Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lehigh County GOP: "Trust No Democrats"

Last week, every Democratic Lehigh County Commissioner found different reasons to object to Dean Browning's webcasting initiative. Could it be that some of this is partisan? You betcha'. You see, Republican Commissioner candidates have pledged they will refuse to accept a scheduled payhike. And Browning, who happens to be Republican, even wants to link future county employee pay increases to revenue growth. So now, even when Dean suggests a scaled down version of webcasting at half the cost of the original proposal, a Democratic Commissioner like Bill Leiner remains unpersuaded.
"With the looming prospect of lay offs and raise reductions for county employees I plan to not support, at this juncture, any initiatives that are not core functions of county government.

"Next year or later after the second federal Stim kicks in and we experience economic recovery from the failed economic policies of the Bush Administration, rest assured, I will be with you shoulder to shoulder to follow through with this initiative."
Without question, Bill is giving Dean a partisan shot. But it's really just a little one. Leiner and Browning like to tease each other about their ideological differences, but find a way to work together. They get together for breakfast and lunch from time to time, and Dean sometimes joins in Leiner's Coplay crime watch programs. One night a few weeks ago, Dean and Bill trapped a slew of feral cats, but they turned out to be Northampton County Council. They were all released unharmed, but not before Angle was accidentally neutered.

This is where things get a little cRaZy. LC Commissioner, who is included in this email exchange, fails to see that Leiner's comment, made to a staunch Republican, is obviously tongue in cheek. Eckhart, himself up for reelection, responds with partisanship.
"Commissioner Leiner [sic] true side comes out. If this is not a wake up call to the Lehigh County votes [sic] I don't know what is. Commissioner Leiner wants to be Chairman of the Board of the Lehigh County Board of Commissioner and the Democrats only need to steel [sic] one seat and he will be Chairman. Please support your district Republican Candidates financially, volunteer, and be there on election day."
Dawn Berrigan, a born-again princess or something in the Lehigh County GOP, is one of the first to join the Leiner lynch mob, adding a shot at LC Exec Don Cunningham for good measure. You see, Don's a Democrat, too.
"Leiner is a real back stabber. Take it from someone who has dealt with him on many occasions. Ask Jim Anthony, ask Al Nelthropp, ask Dave Malony, believe me, he has tried to burn them all, along with myself [sic]. Anyone who goes into Coplay for elections is treated to the slimy tactics of Leiner. He will never co-operate with Dean, or any other Republican on any measure that would make anyone from our party look good. Failed policies of Bush, stimulus kick in? Give me a break. As you see he always has something ridiculous and partisan to say. Don't ever trust him. Or Cunningham, they are cut from the same cloth."
Self-proclaimed political strategist Joe Hilliard quickly grabs a rope to join the Leiner lynch mob, imparting these pearls of wisdom. "Trust no Democrats. They are purely partisan while Republicans painfully, and ineffectively, try to be bi-partisan and compromise." Someone who trusts no Democrats claims to be bi-paritsan. I see.

And so it goes as one partisan email after another piously condemns Leiner for his partisanship.

Of course, this whole episode is silly. Partisanship in Congress is why our government is broken. Instead of listening to each other, everything becomes a power play. That's why major legislation is enacted with no opportunity for the minority, Republican or Democratic, to read or digest what's happening. That's why an Allentown mayor can keep the public (and Council) is the dark about a budget deficit. That's why Northampton County Dems will oppose a Democratic County Executive who dares hire a Republican, no matter how useful that person might be. While partisanship certainly has its place in an elction cycle, its value diminshes once the task of governing begins. Ending this needless partisanship is something Obama the candidate stressed, but Obama the President has learned that partisanship remains alive and well in Washington. He's actually having more success reaching out in the Middle East.

Dean Browning, who is so conservative he has little elephants on his underwear, has an interesting take.
"From an overall standpoint, I don’t think partisanship is necessarily a bad thing. It is the process where we bring out opposing points of view and work to translate those views in to policy. The problem comes about when that process also includes attacks on the motives or characteristics of the opposing groups. Such as “Trust no Democrats” or “Republicans Don’t Care About the Middle Class” or whatever else each side says about the other. As you know from your blog, there is plenty of animosity on both sides. I’m not interested in engaging in that as I think it is counterproductive."
For his part, Leiner extends "an open Invitation to all critics to sit down over a cup of coffee to exchange ideas." Don't listen to him. Last time I went to Coplay, I ended up being trapped as a feral cat.


