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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cusick Blasts Allentown NIZ

John Cusick
Although it is unclear whether Northampton County will formally intervene, Council President John Cusick led a chorus that bashed Allentown's NIZ at a Finance Committee meeting yesterday. He did so in response to a question from Exec John Stoffa, who asked Council for some guidance on the issue.

First, Cusick stated he was "shocked" to learn that Allentown was chosen as the location for the arena, stating other sites in South Bethlehem and along Route 33 were demonstrably better. He claimed someone had "tipped the scales."

Second, Cusick complained that they were kept in the dark about the funding mechanism that would be used to fiance an arena in Allentown. He suspects that those who did know could probably be counted on one hand.

Third, Cusick has a problem with diverting state taxes to fund a hockey arena while simultaneously cutting human services to the counties by 20-30%.

Fourth, Cusick objects to taking money from some of the municipalities. "They're potentially losing EIT money to fund things like parks and police and local services." 

Fifth, from an economic development standpoint, Cusick wonders how we can compete. "How does somebody who wants to develop office space  in Northampton County compete with subsidized space in the City of Allentown? I think it puts us at a competitive disadvantage in terms of economic development against the advantages that have been artificially created in the City of Allentown."

Sixth, Cusick is offended by legislation that applies to only one City in the state.

Scott Parsons suggested that maybe he should talk to his state senator, Pat Browne, who proposed this legislation. "How do you think I'll make out with that?" he asked, with a touch of sarcasm.

Bob Werner
Bob Werner stated he agrees with Cusick's concerns. "I think the methodology used was wrong and unfair. We are supposed to be the Lehigh Valley, a coalition of people working together. The last thing you need is a back door opened to policies that will take and strip our earned income tax.

"We will lose money based n the fact that the revenue sources are going to go there and leave the area, and that includes people that are in Allentown itself. They will lose within Allentown. They will lose monetary value. They will have to reduce rentals and leases t keep up with it. 

"But I personally take a great deal of offense to the way it was handled."

Parsons and Stoffa expressed some concern about taking an official position, but Werner suggested it be done.


Anonymous said...

what is stoffa afraid of?

Anonymous said...

Right..This is a county councilman who stood by and let our legislators give easton casino money that should have gone to the county..Then our council forms a board from county municipalities to spend millions of county casino funds on municipalities that arent even near the damn casino..In fact, this countywide board is a joke..The only members that should be on the board are the ones that are contiguous to the damn casino. The county should also have a rep on the board if they dont already have..What I'm saying here is that when money is taken from municipalities, they cry and cry and cry..However, they have no problem taking casino money that shouldnt be theirs in the first place but for idiotic local legislators that passed a law allowing it. The fact that Easton gets a half million a year from the casinos is a joke! That money should be going to the county..

Bernie O'Hare said...

"his is a county councilman who stood by and let our legislators give easton casino money that should have gone to the county.."

It's called regionalism, asshole. Sharing the wealth.

Anonymous said...

Thats what Allentown thinks about the zone you incredibly blind asshole!!!!! Sharing the wealth..How miopic are you??? Since when did the county have the luxury to share the wealth with all their issues..They let our local legislators give millions away to Lehigh County and Allentown and now easton and did crap about it!! Now they are all crying about Allentown's deal..Kinda funny..Of course, your God Angle allowed this to happen so it's called Regionalism..What a pathetic argument that is..

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'll tell you what. I'm not so myopic that I'm unable to spell the word. The casino plan of revenue sharing, endorsed by agreement of the state senate after consultation with local leaders, is a perfect illustration of regionalism, under which all benefit. It's the anti-NIZ. It's true regionalism.

The NIZ, on the other hand and as currently crafted, sucks the lifel blood out of other communities to prop up a rich developer and make him richer. It doesn't even really help Allentown.

You're just a greedy asshole.

Anonymous said...

Total NIZ area: 130 acres

Arena: 6 acres
Reilly properties: Aprox 5.25 acres

That leaves about 119 other acres for people to develop...

Anonymous said...

Well if local leaders were consulted then they are complete morons for agreeing to the casino revenue sharing process..The County dropped the ball on that whole issue..No other county in the state allowed their neighboring county to steal that revenue except Northampton County...No leadership on that issue at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. It's not regionalism at all, it's just pure and simple ignorance that allowed Allentown, Easton, and Lehigh County to get millions of dollars that should have gone to Northampton County..If Reibman had let that happen you'd be ripping him a new asshole. Yes, when it comes to County leadership failings yopu are incredibly MYOPIC, you flaming asshole!!!

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with 2:19..The County took a bath in these dealings..I'm glad they agrredd to be so regional considering they have to deal with the swaption, state human service cutbacks, and gracedale..It's so nice when the county lets millions of dollars get away in the name of regionalism..Give me a break!!

Anonymous said...

