Monday, May 19, 2008

Is Pawlowski Selling Allentown or Pawlowski?

This is the question blogger Michael Molovinsky asks in response to The Morning Call's "exclusive" report that trumpets Pawlowski's first two years in office and paves the way for his second coronation as King of Queen City.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, he IS a politician, so he is probably doing both. At this point, you can't speak of one without addressing the other,

Alfonso

Bill Villa said...

I agree with Alfonso. Pols do this. The bigger story is what The Morning Call did with the "poll" in the article ...

Joe Hilliard said...

The huge story is that 48% of people who actually live in Allentown think Allentown is heading in the wrong direction. Even if every Republican thinks so, (which I highly doubt - many higher end Republicans LOVE big government), that still means a lot of Dems and Independents also think so.

Plus, for non-residents, only 5% think the Mayor is a factor in the positive things that are happening.

Both are big problems for his Royal Majesty.

Bill Villa said...

The huger story is the what The Morning Call did with the "poll" in their article-- i.e., the deception it attempted to perpetrate on its readers ...

Bernie O'Hare said...

I like Paul Muschick and consider him a very good and perhaps the most neutral of all the reporters I've known. But I question whether that article is balanced. First, it contains none of the complaints about the city from people like Phillips, Hilliard, Herschman, etc. Second, the contention that crime is down in Allentown is not accurate. Assuming that crimes are being reported and that there's not some deep dark conspiracy to refuse to report crime, the reality is that the crime is about the same now as it's been over the last 8 years. if you look at the same data relied on by Hizzoner and The MC, the crime rate last year was just 0.02% below the 8 year average. The article concludes a crime drop based on just two years of data.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Is the entire poll and all related data available for scrutiny? If not why?


Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Bernie,


By the way, I don’t think it matter whether Paul has journalistic ability, objectivity or scruples as long as his bosses don’t do you?


Scott Armstrong

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let's put it this way. I doubt this story was Paul's idea.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,


Do you think it is an accident that the “Call” shuffles its city reporters out of town almost every other year?

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

scott, i agree with bernie that paul muschick strives to inject fairness into his articles. i agree with you there appears to be some restrictions on what topics he covers. i also though kraus was a good reporter, and again agree with you that the rotation of reporters has been an undeserved gift to the mayors. on the other hand,although nerl was sympathetic to your POV on several issues, he certainly wasn't anywhere near as objective as kraus and muschick. with the morning call, be careful what you wish for.

Oh, for Pete's sake! said...

Perhaps the mayor is reaching out to the suburbs since outsiders have been a good source of funding for his campaigns in the past. Or, maybe he's thinking about a future run for a position with a larger constituency than just the city of Allentown, for which this is the prelude.

What ever the reason, the whole article seems suspect. More and more so upon closer examination. Lehigh Valley Somebody has a great post on the actual details of the study, and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion survey results (of just 405 Lehigh and Northampton County residents) are here. Scroll down to question # 25 to get to the Allentown section.

michael molovinsky said...

i think the idea that the mayor is trying to promote allentown by personally attending all these meetings is absurd. even weed and seed had a professional documentary made to promote them. pawlowski is media savvy and knows there are more efficient ways of promoting allentown through ads on channel 69,etc.

Bill Villa said...

The Morning Call can do anything it wants to do and get away with it. In this case, it took a statistically skewed and laughably invalid survey sample that basically refutes "signs of progress" ... and used it anyway to "support" its rosy headline about people's perceptions of Allentown showing signs of progress. Maybe there are signs of progress but The Morning Call's junk science poll surely does not show it.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,

I couldn't disagree more - slick advertising on Ch. 69 will do NOTHING for Allentown. Fact is, the city has been in a downward spiral for a long time. The only way to turn that around is a "boots on the ground" approach, a personal reach to the suburbs is the only shot that might work.

Whether you like or don't like Ed Pawlowski, and whether you think he's only trying for his own benefit doesn't matter - at least he's trying something.

After 4 years of Roy Afflerbach, that is refresing to say the leeast.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:01,

Although I'm sure MM will have his own response, here's how I see it from the boonies of Northampton County.

What Pawlowski has done is to encourage a lot of investment in Allentown. He has sweetened deals with public handouts and tax concesssions, something the blue bloods appreciate. They love him, and that should be a sign to the rest of us.

While pandering to the Lehigh Valley Partnership, he ignored the plight of small businesses along Hamilton Street when bus routes weere changed, claiming it wasn't his problem. He has developed the legal bribery in our "pay to play" campaign finance laws to a fine art, collecting money this year at a big fundraiser but filing no report. He served as A-town's second highest officer under Afflerbach, helping create many of the problems he now claims he wants to fix. Worst of all, he has allowed public safety to continue to deteriorate, ignoring the three pledges he made when he ran for office. But he has pretended there really is only a "perception" problem.

Those who disagree with him or his policies are marginalized and derided. Criticism aimed at him is equated with criticism of Allentown.

He's been a bad mayor his first two years in office.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I don't disagree with anything you say.

I'm from Emmaus, and I can tell you that no one from Emmaus goes to Allentown for any of the shops along Hamilton Blvd. They do now go for the Brew Pub, Manana's, etc. That's a start.

Do I think it's right that public incentives and tax breaks were part of those deals? No, I think it sucks. But the fact remains that without those breaks, these businesses would not have located in downtown Allentown. The risks are far too great. Like it or not, Allentown has been down for so long, that no private businessman in his right mind would make those kinds of investments without support.

