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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Win For the Angry Mob

"The People Have Spoken ... Fuck 'em!"

That's what my Dad told a radio station after losing a close DA race to Charlie Spaziani back in the day. It drove the announcer nutz. People still remember and remind me of that wisecrack.

My father's pithy remark was mostly a joke, but it pretty much sums up my own feelings about Tuesday's election.

The Gracedale Vote

A mob of just 19,690 Northampton County voters have very likely condemned Gracedale's residents by refusing to permit its sale to a union-friendly private company that is more than willing to provide high quality care to indigents. Because the County can no longer afford a nursing home, and Council is unwilling to increase taxes to pay for it, Executive John Stoffa may have no choice other than to slowly close it down. He needs $3 million to keep it going until the end of the year. If Council is unwilling to approve a budget amendment to pay for it, he might have no choice but to lay off staff. He can get $3 million by shedding 60 workers.

Or Council can cave, in which case major tax increases are looming. Because Gracedale is not the County's only expense, I think the projected increase will be higher than the 9-30% figure mentioned by Stoffa, and I think it's very likely that these increases will continue for several years.

In a few months, when the other 90% of Northampton County's 196,308 voters wake up and ask why nobody told them what was going on, I will remind them that Ron Angle and John Stoffa conducted eight town halls.

This was a win for mob rule, unions, election fraud and orchestrated disinformation. It is a loss for taxpayers. Even worse, it is a loss for Gracedale's residents.

A Bad Judge in Wilson

In Wilson and West Easton, just 794 people elected a truly scary guy to serve out the remaining four years of Judge Koury's term as a District Judge. Richard "King of Law" Yetter ran a campaign that demonstrates convincingly that he has absolutely no common sense. One of the craziest things he did, on Election Eve, was to produce a Youtube video that included a detailed closeup of a check from Attorney Stan Margle, right down to account number, routing number and signature. He also prepared goofy "reality show" videos with really, really bad acting.

Widely regarded as an idiot in the legal community, he's bound to create headaches for judges. But he latched himself onto the Gracedale crowd and even sat in the audience when Larry Otter was after me for attorney fees.

Over the next few years, as people see this guy in action, the other voters in Wilson and West Easton will ask why nobody warned them about Yetter.

I did.

The Gang of Four Prevails

In Northampton County, the mob is union-inspired. But an equally ugly mob of tea party enthusiasts, aided by bluebloods like Charles Darwin Smelling and a right-wing radio host, managed to get rid of a courageous public servant who would rather vote his conscience than listen to the whims of a dictatorial party boss. The Gang of Four - Scott Ott, Lisa Scheller, Vic Mazziotti and David Najarian - defeated Dean Browning, perhaps the most conscientious public official I've ever seen.

Next year, when Lehigh County government is in gridlock, Scott Ott's Scrappleface routines won't seem so funny. Around that time, Dean Browning will look pretty good.

The message of this year's municipal primary is that mob rule is alive and well. Blogger Chris Casey makes the same observation. We are all going to pay for the choices made by about 10% of the registered voters.

Silver Lining

Although the news is bad, there is one silver lining. Northampton County Council member Mike Dowd, who had been targeted by the Gracedale Goons, easily defeated Keep-Gracedale candidate Bill Whitman by a 61% to 39% margin.

This Fall, after voters wake up with buyer's remorse, I suspect that the Pro Tax Council members will be squirming.
Updated 10:10 AM: Yetter Win For Full 6 Years. - I got the term worng. He will serve a full six years. And may Gd have mercy on the souls of people from W Easton and Wilson.


Anonymous said...

Listening to your whine and cheesy pissing and moaning, I am convinced the voters usually get it right as they did tonight.

You, Angle and Stoffa played the arrogance of power card and voters overwhelmingly rejected it. As many voters noted at the polls, "something stinks with county government". They are wise to your bullshit.

They realize the tax increase threat is just sour grapes by a bunch of self-absorbed incompetent politicians. They realize it will be proposed but not because of Gracedale.

