was that you?

Bernie O'Hare said...

To Nature Boy, I'll be happy to do so. One of the speakers is very familiar w/ Jacobsburg Park.

Nature Boy said...

Thanks, Bernie. I wonder if that was Bill Sweeney or Dale Prinkey? I'd guess Sweeney before Prinkey. Sweeney's got a mop of grayish hair. Prinkey's bald as a cucumber.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bill Sweeney was one of the dudes who spoke and I'm pretty sure he was the one talking about big bucks from the state.

Nature Boy said...

Sweeney's the program manager at Jacobsburg & a good guy. He's very passionate about conservation.

DCNR Secretary Mike DiBerardinis has made the Lehigh Valley Greenways Program one of the department's top priorities. I don't fully understand the LVG funding mechanism, though. I just hope in the end he's able to show us the money.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You're quite knowledgable on this subject and I thank you for your insight.

Nature Boy said...

Any chance the other DCNR dude was a guy named Dennis DeMara?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Don't remember that name.

Nature Boy said...

How 'bout Lorne Possinger?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Don't remember that name, either.

Nature Boy said...

Allen Sachse? (I'm done after this!)

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wait until Monday when I retrieve my notes and I'll list every speaker but can't promise to spell their names correctly. OK?

nature boy said...

10-4, Bernie. Merry Hanukkah to you & yours!

LSTresidentPIA said...

Conservation is great as long as you are not overzelous about it. Trees are more important in the tonwship I live in than people and that just is not right.

Poor planning over the years is the bigger problem. Look at the cities. Unless, until the municple planning code puts the power back at the local level to control and prevent development then, development will continue. In PA property owners are the ones with the rights and that is how developers get by buying them.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Natire Boy and anyone else, Happy Hanukkah to you as well.

Anonymous said...

Yeah...wouldn't wanna be too zealous about clean air & clean water & clean soil and stuff like that. I mean we only breath, drink & eat from that stuff, right?

The MPC clearly puts land use regulations in the power of local governments. Therein, perhaps, lies the problem, LST.

Why do I have a hunch you'd be the first one bitching if your private property rights were infringed upon? Hmmm.....

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 5:48, The builders and developers have held up meaningful land use reform in Pa. for years. They were also big supporters of the NC $37 million open space bond. That is one thing that made me very suspicious. I felt then and now that developers want us to buy little islands of gren around which they can plant their McMansions. But the plan crafted by Stoffa is nothing like that, at least not in its first year. That's where we need to remain vigilant. We need to make sure the money is spent well. Stoffa was surprised to hear that Nazareth had been promised $120k in open space money for pool repais. That's not what most of us think of when we consider open space. Thanks for your insight. You're absoluttely right.

Anonymous said...

How is Stoffa's plan not like preserving green islands around which developers can build McMansions, Bernie? I don't understand that logic.

Naturally most land preserved as open space is going to have some kind of private property bordering it, right? What in Stoffa's plan keeps those private property owners from selling their private property, which happens to be adjacent to green space, to a developer? I don't get it.

LSTresidentPIA said...

That is just not a true statement. Local officials can not say no to development. They can regulate, and control it to a point,and even make it so that a developer has to jump through hoopes of fire to get develoment plans approved. But they still get approved. If that were the case, there would be no development.
There was a developer who came before LST council recently and said to council that because he could not get the number of lots he wanted aprroved by council, 12, he would have to put the price of the lots up. When asked how much he was going to sell the houses for, he said about $800,000. Here is your reason that developers came out in favor of open space. They can make more money that way if an area is exclusive and difficult to buy land or houses in.
Townships that try to stop development would face the threat of long drawn out lawsuits that would drain the municiplities dry. How many do your here about? None. The developers are too rich and could keep things in court for years.

If you really want to get into the real reasons for our enviromental problems then you need to look at the industries and businesses that constantly pollute the enviroment. You also need to look at your self and your habits. We throw things out that will never or take 1000 years to break down into a big hole in the ground and throw some dirt into it and hope it goes away.
How much do you consume everyday? How much do you throw out everyday? How much do you recycle? Do you curb your electric use? Do you collect rain water and use it to water your flowers? Do you try and car pool? Or do you drive a gas guzzler? Do you commute everyday 2 hours one way to work in New York and New Jersey? Do you take a bus? How do you help the environment?
Open space is not the answer to all enviromental problems. In some instances it will help by protecting water sheds and protecting senstive areas we should not lose to development.

LSTresidentPIA said...

To anon at 5:48 do you also think that I am willfully ignorant? Mr. Maxfield?

Anonymous said...

LST, yikes...you're starting to sound pretty damn environmentally zealous, there! You'd better get back on whatever meds you quit taking.

And yes...I believe you are willfully ignorant. Whoever this Mr. Maxfield is, you owe him an apology.

Anonymous said...

Also, Bernie...what do you mean that Stoff'as plan is "pay as you go?"

Bernie O'Hare said...

To Anon 6:23, Take a look at the plan's outline and you'll get my drift. We're talking about farmland preservation easements. Properties get preserved only if they are in an Act 43 ag security area. Soil quality and other factors are considered, not a location near something a developer may want. What concerns me, and this is something thhe county did consider, are those little "gentleman farms." That's where you can have a little island of green surrounded by a sea of sprawl. That's where WE need to remain vigilant. The potential for abuse is there. But that doesn't exist in the projects laid out by Stoffa's plan.

