Thursday, April 04, 2013

Allentown's Richard Fegley Rages Against City Council Muzzle

Secrecy in public affairs undermines the faith of the public in government and the public's effectiveness in fulfilling its role in a democratic society. Those aren't my words. They're contained in the state Sunshine Act. But Mayor Edwin Pawlowski and his bobbleheads on Allentown City Council have pretty much thumbed their noses at any attempt at transparency, both with respect to a controversial special tax zone for rich gazillionaires as well as their most recent scheme to unload their water system. Because the Lehigh County Authority's high bid on the Allentown water deal is probably the best solution to a very bad situation, the general feeling is that the public would go back to sleep, as they have done for most of King Edwin's reign. But that's not happening. At last night's City Council meeting, local Brew Pub owner Richard Fegley nearly led a revolt after being denied the basic right to speak, which is also guaranteed by the Queen City's own Home Rule Charter.

Because I believe democracy is dead in Allentown, I've stopped going to their sham meetings.But there may be hope. Fegley posted video of his altercation, in which City Council was unable to provide any excuse for muzzling him other than "tradition".

"You guys cheated, you broke the rules," asserted Fegley.

He and several others wanted to address the water lease at the beginning of the meeting, but Council Prez Julio Guridy shut them down, asserting they had to wait until whenever it came up on the agenda. Fegley argued this "tradition" is contrary to the Home Rule Charter, which he called the City's Constitution. It provides,
The Council must provide reasonable opportunity for interested citizens and taxpayers to address the Council on matters of general or special concern. Citizens' right to be heard shall be the first order of business at all public meetings and before a vote on any Council business. The public shall be granted the opportunity to comment at Council meetings without time limitations, except when the Council President, imposes a reasonable time limitation deemed necessary. Council members, by a vote of a majority plus one (1), may override the Council president's time limitation.
"You guys are trying to stop the voice of the public," Fegley charged, as the room burst into applause and cheers. "Where is this proper government? ... This is all about stopping the public from talking about anything that has to do with this water lease."

Eventually, a police officer showed up to cart Fegley away.

"I am not breaking the law," Fegley stated. "I am speaking up as a citizen of Allentown." Eventually, the officer was asked to stand down, and he did.

Fegley is unwilling to go gentle into that good night. He rages, rages against the dying of the light.

It's a good thing he owns a bar because he certainly needed a drink.

Ben Franklin would be proud.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Guridy is Puds retarded minion.
The arrogance and corruption in our city is certainly legend.
Governance by swine!

Anonymous said...

MSNBC is right about these TEA Baggers they are are bunch of extremists.

Allentown Democrat Voter

Anonymous said...

Saw this in the paper, they actually covered it. This group of concerned citizens need to do a Rand Paul every council meeting to get the public's attention. Filibuster the public comment part of every meeting.

Scott Armstrong

Uncle Remus said...

Guridy is the latino Hitler

Anonymous said...

With no opposition in the general election the democrats can ignore he Allentown taxpayer. Need to get either a Republican write in for Mayor and Council or Independent Candidates to Circulate petitions to get on the GENERAL ELECTION Ballot.Need change.

Anonymous said...

Disrupters are what these people are. The City is faced with a financial crisis. It needs cash now. It can't keep raising taxes. Selling water and sewer to the LCA is the best option. The LCA serves tens of thousands of homes and businesses in Lehigh County and does a fine job. They are not a for profit run it into the ground and walk away agency. Their Board of Directors and employees are local people that frankly know how to run water and sewer systems BETTER than the City of Allentown. This is a blessing if LCA wants the City system and the City should be rushing to the door to hand over the keys. Fegley and the rest are simply ignorant and its sad that they now show up to a meeting to argue about something that is not worth arguing over! Finally Allentown gets something right.

Anonymous said...

In that he's failed to assimilate basic knowledge of the American system and has also failed to master English language basics, Guridy should return to the country of his traditional origin where guys who run meetings wear military uniforms and punks like Guridy sleep on dirt floors. Accepting other country's riff raff is one thing. Accepting their banana republic ways is just too much. Hasta lumbago Julio.

Anonymous said...

Fegley is right.

Those who think LCA is the best of bad choices couldn't be more wrong. Because the LCA will likely have to finance their entire bid, they're probably the worst option.

Not only will Allentown water users be paying for the pension problem, they will be paying at least twice that because of the interest charges on the debt LCA will assume.

