Thursday, March 21, 2013

Allentown City Council Candidate Scared Off Ballot

Kim Velez
I've been pretty disgusted with Allentown lately. Democracy there has been replaced by an urban growth regime in which politicians and key figures in the business community have co-opted each other, to the detriment of its dirt-poor citizenry. For most of them, the challenge is paying next month's rent, not some stupid election. But when you don't take an interest in your government, it sure has a way of taking an interest in you, and often in ways that are very detrimental. The latest instance of this in Allentown is Mayor Edwin Pawlowski's water privatization scheme. His bobbleheads on City Council are prepared to do everything he wants, but the cracks that first began to appear with his NIZ proposal are now gushing forth with a torrent of public discontent.

This is where Kim Velez enters the scene. She's a well-spoken young lady with excellent credentials. She's currently a manager in Marketing and Public Affairs at Lehigh Valley Health Network. A Hofstra grad, she's also done marketing for Telemundo, USA Networks and Comcast.

Allentown is her home. It's where she grew up.

Concerned about Pawlowski's risky proposal, Velez began attending City Council meetings. Three of their seven 7 members are appointees. "I didn't feel that we had the proper representation," she told me yesterday and decided to take the plunge and run for City Council herself.

With the help of the Grand Dame of Allentown politics, Jeanette Eichenwald, Velez went door to door with a voter list, soliciting signatures. She tells me she collected between 130-145, and filed her petition last week.

But on Sunday, she received a threatening call that scared this newbie right off the ballot.

Attorney Tim Brennan, who just happens to be Barron Von Footinmouth's Solicitor, called her in his most official sounding voice and told her she failed to meet residency requirements. He identified himself as an attorney for the Lehigh County Democratic Party, although I doubt anyone inside the party leadership authorized him to hound her.

When Velez heard the words "Lehigh County," she immediately concluded he was some official from the government. Brennan began telling her that she failed to meet the residency requirements, which is complete and utter bullshit.. Under Allentown's Home Rule Charter, if she can vote anywhere inside the City, she's qualified to run for office.

Once it became apparent to Brennan that Velez could jump through that hoop pretty easily, he switched gears and told her that only 75 of her signatures were valid and she had to withdraw. If she refused, "it would be very costly," he warned.

That's just more bullshit. It would cost her nothing to defend a petition challenge, unless she hied an attorney.

"I figured he was with the County, so I filed a withdrawal," Velez tells me.

She was to later learn that Brennan, who does legal work for political consultant Mike Fleck, had conned her. Now she's wiser and is upset at the "scare tactics" used to get her off the ballot.

Velez, a Latina, would draw votes from Julio Guridy and Cynthia Mota. They had promised to support her and even initially misled her into thinking they opposed Pawlowski's privatization plans. Guridy and Mota are both using Fleck, who also happens to be Mayor Pawlowski's political consultant.

The last thing they want is a Latina Eichenwald.  

"It leaves a lot to be desired," Velez states of Brennan's Bluff. "Should I be scared because I want to do public service?"

In Allentown, the answer to that question is Yes.

I received this report too late in the day to get a reaction from Tim Brennan. I will call him later today. I believe he misrepresented himself.

Velez is currently seeking an attorney so that she can be reinstated on the ballot. That should be an uphill battle but should be fought. I think a judge should make a decision in this matter.

Michael Molovinsky has a report as well.  

Updated 10:50 AM: Brennan Declines Comment. - As promised, I reached out to Tim Brennan this morning. At first, he denied having identified himself as being with the Lehigh County Democratic Party, though Velez claims that is what he told her and several members of her family. "It's something I'm comfortable with," he said. But as I continued to ask questions, he suddenly said he was unable to talk about it because of the "ongoing matter."

Actually, it's far from "ongoing", thanks to him. Her candidacy is pretty much at an end, given a public policy that favors quick resolution and finality in election disputes.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

If any of this is true against Brennan, I hope he gets sanctioned. And if possible, I hope he gets charged criminally. Small town politics suck. This stuff reeks of Fleck, but there is probably not any proof.

Anonymous said...

I would think if she can prove any of her alligations a judge would re-instate her. However, it is her story against his.

Since you can twist this to attack Pawlowski and Fleck you are using her and her story. I hope the young women gets fair treatemnt. However, you don't care she is just another human weapon to use against your enemies.