LSTresidentPIA said...

Anon: So you sound like Mr. Maxfield, or some other EAC member or LST council member. I know that you think trees are more important than people...you should be happy that I actaully care about the enviroment...how about caring about the bridge...let us use open space money for that...

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:01, Instead of going out and borrowing $37 million or more and paying twice that amount in debt service, Stoffa is "pay as you go." A half mill generates $3.5 million every year and will untimately yield $83 million over 20 years. Now, there is also a $10 million line of credit so the county can strike while the iron is hot. In some years, when an opportunity presents itself and is beyond the amount available, the county can dive into its line of credit. In other years, when nothing is out there, the county can pay down the line of credit. It's the best funding mechanism I've seen. It is frugal for the taxpayer yet retains flexibility for big purchases that suddenly become available. It's very similar to the approach used by former exec Seyfried. Thanks for your comment and question.

LSTresidentPIA said...

Anon Your comments about the meds tell me everything. You are a LST council member, most likely Mr. Maxfield, why hide your idenity? Let us talk about this like adults. I understand that some township residents are more important to you than others, only those that support your agenda...I think you are right, I was wilfully ignorant when I voted for you.

Anonymous said...

LST, I'm just a simple hick from the northern tier of NC. I'm not so sure that I've ever set foot in Lower Saucon Township.

While its true I love trees...I'm a treehugger from way back...I actually do care more about most people than I do most trees.

And I love old historic things, too...especially old stone arch bridges. I doubt you'll ever get open space dollars to preserve that bridge of yours, but try contacting the PA Historical & Museum Commission (www.phmc.state.pa.us). They have programs & money available for such things. There's also Preservation Pennsylvania...they might offer some guidance to you, too.

I am happy that you care about the enviornment. And I'm glad that you're fighting for that old bridge, too. Keep on keepin' on, LST! Best wishes to ya.

LSTresidentPIA said...

How do you know it is a stone arch bridge it was never mentioned in this blog?

LSTresidentPIA said...

I am curious, why would you think I owe Mr. Maxfield an apology?

Anonymous said...

LST,

1) Your words...your very last words in your very first comment to me today...at 2:08 PM above: "I have been trying to get them to one for months to discuss the situation with the stone-arch bridge with the county."

2) I'm sorry...I'm wrong. You don't owe Mr. Maxfield an apology. You owe me an apology for mistaking me for him. He sounds awful! Now apologize to me this very cybersecond!

Anonymous said...

Make that 2:03 PM, not 2:08 PM...in my last post to you, LST. (I'm old & blind)

Anonymous said...

bernie,i am really upset you downgraded the three stooges to the level of those three council people

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:24 and everyone else,

1) Yes, I do owe the three stooges an apology. The attorneys from their estates are insisting a simple apology is not enough so I'm going to blow up LST's bridge.

2) LST, your stone arch bridge has been mentioned repeatedly on this blog and I even wrote a post about it after listening to you one evening at county council. Remember that? I even was supposed to met you at that bridge but you stiffed me and someone threw me in the creek. Remember?

3) I owe everyone an apology. My typing today is horrible w/ all kinds of typos in these comments.

4) I like people much more than trees if they're properly cooked. They taste like chicken while trees are rather bland.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:09, I do have a question for you. You state "Stoffa is trying not to get impeached!!!!" Could you enlighten us on your basis for that remark?

PA progressive said...

You mean there's actually open space left in the Lehigh Valley to protect? I'd never have guessed it from driving through. We just devoted another $30 million a year ago to preserving more open space in Berks. You know the minute you cross the county line from Lehigh into Berks because you suddenly see farmland. Undeveloped farmland.
How sweet it is.

Bernie O'Hare said...

PaPro, You're right, bippy. It's hard to believe that Northampton County was once a rural county. But now we're just another part of Jersey. In fact, western Jersey is far more rural areas than eastern PA. I took a little joyride in an airplane w/ my son for his birthday a few years ago and was astonished at the difference from the sky.

Nature Boy said...

Aren't those birds-eye-views of the landscape from high in the sky astonishing, Bernie? I flew over Monroe County with a pilot-friend a few years ago & was amazed at the size & scope of so many of those wooded Pocono subdivisions. Miles of ribbons of blacktop roads & a house under every tree.

Nature Boy said...

PA Progressive,

Sadly its true that in NC what used to be fertile farmland is now fields of houses. But there's still time to save the wooded slopes of the Valley along the Blue Mountain. We gotta move quick though.

There's development plans on the north slopes of the Kitatinny Ridge for mega resort complexes including raceways, ski resorts, golf courses, timeshare housing, etc. enompassing thousands of forested acres on the north slopes of the Blue Mountain in Ross & Eldred Townships.

Developers have already devoured the Lehigh Valley's historic farmlands; now residential sprawl is threatening to eat up the more forested northern tier on our side of the Blue Mountain.

Just look east of the Delaware along the I78 & I80 highway corridors to see the new westward expansion sprawling our way & warp speed.

NC leaders need to work together to make this open space funding machine happen for us ASAP before the developers eat us out of field & forest.

Anonymous said...

