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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stoffa Quietly Announces Reelection Bid

The waiting is over.

In a story broken by The Express Times' Sarah Cassi, John Stoffa has quietly announced his decision to seek a second term as Northampton County Executive. No fanfare. No collection of campaign contributors - job seekers, urging him on. No campaign photo of Stoffa standing prominently in the courthouse. Just one laconic remark - "I think there will be competition."

In a place with no secrets, Stoffa has managed to keep everyone guessing for months. You see, he swims alone. Mistaking this quiet strength as a weakness, the sharks have been circling. Ann "Nice Guys Finish Last" McHale is supposed to be announcing her attentions in a news conference today. Ron Heckman, a protege of the man Stoffa defeated, has been building support where he can find it. In a 2007 primary, Ron finished 4th in a race for three Bethlehem city council seats. Not good, Ron.

This race is over. The smartest thing McHale could do today is pledge her support for Stoffa. She's banking on her ties to union agents and her last name, but her imperious nature will surely work against her. This is an official who actually walked out on Michelle Obama! She has been the ringleader of the most dysfunctional local government in the Lehigh Valley. She even ridiculously tried to force the county to accept an IT contract that was $1.8 million greater than the one Stoffa ultimately negotiated.

Unlike McHale or Heckman, Stoffa understands who deserves his loyalty, and it is not union bosses or campaign contributors. "I answer to the taxpayers, ultimately."

That's why he'll win.
Update: According to a Morning Call news account, McHale will announce her intentions later this month and party bossman Joe Long will never endorse Stoffa because ... horrors ... he appointed despicable Republicans to his cabinet. Stoffa's Director of Fiscal Affairs, Vic Mazziotti, is a Republican. His Director of Administration, John Conklin, may be a Republican, at least on paper. Stoffa has this weird notion of filling positions with people who actually know how to do the job. Go figure. (Blogger's Note: I screwed up this update by claiming Joe Long would never endorse Joe Long. I'm sure he would.)


Anonymous said...

How is Heckman a Reibman protege, he was first elected to Council the same year Reibman was. I don't understand how working for him in an area in which he was very knowledgeble and capable, makes him a protege.

I have yet to see your proof of Heckamn or McHales pay for play tactics. Do you just decide who you love and start throwing baseless mud at whoever opposes them.

I haven't talked to Ann but I did talk to Heckman. He told me he has thought about running for County Executive for many years, even before Stoffa ran. He also said his decision will have to do more with what he thinks the County should and shouldn't be doing regarding its role. He never mentioned a vendor or contributor. Your blog is entertaining but you really owe these people an apology unless you can substantiate your charges.

Bernie O'Hare said...

With respect to Heckman, the use of the word protege is inappropriate. Perhaps the better term is ally or associate. They were very close during Reibman's 8 years as county exec. Heckman was one of his staunchest defenders. Heckman has also been heavily funded by Reibman with generous contributions. Moreover, if you do read this blog, you must have seen some of the irrational comments posted by some Heckman supporters, who clearly are looking for something. Reibman was roundly rejected by the voters 4 yearsd ago. They will not replace him with Reibman lite. Moreover, Heckman is a poor campaigner.

As far as McHale goes, I stand by every word I wrote about her and in fact linked to some of the problems I see with her candidacy. She really is imperious. She will be a servant of union bosses, as demonstrated by her participation in the lynching of the HR director or the way she was browbeating a department head during a committee meeting last year. But she is unresponsive to the taxpayers.

She has been rude to the elected officials of other municipalities and they don't forget the way she treats them. As Council Prez, she lacks the courtesy to thank board and authority members at public meetings when they are appointed to payless volunteer jobs. She is part of the problem.

Stoffa will be the first to admit he is imperfect. In his first four years, he made his share of mistakes. But he acted with integrity and dedication. The union bosses may not likem him, but he's not there to be their pal. he serves the taxpayers. Most rank and file employees prefer him to the alternatives.

Steve Barron is a great candidate, too. Now that Stoffa has announced, I suspect he'll back off.

DemoThug said...

Why anybody would run for that hot seat considering that the next four years are going to be extremely difficult in light of what is presently happening in this country is beyond me.

And that's why my respect for John Stoffa continues to grow. He's gone 4 years without gathering contributions from contractors, engineers, folks seeking favor - he has stuck to his principles.

I don't think this election will be the one where Norco voters decide to experiment with new leadership.

I strongly URGE anybody who is concerned about the direction the county is taking to seriously consider running for council. It's easy to do (just call the Voter Registration office and ask what you need to do.

If you're tired of the obstructionism, the game playing, and the political jockeying you've see with the current council, PLEASE RUN for council. Thousands of your fellow citizens are also tired of what they see. Let's elect a council that is concerned with what is going on and who are NOT interested in feathering their own political nest.

Your county needs you.

Anonymous said...

You are an ass. Stoffa will be beaten in May because he has shown himself to be an ineffective, incompetent elected offical. In four years he has accomplished nothing. He is not nearly as clean as you pretend and he cannot even get five votes for one project from Council.

