I love reading Donald Flad's View Beyond Bethlehem. At one time, he was very active in local politics, something of a Kingmaker. But he gave it all up. That's not what makes me admire him. What I like is that Donald speaks straight from his heart, is himself and is brutally honest.
I wish he posted more often.
Now Donald may have pulled back from local politics, but he's still a Dem Committee member. He supported John Callahan's Congressional candidacy, too. He's not too crazy about the Northampton County Bulldog, either. So he and I have some major differences. But I'm always impressed by his reasoning, and there are always points where his thinking and mine overlap.
At the Debate at the Slate, I was astonished to see this Bethlehemite. He had been recruited to serve as timekeeper, and brought bottles of water for everyone. He has just posted his typically introspective account of that night. If you don't have time to read it in its entirety (which I recommend), here are some excerpts with bullet points about each candidate.
"Stephen Barron seems capable and by most news accounts runs a well operated department. But he also appears to be overly partisan, a bit of a bully, into power, very ambitious and kind of too slick & snarky by far.
"Stephen Salvesen is a man from a different era. He is tall, gray haired and very patrician. He had impeccable manners a firm handshake and looked me in the eye while speaking to me. Mr. Barron made fleeting eye contact and looked for someone more important (he clearly had no idea who I used to be). Mr. Salvesen is a retired businessman who seems to care about public service but at least on this night was clearly unprepared not only for the debate but for the position he was seeking. I lost count of how many times he said 'I don’t know'; he even said 'I don’t know what Mr. Barron does'. If Mr. Salvesen does not know what the County Controller does perhaps he should not be running for that office."
"Councilman Angle needs no introduction or description to anyone who follows local politics. People either love him or detest him and he is very proud of the fact that he is disliked. In fact he mentioned how proud he was throughout the hour. I have to say that I was expecting Mr. Angle to be a completely unhinged mad man and I was disappointed in his relatively low key performance. Yes he was a tad rude and yes he interrupted his opponent too many times and his side half mumbled insults were annoying but I expected horns and fire and what I got was a man who knows what he is talking about. I don’t like Mr. Angle’s style and I don’t agree with very much of his political philosophy but I have never met someone who knows the ins and outs of county government better.
"Scott Parsons is someone I could be comfortable voting for had he been better prepared for the debate and better informed about the issues facing the county right now. I liked his view of the role of government and his desire to bring some civility to politics, something Mr. Angle mocked constantly. The civility thing seemed to be the only issue Mr. Parsons seemed comfortable with and knowledgeable about. Ron Angle is a proven vote getter in that part of the county and it is going to take more than 'Can’t we all just get along' to beat him."