Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Allentown: Rodriguez-Contrera, Luis O., Specialist, 02-Mar-2007
Bethlehem: Coffin, Christopher D., 1st Sergeant, 01-Jul-2003
Bethlehem: Carlson, Frederick A., Specialist, 25-Mar-2006
Easton: Seifert, Christopher Scott, Captain, 23-Mar-2003
Easton: Klinger, Joshua P., Private 1st Class, 14-Jun-2005
Emmaus: Moyer, Ashly L., Sergeant, 03-Mar-2007
Hellertown: Humlhanz, Barton R., Corporal, 26-Aug-2004
Northampton: Grimes, Kyle J., Corporal, 26-Jan-2005
The new White House policy, as Zbigniew Brzezinski has joked, is “blame and run.” It started to take shape just before the midterm elections last fall, when Mr. Rumsfeld wrote a memo (propitiously leaked after his defenestration) suggesting that the Iraqis might “have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country.” By January, Mr. Bush was saying that “the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude” and wondering aloud “whether or not there is a gratitude level that’s significant enough in Iraq.” In February, one of the war’s leading neocon cheerleaders among the Beltway punditocracy lowered the boom. “Iraq is their country,” Charles Krauthammer wrote. “We midwifed their freedom. They chose civil war.” Bill O’Reilly and others now echo this cry.
Update: These neocon arguments are pretty close to those I read in the comments to my Memorial Day post, which certainly suggest we should just leave and let them all kill each other. Whether they know it or not, "liberal" bloggers are paving the way for neocons and genocide. Ain't that a kick in the pants?
That's the goal Northampton County's energetic Director of Public Works, Steve DeSalvo, set when he told council a few months ago about finishing the courthouse expansion.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Most Baghdad residents agree. In a recent New York Times poll, 64% state we should remain until security is restored, the Iraqi government is stronger or Iraqi forces can operate independently.
More compelling than this poll is the opinion of former CenCom commander Anthony Zinni, who opposed the decision to invade. “When we are in Iraq we are in many ways containing the violence. If we back off we give it more room to breathe, and it may metastasize in some way and become a regional problem. We don’t have to be there at the same force level, but it is a five- to seven-year process to get any reasonable stability in Iraq.”
Friday, May 25, 2007
Palmer Township police cited Fleck with theft of services earlier this week for dumping campaign signs in a Dumpster outside the Auto Zone on 25th Street without permission.Police even found bundles of Fleck's monthly paper, The Irregular, in the trash. Advertisers will be thrilled to learn their products are being promoted in dumpsters. Deegan promises details tomorrow.
Fleck says it was just a few signs and he can't believe police -- and the newspaper -- is making a big deal out of it.
On Wednesday, I ranted about Northampton County Council's decision to reappoint Glenn Taggart, VP of Taggart Associates, to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. County exec Stoffa assured council Taggart's "got nothing going on," and only councilman Ron Angle remained unconvinced. But last night's meeting of the LVPC, confirms Angle had it right all along.
Taggart had to abstain from four different matters in which he had a personal interest. Nothing going on?
What's even more amazing is the conduct of another Northampton County rep on the LVPC, Andrew Twiggar. Guess what? Twiggar is a principal with Dunn Twiggar Company, LLC, an outfit pimping a new development along Allentown's Lehigh River called "The Waterfront." No longshoremen or ex-prize fighters here. Not in this Allentown Shangri-La. The plan is to replace 150 manufacturing jobs at the Lehigh Structural Steel property with 560 condos lying smack dab in the middle of the flood plain.
Jam 'em in there, bippy! Jersey commuters, come on down!
An island for whitey in an Allentown sea of black and brown. De facto segregation. Brilliant! And those manufacturing jobs? Poof! They'll be replaced with jobs for cocktail waitresses, chambermaids and busboys who can't cut it at Bethlehem's casino. They'll be servants as the rest of us whip around in our fancy Rollerblades and cool shades.
Now don't get me wrong. There are many positive positive aspects to this proposed redevelopment, and Our West End Neighborhood features some lovely pictures. But we'll never know whether the LVPC judged this project on its merits or because it was presented and promoted by one of its own - an insider.
Last night, Twiggar, with his Northampton County name tag boldly emblazoned on his jacket, wowed LVPC members as he bounced through a 45 minute slide show.
