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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Donchez Packs Hotel Bethlehem For Mayoral Bid

Bob Donchez makes it official
Before a "Who's Who" of nearly two hundred political leaders at the Hotel Bethlehem, City Council member Bob Donchez has made it official. He's running for Mayor of the Christmas City, which he calls the "jewel of the Lehigh Valley."

Son of an admired police detective, Donchez grew up on the South Side and became best friends with someone a block away who, like him, always had an interest in local sports and ... politics. That best friend, District Attorney John Morganelli, introduced Donchez at his Saturday morning announcement.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury," Morganelli joked, when addressing Donchez' supporters. "I'm so excited I feel like I'm running myself."

Another supporter, State Senator Lisa Boscola, told the crowd that she, Morganelli and Donchez were mentored and called the "three amigos" by former Mayor Paul Marcincin. She complimented Donchez' "gentleman approach" to issues. "Our City is going to thrive and be great under your leadership," she told Donchez.

Donchez, a retired American Government and Social Studies teacher, has been a member of City Council since 1996, including two 4-year stints as Council President. He credits his father for "setting an example of service I will always carry with me."

Calling Bethlehem a "special place," Donchez pledged to form a task force of knowledgeable community leaders to ensure transparency, especially with the City Budget. He promised to continue to be a strong advocate for public safety. He also wants to foster an atmosphere that encourages more mom-and-pop business development.

Donchez supporters Loretta and Jay Leeson
"What is required now is strong, experienced and mature leadership that puts a premium on service first," he said, in an oblique reference to his primary opponent, J. William Reynolds. Reynolds is in his second term on City Council and has already announced his candidacy.

City Council members Jean Belinski, Dave DiGiacinto, Eric Evans and Mike Recchiutti were all on hand for the announcement. So was Mayor John Callahan, who is expected to announce his own candidacy for Northampton County Executive this week. Although neutral in the Mayor's race, Callahan was unable to resist the charms of the Hotel Bethlehem and its very political crowd.

Two other potential Northampton County Executives, Glenn Reibman and Lamont McClure, were also there, along with a myriad of current and former elected officials, as well as police officers and Sheriff Randy Miller.

When former Northampton County Council member Ron Heckman spotted fellow old-timer Greg Zebrowski in the crowd, he joked that the next thing they'll do is "drag in the coffin of [former NorCo Executive] Gene Hartzell."

Bethlehem's Mayoral primary will be on May 21.


Canary_In_Coalmine said...

Bob Donchez was my AP Government teacher at Allen High School. He was respected and loved by all, a dedicated teacher with infectious enthusiasm for our system of government, and Coca-Cola. I hope he wins.

Anonymous said...

Ho hum. What is needed is a fresh candidate. Experienced in the real world but with some governmental background. Someone who has actually RAN something other than the youth soccer organization. Someone other than a retired teacher or sales guy is what is needed.While a nice guy, he has no clue what he is getting into. Debt, deteriorating infrastructure, unsustainable pensions. Whatever.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Did Bob have a 2S defermit to stay out of the war like many of his retired co hordes?I do not know him .The reason not as many male teachers as in the 70[s --no draft.He can expound on how the government works ,great sound like a good choice.

Anonymous said...

Didin't it sound disrespectful for Heckman to talk that way. Did he apologize?

Bernie O'Hare said...

He was joking and has great admiration and respect for the memory of Gene Hartzell. Lighten up.

Anonymous said...

The machine has spoken and appointed the next shepherd of Bethlehem's sheep. Can't money be saved on a costly election by moving straight to the swearing in?

Average Joe said...

One candidate announces his intentions from a hotel banquet hall while another announces his intentions from his porch in a working class neighborhood. Which one is in better understaning of and acessible to the people?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't think Willie Reynolds would appreciate that snark. If you think people will decide this race based on where the announcement was made, you're nutz. I don't know why some people are such jerks. And they know they're being jerks so they won't sign their names.

Anonymous said...

Average Joe.

Your're an idiot, working class neighborhood, spoken like a true ex steel employee...

Anonymous said...

Why is that a snark?

Someone must have hit a nerve? Or it must be true?

Telling people to lighten up? All of you need to lighten up.

And how is someone an idiot by being an ex steel employee? Have something against working class neighbors and neighborhoods? Or what is the proper politically correct terminology for a working class neighborhood?

People decide how they vote on really weird criteria. So do I think where someone announces his or her campaign from to factor into their decision to cast a vote? Yeah! Just look at Allentown.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Troll. Go away.

