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Thursday, January 07, 2016

How the Urban Growth Regime Has Failed the Lehigh Valley


In discussions on this blog yesterday, understandable attempts were made to place all the blame for the Allentown pay-to-play scandal on Democrats. It is, after all, a one-party town lacking some of the checks and balances that would otherwise exist. But this argument assumes that Democrats actually govern in Allentown. They don't, and haven't for some time.

I've written before that democracy is oh so passé in Allentown. It's been replaced by what some of us call an urban growth regime in which crony capitalists (mostly Republican) call the shots through their pay-to-play puppets in local government (mostly Democrat). Fed Ed might run for Governor or the U.S. Senate, but NIZ Kings J.B. Reilly and Joe Topper are the de facto government. Efforts to extend that reach Valley wide, through an unelected group of aristocrats calling themselves The Lehigh Valley Partnership, have been less successful.

You won't find a website for this gang, once known as the Big Eight. They took it down as soon as people like me became suspicious They prefer the shadows. Before Reilly, they undoubtedly were the most powerful special interest group in the Lehigh Valley.

Formed as a nonprofit in 1985, The Lehigh Valley Partnership has had a hand in nearly all of local government's major spending plans and decision for the past three decades.

According to its last IRS report, filed in 2010, its members included L Charles Marcon, L Anderson Daub, jan Heller, Bert Daday, Robert Black, Joseph Brake, Greg Butz, Michael Caruso, Robert DeSalvio, Jeffrey Feather, Steve Follett and Dr. Alice Gast. Not listed in this report are the publishers of both dailies, which have traditionally been considered ex officio members. Its purpose is "to provide resources to the community, in partnership with the public sector, for initiatives which improve the quality of life and economic prospects of the Lehigh Valley area." Sounds pretty good, eh?

This "public-private partnership," of course, is complete nonsense. A public official's fidelity belongs to the public, not to enriching Abe Atiyeh by purchasing land from him at nearly three times its value. And someone like J.B Reilly has absolutely no duty to make life better for anyone in Allentown other than himself. The whole notion of government and business working together for the greater good is a myth.

But most of the resources provided to the community come from their "partners" in the public sector. The more these resources are spent, the richer this group gets. That seems to be their real goal.

Though the Lehigh Valley Partnership hosted a County Executive debate in 2013, there is no online record of its tax returns since 2010. It's possible that JB Reilly has assumed complete control, or that the group has set up another nonprofit.

Behind closed doors, the Lehigh Valley Partnership has been a driving force behind the following:

(1) Revitalizing Allentown. - Long before Fed Ed arrived on the scene, the Lehigh Valley Partnership decided that the key to a healthy Lehigh Valley is a healthy Allentown. It funded a Brookings Institution "Back to Prosperity" Study to tell it exactly what it wanted to hear, which was then accepted as Gospel by the media and mouthpieces like Alan Jennings, who has always sung well for his CACLV Supper. This would become the philosophical basis for the NIZ, gentrification and other city tax incentives.

(1) The $29 million in economic development incentives, i.e. corporate welfare, in Northampton County's controversial $111 million 2001 megabond.

(2) The 2000 Hotel Tax, including a formula that requires that a good chunk of the dough help fund The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation.

(3) The Open Space Referenda in Northampton and Lehigh County, feel good legislation that would create small islands of green amidst seas of sprawl, without any meaningful attempt at land use regulation.

(4) Widening Route 22. Former Lehigh Valley Planning Commission Exec Director Mike Kaiser was an ex officio member of the LVP, and they wanted that highway widened ... now.

(6) Attempts to Control MSM. Publishers at both local papers were members of the LVP board.

Traditionally, the Lehigh Valley Partnership has been the puppeteer pulling the strings at CACLV (Alan Jennings), LVEDC (Don Cunningham), NMIH (Donches), RenewLV (Joyce Marin), Greater LV Chamber of Commerce (Tony Iannelli) and LVPC (Bradley). Much of its work and ideas have been good. But these people are unelected and their allegiance is to themselves or their stockholders.

