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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom!

My Mom passed away in 1998. She would have been 89 today.

I was a pretty bad son, but she loved me and was good to me, even after I let her down.

Kurt Vonnegut liked her, too. He liked her so much he even dedicated Slaughterhouse Five to her. That was the book that made him famous.

As many of you know, my Dad liked to drink. During one particular binge, my Mom was very upset and called Vonnegut, asking him to speak to my dad. They were war buddies who went through a POW camp together, so they were pretty tight. Vonnegut promised he'd call that very night.

And he did.

He was drunk, too.

GOP: It's Where The Girls Are

Joe Kelly, Jack Spirk and Willie Reynolds, despite being ardent Democrats heavily involved in the John Callahan Exec campaign, were at Hotel Bethlehem when Callahan opponent John Brown had his fundraiser there on Monday night. They were at the bar, likely sipping iced tea. You might think they were there to spy on Brown, and they might tell you that themselves. But I know why they were really there.

Eye candy.

Lucy Lennon, who is running Brown's campaign, has posted pictures from the event. I noticed something odd. Almost all the women are totally hot, while the men are so frickin' ugly that Hotel Bethlehem had to turn off their surveillance cameras.

Here's a perfect example.

Lucy Lennon is simply gorgeous, while Ron Angle looks like he's auditioning for "Gorillas in the Mist".

Shall I go on?

OK, there's this:

Can I be held in contempt for saying a judge is hot? She's not a judge yet, so I'm safe.

Then there's this:

Is it me or does Hayden Phillips (on the left) look like a bullet head? He is a Marine, and I imagine if an artillery unit ran out of rounds, they could use his noggin. The dude in the middle, who is at every GOP and tea party event, is about 18' tall, and all he ever says is "Fe Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an Irishmen." Then, on the right, there's the pen protector club. They're all still reading the Harry Potter series.

So if you want a shot with something like this ...

... I guess you have to go to one of these fundraisers. I would recommend wearing a Roman collar and pretending you're gay. Women love to reform guys.

At least that's what I'm told.

Aren't Democratic women hot, too? Of course they are, but they're all swooning over John Callahan, Don Cunningham, Sal Panto, and ... well that's about it.

Your odds are better with the GOP. Just walk up to a woman and say "Don't tread on me" or something.

Putty in your hands.

Blogger's Note: I know most of the men I insulted in this post. I can tell you I was hacked and you're really very pretty. Honest.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

LCA Water Lease Delayed

Sources tell me that the controversial $220 million water lease from Allentown to the Lehigh County Authority (LCA) has been delayed, at least until August 7. Because the LCA has no real assets, the only thing it can really pledge for payment is the ratepayer. I understand the bond rating is less than desirable.

Updated 6 pm: Whatever the reason for the delay, it is not the bond rating. The Express Times reports the LCA claiming the third highest rating. http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2013/07/lehigh_county_authority_to_sta.html#incart_river_default

Jim Gregory No Longer Employed by Northampton County

Jim "LOL" Gregory, the Bethlehem Mayoral write-in candidate who found himself a guest at Northampton County jail after repeatedly defying a Protection From Abuse Act order (PFA), is no longer employed by Northampton County. Although details are murky, I believe he has retired.

After taking bad advice from fellow wing nut Tricia Mezzacappa, he has retained a real lawyer. All contacts with Mezzacappa have reportedly been severed.

Bethlehem Soccer Dynasty to Be Recognized Today

The Bethlehem Steel Football Club, which played from 1911 to 1930, is one of the most successful teams in American soccer history. They won 20 titles, including five U.S. Open Cups. A 1914 article from the New York Times points to Steel President Charles Schwab who “spared no expense to get together a team which promises to surpass any soccer team in this country.”

In honor of that team, Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union will sport a replica jersey during an exhibition match tonight against England's Stoke City Football Club, and during other games this season.

For the Steel-inspired jersey, the Union replicated Steel’s black and white color scheme with a bold, white B for Bethlehem. The club’s emblem and active years are also included on the jersey.

Until a referee ejects him, Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan will be at tonight's game.

“For nearly 100 years, Bethlehem meant steel to the rest of the world,” Callahan said. “We cherish our history and it’s an honor to have it recognized by an organization like the Union.”

Brown Conducts Fundraiser in Callahan Country

Bangor Mayor John Brown is Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan's opponent in this November's race to determine who will follow John Stoffa as Northampton County Executive. Callahan is already way ahead in the money race. He reported having $90,001 in his post-primary election report, nearly 13 times as much as Brown's $7,003. But that race probably got a little closer after a Brown fundraiser last night at Hotel Bethlehem. Headliners included Congressman Charlie Dent, former Bethlehem Mayor Ken Smith and Notre Dame All-American football player, Ned Bolcar.

