Friday, January 30, 2009

Allentown Needs Judge Junior

He may be eight feet tall, but most of the courthouse crew call this gentle giant "Juni" or "Junior." The real name of this Northampton County Deputy Sheriff is Walter Felton, Jr. I snapped his picture in the courthouse lobby today just so you can see his trademark smile. If they're smart, downtown Allentown voters (wards 3, 13, 17 & 18) will elect him as their next magistrate. QCD reports that Felton has been quietly meeting with neighborhood groups since September.

Here's a list of some of the other names that have surfaced for this $78,722 position.

1. Gail Hoover. She's the double-parking junket lover tagged by the state ethics commission for ethical improprieties as a member of Allentown City Council.

2. Ron Manescu. - An Assistant Police Chief, he's eyeing the other side of the bench.

3. Nancy Wilt, employed by state Senator Lisa Boscola last year tried, and failed, to wrangle an appointment to a vacancy on Lehigh County's Board of Commissioners. "My three small children are my biggest inspiration and my reason for being here." Her kids must be political consultants because now she's considering yet another elected office.

4. Cindy Mest. All I know about her is that she is active in the Jackson Park area of Allentown.

5. "Apples the Clown," aka "Allentown community leader"Everett Bickford, who also refers to himself as "Erika" for some reason. Bickford already has experience as a non-denominational independent wedding minister. (His "Sapphire" package is just $100).

Junior is clearly the best of this unusual field. A product of the projects, he graduated in '75 from Salisbury High School, summa cum laude in basketball. From there, he went on to serve as an Allentown police officer for 21 years. Along the way, he was a sergeant, a detective and the youth officer. Every Christmas, he dug into his own pockets to make sure that the kids in the juvenile home had presents.

When Felton retired from the Allentown Police Department in 2005, he played no pension games. A Morning Call analysis shows that, unlike other officers, Felton made no effort to drive up his earnings during his last thirty days on the job.

In the years I've known Felton, I've watched his magic at work. Many of the people who come to the courthouse are already upset, but Juni's smile and demeanor put them at ease. He has an empathy for the people who speak to him and looks for areas of agreement. He tells me he would like to end his career helping people resolve their disputes. That's certainly his approach as a deputy. He would be a calming influence in a real troublespot.

Felton is already certified by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Before you dismiss Manescu, you should get his name right.

Anonymous said...

O'Hare as the Buddy Christ? Isn't that sacrilege?

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Junior sounds fabulous.
Would Asst. Chief Manescu also continue his "day" job?
How does that work?

Anonymous said...

The kiss of death. A Boonie endorsement.

Bernie O'Hare said...

on 6:22, Thanks for noting my spelling error. I'll correct my mistake.

A.J.C. said...

I only met Walter Felton once, at the No Place For Hate breakfast (short paragraph about it here.) His smile is certainly sincere, and he is very polite. He obviously cares.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"O'Hare as the Buddy Christ? Isn't that sacrilege?"

Give Buddy $5 ands He'll let you do anything.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:43,

Chief Manescu could not keep his "day job." It is possible for a magistrate to work another job, but a sitting magistrate has tiokd us (in another blog thread) that it is next to impossible.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The kiss of death. A Boonie endorsement."

And early, too. Junior will probably get hit by a low-flying plane.

Bernie O'Hare said...

AJ,

That's right! Junior was one of the people who attended that 7:30 AM breakfast.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME !! It's good to see others are out here doing work in the community and "making things happen" whether they have resources/connections or not. I hope he gets the position, it seems he deserves it.

Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

He seems like a nice guy but he's a goof ball.

Anonymous said...

If bernnie loves him his opponenets will be slimed.

Anonymous said...

Say BO, that is an interesting # of parking tickets you have accumulated over the last decade. How the hell can you do that?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Practice.

Anonymous said...

he may be too normal and decent to run and win in a democratic district.

Anonymous said...

Since when are you allowed to bring cameras into the court house?

Anonymous said...

since bo invented his gutter cam to spy on everyone he doesn't like. Everyone else gets the free ride.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Since when are you allowed to bring cameras into the court house?"

There isd nothing illegal or improper about bringing a camera to the courthouse. news organizations do it all the time. The only place it is illegal is in and right outside the courtroom.

I've seen TV cameras videotape a shackled defendant as he walks down the hallway. What I did is completely legal.

Anonymous said...

Jeez Bernie, you don't have to go down the legal/illegal path. I just thought it was against policy to allow the cameras.

Not like you were really in the Govt. Center. Looks like that picture was taken by the front entrance.

Take it easy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You asked the question and I answered it.

Anonymous said...

Mr.Felton is a gentleman he's very tall with a big heart. He has the experience and the tenacity he is the right candidate for this job.I am routing for you!

Anonymous said...

Don't question the mighty O'Hairy Butt!

Anonymous said...

WOW!Mr.Felton for magistrate! He is the man! He has it going on, he smart, funny , tall, dark and handsome. None of the other candidates have none of the above.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Listen, Walter is tall, dark and handsome. But I am the Northampton County sex object. Women there constantly attack me.

Allentown Taxpayer said...

Bernie--
Another candidate is in that race for Allentown Magistrate Judge. A TRUE Democrat (not a party switcher like Felton) is Attorney Marc Kranson. He has decades of legal experience in Lehigh County courts,
was President of Lehigh Valley Legal Services, Chairperson of the Pro Bono Legal Services Committee of the Lehigh County Bar Assoc., was Asst. General Counsel to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, worked as Attorney Advisor to the U>S> Commission on Civil Rights...etc., etc.

PLUS, he won't be a "Double Dipper" at the taxpayers' expense like the ex-cop candidates and is financing his own campaign without any "pay to play" contributions...again,like the other candidates. Aside from the fact that career policemen Felton and Manescu would be benefitting from the "Afflerbach Retirement Plan" at Allentown taxpayers' expense if eleted, is it really a good idea to have career policemen serving as judges? I'm still wrestling with that one.

We'll all be hearing more about Marck Kranson in the coming weeks...and the more I hear, the more I like this guy to provide real, fair, knowledgeable justice in Allentown.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Does it really matter whether Marc Kranson is a "true" Democrat in a nonpartisan race for judge?

The question whether career policemen would make good magistrates was answered, at least for me, in last year's Nazareth race. I was deeply impressed by the integrity of the law enforcement professionals who ran for the job. One of them won ... and against an attorney who touted her legal prowess.

I point blank asked one of the cop candidates whether he would show favoritism. he looked right at me and said, "I won't lose my integrity for anyone." Every one of them was like that.

True, Walter collects a modest pension. He earned it and that's the law. Are you suggesting that police officers be denied a pension?

Kranson's credentials are very impressive, but these vicious slams at Felton diminish him in my eyes. Nothing fair or impartial there.

Anonymous said...

Please read credentials of Manescu before you make a decision. Remember...if something horrific happens to you, (yes magistrates try cases higher than traffic tickets) do you want the big smile? or a dedicated, fair person of the law. Please read both sides.
There is one candidate that has defended this town since 1977 and is dedicated to will continue to do so....google him. Reading more about him got my vote.