This urban growth regime, accompanied by the death of democracy in Allentown, created the perfect atmosphere for people like Fed Ed and Miked Fleck to hold their hand out and demand a taste. It created a perfect climate for the NIZ.

It is ludicrous to believe anyone in government came up with the idea. It was born in the mind of JB Reilly (possibly with the aid of Joe Topper, Lee Butz and Mark Jaindl). JB co-opted Pat Browne, Fed Ed and state government to get the NIZ legislation passed. He was thinking long-term. Government was focused on the short-term (the next election, union construction jobs, favorable publicity) to the detriment of the long-term consequences of the NIZ. Aided and abetted by the Morning Call and shills like Alan Jennings, JB maneuvered government into an "us versus them" campaign, characterizing the "suburbs" and the developers there as the rapists of Allentown. The NIZ was simply payback for the raping and plundering done by those evil suburban developers. This was ridiculously easy for JB to do. Even more ridiculous since most of his previous development activity was not in Allentown, but in those evil suburbs.

So, the "co-opting" has been virtually a one-way street. JB, Topper, the Butzes, and Mark Jaindl will reap hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars - all done quite legally - while Democratic politicians and a few hapless developers will go to jail. Most of Allentown will continue to suffer in poverty. In the meantime, those rapists - not just in the suburbs, but also in Bethlehem and Easton - will suffer substantial losses of business (and those cities and municipalities lose tax revenues as a result).

So what is The Urban Growth Regime's next trick? The CRIZ. But that was, unlike the NIZ, a government-inspired idea and hence doomed to failure.

The federal investigation into Allentown pay-to-play certainly dealing with a symptom. But the disease is the death of democracy, made possible by people who buy politicians and elections without really breaking any laws at all. That's what needs to change. And that, my friends, is a bi-partisan failure.

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant.
As fine a piece as you have ever written.

Anonymous said...

"Much of their work has been good."

Yes, and much had been self serving chickenshit masquerading as public good.
There is enough hypocrisy here to sink a battleship.

Anonymous said...

The root of this evil goes back a few years and sure hope that a few current and former council members go to jail for their crimes.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Nothing is black or white. There is much in what The Lehigh Valley partnership has done that is good. They are the ones who began the emphasis on regionalism, and who first raised the question of our fragmented governance. But at the same time, the tax incentives and numerous other ideas, like the Public Health Department, were disasters. They bought politicians who cannot think. And people became apathetic.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The root of this evil goes back a few years and sure hope that a few current and former council members go to jail for their crimes"

Thirty years. Both parties.

Anonymous said...

The Public Health Dept. fiasco was the Poole Trust.
You would be remiss if you failed to give them honorable mention.

Anonymous said...

So the devil made the elected Democrats do it? It's a vast right-wing conspiracy? Crooks are crooks. In this case, the crooks are EXCLUSIVELY Democrats.

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

While most of the original super 8 are either dead or moved from the area, they were noted for having land that they bought at normal prices, rezoned for industrial use, making millions. I believe they called it The Lehigh Valley Development Corporation. Which sounded like a government entity, which it was not. They were all republicans. But if the republican candidate was questionable as to his reliability for them they would back a more reliable Democrat. They were very much able to control who the candidates for office would be, some of their choice's are still in office locally. They were very much the ESTABLISHMENT as we know it today. I am sure they have been replaced by others butI believe their power is less than before.

Anonymous said...

Why would the Macungies allow warehouses on the most beautiful rich productive agricultural soil in Pennsylvania. Apple Orchards destroyed for what?

Reality Bites said...

Outside of a few blocks around the center square monument, it's the same old Allentown that is ruled by gangs and the criminal class.

Anonymous said...

Most are now deceased. They left behind I78 and a tremendous legacy of warehouses.

Anonymous said...

Rudy Moore died for their sins ..... literally.

Anonymous said...

STOP THE ROT!

Elect new politicians frequently. What else can be done?

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

As much as you rail against public-private partnerships without them nothing would get done. If there is any value in reviving urban areas then it must be employed with proper constraints recognizing the value of capital investment and attendant risks.

