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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, July 08, 2010

NorCo Dem Election - The Sequel


"Excuse me, are you the gentleman who writes those stories on the Internet?" politely asked a sweet old lady.

"Why yes I am," I replied, thinking she might be another one of those blogger groupies who constantly hound me for my autograph.

"I just want you to know that you're a disgusting piece of shit. You, and that Charlie Dent!" she told me, as her eyes morphed red and her head started spinning around her shoulders.

I dodged the pea soup.

That's actually how several mindless lever pullers reacted to me last night. I was sitting inside Majestic Courtroom 1, along with well over a hundred other people, waiting for Northampton County Democratic Committee Reorganization - The Sequel. Let me tell you the story.

Walt Garvin, aka Wally G, has already been elected once as Dem chair. On June 17, he edged out reformer Michael Laws in a narrow, 42-40 victory. But Democrats being Democrats, and worse yet, Democrats led by Joe "Bossman" Long, they managed to screw it up. They really tried, but conducted a secret ballot election in violation of state by-laws that require each ballot to be signed to prevent committeeman fraud.

Who knew?

Well, that set the stage for last night's sequel. Being a duly elected committeeman from Nazareth, where I won an overwhelming mandate with one write-in vote, I arrived early to watch people trickle in on one of the hottest days of the year. It's perhaps one of the few times when I get to see other people dressed worse than me.

Garvin, dressed for success, gladhanded people as they walked in the door. And there was quite the crowd. After ignoring his County Council job for the past six weeks, Lamont McClure found the time for last night's election. He had a happy reunion with his former Council colleague, Charles "don't call me Charlie" Dertinger. Unsuccessful County Council candidate Lorraine Pasquale was there, too, sporting her Capri pants. They revealed what was either a serious leg wound or one of the worst tattoos I've ever seen. Then some Bethlehem dude was prancing around in flip flops and what was either a very wrinkled kilt or some kind of skirt.

But the strangest outfit I saw was the yellow T-shirt being modeled by a John Callahan supporter. Emblazoned in black lettering are the words, "Callahan the Run." I was told the Callahan model was none other than his campaign manager, Justin Schall.

What's up with that? Who the hell wears a frickin' yellow T-shirt? And what message is he trying to send? That Callahan is yellow? Brilliant campaign strategy.

He and some other Callahan staffers sat alone in the jury box, too important to actually talk to the little people.

When the show finally started, ex-Chairman Joe demonstrated his transparency right off the bat. He tried, and failed, to prevent me from filming the event. Then, before doing anything else, he tried to have me thrown off the committee because I do support nearly as many Republicans as Democrats. That brought a round of applause from the LongDems and other mindless lever pullers like Mike Fleck, who was sporting his new summer buzzcut. Then some Pakistani dude from Bethlehem, in a thick accent, called me a spy. I think he wanted to have me stoned or beheaded or something, maybe with a nice video to accompany it.

Fortunately, the meeting was being chaired by State Rep. Joe Brennan, imported from Lehigh County because we can't seem to do anything right. Better yet, Joe was lucky to have the able assistance of State Rep. Bob Freeman, who was acting as Parliamentarian.

Everybody was offering "Points of Order" to give Dertinger and McClure time to find a nice length of rope. But Brennan and Freeman did something very odd in a meeting of LongDems. They let me speak. I'm not entirely sure what the hell I said, but that brought a round of applause, too. I think I said I'd like to bring Ron Angle and Charlie Dent in to speak as character witnesses. I'd say it was still about 70-30 against me, but I might make it out alive.

Freeman put it best when he said, "I think we go down a dangerous path when we cherry pick who we go after for not supporting the party."

In the end, everyone agreed with a Joe Welsh compromise under which my vote would be sequestered and placed in several sealed envelopes for examination by forensic experts at the state party level.

Because everyone had to sign for their ballot, and then sign the ballot itself, voting got downright tedious and the meeting lasted until 10 PM.

