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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, January 26, 2009

Republican Comm'rs Vulnerable in Lehigh County

Lehigh County's nine-member Board of Commissioners is its legislative branch, empowered by Lehigh County's Home Rule Charter to enact the county equivalent of laws. They also hold the purse strings. With a five to four Republican edge, a swing of just one seat could change the balance of power. Four legislators are elected "at large," i.e. countywide. The rest, elected from a specific geographic area, are called "District Commissioners." This year, voters in each district will decide whether to keep or dump its five district representatives.

Sterling H. Raber (R, District 1). - This is the only real open seat. Lehigh County's quiet man, Raber is one of the most well-respected government officials in the Lehigh Valley. But after twenty-seven years, this New Tripoli pig farmer is packing it in. Another dignified former commissioner, Marc Grammes, is reportedly interested. I am unaware of any Democratic interest in this seat, which would be an uphill battle.

Percy H. Dougherty (R, District 2). - Dr. Dougherty has ably chaired Lehigh County's Board at least six times and is a very large part of the reason why the Commissioners work so well together. His bipartisan approach to government and quirky sense of humor are a refreshing change of pace. I'm used to having Northampton County Council members like Dertinger scream at me during or after meetings, so it's very unusual for me to attend a meeting in which elected officials actually try to get along and in which the chair is very interested in public input.

Incredibly, Dr. Dougherty may be facing a primary challenge from a Republican who thinks Daugherty is just too damn accommodating. Youthful East Penn School Director Mark Prinzinger, incensed that Commissioners actually adopted a budget, has hopefully come to his senses.

David S. Jones Sr. (D, appt.; District 3). - When Kurt Derr suddenly resigned last year, Rev. Jones was appointed in March to replace him. He is the Lehigh Valley's first county-level legislator. Lehigh County's Republican-dominated commissioners selected a strong Democrat who will be hard to beat, and that was their intention. Republican Robert E. Smith, Jr., President of Allentown's school board, is supposedly interested in playing the role of Don Quixote.

Daniel K. McCarthy (D, District 4). - Solicitor to Allentown Parking Authority and regular Pawlowski contributor, McCarthy is finishing his second term in a heavily Democratic district. Mike Welsch is reportedly interested in going after this "pay to play" pol. Last Fall, Welsch embarrassed state rep. Jenn Mann in a televised debate over Allentown's crime problem. He also bluntly but accurately told The Morning Call there was no point in meeting its editorial board for an endorsement. Voters did not hear his message. I doubt they'll hear it now.

Glenn Eckhart (R, District 5). - When Lehigh County Commissioners threw up a temporary roadblock to Don Cunningham's community policing proposal, the normally affable exec was steamed, not over the defeat, but because he felt that Eckhart had gone back on his word. Then Eckhart petulantly mixed it up with Allentown City Council Prez Mike D'Amore, resulting in an Eckhart pledge to boycott all Allentown businesses.

Eckhart, whose district now has a 9% Democratic edge, is in trouble. His seat is vulnerable, and with it the balance of power in Lehigh County.


Anonymous said...

You have posted some lulu's but this has to take the case. Your analysis of the seats and personalities are funny. Your personal bias is shinning through.
Who spoon fed you this nonsense.

Bernie O'Hare said...

In what way is this analysis flawed? Instead of just telling me I'm wrong and biased in what is an analysis, why not do everyone a favor and tell me why?

Anonymous said...

When Commissioner Roman, the chair of the administrative committee, petulantly withdrew as sponsor of the budget this Fall (as committee chair- sponsorship was his responsibility), it looked like the budget would die as a piece of legislation. Although not a popular budget, Commissioner McCarthy courageously stepped forward to substitute as sponsor, so that there could be discussion and public input on the ordinance. He has shown a quiet practicality and understanding of County Government. He does not deserve your pejorative label of pay to play. Perhaps his former law partner does, but not Dan.

Anonymous said...

"McCarthy courageously stepped forward" "courageously"???

courage is a word to be reserved for our young men and women in harm's way, protecting our country.

Anonymous said...

I guess we can add Dan McCarthy to the list of victims of "Bernie O'Hare, Character Assassin."

Bernie O'Hare said...

McCarthy is a regular Pawlowski contributor. He is solicitor to Allentown's Parking Authority, and helped arrange a sweetheart deal for Zawarski there. His lawfirm and former firm did hand Pawlowski at least $5,100 since 2005. Those are facts.

The fact that he agreed to sponsor Cunningham's budget, which did have majority support, does not make him courageous. I can't see that doing much for him. On the other hand, he was one of the city people outed for falling behind on his taxes. I thought that was a tad harsh, but it won't help him countywide.

Let's put it this way. McCarthy is safe in his heavily Dem district. But don't try to delude anytone into thinking he's a strong leader. He's a nice guy. But if he were running countywide, he would lose.

Anonymous said...

McCarthy did lose county wide when he ran for judge.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, that's true. Anon 7:01 claims McCarthy has a "quiet practicality" and many vey well be right. I don't consider him a strong leader, but he is certainly safe in his district.

