Thursday, November 03, 2011

NorCo Dems Snub Tea Party Debate

Dowd, Angle & Bialecki
Last night, the new and improved LV Tea Party hosted a debate for Northampton County Council District candidates. But only Ron Angle, Mike Dowd and Seth Vaughn, three of the four Republican candidates, were there. Not one Democrat appeared.

Given the tea party's reputation as right-wing kooks, that's understandable. But it's the perception, not the reality.

I've attended about ten or so tea party meetings. In fact, a bunch of them tried to excommunicate me last Summer. I had a trial and everything. Then again, Democrats have tried to excommunicate me, too.

I piss everybody off.

The reality, at least in the Lehigh Valley, is that tea party members are no different than your next door neighbors. Many of them are conservative or libertarians. But when they have a candidates' night, they bend over backwards to be fair. So I think it's a mistake to avoid them. It's one of the few opportunities candidates have to meet the voters.

Unfortunately, I counted just 18 people in the audience. Their crowds are usually larger, but those who were there had good questions about Gracedale, swaption, proposed tax hike and the Rte 33 Chrin Interchange.

The question I liked best, and one not asked in previous debates, was one posed by moderator Stanly Bialecki, asking candidates to name the County's top two priorities.

To a man, each candidate listed Gracedale as top priority. Calling it an "incredibly emotional" issue, Dowd flatly stated, "We have an obligation to live up to what the voters wanted us to do." He also warned that, although the decision to bring in a private manager is a positive step, "The management company won't turn [Gracedale] around in a year or two years." Vaughn added that union concessions are needed.

Seth Vaughn
Vaughn's second priority is the swaption, which at last count was up to $24.5 million, subject to call on October 1, 2012.

For Dowd and Angle, however, it's long-range planning, something that has failed since the County did away with its five year plan under Executive Glen Reibman.

Pointing out that the ceilings at the Governor Wolf building (in Easton) are collapsing, Dowd stressed the importance of long-term facilities plans. "For every year spent planning, you save five years in crisis management. We're doing a lot of crisis management," he noted.

Angle pointed to a $111 megabond, adopted in 2001, which just threw money at projects in Bethlehem, with no consideration of Gracedale or other long-term needs of the County. As an example of excessive opulence, he pointed to the Courthouse rotunda, which blows open in bad weather. "Somebody's gonna' lay in state there some day. I just hope it's not me," he joked.

All three candidates support the West Easton treatment center proposed by Executive John Stoffa. Angle argued that it would reduce recidivism, which would save taxpayers money in the long run. Dowd noted a similar program in Delaware, where recidivism has been redced from 70% to 30%. And Vaughn talked about similar programs in Brooklyn, where re-arrest rats are 33% lower. "These types of programs do reduce recidivism rates," he stated.

None of the newspapers were there. The tea party forgot to ask them.


Anonymous said...

And of the new and improved TEA Party crowd, a quick count please of minority attendance.

I'm glad I didn't buy an Edsel when they came out.

I'm glad I didn't join the TEA Party Obstructionists when they came out. ...fade to black

I mean white.

Bernie O'Hare said...

There were numerous females n the audience. There were no people of color. But at a LV LWV debate last week, there were no people of color, either. Does this mean the LWV discriminates?

I agree that the tea party needs to reach out more, and it will improve it in the long run. I happen to know that one of the old group's members is without doubt a bigot.

He has Jefferson Davis Appreciation Days. At one meeting, after an announcement, another member got up, condemned it and received an ovation from the white audience.

So my sense is bigotry exists, just like it does in every group, even Dems.

Anonymous said...

The candidates hit all the right talking points that these folks eat up. why would any Democrats bother. For all their inclusive talk, these folks will pull the straight Republican lever or vote for a constitutional or libertarian if there was one.

Dowd, Angle and Vaughn parroted the tea party Stoffa line.

The Dem's would have played down the drama and stuck to the facts. It is sad that Dowd and Angle can't get past 2001. That sums up the entire Stoiffa/Angle regime. They are so fixated on looking backwards and whining about the past, they can't handle the present much less the future.

The roofs at the Governor Wolf building were not collapsing seven years ago. So once again Stoffa didn't keep up with maintenance. We now see he is making another Gracedale like case to come up with some harebrained scheme involving none other than Abe Atiyah and county buildings.

Here's a "bold" plan Mr. Angle/Stoffa, fix the damn roof. Let me guess this is another "money pit". Keep the teabagger cliches coiming.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet there were numerous females in the audience atthe League of "WOMEN" Voters
So no I would assume they don't discriminate.

Anonymous said...

