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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Simao's "Letter to Bethlehem Politicians" Catching Fire

Tony Simao might be fighting an uphill battle for a seat on Bethlehem City Council, but his career in Hollywood is assured. His riveting video, Open Letter to Bethlehem Politicians, is going viral, at least by Bethlehem standards. When I first saw it late Monday night, there were just 4 hits. Less than 24 hours later, there were 241 views.

Simao tells me he put it together using video editing software called Nero. Its score reminded me of the beginning scenes of Gladiator, while others thought it was more like The Omen.

No matter what movie it reminds you of, it's a very telling indictment of Mayor John Callahan's mismanagement at the helm of Bethlehem. It comes fast on the heels of an independent audit showing that Bethlehem finished 2010 with a jaw-dropping $14.2 million deficit.

Amazingly, Bethlehem again made a late pension payment again, incurring a fine, despite assurances last year that it would never, ever, ever, ever, ever happen again. t continues to play games with EIT money collected for other municipalities. And most disturbing of all, it took a cool million out of federal CDBG money, without even bothering to inform Council.

Unfortunately, the video is very accurate.

"There'll be more," Simao told me last night.

43 comments:

Rich said...

I don't find it telling. I also don't think it'll matter in the election. I hope they make 100 more. I not only think Bethlehem is run well, I also think videos are a waste of good campaign time. They should take a lesson from the Lehigh County GOP slate.

Anonymous said...

Callahan hopes to take his "management style" to Northampton county. A lot more vendors to work!

Jon Geeting said...

241 views can easily be accounted for by it getting linked from your blog and mine. Not impressed.

Anonymous said...

to Rich 2:11am

You are either stupid or ignorant to think that Bethlehem is being run well. Open up your eyes and ears big guy! Go to some town meetings and you'll find out the truth!

Rich said...

Anon,

Bethlehem's revenues dropped. So did most states, counties, and cities nation wide. That's got little to do with any Mayor, from either party. You would have to be totally ignorant to believe this "Bethlehem is going down the tubes" garbage. Go walk around the city for one day. It's safe, clean, got quality businesses, new jobs, and all the characteristics of a place a normal person would want to live in. It's the jewel of the Lehigh Valley, still, nearly a decade after Callahan took office. You would have to be Charlie Dent himself to think it's run so poorly. This is political posturing.

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

Trish, yet again you are lost on the facts as much as Bernie.

Seamus

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

"Unfortunately, the video is very accurate."

"Accurate" should not be modified or assigned degrees. Something is either accurate or not. My criticism is constructive. Yours is the best blog around.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sister Agnes, I accept your grammatical suggestion and will remove the "very."

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rich, I cannot believe that you are so much in the tank for Callahan,that you would actually claim that a city swimming in $14.2 MM in red ink, and for the 4th year in a row, is somehow run well. Are you out of your frickin' mind? No wonder you are working inside the beltway.

As for your claim about the video's relative lack of effectiveness, you are one of the maroons you was in the tank for Callahan and thought he was going to win, too.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Geeting, It was never linked to from your blog. If it was, you've done a good jib of making it inconspicuous. There are now 369 views, but go ahead and tell yourself it means nothing.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Comments posted by Tricia Mezzacappa here are unwelcome and will be deleted.

Rich said...

Bernie, you calling anyone in the tank is kind of funny at this point. If Charlie Dent ate a kitten on television, you would think of why it's ok. Go walk around Bethlehem. It is safe. It is clean. It has businesses. There are jobs to be found. That city is a model city. There are very few cities, counties, and states not having budget issues, I suppose all of those executives stink too? In your zest to help Charlie in 2012, you are knocking a Mayor who may or may not even run, who runs by far the best city in his region. It's about as stupid as calling Dent "corrupt." As for this video, it will have no impact, and these wannabes will get crushed at the ballot box if this is their campaign. As I said, they should take a lesson from their Republican brethren in Lehigh County on how to run a campaign.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually If Charlie Dent ate a kitten n TV, I would NOT think it is OK. I am willing to look at Dent from the perspective of reasonable people, while you and Geeting are blind partisans. What do you do inside the beltway? You don't need to tell me to go walk around Bethlehem. Unlike you, I am there all the time and know exactly what is going on there. The City itself is great, but the person on top has run the City into the ground over the last 4 years. It's a shameful record that actually makes Allentown look good and Easton look like paradise.