After all the ballots were cast, they were publicly counted, one by one. Several people died. When the vote had Garvin and Laws at a 39-39 tie, Brennan wisecracked, "This meeting is now adjourned." But it continued, and the final tally was Walt Garvin over Michael Laws, 46-41.

Peace.

My vote, had it been counted, would never have affected the outcome. Now I did vote for Laws, but was really tempted to do a write-in for Ron Angle.

The Express Times Sarah Cassi was there, and has a more objective account than this. She kept moving away from me for some reason. But Northampton County Exec John Stoffa came over. I thought he'd have some noble words of encouragement, something to lift me up.

"You know, you'd screw up a church picnic," is all he said.

48 comments:

Sanctifying Grace said...

Bernie,

Please tell me that this post is your attempt at humor. If not, this is very disheartening for the unaware, or even the aware, citizens.

I was considering registering to vote in D.C. But I decided against it. I feel, due to D.C. being a district and not a state, my vote in the Lehigh Valley would have better representation. Thus, the D.C. license plates: "Taxation Without Representation."

These games you have cited are upsetting. But in a small town, I guess sometimes this is to be expected. At least it wasn't nepotism this time...

Peace, ~~Alex+

Bernie O'Hare said...

Fr. Alex,

A little old lady really did call Charlie Dent and me a "piece of shit."

Bossman Joe did really try to silemce the camera and th committeeman wielding it.

Several others had a few snotty remarks of their own.

They really did have to repeat the election bc Joe Long can't seem to follow the very by-laws he was attempting to enforce against me.

I made up the part about the pea soup.

Sanctifying Grace said...

Why can't people see outside the box? How can they be so brazen?

I can't even write that this is amazing or sad, because my mouth open from amazement. I have that confused feeling that I think is just plain shock.

Never realized how people's greed/ego/stupidity/or whatever can give them carte blanche not to follow the rules. (Forgive the spelling errors. It is way past my bed time.)

Still in shock... what a sad day for the citizens of NorCo.

Peace, ~~Alex+

Anonymous said...

Bernie you joined the wrong party. I will guarantee that had you joined the Norco Republicans, they would have welcomed you with open arms. No name calling, or profanity toward you for supporting a Democrat here and there, just a well-meaning attempt to get you psychological help.
You experienced the disease, you know where you can find the cure: 610-759-4641.

Anonymous said...

Why was John Stoffa there? to pretend to be a Democrat or to report his version to his Republican handlers.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Was Bob Freeman really present? All indicators over the past year are that he is dead. Or was it his corpse propped up like Weekend at Bernie's?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2.29 said
"No name calling, or profanity toward you for supporting a Democrat here and there, just a well-meaning attempt to get you psychological help."

I call BS on that statement. I heard Meg Holland, the republican city controller from Bethlehem, was reprimanded for having some Democratic candidates' signs in her yard.

Anonymous said...

John Stoffa was there to observe the proceedings. He is a decent man who votes his conscience. That represents a bit too much independent thought for Joe Long Dems. Things are changing, and for the better. They can't stop it. The elderly have only so much time left to keep the younger generation at bay. We have no ties to Joe or Walt and they have no power over us. We need not ask their blessing or permission to do what we were elected to do...organize dems in our precincts. We will continue doing the work they can't or won't do, and we know we will be doing it without assistance from them. We will bring a flood of new, thinking, participating, democrats on board. The kind who won't tolerate their voices being stifled. The kind who aren't made uncomfortable by asking tough questions. The kind who aren't afraid of red-faced, blustering old men, used to intimidating people into silence. We will remake NorCo and we will be sure the credit for that goes to those who actually deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Permission to Change Topic:

Perhaps you will consider offering commentary on the current Philly Voter Intimidation Case in the news. We remember how the initial news broadcasts picked up intimidating audio comments.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Did you use that little Flip Camera? It does a great job!
Now they cost 3x the price you paid.