I was not there, though I'm told there was a nice crowd. Admission was $100, and that's enough to scare away bottom-feeding bloggers.

But not enough to scare away pistol-packin' mommas. West Easton's Tricia Mezzacappa was in the house, sportin' a holster. Nothing was in it. But that was enough for a "pat down" before being admitted.

That's a good thing because the Diega Dynamite of Northampton County was in a bad mood. Earlier in the day, she was lambasting the DA's office for refusing to make copies of the subpoenas she got for her PFA case against me. She thought copies should be made for her, free of charge, because she's special.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Luzerne Co DA May Sue For More Staff

When Northampton County DA John Morganelli wanted to give mid-year raises to four of his assistant DAs, he had to sue for it, even though he had the money for the positions in his own budget. Now, Luzerne County DA Stefanie Salavantis is threatening to sue in Luzerne County over a shortage of DAs.

She has 26 in a County whose population is 320,920. That's one DA for every 12,343 persons.

Morganelli has 21in a county whose population is 297,735. That's one DA for every 14,177 persons.

The DA is an independently elected official.

Salavantis' First Assistant, Sam Sanguedolce, criticizes Luzerne County administrators:

"They have found room to hire managers, found room to hire assistant solicitors, found room to keep open Moon Lake Park, but if you take a look at crime, especially in Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton, how can you look at the district attorney's office and say we realize you lost people but we can't replace them? ... It's almost a pathological behavior that the government seems to be anti-law enforcement or at least soft on crime."

Gun Nut Tracker Disabled, Thanks to Gun Nuts

Android App Gun Geo Marker, designed to track unsafe gun owners, has been disabled. Here's the explanation.
The App was pilloried by a paranoid community of deluded gun rights activists in July 2013; deluded because the gun owning community in the United States shoots itself in the foot - and endangers all of our 2nd amendment rights - when it comes out against reasonable solutions to the gun violence epidemic. This includes Apps that might allow it to better allow gun owners regulate themselves, foment better safety practices, and prevent unnecessary gun deaths. But in short, the community instead decided that this App was a threat and spammed it up with useless info that effectively disabled it for sincere users. How many lives are being lost due to the congressional equivalent of this obstruction? Such as when the U.S. Senate rejected reasonable and constitutional universal background checks in April of 2013?
My problem with this app is that it would allow people to geo-locate dangerous gun owners anonymously. That's just irresponsible. But I'd support and contribute to an app that required the geo-locator to identify himself.

We certainly have a First Amendment, too.

The Lehigh County Bagmen

Not all that long ago, I wrote an essay excoriating both Lehigh County Commissioners and Bethlehem City Council members for even questioning pass through grants like one from CDBG for Meals on Wheels and another from RCAP for an Arts Charter High School.

But nothing is ever black and white. Last week, Lehigh Commissioners Mike Schware, Brad Osborne and Vic Mazziotti questioned three of these pass-thru grant proposals. They were absolutely right to do so.

$220,000 for one-bedroom apartments

The first of these is a $750,000 grant through Health Choices for six units at Cumberland Gardens Housing project in Allentown. The total project cost for 70-units is $15.4 million. That translates to $220,000 per one-bedroom unit.

That "seemed to be a little excessive to me," said Commissioner Mike Schware.

D'you think?

That grant was tabled 7-0 (Scott Ott and Tom Creighton were MIA - Summer Hours) while some suit harrumphed that "prevailing wages" is what makes this project so costly.

Those damn unions.

Feds Instruct Counties on How to Avoid Prevailing Wages

While paying prevailing wages with one grant, mindless bureaucrats in Washington did their best to avoid (evade?) them in a second, $500,000 grant intended to bring a block in Catty up to code. In fact, they gave County officials instructions on how to get around the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires local prevailing wages for public projects.

"So they're telling us how to get around the federal law?" asked Commissioner Vic Mazziotti.

If HUD or the the County were to hire the contractor to bring these homes up to code, they'd have to pay prevailing wage. If the money was given directly to homeowners, that would never do, either. Heaven forbid that a $500,000 actually go directly to the parties who need it. That might cut down on paperwork. So the feds have instructed that there be contracts between homeowners and contractors, prepared in quadruplicate, which will then be reviewed on thirty levels and the contracts can then be paid with CDBG funds.

