Monday, April 27, 2009

John Stoffa's Political Agenda

When Joe Long Democrats endorsed Ann McHale for Northampton County Exec, it was at a meeting described on their web page as an "[a]nnual Petition signing and business meeting." No notice. In fact, nomination petitions were still being circulated. But incumbent exec John Stoffa, who happens to be a Democrat, was snubbed ... again. His crime, according to Bossman Joe Long, is a "lack of leadership within the Democratic Party." Funny thing. That's Long's job. Stoffa was elected to lead ALL the people, not just Dems.

Want some leadership? John Stoffa has publicly called for Joe Long's resignation as party boss. He's an embarrassment to emerging "new Democrats," who are sick of the undemocratic machine politics being forced on them by Long. Instead of relying on party machines and pay to play campaign contributions, Stoffa is taking his campaign to the people, as he has successfully done before. His active campaign blog, the work of son Jeff, gives a detailed view of John's outlook.

So just what is his political agenda? He has supported and even appointed some Republicans. Is he a turncoat?

I got my answer a few days ago, talking to him after a baseball game. "I always ask my cabinet one question. What's the right thing to do?" That's it. Pretty simple, huh? Instead of being motivated by a desire to elect Democrats or Republicans, Stoffa has always been more interested in doing the right thing, without regard to the political fall out. When Council wanted to ram building projects down Stoffa's throat, he resisted screams to build something, anything. They wanted to be able to take credit for something in their reelection campaigns, but Stoffa was more interested in being frugal in an uncertain economy. Who was right?

Council members like Charles Dertinger, who is taking credit for open space in his reelection bid, actually fought tooth and nail to kill Stoffa's "pay as you go" open space plan. Who did the right thing?

Stoffa resisted efforts, led by Council member Lamont McClure, to cook the books and deplete the cash reserve. This would likely have led to budgetary problems similar to those faced by many municipalities, including Allentown. Who did the right thing?

Council members like Ann McHale and Charles Dertinger stoke the union flames, actually encouraging union members to present their grievances to council instead of an arbitration panel. Stoffa stopped allowing deputies to take their cruisers home. Who did the right thing?

And so it goes.

People sense this. On Friday, while walking through a courthouse hall, two workers asked me for Stoffa signs. That evening, as I took signs out of my jeep to store them in my apartment, I was asked, "Do you think he'll win?"

"Absolutely."

"Thank God." The person who asked me this is a local government official whose father had the same political agenda.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

i'm not sure not allowing shieriffs to take cruiser's home was such a smooth move. if taxpayer's as you say are stoffa's big concern considering the world we live in today it would seem to me having them placed around the county was smart, should there be an emergency having them around the county would help all of us.of course catastrophies don't happen everyday but the truth of the matter is being prepared is whats important. as to stoffa being frugal, thats not always prudent either ,i don't think he was able to make a decision without a committee being formed. it seems he fought council at every turn. in truth his win was a vote against reidman he knows it and so do you. he never thought he'd win. my question is if you didn't think you could win why run? something very strange about all that.

Anonymous said...

"He never thought he'd win"

Really?

Do tell.

Anonymous said...

his words. ask him

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:58, Bullshit. Deputies were costing us a ton of $ and Stoffa stopped it. In an emergency, we need emergency management, not sheriff cars.

His initial win was a vote against Reibman and for a retunr to integrity. People like that, and aren't willing to return for the dark days you long for.

Anonymous said...

surely you jest. are you saying that if another 9/11 or some sort of castrophe, god forbib happened they serve no purpose comon you can't be serious. integrity look a little closer man you might be surprised at what you find. i certaintly don't long for dark days who would?

Anonymous said...

Stoffa's being around is the only thing that keeps Rs in a game they should have been kicked from long ago, given NorCo voter registration.

He ain't great, but he keeps his own wacky party in check. As long as they're assaulting each other, they aren't assaulting their usual target - us.

Anonymous said...

shouldn't it be a combined effort everyone together? life is to preciuos not to protect.