Anonymous said...

How is any political party allowed to use a government building to hold private meetings?

Anonymous said...

They are public meetings.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Did you use that little Flip Camera? It does a great job!"

Yeah, I really love it and don't need much light. It is low resolution, not good enough for a newspaper, but great for Internet.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Or was it his corpse propped up like Weekend at Bernie's?"

It's election time. In the meantime, Shegda is still wondering what to do with all the cupcakes and cookies his sister stole during the GOP picnic.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"How is any political party allowed to use a government building to hold private meetings?"

I think they just asked. The courthouse is also a venue for news conferences for candidates from both parties. The GOP conducted a big news conference about Severson in the rotunda a few years ago. I do not see anything wrong with this so long as it is made available for evertyone. It is the people's building.

not so casual observer said...

Anon 754

Yes !they allow the poiitcal parties to use COurtroom 1 for large meetings. It has always been done on a non partisan basis. Both use it. It is viewed as part of the electoral process becasue these meetings of elected party offcials.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks for straightening us out, Not so Casual.

Anonymous said...

On the bright side, Long is no longer the party chair.

Anonymous said...

Bernie O'Hare said...
"How is any political party allowed to use a government building to hold private meetings?"

I think they just asked. The courthouse is also a venue for news conferences for candidates from both parties. The GOP conducted a big news conference about Severson in the rotunda a few years ago. I do not see anything wrong with this so long as it is made available for evertyone. It is the people's building.

8:39 AM


Thank you Bernie for explaining this. You're right about it
being the "people's building"
but today so much of the
"Peoples Property" is off limits
to the people. Glad to hear such hasn't happened in NC.

Anonymous said...

Bernie O'Hare said...
"How is any political party allowed to use a government building to hold private meetings?"

I think they just asked. The courthouse is also a venue for news conferences for candidates from both parties. The GOP conducted a big news conference about Severson in the rotunda a few years ago. I do not see anything wrong with this so long as it is made available for evertyone. It is the people's building.

8:39 AM

Thank you for explaining this.

Rick Fisher said...

While I thought that Joe Long's attempt to remove you as a voter was in extremely poor taste, you have lowered yourself to his level by making disparaging comments about the clothes people wore to the meeting.

I felt bad that you had to defend yourself without warning and being new to the process, I certainly have a negative first impression of Joe Long.

But your response here was in such poor taste, I understand better why you were singled out. I didn't see you setting the world on fire with your common attire. Glass houses, dude.

I do want to thank you for posting the results of the election- really couldn't find it anywhere else.

One more item for you to consider- They are called "Utilikilts" and my woman says that they are the "Sexiest thing a guy can wear." Apparently, you haven't been to the Pacific Northwest lately. You should get out more.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you, Bernie! Thanks for bringing the flipcam and posting these blogs, you're doing a great service. Great job standing up to them trying to oust you too.

Out of curiosity, do you have any other videos besides this one of Long trying to get you to stop filming?

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
According to a local paper, Rendell's free money list keeps growing.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you, Bernie! Thanks for bringing the flipcam and posting these blogs, you're doing a great service. Great job standing up to them trying to oust you too.

Out of curiosity, do you have any other videos besides this one of Long trying to get you to stop filming?

Wayne said...

Bernie O'Hare said...
"How is any political party allowed to use a government building to hold private meetings?"

I think they just asked. The courthouse is also a venue for news conferences for candidates from both parties. The GOP conducted a big news conference about Severson in the rotunda a few years ago. I do not see anything wrong with this so long as it is made available for evertyone. It is the people's building.


-----------------------------
I could be wrong, and will gladly accept correction, but...

Is it "the people's building" - "made available to everyone" or is it only available to the two entrenched political parties? Can the Green or Libertarian parties hold their meetings there? How about the League of Woman Voters, Organizing for a Better Bethlehem, or the LV Project 9-12/Tea Party group, can they hold their meetings there?