Wake up Allentown! This is a financial blunder bigger than the original pension debacle.

Anonymous said...

What kind of representative government uses the police to stifle and intimidate the people?
This behavior is reminiscent of a dictator running a third world fascist regime.

Anonymous said...

Quite a predicament for Lehigh County since it has been learned that LCA has entered the highest for the Lease of the Allentown water and sewer infrastructure bid. A predicament exacerbated by the fact that the Board of Commissioners refused to extend LCA's charter to accommodate Allentown's original bid requirements. But Allentown bended its requirements out of fear that if LCA was blocked out from bidding the lease venture would fail. I wonder what the Commissioners would now do considering the fact that the child of the county has shown some independence and mated with Allentown.

From his elation on Facebook the Mayor of Allentown must be feeling very good. The Mayor proudly boasts that this lease will solve Allentown's financial problem due to the unfunded pension obligations it had with its firemen and policemen. Now Allentown appears to have all the money it needs to make heaven on Earth.

But by my calculation this $220,000 million fund to be established would last only a little over seven years if the City would pay into the respective pension funds a total of $30,000 million dollars a year. This fund would last More years if they pay less than $30,000 million a year. Less if they improperly invest the residual amount or use it for other purposes. And unknown to most Allentonians, Allentown during the Daddona Administration did lose money on its investments. It would be quite a disaster if the same thing happens in the Pawlowski Administration.

Dennis Pearson

Anonymous said...

Will City Council demand that information showing how much ratepayers will pay under the lease be made public prior to any vote?

Will Council bring in LCA to testify and publicly commit to what thise rates will be?

If not, any approval is just another rubber-stamp vote.

Anonymous said...

Comment part 2

Being the highest bidder, the LCA will now arrange for some sort of bond issue to pay upfront for the lease of the Allentown water and sewer infrastructure which it would operate. Now I describe this arrangement much like a senior citizen arranging for a reverse mortgage on his or her home. In exchange for funds the senior citizens mortgages the equity on his or her home which normally would be paid back to the bank once the senior citizen either sells the home or dies. In the case of the LCA bond the ratepayers would provide the money to pay back the investors who would provide the upfront money to satisfy Allentown's pension requirements.

Now LCA in attempting to extend its charter told the Lehigh Board of Commissioners that the burden would be on the Allentown rate payers rather than Lehigh County ratepayers. Meaning the City ratepayers might be paying an extra assessment to pay back the bond which the Lehigh County Authority ratepayers may avoid. Has anybody thought of the consequences of this extra expense on Allentown residents. If this extra assessment is solely passed on to Allentown a great incentive is given to City residents to abandon the City to prevent paying higher water and sewer rates and higher property tax as well if Allentown still cannot meet its expenses with the required revenue.

I know that part of the argument that many in Lehigh County made was that the agreement would increase their rates. Well I say if the current costs of Lehigh County subscribers is indeed lower than it the lasting result of the past negotiations the City made,and the reality of the situation is that City residents are being taking advantage of.

The final terms for the lease, which were released in late February, contained several concessions to bidders in hopes of commanding a higher price. Among those changes were higher-than-anticipated rate increases and additions to make the city – and utility ratepayers – more financial accountable to a future operator.

I say If LCA is running the show I believe that both County users and Allentown users should pay the same rates for the use of Allentown water sources and its waste water treatment system.

Dennis Pearson

Anonymous said...

omment # 3

The LCA claims that its studies have shown that for continual growth to occur in the County more water and additional sewer capacity would be necessary. Fine. But from where would these needs be gotten from. Existing allocations in the County not used , new allocations from the expansion of the system's permitted water and sewer capacity, or transferred to the County from the City's allocation.

Concerning the idea of Allentown giving up some of its current water and sewer allocation. As a leader in East Allentown I would claim foul if East Allentown is the one Allentown community that would have to sacrifice its future growth and prosperity for the LCA communities.


Now we don't want to hinder the growth and future well-being of outlaying areas but we don't want to hinder ourselves either. We want to return to economic status we had through the late nineties. Agere Technology was Allentown's biggest water user. We want to have the ability to have another large water using manufacturer and employer set up shop in our area. This would be absolutely necessary if for some reason East Allentown needed to sever its political bounds with the City due to City's failure to provide us any services. Remember, with the lease we no longer obtain our water and sewer service from Allentown and solid ware is alreafy privatized. You add the fact that currently we have no fire station in East Allentown then one sees the total picture. If the LCA tells us that they won't set aside enough water to restore this large capacity use in East Allentown that would be very much of a wrong done to East Allentown; and , we want to know why we would be treated so badly. On the State level, the multi-representative system for us is not working either.