Commissioner Vic Mazziotti, no friend to the Davis-Bacon Act, is a bit bothered about a scheme devised by the feds that seems to be intended to avoid it. "It's a hard thing," he told me late last week. "You don't want to say No but we shouldn't be put in a position where our only role is money launderer."

Then they laundered the money, 7-0.

"If you question any of this, you're accused of hating poor people," explained Vic Mazziotti.

Bagmen For the State

While Commissioners might be money launderers for the feds, they are bagmen for the state. You see, the state uses counties to funnel money to entities that it is unable by law to find itself. So it simply used Lehigh County last week to send $250,000 to Luther Crest for site improvements at an $8 million project. Barred by the state constitution from giving Luther Crest the money directly, Lehigh County will be the bagman.

Pointing out that it "makes little sense to me," Mazziotti noted, "We had nothing to do with this grant. We didn't receive proposals, we didn't evaluate proposals, we didn't make this decision. The State made this decision."

Now I've told you before that Mazziotti, a mild-mannered, unassuming bean counter, is a gold mine of pithy quotes. Here's a few from last week's meeting.

"This is an avoidance of the state Constitution that we're asked to participate in. "

"If the state wants to give a grant to this organization, that's wonderful; they should just do it."

"If a private sector organization did this, they'd be in jail."

"I'd rather not be the bagman."

"Given my nationality, I'm a little sensitive to that term."

Another accountant, Commissioner Mike Schware, likens the process to a teenage neighbor coming over and asking him to buy a six pack for him. "It shouldn't be this easy," he said.

Of course, the grant passed 7-0.

Lehigh County Commissioners don't mind being called money launderers or bagmen. Just don't call them bogeymen.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Wit and Wisdom of Chief Mark Kessler

With a black T-Shirt bearing a Confederate flag on one side and "Liberals Take it in the Ass" on the back (rear?), Gilberton police chief Mark Kessler has a few remarks about "libtards," as he so sensitively refers to Commies like John Kerry.

"Libtards, you take it in the ass, and I don't give a fuck what you say, so youse can all go fuck yourselves. Period."

In the ass, I would assume.

Gilberton is nestled between Frackville and Shenandoah in Schuylkill County, within a stone's throw from where my parents grew up. According to the 2010 census, its population is 769.

There's only one black person, although he could be a white dude covered with coal dust.

For just $25, you can become a member of his Constitutional Security Force, fighting against anti-American organizations like the Southern Povery Law Center. You also get a certificate suitable for framing, access to firearms training, two CSF bumper stickers and a 10% discount on 30 round C-product Aluminum AR/M16 magazines.

Who could pass up a deal like that?

Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta' go take it up the ass.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Supreme Court Suspends Lawyer Who Accepted Oral Sex as a Fee

Att'y: Would you like to go to Space Mountain?

Sexy Client: Oh, fuck off.

Att'y: Well, I guess a blow job would really be out of the question then?

According to the Pa. Supreme Court, it is. They just suspended a Bucks County lawyer for a year for accepting about three or four of them from a client in a DUI case.

The Chief Kessler Show

Gilberton Police Chief Mark Kessler seems to be enjoying himself in his spare time, with shots, both literal and figurative, at "libtards" and "pussies." Frankly, I think the whole thing is hilarious.

Heads Roll at LVEDC

Today is the last day on the job at Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. (LVEDC) for three of their top people.

These three heavyweights are Pete Reinke, VP of Business Development; Jean Mateff, VP of Administration and Investor Relations; and Bob Bilheimer, Director of Business Expansion. They got word on Tuesday. From what I've been able to piece together, CEO Don Cunningham thinks it's time for the organization to move in a different direction. I'm told the termination has nothing to do with any dissatisfaction with the job performance of affected employees. It might be an effort to cut costs or a desire by Cunningham to bring in his own people ... with a lower handicap.

Summer hours, you know.

In addition to these three highly ranked officials, at least other two staffers are departing as well. One is retiring and another is on her way to Ohio.

This sudden shake-up, which appears to have been handled poorly, does nothing to inspire confidence in the economic development arm of the Lehigh Valley. Funded in large part by hotel tax from both counties, there is increasing concern that the investment just isn't worth it.

Updated 1:30 PM: Cunningham Confirms Termination

Here's his statement:

Several of the people you may have been accustomed to working with at the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. will be leaving the organization this week.

Jean Mateff, vice president of administration and investor relations, Pete Reinke, vice president of development, and Bob Bilheimer, director of business retention and expansion, will be leaving as part of a restructuring. The changes are part of a year-long analysis by me, president and chief executive officer, and the LVEDC Board to improve the strategy, structure and performance of the organization to better serve the marketing and economic development needs of the Lehigh Valley.

