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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, February 02, 2009

Lehigh County & Allentown Conduct Peace Talks

It all started when Lehigh County Commissioners dragged their feet last year on a community policing proposal that would help fund one or two more Allentown police officers. Mayor Edwin Pawlowski appeared before county officials with his hand out, but incredibly began bragging about the city's supposed cash surplus, among other things. That left county legislators scratching their heads, wondering why they need to fund cops in a town supposedly so rich.

Commissioner Glenn Eckhart, when he dared question Pawlowski's figures, was promptly shut down by Hizzoner, who diplomatically told him, "You have no idea what you're talking about." Naturally, commissioners rejected the community policing proposal. King Edwin marched up to the dais and arrogantly told them, "It's a sad day for county government ... ."

City Council Prez Mike D'Amore, upset at being jilted, drafted some resolution that went something like this, "Whereas, Lehigh County Commissioners could not pour water out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel." Really ticked off, Eckhart pledged to boycott Allentown, and may have challenged D'Amore to a duel.

You'll be pleased to know that city and county leaders are actually conducting peace talks. Lehigh's two top commissioners - Chair Percy Dougherty and Vice Chair Dean Browning - sat down for breakfast on Friday with Allentown's city council leadership, Prez Mike D'Amore and V.P. Michael Donovan.

They had scrapple.

In fact, Chairman Percy Dougherty told me that he has been meeting for some time with D'Amore to discuss the mutual problems facing both Allentown and Lehigh County. Here's how he explains it.

"As you know, I am a firm believer in intergrovernmental cooperation and I believe that most problems facing government are of a regional nature. Allentown is the largest city in the region and what happens in the City of Allentown has a great impact on the health of the whole Lehigh Valley. A healthy Allentown means a healthy Lehigh Valley, but a bankrupt Allentown means that all of us will have to pay the bills. To that end, it is important to have the leaders of City Council and the County Commissioners communicate with each other on a regular basis.

"We need to identify areas in which we are duplicating services or where we can team uo to improve efficiency. We need to have a common vision on planning, economic development, the importance of the arts in Downtown Allentown, workforce housing development, and a solution to the crime problem that is placing an unfair burden on the county prison and the court system. This is just scratching the surface."

When I caught up with Mike D'Amore, he echoed Percy Dougherty, adding the importance to those "in elective office try to keep lines of communication open to as many people as possible."

Dougherty and Browning are Republicans, while D'Amore and Donovan are Democrats. Yet they manage to put these partisan differences aside to try and identify areas where they might be able to work together. The people benefit as a result. Their willingness to work together speaks very well of all four of them as well as the bodies they represent.

It's called good government.


Anonymous said...

Hopefully, this is a beginning...

Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

This is wildly different than Northampton County. County Council has excellent relationships with both Bethlehem and Easton.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bullshit. Norco has no meetings of any kind w/ anyone. Right now, it must decide how gambing revenue is shared by 5 communities, and its intergovernmental committee has only met once.

Anonymous said...

I always though Dougherty and Vice Browning simply hated Allentown, maybe I was wrong.

We'll see if anything comes of this. Maybe the Linden St bridge replacement will actually happen one day.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:59 said "This is wildly different than Northampton County. County Council has excellent relationships with both Bethlehem and Easton."
This is a fact that County Council has excellent relationships with Bethlehem and Easton, it's too bad that Stoffer doesn't, as he doesn't return phone calls to either of these municipalities. I guess this will draw another bullshit from Boner, but he should ask these municipalities first before ranting for his soulmate Stoffer.

Bernie O'Hare said...

From what I've seen, it's safe to say that county council gets along with no one. They can't even get along with each other.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Maybe the Linden St bridge replacement will actually happen one day."

Ummm, The County elected to fund the Linden Street bridge replacement sometime ago at a cost of app. $5MM. Last year, the Administration came forward with a request to provide an addition $1MM to cover the cost overrun on the project. The vote was 5-4 in favor of continuing the project. Browning joined the four Ds to approve this request by a 5-4 vote.

Anonymous said...

finally, an appropriate picture for you

Anonymous said...

Stoffa has set back inter-governemental cooperation with his poor style. Of course Allentown loves him for giving away most of the Casino money.

Good one Stoffa. Even County Council, including the great Wayne Grube, passed a resolution against that boneheaded move.