Monday, July 21, 2008

Breakfast With Mike Welsh

Who the hell is Mike Welsh? It's unlikely many of you have heard his name. He's only mentioned in the Morning Call once this year, and that's in an article boasting about all the choices available to voters.

Mike Welsh is running for the state house in Allentown's heavily Democratic 132nd district. His opponent, incumbent Jennifer Mann, is mentioned in at least forty Morning Call reports over the same period. Until voters set her straight, this ambitious politician was running for both state house and state treasurer simultaneously. That certainly accounts for some of the coverage.

But not all.

Morning Call columnist Bill White acknowledges the power of the incumbent. "They have much more money for TV advertising and mailers. They tend to turn up on TV or in the papers in the course of handing out giant checks or other official activities." Challengers like Mike, on the other hand, get scant coverage. "[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."

It wouldn't be so frustrating if, now and then, the MSM would cover a frickin' news conference. Forty to one is an appalling comparison.

And so there was Mike Welsh at The Bethlehem Diner on Saturday morning, looking a little flustered, hoping I'd show up. I had already stiffed him once. I was originally supposed to meet him on Friday, but overslept. I'm lousy, too.

Mike has learned the MSM will just ignore him. When he called a news conference over Mann's penchant for using her state rep seat to launch campaigns for every other office on the planet, nobody bothered to show up. I guess that's not news.

I really had only one question for Mike. Are you out of your mind?? What on earth makes you think you have a snowball's chance in a heavily Democratic district against a seemingly popular Democratic incumbent, especially at a time when voter registration offices report that this area is becoming increasingly blue?

Welsh's answer was simple and to the point - Allentown is in big trouble. Its police force is too small. FBI records indicate that, even at full strength, its force will still be inadequate. Welsh notes a legislative measure to add 10,000 police officers, and asks why Mann is not listed as one of the sponsors. This has been hailed as a "landmark" proposal that would signal a new approach to public safety. Does Mann care? Does it bother her that one Allentown mother won't let her three toddlers play outside, even in broad daylight, out of fear they might be killed?

I'll be meeting Mike again for a full blown interview. I'd also really like to know what the hell Jenn Mann is doing for Allentown's poor. I know she excels at raising money, got that $10,000 grant for Parkland ice hockey and wants to bring an ice hockey rink downtown, but how does that help Allentown's mostly minority communities? Imagine what Allen High School's band could do with that money.

Seriously. Ice hockey? That sounds about as brilliant as Allentown's boxing program for 5 year olds.

If you have any questions for Mike, please leave them in the comments.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good Luck with the Bernie Bump!

I have to tell you; thou I don't know you. I don't like Republicans in general, social their nice enough. Conservatism is dead your party has done that. In my view the label you represent has no credibility. Poison wrapped up in a nice smile, followed up by nice clothes.

Anonymous said...

Why I won't vote Republican. Ever!

I love this country.

http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_seyret&Itemid=91&task=videodirectlink&id=88

Canadian comedian Rick Mercer comments on a recent report from the chief economist of the Toronto Dominion bank which suggests that Canadians consider adopting a common currency with the United States. Can you spell Amero? [Fair Use per Canadian Copyright Law]

Anonymous said...

Do you love the corruption and abuses of the state offices and tax dollars by this state's Democrat Party? Take a drive into Allentown or better yet buy a house downtown,try to live there in peace and safety then report back.
Allentown has degraded remarkably while Jenn Mann has been our state rep, is she exempt from responsibility?


Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Hey Scott, if you are going to be consistent in your believes, does that also mean that Charlie Dent and Pat Browne are responsible?

At least be fair....

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jennifer Mann is the state rep for downtown A-town. I'd really like to know what the hell she has done for its residents. One of her legislative aides, Schweyer, actually endorsed LANTA routing changes that really hurt downtown residents and businesses. He's also the same dude who begrudges A-town's minorities the ability to make a few dollars at yard sales. Where the hell is Mann when her own employee is hurting A-town's minority population?

Mann's a Democrat? You could have fooled me. Her solution to Allentown's crime and poverty? An ice hockey rink. That should really do the trick.

What has Charlie Dent done? Last year, he brought in $22.5 MM to the LV to deal with its many problems. This helps pay for 300 video scanner systems for officers in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton. It helps pay for radio gateways for A-town cops, so they can talk to other departments. It incluides flood warning (needed in Easton) and other public safety measures.

