Monday, April 01, 2013

Willie Reynolds Wants District Seats on City Council

Part of his "Winning Our Neighborhoods" package, which Bethlehem Mayoral candidate J. Willie Reynolds will unveil tomorrow, is a proposal for districted seats on Bethlehem City Council. Currently, all council members are elected through an at large system. Under Reynolds’ plan, City Council would be made up of a combination of at-large seats and seats designated to represent certain districts within the City. The Bethlehem Area School District, Easton City Council and both counties already use this system.

Reynolds plans to discuss this and other ideas in West Bethlehem's Clearview Park on Tuesday, 4 PM.

"I will be presenting my plan for Bethlehem’s neighborhoods in the West Side of our City partly because there has not been a City Council member from the West Side since Don Cunningham left council and became Mayor in 1998," explains Reynolds. "The South side of the City has also been traditionally underrepresented despite the unique needs and economic growth in that part of the City. The path to continuing to be one city is that each neighborhood and section of the city has its own voice and has the mechanisms in place to have that voice heard in City Hall.”

Reynolds believes this kind of increased citizen participation is good for democracy, and it is. In a district race, money doe not matter as much as knowing people and being responsive to them. In a district race, a Republican or even an Independent can be elected in a predominately Democratic town. An at-large race can be affected by the national mood.

Reynolds will also discuss severe cuts in Elm Street funding by the Corbett Administration, which he calls a "slow building drag on Bethlehem's homeowners and renters alike."

Willie's opponent in this race is fellow Council member Bob Donchez. I will ask him to share his own thoughts.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

move willy to the west side.

Anonymous said...

Willie should just move out of town.

Mark Baker said...

booby donchez hasn't been able to make a decision on his own in 17 years. . at least Willy has fresh ideas ans will move the City forward

Anonymous said...

Are there any West Side candidates running this cycle? I do agree West Side needs a voice. There are special issues and views that are specific to the area. It needs to be advocated for, much like South Side, which is also without respresentation. Also, West Side is in Lehigh County which makes for an unusual situation.

Seth Vaughn said...

I have to agree with Willie. This proposal is a good government initiative. It also opens up the opportunity for more diverse representation which may not be such a bad thing here in Bethlehem. I hope Willie is successful with getting this through.

Anonymous said...

I'll wait to see what Geeting thinks of the idea, then go the opposite direction.

Anonymous said...

The West End of Bethlehem and East Side of Allentown are a good match. In the County they are together.

But does Jones the Allentown South Sider act like a district representative. And will Camancho who at last counts was a renter be of the same ilk.

WEB-EA Within their prospective wards need representation in their cities.

Go for it Willie ... But Julio where is your pledge ...

Dennis Pearson

Anonymous said...

P.S --- State representative wise West Bethlehem is split into 2 districts. East Allentown is split into three district. I have a novel ideal ... West Bethlehem should have only 1 representative and East Allentown 1 representative. Maybe they can be the same one. Maybe its a good idea to link up the communities between the west bank Monacacy Creek and East Bank of the Lehigh River.

Dennis Pearson

Bernie O'Hare said...

'I'll wait to see what Geeting thinks of the idea, then go the opposite direction."

Geeting has previously advocated against district seats in county government bc he is fearful that economic development dollars will be wasted in rural areas.

http://www.jongeeting.net/?p=1291

It's a weak argument that ignores the whole point of a representative government.

Anonymous said...

That is a fantastic idea! Then we won't have one single person running from the South Side or Pembroke area.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Geeting has reversed himself and now supports district seats. I believe there should be a mix of at-large and district seats.

Anonymous said...

Geeting reversed himself because this one works toward his political beliefs and who he supports. If it were reversed he'd be advocating against.

Yet another example of why he shouldn't be taken seriously.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

District seats worked so well for the BASD that they're going to do away with them. Stale plans and empty promises from wee willie.

Hey Willie, why don't you tell us how you're paying back the $350 million in debt that the city is in?

Anonymous said...

They are not doing away with the district seats for school board members. Those seats are court ordered.

Anonymous said...

Let's get the West Side of Bethlehem into Northampton County and save a lot of misconceptions. Then Pawloski will have a harder time stealing for his next NIZ scam in Allentown.

Anonymous said...

Since the Bethlehem Area School District goes across municipal boundaries by law there needs to be special legislative districts

Anonymous said...

We'll see about BASD districts once it is revisited on the 5th aniversary of the ruling. They'll be gone you can take that to the bank.