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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Allentown City Council Contender Lou Hershman: Ban Convicted Drug Dealers From City

Allentown City Council Contender Lou Hershman is proposing a measure to make the Queen City's streets safe - a ban convicted on drug dealers living within city limits. I'll let Lou tell you about it himself.

"I visited many neighborhoods during the eight years I served as your City Councilman, and in the past two years as a private citizen. I've spoken to hundreds of citizens. They have all expressed a wide variety of concerns to me. But there is always one paramount concern - Quality of Life and Public Safety are on the decline.

"I'm sure you know what these citizens are talking about. We've all driven through the downtown to see piles of trash on the streets just a few feet from a garbage can. Who has not pulled beside someone at a red light blasting a car radio so loudly you can't even hear yourself think? Who has not seen the loitering? Who has not read, or in some cases, witnessed, the shootings in our Center City?

"The future of Allentown lies in our ability to keep tax paying residents here and attracting new families to our Queen City. Quality of Life and Public Safety are central issues to maintaining our current tax-paying citizens, as well as attracting new families to our city.

"Eight years ago, during my first 60 days on Council, I introduced several Quality of Life and Public Safety Ordinances. These increased fines for noise pollution and abandoned vehicles in our city. I also introduced legislation - now a law - to keep sex offenders from living within 2500 feet of our schools and churches.

"If you elect me as your councilman, within my first month in office, I will introduce legislation to prohibit convicted drug dealers from living in our city. This is similar to the law enacted in Plttsburgh. I will also work with the Administration to help stiffen fines and look for innovative was to put more police officers back on the streets of our city."


Anonymous said...

Uh oh. Does Bethlehem and Easton have the same law? If not they're going to move next door. Won't they?

Anonymous said...

Great idea. But why stop there? Let's ban all criminals. Why spotlight only drug sales. How about embezzlers, child abusers, burglars, tax deadbeats, fathers who fail to pay child support. Drunk drivers should be banned from the entire state. Lou makes a good point about the litter. Ban litterers! Ban loud radios! Ban double-parkers!

Anonymous said...

While we are at it, lets ban old people who don't live in reality and already spent 32 years in office shuffling papers and being ineffective. Those laws he proposed 8 years ago have worked so well, I'm sure all his new ones will work too!

Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

Bernie, I know that your post is just quoting Mr. Hershman, but maybe you know - what law in Pittsburgh is he referring to? I looked up a few things and couldn't find anything about PGH banning drug dealers from living within the city, but I'd be really interested to know more if that is really a law.

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Hershmann just could stop the nightly shootings and home invasions, he'd be doing something. And, if on the side, he'd stop the illegal car repair shops currently impossible to get closed, he'd get my vote!

Anonymous said...

to 6:27. please don't ban beagles.
beagle lover.

Anonymous said...

I thought drug dealing was already illegal in Allentown.

LVCI said...

That's a fine concept, but there is a little thing called the constitution. Kind of reminds me of 19th century France. One you stole a loaf of bread you were branded a thief for life. I kind of thought once you served your time for the crime...

Branded for life means hopelessness for someone convicted therefore a nothing to lose mentality. Should we start debtor's prisons up again too! I'm not trying to be soft, but to label someone for life and ban them???? Where would it end?

Kevin Cerino said...

Completely banning them from the city probably would probably not pass constitutional muster.

What may work is banning them from living a certain distance from schools, parks and other places where children might gather.

A Progeny of Maroun said...


Please grant me permission to go OT, here. But when I first saw your new image on your account, Saladin, I thought you had really gone bonkers. Then I said, I am not writing here anymore. But then I remember who he was. Thanks to him, the Christian Church, Maronites especially, flourished.

He (and other Muslim radicals) drove the Maronites into the caves of northern Lebanon. To survive and communicate with other Maronites, the Maronites invented a language called Karshuni. Karshuni, is a language that, at the time, only the Christians understood. It consisted of Arabic phoenetics but used Aramaic/Syriac letters. (Aramaic was the language that Christ spoke. Therefore, the Muslims, at the time, didn't have any use or knowledge of it.)

Furthermore, because the Christians around this time and many decades later, were driven into the caves; it helped to preserve the religion of the Universal/Catholic Church. For example, the liturgy they used prior to going into hiding was the same liturgy and faith they used when they came out of hiding. Since they were cut off from communicating with anyone other than Maronites - there wasn't any outside influence to this rich tradition. (It is still used today.)

