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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Dolan Likens Bethlehem City Council to Black Sox

After last night's election of Eric Evans as Council President in Bethlehem, an upset Karen Dolan visited this blog to make some serious accusations, from Sunshine Act violations to a "strongly centralized power on City Council," who is placing Mayoral ambitions above good government. She has so far declined to name this person, although my guess is that she's referring to Bob Donchez. She has even compared the City Council on which she serves to the Chicago Black Sox, who sold out during the 1919 World Series.

She's a sitting member of Council, so I'll share her accusations.

Karen Dolan:
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.
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.

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.
Karen Dolan:
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.
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.
I gotta' tell you, I have a hard time picturing Bob Donchez as some kind of evil power broker engaging in back room deals.


Anonymous said...

Wellll...OK. What the Hell is she smoking. First, Callahan has been and still is the power broker. Second, Bob Donchez is afraid of his own shadow. Even the hint of Don Cunningham returing had Bobby give up on his life long ambition if that occuered.

As to Evans, what exactly is the payoff? Dolan is a known ally of Callahan and Wee Willie Reynolds. So I guess because someone other than Reynolds(thank God) became Council President that means there is a copnspiracy??

Callahan wanted Reynolds as Presdient and Dolan wants what Callahan wants.

Your picture is very telling. Callahan, Dolan and Barron. Along with Reynolds, Long Dems all.

Sorry, her ususally illogical rants are even more confusing this time.

I don't get what she is saying. Evans is probably less hooked tyo Callahan than anyone Except Dave G.

Maybe that is her beef.

Crispus Attucks said...

babbles lost again. thus the incoherant rant. she has become the laughing stock of council. Too bad the 5 minute time limit doesn't pertain to her.

Evans will do a good job without a rubber stamp.

Anonymous said...

Wow is she out there. Almost sounds like a typical teacher type rant of whats wrong with the world to his her students.

Issac Touro said...


Please quit showing the picture of the three stooges. Makes me lose breakfast every time.

Anonymous said...

Didn't you say this woman accepted a $5,000 donation from a certain mayor?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't believe I have said that.

Anonymous said...

One thing is certain - we need less teachers on City Council. Teachers are more or less insulated from the real world and get used to ruling by fiat (you boss around large groups of people eight hours a day and see if you don't become a bit imperious). Throw politics in the mix and you get a perfect storm of stupidity.

Karen Dolan said...

It would have been interesting if even one of your posters this morning had something relevant to say. Do the people who keep up with the news usually log on later in the day?

Bernie, I truly appreciate your interest in what's going on behind the scenes in Bethlehem City Council, but "evil" is your word. Like "conspiracy," another dart thrown into the mix, it misses the mark. My council colleagues are all good people, but political ambition makes some good people forget why they were elected.

For the record, I think Eric Evans will be a good president. He's a very smart guy; that's why he knows his learning curve will be steep. My "beef" is with the process, which, once again, was rigged behind the scenes.

And although I'm not bulimic like poor Mr. Touro, that St. Patrick's Day party picture is getting old. Don't you have one of me palling around with my buddy Joe Long? No? Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

This is what's left of political debate in Bethlehem? Yup. That's what lever pulling gets you. This has all the drama and excitement of an inner-Kremlin squabble. All heads of the same ass. Karen gets points for attempting to manufacture controversy in a town where there's no meaningful political dissent.

Anonymous said...

Oh please, all this talk of conspiracy makes me think people have really in fact lost their minds. At the very least the ability to THINK and debate through the issues clearly. If one is on a governing body, should they not in fact be able to personally influence the practices it utilizes instead of running to a conservative blog? I think Mrs. Dolan has been personally explaining why she in fact is not qualified for her role. I'm friends with both Reynolds and Evans and strongly feel either could and would be effective in the position. I'm happy for Eric and wish him luck. As to who will be the next mayor that will be decided two years from now. John is and will be Mayor until then He most certainly is not a “Lame Duck” and will perform his duties with diligence.