As one old timer voter said,"if they can't get the job done without that stupid tax increase, they should leave and let people who can get it done do it". Amen old-timer.

The people have spoken and if Angle and Stoffa continue to sing their soundly rejected song of bullshit tax increases, the people will smell that out too.

You fellas have been seen for what you are and the people have made it clear they don't believe or trust you and with good reason.

If Angle and Stoffa are not up to the challenge as past leaders have been, maybe they should resign and enjoy their amply funded retirements. Council members so inclined can leave with them. The people will manage quite nicely without them. In fact we might even get a few things accomplished, unlike the past five years.

One of the Informed!

Anonymous said...

You are as far off on the Browning defeat as one could possibly be. It understandably reflects your inability to understand Republican politics through your left-leaning lens. You also couldn't see the forest from trees because of your closeness to a precious few connected pols who really had nothing to do with last night's result. It was very, very simple. In the current economy and anti-tax political climate, a loyal soldier went AWOL and voted, inexplicably for a large tax increase. Just as Clinton rightly admonished, "it's the economy, stupid," you failed to realize it was the tax increase, stupid. Dean committed a mortal sin and was made to pay by an electorate that likely doesn't know or care about the back room intrigue you seem to think means something.

Anonymous said...

....unless you really would have preferred voters having no choice in a party primary... can't imagine that

Anonymous said...

Mon-o-rail, Mon-o-rail...

Patrick McHenry said...

Bernie -

Regarding the LC Commissioner primary, please explain how this shows "mob rule is alive and well".

I find it interesting that Browning spent nearly $100,000 and received only 1,300 votes more than Mike Welsh, who spent nothing. That's an indication that Dean wasn't anywhere near in tune with the voters.

The people that cared (on all sides) braved the weather, came out and voted. Their effort should not be maligned.

There is no reason to believe the result would have been any different whether 70% of the people had voted. In fact, I believe the margin of victory for "the Four" (or margin of loss for Browning) would have been even greater if more had voted.

There was an election, and the people spoke.

I will say this, although I didn't vote for Browning I admire him for his statement last night saying he would fully support the nominees in the fall race (consistent with a pledge I believe all candidates made during the campaign). I hope his supporters see fit to be as gracious their candidate is.

The purpose of primary elections is to allow candidates to promote the issues that they feel are important and let the voters make a decision. That happened, and now is the time to remember that although we might have our differences we remain on the same team. No matter how we voted last night, our goal in November should be the same.

Anonymous said...

What all the winners need to do is keep one thought in the back of their minds: you can be easily replaced in 2-4 years if you F up.

dj said...

anyone have some cheese for Bernie.......he needs it to go with that whine!

Dean Browning said...


As always, the voters have the ultimate say when it comes to evaluating the performance of those in office. Such was the case with me as a majority of the voters in the Republican primary felt the need to make a change. My congratulations to those that were successful yesterday. I urge any of your readers who have been supportive of me in the past to join me in working to make sure the winners are also successful in November.


Dean Browning

Anonymous said...

R.I.P. Gracedale. Council won't approve a tax increase to save Gracedale. Réquiem æternam dona ei,

Anonymous said...

You are right. "The people have spoken". They have told old all of you that they don't mind paying for the elderly at Gracedale and keeping it under County Control. The members of Council and the Administration can no longer ignore the will of the people. Should Council and Stoffa ignore this overwhelming show of support for our Nursing Facility, there will be an even bigger backlash at the polls than was witnessed when Reibman was thrown out of office. The Democrats now have a Battle Cry, "Save Gracedale is only the beginning. Council and Stoffa would be WISE to give the voters what they voted for "A County run facility". Make it an efficient and economical operation. We the voters are not dumb nor are we naive. To intentionally run Gracedale into the ground will only bring retribution in another election. We know who was at the helm when this ship went aground. It happened during the Stoffa years. He was asleep at the helm along with all of County Council. We gave the County elected officials a mandate. Now go forward and do what is right. Let them show us we elected a group of individuals that can come together and work as a team and do the will of the people. Should it cost us more money, we already told them, we don't care as long as they do it right. Now lets go forward and do the people's will.

