Friday, July 05, 2013

Northampton County Plans $1.76 Million in CDBG Grants

Last year, Lehigh County's so-called reform Commissioners were reluctant to take $1.4 million in federal CDBG funding at because we owe China money and have a federal deficit. Rather than dirty his hands, Scott Ott abstained from voting on the matter because it's not "morally acceptable" to borrow money from out grandchildren to feed old people. If Ott wants to make that argument, he should run for Congress.

Northampton County Council, in stark contrast to Lehigh County, has no moral qualms at all about feeding the poor. During Tuesday's CDBG presentation, Bob Werner's only wish was that more money could be directed at people instead of roads.

As explained by Community Development Administrator Lori Sywensky, who is among the best public servants you'll ever see, funding for FY 2013 is set at $1,760,000.00. This is for all Northampton County communities except Easton and Bethlehem, which have their own programs.

Where does this money go?

"Lester," who lives in Wind Gap, is one example. He's an 85 year-old vet with an 84 year-old wife whose multiple illnesses prevent her from eating solid food. Lester would go without food to pay for his wife's medicine. After never missing a rent or utility payment at his home, he fell behind so his wife could continue receiving treatment. Thanks to CDBG funding and Northampton County human services, he's now caught up with his monthly bills and is able to stay in his own home.

Sywensky is one of the people who make that happen. Quietly. You will not see her name in the paper too often, but I have personally witnessed her go the extra mile to secure housing for an alcoholic vet just released from jail with no place to stay. It would never have happened without her efforts and without CDBG funding. That vet is graduating from college this year.

This year, Sywensky proposes three funding priorities:

(1) "area benefit" resources to Bangor, Roseto, East bangor, Wind Gap, Walnutport, Northampton, Bath, Wilson, West Easton and Hellertown Boroughs. Each of these nione boroughs his a high prevalence of poverty and taxes there are already above the national median.

(2) Promote affordable housing opportunities.

(3) Improve services to residents by innovation and elimination of duplication.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can LC funds be transferred to NC if Ott doesn't want the money? If not it goes to Phila by default.

Anonymous said...

they won't be feeding the poor, they're feeding the government monster. Sounds like you're ok impoverishing our grandchildren to do this

Anonymous said...

10:54 why don't you talk the children and grandchildren into taking care of their own grandparents such as above so their needs are met and off the government dole.You know like"back in the day"

Anonymous said...

Government wastes 90 cents administering every dollar of aid. That's sinful. Every dollar taken from me to fund a sinfully wasteful government program steals my right to charity. I don't have 90% administrative overhead with paid vacation and a pension. The grants are a mean mistake and anyone participating in them is propping up a system that prolongs misery, but provides a nice living for government types in the "help" business. I'm from the government and I'm here to help. If national representatives won't start the change, state or local people should.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You don't start this change by screwing the 85 yo guy who is hungry bc he is buying medicine for his wife. That's just nonsense.

Also, if you want to claim that 90% of the money is wasted on administration, I'd like to see you back that up with some links.

Without your link, I'd still agree that too much money is spent on administration. So would Lori S. But if you want to change that, the way to do it is by running for Congress, not turning your nose up at programs that help those in need.

Anonymous said...

Anon please cite your source? Actually the CBO estimates that Social Security spends about 6% on administrative costs. However, most private insurance and financial institutions spend over 6cents of every dollar on administrative expenses and "overhead".

Again, please cite your sources after you remove your tinfoil hat.

The Huntress said...

Is 2:09 Scott Ott?...my sympathy to Lehigh County. Tea party types are the most dangerous of political animals...they have no interest in GOOD government, just NO government. As a society, we have long ago decided there are certain expectations of elected government...that they try to uphold what the community has declared is valuable like: a living wage, care for the most vulnerable, solid infrastructure, relevant education, preservation of farmland and open space,etc. Our local communities let us know through the ballot box that these are their values. Elected leaders are bound by these elections to obtain the most accurate information on these and other issues and make their decisions based on what the community values and what they have learned WORKS to achieve those ends....period.

Anonymous said...

