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.