On Thursday, I snapped this picture of Allentown Mayor Edwin Pawlowski's front door. Had I finally flipped my lid and started stalking him? Was I encouraging others to do so?
That's what some of you thought.
"That is a mean thing to do Mr. Ohare. Are you trying to get some kind of senseless act of vandalism or hate generated[?]"
"Seriously, showing up at their house? That's kind of creepy."
I was even told I could "possibly even bring [the Pawlowskis] in danger by posting senseless pictures."
Well, just so you know, I would never want to see anyone hurt. I do respect the privacy of publicly elected officials, even King Edwin. It's a picture of a door. At least seventy per cent of Allentown's homes have a door.
So why'd I do it? The reason for this picture, which accompanies a blog that carefully avoids disclosing King Edwin's home address, is to show you he had no permit for a new "mancave" in his basement. That was the subject of considerable Facebook chirping by First Lady (she likes to be called that) Lisa Pawlowski.
Pawlowski has shut down businesses when they lack the proper permits, but applies different standards to himself. After all, he's the King.
Last week, when I tried to pull public permit records for the Mayor's home, City officials stonewalled. I was ordered to fill out a Right-to-Know request, which gives them five days to answer me, if they answer at all. Now, there's no question that permits, like Deeds or Wills, are public records that should be immediately produced. This insistence on Right-to-Know forms is an exaltation of form over substance. It's so Allentown can actually be less, rather than more, transparent.
But I had a secret. You see, someone had already tipped me that there was no permit. Although City Hall threw up a roadblock, a quick trip to the LC Assessor's office confirmed that there was no permit. In fact, when I showed an Assessor what Lady Lisa had posted on Facebook, he told me that not only was a permit required, but he would probably want to visit for possible re-assessment.
Pawlowski apologist Jeff Pooley, in an article entitled "O'Hare's Petty Mudslinging," derides my "flimsy evidence" and goes on to claim I should have waited until City officials were good and damn ready to answer me. Gee, Jeff, give King Edwin some time to scramble? That' rich. Jeff, whom I admire and respect, is amazingly unfazed by the City's stonewalling or the Mayor's unwillingness to apply laws to himself that he enforces against others. Time to lose those blinders, Jeff.
I'm glad I never waited.
This weekend, my grandson was in a baseball tournament in Allentown. So I swung by Hizzoner's home again, late on a very hot Saturday afternoon. Guess what I saw? That same door again, except this time, there was an ugly orange permit. So what happened? Did we all miss it the first time? Or did King Edwin, in reaction to Friday's blog, scramble and get the permit he should have obtained when he first had the work done?
Here's what happened. On Friday, in reaction to criticism from this blog, Pawlowski finally obtained the permit he should have had two months ago. I was treated to a City computer screen dump for all the permits on Pawlowski's property, showing that's exactly what happened. I was going to reproduce it here, but am concerned that vengeful City officials will try to track down the specific computer (and employee).
Had I listened to Jeff and remained quiet, writing nothing, meekly waiting for City Officials to answer my Right to Know request like a good little boy, it is very possible that permit would be dated 6/23 and not 7/23. My post made that game impossible.
What's laughable abut the computer record of this permit is that it only estimates $500 for the work. We're to believe contractors made three visits and charged only $500? When I do get my hands on the actual permit and identify the contractor, I'll be posting again. Who do you think it is - campaign contributor and city vendee Stellar, or campaign contributor and city vendee City Line?
Now, will Pawlowski be cited for having this work done with no permit?
Update (9:39 AM): Pooley admits he goofed.