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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Phillips, Hershman & O'Connell Shine at NAACP Debate

Last night, the Allentown branch of the NAACP hosted a candidates' night for district justice, county commissioner, city council and mayoral candidates. I was told the event was somewhere around 4th & Union, so off I went, figuring I'd have no problem. I easily found Union and a gigantic, crowded parking lot. I parked my brother's truck and walked inside a crowded building with my flipcam in hand, rarin' to go.

Once inside, things got weird. Now I don't attend too many NAACP meetings, so I'm no expert on the subject, but I was always thought they attract a large number of black people. Well, instead of seeing Esther Lee or Al Sharpton, I saw a gaggle of little white girls in leotards, prancing all over the place, leaping in the air and doing flips and cartwheels. Their adoring parents noticed me and smiled. Then they saw my flipcam and started giving me the Evil Eye. I was inside the Parkettes gymnastics building. I bolted out of there before being forced to register under Megan's Law and walked across yet another street to find some Praise Be Jebus Zion Church, and that's where everyone was holed up.

Man, I had a feast. There were all kinds of cheeses, pepperoni, ham and cheese sandwiches, you name it. Everyone - at least sixty people - was scarfing it up. I stepped into the parking lot and cornered Mike D'Amore, when some cop pulled up and said he was looking for some fat guy who had just terrorized some poor little girls and their parents. That's when I figured it was time to go back inside, pointing at D'Amore on my way.

Last night's event included mini-judge candidates Walt Felton and Ron Manescu, Lehigh County Commissioner David Jones, five of the six city council hopefuls and Mayoral opponents Tony Phillips and Edwin Pawlowski. NAACP President Dan Bosket insisted he had called the Republican committee about this event three times, but never contacted the candidates themselves. Dr. Bob Romancheck, the Allentown Republican City Chair, said nobody had notified him and he had just found out about the event that day. For whatever reason, Bob Smith, who is running against Jones for Lehigh County Commissioner, knew nothing about the debate. He was called from the church, quickly threw on a suit and hightailed it down, but arrived too late to be heard.

In the debate at the LV Senior Center last week, Pawlowski dominated. But last night, Tony Phillips finally came out of his shell before a friendly crowd and hit hard, challenging every assertion made by Hizzoner. He pointed out that the Pawlowski regime has brought Allentown five businesses, but there are 42 empty storefronts along Hamilton Street. He noted 60 murders since Pawlowski was coronated, and 25 of these remain unsolved. "Nobody cares," Phillips said, "because the victims look mostly like you and me. If this had happened in the west end, we'd have martial law."

He scoffed at Pawlowski's Weed n' Seed program. "He's real good at the weeds, but that's the easy part. What about the seed? Where are the jobs? Do you have one? Do you? Where is the economic development in the first and sixth ward? There's no jobs in this community for you. You are being left behind while he stands around and polishes his spin."

Phillips' message resonated with this evangelistic crowd, which erupted in applause several times, accompanied by a few "Amens." Lady MacBeth, Pawlowski's wife, scowled as Phillips hammered away.

Their biggest difference relates to public safety. Hizzoner recited statistics showing crime is down in this ward and that, but Phillips had a more visceral approach, obviously developed during his 22 years as a cop. When the Mayor bragged about hiring 75 new cops, Phillips retorted that Pawlowski was merely replacing the cops that had retuired thanks to his incompetence. He pointed to the high incidence of rape and robbery, as well as murder, and asked whether people really feel safe.

Phillips also hit hard on Pawlowski's incestuous relationship with campaign donors.. He claimed Pawlowski just got a $14 million grant to spruce up his own neighborhood, and will be using one of his campaign contributors to deconvert homes at $100 thousand a pop. "You don't see that between 3rd and 4th, do you?"He also pointed out that Pawlowski secured $2.5 million for a "billionaire, not a millionaire," to clean up a city brownfield. This beneficiary of government largesse is yet another Pawlowski contributor.

Phillips even tagged Pawlowski on the credit he takes for the LV IronPigs, which the Mayor tried to do again last night. "It's in Allentown, but belongs to Lehigh County. Lehigh County built that, not him."