Anonymous said...

I think webcasting is a separate issue altogether that doesn't hinge on anything. They can be partisan, they can reduce their salaries, they can wear elephant underwear, they can fight...but let the people (whose money it is )SEE!!! What if after the Declaration of Independence was signed, the Continental Congress didn't publish it or show it to the people or read it in public?

Alan Earnshaw said...

Only the final version of the Declaration of Independence was published, read in public, etc. They did not publish previous drafts of the Declaration, nor did they publish minutes of the debates, the positions taken by individuals, or verbatim transcripts. As far as I know, they did not permit outsiders to view the proceedings. (Since the British government could have imprisoned them on charges of treason without ever bringing them to trial, I wouldn't blame them!)

The Declaration of Independence was most decidedly not a product of open government--it was, in many ways, a product of the proverbial smoke-filled room: something that only saw the light of day in finished form, with no public input along the way.

Anonymous said...

Then it's good to know that the Lehigh Valley is 200 years behind.

Your old elementary teacher said...

Why is that no one on Norco or Lehi County Councils/Commissioners can spell or exhibit a grasp of 6th grade level grammar?

Jacob Oberholtzer said...


We are all in this together. We are facing the worst economic crisis since the great depression nationally, state-wide, and locally and all are leaders are interested in doing is scoring political points.

These gentleman at all levels of government better quickly understand we are in this together.

Anonymous said...

It appears the Republicans need grammar and spelling lessons! Eckhart should not be teaching that class.

Anonymous said...


I just bought two 3 pound cans of coffee from the Coplay GIANT Foodstore to make when all the nice, polite critics want to discuss issues. The only ground rules are that you can not call names. You must be (or at least try to be) civil. Everyone gets a turn explaining their position. No one person can verbally dominate the interaction. And most importantly (and I realize it is tough for the Clear Channel lovers) agree to respectfully disagree. These partisan attacks, I think, happen because people stop listening to each other. It is easier to stereotype someone with different ideas than listen to them and try to understand them. Dean and I, I believe, are an example of how two folks with very different political philosophies can be mutually respectful, understanding, and develop a friendship. Bill

PS - As a side bar, it would be interesting for all who show up to bring their community service, employment history, family and educational background and essentially what they have been up to since they were 18 years old ... sort of a written resume. I'll have mine. We can compare and contrast. I think it would be fun, possibly enlightening and might lead to better understanding and respect for each other.

Bill Leiner Jr. said...


Heavens to Mergatroy ... I just committed a cardinal sin .... I published an "anon". The above note is from me. Forgive me !!

Bill Leiner Jr.

LVCI said...

Thomas Jefferson on Webcasting?

"Where a new invention promises to be useful, it ought to be tried. "

"Whenever people are well-informed they can be trusted with their own government."

"Nothing can now be believed which is seen in the newspaper. Truth itself become suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle."

Thomas Jefferson on Partisanship?
"Were parties here divided merely by a greediness for office, as in England, to take part with either would be unworthy of a reasonable or moral man."

Bernie O'Hare said...

Alan, At the time of the Declaration of Independence, we still had slavery and women were not allowed to vote. Democracy dies behind closed doors.

Our legislature has made a finding. "The General Assembly finds that the right of the public to be present at all meetings of agencies and to witness the deliberation, policy formulation and decisionmaking of agencies is vital to the enhancement and proper functioning of the democratic process and that secrecy in public affairs undermines the faith of the public in government and the public's effectiveness in fulfilling its role in a democratic society."
You are bound by that finding.

Anonymous said...

One team currently runs the filibuster-proof table in DC. Their partisan approach gave us one historical failure of a stimulus. And now the same absolute power wants another one, a do-over.

Leiner may be a swell guy, but his stated politics re: more wasteful spending indicate a rare degree of economic idiocy. For this reason alone, he should absolutely not be trusted with one penny of taxpayer money.

Bernie O'Hare said...

