Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lehigh Valley's Cure for Insomnia: League of Women Voters

Have trouble sleeping late at night?

Then you need to attend a debate sponsored by the Lehigh Valley League of Women Voters. Although past experience tells me these candidates' nights are total disasters, I made the mistake of going anyway. As is usual here on the east end of Route 33, political mischief is afoot in two county council races. Republicans enraged over campaign chicanery have even scheduled a courthouse news conference at 1 PM tomorrow. Things are hot. I expected to see some Branco bustin' and Maher mashing.

I bumped into Bill White on my way to last night's forum. We both walked into the wrong church. You see, Nazareth actually has two St. John's churches, and both are located at different corners of Broad and Prospect Streets. It's very confusing. Bill, slightly ahead of me, disappeared behind some side door. I heard a lot of shrieking, and Bill stumbled out about three seconds later with a beet-red face. I can't be sure, but think he interrupted a lamaze class.

Once we got to the right place, I noticed quite a few politicos. Bossman Long shadowed me, making a point of sitting right behind me in both debates, even when we had to move to different rooms. Allentown Democratic committeeman George Speros Maniatty, Jr, also insisted on sitting right next to me.

Must be true love. I asked George for a date, but he's a little bashful.

Bossman and George had no reason to worry about what questions I might pose. I couldn't pose any. True to form, last night's LWV debate was absolutely horrible, thanks to a lousy format and officious moderators who are obviously Tempo cast rejects.

Donna Reemsnyder, moderator of the first debate between Tony Branco and Peg Ferraro, was so important she was wearing not one, but two, name tags. She even had a black whistle around her neck. When she spoke, I thought she was giving us acting lessons. But very few of her questions had anything to do with county government. What the hell can a county council about widening Route 22 or regulating traffic on state and township roads? After she had droned on for about forty minutes, she blew her whistle and woke us up. We were then given an opportunity to submit questions, in writing, on little index cards. My question, which asked Branco about his lousy attendance record, was bounced. Too negative. But Reemslider continued to ask a few mindless questions of her own. Several people committed suicide.

Finally, in her very last question, Reemsnyder asked about negative campaigning coming from the Branco camp. Tony, of course, opposes negative campaigning. "I have not authorized or paid for any kind of negative campaign." But he hasn't tried to stop it, either.

After the first debate was over, we were separated into groups for different council races. I woke up Bossman Long and George, and most of us went into the next room to listen to Lamont McClure, Mark Schwartz and John Maher. Ron Angle was stuck at a meeting in Upper Mount Bethel Township, and that gave Maher an opportunity to take a few free shots.

The second moderator was slightly better than the first, but candidates can't question each other and the audience can pose no questions directly. And she just repeated the same, basically irrelevant, questions used in the first debate.

Maher insists, in response to the question about negative mailers and robo calls, "I am running a very positive campaign. Someone else in the district has taken up the banner. It's not part of my campaign." But Maher also unloaded on an absent Angle with this: "He's like a child if he doesn't get his way. He stands up and stamps his feet." I'm pretty sure that's not running a positive campaign.

Unfortunately, most of the audience was asleep when he made that remark.

There is one thing worse than anonymous robo calls or a negative smear campaign. It's a League of Women Voters Debate.
The Morning Call's Joe Nixon was somehow able to stay awake during last night's debate and has a well-written and objective account.


George Speros Maniatty, Jr. said...

Bernie called me an f-word plus you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

For once, little Georgie is right. I also refused to shake your hand. I might catch something. Now go cry on your little pillow.

George Speros Maniatty, Jr. said...

I introduced myself to Ralph Stampone last night. I also shook hands with him.

George Speros Maniatty, Jr. said...

Is it true that Ron Angle has lost most of the Republican vote in his district? I understand his constituents are very angry with his actions.

George Speros Maniatty, Jr. said...

Following is an excerpt from the Express-Times article:

A crowd of about 150 cheered the board's decision, but one member of the crowd, county Councilman Ron Angle, did not. Angle wanted the board to meet with the developer. Angle said the developer could appeal any decision by the board of supervisors on the zoning challenge case to a higher court. "I would rather have the fate of this township in the hands of the board of supervisors instead of some judge in Pittsburgh," Angle said. The crowd booed Angle, who returned to his seat shaking his head.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have just deleted a Maniatty comment that just cut and pasted an ET news article.

If you have an original thought or comment to make, please do so. If you want to refer tor link to a news account, that's fine, too. But you can't cut and paste an entire news account without permission from the publisher.

The news account in question is located here. It explains why Angle was unable to make tonight's debate and also shows him courageously taking a stand. I thank Mr. Maniatty for showing that Angle is a man of conviction.

George Speros Maniatty, Jr. said...

