Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Barron Von Footinmouth Does It Again

Who in their right minds would turn down an offer of help from a very qualified group willing to go out and raise money to make this community a better place? The Bethlehem Township Board of Commissioners. They rejected what seems, on the surface, like a wonderful offer to help restore the glory of the Archibald Johnston mansion at Housenick Park. How could they say No?

I missed it, but on the very day that this Resolution was presented to them, there was a Channel 69 news account that made them look like uncaring assholes. Of all people, Northampton County Controller Steve Barron of this Friends' group took reporter Bo Coldcock on a tour of the historic mansion, pointing out all the defects.

In addition to being a union organizer, certified fraud examiner,and asbestos investigator, Steve is also a historic preservationist. Gee, I thought he was the County's full time Controller. Silly me.

According to Coldcrock's riveting account, "some" don't think the mansion should be preserved.

Who are these "some"?

Coldcrock does not fill in that blank, creating the implication that it's the Commissioner themselves. But in 2011, it is the Commissioners who adopted a master plan that specifically calls for the restoration of the mansion.

Against this backdrop, a parade of well-meaning citizens, only one of whom actually lives in the Township, gave Commissioners the carpe diem pitch. They were stunned that Commissioners said No, but should have expected it.

You don't dis a group on the very day that you want them to give you something.

Bethlehem City Council member Karen Dolan made matters worse after the meeting, suggesting that Bethlehem annex the park. Good luck with that. All she needs to do now is take a few shots at Catholics again.

It's amazing that so many bright people can be so stupid. But with Barron von Footinmouth on board, this will happen.

Incidentally, he and Charles Dertinger are running Lamont McClure's Executive race. Callahan must have paid for that.

93 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am really dumb. Sorry for these questions but I don't get what you are trying to shine light on. Is the group that the Barron belongs to trying to weasel their way into getting something out of fixing up the home? And is the Council pushing them aside so they can steal the home out from everyone? Or is there another point all together that I am missing?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think I summed it up pretty well in my first few sentences. What this group, the Friends of Johnston, wants to do , is marvelous. they want to raise money to restore the mansion. That's great. But on the very day they were coming before Comm'rs, this broadcast portrayed the Commissioners as jerks who were letting the place fall apart. That is completely untrue.

After insulting Comm'rs in the press, Barron's group then comes before Comm'rs and says, help us help you. My reaction would be FU. And I say this believing very strongly that this group is a good thing and should be given support. Then Karen Dolan rants about seizing it.

This is not the way to approach people. You don't bully them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bernie. Got it now. The WFMZ account is what really confused me.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone make Barron their face? Goood God, these poor people really need to have someone explain to them that their "noble cause" will only suffer if this goof is there leader.

Anonymous said...

Thats our boy Steve. Now working full time for the taxpayers. Eh, try two days a week.

Anonymous said...

I THINK HE IS CUTE.

Anonymous said...

Dolan is so out of touch. Remember last year she gave that museum group in bethlehem a bad time on council over their renovations to their vault as it wasnt nice enough for bethlhem.

What she wanted done would cost like an extra 6 million more, of which she was not going to pay for.

Anonymous said...

Dolan bullies property owners in the City using her "Council Woman" position. She has become so use to it that she now knows no bounds. I think she got a dose of her own medicine by the Bethlehem Township people and she now is pouting and stomping in the corner like the children she teaches.

Anonymous said...



This man is your LEADER.....

Anonymous said...

BVF is a poor ambassador for this well-meaning group. He lacks credibility and hurts their cause. He looked like P.T. Barnum giving a tour of the mansion.

Lighthouse said...

I forgot to mention this last night in my comments about Dolan, but part of being a First Class Township is protection from annexation. Dolan is shooting from the lip, and thinking later.

zoid said...

Because of people like Barron and Dolan, decisions and results like this happen!!

Anonymous said...

Stupid is as stupid does.

There is a larger issue here, though. The reaction, to being "dissed", is childish, petty and unfortunately, the norm among gubmint types, R or D.

Who cares about their perceived slight? They are there to do the right thing by the people who elected them. Decisions are to be made based on the merits, not on whether the teletubby and a reporter bruised their egos.

"It's amazing that so many bright people can be so stupid."

Better: It's amazing that so many stupid, control freak egomaniac government types are held out as bright. But in today's government-is-the-solution-to-everything society, this will happen.

-Clem

Anonymous said...

Karen Dolan ought to mind her own business.