As Phillips swung away, two young Pawlowski goons came into the back of the room and began making some types of gestures, trying to confuse the challenger. Tony stopped in the middle of a sentence, looked right at them both and asked, "Do you have a problem?" They stopped, but hustled to the front of the room right before Pawloski's final remarks, stinking of booze and tobacco. These stormtroopers tried to lead a thunderous cavalcade of applause, but it was too late. Pawlowski was totally demolished.

This largely minority crowd also loved Lou Hershman and Ray O'Connell. Hershman, as usual, pulled no punches. "City council has become a lapdog to the Mayor. When it's time to make hard choices, they're not there. They get their marching orders from the Mayor and just march along. Put a watchdog on City Council, not a lap dog." O'Connell, who has a terrific sense of humor that immediately puts everyone at ease, said he's an "independent thinker." "I'm not going to belly up and roll over for someone."

In the Allentown races, the clear win goes to Tony Phillips, Lou Hershman and Ray O'Connell.

David Jones gave perhaps one of the best speeches I've ever heard from a county candidate, which I was able to capture on video and will share with you below. I also have Ron Manescu and Walter Felton on my flipcam, and will be bringing you verbatim transcripts of their remarks.

I'd love to give you video of the mayoral and city council candidates, too, but was shut down, thanks largely to city council candidate Julio Guridy. He does not want you to see how poorly heresponds to questions. Oh yeah, I've been ordered not to write about him, too. I'll tell you about that in the post below.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well ohare the rumors of the peodophile behavior are apparently with some merit.

Anonymous said...

Now that we've read all about Tony, you'll post on what the Mayor had to say, right?

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

When ever the truth gets out in Allentown it doesn't look pretty for the ruling party.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

You mention of th two persons that harrassed TONY, Where they friends of Mayors campaign manager MR. Flock

Anonymous said...

too bad there not not more formal public debates and meetings. The world would see how shallow damore and boy wonder schlossberg really are. But they will hide behind thier money and paint some nice promises (lies) for the voters!!

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Excellent reporting. It's as if we were there too. Thank you very much for the time to post all of this. How do you do it?
Get to bed 3 AM and up at 6 for work? Wish we had known about these debates. Nice to hear Phillips finally spoke up. Lou was on Gunther yesterday.

Anonymous said...

It is surprising that no Republicians were invited. Bob Smith is pretty much in the know about stuff and if he says he wasn't invited, we believe him.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to understand how a group with such an overtly racist agenda continues to operate and draw responsible candidates to their events. NAACP used to stand for something completely different. Now, I fail to see the difference between them and any other extremists. It's time to properly marginalize all race-based political groups. And I don't care what candidates any ilk of racists support.

Anonymous said...

Permission Requested to Change Topic.

Bernie,
What finally happened yesterday with that fire inspection at the Call?

michael molovinsky said...

anon 6:37, no reporter, for any newspaper, works any harder than bernie at reporting these meetings.. actually, the Morning Call didn't report on this debate, at least not in today's edition

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:00
I guess you would like to go back to the Antebellum Age . Please let us know your identity so we can have a civil debate. I believe with a little education on the topic of the NAACP you'll be happy to join. Do you have a problem with opening your mind to logical deductive reason?

Looking To Escape said...

Going by your post Bernie, it sounds like Phillips was working the race card. Sounds like he wasn't playing a brain card.
.
Neither Pawlowski OR Phillips are good choices. Neither address the core problem Allentown has which is it has become a passive income plantation to landlords who couldn't care less about the city.
.
As long as the city and the police protect their property, they're going to dump here a crime prone population that will wreck the quality of life for others and drive away needed customers for the businesses of Allentown. The Mayor can do all the facade improvements he wants and Phillips can arrest all the 4th Street criminals he wants, neither will address the root of the problem.
.
As for Guirdy, what problem does he have living in a democracy?

michael molovinsky said...

looking to escape, as a landlord for thirty-five years, i can knowingly say that you have your facts wrong. most of the apartments were here since WW2 and their presence allowed hamilton street to survive many years after most center cities had already declined, i.e.. bethlehem and easton. in the 1960's and 70's allentown was an all american city. nobody buys a building and hopes to attract a low -income problematic tenant. what attracted that tenant base to allentown is a long story which i may have to reprint on my blog, but it's not the landlords. they have become a convenient scapegoat for the politically correct. because the landlords are not the real problems, solutions continue to evade city hall; administration after administration.