But most importantly, while the Catholic Church was having it problems, especially with reform and schism, the Maronites were still in hiding. Therefore, Maronites, even to this day, have no schismatic counterpart. They are they only Catholic Rite that can lay claim to that. From beginning until, God willingly, the end; they have remained true to their Christian and Catholic roots.

Thank you Saladin! ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

He's nuts.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Alex, I really appreciate that little glimpse into the Lebanese and the Maronite tradition. I learned a few things from you, as usual.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LOLV, Kevin, LVCI,

Although the article is too old for a link, there was a Pittsburgh case featured on 4/13/09 in the MC in which a federal judge ruled that it was constitutional to ban a convicted drug offender from living within Pittsburgh. I don't think it was an ordinance but a judge's sentence. That is where Lou tells me he got his idea.

I think you need to tinker with this idea a bit to overcome the inevitable constitutional challenges. I also think the legislation in question would probably have to be enacted in Harrisburg. I don't think Allentown can impose penalties for state offenses.

But as an idea, it is certainly worthy of consideration. Instead of blasting Hershman or twisting his proposal to a logical absurdity, city leaders interested in public safety should consider it. It stands to reason that removing drug dealers, even if for a limited period or from certain areas, will make A-town more safe.

Hershman's idea costs the public nothing, either. Many times, people ask how you can make streets more safe w/o spending gobs of money. This is a fiscally prudent idea.

michael molovinsky said...

lou's proposal has an implementation issue. as a practical matter, it would most likely make the landlords responsible for deciding who has a criminal record. his previous immigration proposal would likewise make the landlord responsible. even the police are often challenged to find valid criminal records in this age of fake identify and alias names.

Resident of Allentown said...

Another fiscally responsible and effectual way to get rid of drug dealers would be to end the prohibition. But that dosn't get as many votes as mayors who call for more firearm restrictions or councilmen who call for laws legally questionable and which would probably be enforced as much as the current double parking ordinances.

LVCI said...

Bernie O'Hare said... "It stands to reason that removing drug dealers, even if for a limited period or from certain areas, will make A-town more safe"

Hell why fool around.. make Allentown a gated community (a compound). Why not just lock ourselves up instead of them? This won't stop with just drug dealers. It never does. Drug dealers would only be the beginning down a long slippery slope to make ourselves feel "more safe". I am so against labeling people for life! If they've done their time and truly reformed.. what more do we want! If they recommit their crimes, then let justice be twice as harsh. Should there be no salvation for these who've screwed up?

Anonymous said...

Anothe problem may be that since we do have LCP (Lehigh County Prison, you know that silent elephant in the room), in our downtown area, who would transport these people out of town and to where ? Also, who would foot the bill ? I have, many times, met newly released men and women wandering the streets of Allentown, because they "literally" have no where to go. But guess where they end up ?
Gang members and drug dealers are people too, and until we get some TRUE reality-based alternatives for those who have made mistakes, paid their dues, and want to do better, no amount of banning and "city improvement" projects will change A-town. It seems while the leaders talk about "quality of life" projects, many residents are actually just trying to "survive" in this life....



Bernie O'Hare said...


I'm all for salvation and giving people a chance. I would not support labeling anyone for life. I understand your concerns.

But would you oppose an effort to ban convicted drug dealers from living in A-town for a limited period? Would you oppose legisslation that would ban them from living near a school?

I understand and share the constitutional concerns, but think this is an idea that should be considered.

I do not envision a PD that pounds on doors to see if drug dealers live somewhere. I do not see landlord liability. I see that a drug dealer, caught in the act of dealing, would face a more harsh penalty if he lives somewhere he is not supposed to live, if that can be proven.

Anonymous said...

Ban sofas on porches while you're at it. Beagles OK.

Anonymous said...

Attempting Philly guns laws and Pittsburgh drug laws begs the question of what Allentown would like to emulate. Neither are very desirable. Aim high Queen City.

Anonymous said...

ok, I was thinking about voting for the guy, but now, I can only laugh at the guy. This belongs on the Daily Show.

I'm also interested in making it entirely legal for good people to have candy bars.

No wonder allentown is in a mess... this clown was on council for how long?

Anonymous said...

It is great to see the collective brain trust of the valley weigh-in in such a postive manner on such a crucial issue!

The real question is, what have the curent seven membes of council, three of whom are up for re-election, done to combat crime in Allenotwn. Also, what have the other four members running for council proposed to combat crime in Allentown.

All of them say the same thing, "public safety and more police", yet they never tell you how they are going to pay for the new police, and two weeks after they get into office they foget about everything they promised the voters!