Friday, June 23, 2006

Will Dent & Dertinger Take the Pledge Against Big Oil Money?

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Congressman Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh Valley) faces Democratic challenger Charles Dertinger in this Fall's Congressional race. Their websites, however, reveal nothing about how they would handle our energy crisis. A simple trip to the pump tells us we have a serious problem. Even Chevron, the world's fifth largest oil producer, warns "the era of easy oil is over."

Last night, at a Lehigh Valley Beyond Oil meeting, we were told third hand that oil tankers are purposely forced to remain at sea to keep oil prices high. This is simply anecdotal evidence, but it's hard to argue with Ralph Nader's assertion that the oil industry closes down oil refineries simply to create higher prices at the pump.

Congressman Dent has proposed an inclined cable car in Easton, a hopeful sign to alternative energy advocates. But he also accepted $50,000 from the oil and gas industry in 2004. In fact, 58% of his $750,000 warchest is funded by multiple special interests. Dertinger's Council campaign was funded almost exclusively by one special interest -- unions. And that pattern has continued in his Congressional bid. Even more disturbing is Dertinger's strange silence about Northampton County Executive Stoffa's visionary proposal that alternative energy research be conducted on Bethlehem's south side.

That's why I'm asking BOTH candidates to pledge they will refuse contributions from the oil industry. Additionally, I'm asking that they sign LVBO's Light Rail petition. I've requested they make this pledge by July 4, 2006, Oil Independence Day. I'll let you know then whether our candidates are willing, like our Northampton County Liberty Bell, to sound an echo that awakens a slumbering world, saying NO both to oil dependence and special interests.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

The funicular or cable car proposed by U.S. Congressman Charlie Dent would operate exclusive on Lafayette College property - in the area of the stairs climbing from the intersection formed by Bushkill and College Drive and N. 3rd St. to the colleg's main campus and buildings.

Also, the cable car would exist mostly for the convenience of the college's student body - and, narrower even than that, for the benefit for a very small percentage of students: art and architectural majors utilizing the Morris R. Williams Visual Arts Center located on N. 3rd.

And the student body certainly does not need the college's recently acquired Mohican Club and Jac & Co. Restaurant for recreation and intertainment: These amenities are already available to students in the Louis B. Farinon Student Center sitting on the site of a historic fraternity building, with its own parking, that had to be demolished to make way for the new center, minus parking.

Parking was provided a block away, off-campus, at the intersection of Cattell, Hart, and Marquis streets and Clinton Terrace - requiring the demolition ot two more houses on Cattell Street between Hart Street and Clinton Terrace.

My wife kathy, College Hill resident and Lafayette Cleaner's-owner Barbara Groner, and I filed suit in Northampton County Court of Common Pleas in an attempt to stop the parking-lot project, including demolition of the two buildings.

Lafayette College general counsel Danny Cohen put us under a $500,000 performance bond financially impractical for us to post, and that ended our appeal.

Prior to imposition of the prohibitive bond, at an Easton Planning Commission meeting, Danny and Easton solicitor Herb Giobbie, succeeded in having me removed as chairman of the College Hill Neighborhood Association's Lafayette College Committee.

This they acommplished through their rehearsed questioning of a CHNA member, Debra Riley.

Debra, who lived in the 200 block of Porter Street, was a ringer: She was a paid planning and archtectural consultant to the college, a fact known to Cohen and Giobbi both.

The two lawyers asked Debra if I represented the CHNA, and she answered "No."

In fact, I did represent the CHNA because I could not be removed until a subsequent CHNA meeting approved it.

The cable car would mainly serve the college and a handful of students of a total student body of 2000-plus from households in the highest 2-percent of the economy.

Yet most of the cable car's cost would be borne by taxpayers: federal, state, county, and city - through the latest interation of the Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) tax exemptions, this one designated the Keystone Innovation Zone, or KIZ, passed by the Pennsylvania legislature to aid private colleges like Lafayette and Lehigh.

Under the auspices of this legislation, Govenrnor Ed Rendell came to Easton in August 2004 and presented Lafayette College, represented at the ceremony by its president, Arthur J. Rothkopf, a check for $9 million to get the Easton KIZ project started.

The project included the acquisition of 33 privately owned properties in the Bushkill Creek corridor between Larry Holmes Drive and 13th Street - under the threat, implied or otherwise, of eminent domain.

