Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lehigh County Commissioner Applicants On the Hot Seat

On Tuesday night, the atmosphere in Lehigh County's meeting room of Lehigh County's was downright festive. Bright green O'Bama signs adorned the wall, and the tables were piled high with Starbucks coffee, soda, cookies of all kinds and buckets of chicken. The crowd hugged and kissed.

Last night, the atmosphere was more like root canal, especially if you were one of five applicants seeking that vacant spot with Lehigh County's Board of Commissioners. No Starbucks. Not even a cookie. Instead, a small table was set up in front of the commissioners' dais.

All eight members met as a "committee of the whole" to pose tough but fair questions to each applicant in alphabetical order. Before the interview, each candidate was actually kept outside the room, so that later candidates would have no unfair advantage. Kevin Easterling, a manager in Allentown's Bureau of Parks and Recreation, was the first to face this inquisition, as the others were led away by Commissioner Andy Roman. As he returned, Commissioner Roman announced, "They're safely secured in the underground bunker."

1. Kevin Easterling

Of all five applicants, Kevin was the only one who actually had an opening statement, pointing out he's the only person seeking the job who actually ran as a candidate. In fact, not only did he run, but he actually garnered more votes in District Three than three of the four candidates who ultimately were elected.

But that was ancient history last night.

Commissioner Dean Browning was particularly tough. "You were running for office and spending money to campaign, but you couldn't pay your taxes," Browning noted, referring to a Morning Call story that had conveniently been published that very day. "How will people who pay their taxes on time feel?" In addition to Easterling's failure to pay his own real estate taxes, Dean was disturbed that Easterling had failed to attend as single budget meeting, or any other meeting, as a candidate.

Easterling explained that his final tax bill, due at the end of the year, had slipped his mind over the holidays, and when he tried to pay it at city hall, he was told he would have to wait for a bill from Portnoff, the city's predatory outside tax collection agency.

Commissioner Bill Leiner, Jr. played good cop, noting that Easterling had made three of four payments on time. Unlike Browning, he placed little importance on Easterling's meeting attendance as a candidate. "When I was running, I think I attended one meeting," Leiner noted. "I know you and I don't have any questions about your qualifications." At that point, Easterling remembered he has meetings on Wednesday evenings with the A youth group and that it presents a conflict.

Chair Percy H. Dougherty, although not so tough as Dean, requested Easterling to explain why he was voting outside his district. Easterling explained that when he renewed his driver's license, his registration had somehow changed, and that he was forced to vote outside his district while that problem was being corrected.

Commissioner Glenn Eckhart questioned whether a city employee won't have a conflict on city issues. Easterling conceded he might be required to recuse himself on some issues involving his own department.

2. David S. Jones

Smart Blond, who also attended last night's inquisition, told me last night that she considers Jones the best of the bunch. She sees eloquence, and there's no question this dude is a smooth talker. So are snake oil salesmen. I suspect he bothers a lot of people. When he ran for Allentown city council last year, he never made it past the primary.

Asked whether he'd have time for the job, he responded, "It's one of the privileges of being an executive pastor, I guess."

He answered lots of questions "in a nutshell." "I'm a fiscal conservative in a nutshell." "I'll give it to you in a nutshell." "In a nutshell, I'm a detail-oriented person." With all these nutshells all over the place, I was waiting for a few squirrels to attend the meeting.

Jones spent the most time in front of the board, saying things like, "I'm a Renaissance man." "I'm going to do something that's very transparent."

He's one of those fellows with a gift for saying very little with a maximum amount of words. He consumed the most time, but when all the smoke and fog had blown away, he had said very little. Asked about a $5,000 unpaid tax bill, this "detail-oriented" person smiled and said he was waiting for an answer, too. He even tried to blame his wife. "She takes care of the household finances."

Chair Percy H. Dougherty asked what I consider the most pertinent question. "Do you think the religious nature of your position might affect your decisions?" Dougherty joked that it might make Jones a "bleeding heart liberal," but I'm concerned by any cleric who decides to try his hand at government. I'm particularly bothered when it's an evangelical cleric. One of five goals of Jones' church is "to fulfill the mission and vision of Lifechurch by proclaiming the Gospel and extending God's love to transform the lives of the unchurched."

3. Freddy Lutz

Like most of his fellow applicants, Lutz has attended only one commissioners' meeting. As he himself modestly stated, "I'm kinda' like a blank slate." Lutz is both sincere and intelligent, but it's pretty apparent that the commissioners will pass on him. Dan McCarthy hinted at that, telling Freddy "We can only pick one and it would be a shame if you don't see this through." Freddy agreed. "You're gonna' see me around."

Freddy's biggest problem is that, until he applied for the job, he was registered independent. Although he only need be a Democrat on the day of his appointment, even Republicans will be reluctant to select a commissioner that is not regarded as a real Democrat. That would invite partisan bickering in a relatively nonpartisan board.