I doubt he showed any flood pics. According to Angle, no developer gets that royal treatment. And surprise, surprise! The LVPC just loves the idea. Concerns about jamming all those condos in a floodplain were summarily dismissed. "This is Allentown." I understand LVPC Boss Mike Kaiser rushed from the meeting to buy a little captain's hat for the proposed marina.
Twiggar, like Taggart, piously abstained from the vote. But he failed to "publicly announce and disclose the nature of his interest as a public record in a written memorandum filed with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting," which is required under our state ethics act. I've yet to see a local public official ever do that. Let's face it. As an insider, he had an undeniable advantage.
Tiggers, Twiggars and Taggarts have a good thing going. They'll grab a property lying in a floodplain, draw up a fancy plan with hockey rinks, theatres and other baloney, and jam every square inch with condos. Then they'll look for a developer with deep pockets and, of course, some public bucks. And they'll use their inside connections on this and that commission to ease those pesky zoning and planning requirements. They use exotic terms like "project manager," but they're just front men who bounce really well from public to private sectors.
Not long ago, a developer without a front man vainly tried to promote an affordable housing development in South Bethlehem. He only had Habitat for Humanity on his side, and the planning commission shot him down. They were concerned this developer might later sell to someone else. The chair of this planning commission? Why, it's Andrew Twiggar! He should know.
When I first wrote about this on Wednesday, one commenter had this reaction. "I get it now, attack productive businesses, politicians, candidates or people who actually have 'real' jobs and contribute to society on a daily basis. Good -- bad -- indifferent. " Actually, these insiders contribute to nothing but their own pockets. "Tiggers don't like honey." But Twiggars and Taggarts do. And if someone even drops a hint about their real motives, they hire a lawyer to intimidate you. Since Taggart has already threatened to sue me for remarks I never made, I might as well make it worth the effort.
John Stoffa should ask the Tiggers, Twiggars and Taggarts to bounce out of the LVPC. He loves to say, "There's nothing wrong with government, but sometimes, the wrong people are in government." This is a classic example.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I'm an idiot.
LVDem, unlike me, is probably the closest thing we have to a political strategist in the Lehigh Valley blogosphere. His new job keeps him busy, but I'm always happy to see one of his posts or comments.
So who is this anonymous blogger?
As lousy as I am at analysis, I'm a pretty good spy. In fact, I did some freelancing for the Bush admin right before it decided to invade Iraq. And now, I've solved the mystery. Here's LVDem, captured on film!
I caught him saying this. "I like big butts and I can not lie, You other brothers can't deny, That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist ..."
This is illegal? Editors have pointed shotguns at me for years!
Angle's show was one that always got better. As a councilman, he used inside connections to break stories. He attracted loads of local pols from both sides of the aisle, from Charlie Dent to John Stoffa. The Morning Call's Bill White occasionally dropped by, usually after kicking Ron around in one of his columns. His callers have included Lisa Boscola, Snarlin' Arlen, Joe Long and this strange dude from Harrisburg named Bernie Kieklak. But you didn't have to be a somebody to call in. Anyone with a beef could express it. I listened as state reps Rich Grucela and Joe Brennan talked with taxpayers about state house reform, and Northampton County employees had an opportunity to vent their frustrations with county exec Stoffa.
It's been an informative show, and Angle occasionally surrendered the reigns to me as guest host. I usually brought in state reps like Rich Grucela and Joe Brennan because they're both so personable and humorous that all I had to do was answer the phone. I did get in big trouble once - when my guest was Ramona Africa. Alright, twice. I managed to rig a George Bush speech to make him sound even goofier than he does on his own, hard as that may be to believe. A lot of listeners took it seriously, and were outraged to learn I was spoofing them. Alright, I was in trouble pretty much every time I did his show. Who am I kidding?
Was it a great show? No. Goofy sound effects and dreary music prevented that from happening, and Angle can be unfair to callers. But it was local, informative, and the best political talk you'd hear in the Lehigh Valley.
Angle was at his best when he'd bring on an underfunded candidate trying to get a message out to voters, whether it was Russ Shade on the left or Bonnie Dodge on the right. And Angle condemned and called very public attention to a few of the many smear campaigns orchestrated by campaign consultant Tom Severson at Precision Marketing.
Today, that show comes to an end.