Anonymous said...


i read your blog every day and there are some comments that i agree with and some that i don't. What i see happening with the Gracedale issue now that its passed is as follows:
1. Immediate layoffs to cover the future cost to run it for the rest of the year.
2. Givebacks from the unions (future negotiations) that are comming. No raises, benefits, etc. If they don't like it, too bad--strike. I'm sure the county can find a lot of other people that will fill the spots for far less.
3. Hire a new management team.
4. Re-negotiate with the many suppliers for the supplies needed to run the home (eg. drugs, paper, etc.
After all of the above are achieved --then and only then should a tax increase be considered.
As a final note-if things can't work out as above--can a new referrendum be placed on the ballot next year recinding the fact that the county can't sell Gracedale to allow it to be sold before the 5 years?

Jon Geeting said...

“Democracy is the theory that the people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.” - H. L. Mencken

Anonymous said...

The saddest thing about the demise of Gracedale is that the only people that were never talked about were the residents and what's best for them, current and future. The entire focus was on employee benefits.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:04, Stoffa will try the new management right away. He has also already met with the union and is waiting to hear from them. He has not yet decided on layoffs, and that is a decision he will not make lightly.

Yes, it is possible via referendum to reverse this, but you'll never find a group of taxpayer advocates.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Should it cost us more money, we already told them, we don't care as long as they do it right. Now lets go forward and do the people's will."

That's the problem. The people were NOT told that keeping Gracedale may result in a substantial tax hike. The initiative question was deceptive as written. So I do not consider the results as meaning anything more than an overwhelming sentiment in favor of taking care of our elderly. That is precisely what Stoffa wanted to do when he proposed selling.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dean, It's very disappointing to see that you were rejected after doing your best under very difficult circumstances. But unlike you, I will never support Scott Ott, a party boss' wife or some Lynn Tp lawyer who preaches less government while holding his hand out for more money for his little farmette.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Patrick, It was a mob win. Tea party members whipped themselves up and were aided by a right wing radio show host.

brenda said...

Now that the vote is in with an erie ring of 19,000 plus yes votes, I look forward to seeing exactly what will happen with the fat union game players as time is of the essence.

Will they give back the 6million, or will they stand stubbornly united to slash the throats of their members whose jobs will be lost?

Will the county downsize gracedale or sell it under emergency resolution? SInce gracedale does not extend to the budget, my guess is paper "I owe you's" instead of paychecks.

Either that or more steak and shrimp in the cafeteria

Anonymous said...


the union's won't have any choice---they'll have to give back in order to keep their jobs. More than likely tho -i think you'll see some downsizing in order to make afforable which will mean cutbacks anyhow. Also; I'm sure the management team will be looking at all ways to make it profitable no matter who they negoiate with.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with a Gracedale tax. I think Gracedale needs to be reduced to a profitable size, even if that means five beds and three employees. Downsize it. Then bring the outside analysts in to see how it can be made profitable and build it back up from there, if they uncover some new idea.

Anonymous said...

In your face, asshole!

Anonymous said...

In your face, asshole!

Anonymous said...

In your face, asshole!

Anonymous said...

In your face, asshole!



Patrick McHenry said...

Bernie O'Hare said...

Patrick, It was a mob win. Tea party members whipped themselves up and were aided by a right wing radio show host.

Bernie -

1) If you mean that people investigated the issues and voted according to their principles, then I'd have to agree.

2) If you mean that a conservative radio host - consistent with his conservative principles - informed his listeners of the issues, then I'd have to agree.

3) I was at the polls yesterday and I don't think that very many of those voting were members of the Tea Party. In fact, I think the local Tea Party would be happy to have any one of the Reform Team's vote total as their membership.

