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Monday, April 08, 2013

Jason Toedter Claims His Chief Asset Is His Youth

Jason Toedter
Jason Toedter calls himself one of  "a new group of people who will be coming through that's actually professionally trained to undertake researching policy and actually understanding. Not just voting with my heart or voting with what I feel, but actually researching what the correct thing to do is, and doing that correct thing."

He has a Master's degree.

Claiming that his chief attribute is his youth, he's one of eight Democrats seeking five at-large seats on Northampton County Council.

Toedter, whose entry into politics started with John Callahan's failed Congressional bid, is also a rejected applicant for appointment to Bethlehem Controller. He's employed as a consultant with his father's business, RT Consulting and Engineering. This company is currently marketing solar energy.

In a recent speech to Easton Democrats (VIDEO HERE), Toedter claimed he would fight against privatization of County services and would attempt to achieve savings through solar energy.

But ironically, when questioned about the privatized Administrator at the County's nursing home, Toedter was not so sure. Apparently, he has failed to do all the researching that he claims is his specialty. With respect to the energy savings he could get the County as one of a "new group that's actually professionally trained", he's completely unaware that septuagenarian John Stoffa has already negotiated Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreements for most of the County's buildings, including Gracedale. And he stumbled a bit when asked about the obvious conflict of interest with his father's firm.

I am amazed that a candidate would claim that his youth is his chief asset. By that reasoning, we should pluck infants out of their cribs and put them on County Council.

Actually, that's not such a bad idea.

Two bloggers, Jonathan Geeting and Rich Wilkins, rate Toedter at the top of their lists, with absolutely no explanation. I'd place him near the bottom. He is clearly unprepared and is all too willing to dive headfirst into murky ethical waters. Also, any good elected official needs to do his research AND vote with his heart.


Anonymous said...

I was at the meeting the speech is recorded from. I was fairly impressed with him. He seemed honest, sincere and intent on actually helping the community.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Honest - suggesting that the count enter into solar agreements when that is what his father's company does.

Sincere - talking about expertise in research when it is clear he has done none about the county.

Helping the community - with no heart.

You are certainly free to reach your own conclusions, but i view him as a bad candidate who's only saving grace is that he is apparently liked by the pro-Callahan crowd. That is not enough for me.

Englebert Humperdink said...

His last name is fun to say

Anonymous said...

He works for daddy. He has no depth of practical experience. His mommy teaches at Moravian. He is wet behind the ears.

All this reminds me of Willie Reynolds, except that Willie's daddy teaches at Moravian, not his mommy.

This candidate is a laugh, as is Willie Reynolds.

Radical Quaker said...

His name is William Reynolds and you sir are out of line.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't wish to demean him for his youth or relative inexperience. i am just disturbed that he claims to be such a superior researcher and is part of a new crowd when it is obvious that he has researched nothing about the County.

Tomorrow I will be introducing other candidates who are full of ideas, extremely knowledgeable and do not insult people by bragging about their new style of doing research, as though no one has ever thought of that before.

Willie Reynolds actually does do research and is fairly well informed, so I disagree with your analogy. I see him everywhere.

Bob is the better Mayoral candidate, but I like Willie, too. His candidacy will make Bob better.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, your new best friend John Callahan has a ticket of people he wants elected and Jason is one of them. He is pushing a few cnaiddates he feels he can control. He has also pissed on a couple, he does not want elected.

I will say that Mr. Callaha has used this tactic in Bethlehem to questionable results. In his attempt to rig the county concil election for himself, he may be swiming in waters that are deeper than the genteel pond of Bethlehem.

Once elected he will find some councill memebers with long memeories. His attemptes to screw Beleinski and Leeson didn;t end well. His ego and arroganc ei swriting checks his "politcal clout" can't cash.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Any Exec candidate will have Council members he prefers over others,. My guess would be that Reibman wants Heckman and McClure wants Borso. that does not trouble me. But each Council candidate should stand or fall on his own merits. Heckman and Borso look pretty good to me, even though they may support someone other than Callahan. Toedter looks pretty bad to me, even if he is Callahan's man. In fact, I found his speech to be somewhat condescending and arrogant. He presumes that his new group are the first ones who ever thought that issues and public policy considerations require research. And in responding to questions, he demonstrates he has done none of the research he claims is so important. on his own, he falls.

Richard T. Wilkins III said...