Each of these employees have considerable skills and experience and I’m confident that in the right role that they can be an asset to other organizations or companies in the Lehigh Valley or beyond.

Change is always difficult but it is a constant in life. Change is a critical part of continuous improvement. And, LVEDC still needs to improve. We have returned the organization to its core mission: to market the Lehigh Valley’s economic assets inside and outside the region and to be a one-stop shop working with a myriad of partners to help businesses to come here, grow here and to start here. But, more work remains.

We have instituted a new culture. A culture based on results not process, performance not public relations and strategy and accountability not just managing the “in-box.” It would be easier to embrace the status quo but, frankly, it’s not good enough to serve the Lehigh Valley.

LVEDC is not the story. The Lehigh Valley is the story. Economic development is the result of many partners working together from local, county and state governments to real estate brokers and developers to regional organizations to companies and entrepreneurs.

We are in a period of tremendous economic change across the world, the United States and our Lehigh Valley. The advent of lightning speed technology and the Internet has changed every aspect of the economy from our factory floors to the way we purchase consumer goods. It will continue to change the types of jobs the economy creates and the way companies do business. It continues to affect land use policies and job training needs here.

In the Lehigh Valley, we need to be more strategic, more focused, more regional and more aggressive to ensure that the economy of tomorrow here greatly exceeds the economic successes of our past. The economic world is not standing still. It changes every day, sometimes every hour. The Lehigh Valley needs an LVEDC that keeps pace with the economy that we are charged with developing and promoting here.

We have considerable talent in the Lehigh Valley both within LVEDC and outside in both the public and private sectors. In the coming weeks, we will be announcing some promotions and additions to our staff, all with a focus on getting the right people on the bus and putting them in the right seat.

I’m committed to making LVEDC the best regional economic development organization in Pennsylvania and the Northeastern U.S. I know that our Board of Directors expects nothing less, nor should our partners and the people of the Lehigh Valley.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Zoning Advice: Always Bring a Neighbor

Att'y Jim Holzinger: Bring a Neighbor
In zoning cases, use variances are tough. You have to convince a Zoning Hearing Board to permit a land use that is contrary to the plain provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. Bethlehem Township's strict board has refused to grant one in recent memory, but they've never seen Bethlehem Attorney Jim Holzinger. He worked his magic with Bethlehem's zoners at their July 24 meeting.

Representing Chris Brown, Holzinger sought a use variance for a vacant lot at 822-824 Atlantic Street that would permit a two-family dwelling in an area where only single-family homes are allowed. With folksy charm that belied a great deal of advance preparation, Holzinger spun a tale that made it seem like his client was doing Bethlehem a favor, and not the reverse. He introduced testimony showing that a single-family home at that location would care almost double what would be realized from the sale. He showed numerous other doubles and apartment buildings in the are, including massive apartment buildings. But his secret weapon, as always, is the next door neighbor.

Joan Duser, who owns the property next door and grew up in that area, told the Zoning Hearing Board that "it'll be nice." She's happy to see something being built because "the hedges haven't been cut in five years."

By a 4-0 vote, Brown had his variance. Bill Fitzpatrick, just confirmed for a new 5-year term on the Board, joked with Duser that Chairman Gus Loupos "might come down and cut your hedges."

Afterwords, Attorney Holzinger gave this piece of advice. "I always say, bring a neighbor."

In other business, zoners allowed Michael Kehl to convert a salon at his 914 Linden Street property into a residential unit. He and wife Sarah will live upstairs and rent out the first floor. Sarah told the Board she was concerned that someone would break into a salon after hours when it is empty, and would feel safer if someone was living there. The vote was 4-0.

A third matter on the agenda, an off-premises billboard at 1501 Gary Street, was continued. Attorney Kevin Kelleher, representing Atlantic Holdings, asked for the extension because the actual application deviates slightly from the application. That raises questions of notice to the public.

Mezzacappa Seeks PFA Against Blogger O'Hare

I'm beginning to lose count of the number of times West Easton Wingnut Tricia Mezzacappa has sued me, but she's done it again. My writing about her ridiculous gun antics and her brief alliance with the now jailed Jim Gregory, have really set her off. People who suffer from histrionic personality disorder, as she does, don't handle criticism well.

She's been barred from applying for restraining orders against me without court permission, so she's tried something new.

The PFA.

