Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pawlowski's $2,000 Union Shakedown

When confronted last month by Morning Call reporter Jarrett Renshaw over his prolific fundraising and the possibility of "pay to play," Allentown Mayor Edwin Pawlowski denied he would stoop to such a low level. After all, he went to Bible College, damn it. He also claims, ''I have done everything I could to separate myself from these problems.''

I'd like King Edwin to explain an April 6 fundraising letter to unions (you can read it here). He not only solicits $2,000 contributions, but clearly suggests some sort of quid pro quo, pointing to very specific pro-union activities that leave me wondering whether he is a mayor or union agent. His letter makes these points.

* He was "the lone voice as a community leader" in urging Congressman Charlie Dent to support the pro-union Employee Free Choice Act. He attaches a letter to Congressman Dent, penned on the city letterhead.

* He protested "the virulent anti-union campaign engaged in by DHL" in response to workers' efforts to organize.

* He takes credit for the Housing Authority unionization.

* He "internalized and unionized jobs that were formerly outsourced, i.e. janitorial services."

* Allentown's "professional licensing ordinance" demonstrates "my firm commitment to unions."

In exchange for these pro-union efforts, Pawlowski wants more than some union endorsement. "I am requesting a contribution of $2,000 to my re-elect campaign which will ensure our victory in November. I would be most grateful to receive your contribution before the primary on May 19, for it will keep our momentum building toward a final victory in November."

Rather than separating himself from potential problems, Pawlowski looks like he's selling his office. His fundraising letter looks very much like a shakedown.
Update: Text of Pawlowski's April 6 Union Solicitation A commenter has asked me to post the text of Pawlowski's letter here.

"As Mayor of the City of Allentown and a strong supporter and advocate of organized labor, I write now to request the endorsement of the [redacted] in my race for a second term as Mayor. 1 also ask for your financial support and volunteers as well, both very crucial to the success of my campaign and my victory in November. As Mayor, I vow to continue my initiatives into the future and achieve the results we all look forward to. and I need your vote in order to do that.

"I would like to take this opportunity to mention my past performance on behalf of labor in the Lehigh Valley within the context of my job as Mayor of Allentown. I have always taken a stand for the rights of workers and have spoken out against corporate labor law violations. The enclosed letter, which I wrote in 2007, shows my strong opposition to the virulent anti-union campaign engaged in by DHL in response to the workers' efforts to organize their union with the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO.

"Additionally, I have been the lone voice as a community leader in urging Congressman Dent to reconsider his position on HR 800 and vote to provide expanded protection for labor union organizations. The Employee Free Choice Act legislation must be passed in order to ensure workers' common sense approach to organizing and negotiating and thereby preserve and honor the grand pro-union heritage of the Lehigh Valley. Please see the enclosed copy of my letter to Charlie Dent dated March of 2007 urging him to cast his vote in favor of this critical safeguard.

"As Mayor I opened the door for the Housing Authority staff to be unionized. On another front, I led the way for our school district to work with the labor council to create a labor sponsored apprenticeship training program at the Allentown schools. In addition, I internalized and unionized jobs that were formerly outsourced, i.e. janitorial services. And finally, I joined with the Sheet Metal Workers to create a professional licensing ordinance in the City of Allentown, only the second city in the whole state to accomplish this. Altogether this demonstrates my firm commitment to unions and represents substantial strides for organized labor under my leadership.

"Therefore, I humbly ask for the endorsement of the [redacted] and for a personal endorsement as well. In addition, I am requesting a contribution of $2,000 to my re-elect campaign which will ensure our victory in November. I would be most grateful to receive your contribution before the Primary on May 19, for it will keep our momentum building toward a final victory in November. Checks can be made to: [redacted]."

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like most campaign contribution letters. He supports Unions and has a track record. He is touting his record. God, O'hare how dense are you.
You got a birdhouse for your help.

Bernie O'Hare said...

If most campaign letters are like this, then our politicians are for sale.

Anonymous said...

That's right O'Hare mind your own business. Nothing to see here just keep moving.

Allentown Democrat Voter

Anonymous said...

Ask you buddy Donny for some of his letters or get someone to steal them for you. You self righteous bastard,

Anonymous said...

5:55 <--- BULLSEYE

Anonymous said...

You don't live in the real world, do you O'hare?
I guess you have never seen a campaign letter soliciting donations before.

BTW: I cracked up when I clicked on your blog and an adsense banner for a lie detector service popped up. That would be handy for evaluating your blog's content!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I've seen solicitions letters. This one is a pretty blatant quid pro quo and gets way too specific.

Pawlowski unionized the Housing Authority? Janitorial services? He attaches a letter to Congressman Dent sent in a contribution solicitation?

Does this mean that in lettrers to developers like Zawarski, he promises to find them favorable tax concessions?

Is he a servant of the people or of special interests? That letter and its very specific language is quite troubling to me.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding post. I want the same scrutiny of Cunningham.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Get me a Cunningham fundraising letter that is as specific as this one from Pawlowski and I'll make the same claim. This guy is promising to use his office to give favorable treatment to unions, a special interest. Does this mean that developers who contribute get fasvorable treatment, too? City contractors? See where I'm going?

