Friday, May 11, 2012

Allentown's Urban Growth Regime

Michael Donovan
In 2009, there were 63,806 registered voters in Allentown. It took just 7,908 of them - a scant 12.4%  - to elect Edwin Pawlowski to a second term as Mayor. In a one-party town, that election was a mere formality. The only reason to bother was so that Pawlowski could dun City vendors in his never-ending quest for campaign contributions.

Democracy is dead in Allentown.

Allentown, Urban Growth Regime

Oh sure, the trappings still exist, but democracy in the Queen City has been replaced by something more nefarious. It's an urban growth regime in which politicians and select members of the business community co-opt each other, not for the benefit of the community, but to advance their own business interests.

"I've never seen so many democrats fighting so hard to make republican developers rich," notes one of my astute readers. That's what happens in an urban growth regime.

They like the term "public - private partnerships." I prefer to call it what it is - an oligarchy.  It's Crony Capitalism. An urban growth regime. A consortium of select real estate developers, attorneys, engineers, consultants and other City vendors whose membership can be determined by looking at the 87-page report of $251,915 in campaign contributions received by Mayor Pawlowski in 2011, a non-election year.

Is it any wonder I call him King Edwin?

It's been going on in Allentown for years. Behind the curtains is the secretive Lehigh Valley Partnership, a body of unelected bluebloods. They set municipal policy and support the politicians who do their bidding. They control LVEDC, CACLV and RenewLV. Their central theme, over the past twenty years, has been the revitalization and growth of Allentown.

The primary justification for real estate growth in Allentown is that it will raise assessments and tax revenue. Growth is good. But this total emphasis on adding Johnny Mananas and Brew Works ignores most of the City's population. Class separation results, De Facto segregation occurs. The poor, most of them minorities, are ignored or provided substandard jobs. Crime increases. Educational opportunities decrease. The City becomes unsafe.

Such is Allentown.

Despite all the many types of revitalization and attempts at urban growth over the years, per capita income is just $16,917 per year. 27% of the City's population struggles below the poverty level. It's at 42% among Hispanics.

Donovan Joins the Urban Growth Regime

Michael Donovan knows these things, better than most. He's devoted a career to studying urban growth regimes.

When he joined Allentown City Council, he became a part of Allentown's urban growth regime. After four frustrating years of trying to effect change from within, he's had enough. ... At least for now.

Donovan's first experience with the urban growth regime occurred in late 2005, when he served on Mayor Pawlowski's transition team, and focused on economic development. Their strategy for Allentown's poor? "We need to bus 'em out of town," remarked one teammate. They were intent on continuing to do what they've been doing for years - build their way out of the mess.

In fact, that's the whole point of the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ). Donovan had warned Pawlowski, "I don't want 50 rich white guys being the only beneficiaries." But that's exactly what happened. It will convert J.B. Reilly From millionaire to billionaire. It will make Lee Butz and Joe Topper even more wealthy.

But will it help the quarter of the City's population, struggling below the poverty level?

Pawlowski's "Trickle Down" Economics

"A rising tide lifts all boats," assures Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, borrowing the words of President Kennedy. But this "rising tide" argument is really nothing other than the trickle down economics that progressives all supposedly eschew. And empirically, the urban growth regime has continually failed in the Queen City.

According to Donovan, "Nobody is thinking about the population of Allentown, but the wallets of private developers."

Pawlowski's Penchant For Secrecy Hurts NIZ Process

When Pawlowski quoted JFK's remarks about rising tides, he might have looked at what Kennedy had to say about government secrecy.
The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.
Donovan saw this secrecy first hand.

In addition to serving on City Council, Donovan was named to the Allentown Economic Development Corporation (AEDC). He was constantly stymied in his efforts to see feasibility and marketing plans for the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, which was already receiving heavy infusions of cash.

In fact, he had no idea of J.B. Reilly's involvement as the major developer until July or August of last year.

Donovan is by no means alone.