No need to apologize for your horrible typos yesterday Bernie. We understand how frazzled you must be. Afterall you spent too much time in the company of Ron Angle had your jeep plow into a parking garage wall then missed a rump ride with Angle the night he was caught in bed with an Altar Boy. Poor guy you.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

While I agree with your interpretation that the alternative plan was against the Home-Rule Charter, I can't believe you think this plan is a good thing. I think it's far too much of "everything to everyone," which is generally how Stoffa has been as an Executive. I'm very disappointed. He's broken the faith with a voter like me who voted twice for him, even as a long shot, in 2005. This plan is too safe, won't work, and is just another wasted tax increase. I have to disagree with you on this one, at least in your supporting Stoffa. I'd love to see an Open Space Plan work, but $8.3 million is a meager fraction of what the developers have to work with next year. Do you really think the county can buy a signifigant amount of land with that?

Anonymous said...

That $8.3-million may leverage nearly that same amount again (or more) through state & local matches. So total funding could total closer to $16-million, Rising Sun.

Anonymous said...

Ok Bernie, I gotta say this...
Come on folks, wake up and smell the coffee!
First in response to rising sun 3:22pm, I gotta say, $8.3 may not solve world hunger, but it is better than nothin'!

From what I understand, until 2001, the county contribution was pretty meager, a couple hundred thousand, that's it.

But the responsibility of preserving open space is not just to be left up to the County, and the municipalities, it's gotta start right in your own back yard. How you ask? By your tax dollars for one. Every time you drive past a nice expanse of open space, and enjoy the pretty scenic view, smile, because it could be your tax dollars hard at work.

For those out there that are complaining about the county spending money to preserve open space, DON'T complain when you drive down the road, all you see are houses! That farm or land could have been saved from development.

From what I hear, the County and other environmental groups are working pretty hard on programs that will levy state and federal dollars to preserve land here in Northampton and Lehigh Counties.

Secondly, from what I know about the farmland preservation program and the open space portion as well, they are voluntary programs. Land owners are asked or volunteer to give up their development rights to preserve this land against development. Be thankful these programs are around, otherwise, you and some of the others out there complaining could be dealing with a diferent animail, namely "condemnation".

So for those of you out there still complaining about the County/Township or whomever spending money on open space...remember this one thing... the next time you take a drink of clean water, or inhale and take a deep breath of fresh air, or enjoy the beauty of healthy green grass & trees, think twice before you complain, your government is actually trying to do good thing (for once).

Now, coffee's on!

Anonymous said...

Even $16 million might only be enough to match the developers dollars in the Easton School District, let alone the county.

Open space is a worthy expenditure, the point is, if your not willing to go very big, then it's a drop in the bucket that won't do very much for anyone's future. In my opinion, actually, if we're going to go with Stoffa's plan, then we might as well have sat it out. It won't work big enough or fast enough.

I think Stoffa basically tried to please everyone here, which is why most of you are happy. Ask yourselves in 20 years if it is a good idea. I think your logic will change. For every acre we preserve with this plan, we'll see more acres sold and developed. And not by a nice small margin. By a big margin.

Finally, as someone who does not believe in Kings, but Executives, while I would agree with the administration's correct stance that council can't touch the "rainy day" fund, I think that is a terrible oversight in the charter. The amendment should be changed so that the Executive does not have unitary control over that money. I know some of you will flip and say "why not," but I say this to you: If you all hate Glen Reibman so much, would you have wanted him to have a fund of a few million dollars that he, and only he, controlled, with no opportunity for council to ever dictate how the money should be spent? I sure don't like that idea, no matter who's in office.

Anonymous said...

So how big a pot of money you reckon the open space budget shoulda been, Rising Sunny Boy?

Anonymous said...

If I were an expert I'd answer that. I'd imagine if you go take say, the top 10 largest developers in the Valley's 2007 budget, you could get a pretty decent idea. As I said, I could see $8.3 million worth of farmland being bought in just one school district next year, let alone county wide. It doesn't seem that it's worth raising taxes for a program that will only marginally achieve it's goals. I guess some of you would take that over nothing though. I just happen to disagree.

the lobster said...

whats the record for amount of comments for a posting? keep up the good work , the juices are flowing on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Rising Sun,
You have some valid points. The executive should not have exclusive control, nor should council.

As for the funding issue, you're right again. The open space funding the county provided is going to make a very small dent in solving the issue at hand. There needs to be more, much more. But where is that going to come from? If you have any ideas, I am open to hearing them.

This is not a problem unique to Northampton County. But other counties surrounding us seem to have solved their dilemas. I've heard Montgomery County floated a bond that provided the farmland preservation program with something like $80 million dollars! Just for farmland, now that's a bold move!

The problem here is two-fold. The county can't get together and make a decision that is right for the county, it's too worried about the "political ramifications". And two, they won't listen to the voters. They said they would be willing to pay more taxes to have more open space. Why didn't council and the administration take the lead and do something bold like Montgomery County did?

You're right again, the developers are beating us to the punch, while they sit back drinking their coffee, laughing their arses off at county government. In the mean time, who's losing? We all are!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Whether it's $18.3 million or $37 million, that amount doesn't match the amount spent by a developer in a single year. We still need changes in our zoning laws, but I just don't see that happening.

The amount proposed is modest and it's a realistic plan. People aren't going to go for more than a half mill tax increase.

Rising Suns, you were a campaign worker for Dertinger, the snake who tried to torpedo this plan. But Dertinger and McClure had every intention of using the same plan: they just wanted to invade the cash reserve to pay for it, an lllegal move that wolfed have left us asking about how to fund open space next year.