Bethlehem Township has a plan.

Bethlehem Township does not need Steve the moron or Dolan the wacko.

Anonymous said...

Article doesn't really connect the dots and it's confusing what Barron has to do with it or why the proposal was turned down.

Anonymous said...

I think I summed it up pretty well in my first few sentences. What this group, the Friends of Johnston, wants to do , is marvelous. they want to raise money to restore the mansion. That's great. But on the very day they were coming before Comm'rs, this broadcast portrayed the Commissioners as jerks who were letting the place fall apart. That is completely untrue.

Actually, you never mentioned this group was the one on Channel 69 nor make the association with this group and Barron.

But aside from that, I find it humorous that you feel the board is justified being assholes out of spite and fail to see the hypocrisy by saying one thing and then doing another.

Anonymous said...

For the first time in history, I'm with Clem. :)

Anonymous said...

Karen Dolan wants to tell BT what to do because she's been thwarted by those rotten Bethlehem Papists she so despises. Scratch most liberals like Karen, and you quickly reveal the bigot within. Now, we also know she's just stupid with money - especially other people's money. I have a list of all kinds of stupid shit Karen might be interested in annexing and wasting money upon. She seems like a real easy mark.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" They are there to do the right thing by the people who elected them. Decisions are to be made based on the merits, not on whether the teletubby and a reporter bruised their egos."

I agree, but the people who elected them were not there Monday night. It was a collection from Allentown and Bethlehem. Tp Comm'rs will still do the right thing, and that includes not allowing an outside group to bully them.

Anonymous said...

Who from Allentown Bernie? You sure you know what you are talking about here?

Anonymous said...

I agree Bethlem Township appears to have a plan. That plan is to let the house fall down and let the property continue to fall to neglect.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Actually, you never mentioned this group was the one on Channel 69 nor make the association with this group and Barron.

But aside from that, I find it humorous that you feel the board is justified being assholes out of spite and fail to see the hypocrisy by saying one thing and then doing another."


I thought I did.

But since you're the second person to complain about me being unclear, I probably was.

A Twp board of comm'rs or council or any municipal body is a collection of human beings. You don't get somewhere with them by first going to the press and blasting them, which is what happened here. You don't get what you want by failing to reach out to them, which is what happened her. You don't get what you want by overwhelming them with an extensive proposal, which is what happened here You don't get what you want by threatening to take the park from them, which is what happened here. You don't get what you want by failing to include residents of the actual township involved, which is what happened here.

What Clem is saying is that Tp Comm'rs should look beyond the perceived slights, and I'll say that's generally true. But this was out and out bullying by an outside group. The Comm'rs represent the people of Bethlehem Tp, They do not represent that outside group, even if they call themselves Friends. Comm'rs have an obligation to look out for the people they represent and to be careful with outside groups, whether it is a developer or a friends' group.

Phil Barnard and Tom Nolan were right, but so were Zawarki, Weiss and Hudak.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Who from Allentown Bernie? You sure you know what you are talking about here?"

Of the ten people who spoke from the friends' group, only one was from Bethlehem Tp. Lance Metz, the Audobon dude and at least two others (my notes are not with me right now) stated they were from Allentown. So while I generally do not know what I am talking abut, I cam correct n stating that members of this group come from Allentown.

Anonymous said...

It seems entirely natural, fitting and proper, that a park like this would attract interest from around the region. Isn't this just another indication of what a wonderful gift this part represents. What I don't understand is why there is little excitement in Bethlehem Tp.for this super cool place.

Anonymous said...

Why the Sam Hill didn't the friends group include more residents of the Township?
DUH! What were they thinking?
They really blew their shot.
BTW, is this group incorporated ? Is there a website etc. where I can find out more about this group? How can I contact them?
I do think there are Tp. people interested but we have no info.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am unable to find any contact info. I do know members of the group, but am uncomfortable handing out home numbers.

I agree they need to get at least a F/B page going so people from the Township can get involved.

Anonymous said...

The township can adopt master plans till the cows come home. The fact remains they haven't done jack shit and the place continues to deteriorate. In a more enlightened municipality this would be a crime. The friends people are clearly amateurs but at least they want to do something. The trust sits on two million dollars and provides zero leadership. Pennies of the Trusts dollars could be used to develop leadership or real vision, or facilitate dialogue. The Trust seems as clueless as the township and as hapless as The Friends.
This whole deal is screwed up and lacking leadership.
Meanwhile this historic prosperity crumbles.