Anonymous said...

Seamus how was the wedding and did you and Barron Von Pantalones get their kilts cleaned yet?

Anonymous said...

She should be removed from office for slandering every one of her fellow councilman/women

She should be REMOVED

Anonymous said...

Sounds like she is carrying water or trying to take the heat and spotlight off of Callahan. She seems to be doing a pretty good job of it, too.

Tony Simao said...

This is just amazing. These people are imploding at a faster pace than what I had expected.

Accusations, power grabs, innuendo, intrigue, and even a 1919 Sox reference! The only thing that Karen Dolan didn't expose is just how broke the city is.

2012 REALY IS going to be a terrific year for you Bernie.

Anonymous said...

Keep the picture Bernie, it shows three of the Callahan Clan doing what they do best, nothing.

Crispus Attucks said...

and to think she actually believes herself. entertainment factor = ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Laughability = *******************

to dream the impossible dream said...

hopefully Evans will be smart enough to take rubber stamp willie off of the finance committee and replace him with DG who actually has some business sense.

Anonymous said...

Although not as apparent, Evans is as much on the "team" as is Wee Willy. Look at the record of the last year. Karen was quick to state that the whole drama she created wasn't scripted. Protesting too much? The specifics and the exact statements might not have been scripted, but the outcome was and she was as much a part of it as anyone. Her rants are getting crazier each meeting. In the last year she has made several direct anti-Christian and anti-Catholic statements. The meeting before this last one she had to be corrected about her allegation that the police provided special traffic control for the Presbyterians. During the meetings discussing the Human Relations Commission she insisted that she would not allow the Catholic Church to influence the ordinance.

They all sit there and publicly praise themselves for how civil they are to each other. Yet, all the while the city is in fiscal disaster. It has a debt of over $340 million. It has run deficits over the last several years approaching $20 million. It couldn't make the first payroll of 2011 and we found out about several questionable and illegal financial dealings such as taking EIT money improperly from Hanover Twp., putting Federal Grant money into the General Fund illegally and borrowing a million dollars without council approval against the law.

The truth is only one current council member has the ability and knowledge to properly represent the citizens of Bethlehem. Watching this show last night reminded me of watching Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I can agree with Dolan is that Callahan is no "Svengali"...he has no power due to some magical like aura or romance-he is a bully! He terrorizes City Council,Boards,City Employees,Citizens...He really is nothing more than a "Lame D*ck, oh I mean Duck, Mayor"!

Anonymous said...

I love the picture.

"Three blind drunks, three blind drunks; See how they play, see how they play.

Any caption is welcome.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"hat St. Patrick's Day party picture is getting old. Don't you have one of me palling around with my buddy Joe Long? No? Hmmm."

No such picture, Karen. I like the picture. It shows you as a feisty person, one of the things I like about you. Next time I'm covering City Council, I'll try my best to get a good picture of you. But I am the lousiest photographer I know.

Anonymous said...

feisty or fussy,fidgety and flighty? Could be she just keeps bumping her head on the glass ceiling that she has created for herself.

Anonymous said...

If the Democratic Party in Bethlehem wants to keep propping up these kind of shitty office holdres, how can they expect anything to change.

Dave is the only independent thinking council member up there. The new guy Ricoh and wee willie are wasted air loolking for work. Belinski and Dolan don't know what planet they are on. Donchez sits in a perpetual doe eyed fog. Evans seems to have promise.

Well there you are Bethlehem, you get what you pay for.

Tony Simao said...

Here is the link to the video of the meeting. Just in case anyone is interested...


Anonymous said...

Tony one of the problems is the Democratic party in Bethlehem. There are really good people out there who would run as Dems and make excellent elected officials but they can't break through the Bethlehem power block. They don't see the point in fighting a useless fight.

Unless you are willing to kiss Callahan's ass it is extremely difficult to get the support you need. Otherwise it just is a name game and we see what that has given us.