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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, January 11, 2008

Scott Armstrong: Allentown's Sinking Away

Yesterday, in the wake of Morning Call questions about property code violations, Mayor Pawlowski withdrew Fred Bañuelos' nomination as the city's next DCED Director. That's the very office slated to start inspecting homes next month.

Instead of the usual propaganda about Allentown and the great things its great mayor is doing for that great city, it's time to start asking what the hell is going on. And who better for that than noted Allentown critic Scott Armstrong? Here's his well-written essay.

Throw out the lifeline, Allentown’s Sinking Away

The old hymn aptly describes the situation facing Allentown today. Each new day finds the city a little worse than it was the day before and closer to a point of irreparability (no return). Many of us who have not yet fled to the suburbs now feel as if we are stranded in a municipality that is floundering on the shoals. While our quality of life continues to ebb away the new disparity of real estate values between our Allentown properties and those of the surrounding neighborhoods has created a situation where many city residents can no longer afford to leave. Those who can, do so at a great loss.

Because the local paper routinely fails to find Allentown’s troubles newsworthy, too many residents remain unaware of the city’s precarious fiscal situation. The current mayor and council have “fixed” the city finances by borrowing more money and refinancing the city’s existing debt. These actions have added roughly 56 million dollars of debt to the city and saddled Allentown with long tem debt obligations that will hinder economic growth and burden future generations of city residents.

Presently, the mayor, the press, and council point to several shiny new buildings on Hamilton Street as proof of progress. Whether any of the current elected officials are responsible for these developments is debatable, but the larger point is apparent to those of us who live here. Hamilton Street is Allentown’s own Potemkin village. One block away in any direction from these once proud commercial blocks one finds residential streets where crime and blight run rampant.

It is perplexing to many of us that the man who came to Allentown as an advocate on urban housing has dropped the ball on this important issue; first as Community and Economic Development Director and now as mayor. For seven years Allentown’s downtown neighborhoods have experienced a famine of real ideas or solutions from two successive Democrat administrations. ”Weed and Seed,” the single program that was initiated, is little more than a conduit of state and federal grant moneys that provides funding for several administrative positions. Years into the program have yet to reveal any real and substantive positive change in the targeted area.

Recently, in the proverbial dead of night, council passed and the mayor signed a Homes’ inspection bill. To those unfamiliar with Allentown’s management situation this might seem to be a step in the right direction. However, who will be in charge of implementing this program points to another significant problem facing Allentown today.

Mayor Pawlowsi added to Allentown management woes by terminating most of the city’s finest bureau managers. By Ed’s decree, outsiders lacking credentials, degrees and experence have replaced veteran directors with years of expertise and statewide reputations of excellence. This mass transition from expert to neophyte managers could in time prove to be Allentown’s biggest problem. By many accounts, city hall is now in disarray and morale amongst city workers is at an all time low.

Amongst those who have been as the Morning Call put it ”retired” by Ed Pawlowski was Allentown resident and long serving Director of Building Standards, Eric Weis. The mayor replaced Eric with a Hilltown Bucks County resident who has no experience in building standards and code enforcement and no State Certifications to even review construction plans or issue permits. This non-city resident lacks any experience in working in a large urban municipality and it is anyone’s guess how this unqualified outsider is to oversee the implementation of the newly signed Home Inspections bill. It is bewildering as well to note that that just weeks after officially receiving yet another study on how to revitalize the city’s downtown Ed Pawlowski undermines this effort’s potential future success with this careless appointment.

In light of all this, many such as myself have for the most part simply stopped “complaining.” In Allentown; publicly expressed concern is labeled as complaining by both the Morning Call and the Pawlowski Administration. Speaking out on issues simply isn’t worth the effort anymore. Those who dare to speak are labeled by the same press, administration, and administration apologists as selfish, greedy, partisan, and as self promoters who are driven by agendas that have nothing to do with good government or Allentown’s better interests. I have no doubt that this tactic will be repeated against me as soon as this essay appears on this blog, so be it.

I have made my peace with Allentown. It is what it is and I don’t see myself continuing in what I now see as a futile effort to improve it. Since I arrived in the city in 1993 from Oregon, and several years of renting in Bethlehem, I have been involved in many efforts. For a time I was president of the West Park Civic Association and during this period we moved forward with the creation of the city’s third historic district. I was also one of five affidavit signers of the Rental Inspections Bill and worked hard to get that project’s leader, Tom Burk, elected to city council. I ran a successful campaign to elect a community advocate to a local district justice seat.

Since then, I have worked hard but unsuccessfully to get other good people such as Vic Mazziotti, Charlie Thiel, Steve Bodnar, Kim Beitler elected to public office in Allentown. Presently, I try to think less about the city and focus on things I can affect. To do otherwise would renew the frustration.

Scott Armstong
Allentown

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.

Donald H. Rumsfeld

Dottie said...

That was a great essay, so well said.

Please read today's police report. There has been a rash of west end Allentown robberies, some at knifepoint and with baseball bats. One occured on my own St. and I am getting kinda nervous about going out today.

Anonymous said...

I think all the problem people should move to South Whitehall and let those people experience what you are talking about and start anew in Allenrown.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wow, Now Pawolwski is Rummy. I'm sure he'll appreciate that comparison!

Anonymous said...

Allentown is not the "love Boat" that you pictured. I's more like a garbage barge coming from New York City that sank in the middle of the Lehigh River. Armstrong is right

Anonymous said...

Rather than just agree with the obvious, or bash the mayor, I would offer some suggestions for righting this ship before it's too late.

1) Get a dynamic new leader with a proven record.

The mayor's in over his head. He's a nice fellow, but (almost) everything he has done has turned to s**t. Check to see if Carl Greene is available and get him to Allentown as soon as possible. He is head of that city's housing authority and he has taken PHA from laughing stock to one of the finest in the country in less than 10 years. Pay him well.

2) Appoint a fiscal manager with qualifications and integrity.

3) Get tough on code enforcement, but do a simple background check to make certain the candidate is not a deadbeat slumlord first.

4) Figure out what Hamilton Street should be. Start by recognizing what it is not. It is not a shopping magnet anymore. Encourage the types of businesses you want. Encourage $$ Stores and that's what you'll get...just don't complain about it please.

5) Figure out a way to encourage developers with track records, or you'll be left with Mendlesons and Clarks.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Excellent and positive suggestions!