Last night, Lehigh County's Democratic chair, Rick Daugherty, told me he would be "very uncomfortable" if commissioners selected Lutz, explaining that the party needs a little more time to get to know him. Unfortunately for Lutz, he hasn't even met with Daugherty. "I guess you must be too busy, what with all the initiation rites and tattoos and everything," joked Commissioner Browning.

4. Dennis Pearson

Without question, Pearson is easily the most knowledgeable of the five candidates seeking appointment. Unlike the others, he actually knew enough about the courthouse expansion to have an opinion. He's a regular at meetings. "Kurt Derr did his homework and that is what I offer you."

But Chairman Dougherty had a tough observation. "On paper you're the best of all the candidates. But many say you lack the credibility to be a commissioner." Dennis was having none of that. "They're wrong. I'm ready to tackle this mission despite what some naysayers say."

He made a valiant effort, but Dennis won't be selected. Need a reason? How about his opening statement."A pestimist [and that's how he pronounced it] criticizes the wind." It's many little things like that in his speech and mannerisms.

5. Nancy Wilt

The reason for her application? "My three small children are my biggest inspiration and my reason for being here." What, did they tell her to apply?

Her connection to state Senator Boscola was viewed in a positive light by Commissioners Leiner and McCarthy. McCarthy suggested her experience as a Boscola employee gives her a sense of the community. Leiner noted it was nice to "see you again," indicating previous experience with her. Hamm said she'd like to see another woman on the board. Chairman Dougherty feels her position with Boscola "may open some doors for us."

Browning was a little less thrilled, noting there are times when the board must take positions that differ from the state legislature. "I am my own person and my family's interests come first. She[Boscola] and I differ on as number of things."

Of course, that's bullshit. Boscola signs her check. In addition to failing to attend a single meeting, she clearly demonstrated that she has little understanding of current county issues. I'll also note that she never responded to some questions I sent her. Of course, she may never have received them, and I never followed up.

My ranking

This is purely my take, but this is how I rate the candidates: 1) Easterling; 2) Wilt; 3) Pearson; 4) Lutz; and 5) Jones. Easterling is bright, energetic, involved in the community, and had more votes than three of the commissioners who ran last November. His selection is the most Democratic choice. Some of the slams directed at him appear to be disguised attacks at Pawlowski. Let not the sins of the mayor be visited upon his employees. Lehigh County's selection of Easterling would also be a historic choice - the first black member of a county legislative body in the Lehigh Valley. The perspective he brings, growing up in Allentown and working with disadvantaged youth, is invaluable.

The Morning Call has another, more objective, account of last night's festivities.


Allentown Employee who cares said...

I'd recommend Satan himself for Commissioner before I let the at devious agent of Pawloser named easterling on the board.
For someone who is so hard on Pawloser, why are you promoting one of his lackeys?You are writing everything in a pro easterling slant. I don't want anyone from the city administration contaminating a County Government that works. Easterling is like a disease. Wht would you want to take what is infecting the city, and introduce it to a healthy county?

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you commented on Wilt and how it's BS that she doesn't agree with her boss all the time on issues. Why is that BS? I have a friend who works for a member of the legislature, and she disagrees with her boss on a lot of issues.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it would be a benefit to the city to have one of its management employees see how a properly operating county government works. Rather than tainting the county, maybe Easterling could positively influence the city (a pipe dream, I know).

Bernie O'Hare said...

To Allentown Employee who cares,

Well, it's not my call. This will be up to the commissioners, and people will have the right to address them before they name anyone. For all I know, they may not like Easterling at all.

It would be unfair for me to tarnish you because of your association as a Pawlowski employee, yet that is what you would have me do to Easterling. I think it's wrong to slam him just bc he works for Mayor Ed.

My own conversations with Easterling leads me to believe he is his own man with his own ideas. I have met people who detest him. I have also met people who admire him. This includes the founders of Wall2Wall, who consider Easterling their mentor. That says a lot to me.

In also think Easterling is the choice of the people - he did receive more votes than 3 of 4 commissioners in that district. That should not be ignored. I believe that would make him the party's choice.

People have been slamming this poor guy left and right, but when you really like at the slams, there's nothing there. Even the tax story. God, he paid one quarter of his tax bill late. Big deal. Why is that even a story? And why is it published the day of his interview? And why does the same paper that publishes a story that slams two black candidates permit a racist reader forum in which every minority is disbaraged?

The pro-Kevin people I've spoken to would not know Pawlowski if they fell over him. But they know kids and have devoted hour after hour to working with them and molding them to be better people. And that's how you stop crime or racism.