What has Browne done? I don't know details about him, but do know that he stood with LANTA's minority merchants and bus passengers. He asked LANTA to restore some stops while a Mann aide claimed there was no problem.

How's that for fair?

In A-town, things are upside down.

Bob said...

I will tell you what Jennifer Mann does. She sends out birthday cards to her constituents. Wow, that is really a significant public service. She has not sponsored any legislation other than signing her name as a party to proposed legislation. And I would like to know what the h*ll Peter Schweyer's duties are. Just a list. Why are we paying him. C'mon Jennifer get real. By the way, how much were the bonuses you obviously have given out.

Bob said...

Bernie there is much corruption in Harrisburg. The payoffs in cardboard checks is enormous. I have asked my republican officials why there is so much walking around money given out by the governor. No answer..........But the answer is that they get thousands of taxpayer dollars to give out, just like the governor. Incompency. How do you beat it?????????

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bob,

I think the best way to end this practice is by (1) getting the facts and (2) casting a big spotlight on it.

In the LV, how many staffers work for mann? Reichley? Harhart? Beyer? How much is paid to them? Do these staffers get bonuses?

I do not know the answer to any of these questions. I'm trying to find out.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, My suggestion is to ask them directly - I'd sure be interested in hearing their responses, which might be as interesting as the information itself.

The Banker

Bernie O'Hare said...

I will do so. In fairness, some LV legislators are not used to the Internet. So I will send an email and also call each office tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I'm really getting tired of Bernie's "minority" this and "minority" that. What the heck does that have to do with anything?

Can anyone say white guilt? Geeesh.

If everything comes down to skin color then you really can't fault Mann much. Most of the people, and a vast majority of the voters, in her district are white.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm really getting tired of Bernie's "minority" this and "minority" that. What the heck does that have to do with anything?

Those are the people experiencing the crime problem, the need for jobs and educational opportunities. Those are the people that the Mann seems to have ignored.

The word "minority" was used twice, and in the comments. I stand by what I said.

Anonymous said...

You don't really think that Dent (a Congressman who has access to the Federal government's $) and Mann (a State Representative who only has access to the state budget) have comparable funding sources, do you?

Do you realize that Mann has probably brought over $1 million to Allentown in WAM funding alone, helped push legislation that resulted in millions in additional funding for the Allentown School District? Or that she is currently pushing legislation designed to help Allentown deal with this problem?

A $10,000 grant for the Parkland School District (which, incidentally, is in her district) and attempts to bring major economic development engines to Allentown are your chief complaints about Mann?

Anonymous said...

You also have to include Karen Beyer.

Anonymous said...

Hey Scott, if you are going to be consistent in your believes, does that also mean that Charlie Dent and Pat Browne are responsible?

At least be fair....

7:40 AM

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 12:32,

My concern about the Mann is that she appears to me to be unresponsive to the needs of her district and its many impoverished residents, who are victimized daily.

You claim she is "pushing legislation" to help A-town, bit I don't see her name as a sponsor on an effort to bring 10,000 additional cops to the state.

Also, she has spent much of her time running for other offices. If she does not like her job, she should quit.

As far as bringing major economic development to A-town, it sounds like she wants the state and city to kick in part of the dough for ice hockey, and that's something that few people in her district really care about. At the same time, kids struggle in the winter to find places where they can play basketball. In fact, they struggle in the summer, too.

I'm perfectly willing to recognize the Mann's contributions to A-town's poor and needy. If she's been doing something about public safety in her district, I sure would like to know what the hell it is, bc things aren't getting any better.

But it's nice to know she could find $10,000 for ice hockey for those poor kids in Parkland School District while A-town falls apart.

Anonymous said...

You make it sound like all of A-town, or Mann's district in A-town is poor and destitute for gosh sake. That is not even close to reality.

If Mann panders only to the poor will that not attract more people into her district (as MM rightly argues). Is it not logical to believe that initiatives that appeal to all people, including the middle class, will make it a more attractive area for all.

While i don't argue the need for more police, I think Ice hockey would be a boost for her district. If it is going to be located anywhere in the valley, Downtown Allentown is where it will provide the greatest benefit to the most people possible.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The problem is that The Mann seems to think her only constituents are the ones who dine at ABW. The ice hockey initiative appeals to hockey fans, financiers and developers. It does not appeal to nor will it help most of the residents of her district.