One of these these properties is the so-called "Moon Building located as 1250 Bushkill Drive and reported on in today's edition of The Express-Times.

These properties are being taken, against the will of many owners, for the construction of a new urban community, christened Bushkill Village, for use by another private-property owner, Lafayette College.

Bushkill Village would be built in the flood plain of the Delaware River and Bushkill Creek.

It would be served by the funicular, or tram, traversing the ecologically sensitive steep slopes on which Lafayette College is also expanding its campus.

Northampton County taxpayers subsidize Lafayette's expansion through low-interest loans (compare the interest rates to those of student loans).

These loans are administered by the county's General Purpose Authority.

The GPA, which also must approve the loans, receives of percentage of them in return - in what amounts to nothing more than a kickback.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Billy, Thanks for your comments. You make a lot of interesting points, as usual.

Anonymous said...

Dent has already taken in excess of 50G's from Big Oil. Dertinger will not take a drop of that money. www.votecharles.com

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dent has already taken in excess of 50G's from Big Oil. Dertinger will not take a drop of that money. www.votecharles.com
***************************

We'll see. That's why I've asked both candidates to take a pledge against the Big Oil special interest and in support of oil independence.

Anonymous said...

When Gov. Ed Rendell came to Easton to present Lafayette the $9 million KIZ check for the college's Bushkill vilage, I attended the ceremony to protest

That was August 2004. The ceremony was held in the college's Morris R. Williams Visual Arts Center on N. 3rd St. in early afternoon.

I didn't have a car or a ride that day and I was running late. So I hoofed it from my house on Parker Ave., College Hill, to Maines Lane, now an overgown, spider- and web-infected pig-trail, but a shortcut, leading from Clinton Terrace to Route 611.

I then proceeded along 611 to Snyder St. and the visual arts center, after a detour through the pedestrian tunnel under Route 22, and up N. 2nd St. to American Printing on Northampton St.

Though I was late, I still had to make copies of a photograph given to me by Rob Leiser, owner of a tool and equipment rental business Forks Township.

The photo is of a garage-like structure, the only remains of a larger structure that Rob was razing for an improved expansion to his retail rental outlet at 2212 Sullivan Trail and Meco Road.

Mid-way of this improvement. Forks Township officials stunned Rob with notice that a portion of his property was being taken for the widening of Sullivan Trail; they needed his property to aid larger developers, like Joe Posh, with more money to spend,and these muscled out Rob's project.

Understandably angered, Rob, who had been in business at his current location for many years, draped a Cuban flag he obtained through E-Bay to the side of the remaining building.

Next to the flag he painted in black letters against the white-washed wall, "DOWN WITH TYRANTS."

The defiant flag and letters were visible to customers driving into his parking lot and east on Sullivan Trail.

To spare Rendell any possible embarassment on his visit to Easton for the KIZ ceremony, Forks Township officials persuaded Rob's father, who owns a rental businnes in Bethlehem, to remove the flag and white-wash over the letters while Rob was on vacation in Vermont.

Readers may view Rob's shed with flag and sign still in the photograph that may be downloaded at http://www.billybytes.com/articles/
tyrants.html.

This is the photo I distributed at the visual arts center when finally I got there, shirt sweat-drenched from the mid-day August's sweltering heat, and covered head-to-foot in the cobwebs from Maines Lane.

I circulated easily through the crowd, no doubt melting away from my frightful appearance, and foisted on everyone present a copy of my handout, including the dignitaries.

Anonymous said...

The Forks Township supervisors were clever.

They waited until they knew Rob Leiser would be vacationing in Vermont.

They then went to Rob's father and persuaded him to remove the Cuban flag and whitewash over the "DOWN WITH TYRANTS" inscribed in large black letters on the side of of his building currently undergoing demolition.

The supervisors knew that Rob would not prosecute his own elderly father for tresspassing.

They also knew Rob wouldn't prosecute his father for defacing property property.

If the City of Easton would not prosecute the defacing of the Drinky Drinkerson facade, who would expect the Fork Township authorities or Northampton County District Attorney John Morgaelli to prosecute?

The father's offense against his son exceeded trespassing and destruction of property property:

The father violatedd the son's right to free speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Anonymous said...