The NIZ legislation (authored by J.B. Reilly's attorney for Senator Pat Browne) was slipped into a 2009 budget package and voted on without any real knowledge of its details. Township officials were never informed their EIT would be used to finance development projects in Allentown. They have since been stonewalled in their attempts to get information concerning the impact of lost EIT revenue on their own bottom lines. In fact, their lawyers have recently suggested this refusal to share financials "is both disturbing and in bad faith."

Morning Call columnist Bill White acknowledges these concerns, but then goes on to say, "[T]hat hardly warrants deep-sixing this entire project."

Really? I'd argue that anyone who believes in democracy or open and accountable government should pull the plug now, especially before $40 million becomes $500 million.

When City officials finally decided to share some details with Donovan in October, he was appalled by the lack of financial information. "I wouldn't a student a decent grade on what I saw," he told me.

But by that time, Donovan could see he had worn out his welcome at AEDC, and was battling a serious illness. He had become a voice in the wilderness.

How a NIZ Could Work

According to Donovan a NIZ could work, done right. He points out it's called a "neighborhood" improvement zone, and should be structured in a way that actually achieves that goal, instead of hurting townships or making rich developers even richer.

Should an Arena Be the Anchor?

You need to identify an anchor, claims Donovan. Something that attracts people. But should that be an arena?

According to Justice and the American Metropolis, the analytic findings are nearly unanimous "that investment in sports produces neither economic development nor neighborhood improvement. ... Planning consultants who promote particular kinds of investments, especially convention centers and sports venues, bolster the predilections of local officials seeking the glory of bringing in a team or cutting the ribbon before the new convention facility."

Donovan tells me there "was excessive focus on the arena, rather than looking at the bigger picture of what was possible."

A Real Community Benefit Agreement

After identifying an anchor, you need to identify what you consider Allentown's most serious problems. It could be the crime, the lack of educational resources, the poor housing stock. Use money to address these shortcomings. Hire more police. Develop affordable housing programs.

Donovan would like to see a vo-tech in Allentown, along the riverfront. "You can't offshore the repair of trucks," he told me, noting that many young men and women could benefit from that kind of training.

He even suggested a veteran overlay zoning district, which could attract federal money.

Where would these commitments be memorialized? In a Community Benefit Agreement.

Donovan has seen a draft of the Community Benefit Agreement being worked on for Allentown's NIZ, which merely imposes the same old tired construction quotas that have failed to solve a single societal problem in the past. It makes no real commitment to the neighborhood that is supposedly being benefited by the NIZ.

He spoke of a community benefit agreement in Pittsburgh, providing for a grocery store, employment center, multi-purpose center and family-sustaining jobs.

Allentown's Real Problem

Allentown is not its NIZ, or its poverty, or its poor education, or even its crime. Its real problem is that it is no longer a democratic form of government. It's a very selective oligarchy - an urban growth regime in which cronies masquerade as capitalists. Only friends of the King will see any development opportunities or business.

The few benefit at the expense of the many. And with the NIZ, the few will benefit at the expense of the many who live in the townships and other cities throughout the state.

Long live the King!

Blogger's Notes:

Statistical data concerning Allentown can also be found in LVPC's "Lehigh Valley Profile and Trends" (June 2011).

The references to Justice and the American Metropolis are contained on pp. 160 and 165.


Anonymous said...

Can't believe this. Donovan came out against the arena but only after he was first for it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

He would still support it, if it were done right. It has not been done right.

Anonymous said...

After reading this, it's clear that Donovan is far more detestable than Pawlowski and Browne. He's absolutely spineless. He's what's wrong with politics.

Anonymous said...

Please talk about children's hunger in Allentown. The school lunch programs that some say are the only real meal many children enjoy each day.

Anonymous said...

I find the comments about secrecy amusing today as i read in the morning call how finnegan in hanover twp is upset that a letter w settlement details became public. His response is that those details should be kept secret. Why is he opposed to these details being public? Is it bc he doesnt want a settlement? Secrecy is bad for democracy. Finnegan apparently doesnt mind secrecy on his terms.

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:54, Donovan is detestable for pointing out what is wrong with the NIZ? Worse than Browne or Pawlowski, who have yet to produce financial information?