Anonymous said...

Can't ice hockey arenas host more than just hockey games?

Anonymous said...

Bernie - what on earth gives you the impression that she appears unresponsive? That she favors economic development in a blighted area? That she isn't a sponsor of a single bill (a bill that is sponsored by Perzel and enjoys a majority of Republicans as sponsors, which also mentions that it "laspes some funds" - giving me the impression that there is more to this than meets the eye)? That she gives grants to high schools within her legislative district?

None of the arguments you mention carry any credibility. I don't know specifics, but I can tell you that as a member of the House Leadership, Mann has succeeded in acquiring hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money. Say what you want about her ambitious nature (while you're at it though, shouldn't you be going after Dent or Browne, who both sought promotions?), but when it came to the pension grab and the pay raise (both the vote and accepting the money), she voted the right way.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 6:16,

The reason I question her responsiveness is because her district is a mess and has become more of a mess since she became a state house member. I see her as part of the PPL-Butz-Pawlowski network. I watched hundreds of children playing basketball last summer on old run-down courts with bent rims. Last winter, I saw hundreds of children struggle to find courts to play basketball, being limited to a few schools. This summer, those courts are in even worse conditions. I see football fields that are a total mess and baseball diamonds that are so full of holes and rocks that they are unsafe. And then I hear her talk about ice hockey.

I see the crime in A-town. I see merchatns along Hamilton Street, who are already suffering, being forced to suffer even more when LANTA changes routes and deprives them of their customer base. I see one of her own aides attempt to justify what increasingly appears like discriminatory gentrification along Hamilton St.

All of this makes me question her responsiveness.

As far as Dent and Browne are concerned, they did not run for other offices three times while sitting as state rep. They never ran for two incampatible offices simultaneously.

Yes, I question her responsiveness. I'm sure she is very resposnive to campaign donors, but that A-town mother will have to continue locking her kids away until she can come up with some scratch.

Anonymous said...

Jenn Mann’s district includes the worst part of Allentown, its degradations parallels her tenure as that area’s state rep. Not once did she speak out against any of Roy Afflerbach’s actions and inactions that brought hardship to “her” district. Never once did she speak out against the actions and inactions of Ed Pawlowski’s administration that also brought hardship to this same area. This acquiescence is not leadership, it is not a profile in courage, she has not done”the right thing” and frankly she doesn’t deserve another two years to add to her state pension. The city’s residents deserve better than this type of representation.

Scott Armstrong
Evil Republican

Anonymous said...

If one hangs Jenn Mann with downtown A-town, one must hang "safe" Bob Freeman with the OK Coral that Easton has become. One can't walk in front of Bob's office after dark without fear of death. Give him credit, though. Despite his rubber stamp approach to all things Rendell, at least he hasn't proposed a hockey rink to stop the gunfire.

Anonymous said...

jenn's on cruise control. she has been halted at every step for advancement ...1) auditor general; 2) state senate; 3) demo house leadership; 4) state treasurer.

now she's just in it for the perks!

Anonymous said...

jenn's on cruise control. she has been halted at every step for advancement ...1) auditor general; 2) state senate; 3) demo house leadership; 4) state treasurer.

now she's just in it for the perks!

Valima said...

'Don't you know you're talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
Don't you know they're talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

While they're standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Don't you know you're talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

Poor people are gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people are gonna rise up
And take what's theirs '

Bernie O'Hare said...

Tracy Chapman & Valima stick it to the Mann!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:43,

Freeman is author of the Main St & Elm St programs, designed to help our old cities and boroughs ands eliminate crime. He's not the Mann.

Anonymous said...

BO likes Freeman so he is safe for all time.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I respect Freeman bc he is a small d Democrat as opposed to a politician who thinks he is a third wheel for the likes of Butz and PPL. If the Mann were anything like him, I'd respect her a lot more.

Anonymous said...

I like Freeman because he votes the company line, nearly without exception. In this time of uncertainty, it's good to have rubber stamp predictability. Bob is a very good boy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Freeman is no more a rubber stamp for Rendell than Dent is for Bush.

Anonymous said...

Mann is just another professional politican, looking to get her pension and perks for two more years.

Meeting Rooms said...

"Why I won't vote Republican. Ever!

I love this country."

My sentiments precisely!