Anonymous said...

There is another debate tonight at the senior center (i beleive near 8th st bridge by walnut st) I think. Im gonna try to find out address.

Anonymous said...

I was there last night and Ed was totally awfull. He had no answers for his mishandling of our city! Cant wait for tonight!

Steven said...

anon 9:24

I agree! ED Pawlowski was trying to lie his way out of every issue last night.You hould have seen the eye contact going on between (Julio,David Jones,Mike fleck,Walt felton, and Damore)All of whom support ED. They couln't believe Hizzoner was just called out in Public!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Now that we've read all about Tony, you'll post on what the Mayor had to say, right?"

The mayor had next to nothing to say last night. I'd be happy to produce video clips of his comments and let you decide that for yourself, but his campaign made sure I was shut down in the middle of the debate. You can thank Lady MacBeth & Julio for that.

Anonymous said...

"Looking" is right in that these are both lousy choices for mayor. That the best the Rs could come up with is Phillips shows how bad it is.

And Bernie, sure looks like you're under Guridy's skin! That's good, he needs to remember where he came from and who he is supposed to represent.

The Banker

Bernie O'Hare said...

"There is another debate tonight at the senior center (i beleive near 8th st bridge by walnut st) I think. Im gonna try to find out address."

If you get the information, please post it here.

Looking To Escape said...

looking to escape, as a landlord for thirty-five years, i can knowingly say that you have your facts wrong


No one group is the source of Allentown's (or any other city's) problems.
.
I am aware you are a landlord and I have avoided addressing the issue of landlords on your blog so not to appear I am blaming you. Overall I consider you a positive force for Allentown and I have appreciated your efforts.
.
There are good landlords and there are bad landlords. In my numerous posts addressing Allentown's economic issues, when the subject came to landlords I have mentioned there are good ones.
.
The origins of Allentown's rental stock is fairly immaterial to the argument. What is material is how those units are operated now and their effects on the city. I have done limited research on the issues of rentals and across the board several studies have shown as a city housing base swings to rentals, crime goes up and in some cases (like Los Angeles) has gone up dramatically.
.
Effectively, the homeowners and businesses of Allentown are subsidizing landlords by having to pay higher taxes to keep a police force and other services such as schools going for a population that is more troublesome. Landlords pocket the profits, homeowners get higher tax bills they can not pass on and business get a double whammy by having to pay higher taxes while being stuck with a customer base too broke to buy their services (there by reducing a revenue stream to the city). Come to think of it, business here gets a third whammy, paying taxes so the Mayor can subsidize their competition.
.
The thrust of my argument has been on here (and the general Topix board) a certain number of rentals will be needed in the city. What the Mayor and City Council should be saying it, you can forget the passive income aspect of residential rentals. The city should treat rentals as they would any other business with the expectation the property owner will be actively involved in the care, maintenance and security of the property.
.
The long term benefit will be a better quality of renter, safer schools, safer streets and enhanced property values for all.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
I'd like to know too where the meeting is tonight.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You mention of th two persons that harrassed TONY, Where they friends of Mayors campaign manager MR. Flock"

Yes, in the back of the room, they were bantering quite a bit with Fleck. Their sole purpose was to intimidate and create a false sense of grass rooots support.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Get to bed 3 AM and up at 6 for work?"

I got 5 hours sleep an will not beat the courthouse until 1 PM. Some guy is supposed to call me about my Jeep, but has not done so.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"What finally happened yesterday with that fire inspection at the Call?"

To be honest, I have no idea. I have not heard back from my inside source, who was very upset when he/she called.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I believe with a little education on the topic of the NAACP you'll be happy to join."

Ron Angle is a member of the NAACP and very proud of it. So is John Stoffa.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Going by your post Bernie, it sounds like Phillips was working the race card. Sounds like he wasn't playing a brain card."