You are a pathetic man.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

If whitepages.com is to be believed, Allentown is the city listed for her mailing address, but the residence may actually be located within Salisbury Township.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It does not matter. So long as she can vote in Allentown on election day, she is legal. She told me she has had several recent moves, but intended to be firmly entrenched in Allentown by then.

But all this is besides the point. She was clearly intimidated. Brennan should know that a lawyer should never give advice to a person who is not represented by a lawyer, other than the advice to secure counsel. Intentionally or unintentionally, he misled her concerning his role.

Anonymous said...

If she resides in the municipality as of 30 days of the next election, she's eligible to run for office in that municipality. What's murky, however, is if she lives in Salisbury Township currently, was she permitted to circulate petitions for herself to run for Allentown City Council. Presumably, she collected the majority of the signatures.

If Brennan misrepresented his position as she contends, he was obviously wrong to do so.

Anonymous said...

This entrie story is "murkey". I think your "hatred" once again has made you jump the gun on what could be a real story. At this point there are far to many question marks. Please don';t lead this young woman on to advanc eyour own agenda. She should explain her full residency history to the election officals first and if that is OK, go from there. You are really using this woman.

The only thing that is clear, is your hatred of Fleck and Pawlowski.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad. Clearly she was taken advantage of and deserves to be reinstated on the ballot. Unfortunately, even if she is eventually reinstated, her time and efforts focused toward this may hinder her ability to place well in the primary election. I hope this is resolved very quickly for her.

I am very curious to hear what Brennan has to say for himself, his supposed stance that he was "helping" her wreaks of utter BS. If he tries to play himself as a "good Samaratin" in this - everyone should take serious caution. No one does anything unmotivated in politics... The question is whose motivation was he acting on?

Very fair and balanced piece Bernie - I look forward to hearing Brennan's statement.

Bill said...

This is the kind of insider politics that is really pissing me off as a city resident.

Anonymous said...

Woman sounds marginally competent, and was given bad advice. I support all challengers to the mayor, it's just that they're such a lame bunch on the whole.
The anti-privatization crowd couldn't punch their way out of paper bag. What a damn shame.

Anonymous said...

Woman sounds marginally competent, and was given bad advice. I support all challengers to the mayor, it's just that they're such a lame bunch on the whole.
The anti-privatization crowd couldn't punch their way out of paper bag. What a damn shame.

Anonymous said...

The woman sounds marginally competent from a political perspective. She was given bad advice. I support any challenger to the mayor, but they tend to be such a less than affective crew.
The anti-privatization leadership could not punch their way out of a wet paper bag.
Maybe we do get the goverment we deserve?

Anonymous said...

TheRepublicans missed a golde opputunity this years municipal election in allentown if they would havefielded s slate of candidates for Mayor and Council.Several of the incumbents on Council and Mayor would of lost because of the Water/Sewer issue. That no doubt is reason Fleck is working to get candidate tossed off the ballot sothose who support Mayor win the Primary.

Anonymous said...

too bad. we need more, not less, hot women in government

monkey momma said...

I can't understand how some readers and commenters are making Bernie the issue.

The issue is clearly Brennan's alleged scare tactics! It's disgusting political behavior (as described) on his part, and I will be very interested to see where this story goes from here.

What concerns me about Velez is her willingness to file a withdrawal based solely on Brennan's (alleged) scam phone call. Obviously, that indicates a certain naiveté and innocence. I am not blaming her for what happened - she is apparently a victim - but she was so easily cowed. It really doesn't reflect good judgment. I guess this incident will help season her against future scams. But if she were elected to City Council, she would be swimming in a sea of bullshit - and here she already drowned in a single raindrop of the stuff.

Anonymous said...

Lived in Allentown all my life. Not Latino. Very Qualified. Not running.Why? If I had the magical powers to pass through a wall and disappear nobody would notice including Bernie.Prejudice is a two way street.

Eicenwald seems to favor certain type of people to support. The same goes for the minions under the control of Mann and Pawlowski. The same goes for the opposition to the water and sewer lease.

Brennan is with Fleck and Pawlowski. Brennan is with the Croslis law team which housed Mann and now Schlossberg in its building, Schweyer, Schlossberg and now Brace worked there.