And that's a big difference between Pawlowski and Kevin. Pawlowski courts the wealthy, and his solution to crime is fine dining. Kevin's solution is the kids. That's pretty much the conclusion of the Unity in Diversity group, too.

Kevin has it right.

Kevin may lack the Boscola connection or a college degree, but I like his focus. And he was the people's second choice in that district after Hamm.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bernie, you commented on Wilt and how it's BS that she doesn't agree with her boss all the time on issues. Why is that BS?

Because Wilt, when all is said and done, works for Boscola. It's not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

Well, isn't the same thing true of Easterling? He works for the mayor.

Bernie O'Hare said...

True, but Easterling acknoeldge that in some situations involving city interests, he will recuse himself.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, you started out pushing for easterling, and in spite of all the info received have not changed your mind? forget not paying his tax, how about not attending the commissioner meetings or following the county budget? no offense, but your preoccupied with his race. i don't believe affirmative action has a place in this debate. your backup about him coming in close vote wise should be some consolation if he decides to run again. by your own admission, pearson is the most qualified. this issue of personality or pronunciation should not even be a factor for county commissioner, which has the primary role of scrutinizing the budget.

Bernie O'Hare said...


Pearson is the most knowledagable, but that does not make him the most qualified. Meeting attendance is important to commissioners like Dean Borowning, and he made that clear last night. But how about a candidate who attends no meetings becasue on that night of the week, he meets with the A Youth group? Should he be penalized for that?

I went back and forth on this many times, but reserved my decision until listening to each of them speak. Easterling won me.

And it is not Easterling's race that is so important, but it is the perspective he brings as a result of being a member of that race, weorking with poor young black kids, being somewhat less than wealthy himself. It's an important perspective. He has heart. Browning and Dougherty have enough brains to fill up an entire state of county governments, but I think Easterling has the heart. And it's not a phony heart, either.

It's important to know budgets and numbers. That's why we have Republicans! But for the heart and passion and understanding of that district, we need people like Easterling, and not because of his color.

And don't discount the popular vote. That's how this form of government works. The people have already chosen Easterling as #2 of 4 candidates. It is a slap across the face of the people to choose someone different without a very good explanation.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, if coming in second counts, orlaski should be our congressman, senator and everything else. you have made some very good points why easterling may have been a good choice for director of recreation, but not county commissioner.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Michael, There's a difference between coming in second in a two person race and second in an eight person race. That cannot be ignored. Governmental bodies need bean counters, to be sure, but they also need people with heart. Why not give the people in that district the person they wanted?

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, excuse my laziness to research this, but this electoral mandate you came up with, was this an at large seat, but you determined although he lost, he got a certain amount of the seats in the district which derr now vacated, and you have concluded he would have been their second choice if the voters had such an opportunity?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Michael, Your laziness is forgiven. I actually posted this research in my first blog about Easterling's interest in this race.

Last November, there were 8 candidates for 4 at-large seats. In District 3, Gloria Hamm was the biggest vote getter. Kevin Easterling had the second highest number of votes overall.

I think that is a reflection of the will of the people. I realize it's not a mandate, but it's very persuasive evidence in a democracy.

michael molovinsky said...

and if derr wasn't from district three you would have no hook on which to hang your stretched out hat

Allentown Employee who cares said...

If Lutx is DQ'ed because he just became a Democrat, then the standard of Dq'ing Easterling for the address shenanigans is valid.
C'mon, several years, and he hasn't straightened out his voter registration? He can't pay his taxes on time, and you seem to have forgotten how he stuck it to Fred Banuelos of the Alliance for Building Communities. I see some rose colored glasses on your oversized fat head, mr Blogger

Bernie O'Hare said...

I see some rose colored glasses on your oversized fat head, mr Blogger

That just means there's more of me to love. Let's look at your sllegations.

1) He voted at the wrong addrerss twice, not over the course of several years. It happens. The voter registration office will sometimes put eople in the wrong precint. Easterling sent a change of adress in afet the primary and it was still the same in the general. Now, I know plenty of people who experience that kind of problem in NC. This is in no way a reflection on that person.

2) Can't pay his taxes on time? He was set up on quarterly installments and made 3 payments on time, He tired to pay the 4th one a little late but had to what for all the late fees from the blood suckers. I would not slam a person just because he has a lot of money.

4) Slamming Fred Banuelos? If this is so, then how can Easterling be a Pawlowski lackey?

This decision will be made by the commissioners, not me, next Wednesday. before they do so, you have every right to make your concerns known to them, and I would urge you to do so. I have no crystal ball. But the more info a governmental body possesses, the more informed its decisions will be. The LC board has really done a great job of gathering information and its thorough interview process was actually very good government. But it's their call.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, i believe if you make three quarterly payments, and are slightly late on the fourth, it is NOT given for collection.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well Michael, here's what Easterling claims. After the new year, when Easterling attempted to make a late payment, he was told he had to wait for the Portnoff parasites to send him a notice.