And before that, another team ran a filibuster-proof table. Let's stop demonizing each other. Both sides have valid points. We need to LISTEN instead of yell at each other.

Alan Earnshaw said...


It seems you read more into my comment than I intended. I should have been more explicit; sorry about that.

My point was that Anon 12:52's example of the Declaration of Independence is not an example of open government.

I fully support the Sunshine Act. On a couple of occasions, I have stopped discussions in executive sessions when they have strayed from legitimate topics (e.g. negotiations or litigation) into topics that should only be discussed in public.

Anonymous said...

As a Democrat, I think it's ironic that a Democrat would use Bush as an excuse to not support webcasting. After the destroyed economy and the war, the main complaint that most Dems had about Bush/Cheney were the closed door secret meetings, lack of transparency, covert operations, etc...

Anonymous said...

Webcasting would be a great service to the community, mostly because the local papers seem to report less and less what our county and municipal governments do. Ironically, if you look at history, in the 1700s and 1800s there were many more newspapers than there were now. The people were more informed about what their governments were doing. Bernie, you just published something about Easton during the Civil War and Easton at that time had a number of papers just for Easton. If we had more papers reporting on what happens in local government, the need for webcasting wouldn't be so paramount.

Anonymous said...

Webcasting is unnecessary just like broadcasting Sotomayor's confirmation hearing is unnecessary. Sotomayor's confirmation should be done in secret meetings. It's of no concern to us who is on the Supreme Court. Just pay your taxes, shut up, and watch American Idol.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am encouraged by your attitude concerning the Sunshine Act. Thank you.

Jacob Oberholtzer said...


"And before that, another team ran a filibuster-proof table. Let's stop demonizing each other. Both sides have valid points. We need to LISTEN instead of yell at each other."

I love those words

ironpigpen said...

Anon 11:03 gets it!

I am still lagging behind but trying hard to get in gear with the program being implemented by the current Administration.

Anon 11:03, you forgot to mention NEVER COMPLAIN when your taxes go through the roof!

Anonymous said...

Is Rich Grucela going to vote to raise PA's state income tax?

I'm listening.

How about Bob Freeman?

I'm listening.

Anonymous said...

Silly question. Grucela will vote for anything that maintains his pensions. Of course he will. Freeman never saw a tax increase he didn't get exited about passing. Both are career takers from Central Casting.

Anonymous said...

In these difficult times I hope people don't play politics with peoples jobs.
That is nothing short of cruel. I have too much respect for both the Executive and County Commissioners to believe they would go to that level. Don't play with peoples lives.

Anonymous said...


Isn’t the “let’s all get together talk” just wishful thinking? Does good government come from getting along or does it spring from honest debate? This blog serves to remind us all that disagreements are too often made personal and insults substitute for thought. Yet, we must recognize that there are times “yelling” makes clear the level of discontent and frustration. Is telling the truth “demonizing”? More specifically, don’t people need to be made aware of the fact that a certain political party has brought ruin to the city of Allentown? Is that not a valid point to make?
Do you think Ed Pawlowski deserves a second term? Do you not find it troubling that the Democrats did not try to rescue the city from his ruinous rule by at least finding a suitable alternative? Do you think I and others would spend time complaining about competent Democrat Leadership?
These problems need to be discussed, but the real remedy can only come from the Democrats themselves and they have fallen short. Their inaction is a de facto endorsement of the status quo and that is plainly irresponsible. There is no “demonizing” here’; simply the recognition of the facts. If I and others are yelling can you blame us?

Scott Armstrong

The Network said...

I want you to get MAD! Because I'm not going away!

I want you to get up out of your chairs and go over to the window. Open it. Stick your head out and yell!

"These floors are dirty as HELL and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Bernie O'Hare said...


If you look at the top of my blog, you'll see this has been my message from Day 1. Although I'm an extremist left to my own devices, I try (and don't always succeed) to listen to what everyone around me says. This is why I think Dent is so successful as an elected official. That's what he does. Some (from left and right) view this as a weakness - I consider it a strength. When Joe Hilliard - a very nice guy - commands, "Trust no Democrats," he is alienating a majority and marginalizing himself.

As always, I can count on you for an inspired discussion.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Scott! Yes you would complain about competent Democratic leadership because it is what you do and you do it well.

