Monday, September 25, 2006

We Say New Jersey and They Say New Joisey

It's election time, bippy. Pols are preying upon our fears about nasty illegal immigrants who are so evil they don't even take showers. They may even be responsible for avian flu!

But there's another set of immigrants Pennsylvanians don't like. It's those bastards from Joisey. Are they simple refugees fleeing high taxes and insurance? Or are they jerks who'll do anything for a buck, even if it involves daily four hour commutes?

Needless to say, they're not too popular in the Lehigh Valley. Whenever a moron does something rude or obnoxious, someone else will turn and knowingly say, "New Jersey." You'd be surprised at how many times I've been accused of being from Jersey.

But Joiseyites have their attitudes about us, too. I belong to a gym in Jersey, and often hear us discussed as trailer park trash. Most of us have just fallen out of the trees. Our driving habits are disparaged as much as we complain about theirs.

There's no denying that the Jersey exodus has led to more traffic, bigger schools and higher taxes. And it's become next to impossible to buy a home with a Pennsylvania income. But if you sit down and talk to a former New Jersey resident, you'll meet a person who's really no different from the rest of us. They love their children, and just want them to have a better home. Is that so bad?

Reality and perceptions are two different things.

By the way, illegal immigrants love their children, too.


Anonymous said...

That guy is so ugly his mother must have fed him with a slingshot. Related?

Bernie O'Hare said...

You must be one of those Joisey bastards.

I'll have you know that some of my best friends are from Jersey.


LSTresidentPIA said...

You are so way off base on this Bernie. This issue is more than that. It is what has happen to the way of life that was once made the Valley a truly great place to live. The people from Jersey, New York, and other big cities just don't get it and never will.

It is about the loss of a lifestyle that once it is gone we can never get back, epecially the German and other PA Dutch customs that are hard to find in this area anymore because those that grew up with those values cannot afford to live here anymore.

It is about the farms that no longer exsist that we will never have again. How many housing developments get torn down to put in farm fields?

It is about the destruction of our communities. There should be some development, but it should be for the children of those families that have grown up here and want to riase their families in the communities where they lived. NOt aobut having developers like Toll Brohters come in and build houses thatr they market to people in new York and New Jersey prices that the average worker in the valley cannot afford.

It is about develpoers like Lou Pector, who are given money by Gov Ed Rendell to build more and expensive luxary housing and condos that he will make alot of money from. While those that buy from him are given 10 years free of not paying property taxes even though they use the roads and impact the infrastructureand public services of the commuties they are moving into.

It is about destroyng people's like the residents of one trailer park in Bethlehem Township that Lou Pector bought and wants to put townshouses on who gave less than $10,000 each to move out of their trailers so he can tear them down and build even more townhouses for Jersey and New York commuters. Lou said the expense to tear down the trailers would be great so he could only give that little money to the many long-time residents. Many of these resident from the trailer park have no money and no where to go. Many owe morgates on these trailers that they will still have to pay for but no be able to live in. Where are the big city lawyers who might do some pro-bono work for these homeowners? The money given to them is barley enough for a few months of apartment rent, that is if you can find one.

It is about developers like Lou Pecktor, who instead of developing Martin Tower into affordable hosuing for everyone, including low to middle income resdidents, instead agian developing high-end condos to bring in more commuters to live here.

It is about the fact then that developers like Lou Pector then team up with townships like Lower Saucon and hide his dirty money from ill-gotten gains into projects like the restoration of the Heller Homstead and the Lutz-Franklin School house in Lower Saucon. Do I need to tell you how many developments Ashley Development has in the township?

It is about the alientation of a whole generation from this area of middle to low income and blue collar people.

It is about those who move to the area and don't have respect or appreciattion of it. Like my bridge on Meadows Rd that Toll and others drive over to get to the construction site but refuse to obey the weight limit becuase they might have to drive around a few more miles to come in from the other direction.