"Why have the arena property supporters refused to talk about other 'success stories' across the country. Because, I suspect that they did not even bother to look for any other success stories before promoting the NIZ structure, and because those other success stories simply don't exist."

Director, Lehigh University's Goodman Center for Real Estate Studies ... quoted in THE MORNING CALL (Feb 16, 2012)

Anonymous said...

Monies from the casinos were decided upon by a democratically held council. Most of which are gone, but may come back. Hopefully smarter next time. I do not understand how everyone unaffected by the casino ended up with the money either. Then again if the taxpayers in Northampton were affected then it does seem they all should share in the spoils.

Anonymous said...

Real leaders piss people off because they attempt to do the correct thing, explain it and stick by their decisions. When this is all over hopefully the real leaders will get their just do.

Mark Baker said...

BO 9:50,

Try to hold up your own standards which you censor others for.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me but where the Hell was John Cusick when John Stoffa gave over half of Northampton county's Casino revenues away. Money that should have stayed in Northampton County was given to Allentown and Lehigh County.

Don't bullshit the bullshitters!

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:22, learn your county history. John Stoffa signed the abomination of lost casino revenue which Bernie calls regionalism, all by himself.

In fact the county council passed a resolution condemning the action.

I realize that in trying to damn one party and help old Papa Stoffa, you are reaching but your facts are just wrong.

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:23, You are spreading an outright lie. Although I support the revenue sharing plan as true regionalism, the fact of the matter is that John Cusick introduced a resolution (No. 28-2006) opposing the plan, which was adopted by Council on 4/20/06. His complaint is that County Council should have been included in the discussions.

McHale was the sole No vote.

So if you want to cast mud at Cusick, you're wrong.

If you want to sling stones at Stoffa, you'll have to aim a few at McHale, too.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mark Baker, I am going to have no tolerance for an asshole who spreads garbage and lies.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you are right. The County Council was outraged when John Stoffa signed away millions of dollars to Lehigh County and Allentown. They had the solicitor check and were told that Mr. Stoffa did indeed have the authority to do so. They did then in fact pass a resolution.

Unlike the legislators from Harrisburg that straddle county lines, the Northampton County Executive should be looking out for Northampton County.

Mr. Stoffa dropped the ball and County Council did indeed act appropriately in chastising him.

Since Ann McHale's best friend Sen. Boscola helped write the huge cash giveaway, McHale voted no. She wouldn't even use it in her crappy campaign against Stoffa. It would have been an effective campaign issue.

However, her campaign was probably the worst campaign ever waged for a major office, so it probably would not have made a difference.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This was a move approved by state lawmakers. Now, the topic here is the NIZ, not something that happened in 2006 and is totally unrelated.

Anonymous said...

Actually they are related. Regionalism is a fancy way of redistributing the wealth.

NIZ or casino giveaway. Same difference. Your love of Stoffa clouds your opinion, then you just get plain nasty.

Point is Bernie, elected officials need to take care of their own constituents and fight those who wish to take their revenues.

Bernie O'Hare said...

They are as different as night and day. You bitch about the County sharing w/ Allentown, but don't seem disturbed at all that it is really Bethlehem, and it is sharing with everyone. It is called sharing the wealth. Bethlehem is giving. It is the anti-Niz.

Allentown, in contrast, is sucking the lifeblood out of the rest of the LV.

Stoffa is a minor player in what happened. But bc you hate him, you knock him around. You are a bitter person who does not even have his facts right.

Anonymous said...

Stoffa is a minor player when it comes to competent governemnt but he was the most important Northampton County official when it came to how the money got used. If he had not signed the agreement to share over half of the county's money with Lehigh County and Allentown, it would have stayed in Northampton County.

I don't hate Stoffa, I hate incpompetence and stupidity. You on the other hand love the guy and make excuse after excuse for a man who sold out his responsibility because he didn't realize what he was signing.

There is one difference bertween the NIZ and the Casino, Pawlowski is representing his city and Stoffa sold his county out.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I've explained the difference between the casino, which gives, and the NIZ, which takes away. You blast Stoffa, minor player in the casino deal, while leaving Boscola, a much bigger fish, alone. You are just out here to bash Stoffa. You have even posted lies about him. Give it a rest already, or take your medication.

Anonymous said...

It is important to remember the revenue sharing agreement was signed before we knew who was getting the casino (Allentown/Tropicana or Bethlehem/Sands).

Anonymous said...

The insiders knew damn well the casino was going to Bethlehem. That was a given. You guys think there was ever a doubt.

The deal was done. The revenue sharing was offered to Reibman and he said no. Stoffa was a mark and they took advantage of him.

The Casino deal certainly was "sharing" for everyone but Northamton County.

Bernie O'Hare said...

2:43 provide no link or any other data to back up his bullshit. And of course, he's anonymous. He must think we're all easy marks.