Ed's Shadow

Anonymous said...


For the record Joe’s comments appear to me to come from what he thought was a private e-mail. Joe Hilliard trusts no politician and in that thinking I am in full agreement. He has been an outspoken activist for his small government positions and has made real enemies on all sides. For this courage on his part I have a real respect. Too many people put principle aside in order to appease. In politics and government the desire to get along is wrong headed and counterproductive to the goal of good government. Joe not only doesn’t trust Democrats he doesn’t trust Republicans either.
I agree with your assessment of Charlie Dent. He has built over the years relationships with the voters of his districts. People actually have his cell phone number and he answers or calls back. He is not ideological but tries to do what he thinks is in the best interests of all of his constituents. As a conservative he has infuriated me on several occasions with a vote but then comes back and takes a principled position that makes the left mad.

Scott Armstrong

jacob oberholtzer said...


I have to laugh at the extremism. Here is the thing. I disagree with the conservatives on regulation because I've worked in Corporate America for 10 years and know that without regulation corporations will do bad things. They are almost required to because it would make a profit and they have a duty to their shareholders.

I agree with conservatives on balanced budgets, disagree with them on taxes (the wealthy derive most of the benefits of society they should pay the most for it)

On some cultural issues I'm finding myself to become more conservative. I believe we are poisoning our youth with our culture.

I'm liberal on the issues of gay rights and believe that health care is a right. I'm also pro-labor and anti-free trade.

I'm a democrat right now because my social concerns are less than my economic concerns.

So I guess I could call myself a liberal...or I could call myself a conservative.

Maybe if we abandon these stupid labels people would actually focus on issues instead of my team is better than your team.

Anonymous said...

Does Pawlowski deserve re-election? Nope. Does that mean I'm going to vote for Tony Philips? Nope. He deserves the office even less.

This is one Allentown voter who will write somebody else in for Mayor.

Anonymous said...,%20Republicans%20already%20digging%20up%20info%20Callahan.htm

And it looks like the local GOP is getting help from the crooks in DC, hoping to dig up dirt to help Charlie Dent. Seems like another one of Charlie Dent's smear campaigns is already starting to simmer.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I think it was very inappropriate for you to publish this, but it's a free country. "Born again princess"? OK.
BTW, there have been some very partisan e-mails from dems that I've seen, but chose not to share. Have you seen them too?

About my comments, I have been to Coplay on almost every general election day, and so has Leiner. Bill has always been nice to me, but he has always undermined me when he thought I wasn't aware. Bill has intimidated voters and poll workers for Republicans on nearly every occasion. There are some pretty disturbing stories, one woman even had to work another polling place after a short while in Coplay. Don't believe me? Just show up, you will see.
Bill, you are as partisan a person as I've ever seen.
I won't lie, I'm partisan too, but to me the vote and the polling place are sacred. The folks working and entering deserve their space.
I'd like to have a sit down with you, and several others who have been involved on election day. My resume of community service is probably as long as yours, and I don't ever name call. Let's talk about how things will go on election day up in Coplay.

Dawn Berrigan

Bernie O'Hare said...


You are a local party official, hence the term "princess." You are supposedly one of those born again Christians, hence that term. Like most born agains, your views tend to be unChristian, probably bc you think you have it made.

You think it inappropriate for me to publish your remarks? It was inappropriate for you to have written them. When you send them to a large audience, you should expect to see your words again, especially when you're acting like a jerk.

As far as not being a name caller is concerned, it is amazing you can make that claim in a post that draws attention to the slams you hurled at Leiner.

Do I draw attention to Dem partisanship? All the time.

Carry on.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I thought of you when i saw the MCall about how Specter asked Sotomayor about taping the Supreme Court hearings so the public could see. She and Specter seemed for it. I remembered how one of the Commissioners had said that webcasting would "destroy the integrity of the County meetings." It's interesting that Lehigh County regards themselves with higher integrity than the Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

Relax Dawn, except for the 10-15 Whacky Angleites no one takes O'Hare seriously.

He is catered to by smart pol's because if he gets a mancrush on you he will love you to death, check out Angle and Stoffa.

