Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Who Will Be the Next NorCo Exec?

In Northampton County, the county executive is the "chief executive and administrative official of the County," vested with broad powers. John Stoffa has nearly finished his sixth year in office. He has kept the County on a sound fiscal footing, instituted a successful, pay-as-you-go open space program, and has worked hard to establish programs that treat criminal offenders like human beings instead of animals. Most importantly, he has restored integrity to his office, refusing to continue the usual pay-to-play games with County employees and vendors. Some of them, who prefer patronage to professionalism, will never forgive him.

Although his campaign to sell Gracedale failed, he accepted the will of the people and brought private management to the County-owned nursing home. More importantly, after decades of neglect, he embarked on a $20 million program of capital improvements at this nursing facility, funding it with energy savings instead of a costly bond.  

In the minds of many people, the last election was a referendum on John Stoffa. His two strongest allies on Council - Ron Angle and Mike Dowd - were both defeated. His strongest critic - Lamont McClure - may have been re-elected.  I don't buy it. Dowd was swept out of office by Panto's mayoral contest. That had nothing to do with Stoffa. Ron was consumed by a perfect storm of negative news articles over the course of a year. Those had nothing to do with Stoffa, either.

Nevertheless, the sharks are circling again. They smell blood. Who will run for County Exec?

Lisa Boscola - the Lemon Shark. Like the Lemon, Lisa is yellow in color, with a bright blond mane that has blinded many of her prey. She's swimming in the Harrisburg aquarium right now, where she has served for two terms in the state house and is in her fourth term as a state senator.

What many people forget is that she got her start in Northampton County, where she served as a Deputy Court Administrator. Running for Exec would enable her to add another pension for her financial planning.

Because she has no real experience as an Executive, and her own behavior in the state legislature has been erratic at times, I believe she'd be a terrible Executive, and would bring back all the pay-to-play practices made famous by Glenn Reibman. But if she does decide to run, game over. She'll win, and I doubt anyone in the Democratic party will challenge her.

John Callahan - the Blue Shark. Like the Blue, Callahan is an extremely fast swimmer who's hard to track. So at this point, it's really unclear what he's doing, if anything. But don't kid yourself. As Tony Simao can attest, blue sharks can be extremely dangerous and are known for numerous attacks. Their favorite food is squid, served regularly at Mama Nina's.

Ron Heckman - the Prehistoric Shark. Every time an Exec race comes up, Ron's name is mentioned. But he never runs. I'm pretty sure he's extinct.

Rich Grucela - the Nurse Shark. Although his wife may kill him, Grucela recently told The Morning Call, he'd consider running if Gracedale remains an issue with a "horrendous" or "drastic" downturn. Rich originally comes from the ranks of local government. He presided over County Council between 1987 and 1990.


John Cusick, the Dogfish Shark. - He's still lurking in the reefs, ready to strike. Despite his ambitious nature, it's unlikely Cusick would be a very effective candidate. With his slightly poisonous spine, Cusick has been known to stick it to several of his colleagues on Council, usually Republicans, from Peg Ferraro to Ron Angle. Like the Dogfish, Cusick can change colors to blend in with his surroundings, a useful trait for a pol.

Ron Angle, the Megamouth Shark. - Soon after kicking him out of office, it's very likely that Slate Belt voters will recognize they've made a big mistake. But like the Megamouth, it's just as likely that Angle will be elusive.

One of the Gracedale Goons, Clown Shark. - One of them will run if he or she can remain anonymous.

Sal Panto, the Great White. - Of all the candidates mentioned, the only one who has actually been successful as an administrator is Easton Mayor Sal Panto. Unlike Boscola, Callahan or even Grucela, he won't bring in the usual County cronies. He swims alone. Right now, he's busy turning Easton around. But I think I've just heard that music. It's the same music I hear whenever I'm on a toilet.

I think we're gonna' need a bigger boat.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

You fail to mention Steve Barron. He has already told people he is running.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Another clown shark.

Anonymous said...

