In addition to Panto, Vice Mayor Ken Brown, LV Labor Council President Gregg Potter and members of Mike Fleck's campaign machine were on hand, setting up a portable podium that Ed Pawlowski must have lent for the occasion.
Ken Brown stated that Arcelay would add some "flavor" to Northampton County. Driving that point home, Panto claimed that the County needs more diversity. I see. Gee, how would these guys feel if I said they should vote for me because I'm white? Ethnicity and race should matter a little less than being qualified for the job.
Now Arcelay indisputably has a great smile. He probably beats everyone in that category. But when it comes to Northampton County government, he leaves a lot to be desired. He couldn't even speak off the cuff. He instead read from a carefully prepared statement, and then bolted as I began to ask questions.
I have some problems with this guy.
Arcelay a Pawlowski Puppet
He has obviously been recruited to run by Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, in an act of vengeance against Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan. You see, Callahan dared question a special tax zone in the Queen City, and developers like J.B. Reilly and Pawlowski have had it in for him since. Knowing that Callahan plans to run for NorCo Exec this year, Pawlowski has attempted to turn Easton against Bethlehem by raising former Exec Glenn Reibman from the dead, and getting him in the race, too.
In a bizarre ritual at the Life Church, Arcelay and Pawlowski lured the Sultan of Swaptions from his do-nothing job at the rest home for defeated politicians, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Comm'n. With J.B. Reilly's funny money, along with Reibman's own considerable warchest, Pawlowski will spread his tentacles east.
Pawlowski's campaign manager, Mike Fleck, is working Arcelay's campaign. Fleck is reportedly working for Glenn Reibman, too.
Though it's pretty clear that Arcelay is nothing more than a Pawlowski puppet with a great smile, he incredibly insisted - three times - that he's an independent voice.
I asked Mr. Independent how he can reconcile that with having Pawlowski pull one string on his right arm while Gregg Potter's union dudes pull another string on his left.
That question got Gregg Potter all lathered up. He jumped into the fray, insisting that he was not there as the President of the LV Labor Council but was supporting Ismael as a "citizen of Allentown."
"You're here as a resident of Allentown to promote a Northampton County candidate?" I asked.
Potter claimed I was interrupting him, so I asked him to please go on, but he refused.
When I asked Arcelay to confirm that Pawlowski is the person who encouraged him to run for office, he ducked the question. "Mayor Pawowski is in Lehigh County. I'm sure he is going to support me," Arcelay stated. "He represents Lehigh County and this is Northampton County."
Arcelay Embellishes Political Past
Though he's a Pawlowski puppet, part of Arcelay's five-point plan is to promote "open and honest government." But at yesterday's news conference, he displayed how little he believes that by embellishing his stint as a member of Bethlehem City Council. He claimed to have served a four-year term, having been elected in 2001. He makes that claim on his webpage, too.
The truth? He was appointed, not elected, to the job in 2003, not 2001. That's when James Delgrosso stepped down to become an Interim Mayor. After that, Arcelay was selected by party bosses over Jim Gregory to run against black activist Esther Lee. He managed to beat her and served for two years.
But in his first real election - in Bethlehem that would be a Democratic primary - Arcelay lost in 2005, finishing 6th out of 7 candidates for four open seats. Undeterred, he ran again in 2007. This time he finished dead last among seven candidates for three open seats.
His repeated claim that he was elected in 2001 is simply untrue. If he can't be honest about his own political career, how the hell can he bring us "honest" government?
Whose Economic Development?
Another disturbing feature of Arcelay's campaign is his emphasis on "economic development." That's usually an excuse to make developers like J.B. Reilly richer in exchange for a few campaign dollars. What's even more disturbing is that Arcelay's campaign manager, Mike Fleck, also acts as a consultant for businesses looking to get a leg up. For example, he's the reputed consultant to Manhattan-based Ruckus Brewery, which is on the inside track for a tax-financed NIZ deal in Allentown.
Under the reign of Edwin Pawlowski I, economic development is code for helping out developers and their "consultants", not real people looking for jobs. How convenient that business consultant Mike Fleck can wear another hat as political consultant to Arcelay!
Jamming God Down Our Throats
As if all the above is not bad enough, my final problem with Ismael was in response to a question from The Express Times' Tom Shortell. Suddenly, Arcelay began talking about introducing a "faith-based component" into human services. What this usally means is some form of evangelical Christianity, and that presents all kinds of constitutional problems.
So as a candidate for Northampton County Council, I'll pass on Ismael.
But he does have a great smile.
Noon Update: Izzy Arcelay Forced to Resign from Human Relations Comm'n in December! Conflict of Interest! - You can read the details in The Reading Eagle. So much for "open and honest" government from this phony. My thanks to reader Kevin C.