That's right, she's filed under the Protection From Abuse Act, the very law she was criticizing on her poofed blog only last week. Now that Act applies to family members or people involved in some kind of relationship, not drama queens. But that did not stop Mezzacappa. She just claims, falsely, that we are current or former sexual or intimate partners.

In her petition, she claims my recent acts of abuse include writing about her firearm, her employer, allowing someone to list her nursing license number on my blog, blogging for two years that she is mentally ill, a liar, unfit to carry a firearm, and unemployable. She complains that I use my blog to "disgrade", embarrass and intimidate her, and am "alianating" her from jobs, the police and friends.

Let me stop for a moment and state, as clearly as I can, that I do consider Mezzacappa mentally ill, a chronic liar, unfit to carry a firearm and completely unemployable. I make these statements about her because they are true and because you have a right to know that this is one political hopeful who is malicious, totally out of her mind and downright dangerous.

If that embarrasses her, too frickin' bad.

If she thinks filing a suit will scare me from continuing to tell the truth about her, she should know better by now. Lord knows, she's tried it enough times.

Her claims about my writing provide no basis for a PFA. Nothing I write about anyone would put that person in reasonable fear of bodily injury. I am very careful about that, and delete any comments that suggest violence. Not one word I've written about Mezzacappa would ever place her in reasonable fear of bodily injury.

But Mezzacappa claims there's more. I walk by her house and drive through West Easton, she claims. The only times I've been to West Easton in the past two years have been to visit Borough Hall and, once, the treatment center. I have studiously avoided not just her house, but the entire street on which she lives.

She adds that when she goes to the courthouse, I am always there. That's because I search titles for a living. She complains that I follow cases involving her, and that's true. I believe the people have a right to know about her. In addition, I have a a libel lawsuit against her, and judgment has been entered against her. She protests that I attend public meetings. Too bad.

She also rehashes her now tired claim that in 2011, I kicked her pig. Originally, she claimed to have filed a police report about it. But I've been able to determine she made no call or report about this matter. This is odd because she's complained to police about just everything else, including her dark-skinned neighbors. So Mezzacappa changed her story and claimed the phone must have slipped out of her hand as she slipped in pig piss or something.


In 2012, things got really bad. She saw me at a West Easton Borough Council meeting and this infuriated her. She stormed home, and then called police to claim that I had fed her pet pig rat poison and left a note on her stoop saying, "Dead pigs make good ham."

The reason for this false report was her anger at me for daring to cover a West Easton Borough Council meeting. There never was any evidence tying me to anything because I never did anything. I believe she made the whole thing up because she suffers from histrionic personality disorder.

Now, she's embellishing the 2011 pig kicking story.

At first, she claimed that I kicked her pet pig, after which she agreed to go on a hike and even got a bite to eat with me after a fairly intense session. She claims I then attempted to intoxicate her and exposed myself or something of that sort.

That's version #1.

In March, she told Judge Beltrami that I raped her, too.

That's version #2.

I would think she might have remembered something that traumatic a little sooner than 2 years after the fact, but that's me.

In her written complaint to the court yesterday, she gave version #3. "I believe that he put drugs in my drink - because I woke up the next day with bruises and I didn't remember the ride home from the restaurant. Then he took off his clothes in my house and presented himself in my direct physical path - so I don't know if he raped me because I don't know how I got these bruises all over my body."

Judge Edward Smith, who was forced to listen to her bullshit yesterday, refused to grant a temporary PFA. He has scheduled a hearing for August 5, 11:00 AM, Courtroom 4.

That's when we'll all be subjected to Version #4.

I will defend this alone. My attorney has been savaged by her for simply doing his job. He does not deserve that kind of treatment. No attorney does. So she will deal with me. She will not like that.

I am tired of her repeated false statements, and suspect the Court is frustrated by her nuisance litigation. She is a chronic liar, is repeatedly lying to the Court that she has also insulted, and I intend to make that very clear. I believe her obviously false statements in open court are contemptible, and could be punished on the spot.

Just as Jim Greogory is being released, she may be going in.

Drama queens belong in a theatre, not a courtroom.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Two Kids Severely Sunburnt at Bethlehem Day Care?

Bethlehem police have received allegations that two toddlers were severely sunburned while in the custody of Foundations Early Learning Academy, which is located at 444 Montclair Ave. According to the report, the children had blistering over backs and shoulders. They have referred the matter to Children and Youth, as well as the state Department of Public Welfare.

According to one online review, "This facility is wonderful! The staff is very experienced and caring."