I say that they are not real bad but I am in kind of political limbo with all these people. Despite the qualifications and abilities that I do have.

(DLP)



Kim Velez said...

Marginally competent when I was told by the Board of Elections that I'd be notified if there was a problem or challenge with my candidacy? Therefore, when I received several calls that were also made to family members from an attorney that identified himself as "with the Democratic Party" and I need to withdraw or be taken to court I felt I had to comply being that I did not want to enter a "costly" court case over signatures that he implied were bad. It wasn't even about my residency at that point. Everyone has their own point of view but Bernie clearly captured that intent by the Mayor's people on this one. They truly feel challenged by my potential candidacy. I'll let the public decide their reasoning and their motives to only make this difficult for one candidate, me.

Ron Beitler said...

Keep fighting Kim. Politics is slimy. I'm dealing with sliminess in my race. Try to withdraw the withdraw. If they succeed in getting you off the ballot don't stay on the bench. Work doors for other candidates, share your story. If this happened as reported folks deserve to know.

www.ronbeitler.com

Dan Poresky said...

Ninety percent of Allentown residents oppose the Mayor's water/sewer 50-year privatization effort. Council persons Guridy and Mota support the Mayor. Kim Velez has been an outspoken opponent. Run, Kim, Run. Run now! Don't wait to be re-instated.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Brennan is in a bit of trouble. I can't imagine the Bar being pleased whatsoever with that behavior.



Anonymous said...

She moved out of Allentown to Salisbury? I'd vote her, she sounds much smarter than the rest of the candidates.

Anonymous said...

If a Republican organization or representative had conned a Latino female, causing her to withdraw from the ballot, the Morning Democrat would have run a front page story. I never heard of this case until I read a blog.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a very nice lady but if she doesn't live in the city I won't vote for her. You need to put your money where your mouth is first.

If she does get on the ballot this will be an easy card for others to play against her.

Anonymous said...

Just from a technical point of view, there are a lot of adressses called Allentown but are actually not in the city.

I don't know the rules, but can you solicit signitures and not be a resident?

Mr. Fleck is pure teflon. He seems to be involved in lots of slimy politics but not caught in the act.

I question the credibility of any politician using his consulting!

Kim Velez said...

I live in Atown am registered to vote in Atown but receive my important mail at my parents in Salisbury.

Kim Velez said...

I live in Atown am registered to vote in Atown but receive my important mail at my parents in Salisbury. Of course the opponents will grab onto any argument that they can, however. I'll let the public decipher their motives.

Anonymous said...

"I live in Atown am registered to vote in Atown but receive my important mail at my parents in Salisbury."

Hmmm. Really? I have nothing to do with Pawlowski, Fleck, or any other city official but this just doesn't add up.

Why would you do that? To save on your car insurance? Honestly, I think you are just trying to outsmart the unedumacated Allentown folk by telling a little fib.

Sorry, the explanation sounds disingenuous and immature. Allentown is a great city; I welcome you to move here. Then we can talk politics.

Ron Beitler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron Beitler said...

When I moved home from some time in Louisiana after college and got an apt and then rented a townhouse with friends I did the same thing. For important bills I kept my mailing address at my parents. I knew my apartment was temporary and it was just easier to do this because I knew my parents weren't going anywhere. This was a couple years ago. I just kept getting my mail at my parents for almost 2 years (it was a mile away) after cause I knew my situation with apartment living was transient. (by choice!) Didn't switch til I moved into my new house which I knew was a permanent thing.

I have friends who do or did the same thing. It's pretty common with younger ppl doing the apartment thing nowadays since less purchase their "forever homes" right away out of school.

Ron Beitler said...

dbl post sry.

e9f9119e-9237-11e2-b241-000bcdcb2996 said...

I find it amazing that an attorney of Tim Brennan's stature would try to intimidate a City Council candidate on behalf of someone like Mike Fleck and his crew of Mayor approved Latino candidates--Julio Guridy and Cynthia Mota. Question: What kind of democracy are we running here? Answer: One in which you have to scare competent people who truly want to help better Allentown and not just pump up their own agenda off the ballot. Brennan, Fleck, Guridy and Mota should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

Pennsylvania residents who have not been convicted of bribery, perjury or embezzlement of public funds (as outlined in the state constitution) may run for dozens of public offices in the districts in which they live. These offices include county commissioners and row offices, borough and city council members and mayor, township supervisor, tax collector, auditor, assessor, judge of election, inspector of election, constable, magisterial district judge and school board members.