Contrary to what Pawlowski told Renshaw, he is knee deep in favors for those who contribute to his campaign. It seems like the only special interst not being considered is the taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

''I have done everything I could to separate myself from these problems.''


Think he was talking about running city hall.

Anonymous said...

Let's be fair. Let's see a Cunningham re-election letter to compare. I'm in.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Sadly, the mayor makes no mention of crime prevention or did we miss that?

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Could you possibly paste that letter here for dummies like me who can't get that web site to work?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sure. Come back in 15.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Let's give the same level of investigation to Cunningham.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Get me a Cunningham fundraising letter and we'll see. I doubt I'll see anything like what King Edwin does.

Anonymous said...

what do you think applications to PAC's are for? To determine how in the pocket of the special interest an elected official is for. Rather than writing a letter as Pawlowski has done, the PAC requires the official to list all of the times and reasons he/she has supported the cause of the PAC. This is no different.

So, when the Realtors Association, Contractors Association, NRA, or any other group PAC contributes, they didn't do it without the official or candidate proving their worth. this happens all the time. it's not right, but to act like pawlowski is the only one is to ignore the disgust that is money in politics across the system.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Thanks for posting letter.

Anonymous said...

"The enclosed letter, which I wrote in 2007, shows my strong opposition to the virulent anti-union campaign engaged in by DHL in response to the workers' efforts to organize their union with the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe DHL closed its L.V.
offices.

Anonymous said...

Damn good post Bernie. MC was onto the Sheet metal quid pro quo but if I remember, the city denied that it was designed specifically to be pro-union.

Monkey Momma said...

This letter does not say "quid pro quo" to me at all. I'm not a Pawlowski fan, but clearly he's simply outlining why union guys and gals would want to re-elect him. This makes sense to me - and of course all of our politicians are for sale. Elections always go to the highest bidder, and I can't blame Pawlowski for the system. Obviously, union support is huge for Democrats, esp. in PA and here in the Valley. If union operatives want to see their agenda pursued, you bet they want to elect a Democrat. Pawlowski isn't saying anything illegal or even unethical. You can't get votes or donations without asking, and that's all he appears to be doing.

Anonymous said...

Monkey Momma wrote: "This makes sense to me - and of course all of our politicians are for sale."

That is exactly what politicians who engage in this sort of behavior want you to think.

Not to get all biblical, but they will gladly point out the splinter in another's eye to distract you from the plank in their own.

If you are willing to accept the excuse that "all politicians are for sale" and are doing the same thing, you will get the government you deserve.

Alan Earnshaw said...

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe DHL closed its L.V. offices."

Anon 10:45,

When DHL exited the small package delivery business, they no longer needed that facility and closed it. I think we have to blame that closure on the economy and stiff competition from FedEx and UPS, not on union activity. Capitalism and "creative destruction" at work!

Anonymous said...

Politicians regularly publish "white papers" which outline what their positions are on topics, such as union issues, abortion rights, fiscal responsibility, etc. These white papers make it easier for the political supporter to decide which candidate they will support.

What Pawlowski did in his letter was outline to the unions that he is not only a union supporter, but he has backed up his support with actions. He SHOULD put that in his letter asking for support because a union certainly would rather donate to him than a candidate that has no history of union support. This isn't pay to play, this is why you support candidates - because they believe in the same things you do.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

He comes out of Chicago, like their Former Governor and our Present President all where community organizers.

Judas worked with Jesus daily for three years and yet he is recorded as stealing from the Disciples purse.

So the Moody thing sadly means nothing to him, it is sad for Moody though.

I have heard when he washes his hands in the restroom he doesn't have an image in the mirror.

Monkey Momma said...

"If you are willing to accept the excuse that "all politicians are for sale" and are doing the same thing, you will get the government you deserve." - anon 12:00

Well, I'm not willing to "accept" it. It's disgusting, as is most political scheming. You're kidding yourself if you don't think elections aren't for sale. Call me jaded, but all I'm saying is that Pawlowski is no more corrupt than any other politician.

And, I have no problem with him pointing out his pro-union actions in a letter addressed to union members.

This is just politics as usual.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Monkey Mama,

I understand your point as well as those who compare it with a "white paper." I think that asking for $2,000 while listing very specific pro-union activities inside A-town suggests a quid pro quo. I find it disturbing. He reads more like a union agent than mayor. Pawlowski takes things to extremes I see nowhere else.

IRONPIGPEN said...

Daryl's Extreme Fitness on Hamilton Street.

Where has it gone???

Another of Ed Pawlowski's ribbon cutting ceremonies like Johnny Manana's!!!

Grants and promotions received.

Pawlowski sure can spot a winner.

Gym is all gone now. Opened in March, I believe.

Pawlowski will get re-elected, though. Bet EVERYTHING on it. He'll be here FOREVER.

Anonymous said...

Iron Pig Pen, at least look up the (o)in(k)fo before pounding your snout on the keyboard. It was DARO's a fly by night from the bronx.