It is about those that move into the heavliy maketed and sought after Saucon Valley area and don't know if they live in Lower Saucon Township Northampton County, or Upper Saucon Lehigh County.

It is about those tht move into these small school ditricts and demand that they be run like private schools. THey believe that they should have everything for there kids. This is one reason why school taxes are so high.

And bippy, let me tell you, it is aobut the it is about the high cost of gas and the fact that we are running out of gas and oil.

And it is about bringing the city into the country where I now have to live with a sidewalk next to my home. My property is constatnly being tresspassed on because of it.

It is about water run-off problems and flooding from the new developments. Ask the people who live along the Delaware.

It is about drug dealers and gangs moving into the cities of Allentown and Bethlehem, but also gated communties in the Poconos. Just becuase someone can afford the 1.5 million dollar home for sale behind me doesn't mean they aren't a drug dealer...

It is about a conflict of values and interests of people who live very different lifestyles in the city and outside of PA to that of those I grew up with in the Valley.

It is also about a very backwards township Council in Lower Saucon that is so busy fighting a casino that doesn't want to see what the township has become and the problems that are here now and adopt appropiate ordinances so that we all can live in some sort of peace and harmony.

Anonymous said...

That is a brilliant post by Isdy (who did not mention the current fallen state of Easton).

He covered everything else!!!

P.S. It might be that the Illegals passed the Flu to the Birds.

Sorry for the cheap shot---could not stop typing.

RadCenter said...

I second everything lstresidentpia said, except for one thing: Sidewalks are a good thing. It means people are able to walk through your neighborhood. When people can no longer walk in your neighborhood because of the out-of-control traffic from new developments, that's when you should worry.

Two additional beefs that elected officials and news media never mention:

1. State income taxes deducted from the paychecks of people who live in PA and work in NY or NJ don't go to PA. They go to NY and NJ. How can this be good for PA, especially, if we're talking about shifting from a property tax to an income tax to pay for our schools? Talk about punishing PA natives and rewarding transplants. They would own some of the highest-value real-estate and yet would not be supporting PA schools.

2. NJ and NY drivers pay exponentially higher rates for their car insurance. How long before the insurance companies catch on to the fact that these drivers are now traveling on PA highways and jack up insurance rates for those of us in the "commuter zip codes" of PA?

LSTresidentPIA said...

radcenter you get it even better than I do. Another thing I would like to mention is the deal that Upper Saucon gave to Olympus America who moved their North American Headquarters from Melville, New York (Long Island) to Upper Saucon Township. Not only do they have to not pay taxes for 10 years, but they are heavily impacting the roads in Upper Saucon and were not made to pay anything towards upgrades to Center Valley Parkway and 309. The state is paying for the upgrades. It has never been revelaved how many jobs were created for true local resdients, not including transplants.They never said now many people moved iwth them. But more interesting is that fact that Olmpus is suupose to be building a new warehouse in Bethlehem. Supposely, these warehouse jobs will pay significanlty less than the same jobs in NY did. By the way, Olympus presdient is my neighbor he lives on Hawthrone Drive or road. His commute is now only 7 miles instad of 2 hours. Now all kinds of jobs and company are supposet to be following, yet I am still unemployed after a year...

I don't know much about Easton, other than the fact the they are trying to turn the downtown, upscale. So much so in fact that he won't allow a dollar store to be put in the former drug store that went out of business.

If we so badly need sidewalks, then everyone should have them. My beef is that I have had 4 incidents of people trespassing on my property because of of these sidewalks they installed. One day a girl came up to my fence and poked her fingers through the fence to try and pet my dog. I am the one who is lucky that she did not get bitten, even though she was clearly on my property. In order to put a fence up at the property line I must request a zoning varience (pay money) and pay for another fence. The township only has sidewalks in a handful of developments, I think 3 or so, but there are dozens of developments. They need to be more consistent with the issue and have ordinances to back it up and remedies like repeling the current ordinance that says that fences need to be 3 feet from the property line. We may not need sidewalks if developments had roads that carried their far share of traffic and did not end in cul-du-sacs.