I've known Jason a long time, going back to both Easton and Moravian, so going on 15 years now. I know he's an incredibly bright guy. Maybe he didn't impress you there, but I recommend you sitting down with him. I'm very impressed with his energy ideas, and how he thinks he can save the county some money. I also don't see him having an MPA from Rutgers as a bad thing, even if he was less than articulate in sharing that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Richard, Are you aware that the County already has GESAs in place? The energy ideas you speak of have already been implemented by a man who is in his 70s. This fellow claims to be anti-privatization, but has no ideas, one way or the other, about Gracedale's privatized management? This fellow claims to be all about research, but clearly has done none. He just wants to be elected to some public office. he struck out as Controller and now wants to walk into County council. there are much better candidates. if he is an incredibly bright guy, as you claim, i would have expected him to know a little more about county government. He is not ready by a long shot.

Richard T. Wilkins III said...

I am aware of the good work done on energy policy by the county. There's also more that could be done yet, and it would be good to have some like-minded people to Stoffa on this issue on council. I don't see the ethical concern here either, as he's not proposing giving his dad the business. He obviously flubbed the Gracedale question, however I expect he'll have more to say there as a result of it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bernie, in fairness to the council candidates, all of them. I don't know of any who are "cheering" any of the Executive candidates.

I think they all are focused on their own races. However, I do think the County Executive candidates,particularly Callahan, think they may get a free ride with some candidates.

That being said, I believe it is a miscalculation for anyone, be it Callahan, Reibman or McClure to think people like Heckman or Seyfried, at this point in their lives, will feel like they are "owned" by anyone. Not sure about the others, I only know Jerry and Ron and in talking to them, neither one was doing any stupmping for any of the executive guys, they seemd focused on county issues. In fact both were concerned with attempts to undermine the Home Rule Charter.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't think any of them are owned by any of the exec candidates. I agree with you.

Anonymous said...

i'm not young. but i've done the numbers. in this region, there are NO savings with solar energy. period,

Anonymous said...

You are 100% right. Another reason not to vote for Jason, HS ideas are nonsense and not well thought out.

Anonymous said...

Callahan wants Heckman and Seyfried nominated in the spring. So does McClure and Reibman. They are proven vote getters and have a constituency that are followers. Heckman in the Human Service area and Seyfried with the Sportsmen. Without these two on the ballot in the fall, things will be a little more difficult for the dems. You need someone to bring the vote out. No one else on the ticket can do that, not even the Executive nominee.

John Blankstein said...

Jason's pledge to make informed and rational decisions doesnt sound to me like a claim that he already knows every detail of every facet of county government.

And as far as conflicts with his family business, he has completely and fully disclosed those interests and I assume would recuse himself from voting when necessary. This will be at least one engineering and land use firm who's political involvement is simple to track.

And as for anonymous 1:16, what did your parents do for a living? My Dad ran a small business and I can tell you in that kind of family dynamic you start gaining real world practical experience at around age 8. Or are your parents anonymous too?

Bernie O'Hare said...

As I've indicated, John, he has obviously done no research about Northampton County. I have never seen him at a Council or committee meeting. What kind of research is that? What he did do is insult a large number of people who have been doing their best to make informed and rational decisions for many years. his speech was both condescending and arrogant. His "I have a master's degree" argument will not play well outside of a very small circle.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting theatre to observe a would-be elected official touting the MPA degree as an asset to the office of County Council. The degree is focused largely on management principles, statistical data reporting, public financial management, and HR policies. Typical MPA programs focus on giving managers/administrative officials the tools they need to be successful in the public sector. Those skills may be useful on Council just to give a different perspective on policy selection, but would be better served in a County administrative position. The County Council seat doesn't allow for using those skills on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but let me see if I have this straight...

We have a kid here who went to college for a very specialized degree, isn't using that degree and instead is working for dad (in a business that doesn't have a website), his main qualification is he's young and has the aforementioned degree, he's great at research but apparently hasn't done any, and he's positioning himself to tell us what to do?

Rich and John, you know him and like him, that's great. I'm not seeing anything that has me jumping up and down. This kid has a ton of work to do if he wants any support at all.

And if you want your kid to win you should tell Geeting to go away, his endorsements are the kiss of death around here.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 8:59, Actualy I want Geeting to hang around. He is the kiss od death, but he has endorsed Callahan so we need him so people know who not to vote for!

John Blankstein said...

I thought it over and took a quick look through the mcall archives and there seems to have been more than enough coverage of Stoffa's latest moves with respect to Gracedale. So I would have to agree that your point is accurate Jason should have been informed on these matters. I traded texts with him a couple hours ago and told him the same thing.
But I do think your rebuke was a little overly harsh, as was your labeling Adam Waldron "dishonest" last week when he wasnt ready to address a question about endorsments.
I think we all agree that we want to attract high quality people to run for office. The first run for office is really really complicated and I think giving everyone a little slack as they deal with that steep learning curve is warranted. Both Jason and Adam have a lot to accomplish in the next few weeks and I wish them both well.
Then once theyve been around as long as Steve Barron you can go ahead and slam them.

