Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Bossman Walt Garvin Will End Dem Divisiveness

So last week, before Ron Angle banged the gavel to start the final Northampton County Council meeting of the year, I was arguing with The Express Times' Sarah Cassi. I've never defeated her in a war of words. Not even once. It really pisses me off, but she just loves it and pours it on even more. So I was relieved when Walter Garvin, aka WallyG, came up and asked if he could have a word with me ... in private.

Walter, as most of you probably know, is Joe Long, Jr. He's Long's hand-picked successor as Chairman of the Northampton County Democratic Party. His landslide election by a scant two votes in June, had to be repeated again in July because Bossman Long, as usual, screwed it up.

In his defense, Joe is simply not used to doing legal elections.

In the July meeting, Chairman Joe Il Long sought my immediate excommunication as a Democratic Committeeman. Yes, I won that seat in the Primary as a result of an overwhelming mandate from the people - one write-in vote. I was actually in a six-way tie, and somehow won a lottery.

Well, let me tell you, I was lucky to make it out of that meeting alive. After Long spoke, some Pakistani dude came up to the mike, called me a spy, and wanted me beheaded ... on video. I defended myself by admitting that I do support LV Congressman Charlie Dent and think they should, too.

Based on November's election results, it appears that many of them did.

Well, they never did kick me out, and last I heard, they were dumping my case in the state committee's lap, and Walt Garvin was going to end all the divisiveness and rancor within the local Dem party.

His way of doing that is by getting rid of people who disagree.

When we reached a quiet corner, Walt handed me one sheet of paper and told me it was the state committee by-laws. I sure thought they were a little longer than that. He then told me I was in clear violation of them, and must resign as I said I would. Then he handed me another sheet of paper all filled out and everything, which he was carrying in his little Bernie O'Hare dossier. It was my resignation. All I had to do was sign. No fuss.

I asked Walter why he failed to notify me of the upcoming Dem Committee meeting. I'm pretty sure that's a violation of the by-laws, too. Should he resign, too? Should Joe Long resign? He actively supported Arlen Specter when Snarlen' was still in the GOP.

And that's, more or less, the point. Bob Freeman said it best on that hot night in July. "I think we go down a dangerous path when we cherry pick who we go after for not supporting the party."

So I refused to sign Garvin's piece of paper. He's in no position to talk about by-laws that he himself ignores at his convenience. If he fails to notify me of the next meeting, I'll ask for his resignation.


Anonymous said...

These types of tactics are why I changed party affiliation. James Schlener is another one who thinks he can strong arm whoever he wishes in the name of the Democratic party simply because he's in a union.

The house of cards is starting to be revealed in Bethlehem and soon it will come down on all of the crooked Democrats like a ton of bricks.

I remember being at a candidate's forum for the Democrats, and they actually believed their own hype! "Panella is going to win and we need the PA Supreme Court in case of a contested election." They ended up loosing every seat to Republicans that year in Northampton County, and were amazingly enough in shock as to how that could have happen.

Anonymous said...

Realize you mostly write about Northampton County, but maybe you might wish to investigate the
Lower Macungie Township land use
deal with the Jaindl Family and what some residents are calling a behind closed doors deal.

Anonymous said...

Until and unless you are purified, you'll be a turd in the punchbowl. Now sign zee papers.

Anonymous said...

Walt the Weasel has a lot of nerve requesting your resignation. He personifies what is wrong with the Norco Dem Party. They back pious, empty-can candidates who lose badly and continue to follow incompetent leaders like Garvin. Stick to your guns Bernie and clean up that cesspool!

Anonymous said...

Democrats always seem to turn into mindless zombies where regulations and moral righteousness trump common sense and logic.

Anonymous said...

Asked why he, an ardent New Deal liberal in his youth, had turned away from the Democratic Party, President Ronald Reagan said simply: "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. It left me."

I think you're just about there Bernie!

Anonymous said...

Some Dems think Freeman and Brennan should resign to because they supported Dally in his election.

Jon Geeting said...

What is the point of a political party? I would say it's to push government policy in a general direction (Democrats to the left, Republicans to the right) by nominating candidates for public office to run under their party's name. Every party must contain a diverse range of views to get a majority coalition. I'm not contesting that. But the minimum requirement for holding a position in a political party - the single criterion that every official member should have in common - is to support and vote for all of that party's candidates. The Democratic Party only has a responsibility to care about one thing - electing Democrats. Why would they support Charlie Dent, who won't contribute to a Democratic governing majority? Why would they let you, a prominent advocate on behalf of several Republican candidates, hold an official position in the party? It's absurd.

Rather than being "divisive" the real problem with the local Democratic parties is that they aren't any good at mobilizing people for elections.

They cling to ineffective GOTV strategies like tear sheets and lit drops that don't work.

They don't fundraise except to pay for their own social events.

They don't have a farm team and haven't done any work to develop a deep bench of candidates.

They haven't done anything to organize active College Democrat clubs at the many local colleges - an obvious pipeline for student activists to get engaged with elections.

They haven't made any attempt to organize the substantial black and Latino populations in Allentown and South Bethlehem and create a turnout operation for those communities.

And they don't have any communications apparatus to push for progressive policies at local government meetings. There's nothing there to counter the Tea People, and from what I can tell, no plan to start turning out even their committee people.

Sadly I could go on. The local Democratic parties have much bigger organizational problems than making sure people who oppose their candidates feel welcome to the club.

Anonymous said...


An excellent critique.

Reminds me of the letter Stoffa sent Jo Long - asking him to resign.

Monkey Momma said...

"Why would they let you, a prominent advocate on behalf of several Republican candidates, hold an official position in the party? It's absurd."

Well, actually, Bernie was ELECTED. The party doesn't "LET" anyone be a committeeperson - it's up to the voters. (Theoretically, of course.)

Bernie O'Hare said...

Overwhelmingly, too. One write-in vote. If that's not a mandate, I don't know what is.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Monkey Momma, I like the profession you list on your profile. "Mom." That's a pretty good profession.

c said...

Aw c'mon. Give Walt a chance. He is working pretty hard from what I see. He has only been in the position for a few months.

Anonymous said...

And the one write in vote had compitition from at least one other write in vote and there was a drawing correct?

Anonymous said...

That Reagan sure did come up with some great lines, although I think most could be attributed to Ben Stein
That said I like this one better

"If you want to live like a Republican vote Democrat"

no truer words were EVER spoken

Bernie O'Hare said...

"And the one write in vote had compitition from at least one other write in vote and there was a drawing correct?"

Actually, it was a six-way tie, and then there was a drawing. I won. It was a mandate.

Anonymous said...

What has "W" been working so hard at? Failure? Bernie, you may want to check out the legalities of a county chair deciding that the county by-laws are no longer in effect and replacing them with the state committee by-laws, thereby giving himself powers not enumerated in the county's by-laws.

Anonymous said...

"They don't fundraise except to pay for their own social events"


NorCo elects a county chair who can raise 150k a year, then they become relevent.