Anonymous said...

The township has a plan..........................

That's beautiful. I just love that.

Anonymous said...

Dolan also wants home builders to construct homes in the same manner which they were in the 1700 and 1800's to aesthetically blend with the community, "just like they do in Toronto, Canada."

Anonymous said...

What ever rocket scientist told Friends to use Barron and Karen Dolan was no friend of Friends.

zoid said...

Bastidas reached out to everyone and anyone who had name recognition to try to bolster her cause and it failed. I think Barron was in the mansion looking for asbestos. Someone could have saved him the time and told him it was already mitigated.

Anonymous said...

Work this out people-THIS EXTRAORDINARY PIECE OF LAND AND IRREPLACABLE HOME ARE HANGING IN THE BALANCE.
Your grandchildren will see you as heros or fools!

Anonymous said...

Boy ZOID just can't get away from the personality clashes. Who exactly are you Zoid? This small minded snipping is a perfect example of why this is so darn hard.
Step out of the shadows ZOID. At least have the courage of your mean spirited little convictions..

zoid said...

What about the fact the Mr. Brady lived there forever when Housenick was still alive and collectively they both never did anything to attempt to maintain the mansion. So now all of a sudden we throw the Township under the bus for not doing anything yet from what I have read they have done more in a year and a half on that property that Housenick and Brady did in 30 years. Misguided, uninformed individuals!

Anonymous said...

I am with 12:22 PM.

Time for the Commissioners to be a little more proactive in preserving this structure.

Anonymous said...

Historic residences are traditionally white elephants. Over a million dollars to preserve a house that has little hisorical sugnificance and will be nearly impossible to maintain? Look at the Bachmann House. Cost millions to preserve and the non-profit that ran it had to default on a county loan because their "business plan" failed. That was an organized 501c3 non-profit and it couldn't get the job done. Why would anyone think a well-meaning but rag-tag group of disorganized idealists make it work?

Bernie O'Hare said...

That point about the Bachman House is excellent. Comm'rs have weatherized the mansion, and are concentrating on the grounds. If some group wants to accelerate the process with the mansion, more power to them.

Anonymous said...

There is a whole lot that could be said about Mr Brady. Not much of it flattering.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I know Tim Brady, and if I had something to say to him, i would give him the courtesy of being honest with him and saying it to his face. Let's not go down the road of anonymous personal attack. Is this what "Friends" do?

Anonymous said...

ZOID just doesn't find the gift generous enough. why that old piker---she should've done more.

Anonymous said...

That's precisely why I did not say more about Mr. Brady.

Anonymous said...

The point about the Bachman House is excellent.
It's also obvious. There are significant differences, so the analogy,while instructive,is not perfect.

Anonymous said...

The more and more I read about Dolan, the more and more I don't like her. Regardless if I was a city or a township resident I would have been really upset with her annex comment. Who does she think she is? Better yet who does she think that she is dealing with, children? She has enough problems look at the Holy Family Residency in West Bethlehem that she messed up with those Catholics of the Diocese of Allentown. And she wants to talk about Bethlehem Township? C'mon?

Anonymous said...

@12:57
Perhaps a trip to the library if in fact you can read.
Archibald J. was an international industrial age personality of world fame. Not to mention that huge role he played in the historic development of Bethlehem Steel and the city of Bethlehem.
This is the level of ignorance that must be overcome here. It's almost overwhelming.

Anonymous said...

1:59 PM,

Okay. Now that we know that, how does that help get the money? That is the fact that you lack.

Anonymous said...

I think dolan is getting her name out anywhere she can in hope it sticks. The great socialist dolan and she taught(sic) the students in BASD for how many years in courses she designed herself with backing from burkhardt? The voters need to look at who they are voting for and their history.

Anonymous said...

The fact that it's a historic building doesn't nail down fundraising, but in a well managed capital campaign it is a significant component. For some potential donners it will be the grounds, for others the architecture and for yet others the history-----to state the obvious.

Anonymous said...

Now there are socialists involved! Who are these jerks and what's with the personal attacks. This isn't about Dolan or Barron or even Hudak, Nolan,Brady or Bastidas.
Keep the eyes on the prize ----- a remarkably generous gift and a potentially world class, yes I said world class, park. In a couple of generations this park helps define not only Bethlehem Tp. but the Lehigh Valley. Any money spent now pays off in a remarkable asset for future generations.

Anonymous said...