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, i would like to point out that everything anon 3;15 suggests has to some extend been done. pawlowski was the hot shot housing executive of the alliance, thats why afflerback hired him as community director, and his position just received a pay hike starting next term. We hired a managing director in addition to a financial director. i believe any reasonable person realizes pawlowski knew who he was hiring, he didn't expect the MC to check up, they haven't for the first two years. code enforcement in allentown is tough, the problem is you cannot legislate pride of ownership. we provided the incentives to induce brand name developers for hamilton st. i find anon 3;15 to be textbook bureaucratic,that's the problem. i believe the answers are much more basic; first clean and safe street, then a realistic and fair level playing field for development. i would personally prefer to stop funding the poverty magnet, such as the alliance for building communities and other housing agencies, AHA is enough housing assistance for allentown. when the homeowning taxpayers believe city hall truely does care about their quality of life, the energy and private investment will reappear.

Bernie O'Hare said...

MM,

You're supposed to be on vacation, so vacation. Forget these goofy blogs for a little while. Linda P. says HI and that she LOVES & MISSES YOU. How's that? You still got it, baby! She also tells me you were a great dad. Enjoy your holiday!

Badapple said...

Bernie

Scott Armstrong's essay expresses exactly my feelings in reference to Easton. We constantly hear what politicians are going to do, but seldom see any action. When we do, there are many questions about the real motives behind the actions. Special and self interests seem to prevail. Citizen's needs are not even of concern. While politians worry about devlopers and their legacies or their next political more. While we continue to deal with crime, blight and an ever lowering quality of life.

Badapple EU

Bernie O'Hare said...

Badapple, It's weird. In Easton, you and H/C are recognized as the citizen advocates you are. In Allentown, people like you are discmissed as crybabies. That's what disturbs me more than anything.

Badapple said...

Bernie,

We are called naysayers, complainers, crybabies, malcontents and worse

Bernie O'Hare said...

Really?? Well then I guess there's no difference after all.

Badapple said...

There is this perception that we all must be cheerleaders and keep our mouths shut if we don't have something positive to say. Well I say we have too many cheerleaders who are not in touch with reality. We must identify and acknowledge our problems before we can remedy them.

Anonymous said...

Special Ed. or any Allentown Mayor has to take back the streets. A powerpoint presentation on why Allentown is safe is not relevent.
If you lose your neighborhoods you lose your city. A couple glitzy publicily financed businesses on Hamilton Street won't make people not worry about walking on Walnut St. to get to their car.

atown-liker said...

The Allentown paper is pro-mayor, or anti-mayor. The paper focuses on good news, or bad news. Which is it?

Anonymous said...

Apples to apples comparisons are appropriate. Pick any successful third class city and see if you can discover the differences. Bethlehem is right next door, but it might not be fair to compare because Bethlehem is more of a residential city, that is, less density, more homes with front lawns and a more suburban feel. Despite this, what Bethlehem offers is the strength of its urban core, due mainly to stable, mostly owner occupied dwellings ringing its downtown. The downtown is compact, well defined and has a nice mix of retail, commercial, service/government without having too much of anything. Bethlehem's downtown is walkable and feels safe, even at night. It is also clean and there are few depressing sights such as homeless people, boarded or gated store fronts, abandoned cars, graffiti, etc. Bethlehem also follows a theme. They have hitched their wagon to history. The colonial/Victorian features, streetscapes, etc...

Can anyone name a third class city within easy driving distance of the LV, one that proves that such cities can be saved?

Anonymous said...

Here are some third class cities within 90 minutes of the Valley. Anyone familiar? How does Allentown stack up comparatively?

Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Trenton NJ, Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster, York, Chester, Pottsville, Easton, Bethlehem.

Statistical points of comparison - per capita crime, cleanliness, tax rate, % of home owner-occupied, debt, municipal services.

Fellow bloggers can probably add to this list of "what to look for in a city". One variable would be to visit any of these cities multiple times, preferrably at least once at night, on weekends, and on a regular business day to observe traffic both vehicular and pedestrian. Which cities strike you as lively, safe, clean, fun, progressive, optimistic? Iam familiar with most of these cities, but not all. I would be interested in hearing the preceptions of those of you have been to any of these places, and hear your opinion relative to how Allentown compares. The goal is to find a consensus "great third class city", then try to make a list of improvements to be applied to ATown.

Let's be constructive for a change.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let's be constructive for a change.

An essay that points out that A-town has its share of problems is actually being constructive. But for too long, these blogs have been littered with propaganda from puffers who try to pretend there are no problems at all. They also trash those who dare point these problems out. Last week, in a blog about Pam Varkony, I was slammed by one of A-town's thought police. Curmudgeon (whom I believe to be an actual or former city official) criticized me not being positive enough about Pawlowski.

A-town already has two propaganda blogs (our West End Neighborhood & Allentown Good News). This is not going to become its third. If you prefer that, you can go over there and comment that everything is simply wonderful.

I am only familiar w/ a few of the cities you want us to examine in an obvious attempt to take the focus off Allentown. But there are very big differences in the cities I know. I've made apple to apple comparisons, comparing Allentown with Bethlehem and Easton. Allentown's crime rate is far worse, well above the national average.

Mr. Damien Brown said...

Anon:

I have been to all of the cities you have listed, and even lived in one and worked just outside another.

The only successful ones that come to mind are Harrisburg and possibly Lancaster (both still has many problems).

Harrisburg was one of the most distressed cities in the country 20 years ago but was able to leverage their large base of state workers to jump start an entertainment/restaurant area downtown. It is still a tough sell for middle class families. One interesting thing they did was concentrate on code enforcement along the main routes into and through the city such as Market St and 2nd St. These arterial streets are beautiful, leaving visitors with a positive impression of the city while severe blight still exists in many surrounding neighborhoods, much worse than any seen in Allentown.

Lancaster, like Bethlehem, focused on historic preservation but unlike Bethlehem does not have a regional school district so people with kids still move out. Crime has gone down in recent years in Lancaster but I don't recall them ever really having a "flood the streets" with police campaign. Ironically, like Allentown, you never really see police here. Most of the city is in a historic district (80%?) and code enforcement is big.

For better of for worse, a lot of public money went into Harrisburg and Lancaster before success was achieved. Two constants with these examples are the fact that the Downtowns were transformed first. Once this was done the images of the city had changed and people moved into or fixed up some of the surrounding neighborhoods but much, if not most, of these cities remain as they were when these places were not viewed so well.

Cities in PA has all the cards stacked against them. It is an up hill battle to say the least.