Has Pawlowski made mistakes, bad decisions, and done some things over ethical lines? Hell yes, and too many to count. And unfortunately so have most politicians. What a dirty business that is, and that sucks too.

But there is now private $$ going into Allentown (in combination with public support). That wasn't happening for 20+ years.

The only way Allentown turns around is w/ private investment. Hopefully the public support lessens and goes away over time for other new projects as Allentown turns around - that'll be the true test.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The only way Allentown turns around is w/ private investment. Hopefully the public support lessens and goes away over time for other new projects as Allentown turns around - that'll be the true test."

Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I pretty much agree with most of your analysis.

My belief is that a good business idea will succeed with no public money. A bad business idea will fail no matter how much public money is poured into it. I believe the city is going to succeeed, but that has nothing to do w/ Pawlowski. Rising energy costs are going to force people back into cities and boroughs, where the cost of living is more economical.

The best way to attract private investment is by improving public safety, and Pawlowski has reallyt missed the mark here. Instead of addressing the problem, he has tried to pretend it does not exist. That's dangerously irresponsible, and that's why I could never support that guy.

Anonymous said...

I can't make up my mind. Hold on
while I get a drink of water.......

ok, I'm back.

What was the question?

Dam, I'm thirsty again.

Hold on!

michael molovinsky said...

anon 9:01, the "boots on the ground" should be police officers. the tech stuff such as shot spotters and camera's will provide no consolation to the suburbanites. although everybody mentions the brew pub and manana's, nobody says anything about croc rock. that is the most successful venue, without one public dollar. our contribution to the brewpub cannot be justified by any yardstick. if there was full public disclosure of money spend and taxes abated, the power point presentation would be a shocker. which brings me to the next point, why must this information be discovered, why the secrets with our money?

Oh, for Pete's sake! said...

Whether or not Mr. Pawlowski is angling for a re-election bid in 2010, who do you think will run against him? Who would make a good candidate for mayor of Allentown, regardless of party?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I believe Mike Schware, Vic Mazziotti and Mike D'Amore are outstanding prospects.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky, I agree w/ you that all support should be public record. I don't know the figures but assume they're high - if you do and can share I'd be very interested. But I disagree in that I think "boots on the ground" for Allentown need to be both - a much stronger, visible police is an absolute requirement.

Not defending Pawlowski here, but don't forget that wonderful contract Afflerbach signed w/ the police union. I don't remember the stats, but the impact via early retirements on the size of the force was staggering. That takes time to fix. I'd be interested in learning more about where that effort stands.

On Croc Rock, yes it's very successful, I've been there many times.

I'm 45yrs old,have a 15yr old daughter, and again I live in Emmaus. I can't tell you though how many times, when I tell my friends that I was at Croc Rock for a show, they think I'm nuts! The suburban assumption is that Croc Rock is a pit and no one in their right mind would ever go there. But these same people are going to the other places - they're bringing in a different demographic that wasn't otherwise coming into town.

Bernie, while I agree in principle with your comment, "My belief is that a good business idea will succeed with no public money...." I stand by my original statement that if you have a good idea, you'd have to think real hard about locating it in downtown Allentown, as their are many better places in the Lehigh Valley to locate.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 12:29. close to 10 million went into the brewpub(7+), cityline(1.5) farr lofts(.75)manana(.25) and assorted others. this does not include KOZ tax relief. some of these funds are supposedly to be paid back, but often hud loans are forgiven. despite this, we have yet to achieve a critical mass which is attracting private capital. on the contrary, i know some traditionally private sector investors who have sold.

Anonymous said...

How many times do I have to write it? One cannot judge the effectiveness of a mayor by investment alone. With the best of intentions government has become too involved in the “investment” game. This has resulted in a strategy of grant chasing and inducements to lure people and business to the downtown. Instead of fixing the basic neighborhood/housing problems that caused people and business to leave in the first place we are using tax dollars to buy them back.
In the third year of his term Ed continues to lack any real insights on how to turn the city and its neighborhoods around.


Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Scott, you're right - but that doesn't negate some good being done. I'm not judging Pawlowski by investment alone (as previously said, he's screwed up big time in other ways), but he has done something where for years nothing was being done.

Michael, that Brew Pub # is staggering! the others are high, but pale in comparison. I'd have loved to have seen the budget, for the life of me I can't see how they spent that kind of $$. Anyone know what/who reviewed it prior to the grants being awarded? Also, not sure it's available, but does anyone know how much private $$ went in these projects?

Anonymous said...

The Brew Pub got a $7 million loan, which they have been paying back, on schedule, for some time now.

F'in liars.

It was worth every penny. Funny how all the cry babies on here are so upset the place is a success.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 4:10,

No one is upset that the ABW is a success, if it is a success. I don't believe you help your position by disparaging those who complain about public handouts. You and I both know that public money went into the ABW. You and I both know that ABW also gets favortable tax treatment. Why not fully disclose the amount of public investment involved and save everyone a lot of time?

Having said that, the last thing I'd like to see is ABW's failure. I wish you the best. But I think even you would be forced to concede that all this public investment in ABW does little, by itself, to reduce A-town's crime. That's the Queen city's biggest problem.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bernie, well said. Hope he discloses the information you've asked for.