The Governor Wolf building has been in bad shape for forever. It has never been suitable for the purposes of government offices. It was purchased in 1986 for something like $1.3 million and renovations ran its cost to $4.5 million. In 1991 then councilman Glenn Reibman called it a “bottomless money pit.”
Through the years the county has tried to sell it (2000 and 2004) fully realizing they could never recoup the money the county had invested in it. At one point the county decided to sell the valuable parking lot behind the building to a developer. This rendered the value of the building at only about $600,000. The developer never did anything with the parking area and so it reverted back to the county.

Through the years maintenance has been a nightmare and security is difficult. Stoffa is not the first county executive to realize that pouring large amounts of money in that building is throwing good money after bad.
So please stop the cheap shots at Stoffa and read the newspapers occasionally.

Anonymous said...

Right back to the racist charge at a time when one of the leading Tea Party-backed presidential candidates happens to be black man. The left is obsessed with racial politics, yet minorities have suffered the most under the current guy's failed presidency Nobody has done more to destroy the futures of minority populations than this post-racial president. He thinks unemployment and food stamps are stimulus. That's a tried and trusted Democrat approach to keeping loyal constituencies expecting of handouts from their generous white fathers who vacation on Martha's Vinyard.

The Tea Party is quite a contrast to Wall Street's Flea Party. Bernie, were any Tea Party members doing/selling narcotics like the Flea Party? Did any assault police and/or defecate on police cars like the Flea Party? Were there any beatings or sexual assaults like the Flea Party? Were stoned Tea Party members unable to explain what the hell they were gathering about? Did the Tea Party leave an unsanitary mess behind them? Did this unwieldy meeting force businesses to close and many 99 percenters to lose their jobs because of Flea Party disruption?

Anonymous said...

The Tea Party is irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

"The Tea Party is irrelevant."

We agree.


Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,
The guy who lost to SC Gov. Nikki Haley,
Former Senator Russ Feingold,
The guy who lost to KY Sen. Rand Paul,
Sixty Democrats who lost House races to Tea Party Rs

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The candidates hit all the right talking points that these folks eat up. why would any Democrats bother."

Amazing that someone who was not there knows what he candidates had to say. The candidates were themselves. The answers they gave were not something the tea party would on its own be eating up. Dowd spoke about the need to save Gracedale, and was joined by the two others.

They all talked about spending more money for a new way to house some criminal offenders. Nt exactly what I consider a tea party talking point,

I understand why Dems were there, thanks to a misperception encouraged by trolls like you. They missed out.

Anonymous said...

Grover Norquist....
The childlike TEA Party members of Congress best enjoy the next year in office.
After that....the "Party" is over for most of them. Don't blame the messenger "they are the ones with a 9% approval rating.
And they do lack diversity....the fact that Cain is "their man" does not prove their love for minorities. This is all Kabuki theatre, in the end you'll all vote for Romney

Ann Coulter said our blacks are better than their
Can't just seem to get that possession thing out of your heads even after 146 years

thats some funny stuff...isn't it

Anonymous said...

I would like to think that the insanity created by the Tea Party is coming to an end. Two quick points:

1. From today's Washington Post - "A group of 40 House Republicans for the first time Wednesday encouraged Congress’s deficit reduction committee to explore new revenue as part of a broad deal that would make a major dent in the nation’s debt, joining 60 Democrats in a rare bipartisan effort to urge the “supercommittee” to reach a big deal that could also include entitlement cuts."


2. Reported by Bloomberg today - "Obama’s White House has approved fewer regulations than his predecessor George W. Bush at this same point in their tenures, and the estimated costs of those rules haven’t reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under Bush’s father, according to government data reviewed by Bloomberg News."


My hope is that we can get back to reality ... things like facts and science. The Tea Party/FreedomWorks is a big part of the problem. We are yet to have the conversation we need to have at most levels of government. It has happened at the very local level by necessity. But until the Tea Party is truly irrelevant, it won't happen at the State or Federal level.


Anonymous said...

Bernie, Ken Brown from Easton city council was at the LV LWV debate. Tea party seems racist.

Anonymous said...

Yes. We should sprint back to the status quo when cooler heads prevailed and bipartisanship brought us endless wars, limitless spending, and to the brink of financial collapse. WTF, indeed.

Publius = Stockholm Syndrome.

Every regime has it's useful idiots to carry its water.

Anonymous said...

So I guess that ANON 3:20pm can't really get passed his/her own worldview. You assume that ALL things bipartisan cannot be good and only lead to "endless wars, limitless spending, and to the brink of financial collapse." Regarding war, you are absolutely correct, there are too many war mongers on both sides of the isle. But, it was a Republican President and a Republican Congress that gave us the Bush tax cuts.

Now if you have been paying attention, you know we will be out of Iraq at the end of the year. Name one Republican and/or Tea Partier besides Ron Paul who has said this is a good thing? Beyond Mr. Paul you cannot find them.

