Karner won election to Bangor Borough Council, served as its President, and then ended up working for State Senator Lisa Boscola. Along the way, she developed an interest in both community and economic development, As a member of the County's most impoverished community outside of the cities, she started serving on the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley board, eventually becoming its President. She also was selected by Executive John Stoffa to administer his economic development program in Northampton County.
While doing all this, Karner also administered the County's Gaming Authority.
Her biggest achievement, though, and one of which she should be very proud, are her three children. On election night, the Karner family had its own annual election for Karner House President. There was even some dirty campaigning.
Alicia is a very good pick for Bethlehem as DCED Director. But her loss will be felt at Northampton County.
What Happens to Joe Kelly?
Bethlehem's current DCED Director, Joe Kelly, is out. Donchez has the right and really, the obligation, to put his own stamp on City government. As good a person as Joe is, Bob can't do that with incumbent Mayor John Callahan's right hand man. There would always be a question of loyalty.
As an attorney with an impressive resume, I believe Joe should have no problem landing on his feet.
One rumor floating around is that Willie Reynolds will try to install Joe on City Council as Donchez' replacement. This seems like an effort to undermine Donchez, not good government. Nor is it particularly good for Joe Kelly down the road. Reynolds has the votes to do this, I'm sure. But isn't it time to stop playing politics and start governing?
They say you can't fight City Hall, but I have fought several battles with the County. I did so when I challenged Northampton County's $111 million megabond under former Executive Glenn Reibman. I won the first battle, thanks in large part to the efforts of Easton Attorneys Charlie Smith and Brian Monahan. Along the way, we made law. We got a Commonwealth Court ruling in our favor on the Sunshine Act, with a ruling that a judge had improperly made arguments not advanced by the county. We also got an important Supreme Court ruling that bond proposals must be real, and be accompanied by realistic cost estimates.
We lost the second round, in which the fight was that public money was being used to fund private projects. I think we might have had a shot with the Supreme Court, but we just ran out of money.
Our opponent in this legal war was Bill Leeson.
He impressed the hell out of me. He would write an excellent and terse brief, but had an uncanny knack in oral argument of putting things in a slightly different way that would completely throw us off our game.
Throughout this battle, which became quite heated at times, Leeson always remained a gentleman. He always kept his word, except for that one time when he told me the Supreme Court had moved to Phillipsburg and I should just wait there for oral argument.
He knows municipal law inside out, and like his brother and father, will be an excellent City Solicitor.
What happens to Jack Spirk?
Like Joe Kelly, Jack has to go. He was a trusted confidante to Bethlehem mayor John Callahan, and knows that Donchez needs his own consigliere. Jack was an excellent Assistant DA, and I know this better than most because he kicked my ass several times. He loves teaching, and can continue that profession and can walk through numerous other doors.
As is the case with Joe Kelly, a rumor floating around that Spirk will be installed as the next City Council Solicitor, replacing long time Solicitor Chris Spadoni. I don't understand why Council would replace a neutral and effective Solicitor with someone who is known as Callahan's right arm. I thought Callahan was term-limited.