Bernie O'Hare said...

A-town liker,

Scott Armstrong and others feel ther MC is too pro-Pawlowski. Team Pawlowski feels the MC is too critical.

Anonymous said...

Bernie-

My purpose of writing was not as an apologist for Allentown. Nor am I a cheerleader. But even though I don't live in Allentown, and admit that it has fallen a long way from its high point, I am merely trying to set the discussion toward possible ways to improve the city, thus the comparison point. If we can agree what makes a city "bad", and if we can find examples of cities that work, can't we try to apply what works in the city with problems? It's one thing to smack Allentown upside the head, that's easy. What about trying to come up with solutions? We might as well try, since politicians don't seem up to the task.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 4:38, Fair enough. You'll excuse me for suspecting your motives bc we have a host of A-town apologists out there. I apologize. Actually, a few days ago, I did post something that i considered a solution to A-town's problems. In 2006, and despite a steadily rising crime rate, A-town's police department was at its lowest strength in decades. And that, I believe sums it up. Allentown needs more police. When he ran for office, pawlowski made a number of pledges concerning those police. He promised to use LC deputy sheriffs, and to use citizen volunteers to augment the PD. He claimed also to have access to funding for more cops. None of this has happened.

Mr. Damien Brown said...

While I don't disagree with the idea we need more police, The Afflerback years saw the highest police department numbers ever, at 242.

Obviously that didn't do it, so police alone cannot be the solution.

I don't know about the LC deputy sheriffs but I would argue citizens are being used more than ever. A lot of relationships have been built with the administration, the police, and many citizens groups the last few years that have yielded results in many high profile cases.

One thing I think Allentown should do that many other PA cities do is use the local state police force for patrols and neighborhood saturation during peak times. I was told during the Heydt years this was not done due to moral and/or union issues in the department.

Then again, if Allentown did use the state police force all the locals in the burbs would be whining that they are subsidizing Allentown and that Allentown has gotten so bad the state police have had to step in. We are way behind on using this resource in the valley.

Bernard P. Fife said...

I was living and working in Florida from 1985 to 2005. When I returned to the Lehigh Valley in August 2005 I was shocked by what I saw. Allentown looked terrible and had all the appearances of a city in decay.

(I’m not insinuating that life in Florida is any better because it’s not. The cities might be more modern but they’re also suffering. Crime is skyrocketing in Florida along with illegal immigration. Also, cronyism is alive and well in Florida politics).

Those of you that have lived here for the last 20 years might be better able to inform me on what happened. Was it the influx of people from New York City? Was it the demise of the Bethlehem Steel Company and loss of jobs? Was it poor city management? What happened?

Anonymous said...

COPS FLEECE, DEFRAUD, AND SWINDLE THE AMERICAN TAX PAYER.
The average total gross salary for a cop for 20 years employment is $1.6 million, the cops average 45 years pensions is $22.4 millions. The average worker salary with similar educations and qualification earns $16.60 per hour, and in 40 years earns $3.3 millions. Average worker earns twice as much but has to work twice as long into his physical declining active years. He is still working while the cop is enjoying his pension in an active fun fill environment. The cops total pension is $22.4 million which he spends in his active years, while the worker pension of only $7.5 million is spend in his less active years. The cops works half the number of years but, receive three times (3x) greater pensions to spend in some of their best years of their lives.
Take a minute to let that sink in. WOW The average workers through his income taxes pays for the cops salaries and pensions.
Who is greater crook the cops who are stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the naive hard working tax payer or some this comparative minor thief, drug dealer. Crooked scumbag cops want to conceal his scandalous horrendous stick up of American workers. Cops proudly fleeces, defrauds, and swindles the American tax payer.
This compounding affect of small annually increases resulted in large amounts in the stated times frames. The average worker has to compete with other workers throughout the world, but not so the greedy cops. To reduce police wages municipalities should employee foreigners to police us, such as Indians, they speak the King' English and there laws and judicial system are similar to ours. They will perform a better job at a much lower cost. It took about 30 seconds for my calculation but the city of Allentown has failed to provide the public with it unfunded police pensions liabilities, which could be in the billions. If this assumption is correct the city's bonds will be cheaper than toilet paper. The police are stealing from the Allentown tax payer and property owners. And forget the $8 millions law suit created by Guth the criminal cop on patrol. These figure fail to include police support equipment, vehicles, insurance, law suit insurance, clerical personnel, which will easily double the cost.

it's ALL government employees. Look at what the teachers unions demand for their members. Look at what state, county and federal employees get from the taxpayers. They are ALL fleecing the private secter. This country is on a fast track to bankruptcy along with the social sercurity ponzi scheme

Joe Hilliard said...

Damien,

I respect your opinions about many things and find you to be a reasonable,intelligent, well-meaning person. And you also WORK to help make Allentown a better place.

However, I must point out some facts about the two cities you cite as examples - Harrisburg and Lancaster.

First, over the last 20 years, which is the time period you mention as the time of improvement, Harrisburg has accumulated about $1 billion in debt!!!! Yes, if I borrow $1 billion, any city will improve. But at what cost?????

Second, I am personally familiar with Lancaster as my brother & sister-in-law lived in downtown Lancaster about 10 years or so ago. They bought a reclaimed home and rebuilt it. In fact, they used a ladder to get to the second floor because the stairwell was so unsafe it had to be ripped out! The building was a former crack house.

Lancaster swept through troubled neighborhoods which had many previously single family homes that had become multi-unit dwellings, crack houses, flop houses, etc. They sold these very cheaply (we are talking dollars in single or double digits) for middle class families to reconvert to single family homes and fix them up and live there for a minimum of five years. THEN the business development started.

Instead, in Allentown we have the opposite situation - the housing stock is declining. And we are spending huge amounts of money on shiny new building hoping that if "we build it, they will come" (Loved Field of Dreams!) However, the surrounding neighborhoods are in decline while taxes and crime continue to increase.

Fix the neighborhoods first. Businesses are attracted to favorable economic demographics, not worsening economic demographics. And this theory that if we all just hope and wish won't work either.

"When facts come in conflict with hope, facts always win" - James Carville

Mr. Damien Brown said...

Joe:

Thanks for the detail.

I am very familiar with Lancater also, possibly not as far back as you are however, it is a great town. I worked in Mountville for a and still have friends in Lancaster.while when I lived in York.