This is a good question to ask the candidates. I think we should put it in context by realizing that Dent will have the funds to outspend Dertinger by 10 to 1 or thereabouts. Dent probably does not need oil money; and Dertinger is unlikely to be offered any.

I would like to broaden the question somewhat by asking another:

WHAT IS THERE ABOUT THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM THAT REQUIRES A CANDIDATE TO HAVE AND SPEND SO MUCH MONEY?

I know that money is needed for advertising. But why is so much advertising needed? Do other coutries spend as much for their elections? Shouldn't people be able to be well informed without such massive advertising?

Any opinions?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anonymous,

You're right on the money, if you'll pardon the expression.

There's a lot of points made in a rather succint passage. (I wish I could be so concise).

I will be running a number of posts on the influence of money and special interests ion elections. I've asked Dent and Dertinger to pledge to refuse funds from one special interest. But think how refreshing it would be if they pledged to accept no PAC money at all. Stoffa got away with it. Even though his race was for county exec and not Congress, it is still something of a miracle bc the people elected him. I think that sends a message in and of itself.

You can look for future posts on this topic.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Please download http://vls.law.vill.edu/locator/3d/august2005/041615p.pdl.It's the decision by the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals

A three-member panel of this court including Judge Sam Alito upheld the Federal District Court of Western Pennsylvania ruling against the hourly workers of Erie Forge and Steel, a financiall troubled company identified in yesterday's edition of The Express-Times as sister company of Lehigh Heavy Forge - formerly known as BethForge - located on the former Bethlehem Steel property in South Bethlehem.

Senators Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum bailed out Erie Forge and Steel with a $2.5 million subsidy and now 15th Congressional District representative Charlie Dent is seeking a $3 million subsidy for Lehigh Heavy Forge - in a cynical effort to buy votes in this election year.

Dent's effort is bound to be approved by the House and, based on Specter's and Santorum's performance in bailing out Erie Forge and Stell, is sure to get U.S. Senate support.

A nexus of Lehigh Heavy Forge and Erie Forge and Steel are the non-profit Lehigh Valley Industrial Parks (LVIP) and the Greater Erie Industrial Development Corporation (GEIDC).

Anonymous said...

Charles Dertinger has his work cut out for him.

Arrayed against him will be not only his direct opponent Charlie Dent, but also U.S. Senators Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum, and the formidable war chests of this Republican triple-threat.

Dertinger is clearly the underdog, the only advaantage his has, and one that he must exploit to the fullest in order to win in November.

He must also have the unified support of the unions' rank-and-file since the Third Circuit Court of Appeal's panel, of which Sam Alito was a panelist, ruling against the hourly workers of Erie Forge and Steel appears to have been aided by the ineptitude or corruption of EFS's United Steel Workder of America's leadership, or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

Sequing from Charlie Dent's press conference of last Friday, held on Commerce Center Boulevard, the extension from Route 412 across the Saucon Tract of former Bethlehem Steel and built with $13.1 million from the 2001 $111 million omnivus bond floated by Northampton County's fraudulent General Purpose Authority, I recommend the following course of action:

That South Bethlehem, Lower Saucon Township, and Hellertown Borough secede from North Bethlehem.

Bethlehem City and Hellertown Borough have already consolidated their power on Northampton County Council through the appointment of Hellertown Borough'ony Branco to that body.

Bethlehem and Hellertown were already represented on Northampton County Council by District 1's Ann McHale.

And speaking of consolidation, that supposedly is the trend in the steel industry, in the United States and worldwide.

So why would Dent be seeking $3 million in Congressional pork when only last February Pennsylvnia's U.S. Senators and Erie, PA's, Congressional representative secured a $2.5 million equity adjustment from the Bath Iron Works (BIW) and its parent company General Dynamics to bailout Erie Forge and Steel?

The answer is that Dent is cynically buying votes.

Another argument for the consolidation of South Bethlehem, Loweer Saucon Township, and Hellertown is that it would move the so-called Lehigh Valley in the direction of its much vaunted and sought after regionalization.

Yet another argument is that consolidation would spread across the larger jurisdiction the the cost to Bethlehem City's taxpayers of subsidizing tax-exempt Lehigh University and Moravian and Muhlenberg colleges.