Now if you're going to suggest he is being untruthful, I'd ask that you call him first and get the details from him in person. He has already been slammed quite a bit.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, excuse me for pussyfooting. easterling did not own up to not paying his taxes in a timely fashion, instead he made excuses. he was "out of town", he assumed "there was a grace period", the city required "an invoice".

geoff said...

Last night was an interesting exercise in democracy. It was interesting to see Lehigh County Gov't shine.

We win with any of these three. I don't envy the decision that the 8 sitting commissioners have to make.

Allentown Employee who cares said...

easterling is full of excuses. How come no one has asked him to describe exactly what he does as the "head" of recreation. We already have a superintendent of Parks and Recreation down here. It is really sad about Pearson, because you and the other fat blogger really slammed him.
If I had to chose who to represent my district, I wonder who Kurt Derr would recommend. Did he encourage Wilt?
She's paid her taxes, she has no residency issues, she's a real Democrat, and her experience in a State Senator's office has probably exposed her to many issues. Maybe Gloria Hamm has a point, another woman wouldn't be so bad, considering how lame these candidates are in general.
I would like to know if Kurt Derr encouraged Nancy Wilt.

Allentown Employee who cares said...

Geoff, who are your top three?
By matter of default, I rank it Wilt, Pearson, Lutz, and a tie for worst between Jones and Easterling.

michael molovinsky said...

open letter to percy dougherty; mr. chairman, after your comment last week acknowledging bloggers at the meeting, and your question to mr. pearson last night, i fear is this blog may have an undue influence on your selection to replace mr. derr.(no offense to o'hare intended) i assume nothing in mr. pearson's resume suggested a "credibility" issue. again, in due respect to o'hare, you should know there are no "credibility' issues as far as the hundreds of members of several east side neighborhood organizations that mr. pearson has led and participated in for decades. i would think this selection should not be based on "american idol" criterion, or on which applicant may have connections with the state. respectfully, michael molovinsky

geoff said...

sorry, I meant to say we win with any of these 5. Not sure where three came from.

My ranking (again, emphasizing that I can be happy, as a resident of the city, with any of these five):
-Easterling (Bernie's point about the votes he received in the last election plus his showing... the stories of his mentoring and involvement in the community are just as frequent as Dennis' stories on the East End)
-Jones (I see him as having a tremendous understanding of his values, plus he cited his personal goal of developing people with purpose... that's important to me)
-Wilt (experience with clean water action is a huge plus...seeing as Kurt works with Boscola, I find this concern as a non-factor... why is it an issue for her and rarely raised for Kurt?)
-Lutz (land use, engineering experience a huge plus, but his registration is an issue... I was present when Bernie asked Rick his question... I can see how the party might have some concern, though I could care less. I hope he runs at large in a few years).
-Pearson (smart man on paper, but I honestly had a hard time following him when he spoke. Not sure if that plays a role in this. the claims of his past activism are lost on me... I'm too young to have a direct connection, though I certainly appreciate his work)

I wouldn't know any of these people if I saw them again today. Last night was the first time I met any of them. I handed each a business card and am hopeful that they use me as a resource if appointed. Any will serve the city very well. That was the impression I got last night, and I guess that's the impression that matters the most to me right now.

Anonymous said...

You can contact Mr. Dougherty, or any commissioner, at the LC Commissioners office 610-782-3050 or e-mail any of the commissioners by accessing the LC website. Chairman Dougherty's e-mail, as listed on the website, is Your concerns are better directed to the commissioners in this manner rather than an open letter on the blog.

geoff said...

Mike, I would respond that Dean Browning asked questions that came from Morning Call writing. In our society, all forms of media have an influence on political discourse. It doesn't matter if it is a blog or newspaper. Believe me when I say that there were no American Idol criteria used last night.

Mr. Pearson's activism in the East Side would have been strengthen if his neighbors had attended to comment during public comment time. Hopefully they show up next week to "testify" for the man. That would help me get a better understanding of the man.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Geoff, I really appreciate your analysis because you were there, too. Like "Smart Blond," you liked Jones, too. So I'm in the minority on that one.

Mike, I'd agree with Geoff's point about contacting Dougherty directly. Unlike most public officials, he has an email address that is available for just that purpose. I doubt seriously that your concerns are justified. Like you, Dr. Dougherty has had an opportunity to see and listen to Dennis many times over the years.

Incidentally, Dougherty never said that he questioned Pearson's credibility. he merely suggested that "some may" question Pearson's credibility, and he gave Pearson an opportunity to set us straight.

On the whole, the commissioners seemed to find a weakness in each candidate and ask him or her to explain it. This is not a beauty contest, but your standard (he who understands a budget is the best choice) is not necessarily my standard.