I think your points are mainly aligned with mine I would argue that downtown redevelopment, much of it subsidized, happened while the housing stock was upgraded out there but that wasn't my main point.

My main point was "cleaning up crime" wasn't their main approach. Things got worse while they were making the efforts you describe for a while. It wasn't until the last few years that crime has improved.

One of the reasons Lancatser was able to do the things you describe is because they had a large abandonment problem. Despite much substandard housing, Allentown has very little abandonment, for better or for worse.

Mr. Damien Brown said...

please mind my typos

Bernie O'Hare said...

While I don't disagree with the idea we need more police, The Afflerback years saw the highest police department numbers ever, at 242.

And in 2006, in the face of a growing crime rate, Allentown's police strength was at its lowest point in decades. This is according to Pawlowski himself and is in the city web site.

During Afflerback's time, police were also under the control of Chief Kuhn. Most agree his appointment was a big mistake.

Pawlowski has failed to do what he said he was going to do. When he ran for mayor, he said he was going to use Sheriff Rossi to ease some of the burden on police and conduct warrant sweeps. Whatever happened to that promise? Rossi was standing by Pawlowski's side when that promise was made.

Pawlowski also said he was going to tap into federal funding to beef up the department. He claimed to be aware of differenct resources. What happened to that promise?

The lack of police is a big problem. You need help. That undermanned department is bound to make mistakes and then individual officers will be blamed for what is really Pawlowski's own failure. Pawlowski recently fired an officer who sadly killed a child while responding to an emergency. If there were more police, perhaps that tragedy could have been avoided. But Pawlowski didn't fire himself.

Retired ASD teacher said...

It's really enjoyable to read intelligent thoughts (mostly) rather than the garbage responses that keep coming to the Morning Call Forum.

First of all, I do believe Allentown is in SERIOUS trouble. The overall impression of that community and its leadership is dropping rapidly.

Just yesterday, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a feature on how Pottstown, PA is turning around its fortunes through a program in which homeowners are being rewarded for converting properties back to single family use. Pottstown officials have publicly stated 'there is such a thing as too many rentals within any city.'Evidently, that city's leadership is willing to acknowledge its problems and get to work correcting them with real action.

Also yesterday, the Reading Eagle featured an editorial praising the Mayor and new police chief for their ability to eradicate a large portion of that city's crime problem. Someone should speak to Reading's administration.

Finally, Allentown's number of police on the street is about to fall even further. I have it on good authority a new wave of retirements is coming soon as morale is at an all-time low.

Mayor Ed really needs to be less defensive, roll-up his sleeves, make an acknowledgement of his city's mounting troubles, then ASK FOR HELP in specific ways.

Anonymous said...

We are getting great comments since the call went out for constructive criticism. I think ASD Teacher and Joe Hilliard are leading us in the right direction as well as Damien. If you read their posts, you can't help but see that having stable, sound residential neighborhoods around a city's central core is fundamentally critical in order to preserve the downtown. I don't think you can find an example of a truly healthy, vibrant city, unless the city has healthy neighborhoods. Again, as I stated in my posts about Bethlehem, that is what makes Bethlehem work. Pick a point in center city and walk or drive in any direction, more than a few blocks away from the core. What do you find? What you find are stable neighborhoods, mostly owner-occupied. This makes a huge difference. I believe that it is no coincidence that the cities with high rental %'s have troubles like A-Town. Same with medium family income. Bethlehem - 58% owner occupied; MFI - $45,000 and it is 81% White. Allentown? - 52% OOU ; MFI - $37,000 72% White.

Others:

Easton 48% $33K 78% White
Reading 51% $26K 59% White
Chester 47% $25K 18% White
Wilkes Barre 53% $26K 92% White
Harrisburg 42% $26K 31% White

Pennsylvania 71% $40K

Source: US Census "Quick Facts"

Anonymous said...

Chester is mostly poor, mostly minority and it has become a mostly renters community. The demographics don't seem to lie. Chester is on the "distressed list", but so is Pittsburgh, a city recently proclaimed as one of the country's "most livable cities".

Bernie O'Hare said...

Allentown's number of police on the street is about to fall even further. I have it on good authority a new wave of retirements is coming soon as morale is at an all-time low.

I have heard this from several sources. Rather than wait for a bad situation to get worse, I hope and pray that Allentown is actively recruiting and takes some measures to beef up its strength until its manpower returns to normal.

Anonymous said...

How is Allentown expected to pay for the retirements and new police recruits?

I think someone should call a spade a spade here and recognize many of the the police may be part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Here is what could be next for Allentown -

As it becomes poorer and more dangerous, taxes are raised (municipal, school, and nuisance.) As this happens, more and more middle class residents are driven from the city. The city becomes even poorer.

There will always be a few businesses, even big guys like PPL, Butz, Johnny Manana, Brew Works who can be enticed to downtown with KOZ's and other "promises". Allentown will consist of wildly divergent pockets of glitz and abject poverty within a few blocks of each other.

Retail will consist of a few hearty souls like the Dollar Stores, Pawn Shops, and other cut rate purveyors of bling and "urban wares".

Allentown will eventually be 30% white, consist of 65 - 70% rental units and will consistently have homocide figures that will shock you.

Not a pretty sight.

Bernie O'Hare said...

cut rate purveyors of bling and "urban wares".

