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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, March 09, 2015

Does Easton Favor The Privileged?


Last week, I presented you with an analysis of the number of parking tickets invalidated in Easton last year. As I feared, the evidence shows that the City is playing favorites. Altogether, 1135 tickets were forgiven for just 395 people. One lucky person had 21 parking tickets excused.  But this goes beyond the parking tickets. This same concern about special treatment for the "privileged people" is what has led Dennis Lieb to resign from Easton's Planning Commission last week, according to a WFMZ-TV69 report filed by Joe McDonald.

Lieb complains that people favored by Panto are able to do what they want.. But ordinary citizens pay up to $1,000 in fees and jump through hoops to be able to live or do business downtown.

One of these favored people is developer Mark Mulligan,  Easton's latest savior. He walks on water. In addition to receiving millions in RCAP grants, he is Easton's paid project manager at the Silk Mill.  He's also the new landlord to The Express Times. That's why you won't read this story there.

While bending over backwards for Mulligan, City Administrator Glenn Steckman publicly referred to developer Abe Atiyeh as "out of his mind" and unleashed code enforcement officials against him. That has spawned a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Steckman thinks he's one of those favored people, too. Last year, when his son was cited after getting a bit too close to stormwaters, he expected the charges to be dismissed and ignored the citation. After all, he's the City Administrator, damn it!  To their credit, Easton police officers refused to withdraw the citation, which Steckman mistakenly thought would be voided. This ultimately made its way to Judge McFadden. She didn't give a shit who Steckman was, either.

Twenty years in the electric chair.

Back in the People's Republic of Easton, another favorite is former Director of Community and Economic Development, Gretchen (Longenbach) Rice. She has just resigned, yet may already be on Mulligan's payroll. She was with him when he recently showed a property to a client. He explained that she was a new employee and he was "showing her the ropes." Her LinkedIn profile does not indicate where she is currently employed.

We also know that Easton ZHB member and Redevelopment Authority employee Michael Brett is not just a realtor for Mulligan. Mulligan and Brett formed both a LP and LLC to purchase two burned out properties for $5,000, and then tapped into the escrow funds held by the City. Easton ultimately recalled those escrows when it found out what was going on, but Mayor Sal Panto didn't like being told the emperor has no clothes and called me "nothing more than an agitator who stirs the pot with half-truths and inuendos [sic] from individuals that feed him what he thinks is factual."

You won't read that story in The Express Times, either. Don't want to piss off the landlord.

So yes, in Easton, it's who you know. LUTES, recipient of five voided parking tickets, thinks that's no big deal. "Who cares who does work for who and who knows who?" he asks.

Becky Magill, who opened her business in Williams Township instead of Easton, cares.
The people of Easton have been saying the exact same thing for years. Do you know how many times my neighborhood has been denied permit parking status, being lied to and told "We don't do permit parking in that area", but I can walk a half-block around the corner and they have it. Larry Holmes so much as mentions that he's unhappy, and the city turns itself inside out to accommodate him--but a regular citizen wants to own a small, cottage industry business? Oh no. $1200 in appeal fees, hope the almighty city agrees, and arrest if you so much as dare think about defying them. It's about time the people take back their city. There are many reasons I opened my business in Williams Township instead of Easton. The city keeps complaining that commerce is dying and that businesses and people are leaving Easton. Well...why do you think that is?
The bigger question here is the one that DA John Morganelli noted last month - due process. Put more simply, it's a question of fairness. The system in place has to work for everyone, not just the Panto posse.

(Blogger's Note: Out of respect for the privacy of Steckman's family, I am not mentioning his son by name or linking to this minor matter.)

32 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Do not believe that constables have any more rights than other citizens. if they do, why not get special court ordered placards for their cars. Otherwise they need to suck it up like the rest of us.

This idea of special privileges is getting out of hand. These guys are not policemen or law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Bernie
Isn't there a huge conflict for the Express Times renting from a business owner that deals with
city issues?