I see.

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:59, Settlement discussions should occur privately and not in the press. At least if you're serious. You know this. But you're not serious.

Anonymous said...

Very good post. I hope some day the truth is explored of the issues that underlie this whole affair. I have no respect for Pawlowski or Reilly. They are white collar thugs and a cancer on Allentown. Having spent dome time down town lately I can't help but notice the lack of people. Seems everyone has taken flight. The more development that occurs the fewer people frequent Hamilton street. Move over Detroit.

Anonymous said...

The problem with your perspective is that you claim there is no democracy-yetthere is. It just doesn't work the way you want it to.

Don't like Allentown's government: blame Allentown Voters.

Don't like the NIZ? Blame the state reps and senators WHO VOTED FOR IT. The process worked. (the same basic process that elected John Stoffa twice,and ron Angle numerous times which other people decry.) You just don't like the end result. That's fair, but you can't deny its procedural legitimacy. Democracy doesn't always work great. you also need to blame the right people- the legislature, NOT Allentown.

Anonymous said...

Even the PA Council of Township Supervisors said the NiZ matter came out of nowhere. Secrecy was part of the plan from the beginning. The Arena was the Trojan Horse. All the problems we are now seeing came with the horse. LVEDC should be ashamed for endorsing a program many of its leaders have been working on behind closed doors from the beginning with the rest of leadership clueless as to the potential risks. And for the LV Partnership to support the NIZ in spite of the inherent risks that the NIZ poses is ludacris. Maybe a bunch of ideologues who really don't care how much damage is caused to achieve their agenda.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The Arena was the Trojan Horse"

I wish I had expressed it like that. Very good analogy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Very good post"

Thank you. I put a lot of work into this one.

Jon Geeting said...

Liberals are defending developers because the interests of office developers/future office tenants, and housing developers/future housing consumers are almost perfectly aligned.

You want affordable housing, and affordable office space? Then you have to realize that developers and consumers of housing/office space are in the same political coalition. This is basic basic stuff. You would see that if you were capable of viewing this issue through anything but a resentment politics lens.

Anonymous said...

The whole problem is that they set the NIZ up to intercept suburban EIT, but one sector they couldn't control and manipulate was the elected and appointed officials in the Townships, who tend to be very smart, competent and accountable to their residents.

Anonymous said...

From the Trojan Horse post.....listen carefully to the Mayor's rationale for the NIZ. Talks about the surrounding municipalities and developers pulling tenants and retailers out of DT Allentown for decades. Now it's Allentown's turn. Sound like reparations to me. Pure and simple.

Guy Williams said...

7:49 is spot on the secrecy from the beginning is mind boggling.Say what you will about Pat Browne but hes no dummy when it comes to financing.Theres is no way that he introduced the initial legislation without first thorough consultations with his inner circle both here and in Harrisburg.Cant wait to find out WHO gave support and contained the information until the inititive passed then jumped ship or ran and hid.Am sure Browne and company didnt expect all the lawsuits.The mayor may be drawing all the flack but the real power people in allentown have yet to be named.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that is familiar with negotations to settle a lawsuit knows that you don't discuss it in public. Even if you only took basic law in high school even the teacher would tell you this.

When you are desperate you do idiotic things like Hailstone did yesterday. DO you think she discussed it with Edwin who is in Israel?

Anonymous said...

"6:59, Settlement discussions should occur privately and not in the press. At least if you're serious. You know this. But you're not serious."

You're clearly not serious about transparency, serving taxpayers or democracy. On one hand you are calling for various concessions from the city, making demands on attracting businesses downtown, returning EIT taxes to the townships, etc. You are making public pronouncements and demanding concessions (and you are getting information from unnamed sources too, which is cool). The moment the city responds to those concessions, however, and one of your allies gets upset about it (b/c the Morning Call got an unnamed source to dish the details), it's suddenly ok that the discussions be private? it's becoming a thinly veiled nod to the notion that it's ok for certain parts of this ongoing conflict to be waged in the public realm while others be held behind closed doors. The NIZ is a disaster, but any attempts to keep this stuff behind closed doors is a disservice to taxpayers and democracy. How's that for serious.

