Friday, October 26, 2007

Kevin Easterling: a Heart for Lehigh County Commissioners

Lehigh County voters will select four at-large county commissioners on November 6. As explained on the county web page, "The Board of Commissioners is the legislative branch of County government and has all the legislative powers that may be exercised by the County under the Constitution, the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Lehigh County Home Rule Charter. Some of the Board's powers are: to enact, amend or repeal ordinances, resolutions, and motions; to make appropriations; to incur indebtedness; to adopt the budget; to levy taxes, assessments and service charges; and to adopt the Administrative Code and the Personnel Code."

I've already told you I like Dean Browning, whose financial prowess will be a real asset to Lehigh County Exec Cunningham. He brings the brains. But who brings the heart? That's where I think Allentown-born Kevin Easterling can make a difference. In addition to his work with the Boys & Girls Club of Allentown, he is the founder of the Black Heritage Association of the Lehigh Valley, which has promoted youth basketball in Allentown since 1994. Today, I received one of his emails, and thought I'd share it with you.

As you may have heard, or maybe even seen a sign or two, I have chosen to seek a seat as your Lehigh County Commissioner. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and what I believe to be important issues to Lehigh County.

My involvement in various aspects of business, non-profit Human Services and Philanthropy over the last 19 years has been very rewarding. The idea of me embarking on a campaign to be elected Lehigh County Commissioner at Large however has not been a life-long dream of mine. To be real honest, I'm still not quite sure what inspired me to seek this election, other than the fact that I feel I have much to offer in regards to governing our county. I can say the experience and knowledge I have gained in seeking this public seat over the last 9 months has been remarkable. Compounded by the many wonderful people I have met and or gotten reacquainted with has been a refreshing period for me in my life. I've been introduced to a whole new community of people who give of their time, money and skills. To all of you I say thank you!!!

My quest to be your Lehigh County Commissioner has broadened my awareness of why we need to treasure our inalienable voting right as US citizens. We must participate in our political process and give of ourselves, our time and attention to elect those who have the people's best interest in mind. Lehigh County taxpayers and residents need a commissioner with the knowledge and understanding of governing with a broad mind and a clear understanding of the issues. Over the next two weeks, I'd like you to give me the opportunity to tell you why I am that person.


michael molovinsky said...

I was disappointed, but not surprised Mr. Easterling did not show up at the Forum on Lanta at Faith Baptist. Although sympathetic to the cause and familiar with the church and pastor, Mr. Easterling was recently hired by Mayor Pawlowski and currently is a city employee. I myself would prefer to vote for those who can not refrain from speaking out.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Michael, I did not know that Easterling was one of the dudes invited. I'd like to hear his explanation for failing to show up. If his reason for not showing is what you think, then he has no heart.

LVDem said...

Hey bernie, long time no talk. Sorry I haven't been around lately. Life is craZy. I did my 2007 ballot about 5 mins ago over at my place. Always love your thoughts.

My understanding is that Kevin works in the recreation department.

Take care man. We'll talk in another couple of months.

michael molovinsky said...

i personally invited him over the phone, he expressed solidarity to the cause. i think the issue is courage, but in fairness to him most people would be reluctant to buck their new boss. frankly, regardless of that, i don't think a city director should be a commissioner; just too much intertwining politics involved to be a proper advocate for the people.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LVDem, I miss you, buddy. You must be a busy guy.

Larry Kisslinger said...

If Kevin were to win and I hope he does, he'd have to resign his City position. It's the law and cannot be altered for anyone! We need some down to earth people serving in government along with all the
so called "experts".

michael molovinsky said...

i'm not known for my political correctness. I had a problem when they changed lawrence street to martin luther king drive. i had a problem when they changed union terrace to joseph dadonna ; i have no problem with honoring these men, but name something new after them, don't revise local history. today we learn mr. easterling and others want a memorial park for dr. king with a statue costing over 400k. i think allentown has more pressing needs.

Kevin Easterling said...

First I'd like to thank Bernie O' Hare for the support/ endorsement on Lehigh Valley Ramblings. I just happen to go to the site this morning. A very refreshing surprise.

Secondly I'd like to apologize for not attending the meeting on the Lanta Issue. My absents had nothing to do with my job influence but more with the fact that I tried to schedule your meeting too close to another meeting I had to attend and just could not make it. I am very outspoken on many issues and would never take a job that limits that.
I have never had that issue with Mayor Pawlowski. I’ve bee a life long resident and if you really know me you know how that LANTA Bus (Gentrification) issue really burns me. Please send me any follow up info. I assure you I can be very productive in supporting the issue even though I could not attend the meeting.

Thirdly, Larry thanks for the well wishes but there is no law that I have to resign my position with the City if I win a Lehigh County seat. I did my home work.

I encourage you all to give me a call if you have any specific questions about me or my views on the issues in the City of Allentown and Lehigh County. My heart and mind is truly in to this race. I’ve lived here all my life and want what’s best for the entire Lehigh Valley. I don’t liken myself to a ‘know it all’ or to have all the answers, but I am willing to listen learn from other perspectives.

Thanks for being participating resident. We need so many more of us.

Kevin Easterling cell phone 484-223-9399

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. Easterling, Thanks so much for the nice words. I am unaware of any legal reason why you would have to resign your A-town job. In the event of a conflict of interest, you would obviously have to abstain from voting. I really appreciate your concern for the mostly minority merchants who have really suffered as a result of recent LANTA changes. Like I said in my post, Dean Browning brings the brains and you bring a heart. I think you will both be assets, and wish you luck.

michael molovinsky said...

kevin, thank you for addressing the lanta issue. there is a meeting at their headquarters on nov. 13, at noon.(1060 lehigh st.) which allows courtesy of the floor comments. we plan on being there in force, could you join us? michaelm

Kevin Easterling said...

MLK Project

I forgot to mention Mike; I don’t know how old you are so I don’t know if you really know the history of Lawrence Street. I could fill in on how the City's ‘Red lining laws prohibited Blacks from purchasing property beyond that point in the City. At that time, you had 90% of the Blacks who lived in Allentown living in that area. That was the Black neighborhood by design. You think the LANTA thing was an issue, it was nothing compared to some of the practices that this City use to do in those days. When I first moved here to Allentown (from Bethlehem's South Side) they still had ‘Racial BUSING’. Do you know what that is? I lived on 5th & Union streets in Allentown (moved here in early 70’s) while in 3rd grade. It took me 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to school because I had to attend Lehigh Parkway Elementary school to make a school quota of minorities. We only had one bus in the entire ASD that gave rides to ALL minority students, so we picked up every Latino and Black student on one Bus and took all of them to various schools in the District. We where not allowed to ride on any other school bus. My institutional memory could tell you tons of story’s about Allentown/ Lehigh County and its racial and economic inequalities. So the Martin Luther King project is an attempt to heal many of the communities memories and wounds by exposing the ‘real’ and ugly history of Allentown in an attempt to heal the many folks who where affected.

Kevin Easterling 484-223-9399

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. Easterling,

I, for one, was completely unaware of this sad story from Allentown's not so distant past.

michael molovinsky said...

kevin, i'm old enough i knew charlie houser and jim davis,used to pick up my friend on wire street( jim reese) stop by at sosza's store for gene(there were white guys living there also) then go to castle rock. i sorta felt that tearing down that neighborhood perhaps disrupted the black community, i didn't realize that it was perceived by those living there as a ghetto. btw, i grew up in lehigh parkway and attended the elementary school when it was new. perhaps we could temporarily put aside our discussion on the MLK project and join forces for the merchants while their still in business.