Anonymous said...

Charlie Snellling, "Entrepreneur and Republican Activist", spent his last few years with a small group of eager young protégés he gathered,
most through his affiliation with Lehigh Valley Hospital.
Snelling philosophy centered around the primacy of the use of OPM...Other People's Money. Charlie was The Master.
One of his prized students was an eager Lehigh County man named Riely.

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

Public private partnerships should be anathema to anyone who believes in fair play and liberty. Who gets to be the partner?, whoever has the connection, How do you get the connection? A history of reliable money to who decides the partner. Government should be in the business of creating an environment were everyone can prosper. Public,(taxpayer money, from often those struggling to survive) given to private( to make a profit without the risk of loss). I am all for profit, it is great and is the engine of a free economy. Government should be the neutral referee not the decider of winners and losers. Where the money is the vultures will be circling, there is more money in government available to the connected, than in the free market.

Anonymous said...

Those looking for the problem need only to look in the mirror, especially here in Allentown. In general people don't care enough to stay informed on local politics. Those who do vote often do so on the instructions of those willing to ride them to the polls.The Democrats have used this ignorance to their advantage in poor urban areas by working the problem. They register people in the winter and spring before the presidential cycle then get them to the polls in mass in the fall general election with their ground game. Sadly those taken to the polls in theses areas never seem to realize nothing ever changes. That said, the Republican Party is guilty of giving up on these same areas. This allows the Democrats to define what Republicans are. Trust me it isn't pretty. One example, speaking to Latinos in a church several years ago we were approached afterwards by several confused people who told us that local Democrats told them they were the Pro-Life party and the Republicans were for abortion. Now imagine this on a grand scale and it's easy to see how the Dems do so well on all the poor urban cores. Those people have never seen a Republican in person.
Americans everywhere need to understand that unless they exercise their right to vote, and to do so from an informed perspective government will cease to represent them. We see this in Allentown and on the state and federal level already. Perhaps the rise of Trump is the result of many voters realizing too late that this has already come to pass. Through our own fault government is serving though who will stroke it back. This will continue until enough Americans take their brains to the polls to make it clear to the politicians who it is they should be serving.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

You can't blame the Rs for this in bethlum. There hasn't been an R on council or in the mayors office in over 20 years. Just the same crooked, conniving inbred dems.

Anonymous said...

I wish the politicians in Allentown would start paying some attention to the East Side. I go into Bethlehem at least twice a month and love it. Bethlehem is so nice , I would trade politicians in a second if they could fix our area up like that.

Anonymous said...

The Ends never, ever justify the Means.

Anonymous said...

The Democratic pols are just the hired help.
Political office is for the little people.

Anonymous said...

Lehigh alum here. I'm wary of ANY group that includes Alice Gast. She is the epitome of "get for myself, screw everyone else".

Anonymous said...

Solution:
Move people out of office BEFORE they become too chummy!

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

8:08 As a life long resident, citizen, taxpayer of Bethlehem and a Democrat, just what would Republicans do to make the city any better than it already is. What you don't understand is there have been several very conservative councilman and mayors in Bethlehem who are really Republicans but register as D's because they know they can't win a election in Bethlehem with the over whelming majority of registered voters being Democrat in Bethlehem.
I know I am probably going to be blasted by some for saying this and I am certainly bias because it's my beloved city, but Bethlehem is the cultural center of NE Pa. With the lowest taxes of any city in the Lehigh Valley, great schools, two beautiful downtowns and two great university's , I think the city is doing very well as is!

Anonymous said...

The only way to evolve true change in our elective system is a Constitutional Ammendment limiting the amount of money being spent on an election campaign (or a limited amount given by the government itself) along with a strict law of no negative campaigning (as is strictly adhered to in England). Show me a campaigner who pushes this agenda and I will believe he really has the public's interests at heart.
The problem of course is you will never see those already in power allowing such a threat to their positions ever letting such an ammendment see the light of day,which is why we will all sadly watch our officials bought and sold as whores to the highest bidders.

Reality Bites said...