"This plan is too safe, won't work, and is just another wasted tax increase. I have to disagree with you on this one, at least in your supporting Stoffa" This plan was out there, heavily discussed, and endorsed by all the experts in this area. The Sierra Club, wildlands, etc. Of course it's not enough. But the pay as you go plan will actually yield far larger sums than any other funding mechanism. He gets us $83 million in 20 years. Floating a $37 million bond will cost us possible $70 just in debt service.

In fact, the plan is sop fiscally prudent that even Angle supported it. Dertinger and McClure opposed this only because they don't want a tax increase on their record. Dertinger in fact admitted this in one conversation with a county leader.

Rising Sun, you can't get political hacks like McClure or Dertinger to go along with a half mill and then you criticize Stoffa for not having a bigger plan. They'd never support a larger measure. They have themselves to think about and they certainly think they are far more important than open space.

I'll tell you what. Maybe you can get Dertinger and McClure to commit to higher amounts, but you better check your back when you turn around. Also, be sure to get it in writing. Then try to convince conservatives like Angle. Try to deal with that council, bippy. It really is a ratpack. Stoffa worked a miracle Thursdayt night. And we see Dertinger and McClure for the phonies they asre.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To the Lobster and anyone else: This post sets a record for number of comments generated on this blog. The only one coming close was when Bernie K started hinting that his boss, Lisa Bosola, was interested in replacing Charlie Dent in Congress.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm, sounds like this blog has hit a very sensative nerve.
Maybe some follow up is needed.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

I understand it's hard to work things through council. At the same time, I disagree with the plan no matter who supported it. I say that whether any candidate I worked for/with/or otherwise supports it. I think the plan is weak. I understand that the conservatives would oppose more, and that it is hard to compete with developers, and even that the politicos of the world will be wary of a tax increase in any event, however, my expectation of Stoffa when he ran in 2005 was that he was an a-political type who would go ahead and put them all on the spot and make them vote him down as he tried to fix problems. I'm disappointed that he didn't do that here.

Otherwise here, I think that Anon 8:02 is pretty much on the head with his judgment on this issue. I would have liked to have seen bold.

Anonymous said...

One point that is missing from this whole argument is that, if you took one look around, the housing market is falling apart fast, developers are not buying up EVERY piece of land possible (yet?) and the rate of development will greatly slow down in the coming years.

Bob Toll, Chairman of Toll Brothers, was quoted 6 or 7 weeks ago as saying as much. The jist of what Mr. Toll had to say was that the big developers are not moving forward on new projects unless they are a "guaranteed out of the park homerun" and are, instead, just finishing off current projects. What this means is that the big developers are not using any land that they have rights to and are not looking at new land to develop.

Along with this, most of the large developers have options on many parcels of land all over the country. What has started to happen, and will continue to happen, is they will walk away from their right to purchase these parcels. Why? Because they were priced based on what they could sell a house for 12 months ago, not today or tomorrow and because they have no intention of sitting on land for long stretches of time.

Based on this new reality, farmers cannot get the prices for their land that they could or would like to get. As a result, they are less likely to sell. And ... if ethanol becomes even a tiny success, all that "precious farmland" is very valuable with corn growing on it. If you don't believe me, check out where the price of corn is today compared to where it was 12 months ago (more than double). As more ethanol plants come online, the more demand for corn there will be. Supply and demand is a powerful force.

The implied idea behind this entire post, if I am interpreting correctly, is that land will be developed as fast as it has over the past few years infinately into the future. Please remember that the worst forcasts are those that are based on taking recent history and extending those numbers into the future. Ask anyone who invested in Microsoft, Intel, Cicso, etc in 2000 based on the assumed forward growth rates how that investment has worked out.

To put it bluntly, market forces will take care of many of the problems in the short-term. In the long-term, John Stoffa's program can be very effective IF it is continued as designed, AND IF (and this is a big if) the County Council and whomever is County Executive after Stoffa's term(s) continue to use this money for what it is intended.

The biggest problem is we have politicians who cannot be trusted. The problem is we have spending that is out of control and it would be waayyy too easy to misappropriate this money. The problem is nobody in NC Gov seems to be interested in controlling costs.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:25, your completely right with those points, but there is one problem: I recently had the privilege to sit in on a session with township planners with State Reps. Bob Freeman and Rich Grucela, and one point that was astutely made is that so much of the land in our townships is already purchased by the developers and even approved by the townships for houses. While you may not see it yet, the irreversibility that poses to our open space problem is a factor that is not easily quantified. School districts are acutely aware of this problem.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 6:03, Oh this post touched a nerve all right.

First, there are those who are thrilled that the county has finally gotten off its ass with a very modest but realistic plan to preserve open space. I am part of this group.

Second, there are those of us, and count me in this number as well, who were impressed by how adroitly Stoffa dealt with political hacks who tried to torpedo a half mill tax increase because they don't want a tax increase on their political resumes. Those cowards include Dertinger and McClure.

Third, there are those who don't want any money spent for open space. I understand their concerns but their view is short-sighted.

Fourth, one poster is so upset at Stoffa that he's talking about impeaching him. He also absurdly claims that Angle voted for a tax increase because he's running for reelection. "Vote for me. I raised your taxes!"

