She's a sitting member of Council, so I'll share her accusations.
Bernie, your readers' obsession with Callahan apparently blinds them from the actual political drama in front of their faces. No one on Bethlehem City Council is currently under Callahan's power: he's a lame-duck Mayor focused on his legacy and his future career, not on the relatively unimportant jostlings of city council. There is, however, a strongly centralized power on city council, but the good citizens of Bethlehem can't or refuse to see how toxic and controlling this power-broker has become. Political ambition has become the trump card for nearly all decisions made (or more pointedly, not made) by council, especially from the top, in recent months. It's very sad.Me:
Bernie, I wish that you would look into this more closely: Callahan is not the Svengali your posters believe him to be. This is ordinary "back room" politics where only four votes are needed so only four votes are sought, behind the scenes, always. This type of political maneuvering is not only unethical, it violates sunshine law: a WAY bigger issue than who is or isn't the outgoing mayor's buddy. How about asking who will be Bethlehem's next mayor? The problems currently plaguing Bethlehem City Council reside in the drama surrounding that question.
I am obviously not in the position that you occupy, and have no way of knowing whether a Sunshine Act violation has occurred without more evidence. What exactly are you saying about that? Are you saying that a quorum of City Council met behind closed doors to hammer this out, and that all the votes taken were for effect? Are you saying that individual Council members sought your vote? If they did, I see nothing about that, in and of itself, that constitutes a Sunshine Act violation. But I certainly would like more details.Karen Dolan:
I am also curious about your assertion of a "strongly centralized power" on City Council and that Mayoral ambitions are trumping good government. I was aware that four members, including you, have expressed some Mayoral interest, but would think that Bob Donchez would be the strongest. Are you saying he is the "strongly centralized power?"
I am deeply disturbed by your assertions, which are very serious, and would appreciate the facts upon which these claims are made. I was not there tonight, but in the Township. But I was very interested, and my readers will be surprised by what you say.
Firstly, I have no mayoral ambitions. If I ever change my mind, and I doubt I will, you, Bernie, will be the first to know; after my husband, of course.I gotta' tell you, I have a hard time picturing Bob Donchez as some kind of evil power broker engaging in back room deals.
No one on council sought my vote, although there's nothing wrong with that, but council members knew that I wanted Bethlehem City Council to exercise a real democratic process in this election, with discussion and debate and, most importantly, open minds at work in full view of the public. Of course it would be difficult for Bethlehem politicians to break with the tradition of "perceived civility" by actually hashing out their leadership choices with citizens watching, so I supported secret balloting, which is recommended by Robert's Rules precisely so political pressure won't reign in the election process (just as we all enjoy secret balloting when we vote in elections), but that was voted down and vilified. So, tonight we experienced a new version of what was essentially the same old process. It's true, we didn't have a pre-annointed champion announced in advance of the game; instead, the evening progressed more like the 1919 World Series. Who was the real winner in that game? Very disappointing.
But...Bernie, the most important issue is your politically engaged posters need to look at the new landscape and see that Callahan isn't the sun and moon of Bethlehem politics anymore.
Who will the new Mayor be? That is the question, and the answer, more than any other issue -- including all issues related to what's right for Bethlehem -- has held precedence in City Council management for too long. Tonight's vote may signal the continuation of that mentality, although I hope with all my heart it does not.