He was working the crowd he faced and his points are very valid with people who have no jobs and who are usually the victims of most violent crime.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Excellent reporting. It's as if we were there too."

I don't think everyone will agree, but thanks. I've got to do something right every now and then.

Anonymous said...

just found out tonights debate is at 804-806 jackson st Allentown
6:30pm

Anonymous said...

Of course they're members of NAACP. It's a small membership fee to inoculate white politicians from the racist charge. Race identity politics are disgusting from either side of the political spectrum. It's time to call the NAACP what it really has become.

michael molovinsky said...

here's a grenade, although i never thought of the NAACP as racist, Dan Boskett, then and current president of the local chapter, asked me to prove i'm NOT a racist because of my platform against the poverty magnet. (05 candidate night). HOWEVER, he did not disclose, or did i know at the time, that he worked for alan Jennings in the poverty growth industry

Steve said...

Ed Pawlowski was a joke last night! All he said was the crime is down, nobody is buying that mayor! Do you think the mayor will walk around center city at night? Hell No. He doesnt want to be mayor cause he cares about the city, he cares about his wallet. Thats why he wants a 50% raise and Phillips wants a 10% cut.

Anonymous said...

50% raise for what?

Being a lying Progressive Liberal Democrat from Chicago?

Anonymous said...

The GOP is out in force, the Party of the three "R",

Rude, Racist and Republican

Anonymous said...

Bernie - it is becoming more and more obvious that you are the ONLY source of any sort of fair and balanced reporting in this election.

Paloser and Amore own the city hall guy jared renshaw, so expect zero coverage of anything negative about eddy.

Thanks for a great job; only wish the racist julio would not have intimidated you into turning off the video.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks for the nice words but let me make a few things clear:

1) I am biased and make no effort to hide that bias. I will try my best to be truthful.

2) There are numerous sources of information in the blogosphere, some of which are far more detailed about specific areas than I. Noel Jones has Easton, Molovinsky has Allentown, Ken Petrini has LC, NewsOverCoffee covers Nazareth, Dave Najarian covers northern LC, and there are blogs devoted to communities like Tatamy, Forks and Lower Nazareth. My focus tends to be Northampton County.

3) Jarret Renshaw is an outstanding reporter who has broken most of the stories detailing Pawlowski's abuses. He reported pay to play, the deficit, the Cedar Creek Park and the firefighter sick-time abuse. I don't see King Edwin sending him a Christmas card.

Anonymous said...

Bernie - you are sooooo wrong pertaining to renshaw. Where is his coverage on the election, BIG FAT ZERO. For a city hall beat reported, he is a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10. 3 or 4 articles of marginal substance in a year or so, WOW. Where is the follow-up to play and pay? The deficit, we all know he had help on that one!??? How many debates did you see him cover this month and actually put somethng in the paper. there is a reason a Call is going under..

And did you ever visit his city hall blog, the worst ever.....

Anonymous said...

Mike Molovinsky - what ruined downtown allentown was Joe Daddonn'a obession for federal section 8 $$$$, and his lack of vision to have downtown allentown stay competive with the then suburbs, particulalrly as the lehigh valley mall sprang up. Also, there where opportunities for Allentown to merge with several border towns in the 1970's which daddonna missed. Who would not leave the taxes of allentown for whitehall or wescoeville?

Allentown future lies in recapturing its downtown one home at a time just like bethlehem did

Anonymous said...

City night election results

Paloser beats bucky bolye at least 2-1 after a robo-call on the morality thing.

Amore, Berg, and connell, the robocall-funders ride Paloser coattails. julio narrowly road coattails 4 years ago, battles hershman till dawn - recount pending....

all the talk and all the blogging and what??????

michael molovinsky said...

anon 6:28, bethlehem never lost those downtown houses. the moravian church and academy has helped preserve that area since day one. on my blog i have documented how many buildings allentown would have to recapture (5,000) and how much each has cost them so far to buy and de-convert (350,000). better come up with another plan or wait and have patience (about 175 years)

lauren said...

My prediction, Phillips beats Pawlowski November 3 by a close 150 votes, And I laugh my ass off watching Fatlowski giving his concession speech! Go Tony!