|Paul Weiss with Peg Ferraro|
Bethlehem Township has a five-person Board of Commissioners. In the last municipal race, Atiyeh ran three candidates - his wife, Zawarski and Phil Bernard. His wife failed and Bernard has proved to be more independent than Atiyeh had hoped. But Zawarski is a solid Atiyeh vote.
Let me explain why. Not all that long ago, a developer was pitching a project to township officials.. Zawarski approached the developer and asked if he might be interested in some property his brother was selling in Forks Township. This was totally inappropriate, and certainly created the implication that Zawarski's vote was for sale.
Zawarski, along with other Commissioners, raised concerns over sketch plans submitted by this developer, who decided to pull the project. Atiyeh rewarded Zawarski, a realtor, by giving him several properties to sell for him. never mind that Atiyeh is suing Bethlehem Township, and no Commissioner should have any contact with him.
In this election cycle, Atiyeh is attempting to pack the Board with two more Commissioners. One of them is Attorney Mickey Thompson, who lives in an apartment building owned by Atiyeh and is employed as his COO. Thompson is running against long-time incumbent Michael Hudak, who appears to be safe.
But another incumbent Commissioner, Paul Weiss, has already been rejected by both Democratic and Republican parties. Atiyeh ran and financed two candidates in the primary to take Weiss out, and they succeeded. Weiss, who in my opinion is Bethlehem Township's finest public servant, is reduced to waging a write-in campaign. He's not doing this for himself, but to keep Bethlehem Township from becoming Atiyehtown.
In the meantime, Zawarki is busily grooming himself to be the next President of the Board.
You can see and download his election day handout here.