He is a mean old fart that is completely insane and most folks know it. Take this blog for the entertainment value and enjoy. Please don't take anything personal, O'Hare is one of the biggest bullshiters there is. Everyone knows this is rumor and insults gone wild.

The Truthanator

Ole Yeller said...

Woo! You're kidding me, right? Is that the best you can do on spin control?

Then let the truth be spoken...

Little Pig, Little Pig, let me in!

Peace, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

Hey angry priest, How's it hanging

Stanley Spadowski's FanClub said...

Très bien, mais vous ne devez pas plaisanter. Il ne fait pas beau de duper la Mère Nature.

Beau jour, bonsoir, et au revoir!

Paix, ~~Alec
(There's no French equivalent for Alex?)

Stanley Spadowski's FanClub said...

Darn! I missed the perfect set-up. I am slipping in my old age. I should have signed off like this:

Paix, ~~Prêtre Fâché
(French for Angry Priest.)

Next time...

Peace, ~~A.P.

Joe Hilliard said...


I am not a "self-proclaimed political strategist". I am an advocate for limited government principles. My effectiveness in that role is for others to decide.

Nor do I speak for the GOP. I wish we had a unified voice about common sense principles but we do not.

Whenever there are two sides involved, it is always wise advice to tread warily. If you negotiate a business deal, do you blindly trust the person across the table?

Nor do I claim to be "bi-partisan". Bi-partisanship and the "go along to get along" mentality among politicians has created almost ALL of the major problems we face at all levels of government. I am a limited government Jeffersonian/Madisonian partisan.

How do you compromise between higher taxes and lower taxes? More public debt or a reduction of public debt? Deficit spending or a truly balanced budget? You can't.

I merely advocate that the GOP should take clear stands on fundamental principles and educate the public. Then the public can pressure the "other" side to do the right thing. This is where we constantly fail while Republican elected officials try to appear "moderate", "bi-partisan" and "walk across the aisle".

This is a battle of ideas and philosophy, not some fraternal society where we can all sit down and drink coffee together. One side understands that this is a battle, the other seems too concerned about "getting along".

Is Bill Leiner a fiscal conservative or not? Does he talk like one but govern another way? That is why I distrust most Democrats and quite a few Republicans.

If he is a fiscal conservative he:

would not support budgets with operating deficits;

and would support reasonable fiscal limits for employee salaries and benefits.

If he is not a fiscal conservative, he should openly declare such a fact.

Either course would earn some trust from me.

Bill might be a nice guy. I am friends with many Dems and even, shudder, some liberals. This is not a personal animus - though many try to frame it that way. Much like Pawlowski who has publicly declared that I "dislike him" so that is why I have been pointing out what has been going on with Allentown's fiscal matters.

No, I dislike his POLICIES. Because they are wrong and have made things WORSE in Allentown.

Nor do I trust Democrats because I OPPOSE most of their policy solutions and their philosophy of governance because I distrust Big Government. Not simply because they are Democrats, but because I oppose what they advocate.

If they support budgets without deficits, lower taxes and sound fiscal management and restraint of the growth of government, I would begin to trust them.

Sadly, I wish a lot more Republicans would adopt the same principles that our party is supposed to believe as well!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Joe, When it suits you, you certainly are a self-proclaimed political strategist. I posted a blog not long ago in which you have all kinds of politcal strategy for local Rs. Your far right agenda may solve some problems but will and has failed. Same for the far left. The real leaders are those who govern from the center. You view this as weaknmess, which is a pity. I view it as a strength. The original R president, Abraham Lincoln, was actually a moderate instead of one of the zealots. Seems to me you're off track.

ironpigpen said...

Is that where Obama is governing from, the center?

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

If you drink enough Kool Aid -


Joe Hilliard said...



Lincoln advocated the end of slavery. Hardly a "moderate" position.

And, it was so "extremist" it led to the Civil War!!!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lincoln did NOT advocate abolition although he personally opposed slavery when he ran for President. In fact, he gave a famous inaugural address in which he pointedly notes that if he could preserve the union by keeping slavery, he'd do that. The extremists were those who favored abolition or slavery, no matter what the cost. Lincoln governed from the center. That's a person you'd do well to emulate, but you're an extremist.