Perhaps if Republicans were elected in Allentown the premise that "it's not just the Democrats" can be proven or disproven.

Seems to me that all the indictments are being issued against Democrats in City Hall

Anonymous said...

I am a lifelong Allentown resident. I do not know one person who made the move to downtown Allentown OR anyone who has thought about it. It seems entirely inconvenient, unhealthy, unsafe, economically stupid and not very attractive.

At its most basic level, what does living in downtown Allentown offer? Please, enlighten me. Yes, I know about the NIZ initiatives to attract people.

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

anonymous 9.47, no negative campaigning!, how are you going to know who you are voting for, it is a free press , like LV ramblings to see if what is being said is true. as far as money , let the money roll, just make it reportable the day it is received. and make easy to access the information. Money is free speech, free speech is not free. kick backs and payoffs should have very long sentences for both parties. And trading of votes between legislators,( you vote for my bill, and I'll vote yours, should be severely punished.)

Anonymous said...

9:25,
Please enlighten the unwashed masses on who these closet Rs might be.

Anonymous said...

The Republacans abandoned Allentown sometime ago, except for Mr.Armstrong of course.

Ron Beitler said...

Anon 7:01 - Why did the Macungie's grow in the way they did?

The answer in large part is outlined in Ray Nemeth comment @6:50. For us, primarily one landowner with heavy influence. That landowner had a consistent strategy for decades. Executed flawlessly. While unfortunately local boards, community leadership and philosophies were fluid. Some boards had backbone. Some did not. Decades of manipulating the system. The biggest scheme in 2010.

Today, taxpayers pay the price. Sprawl is many things. But mostly it's expensive.

To that landowners credit, he does not use direct taxpayer subsidies of the alphabet soup variety. Although there have been applications for RACP grants (millions of dollars) and as always indirect taxpayer subsidies of perpetual maintenance for horizontal expansions of infrastructure. We know the driving spine of the Macungie's is the massively expensive and totally flawed 100+M Rt. 222 "bypass".

Basically the narrative goes like this: Developer - "Here, we'll pay for this new road improvement in exchange for waivers or some sort of regulatory flexibility so we can develop this cornfield" Local leaders: "Hey great! Shiny new roads! A new traffic signal! Sounds great!" Problem is.. we also take the obligation for the next inevitable widening and the long term maintenance in perpetuity. Oftentimes the new tax base generated doesn't cover those costs. Recourse? Raise taxes.

For homeowners it's an exchange of short term windfalls for long term liability.

Anonymous said...

If failure means turning downtown Allentown from a place any law abiding citizen would avoid at all costs back to a place with stuff to do, then keep failing! And go Phantoms!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on a lot of this, but isn't it also true that the growth of the suburbs really was subsidized by the government, especially since the 1962 EIT change? Designed to help white upwardly mobile people leave the urban cores as more and more people not like them moved in? The role that state-sponsored White Flight played in the death of old Allentown is central. Yes, Max Hess never should have sold his Whitehall land to what eventually became the Lehigh Valley Mall, but Whitehall as such wouldn't even exist now without the EIT change. South Whitehall, and the Parkland School District with it, would be at much more parity with Allentown and the ASD. Way back then, PSD begged to join with ASD. Now, of course, from suburban enclaves not created by market demand by by government policies, they want no part of anything like that.

The NIZ has its share of problems, key among them a failure, so far, to bring real improvement to the lives of most people in what the N stands for: Neighborhood. But as far is creating unfair advantages vis a vie the suburbs, I've always found that complaint more spurious.

Suburbanization not only killed urban cores, but it also created sprawl and gospelized the racism of fear that still keeps people away from Allentown.

Anonymous said...

Cunningham and Bradley are ex officio to the Partnership. They attend the meetings.

Outside the cities nobody wants either of them showing up at a meeting. The problem is that both counties have abdicated their oversight of both organizations. They take in the pony show at budget time and say OK. Are they even audited to see where they spend money?

Anonymous said...

to bring real improvement to the lives of most people in what the N stands for: Neighborhood

If you don't consider making part of the city a little safer and providing jobs that weren't there before "improvement".