Anonymous said...

Illegal means breaking the law .... If someone disrespects our immigration laws they may disrepect all laws ... That is not a guarantee or an absolute but is certainly a possibility ... Of course, not all law is good law and should be modified or completely redone to make it good law.

Dennis Pearson reported how the Lehigh Valley transformed itself in is Report --- I Presented the Truth But You Didn't Comprehend with Allentown's extention of Sewage Piping 16 miles out of ALlentown. And in his heart felt that the construction of major new highways would bring Megalopolis to the Lehigh Valley. And if you noticed it went to the Poconos too.

I say this because I studied the issue ... Never did I get elected to any governmental position ... This was left to others who did not understand the problems of their actions. The Morning Call said that I was not qualified for the position I just run for but was indeed qualified. The Morning Call reported on the issues for years but did they really know what was going on or did they help create it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LStp, RadCenter, MrMoshki & Mr. Pearson, I am very gratified by the many meaningful points you make concerning this very interesting subject.

I suppose my chief concern is that we tend to villify N.J. residents, and of course they return the favor.

I don't think we have the right to dictate who can buy land that we don't individually own. And people from Jersey would not be here unless someone in Pa. was willing to sell. And we are all on this earth together, for better or worse.

Having said that I can't deny the passion and force of your arguments.

LStp, you in particular were so passionate and really laid out what many of us think, but did so in a nice way.

RadCenter shows that perhaps some laws need to be changed to put us on an even playing field.

And Mr. Pearson, it was certainly nice to hear from you. You ran a very clean campaign against Joe Brennan and distinguished yourself as a class act.

PA progressive said...

I know this is off topic but I moved The Pennsylvania Progressive to Typepad today. The new url is

Thanks for updating the link.

WhetherVain said...

(This is my 1st extensive/substantial post to a blog; it may be my last ;-)

Boy, and here I thought I had some friends, well ok, they were just acquaintenances I guess. But they were people I know casually on a first name basis. People I could say howdy to. Strike up a conversation about something other than the weather. All of them: Ron Shegda, Lou Pektor, Judge Platt. Always nice social intercourse in various social situations.

Now I read blogs - and I read about these people. Y I K E S!!!

I wonder what it is about how I'm wired that I never saw the folly, wickedness, or corruptness about these folks. Especially this recent submission about Lou Pektor. Nice fella, I thought. Went to Moravian w/Bernie and me. Local boy made good. Grew up on a farm less than 2 miles from the farm I grew up on (which he almost would have bought had my sister not decided to buy it herself from our parents estate). What's a family to do?! Nobody wants to farm....doesn't pay; hard work. Sell it to a developer! Is that evil? Are we to be a charity and let it go for less than the going market? Everyone wants the best possible dollar and developers usually have the cash in hand and offer the best price. If Lou would have gotten it, no doubt it would be another development (and that would have killed me! but what should he do with it?) Methinks that if he didn't do what he does, some Joiseyite would have done it.

Why isn't the guy who sold that trailer park out from under those people not to be held in equal contempt. Did he not know what fate would befall those folks? He's free to do what he wants with his land, as is Lou when he buys it.

Guess I don't know really know enough about all these folks. Makes me not wanna know people. The more I learn/read about them, the dirtier the laundry is - if what I read is true.

But I can't help but think that there's another side to the story. Where money was involved, would any of us have acted any differently if we were in the same position? The more I read, the more I think not.

Perfect example: the Allentown Police Pension debachle. I wonder how many people would have passed up the opportunity to avail themselves of that windfall if they were in those same shoes. Now that we see how much of a pension they actually got, we cry outrage! I don't like it either and I live in Allentown, so I'll be paying for these pensions, but I really wonder how many of us would have acted differently in that situation. Really!