Now what does the Allentown Home Rule Charter say on this

SECTION 202 ELIGIBILITY
A. Only qualified voters of the City, as established by the general laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for municipal elections, shall be eligible to run for City Council.
B. All Council members and the Council President must retain residence in the City during their term of office. If, during a term of office, a Council member moves out of the city, he or she must resign from his or her position on City Council,

Whuch lives the question does the Commonwealth have a general law which establishes a period of residency to run for office different then the period of wait required to register to vote in an different district.

Does Allentown have a law on this matter.

Personally to avoid carpetbag rule in Allentown I think a person should reside in the City at least one year before the date of circulating petitions. But if there is no law requiring that there is no law.

However, to run for state representative there is such a law. Which would be in play next election if the Court delays the settlement of redistricting.

Dan McNeil is State representative today because certain potential challengers may or may not be in the district in 2014

Dennis Pearson

Anonymous said...

The intimidation is unfortunate, but not unexpected. If she was this easily run off, without verifying the phone caller's identity, position, or claims, that doesn't speak well of her. Nor does it speak well of her if she was so naive to think this kind of thing doesn't happen in a one-party machine town. Perhaps there's a city re-education camp she might attend to get with the party line. She could have a bright future with the right views on issues. Hockey anyone?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dennis One year of residency is a good idea, but is not the current law. I could run myself, so long as I established residence thirty days prior to the primary.

Anonymous said...

She is surely better looking than
Hilary or Michelle O. If I lived in her district I would Vote for Her

Anonymous said...

Just more Allentown mess.

1. You've got a lawyer doing things he shouldn't be doing playing political operative.

2. You have a candidate with questionable residency. "Important mail goes to the parents" Isn't that what you do when you're in college? Grown adults get mail at their place of residence.

Anonymous said...

This is what allentowns polotics has always been, than there is very little self control by the looks of there guts. Bad eating habits are mental illness issues and this is what most of Allentowns officials are.

Anonymous said...

The motto is true. There indeed are no limits.

Kim Velez said...

I get important mail sent to Salisbury yes because my present address is a temporary one. For public record, I have been meeting with my realtor for the past month looking at homes for sale IN Allentown to call my own permanent residence. Until I settle on a home, I will continue to receive my important mail where I choose. My realtor could verify that I have been actively seeking permanent residence of my own if it came down to it. It is truly a shame that where I reside, even though in Allentown where I am also a registered voter is still the first and foremost concern. Look VERY carefully at who you currently have representing you on City Council. Do they have clean and positive intentions for the people of Allentown or for another public figure, or even for their own political career advancement? You can decide.

Kim Velez said...

I get important mail sent to Salisbury yes because my present address is a temporary one. For public record, I have been meeting with my realtor for the past month looking at homes for sale IN Allentown to call my own permanent residence. Until I settle on a home, I will continue to receive my important mail where I choose. My realtor could verify that I have been actively seeking permanent residence of my own if it came down to it. It is truly a shame that where I reside, even though in Allentown where I am also a registered voter is still the first and foremost concern. Look VERY carefully at who you currently have representing you on City Council. Do they have clean and positive intentions for the people of Allentown or for another public figure, or even for their own political career advancement? You can decide.

Anonymous said...

Interesting enough, back in March of 2010 Brennan successfully represented Horton when his residencey was challenged. I suspect the transcript of defense and Judge Fuedales decision would be an interesting read.

Resident of Allentown said...

I don't know the difficulties, but would it be possible for Ms. Velez to run as an independent? I know I would vote for the "Against the Water Lease Scam" party candidate.

Anonymous said...

Look, there's only one team in town and not everybody gets to play for the team. Hell, you needn't even be elected to get on the team. This is not Little League with a participation requirement. It's varsity with tryouts and cuts. This is your party, Kim. Ain't it great?

Anonymous said...

You mean to tell me that Brennan owned up to it, but changed his mind in mid conversation? Not too bright?

Bernie O'Hare said...