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Repubs would have NEVER given handouts to real estate developers and speculators. Never!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I'm with you on a lot of this, but isn't it also true that the growth of the suburbs really was subsidized by the government, especially since the 1962 EIT change? "

That's part of the myth circulated by Fed Ed, Jennings and other urbanistas. It is essentially false. What made white flight possible are prejudice, disdain for the annoyance of urban life and shopping malls. The urban growth regime made itself rich funding white flight, and now wants to make itself rich funding that flight in reverse.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Suburbanization not only killed urban cores, but it also created sprawl and gospelized the racism of fear that still keeps people away from Allentown."

I'll agree, but the same people who got rich promoting this suburbanization not are using public money to essentially force everyone back to the city where it is oh so so do so pa.

Anonymous said...

Least we forget, the construction of Route 22 in the 50's, the pre-treatment plant in Upper Macungie circa 1970ish, and the completion of I-78 in 1989.

Growth isn't possible without (!) SEWER, (2) HIGHWAYS, & (3) WATER.

By memory from my elders, the inability for Allentown to annex, I have always been told changed in PA in the 50's also fostered the sprawl.

Anonymous said...

Downtown officially died with Hess' flagship went under. Why would anyone go there any longer when there was a brand new Hamburgers and John Wanamakers at the mall? Its not as complicated as you make it.

Anonymous said...

*Bambergers

Anonymous said...

One of your very best posts.

Anonymous said...

The growth of the suburbs was indeed subsidized by the government at virtually every level.
This is beyond dispute.

Anonymous said...

8:08 do you even live in Bethlehem? I live in Bethlehem and like many many others love our City. It's vibrant, quaint and rated the safest city of it's size in the US. We have been on the top ten places to live and start a business and top ten Main Streets in the United States. My suggestion to you is if you do live here and don't like it, you are free to move. It's a free country!

Anonymous said...

I live in Bethlehem and while it's OK, its not as great as you claim. Top 10 Main Streets? For old ladies looking for Hummel figurines and Moravian stars maybe. Its short with nothing on it. Sure, it looks nice, but I'd take Doylestown anyway.

Anonymous said...

White urban flight from Allentown was aided by so many people of color moving into the city. As a result many white Republicans populated the suburbs. So if you want the Republicans to come back to Allentown all you need to do is reverse Nixon's "Southern Strategy" on a local level and convince white Republicans to urban homestead.

Oh, and good luck.

Anonymous said...

12:32 You have serious issues. You live in a place you don't like. Move to Doylestown, Nazareth, Northampton, Easton or better yet the Allentown NIZ area.LOL 12:23 you are so right. Bethlehem is a great place to live and it was on USA TODAY as Top Ten Main Streets to visit. We were also listed in other national magazines as Top Ten Main Streets to visit in the Fall.

Anonymous said...

Bernie...what a cogent summary of the situation. I particularly like your mentioning the alleged raping of Allentown by the evil suburbs. That is exactly what the 'sustainability' nazis are peddling.

Anonymous said...

People move to suburbia because they choose to!

In the city, I spent decades driving around the block looking for a parking spot in front of my house in the winter, with groceries to unload. Problem solved in suburbia. I wanted an actual yard (with grass) for my kids to play in. Problem solved in suburbia. How do you drive your kids to and from school and get to work when their is no bussing in ASD? Problem solved in suburbia. Yes I live in sprawl, and I must be an evil person. I guess I should move back to the city.

Anonymous said...

Hey, who gives a damn if some of the best farmland in the Commonwealth was turned into track housing and warehouse facilitys.
Give the people what they want.
Fuck rational planning.

Anonymous said...

I'll say what everyone knows: Don Cunningham has been Peter Principled in the extreme.
His greatest contribution to the Valley is his Bruce Springsteen tribute band and the cash he drops at the trendy restaurant de joure.

Anonymous said...