Fifth, Stoffa did exactly what he said he was going to do repeatedly during his campaign with a half mill tax increase. He kept his woprd. Some, like Anon 9:25, point to market factors that make Stoffa's modest plan quite realistic, assuming that it is continued instead of diverted in some other way. Others, like Rising Sun, are "disappointed." He disingenuously argues that he didn't know about the tax increase that Stoffa pledged during his entire campaign, and somehow thinks that a council of phonies would vote for a large increase when they shied away from a half mill. This is what I expect from someone who never lets the facts get in the way of his opinions. I might also point out that I've never seen Rising Sun at any of the recent council meetings in which open space was discussed.

Sixth, there is a faction on council and among local Dems who are out to marginalize Stoffa at every opportunity. They viewed the open space issue as nothing more than that, and wanted to sink it because it would make Stoffa look bad. It didn't matter whether the county was hurt in the process. This group is outraged that Stoffa insisted on following the Home Rule Charter and derailed their plans to make him look bad yet again. This is a group that would play games with the books, contrary to GAAP, simply to make themselves look good and make Stoffa look bad. You can look for this faction to try to destroy a modest plan for pure political reasons. One of this group has already been called a "faithless politician." He deserves the nickname.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Your full of it. I'm "disingenuous?" That's a load of crap. I never claimed to be ignorant to Stoffa's plan to put forth this open space plan. As I've now said 5 times (but you conveniently ignore it), I voted for Stoffa as a vote for the one man in the race who seemed to have unimpeachable integrity. That doesn't mean I fully endorsed his platform.

As for the "facts" as you call them, as I said, let time be the judge of the wisdom of this plan. Some of us have learned that being at all of the meetings doesn't mean you know a damn thing about these issues. Meetings are filled with people with their own agenda, speaking their talking points, and spreading their "facts." The fact of the matter is, sometimes you know the politics of the issue better than the policy of it, by going to meetings.

Your basic assertion is that, because I won't join you and Ronnie Angle bashing a group of Democrats on Council for this issue, I'm being disingenuous. This is typical Ron Angle style debating. Call the other person a crook or liar if they disagree with you. The Sierra Club and all the other groups you site as supporting this, would be supporting anything that actually got an open space program on the books. Their an interest group, we should not take their positions and talking points as facts. You know better.

As for the plan itself, it's not plausible and you know it. While the retail market for houses is down, the market for bulk lots of farm land does not die, because this area continues to be a desirable place to live. $8.3 million is basically the equivalent of a small to average developer's budget. It's a drop in the bucket. This plan is a waste of money in my view, not because open space is bad, but because this plan will not achieve the end goals that we have for it as a community. End of story.

Now, as you attest, the council would have been unlikely to pass a larger program that would have required a larger tax increase. Your right. In fact, the chances would be somewhere between zero and negative. If Stoffa were putting forward his current plan, plus money from the rainy day fund, I think it would be more effective. However, I would have found it preferable for us to scrap this "pay as you go" garbage that Ronnie Boy, yourself, and Mr. Stoffa think is so brilliant, and I would have rather seen the county float a bond in the neighborhood of the $80 million that an anonymous poster talked about in Montgomery County. $80 million now while rolling the cost over in bonds over twenty years, would have allowed us to buy up a large bulk of land in this county now. That's called taking an action that will be felt and felt now. It's the guts to put the council on the spot.

Your argument is disingenuous. Your assertion that Charles Dertinger in particular has tried to sabotage Mr. Stoffa is ludicrous and motivated by your friendship to the lowly Ron Angle. Don't let the facts get in you and Ron's way of butchering Dertinger though Bernie. During this past cycle, you, like myself, saw Charles in Stoffa's home at a fundraiser for Russ Shade, where John and Charles had nothing but good things to say about each other. It didn't look like such a bad time then, did it? Oh yeah, Wasn't Lamont McClure there too? Don't come on here and make Ron's talking points for him. You want to make a personal issue of what is a clear disagreement amongst members of the county government.

You need to get Ron out of your ear and stop reading into some kind of conspiracy against Stoffa. There isn't one. After a heated primary, Democrats of all kinds came together and supported John Stoffa. Now that he is in, some of us are going to disagree with him on issues. That's natural and good.

Finally your assertion that I don't let the facts get in my way is a load of donkey crap and you know it. You know damn well that on the one occasion in which someone with enough merit to their reputation to put their name did question my "facts," I was sure as hell not in a position to start dropping names of who told me things. I'm 23, I don't want my picture on dartboards yet (although that's inevitable if your going to be actively involved in politics). In this case, there isn't any facts in my way, but your facts are all based on the views of those that showed up at some meetings and voiced their support. The fact of the matter is, look at what Montgomery County did. That is a plan I could support. This plan just won't work. I'm sorry that ticks you off. I guess we'll just have to wait and see who's right in about 10 years.

LVDem said...

The MPC fully vests land use in local government and that is the problem. Most local gov't officials don't know that they can change their land use ordinances to encourage traditional neighborhood development. That's just one example of so many. How many zoning codes or comprehensive plans have gone unreviewed in for the last 20 years in the Lehigh Valley.

Open Space conservation is just one tool that is available but I don't think it's even close to enough (though I'll still support it). The best tool starts with effective use of zoning and most townships just lack the fortitude or knowledge to realize this.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rising Sun, You are disingenuous.
You're not honest.

1)You write posts on your blog about local politics right after I've written posts about the same topic on mine, but you don't refer to my post at all. You pass off your work as independent when it is in fact based on mine. That's dishonest.