Whether it is imperious Ann McHale who will outpoll Stoffa two to one. Or Heckman the 'poor campaigner' that won three out of three Countywide elections, finishing second only to the late Wayne Grube. Your little drug induced dream world is coming to an end.

Stoffa has lost the respect of the employees, other elected officials and in May 09, most Democrats will register there discontent.

Anonymous said...

drug-induced? wow, hoiw did you know I was on Acupril?

Anonymous said...

I think he's a good man with strong personal integrity who has done an ineffective job overall.

His inability to manage his own party personnel, along with the dysfunction of a split council have delivered gridlock.

Gridlock can be a good thing, however. In this case, it's likely served voters better than they know.

Our executive is a nice guy, but mediocre, at best. Our council is just plain nuts. With this "leadership" team at the top, it's best they don't actually decide anything for us. I don't trust any of them.

Re-elect Stoffa. A weak executive and a split council are not a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

John's biggest weakness is Connie Sutton Falk. Talk about imperious. Otherwise, if all of these candidates run it will be hard for him not to win because they will split the opposition. If I was him I'd be thrilled with all this primary opposition. I think he's blessed. First time out he runs against a severely weakened Reibman and now he'll get all these opponents which in itself will insure his primary victory. When he wins there, he'll be running against Cusick who has already said that he thinks Stoffa is doing a fine job. Gotta love it..

Anonymous said...

Cusick's not going to run.

Anonymous said...

According to today's Morning Call Cusick is running..

Bernie O'Hare said...

I've read that, but doubt he will stay in the race. He would lose his pension in NJ and states Stoffa is doing a good job. He was running to make sure the Rs have a candidate, and that's the wrong reason to run.

Anonymous said...


In your update, it says, "...party bossman Joe Long will never endorse Joe long...". I think you meant he'll never endorse Stoffa, right?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wow! I sure blew that. I'll fix it right now.

Anonymous said...

Burnie, you should check your facts. Long had meetings at his home with Stoffa, Grube, Neiper, Branco, McClure and Dertinger. Perhaps you should call any one of these people and ask them if this is fact or fiction. Ask them about the mailer that the Party paid for and mailed with Stoffa's picture and with rest of council candidates on. Maybe Burnie should start telling the truth.

David Emerson said...

Stoffa is not a problem, it's the crazy ass bunch of lunatics that we keep putting into office.

They are the ones that can't get a thing done. If it's not McHale, it's Angle. If it's not Angle, it's McClure.

Everywhere you turn, there is a clown. I know it's fun to read about the circus in the paper, but that's all that's been accomplished.

Anonymous said...

I wish Heckmen would sue O'Hare for calling him a crook. He won't he will just laugh it off because he has what P'Hare never did, Class.

You are an evil Troll O'Hare.

Anonymous said...

Thank God Stoffa is running!He is one of the few politicians around with real integrity. His decision must be based on his honest belief that his county deserves better than the McHale "pay tp play" crowd. He doesn't NEED the job or the aggravation.He has been battling significant health problems in recent months with dignity. It would be an easy decision for him to return to his gentleman farmer life. He MUST care about the county and its people. He IS a man of the people and that is why he will crush the Queen of Hearts or anyone else who challenges him in the May primary. He should use his popularity to support other candidates for Council who could end the incivitlity of that dysfunctional group. Thank you John!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Burnie, you should check your facts. Long had meetings at his home "

There's nothing wrong with my facts. Joe Long and the local machine endorsed Reibman in the primary, along with a slate of candidates. Did you forget about that? I didn't. After Stoffa got the nomionation anyway, the party had to work with him, but did not like it. Soon after his election, party boss Long believed he could tell Stoffa what to do. The people elected Stoffa, not Joe Long.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"If I was him I'd be thrilled with all this primary opposition."

That's why he waited. Gee, that's smart, but Stoffa is supposed to be dumb.

It is alwyas a big mistake to underestimate an opponent. That is something Dertinger, Long & McHale have consistently done.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I wish Heckmen would sue O'Hare for calling him a crook."

I've never used that term to describe Heckman. I would not even call Reibman a crook. But let's face it, Heckman is surrounded by political hacks like you who are only looking for jobs. Good luck, but don't quit your day job.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa came off as an arrogant jerk in the paper today. If he doesn't want the job don't run, no one is twisting your arm. Stoffa has not done anything terrible in four years because he hasn't done anything.
Unless you get every fruitloop registered Dem and out to vote this egomainiac will be gone.

Want to know about Stoffa talk to Human Service folks in Lehigh County, wow!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Stoffa was widely regarded the best county human services in the state during his tenure in LC and NC. I have talked to the folks in LC. I've also talked to a few judges.

Anonymous said...

He unfortunately does not sound the least bit interested in the position according to the comments he made in the morning call.Why not voice the things you have accomplished while you have been in office and or the things you'd finish up if re-elected .I really can't think of a single he's accomplished he claims he saved the taxpayers money on what exactly? my taxes went up again.