Polka King Jolly Joe Timmer and Angle have been feuding for nearly two years. Angle's salary was first cut, then eliminated. His air time was reduced from two hours to one. Engineer Mark Thomas, under Timmer's instructions, has also been running a repeater every time Angle strays into dangerous territory. If you know Ron, you know the station burned out a few. They made Ron sound like a gerbil. Even Angle's sponsors were subjected to that treatment.
Thomas lied about censoring Angle for weeks, even to me, but finally fessed up yesterday.
Today, when the show ends, we all lose. No other forum offered such easy access to local leaders. I know a lot of you hate the guy. He inspires that type of reaction. And he'll be the first to admit his own shortcomings. But in the end, he always stood up for the little guy. That makes him a small d democrat in my book, and that means more to me than party affiliation.
Mr. Gore’s central argument is that “reason, logic and truth seem to play a sharply diminished role in the way America now makes important decisions” and that the country’s public discourse has become “less focused and clear, less reasoned.” This “assault on reason,” he suggests, is personified by the way the Bush White House operates. Echoing many reporters and former administration insiders, Mr. Gore says that the administration tends to ignore expert advice (be it on troop levels, global warming or the deficit), to circumvent the usual policy-making machinery of analysis and debate, and frequently to suppress or disdain the best evidence available on a given subject so it can promote predetermined, ideologically driven policies.The Bush admin never lets facts get in the way of its opinions. Maybe it should try blogging! But Gore, as noted by Time's Eric Pooley, is the "perfect stealth candidate for 2008."
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
[W]e have been made aware of statements published on your blog, which are defamatory towards Taggart Associates and to Donna Taggart in particular. These statements, which allude to self-dealing and corruption by Taggart Associates, are patently false in nature. The publication of these false statements on your blog demonstrates a ... [blah, blah, blah].
Please consider this letter a warning that if you do not stop publishing these false allegations, Taggart Associates will have no option but to proceed with a claim against you for libel and slander.
Libel? Slander, too? Uh oh.
I immediately checked to see what terrible things I had written about Taggart, a Bethlehem outfit that specializes in "in project funding, transportation management, economic development and environmental planning." I found nothing. Nada. Zip.
But then I checked through my comments, and fellow blogger BillyBytes did make three comments mentioning Taggart, along with a host of others. Nothing about them is really defamatory. In fact, I barely understand them. So I fired off a response to the suits. "I've searched through my blog, and I've never written a word about Taggart. So bring it on, bippy. Sue to your heart's content."
That was the end of it. Until last Thursday, when I saw that Glenn Taggart was nominated by Northampton County Executive John Stoffa for reappointment to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. He's Donna's husband, and he also works for Taggart Asscoiates.
Councilman Ron Angle asked why a fox like Taggart would be in the LVPC henhouse. Stoffa replied, "He's got nothing going on. He adds expertise." Angle was not so sure. "He might have nothing now, but what about tomorrow? And he might have associates coming before the LVPC."
Angle was the sole councilman to vote against Taggart.
As it turns out, Taggart has plenty going on, and this is bound to cast some doubt upon his ability to handle matters objectively, free from the influence of developers like Ashley and the casino. Don't take my word for it. Let Donna tell you herself.
Greater Easton Development Partnership, Inc. - Recently re-structured and re-energized the former Easton Economic Development Corporation into the Greater Easton Development Partnership, Inc. to provide the City of Easton with an active non-profit economic development corporation. This new entity is the sponsoring organization for the new Easton Main Street Initiative to stimulate revitalization of Easton’s Central Business District. Also serves as Program Coordinator of the Easton Main Street Initiative.
Slate Belt - Facilitated development in the Slate Belt area of the Lehigh Valley, PA, highlights which include the formation of a Council of Government; construction of a 40,000 sq.ft. Shell building in partnership with the Northampton County IDA, the Green Knight Economic Development Corp., and J.G. Petrucci Co.; and installation of infrastructure to a 60-acre industrial park in Portland.
Route 512 Improvement Project - Local project manager for the Route 512 Improvement Project responsible for securing the local financing match of $5 million for a $12 million project. In this role, Mrs. Taggart served as the interface between PennDOT, the local municipalities and existing companies and potential prospects for the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park.
Hotel Bethlehem - Spearheaded a $13 million historic renovation of a bankrupt downtown Bethlehem hotel to carry a national flag.
Broad and Main - Facilitated the development of a key downtown Bethlehem property that had been vacant for over 20 years, into a mixed-use retail/office building. This project included the construction of an adjacent 700-car intermodal facility that also serves as a LANTA hub.
