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Monday, February 01, 2016

The Real State of the Shitty in Allentown

There were actually two State of the Shitty addresses delivered this weekend. The first was delivered by Fed Ed. The second came in the form of a rambling Morning Call op-ed. That was delivered by Alan Jennings, who is essentially the propaganda minister for the urban growth regime that's really in control in Allentown. I'll tell you about them and close with a more realistic view of the Queen City.

Fed Ed's State of the Shitty (WFMZ-TV69 Video - Part One and Part Two)

Allentown's Constitution, its Home Rule Charter, requires the Mayor to report every January, to both the City Council and the public, on "the financial and general condition of the City." Over the years, this mandate has been perverted into a gala event. This year, like last year, those who wished to hear Fed Ed's pearls of wisdom would have to pay for the privilege  It was thirty bucks a pop for a chicken lunch in the fifth floor ballroom at the $250 per night Renaissance Hotel.

I counted somewhere around 80 people at this event. But the actual paid attendance was just 56, far less than the 296 people who paid last year. The only elected official I saw was Lehigh County Exec Tom Muller. Not one member of City Council attended. Even people who work for the City made excuses not to be there, including the police chief (he was checking his sock drawer) and one other deputy chief (root canal). Local pols like Mike "Darth Voter" Schlossberg  and Pete Schweyer were busy getting pointers on ghost voting.  Jenn Mann was no doubt trying to score Superbowl tickets. Crony capitalists J.B. Reilly, Tony Iannelli, Lee Butz, union bosses and Bob Bennett were nowhere to be found. Alan Jennings, who controls the Lehigh Valley poverty industry, was also absent. But he was no doubt excused, as you'll see below.

His Goner's audience consisted mostly of rotarians, preachers and a few vultures like me, who were thinking it would be just like the FBI to come in and arrest him in the middle of his speech.

I saw no FBI agents, but noticed that a few of the waiters were speaking into flower arrangements. Downstairs, in the hotel lobby, Allentown good government activists Robert Trotner, Lou Shupe and a few others mounted a protest of some sort.

According to an unscientific poll on this blog, 94 percent of 150 participants believe that Fed Ed is going down, sooner or later. Sources tell me his lawyers are meeting with the feds this very week.

This was my first time inside a Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) building. Even from the fifth floor, there is a commanding view of the sea of decay surrounding this tiny, but $1 billion, oasis of splendor. A Potemkin Village with a sub-par minor league hockey team acting as its draw.

Fed Ed is actually the first person I saw when I finally found the fifth floor. I asked him when he is going to resign, but he walked right by me and into a nearby can, pretending not to hear. Next I bumped into a nervous Christine Bauder, who put together this event. I assured her that I'd be good. I don't like to disrupt speeches.

When I made it inside the ballroom, the first person to greet me was none other than Lisa "Lady MacBeth" Pawlowski. She has solved Allentown's homeless problem, by the way. Less than a year ago, she was misinforming people that I "get paid every time someone opens his blog. So every click is a win for him. Controversy means more money for him. So folks, if you support your mayor, don't ever read Bernie's blog. Make a statement by cutting into his income."

That's actually complete nonsense. I make no money blogging. Not everyone is as money hungry as she or her husband have been.

Lady McBeth never mentioned her insult, but was quick to introduce me to her daughter. She dragged both of their children to this State of the Shitty, which by itself has to be some form of child abuse. One friend tells me this was her way of taking a dig at me, and that her implied message was, "Look what you're doing to our children!"

If this is so, it failed. For the sake of their children, Fed Ed needs to resign.

Fed Ed, as most news accounts have already told you, failed to address the biggest problem facing Allentown - him. An investigation into political corruption has paralyzed the City. He avoided all mention of the elephant in the room, choosing instead to talk about the "cool factor." He joked a bit about the snow, but failed to address why he failed to call a snow emergency. This made it difficult for plow trucks to get through along snow emergency routes. While taking the media to task for not writing enough about the money saved by the water lease, he never explained how many trucks and personnel were shifted into the Lehigh County Authority and were hence unavailable to deal with the storm.

He bragged about a 30% drop in crime since becoming Mayor, although he failed to recognize that many people have simply stopped reporting.. He never addressing the crime going on at City Hall, in which three officials have been charged, along with an entrepreneur. He talked about purchasing additional cameras to reduce crime, but never discussed why he sweeping his offices for electronic bugs and purchased burner phones. Those seem more like the actions of a drug lord or Mafia don than the Mayor of Pennsylvania's third largest city.

But he is counting trees. This year, Fed Ed plans to nail down eactly how many trees there are in Allentown. So there you have it.

Embattled as he is, His Goner is playing the religion card heavily. The Moody Bible Institute grad made sure that lots of preachers came, and made sure to thank them. Among those he single out for applause was the Lehigh Conference of Church's Jack Felch, who "streeted"  about 30 homeless men into 31" of snow last week.

The audience applauded, save for one person.

Me. I booed.

He finished his speech with a slick upbeat video portraying Allentown (and no doubt Fed Ed) as a "comeback kid" made possible by the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ).

Alan Jennings' State of the Shitty.

Alan Jennings is Executive Director of CACLV, which effectively puts him in control of the poverty industry created by LBJ's War on Poverty. His organization has established many worthwhile programs, from Head Start to the Second Harvest Food Bank. Jennings likes to think of himself as the spokesperson for those who have no voice. But what he has really become is a shill for the wealthy. He is the Propaganda Minister of the urban growth regime.

Like a priest in the old Catholic Church before Martin Luther came along, Jennings sells plenary indulgences to the wealthy in exchange for a few table scraps tossed his way. These days, they're called tax credits. In a Morning Call op-ed, Jennings delivers his State of the Shitty.

Blessing the NIZ, Jennings goes on to say, "We can never overstate the heroic work being done by our mayor and his administration, state Sen. Pat Browne, J.B. Reilly of City Center Investment Corp., Sy Traub and the board of directors of the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority and many others."