But like Geoff said, if Pearson really does have many fans in the east side, he should ask some of them to come, send emails or letters of support.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, as you commented in a previous posting, you know pearson is very appreciated on the east side. i believe you were told "they love him". but that aside, did geoff suggest the other applicants provide testimonials? geoff was impressed by someone we(you and I) found to be transparently under-qualified. this should not be a popularity contest. this should also not be a contrived recount from the third district. i would hazard a guess that the decision making process has been completed.

Bernie O'Hare said...


A respected elected official has told me, "They love Dennis on the east side." Yet, his biggest weakness is his unusual personality. What better way to overcome that than by testimonials from people who will claim that's the way they like him? Geoff made a positive suggestion.

And hazarding a guess that a decision has already been made is just that - a guess and a hazardous one. You are suggesting, without any evidence, that commissioners had some back room meeting. What I've seen is the most open process I've ever experienced in selecting a candidate.

Based on the questioning, I'd guess Wilt is acceptable to more Rs than Easterling, but I don't know that. They might be in love with Jones or perhaps they'll do what Julian has cynically suggested and appoint Pearson, knowing he'll be easy to knock off.

I'm a veteran of many Sunshine Act claims, and i don't even have a whiff of any impropriety here, and am a little surprised that you would suggest that.

geoff said...

Mike, I'm afraid you are engaging in an argument over something fairly trival (providing "testimony") simply b/c you don't agree with my final observation. If you don't like my conclusion, that's your call, but please understand how petty it sounds. I see a pattern of dismissing my comments outright either by focusing on the petty (providing "testimony") or engaging in name calling (like when you called me a Yuppie last weekend). Funny thing about politics: communication matters. Turn people off and they tune out. I'm starting to get turned off.

That said:
All of the candidates would be wise to bring supporters with them next week. Want to prove political skills: organize demonstrated political support.

Additionally, who do you say is underqualified? I don't see any of the candidates as underqualified. Kevin has experience in a variety of gov't/non-profit settings, Jones is an ordained pastor with a ton of business experience, Wilt is around a legislative office daily, Lutz works in planning and Dennis holds a masters degree (very similar to the one I hold) with what appears to be tons of community activism.

I'm checking out... enjoy the conversation.

addicted said...

I've noticed from the comments that answering any questions about Easterling is ignored. What happened at ABC? Silence is deafening from the know it all blogger. How about some more in depth information? Does Easterling has a habit of being late? Then it is relevant. Wht did he wait more than one election to fix his voting address?
Part of holding office is paying attention to detail. Has he done that in his recreation job? I can't compare that to examining a multi million dollar budget. Easterling has so many questions, and pat answers, almost like the "snake oil salesman" you categorized Jones to be. Why is he getting a pass? Can't the R's tell the D's who they are willing to vote for, to negate an impasse and embarassing disagreement?
I disagree with Geoff and his premise. I think no matter who we get, we may lose. At least Dennis Pearson has no ties to the political establishment, and I like that about him.

addicted said...

I never thought I would see the day that I would have an agreement with Mike Molovinsky, But maybe Warren is right, you will shill for anybody who makes you feel important and enables your need to be the "king" Mr. O'Hare

michael molovinsky said...

geoff and bernie, i suggest that at this point the commissioners have individually decided who they support, i didn't mean to imply they have already decided as a group. i find the concept of testimonials absurd. geoff, jones has only returned to the area three years ago. in my very short conversation with him i found his answers evasive, the commissioners purpose is the county business, personality and inspiration is for the executive branch. geoff, i'm not interested in politics as you know it, i tell truth, bluntly, as i see it.

michael molovinsky said...

geoff, there is nothing in jones' resume that states he is an ordained minister, do you have information beyond that? I assume he worked for Averydennison, but exactly what position he last held is also obscure. i'm not asking these questions to demean the man, but you stated he is an ordained minister with a "ton" of business experience. i see a resume very strong on suggestion but lacking facts, furthermore he was evasive when bernie asked about his proper clergy title.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Michael, I agree with your views regarding Jones. He fails to impress me. But he impressed both Geoff and Smart Blonds.

As far as being an ordained minister is concerned, his resume does not show that anywhere. You are correct. But in his statement to the commissioners last night, Jones said he's been an ordained minister for the past 16 years.

I confess that I am by nature leery of clerics, with the exception of Rev. Dowd. Perhaps I've judged him too harshly.

Also, I think Geoff makes a very good poinst when he suggests that others should speak up. I'm still willing to listen. Why would the commissioners be any different?

Anonymous said...

Easterling says he might have to recluse himself on City of Allentown Recreation issues. Well Keck Park was an issue that the County was once involved with. The Third County District would receive poor representation if Kevin would have to recluse himself from that issue if it should arise again.

Bernie O'Hare said...


