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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Morning Call Backs Ron Angle, the Great Dissenter

Nobody on Northampton County Council agrees with Ron Angle. No surprise there. But yesterday, The Express Times did, and published a gutsy editorial that criticized the actions of one of its bigger advertisers, St. Luke's . Today, even The Morning Call follows suit, although in more tepid terms.

Should St. Luke's Hospital, a nonprofit, be permitted to float tax exempt bonds to develop land for non-hospital purposes? Angle suggested we wait until we know the answer to that question, but the rest of county council was in such a hurry to do the bidding of the big money people they even convened a "special meeting," something they would never do for you or me.

In its typical equivocal fashion, The Morning Call claims the St. Luke's bond is either "a mistake" or "a wise investment in a public purpose." Let me be a little more clear. It's a mistake by Northampton County Council. Thanks to them, a non-profit hospital has a leg up over any private developer. Whether St. Luke's actually exercises that advantage is purely academic.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree Bernie. I understand MM's argument under a separate post regarding the size of the mistake not being material, but to me all actions by elected officials should be above reproach - this isn't.

I'm a Lehigh County guy, so I have a question - is Ron Angle looked at as such a nutjob over there that even when he makes good points he gets ignored?

Anonymous said...

oops - not "mistake", but "action."

Bernie O'Hare said...

is Ron Angle looked at as such a nutjob over there that even when he makes good points he gets ignored?

I don't think it's so much that Ron is viewed as a nut job as divisive. I know one former R county council member who flatly told me he could never vote for anything Angle proposed. Ron has really become more mellow in the last few years, but there still is that feeling. On top of that, he is dealing with council members who themselves are divisive and who exalt partisanship over goiod government.

michael molovinsky said...

i believe there is some misunderstanding concerning municipal bonds. to my knowledge the responsibility to pay bond holders rests solely with st. lukes, not with northampton county. the bonds are rated on st. lukes financial status, not the county's. i can appreciate that this land acquisition may not be strictly related to the hospitals core mission, but then again it's a small portion of the bond. considering questionable koz's given in allentown, considering incentives given for virtually employee free warehousing in western lehigh county, considering producing large cardboard checks is an growth industry in pa., under rendell, what's the fuss?
bernie's thrilled because angle's position was endorsed by the easton express. considering the real problems the morning call ignores every day, maybe they should be more concerned with the fate of sarced heart three blocks away from them

Bernie O'Hare said...

There's no misunderstanding. No one has calimed these bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the county. What I and others have claimed is that these are tax exempt bonds.

You claim that other things matter more, and you're right. You also claim I'm thrilled bc Angle has been supported by the MSM, and you're right about that, too. I love having the opportunity to point it out to Ron's many admirers here in Blogistan.

Anonymous said...

MM, agree w/ everything you say, there are many bigger problems than this one.

My biggest problem is I'm getting more and more disgusted, it seems like no one has any ethics or integrity anymore.

My daughter bought a purse on the street in NY a few months ago. It was real and obviously stolen. The retail price for this bag was $150, and I made her do 2 things - make a $150 contribution to charity, and give the purse to our church garage sale. When I told another parent (whose daughter has

Anonymous said...

also purchased purses on the street) he thought I went way overboard. He had just laughed it off when his daughter showed up w/ stolen goods.

What the hell are we teaching our kids when we do that???

If I went overboard, so be it. But kids need to learn right from wrong, and they should learn it at home.

I only wish our politicians learned it when they were kids.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 1:26, 1:28,

Your comments, although technically OT, are appreciated. I would never tell a woman, even my daughter, to give up a purse. I think it depends on whether you're a dad or a mom.

Anonymous said...

Still learning this blogging stuff, I tried to go to gun control on Pam Varkony's blog and was gently reminded to stay OT!

I'll keep learning.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's OK. Your comments were interesting.

Anonymous said...

Pravda strikes again.

Your thread headings are getting as misleading as the MSM.
The Morning Call Editorial was hardly an endorsement of the great Obtuse Angle.
Ann McHale supposedly was heard saying this was a very important vote for Northampton County and had to happen, so in your world who was right?
Some would say McHales reputation for good government is much better than Angles.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ann McHale supposedly was heard saying this was a very important vote for Northampton County and had to happen, so in your world who was right?

Angle. I have no doubt McHale called this a "very important vote." A lot of the money bags were waiting.

mystic rearden said...

Considering the baby steps that St. Luke's is taking with their original 200 acres, it would be safe to assume that St. Luke's has just neutralized 300 acres of prime tax-generating land with the blessing of NorCo County Council. St. Luke's vision is a pipe dream at best, as their eyes are bigger than their means to produce....unless of course you can get NorCo to support it....and even with this bond it still will not generate taxes for years, and never will generate the revenue the original Summit would have. Likewise, St. Luke's move has likely thrown a wrench in the traffic improvements to be done along that whole corridor as their snale's pace development will likely not coordinate with the "private" develope.

Oh well, nobody wants to discuss the actual impact on the school, county, or township. I hate to say it, but Angle was on the right path, but this blog's contributers are too personal for substantive discussion. Too late anyways. What is done, is done. The consequences we will have to live with.

Anonymous said...

Did Prez McHale discuss this with Bethlehem Twp. officials, since I am sure they would have loved some input. It seems a bit boneheaded if Council didn't ask their opinion, considering the County is thinking of a prison treatment center in the Twp.
Economies go up and down and I can't help but wonder if another economic enterprise would have surfaced a bit down the road.
I really hope these extremely valuable 300 acres result in a medical school, now that would surely be a major boom to the area, anything less is just a waste of great taxable land.
I hate to admit it but on this one it is Angle -1, Prez McHale and Council - 0.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Beth Tp did submit a letter supporting this, but if you read between the lines, they are not happy.

Anonymous said...

Bernie - all I have to say, as a Bethlehem Township and Northampton County Resident, is that the Township tried to plan something nice for the area instead of another sprawling industrial park. A place that was special, fresh, new and vibrant. And, what did it get, a non profit company sweeping in and buying up land not even zoned for its core mission! While hospital uses are good, the Summit project would have been a place that all people could go to and have a good time. It was not just a mall but a "place". Open space, pathways, concert, town greens, outdoor movies were some of the other amenities to the Summit. Now, with County Council help and Bethlehem Township reluctant help, St. Luke's is on path to trying to "out do" Lehigh Valley Hospital in the ever growing hospital wars in the Valley. Don't get me wrong, the jobs are nice and pay well, but don't the Valley residents deserve new, fresh "places"? Hold on, let me answer that --- No, and my reason is that we here in the valley constantly display what outsiders call a form of "catholic guilt" and simply believe we are not good enough to have some finer things or are simply jealous of those who want the nice things and hence try to stop them. Anyway.

michael molovinsky said...

if there was a pipe dream, it was the "summit" plan. all this tax revenue and success you envisioned was just a developers' brochure. there's plenty of empty parking spaces at the upscale promenade. the 300(280) acres is still on the tax rolls. nothing real has changed, just the misconceptions.

Anonymous said...

Even a blind squirrel or rodent like Ron Angle finds a nut once in awhile ---360 acres tax exempt--are they crazy??

Check out the board of st lukes and c how many and their lawyers and execs are members of Saucon Valley CC. Ms. McHale wouldnt want to have to tell her many cocktail friends it is a ripp off would she?