Heroic?

It takes no courage (much less, heroism) to spend someone else's money. When we start believing that those who spend the public's monies are "heroes," we are dead as a productive society.

I once portrayed Jennings in a pimp costume since he's been called the poverty pimp. But the reality is that he is more like a prostitute who sells himself out to the wealthy and praises them and their agendas in exchange for a few dollars here and there. He is a night-time walker dropped off on Hamilton while Fed Ed and J.B. Reilly circle the block until their trap is full.

Jennings continues to bless the NIZ, while taking an unnecessary shot at those who live in the suburbs in what increasingly appears to be a War on the Suburbs as opposed to a War on Poverty.

"Just about everyone has benefited: The tax base is on the mend, blight is being eliminated, jobs are being created. Fears about the whole effort being a disaster for the poached suburbs have not materialized. And, yes, people have gotten rich. You see, that's what happens when a market is robust. The best community development program is a viable market and, while we need our neighbors in the suburbs to stop cowering in their cul de sacs and come downtown to further strengthen its viability, we are on the right track."

To be clear, the whole effort has been a disaster, but not just for the poached suburbs. It's been a disaster in Bethlehem and in Allentown itself because the NIZ provides tax breaks for local businesses who move there. Jennings' offices are in South Bethlehem. If he looked out his window, he'd see the enormous difficulties the Benners and Perrucci are having in developing 900 new beds. Or the fact that, other than the Social Still, not a single CRIZ project has had shovel meet dirt. But facts are stubborn things.

Jennings wants a little affordable housing in exchange for his cheerleading. Do the math, Alan. Let's suppose 10,000 housing units in Allentown need serious rehab. Let's say, modestly, the cost of the average rehab is $25,000. That's $250 million! Where will that come from, Alan? From JB? Joe Topper? The Butzes? Mark Jaindl? Yeah, right. Oh, and where do the current tenants go after the rehab and the higher, unaffordable rent kicks in? Macungie? Emmaus?

The one thing that neither Jennings or Fed Ed bothers to address is Allentown's failing schools.

The Real State of the Shitty

Gentrification in Allentown is doomed to fail for the same reason it failed in the '70s, when two bona-fide historic districts were in in full on development mode - Old Allentown and Old Fairgrounds. The problem was and remains the Allentown School District (ASD). Once the brave pioneers - who weren't gay or lesbian couples - had kids, they realized those kids had to be educated in the ASD or a struggling Allentown Diocese school system, which was consolidating and closing schools. So they sold their restored historic houses, moved out of their restored historic apartments and left the once promising neighborhoods to the growing influx of transient "new residents" who were poorer, less educated and didn't care about the ASD or taking care of their property for that matter.

Many of the larger single family houses were converted to more multi-family housing - blame the City Zoning Hearing Board for that and the City administration for not stopping it - and the inexorable cycle of neighborhood decline got seriously worse. Meanwhile, back on Hamilton Street, the City focus continued to be on the downtown. "Forget the neighborhoods surrounding the Downtown," the experts scream. "If we don't save or improve Hamilton Street, the town is lost," they yell.

The opposite was and is true.

Allentown ignored its neighborhoods and the school district problems get so large that they became almost impossible to solve. So the City created KOZ property after KOZ property, investing massive amounts of State (RACP and DCED money) and Federal funds in one failed plan after another until Pat Browne and J. B. Reilly came up with the mother of all subsidies, the NIZ! Again, the focus was on Hamilton Street, not the neighborhoods and of course, here we go again.

For a few old-timers, it's "deja vu all over again." Only worse.

114 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the FBI will investigate Jennings and his relationship to the Caring Place while they are in town. That "non profit" has been stealing tax dollars, selling government provided food in a for-profit kitchen and strong arming local companies into signing phoney leases for years. Myself and other former board members saw the light there a long time ago and got as far away as possible.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how so many smart people got caught up in this crazy dizzy exercise in futility in Allentown. Maybe the Allentown School District should have been located in the NIZ.

Robert Trotner said...

My ability to comment on my cellphone has magically reappeared, making me so happy.

Your analysis, as usual, is dead on.

A battle of titanic proportions is brewing. it appears council and the solicitor now have irrefutable proof that the Northeast - Friedman contract was fraudulently let and at least council is willing to take Pawlowski on. We will be encouraging action against Pawlowski on Monday and Wednesday at 6pm. if successful, we may put Pawlowski in an untenable position and force his resignation.

Anonymous said...

OMG Bernie! Hidy Ho from Mt. Bethel's picture is here? Did he attend the state of the shitty? I thought well maybe so since no more turds can be spread up north in shitty UMBT home to the shit meister he is on the road?
I do hope your have time to write in about the recent court decision not to allow the King of turdville to spread Hidy Ho's friends anymore on his fields. But don't worry we are still full of shit up there.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. Hankey was with me. I love writing about shit, but need the details of the ruling you mention.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Found it. Need to check it.

Anonymous said...

Was Francis D., AKA, Mr. Philadelphia, sitting at the mayors table?
I noticed that it was former Governor Ed Rendell's law firm that represented Fran in his recent whistle blower suit against the Philadelphia School District.
Isn't that interesting?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I did not see him there. Like I have said, he is most likely a cooperating witness.

Anonymous said...

"Just about everyone has benefited."
You can't make this shit up.

I can't wait until the FBI starts cutting into Ed's income.

Anonymous said...

^
Yeah, just about.

Anonymous said...

Alan has lost his way. He should have retired a few years back. It appears that he talks to hear his own voice.

Anonymous said...


Without the NIZ, downtown Allentown would have continued its downward slide, which began 30 years ago. There was no other solution. I note Mr. O'Hare has plenty of criticism but no workable solutions. I would suggest going back in time to when our wonderful mayor Daddona encouraged the scourge of society to relocate here, contributing absolutely nothing other than crime and dumping additional children they can't possibly support onto the backs of taxpayers....and the Allentown school district.