Overall Lstresidentpia, contrary to what you are probably thinking, I really do identify with the negative energy generated in your interesting post, (having lived on a Lower Saucon farm, rubbed shoulders with the Pa Dutch up at the Bergstresser's General Store in Wassergas, and seeing the McMansions popping up in the farm fields) but I wonder if some of that anger isn't misdirected. If what Lou is doing isn't illegal, then maybe we all need to address the public/political mechanisms that permit him to do what we all seem to abhor.

Bernie, am I still as incoherent as I used to be? (and for anyone wondering, NO, Lou isn't my "bestest buddy" and I am not his apologist. I just can't (don't want to?) believe that he's Lucifer's cousin.

Not yet anyhow... I'll just tiptoe away now and keep reading.

LVDem said...

It's easy to paint the individual as the problem and ignore the larger political and policy mechanisms. Policy is so not sexy but sleazy developers are easy targets.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Whethervain, Great stuff! There's good and bad in all of us. I can't recall a single instance in which I've complained in this blog about Pektor specifically. But you lump Pektor in w/ Shegda aND Platt, for some reason, and defend them all.

Platt, Pektor and Shegda may be great fun at a party. But they are not immune from criticism. I think many of LSt's specific remarks about Pektor are, unfortunately, true. I didn't fact check her comments, but she's in the ball park. He does get a lot of tax breaks. He has done a lot of development. But you make a great point. Individual developers certainly didn't cause this problem, and neither did the Jersey commuters.

A lot of developers, and Toll Bros specifically, have no regard for anything but the bottom line. They've already threatened to sue LSt because she dares complain about them.

And although I've never said a bad word about Pektor specifically, I'm not thrilled by his easy access to public money. I am philosophically opposed to public funding of private enterprise. Nothing personal against Lou.

And you say I went to college with this nice guy? I don't remember that and wouldn't know him if I fell over him.

You're right. These are people I'm talking about. But no one is immune from criticism, including me.

Thanks for your post. And of course you're incoherent, but no more so than me (or is it I?).

Chris said...

To say that people moving in 'destroys' a community is simply rubbish. What destroys the community(if that) is irresponsible development. Don't blame the people moving in. Fix the laws to promote good development(not just growth) that is walkable, around transport, and integrates itself with ABE.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Chris, I think you hit it on the head.

LSTresidentPIA said...

I don't know much about Lou Pektor other than what I read/see in the news. I do know however that Lower Saucon Township awarded him an accomadation his services that his company donated to The restoration of the Lutz-Franklin School Hosue and he could not be bothered to show upand accept it. He sent his croonies instead,

Anonymous said...

I think jersey people should be considered illegal immigrants and deported. It's not strictly my own personal view either. Just look at this scientific study...

and you'll see for yourself. You can't argue with the facts.

Bernie O'Hare said...

They're you have it. And my son is a scientist, too!

LSTresidentPIA said...

I stand by my point that development destroys communites. Communities have all kinds of people living in them, and in Lower Saucon Township we do not have that. Many seniors are being forced to sell their homes becuase of high school taxes. There are few blue collar workers or low to middle income peolpe able to afford homes in this area, but also young families just starting out also are unable to afford to live here too. All these peole, not just rich, well educated, white collar people should make up communities. We need peolpe to run our comapnies as well as flip our burgers, pick up our trash, fix our cars etc...

I also stand by my point becuase I live in a changing township that is so backwards that they will not adopt ordinances that allow for everyone to live in peace and harmony. A simple limit on construction times in my tonwship would do wonders. But when the LS Council Vice president's husband is a small contractor and all his buddies show up and oppose the ordinance, it doesn't get passed.
So now, I have to on a 24 hr/7 day a week schedule, and believe me they do work all the time!

I stand by my point becuse I have seen the first hand distruction of once beautiful fields that were the homes for many species of animals. They are not around much anymore, Neither are many trees.