4) The reality is that Dean cast a deciding vote on an issue that a) was very important to REPUBLICAN VOTERS, b) was against the principles of a majority of REPUBLICAN VOTERS, and c) the
REPUBLICAN VOTERS held him accountable. That's the way the process is supposed to work.

5) I commend Dean for accepting the will of the voters and honoring his pledge to support the winning candidates. I hope that over time he can reflect on the events of the last eight months and learn from them. I think he still has a lot to offer, no matter in what capacity he serves.

Anonymous said...

Bernie - if 60 employees are laid off , what percentage of the total employee population is that?

Anonymous said...

Bernie workers were willing to give back 3 million why cant the county meet them halfway.The vote is in the people have had thier say, why not just leave this subject alone,time will tell what gracedale can do if they put the proper management team in, give it a chance.The county council also said the situation was bad management.

Anonymous said...

Same story you and ron have the same feelings for the people, some people would like to say to you and ron uck you

Anonymous said...

"The masses are asses", William Randolph Hearst. It certainly applies to yesterday's Lehigh Valley voters!

Anonymous said...

Dear 343,

The masses said we want Gracedale and we are not the morons Bernie thinks we are..We heard John Stoffa and the Express Times when they said it would mean a tax increase..WE accept that..One mill of tax costs the average taxpayer about $1.oo a week..That's it..We are willing to pay that cost..Not difficult to understand..The way Angle tosses around the term tax increase, they make people think it'll be costing them their first born..It's bullcrap..The taxpayers won't be shocked if their taxes are raised due to Gracedale..They expect it and if County Council doesn't do it next year, then Gracedale's demise is on them. The union already promised givebacks..Why should they be asked to give up hundreds a month when council won't even ask the taxpayers for $4.oo a month..Give me a break!

Anonymous said...

"The County meeting halfway" would mean a tax increase to cover $3 million insetead of $6million. The employees of Gracedale have to be paid in money, not wampum or chickens or beads. The only way to get the money for Gracedale is taxes and I sincerely doubt that the Council will approve a tax increase. Too many of them are up for re-eelction. Even McClure and McHale and other union supporters will vote to slash and burn Gracedale rather than raise taxes. It's a nobrainer.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa and Angle,with court jester O'Hare have played the mythical tax increase, people didn't buy it. They played the better care for residents tune, people didn't buy it. They played the $60 million cash surplus is not a $60million dollar cash surplus, the people didn't buy it.

Reality is no tax increase is needed. If in fact the unions did agree to give back $3 million a year, that would be it. The county is not faced with increased costs.

This has been a scam by the Unholy Three and carried forward by the flat earthers.

The people have spoken as loudly as they ever have. Let us now see how much Angle and Stoffa really are in the corner of the "people". Don't hold your breath. They will continue to be the arrogant overlords who like to tell people what is in their best interest. I thought you baggers hated that.

Maybe Stoffa can go back to playing at being Arnold.

Taco Tim

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Gracedale employees are only 1/3 of the county work force why are they always singled out for give backs when all county employees have the same benefits(Stoffa). The people spoke they want Gracedale kept in county hands so all county employees across the board should also give the same since they have the exact same benifits.

Anonymous said...

1/3 of the county workforce? Good God. Let the layoffs begin. How many goldbricks does it take to screw in a lightbulb and screw taxpayers at the same time. I'm tired of welfare jobs for these lazy asses. Wait until they actually have to work at some point.

Anonymous said...

CHEDDAR IS BETTER! It is the other white meat!

Anonymous said...

to lazy ass,lets see your lazy ass clean up shit, piss & puke 8 hrs a day for $11 an hour , gettin rich.... getta f in life you dont no what your talkin about

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie - if 60 employees are laid off , what percentage of the total employee population is that?"

Roughly 3 %.

Anonymous said...

Laying off only 60 employees will save $3 million? WTF? Is that correct

Bernie O'Hare said...


Anonymous said...

You must be talking about Nurses cause the average employee doesn't make that much.

Anonymous said...