Anonymous said...

The NIZ bothers me as a taxpayer in a state that claims it needs more revenue.

For most every Pennsylvania taxpayer, the NIZ has been a disaster. An obvious failure if we ever get to see real and specific math. I haven't read an actual balance sheet, of course, but I'm guessing the "hill to climb" continues to grow higher and we're NOT keeping up.

Like everything in modern government, it not about actual numbers, but how one SPINS numbers.

We can all return home after playing the slots with a $20 pay-out slip in hand. No one must ever know, we used up $200 to "win" that $20!

Fred Windish



Anonymous said...

Recall when the Caring Place came to town. Actually Oprah's bf made a public appearance once. Not saying they did but wouldn't be surprised if financial irregularities occurred. A lot of grant dollars flowed through this group.
Were there ever independent audits?

Bernie O'Hare said...

You apparently don't know how to read. The solution was and is the school system. Without decent and adequately funded schools, Allentown fails. The solution is also the neighborhoods. Both schools and neighborhoods have been ignored as administration after administration focuses on Hamilton Street s the panacea it is not.

Anonymous said...

How can a meeting held on the 5th floor of an obscure building count as a "public"
meeting? Isn't there some type of criteria to constitute public?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I imagine the HRC is satisfied so long as a copy of the Fed Ed speech is delivered to Council.

Anonymous said...

Allentown's school budget is more than $200 million per year. Why not give each city child $1M and let the kids go to private schools and close down all the school buildings and transform them into affordable housing?

Anonymous said...

Henceforth the State of the Shitty will be referred to as SOS. Look at his eyes. We are close, very close. I hope the FBI drags this out a bit more. Imagine the stress the scumbags are under.

Anonymous said...

concerning the poverty messiah, I'm not a proctologist but I know an asshole when I see one.

He was a self centered fake when I first met him in 1990. Now he has a PhD in it.

The reason Scouting for Food quit giving all their donations to second harvest is because the fools that run the place wanted to charge the kids a fee to "stock the shelves". Talk about lopsided logic. Getting tons of food free from a volunteer service organization and then trying to charge them for it. That is a major combination of stupidity and greed.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks to J. Daddona......................

Anonymous said...

Systematic Rental Inspections,Systematic Rental Inspections,Systematic Rental Inspections...

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

So what percent of Building 22 students have been arrested? How many students want to escape misbehavior but were denied? Would the building 21 Racp grant have been better served investing in existing City schools. Who greased the skids for an Racp grant and did they receive a campaign donation?

Anonymous said...

Major Announcment: International Proctology Convention to convene in Allentown, all rooms booked. C of C rejoices.

Anonymous said...

OMG. I have never been so disappointed in any one man as I have been these past years in Alan Jennings. The garbage he is spewing out of both sides of his mouth destroys all the good he has done for the underprivileged in recent years. They got to him and are now using him. What a shame.

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

The decline of the inner cities was facilitated by Federal programs that encouraged the division of single family homes into Hud subsidized housing. There is no tie to community or to the pride in home ownership, Everyone in their younger days on their own rented the first housing, but the goal was always to have their own place. this is no longer the case. In fact, with the increase in property taxes and regulation, it is becoming a disincentive for home ownership, it is not a secret that the northeast is loosing many of the younger population to the south and southwest. The wealthy pensioners have moving south for years. often collecting a large pension provided by government entities and taking the income to low tax states. These forces are very hard to turn around.

Anonymous said...

Yes Alan, it is always the fault of the Lilly white suburbs.

Anonymous said...

AJ doesn't care what we unwashed masses think. He only cares about his puppet masters browne and riley.

Anonymous said...

To follow-up on what Mr. Nemeth provided, I believe federal and state poverty assistance ENCOURAGES single parent families. The single parent family situation can be a huge deterrent to a child's academic progress.

Public assistance is ABSOLUTELY needed, and can be of tremendous help. I just don't believe America manages its programs properly.

We have pretty much become a welfare state. That, plus assistance provided as if it were candy to a child creates a "monster" we cannot afford to feed. Add in wide open borders, and here we are.

Please vote.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

I am totally dismayed with some of the opinions expressed by Alan Jennings of late. The bizarre use of the word "heroic" in connection with the current Mayor and City administration overwhelms the impact of anything useful Alan later has to say about affordable housing. Once guilty pleas were made by several key city officials the speculation and rumors about this administration became fact. The operative word should not be heroic but rather corrupt. Does Mr. Jennings not understand that the greatest threat to his beloved NIZ is the current lack of integrity in Allentown city government? The Alan Jennings I used to know would be on the front line advocating for whatever is necessary to clean up this scandal. What he is actually saying today about these matters is saddening and greatly disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Those not in attendance (Schlossberg & Schweyer) must be squirming in their diapers as the king now knows his true turncoats!

Bring em all down FedEd, they deserve as much prison time as you do...

Anonymous said...

You're correct, the core problem is the Allentown School District.

The solution is to disband the school district, carve it up, and distribute the pieces to the suburban districts. Allentown SD is a failed entity, we need to stop figuring out how to prop it up but rather deal with the problem.

This is not a shot at the SD or management. It's recognition that the problems they face are too large and can't be solved independently.

Anonymous said...

Mr Jennings understands.
Mr Jennings was an insider for the entire dirty affair, every squalid detail.
CACLV got there little slice of the pie and Mr Jennings got his massive ego fed as he made sure no emerging leadership spoke from the low income community, because he, and only he, speaks for them.
Alan Jennings is a co-conspirator and should be treated as such.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:47 AM said...

"Allentown's school budget is more than $200 million per year. Why not give each city child $1M and let the kids go to private schools and close down all the school buildings and transform them into affordable housing?"


Uh, because there are more than 200 kids in the Allentown School District.

Math check: $200 Million annual budget divided by $1 million per kid only serves 200 kids.