I stand by my point because of the first hand experience of flooding from a development on to my father's property. We have gone from a one historic on and off 30 year problem to three every time it rains problems. I am not the only neighbor with problems. The road I live on now floods from the dention basin that wa built to control run-off from the water. Not only does it flood the road, but it floods two very historic farm properties. Me and my neighbors have to go back and forth between Toll, Lower Saucon, and at times the County Conservation District to try and reolve these problems with little getting done. We are going to have to sue to get the problems fixed. I even got the LVPC involved and the township is still handing me a line of BS. We also have other construction related damages that go well into the tens of thousands of dollars that no one will pay for. Do you think that this does not qualify as detroying a community? Just ask the township zoning officer Chris Garges and township manager Jack Cahalan the "toll" this development has taken on me. I got so angry one day, they put me in the hospital.

Columnist Bill White has been out to the area and seen the damages. Yet I still cannot get anyone to pick up on either story, the damages or the bridge.

And I stand by my statement because of the overweight vehicles that are crossing the 150 year stone-arch brdige on my road almost daily. Do you think that doesn't qualify Chris? Bernie was out to see the bridge himself.

LSTresidentPIA said...

We need desperately to change the PA municiple planning code. But since PA is a land-owner rights state and the developer gets the rights once they buy the property, then it will never change.

Local communites such as townships, boroughs and counties need more say in the development of their communities, but again the MPC needs to be changed to allow this.

There needs to be laws passed that establish rights for those that live in trailer parks. This is a major problem in Florida. In a article that I read in the Morning Call, it reported that elderly people many in their 70's and 80's have died from heart attacks and other stress induced illnesses because of having to leave their long-time resdidences.

Perhaps if we weren't about to reach our 3 hundredth million person, we would not have some of these problems. But at the rate we are reproducing, and living longer, we all need somewhere to live.

Pretty soon we will be as populated as California and as dumbly overdeveloped.

LVDem said...

PA's population has been stagnant for years now. We won't be over crowded, just fullishly developed.

If you are serious about the MPC, contact Rep. Robert Freeman. He led the charge to amend that in 1999 and he recognizes it's high time for change again. Get your neighbors to start contacting him too. Believe me when I say that state representatives pay attention when 10 people call them out of the blue on an issue.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LVDem, LSt is right. The MPC does need to be strengthened. That's pretty much why I usually end up opposing open space measures. It's not that I oppose open space, but spending money to buy a few cornfields here and there does nothing. We need laws that are tough on developers. But Rich Greucela, who has championed impact fees for developers, has run into heavy opposition from the developers and builders. I'm pretty sure the proposal had to be watered down, and even that one dsidn't make it. I have to talk to him about that. Grucela and Freeman are two legislators who do "get it."

I also want to thank LST for her strong and well-stated opinions. I don't always agree with her, but she's delivered some pretty powerful stuff.

LSTresidentPIA said...

Thanks Bernie for your kind words, now where are my pictures of the bridge? (just kidding)

Freeman is my rep, and I have contacted him about the bridge(no answer yet) so maybe I will about this issue as well.

With Rendell handing out money to developers like candy, I don't see changes happening in Pa MPC anytime soon.

I agree with you Bernie regarding your position on open space intiatives, they are a big joke, esp in Lower Saucon. In November, a ballot question is to be voted on in Lower Saucon as whether to increase the EIT a 0.25% for five years to help fund the open space plan and purchase farms and such. I am voting no becuase this plan benefits too many people and their properties who are on Council or other other townhsip committees.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The bridge picture came out too dark for some reason. That's what I get for using a $15 camera.

The open space initiative will pass overwhelmingly. But it's a placebo. It doesn't fix the problem. It doesn't even come close.

LSTresidentPIA said...

The county has a nice picture of the bridge in the May 2006 report on county owned bridges. A copy of it is available for anyone to view in the County Executive Suite, according to Mr. Stoffa.