Bethlehem Technology Center - Participated as one of the non-profit economic development partners and overall managing partner for the development of a $4 million post-incubator technology building in south Bethlehem.
Petrilla Fuel Oil/ Union Station - Oversaw the successful purchase and environmental remediation of a 10-acre site at a major gateway entrance to south Bethlehem resulting in the attraction of a national chain restaurant and the development of an abandoned train station into a satellite office for St. Luke’s Hospital.
Main Street Commons - Coordinated the financing package for a $12 million renovation project of a former department store in the heart of the north side business district of the City of Bethlehem into a mixed use retail/office complex bringing hundreds of jobs to the downtown. This project included the construction of a contiguous 60-car parking deck.
Ashley Development - Currently advises major local developer, Ashley Development, regarding creative financing strategies for urban redevelopment projects. Acts as liaison between corporation and state entities involved in financing processes.
Las Vegas Sands Corporation – Serves as Community Outreach Liaison for casino operator recently licensed in Pennsylvania. Responsible for coordination of local corporate training programs, community events and public involvement.
Bethlehem Area School Board member Judi Dexter wants to do something about it. She tells me she's considering linking administrative pay increases to performance. This kind of incentive pay will be implemented next year in Pittsburgh, currently ranked #470.
Principals in the Pittsburgh Public Schools will have their skills rated under a pay-for-performance plan to be introduced next school year.
In what Superintendent Mark Roosevelt called a major part of his turnaround agenda, the district is doing away with annual step increases that principals received without regard to performance. Instead, after 2007-08, each principal will be eligible for increases of up to $2,000 in base pay and bonuses of up to $10,000.
The plan, outlined at a school board Education Committee meeting last night, is designed to make principals more accountable for staff and student performance.
"Good schools have good principals," Mr. Roosevelt said. "Poor schools have weak leadership."
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The report itself is private. In fact, the school board prez attempted to impose a gag order on everyone from even speaking about it.
Do I have this right? The dude loses a business, a home, files for bankruptcy, is frequently tardy or absent, somehow brought porn films and sex toys into his own office, and makes a drug deal in his own school office. Nobody had a clue?
Can you spell B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T?
Bethlehem has just been ranked 14th of 17 local public school districts by Pittsburgh Business Times. It likes to look down its nose at Allentown schools, but it's not ranked much higher here in the Lehigh Valley. Sadly, it's number 354 of 498 public schools statewide. With a school board and teachers that seem to be looking out for themselves instead of their students, I can see why.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Tom, today's your lucky day! I've got the data, and it's from a nonpartisan publication.
National Journal's 2006 annual vote ratings define where members of Congress stand ideologically. The House's 429 members are ranked based upon 103 roll-call votes. A score of 78 on economic issues would mean the representative was more liberal than 78 percent of his or her House colleagues on key economic votes during 2006.
Charlie Dent's composite score as a liberal is 46.7, and his composite score as a conservative is 53.3. In other words, as I've been telling you, he's slightly right of center. In fact, National Journal labels him as one of the House's centrists. Of the nineteen members in the Pennsylvania delegation, Dent is the 10th most liberal member. He's also the 10th most conservative.
From most liberal to conservative, here's how the Pa. House delegation stacks up: (1) Fattah, Chaka, D-Pa.-2; (2) Doyle, Mike, D-Pa.-14; (3) Schwartz, Allyson, D-Pa.-13; (4) Brady, Robert, D-Pa.-1; (5) Kanjorski, Paul, D-Pa.-11; (6) Murtha, John, D-Pa.-12; (7) Holden, Tim, D-Pa.-17; (8) Fitzpatrick, Mike, R-Pa.-8; (9) Gerlach, Jim, R-Pa.-6; (10) Dent, Charlie, R-Pa.-15; (11) Platts, Todd, R-Pa.-19; (12) Weldon, Curt, R-Pa.-7; (13) English, Phil, R-Pa.-3; (14) Hart, Melissa, R-Pa.-4; (15) Murphy, Tim, R-Pa.-18; (16) Sherwood, Don, R-Pa.-10; (17) Pitts, Joe, R-Pa.-16; (18) Peterson, John, R-Pa.-5; and (19) Shuster, Bill, R-Pa.-9.
The National Journal even breaks it down by category. Dent's liberal scores are as follows: economics - 44; social - 46; and foreign policy - 49.
