|Stoffa says Hi to someone last Thursday|
It had nothing to do with his name on a building or the usual political games.
His proposal was rejected his first year in office, but he persisted, year after year. Last week, it finally paid off. County Council overwhelmingly endorsed his proposal by a 8-1 margin. I think the most shocked person in the room was John Stoffa.
A centralized facility for human services makes sense on many levels. Not only does it enable a more efficient delivery, but it helps the many people who need services from several different agencies. It helps abused and neglected children, who currently have visitation in rooms tainted by lead paint chips and mold. It helps Children and Youth caseworkers, who must conduct interviews in neutral settings. It helps our forgotten disabled veterans, who find it difficult to access the Wolf building.
Unlike Stoffa, Northampton County Controller Steve Barron is a child of partisan politics. He got his start in Bethlehem bar rooms, under the tutelage of party boss Joe Long. After that, he got himself involved in the County party, and in 2006, tried to get himself appointed to a Controller vacancy in Bethlehem. He failed to get a single vote.
But we elected him, the very next year, as Controller to the whole County. I am one of the fools who voted for him. He has increasingly politicized the office to the point where someone needs to control him.
Since his election, Barron has injected himself into numerous policy considerations, always from the perspective of public sector unions. He has admitted giving union business agents advice on how to negotiate contracts with the County. He got caught on video, threatening T-Mobile with official retaliation for refusing to speak with some union agents who had no appointment. He dove headfirst into the Gracedale issue, got state officials involved in a ridiculous asbestos investigation., making wild claims about an uncaring administration. He conducted a witch hunt over county monies aimed at yours truly and the Executive, notwithstanding that the DA and the courts refused to get involved. Most recently, he got involved in the centralized human services debate.
With absolutely no regard for the people impacted by these services, including neglected children and our forgotten veterans, Barron pushed for Jim Gregory and SEIU. They wanted guarantees that County workers, i.e SEIU union members, would continue to provide these services.
When I pointed out this blackmail, and noted that our veterans and neglected children were being ignored, Barron had to set the record straight This is what he told Council last Thursday.
"It has been said that somehow my commitment to veterans and the people that would be serviced by this building would be lacking.
"Most people can't remember where they were December 12, 2004. But I can. My daughter was not quite born yet. My wife had a scheduled C-section the very next day, and I had a client that I took care of in Bucks County who was having serious issues with his medication. I was already on vacation in anticipation of the birth of my daughter. I drove 45 miles with my wife in the car because she did not want to be alone the night before her C-section to sort out the situation, and then I drove 45 miles back and at 8 in the morning after getting home about 1 in the morning, my daughter was born.
"That said, it's true I never served a day in the military. Not one. But my grandfather served in the South Pacific. He was on the U.S.S. Mount Olympus, and he was in Tokyo when the Japanese surrendered. He was in Tokyo Harbor.
"My father received a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam. And that same daughter that was born, December 13, 2004, loved sending my cousin from Northampton County, Richard Check, care packages in Afghanistan.
"This situation clearly hurt me.
"The sad thing is the administration used the people who would be served by this building as pawns to sell you a lease that you are paying a premium for. That's deplorable."
What I think is deplorable is that he could stand before Council and utter this crap, and expect to be taken seriously. The fact that he drove 45 miles to help someone once is no evidence of a commitment to people with disabilities. And it's nice that his grandfather was a vet, but you don't inherit that status.
He objects to pointing out that real people would be affected by Council's decision. That's not fair, I guess.