2)You condemn Stoffa when all he did was exactly what he said he was going to do. You condemn him for keeping a campaign promise. You claim to be "disappointed" but he never said he was going to fund $100 million in projects this year. You've created this threshold that never existed and then are "disappointed" he didn't make it. That's dishonest.

3)Dertinger tried to kill this honest plan after misleading open space advocates to the contrary. He and McClure are quite good at misleading others. Ask the slate belt crowd about the road to Walmart. Ask Dertinger about his own word to Stoffa. On council, they tried to stick yet another knife in Stoffa for purely political reasons. Open space be damned. Though what they tried to do is illegal, you refuse to condemn them. In fact, you call that motley ratpack a "very good council." That's just dishonest.

You're one of Dertinger's lackeys, and are playing his song. You can twist things on your blog, fail to give appropriate credit for ideas you've stolen, and use some of the exact same language. But when you pop on my blog, expect to be called on your dishonesty. You're a phony who doesn't give a shit about open space or Stoffa or Northampton County. All you care about is advancing yourself. You offend those of us who care.

LVDem said...

whew, Bernie needs a nap.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LVDem, I wrote that comment on a full night's sleep. I'm naturally cranky.

Anonymous said...

Rising Sun,

You make the point that there is much land already in developers hands that is already set for development. This is a fact that I do not dispute and am keenly aware of. This is land that we can do nothing about, regardless of how much money the county spends on open space. What we are talking about is the other land that is not set for development.

There is/should be a logic to how land gets developed. This is not always the case. You cannot always blame the developers, however. The big fish in their little ponds (ie the local township governments) continually screw things up and act in their own self interest, regardless the effect on the greater good. I'll give you two examples.

At the completion of the Rt 22 upgrade, a commission was put together called something like Rt 22 in 2020. At the public hearing about expanding and widening the road again (this was in the late 1990s or early part of this century) the manager of Bethlehem Township spoke.

His comments (to paraphrase) ... he did not care what they did with expansion of the land as long as they did not take any of the land from the township that could be developed because they intended to develop evey square inch of Township land. If it led to gridlock, so what. BT had every right to squeeze everything they could out of the land and generate as much of a taxbase as possible.

The othe rexample I have is the corner of Township Line Rd. and Hanoverville Road. Go take a look at the development that is going on there and then check back in a few years to see what a jumbled mess can be made by short-sighted townships.

That corner is right on the boarder of Hanover Township, Bethlehem Township and Lower Nazareth Township. They have not worked together to come up with a comprehensive plan. As a result, you will have a road that is not designed for heavy traffic overloaded with truck traffic from teh industrial areas being developed on all sides of this boarder.

Think that's bad ... it gets even better. Hanover decided earlier this year to allow a developer to put a 55+ housing development right next to this industrial development. Senior Citizens and truck traffic. That's not a major accident waiting to happen.

Do I blame the developers for this? No. They are doing what they do. Start looking at the political people who cannot say no to development and don't talk to each other to coordinate.

As for your suggestion that the county float an $80mm bond, that is just absurd. The problem with all government in this country is that they are all too willing to borrow money as opposed to paying for what they want to do now. Apparently you are a part of the credit card nation as well.

Anon 9:25

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

I'm a lackey? Gee, thanks.

You think I should site you when I'm disagreeing with you? We're writing totally different things here. I wrote that I disagreed with Stoffa. You wrote that he's the best thing since sliced bread. Your a quite dishonest type Bernie, but I expect no better from Ron Angle's Minion.

The stupidity of your argument is amazing. You want to call council a ratpack, as though there are three members on it. The council, as a whole, rejected the illegal activity you speak of. You still think council is a ratpack? The group did their job well. You dishonestly claim to think there is a conspiracy, but as I said, you and I both saw otherwise.

I continue to assert, your on here attacking Charles because either A.) Ron told you to. or B.) You don't want Charles to run in 2008. Either way is fine, but please be honest with your intentions.

Since you say I refuse to condemn Charles, how would you like me to go about that? I have written on your rag of an attack blog that his plan was not legal. I've written it on mine too. You want me to put an effigy of him up too?

You say I take your material, but between us, only one has ever re-printed the other's work word for word. Don't let the facts get in your way Bernie.

If you want to talk about lackeys, you are so beholden to Ron Angle it's pathetic. Anyone reading this honestly knows that. I'm not even bothering to go on this road with you, it is pointless. I associate with far more than just one candidate, so I'm not going to go into what you call me. Your just full of it.

Anon 9:25, you say floating the bond is absurd, but what about our southern friends in Montgomery County who already did it? Is that 'credit card nation' or is it bold action? They will buy a large chunk of open space and we will buy a couple lots.

I'm done arguing with you Bernie. We're repeating ourselves now.

Anonymous said...

Rising Sun,

If the people in Montgomery County want to pay the interest expenses on that money for the next 20, 30, 40, 50 yrs, that is their problem. I personally feel that it is too easy for government to borrow and spend. It is easy to spend money you don't have and only have to pay back at a much later time (when many or all of those who voted for the original plan are long gone from their county elected positions).

Fo a good example of what can happen when a governing authority has too much debt, take a look at the Bethlehem Water Authority. Granted, a good chunck of debt was placed there by Don Cunningham when he was Mayor of Bethlehem and was "balancing the budget without a tax increase," but look what the long-term effects of that action are.