Morganelli: AG Stance on DOMA is Principled, Not Politics

The recent announcement by Attorney General Kane that her office will not defend litigation attacking the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s version of DOMA has Republicans all in a tither. They have accused the attorney general of shirking her responsibility to enforce all laws and have deemed her a “hypocrite.” They have released an out of context clip from the campaign in which then candidate Kane, in response to a question, talks about the attorney general’s obligation to enforce all criminal laws. Whether you agree or disagree as to the underlying issue relative to the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry, the issue of the attorney general’s decision not to defend the constitutionality of a statute is a fair subject for evaluation. It is true that the Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Act which sets forth the jurisdiction, duties and responsibilities of the Office of Attorney General specifically states that it “shall be the duty of the attorney general to uphold and defend the constitutionality of all statutes.” However, that provision also provides wiggle room for an attorney general to exercise discretion. The statute provides that the duty is contingent “upon the absence of a controlling decision by a court of competent jurisdiction.” It could be argued that the recent opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court now controls the viability of Pennsylvania’s version of DOMA. The attorney general, to my knowledge, has not stated this as a rationale to defer. However, it can also be argued that the attorney general’s obligation presumes that the attorney general comes to the legal conclusion that the statute at issue is constitutional. Lawyers in general are not permitted by ethical rules to prosecute and/or participate in litigation in which they do not have a good faith basis to pursue. If Attorney General Kane has come to the good faith legal conclusion that Pennsylvania’s law is unconstitutional, it may be that ethically she has every right to decline to defend the statute.

The attorney general has cited another section of the Commonwealth Attorneys’ Act which allows the attorney general to defer to the Office of General Counsel in matters that the attorney general believes are not in the “best interest of the Commonwealth.” Although there is no case law interpreting these sections and whether the attorney general’s responsibility in this regard is mandatory, it is clear that Attorney General Kane has staked out a plausible legal position that justifies her decision. It is interesting that the Republicans in power are complaining that her decision is political while forgetting that this is an office that was controlled from 1980 to 2013 by the Republicans all of whom played politics from that position. The Republicans who held this office were all politicians in the first instance. The first attorney general, Mr. Zimmerman is still active in Republican politics. The next three Republican attorney generals, Mr. Preate, Mr. Fisher and Mr. Corbett all ran for governor and used the Office of Attorney General as a political launching pad. One made it to the governor’s office, one made it to jail and the other parlayed political connections into an appointment to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Corbett was the most political attorney general engaging in a partisan political prosecution of mostly Democrats and using his office to go after political opponents. The truth is that Attorney General Kane to date has handled this office professionally and all decisions seem to be based on principle and not politics. The review of the handling of the Sandusky case was demanded by the people who spoke loudly at the polls in 2012. Closing a gun-law loophole that let Pennsylvanians who were denied the right to carry a gun here get it from Florida, and stepping on the Governor’s plan to privatize the lottery so that more of his friends can get rich all were necessary and principled moves. Republicans need to stop whining and recognize that there is a new sheriff in town – Democrat Kathleen Kane, and she should not allow the noise and chatter from distracting her from letting her principles guide her actions.

John Morganelli is district attorney for Northampton County and was President of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association in 2000. He was the Democratic candidate for attorney general in 2008.

Is Mezzacappa Still Packin'?

She's been a pistol-packin' momma. Though her license to carry has been revoked, Tricia Mezzacappa nevertheless has appeared with a holstered gun at a political fundraiser in Lower Nazareth, the elections office in Easton and Payrow Plaza in Bethlehem. While she does have a right to open carry, she has no right to transport a gun in a vehicle, loaded or unloaded, in separate compartment or not. But Mezzacappa is hinting that her gun totin' days may be over.

In one of her last entries before she took down her blog, "Diary of an Empty Holster," (saved on cache here), Mezzacappa hints that she's finally been disarmed.

Anonymously, she has posted increasingly bizarre comments on this blog, suggesting she may have had one of Gregory's guns, which she supposedly took from the console of his uninsured Camaro.

The problem with Mezzacappa's statement is that it's hard to believe anything she says. But she may have lost more than her blog ...and her job ... and her relationship with Gregory ...and her blog ... and her mind.

If we are all lucky, she might have lost her gun. If any of you know what is going on, feel free to enlighten us.

Illegal Gun Charges at Controversial South Side Building

Last month, following a contentious hearing, Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board refused to go along with a basement apartment at 311 E. 4th Street, despite the City's own admission that it had mistakenly allowed 4 apartments at the site for years. "If there's a fire in the apartment, people will die," said Zoning Officer Suzanne Borzak.

And that was pretty much that.

