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Thursday, April 19, 2012

South Whitehall Suing A-town, But Not Declaring War

Christina Morgan
In addition to commercial developers Don Frederick and Tom Roma, last night's meeting of South Whitehall Township's Commissioners drew some interest from elsewhere.

Paul Weiss, President of Bethlehem Township's Board, whispered a loud "Yes" when the unanimous vote to join in the NIZ challenge came down. If settlement negotiations with Allentown were going well, I doubt he would have made the trip.

In addition to Weiss, Brad Osborne was in the house. He chairs Lehigh County's Board of Commissioners, and listened intently to the points being made.

Christina Morgan, President of South Whitehall's Board, explained that Commissioners still support Allentown's efforts at revitalization, but they have an obligation to "properly manage our own economic stability." South Whitehall remains hopeful that a settlement can be reached "that works for all the parties involved."

Jon Hammer
Township Manager Jon Hammer cautioned that The Township has no intention of bringing the Hammer.

"It's been said that the NIZ is the most powerful economic development tool on the East coast. Whoever made that statement is probably right. This NIZ legislation has the ability to stimulate great amount of economic development for the City of Allentown, and I think we can all agree that a healthy City of Allentown is good for our region.

"However, tonight, South Whitehall Township Comm'rs voted to authorize that we intervene in the litigation against the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone.

"Please do not view this action as a declaration of war against the City, or a proliferation of this City versus Suburb nonsense. It is not.

"We view this action tonight as an opportunity for South Whitehall to reserve a spot at the table to bridge the dispute that needs to be settled while also preserving our ability to protect our own interest.

"It is not our intention ... to stop the arena project. Lines of communication are open. In the past 24-48 , I've talked to people on all sides of this dispute, at the highest levels. I believe there is common ground, and that common ground can provide a foundation for a resolution to this issue."


Anonymous said...

Give them the Arena. All along the talking faces in Allentown have said it's about the Arena. Time for the Mayor to take a step back and build an Arena.

It's should never have been about acres and acres of private development.

Mark Baker said...

Sounds like South Whitehall is playing both sides

Anonymous said...

The double speak is borne of a desire for the benefit of having an Arena to enjoy without having to pay for it, along with a smidgeon of suburban white-guilt.

Allentown, for these types, is like the slutty mistress. Sneak in, get your free shot, then back home to play Ward Cleaver.

Unfortunately, killing this monster will take a coalition of those truly concerned with the broad implications of the enabling legislation and those who simply seek political advantage. Look at the words from our Norco councilfolk. It's all about what WE lose, how unfair it is to us, Werner's "I personally..."

Their couched statements indicate that every one of these hacks would have done just what King Edwin did if they were in his shoes.

Feckless, one and all.


Anonymous said...

South Whitehall Township has a weak group of elected officials. Not sure they could get any more passive aggressive on the subject if they tried.

Jon Hammer probably shouldn't have spoken to WFMZ. That interview was weak and portrays the Township as an elected body that will be pushed over easily.

Anonymous said...

Hammer is the lynchpin in this. Strong city roots and strong suburban knowledge. Lets see if he can deliver. South whitehall did the right thing last night.

Anonymous said...

"It is not our intention ... to stop the arena project.."

Well sure it is.

The arena can't survive without your 30 years of everybody's EIT dollars, South Whitehall Township.

How does the NIZ survive if the City can't keep all the EIT? I don't see how it can.

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...

Whoo Hoo!

Share the wealth!

Here is my proposal to the Brooks Brothers (inspired by the NIZ Cheerleaders) :

The BROOKS BROTHERS will now subsidize all my open hockey fees and provide me one new hockey stick per month with THEIR MONEY (that they got from Big Government).

I will start buying ice hockey tickets to see the Phantoms play at the magnficent Palace of Sport with MY MONEY (that I do NOT get from Big Government) immediately.

Do we have a deal --- or what?


man on a mission said...

10:26 I agree, the weakest township board in the county, before the vote no one said a peep, then the president read a prepared statement and then said no commissioners will comment and that john hammer will be the spokesman.... Wow, no one can make an intelligent statement without a prepared statement among these commissioners? glad I live in Upper Macungie

Anonymous said...

Is that Tori?

Anonymous said...

South Whitehall needs to take its cue from Hanover - 'No comment on matters concerning litigations.' This is now a bigger poker match and they need to hide their cards,

Anonymous said...

Tori, I had no idea you were the Prez! Congrats to you!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have no idea who Tori is, but love the pic I got of her. I'm a shitty photographer, but she makes me look like a pro.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" glad I live in Upper Macungie"

I'm sure S Whitehall Comm'rs are glad you live there, too.