Elijah LoPinto said...

You Anon 6:24AM are sadly mistaken. Downtown hit rock bottom in the 90's. I should know I was there too.

My family moved to Allentown in the 50's when my grandfather was blacklisted for his involvement in forming the artist union and working as a top artist for the WPA. Max Hess did not feel this was fair and since my grandfather was unable to retain any work in NYC Max brought him to Allentown where he made my Grandfather the official painter for Hess's Department store. If your old enough to remember the old Allentown downtown the perhaps you remember some of the murals my grandfather painted inside of Hess's.

I give this background so you can understand I truly understand how great Allentown once was. I know people who remember those days miss them.

The 1980's were hard on Allentown. The gilding of Wall Street did not touch us. Reaganomics cared not for the the Union workers of Bethlehem Steel. Hell Billy Joel even wrote us a funeral hymn. This slide continued into the 90's. I remember walking home after dark. Going up 7th street and not being able to get much more then 30 feet before someone else tried to sell me crack rock or "anything else" (I'm not quite sure what else they might have, I politely refused and continued on my way.)

However I watched as downtown cleaned itself up. While it still had a long way to go 7th street was no longer an open air drug market place by the early 2000's. In 2011 I spent 3 months camped out at 7th and Hamilton as part of the Occupy Movement decrying the very corruption the FBI is now investigating. Never did I imagine the FBI would end up on my side of that issue. During my time there I saw that yes Allentown has a homeless problem. I watched as some of those people drank beer from paper bags. I watched as they walked around all night trying to stay warm only to try to find a discrete place to sleep once the sun came up. I even gave warm coffee to some of them when they walked by at night.

I became friendly with many of the local businesses on Hamilton. The ones who had their lively hoods threatened by Pawlowski. They ones who had with their own sweat and tears started to turn downtown around without any loans or grants from the government. They are gone now, their businesses and homes destroyed by the wreckingballs to make room for an arena that is rented out for pennies on the dollar. An arena that may generate millions if not billions for the Brooks Group yet will return only $1 a month to the city by year 11 of their lease.

By 2011 when I was there every night downtown had turned around. It was nowhere near the glory of the 50's and 60's but it was becoming a modern urban center. The streets were safer then they had been since the late 70's early 80's. Family owned small businesses were growing. People from the city would go there to shop. It was on it's way to rebuilding and creating a new Allentown for the new millennium.

Elijah LoPinto said...

Pawlowski (Public official no.3) and Browne (Public official no.1 perhaps?) changed that. They destroyed the organic growth that was happening and replaced it with a giant gilded turd. Rather then letting the downtown slowly regrow they have put us, the taxpayers of Allentown of by proxy the taxpayers of the entire state, on the hook for over a billion dollars. And ANIZDA has not stopped there. More development grants are in the works. The Riverfront has yet to be subsidized and Jaindl wants to get in on the theft of Allentowns future as well. JB and Joe Topper still have green lit projects that have not broken ground and we have promised them we will pay for it. We have a contractual obligation to make them richer you know.

In closing I just want to say that it is a shame that we did not do what Bethlehem did with it's downtown. They worked with existing businesses and helped them rebuild their downtown into a functioning place that both locals and out of towners want to go to. Instead we created a near perfect plan on how to rob the locals of their money and make a very few developers rich in the process. Rather then copying Bethlehems success we have shown them way to destroy. Something they are now happily replicating with their CRIZ and the Martin tower fiasco.

Anonymous said...

Bernie O'Hare (6:30 am) said:

"The solution was and is the school system. Without decent and adequately funded schools, Allentown fails."


Not disagreeing about the importance of the school system, but if the intention is to say that the school district is not adequately funded, I disagree.

Allentown has received a large amount of "extra" state funding each year courtesy of the efforts from Pat Browne. Not commenting on the system that's brought that funding, but the funding's been there.

It would be nice if the state could be so kind as to fix the stinking pension system that causes the bulk of the funding problem in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Elijah @10:18 am

I believe that Public Official #1 is one of the Reading politicians.

To my knowledge, Browne hasn't been implicated in anything, yet.

Anonymous said...

The ASD has more employees that are not teachers than teachers. The numbers are 1060 teachers 1250 other Something in that area. OUR SLIMEBALL STATE REPS SHELVED THE PROPERTY TAX ELIMINATION BILL BECAUSE THE SPIGOT WOULD HAVE BEEN TURNED OFF TO THE TEACHER UNIONS AND THEIR PATRONS THE SCHOOL BOARDS. WAKE UP PEOPLE THE PEOPLE THAT POPULATE THESE BOARDS HAVE AN AGENDA.They don,t care if Grandma has a cracker as long as The train keeps rolling. Every year it's the same at budget time , 6percent oh we're only going up 4 percent. Look at the money we saved the taxpayer. The parties are exactly the same, they are both in the grip of the unions. Let's vote them out.Remember your rep. Is a scumbag.

Anonymous said...

How is it that all these local politicians were absent from the State of the City?

Schlossberg too busy getting pictures of him drawn by elementary students? That's a tough gig. Go back to Jersey, turd.

How much money does Schlossberg get paid? Hell, if public servants like Jen Mann can seek out super bowl tickets, surely Schloss will be at the Oscars this year. How is it Jenn Mann made any money as a public servant? Pure corruption.....

Anonymous said...

Pity Alan Jennings. To be revealed at this late date.
At least the mayor can publicly repent at the appropriate moment and begin a second career as an evangelical minister.
It's classics script, one Americans of a certain type know and love.
White with a little luck, and a good prison story, you can even turn it into a lucrative career.

Elijah LoPinto said...

Anon 10:23

I think public official no.2 is the Reading individual you bring up. I do think Browne is no.1

We will have to wait and see and No.2 and No.1 have yet to be mentioned by the FBI in any way.

Anonymous said...