I know "not so casual observer" said it's available on a "...non partisan basis. Both use it." But wouldn't "bipartisan" be more accurate if *both* can use it and not all? Again, please correct me if I'm wrong... I know groups that may like to avail themselves of the "people's building".

I suspect, that like the primary process, this is another case where the taxpayer subsidizes the two parties to the exclusion of the rest of us.

Again, I could be wrong and it's just my skewed paranoid view. Where do I go to reserve a meeting room?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rick Fisher,

I am almost always the worst-dressed person in a room, an hear that frm friend and foe alike. Byt the heat was the great equalizer yesterday, and I had a rare chance to comment about how some others dress. I would have done that regardless. You think that's in poor taste? My taste is actually much worse than that.

Incidentally, I own a utilikilt. What that guy was wearing was so wrinkled it was hard to tell exactly what it was. But if it is a utilikilt, the manufacturer should pay this dude not to wear it.

Thanks for the criticism. But I was much kinder to my victims than they've been to me.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Can the Green or Libertarian parties hold their meetings there? How about the League of Woman Voters, Organizing for a Better Bethlehem, or the LV Project 9-12/Tea Party group, can they hold their meetings there?"

Not sure avbut the Tea Party bc it is not an official party, but the answer for the political parties is a definite yes.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" do you have any other videos besides this one of Long trying to get you to stop filming?"

Yep. I will load and post liks to a bunch of them.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wayne, The LWV has hosted debates at the courthouse.

Anonymous said...

The NorCo Dem By-Laws states the meeting will be held at the courthouse.

Wayne said...

I'm jealous that you own a utilikilt... don't ever let me see you in it!

Anonymous said...

While all the crooks were in a courtroom, they should have been summarily tried, tortured and executed. An opportunity was missed here. Was Severson around? How about Morganelli?

caffeinegal said...

Bernie's summary is actually more mild than it was. Boss Long's swan song was to commandeer the microphone and proceed to "second the nomination of Walt Garvin, after the nomination process had been closed. He has violated the rules for the eight years he's been there. Also, to the young "Anonymous" poster who is promising a generational war within the Party. Pulease --- There are quite a few of us oldsters who've fought the Long Battles, sometimes all alone. Now is the time for all of us reformers, regardless of age or section of the County we live in, to JOIN TOGETHER to take back our Party.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:49, where to start? OK, lets try this. So you are dissing old Democrats as not being worthy of the young and new Dem's that will rise and take power and lead us all to the light of love and reason and brotherhood for all mankind. Or at least the mankind you approve of in your Brave New World.

As to the young vs. old. You do realize Mr.Stoffa is older than Methuselah, right? I like him but even John will admit calling him a young Dem is like saying Ronald Reagan had natural jet black hair at 80. Let us say you are correct and he is a good and decent man, then why the hate towards "old" Dems? If you stopped lecturing and listened you might learn something. There are many experienced "older" Democrats who may have seen both the good and bad and have gained a wealth of experience and perspective many of the young pols looking for a lifetime place to sit don't have. As to the young. So, if I have this right you hate the "Long Dems", fair enough. You do then denounce the "Kiddie Corps" Mr. Long cultivated that being Lorraine Pasquale, Charles Dertinger, Steven Barron and Lamont McClure to name just a few of the most noteworthy "Long Dems". Now you aren't going to parse out who are "good" Long Dem's and "bad" Long Dems, are you?

"We will remake Northampton County", really? Am I in Germany circa 1933. Enough with the lectures and threats. There is a reason God gave you one mouth and two ears, think about it. Advice from an old Democrat.

The King is dead, long live the King! Please think about that as well. Now I need to soak my old feet.


Randy Kistler

Anonymous said...

