Friday, July 14, 2006

The Great Nazareth Tire Slashing Caper

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They'll never take me alive!

Nazareth cops and borough officials think there's a connection between a proposed municipal center and three borough officials whose tires were recently damaged. I think they're nuts.

Most of the new municipal center opponents I know are moms and dads, uncles and aunts, and grandparents. They worry about their kids, and wonder what will happen to them if Nazareth does decide to build a new government center in Nazareth Hall Park. They're not exactly what I think of when I think of tire slashers.

Hundreds rallied en masse before Monday night's council meeting and managed to change one vote. They did it the democratic way, by letting their voices be heard. The Express Times noted, "When the public speaks this loudly, public officials have an obligation to listen and learn." During this meeting, it was also discovered that the new municipal plan was arrived at in violation of the Sunshine Act, thanks to bad advice from a borough solicitor who incorrectly thinks committees can meet behind closed doors. So citizens who oppose this expansion now have some ammo if council ignores popular sentiment.

With all the momentum on the side of those who want to preserve a park, why on earth would they want to resort to tire slashing? Yet this morning I was greeted by the following headline: "Nazareth Police Probe Tire Slashings: They Say Incidents May Have Been Spurred by Borough Politics." Uh oh. As a vocal opponent who has conducted radio shows and blogged against this expansion, I better have an alibi. The article makes clear that the Mayor (who used to be the police chief), the police chief, and one borough councilman whose tires were slashed, think this all too much to be a coincidence.

Well, I hate to break it to you boys, but that's exactly what it is. First, let's look at the only borough councilman whose tires actually were slashed - Councilman Davis. His tires were slashed in March, when most of us knew little or nothing about the proposed expansion. That's because his committee was meeting secretly. News did not leak out until sometime in May, and most Nazareth citizens were unaware of any municipal relocation until June.

The second and third incidents aren't even tire slashing incidents. One tire on Mayor Keller's wife's car was punctured, not slashed. And a puncture can come from anything, including driving over nails. Two tires on Paul Kokolus' vehicle were punctured, but that happened in Lower Nazareth, and Paul thinks the culprits are some kids who have been giving him trouble. (They probably don't live near a park.) And here's the kicker -- neither Kokolus nor Keller have a say in the expansion. Only Councilmen decide.

Yet the police think these incidents are obviously related. One detective said, "[W]however did the one did the other." What is he smoking?

By talking about the "dark side," some borough officials are attempting to demonize citizens who are just concerned about their kids. And they should know about the "dark side" because they've been meeting behind closed doors. I'm particularly disturbed at police who make ridiculously illogical statements in the hope they get new digs.

This has to stop. Proponents and opponents both want what is best for Nazareth, and it's time we all recognize that. It's a good thing Nazareth Days are here.

Now excuse me while I answer the door. The cops are here with their lie detector.


Anonymous said...


What's he smoking? Don't you know by now that the best drugs NEVER make it to the Evidence Room at the Police Station? I wonder why??

That's what happens when kids have nowhere to play and resort to other forms of "recreation." No young punk is smart enough to know an elected official's car from the janitor's car. To him, a car is a car and it happened to be handy when he had his knife out. Maybe there's a moral somewhere in your story....

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yeah, it really bothers me that police would go along with the absurd sauggestion these incidents are related. They say if the law and facts are against you, abuse your opponent. That appears to be the case here. Some Nazareth officials, with the help of a few cops, are trying to start a backlash against Nazareth residents whose main concern is their children's welfare. Paul Kokolus doesn't even live in Nazareth and said he believed his tires were punctured by some kids in his neighborhood who have been giving him trouble. But the cops say the incidents "must" be related.

I agree - there is a moral in this story. Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

I just think they are trying to put the focus on tire slashing and off of the real issue. But we aren't forgetting the real issue. Out of the park, within budget, and in the downtown. Three simple and very possible goals. We'll be workin' on it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well put!

Anonymous said...