Same thing with the City of Allentown. Mayor Heydt "balanced" the budget with borrowing. Now, Mayor Pawlowski has large debt service comin due and is forced with some real serious decisions.

Unlike the Federal Government, local and State governments cannot print more money as they see fit. I for one, while a social liberal, cannot stand poor financial decisions made for political gain.

Kudos to John Stoffa for being a standup guy and sticking to his plan. If the people of NC want to spend $80mm this year, then we should pay for it this year.

Anon 9:5

Bernie O'Hare said...

Setting Sun,

1) I wrote a post about Angle's reelection bid. You followed that with your own post containing much of the same language without acknwoledging where you got the info. The same is so in Stoffa's case. The day following my post, you had one of your own that attempts unsuccessfully to make Stoffa look like a jerk. If I disagree with someone, I at least have the courtesy and honesty to note the original post.

2) Northampton County actually DEFEATED Stoffa's proposal. It backtracked only because it learned it was breaking the law. That is not a good council. It is a stupid council.

3) I am attacking Charles and Lamont for the same reason I would attack anyone in either party - they exalt themselves over good government. Dertinger went back on a promise he made to Stoffa not to invade to county's cash reserve. His explanation for doing so was that he did't want a tax increase on his record. Neither does McClure. They acted like very much like those animals who can sit on a fence while keeping both ears to the ground.

4) You dismiss open space advocates as a special interest and advance that as a reason for your failure to attend a council meeting about which you write so much. You always seem to have an excuse for doing absolutely no research. But you neglect to point out that Dertinger and McClure are advancing their own very special interest - themselves.

5) Quite frankly, you're an irresponsible blogger. You managed to piss off Lisa Boscola's chief of staff with irresponsible and untrue statements. You followed up on that with irresponsible and illogical assertions about Dent and Mayor Fields, condemning every Bath voter who supported Fields in the process. And now you're condemning Stoffa because he did exactly what he said he was going to do. As a Deringer acolyte,you must not be used to dealing with candidates who actually follow through with campaign pledges.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Your lying again.

1.) I called Angle a racist and an embarassment. I saw that nowhere in your language. I responded to the news of the day with my opinion. Don't give yourself so much credit.

2.) Bernie, what was the end result. I rest my case.

3.) Your attacking them because you support Ron. Period.

4.) I said that Lamont and Charles screwed up. I'm not reading into it beyond that. Period. Your making stuff up. And yes, open space advocates are an interest group.

5.) I'm irresponsible? Your promoting Charlie Dent and Ron Angle, don't go there. The Mayor Fields, Marge Szaborski thing is true, you just think that Charlie does no wrong. You won't do the research on the guy you vote for. Your friends matter in politics, whether you like it or not.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rising Sun, The only place where Angle's announcemnet appeared was in Bernie's blog. It wasn't in the papers. So that's where you got it. The only place where it was "new of the day" was on Bernie's blog.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That last anonymous poster is correct. The announcement that Ron is running again has not hit the mainstream media at this point. It's probably not newsworthy to them just yet. So far as I know, my post was the only thing out there announcing Angle's candidacy. It bothered me to see another blogger note it and not note where he got his info. Very soon after that, I posted my open space story. Now that was in the mainstraem media but without all the political intrigue. This same blogger who didn't attend a single council meeting blogged that subject weithout identifying where he got his info. And frankly, I don't care whether Angle is attacked. He's a big boy and brings a lot of it on himself. But I don't like the assault on Stoffa's integrity for simply doing what he said all along. He is, as a friend put it, a "gentle" man. He is also a man with honor, a rarity in politics.

And when the occasion warrants it, I have been highly critical of Dent. He had to win my vote, and did so. I have also been highly critical of Angle's position on payraises for council and his attempt to stifle prison guards who wished to address council during the courtesy of the floor.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

In case you didn't realize it, since you were supporting Ron, the point of my post was to bother you, and anyone else who supports Ron. Why? Because I disagree with you. As for the open space issue, it's pretty hard to counter the supporters of the open space initiative that passed this past week without using their own words against them. If you think your somehow more entitled to post on the issue because you went to the meetings to be a cheerleader for one of two flawed policies presented, well then I guess we'll just disagree with that.

Your terribly mistaken about me impugning Stoffa's integrity. That's the very reason I voted for him. I disagreed with one position of Stoffa's and hoped he would reconsider in office. He did not. I'm attacking that. I also question his appointments and some of the execution on the behalf of the executive branch. That's not personal, that's a policy attack.

You don't care about the attacks on Angle? Really? Then why did my post bother you. It basically took the letter from him that you posted and dissected and criticized it. You seemed to care also when Dertinger yelled at Angle after a council meeting. Since then you've basically turned Dertinger into a punching bag for yourself, far more than he had been before that. Do I sense some loyalty?

The point is, since Charles Dertinger and Ron got into the shouting match that you reported on here, you've gone 100% negative about Dertinger, in what is a clear attack mode on your part. You question anyone's integrity who sides with Charles, most of your reporting is to attack Charles, and you promote those who dislike him the most.