This is an administration that has flat out lied to City Council, from pension fund payments to the misappropriation of line items in the budget.

Amazingly, you wanted this moron elected to Congress ... at least until he wouldn't hire you.

Rich said...

"What do you do inside the Beltway."

Bernie, give me a break. I continue to live in the Lehigh Valley. I spend about 3 days, of some weeks, in Washington. Nice try. I grew up there. I went to college there. I probably am in Bethlehem, weekly. You trying to say Allentown and Easton are better run that Bethlehem makes you look like you've never stepped foot in any of them. Those Mayors certainly have tougher jobs to start out with, but that's just not in touch with reality. You can try to cast some as "outsiders," but not me. You try and say you're not a blind Dent partisan? Seriously? You've actually sat here and said his votes aren't how we should judge him. A Congressman's job is to vote, that is how we should judge them.

As for hiring me, if that was grounded in reality, I'd call it a low blow. I haven't been unemployed, or available much, and was happily employed in 2009 and 2010. As for the hiring that was done, I guess we saw how things played out?

Rich said...

Besides that Bernie, why resort to the personal? I didn't take you for that kind of guy. I figured you could have disagreements with people and not launch into an "opposition research" mode to discredit them. That's pretty pathetic.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You have not answered my question. Just what do you do inside the beltway?

I am sick of listening to rank partisans try to justify all of Bethlehem's mismanagement, even when it comes to outright dishonesty and the possible misuse of federal grant money. You do not find out about Bethlehem's mismanagement by going to Apollo. You do it by going to a few meetings and making yourself informed, especially f you're going to write about it. You and Geeting hold yourselves out as experts, but attend no meetings and are basically uninformed about Bethlehem government. Instead of being concerned about the serious problems that exist, you attempt to dismiss them and moronically claim Bethlehem "is run well."

What the hell have you been smoking? If that is personal, so be it.

Rich said...

Bernie, I do data management for a community organizing project of the poorest wards in Washington DC, with a bunch of coalition partners funding it. Secondly, please tell me when the hell I called myself an expert on city finances? I'll be waiting for that. I've worked every level of campaign, and won at those levels, so I know a little bit about politics and government, but even there I hold myself out as no expert. I have an opinion. That's it. I'm probably done doing electoral politics, and am quite pleased to be, and write because I'd like to still have some kind of voice, kind of like you. As I have stated before, you calling me blindly partisan is kind of funny. When we agreed about the county exec race in 2009, was I blindly partisan? No, but now I am. It's ridiculous.

Unlike most people who get into fights with you on here, you don't read me dragging up your past, or what went wrong for you in life, in some way to discredit you. I don't think that stuff really matters. It's a shame that you feel the need to go down that route. I guess you really shouldn't be taken for an honest broker though.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rich, when you state you are not dragging up my past, you are. It's the classic ad hominem. It's actually very Nixonian.

Community organizer, eh?

Since you acknowledge you are no expert, don't live in Bethlehem and don't live there, the only possible basis for your claim that Bethlehem is a "well run" city is that you are a rank partisan.

There is serious shit going on with mismanagement of city finances, and this should transcend political parties. But you gloss over outright lies and violations of federal laws concerning block grants to blame it all on the economy.

Sorry, that's still bad government, but you will justify it bc you are in the tank. I suspect the feds, which have already fined Callahan for playing games with campaign money, will be less sympathetic.

Rich said...

Bernie, whatever you'd like to think. If I'm being Nixonian, you're being Rovian. And you are in the tank for Dent. Call it a wash. You should be able to argue merits. I spent a few great years in Bethlehem. My opinion of what's going on in that city is as valid as your opinion, which by your writing here, is obviously not expert. The only basis I need for calling Bethlehem great has already been stated, go walk around that town. The Feds are looking at Bethlehem, huh? Please do tell. As I have said, in your zest to attack a candidate that may not even run for Congress against your chosen candidate, you're making a mountain of a mole hill. We are in an economy that is crushing local governments. You can dismiss that if you'd like, but that doesn't make it less true.

Bernie O'Hare said...

There's a big difference between saying Bethlehem is great - it is - and saying it is a well run city it is not.