You just diminish yourself when you engage in those petty personal attacks. I respect Michael, Smart Blond, Geoff and even that anonymous "employee who cares." They've kept this conversation on a high level. They don't debase themselves like you just did. I won't respond to that garbage.

Many of your questions have been raised and answered over the past few weeks. Some were even answered last night. But let me summarize.

1) After speaking to everyone involved, I don't think anything happened at ABC that is relevant to Easterling's current application. Easterling filed a small claim and was paid a sum of money. That would not have happened unless there was some merit in Easterling's claim.

2) Voter registration. Easterling never had a problem until last year, when he renewed his license. When he attempted to vote in the primary, he found out he was in the wrong district. he filed the forms to correct that situation, but it was still screwed up in November. That could and does happen to many people. It has happened to me. it sometimes takes a little while to straighten those things out. That is a nonissue, and Dougherty pretty much said as much.

3) Is Easterling habitually late? I presume you're asking about his taxes, and my impression is that this is an aberration. If I am wrong, then someone will point it out. But that does not bother me as much as it bothers others. Easterling is not a wealthy man, and sometimes does not have the money to pay all his bills on time. last time I checked, that's no crime. I no plenty of good people who have trouble making ends meet. I'm one of them.

4) Easterling's current position. I have no credible reason to believe that Easterling is doing anything other than an outstanding job in his current position. I do know some people who interact with him and they adore him.

5) Budget experience. Easterling has worked on budgets between $500k and $2MM. Compared to heavyweights like Browning or Dougherty, he's a piker. But I like his heart and passion and thinks he will bring a perspective to that board that has never been seen before in the LV.

6) Pat answers. Easterling is no smoothie. I watched Dean Browning chop him into pieces last night and several times.

7) If you think Pearson is the best choice for the job, that's fine. He's my third choice. I prefer the cnadidate who already got more votes in that district than 3 of the 4 commissioners elected in November.

8) The Rs can't tell the Ds who they are voting for. that would require them to caucus in violation of the Sunshine Act. Everything is being done out in the open, and no stom\nes have been left unturned for any of the candidates. no one is getting a pass.

9) If I were the shill you claim I am, I'd be rooting for Dennis. He will be a weak candidate and will be easily defeated by any R but Ron Shegda in a district that should be Democratic.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Easterling says he might have to recluse himself on City of Allentown Recreation issues. Well Keck Park was an issue that the County was once involved with. The Third County District would receive poor representation if Kevin would have to recluse himself from that issue if it should arise again.

Dennis, I take a dim view of a candidate for office signing on anonymously to attack another candidate. You have sent me emails and the IP that goes w/ this comment matches the IP from your emails. ( ( If you want to say something negative, be honest and identify yourself. Don't play games here. So far, the only one who is clearly being dishonest is you.

Incidentally, it's "recuse," not "recluse."

Anonymous said...

I think Sen.B is putting tremendous pressure on these guys to put another one of her folks in office.
I have always felt you should work for what you want. Easteling ran so I say he gets it. Or Pearon. I think Wilt will get it due to Boscola pressure but it's not a gift that should be bestowed.
I'm surprised at your remarks on Jones and Pearson.

Your amigo Stoffa is a weird bird and he also uses lots of words and actions to say and do very little.

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

I don't really have a dog in this hunt, but I'll throw in my 2 cents:

Easterling: Seems like a good guy, but I do have a problem with someone who works for one government becoming an elected official in another - especially where things are as intertwined as Allentown and Lehigh County.

Although he is being elected from a district representing Allentown, I do feel (if appointed) he would have a duty to also represent the interests of all county taxpayers. As a city employee, he is being paid to do what is best for the city. There seems to be an inherent conflict here, and he would have to recuse himself from far too many issues to remain impartial.

Pearson: Has an impressive resume of community service, but I have reservations about his ability to function in the commissioner role.

Jones: I have the same reservations about him as you do, because of his ties to the church.

Wilt: Don't know anything about her, but I have reservations about her employment with Boscola in the same manner I have reservations about Easterling.

The other guy: The fact I cannot remember his name says it all.

By the way, I feel your use of the prior election results is not as relevant as you believe. The others were not on the ballot, so I don't think a meaningful comparison can be made.

Again, just my 2 cents, for what it's worth.

addicted said...

I diminish myself, Mr. O'Hare? You offer a slanted opinion, and I'm the one who is diminished? All I asked was legitimate questions, on issues floating about that I haven't received honest answers about from anyone. If Dennis Pearson is posting anonymously, then shame on him, but I have no doubt what soever that you would run down to easterling's house and reveal who I am if you knew.
It's all about the power with you, you revel in hurting people, and now you want to be the only person with any "inside" scoop.