If you want discussions to be public, all discussions on this should be public, not just the ones that happen to be involved in a lawsuit. Using the fact that there are lawyers involved to justify backroom deals is simply disingenuous. Then again, you are a lawyer, so it figures.

Anonymous said...

"Anyone that is familiar with negotations to settle a lawsuit knows that you don't discuss it in public. Even if you only took basic law in high school even the teacher would tell you this."

Yes, and if you took basic government in high school, you quickly learn that government behind closed doors is dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is that the lawyers don't want to have details of the settlement offers made public b/c then they have to answer pesky public questions about what is really being put on the table. Lawyers don't like having to do more work than is required to get their billable hours.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That is generally true, but the discussion of litigation is an expressly recognized exception.

The real secrecy that has gone on here has been with the NIZ itself. That was not done out in the open, and the financials are still unavailable.

Anonymous said...

Spoken from a person who never spent more than 20 minutes in Allentown. Some of us grew up there and lived there for decades and have no need to comment from afar. You want the status quo. We want something resembling the great city we remember as children. You want Allentown to remain the scary punchline of Nazareth jokes. We want to give people in towns like Nazareth something to do because there certainly is nothing to do in Nazareth.

Anonymous said...

And it is surprising to me that it has just dawned on this blogger at his age that development is done by political and business interests. It's sad that an epiphany such as this isn't obvious to any sentient human being. Perhaps living in Nazareth makes one content to have nothing, do nothing, and to create nothing.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have family in Allentown and spend time there regularly.

Anonymous said...

The Browne Hole is rapidly becoming a pile of manure.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"And it is surprising to me that it has just dawned on this blogger at his age that development is done by political and business interests."

I'm a little more concerned about the death of democracy than you. It is not development that concerns me so much as government.

Anonymous said...

Nice. Slam Nazareth as you're asking its citizens for money to fix the shit hole you created for yourselves. No place is perfect. But the worst neighborhood in Nazareth offers a far better quality of life than the nicest neighborhood in the city without limits to its violence, decay, and classlessness.

Anonymous said...

" I have a family in Allentown that I visit regulary."

No you dont O'hare. There is a little boy in Allentown, not related to you in any way, who you stalk all over the valley.

I wonder how that "Family" will enjoy being served a subpeona to testify about your "relationship" with them at trial?

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

The easiest dollars to spend are public dollars. Simply alluring.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:21 (Trisha?): profoundly disturbed. But please don't stop, it's great entertainment

Elijah LoPinto said...

very good bernie. I find a few flaws but over all I agree with your analysis. you claim that it's a one party town yet you quote some anon on here as saying "I've never seen so many democrats fighting so hard to make republican developers rich," that right there shows you it's not a one party town. the real issue is that the two party system, around the country but very visibly here in allentown, has become a joke. there are no longer two parties, there are two publicly ideologically different parties that have the same goal. that goal? take the taxpayers money and give it away to their already rich friends. crony capitalism. the problem is in the past crony capitalism has always been one parties goal, but since Reagan that has changed. long gone are the days where you could point to tammany hall and say "look what those evil democrats are doing" where william taft was an example of how evil republicans could get. today they are but two sides of the same coin and guess what, that coin was taken from the taxpayers and given to the largest corporations in the world under the guise of trickle down economics.

zoid said...

Great post Bernie, you hit the nail on the head.

Anonymous said...

Elijah, I'd guess we would vehemently disagree on solutions, but we agree 100% on the problem.

They're all the same. And that sucks.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Well written and well-researched. The two local, traditional news gathering sources (newsprint, TV) should be ashamed of themselves. This leads to a logical question: Are they unable to do this reporting themselves, or, are they bought and paid for by the mayor and developers? There really does not seem to be a third choice.