The only three I find acceptable are Panto, Heckman and Grucela.

I know them all but these are the only three I think would be sincere and not jsut political leap froging.

Sal is a very successful politican and has a great organization. Rich and Ron are two very smart guys and know county governemnt inside and out. I have at times talked to both of them and they are very passionate about the county and what the county does. They are both retired and I am not sure what they may have planed.

Ultimately, it will probably come down to who wants to run and money.

I just hope whomever runs does it for the right reasons and not an ego or resume thing.

County oldtimer who knows Don Flad

Anonymous said...

Or to hand out jobs to a bunch of camp followers and hangerons.

Anonymous said...

Elect Panto and bring gunfire and drive-bys to the suburbs. He runs a shithole city. Get ready for the shitholization of the entire county. And make sure his relatives don't get excluded from any incestuous, local organization that means nothing.

Anonymous said...

What about one of the successful Township Managers in the County? That is what is needed IMHO. A low key person that is focused on getting the job done with honor and integrity.

Anonymous said...

The rumour around here is that Ron Angle will make a primary challenge against Joe Emerick. Any thoughts on that?

Anonymous said...

I don't think Lisa will run. It appears that she just picked up Easton in her Senate District so she will sit pretty for a while. Who would you like to see run?

Anonymous said...

The Angle vs. Emrick contest would be interesting. Emrick has done nothing except run for re-election. He already has his sights set on Boscola's job. Ron would be a good test for him.

Anonymous said...

Joe Emerick won't run for executive. He is comfortable in his current seat. Boscola won't run. She is a wacho. Callahan couldn't run for dog catcher. Grucela loves his time with his wife. Who the hell is Heckman- Never heard of him. Thank god you didn't mention Barron. He wouldn't make it through the primary.

Anonymous said...

Ann 6:32.

You should visit Easton sometime. I can't tell you when the last time the city had a shooting. Easton has come a long way. Compare the 3 cities? Easton is the gem. There is no arguing. Allentown is the biggest shithole in the lehigh valley.

Anonymous said...

Apres moi, le deluge.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The rumour around here is that Ron Angle will make a primary challenge against Joe Emerick. Any thoughts on that?"

Untrue.

Anonymous said...

Emerick needs to worry about his challenge coming up for his current seat. He won't win

Anonymous said...

I'm told Sal Panto is running. What the hell do you mean Bernie? same music when you sitting on the toilet.

Anonymous said...

Joe Emerich seems unbeatable at this point. Havent heard anything about him. When you attempt nothing, no one gets angry. Ronny should run against him

Anonymous said...

You forgot Freeman..He has been mentioned also..He'd be tough to beat, although I doubt he'd run against Sal...Heckman is retired now and will have no Hatch act to dissuade him..He has run well county wide most times he's run and if he can raise money he can give the city sharks some headaches. Still alot of Pa. germans in the hinterlands of the county. Cusick is lucky if he is reelected Pesident of council due to his continual Gracedale opposition and the slamming of unions..Doubtful he'd have any chance to be executive..Should be interesting either way..

Anonymous said...

Bob Freeman will run for Mayor while Panto slips into the Executive spot. Panto is the only name mentioned that has taken a serious stance on issues and put politics aside. Thats what the county needs. Not sure why Bernie is referring music coming out of ass as well?

Anonymous said...

Freeman the next Mayor? I can see that given his leadership role in the new charter. El Warner wants to run but she needs to spend more time in city hall.

Sal is a class act. He loves Easton. I don't see him adding a few more blocks to his daily commute although i hope he does.

Anonymous said...

El Warner? Who is that? I don't know of her?

Anonymous said...

"Sal is the only name mentioned that has taken a serious stance on issues and put politics aside"

That kind of gutter politics is what will hurt Sal. You Sal camp followers are already going to the gutter.

Fine. Where the hell was Sal when Rich Grucela and Ron Heckman were willing to publicly support Gracedale and give their reasons why. They didn't wait to see which way the politcal wind would blow.