Check out the crazy teabaggers running for Northampton County Council. If you want to be just like Lehigh County vote for those clowns. They are even more teabaggerer.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Your assertion is inaccurate. I believe Hayden Phillips may very well be the Council candidate most likely to say No to federal grants. I doubt the others would do so. Stop making generalizations about an entire party. You diminish your argument when you try to paint with too broad a brush.

Anonymous said...

is this the little sweetie that jc is going to put in charge?f

The Huntress said...

While I'm sure Bernie has met tea party types who are "decent people" it does not diminish what the evidence holds. In congress, they are obstructionists of policy unless it has a $0 price tag and no regulations (usually meant to protect the public). Some may be quite "nice" people but they do not truly understand government as proposed by the constitution.

Anonymous said...

We spend 3 billion every year on Israel but nobody seems to care about our own elderly people. Wake up America!

Anonymous said...

They do not even come close to understanding the demands of local government. They are unfit to govern at the local level.

Generalizations are appropriate when applied appropriately.

Anonymous said...

I'm from the government and I'm here to help. The government gravy train hall walking trough sloppers are offended. Of course they are. Your pensions are why 85 year old guys go wanting. You raped the system and complain that others don't pay enough. Occupy a fucking real job you fleabagger pieces of squid shit.

Anonymous said...

The idea about turning back Federal grant money for community development was considered by Commissioners back in 2002, then for the Aquatic Center. If I recall correctly, Pascuzzo and Maher were reluctant, but you like to vilify Ott. I understand that. I have no problem with the question being properly asked and debated. The CDBG block grants Ott questioned were not wholly about feeding the poor. nlv

Bernie O'Hare said...

NLV, Get your head out of your ass. In the aryicle I link, Scott Ott specifically mentions NOT wanting the feed a poor senior citizen bc he is indebting our grandchildren. It is a stupid argument, just like it was a stupid argument when Bethlehem City Council considered rejecting a grant for a charter school. And it was a stupid argument in 2002.I don't give a shit who is making it. You claim I am vilifying Ott. I am accurately pointing out what he did and said, just as I did when Willie Reynolds and Eric Evans attempted to carry water for the teachers' union. Supid id dtupid, but you will defend stupidity when it comes from Ott bc you were part of his so-called reform team. Starving old people is some reform.

Anonymous said...

There were 14 CDBG grants considered then, including 122K for rebuilding 4th street in Whitehall, 77K for sewers in Coopersburg, 74K for a youth camp, 50K for Catty, and "the remaining $427,090 would go to administrative costs and other county expenses, [quoting] . . . Cindy Feinberg, county director of community and economic development." So no, I do not have my head up my ass, thank you, but I appreciate the candor! It adds to the passion! And to let me quote you, "I [you]would not be completely honest" if you did not concede [you] . . . vilify the guy as much as you asserted my vilification of another local politician whose name I can not mention. So please, at least be honest about it. I have no problem with that!

That all said, I will concede one point, that is one should not abstain but make the hard vote, yeah or nay, unless there is true conflict of interest. I do not believe in protest abstentions. nlv

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anybody who knows anything about CDBG funding knows that a large segment must go to "area benefit" grants to low income municipalities like the ones you mention. But that is not what troubled Ott. What he complained about was using the money to feed poor, old people. Your kind of reform is what led to the French revolution.

Anonymous said...

You mean like treeviltalize? No, I think its OK to openly debate various grants. That is not akin to lopping the heads off political opponents, tho the upheval in France did overturn an absolute monarchy. I am not expert enough in French history to make any further comment on that! nlv

Bernie O'Hare said...

Then maybe you should, bc there is no difference between what Ott said and the French aristocracy.

Anonymous said...

OK, I get it, King Louis XVI was elected! Thanks for clearing that up! nlv

Bernie O'Hare said...

More like Marquis St. Evrémonde

Anonymous said...

Got me. I had to google that Fictional aristocracy, right? Just admit it, you vilify the guy! nlv

Bernie O'Hare said...

Using Ott's own words is vilification? If I claimed he was sleeping with altar boys or sniffing glue, that would be vilification. And a lie. But I think what bothers you is that your own disgusting proposal to starve old people did not go over well.