And maybe you think all regulations are bad. I guess you don't remember the fine air quality in the LV when The Steel was going full throttle. And who needs food safety regs.

And if you actually read the Bloomburg article you would probably read in disgust that the new deep water drilling regulations were going to cost the industry $180M. Which is intolerable ... except for the fact that one well blowout would cost $16.3B.

The point is not go back to the status quo, but move to a conversation that is based on facts and reality, not bull$hit talking points and flat out lies.

My personal belief, as I have stated here on many occasions, is that the only solution to the current deficit crisis is a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. It is simple - means test entitlement programs (including current participants), end all of the Bush temporary tax cuts, and return to PayGo. Then, cut the pay of Congress in half, take away all their free benefits, and have all campaigns publicly funded (taking the dirty money right out of the system). Of course that is not politically easy.

I guess the real question now is, what exactly would you do, ANON 3:20PM? What is your fix to the current problems we face? My best bet is you have nothing ... absolutely nothing of value to add to the conversation.


Anonymous said...

Stoffa lives in the past and has not provided a bit of leadership. Just a stooge for Angle.

Anonymous said...

These guys are focused on their 20/20 hindsight. Just what we need. what a joke.

Anonymous said...

Well we know where the express times stands

Anonymous said...


You do realize that Bush, a republican, signed the agreement to remove troops by the end of 2011, and not Obama right? I know you'd like to give Obama credit, and I guess you kinda can. Give him credit for following Bush's plan.

"The Status of Forces Agreement between the United States and Iraq expires at the end of the year. Officials had been discussing the possibility of maintaining several thousand U.S. troops to train Iraqi security forces, and the Iraqis wanted troops to stay but would not give them immunity, a key demand of the administration.

“This deal was cut by the Bush administration, the agreement was always that at end of the year we would leave, but the Iraqis wanted additional troops to stay,” an administration official said. “We said here are the conditions, including immunities. But the Iraqis because of a variety of reasons wanted the troops and didn’t want to give immunity.”"

And of course local Dems would ignore the Tea Party. Hell, President Obama ignores half the country with everything he does, so why should local dems act any differently. Not surprising at all.

Judging by what you think the next election will produce, you've got some disappointment coming. Kinda like the disappointment Obama has been. Especially his economic prowess, or should I say, lack of?

Anonymous said...

You know Bush would have revised that date. C'mon.

Anonymous said...

Agree. Bush would have revised the date. Obama keeps his promises and timetables.

Warm Regards,

Anonymous said...

ANON 3:20PM / ANON 8:41AM:

Yes, I know that Bush signed that agreement, but the reality is that if Bush or just about anyone else occupied the White House, we would not be leaving Iraq. Just yesterday, in fact, Charles Krauthammer made that argument. "Obama was left with but a single task: Negotiate a new status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) to reinforce these gains and create a strategic partnership with the Arab world’s only democracy." (

You have to give credit for actually getting out, something we have yet to do from Korea, Japan and Germany.

And why would a Dem go to a Tea People event? I don't recall Charlie Dent or any other Rep going to Democracy for America events or events. Using your criteria, they were ignoring 1/2 the country as well. For some reason I suspect you find that to be ok, mainly because you don't agree with either of these groups.

I know at this point you surely think of me as some left wing nut. I assure you I am not. What I am is based in reality, math, science, and economics. The only reason I come off as being so anti-Tea People is that they simply have ideas that, if implemented, simply would not work.

Finally, I didn't say what I thought would happen, I stated what I think should happen. What I think will happen in 2013 is both houses of Congress will be Rep and we will have Obama in the White House. nothing will get done because of partisan BS, but the deficits will get better as the tax cuts come to an end. Alternatively we get a Rep in the White House and then we get the real disaster as they push through an economic agenda that cannot possibly work in the real world. Either way, the rest of the decade is not going to be pretty.

You, as I predicted, have presented us with exactly ZERO ideas on what should be done. But I am not surprised.


Anonymous said...

Publius is as certain Tea Party and R economics won't work; just as we're all now certain Obamanomics has been a disaster. What to do?

And science tells me evolution is proven. I'm inclined to agree, although ethnic cleansing and eugenics have been born of this belief and Darwin thought the disabled should be culled to purify the species.

Science also tells me global cooling/warming/temperature change is man made and a reason to make major, costly economic changes. I'm a skeptic here. Broad statements about faith in science are silly and naive.

Anonymous said...

As are broad staements about Gods, political parties, people and agenda's. You guys, at the very best,are the blind leading the blind.

The teabaggers are as scary as muslim extremeists, speaking broadly. Take it for whah its worth.

Anonymous said...

" the disabled should be culled to purify the species. "

If that happens no one will be in here posting. AND our gracious host will sadly be gone as well.

Bernie O'Hare said...

True, that.