Cunningham started out with good intentions, but his ambition took over and he has now become a mouth piece and apologist for the so called "urban growth regime". He has sold out and is now bought lock stock and barrel by those guys who are responsible for his job. He has become the "eulogist in chief" every time one of them (Elmer, Bert ..etc) passes away. Get over yourself Don, it is over. Collect your inflated check and do as your told.

Anonymous said...

There is no sprawl in the Lehigh Valley, geez, you drive five minutes outside of
Allentown and your in Alabama.

Theses whiners that warehouses are bad land use, don't create jobs, etc, are the same people who order from Amazon. Guess what, we need warehouses...where would you want them, at 7th and Ham?

Anonymous said...

By all means, put warehouses on world class farmland.
What's not to like about that?
New Jersey needs the crackers.

Chris Casey said...

It is true there are no Republican officeholders in Allentown. But outside of Allentown, Republicans hold almost everything, with Ed Hozza being a rare exception. So how did this whole "NIZ" that enabled all the corruption come about? Just who wrote that legislation in the Statehouse?

Why REPUBLICAN SENATOR PAT BROWNE! Who knew!

And when this legislation passed, both houses of the legislature were controlled by......wait for it....... REPUBLICANS!

Granted, the NIZ was created in 2009 and signed by Big Ed Rendell, a DEMOCRAT, but it took cooperation from both parties to put the Welfare for the well off in motion. Put that in your thinking caps.

Anonymous said...

It's not like the same people are getting rich coming and going, though. And yes, of course we agree that prejudice, the automobile, the GI bill, etc all helped make the suburbs, but I don't see how it wasn't heavily, heavily subsidized. I mean, it just was, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

We're blessed in Pennsylvania to have two corrupt, inbred, political parties.

Anonymous said...

Put Schloss in the Big House.

Anonymous said...

The cash he drops at the trendy restaurant de joure and his world wide trips is how Cunningham is spending down all the left over money ($300,000) from his aborted run for Governor acct.

Anonymous said...

Subsidizing the suburbs? What planet are you people living on? Look at the money that flows through the Allentown City Budget, or the ASD budget from the state and federal government. Where do you think that money is coming from?

You want to know what drives people out of cities like Allentown? Democrat politicians who think that raising the EIT on residents (and not non-residents) makes the city a more attractive place to live. Democrat politicians who think that allowing the Parking Authority to raise parking rates will draw more people downtown. I could go on and on.

I've got news for you. Better homes, better schools, and free parking are 10 minutes (not 10 hours) in any direction. I realize the planners believe everyone (except for them) should live in the cities, but people make pretty rational decisions all on their own.

Somehow Democrats can't accept the blame for what their policies have done. Look in the mirror. Allentown has been getting the largest dose of municipal welfare for the past few years and there are still people who want to call that "success". Wake up, and realize the failure that it is.

Anonymous said...

12:32 You have serious issues. You live in a place you don't like. Move to Doylestown, Nazareth, Northampton, Easton or better yet the Allentown NIZ area.LOL 12:23 you are so right. Bethlehem is a great place to live and it was on USA TODAY as Top Ten Main Streets to visit. We were also listed in other national magazines as Top Ten Main Streets to visit in the Fall.

I said it's OK its just not as great as some would like to believe. And those lists? A bunch of garbage. Main St looks nice but has nothing of any interest in the stores. It's a pretty boring place. Easton has cooler stores.

Anonymous said...

Hey, who gives a damn if some of the best farmland in the Commonwealth was turned into track housing and warehouse facilitys.
Give the people what they want.
Fuck rational planning.


You've got to be kidding. Drive 5 minutes out of the valley and there is farmland as far as the eye can see. Get a clue.

Anonymous said...

You want to know what drives people out of cities like Allentown? Democrat politicians who think that raising the EIT on residents (and not non-residents) makes the city a more attractive place to live. Democrat politicians who think that allowing the Parking Authority to raise parking rates will draw more people downtown. I could go on and on.

Oh please. Taxes didn't drive me out of Allentown, their school system did.

Anonymous said...

Yes,massive post-war subsidies to the suburbs.
Indisputable. Unequivocal. Simple statement of fucking fact.
Yes.