Anonymous said...

Lets put it this way:

You just did another of your patented hatchet jobs on a good guy who has the right to do something you can't, practice law.

Get over it

Look out, here cones the self righteous indignation, I am a victim, look how I'm being attacked, reply!

Anonymous said...

McCarthy is a class act, a real gentleman and a great legislator. You pathetic loser. Because he contributes to Special Ed. he is an evil P2P. I don't like ED but so what McCarhtey and others aren't under your rule of life. If they were they woiuld be disbarred. You are not only a loser but a predictable loser. He supports him, so what. You support anti-semite Angle and P2P Stoffa and Bradt, what does that make you?
Percy D. is a prancing hypocrite who should be beat.
You are a pathetic slime that disparages the good names of others. You delete alleged personal attacks that take on your whorey supporters and leave up the vile assults of your wack pack.
To bad you have nothing in life to sue for or it would be great to see someone sue your butt. You are a crossdressing, disbarred attorney who attacks a family devestated by a daughters death. You take payback goodies from a congressman and others whose butts you kizz.

O'Hare get a real life. By the way stop using the County Courthouse as your personal shower and office. Shame on you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

McCarthy is a nice guy who could never get elected outside a heavily Democratic district. I've disparaged no one. I've stated facts. You just don't like them. Too bad.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Incidentally, you don't help your cause with the ad hominems. You just make yourself, and your local party, look like lunatics who need a few volts. This is not group therapy. If you want to defend McCarthy, have at it. But knock off the name-calling or I will delete you. Read my comments policy.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, your all hot air. Put up or shut up. Run for office, get elected but stop slandering good people who actually have the guts to run for office. Who reads this bunk and believes it? Maybe I should start a blog about all the people your in bed with?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Why should I seek office when I already occupy the highest office in government - the office of citizen? I feel I am quite effective doing what I do but would be terrible in office.

As far as slandering people is concerned, slander is oral. Get it right. It's libel, damn it.

But as luck would have it, I've libeled no one. I've simply told the truth. That's why it is believed. You can feel fgree to disagree with my opinion, but my facts are almost always right. If I have something wrong, I'll be happy to admit it.

As far as starting a blog about me and reciting all the people I'm in bed with, please do so. I hope that you include some hotties.

Anonymous said...

In bed with Stoffa, Angle, Morganelli, Dent, etc. They are not hot, well maybe Dent.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's all you got? I'm in bed with lots more than that. You missed Angelina Jolie, for one. And I stopped sleeping with Angle long ago. He giggles when he kisses.

Anonymous said...

Fact O'Hare talked up Dent big time. Fact O'Hare got rare Obama tickets form Dent. Now if I were O'Hare or one of his pervereted minions I could run wild with that, but I won't.

Mr. McCarthy is a much better man than O'Hare or some of his worthless idols.

This is a factual entry so it will probably be deleted by the no fairness doctrine kid.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Fact: I backed Dent. I even backed Welsch against Mann. I also backed Obama, Rendell, Casey, Freeman, Grucela, Brennan, Stoffa & Cunningham.

Fact: I am a Democrat, just not a partisan lever puller.

Fact: I got no tickets to the Obama inauguration. My grandson did because he asked for them. Joe Long and Walt Garvin got tickets from Dent, too. Are they Republicans?

Opinion: McCarthy is a nice guy who will easily beat Welsch in a havily Democratic district.

Opinion: McCarthy would struggle in a countywide race.

Anonymous said...


Don't be so quick to throw in the towel on Mike Welsh. This election is not being held during a presidential lection year - the dem numbers will be much smaller than this past Nov. The more people know about Dan McCarthy the more they'll realize he is not as "courageous" as one may think...he's actually more of a follower than he is a leader..he'll do and say whatever the dem party wants him to say. What you want me to vote for a huge 70% tax increase, um..ok. You want me to throw $325K to the LV Zoo, sure I can do that for you Don. You need me to give King Ed a few thousand dollars to help his elections/re-election bid...count me in. Frankly, I think Dan should go back to practicing law full time and leave Lehigh County government to people who are willing to lead, not follow.

Anonymous said...

I don't share your belief that David Jones is a Strong Democrat that would be hard to beat ... As far as candidates are concerned, Jones should not be a cinch based on his age, gender and skin coler ... But neither should he be denied consideration for an elected post because of his age, gender or skin color.

Indeed Jones is the incumbent in that district ... Only by appointment ... If appointed I would have served both the residents ofDistrict 3 and the residents of Lehigh County to the best of my ability ... Meaning that these people would have had a quality representative.

Am I a candidate ... That is an open question that only will be answered on day that nomination papers are to be filed if not before.

My belief is that the Commissioners should have chosen me for that appointment but for whatever reasons they did not.

If Robert Smith who lives near me runs against Jones I wish him well.

Dennis Pearson

Bernie O'Hare said...


Given your own strong views concerning your own qualifications and the comm'rs' failure to appoint you, why aren't you running?

Marc Grammes said...

Thanks for the kind words. I will not be running for Commissioner Raber's seat.