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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Do You Have a Question For LC Exec Don Cunningham?

On Thursday, at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m., Lehigh County Exec Don Cunningham will preview the financial outlook for next year. He must be expecting a crowd because it's at Coca-Cola Park. Wachovia Bank is going to spring for breakfast. Funnel cake and Bud.

During a news conference today, Dr. Percy Dougherty - he chairs the LC Comm'rs - told Ken Petrini and me that he's worried. He thinks this year's deficit could easily top $18 million. But nobody really knows except Cunningham and his staff. Cunningham is playing his cards close to the vest this year.

Over in Northampton County, I know we're in trouble. Exec John Stoffa and even DA John Morganelli are running through the halls, flipping off light switches, trying to save nickels and dimes. What complicates things even more is the state budget impasse. Petrini has an excellent analysis of all the traps and pitfalls that really await both county executives.

After he's finished his financial outlook, Don has agreed to sit down with me and answer a few questions. Why would the Lehigh Valley's most popular elected official subject himself to a hate blogger like me? Simple. I stole his car keys. Unless he answers a few questions, Dean Browning and I will do some joyriding.

But why should I have all the fun? If you have a question you'd like answered, feel free to pose it in the comments.


Anonymous said...

Don, if 576 children in Cedar Beach Park get on a train going 59 miles an hour, stop off on S. 3d St. in Bethlehem and buy 576 hotdogs from Padilla and then crash into the Delaware River while dodging bullets from the Hoover gang in Easton, who pays for their healthcare?

Bernie O'Hare said...

That may be the worst question I've ever seen for an interview. I love it!

Anonymous said...



Where exactly does one develop an accent as horrible as yours?

Does it hurt as much to speak that way as it does to listen to?

Does Ed Rendell give you day-by-day marching orders, or is it a coincidence that you support every one of his ruinous policies?

Anonymous said...


"Don, if 576 children in Cedar Beach Park get on a train going 59 miles an hour, stop off on S. 3d St. in Bethlehem and buy 576 hotdogs from Padilla and then crash into the Delaware River while dodging bullets from the Hoover gang in Easton, who pays for their healthcare?"


Not Barack Obama. He's busy changing my oil and performing warranty work on my Buick. The children who did not perish will be evaluated by a panel to determine if the rest of their lives are worth saving.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

No! Get out of office.

Anonymous said...

How has the roll out of the safe streets program been managed? How many police officers have been put on the streets of our communities? How many officers have been awarded to Allentown?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Who do you got? Callahan or Dent? Why?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Yes, here is my question:

In April of 2008, I spoke with Don C and Frank Kane about COALS, i.e. Clean Our American Lands and Streams, is a state managed privately
funded program aimed at cleaning up and preventing illegal dumps. It
starts via a County-wide inventory of dumping locations. A summary is at
the link below


Berks and Schukill County are in. Lehigh is not. Why not?

In August, I reapproached the subject with Don C and Cindy Feinberg. COALS is exactly the kind of project for COG, as it requires local Township/Borough participation, and County Cordindation, all paid for by private money.

My question is: what happened?

My second question is: Has the COG become a County means for political agendas, such as the proposed County sales tax, or the proffered resolution to support the Federal and State stimulus programs? How does that fit into the COG bylaws?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks for the questions, Dave.

Anonymous said...

Don, do you feel the Route 22 widening between Airport Road and Cedar Crest is necessary to improve public safety and ensure the economic vitality of Lehigh County. If so, will you publicly endorse and lobby Harrisburg and the Feds to keep the widening project on schedule and fully funded? There have been several deaths in the last year and daily accidents in that corridor.

Since Allentown and Bethlehem City (Northampton and Lehigh) get a big chunk of Casino monies, will you vow that all monies that Lehigh County receives go to our smaller communities?

Anonymous said...

At the Courthouse, priceless Granite was replace with cheap cast concrete and drivit. What happend to the Granite and what exactly was the financial benefit to the county.

If it was sold, were bids sought?

What is the status of the Granite Lehigh County carving the showcased the facade? Will it be reused?

Sanctifying Grace said...

Dear Mr. Cunningham,

When you worked a short stint as Information Director at Moravian College, was your assistant (and only assistant) worth more than the student aid wages that they paid him? Are you willing to give him any $$$ to make up for the difference? If so, you can forward the money to Bernie and he will make sure that I get it. Uh, I mean, that your former assistant gets it.

Peace, ~~Alex Joseph

Anonymous said...

During your campaign for governor, you raised $700,000+ from donors from all over the state. What assurances can you give Lehigh County residents that those political debts won't influence future contract awards?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cunningham: Fountain Hill will arguably be the municipality most impacted by the Sands casino, next to Bethlehem itself. But being located in Lehigh County, Fountain Hill can't compete for casino money alongside other adjacent NorCo municipalities. What percentage of LeCo's casino pie are you willing to designate to Fountain Hill to help it meet increased police and other casino-related demands?

Anonymous said...

NLVlogic makes a very good point.

When Don started the COG and municipal outreach there was a great deal of personal contact out here in the municipalities and we appreciated that.

It seemed like the COG was a great idea and he had a guy come around and do a great job of explaining the concept.

In the past year or so it seems like we are no longer contacted like in the beginning.

I agree with logic that the COG has seemed to evolve into a political advoacy group. That is not what some of us were seeing as the purpose.

I hope Lehigh County gets back to the one on one personal face to face meetings and a COG that is what we thought it would be an entity for problem solving with the County.

Sorry for the late post just got back from shift and heading off to bed. Good luck tomorrow.


michael molovinsky said...

Ron Hamill, and other advocates for quality water, claim that the LCA favors the bottling companies to the extent that their representatives sit on the Authority, ahead of residents. These companies are highly automated with few employee's, why threaten the Little Lehigh for the benefit of Coke?

Anonymous said...

Since Allentown has received over ~$5M in direct, non-matching, federal stimulus aid, Bethlehem ~4.5M and Easton ~$4M, do you feel that the focus of Lehigh County’s investment over the next four years should be directed outside these entitlement communities of Allentown and Bethlehem? Why or why not?