Anonymous said...

Go back to the substance of the grant. I quoted it. And keep the low brow rehtoric, French Revelution, head up one's ass, etc., for the National Enquirer thank you, and next time, quote me correctly, thank you. nlv

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The Chinese, a communist government, is fronting us money to feed 85-year-old women in Lehigh County," - Scott Ott.

He would rather let her starve. Very noble of him. This is an election year, so he'll keep his mouth shut. If someone reports accurately what he said, you will claim he is being vilified. Maybe he should be.

Anonymous said...

So noting our national debt , when we're taking Federal monies, makes one an aristricatic despot! No, I think it adds to the debate, particularly when some Federal and State grants may be more or less worthy than others. I have no problem with that debate. But its your blog. I only commented. Have at it! nlv

Bernie O'Hare said...

No, allowing a senior to starve bc we have a national debt is what makes one a French aristocrat. If you want to merit the debates of the CDBG grant mechanism, run for Congress.

Anonymous said...

Then I think you need to read section 302 of the Home Rule Charter. We disussed this before on your own blog here and so did I here, substantively of course! nlv

Bernie O'Hare said...

The remark that we should not feed 85 yo women bc the Chinese have given us money is a substantive comment. It's also pretty disgusting.I don't vilify Ott. He has done that to himself.

Anonymous said...

16 trillion in National debt, local municipalities (e.g. incl. Allentown) selling assets to cover past obligations: where does it end Bernie? nlv

Bernie O'Hare said...

with the starvation of 85 yo women, according to Ott. Maybe we should kill of a few kids in the ASD every year, too, to thin the herd.

Anonymous said...

nlv, you kicked his ass. Facts beat emotional hyperbole every time.

Anonymous said...

""The Chinese, a communist government, is fronting us money to feed 85-year-old women in Lehigh County," - Scott Ott.

He would rather let her starve. Very noble of him. This is an election year, so he'll keep his mouth shut. If someone reports accurately what he said, you will claim he is being vilified. Maybe he should be."

Q. How does not wanting to incur more debt to the Chinese translate to starving old people?

A. In the eyes of those who are cock sure the only way not to starve old people is via a bloated government bureaucracy that takes it share in salaries and benefits and pensions, first.

Anonymous said...

It's also flat out hilarious to read Bernie's attempt at identifying political moral high-roaders, in light of his support of philanderers, anti-Semites, and drunken, abusive wife stranglers. Bernie's ethics are on a very sliding scale. He seems to abhor those who keep their noses clean and bestows sainthood on those who extend great charity - using others' money.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ohare's opinion shaping efforts here are propoganda based on flawed assumptions and bad analysis. I know of noone who wishes to see elderly people go hungry. However, there are many elderly taxpayers who have reached their own tipping point due to the recklessness of government spending and the cycle of ongoing property and income tax increases which follow. This forces many people to begin making terrible choices between spending money on things they deem necesary and a sheriffs sale or an IRS deficiency notice. Community Development Block Grants, based on their lengthy history, do not succeed in developing communities. Quite the opposite in fact. The availabilty of money rationalized as free and from someplace else disrupts and destroys the binds that tie us in community by offloading "responsibility" to government. If these programs developed communities then one must ask why they are perpetual and why over the many years they have been in place local community did not resurface to confront their own problems. Where is this elderly couple's family, neighbors, friends and religious community? Intervention by them would be the first line of defense in a personal crisis no? Instead over the many years of government interceding to develop communities policy has acted as a corroder of these support systems. Its become somebody elses problem. Many of these grants have turned into a means for local politicians to show their prowess at acquiring money "outside" their communities to provide programs which locals are told they dont have to pay for through local taxes. I wonder how many local residents would accede to approving the costs of these grants if they had to pay for them through local tax hikes? While the case mentioned is a real community problem the vast majority of these grants are for far less serious and serve as a source of local pork that local elected officials can take credit for bring home the bacon. Bernie has written much about Lehigh County Meals on Wheels which received funding through this years program. MOW is a great organization doing great work but their need for this money is questionable given the relative state of their finances relative to the County's on going structural deficit. MOW Lehigh County reported a balance of liquid investments in excess of $1.2 million at the end of 2012. This represents four years of reserves for this organization which is well run and funded primarily by donors and its own clients which pay for meals on a need adjusted basis. They also showed a surplus of income over expenses last year. Why would they need to apply for government subsidy under those conditions? The role of any legislator, whether a County commissioner or a Congressman is to deliberate and consider issues presented for legislative votes. It is not to react and to rubberstamp. That is what the reform commissioners did when CDBG grants were presented to them earlier this year. Good for them and good for us taxpayers. We all should be concerned about our community. More importantly we all should be involved in our community too. That involvement should be personal and not delegated through the impersonal means of government.