For all your pontificating, the earth will not stop spinning no matter who gets appointed. We are all just inconsequential little cogs, discussing the appointment of a minor level pissant in the great order of things.
You are on your knees, slurping away at Easterling, and God only knows what your reasons are.
So who is next on your hit list?
Casey trusted you, I will never make that mistake. looks like I'm next on your agenda. We are on to you Bernie, and you will regret burning all these bridges.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, i'm not sure that stating someone(easterling) may have to recuse himself is an attack. the majority of people posting here do so anonymously with your blessing, why can't one of the applicants. father o'hare, you have pardoned kevin of all questions, with better answers than he even provided, so with your permission, i will recluse myself, at least for the evening.

Anonymous said...

Said anonymous: Pearson Has an impressive resume of community service, but I have reservations about his ability to function in the commissioner role.

Would anonymous explain his or her reservations about Pearson's ability to function in the Commissioner role.

Seems like a red herring statement to me.

Pearson has learned a lot in his lifetime from informal and formal education. Why is there a denial of this. Why must he be subject to so much false analysis.

Bernie O'Hare said...


Let's get as few things straight. While I agree this is minor stuff in the grand scheme, I resent your reference to county commissioners as pissants. I resent the suggestion that I'm on my knees. As I said, personal attacks like that just diminish you and you lose credibility as a result.

As far as this supposed slight against Casey is concerned, I betrayed no trust and acted as a friend. Anyone who informs you to the contrary is misleading you.

Last week, both of us met with different people who claimed to have the goods on KE. The person I spoke to actually went so far as to tell me that he had once deliberately spread lies about a public figure. My question to this person was how could I trust anything he said to me.

People were talking to Casey, too, making certain claims about the improper use of city computers to campaign, blog and conduct private business. Serious stuff. If true, the person responsible should be blasted.

Before he posted his blog, Casey asked me a question, and I specifically told him about one of his suggestions, "That's pretty weak." I specifically told Chris, "I think you need to produce an email sent from Easterling that shows Allentown's IP. You have not done so. If you have that, you're fine. If you don't, you're not. You probably should list the IP for Allentown and note that Easterling's email comes from that IP."

I sent him this email before he posted his blog. Unfortunately, Chris' blog was just an accusation with no specifics and a link to some IP finder site.

After I saw his blog, I was doing my own write-up about the interviews that would occur that week, and I decided to check the emails I had rec'd from KE myself last Fall. The IPs were not city IPs and I noted that and it appeared to contradict Casey's assertion. I asked him for proof, which should be relatively easy. I called KE, who told me his attorney was the person who told him about the post. He went ballistic and denied the chargers completely, stating he would be "fired on the spot" if he did that sort of thing and that there are "policies" against that.

Then Casey called me and told me I was on the "right track" because my IPs matched his. Well, if that is so, then he was definitely set up bc those were KE's home PC.

When Casey realized this, he had his post deleted, told me he would call KE to apologize and publish a retraction the next day. That was fine with me. I was certain that Casey had acted in good faith and that was the end of it in my mind.

But the next day, I discovered I was a back-stabber and the subject of a blog that vilified me as Satan incarnate. Well, I never stabbed anyone in the back. I had given my friend my best advice before he posted his blog. When I realized it might be defamatory, I warned him immediately so he could do the right thing. Incidentally, he has asked me on many occasions to warn him if he has gone over the line. I did so as a friend.

We all make mistakes. I do it all the time, and am constantly being corrected. I never intended to hurt Casey. My sole goal was to see that our facts are right.

You say that I want to be the only person with an inside scoop. That's absurd. This is blogging, not the news business. If I get an inside scoop, we all benefit. That's the way the blogosphere works. You know this. If someone like Pam or Chris or Molovinsky has an inside scoop, I benefit. To be honest, I wish your blog had a few more inside scoops. I wish I had a few more.

The claim that I just want "power" is equally absurd. Actually, I just like to write. I like to talk about local politics and find things out bc I'm old and know a lot of people. It's nothing special. But the stories I like the most are the ones having nothing to do with politics. I have no political ambition, no wealth and a few friends. I consider Chris one of them, and would never knowingly hurt him. In this incident, he may have hurt himself, and I tried to help him.

Incidentally, I sent the blog written by Warren - the one that vilified me - to Casey. He denied everything that Warren had written except for Warrren's charge that I like Dent, and I do. I also like Cunningham, Callahan, Brennan, Grucela, Rendell and many other Dems.

So far as I know, Casey and I are friends. So far as I know, he does not consider me a backstabber and denies making that accusation.

I will say this much. Without him on your blog, it will die a slow death. And that will not help me but hurt me. In case you haven't noticed, the blogs feed off of each other.

Casey and I are friends. His decision to leave LVPoliblog probably had a lot more to do with you than me.

You and I are not friends.

addicted said...