I understand the very valid point you are trying to make, but neither "urban ware" nor "bling" should be associated with poverty or a city in decline. One of A-town's more successful clothing stores specializes in clothing that appeals to people of color. That's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering where the Morning Call, Chicago tribune or WHATEVER name it will be going by tomorrow gets the right to VIOLATE my PRIVACY by printing PERSONAL information on the DEATH of my mother and the condition of my sister after a TRAGIC ACCIDENT took my mothers life and had my sister in critical condition?? I am referring to the internet publication of the carbon monoxide article that was published on the internet on 12/03/07!!! I was on my way to St Lukes Hospital to be with my sister calling my brother in Vermont when i was told by my sister in law that she ALREADY knew of the death of my mother thanks to an internet publication! it wasnt even an hour since i had found both of them that mcall.com had it all over the internet before i can notify any family members??? WOULD YOU LIKE to have your FAMILY and FRIENDS find out thru the INTERNET that their mother, grandmother, friend had passed???? LET ALONE them stating that the residents who lived there would not be returning home for sometime and LEAVING THEIR HOME OPEN to THEFT, HOME INVASION or ANYONE that feels the need to prey on INNOCENT VICTIMS??? I feel as tho the reporter who published this should have BEEN MORE ALERT and AWARE of what they were sharing with the public!!! How was i expected to return to the house to get clothes to bury my mother in without thinking someone may have been inside the house when i arrived or waiting for the right time to do it??? I feel the report was a SHAME and a DIGRACE that will never be forgiven by me! To make matters worse all the info they got was from neighbors who had no clue as to my mothers past or present....for instance for them to publish that my mother was a widow for 20 years was a JOKE! She was DIVORCED in 1971 and i have the divorce decree to prove it,,,,,,,,,,so WHO GAVE THIS INFORMATION and why wasnt the family given the OPPORTUNITY to correct or acknowledge it??? FREEDOM OF SPEACH, FREEDOM OF THE PRESS????? BUT NO FREEDOM OF PRIVACY is WRONG!!!! I wrote and mailed a letter to the editor about this and it was never published??? WHY?? DIDNT THEY LIKE it or wasnt it any of their concern since it WASNT THERE FAMILY that was in this situation? WHO RELEASED all this information and why werent THEIR NAMES put on the website if they were SO AWARE of what was going on??? I WILL NEVER BUY THE MORNING CALL,SUBSCRIBE to THE MORNING CALL or EVEN GLANCE at the MORNING CALL AGAIN???? AM I HURT??? YOU BET I AM!!!! AM I STILL GRIEVING?? YOU BET I AM!!!!!!!! DOES THE MORNING CALL CARE ABOUT ME??? YOU BET THEY DONT!!!!!!! DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU and YOUR FAMILY!!!! a person gets SHOT in this GREAT CITY but NO NAMES can be PUBLISHED until the next of kin is notified! a WORKER FALLS OF A SCAFFOLD at CITY HALL but no name is released! MY MOTHER DIES and my SISTER WAS IN CRITICAL CONDITION and their NAME and ADDRESS HITS THE PAPER in less then an hour??? WHERE ARE THEIR RIGHTS??? WHERE ARE MY RIGHTS??? WHERE ARE MY FAMILIES RIGHTS to hear it first hand FROM A FAMLY MEMBER??? WHERE ARE YOUR RIGHTS???????? The Morning Call doesnt seem to think we have any unless we are shot or INVOLVED in a CITY ACCIDENT!!! DEFEND YOURSELF and YOUR FAMILY NOW!!! DONT LET THE INTERNET TAKE OVER and BE THE FIRST to NOTIFY families about a tradgedy!!!! ITS JUST NOT RIGHT!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Folks, Anon 7:19 is a person whose mom recently passed away as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning in her A-town home. Her comment is directed at the MC. I asked her to send me an email about her situation, and I think this is what she must have thought I meant. This comment will be posted separately and on another blog.

Anonymous said...

Scott is on point and says nothing that is not obvious. Allentown is beyond repair. The very west end of the City should start to begin secession talks and perhaps try and be annexed by South Whitehall Township. The current Mayor has nothing but "smoke and mirrored" the problems of this City. Bill Heydt, in hindsight, was exactly what this City needed and needs. Scott, over here in Northampton County, we would be happy to have you in one of our Suburban Communities.

Anonymous said...

Did the Inky point out that the Pottstown revival is being driven by middle-class families who can no longer afford to live close to their jobs in the Phila suburbs? If we had a mass transit connection to KOP and center-city Phila, I'll bet you'd begin to see a revival in Allentown. I commuted from Allentown to Phila for years until the gas prices started climbing. I moved and now have a 2 mile commute - bye-bye Lehigh Valley.

Retired ASD teacter said...

To the latest anonymous poster . .

no, there was no mention of Pottstown's make-up of commuters.

What I found significant in that Inky article was that Pottstown's leadership was willing to acknowledge a problem (too many rentals) and to do something specific about it. Too many rental units can cause concerns not just from irresponsible renters but also from irresponsible, 'slum' landlords.

No longer an owner of 2 Allentown properties, I believe Allentown current problem is due to an unwillingness to admit to any problem AND Mayor Ed's incompetence in doing anything specific and realistic about those problems.

I would like to think people go to the polls to elect leaders, not just office holders.

A bit related, the current issue of New York Magazine examines that city's decline in crime. If the magazine's statistics are correct, Allentown recorded more murders (21) last year than did Staten Island (11). Staten Island is a community 4 times the size of Allentown, yet similar in several other demographics.

Why the difference?

Perhaps the answer to that question could lead to some solutions for Allentown.

michael molovinsky said...

for those convinced that allentown has too many rentals, you should have concern over the new "loft" apartments being promoted thru KOZ by the city. If these units fail to attract their target demographic, or resort to less than the desired dink once the bloom is off the apple, the rental "problem" is increased. simply put, this mayor's one hand doesn't know what the other is doing. your all welcome jan. 26, 12noon, Faith Baptist, 219 N. 12th to express your concerns on any city issue

Anonymous said...

Well Bernie,

You were right about one thing - it's well written.

It smacks of partisanship too.

Everybody, seems to forget (and I say this being more acutely aware of the Mayor's human frailty than any of you can know) that this problem started long before Pawlowski took office. Given the situation that is Allentown and the thirty years it took to get this way, how can it be all Pawlowski's fault? Further, how can anyone, in the same breath, use exactly the opposite reasoning and determine that the previous cohort of managers is not somehow part of the problem.

I'm dissapointed in Ed - terribly -to the extent that it is maddening as all hell to watch paranoia, delusion, and a lack of progress that inevitably occurs in the absence of organizational discipline become the standard of the day. It is, simply, a waste.

If you truly believe he exercises patronage, you should talk to some of us who supported him through the darkest of hours until we were succesful. Many were ignored or worse, deliberately and blatantly lied to and thrown away like yesterday's trash. There's a lesson here he needs to learn - people don't mind being used, they mind being discarded. The real telling will be to see how many people from his campaign are there at the outset of the re-election season. I know I won't be.

Signed,

Conspicuous in Absence (2B)

Bernie O'Hare said...

Given the situation that is Allentown and the thirty years it took to get this way, how can it be all Pawlowski's fault?

It's not. My point, quite simply, is that it is time to stop treating him as some sort of Chicago Messiah. It looks like he's just another Chicago pol.

Allentown needs serious answers to its very real crime problem, not Johnny Mananas.

Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

Well Bernie,

You were right about one thing - it's well written.

It smacks of partisanship too.