Anonymous said...

then you don't live in Northampton county. Taxes in the past year have gone up exactly 1/2 mil - that's 1/2 penny -

Anonymous said...

it was quite a bit more than that. a half a mil times what?

Anonymous said...

times the assessed valuation of your property - the only tax the county levies on citizens is a real estate tax. When Stoffa ran, he promised a 1/2 mil increase to be used to fund open space - that's the ONLY tax that has increased in 4 years. If your tax bill has gone up, your property must have been reassessed.

Anonymous said...

A tax increase is a tax increase. He inherited a huge surplus and still levied an unnescessary tax to fatten the coffers. Everyones taxes went up, dimwit. As I said a tax increase is a tax increase, unless you say it is for land, sick puppies or Kool-aide.

Anonymous said...

Dimwit? - we'll see, sweetie.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:03 - save your taxes for a lobotomy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Stoffa did what he told the voters he would do. Essentially, he's being criticized for being honest with the people who elected him.

Anonymous said...

He is being criticized for an unnecessary tax increase, lack of any meaningful initiatives and one of the most incompetent administrations in the history of the County.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1) The tax increase is something he promised the voters. So you ARE criticizing him for keeping his word to the people who elected him.

2) Stoffa was a little busy the first four years putting out fires left by the Reibman administration. There is no reason for him to embark on projects that will make no sense 20 years from now. His view is that there must first be a long range plan to take care of the county's needs for the next 100 years. Without that, everything is folly. There is no reason to do something just so council members can put their names on a plaque.

3) He is a decent man who had the misfortune to be stck with an uncooperative and dysfunctional council, the laughing stock of the LV. Shall I play that Dertinger tape one more time? Once the voters take out the garbage, Stoffa will be able to get a lot done. A divisive and petty council has resulted in gridlock. That's about to change.

Anonymous said...

By the way we learned your Heckman knocks come by way of one of Reibmans old cabinet members. I mentioned it to him and he said I guess all that poor campaigning led to three wins Countywide.
Something a few of your heroes have yet to do.
He did tell me being underestimated and arrogance of opponents are assets in a campaign.
You should talk to him about this so-called Bethlehem race, he learned a few things after the fact. I know you won't, cause once you decide something the facts don't get in the way but he was frank about that race. Whatever you think of him he is honest to the core, unlike some he worked with and for.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Are you now saying that Reibman is dishonest? Cunningham? Those are two of the people for whom Heckman worked. Yet Reibman is one of Heckman's biggest contributors.

I do believe Heckman is honest to the core, as you state. It's great that he was able to win countywide races. I do not think he is a hard campaigner, but would not take him or anyone lightly. I could be wrong about that.

My criticism of Heckman is derived solely on the basis of some of the insane and mean-spirited comments on this blog by Heckman supporters.

I never heard any Reibman cabinet member criticize Ron in any way so I don't even know what you're talking about. My distaste for Heckman is a result of the nast comments coming from his supporters here. I'm sure they have turned off other people, too.

What disturbs me is that the accolades to Heckman here are always accompanied by unfair and irrational slams at Stoffa. It made me wonder who the hell is surrounding him. I recently spoke with Heckman himself about that.

I like Ron. I don't like the people who are supporting him by slamming others. If you want to sing Ron's praises, by all means do so. You might even persuade some people. I am a Stoffa man, but I have enough respect for Ron to want his message heard. If he thinks he can do better than Stoffa or McHale, he should run.

But I will not abide some of the vicious slams directed at Stoffa. Some of them have been outright fabrications.

You are supposedly a proud Ron Heckman supporter, but lack the courage to even identify yourself. Why not?

And incidentally, I always thought Glenn Reibman was a gentleman. We have our differences and I believe he made mistakes and I'm sure he thinks I'm way off base. But I have immense respect for Glenn on a personal level. I admire his work as a strength coach, some of his vision as exec, his loyalty and the way he handled council meetings as President. I never believed that he himself ever acted dishonestly.

Glenn was, however, associated with the wrong person. I don't like the people surrounding Heckman.

You would better serve Heckman by pointing to his accomplishments, criticizing Stoffa for any missteps you perceive, but refraining from the ad hominems.

Anonymous said...

Still fighting the Reibman era, Blogmeister? Interesting. Stoffa is a terrible campaigner who was lucky to run against an incompetent Reibman re-elect campaign. Glenn should have won. Now for the present: Anne is imperious. Her base is the Court for whom she will do as told. And her insurance Saucon bud. However, she could be a very formidable candidate and may win. Ron is by far the best one out there. He would be a great Executive. Just not sure how he wins. Heckman and Stoffa divide the vote and McHale slipps in as of now. But things change....

Anonymous said...

i think stoffa never thught he could win, when he did he found himself without a clue as to what to do. i don't percieve him as someone with vision for the future,i belive the past 4 years have been spent simply getting by. fortunately for his sake he has had a strong ally in bernie, i also belive bernie should've been his advisior and gotten paid for it. run yourself bernie you'd do a terrific job.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's a very nice thing to say, but my chief skills are as an observer. I don't think anyone realized how badly the county was doing when Stoffa took over.