Browning is also critical of Lehigh County exec Don Cunningham, who has his eye on the Governor's mansion. That's no secret. And if Cunningham is neglecting his duties in Lehigh County, he deserves a few shots. Although I've seen no evidence of this, I'm told some Lehigh County commissioners grumble Cunningham is never in his office. Maybe he's tooling around in that car he bought with campaign dough.
But Chris Casey, in a never-ending effort to alienate Republicans, has used Browning's innocuous comment to try and engage him "on an intelligent note." He then calls Browning a party hack without substantiation. He also claims Browning is a Cunningham hater, and that we don't need a commissioner who is "disruptive" or a "wrench" in government process.
You tell 'im, Chris!
In my world, we have a name for that sort of thing. It's called democracy. Surely you don't want that in the People's Republic of Lehigh County.
Update #2 (5/23): Casey and Addicted must be magicians. Their entries have mysteriously disappeared. Poof!
February 8: LVDem's famous "odd email" post, telling us that Northampton County Dem boss Joe Long is already "clearing the field" for Allentonian Sam Bennett. Bernie Kieklak, Lisa Boscola's chief of staff, calls Long's venture into political agriculture "so far beyond stupid that it wouldn't surprise me if he wants to be an astronaut some day."
Saturday, May 19, 2007
But Dean, it just doesn't have the same ring.
You want Lehigh County? Go west, young man, to Northern Lehigh Valley Logic. I loved his Election Freddy Awards, and would have plagiarized them, but he's a lawyer. For some biting humor and sarcasm from slightly crazy dudes like Addicted, there's The Lehigh Valley Political Blog, a Chris Casey creation.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Update: In last night's meeting of county council, Angle also claimed LVEDC will prevail upon the state legislature to remove county oversight of the hotel tax. "Buster Brown and the good ol' boys are going to Harrisburg and are going to take the hotel tax away from us forever." He also pleaded with Council Prez Wayne Grube to send him to LVEDC for just six months. "That's a mongoose you'll set loose in the snake pit. Give me six months in the snake pit."
Angle has to learn to stop beating around the bush.
Clarification: I've been asked to clarify two items. First, although the publishers of both local papers are members of LVEDC, they don't sit on its board. Second, the LVEDC is a private non-profit that accepts public money, so my use of the phrase "quasi public entities" is considered objectionable. I believe the use of that term is appropriate, but will note the objection.
Last November, Lehigh County voters were conned into consolidating the Clerk of Courts, Recorder of Deeds and Register of Wills into a single office known as Clerk of Judicial Records. Superclerk!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
$20,000. That's who much the men (and women) in black want from lawyers who appear in front of them regularly. Northampton County judges are macing the local bar for this obscene sum so they can dedicate the courthouse ... again, and have a private little shindig. They plan on inviting DJ Chief Justice Ralph (we need more dough) Cappy, too!
Isn't that nice?
In the meantime, courthouse workers still have no cafeteria.
One lawyer I know was wondering through a hall muttering, "$20,000! I could invite 250 people for a dinner at the Saucon Valley Country Club and it wouldn't cost that."
Two different wills for each estate are being offered for probate in Northampton County. The first set, from 1985, evenly divides the estate among both families. But a more recent set of wills, from 2006, gives Peter Karoly's law firm to brother John Karoly,who has sued enough cops to form his own police department. John's humble motto - "Sometimes Only the Best Will Do…"
A Karoly half-brother is convinced these new wills are fraudulent. But District Attorney John Morganelli refuses to investigate. "You can't just start a criminal investigation because someone believes a will is improper."
Apparently, the feds view this just a bit differently. On May 10, the Register of Wills was served with a subpoena to produce "any and all documents which verify or affirm the signatures of Peter J. Karoly, Esquire and Dr. Lauren B Angstadt, as related to wills maintained in Northampton County." Instead of appearing before the Grand Jury, she's been given the option of mailing the records to the U.S. Attorney's office in Allentown.
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
My good friend and fellow blogger, the Mighty Chris Casey, is still at the plate. He exposed the credit-card scandal that ultimately led to the resignation of two supervisors in Upper Macungie Township. He's run for the office once before and lost.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
"In case you're wondering (and, really, who isn't?) turnout in the Valley is sluggish today."
