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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rob Hopkins, James Spang Behind Anonymous Hershman Slur

Good reporters like The Morning Call's Jarrett Renshaw are worth their weight in gold. It takes him just minutes to learn what I might not discover for days, if ever. He just proved that with those sleaze anonymous robocalls aimed at Allentown City Council candidate Lou Hershman. I was able to learn that the automated calls were made from a number for Dems like Governor Rendell, the Dem State Committee and Allegheny County Exec Dan Onorato. But I really had no idea who was responsible.

While I was flailing around, Renshaw has reported that the culprits are Rob Hopkins, a political consultant, and James Spang, who does security at the Allentown Fairgrounds. Both just happen to be state Democratic Committee members.

Hopkins (pictured on the right)is a long-time Pawlowski operative who originally helped set up Hizzoner's web page. Using campaign funds, Pawlowski helped defray Hopkins' costs to the Democratic convention last summer and also paid or reimbursed him $920 for a fundraiser.

Hopkins was also the Executive Editor at the now inactive Keystone Politics. When he said good-bye there, he promised to "continue my political activities and I suspect you will see me resurface to inflict some harsh commentary upon Pennsylvanians."

And so he did with his anonymous attack at Lou Hershman. Hopkins tells Renshaw he wants "to save the Lehigh Valley" from old farts like Hershman, and claims "voice communications" need no disclaimers. But the Department of State has a different view, claiming that the person or group who paid for the call must be identified.

Who are you going to believe, a political operative caught red-handed, or the Department of State? I've lost a lot of respect for Rob Hopkins. But in the process of smearing Hershman, Hopkins may have actually elected him.

Just where do you think Hopkins and Spang got the money to trash Hershman? I'll give you three guesses.

1:00 A.M. Update: A somewhat chastened Rob Hopkins just called to tell me that, in hindsight, his failure to identify himself is an error. He also told me he'd be happy to answer any questions. So I asked where he got the money to trash Hershman.

"Not from Hizzoner."

"Well, who paid for this?"

"Different people came forward."

When I asked Rob to identify them, he declined, stating he has no obligation to do so until the appropriate report is due. He also told me his negative and anonymous robocall will have little impact on this race, which begs the question why he felt it was so damn necessary in the first place. I thanked him for helping elect Lou Hershman and we both said nighty night.


Anonymous said...

Amazing you attack women the elderly and now gay men. You really earn the name O'Hater.

Rising Sun said...

No way, that's not Rob's picture up there.

Rising Sun said...

Now that's Rob's mug.

Anonymous said...

Rob Hopkins and James Spang. Two of the finest democrats I ever met. Glad someone stepped up and did something about old Lou.

All the defense of Lou from Bernie everyone needs to remember, Lou sat there on Council for years while the city went to hell.

Bernie likes to talk about new dems vs. old dems. There is no such thing. There are dems that are foolish and talk to Bernie and give Bernie ammo against his chosen person to hate for the day for their own political ambitions, and there are democrats who settle their differences outside the blogs.

If we really had an old fashioned party machine, there would be some party discipline and the folks who think its ok to bring their fights onto the blogs would suffer consequences from the party.

There is no party machine. If there was one, these dems who were taking their fights onto Bernie's blog would have no place in the party.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Anon 4;05, what does that say about the Lehigh County Dems, and their man Rick D?

He has no control over what the city Dems do.

The Bennett Dems and Daugherty Dems have never gotten along.

Anonymous said...

Keep repeating, there is no Democrat machine; there is no Democrat machine, there is no Democrat machine; there is no Democrat machine, there is no Democrat machine; there is no Democrat machine, there is no Democrat machine; there is no Democrat machine, there is no Democrat machine; there is no Democrat machine…

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

BH, things ar getting INTERESTING. This City Council election has had it all: mystery, intrigue, sabotage, even a good amount of possible character assasination. People talk about how bad the gangs are in A-town, but it seems there is nothing more "gangsta" than these politicians and organizations...

Make sure and VOTE today !


dick nepon said...

It may have gone through a number of pockets, but it is Ed's money from his most successful Economic Development, his Campaign Fund. It just shows his disrespect and contempt for the populace. These guys are lackeys of Ed, doing his bidding. Allentown, you still have a choice.

Anonymous said...

There they go again.

Another self-styled Lehigh Valley "political consultnant" foisted on his own petard (look it up).

Is it any wonder that the LV Democratic party is such a laughing stock?