Anonymous said...

DITTO

Bernie O'Hare said...

"integrity look a little closer man you might be surprised at what you find."This is precisely why so many good people steer clear of politics. They expose themselves to assholes who are all too willing to attack them, so long as it is behind a shroud of anonymity. And of course, the allegations are always false.

John Stoffa is a man of integrity - something the political world can always use. He has even opened up his family life on his campaign blog. How sad to see this foolhardy attempt to smear a good man.


Name the council candidates and exec candidates who are now willing to let deputies drive their crusiers home. Go ahead, name them. I doubt a single one of them would publicly support you, no matter what they whisper in your ears.

At our most recent disaster, deputy sheriffs driving their crusiers home would have made no difference at all. Stoffa's Director of Administration, John Conklin, comes from that field and did a remarkably effective job of responding to an overturned chemical truck.

If you have any suggestions on how to improve responses, Conklin will be happy to listen. But unlike Stoffa and Conklin, you're not interested in doing the right thing. You will screw taxpayers to give deputies a perk. That's not the right thing.

Wayne Grube had been saying for years that the practice had to end. Reibman was afraid it would cost him politically. Stoffa was more interested in doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

I see on his blog that Mr. Stoffa is a supporter of so-called "open space" law. Is there any candidate who is not cow-towing to this absurd notion?

Anonymous said...

it's not smearing him to disagree with stoffa. he lacks integrity because the very things you condenm mchale for stoffa did. he pandered to the unions the last time he ran he also took contribution from some people.now he claims no pay to play etc.. why the about face? double standard isn't it what was good for stoffa isn't good for mchale? she just took a page from stoffas book. i can't put a price on peoples lives, you see it as a perk i see as a safety issue. how will we ever know if people couldn't of been notifed sooner than they where last time? i heard it was slow not sure if thats true but came from someone living there.posting anonymous is strictly personal for me but yes i pay taxes and vote so i'm registered.i also belive your running this campaign not stoffa himself,i also belive you have no hidden agenda and is purely from your heart.

Anonymous said...

wayne grube may he rest in peace.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 11:47, The open space plan that Stoffa engineered is something he made clear to voters before he was elected. He was raised on a farm. He lost two fingers working on a farm. It is what defines him. It's why his signs are green.

Here is a link to my story on exactly how Stoffa delivered on his promise. Dertinger tried to kill it.

Unlike most open space plans, which require borrowing gobs of $, this is a reasonable "pay as you go" plan.

Anonymous said...

I support spending on parks but I want ZERO spent on buying up farms for the sake of having someone "enjoy" space. If you want space, move out of this urban area. Do any candidates oppose open space spending?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 11:56,

I will respect your anonymity.

It is true that some union members, particularly in the residual unit, feel Stoffa lied to them. Others are not sure. Stoffa has maintained that he never promised them binding arbitration on contractual disputes. I believe Stoffa bc he has always been honest w/ me, even when it would be easier for him to tell a little lie.

The truth is that every county exec has been criticized by the workforce. Bechtel, Brackbill and Hartzell were all picketed. Gerry was the subject of a caricature in which he is portrayed as Pinnochio. Glenn had a few office visits and his layoffs led to a birth of many unions. The county now has 13 different unions, which is ridiculous.

Given the number of unions involved, which require separate contracts, it says something about Stoffa that there is so little animosity.

I don't think he has handled things perfectly. He has said himself he could have done better. He has always been motivated by wanting to do the right thing. That's why the new pay study calls for a living wage. That's a county first.

If you stick w Stoffa, you'll be dealing w/ a man who really does want to do the right thing.

He can't be compared to McHale. She is pandering, and I can guarantee you she is misleading people. Encouraging deputies to argue grievances in public, for example, was a political stunt that McHale herself knew would fail. She recently claimed to be unaware that the new correctional facility in Bethlehem Tp will be work release She sits on the prison advisory board and knows very well that is the intention. But she feigned ignorance to get Beth Tp votes. She is doing the same with you.

