That whistle has been silenced.
Kisslinger resigned at the end of Monday's meeting, frustrated by an unresponsive leadership unwilling to face a growing need for affordable housing. South side Bethlehem, we all know, is the planned location for a new casino. And as it gentrifies into "a haven for yuppies with lattes," BHA's affordable housing plan appears to be this - move to Allentown, bippy! Although BHA sits on over $8 million in cash reserves, Kisslinger claims it has no new housing plans for folks with low incomes.
In an email, Kisslinger tells us this.
"During the last two years of, term limited, Chairman Joe Long, and Vice Chairman Dave Sanders' tenure, I have only received a grand total of a half dozen calls or so, about BHA's future plans to service the low-to-moderate income folks within our community. Most of the calls were simply 'personal attacks' on my character and integrity. Long and Sanders merely changed positions at today's meeting with newly appointed Commissioner Ms. Iris Linares supporting their positions."
Kisslinger was supported by Paul Reitmeir, the only commissioner who actually resides in BHA housing. Let's take a quick look at the other three housing commissioners - Joe Long, Dave "Lumpy" Sanders and Iris Linares.
Iris Linares, BHA's newest commissioner, was just confirmed by city council on December 19. She's a Democratic state committee member. She's a secretary at the Peter Angelos law firm, which just happens to employ appointed Northampton County Councilman Lamont McClure. Peter Angelos is a major Democratic campaign contributor whose control in Maryland is so legendary that legislation is actually called "Angelos' bills." Linares herself is a frequent Democratic contributor. Somehow, she and her husband were able to cough up $1440 for Ed O'Brien's congressional campaign in 2000. That's a lot of money to be coming from one secretary!
Joe Long, BHA's new vice chair, chairs the Northampton County Dems. He's been implicated in nearly every bad instance of bad government occurring in Northampton County over the past few years, from his violations of the Sunshine Act at the BHA to his own election as party chair, which miraculously occurred five days before certificates of election were actually mailed to elected committeemen.
Dave "Lumpy" Sanders, BHA's new chair, is one of those perennial candidates for public office. He was most recently rejected by the Bethlehem School Board. Less than a year ago, he was upset when a citizen disclosed, during a city council meeting, where Bethlehem pols got campaign dough. As Lumpy sees things, our poor politicians already work too hard. He thinks we must support city council members instead of scrutinizing their every vote. This yes man is BHA's new chair.
Is it me, or don't you think Bethlehem could do just a little better than this?
Update:Kisslinger's resignation is reported today both in The Express Times and Morning Call.