Also remember this: If I'm a Dertinger "acolyte" as you like to say, then you are assuming that he and those in his "camp" would even like my being on here battling with you about these things. I think we both know that it's likely he doesn't like that you and I battling gets your blog some extra hits. Common sense here. I've actively supported and worked with a few other Democratic candidates in my short years Bernie, I'm more than capable of coming to my own conclusions. It just so happens they are usually not in the same opinion as your's.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rising Sun, I have strong opinions and don't mind strong opinions from others even when they are not mine. In the blogosphere, Angle is a dirty word. LVDem despises him but he and I get along quite well. I have other problems with you. I'm not alone.

Anonymous said...

One thing is very obvious over the past few weeks of blogging on this site ... That Rising Sun is a partisan, biased, ass who (like Ron Angle) thinks that everyone has a right to an opinion, as long as it agrees with his own.

Rising Sun is a total embarasment to local Dems. It is good that you attach your name to your posts so we all know you are an ass if you ever decide to show up at anything.

I know you know everything, but why don't you try and do some research, do some reading of both liberal and conservative ideas, and then maybe you will get it... Yeah, right. You already know it all so why should you bother learning anything.

Anonymous said...

Setting Sun, you smell like a Republican.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous and Bernie,

Your not alone. Funny, you've been the only pair talking for two days. Bernie, your just a bitter old man who's been left on the sidelines, who probably couldn't win himself an office, so you decide to fight a jihad against the local Democratic Party. Get over yourself and your bitterness. You take kindly to no opinion but your own. You surround yourself with like minded people on here, then want to site LVDem to me as some example of congeniality. Maybe LVDem is more willing to compromise with Angle backers, but in this case, I'm just not. Maybe LVDem doesn't feel as strongly anti-Angle as I do? I don't really care what LVDem does in any event. Your problem with me Bernie is that I will not see your skewered logic. I've read on here that Joe Long is awful, Charles Dertinger is awful, Lamont McClure is awful, Charlie Dent is an honest and reputable man, and Ron Angle is a good public servant. I say that's all a pile of donkey crap. You don't like that, so you try to nit-pick at what I write. You try to challenge me to reveal who tells me the things I write, as though I am going to do that and still have anything more to write. When you write about real politics instead of hell-raising, you'll understand the need for sources to tell you things. In the meanwhile, you'll keep being you.

Anonymous, as I've said before, I give little to no credence to someone who won't put their name to something they write. Don't give me that "I can't for my family/career/etc." garbage. Lisa Boscola's chief-of-staff can put his name out on here, so can you. Furthermore Anonymous, this Rising Sun can say with a great deal of certainty that your a fool. I'm a pure partisan? You don't read me ripping into Republicans like Rob Wonderling, Mike Dowd, Emil Giordano, or Arlen Specter. I have a great deal of respect for those public servants, their good people. You see me on here condemning biggots like Angle, frauds like Dent, and idealogues like Santorum. You know what, if we had a Democratic biggot on County Council, not only would I not vote for them either, I would be on here writing about them too. Your a moron, do some of your own research before you open your mouth again. It would benefit you. Feel free to find me at the next Democratic Party function you see me at. Maybe you can try not being a coward then.

Bernie, your reaction to my opposing Stoffa on this just shows your true colors. Basically, unless I wanted to hang McClure and Dertinger for their screw up at the meeting, you want to toss my opinion aside as partisan. I think stating that they messed up is certainly enough. This blog has turned into your place to spew your personal hatred against Ron's enemies. Without Glen Reibman in your world anymore, you need a new enemy to justify your anger at everyone. It's sad. Really sad.

Anonymous said...

Somebody needs to get laid, Rising Sunny Boy.....

Anonymous said...

"Rising Sunny Boy" is happy to report having no problems of late on that front. Thanks for the concern though. Merry Christmas to you too.

Anonymous said...

Shut up! dammm it!!! don't borrow that $80k.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon, Let Setting Sun, aka Richard T Wilkins III, speak. He claims to have political ambition. I usually don't learn that someone is an asshole until AFTER I've voted. This is a rarity.

LVDem said...

hey now... leave me out of this. Bernie knows that I think Angle is an asshole. I've called him a blowhard, an attention whore and the worst kind of political actor out there. Why don't Bernie and I continue to go after each other on the matter: well, I happen to think that Angle, inspite of his obnoxious behavior, really does want the best for Northampton County. I don't agree with many of his ideas (he's to far to the right with his solutions) and I don't like him as a person, but I will always give somebody the benefit of the doubt until they have done something to violate that public trust. So far, the only trust Angle has violated is a person to person trust with his fellow county councils (because he such a jerk), but the public trust remains in tact. I wish I could say the same for some of the Democrats on council (which is why I would love to see the likes of Russ Shade get elected).

Still, I'm hoping a couple of really good candidates pop up to run against him in 2007.

LVDem said...

Remember, you don't have to be a lock step soldier to be a Democrat. Being in lock step also doesn't hurt your political ambitions. Lord knows doors are still open to me after all the Democrats that I've attacked.

With that, post 100.

Anonymous said...

Richard T. Wilkins, III - any relation to the Wilkins Real Estate empire?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dunno. He's made some snide remarks in earlier posts, when he was attempting to duel w/ Bernie K, to his megawealth. I'm sure he'll pop on sometime soon to let us have it again.

How about some dough? It's Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Just for the record ... there is a difference between "your" and "you're." I'm sorry if I expect a college graduate to know the difference. Maybe Rising Sun didn't take college as seriously as he should have.

Anonymous said...

Rising Sun 12:13 AM, Mary Palmer & her five sisters don't count for getting laid!