Ive heard Mr. Hudak, and his wife, talk about their position on this issue a number of times. If they are not ZOID, then ZOID is reading directly from their play-book, personality issues and all the rest.
Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to the 69 story. It is a stunning home, and I hope it does get preserved.

Now, I'm not a fan of Barron, but I didn't see where he told Bo that the commissioners didn't want to take them on their offer. Long day, so maybe I'm missing something. Bo should have done a better job explaining just those people are. Is it just the assumption that Barron told this to Bo, or did Bo speak to some unnamed source?

In other counties (both PA and NJ), they take beautiful homes like this and have designer showrooms once a year. For a reasonable fee (which goes towards the upkeep of the mansion) the public gets to see the homes fully decorated (or at least certain rooms), and the designers get to showcase their work and get publicity. Win/win!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Now, I'm not a fan of Barron, but I didn't see where he told Bo that the commissioners didn't want to take them on their offer.'

You are correct. Barron made no misstatement. That came from the "journalist" who wrote a story without any knowledge> Barron is the NC Controller. His job is not to conduct tours of old buildings, or give opinions about their structural integrity. He was hogging the limelight discussing a subject about which he is uninformed as well. So we had the blind leading the blind, making Comm'rs look like the bad guys.

Anonymous said...

Barron looked like a Vienna sussage in his too tight trench coat. Will Northmapton County ever get a real Controller?

Bernie O'Hare said...

In two years. Batten down the hatches. A storm is coming from the north.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The more and more I read about Dolan, the more and more I don't like her."

Karen is a very passionate person. I like her precisely bc she says these things. She's outrageous and in your face. She's not quite at his level, but is kinda' a liberal female version of Ron Angle. If the two ever touch, the universe will cease to exist.

Anonymous said...

12:57 is right on. I couldn't have said it any better.

JOHN M

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The point about the Bachman House is excellent.
It's also obvious. There are significant differences, so the analogy,while instructive,is not perfect"


Point taken. But it's good to realize the Twp will ultimately be on the hook, so their concerns about control and outsiders are by no means provincial,

Bernie O'Hare said...

JOHN M,

Agreed. It is an excellent observation.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"That's precisely why I did not say more about Mr. Brady"

do you really have to make these Nixonian attacks? Please. Be a Friend.

Anonymous said...

John M, you don't see the Johnston House as having historical significance?

On the other points regarding the Bachman House I'm inclined to agree. But lacking historic significance?
Please do respond.

Anonymous said...

Barron is an effeminate sounding creep who is stealing his salary. Granny's in Gracedale. He's on the dole. What other handouts is this clan stealing? What a horrible brood.

Anonymous said...

I go to BTp. meetings. Perhaps it's just Mr. Hudak's style,but swaggering around with chest puffed out does not project an image of an open public official.It projects an image of arrogance and unapproachablity.

Anonymous said...

Is the roof in good shape and the place weatherized or isn't it? Can someone give us the straight skinny please? This is very important.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:59 zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Petty insults does not change the fact that outside of history nerds like you practically no one really knows about or really cares about an industrialist's mansion. Since you seem to care so much be my guest and make a 5 figure donation to the FOJ.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Stevie is looking for some union payola from the construction contracts that I am sure he will steer their way. You can not repair that structure with just any old carpenters, masons, electricians and plumbers. Right...

Anonymous said...

At 9:02 Your ignorance speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

"In addition to being a union organizer, certified fraud examiner,and asbestos investigator, Steve is also a historic preservationist. Gee, I thought he was the County's full time Controller."....By the tyme you get done changing the language from alderman to councilman to commissioner to Comm'rs....what's next???? Commizar? Commendant? Ludicrious! This man "Steve" wear's too many "hats" for impartiality in the prescence a Buisness Agent from the Union negotiating a contract....having been the "Assessor". Conflict of intrest.

Anonymous said...

I love people like 9:02 ----- ignorant and proud of it! Charming and quaint. Now here is a person who should be on the fund raising committee.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Agreed that the comment was unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

What the hell, let's all forget about the park and engage character assassination.

Anonymous said...

@ "That point about the Bachman House is excellent. Comm'rs have weatherized the mansion" Hopefully they drainded the water out of the pipes, rather than Slap the sticker on it....or the TaxPayers will have to foot the bill for a Union Pipe Fitter @ Prevailing Wages....Again!!!

Anonymous said...

9:36 You are so witty dude. What a sense of humor.
Very impressive.