Anonymous said...

anon 7:57, you would think so and that makes sense. I hear that Callahan is pushing Seyfried but dumping on Heckman. I don't get it, as Heckman could be the top vote getter or at the very least elected in the Sping and the Fall. Why Callahan woild be shitting on the guy now is beyond me. I thought they were friends, or at least that they got along.

Maybe it is that famed Callahan temper, he has been annoying people lately. Maybe Heckman didn't kiss his ass enough.

Weird Politics.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Stoffa's work on the GESAs has gone on pretty much unnoticed, so it s understandable that few would pick up on it. But with Gracedale alone, Stoffa was able to do about $13 million in capital improvement without floating a bond or seeking a tax hike. Not bad for a washed up old man, is it? The icing on this cake is that utility costs are down at the nursing home.

As for Waldron, I did accus him of playing dodgeball with me. To be clear, I have no reason to call him dishonest or to doubt his good intentions. To the extent that I created the impression that he is dishonest, I am wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bernie,
Don't write him off yet. You were young and brash once, you wanted to affect positive change to the world once. I think that he would be an incredible councilmen. I have actually done my research and talked one on one with him (unlike yourself who has clearly not done the research). I'm not sure you can sit around and tell people what they aren't doing when you don't do it yourself.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Research does not necessarily include a one-on-one conversation, although I have not made that effort. Let's put it this way. I've done a great more research about him than he has about the County he wants to represent.

Has he attended a Council meeting? I may have missed him, but don't recall seeing him there. I've seen every other Democrat and most of the Rs at several meetings. Had he gone and done his research, or even watched online, perhaps he'd know a bit more abut why Gracedale's management is privatized and even the Dems think that is a good idea.

His youth does not bother me. I might have his attitude wrong, I'll agree. But he obviously has failed at what he claims is his strength. There are numerous very good candidates, so I can afford to be picky. I realize he is the darling of the twitterati, which just shows that you folks can get it wrong, too. You can challenge me on many things, but it is very hard to challenge me on Northampton County.

Rich Wilkins said...

Bernie, no one's challenging you on county knowledge, just on your candidates. You're right though, there's a lot of good candidates.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, how can ou support
Seyfired and Heckman, they support Gracedale? They are the past. There are young and new people who can lead the county into the future. The past is irrelevent, we must look to the future.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I can think of no two candidates better qualified to lead Northampton County, especially since it is likely that Callahan will be the County Exec and he has no county experience.

Nobody, and this includes lawyers and judges, understands the Home Rule Charter better than Jerry. Nobody, outside of Stoffa, understands human service better than Heckman. Both have reached a point here they can be regarded as their own men.

They are the two best candidates. Period.

Jason Toedter said...

Thanks for showing interest in my campaign Mr. O'Hare! I just wish I could have spoken with you prior to this article such that you could base your opinion of me on more than a 3 minute Q&A and a Google search.

Please look into the GESA, as I have. I found no proposed sources of alternative energy, only MEP and building envelope efficiency upgrades. I applaud this effort, but it does not go far enough.

You correctly quoted me as saying, "not JUST with my heart." I believe my language is clear in that I am compassionate, but compassion only drives the desired outcome. Achieving that outcome is a matter of policy analysis.

My view that youth is an asset is no different from claiming experience is an asset and I hope that none of the candidates saw this as an "insult." But, just in case, I want to make it clear that the Democratic ticket will have five strong candidates in November. I hope that the voters of Northampton County see fit to make me one of them.

I appreciate your civic engagement and the discourse you provide on your blog, Mr. O'Hare. However, I wonder whom people would find more heartless; the young man seeking to dedicate his life to public service, or the man who twists the words of a new candidate in order to define him as heartless?

Respectfully submitted,

Jason Toedter

Candidate for
Northampton County Council

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jason, I believe my assessment of you and your candidacy is spot on. Now you demonstrate that, in addition to your other shortcomings, you are thin-skinned.

Did you look into the GESA? Really? If you did, you would see that there were two not just one. I am well aware that it creates energy efficiency, something you failed to mention.

Also, as someone who started off by stating that you oppose privatization, I would expect you to have a response about Gracedale's privatized management, which was a very big issue.

I believe I quoted you accurately, and it appears to me that there was very little heart in your speech. But there was a lot of arrogance.

Anonymous said...


Am I missing somehting.
"Hi, I am a very young surgeon here to operate on your heart. Or you can have the guy wiht years of experience."

Youth is great, ask any old person but the two are hardly equal.

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