The primary difference between McHale and Stoffa is she will do what she needs to do to further herself. Stoffa will do the right thing. If that means one term, so be it. But he will not bend his principles for anyone.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Do any candidates oppose open space spending?"No. None of which I'm aware.

Bernie O'Hare said...

".i also belive your running this campaign not stoffa himself"My involvement in Stoffa's campaign is limited to planting signs here and there. Believe me, John makes every decision concerning his won campaign.

"he also took contribution from some people.now he claims no pay to play etc.. why the about face?"There is no real about face. last time he ran, he took some $ from county workers and vendors, but scrutinized them very carefully and actually turned away several contributors. This time around, especially with the economy being so bad, Stoffa thought it best to ban all contributions in the primary. It is totally self-funded. he will allow people like me to volunteer, but that is it.

"i don't think he was able to make a decision without a committee being formed."True, John likes input from a variety of sources before deciding something. He likes them to meet publicly, too. Something wrong w/ that? It's how government works. Council has just decided it is not delegating enough work to its own committees.

" i can't put a price on peoples lives, you see it as a perk i see as a safety issue."This argument has been made since the cruisers were taken away. It is a perk, not a safety issue.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa sucks! plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Vote for Ann McHale and you are voting for a female Glenn Reibman -that is certainly 8 years that the Northampton County taxpayer cannot afford again!

Anonymous said...

-250,000 people in Norco, hundreds of millions of dollars in the budget to balance, countless programs, a few thousand employees, international economic crisis, and your big issue is that the "shieriffs" can't show off to their neighbors anymore by driving their squad cars home?

Anonymous said...

showing off what a car? i think if they were my nieghbor it wouldn't bother me a bit. if there was a castrophe or another 9/11 i'd have more peace of mind knowing they were around the county working for all our safety. period.

Anonymous said...

John is doing an excellent job with the Unions as he has an anti-union attorney, George Hlavac, negotiating the County Contracts. John will work to take away their pensions, health care, lower their wages to minimum wage levels, reduce their vacations, eliminate overtime pay, give up their seniority and take away all of their rights by turning them into at will employees. Great job John.

Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry you have to drive your own car to work like everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Is Stoffa anti-union? Just when I'm about to make up my mind, I read more stuff to change it!

Anonymous said...

The claim that having the sheriff cars at home with the deputy sheriffs makes no sense to me. Just what good would those cars do? Our deputies all live in neighborhoods where people have their own cars anyway.
Can someone describe a concrete, specific benefit of having those cars at the deputies' homes?

lighthouse said...

I like today's "one liner"....I'll be off soon to enjoy a ballgame.

Speaking of which, driving by what I believe is part of the upcoming "Wayne Grube" park on Willow Brook Rd, and I see quite a bit of excavation is happening thanks to Stoffa, "CHARLES!", or maybe we can just say the taxpayers of NorCo.

lighthouse said...

PS: Pay as you go is a good thing...Reibman's $110 million dollar bond still kills me, and I thought there we a subsequent bond for around $30 million (??).

Personally, I have mixed feelings about many of the open space initiatives. When we lived in Saylorsburg for a few years in the early 90s the farmer adjacent to us told us he had put all the surrounding land into some state preservation program. Guess what, bunch of houses there now.

I've heard from farmers up north, to hear in the valley, the sentiment, "hey, that land's my retirement."

But once its gone, its gone.

Like I said, mixed feelings about it, but if we are going to do, I support Stoffa's pay as you go. Future huge bonds are not the way. They generate an enormous amount of money, and where does it go? Very little came near me.

Anonymous said...

The morbidly obese $110 million Reibman bond issue will haunt NorCo taxpayers for another 20+ years. In the end the payout will be more than double the amount borrowed. What a deal! A 30 year bond issue from a bloated administration. Of course we have the glamorous courthouse featuring a pencil stub rotunda facing the wrong way, marble floors with inlaid county seal and municipalities playing ring around the rotunda, teak paneling and fabulous judges chambers. Certainly worth 30 years of debt service to NorCo property owners. McHale will be another Reibman with excessive spending, borrowing, and "pay to play" politics. Stoffa is the rock the people want in these trubulent times.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa got rid of great Cabinet members because of some personal agenda with he and his advisors Jack Bradt and Ron Angle.