Anonymous said...

Anon 403....as a constable I do get tickets, your statement is incorrect.

Fred Schoenenbegrer

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Bernie. Don't let up on this. Sal and his minions have infested Easton and the cronyism that goes on here is unbelievable. Yet the voters keep falling for this and the Express Slimes cover for him.

Anonymous said...

Fred,

When you respond to a blogger who has an obscene amount of free time on his hands, its called "feeding the troll"

Here's an idea Fred....feed the meter instead of the troll, keep track of your parking through the debit card that the meters now have, and you wont have to justify yourself...pretty sure you can deduct those parking expenses from your income, annually on a tax return.

The blogger you feed doesnt deserve any explanations from anyone. He is what he is today because his unsocialized behavior has opened him up to a world of hurt and embarassment.

Instead of improving upon himself, he has spent a lifetime tearing down others, creating drama where there is none, appointing himself detective, and lashing out at anyone who has no use for him.

STOP FEEDING THE TROLL

Bernie O'Hare said...

The above anonymous comment is from Tricia Mezzacappa, who is supposed to avoid all contact with me, direct or indirect, as a condition of her bail. She is thumbing her nose at this requirement, as she does with everything else.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"sn't there a huge conflict for the Express Times renting from a business owner that deals with city issues? "

Absolutely.

Anonymous said...

no you are wrong again, and cant keep this womans name off your blog for a day.

even though you attribute every single comment you dont like to this woman, there are many others who see you exactly for what you are

Bernie O'Hare said...

There is no doubt in my mind or any reasonable person's mind that it is you, Mezzacappa. You've been ordered to stay away, but are thumbing your nose at your own bail conditions. Everyone recognizes your obsessive style at this point. I will be pointing all this out on 3/16, when I seek to have your bail revoked.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Can you request that Mezzacappa paint her vehicle kelly green before she hands it over to you on the 16th so you can drive it around proudly on Saint Patrick's Day?

Anonymous said...

Easton is an unmitigated mess. When threatened with a lawsuit to stop his increasing the commuter tax, Panto said not getting the money might send the city into state receivership. He essentially admitted he's pushed his city to the brink of bankruptcy. If that's not true, then he's mouthed a very serious lie. He's either an administrative moron, or a bald-faced liar.

Anonymous said...

LIEB FOR MAYOR

Anonymous said...

Maybe she is mentally incompetent and unable to truly understand her actions. A judge needs to make sure of this before dispensing any punishment.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'd be perfectly willing to see her committed for an evaluation.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Fred,you will be FIRST TO pay a tickie!It's the cost of doing business sometimes. Like Stan Margle he got lots of them but I never saw a warrant with his name on it ,he would get stuck at the Court House ,that's it! Anon 4'03 is living under a bridge an does not get enough vitamin D to be stable.Police have no more rights ,your Congressman has no more rights ! this is the controversy created when things get bigger than where Sheriff Taylor lives.

Anonymous said...

Pete - There were times I didn't have chance to make it in to contest so I just sent in a check and paid it. I've paid plenty brother! LOL

LUTES said...

Again you love throwing my name around?.... Those were not my comments they were anonymous!! Who cares? As a writer I would think you would read.... Tip another can for me

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well, Lutes, if you are not the author of the anonymous comment interspersed between two from you, you just reflected the sentiments expressed in it - Who cares? I suspect you will when you are no longer one of the favorites.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, when will you be in Easton next and what's your plate and make of vehicle? This way we can give them a heads up so they can ticket you, sounds like a great plan to me!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have no doubt that retaliatory measures like this are taken. Thanks for displaying your thug side.

Anonymous said...

Hate to break it you, I'm not a thug. You do deserve multiple tickets though just for coming to Easton. Take them as a welcome gift from the city to you. Thank you come again

Bernie O'Hare said...

I hate to break it to you, but anyone who threatens a retaliatory measure against someone because he does not like what that person is saying, is a thug. But that's no surprise to me. Give me as many tickets as you wish bc they are all illegal.