Everybody, seems to forget (and I say this being more acutely aware of the Mayor's human frailty than any of you can know) that this problem started long before Pawlowski took office. Given the situation that is Allentown and the thirty years it took to get this way, how can it be all Pawlowski's fault? Further, how can anyone, in the same breath, use exactly the opposite reasoning and determine that the previous cohort of managers is not somehow part of the problem.

I'm dissapointed in Ed - terribly -to the extent that it is maddening as all hell to watch paranoia, delusion, and a lack of progress that inevitably occurs in the absence of organizational discipline become the standard of the day. It is, simply, a waste.


its like someone took the words straight out of my brain.

Also to the anon 9:34pm who thinks that everyone would be much happier in the burbs:

I am a "west end" gal, and the idea of being annexed into South Whitehall Township is as horrifying to me as the prospect of downtown's gang-bangers moving to the suburbs would be to you. Allentown is not beyond repair - its not even close. OVERWHELMINGLY Allentown is a city with much appeal - it is safe, it is beautiful, you can walk to the store or out to dinner or to any number of beautiful parks. Before anyone starts whining about what an Allentown apologist I am, I'm not denying that there is a rising crime problem, a failing school district, a paranoid administration, and a growing income disparity. Allentown has problems just like any other city. Many people on this thread have made excellent points about ways to turn the tide in Allentown. Even the administration has come up with a few (although seemingly there has been limited follow-through).

Abandonment is not a solution. Philadelphia's violent crime rate is 2 points higher than Allentown's. Does that mean that Philadelphia should be abandoned as well? Hell, while we're at it, should we peace out of Pittsburgh too? And Reading?

How about if every city in Pennsylvania is abandoned by its middle or upper middle class citizens and we all move to the suburbs. We can still work in the cities, we'll just have to commute (by car of course) twenty miles each way to and from our jobs every day. And we can all shop at the Wal-Mart in the strip mall 3 miles from home. And eat at the Ruby Tuesday's. What a fun and great life that will be. Some of us live in the city because we like it. The way I measure "quality of life" I have a considerably higher quality of life living in Allentown than I would living in the suburbs, and I know I'm not alone.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LOLV,

I'll agree that A-town is a great city. But I completely disagree with the assertion that it is safe or that you can stroll after dinner safely to Allentown's numerous parks. Perhaps from your little oasis, but not many other areas. Are you related to Lee Butz? Safety is A-town's biggest problem by far, and in fact the lack of it is the cause of most of its other problems.

Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

I said "overwhelmingly" not "entirely." Crime is certainly a problem, but it is not a problem which has spread throughout the entire city. The myth that ALL of Allentown is unsafe because some neighborhoods are unstable is one of the reasons why you have so many "cheerleaders." Lee Butz is totally nuts, and totally WRONG when he talks about how safe center city is at night, but that doesn't mean that all of Allentown is off limits. I have lived in ACTUALLY unsafe neighborhoods several times in my life. One of the many reasons I moved back is because I could only afford to live in lousy crime-ridden neighborhoods in new york.

I'm not saying its okay that center city is unsafe, just that I think the idea that all of Allentown is like that is not based in reality. Crime occurs everywhere, even in the suburbs, but most neighborhoods in Allentown are certainly safe for anyone with a reasonable ability to pay attention to their surroundings.

Anonymous said...

Is Allentown safe? Be the judge -
(Based upon FBI statistics)

In 2006 -


All Crimes per 100,000

Allentown Nation

6667.5 4479.3

Viloent Crimes

Allentown Nation

1009.5 553.5


Murders

Allentown Nation

14.9 7


Robberies

Allentown Nation

638.7 205.8


Burglaries

Allentown Nation


1338.2 813.2



...and I rest my case, and Bernie's.

Why should decent folks stay? Why should serious investors invest?

Anonymous said...

I'll repost the last one since it was hard to read in that format with Allentow's 2006 per capita #'s first, followed by national averages:


All Crimes

Allentown 6667.5 Nation 4479.3

Violent Crimes

Allentown 1009.5 Nation 553.5




Murders

Allentown 14.9 Nation 7




Robberies

Allentown 638.7 Nation 205.8




Burglaries

Allentown 1338.2 Nation 813.2

Mr. Damien Brown said...

LOLV:

I think your perspective on crime and mine are very closely aligned.

I walk around all hours of the day and night and never have a problem. I walk past Allen HS 2-3 times a week in the morning and all the kids consistently treat me with respect as I pass by.

On occasion I walk home from Downtown very late at night (or early morning) all the way out to 19th St, dressed well and alone, and never even found myself in a threatening situation. I wouldn't suggest a women do this because she is likely to be harasses a bit, but I don't think anyone really has to worry about their safety as long as they implement a bit of street smarts.

To say Allentown has a crime problem is an honest observation, as it is with any town with any crime. To say it is not safe is simply not accurate.

Retired ASD teacher said...

To the latest anonymous . .

Assuming your statistics are correct (and I believe they are) it should be clear, Allentown is under siege by an atmosphere of (currently) uncontrollable crime.

For 'look out lehigh valley,' the problem does not characterize all of Allentown. I shall assume, when it does, THEN this situation will be an issue for the city's leadership.

For me, the ease of committing crimes in Allentown is spreading rapidly. The East Side is quite a bit different than it was just 5 years ago. The wonderful West End is becoming a smaller geographic location. Etc. etc.

At what point does someone step up to the plate and say "enough is enough?" Then say, " here's what we're going to do."

Let me offer this . . . Allentown citizens need to agree there IS a problem, even if that problem has not affected them directly (yet).

It's time for the city's leadership (would that be Mayor Ed?) to lead the charge, march in the streets, ask for others to join him in saying ' enough is enough, here's what we're going to do.'

Yes, a key component in this pro-active approach will need to be Latino leadership. As soon as it is determined who that Latino leadership is, a large portion of Allentown's population will perhaps be motivated to change this downward course. If not, well, you reap the garden you sow, I guess.

My apologies to all who are offended. Political correctness is not something I care much about.

michael molovinsky said...

ALLENTOWN
SPEAK OUT

FORUM for CITIZEN CONCERN

AFRAID OF CRIME IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

AGAINST CITY INSPECTING PRIVATE HOMES

TIRED OF THE PARKING AUTHORITY & LANTA

CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS INVITED

SAT. JAN.26 12 noon

FAITH BAPTIST CHURCH
219 N 12 th st.
between Chew and Turner Sts.

Anonymous said...

Crime on the East Side is substantially less than it was 10 years ago. At one time it was the epicenter of crime in Allentown.