I am one of those mothers...and I have one thing to say(ok..maybe 2 or 3)to the "boys" interviewed for that story. 'SHAME ON YOU!!,Didn't your Mama teach you to play nice and up to your room think about what you have done, and don't come down until you can say I am sorry!!!'

Anonymous said...

Dear Mama:

You remind me of my own dear mother. But, unfortunately, today's kids are taught to tell Daddy to hire a lawyer if the teacher gives them a bad grade. And why send a kid to his room today when he's got a big-screen TV, cable, DVD, and Play Station there? Some punishment!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I just read the account in the Express Times. The police are putting two and two together, and Keller tells us he was a cop for a long time so he knows what's going on.

Here's my question for Nazareth law enforcement. They are very quick to point fingers against those who oppose their new building. They do this publicly, alerting both papers. It doesn't matter that they have no evidence to back up trheir accusaTIONS.

Why then, were they so silent when a girl was raped inm Nazareth some months ago. I consider a rape a little more serious than one tire puncture on Keller's car. Why did the press have to find out about that by accident?

If anyone is playing politics, it is the police.

Anonymous said...

Just goes to show that even Officer Friendly plays politics on the beat and is better at spin than he (or she) is at catching real criminals.

Keller should be arrested for having an unlicensed huge ego!

There is not a 13- or 14-year-old kid anywhere on this planet who knows who he is, thinks he's important, or gives a crap about making a political statement.

Maybe the Naz Cops should contact Homeland Security... sounds like an Al Qeda plot to me!!!! In fact, I bet there is a Lebanese connection. Oh, wouldn't that be a bonus! A reason to hassle local LEGALS about their friends and relatives in the Middle East!


Anonymous said...

Seems to me Mr. O'hare doesn't know too much about what's going on here. First of all, how can you bash the police the way you do and get away with it....WOW, looks like somebody has a reason to hate the police. FYI....The ballfield will still be there, and the children will have a place to play. The addition, in case you haven't seen the plans is going to run along the Church Street side as well as along the hill of grass. The new plans , downsized should be available soon. I hope that council sticks to their guns this time,and doesn't cave for the 20-30 people coming forward and protesting, afterall I think Nazareth's population is over a few thousand, that would be a whole lot of people to ask for an oppinion. Any other form of government just makes decisions, they do not ask for advice from the people. i have a feeling they will do the right thing here.
Get a life! Only a has-been would trash talk our police and those who put their life on the lines each day. What is it that you do for a living?? (or did for a living?) Just curious

Bernie O'Hare said...

I can bash the police and get away with it because this is America, where people have the right to criticize their government. This is America, where people have the right to petition their government for redress of grievances.

20 to 30 people? Dream on, buddy. There were at least 200 people at the rally, and half that number (at least) filed in to Council chambers on July 10.

I have looked at the plans, drawn up as a result of a committee that took official action in violation of the Sunshine Act. The plans will make the park useless for anything other than a game of baseball. When organized teams are playing, the neighborhood kids will be deprived of the use of the rest of the park. And it's dangerous to have a police station in the middle of a neighborhood park where kids will play. And it's a further reduction of parkland. Nazareth has lost 1/3 of its park land in the last 30 years. Now it is proposed to diminish it even more. Brilliant.

As far as trash talking the police is concerned, it should be obvious to anyone that they are letting themselves be used, and for good reason. They want a brand new police station with a nice little exercise room. The first incident of slashing occurred before the plans were public knowledge. The second incident may have been the result of running over a nail. And the third incident occurred in Lower Nazareth, and Kokolus stated he had been having problems with some kids in his neighborhood. Yet the cops put 2 and 2 together and came up with 5.

As for what I do for a living, you're not "just curious." You're launching into an ad hominem attack. You can't argue the facts without changing them so you decide to attack me. But I'll answer your question because it is common knowledge and I don't hide it. I'm an ex-lawyer who had a drinking problem. That was 21 years ago.

Today I made a point to send my blog to a group of Nazareth officials. I can only conclude that you must be one of them. And you're operating in the dark, just like them. And anonymously.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This guy seems to know a lot about the new plans and when they'll be available. He's obviously getting inside info not provided to some council members.