For four years we have had the worst administration in the County's history. He is Ron Angle light. Stoffa wants to be sourrounded by yes men, like O'Hare.
Wait till you hear about the real finances of the County.
An unneccessary tax to protect "open space". There is no dedicated "tax", there can't be it would be illegal.
To all the Reibman bashers, thank God for Reibman or Stoffa would never has won. Bugs Bunny would have beat Reibman but his oversized ego could'nt handle that. Sad thing is when he lost he took good people down with him. Now we have this "minor league" cabinet and Stalin Stoffa.
Stoffa is a vindictive man who plays the game well. A lifetime bureaucrat who knows how to quickly do nothing.

Anonymous said...

well said.

Anonymous said...

anon 8:59 PM

Are you kidding me? Stoffa picked good administrators but no one would approve them because they were Republicans. He crossed party lines to obtain the best quality of administrations. But the bi-paritsan hacks couldn't handle that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

A perfect case in point is Archie Disidore, nominally an R. His nomination was dead in the water until Grucela gave it to team Dertinger.

An Exorcist said...

Bernie,

Sorry that anon at 9:30 PM was me. I am having some internet problems.

But I was thinking more close to home with Ms. Boulos-Gabriel. I think she would have made an awesome pick.

Peace, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

Agree on Gabriel. Disidore hasn't done anything so no comment and since Stoffa gutted Community and Economic Development, he isn't a cabinet member anyway.
The cabinet members that made it through are old Stoffa buddies, proteges and picks by his Republican sponsers; that shows real independent character.
Case in point. there is a huge deficit in Human Services, particularly Children and Youth. The big cuts haven't even happened yet and the Department is on autopilot. In fairness the Administrator is really no worse thsn some of Stoffas other croonies like the asst. Dir of Administration. His job, when he shows up is to publish a newsletter. Can anyone say Dave Gawlick.
I will not give my name since I don't want to be goggled, IRS investigated and generallly secret police investigated by O'Hare, StoffaThug and the rest of the lunatic fringe patrol.

Anonymous said...

Can't anyone see that this is not unions against County Government, it is female against male. Union leader is female. She wants Human Resources female gone because they don't get along. She wants most of Stoffa's male appointees fired because they are male and don't agree with her. Mchale is a female. This would be good, because she thinks the same way as the Union President.Duh??? Don't worry about who is trying for an honest government, by the books. Just worry about your female ego!!!

Anonymous said...

Annon 6:45;

CUCKOO, CUCKOO!!!!

Anonymous said...

John Stoffa is a good, honest man-not a great politician-but exactly what we need in these days of low morals/high spending/lack of common sense lifestyles...put "Honey Girl" McHale in there-your taxes will triple,your quality of life will decline,and your county will be insured to the gills!!! (did I mention her husband is an insurance agent in Bethlehem that his own city won't use-they farm out to Hellertown!)

Anonymous said...

Annon 9:47, hate women much?
Nice comments O'Hare that would have been cut if it was directed at Stoffa.
More goon squad stuff.

Bernie O'Hare said...

There is nothing remotely sexist in that comment. "Honey Girl" happens to be McHale's nickname in her younger years. Many comments far more critical of Stoffa have been allowed to stand here.

Anonymous said...

You know damn well you are inferring she was loose in her youth. You and the Stoffa goon squad will stoop to anything to win.
McHale will win because people know the real Stoffa crew.

Bernie O'Hare said...

First, I never called her "Honey Girl." Secnd, I never inferred that Mchale was loose in her youth or as an adult. Frankly, that is irrelevant. But Anon 9:47 did call McHale "Honey Girl." I am told this was her nickname as a young girl and has nothing to do w/ anything inappropriate.