Consolidation would also restrict the horrendous traffic that development south of the Lehigh River will inevitably bring.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Please download http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/25/business/worldbu,regarding the merger of Arcelor Steel, the world's largest steel producer, and Mittal Steel, the world's second largest.

As you may know, this is a subject that I have written about extensively about the central role played by Indian-born Laksmi Mittal, Mittal Steel's owner, in the dissolution of Bethlehem Steel.

As a candidate for Pennsylvania Governor this election year, I demand that Dent and all the other Congressional and state legislative delegations come clean and make public the whlle history of the Steel's dissolution.

This includes the involvement of corporations liquidator Robert Stevens "Steve" Miller, East Hampton, New York, financier Wilbur L. Ross, the New York real estate firm of Newmark & Co., the New York law firm of Fischbein, Badillo, Wanger, and Harding, the New Jersey law firm of Michael Perrucci, Majestic Realty of Los Angeles California, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, t Lehigh Valley Industrial Parks, Musikfest, ArtsQuest, etc., etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

On January 3, 2005, at Northampton County Council's first meeting of the new year, held in downtown Easton's Jacob Bachmann Publick House, I urged council to conduct public hearings on the proposed slot machine gambling casino proposed for South Bethlehem on the site of former Bethlehem Steel.

Council agreed, and its president, J. Michael Dowd, gave council's District 1 (Bethlehem City and Hellertown Borough) the responsibility of finding a meeting place for the first (and what turned out to be the last Northampton County public hearing before being hijacked and taken control of by Bethlehem's Mayor John Callahan and city council).

McHale, a persistent supporter of casino gambling, purposely dragged her feet, stalling council's public hearing for six whole months, until June 28, 2005, held in Foy Hall of Moravian College.

(Incidentally, with reference to Moravian's tax-exempt status being absorbed in a consolidation of South Bethlehem, Lower Saucon Township, and Hellertown Borough, that obviously would not be the case since the Moravian campus in located solely in North Bethlehem.

(I have also just been advised that Muehlenberg College is located in West Allentown. Of these three campuses, however, Lehigh University is still the largest by far, with the largest property-tax exemption; its inclusion alone in the newly consolidated taxing jurisdiction of three municipalities would aid North Bethlehem's fiacal picture enormously.

(Likewise, the inclusion of St. Luke's and Muehlenberg hospitals in the newly consoldidate jurisdiction, substantially aid North Bethlehem' financial bottom line since both hospitals are also tax exempt - an issue raised recently by a former Lehigh County judge, questioning even the validity of the two hospitals' tax-exempt status).

Though Bethlehem City Council under President J. Michael Schweder, also president of PA-NJ AT&T and lobbyist, hijacked the public hearings initiated by Northampton County and under a media blitz launched by the local media and financed by BethWorks Now and the Las Vegas Sands Casino, Nothampton County's casino boosters were stuck with a formal counsel resolution opposing gambling (casino or racino) in Northampton County.)

And that's where voter-rejected Lamont McClure and Anthony Branco enter the picture - and Northampton County Executive John Stoffa.

Stoffa, like McHale, a staunch supporter of Act 71 (legalized gambling) and Act 72 (back-end referendum), dating back to when he was a Northampton Area School District director, appointed sitting Northampton County Council members Mary Ensslin and Michael Corriere to his administration.

He did this to open up two vacancies on council that could then be filled by Lamont McClure and Anthony Branco, both, like Ann McHale, avid supporters of casino and racino gambling.

John Stoffa is not the saint that his fellow Democrats cast him to be, and is far less capable of leading Northampton County than Palmer Township resident John Todaro, though legally blind, who was also a candidate for executive until driven from the race by the vicious attacks against him and his family.

Most of these attacks came from his fellow Democrats because he opposed he vowed to reform Northampton County's corrupt government and because he opposed gambling.

Anonymous said...

Please, Billy Givens, try and stick to the suject at hand in your posts. While you do make a valid point from time to time, most of what you post is a distraction and should be posted elsewhere ... like on your own blog. And FYI, John Todaro comes off as a very scattered man who's ideas change as often as the weather. Certainly he was never a legitimate candidate for County Executive.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

John Todaro was with me at the January 3, 2005, meeting of Northampton County Council, held in downtown Easton's Jacob Bachmann Tavern, when I asked it to conduct public hearings on casino gambling in Bethlehem.