The former comment comes from Morning Call columnist Bill White: the latter from Morning Call statehouse reporter John Micek. I admire and respect them both. To be fair, Bill made those remarks as the preface to a blog about appellate judge elections, which are confusing. And Micek tells me he actually wishes we had high turnouts like those in Europe.
But I still wish those remarks were never made. They give the impression they don't give a damn about local races. It encourages voter apathy.
Party bosses predicted a 15-17% turnout in yesterday's municipal primary. Lehigh County's registrar of voters stated turnout was "busier than I anticipated." Northampton County's voter registrar claimed 15% of eligible voters had already voted by 1 PM. The Morning Call's headline for this online article? "Lehigh Valley voter turnout slow so far." Doesn't that misleading description also promote voter apathy?
Obviously, the turnout in yesterday's election is much lower than you'll see in a presidential election. It was slow - but not for a municipal primary. If it's between 15-17%, it's a normal turnout. Approximately 30,000 votes were cast in Northampton County, not including absentee ballots. That's about 16% of Northampton County's registered voters. Of course this is too low, but it still met expectations.
During most election cycles, when local candidates strive to have their message heard, the print media hide. Candidates are encouraged to buy ads to get their points across, or have supporters send letters to the editor. This scant coverage makes it impossible for poorly funded candidates to deliver their message. Most citizens have no time to do the "real research." This media policy of paucity promotes incumbents and well-funded candidates.
Bill White acknowledges this himself. "[I]t has to be frustrating to keep trying and trying to get your message out -- in the back rooms of diners, in quiet hotel meeting rooms, on busy street corners -- knowing that in many cases, almost no one will show up, and no one will hear about it."
Many people, who don't really know the candidates or issues, stay away. And then the mainstream media will charge them with voter apathy.
But people really are hungry.
Yesterday, there were 669 visits and 1,643 page views on this very small blog. That's about 200 more than I'm used to seeing on any weekday. People are, in fact, interested in their own government. That's why it's sad to see so little attention from the mainstream. They are the pros. Bloggers lack their credibility. We need them.
Limited resources and space hamstring the mainstream. But the result is fewer votes and declining subscriptions. That's why the Internet is such a useful asset. The Morning Call did post election results online, and Jim Deegan had a terrific post about Mike Fleck's campaign signs in Easton.
Mainstream media could easily use the Internet to make campaign finance reports in local races available. I'll be trying that myself. They establish blogs for Mayfair and Musikfest - why not local races? Increased coverage of these local issues and elections, would both serve the public and might increase circulation.
Now I'll go back to picking my nose.
"Sunshine Act? We don't need no stinkin' Sunshine Act!"
That's pretty much the attitude of unelected Nazareth borough councilman Conrad Bowers. He refused to allow those of us in the lower classes to attend his committee hearings. We might make things "too unwieldy." It's just "not going to work out." Although he had no idea what the Sunshine Act requires, he still insisted on conducting the people's business behind closed doors. When forced by other council members to admit the public, he refused to let them speak.
Yesterday, the voters finally had a chance to speak - at the polls. Comrade Bowers finished dead last among four candidates seeking two positions. Perhaps we thought he might make council "too unwieldy." I guess it's just "not going to work out."
I wonder how many of those 45 write-ins went to Jolly Joe Timmer?
Cost of Ken Brown vote - 8 cents.
Cost of Jeff Warren vote - $14.90.
Money means shit in Easton.
With most precincts in, McClure has 2,559 votes to a very strange 666 for Power, or 79% of the vote. He'll be facing Republican Mark Schwartz, who ran unopposed for the Republican nomination, this Fall.
The more people get to know McClure, the less they like. He'll lose this Fall.
Monahan and Corpora will face off in November. Combining both parties, we have the following vote totals: Corpora - 737; Monahan - 659; and Greene - 202.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Update at 2:40 pm: In a Morning Call article entitled "Lehigh Valley voter turnout slow so far", Lehigh County's registrar of voters tells us turnout is "busier than I anticipated." Northampton County's voter registrar claims 15% of eligible voters had already voted by 1 PM. Party leaders had predicted a 15-17% turnout, but it appears that the current pace may exceed those expectations. We'll see.
Morning Call columnist and blogger extraordinaire Bill White tells us how Republican incumbent Ed Earley plans to retain his seat.