Sorry Steve, Justin and Dan we dom't hear from you much. But the hey, we don't hear from David Jones much either not that Juan would be very much better.

Remember this, the moment LCA takes over the Allentown system we are a customer too and should not be pushed aside or beaten upon. The moment LCA takes over the Allentown system LCA's emphasis cannot be just its former customer area. That area now includes Allentown and any neglect of Allentown's interest would be criminal.


Dennis Pearson ---

Resident of Allentown said...

What a bunch of complainy pants!
It all works out for everybody. The mayor gets to claim he did not raise taxes to solve our pension crisis which he and Guridy helped create (although don't be surprised when your water costs double, triple, etc.) and Guridy can go on "helping HIS people and everyone else" (his exact quote from an earlier MC article?) by shutting down the naysayers.
Sure, you might have a friend or two like I do that say the main reason they fled their paradise islands for the U.S. was because of the wholesale corruption of government officials and police, but I'm sure A-town is at least 5 to 10 years away from complete blatant shakedowns....Plenty of time to flee or stock up on ammo.

Anonymous said...

There you go again BOH. Allowing someone to tag the name "teabagger" (5:46) to a citizen that was refused time to speak at a city council meeting. By allowing this poster to mock a taxpayer by calling him a highly disrespectful name shows that you agree with the term he used. How sad that you say you delete nasty comments but allow this one. Reguardless of this mans voter registration, he was allowed by law to speak but Guidy shut him down. But in BOH's eyes, a taxpayer wanted to talk is a "teabagger". You now have lost a reader of your blog because you treat some one way and other another.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:34, It's a bad choice but is still better than outright privatization, where profit rules and the water itself could be sold to use in fracking. That's why I call it the best of bad choices.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pearson,Can you tell me how much taxpayer $$$$ The Mayor gave to Fegely.Perhaps someone can publish how much $$$ Fegley gave to the Mayor.These two are strange bedfellows indeed.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:34, Don't let the door hit you on the way out. I just saw the comment, which was written in sarcasm. I don't like the expression, but have written before that I pretty much allow people to use it. By the way, I don't make editorial decisions based on threats, and am happy someone like you is going. I have enough trolls.

Bernie O'Hare said...

They were great pals, which makes this all the more interesting.

Anonymous said...

That video on the Morning Call website opens your eyes because you see very upset people and a very uninterested and annoyed City Council. It's to the point now that the City officially has a non-representative government. They aren't really representing anybody but perhaps themselves.

FWIW, I think this saga is hardly over. I can't see the current row of Lehigh County Commissioners sitting back and letting LCA quietly go through the deal.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't think they have the authority to stop it.

Anonymous said...

"We'll just have to sign the lease to understand what's actually in it."

Sound familiar?

ALFONSO TODD said...

BOH,

Since I have been here I have seen and spoken to many of the mayor's former supporters, workers, etc and they all seem to be disenfranchised to the point of no return. I am unsure what he did or didn't do, but many of the same people that were on his team are now fighting against him. It's like they say, "The same people you see going up are the same people you see going down."

Alfonso Todd

www.votealfonsotodd.com

Anonymous said...

Admitedly, the meeting last night was not well handled. It seems like three public meetings are planned. Since the bids were only made on Tuesday, council should have simply said they are not discussing something they haven't had time to digest.

Shouting matches are never a good solution. It should have been made clear in pulic in advance that the meetings to deal with this were on certain dates.

No good will come from disruptive actions like "filabuster" attempts. Be prepared for the formal meetings and air it all out civily.

Waterboy said...

10:01
It seems that your comments are aimed at a council and government that actually cares about how the people feel. This is not the case with allentown, please do not forget USA government history. Through chaos brings order, in certain instances when there is such a corrupt government.

Anonymous said...

Go Rich Fegley!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Shameful. Disgraceful. VOTE THEM OUT!

Anonymous said...

Bernie:

Who is the city solicitor? Where was he during the meeting? It seems to me that Mr. Fegley had some questions pertaining to the charter and protocol which needed to be answered. He kept waiting but no answers were forthcoming. Apparently, the counsil people are irnorant and have poor leadership.

VOR

Anonymous said...

Apparently.