Ask any community leader of police officer who has been on the force. Your info is wrong.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Crime on the East Side is substantially less than it was 10 years ago. At one time it was the epicenter of crime in Allentown."

Ask any community leader of police officer who has been on the force. Your info is wrong.

It's not my info, it is FBI info from 2006. If you ask a group of people in Iraq if their country is safe, the answers might vary, depending whether they are Sunni or Shiites, or where in the country they reside. Allentown is no different; perception does count and I think that's just as important as whether Mr. Brown of LOLV feel they can "walk the streets safely" or not. As Bernie says, it's one thing to love Allentown and want it to be successful, but it's another thing to admit that there is a rather serious problem with crime. Sort of like the father who enters his homely daughter in a beauty contest. To him, she's beautiful, to others, she is not. They see her differently. Others, who are not blinded by loyalty see Allentown as she is. Sorry.

Bill Villa said...

"I walk past Allen HS 2-3 times a week in the morning and all the kids consistently treat me with respect as I pass by." - Mister Damien

Damien, timing's everything I guess. Yesterday afternoon my oldest son, 24, was jumped by a fast becoming infamous gang of about 25 Allen High Schoolers in the 100 block of North West Street, a half-block East of Allen High. One of these wanna-be thugs slugged my son on the jaw in an attempt to steal his skateboard. My son had to wield his skateboard as a weapon to scare the gang off. They did however manage to steal some of the younger kids' skateboards. I know you need verification on these things so call the cops because a Police Report was filed.

Mr. Damien Brown said...

Mr. Villa:

I'm glad to hear a police report was filed. That was the appropriate way to follow up on the situation.

Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

Bill, I'm glad P is okay! Large groups of violent teenagers are super scary, and I've had my own run ins with them more times than I'd like to think about!

to the retired ASD teacher and anon 4:22: I don't recall ever saying that crime should not be addressed, nor do I think Damien has suggested that in his posts. I think crime is the #1 issue facing the city right now and absolutely every available resource should be used to fight the growing crime problem in Allentown. One of the best ways to do that in a downtown area is to stabilize neighborhoods with increased home ownership, a mixed-income residential population, and mixed-use zoning to encourage neighborhood vitality. My post about the relative safety of many if not most of Allentown's neighborhoods is in response to someone's suggestion that we all should jump ship and head for the suburbs. Allentown is not lost, and it won't be lost as long as there are citizens willing to invest ourselves in our community.

Allentown is in desperate need of a better trained, better qualified, and increased-presence police force. But even if the police force were tripled, the police would not be able to patrol every block of the city at every moment of the day. Police are not the only way or even the most effective way to create an inhospitable environment for criminal activity.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To say it is not safe is simply not accurate.

With a crime rate soaring above the national rate, a police department whose numbers are falling, and a city government that buries its head in the sand, it is irresponsible to make any other assertion. Allentown is unsafe, not just like any other city. It is the least secure city in the LV.

Bill Villa said...

"Mr. Villa: I'm glad to hear a police report was filed. That was the appropriate way to follow up on the situation." -Mister Damien

Oh how civil. Actually, I think beating the freakin' snot out of that whole gang would be more appropriate and most effective.

LOLV, don't tell "P" I posted this (he hates it when I get involved in his challenges :) but, tough ... and I didn't know you knew him ... cool ..

Mr. Damien Brown said...

Bernie:

I am not even going to entertain your talking points. If the stats said otherwise, you would argue statistics can prove anything. You simply have an anti-Allentown position, like many in the valley, because you are envious of us who live here proudly for some reason.

Like it or not, I feel perfectly safe. If I am somehow deaf and delusional to all the crime and gunshots outside of my door (end sarcasm) your rants are doing nothing to make my family and I safer.

Since you are so into statistics, and you only like comparing Allentown to other cities in the valley, why don't you plot the three cities (and some other places) crime stats on a graph (exponential curve or simple line graph) for 2005-07 and show us all which cities are headed in the right direction. As you are aware, Allentown would be flat in most categories if not in decline. Can everywhere else say the same? Can Nazareth?


LOLV:

You are 200%. The vast majority of Allentown is no where near lost. Even the worst sections are still occupied by a majority of honest working people.

Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

I don't want to sound like I'm nitpicking, but bernie, according to the stats posted above, the crime rate is 2% higher in Allentown than compared to the rest of the nation, which is hardly "soaring".

Also, where do those stats come from? I am on the FBI's website right now, looking at this table:

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/prelim2007/table4ok_wi.htm

which is showing considerably different numbers than the ones posted above.

according to that table, Allentown actually experienced a 15% drop in violent crime in 2007, has a crime rate comparable to pittsburgh, considerably lower than Philadelphia, and considerably higher than Erie.

on "bestplaces.com" which claims to have gathered crime info from FBI data, Allentown's violent crime rating is exactly the same as Easton's and only 1 point higher than Bethlehem's (the national "point" is 3, Allentown & Easton are "6" and Bethlehem is "5". I don't have any idea what those numbers really mean, but if they are in fact accurately based on real statistics, it shows that Allentown is not actually the crazy danger zone that should be singled out from the rest of the Lehigh Valley's cities.

michael molovinsky said...

lolv and damien, here is a fact, the middle class flight from allentown has been a sociological phenomenon. this has occurred partially from racism, but mainly from crime and quality of life issues. anybody with a police scanner can attest to the differential between actual crime and that which is reported. two years ago every car window on the north side of chew between 10th and 12th had its window busted, not a word in the paper. so crime, with or without the statistics, real or perceived is destroying allentown. for pawlowski to have claimed that he had to spend the first two years righting the financial situation provided no consolation to most citizens

Bernie O'Hare said...

LOLV,

You're using what the FBI itself characterizes as preliminary figures.

The data, and this is also from the FBI itself
the FBI itself, show that the crime rate in Allentown has grown steadily from 1995 through 2006. It has soared above the national rate in most categories, and crime in Allentown is signifigantly higher than Easton. Easton is making a run at A-town, but has not caught it yet.

I am pleased to see that these preliminary figures may show a drop, but it's too soon to make that assessment.

Right now, I'm inclined to think the crime rate for 2007 will be higher than 2006 when the final figures are in. I say this there is a correlation between A-town's crime rate and the number of calls made to police. Police have reported a steady increase in calls since 2002 (the data for this is at QC blog) and the crime rate has increased with it. Since police calls in 2007 were higher than any other year, I suspect the crime rate will be higher, too. But I will be happy if proven wrong.