A few days after that hearing, owner Richard Smith was charged with harassment. According to Bethlehem police, he grabbed or pushed a building inspector on July 2, when being informed that his apartment building was being condemned.

Now three more people have been arrested at this apartment building on more serious charges. Responding to a fight call, police obtained a warrant after detecting the odor of marijuana. In addition to finding drugs and paraphernalia, police also seized a shotgun with a scratched-off serial number, along with ammunition. Three women living at the building have been charged possession of a firearm with an obliterated manufacturer's number. They are Lauren Gonzalez, age 27, Jamie Cornier-Nadal, age 20, and Angela Rodriguez, age 25.

Xtreme Noise From TeamX Sports Might Finish Program

Nick Csorba, wife Deborah and Sue Hahn
Since 2011, each Spring and Fall, TeamX Sports has conducted flag football games every Saturday for kids more interested in fun than in winning. Loudspeakers near the Hanover Township Community Center would help put kids in a festive mood. But they did nothing for neighbors awakened at 7:45 AM on weekends by loud, vibrating music. That's what Nick Csorba, accompanied by wife Deborah and Sue Hahn, told Supervisors at their July 23 meeting.

Csorba complained that the noise sometimes lasts for seven hours straight. He denied he's against youth sports, but noted, "Other sports don't do that." They had a petition signed by about 20 neighbors.

"They probably won't be back," Manager Jay Finnigan said of TeamX. "We may not see them," added Chairman John Diacogiannis, noting they were changing the terms of the permit to reduce all the noise. "We're sympathetic to your needs and concerns."

"I was gonna' bring an attorney, but he wants money," said Csorba.

"They always do. Look how they dress," answered Chairman Diacogiannis, as Township Solicitor Leo DeVito and real estate Attorney Joe Piperato, both of them nattily attired, looked as though they wanted to shed their jackets.

In other business, Supervisors decided to move ahead with the long-awaited Village View Park, to be built a 25-acre tract along the east side of Airport Road. It will eventually include four playing fields for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. Open space money from Northampton County, a gaming grant from Monroe County and land donations from the Lehigh Valley International Airport are what make this park possible. According to engineer Jim Milot, two larger fields (108,000 sq ft each) can be used for professional and international events. The other two fields (75,600 sq ft each) are large enough for high school and NCAA games. Each of the fields can also be divided for youth tournaments.

"You don't need music for soccer," noted Chairman Diacogiannis.

At Milot's suggestion, this $1.2 million project will be advertised and bid through PennBid, an online bid management services that increases efficiency and transparency while reducing cost. Construction will start next year, and Finnigan predicts the first two fileds will be in use by Spring 2015.

"The 40' lights will come later," he joked. "And the dome," added Solicitor Leo DeVito.

Finally, in a tangible sign of an improving economy, Treasurer Ryan Kish told Supervisors that building permits and inspection fees are up 70% over the first six months of this year, compared to the same period last year.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Newsworks: Penn Study Says Cities Safer than the 'Burbs

Penn study finds safety in cities, more risk in rural areas (via NewsWorks)
Onward Zack Sewardzseward@whyy.org   July 23, 2013 By Zack Seward, @zackseward "We found that you're actually safest in larger cities and get less safe as the areas become more rural." — Sage Myers, MD, MSCE, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia…

Mezzacappa Outs Kirkland Village

In a post called "Kirkland Village, (Bethlehem, PA) Hates the NRA", Tricia Mezzacappa calls it the "worst nursing home in the Lehigh Valley." According to her, "When a responsible and caring RN tries to help the non-medicare paying patient, she is bullied, reprimanded and fired. Get your family member OUT of Kirkland Village. THEY SUCK."

Obviously, they fired her. You can read her account of their hatred of the NRA here.

She deleted her post, but her prospective employers might want to take a look-see.

Pawlowski Really is a King

For years, I've mocked Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski as King Edwin I. The joke's on me. I learned last night that he really is a King, at least when it comes to zoning. That's thanks to a special provision slipped into Allentown's zoning ordinance in 2010, giving him or City Council the authority to suspend the ordinance, not just for property that the City owns, but also for third parties who have a lease or other contract with the City.

Here's the Superpower provision in question: "1311.17 EXEMPTION FOR MUNICIPAL USES. This Ordinance shall not apply to any lot, existing or proposed building, use thereof, of any expansion thereof, owned, used or to be used by the City of Allentown or for a use authorized by the Mayor or City Council by virtue of a lease or other contract."

Now let me be clear that many municipalities exempt themselves from zoning ordinances, and that makes sense. Police stations or sub-stations, parking garages, water and sewer facilities should be placed where they can do the most good, regardless of the niceties of a zoning ordinance.