You keep working on rationalizing that hatchet job you did on Chris Bernie, if it makes you feel better, I'm sure Senator McCarthy found it easy to rationalize discrediting his rivals and opponents as communists, while calling them Americans. You are right, we aren't friends, and never will be.

Bernie O'Hare said...

If trying to get the facts right is doing a hatchet job, you got me. When Casey found out where I was coming from, he removed his post immediately, which was the right thing to do under the circumstances. He and I were on the same page. If you interpret this as some kind of personal assault against Casey, you are seriously mistaken.

You claim that if I knew who you were, I would have dimed you out long ago. I do know who you are. I do know where you work. I have never done anything to interfere with your desire to remain anonymous, although that says it all.

I've wasted enough time explaining things to you. I have other things to do.

geoff said...

I'm not touching any of that last conversation, but I'll respond to Mike's questions about Jones.

All of this is my recollection from Weds night. I didn't take notes so Bernie can correct me if necessary (he was either doodling frantically or take copioius notes):

If I remember correctly he stated he has been ordained for either 6 or 16 years. He is the executive pastor of his church. You don't get the title pastor from a church without being ordained.

The business experience he cited was in Human Resouces at the company you mentioned. He was one of their traveling trainers. When he described his career switch, he said he wanted to develop people for purpose, not profits.

All of this was done on Weds. I believe it would be considered, "on record." I haven't looked at resumes and am basing everything on what I saw and heard.

BTW, I respect your pursuit of truth Mike, I just dont' think you utilize the truth as you see it (it's worth admitting that world views impact what we see as "the truth") effectively. My mom always told me, "it's not what you say, it's how you say it." In politics, especially when you are trying to affect change, how you say it is just as important as what you say. This is why I hold Michael Donnavan in high esteem.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Geoff, According to my doodle,s Jones said he was was ordained 16 years ago. Have a great weekend yourself. it was nice to see you Wednesday evening.

michael molovinsky said...

geoff, interesting that you mention michael donovan, i think he may have great potential, but sometimes asking questions is not enough. i get into this not to demean michael d., but as an example of the difference in my philosophy, and that which you are espousing. i asked city council to repeal the home inspection law, which would have been administered by person with a history of code violations if not for the morning call report. michael d. called for a study committee. while the committee meets for the next 6 months, how many elderly are having improvements mandated by the city which they never enjoyed in their years of being taxpaying homeowners? in regard to the parking authority michael d. is asking questions, but meanwhile voted with all the others to declare the lot used by the verizon workers as excess, next week they will vote to sell it, even if donovan votes no. my point is unless you stand up, act out and speak out, it's not enough. again, my intention is not to criticize mr. donovan, you(geoff) noted him as example of how you think change should be effected. i'm suggesting that approach is too passive, especially when dealing with a steamroller administration which puts things in effect almost overnight.

Anonymous said...

How on Earth can people have reservations about Wilt because she works for Boscola? Kurt Derr, the man who held the 3rd district seat, was liked by everyone and he was (and still is) Boscola's district Chief of Staff while being a commissioner. Why the contradiction?

I love how people on this blog think they actually know a person, or have the inside track. Or they're negative just to be negative. Because God forbid there might be some decent people in our government.

Stop with the contradictions people. If you want the same kind of leadership that you got with Derr, then the commissioners should put Wilt on the board.

Anonymous said...

If one was to be fair and objective and without anti-christian bigotry, regarding the performance of the 5 candidates interviewed on Wednesday night, Mr. Jones was by far the top performer. He was articulate, substantive, forthright, his life experiences impressive and his desire to bring the value of his expertise to the Board of Commissioners an exciting prospect. Mrs. Wilt, though certainly competent, and very nervous, came in a distant second. The other candidates...well..unfortunately..are just not ready for prime-time. Like Smart Blonde, I trust the County Commissioners will see it that way too.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:52,

I freely admit that Jones gives me the willies. It might be anti-Christian bigotry, as you note. But I think it is more anti-hypocrite. Remember how Jesus dissed those Pharisees? Well, Jones reminded me of one. He spent a lot of time saying very little. Where did he graduate? Do you know? He's been an ordained minister for 16 years, so i'd like to know where he went to college and the seminary. If you know, let me know.

michael molovinsky said...

geoff, i have rethought my comments concerning jones. if pastor jones has the credibility to be involved with a faith based organization or church, obviously their impression is hugely more significant than mine. my apology to the pastor.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I retain my reservations about Jones. I do think he's a smoothie. I freely admit a bias against clerics of any religion in governmental bodies. I am particularly bothered by an evangenlical bc those folks are ALWAYS trying to win new customers.

Anonymous said...

One example BO is Mike Dowd. He likes to throw around his cleric deal in public. Yet he has let some brutal things go on as Council President when he could have taken a stand.
Cafeteria Christianity, a beautiful thing.