Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski.
He was the lead-off hitter, and the organizers made the mistake of letting him use a power point. A presentation that was supposed to last between five and seven minutes stretched to about a half hour. This was following an introduction that he obviously wrote himself and that took nearly a half hour to read.
Along the way, the woman reading off Fed Ed's curriculum vitae also discussed his wife, mentioning that she had once been a "Communist organizer" in Chicago. Funny how the federal investigation or vote of no-confidence was never mentioned.
|The ladies just gawked when they saw this. I|
think this is more effective than pretending I'm gay!
Fed Ed said he had a five-year sustainability plan, arrived at through discussions with 50 community and city leaders, addressing the environment, infrastructure, sustainable land use and a sustainable future.
With respect to the environment, he noted that there's been a 40% reduction in residential and commercial waste, made possible in part by a recycling participate rate of over 90%. He noted that over 800 litter baskets have been installed in the City, along with 110 "big belly" trash compactors. He indicated that WPA stone structures are being retored and that he is introducing native species to the parks. But he added that Allentown produces 120 tons of garbage per day, and he still would like to get a trash-to-energy plant going because the landfills will soon be unable to hild all the garbage coming in from New York alone, with amounts to 26,000 tons per day.
Noting that there are several gold and silver LEED-certified buildings in the City, Fed Ed stated that Allentown lends itself to sustainable land use because of its dense street grid, concentration of jobs and proximity to housing. He discussed the adaptive re-use of older buildings and spoke of the Riverfront to be so picuresque that it makes you feel as though you are "in the middle of the poconos."
In the future, he'd like to see rooftop gardens at City hall and at other places.
Panto Stresses Housing For Working Poor
According to Easton Mayor Sal Panto, the biggest challenge facing all communities, both city and suburb, are pensions. Without reform, the game is over. Panto stated that Easton is situated at the meeting place of three revers - Lehigh, Delaware and Bushkill Creek, and the City has had three 100-year floods over the past four years. But the biggest flooding problem is not from the Delaware, said Panto, but flash floods from the Bushkill Creek.
Panto's goal as Mayor has been to buy up older homes, rehab them and sell them to the working poor. He would like everyone in Easton to have a home.
He also reported that the new City Hall has operating costs that are 40% less than the one he left.
Over $480 million has been invested in Easton over the last eight years.
Bethlehem Fire Chief Stresses Emergency Preparedness
Fire Chief Robert Novatnack, who is also the City's EMS coordinator, was Bob Donchez' pinch hitter.He discussed the importance of having plans in place for inevitable emergencies. Noting the City's history with some recent weather events, Chief Novatnack made clear that "[i]f you don't get people back on their feet, you hear about it."
Like Panto, Chief Novatnack discussed flash flooding as a major problem, and produced pictures of the damages caused when the Monocacy Creek spilled over during Musikfest a few short years ago.
"A lot of people don't recover from that,": he said of submerged Musikfest stands calling the flooding damage "a disaster for small business."
He'd like to see children educated sooner, rather than later, a point on which both Fed Ed and Panto agreed.
It cost me $10 to attend this lunch. I got in at a student rate, claiming I had an INCOMPLETE in some previous course work done at Lehigh. Since only half of the Matyors showed, and a third has been asked to resign, the Urban Land Institute owes me $7.50.