Saturday, November 28, 2009

Despite Recession, Open Space Remains Popular

Northampton County Council member Ron Angle has proposed a one-year moratorium on open space funding. This will reduce next year's tax increase by half, but is contrary to the popular will expressed in a referendum. It's even contrary to the sentiment expressed when County Exec John Stoffa was initially elected. He had warned he'd propose a half mill tax increase for open space. "They elected me anyway," he likes to say.

But that was when times were good. Now that we're in the midst of a recession, Angle questions whether that widespread support has vanished. He is interested in what you think, and even asked me to run a poll.

Ron is going to be surprised. Although only 44 votes have been cast so far, a slight majority (52%) still supports open space funding.

You can vote on the left sidebar.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ron has this right. We did vote for it, and we do want it. But choices have to be made, and he isn't saying scrap open space and trying to subvert the referendum, just manage through the tough times.

That said, Open Space is the easy target, and shouldn't be used as the out to avoid overall fiscal constraint and reform for the longer term.

Anonymous said...

Angle is trying to circumvent the will of the people, instead of making the other tough choices of a tax increase, budget cutting, etc. The only way that I would acquiesce, is if the open space revenue was used to obtain and maintain open space. Use this revenue to offset the parks department expenditures. Often times Angle would complain that we would have open space, but nobody to cut the grass. Well, use my idea to offset the budget. Makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

What land is expected to come up for development during the proposed one-year moratorium? How valuable is it to NorCo in the long run? Does Angle have his eye on it? One of his friends?

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's a bit unfair. Angle is not trying to prevent the purchase of land so he can develop it. In all his years in real estate, he has never developed a single tract of land. Any land purchased next year would be environmentall sensitive lands. Now I know a realtor who positioned himself to make a killing, but not Angle.

Anonymous said...

The big story here is how many people who populate this blog WANT the money used for tax relief.
Since this blog is populated and policed to ensure very Administration friendly respondents the fact that 48% agree to use the money is very telling.

Also the people did not vote overwhelmingly for a tax for Open Space, there is no such tax. There was a very good explanation of this that Ohare deleted.

The only sure way to gaurantee money for open space is a Bond, anything else is just an idea.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"There was a very good explanation of this that Ohare deleted."

I am fairly lenient about what I allow posted here. I have no problem posting a comment to say that the only real way to preserve open space is via bond. The "pay as you go" approach espoused by Stoffa is subject to the whim of council, a weakness that Stoffa himself noted and that I myself mentioned.

I do not care whether someone expresses an opinion that may differ from mine or has insights that I may lack. If this blog is designed to be administration friendly, I'm doing a poor job.

What I do delete are the trolls. These are the usually anonymous people who engage in irrational attacks and OT rants. They discourage meaningful discussion of the issues with all kinds of personal slams.

And once I've identified someone as a troll, I will delete ANYTHING coming from that person.

Thus, attempts to blame Stoffa for everything, including rainy weather, will be deleted. Criticism of his open space program is welcome.

What I see is an effort by one member of council to try to reduce the tax increase and some people who have very strong feelings about open space, speaking up for that concept.

I am well aware of another group, who have no interest in doing anything except to hurt others and disrupt this blog.

In two elections now, the people have made clear they like Stoffa and don't care for the Dertinger-McClure tactics. Instead of positioning yourself politically, it's time to start thinking about the issues.

The Mad Monk said...

Bernie,

You have to admit, overall it has been a good day. Nobody from the Republican party shot anyone. And the Democrats haven't let just anyone wander into The White House. Two for two ain't so bad.

Peace, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

little known fact: Angle bought a piece of land to prevent some development on adjacent property in Mt Bethel. He did a good thing that day, but no one is going to report that. His idea does make sense,but we have to weigh both sides of the books and the over all effect on every municiaplity.

Anonymous said...

Ron, quit fishing for compliments.

Anonymous said...

Father Alex, the "Mad Monk" moniker is your best yet - and the fact that there hasn't been a professional wrestler with that name to me is a crime.

The Banker

usa1 said...

Your poll is not statiscally correct and I wont participate in your "Ron building" schemes.

A poll must include a large and random sample - not just your bloggies.

Propoganda..............

Anonymous said...

Everything about this "blog" has been bought and paid for just like the computer that produces it.

Anonymous said...

Before voting, each person should take a ride down Macarthur Rd in Whitehall just to get a perspective.

Anonymous said...

Although, admittedly unscientific, the poll, to date, has 64 votes with 42 votes no, 22 yes. That's 2:1 ratio for not going Angle's way. BO send this message back to Angle to keep his hands off, what the voters asked for.

Bernie O'Hare said...

USA1, the poll is unscientific, but it's fun and Ron asked for it. The best poll would be an election.

Yesterday, at 10:43 AM, there wewe 44 votes, 23 against devoting open space money to reduce a tax increase. Yesterday, there were an additioanl 19 NO votes w/o a single Yes vote. I find that a bit odd.

Right now the vote is 42-22 anti.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Everything about this "blog" has been bought and paid for just like the computer that produces it."

Really? Then please tell me where the hell the money is so I can pay some bills.

Anonymous said...

Considering the Stoffaholics that generally populate this blog, they probably got their green allies to rig the vote.

I remember another poll you had last year. When the results were not what you liked you simply claimed it was fixed.

Same logic here.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It makes no difference whether i like the results. Pointing out that it is easy to slant a poll has nothing to with whether I like the results. If it were impossible to fix polls, Ron Paul would be President.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This blog has its fair share of Stoffa haters, and you are one of them.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:26, I know you're just trying to be helpful, but I delete all comments posted by trolls as well as comments that acknowledge them. The less said to them, the better.

Jonathan said...

From an economic development perspective, it would be foolhardy to slow spending on open space now, as interest rates are extremely low and the spending would help create jobs. Things are tight, yes, but as the Lehigh Valley looks to raise its profile as a tourist destination and attract young professionals, particularly at a time when YPs are being priced out of the biggest cities and opting for smaller metro regions, prioritizing open space (as an actual and a political commitment) increases the LV's appeal with that demographic. Tapping the open space money for a tax cut may be politically easy and poll well, but I think the right thing to do is to keep the development tempo apace while borrowing is cheap, as an investment in the LV's future prosperity. Few localities are in a position to be able to borrow right now, so it would be wise not to waste the opportunity here. That's what strong political leadership is all about.

The Mad Monk said...

Mr. The Banker,

Thank you. Actually, the moniker of Mad Monk is applied to Rasputin. That is him in my Avatar picture. But if you click on my link, check out my profile page. Do you like my new name? Guess who it is? I am a big Telly Savalas fan...

Peace, ~~Alex