Real Change said...

cow puckey rolls down hill until someone has the courage to put a shovel in front of it and throw it off the path.... the excuse that "well all politicians are doing it" is the equivalent of "well she did it first" from the mouth of a 2nd grader. Not only do the politicians need to take a stand, and i don't see how pavlowski could possibly stand up when he's waste deep in the poop allready (not to mention he's probably outta breath walking up stairs) but we as citizens need to stop listing it as acceptable behavior. our level of respect for the gov't went out the window somewhere between when the lincoln bedroom became a Ramada inn for campaign donors and tamany hall. but in both cases.. we have no one to blame but ourselves because we continue to vote for these clowns. But on the positive side... if we got smart... you'd have nothing to blog about Bernie.. so maybe we should just continue on the same idiotic path for your sake. lol

Real Change said...

oh and PS... Darry's fitness left because another part of Pavlowski's shakedown commission wouldn't even allow him to get a sign.... and you should hear some of the horror stories the many small business' are being put through just to do business on the dump that people call hamilton street.

Anonymous said...

Everything the mayor does is Ok with us so what's the problem?

Allentown Democrat Voter

Anonymous said...

This is libel - even when a public official is the subject. In order for this to be a "shakedown", Palowski would have had to say he was going to preform or withold some official act unless the particular union made a contribution. Instead Palowski is explaining how in the past he has been friendly to Labor, and if they want to continue having a Labor friend Mayor they need to support his candidacy. You serve a vile lying creature.

Anonymous said...

Lets see, I was at a union meeting where Mr. Stoffa promises a quick and fair contract with arbitration if necessary.
What do we get, years of stonewalling and Ms. Falk.

He promised an action talking about how worker friendly he is and he anticipated our votes in return.

Sounds like quid pro quo to me, except he never upheld his end of the bargain.
I know your response bullshit, totally different you union people are thugs.

Its amazing how your tune was different when Reibman was Executive, looking back it was wrong to dump him at least he didn't lie to get our votes.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Stoffa does not remember things the way you do. I believe Stoffa over some anon afraid to identify himself.

If you were expected a union agent, too bad. Stoffa works for the taxpayers, not you. Come to think of it, you're supposed to work for the taxpayers, too.

There are only 2 unions unhappy w/ Stoffa. One is residual, whose contract took too long to negotiate. The other is the deputies. And really, not everyone in those unions is unhappy either. At least half of the deputies and residual know that McHale is a phony who will sell them out in a heartbeat. No, they are not crazy about John, but think he's basically a good man. And he is.

But some of you are just too nasty to be happy w/ anyone. You were poisoned by all the hard feelings when people were laid off and wages frozen under Reibman.

Good luck voting for McHale. She's going to be crushed, but I'll laugh my ass off if the Queen of Hearts is miraculously elected. You will be screaming about her ten times more than about Stoffa, and you'll have reason to scream, too. She'll unleash the hounds.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"This is libel - even when a public official is the subject. In order for this to be a "shakedown", Palowski would have had to say he was going to preform or withold some official act unless the particular union made a contribution."Oh, the weekly libel threat. At least you legal eagles are learning to distinguish between libel and slander.

I believe this is a shakedown as that is defined in the McCormick line of cases involving the Hobbs Act. A politician treads on very dangerous water when he ties a campaign contribution to official action or inaction. Pawlowski describes several official actions, promises more, and then asks for money.

There's really little difference between what Pawlowski is doing and walking up to a judge beofre whom you have a case, slipping him some dough, and telling him you hope he'll continue to look on your case favorably.

Anonymous said...

What did he promise? He listed his feelings and accomplishemnets and asked for help in his campaign.
You are a hypocrite who has shown more people your true colors over the past few weels.
The litmus test is whoever O'Hare supports must be bad news.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yeah, yeah. Nobody is twisting your arm to be here.

Pawlowski is pointing to specific things he has done and asks for money. He could decide to outsource janitorial services again. He could decide to oppose Employee Free Choice. He could decide to fight unionization by A-town Housing.

It is a mistake to mention specific actions when asking for money.

An Exorcist said...

You want to talk about shake down, check this link out. The only thing is, in the beginning the voter makes out. But when it is all finished, the politician and the country backing them make out bigger.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/world/middleeast/23lebanon.html

If the link doesn't work, the article is in the NY Times regarding upcoming elections in Lebanon. And the poor citizens of Lebanon are selling their votes for a minimum of $800.00 dollars a piece. It appears that a vote prior to the last month of the election, may go for $3000.00 and some health care vouchers.

In Lebanon, I cannot tell you its equivalency. But I can tell you that $30.00 will buy seven to ten people, in a real swanky restaurant, a three course meal. And that includes the tip. Go figure.

Peace, ~~Alex

An Exorcist said...

Oh, yeah! This is illegal to do, but no one seems to be enforcing this particular law. For the poor citizens of Lebanon, they look forward to elections. It is a second Christmas to them.

Maybe it would work in America?

Peace, ~~Alex