What I pay attention to at this blog and at MM's, is this- The pro-NIZ people cast aspersions, but have serious trouble in an actual debate of fact. It is very possible for any of us (myself included) to be pro-Allentown, but against unfair laws. Or to be for hockey, but against providing public funding for their arenas. Or to be firmly in favor of saving Allentown, but against a special zone, created in a dark room by co-conspiritors, designed to "fix" the city at the expense of its neighbors.


ironpigpen said...

totally for ice hockey

completely against Big Government financing Palaces of Sport

Anonymous said...

With everything that has been said about the hole in the ground and what will rise from it, the palace of sports could somehow smorph into something different. Look at the numbers of what sports complexes cost and money generated from them. The are not moneymakers at all and will not revitalize the city. I think I am beginning to see a casino rising from the brown hole!

Anonymous said...

What kind of impact did the AEDC and ACIDA have on this circus as a whole? They seem to be a rubber stamp for Pawlowski. Did I not read that the Director of AEDC is also the Director of ACIDA and on the Allentown Zoning Board? ...Bernie, thank you for your time and effort in keeping us apprised of this constantly changing situation.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how both Dieruff and Allen High Schools don't have a Vocational Techical (Votech) option for its students!!! Why no discussion ever about this. Every other major school district in the Valley provides this option. So, if I get this right, every kid in Dieruff or Allen High Schools is expected to go to college or the military or some other post high school training school? They are not even given an option to learn a marketable skill in their teen age high school age?? This is the real story of the problem plaguing Allentown.

Anonymous said...

RENEWLV oppposed any form of roadway enhancements and thought the only way to improve the city was to isolate the cities on and island and bring in rail from NYC.

Change their name to RENEWABE as they do not represent the interest of the entire Lehigh Valley.

No POC and no phone number for these folks and no advertised board meetings.

I would rather see public funds go to fund LVPC where the stakeholders have diversified interests.

Bernie O'Hare said...

12:58, They can go to a co-tech, but it is 10 miles north of Allentown.

Anonymous said...

The year- 2029.

Members of Michael Smith's Urban Studies class at Allentown's Roberto Clemente High School are trekking along Hamilton Street toward their destination. Today, they hope to learn how urban centers develop and why some fail. Unfortunately, Mr. Smith's young charges can only learn the latter just blocks from their school, formerly known as "Allen High". Most of the high school seniors were fairly young when the "hole" came to be. The hole as it is now known is a massive, barren area in the heart of the city. "What we are looking at" the teacher intones, "is a failure on the part of our leaders." The children gasp at the vast wasteland before them. In each direction and for several city blocks, nothing but dirt, stones and rubble, behind a vast amount of chain link fencing. There is the rare sight of one forlorn looking building standing amid the rubble. "Why does that building stand there, all by itself", asked Jaamal. "I think they felt that they could incorporate that building into the plan", explained the teacher, himself, fairly new to this city. "My research shows that they wanted to create a new block, starting slowly between 7th and
8th". One girl raised her hand. "But why does all of this extend to 5th, to Chew, to Union Street….I don’t understand?” “Well Charise, no one really fully understands”, he answered. “It’s safe to say that once the plan was overturned and the mayor was impeached and three developers were indicted, other investors became frightened of Allentown and…” His voice trailed off with a twinge of sadness. “What’s the population of Allentown now?” someone asked. “The population is 209, 455 as we speak. Allentown passed Pittsburgh a few years ago”, the teacher answered. “Unfortunately, the city is also the fourth poorest city in America, but that’s another story”. “Is it possible that the poor state of Allentown is tied to all of this?” The question came from the only Caucasian student in the group. “Very possible Jimmy. The last working class people migrated out of Allentown between 2015 and 2025. When the baseball team left, a lot of jobs went with them”, he explained. “My mom said that the big boarded-up building, the one with all the plywood, that was once some kind of important building”, asked the tall girl in the group. “You are referring to the PPL Building and yes Margarita, it was home to good jobs at one time. It is actually 100 years old!” Charise chimed in, “I heard that hobos live in it”.

Part II coming.

Jules Verne said...

In 2029 there will be invisible space ships and time travel and self wiping assholes. The City With The Divot's Browne Hole will be the signature hole on an intergalactic golf course. Ed Pawlowski will return to his missionary position, ferrying assistance to needy developers.

