Friday, July 14, 2006
The Great Nazareth Tire Slashing Caper
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.