Anonymous said...

Over at Molovinsky's blog a commenter posted an excerpt regarding the problems the city of Hoboken, NJ had and continue to have with their water leasing. Interesting read. It is eye opening.

monkey momma said...

Where are the suburbs in all of this? It's not like LCA will be able to charge the residents of Allentown one rate and the residents of Upper Mac another rate - it seems to me like a whole lot of people are going to see their water rates rise significantly.

I realize the suburbs don't have the authority to interfere with this, but they do have a vested interest. I find it odd that there is silence from the surrounding communities.

I absolutely adore the Fegleys' products, services and overall vibe. I mean, Hopsolutely is a BIG favorite of mine. And I love the BrewWorks at both locations. I wonder what the future of the BrewWorks in Allentown will be after this very public separation between Fegley and Pawlowski?? The restaurant has been a magnificent addition to downtown A-town, and I really and truly would hate to see it go.

PS - Fegley seems like a smart, great guy. A great guy who seriously needs a shave. Please, anyone, donate your razors to the BrewWorks! ;)

Bernie O'Hare said...

VOR, An assistant City Solicitor was there and just looked bewildered on the video.

Anonymous said...

LCA via agreements with Allentown have communities charged at wholesale ratrs and Allentown ratepayers at retail rate. Ehen LCA promises to pass on the bond issue charges to Allentown ratepayers. When in reality there is justification that county ratepayers pay more. But County ratepayers don't want to pay more... And Allentown ratepayers don't want to cirtually give away their system for 50 years. The problem is the pensions and it should be handled a different way.

Any one want to give a rendition of Chicago, Chicago ....

Anonymous said...

The Fegleys were punished at the Municipal Golf Course........ for starters.

Anonymous said...

Prediction. Every sitting City Council Person up for re-election is there next year.

Bernie O'Hare said...

We'll know in May.

Chris Casey said...

Predicted Primary finish:
O'Connell
Glazier

The rest is a crapshoot. I think Mota is the goner for sure.
Guridy is actually raising money this time, we will see if the pretty multicolored mailers work. The Velez issue will be heard next Wednesday at 9:30 AM in Lehigh County Court. I know one has been subpoened. I don't mind people disagreeing with me, but with 10 people vying for eight spots, it is a crap shoot. And we have a hispanic challenging a Commissioner incumbent on Allentown's East side. This is a really hard formula to write when we can't get a good grasp on potential turnout. And you know the 4500 people who signed those petitions, though not all Democrats or even registered to vote, are going to get letters urging them to get involved on May 21st. Anybody want to make any bets? You would be better putting it all on Black or Red.

Anonymous said...

I'm increasingly impressed with Fegley. YES he was in bed with the mayor but it seems he fell out of favor when he became outspoken about this issue and some others. He paid the price with the golf course it wasn't a surprise to me at all... I mean Ed will make people pay one way or another....

Anonymous said...

I have been there in debate of the king and most of his court jesters since puds taking the office of mayor and his unpermit pulled mancave romodel as a gift to have facts overlocked because of quick insurance payouts that add up to colousion of many facits of officials acting under colur of law of some sort¿

Anonymous said...

The Allentown Police Officer was just about to TAZE Mr. Fegley--------just imagin the outcome of that?

That place has descended into madness.

Anonymous said...

Actually ck'd the city charter. It says council can make its own rules. Now, seems to me that Fegley has probably been to lots of meetings in the past and never objected to this "tradition" before. Kudos to Fegley for well played political theater. Boo to council for not knowing where their rules come from.

Anonymous said...

Ok then. City Council can just make it's own rules.
And how does that differ from the old Soviet Union?
Why just make up their own rules. Don't even have to write them down. Just make them up.
Pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

Hey boys and girls ------ can you say Kafka?

Anonymous said...

Just maybe allentowns public the center city residence are all feed from this burried aquaduck that molovinsky is investigating tomorrow¿ The politically correct phrase is "(Mongols)" when king palumpa and crew speak of allentowns latino residence¿
Redd

Anonymous said...

@2:59
Absolutely correct. It's called a precedent. City Council has been making up it's own rule for some time now.
The Mayor makes up his own rules also.
If you don't like it they will have your ass TAZED.

Now this shit you CAN'T make up. Who would believe you?

Anonymous said...