Anonymous said...

Actually, you may be the "thug" in this instance.. A thug is someone who is going through struggles, has gone through struggles, and continues to live day by day with nothing for them. To clarify, I was just stating that you should get them because you like to shove your nose in everything when it doesn't even pertain to you. Did you receive tickets? If not then stop wasting your time trying to be a private eye is what I am saying. Anyways, if you did receive a ticket you probably would just use it to wipe your backside since they're "illegal." You cause more headaches than good is the moral of the story. Try growing a pair for once and goodnight Mr. O'Hare.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I like this. An anonymous thug threatens me with tickets and then tells me to grow a pair. All this does is confirm what I've been saying. So thanks.

Anonymous said...

What is with these constables. These wannabe policemen buy old taxis and police cars, festoon them with decals and lights and play cop. They love to dress in Army/Navy store faux swat team paraphernalia with all kinds of crap hanging off their belts and vests.

They are just ordinary citizens like everyone else and should obey the law like everyone else.

They live in a pretend world of ego driven power.

Anonymous said...

@2:40,
Sounds like you've had some bad experiences dealing with constables. Could it be that you have a disdain for the law?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:53, Dennis Leib, for Mayor???? I LOVE the sound of that!!! He will tell King Sal in debates--"F-You, your highness!!!"

Anonymous said...

Didn't King Sal take vengeance against the greatest Heavy Weight Champion of all-time a few years ago? Just because Larry wouldn't bow down to his highness over an issue with his business?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:40, ordinary citizens do not get warrants issued to them, including those with 'CR' in the docket. Also, can an ordinary citizen carry a loaded handgun into a court of law in Pennsylvania and NOT be guilty of a felony?

As for state constables (who predate all other law enforcement in commonwealth history) are "wannabes". Let's see what the state firearms law says about them, as per those damn wannabes at the Pennsylvania State Police:

"A License to Carry Firearms is issued to carry a firearm concealed on one’s person or in a vehicle within this Commonwealth. Any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person except in his place of abode or fixed place of business without a valid and lawfully issued license commits a felony of the third degree.

A person who is otherwise eligible to possess a valid license under this chapter but carries a firearm in any vehicle or any person who carries a firearm concealed on or about his person, except in his place of abode or fixed place of business, without a valid and lawfully issued license and has not committed any other criminal violation commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Listed below are exceptions as outlined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6106. (2) (b) Exceptions:

1) Constables, sheriffs, prison or jail wardens, or their deputies, policemen of this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions, or other law-enforcement officers.



Link: http://www.psp.pa.gov/firearms-information/Pages/Carrying-Firearms-in-Pennsylvania.aspx#.VP9HbEYUrR0


Anon 2:40 also sounds like perhaps the Queen has spoken. Speaking of questionable people in law enforcement--Easton Police. When was the last time a local state constable made the paper for a PFA from his estranged wife? Or caused the city pay a record setting payout for excessive force to a washed up high school wrestler? Careful your highness, tossing stones in glass castles can quickly bite you in the royal behind!

And here are the new (as of two years ago) rules and regulations for constables. They are law enforcement as per PCCD (Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency)and the Commonwealth's Supreme Court.
Link 1:
http://www.pccd.pa.gov/training/Documents/Constable%20Education%20and%20Training/New%20Supreme%20court%20rules%20for%20Constables%205-29-13.pdf

And here is the update to the PCCD training for constables & deputy constables. I might add, you will see an Act 49 Constable has to fire more rounds yearly with their handgun for certification, than your local Act 120 municipal police officer.

Link 2: http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol44/44-10/465.html

Anonymous said...

Dennis Lieb is crazy. He would never get elected.

stephen weinstein said...

Hey Bernie,

Interesting post! I look forward to you following the story of Easton Development. I'm sure there is always two sides to the story, but critique (pressure) makes Diamonds!

What do you think about the sale of the Wells Fargo Building Downtown?