Just before the first frost, Councilman D. Hendricks would have pulled out all the stops to insure he got to sit at the right hand of the mayor at such a prestigious occasions, after all, he had been a ranking police officer of many years standing in our fair city and he knew the score.
At least he got his boy a job before the party ended.

Chris Casey said...

Nice Analogy here B.O.


Like a priest in the old Catholic Church before Martin Luther came along, Jennings sells plenary indulgences to the wealthy in exchange for a few table scraps tossed his way. These days, they're called tax credits. In a Morning Call op-ed, Jennings delivers his State of the Shitty.

Anonymous said...

I turned over a rock, what did I find, x politicians consulting non profits on how to grab government grants. Who would have imagined !!

Anonymous said...

when Jennings was handing 10 dollar bills out at Christmas ,the people must have thought it was election day !

Monkey Momma said...

The school district IS fully funded. It receives plenty of money. The problem with the schools is that they gather up the masses and put on display what happens in a socially dysfunctional community. Layer on a complete and total inability to discipline the kids who misbehave, and...voila! The ASD is born.

Right now, it is fashionable to be a young mother in Allentown. Those high school girls with strollers? They're revered by their peers. So many young girls WANT a baby. Why is that? Well, in a community that largely does not have a father figure at home, women will look for love and acceptance elsewhere...and they apparently have no trouble finding that love, if only for a brief while. They hope that their new child will bind this new male to them forever, and they do dream of getting married and having a house (in the suburbs!!! because they don't like Allentown, either!) and a nice life. But they're so young and so unguided in life...those boys leave those young mothers alone and go off to make more babies with more uneducated girls. Then these girls find that more babies equals more money from the government, just as long as they don't get married! If they get married, it's game over for the handouts. Tax season brings magical payouts for these mothers, which they burn through in record time, because no one has taught them the power of budgeting or saving money. The typical young mom with babies from multiple dads works hard every day and night to make ends meet - it's a difficult life. These women are your nurses, your store clerks, your housekeeping staff...they're all around us, and we see them every day. Often, they work 2 or more jobs, but they're forever poor because life as a single mom is very difficult. They're stuck in this cycle. And it creates a total nightmare for the school district, because the school district is NOT daddy. It's not mom, either - it's just a collection of schools, trying to corral huge numbers of kids who grow up without any direction from any authority figure.

If the women of Allentown would demand a better life for THEMSELVES, this cycle could be stopped. Alan Jennings seeks to perpetuate the very system that encourages this cycle in the first place. And the mayor ignores this entire problem by illegally and unethically building a ridiculous village that only suburbanites (WHO DON'T VOTE IN ALLENTOWN) can enjoy. If the mayor ever cared about governing the actual city he lives in, he'd spend more time with fatherless children and single moms and less time with rich businessmen who only want to get richer.

The school district will only get better when the caliber of the student and family improves. That will happen only when women say it is time for it to happen. No amount of money can fix this problem. And, no money is needed to fix this problem!! So far, the women of Allentown are (sadly) failing miserably, and they really have no one to blame but themselves.

Elijah LoPinto said...

Monkey Momma

The school district is not fully funded, that's why they fired over 100 teachers not that long ago.

Classrooms are over crowed with 30+ being taught in one room by one teacher. I agree with some of your points but getting rid of some of the overpaid administrative staff and replacing them with actual teachers to get a better student to teacher ratio would help quite a bit as well.

Charlie Sch said...

The Allentown School District is able to spend less per student than many neighboring school districts, even though their students on average have much higher needs. It is much more expensive, for instance, to educate a child who is not fluent in English.

In the numbers above about ASD employees, I assume they are not separating out maintenance workers, cafeteria workers, and classroom aides/paraprofessionals (who have a particularly important role because of the large sizes of classes, the needs of the students, and the federal mandates to integrate many students with difficulties into the regular classrooms).

Anonymous said...

Message to 10:20 AM . . .

The teacher pension plan reduction DID happen already.

Refer to PA Act 120 created in 2010. We can debate if those changes went far enough, but cutbacks, and other restrictions, are underway. At the moment, increased employer contributions are being made to address nearly a decade-long period in which the employers chose NOT to make their annual contributions as previously agreed. The teacher contributions continued all along, and continue today, and at a higher percentage of their wage.

There is more than one state pension program. The teacher pension program was adjusted lower. I have no idea if the same adjustments were made to the plans covering legislators and other state workers. But, that's a topic for another day.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

18000 students, and I use the terms students only because not all are thugs. 1000 or so teachers. What math is being used to come up with a class size of 30?

Elijah LoPinto said...

Experience. There were 38 children in my daughters kindergarten class.

Once you get to high school there are multiple teachers teaching the same kids at different times. Perhaps this is why the math does not add up.

Anonymous said...

They have been named. They are both in Reading. #1 I believe is Reading City Council President and I believe 69 News said he's being sentenced today.
#2 is Reading's Mayor Spencer

Elijah LoPinto said...

I did find this. In 96 the class size went up to 24 in k-3 and 30 in 4-HS. I doubt the class sized have gotten smaller since then.

http://articles.mcall.com/1996-03-01/news/3075940_1_class-sizes-size-next-year-school-directors

Elijah LoPinto said...

anon 12:19. I'll have to look into this. Thanks for the heads up.

Anonymous said...

Really how many napping kids can 1 teacher watch?

Anonymous said...

Jennings tired pitch is pathetic.

Elijah LoPinto said...

Anon 12:19

I stand corrected, somewhat. No. 2 may well be former Reading City Council President Acosta. The judge about to sentence him, most likely to 18 months house arrest, has said No. 1 is the Reading mayor.

The slap on the wrists is being given to Acosta to show the state is willing to work with those who plead guilty and stand down. Sounds like Pawlowski is going to get the book thrown at him for his refusal to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Class sizes are reported smaller than reality because, in far too many instances, Special Education classes are limited by law to roughly 10 students per teacher. There are MANY, MANY different forms of Special Education classes these days. A decade ago, we had 16 Special Education classes at South Mountain Middle School alone!