He admitted calling, denied saying he was calling on behalf of the LC Dem Party and then decided he can't comment.

Anonymous said...

Take advice from Mr. Poresky and your candidacy is surely doomed.
Another small defeat for the people trying to stop privatization. Damn shame. What gives over there?

Anonymous said...

Take advice from Mr. Poresky and your candidacy is surely doomed.
Another small defeat for the people trying to stop privatization. Damn shame. What gives over there?

Anonymous said...

Kim could always pull a Lou Hershman and get more than one hundred Republicans to write her name in. If they are going to go vote in the Ott/Browning kerfluffle, they might as well write in her name for City Council. It is only 8 letters, that's almost as many fingers as the average Republican Caveman or woman has.

Anonymous said...

" Look VERY carefully at who you currently have representing you on City Council. Do they have clean and positive intentions for the people of Allentown or for another public figure, or even for their own political career advancement? You can decide."

With all due respect, you're running for office in our city with one foot in the door and one foot out. Whose interests are you looking out for Ms. Velez? I'm not so sure.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day whether Miss Velez was contacted by Attorney Brennan, another candidate, or private citizen you must ask yourself did she have 100 legitimate Registered Democrats that signed her petition and is her residency clearly established in the City of Allentown? If the answer is "No" to either question then she was in violation of the rules and laws the govern how things are to be handled in the City of Allentown.Am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

Brennan doesn't need back-talking minorities and nosey bloggers sullying his shimmering reputation. These aren't your father's Dems. Unless your father was a party machine racist who likes his Hispanics half-witted and unable to speak the language. Hope and change, y'all! But in a fleabagger paradise like Allentown, it's hard for them to tell the mud from their own shit.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lot of hearsay to me.

Anonymous said...

Jeezzz Louizzee -- the anti-water sell off people are a hapless lot. They get it wrong at every juncture. They can't even get the basic procedures correct. A monkey throwing darts at a board would have a better record.
The mayor must be laughing his butt off.
Unfreaking real!

Anonymous said...

To quote the ever charming Bernie O'Hare ---- these people " could fuck up a church picnic."

Anonymous said...

So the question remains, are 75 of her singatures invalid?

Anonymous said...

the real question is who misused democratic party resources

Anonymous said...

Brennan admitted to calling, denied representing the party the back peddled and said he couldn't comment? If I read that correctly, that is all I needed to know to verify his guilt.

Anonymous said...

and the guilt probably isn't limited to him

Anonymous said...

She's cute. One visit at a local county or city party meeting and she would have had the local political hacks following over each other to explain the petition process to her and volunteering to collect signatures. If you are going to run for a political party's nomination show up at a meeting or two. You'll meet people who will tell you what the tricks are to running for office as long as you are not insane or as long as their type of insane.

Anonymous said...

Poresky is going to launch a campaign! That should be the kiss of death.
Could somebody do the humane thing and tell this guy his train has already pulled out of the station.

Anonymous said...

What is disturbing about this story is that someone was able to intimidate her. Not that they tried, but that it worked.

She's got to steel herself against this type of sleazy local political tricks. Allentown Dems did not invent them but they should be ashamed that they are using them.

Anonymous said...

I'm prepared to believe that she is a nice, well-meaning individual. She was clearly in over her head. She lost the game before the opening buzzer sounded.
She would have been eaten up in that snakepit.

Anonymous said...

Poresky is a true leader, and Allentown is lucky to have him. He has the courage to stand up to the Mayor, his puppet council and corporate water interests. Thank goodness someone is.

Water privatization is a desperate move by a desperate administration. It's too bad that the Mayor couldn't come up with something better than this. Bad for the people, especially the poor, bad for businesses (who use water), bad for the economy. It will be an albatross around the neck of Allentown for many years to come.

There is a reason that the suburban communities whose water rates are going up are suing the city. Taxation without representation.

People, speak out against this outrage. Support candidates who have the courage to stand up against it.

Anonymous said...

Poresky is a true leader. Will the last person to leave Allentown please turn out the lights.

Anonymous said...

Hello there, new anon / player at bat here. I can't help but wonder if fellow anons here are actually registered voters? As for Miss Velez, please reconsider your withdraw and run for council anyways, if not mayor. People out here are rooting for you. Speak out. Peace.