With "experts" like this picking candidates and running campaigns it is no wonder they couldn't elect a Dem to Congress in a Presidential election year when the District voted overwhelmingly for a black man for President!

What a bunch of inbred morons.

Anonymous said...

6:05 am Scott Armstrong:

Follow the yellow pr**k road!

Follow the yellow pr**k road!

Rising Sun said...

Scott Armstrong would know if there's a machine, he's lost to them enough lately.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 5:05

Rick is a great guy and does the best he can do with what he has. You have to remember that all these people who are in the party are VOLUNTEERS. There is no paid democratic staff for the Lehigh Valley. Some people get some extra money by doing minor consulting work, however they all have day jobs.

So for all those who are democrats who love to throw stones at either the party in Northampton or Lehigh County, why don't you come to the meetings, volunteer to help the candidates you like and get involved in the party.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 4:05,

Democrats are encouraged, by the Joe Long Dems, to come on this blog and leave snotty remarks. I have this on pretty good authority.

I don't know Spang but have heard nothing but good things about him. I do know Rob from the Internet. I was extremely disappointed to see them participate in the very kind of behavior that landed Severson in hot water. Election laws exist to protect our democracy and right to vote. What you are suggesting is a return to the good ol' days that led to Tammany Hall and other abuses.

Anonymous said...

To Bernie,

What I'm suggesting is that Democrats not bring their fights onto your blog and if they do, they be uncermoniously kicked out of the party.

Your no friend to the party or progressive candidates.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I know what you're suggesting. I may be the best friend that Democrats or progressives have here in the LV. There is nothing progressive about the Chicago-style politics endorsed by Pawlowski or the way he totally ignored the Asian merchants along Hamilton Street or the way he targets the poor with systemayic home inspection. There is nothing progressive about Joe Long's union thug tactics and endorsing candidates in a petition signing meeting. There is nothing progressive in an anonymous last minute smear hurled at an individual who happens to be a Democrat.

What you don't like is I will call a phony a phony.

Anonymous said...

You do a write up on where Congressman Dent gets his money for his campaigns and he it matches up to his votes. His money dwarfs anything that Ed or Joe, or Anne have and maybe I'll think differently about you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let's get something straight. I don't give a shit what you think of me.

As far as Dent goes, he was a far superior choice to either Bennett or Dertinger. I'll take a moderate who actually knows what he's doing over a clueless candidate like Bennett or a last-minute entery like Dertinger, who by his own admission was dragged into the race kicking and screaming.

Dent, like King Edwin, is limited in the amount of money he can accept over an election cycle. that tends to diminish any supposed influence. The federal rules are actually much more stringent. If Dent's campaign finance bothers you, you should be screaming bloody murder about king Edwin. But you won't because you are obviously a lever puller.

Anonymous said...

Lets see you love Charlie Dent and hate Sam Bennet.

$500,000 from corporate PACs not to mention the work the local GOP does with all its big corporate donors.

You are just as big of a PHONY as the people you call out.

Ed, Joe, McHale, etc. Get you ire because they don't kiss your blogging ring. Nothing more nothing less.

I love being lectured on ethics from a disbarred lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Who's gay? Someone had better notify Dertinger to get the pitchforks and the villagers after him.

Anonymous said...

Who wrote Anon 4:05's "If we really had an old fashioned party machine, there would be some party discipline and the folks who think its ok to bring their fights onto the blogs would suffer consequences from the party"?

Lenin? Stalin? I thought they were dead.

Anonymous said...

Today when I voted and looked around, I was the only person without blue hair that wouldn't have a ready response if someone asked me where I was on Pearl Harbor Day. At the end of the day, it's these people, that don't read blogs that make the political decisions still in the Lehigh Valley. I can't imagine what it will be like decades from now when we're the blue hairs and everyone will be blogging.

Anonymous said...

When are the Long Dems going to make their own blog instead of always heckling this one? They should get their own, although considering they couldn't produce a blog, website, or even fill out a Voters Guide online for McHale, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Rising Sun said...

Bernie, Charlie Dent took money raised for him by Dick Cheney. That's worse than anything Pawlowski does. Doesn't make his stuff right, it just means Dent deserves to be criticized. I don't view Dent as a moderate either. Dent voted against the Obama stimulus (because it was Pelosi's bill of course, not because he's a conservative, ha), voted against the Obama budget, voted for the war funding under Bush, and voted for Bush's budgets (which ran up nearly identical numbers to Obama's debt, but with nothing in it for the average people).