Anonymous said...

Bethlehem voters like a young Mayor with fresh ideas not some old guy getting ready to get on Medicare. You need a young Mayor who has the energy to be on the go and go out there and bring economic development into Bethlehem.

Mark Baker said...

Who is going to be the assistant mayor, and the assistant to the assistant mayor. Booby D will have to surround himself with liberal school teaches to help him out. The guy just can't make a decision. The pace of bethlums rejuvination will come to a screeching halt as events pass him by as he has his finger in the air testing the winds.

Always remember that he has been on council for 16 years. That's 16 years of increasing your taxes, showering you with user fees and manipulating the city's finances. He is a large part of the reason you don't have any money and the city is broke..

People let it be known that when he isn't kissing babies or butt he is a major snob.

If you vision of a leader is indecision, back room deals,smoke and mirrows and reaction instead of action then this is your horse.

Anonymous said...

Old guys running for office with nothing to lose. Young and upcoming is the wave of the future. Heck, guys like Donchez and Reibman are not even "middle aged". Good grief. This is why the LV is stuck in time. Seniors needing naps during the day running the place. Oh, I forgot about Hansel over in Lehigh County too.

Anonymous said...

Bob Donchez was my teacher at William Allen HS, as well, and I would second the notion that Mr. Donchez really was liked by ALL students.

All these years later, I'm probably not going to agree with Mr. Donchez on a whole lot of issues ... but I will always say nice things about Mr. Donchez.

I can honestly say I never saw another teacher who was so universally well-liked by literally EVERYONE.

Not a Democrat. Don't live in Bethlehem. Always say good things about Bob Donchez.


Anonymous said...

Another troughfeeder back for more.

You guys are SO screwed.


Anonymous said...

Somehow, the word "teacher" brings out the worst in people. Only in America.

Anonymous said...

Donchez would be a better candidate for county executive given the lineup I see

Anonymous said...

The problem with Donchez is he wants to be liked by everyone. As a Mayor sometimes you have have to make difficult decisions which are in the best long-term interest in the City but won't be popular with everyone. That's one area where Donchez will hurt this great City.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Would you prefer a Mayor who wants to be hated by everyone? That's the logical conclusion of your argument.

Anonymous said...

Haters gotta hate. Love the ageism going on here Bernie.
Can you imagine if the old guys running were black. That would really be bad.

Whem did experience in office and life become a bad thing?

What say you BOH?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm sorry. I was changing my Depends.

I was unaware that maturity and a willingness to listen were drawbacks.

Donchez' weakness is that he tries to see the good in everyone. That is also his strength.

Anonymous said...


It's not about being liked or hated by everyone but being able to be a leader and make decisions that are in the best interest of the City. That's where I feel he fails as being a leader. Being a "nice" guy does not automatically make you a good leader.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The commenter said that Donchez' problem is he wants to be liked by everyone. The logical inference is that we should support someone who wants to be hated.

Being a "nice" guy is very much a part of leadership. It set a tone for others to emulate. Being a prick can be another form of leadership. But a person has to be who he is. Donchez is most comfortable being a nice guy, and it fits well in Bethlehem.

As for 16 years of raising taxes, neither Bob nor Willie, for that matter, proposed those budgets.

John Callahan of late, Don Cunningham and Ken Smith did. Council has generally given mayors what they wanted, but mayors pushed for it and to the city's and residents' dismay, Council usually went along with it.

Are most members of Council generally responsible? I'd say yes. Council members Dave DiGiacinto, Mike Schweder and Jay Leeson, have usually been thorns in the side of mayors.

But the rest did speak out against illegal, budget manipulating things done without their knowledge or permission.

Anonymous said...

Fleck just posted Reibman's website at www.reibmanforcountyexecutive.com, so that means he's running again. I hope he loses his shirt. From what I hear, Reibman will announce on February 19th. I hope JC kills him in the primary.

Anonymous said...

Reibman's PO Box, 625 in Easton. Isn't that the famous Pat Vulcano/Tom Severson PO Box?

Anonymous said...

Ah, Loretta Leeson. The worst BASD board president of the past two decades. Quite the endorsement.

Anonymous said...

Reibman's PO Box is PO BOX 625 in Easton. Isn't that the same PO BOX from famous Pat Vulcano/Tom Severson PO Box scandal?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, it is the same famous PO Box from which many anonymous smears came. Nice to know Reibman has retained his tires to dirty people.