As far as bestplaces.com, I pretty much agree. I think A-town is the worst of the three cities, but Easton is making a run.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. Brown,

I have no anti-Allentown slant. I like A-town. My grandson, whom I adore, lives there. One of my sisters lives there. I visit A-town frequently to see and spend time with my grandson. I enjoy the vibrant Latino community and its very large black family, where there is a lot of love. I've been introduced to both communities as a result of my grandson's passion for sports. The only people I don't care for are assholes like me and you - self-important snobs who look down their noses at others.

Your statement about walking around center city at all hours of the day and night is terribly irresponsible. LOLV claims Lee Butz is nuts for making that kind of remark. He's nuts like a fox. He's giving a false impression to draw tenants. I don't know your motive. But it's irresponsible. Certainly there are areas in the worst cities that are relatively safe, and A-town is no exception. But you should not mislead people like that. It's propaganda. Please confine that to the puff blogs.

It's also inconsistent with a comment you posted a few months ago about feeling scared while walking in a certain part of center city. So I don't think you really mean it and are letting your anger get to you again.

And to answer your question about Nazareth, it is in decline. Nazareth was fully developed many years ago and has lost almost all of its industry. The cities and older boroughs have many of the same problems. In some ways, Nazareth is worse off than A-town. We lack your diversity. We lack your open spaces, very unusual for a city. We're about even on the arts. We have many problems, and believe me, I write about them.

On your puff blog, you now have this remark. "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain — and most fools do." I guess that's a shot at folks like me. That's OK. This simple little blog, combined with NewsOverCoffee and the local papers, was able to persuade Nazareth to start following the Sunshine Act. We cast a public light on the plight of skateboarders.

I'm willing to look at my community objectively, looking at the good and the bad. I'm not going to hop on your blog and slam you for not telling the truth about A-town. You can do what you want. But don't come on my blog and expect to be able to spew propaganda without rebuttal.

Conspicuous in Absence (2B) said...

At 3:38 Ret'd ASD Teacher said "Yes, a key component in this pro-active approach will need to be Latino leadership. As soon as it is determined who that Latino leadership is, a large portion of Allentown's population will perhaps be motivated to change this downward course."

You've hit the nail straight on the head. If you look a the statisitcs you'll see that there are about 110,000 people in Allentown. Of that number, 40% or so are of Hispanic descent. Let's assume 50% of them are eligible voters (the number is actually a little higher but we'll go with that so you don't really freak out). That means more than 20,000 people in Allentown, of Hispanic descent, are eligible to vote. Of that number, approximately 3,000 are registered voters. Of them, fewer than 1,000 are super-voters (defined as having participated in 4 of the past 5 elections). Why?

The answer is simply a disinterested and generally transient population.

If you wnat to know why the fight to recover and repair Allentown is so difficult just consider these statistics and implications. You have almost 20% of the City sitting on the sidelines. There is only one way to reverse this trend - homeownership.

Council needs to overturn the zoning regulation and end multi-unit housing.

It's a big, big step. I think D'Amore has big enough stones to take this on at the Council level and provide real leadership.

But, that is just one opinion.

CiA (2B)

michael molovinsky said...

dear 2b, what many people don't understand is that there has been over 20k apartments in 7k different buildings in town since after ww2. this is NOT at this point a zoning issue. these apartments were not a problem until 12 years ago, on the contrary, they provided housing for singles and childless couples who kept downtown allentown going for 20 years beyond bethlehem and easton. allentown tried to legislate pride of ownership through the rental inspection act of 1998, apparently that approach failed or we would not still be discussing this issue. allentown needs leadership who can make the most of this real estate reality, currently we have a former low-income housing advocate.

(2B) said...

molovinsky said "singles and childless couples who kept downtown allentown going for 20 years beyond bethlehem and easton"

true enough mike except that, generally, those were days when there were businesses downtown that supported a different kind of economy.

That economy (American manufacturing) doesn't exist anymore. The difference being that then, people chose rentals as convenience, not necessity.

Necessity breeds discontent and disinterest.It doesn't matter that the housing is low income, it matters that it is owned. And, its not all low income - Zawarski's Townes for instance. And Pawlwoski was as big an advocate for that as anyone including the Z Bros.

Homeownership instills a sense of community which leads to greater levels of participation. We need that in our city as a basis for establishing the new communities.

michael molovinsky said...

2b, what you say is also fair enough, however, it's paramount that reality and honesty are applied. for instance, the upscale loft apartments have not succeeded, farr has failed to rent all 20 units in three years, cityline has been housing insured fire damage customers from his primary business. where is the real market for the new nick z lofts going in the schoen property? we are just increasing the apartment stock at the cities peril? will the new townhouses really be owner occupied, or will it be a pecktor show like at riverport?. remember as KOZ the tax burden of more children and service, etc. must be absorbed by the taxpayers. time will tell if the demographics are improved, or we are just providing photo opts for pawlowski and spec opts for developers.

Anonymous said...

MM:

Most points are well noted but is is untrue to state that the Farr Lofts have not succeeded.

Can you name any local apartment complex with 20 or more units that is ever 100% leased.

If you consider that it takes at least 1 month to lease an an apartment for a new tenant the building will always be approx. 8.5% vacant. This assumes the place is leased while the old tenant is living there. If not, make it 2 months. You are not at a minimum 15% vacancy.

The Farr Lofts are doing just fine. Please stop trying to spread disinformation.

2B said...

Molo-man,

Points well taken - a plethora of higher end, un-rented properties isn't going to save anything. Nevertheless, the point made by anon 11:53 is also accurate. Somewhere in between there is a happy medium.

That said, I can't disagree with spec properties by developers - if they've got enough money to build/rehab in an economy like this one, then who are we to say it's wrong. What I am opposed to is the KOZ which knows no political allegiance, amounts to corporate welfare, and is burdensome to the taxpayers of the entire state. And, I agree that a photo op for hizzoner is not warranted but just as scorpions sting and snakes bite politicos always seek credit and photo ops.

Anyway, this topic is about done.

Bernie,

NEXT!

michael molovinsky said...

anon 11:53 the original pre-lease banner from three years ago is still on the farr building, there are units which have yet to see a tenant. i believe pawlowski gave them around 279k on record, perhaps more on the side. after 30 years in the business, i'm pretty familiar with rentals, i think for you to call my opinion disinformation is unwarranted.