I'm going to go ahead and wager here that Dent will vote against health care and cap-and-trade if the GOP chooses to fight Obama on the issues. He only votes with him on the things that leadership decides not to press, things like (but not limited to) "Lilly Ledbetter." That's not a moderate. Sure he's pro-choice, sure he votes with the Dems on the non-hot button issues, and that makes him better than Michelle Bachmann, but so what? I thought it was always a mistake to try and say that this guy is the same as Tom DeLay, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush, because he's not. He's also still not a moderate.

Charlie is not a moderate, and he's sure raised enough money from the Air Products of the world to raise eyebrows. I agree with your point in principle about following the money, but this guy's no good either.

Anonymous said...

Rising Sun 4:51 pm:

The problem is that although Dent is a fraud the Dems have never been able to come up with a quality candidate who could win.

They come up with one loser after another because nobody in the Lehigh Valley knows anything about screening and training a candidate to win and nobody, absolutely nobody, really knows how to run a Congressional campaign.

A lot of wanna be James Carvilles THINK they know how to run a campaign but the results speak for themselves.

Unfortunately that pattern will continue and guys like Dent will continue to win.

Rising Sun said...

Anon 5:30,

I agree with you. Candidate recruitment and selection has been slightly worse than awful. From Paul McHale's retirement to today we have run a disaster, a great guy who got labeled in his first campaign and ran again anyway, a carpetbagger, a write-in who had just got on county council, and another disaster. The day of reckoning is coming though. The party must not be allowed to continue to fail locally to find someone who is even basically capable of running. Another 60%-40% loss in 2010 will encourage the narrow Democratic State House majority to compromise with the GOP State Senate and give Dent a much safer district in 2010. One more pathetic failure means they may be out of chances in the 15th.

Rising Sun said...

2011* My mistake. They will compromise on re-districting in 2011.

Anonymous said...

Bennett was the latest in a long line of candidates foisted on us by fast eddy Rendell. I think if we had put the town drunk on the ballot they would have been Dent just on a obama's coat tails. When you run out all the other candidates and then put a candidate on the ballot that 1/2 the primary voters intentionally didn't vote for how to you expect to win?

Rising Sun said...

anon 6:56,

You don't. Simple answer, you can't. The DCCC is looking for better, and finding them in near by districts. Carney, Sestak, Murphy- all recent finds. We need to be helpful up here in that effort.

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

You might not know James Spang but the name rings a bell to me.

I seem to remember him having a private security agency that Ed Pawlowski decided to use to patrol some of the city's parks. I think it was (naturally) a no-bid contract.

Perhaps this is "Play then Pay". Or maybe the fact that Spang is a state Dem Committeeperson was enough to seal the deal for Ed.

Anonymous said...

Rising Sun wrote "...voted for Bush's budgets (which ran up nearly identical numbers to Obama's debt...)"

Nearly identical? Not even close! One deficit was in the billions, the other in the TRILLIONS.

I'll grant you that neither is good. But to try to mischaracterize the damage that is currently being done is dishonest.

Even under the rosiest scenario, Obama's plan is to cut the deficit (his deficit) in half and get it BACK to around $500 BILLION per year in about four years. Then the $500 BILLION deficits continue forever.

Again, that's using Obama's own rosy outlook. The Congressional Budget Office and others project deficits that will be much worse.

Any way you look at it the numbers are unsustainable. No government can spend $500 BILLION PLUS more than they are taking in and succeed. And remember, those record deficits are before even thinking about health care or cap-and-tax.

Anonymous said...

The problem is beyond fielding congressional candidates. We can't even field viable local and state candidate in most of Lehigh and Northampton county. There was one Democratic twp commissioner candidate for 3 positions and not one for any of the other positions and in 2008 there wasn't even a state house candidate. We have no field team,and the Democratic party seem to be more interested in fratricide with Joe long trying to Kill off (in the political sense) Stoffa and anyone Stoffa supported. We can't win as a part in the valley until we stop allowing people like Joe long keeping the party from growing.

Anonymous said...

I guess you didn't have many questions for him.

Anonymous said...

Democrats can't win in the LV until they decide to open the doors to new blood. They complain that critics should step up, volunteer, be committee people, etc. But joining the local party means accepting your place as a peon, taking orders from self-interested leadership. That's a big turnoff to people who were drawn to the party by Obama's enlightened brand of leadership.