Thursday, May 02, 2013
Donchez Denies Fear Monger Charges Leveled by Reynolds
At a Monday news conference, Mayoral candidate Willie Reynolds accused opponent Bob Donchez of "fear mongering" with respect to the state of City finances. I asked Bob about this at a news conference yesterday.
"My response to that is the record speaks for itself. Number one, we had a total fund negative balance of over $14 million, based on the audit report two years ago. Number two, we had transfers done without the approval of Council, to balance the general fund. Three, we've taken money from the water and sewer fund to balance the general fund. Four, we have one time revenue sources [last year was the sale of a parking lot] to balance the general fund.
"So it's not a term to use - I think that's totally inapprop... - this is the record. Those are the facts.
"I think when you look at the cost of the pensions, when you look at the increase in medical benefits, the rate of growth there is way ahead of the growth of our new businesses coming in to to industrial parks.
"These are the facts. I think any Mayor, whether it's myself or Mr. Reynolds, is going to have to look at fiscal issues, front and center. It's important for us to be honest with the voters.
"We also borrowed money to pay the bills and we put more debt on the taxpayers.
"That's the reality of the situation and the public needs to know that.
"We didn't grow our way out of our financial situation. We actually borrowed our way out of our financial situation."
In addition to painting a realistic picture of Bethlehem finances, where there have been improvements over the last two years, Donchez also addressed charges that he's running a dirty campaign. In one mailer designed to convey the impression that Willie is immature, he used an old photo of Willie, along with Willie's now famous "hot girlfriend" remark.
Donchez acknowledged that he is running a "spirited" campaign, but pointed out that he has about ten mailers and all the rest of them are positive pieces. "I have a record. Mr. Reynolds has a record. I stand by my mailers," Donchez said, noting that they are "compare and contrast" pieces.
Calling the "fear monger" charge a "harsh term", Donchez also bristled at the suggestion that he is an "insider," noting Reynolds' close connection to Mayor Callahan.
But he also noted that at 8 PM on election day, "the politics ends."