Outstanding work on this topic. Much obliged,


Anonymous said...

I'm a little more concerned about the death of democracy than you. It is not development that concerns me so much as government.

There are a lot more significant things your taxes are being wasted on than an ice hockey arena that will serve your immediate neighbors.

You honestly look around at the military machine and think, "hey, you know that rink is really killing democracy!"

Bernie O'Hare said...

Please, let's not change the subject. e're discussing Allentown and the death of democracy there, not the "military machine."

Anonymous said...

Nice. Slam Nazareth as you're asking its citizens for money to fix the shit hole you created for yourselves. No place is perfect. But the worst neighborhood in Nazareth offers a far better quality of life than the nicest neighborhood in the city without limits to its violence, decay, and classlessness.

Please. Take a walk around the west end and then cross over into Trexler Park then go back to thee barren wasteland called Nazareth.

This is the problem. People have never even set a foot in Allentown, have preconceived notions, probably never even entered Hess' or the Colonial Theater , and here they are badmouthing it.

Anonymous said...

ASD students have access to an excellent vo-tech school, LCTI. In fact, over a quarter of ASD high school students attend LCTI.

What ASD students really lack is the opportunity for a rigorous college preparatory education in a strict and disciplined environment.

Donovan looks down on the kids of Allentown and assumes they can only contribute as cheap labor and are unable to use their heads. Typical liberal. He is out of touch with the needs of Allentown residents.

Anonymous said...

Please, let's not change the subject. e're discussing Allentown and the death of democracy there, not the "military machine."

Simply pointing out the hyperbole of your statement.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Donovan is looking down on no one. He is pointing out a weakness in Allentown's educational choices. But that's a suggestion. The question is what societal ill should the NIZ solve. It's apparent, from your comment, that you're so intent on attacking Donovan that you can't come up with an answer.

Anonymous said...

It is not a weakness at all!!!

Bottom line, the availability of a quality vocational education in the ASD is one of the district's most significant strengths!

If he, or you, were really concerned with the well being of the kids he would have looked into that before drawing a conclusion based on his perceived social class and aptitude of the kids.

The idea that Allentown needs a vo-tech has zero credibility and is a putdown. Very revealing!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Look. You can argue the point that Allentown already has a wonderful educational system nd needs no help from the NIZ. Move on. What societal ill would you solve in Allentown from the NIZ, other than fattening JB Reilly's wallet and King Edwin's campaign fund?

Anonymous said...

An expansion of LCCC, or a four year institution of high learning, would be a great idea since transportation to such facilities is poor and Allentown is where many students already live and work. Many more will work there if your fears come to fruition.

By locating office jobs close to moderately priced neighborhoods within walking distance folks without a car will have a much easier time entering the professional job market.

People living in Allentown's neighborhoods, or moving into them, will ultimately be able to choose whether or not they even want to own a vehicle, or two. If they choose not, this will equate to a 20%+ increase in their disposable income. That’s a pretty good opportunity.

A magnet college preparatory high school for math and science would be another great idea.

Vo-tech is covered dude and was a putdown.

Anonymous said...

Let's take a step back and understand that: THE NIZ IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

If anyone says "yeah, but..." then you know just to walk away.

All of this other hooey is just the people who wrote an ill law justifying the reasons for its enactment in the first place.

And someone wrote that the print and television media should be ashamed...absolutely until you realize how much the Morning Call will realize in the increase in property value from the location of NIZ and all the development around the area, as well as the news stations that will be competing to provide television coverage of the team. It's all about the dollars people.

Anonymous said...

"This is the problem. People have never even set a foot in Allentown, have preconceived notions, probably never even entered Hess' or the Colonial Theater , and here they are badmouthing it."

That's ironic. It was bashing of Nazareth by NIZers who called it a wasteland and the boonies, that started this. I'm sure Allentown is very nice. I'm also sure those nice west enders should not covet their neighbors goods while insulting those same neighbors. Allentown is nice. Nazareth is nicer because they aren't hurling insults with their hands out. To do that is classless. Enjoy yer hole.

