Although it's by no means unusual for LV Congressman Charlie Dent to endorse a candidate for local office, he had to take some personal satisfaction in seeing a full slate of Republicans - Al Bernotas, Tom Carroll and Tony Simao - willing to take on "one party rule" in Bethlehem. Dent left Washington, D.C. at 5:30 AM Saturday just so he could publicly give them his good government stamp of approval following a Lincoln Day breakfast at Hotel Bethlehem.
Dent, who became intimately familiar with Bethlehem's mismanaged city government during his most recent Congressional race against Mayor John Callahan, stated Bethlehem "deserves better that what it's getting right now from the current administration." Noting that Bethlehem's bond rating has been downgraded, Dent said it's time for some "meaningful oversight." He called on City Council to be "watchdogs for this administration, not lapdogs."
"You will have better City government because of these guys," he said.
Dent did recognize some "voices in the wilderness," people like Jean Belinski, Mike Schweder and Dave DiGiacinto.
Below are excerpts from the candidates.
Al Bernotas on YouTube: "I'm not waiting until we get elected to City Council. We've already started to make a difference by going out for the past year and a half, two years, just listening in. We're going to do a few Right-to-Knows, we're not going to allow only City Council to see the budget, P&L and what's going on. I'd like to see the check register posted to a website. A little bit of sunshine never hurt anyone. ... I know how to balance my checkbook and take out loans and pay them back. I'd like to help the City administration learn to do that, and I'd like to make sure that City Council watches everything that's going on, and communicates with the people."
Tom Carroll on YouTube: "The City is already $300 million in debt. That means that for every adult over 18 in the City of Bethlehem, we all owe, just for the debt of this City, $5,000 a person. ... The administration says, 'We have a revenue problem. They do not. They have had a 150% increase in revenue since 2000. They do not have a revenue problem. They do not have a tax problem. They have a spending problem and they have a borrowing problem."
Tony Simao on YouTube: "There comes a point in time when the tough choices have to be made. ... Ron Angle comes to mind, the Northampton County Bulldog, as he's known in some circles. I believe that that's my type of character as well. I don't like incompetence. I don't like waste. It seems like there is a lot of it going on in the City of Bethlehem to the point where now, at a national level, Wall Street is taking notice and lowering bond ratings."
On the Democrats' side of the ticket, City Council Prez Bob Donchez and J. Willie Reynolds are seeking reelection. Mike Recchiuti, a lawyer and member of the City's Parking Authority, is also seeking your approval.
(Blogger's Note: I was unable to attend this endorsement due to a family commitment.)