Ron Angle is not a man of conviction.

He needs to stop saying a judge in Pittsburgh will handle the zoning board appeal.

The appeal will be heard first at the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas.

WindGapper said...

Darnit - I should've attended this debate. It's almost 2:30 and I'm still awake. Can you E-mail me a recording? That might actually knock me out.

Did any of the LOWV ask Tony Branco why he didn't answer his questionnaire?

MAD AS BATS said...

Ah, too bad, Bernie O'hare was mean to Sam Bennett's little Suck ass. So from 12:45 to 2 AM this morning, suck up Speros had nothimg better to do but monitor this blog. That is so frickin' pitiful. What are you, Georgie Porgie, Sam's blog nazi?
You have nothing positive to say about your candidate, so you have to start trashing bloggers and Republicans in Northampton?

Anonymous said...

Isn't Maniatty from Lehigh County? What is he trying to do in Northampton County?

Anonymous said...

"Blog nazi"?
George hasn't written anything in this comment thread which would seem to deserve an insult. As enlightening as this blog can be it is dismaying to see it degenerate into demeaning discourse

Bernie O'Hare said...


Did any of the LOWV ask Tony Branco why he didn't answer his questionnaire?

Nope. Probably too negative. They instead ask about what steps the county will take to preserve power at the courthouse, and we listen to candidates talk about turning off lights, etc.

michael molovinsky said...

mad as bats, here's a question. i see you bash people here and there(myself included). i know maniatty, he attends many meetings and consequently is well informed. do you attend anything, or do anything, but carry water for some and bash others on these blogs?

Tom Dietrich said...

Having the pleasure of being on the 'other side of the table' last night, I was not happy about the separation of the districts. Since many reporters had to shuffle back and forth, there was errors in the coverage.

After all the 'save a tree' questions, and little/no 'save a taxpayer' questions, was it worth it for any of us(voters and candidates)? Voters chime in, I've come to a partial conclusion.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Tom, Since I live in Nazareth, I was forced to miss your "debate."

Personally, I think last night's gathering was a waste of time for everyone. The questions were lousy and sometimes had no relation to the county at all. Candidates are not permitted to interact with each other, which is the best way to pick up on differences. And instead of treating the audience like little children, the audience should be permitted to stand up and present their questions.

Tom Dietrich said...

the audience should be permitted to stand up and present their questions.

I love that format, I've learned that I cannot depend on the format I'm presented with prior to some meetings. I receive an email for a 2 minute starting statement, when I got there, they said only 1 minute. My speech went untouched. :(

As citizens, do we need the LOWV's to do this, your suggested question and answer session? I'm so happy that people have listened to my ideas and shared with me theres, I wouldn't mind a more 'open' public discussion.

As you pointed out Bernie, my opponent predicted my defeat long ago, "nice guys finish last". However, I put my trust in the system, regardless of Nov 6 outcome. Which means if we can start a more open forum for candidates, fast questions, nothing mean, maybe it will carry over in future elections. Get more open and honest, unrehearsed answers.

Yes, my glasses are rose-tinted.

Bernie O'Hare said...

MM, Maddy, etc.

Let's take all that stuff back channel. Maniatty has come on this and other blogs anonymously and has launched vicious personal attacks against both candidates and other bloggers. He detracts from meaningful discourse. I understand why Maddy feels the need to let him have it.

Having said that, I welcome opinions that differ from mine. I will argue them, but like the free and open exchange, so long as it does not deteriorate into nasty personal exchanges.

MAD AS BATS said...

I bash people? really?! who'd think that?! Maniatty opened himself up, so that O'hare has been forced to remove his comments. I speak on what I see. The problem with MM and the Maniatty's of the world is they hurl the stones but when reckoning comes, they cry foul. I take my medicine for being outspoken, but when you act like an ass, I call it that way, God knows, I'm the expert on being an ass. At least I'm on topic. I have a life, so I probably won't browse here again until tomorrow Morning, so I will miss all your snappy, original retorts, Not a great loss!

MAD AS BATS said...

I think I will have Yocco's for lunch today, and drive over to a couple of addresses I pulled from the phone book. At each one, I will get out of the car, aim my ass towards the house and fire away. Yocco's and beer, the U.S. army should try that on the insurgents. If you see Hazmat teams at MM's and Maniatty's, you will know where I've been. I'd hit a home on South 15th, but the stench from that rotting corpse of a campaign is already permeating most of the city.

Anonymous said...

Maniatty only went because he wanted to meet you. He's got a mancrush on you O'Hare!

George Speros Maniatty, Jr. said...

Actually Chris Casey has a mancrush on Bernie O'Hare.

George Speros Maniatty, Jr. said...

I have a mancrush on MAD AS BATS.