Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Imperious Ann McHale Faces "Nice Guy" Tom Dietrich in Norco Council Contest

"Nice guys finish last."

That's how the imperious Ann McHale thinks. That's a remark she tossed in the direction of Northampton County Exec John Stoffa, when he tried to include Northampton County Council in deciding whether to rebid a service contract. Thanks to McHale, Northampton County nearly paid $1.8 million more for that contract than what Stoffa eventually realized for the county. McHale was worried about being fair to bidders. Stoffa was more concerned about the taxpayers. "They [council] can do what they want to do. I answer to the taxpayers, ultimately."

McHale is Northampton County Council's district representative in heavily Democratic Bethlehem, Hellertown and Hanover Township. She's cruising easily to her third term, which could set up a run for county exec.

But this time, she's facing something new and unusual - an opponent.

He's Tom Dietrich, an affable Hellertonian who looks a lot younger than his thirty-eight years. I met him last Friday at Hellertown's Braveheart Pub, a suitable place to meet a man bucking the establishment. Dietrich, who wore no kilt, is basically a stay-at-home dad who does a wide assortment of things to keep busy, from home inspections to tinkering with computers. He and his wife, who first met in the service, fell in love with the Lehigh Valley and decided to plant roots here. Tom was recently appointed to Hellertown's zoning hearing board, but has no experience in public office.

"So why did you decide to run?"

Tom: "Why did you decide to blog?"

Another frickin' wiseass.

On my way to Hellertown, I noticed McHale signs everywhere. One of the bastards in the pub (must have been English) was actually sporting one on the back of his kilt. So how can Tom expect to beat a two-term incumbent in a heavily Democratic district with no money and no name recognition?

He doesn't. That's right, bippy. While going door to door, he encountered voters who tell him, "I'm voting for the Senator's wife. She's filling in for him while he's in Iraq." Little clues like that make clear there's not much point in ordering champagne for election night.

"So why did you decide to run?"

Tom: "People should have a choice. Even in China, you'll have two people seeking one office. "

Well, Tom, this is the People's Republic of Northampton County. If you want democracy, move to China.

Actually, McHale could use a dose or two of humility. Although a fierce advocate for Bethlehem and one of council's hardest-working members, she voted to reject county exec Stoffa's choice for director of administration after promising her support. She obviously yielded to party pressure. At the time, nominee Marto Boulos Gabriel publicly called McHale a "snake."

McHale also imperiously supported a payhike for herself and fellow council members (from $7,000 to $9,500). This was a slap across the face of county workers who went without raises for over three years, suffered layoffs, reductions in health benefits and unhealthy working conditions.

McHale has obviously lost sight of why she sits on council. She's not there to vote herself raises, go back on her word, or attempt to stick taxpayers with a $1.8 million bill so that she can make the exec look weak. She deserves to lose.

Unfortunately, she'll win.


Anonymous said...

How did Mchales daughter get her job at the courthouse? Its always who you know.

Anonymous said...

At least Ann McHale's arrogance is transparent. When the county's most significant political disputes are simply inner-party disputes among Democrats, Marie Antoinettes like Ann are part of the landscape.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean Stoffa won't be making calls on her behalf, as he is doing for Angle in District 4? Will Stoffa make calls on behalf of Dietrich?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Stoffa is calling around for Angle? Gee, I sure hope so. Anyone interested in good government should vote against people who think prospective bidders are more important than taxpayers. Given McHale's nasty shot at Stoffa, he should be making calls for Dietrich, too.

Anonymous said...

Would she beat Stoffa (if he even runs again) in a Dem primary? I think so.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 6:51, A year ago, I'd agree w/ you. Not anymore.

Anonymous said...


You know as well as I do that Affiliated Computer Services in collaboration with Glenn Reibman, his fiscal affairs director Jean Mateff, and county controller John Schimmel cashiered two of its employees - Jeff Britland and Karen Brandau - out of the Northampton County courthouse and out of their jobs.

Since you have begun censoring my comments again - something you confessed to and said you would never do again - I have gone back to copying my comments to your blog and saving them on my hard drive.

You also know as well as I do that Northampton County Judges James Hogan, Ed Smith, and Bill Moran conspired to have Plainfield octogenarian Anna Mae Kessler committed to an assisted-living facility in Bushkill Township and denied her the right of appeal.

As you said to me, face-to-face, of Anna Mae's court-appointed guardian living close by - "Who's going to guard the guardians?"

Bernie O'Hare said...

Billy, I deleted no comment. I took exception to your barrage of comments about the Panto-Bertsch debate, which I don't think you even attended. You even commented on your own comments. But I let your comments stand, my friend.

Now, in a blog about a county council race, you start talking about an old lawsuit that has nothing to do w/ council. Billy, I won't delete any marginally relevant comment. But I'll put you on notice here and now that I will delete you if you start spamming this blog w/ Off Topic remarks. I won't like doing it because I have such high regard for you. But if you try and stay relevant, we won't have a problem. You have much to offer.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, Bernie

I have high regard for you and respect your integrity.

I may be one of a privileged few to know that you once were the Assistant U.S. Attorney for Pennsylvania's entire MIddle District.

As I've told you before, your blog provides an invaluable public service - much better, even, then its predecessor that you broght to the World-Wide Web, "Our Common Bond."

I know you will keep up the good work.

Thanks for publishing a part, if not all, of my previous comment.

By the way, I am "crazy," I'm sure, but not in the strictest medical definition of the term.

Also, thanks again for your patience and indulgence.

I guess that's what friends are for.

Anonymous said...

Billy, as always with love!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bernie and fellow Blog-Readers,

To answer a 'common' question, I am finally able to say, I've spoken with my opponent face to face, at a Kirkland Village event. Interesting.

Also an update, I have added more 'TOM' information on the www.VoteForTom.Info site.

Tom Dietrich

Bernie O'Hare said...

Tom, Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the comment.

Anonymous said...

I pointed out that charity/volunteer organizations could help without prison's high recidivism. I would work to provide resources for their good work, since it is good government, and good for tax payers.,0,2317.story

Here council is moving to act on my goal.,0,2762896.story

See Bernie, how having choice in candidates can shake up bad governments?

With my election to council, I believe good county government will be a 24/7 goal.