Anonymous said...

To not become irrelevant we need a Republican party that can provide a contrast to the Democrats, one that wants to repair/fix government not destroy/tear down gov't.

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Werner really believes we should spend more county money on the poor, he should propose a tax increase for that purpose. It is easy to want to spend more money raised by another level of government. You look like a hero and you do not need to justify the tax increase. It is cowardly.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"To not become irrelevant we need a Republican party that can provide a contrast to the Democrats, one that wants to repair/fix government not destroy/tear down gov't."

Last time i checked, the R party does not stand for starving 85 yo women. Scott Ott does.

And when you point it out, using his own words, it is called vilification.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Mr. Ohare's opinion shaping efforts here are propoganda based on flawed assumptions and bad analysis. I know of noone who wishes to see elderly people go hungry."

My words her are shaped by Ott's own words. He stands for starving 85 year old women. I'm sure he feels bad about it bc, after all, God is on his side.

Anonymous said...

Bill White great piece today. Pretty good summary of JG.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I will look for it.

Anonymous said...

Typical of a propagandist you choose to take my post and Otts word out of context and reassert your false conclusion. Too bad but most people, even those whose ideology guides them to different conclusions on policy see the transparent manipulation. Good for them. You didn't even take up the main points of my earlier post which proves you are more interested in the propaganda of a false narrative than a discussion of serious issues and differences you may have. Sad.

Anonymous said...

CDBG is a program that is specifically for those under a certain poverty line.I know this because I once administered those monies for the City of Easton.It assisted over 50 families and kept them living n clean affordable housing. The Northampton County CDBG has to follow strict guidelines and did a lot of good.The Agency I ran had a 93% direct service with a 7 percent overhead.Kudos to Lori S for running a good program.These funds keep people n their homes and assist them during crisis.Do your homework on the program before you declare it as entitlement program.One day you may be in a situation like the one described

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think we all know where the "
propaganda" is coming from. The simple fact is that, if it were up to Ott, people would starve. I went back and listened to what he said at those meetings, and it is even worse than I thought. I will be writing a piece on this topic. People have a right to know about an Exec candidate.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bill White great piece today. Pretty good summary of JG"

He pretty much hits it on the head.

Anonymous said...

The argument seems to be either government that lets people stew in their own juices, whether their fault or not; or government that intervenes in and is part of society.

At the local level it would seem there is no question that the now extreme tea party controlled Republican Party is out of touch.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, could not find the new Bill White article on line.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bill White should be online soon. His column is part of the "early edition" for Sunday. I had to look at my hard copy, something I never do anymore.

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:15, I do not think the R party is out of touch. But elements within it are definitely out of touch.

Vic Mazziotti, who voted FOR the funding, noted we borrow 40 cents of every dollar we spend and that the path we are on is sustainable. He is right. He points out that involving the federal government in a Whitehall sinkhole is bound to create inefficiencies. He is right again.

Even Lori S would agree with him on this point, and i suspect most Dems would agree.

But the remedy is NOT cutting off the nose to spite the face. That is the Odd Ott solution.

Anonymous said...

I know of few people much less Democrats that enjoy paying taxes. Most if not all of the
Democrats I know work and pay bills.

The fundamental principle of fiscal integrity is agreed to by all. If the Tea Party wants to claim that as some long lost cause so be it.

However, they are still a very angry and narrow philosphical group that ignores even the earliest American history insisting that the country is now on the path to communism and that the Constitution is not a living document. They tell me we should only have the original constitution. I ask if that includes the first ten amendments and they yell at me calming I am pulling the usual liberal quibble.