Anonymous said...

3:30 -

So what was the subsidy?

Please enlighten us.

Anonymous said...

Bernie-

You gotta check out the bike symbols Penndot put on Hamilton Boulevard,
right in the middle of the roadway in front of Ciocca Subaru to Brookside
road. This is the stupidity of our government. In 60+ years I have NEVER seen a bike on that section of roadway...primarily because IT IS DANGEROUS and no one is
stupid enough to drive a bike there!! But our government thinks it is wise to
put biking symbols in the middle of Hamilton boulevard where there is no shoulder, no bike lane!!!

Chris Casey said...

The Bike markers are on Hamilton boulevard from Ciocca all the way thru Trexlertown, out past the Velodrome, to where Hamilton Boulevard merges with the bypass heading towards Kutztown. We joke they mark the spots where cyclists are going to get run over. Stupidest thing we have ever seen. Wonder how much that grant was, and who administered it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, those rascally Republicans! They made crooks out of all those unsuspecting, burner phone carrying, Democrats. This is the most pathetic defense of criminals ever offered. Who made you drink and lose your law license Bernie? Who made you do it? I'm certain you were not responsible, right?

Anonymous said...

Any truth that Schlossberg is switching parties to separate himself from Pawlowski?

Anonymous said...

Increased mobility in the mid-1900's is what made flight from the urban areas such as Allentown possible and started the process. As others have said, given a choice, most people prefer a suburban setting to an urban setting as a place to live.

Businesses closing in the '70sin downtown Allentown (for a lot of reasons) sped up the process. Allentown began to go downhill, and the pace of those leaving accelerated.

The opening of I-78 in the late 80's made Allentown the place to go for New York's rejects, especially since NYC was cleaning house right about that time. The pace of decay quickened, and anyone who could got out.

For the last 10-15 years, Allentown has been a bastion of liberal policies, attractive to those who have no other choice and/or come looking for handouts. The leaders of Allentown have blamed everyone but themselves, and the solution is always more government investment from (fill in the blank - suburbs, Harrisburg, Washington). The "lack" of this investment was always the excuse for nothing getting better, even as Allentown's schools and government rotted from within.

All of this has led to the current mess, and the question is whether the current failed leadership in the City is going to be enough to cause people to wake up and realize that they have to fix the problem they've created themselves, neighborhood by neighborhood, to take back their city. Unfortunately, I'm betting against it.

Anonymous said...

454pm - No.

Anonymous said...

@5:11 - Miked Schlossberg is that all you have to say? Will you be going to jail like your pal Pawlowski?

Anonymous said...

The ASD receives over 50% of its funding from the state(your tax dollars), around 10% from the federal government(deficit spending),that leaves less than 40% of the ASD budget that is funded with local tax dollars. Local tax collections have been at best stagnant and this is with a very low per pupil cost.
All of the school districts that surround Allentown are for the most part self funded through local tax revenue. I am not a numbers guy but if memory serves me correct the average is around 10% funding from the state and even less from the feds.
Even with this disparity of state aid Allentown remains a very poorly funded school district. We can't raise the funds locally because basically there is almost nothing there to tax. The district has been promised some relief with the NIZ but even with the rosy predictions worked into the five year projections the fiscal future is very bleak. The ASD's expenditures continue to climb(PSER payments)while revenues are flat. The governor has made promises of increased aid but frankly that will very likely be just enough to cover the annually increasing costs related to the states broken defined payment pension system.
The poverty rate of the ASD(as defined by the federal free lunch program) is well over 80%. Is it any wonder parents would want to put their children is a district other than the ASD? And one more thing, I remind everyone that the man who presides over a very dysfunctional Allentown dared last year, for purely political reasons, to point the finger at the ASD as the cause of the city's problem when it comes to attracting the middle class back to the city.The school district is merely a reflection of the city, it can only attempt to educate the children that walk through the front doors with the resources they have at hand.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Allentown expanded by annexation of the surrounding townships. While City millionaires exploited natural resources in the suburbs, fortunes were made. While tall buildings went up with steel and concrete, land scars were born in the suburbs. During the industrial revolution they were called quarrys. Today, they are called warehouses.