With so little information, it's easy to manipulate us. Upper Macungie Township chose the week before the election to mail out a fat full color newsletter that features no less than three nice photos of incumbent Ed Earley, who is seeking re-election in a contested primary. Its glowing account of the township's progress serves as a great free campaign ad for a guy who, at best, was asleep at the switch while his two co-supervisors were grossly misusing township credit cards. I don't think the timing of this mailer was a coincidence.
Hi boys and girls! Got Christ? Who's your Buddy? Who's the slick with the pick? That's right, bippy, it's Me. O'Hare doesn't know it yet, but I just locked him in the can. I'll let him out at 8:01 PM. Who says I don't have a sense of humor? And now let me give you my election day picks. This will boil your holy water.
Monday, May 14, 2007
The Morning Call's Bill White has published an excellent two-part exposé, shedding light on what increasingly appears to be a "pay to play" scheme.
A frustrated Larry Kisslinger, who had resigned from BHA a few months earlier, had this to say to Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan. "Bible says: the more you know, the more you worry ... and ... I worry a lot for you and BHA! Go figure!"
Today, at 4 PM, the BHA made its decision. Did it go with the outfit recommended by its own consultant? Or did it pick the Democratic campaign contributor?
Update 2: The Morning Call also has a well-written account of the 4 PM meeting.
1.) We all know [Norco Dem boss] Joe Long would like to see Sam "0 for life" Bennett be the Dem nominee in the 15th Congressional District. As one county Dem on the ballot put it to me, "Let's face it, Sam's been more loyal to Joe than Lisa."
2.) McClure, in his psychosis, believes he will one day be Congressman McClure, so he wouldn't mind seeing Sam run and lose to keep the seat away from more prominent Dems (Lisa, Jenn Mann, Callahan).
3.) "Boss Long" believes he is making his point with the Stofkos [Lisa's family] to convince Lisa to stay out.
4.) McClure believes the same.
5.) One of the big hang ups for Lisa about running is that her family believes a run will be stressful. By decimating Will, "the machine" folks are proving their point to her. This is what lies ahead of her.
Sounds sexy. Personally, I think McClure is just a bully.
One thing he hasn't earned is a seat on Northampton County Council. He's lost whenever he's run. He'll win on Tuesday, but his sleaze campaign against Will Power has probably guaranteed that Dems will lose control of county council in the general election.
For decades, Liz Romig kept the peace in volatile northeast Bethlehem. Along the way, she earned the respect of judges and lawyers, most of whom considered her Northampton County's finest district judge.
I have no doubt that Johnny Cruz and Gil Negrete would be fair-minded and good magistrates. But a Liz Romig only appears once every generation. Pat Passaro, who cut her teeth in her mother's courtroom, deserves a shot at following in her mother's footsteps. She is certified for the position.
As a Democrat, I lean towards Corpora, an affable and soft-spoken Easton leader. But there's no doubt in my mind that Monahan is by far the most qualified of the three. He's the only one who can hit the ground running. The other two have not been certified.
And I deeply resent an anonymous outsider's last-minute sleaze attack at Monahan. Looks like Monahan offended some pretty powerful people, probably by doing the right thing. We need people with that kind of integrity on the bench.
That's how Yvonne Falcone ended her conversation with me at a candidates' forum for five mini-judge hopefuls at the Nazareth News Agency a few weeks ago. I had asked her some pretty tough questions, and was impressed by her answers.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Jim Deegan, Express Times managing editor, has a terrific blog about those signs. "Someone even told me he spotted one attached to a shad reeled in near the free bridge."
At the time, I told you it's no conflict. McClure was just playing politics. And Solicitor Lenny Zito agrees. A public official who benefits or suffers only in the same way other members of the community, has no conflict as a matter of law. If the law were any different, no municiplaity could ever adopt a budget.
This was just McClure McMud. But he's no James Carville. Truth be told, Lamont's no legal whiz, either. He's violated the Sunshine Act ... twice. He's proposed invading the budgetary reserve, a Home Rule Charter violation. And now he'll probably try to get Lenny Zito dumped for following settled law.
While piously condemning Angle, McClure votes on matters involving the DA's office, where his wife is employed. When challenged, he denies it.
On Tuesday, Lamont McMud will be the Democratic nominee. Aren't we lucky?
So much for his so-called Code of Civility.
Update: "If you are voting on something that will affect you one way or another, you should recuse yourself, period." That's what Charles Dertinger told Morning Call reporter Joe Nixon. Under this compelling logic, Dertinger must now disqualify himself from voting on every budget, which will affect his taxes.