I weas with John on February 2, 2005, ground hog day, when he announced his candidacy for county executive opposing incumbment Glenn Reibman in the May 17, 2005, Democratic primary.

That evening, John was home with his wife Rosina when my wife, Kathy, a neighbor Cliff O'Hearn, and I attended a DFA (Democrats for American)in the atrium room of the Brew Pub in Behlehem.

I informed those present of John's announced candidacy that morning, made on Walnut Street on the snow-covered steps leading to the main entrance (long since closed to the public) of the courthouse.

The DFA meeting's leaders and many in the audience were both shocked and angered. These were die-hard Democratic Party members who had already settled on Glenn Reibman out of blind party loyalty and resented his being challenged.

Ditto when I urged the recruiting of candidates to challenge other Democratic incumbents - especially Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan.

I was merely advocating the policy of former Presidential candidate Howard Dean and current candidate for chairmanship of the National Democratic Party Committee, who was trying to reshape the party.

Dean had made this policy known to Kathy, me, DFA members Jean Doyle and her husband who also attended the Brew Pub meeting, and other DFA members and leaders at a meeting held in the Ship's Inn Tavern in Milform, New Jersey, in January 2005.

Dean himself informed us of his policy in telephone-conferencing hood-up in which he addressed us from another state.

He also told us that he needed only one more endorsement before having the DNC chairmanship cinched. We learned subsquently that the critical endorsement was that of Pennsylvania Congressman John "Jack" Murtha.

John was also with me in the Bushkill Township Police Department when we filed a "Welfare Check" application on the physical and mental codition of Plainfield Township resident Anna Mae Kessler.

John and I suspected that Anna Mae had been taken against her will from her home at 574 Bangor Road and taken to a place unknown - though I suspected she had been removed to the home of her eldest daughter Phyllis Smith, located at 1003 Mitman Road, Forks Township.

This is the address I gave Forks Township police, who advised me that Anna Mae probably was there now, but in a nursing or assisted-living facility, location unknown.

(I had earlier established through Plainfield Township K-9 patrolman Christopher S. Young that the "Welfare Check" was the official procedure for locating a person whose whereabouts were unknown.)

The Forks Township police went to the Smith residence and were told only that Anna Mae was not there.

I then telephoned Anna Mae's neice Serena Nelson in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, that I suspected Anna Mae was in a nursing home or assisted-living facility, location unknown.

Using area telephone directories, Serena began calling these facilities at random and located her aunt as an inmate of Williams Manor, located at the remote address of 164 Baron Road, Bushkill Township.

John and I went there and attempted to see Anna Mae, to check on her physical and mental condition, and to have her sign an appeal contesting her forced confinement.

The Williams Manor management told John and me that no one was allowed to see Anna Mae without the permission of her Northampton County Court-appointed guardian Timothy Prendergast, Esq.

Prendergast refused to let me get Anna Mae's signature, without which I could not file an appeal.

Bernie, as you told me in a comment to my blog, http://www.billybytes.com/blog/, who guards the "guardians?"

Anonymous said...

I am anonymous who asked the question at 6:32 PM. Actually, I am "FTHillDem" who can't seem to get the system to accept my password. I will try again, and if it doesn't work, I will remain "anonymous" I guess.

I have been thinking about the question I asked, because I was not sure about the answer, then or now. I think there may not be just one single answer, but a number of factors.

But I think a big part of the answer is that a lot of political advertising money actually pays for disinformation, rather than information.

As an example, I have to think of the "Swiftboating" of John Kerry. At the time, I didn't think there would be many who would be influenced by that. But I was sure wrong about that (and I would say John Kerry too). Seems like they are gearing up for John Murtha now.

I read an interesting article today which stated "the enemy is not conservatism, the enemy is not liberalism, the enemy is bullshit".

Hmm. Not likely to make the evening news.

(http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/06/open-letter-to-my-fellow-journalists.html)

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ftn Hill Dem:

Wow! Thanks for the link. I just read it and my head is still spinning. There's a lot to digest.

But I think you said it better than the blogger - the real enemy is the bullshit. That's what we get. Go to Dertinger's site and look at his issues page. You could put Dent's name next to virtually every one of them. The same is true w/ Dent's site.

So these guys hire professional spinners whose job apopears to be aimed at keeping the truth away from us.

I believe I will blog that piece.