RULES AND REGULATIONS
ALLENTOWN CITY COUNCIL
RULE I - MEETINGS OF COUNCIL
A. Regular Meetings: Regular meetings will be held on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:00 P.M. in Council Chambers or at other such locations as agreed by Council. Council may, by resolution, cancel a meeting in the advent it is deemed not necessary due to lack of business. (25892 3/2/88; 26216 3/21/90 Art. II, §212; 13910-Charter Referendum; 28856 4/4/12)
B. Organizational Meeting: On the first Monday of January in every year following a regular municipal election and on the date of the first regular meeting in all other years, the Members of Council will assemble and organize and elect a President and vice-president of Council from among its members. If the first Monday of January in a year following a municipal election is a legal holiday, the meeting will be held on the first day following. All newly elected members will take the oath of office at the organizational meeting. (27728 12/5/01)
C. Special Meetings: The President of Council may and upon receiving a written request from a majority of Council Members, call a special meeting of the Council. (Art. II, §212) The call will specify if the special meeting be for general or special business. If called for special business, no other business will be considered. Each member will have at least 24 hours' notice of special meetings or may waive the same.
D. Citizens' Right to Be Heard: The Council must provide reasonable opportunity for interested citizens and taxpayers to address the Council on matters of general or special concern. Citizens' right to be heard will be the first order of business at all public meetings and before a vote on any Council business. The public will be granted the opportunity to comment at Council meetings without time limitations, except when the Council President, imposes a reasonable time limitation deemed necessary. Council members, by a vote of a majority plus one (1), may override the Council President's time limitation. (Art. II, §213

Anonymous said...

SECTION 213 CITIZENS' RIGHT TO BE HEARD
The Council must provide reasonable opportunity for interested citizens and taxpayers to address the Council on matters of general or special concern. Citizens' right to be heard shall be the first order of business at all public meetings and before a vote on any Council business. The public shall be granted the opportunity to comment at Council meetings without time limitations, except when the Council President, imposes a reasonable time limitation deemed necessary. Council members, by a vote of a majority plus one (1), may override the Council president's time limitation.

Anonymous said...

F. Candidate Participation: Persons running for office in a primary or general election will not be allowed to speak to "new issues" under Good and Welfare or Courtesy of the Floor. Candidates for political office may address City Council under Courtesy of the Floor as long as the issue under consideration is not a new issue but an old issue and no political statements are made. An old issue is defined as a concern that appears in the minutes of City Council. (28561 4/1/09) This prohibition will apply as soon as the candidate's nominating petition is filed and until after the General Election in that same year (unless a candidate is unsuccessful in the primary). The Presiding Officer will enforce this rule.
1. Good and Welfare prohibition applies to members of City Council seeking election.
2. Courtesy of the Floor prohibition applies to those, not on Council, seeking election. (26179 12/6/89)

Anonymous said...

So what? City Council makes it's own rules.
So does the Mayor.
It's the City Without Limits dude.

Rich Fegley said...

Here is a link to the full 13-minutes at Allentown City Council uploaded to YouTube.

I'm really excited to see the social network exposing the nonsense at Allentown City Council.

Thank you Bernie for providing your blog as a place for the Public to post their own perspective. Unfortunately most people in the public seem to be named Anonymous. It's like everyone is a Smith, Neo.

Stand behind your words. Be proud of what you have to offer to the group, the world on the internet.

SIGN YOUR NAME PROUDLY like the men who signed our Declaration of Independence.

Thank you Ben!

http://youtu.be/djiHCaUnv-Q

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Fegley.

Anonymous said...

I think his name is Snyder and the bleache'd blonde is part of the sand wataleva's that have tie to the organized criminal activities in the valley?

Anonymous said...

While the issue of water and the issue of being able to speak may be valid. Clearly the Fegley video shows the actions of a set up against the council. This seems to be common practice. While in this instance that may prove beneficial. The unfortunate experience of some is that innocent citizens have also been the victim of set ups that were much worse than this scenario. The Fegleys only interest is in their business. They use a lot of water to brew beer. That is money out of their pocket. http://www.nbcnews.com/science/embargo-9-3-10am-et-no-water-no-beer-brewers-8C11042467

http://www.nrdc.org/water/brewers-for-clean-water/

http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/business-tools/sustainability-Tools/water-wastewater

So while the subject itself may get some support. The deliverer of the message is self serving and when set ups are used toward innocent victims not on the council and not for a valid reason that should be very concerning behavior. It is harmful to support. Comments like the council makes up their own rules are hypocritical comments coming from this family.