Also Rich and Ron have taken many strong stances on "county" issues over the years.

As to politics, reading all the stuff you star chamber guys are typing, it sounds like a return to the old pay to play crowd, Easton city style.

Sal is a nice guy. He ought to cut you camp followers loose. You sound far to "hungry" for those county jobs.

Anonymous said...

Did you forget about Glenn Reibman?

Anonymous said...

Sorry Bud....not on the Panto Camp. I really like Sal. We all do here in Easton. He stands up for us and we stand up for him. Sal stood up for Gracedale. He even told a nice story about his mother passing away there in great care. We hope he runs for Executive. And if people stating that on this blog hurts.....well sorry.

Anonymous said...

And BTW.....I feel the same way about Mr. Grucela - my former history teacher.

Anonymous said...

Being an Easton resident I must say its a catch 22. I want Sal to stay as the mayor, but i also think he'll be wonderful as the county executive. Also, if Sal goes to county exec., mark my words Ken Brown will be the next mayor of Easton.

Anonymous said...

Ron Angle would have never been re-elected after his first term had the seat been voted on by the entire county. He might fool some of the people up on the ridge, he wouldn't have a snowballs chance in Miami in the urban areas.
He would never be elected for C.E.
BTW is he going to attend the next meeting?
Is he going to propose a budget?
I think I read him quoted as saying it was halfway completed.
And as I am not familiar with the practices.
Is there some type of installation swearing in ceremony for newly elected council people?
I think I'd like to attend a event like that. I would especially like to meet you at a council meeting, Bernie.

Anonymous said...

Wow, one person here doesn't like Panto. I get that but the reasons you are giving are all wrong. The Panto camp as you call it is more than 250 supporters from around the county, not just the city. Not one of them has your so called big jobs with the city. Unlike many officials that demand that their uppers donate to the campaign, Panto did not ask for a dime and didn't accept anything from them except for the ones attending a reception and it certainly wasn't all of them.

One of our writers here should come back to Easton. As a resient of the West Ward whch was several years ago dubbed the Wild West Ward we have no drive by shootings, we have reduced crime ten fold, we have great programs in place to assist in our neighborhood. Eleven additional police officers, surveillannce cameras, new parks and playgrounds, no tax increase in four years and on and on. Easton is on a positive growth path.

Sal is a great administrator who has business experience as well as public experience. And he would do a great job as County Executive, but I haven't heard him say he was running. Things are good in Easton.

Anonymous said...

Oh BTW, your charge that you don't know where Sal stood on the Gracedale issue is all wrong as well.

Anonymous said...

Folks I think all the people Bernie mentioned would be good county Executives. Some may be better than others. But I think we are all a bit premature.

No one except the individuals themselves know what they are going to do at this point. That election is two years out.

There may even be people not mentioned who could end up running.

All this speculation does is get people to start dumping on folks without any sound reasons.

Lets see how things pan out. If one person runs from each party fine. If ten people run from each party so be it. The more the merrier.

If someone really wants to run, I doubt the mere mention of another name is going to stop them.

Politics is a funny business. It is always best to wait until the people vote before putting the jeweled crown on someones head. That's the funny thing about people, when they vote they don't always do what the "experts" think they will do.

Philosopher Dan

Anonymous said...

I think this topic has been fished out. Just beware fo the famed Barron Puffer fish.

Anonymous said...

They all suck except for Cusick.

Bernie O'Hare said...

As former members of Council, Gruclea, Heckman & Seyfried all took a stand. I know Sal signed the petition bc I saw his signature when I was reviewing petitions. Sal would not have fit in with that group bc he never served on Council.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"BTW is he going to attend the next meeting?"

The next meeting was today, a budget hearing, and Ron was there, and participated.

Anonymous said...

Yo Bernie, the so-called "clown fish" Steve Barron has already declared victory in the 2013 County Executive race. When he wins he is going to throw yo azz out of the governemnt center.

Or at least he says he will.

Anonymous said...

Barron is a Don Cunningham wannabe. he may have twice Don's weight but less than half Don's talent.

