Monday, February 28, 2011

Who's More Evil, Developers or Bloggers?

In 2006 and 2007, the Zawarskis poured $13,350 into Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski's campaign coffers, and King Edwin smoothed the way for the "The Townes at Trexler Square," a KOZ project that makes these properties virtually tax free. So when I heard that Martin Zawarski is running against incumbent Arthur Murphy for Bethlehem Township Commissioner, I couldn't resist asking whether he was now trying to cut out the middleman and buy his office directly. Instead of jumping down my throat, as I fully expected, Zawarski and I exchanged 9 emails on Friday and Saturday. He must be pretty evil because I ended up liking him.

I won't get into his defense of the KOZ. He thinks my view is one-sided, and maybe it is, but we can save that debate for another day. But why is he running? He told me it's to make Bethlehem Township
"... a friendlier municipality. One that serves the people. I walk into Forks Township or Palmer Township or the City of Bethlehem and can walk into anyone’s office and have a cup of coffee and they will smile and shake my hand. Bethlehem Township – I nor other people get that feeling. But there are so many issues that BT [Bethlehem Township] needs to correct and work on. And we do need change. And we need business people on the Board of Commissioners that know how to run a business in tough times. I like Arthur- he works for Steve Selvaggio, and at one time Steve did a lot of work for my home building company. But it isn’t about Arthur and his position. It is about what I can do to make Bethlehem Township a better place to live and work."
He admits that "developers have been labeled the bad guys," although bottom-feeding bloggers like me are much worse. But Zawarski asks who "is better prepared to take on this job? I am someone who has been through the toughest economic times in our lives and survived through these times. Who has the vast experience on the board that I have?"

Zawarski, married to Cheryl, is a LU grad and his daughter is expected to earn her degree there this Spring. Unfortunately, despite his prayers to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, his son Zachary became a lawyer.

Zawarski and Murphy are both Republicans. I'd like to know how both stand on contributions to Bethlehem's library. Murphy seems to think libraries have outgrown their usefulness.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Ohare.... ask his customers in the Vineyards and Nancy Run Estates and you might get a very different story about him. This guy is a buyer beware developer and expects nobody to help his customers when they don't agree with him. He is a finger pointer not a problem solver. It is amazing how these developers pack these local boards and want things easier for them and their buddies. Talk about the very potential for corruption. Did not Bethlehem Township go through contractor developer corruption in the 1980's?

Clem said...

Aw, no one will be nice to me...

A kinder, gentler, Bethlehem Township?

Hi, my name is Martin Zawarski, and I'd like to do for BT what Bush I did for our country...

Maybe no one will have a cup of coffee and shake his hand because they just don't like what he has done there so far. Maybe BT is one of those munis where the representation still understands it owes its allegiance to its constituents, and has learned its lesson in dealing with the likes of this guy.

Lighthouse said...

Interesting. I googled "Martin Zawarski Bethlehem Township", and the below was a gem from the past that.

"NEWS
Bethlehem Twp. officials, builder air gripes
By Nicole Radzievich Of The Morning Call | December 17, 2002
Home builder D. Martin Zawarski came to the Bethlehem Township commissioners meeting Monday to air out concerns about the time it took him to get a permit. But the commissioners had their own gripes to air out. After Zawarski criticized township officials, Commissioner President Jerry Batcha accused Zawarski of trying to badger township staff into cutting him breaks. At times, Batcha said, Zawarski sent the township staff e-mails about his building projects and identified himself as "soon-to-be township commissioner."
"

Anonymous said...

Why was I so called badgering township employees. Well it was taking 4 months to get a permit. They didn't care, even after numerous meetings with staff and commissioners. By the way, I walk my communities regularly and talk to homeowners. This is what a Keller Williams Real Estate Agent does. I am welcomed in 95% of homes that I stop by to see. - Martin Zawarski

Anonymous said...

I have a House that was build by Martin Zawarski and I am friends that those that have worked for him. I have to say he is a good Man. My relationship with Marty spans 13 years. He is a good builder. He wants to represent the BT and make it a better place and I am glad that he is fighting for US. To address the pint made about Corruption well that is a joke. Building is down so or should I say none existent. also Lighthouse the year is 2011 so your Article is interesting but 2002. I am sure if given the chance we could find a few interesting articles about you.
The Bottom line is Martin Z is well versed in the BT. He knows its strengths and weakness and wants to make a difference. He has My VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I take a different viewpoint on candidates receiving money from business leaders in the community. I own a large construction company and give to a lot of candidates. I don't expect anyhting in return but I only support candidates or office holders that help the economy and improve the lifestyles so I can do more business. Someone with a proven record and someone who attracts positive attention to their community will ultimately help all businesses. I hate being labeled a pay for play when all I want is to make the valley a good place to do business.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I would not really label you "pay to play." You are just being a good businessman. I reserve that insult for the pols who accept the money.

And I appreciate your perspective. Nothing is as black or white as I sometimes seem to think.

Anonymous said...

I have a personal relationship Martin Zawarski. I find him to be a considerate, caring and honest human being. He is a family man first and has his values in the proper order. Martin is always worried about the people around him. He carries all of these same traits over into his business dealings. He is exactly what Bethlehem Township needs. Martin has my vote!

Anonymous said...

The problem with many of these elected local officials is that they are builders and contractors. Always a recipe for disaster. Too much potential for a conflict. Plus these guys are always worried about permits. Instead they should be worried about the big issues of pay and pensions. He might be a great guy, but not sure he understands the unionized public employee.