Class size averages quoted are skewed downward by averaging together with all these special circumstances, teacher aides, etc. Classes over 30-35 are common in ASD.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

Emma Tropiano was correct.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope the city's managing director gets the book thrown at him as well.
Fran is every bit as reprehensible as Mike Fleck.

Anonymous said...

My hope is that the latino community organizes and can produce a viable candidate for Mayor and reject the 2 boy representatives in the next election. It's the only way Allentown will move forward.

Anonymous said...

7:27 am Thanx for that image one in the same when he had junkie boy chriss and the other dougerty boy pounding the streets for this old homelessnes plight¿!($ Still same old circus sticks perpatrating to be public advocates only wanting to wear a rust belt from the indigents stipends in this very propogated propoganda now only palumasiZed by the political pot o blue juice soon to be put in the pressure cooker¿!($ The wash machine trick is a very good one as taking out of stains espeicially with a 2nd spin cycle with extra bleech¿!($ Wamm bamm lighting slamm the whites are more whiter and the colurs more brighter as the shit stew smell of the circus is disinfected¿!($

Please Bernie,
Depict these undigestable parasites on mr hidyhoe's body with variouZ huggybear outfits from Berretta¿!($
Don't do the crime if you don't have the time, DON'T DO IT¿!($
NosigNUTureneeded

Anonymous said...

The schools will never be FULLY FUNDED while you still have a nickel in your pocket. Give it up!!!

Anonymous said...

I always laugh about "class size" as being the ultimate guide as to what constitutes children receiving a proper education. China has 1.6 billion people, compared to our 300 million. Most of their population is concentrated to within 100 miles of the eastern coastline. They AVERAGE 38 kids per classroom. The U.S. average is 20. Do you think the Chinese cry that their classrooms are too crowded? Nope. They just continue to kick our butts in reading and math every year.

Anonymous said...

It's a small thing, but I have always loved his shitty, snide, phony little laugh.
Ed used it to perfection on this solemn occasion.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Uh, because there are more than 200 kids in the Allentown School District.

Math check: $200 Million annual budget divided by $1 million per kid only serves 200 kids."


That went right by me, but I'm a Democrat. We don't do numbers.

Anonymous said...

That is because of the Chinese Teachers Unions. Oh wait they don't have a union, how can they teach? One of the many scams that we allow is we pay for a teacher to get advanced degrees to teach grade school or any grade.Then we pay more, why, because they have an advanced degree. In my way of thinking if you can't teach a kid with a minimum of at least a 4 year college education less than the teacher, possibly 16 years less, something is big time wrong!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Class sizes are reported smaller than reality because, in far too many instances, Special Education classes are limited by law to roughly 10 students per teacher. There are MANY, MANY different forms of Special Education classes these days. A decade ago, we had 16 Special Education classes at South Mountain Middle School alone!

Class size averages quoted are skewed downward by averaging together with all these special circumstances, teacher aides, etc. Classes over 30-35 are common in ASD.

Fred Windish "


Fred is himself a former ASD teacher and used the moniker Retired ASD teacher at one time. Ironically, I was accused of using that name to post comments anonymously, and the accuser promised to pay a sum of money to me if it could be proved I was not posting under that name. Fred called the guy up. Of course, the accuser never paid.

Fred and I are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but I especially have a lot of respect for anything he says concerning Allentown's school district. It is a very complex issue and i won't even pretend to know even a little bit about how to go about fixing an educational system. I onoy know that Allentown will never recover so long as its schools are in the shitter.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The school district IS fully funded. It receives plenty of money. The problem with the schools is that they gather up the masses and put on display what happens in a socially dysfunctional community. Layer on a complete and total inability to discipline the kids who misbehave, and...voila! The ASD is born."

Monkey Momma, I don't know anyone who seriously argues that ASD is fully funded. Talk to Scott Armstrong, who is about as conservative as they come. What you describe as a problem is actually the mission of any public educational system. They do gather the masses and try to educate one and all, even in the most trying of circumstances. I have a lot of respect for those who have not given up and really try to reach out to the kids. I have little respect for an argument that justifies a denial of basic education to people because they are "socially dysfunctional," i.e. poor.

Anonymous said...

Some simple math for Mr. Jennings......
Just the arena cost, $282 Million....
There are currently 247 homes listed in Allentown under $100K...
For $282M, they could have bought 2,820 homes for $100K!!!!

Anonymous said...

"Alan has lost his way. He should have retired a few years back. It appears that he talks to hear his own voice."

That won't solve anything. his successor was handpicked because he is cut form the same cloth. Corporate blessings for dollars. County law was even violated to hire him. This is something Bernie doesn't like to talk about so the "real story" he claims is not so real.

Facts are still facts even when uncomfortable facts.

Bernie O'Hare said...

What fact? Is there any evidence at all to support the proposition that Marcus is Jennings' anointed successor? Is there ay evidence at all that Marcus spends his time raising money? Does this have anything to do with Allentown? If Council votes to permit a violation of the Admin Code, is it a violation? When you make these OT attacks aimed at a person who has nothing to do with Allentown, and are too cowardly to say who you are, that is how you get deleted. You gave vast experience in being deleted bc you are a troll.

Anonymous said...

so fed ed and Mrs. fed ed dragged their kids to this fiasco? The REAL reason they were dragged out was to provide cover for their criminal daddy and criminal mommy. these kids were used a human shields. we see many pro athletes use their kids as human shields when they know tough questions are coming their way.PATHETIC

Anonymous said...

Can you vote to allow someone to break the law? Wow, now that is convenient.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You can vote to waive a provision of the Admin Code. ow tis is the last OT comment I will allow in your attempt to deflect attention away from the real topic.