That's what you said. You've defended outright lying and the misappropriation of federal grant money, and that should transcend party politics. That's why I have no choice but to conclude you are being partisan.

Rich said...

Bernie, I do not accept the premise that lying or misappropriation of funds has happened. I haven't seen that there is an investigation into corruption going on. I've heard some politicians, who dislike the Mayor, claim it. Fair enough, I'm not calling anyone a liar here. I'm not going to believe it though without someone making a real charge. If you believe there is corruption at work, why has this not gone further yet? I'm sorry, I know the Mayor personally for many years now, and I do not accept this premise that he is a crook. Obviously if this becomes a case, and is proven, no one accepts the behavior you're describing.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rich, This is not a premise. There has been outright lying. There has been outright misappropriation of federaL block grant money. This is not a matter of opinion, but of fact.

I sat in last year's audit meeting, and heard Bethlehem officials swear up and down that they would never be late on a pension plan payment again. They lied. And the independent audit reveals clearly that federal block grant money was misappropriated for operating expenses. This is what you are defending, and it is moronic. It is blind, and I mean blind, loyalty to Callahan, whose political career is over. The charge has been made. That is what an independent audit does.

Rich said...

Bernie, if federal funds were used inappropriately, someone would be held legally liable. No one has been. Same with state funds. I understand what an audit said, but if this was being accepted as fact, heads would be rolling, and they are not. Maybe you think they should be, I don't know, but this has simply not happened.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rich, Two points. First, it appears that you now concede that admin officials did lie. So we can now agree that that this well run City has lying officials on top. Second, the admin has conceded itself that fed'l funds were misappropriated. Heads have not rolled ... yet, but only bc there was no personal benefit. But there is little doubt in my mind that there will be serious consequences. This is the City you claim is "well run."

Rich said...

I don't concede anything. I'm saying your points don't seem plausible.

Lighthouse said...

Minor point compared to the substantive debate between Bernie and Rich, but just a civics FYI regarding Mr. Simao's campaign picture that many Americans don't realize:

Title 4 United States Code: § 8. Respect for Flag. No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; (d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, 13 P.L. 105-225, § 300111.

Rocky Balboa said...

Lighthouse, can't you tell the difference between a tie and a flag. You sound like some flaming flying sphincter.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yeah, the flag is not being worn, but a facsimile. I think it is intended as a gesture of respect.

Anonymous said...

Hey! If you guys only elected people who could do the job competently, where would I be? Yeah that's right...

Sincerely,

Your President

Anonymous said...

Bernie
Today motorists were in a nightmarish situation trying to get to work in South Side. No way the Mayor should have allowed multiple major roadway construction projects at so many key intersections. Seriously, a person could have died in their car and no one would have been able to help. The traffic on 378 and Broadway was impossible. No one could move in any direction.

Anonymous said...

I also think videos are a waste of good campaign time."

Videos are an excellent campaign tool in a viral generation. Sorry but strongly disagree with your premise.

Anonymous said...

geeting fails to impress anyone except himself

Anonymous said...

yes rich is both stupid and ignorant as well as uninformed

zorn said...

drink that callahan koolaid rich - until you puke

zorn said...

callahan, richard and the current council should be tossed out - bunch of salemen and union puke teacher failures - keep the presure up bo

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rich is free to let me have it any time he wants.

Lady Rep said...

Bethlehem may look pretty when you walk down Main Street, but ask the business owners how things are going. Besides the woes of the residents when they get their city-related bills, the businesses are suffering too. Talk to them in practical terms about how well the city is run. Just because it looks pretty, doesn't mean that it is and the administration sure isn't helping. The tarnish is beginning to show.

Lady Rep said...

One more thing...if and when you do talk to the business owners (and those conversations have been had), don't think that you'll hear them talking above a whisper because they know that there will be consequences from the Callahan dictatorship and the rubber-stamp Council.

Anonymous said...

to Rich: Federal Election Commission Fines Mayor Callahan
Agency rules that mayoral campaign funds were used improperly on run for Congress. September 27, 2011
Read up on it Rich - now defend Callahan!

Anonymous said...

Rich was probably the guy that told Callahan to do it!

J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

Wow, you mean Bethlehem is not the Utopia Lehigh Valley with Love paints it as? Shocking! Next you will debunk another claim by LVWL and tell me not EVERYONE in Easton are drug addled criminals?