Historic Court Room 1 is no place for a partisan political circus. I don't care what the party is. Yes it is the "people's house" as is every government building including the Supreme Court. But there must be some disgression on who has free use of public buildings for private meetings. A LWV debate is a public service to all citizens and is unbiased. This meeting only served a political party, not the public good.

Bernie O'Hare said...

We have a basic disagreement. Nearly every political party strives to serve the public good, and believes that electing fellow members best serves that good. So I have no problem with opening the doors to the people's house and letting political parties select their leaders. I have no problem with the nonpartisan debates run by the LWV.

Anonymous said...

Bernie your commentary is childish and mean-spirited. You make the people you demean have reason to despise you.

You hide your insecurity and self-loathing behind a mask of reckless character assassination and your false, "I don't give a damn" bravado.

You should go back to your shrink you are relapsing.

Compared to the Long Dem's you made yourself look like the lesser man.

One who sees

Anonymous said...

Nominees for worst dressed:
1. Bernie O'Hare
2. The Vulcano Family
3. The chickie in SHORT SHORT shorts who was hugging everyone -- who IS that?
4. The yellow Callahan-shirted dude.
5. The dude who wanted to support a candidate but then could not (black T-short)

Anonymous said...

"Generational war"? Wha?Insecurity instead of "for the good of the party", that's what it's all about with you folks. Maybe it's a case of embarrassment because new people came in and shook things up by pointing out obvious issues. Keeping that tiny bit of power you think you have all to yourselves, never letting new people in because they threaten that. So sad. When the "oldsters" can't do what needs to be done anymore, who will take their place? The six people under 50 actually participating now? Or is that of no interest to you. No one at the county level welcomes new people into the fold unless you are willing to do everything "the way things are done around here". The party will die without new people. You cannot escape the fact that participation has dwindled to a shameful level in NorCo. Turn out is awful. The Chair has the ultimate responsibility for increasing participation in his county, but all elected committeemen/women had a responsibilty to bring new people in. Where are they? What have you all been doing? Jesus!..take some responsibility. You can spin things any way you like, but the lack of participation is glaringly obvious to even a casual observer. We have a Republican Congressman and a County Council controlled by Republicans. The winning couldn't last forever when dems have no connection to their own local party. Good people, young and old, have been pushed to the fringes of the party. You may have tried to fight some battles, but as far as I can see, none have been successful in the least. Whoa! Look at that! Germany 1933! LOL! I love it! So predictable! Yep, you got us dead to rights, we're just like the Third Reich. Thanks for letting me know where you're coming from, Tea Partier in Dems clothing. This isn't an invitation only club. We are elected. Not a darn thing you can do about it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:53, The girl's name is Nicole. I'm told she's very nice, but she did not hug me.

Anonymous said...

Okay -- well, then, she should not win worst dressed. I am going to vote for The Vulcano Family -- at least the patriarch and matriarch. Now, does this vote count?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Better check with Joe, I mean Walt.

Anonymous said...

...better ask Angle, I mean O'Hare.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:44, What are you babbling about? I guess your shat don't stink, do it.

Better stay in therapy and keep taking your meds.

Harry O'Bern said...

HAHAHHAHAHA -- The Vulcanos!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 11:44, whats with the "we", you got a mouse in your pocket?

Larry Kisslinger said...

Hey folks,
Young or old has "nothing" to do with good public service! I was elected '73 as youngest (28) city council person in history at that time and Frank Muhr was oldest member. I sincerely believe we both served with same fervor for Bethlehem. Also, I served as NorCo R Chair '86-'88 and my very best committee elected vols were elderly gentlemaen, Jim Hemstreet and Ellsworth Mutchler. Age has zero to do with serving the public.
Common sense, working for the pubic good, is all that counts. Individual, power seeking, grandstanders like Joe Long and his minions, mean nothing. Whoever serves the public, elected or appointed, needs to use common sense while serving and not their own personal interests, is my opinion. Those of you that serve with other folks in mind, many thanks.