The Angle/Stoffa/O'Hare numbers have always been bogus. they have played a game since day one. if you want the accurate numbers contact the County Controller. he has the most accurate numbers on Gracedale in the county. He is the only believable authority on the facility!

Joe Hilliard said...


Only and elitist would scream that the "mob" - i.e. citizens who exercise their right to vote are somehow at fault.

Are you kidding me?

Dean lost because he raised taxes.

The Gracedale vote lost because their was no organized support to sell it. I COMPLETELY disagree with that vote, but the voters spoke.

The last conversation I had with Ron Angle on that issue was in the Fall when I urged a full campaign to support the sale of Gracedale. In typical arrogance, what I call the "conservative disease" Ron spoke that he educated the public to support the sale because he wrote and Op-Ed in the Morning Call - which was last fall.

Meanwhile, there was ZERO effort to educate the voters. Hence, the massive defeat of the Gracedale sale proposal.

Dean Browning went totally negative and NEVER explained his vote to raise taxes. Hence, the massive defeat of his re-election.

I LOVE how you and others blame the voters for their decisions.

Yes, the voters are the problem, NEVER the politicians. Sad.

The Gracedale supporters and union was organized and made an effort. Again, I disagree with the advocates of Gracedale's position but Angle, Stoffa and other did NOTHING to present an alternate position.

Dean did NOTHING to justify his vote.

And the voters spoke. Yes, democracy is such a horrible thing. How elitist!

Clem said...

Bernie, Mr. Hilliard is correct here. "No tax increase" rhetoric folks sat on their collective asses and let this thing pass.

We have no one to blame but ourselves. The real cure will be to raise taxes to the hilt and maybe then the big talking neocons will actually feel the pain and get off their butts and VOTE next time.

People only respond to crisis. We need to feel the sting and consequence of our stupidity.

The Battle Cry of Freedom said...

When do you think Paul Revere will once again mount his steed and make his ride through the land? If we take the unfunded liabilities off the books and put them on the books, exculuding the wars, we are in debt to the tune of $114Trillion. That is mind boggling. Some folks at various levels of government, Northampton County, several school districts, are finally getting it. Sucked in by the flashing of the cash, grants, unfunded mandates, local officals jumped like an underpaid hooker at the shiny gold pieces. Now we are paying the price for our momentary pleasure over the decades. I am sure that great things will happen but many in your audience will need to see the light. As was the case with those over the decades we will have to stand up and be counted. We the people need to get involved now, not tomorrow, not the next day but now.

Anonymous said...

Chris, don't forget to get to the bank and cash your taxpayer funded teacher pension check, before you tear down the government.LOL

You were a teacher, Oh my God!! who did you know to get a job?

Anonymous said...

Didn't this blog advocate spending millions on a parking garage so the fat Americans wouldn't have to walk a block?

Bernie O'Hare said...


Donna Baver Rovito said...


In all cases in America the voters are supposed to have the final say. Even if we don't agree with their choices, that's the way it is and thank God for it.

I think Dean Browning has handled his defeat with dignity and commend him for his support of those who won the primary. He seems able to accept that the voters didn't agree with his stated reasons for supporting the tax increase (which he outlined in pretty much depth at the Lehigh Valley Tea Party candidate forum last Monday evening.) But the voters chose his opponents, as was their right.

HOWEVER....I think it's inaccurate to credit his loss to "Tea party members whipped themselves up...."

The local tea party group does not endorse or oppose candidates, and never identified Browning's opponents as "tea party candidates." Some media outlets did so (and were corrected), but the local group NEVER did.

There was no effort by the local group to promote Browning's opponents, and while the group, which holds all elected officials to high standards of lower spending and smaller government, reported on the 16% increase, no one was ever instructed to vote against him or to support Scott Ott's team.

Anonymous said...

Joe -

It's "an", not "and".

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

OSBORNE for the #4 spot on the LC Republican ticket, Najarian can suck it whilst dreaming of Ott