After his business extortion stunt, etc., he would get beat up in a rough Dem primary.

Anonymous said...

Steve Barron will get his ass kicked.

Anonymous said...

Barron is the odds on choice to be the nominee and beat any Republican candidate, except Ron Angle.

Thank you R.Shuman

Anonymous said...

As mentioned before, any Republican who opposed Gracedale and opposes Stoffa's increase to pay for it would be toast in the 2013 election...That mainly leaves the Dems...Doesn't really matter who gets it..State cutbacks are putting Counties in a bad position..They have to slice programs to shreds or raise taxes or both...Also, if Stoffa's responsible budget request for an increase is denied the budget will really be a mess..So, who would want it.

Anonymous said...

"Steve Barron will get his ass kicked."

Could you please refresh my memory on your picks from the election last week?

And why not throw in your prediction on how the Gracedale Referendum was going to turn out.


I need to hedge my bets for '13

lol

Anonymous said...

Oh please. The guy won against a no campaign guy. Barron Von Footinmouth would be toasted by any other candidate mentioned.

He is also the easiest for the Republicans to defeat.

You can only pile bullshit so high before it collapses.

The boy should county his blessings that he gets to be the "full-time" Controller he so desperately wanted to be. Unless of course he was telling a fib???

Anonymous said...

Panto (D) and a cast of nobodys (R)

No debate needed here!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like what the Reibman camp said. Then Stoffa won.

Anonymous said...

These Panto goons are a pain in the ass.

Anonymous said...

Goons? Gee I have read these entires and watched all of the campaigns closely. From what I observed Panto had a class act campaign. His supporters were the most polite at the polls; didn't push any literature on the voters (which I believe has some reason for low voter turnout; they all were professionals in their mannerisms and always looked good in their shirts and hats.

Calling them goons is a slap in the face and I truly question your character for such reference. Let's face it, Panto commands respect becasue he gives respect. IT sounds like you have a personal issue with him so take it up with him but don't call his supporters goons. and if you do, call them VERY SUCCESSFUL GOONS!

Anonymous said...

anon 12:00 proves the point. More government goons.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:12 how about an original thought? Goon, goon, goon. I found out about your asshole comment and I am one of the individuals you are calling a goon. You don't know me. You don't know most of us. Yet you stereotype and provide character assassination about individuals you don't even know. You are either an idiot or a vounty employee that is afraid if Panto was elected things would change in the county and you wouldn't want those changes to take place because it may mean you have to work for a change. Panto has been very successful in the city and he has a lot fewer employees. City workers are doing more with less because they are part of the solution. More efficienicies and working smarter and the city employees appreciate tehe fact that Sal is always thanking them and commending them. Keep your goon comments to yourself you are like a broken record.

Anonymous said...

you really are rediculous!

Anonymous said...

Your defense of a big city goon squad descending on Northampton County is ridiculous. Public jobs, city spending.

Never again!!

eastonpride said...

I am relatively new to this blog as well as the county. I moved here about 7 years ago. In that time I have watched county council implode, I've watched the administration fail to develop any long term strategic plan for the county, especially physical plant facilities, and I've watched from outside at the steady positive growth in Easton. Fiscally conservative, working to reduce the costs with the unions assisting, major infrastructure projects in the nwighborhoods and downtown, new business starts outweighing closures i have to say I am impressed. I have not met Panto but I am going to make my way to his office and learn more about him becasue right now from my neophyte perspective I think he would do the county well. But I need more and need to know him personally not through this blog.

Anonymous said...

Hang out on Northampton Street near the Hampton Hotel on Saturday night. Watch the bustling shopping and traffic.

That would be shopping for prostitutes and traffic in drugs.

We don't need another city political organization in need of public trough jobs.

There is a county outside of Easton that says no thanks.

Anonymous said...

One of the people mentioned has either announced or is going to announce in a couple weeks.

At least thats what I was told.

Anonymous said...

As long as it someone not connected to some big goon political machine.