Monday, March 28, 2011

Allentown Gas Explosion Featured on Business Matters Tonight


On Friday, I told you that the Gracedale Goons invaded WFMZ's Business Matters last week and continually disrupted the show, kinda' like they do at County Council meetings. They're now blaming the producer for their bad behavior. But this post is about another show taped that day. It's airing tonight at 8 PM, and it is a MUST SEE for anyone who lives in the Lehigh Valley's three cities or its older boroughs.

The show was a look back at the UGI gas explosion that killed five people and wiped out a city block. A woman who lived in one of these homes was a panelist. So was Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and the LV United Way President Susan Gilmore.

United Way staffers packed the audience. A very well-dressed Susan Kennedy, who did those awful Tempo shows, was there, and she even brought her plastic smile. Two, younger, mini-Sue Kennedys followed her, wearing the same vacuous smiles.

"Power down, girls," Kennedy kommanded. I thought maybe they all had chips implanted somewhere, but she was referring to their cell phones.

Regular and perhaps even occasional readers of this blog know I pretty much detest King Edwin. But he impressed me. As I've pointed out in a companion piece at Easton Patch, Pawlowski mentioned several very disturbing facts:

♦ There is more regulation of our water lines than there is for a highly flammable substance being transported by aging, cast-iron pipes.

♦ Most of the cast-iron pipes in Allentown are ancient, some of them going back to the early 1900's.

♦ Allentown is no different in this regard than Bethlehem, Easton, or the many older boroughs in the Lehigh Valley.

♦ In the year before this explosion, Allentown responded to over 100 gas leaks.

♦ UGI's current schedule of replacement is phased over forty years, and the Lehigh Valley is the last area scheduled.

♦ After the February 9 explosion, a gas-fed fire raged for five hours until UGI and City officials were able to find a shut-off valve.

UGI sent no representative to this show, but host Iannelli read a letter of apology the utilty sent, accepting responsibility. In addition, the utility has sent $20,000 to every homeowner displaced, no questions asked.

How about the tenants?

Apparently, they've been forgotten. In the audience were several of the people who've lost everything, and they've been pretty much ignored up until now. One gentleman said Red Cross gave him money to stay in a hotel one night, and the hotel decided to let him stay another day. But the United Way had not been there for him at all between February 9, the date of the explosion, and March 23, when this show aired.

Gilmore stammered about all the money she is raising, but was unable to explain how she has failed to help someone who was essentially left homeless. He is currently staying with family.

One week earlier, CACLV's Alan Jennings sent out $31,380 of the $118,000 raised thus far. Clearly, they need to be more responsive.

After the show was over, Gilmore, Kennedy and the mini-Kennedys made a quick exit.

Like the United Way, don't expect any quick action from state or federal officials. In my Patch article, I do mention some steps that local municipalities can and should take to reduce the incidence of this kind of tragedy.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

The producer shares your personal proclivities so no one is surprised he shilled for you and Angle.

People only groan when you and Angle continue to tell the same disproved lies over and over again.

Anonymous said...

what did u expect from the UW. They have to cover their bloated salaries and expenses first

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

Pawlowski should watch before he throws stones.

Pawlowski makes it sound like UGI is neglecting Allentown, yet he must surely be aware (because of the outcry in the Historic Districts over the appearance) that UGI has been moving individual gas meters outside as part of their continuing work.

Gas line replacement obviously has a negative effect on streets. UGU has been replacing many of the gas lines (both mains and lines from the main to individual homes) in Allentown in coordination with the city's repaving schedule.

Unfortunately, the city hasn't been repaving nearly as many miles of city streets since Pawlowski has been in office. This might be part of the reason that many of the lines have not been replaced.

Also, many of Pawlowski's "regulated" water lines are springing leaks, sometimes undermining the same ground near where the UGI pipes run.

Anonymous said...

Bernie.....time to stop putting "Gracedale Goons" in every commentary you make. When it comes to Business Matters.....it is starting to mimic the Jerry Springer show more and more especially when Ron Angle is on. I am sure when that episode airs, people will make their own judgement whether the audience was out of control or was it really Ron Angle and you!

Anonymous said...

How about the tenants?

Renter's Insurance. Live and learn.

Anonymous said...

I am ignorant -- When and where does "Business Matters" air? I take it the show is on TV...

Guy Williams said...

Again it seems that our culture demands to have it both ways.When government,business or religion are to controlling we call for more freedom but in a tragedy we are looking for immediate help from the same.The end result is always the same,We all pay.

Bernie O'Hare said...

11:37, Business Matters will air at 8PM tonight, Channel 69, WFMZ-TV.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Guy, United Way is NOT the government. It is a non-profit that is raising money from all kinds of corporations.

Anonymous said...

"Business Matters", is a show on everything but business.

Sadly, Inanneli lets a person condemned by both the NAACP and Anti-Defamation League on the panel as a regular.

Anonymous said...

Re: Channel where Business Matters is found: thank you, Bernie. I watched the show, and was disappointed. I expected something more focused upon the reports and inspections, and the technical issues re gas lines. It was all "fluff" about how people "felt." And about getting aid from various sources, United Way, etc, complaints it was not enough, not soon enough....We already can imagine how they feel, and how disruptive the disaster was to their lives...that is what disasters *do* - disrupt lives. A huge part of the coverage immediatley following the disaster covered how it affected various people. Hope that is not par for the course on Business Matters.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sorry you did not like it. I was quite impressed.

Anonymous said...

Business Matters is a vanity piece for Toni Iannelli. It is a bunch of nonsense paid for by wealthy business owners who have nothing better to do with their cash.

People wonder why business isn't believed when they cry that they have no money. Watch the waste of money they spend on a show called"Business Matters" and you will understand why folks are skeptical.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't particularly impressed by the show. The United Way speaker was full of hot air. At least one of the mini-Kennedy girls was very attractive.