I know that the open space ref will pass. Just say the words open space and people are excititedly jumping on the band wagon with out a clue as to the details.

Anonymous said...

Moshki was shocked by The Morning Outhouse Stall's (M/Call) whitewashing of Joe Brennan's record of violent crime. M/C did a hatchet job on Tony Rybak.

It is not possible to believe that that election's votes were tabulated fairly. It is these kinds of outrages which lend credence to the CONSPIRATORIAL VIEW OF HX.

Anonymous said...

Oh, re. the chopping of trees and maiming of lilacs----THERE IS ONE SIMPLE RULE:

Construction is DEstruction.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. Moshki, If you think the MC was bad, you should see the number I did on Tony "the hatchet" Rybak.

Sometime I'll have to tell you about Joe Brennan's violent act. When you hear the details, you'll want to give him a medal.

LVDem said...

When contacting Bob Freeman or Rich Grucela, do so via postal service. They get a ton of messages and their email is the same way. Send it to both their Harrisburg and district offices. This guarentees that a district office person talks to them about it and that a research person in Harrisburg looks at it. State reps get on average 3 staffers, sometimes a 4th and nobody but the state rep checks the inbox. As you can well imagine, this is tough.

As far as the bridge goes, mention that it is specifically in Freeman's district. It's surprising that you can stand in some districts and cross the street and be in another district. That might be surprisingly confusing. These folks know their districts, but you can help every bit.

As far as a lack of response on the bridge, just to point out my gut reaction when you said you contacted him, this will ultimately be a local gov't issue. Not many state reps will get involved unless asked to do so by the local gov't officials. State reps typically do not get involved in an adversary fashion on local matters. It's considered bad form. The exception is where a state law is being violated or when the legislators feels a state law can intervene. In this case, I'm not sure this is the case. That said, write again and CC a copy to your local gov't officials.

Think of it this way, corporations pay tons of money on lobbyists and they do so b/c if they don't, they don't get the attention they want. As a private citizen, you are sadly at a disadvantage. Freeman isn't a huge money person (he's actually pretty sad when it comes to fundraising) but his ability to hear every complaint and every concern is limited by a 24 hour day and the need to eat and sleep. Therefore, you need to be like the lobbyist: consistently provide solid information. Don't give your opinion or preach (staffers will file the letter if you get preachy). Present the facts: this bridge is historic, on average X number of cars/trucks travel over it, development in your area is rapid leading to increased traffic. Don't complain about the failures of local gov't. Don't say that you are tired of it. Don't chastise! Just give the facts as you know them and then present a reasoned solution.

Believe me when I say I've dealt with some very rational letters and some very emotionally charge letters that are not reasoned. If the letter doesn't specifically ask for a response or provide a reasonable request, then the letter is filed or discarded.

If you want, feel free to drop me an email with the letter attached should you want an extra set of trained eyes to look it over.

LVDem said...

and actually, Rendell has been on record supporting changes to growth policies... the problem is a couple of state legislators who have bottled up a couple of bills and a study commission proposal.

If there is a change in house leadership next session, these bills could get the attention they need.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I might also add that both Freeman and Grucela have pushed land use reforms. The most recent example is impact fees for local developments like the Toll Bros. monstrosity that bothers Lst.

LVDem, Thanks for all the helpful suggestions on how to write to my local rep. No wonder I've been ignored!

Anonymous said...

Well, Bernie:

So far yopu have justified:

1. Gunther's mauling of his daughter.

2. Brennan's beating of an old man;
in fact, because Brennan had help in committing this crime, it shows just as much cowardice as Gunther's savegery.

Maybe anarchism is what you espouse. Anyone who "deserves" it, gets it,right?

Bernie O'Hare said...

No I don't espouse anarchism. But I don't like personal attacks, either. And I really don't like personal attacks that are misinformed. If you would like to speak to me about this, drop me a line at When we're done talking, you'll see what I mean. OK?