Now Renshaw is a journalist, not a member of Allentown city council. What have they been doing? How has that seven-member city council reacted to these reports of abuse? Investigations? Audits?
Last week's regular meeting, scheduled to consider twelve different ordinances, had to be canceled because of lack of interest. Council was unable to establish a quorum. No effort has been made to reschedule that meeting this week despite a Home Rule Charter provision clearly mandating that it shall meet twice every month.
I've emailed Council Prez Michael D'Amore to ask when this meeting will be rescheduled. No reply.
The City is in obvious crisis, but the body created to provide oversight can't be bothered to meet, let alone provide direction. Is it any wonder City Council candidate Lou Hershman calls this litter a collection of Pawlowski lap dogs?
In Sunday's Morning Call, Jarrett Renshaw makes very clear that of all six candidates, only Hershman has responded to the report of a Peanutville blue ribbon panel, calling for dramatic changes.
"Republican candidate Lou Hershman, 73, has laid out a plan that seems closest to the committee's spirit of reform.Hershman also wants to audit landlords so all tenants pay earned income and business privilege taxes.
Allentown should consider dissolving the parking authority, Hershman said, and use any surplus revenue from violations to help pay the city's operating expenses."
He has specific ideas. He is also the only candidate running who will decline to accept a salary.
Perhaps you'd prefer pious platitudes. Julio "I speak two languages" Guridy proposes looking at "all expenses, line-by-line." Silly me, but aren't they supposed to be doing that already? What the hell has Guridy been doing the last eight years? Energetic Mike Schlossberg proposes buying supplies like paper clips in bulk. Last time I checked, the city already makes most of its purchases through the state at a discounted rate.
D'Amore and Guridy take the cake for most ridiculous idea. The want to restructure the debt that they've already just restructured. In other words, they want to shackle the city with thirty years of debt to pay for their mismanagement.
During this campaign, Hershman has already been disparaged with anonymous sleaze robcalls engineered by Pawlowski. Candidates Sclossberg, D'Amore and O'Connell - the three blind mice - paid for that smear job. But they've all been too timid to lay the blame at the mayor's door mat publicly, where it properly belongs. Is this independence? Of the three, only Ray O'Connell has been decent enough to acknowledge an error and apologize like a man.
After sliming Lou, Council Prez D'Amore and VP Michael Donovan tried muzzling him, preventing him from speaking out at city council meetings during public comment segments, a clear violation of both Allentown's Home Rule Charter as well as the The Pennsylvania Sunshine Act. Michael "I'm still learning" Donovan was unwilling to listen to someone who has long served Allentown, as both Council member (8 years) and Controller (24 years). D'Amore and Donovan, in trying to silence Hershman, undermined public confidence in the democratic process and sent a chilling message to anyone interested in getting involved.
It's an insiders' club.
Lou stood up to the insiders, and thanks to the eloquence of Council members like Jeannette Eichenwald, Council eventually backed down.
Amazingly, Hershman is still fighting for the city he loves, even if it is an uphill battle against money and partisan politics. A good man, he sticks to issues, and never slams people personally, not even in retaliation. If you are an Allentown voter, don't you think you deserve at least one more watchdog on city council?
Jeanette Eichenwald is beginning to ask hard questions, but she needs help. So does Jarrett Renshaw.
So does Allentown.