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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Magisterial Candidate Walter Felton's Improper Political Activity

Magisterial candidates, like other judicial hopefuls, are bound by ethical standards that prohibit partisan political activity. In fact, the Judicial Conduct Board of Pa has a rule spelling it out.

"Magisterial district judges or a candidate for such office shall not ... engage in partisan political activity, deliver political speeches, make or solicit political contributions (including purchasing tickets for political party dinners or other functions) or attend political or party conventions or gatherings ... ."

Magisterial candidate Walter Felton is violating that rule. Not counting his own signs, he has 13 campaign signs for Cunningham, Pawlowski, Guridy and Schlossberg decorating his yard. These are all, as you know, Democratic candidates. The photograph above was taken at Walter's residential address, listed by voter registration here. Real estate assessment records reveal he is the sole owner of that property.

In addition to these yard signs, Walter's personal Facebook page continues this theme of partisan political activity. The portion of his Facebook page open to the public lists him as a "fan" of Northampton County Controller Steve Barron and Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan.

This involvement in partisan political activity affects Felton's ability to be impartial. If elected, he's already demonstrated a predisposition to favor Pawlowski and other city officials in any disputes involving Allentown.

I like Walter very much, but he should know better.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

If he is married or shares his residence, the signs can be theirs. Before your crazy controlled your life totally ohare you were once a lawyer. You know it isn't that cut and dried, except in the bizzaro world you now live in.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Assessment records reveal the property is owned exclusively by Felton. It is a violation.

Anonymous said...

I liked him, per your assessment two days ago. Now, I'm certain this partisan hack lawbreaker shouldn't be anywhere near a judicial bench. If he can't follow basic campaign and ethics requirements, he should never stand in judgment of others. I wonder if he checks voter registrations of those who end up in front of him. He's lack of knowledge, or brazen flaunting of the law demonstrates that he is unfit to hold this office.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:40, I would not go that far. Walter is a good person. But he really should know better.

NLVlogic said...

Although it seems like a diminimus infraction, you are absolutely correct, as our former local magistrate was charged by the Judicial Conduct Board for, among other things, his public endorsement of a political candidate, namely his wife. Details of that by way of analogy can be found here. On the other hand, I often thought this prohibition should smack against the First Amendment, and fall by the wayside much as did much the prohibition against judicial candidates speaking on issues, or even attorney advertising.

Anonymous said...

A lock-step, party loyalist who supports the corrupt Pawlowski is probably not a good fit for magistrate.

Anonymous said...

Likeable or not, the fact is that he IS a partisan political hack supported by the Pawlowski/Dem machine. I suppose now the signs will come down and we will all act like it never happened or that he didn't know it was wrong. This is so basic, and illustrates perfectly that he is in no way impartial and should not serve on the bench.

By the way, he was also among the first to take advantage of the big retirement package that is bankrupting Allentown, taking a pension that was almost 90% OF HIS PAY WHILE ON THE FORCE.

I see no reason to reward someone who has helped stab the taxpayers in the back by giving him another taxpayer-funded position.

Of course, he will probably be overwhelmingly elected by the wise Allentown voters.

Anonymous said...

I was a fence sitter on this one, but I'm starting to question Felton's character. I can think of at least 3 properties in the West End with Felton signs that are owned by absentee landlords. One is owned by notoriously irresponsible West End Associates (Richard McCauley). Felton should be embarresed to have his sign on this property.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

I have deleted a comment trying to drive traffic to a local hate blogger.

I'd like to address one of the red herrings raised in an attemot to mislead people. Rule 15 (see link on my post) allows magisterial candidates to engage in very limited partisan political activity during the year he is running for office. He can attend political functions, but only to speak on his own behalf, and may contribute to a party, but not a specific campaign.

Nothing in Rule 15 permits a magisterial candidate to engage in partisan political activity on behalf of a specific candidate, excepting himself.

The reason for this rule, quite obviously, is that it keeps judicial candidates impartial and above the fray.

Anonymous said...

If your employer offered you 90% pay at retirement you wouldn't take it??

Who are you kidding ANYONE would take that offer. He is human and a hard working good cop who gave his time and great effort to the tax payers.

It isn't his fault he and the other police officers were offered that sweet deal...look at mayor afflerbach and council.

As for the signs, he should take them down and be in accordance with the law. Bernie you say he owns the property soley but does that also mean that if a wife or child is living on the premise that they cannot put a sign up?

Bernie O'Hare said...

As I understans the rule, the candidate is supposed to encourage family members to follow the same rules that apply to him, although nobody would penalize Walter for signs placed there by one of his children or his girlfriend.

Anonymous said...

How dare you point out the lawlessness of one who would enforce the law and impose sanction on others?

You are hereby denounced as racist. Wait til Obama finds out...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:54 said...

If your employer offered you 90% pay at retirement you wouldn't take it??...
Who are you kidding ANYONE would take that offer...
It isn't his fault he and the other police officers were offered that sweet deal.


Anon -

I can think of someone who was with the police department for many years, more than even Walt. This person surely had numerous opportunities to leave for better offers over the years yet chose to remain and continue protecting and serving the citizens of Allentown.

That person would be Ron Manescu, Walt's opponent.

As you noted, there are certainly others to share the blame for the pension mess. However, as your post admits, Walt did what was best for Walt.

When I cast my vote for District Justice, I'll be voting for someone who's proven they had the citizens of Allentown in their mind instead of just themselves. I'll be voting for Ron Manescu.

Anonymous said...

Felton is featured in a "friends of" Eddie P mailing for democrat candidates that is a clear violation of Rule 15. I also notice Felton took down the signs at his house. But then he also stopped bringing a Northampton Sheriff car home every night after he filed for the primary. He should show better judgment BEFORE he gets busted on these things. Taking the 90% pension is sickening. I'm voting for Manescu.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Excuse me, but are you saying Feltom toook a Northampton County Sheriff cruiser home every night to LC?