Anonymous said...

@5:34
Your designer showcase idea is excellent. Why that has the potential to pay the cost of this building utilities for three weeks.

Anonymous said...

@ "In other counties (both PA and NJ), they take beautiful homes like this and have designer showrooms once a year. For a reasonable fee (which goes towards the upkeep of the mansion) the public gets to see the homes fully decorated (or at least certain rooms), and the designers get to showcase their work and get publicity. Win/win!!".
Why couldn't they use the Alvin H. Butz State Theater Complex? It's already existing.

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Anonymous said...

10:42 you are a spectacular asshole. congratulations, you are the asshole of the day.

Anonymous said...

@ "Anonymous said...
10:42 you are a spectacular asshole. congratulations, you are the asshole of the day. 12:36 AM"....thank you for starting my day off with a smile......touche'

Anonymous said...

Well, that was a disaster.

It's really all about tone and ego. The volunteer group could have handled their approach in a more constructive, friendlier way and gotten somewhere.

Those folks may know a lot about historic preservation but know next to nothing about diplomacy.

Anonymous said...

If Barron went on a diet, the money saved from buying food would pay for the renovations in a year.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you disappoint me and insult Angle when you say Dolan is like him. Angle thinks things through and is looking out for his constituients. Dolan comes off half-cocked and is self-centered. They might be similar with the press they get but that is where the similarities end. You're entitled to your views and so am I. But this one stings badly.

Anonymous said...

Before you comment on a video, you have the responsibility to watch it. Your hatred for Barron has poisoned your ability as a reporter, You have undermined the integrity of a whole group of citizens who formed to help the township-- not as you have led your readers to believe to undermine them. Friends group are a common practice of public private partnerships to help municipalities with resources and expertise that they may not have available to them.
The Friends of Johnston is not the first group to have their offer of help rejected by the commissioners- Loretta Leeson proposed the Votech when the land was received. The Community College offered their help with the HVAC and your own Township Housenick Committee containing 10 township members were turned away from the project.
The questions that must be raised are "why has the Township refused help and money repeatedly " and once they pay the $1.72 million dollars to put in new paths etc. what will be left for the house?

Perhaps dear Bernie, you should restrain yourself from further comment unless you check your sources, and then you should print a retraction with an apology to the innocent, well meaning citizens who have come forth to provide support for a truly good community project.
I have attached the link to the WFMZ report for your your edification. They never once mentioned the commissioners and they were absolutely not portrayed to be uncaring A-holes to use your own words. You on the other hand....Love you:)
http://www.wfmz.com/news/Future-of-Archibald-Johnston-estate-up-in-the-air/-/121458/18976112/-/1553hbl/-/index.html

Bernie O'Hare said...

If you take the time to read my post, you will see it contains a link to the very video you are insisting I watch. Watching that video is what prompted me to post what I did. The headline alone portrays the BOC as uncaring. It was no way to start a conversation, and if you can't see that, then you won't get anywhere.

Anonymous said...

@12:13 thanks Vicki.

zoid said...

hear hear Vicki at 12:13. just go away!

Anonymous said...

" ....innocent, well meaning ( and freakin clueless ) citizens."

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mrs Hudak.

Anonymous said...

I mean Mrs ZOID Hudak.

Anonymous said...

They won't get anywhere Bernie. These ARE good people but they have no idea how to approach this and on top of that have some ignorant thugs standing in the path.

Anonymous said...

The Friends Group is not coming clean about their entire agenda. I'm sympathetic to their cause, but hiding the full agenda does not advance their cause.
This is about way more than the house.
Come clean.

zoid said...

could not have said it better 1:08

Anonymous said...

Michael Hudak could give two shits about that beautiful park. He's on record ----- he wants it SURROUNDED BY HIGH-DENSITY APARTMENT BUILDINGS. Weiss is in the deal with Hudak.
THIS IS ONE BIG JOKE.

Anonymous said...

"why has the Township refused help and money repeatedly "

Uh maybe they don't want it. Pretty simple to me.

Anonymous said...

The township is moving S-----L------------O------------W------------L-------------------------------Y.

Anonymous said...

It appears that since Hudak didn't get his way with the Woodmont Properties deal he decided to act like a petulant child with numerous individuals or groups interested in helping out with the park. It's a shame his poison infects others. If he truly cares about the park, he wouldn't have been willing to rezone and give Petrucci what he wanted. Read the blogs. Can't rewrite history.