That proverbial fox is in the henhouse. Yet people at Thursday night's meeting complained, not about Styre, but bad press. Council and its pom-pom waving downtown business manager complained, not about Strye, but me.
I would recommend the accounts appearing in The Morning Call (clean version) and Express Times.(down-and-dirty) over my own story because it is very difficult for me to provide a factually accurate rendering of an event in which I am one of the players. The Express Times version generated comments that were pretty much like the meeting itself, with numerous personal attacks aimed at yours truly. At one time, there were close to 300 online comments. At least 70 of the more vicious attacks have deleted, but enough remain to give you the flavor of what it was like at that meeting. .
I was speaking during courtesy of the floor, which is the one time that citizens are statutorily allowed to discuss matters. I was repeatedly interrupted by Lance Colondo and Larry Stoudt with personal insults. After I finished, both of them chose to personally attack me during courtesy of the floor, when it is the people who should have the floor. When I attempted to respond to their epithets, the gavel nearly broke as they attempted to shut me up.
|Lance Colondo and his tequila|
There's a culture of corruption. The kind in which Lance Colondo can brag at Christmas about getting a 1972 Tour Rolling Stones Edition Jose Cuervo Silver Tequila from the local Chamber of Commerce that can go for as much as $150 a bottle (it could also be as little as $30) after voting in October to double the payment to the downtown manager to $20,000.
The American Legion Grant
In the meantime, in October of last year, Borough Council unanimously applied for a $52,900 grant from Monroe County's Gaming Authority to benefit the Nazareth American Legion. They all thought it was a good idea to use the public purse to benefit a private entity whose membership is restricted.
Not only that, but a private social club where Council member Larry Stoudt works as a bartender. Now he claims h;'s received no salary there for the past three years, but I know for a fact he is tipped. He definitely has a financial interest in the success of that club. So much so that he was criminally charged and placed on ARD after trying to force.local police to run a license plate of a suspected state police undercover agent.
And then re-elected.
That Borough Council allowed this to happen is a badge of corruption. Even if you remove Stoudt completely from the picture and forget the fact that public money is going to a private club with a restricted membership, the fact remains that Borough Council unanimously voted to seek $52,900 in public funds for a club that has fined seven times since 2000 for falsifying records, gambling and gambling machines, sales to nonmembers, and serving visibly intoxicated patrons. You can see the ugly truth for yourself, from the state liquor control board site, below.
HAROLD V. KNECHT POST HOME ASSOCIATION
158 S MAIN ST
CITATION CASE INFORMATION
Case: 2000-0836 - Penalty: FINE - ($250.00)
Case: 2000-1452 - Penalty: FINE - ($450.00)
Case: 2007-0535 - Penalty: FINE - ($600.00)
Case: 2010-2228 - Penalty: FINE - ($650.00)\
Case: 2013-0506 - Penalty: FINE - ($2600.00)
Case: 2013-2363 - Penalty: FINE - ($300.00)
Case: 2013-2642 - Penalty: FINE - ($400.00)
The public interest is very poorly served by a handout like this.
Due Process and Dark Clouds
Colondo and Carl Fischl both pointed out that Council has no power to force a sitting Mayor to resign. No argument there. But they can ask.
At their January 20 meeting, Allentown City Council unanimously called on Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski to resign, even though no criminal charges arepending against him. Most of those who backed this resolution were his political supporters. He is entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence.
But that's not the point. The point, as stated in the resolution itself, is that "a series of cumulative events have put the government of the City of Allentown in a critically unfavorable light in the community." The "allegations have brought the City into disrepute and created a negative work environment making it difficult to effectively conduct city business." Fed Ed has become "a detriment to the well-being of the City, its residents and city employees." He is " no longer an effective leader and can no longer carry out the duties of the Office of Mayor."
Allentown has been under the dark cloud of a federal investigation since July. There'a another dark cloud here is Nazareth, where the Mayor has been charged with felony theft and the relationship between Nazareth and its social clubs is under scrutiny.
The criminal charges against Strye renders him ineffective as a leader and certainly presents a problem for the police department, whose boss is an accused felon.
Stephanie Varone, the downtown manager, thinks this "toxic" blog is responsible for Nazareth's woes. Actually, it's a culture of corruption with no transparency and no accountability. The criminal charges against Strye have more to do with giving Nazareth a black eye than anything I could ever say.
Only the Landed Gentry Matter
The part of the meeting that astonished me most was when John Samus asked those who own property to
raise their hands, and then personally interrogated me about home ownership. The necessary implication was that only those who own homes should have a voice in government.
This patrician thinking is completely contrary to our form of government. My vote counts just as much as Ray Orwig's, who owns half the real estate in this borough. But that's another indication that local government hereis corrupt. Instead of representing everyone,the good ol' boys arepretty much intersted in themselves.