Anonymous said...

simple fix for parents using the Allentown school district.
Get them the hell out of that mess.
every excuse in the book has been used over the last 30-40 years to explain how this district under preforms constantly.
We hear about class size, high drop out rate, parents who could care less,
lack of Spanish speaking teachers, over worked and under paid teachers,
unsafe schools, too many non English speaking student with too many non English speaking parents,poor leadership coming from the union and the admin. blah blah

Forget about the cash. It is far from a money issue. Throwing more money in to this garbage dump will not fix anything. it may pay more in salaries bc .70 of every dollar ends up to fund pensions, benefits and salaries and that's what the union leaders want.
As long as these schools, in this city, continue to under preform, for what ever reason, this city will never recover. The city ,the parents, the kids,
the teachers union and the admin need to stop with the excuses. Enough already.
get your kids out 30-40 years has been enough time to fix whatever was broke and they continue to fail.

Put your kids in private or Catholic schools. Both will help any and all who want to attend. Make an investment in your kids education and their lives.
When 95-99% of the Catholic school students graduate and go to college, do we need to explain why? the why is quite obvious . people need to stop making excuses and complaining. take your kids out today. you will not regret it.

wonder if illegals and the sanctuary city designation has anything to do with the sad state of affairs in this district over 40 years.

Anonymous said...

Acosta

Two years in federal prison

Three years of supervised release

200 hours of community service

$1,800 fine

Bernie O'Hare said...

Fed Ed should be shitting his pants now.

Anonymous said...

No big deal. He will have the prison Ministry a gig playing the drums in the Big House band.

Rich Fegley said...

Thanks again to the FBI for coming to Allentown.

I hope they all shit their pants now. Two years in prison for a tiny bribe. Pawlowski is implicated in several bribes already. How is he not doomed?

If you have not talked to the FBI you are just waiting for them to call you. Sorry you pooped your pants. Clean yourself up and talk to the Feds.

Anonymous said...

3:53 After the PC police unswallow their tongues they will respond to you. White privilege ,white flight,white_ _ _ _ , White. We must rid ourselves of the. Swedish gangs that roam our streets.

Anonymous said...

To think that Acosta sold out for chump change. I would call him an asshole but an asshole is useful!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'd want at least $1900

Anonymous said...

Do you have an instrument you can play in the prison band, BOH?

Anonymous said...

Bernie If you don't currently play an instrument fear not . I'm sure there is a program on the inside to teach you how to play an instrument . I understand there will be a drummer available to teach soon. Rock on!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Last time I checked, people do not go to jail in this country for criticizing their government.

Anonymous said...

Bernie's 2:23 PM post is accurate. Although we differ on the role of government, he tolerates my views. I think we both dislike hypocrites and any form of false information. I like to think not being anonymous helps keep me honest and provides a measure of credibility.

Also, to respond to 1:44 PM poster, I'll add this. Many Far Eastern cultures differ because within their highly structured, rigid families, there is a STRONG sense of shame that comes with any form of failure. Their children are driven incredibly hard so as not to embarrass their parents and grandparents.

In urban American schools, a great percentage of students couldn't care less about grades, homework, behavior, etc. Some actually enjoy going to summer school, just to be with their friends.

Please consider this reality.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

Alan is a self serving hack.
The simple truth, said without ill will or rancor.
Simple declarative statement of fact.

Anonymous said...

His goner is a busted dirty politician, and Alan's BFF, after Fleck.

Mark Iampietro said...

Bernie- You covered that like a blanket. Well done sir!

Mark Iampietro

Anonymous said...

I remember the days when a school teacher was the proverbial school marm with her hair in a bun and dress down to her ankles. She went to a teachers' college then taught for 40 years. She had a career with low pay, no sabbaticals, weak if any unions, no frequent in-service days, etc. Yet she taught a nation of first or second generation students, whose parents hailed from places like eastern and western Europe, and helped them become the generation who won WWII, put men on the moon and cured myriad diseases. Today's teachers are slaves to their unions, and while they claim to be all about the kids really care only about wages and benefits. Don't we all get tired of the ol saw about teachers buying school supplies for their 'underprivileged' students?
If the liberal teachers weren't in bed with liberal parents and liberal politicos then maybe those parents would buy their own pencils.

Anonymous said...

Gary W. Gorman writes:

I know that I will get heat for this, but I was hoping that Acosta would have been spared prison or at least a much leaner sentence. It was his first offense, he cooperated with the authorities, he pled guilty rather than having a trial, and he has disgraced himself and his family for a relatively low amount of money.

Rich Fegley said...

I think Acosta's prison sentence should be a warning to the other members of the Lehigh Valley criminal organization that they will all be serving time in jail.

Have you talked to the FBI yet? What are you waiting for? Who are you waiting for?

Anonymous said...

To anon 8:15

I wish we had a time again where we could have unmarried old maids be teachers, and teach the young men to shut their mouth and go to war, while the women made babies at home.

Please, though, make sure you pay them a low wage, and then they can retire to be old spinsters with little fixed income.

The problem isn't the rank and file teachers, its the administrations and the bloated school boards.

Anonymous said...

@8:15
You mean the FDR years, you revisionist clod?

Anonymous said...

Rich F. Please consider a run for council. The story of your grandfather was wonderful to read.

Anonymous said...

Gary W. Gorman writes:

I know that I will get heat for this, but I was hoping that Acosta would have been spared prison or at least a much leaner sentence. It was his first offense, he cooperated with the authorities, he pled guilty rather than having a trial, and he has disgraced himself and his family for a relatively low amount of money.

8:30 PM

Gary, maybe someone will interview Acosta to discover why. Why would he do this?

Anonymous said...

Gary W Gorman writes: ". . . he has disgraced himself and his family for a relatively low amount of money."

What is the proper amount of money needed to disgrace yourself and your family?

Anonymous said...

Gary W. Gorman responds to 8:28am:

Now, now...that's not what I meant, perhaps my train of written thought was off when I wrote that. What I mean, is that I was hoping he would have gotten a leaner sentence due to the relatively low amount of money involved in his case (same with Mary Ellen Koval), and the fact that he has already disgraced himself and his family. Whereas, other people involved in this fiasco deserve much harsher sentences (IMHO), of course.