If the founding fathers had not wanted any amendments they would have spelled it out with the line, "This document shall never be amended", they did not.

The tea guys are a group that cherry picks history to suit their needs. They tell me the main stream media is a socialist tool and only news from an organization run by a crazy and crooked Australian is telling the truth. Any that disagree are socialists and un-American.

Sorry Bernie but I know many of these folks myself. I count some as friends but I don't discuss politics with them because they are extreme in their beliefs and quick to anger.

Anonymous said...

How does the above comment relate to cdbg grants and county government? The founders would likely be dismayed to see federal state local dependencies like this but that seems irrelevant to the topic. In Lehigh the commissioners seem to be getting criticized for questioning and deliberating before voting to approve these grants. The nerve of them not to simply approve without thought.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It kills me how many people, especially tea party extremists, claim to have an inside track on how the founding fathers would rule on this or that. You really don't know, and i can find an smany quotes for taking care of people from them as you want.

My objection is not the meaningless discussion, which belongs in a Congressional race. My objection was the insensitive and uncaring comments made by Scott Ott, the GOP standard bearer for exec.
.
He criticized hungry seniors, most of whom have outlived their families, because they have no church, no family and no neighbors to take care of them. Guess they should just drop over. He also questioned the $30,000 amount to feed 42 people. That amounts to $13 per week per person. I guess that is too much.

Ott was the ONLY Commissioner, in the end, who refused to vote for money to take care of hungry old people.

But God is on his side.

Anonymous said...

The real sad thing I see happening is to blame people for their situation, period! You know this was done by some extremists in the Gracedale debate in Northampton county.

An old person should have saved or have family deal with them. What if they have no money? What if illness whiped them out. What if they have family but they refuse to help??

I guess we just throw people to the curb.

Bernie O'Hare said...

During the Gracedale debate, nobody suggested throwing the residents to the curb. The first and highest concern was always to maintain the same quality of care. Unfortunately, the Fake Rev and others told voters that the residents would be moved three counties away or kicked to the curb. Never was true.

Anonymous said...

Not true. Supporters of the sale got up and said old people who didn't plan for their own future should not be a burden on taxpayers. They also called the Moravians who established the "poor house" as the original socialists.

We know you love Stoffa and Angle and all they do but the debate showed how extreme people feel about caring for the poor sick and elderly.

When it was pointed out that as in the past, what if private homes back off taking the poor or cherry picking those needing the least l care. The response was, good, then the county won't be on the hook for them.

Lets keep "all" the information out there. A sad chapter in Northampton County history.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Chris Miller called the Moravians socialists, and they did originally believe in communal living. Everything was owned by the church, instead of the state.

I believe one tea party nutter said something about personal responsibility.

Nobody who was actively involved in Gracedale's sale would ever condone a sale that did not assure the same high quality of care. Stoffa and members of Council repeatedly made that clear. You chose to lie to people.

Anonymous said...

People fortunately had the chance to vote on who "lied" and who was more believable.

Gracedale supporters won and the lies lost.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The people were misled and erred on the side of protecting residents. I understand that. And now that they realize that they were sold a pack of lies, they rejected McClure.

Anonymous said...

McClure would have been rejected if he had supported the sale, just as Ron Angle was. The sale was a terrible idea. You will never admit it because Stoffa and Angle pushed it. It was based on lies, misinformation and half truths. People saw through it and fortunately the Home was saved.

Like Gregory, you Angle and Stoffa think you know more than the people who voted. They could sniff out the truth and voted accordingly.

That is why the Republicans will lose. They are not trusted by people. Just as the last group sneaked in and then joined Stoffa and Angle in the secret deal to dump Gracedale. No one believes this even more extreme group of tea party extremists. Lied to once, not again.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"That is why the Republicans will lose. They are not trusted by people"

I see. So this meand that peg ferraro, who opposed Gracedale's sale will be rejected at the polls. You don't trust her though she might have been your greatest champion.

What phonies you are. The people have wised p to you and are now ignoring you.