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

A couple of points:

1) I can compliment Donovan for stating the obvious that what's been going on in Allentown is putrid, but

2) The problem is that he still believes that government could do it right.

The lesson to be learned is that government shouldn't be involved at all. What is happening in Allentown is what happens when government is involved in something that it shouldn't be involved in. Government shouldn't pick winners and losers, period.

I seem to remember a general statement about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. Even with the best politician and with the purest of motives, this is what ultimately occurs - the backroom deals and crony capitalism that you have so well documented on this blog.

Even if that best politician with the purest of motives manages to do what I think is the impossible, it will eventually be turned over to subsequent politicians who aren't quite as pure. My experience has been that the ones that are truly "pure" don't want that power to begin with.

To Elijah and the Banker, they are not all the same. In fact, that sort of relativism is a favorite tactic that the Progressives have used to take over the Democrat Party and the legislative and executive branches of the federal government.

I know it's confusing, but there is a big difference between what I would call "Big Government Republicans" and "Limited Government Conservatives" within the Republican Party. Merely voting for someone because they are Republican is no guarantee of change. If they are "Big Government Republicans" like Pat Browne, you will get similar results as voting for a Progressive Democrat. Both believe in using government in ways it was not intended to be used.

The Democrat Party used to have at least two strong factions as well, but what I call "traditional Democrats" seem to have been marginalized or silenced by the Progressives that have taken over their Party. That's unfortunate.

Elijah LoPinto said...

anon 5:03

I never said all republicans and democrats were the same. I said that allentown is not a one party system, it is a part of the two party lie. there are a few old school republicans (ron paul) and a whole lot of nut jobs who think small government is giving huge tax breaks to the rich and corporate hand outs. there was one decent democrat but dennis kucinich lost his seat. aside from the two I've named there are no decent republicans or democrats at a national level. sorry it hurts but it's true. the tea party candidates are either just stupid or lying to you to keep you calm. the ideals of the tea party have been lost to a bunch of republican party insiders and wackjobs who do nothing to stop the continued flow of taxpayer capital into the hands of a few. I have no love for progressive democrats, they sold my people (the anarcist union men and women of the turn of the century) out before and guess what, they just did it again last year. in WI there were 300,000 gathered at the capital chanting "general strike" that night the heads of the mainstream unions, the afl-cio mostly, met with the "progresives" and worked out a deal to drop the general strike call and focus on recall elections. that worked out so great didn't it? the mainstream unions and the progresive democrats have always been against the people and it's past time the people used real workers rights tactics to reclaim our "democracy"

I do think their are some good "small government conservatives" out there, they call themselves libertarians.

TO the banker. I would love to have a conversation with you sometime. I trully feel we are in need of what this country was founded on, members of the radical (remember a radical is someone who seeks to change things from the root) left and right who agreed on a problem and worked out a solution. then it was violent revolution and today we call those violent, radical, revolutionaries our founding fathers. I hope those of us who see and agree on the problems are able to find a way to work together to fix things before another violent revolution is needed.

Anonymous said...


Bernie the one trick blogger.

Anonymous said...

We have all of this in Bethlehem under the Callahan rule.

Anonymous said...

"Bernie the one trick blogger."

Disagree, because he's undressed the NIZ scheme and arena folly from about a thousand directions. Wouldn't mind another good baseball post, if that's what you mean.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:09, Yet here you are, at 10 PM on a Friday night, trying to divert everyone's attention.

Guy Williams said...

Bernie, whats the word from Charlie Dent on the NIZ issue.With all the PR you have done for him over his last two elections surely you can get some straight answers from him. This is not meant to be a dig but have been frustrated from all the spins.Have always known that CD was #1 in Browns inner circle.Since Scott Armstrong continues to spout lack of leadership amoung our leaders Charlie could play a role in helping to solve this dilemma.He does after all represent many of the townships embroiled in this standoff.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have addressed this several times. This is a state and local issue, and it would actually be inappropriate for Dent, a federal official, to take a public stand. There are state leaders who should be speaking out, but are not.