Anonymous said...

If I'm a city council person and receive a $1000 campaign contribution to change my vote, am i taking a bribe or contribution?

Monkey Momma said...

"Monkey Momma, I don't know anyone who seriously argues that ASD is fully funded."

Hi - I know I'm late to reply, and I know you've seen these numbers, but this is where I'm coming from when I say ASD is fully funded:
Spending per student by district:
Parkland: $14,261
East Penn: $ $14,199
Allentown: $!4,122

Not only that, but Allentown has the highest proportion of dollars going to instruction compared to Parkland and East Penn.

http://www.openpagov.org/education_revenue_and_expenses.asp

I just do not think additional funding is necessary. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt, but I do not think that's the key here. What would help is having a family at home that cares about their child's grades and participation in school. Another thing that would help but is totally illegal in this country is delivering proper punishment (ie, expulsion) to the kids who misbehave.

I would never want to deny innocent children an education because they're poor. That's not what I meant by my last post. The District is certainly not denying them an education, either - the teachers in Allentown work their butts off, and I totally admire them. They're doing the best they can under very trying circumstances. But, if kids aren't raised to want to learn, and if families do not care, there is very little any teacher or administrator or dollar amount can do to fix that! What would "fix" Allentown's woes is a shift in society - a shift away from huge, fatherless families. This solution isn't going to come from the schools - it's got to come from the families themselves. Until that happens, the kids who don't want to be at school or who make life miserable for the kids who want to learn should be sent home, permanently.

Anonymous said...

@10:56

Congrats on a really well-reasoned and factually supported analysis. I didn't know that, so you certainly educated me and I'm sure a number of other readers.

- Jeffrey Anthony

Anonymous said...

http://blog.caclv.org/2016/02/seriously-bernie/

SHOTS FIRED! BOONIES RESPONSE???

Bernie O'Hare said...

Alan is certainly free to explain why he calls Fed Ed heroic, but I certainly see through his bullshit and properly called him on it. I stand by every criticism of him I made.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Jennings certainly did not have a problem with the NIZ evicting all of those small businesses along Hamilton (most of them owned by minorities and women) in the name of creating Rielly's empire.

I guess you need to break a few eggs to make and omelet

Anonymous said...

If anything, Jennings has just driven MORE people to come to this blog for insight!
They might like what they see and become regulars.

Fred Windish

Charlie Sch said...

The education spending numbers posted above are from 2012-2013. They don't separate out dollars that are sent to charter schools. I imagine Allentown has a much higher percentage of charter school students than Parkland and East Penn. I'd be interested in seeing a comparison of how much each district has left per student to educate their own students after they pay the mandatory charter school bills.

Elijah LoPinto said...

Anon 6:49 AM

I think you may be getting Rich and I mixed up. I was the one who talked about my Grandfather.

Allentown could use some multi-generational locals running for office. Many of us understand Allentowns past enough to have a better idea as to what the future needs. I certainly have not ruled out the possibility of running for office.

Elijah LoPinto said...

Fred.

Thank you for your input and backing up my 30+ numbers including the reasons why. Also I agree with your views of the Chinese school statement. Very apt.

Anonymous said...

You're welcome Elijah @ 4:01. Like you, I suspect, I prefer to comment on matters learned from "living" the subject.

Urban public school kids bring a wide variety of disadvantages to to the educational process not found in other nearby schools. If ANY school setting can find benefit from lowering class size, it's urban public schools! For a variety of reasons, Allentown went in the WRONG direction, and created an even WORSE situation than before.

Class size DOES matter, especially in urban environments.

Here's a tip about a possible solution. An adult in the classroom doesn't need to be a degreed professional to be of great help in the classroom. It doesn't have to be someone receiving an annual salary, a pension, etc. The kids will never know, and won't care!

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

Getting back to your original point, I think everyone expected Pawlowski to keep whistling past the graveyard during his state-of-the-city address, and he did.

What surprised me two days later was Alan Jennings' tome in The Morning Call. In October, he resigned from the the NIZ Authority, an action that made a statement that all the tax money and speculative building downtown wasn't really going to benefit the average center city resident. Suddenly, he's back cheerleading the NIZ, calling the protagonists heroic saviors of downtown. He's entitled to his opinion. But then he dug up the tired old argument that the suburbs somehow have to help revitalize downtown Allentown. After the suburbs successfully won their point a few years ago that the authority couldn't poach suburban earned income tax for the downtown, the suburbs wished the city luck and stayed out of it. Now along comes Jennings dredging up the "you owe us argument" once again. Interesting that he characterizes suburbanites as "cowering in their cul-de-sacs." Actually, Alan, we were pretty comfortable when you wrote that: our streets and roads were plowed while Allentown was still struggling like that was the first heavy snowfall EVER. I had an appointment in Allentown the day after the storm (sorry, not downtown). Getting around the suburbs was pretty normal ... until I hit Allentown. It took me 25 minutes to drive from Hamilton to Allen on 17th Street. The sad fact is that by this time next year, there will be heavy traffic at the new Hamilton Crossings, traffic that downtown never sees on a daily basis. Why? Stores and restaurants right in the middle of where their customer base lives and free parking. In that part of the county, you also have your choice of two great school districts and something else downtown residents don't have: quality grocery stores. Strata Flats residents are still waiting for even one.

Charlie Sch said...

In response to 7:27 AM: I checked about the claim that Second Harvest was charging the Boy Scouts to accept their donated food. As of several months ago, Second Harvest had never charged a donor to accept donations. They do encourage the various scout troops to donate food directly to churches and other organizations running food banks in their local area.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thank you, Charlie. I believe that this person made that accusation many years ago on this blog. I recall Alan Jennings specifically denying it in one of the first conversations i ever had with him, and should have addressed the anonymous claim.