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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Special Interests Drive Bethlehem City Council Race

Seven candidates are vying for four seats on Bethlehem City Council this year. Incumbents Willie Reynolds and Mike Recchiuti are seeking re-election. But no matter how you slice it, there will be at least two new Council members. In addition to the incumbents, Shawn Martell and Michael Colon are seeking one of the three seats for a four-year term. Another three candidates - Jeff Kocsis, Matt McKernan and Olga Negron - seek the two-year seat created by Karen (K. Dierdre) Dolan's resignation.

Who is funding these races? Candidates have been feeding on a heavy diet of developers and attorneys whose interest in good government extends to what is good for their own agendas.

Four-Year Seats

Willie Reynolds. - He started off with $21,407.26 and effortlessly raised $33,650. Everybody who wants something, from J.G. Petruccit to Sean Boyle to Dick Benner to Lew Ronca, stood in line with their checkbooks. Willie spent $21,000, leaving him with $33,762.54 for the last days of his campaign. He's going to win,. and I'd hope he'd give some of that money to where it is really needed, like at food banks.

Mike Recchiuti. - He's like Willie Reynolds lite. He started with less money and raised money, but it mostly comes from the same pool of special interests. Recchiuti started with $8,000, raised $17,000, spent $14,000 and is left with $10,732.

Shawn Martell. - They say that incumbents have an advantage when it comes to raising money, but Martell drew money from the same pool that gave to them. Developer Norton Herrick ($1,500), Dennis Benner ($1,000), Lew Ronca ($500) Duane and Karin Wagner ($500), Dino Montes ($500) and John Tallarico ($600) are just some of the names on Martel's pre-primary report. Tallarico also provided over $700 for a fundraiser. Altogether, Martell raised $14,883.85 and spent $4,033.61, leaving him with nearly $11,000 for the final days of his campaign.

Micahel Colon. - Unlike the three candidates above, Colon lacks the ties to people who have an agenda of their own. Most of the $5,390 he raised came from his family's pocket. He also had $6,100 in true debt to Bethlehem Business Forms and to the Steelworkers for a hall rental. He has kept most of his money, leaving him with $5,150.70 to spend against people who are more entrenched and whose blood is bluer.

Two-Year Seat

Olga Negron. - She's infected by Team Pawloski. The Allentown Mayor intent on sucking Bethlehem business dry gave her $250. Amazingly, she took it, and also took $200 from Ismael Arcelay, who withdrew from last year's NorCo Council races after being exposed for embellishing himself. She raised $6,770 and spent $3,542, leaving her with $3,228 with a week to go.

Jeff Kocsis. - Jeff raised $5,220 and spent $2,034, leaving him with $3,185.00 for the last week. No developers or attorneys have been banging on his doors, except for small contributions from John Morganelli and Tom Barker.

Matt McKernan. - This south Bethlehem business owner has raised $5,309, most of which comes from family and friends. He has spent $4,152,00. No special interests are beating down his door, either.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't be fooled by Matt McKernan. Callahan's right hand man sought him to run. Just wait till he gets in, you will see.

Anonymous said...

Callahan's not in office any more so everybody is his right hand and are we allowed to say things like: ah fuck Callahan and be within your guidelines?

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's election time, and people are free to try to link people as 5:24 did. The finance report proves he's full of shit, but he can bray away.

Anonymous said...

Does being a public school teacher from a family of teachers qualify a candidate as part of the blue blood club? That's a stretch.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Not when you take your money from people who obviously want something.

Anonymous said...

Better the Express not cover politics, at least that is honest. Better than the3 bullshit you print. You are a real slimeball coward.

Anonymous said...

Wasnt bonilla from the BASD also running?

Bobby said...

What if a candidate loses? Do they just get to keep all that money??

Anonymous said...

I support Jeff Kocsis.

That Guy!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:08, I'm not covering that race. If Bethlehem citizens don't have the sense to get rid if that guy without me telling them, there's nothing i can do.

Louie Denaldo said...

You lack the courage to show your true name...

Anonymous said...

So many Democrats. So few rich Republicans to curry favor with and bestow urbanista lucre upon. Watching Democrats fall over themselves to make rich guys even richer is ..... rich.

Anonymous said...

Bernie is backing Callahan guy, Matt McKernan.

Anonymous said...

Donaher is running for BASD. Yeah that's right, that guy!

Anonymous said...

Ms. Negron is 100% Mayor Ed.
If you like Allentown, Vote Negron.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I learned yesterday that Negron will not accept developer money. To me, that is big. I am re-evaluating my assessment of her.

Anonymous said...

Shocker...people giving money to politicians for personal gain. Wow, you've really made a breakthrough discovery here.

Anonymous said...

Olga is not taking developer money because developers won't give to her because she is anti development. She is fine taking money from snobby lehigh anti growth professors, though.

Anonymous said...

How about giving McKernan and Colon an opportunity before making factual statements about their lack of character or special interest ties. Both candiates bring qualifications and experience to the table that our city needs.

Anonymous said...

Whats the bottom line? The BASD has owned the Bethlehem City Council for years. Why voting citizens continue to vote for BASD employees and individuals with direct ties to the BASD year after year and then complain about other special interest besides the BASD is outright ignorant. At the very least stop voting for incumbents and consider offering your time to serve the city for a term in office. In summary, majority of Bethlehem City voters. Shut your mouth and stop blaming others for the mess you have created.