Anonymous said...

Pat Browne found out his Republican suburban friends wouldn't take his BS legislation lying down.

Anonymous said...

http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-shulas-steakhouse-closing-20160107-story.html

the niz claims its first scammer of a business / business man.

this guy is nothing but a scam artist. nice run , you criminal.

Anonymous said...

Yes and the fork makes you fat. a repuke hasn't been involved in Bethlehem or Allentown politics on 3 decades or so.

when you make comment like this is on the GOP, you show how biased you are. so, this will be the new talking points for the one party rule govts in the valley. next time you attend a political fund raiser at one of your law buddies houses , make sure you let the public know, you are not attending as a member of the press.

hey boh, i am sure your unions are also outraged the democrats set the table/rules for every single construction scam/deal in the niz.

people were scammed and bribed to bring their businesses to this hole. the brobe was compliments of the democrats paid for by the tax payers.

basically the tax payers are paying the mortgages for millionaire developers and the city , run by dems , hopes it works out...lol

so , the dems get voted in based on pay to play scams. the repukes have no representation in council, the contracts scam, the zoning scam, or anything else, but it is their fault bc they sent cash to the dem hack criminal regime in Allentown. come on BOH, you are some what educated. you know better. it takes two to tango. both parties suck .

lol- and love how you bring up the criminal repuke browne . he is a democrat.
who are you kidding. he works hand in hand with every single democrat hack in this area. wonder how a repuke never get beat in his election??? go figure.

no wonder the state of Pa is now listed in the top most corrupt states in the country.

Allentown is a mess. a city that has more takers than makers will end up like this every single time.it is a ripe environment for political corruption.

when a town has more uninformed , voters, elections will be taken every single time.
isn't diversity just grand !!! at least that's what the democrats and the gop keep telling people.

Anonymous said...

Shulas closes in the NIZ......Once u dump always a dump. Allentown is still a shit hole.

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh at all this hate for the people who participated in the hated 'white flight' to the suburbs. It was not a government-led conspiracy. It began as early as the immediate post-war (WWII, that is) years. It was a natural American yearning for open space, freedom and basic quality of life improvement after childhoods filled with the Great Depression followed by war. Nothing evil about it. And for the most part it wasn't government driven. Individuals (often farmers) sold their land for housing. Sure roads had to be built and utilities provided; but they were paid for by the new residents. And really, what were these 'evil' white people fleeing from? There were virtually no blacks and Hispanics or other minorities here in the 50s and 60s. The flight in recent decades had less to do with race and ethnicity. Rather it was flight from the urban culture and the misery it brings. As a long-ago refugee from NYC I can proudly say that the destruction of that once-great city is what cause me to 'flee.' So I fully understand why the old Allentonians felt compelled to leave for greener pastures...even if only a handful of miles away.

Anonymous said...

Shulas closes in the NIZ......Once u dump always a dump. Allentown is still a shit hole.

A clueless yahoo chimes in about a city he has never known. Allentown had great times downtown, I can still recall it being packed with people and cool stores up and down. Then the malls opened and they killed cruising. The party ended in many ways during the Reagan administration.

Anonymous said...

You must be one that remembers the 5 dollar gas limit every other day than¿!($
The light that shines up out of HELL democratically created downtown¿!($
redd for Republican
patent pending

Anonymous said...

You must be one that remembers the 5 dollar gas limit every other day than¿!($
Ouch that was the donedona administration that just happened to not be prosicted for this reprehencible crime against innercity humanity as an excusse for the browne hole administationaly defunt tool of LVHN formally the great allentown hospital circus sideshows freeks and geeks of the back midway years past presently epicentralized downtown only to become a philysificaled democratical descussion ACTED into LAW¿!($
The light that shines up out of HELL democratically created downtown¿!($
redd for Republican
patent pending

Anonymous said...

"the party ended in many ways during the Reagan administration"

Really?

Drugs are bad, umkay?