Dan McCarthy, ZHB Chair
But no Lehigh Valley municipality outside of Allentown gives the Mayor or City Council unfettered discretion to exempt some third party who has a contract or lease with the City from a zoning ordinance.

King Edwin may have already waved his wand to exempt some property owners right around Allentown's hockey arena. That's unclear. But he has definitely exempted Doylestown-based Clinton Street Media, whose players are Larry Romanowski and Nick Pullen. They started out with cellular towers and have kicked it up a notch.

They plan digital billboards on as many as 21-22 city-owned properties. Never mind that Allentown's zoning ordinance would prohibit them in all but one location.

Allentown gets between 20-25% of the revenue, and calls it a "public-private partnership." That's a term most often used when local government bestows special favors on one developer at the expense of the rest of us.

Ass't City Solicitor Fran Fruwirth
Nobody's had standing to object to this exemption provision until now. Abe Atiyeh, who owns his own billboard company and a gazillion properties in Allentown, believes he can establish he is an aggrieved party. Obviously, he's a competitor, and you might say he's just throwing in a monkey wrench to grease his own pocket. That may be true, but his action just might prevent some Allentown bedroom from being lit up at night like a Christmas tree. Digitalized billboards in residential neighborhoods are not cool. That's why we have zoning ordinance in the first place.

Last night's hearing was conducted before ZHB members Micahel J. Engle, Dan McCarthy and Juan Camacho. Scott Unger recused himself. Camacho, one of the King's men, has already made it clear that he's ready to reject the challenge. He interrogated Atiyeh engineer David Harte on standing, and actually tried to suggest that the exemption doesn't matter because a property owner can always seek a use variance.

Atiyeh engineer Dave Harte
Yeah, right. Atiyeh himself can testify to what success he's had with those in Bethlehem. His engineer, Dave Harte, told Atiyeh Attorney Mike Savona that the cost of a use variance hearing is between $10,000-$20,000, with no guarantee of success.

"We would need a use variance for the largest number of these locations," said Harte of the 21-22 locations for which King Edwin is waving his magic wand.

Another Atiyeh witness, Attorney Mickey Thompson, is both his in-house counsel as well as the COO of the 50 or so companies operated by Atiyeh. Thompson is also Solicitor to Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board and knows a bit about zoning.

He called the exemption a "get out of jail free" card for special developers who are on King Edwin's good side. Speaking of the blindfold on Lady Justice, Thompson said, "That blindfold's been ripped off and the City is picking winners and losers."

Kinda' like it does with the NIZ.

Thompson called the exemption provision "purely illegal and outside the MPC (Municipal Planning Code)."

Over Atiyeh's objection, Clinton Street was allowed to intervene.

Attorney Francis X. Crowley, tried to show during his cross-examination of Harte and Thompson that the exemption provision in Allentown's zoning ordinance, adopted prior to this deal, was something anyone could use. But Harte and Thompson both answered that the terms of the Request for Proposals (RFP) required them to follow the zoning ordinance.

Testimony will continue in this matter on August 19. At that time, Planning Director Mike Heffley will be asked to explain just how that exemption provision made it into the final draft of Allentown's zoning ordinance. King Edwin will be asked how many times he's already waved his magic wand.

Assistant City Solicitor Frances Fruwirth will present witnesses to establish conclusively that this is one of those "public-private partnerships."

I'd stipulate to that.

Updated 9:30 AM: Blogger Michael Molovinsky tells the tale of an electronic billboard that King Edwin short-circuited because it ran ads for one of his political foes, Lou Hershman. Wrong kind of "public private partnership".

Humiliated at Allentown's ZHB

King Edwin I of Allentown reportedly has some new superpower that enables him, on his own, to grant variances, special exceptions, or whatever the hell he wants, to humble zoning applicants. He's already waved his magic wand and granted special favors to campaign contributors a few NIZ developers here and there. But nobody ever said anything about it until last night.

Pawlowski's super powers were finally challenged by someone who might actually have standing. Developer Abe Atiyeh, who owns a gazillion properties in the Queen City and is in the billboard biz, has challenged a zoning ordinance that will enable one of his competitors, a Pawlowski pal, to ignore the zoning hoops everyone else must jump through.

“This case is more than just about billboards,” said Abe Atiyeh in a news release before the hearing. “This is about open and honest government and fairness. With a stroke of a pen, the Mayor can allow anyone to skirt zoning regulations for any use and for any reason without even filing for an application or permit. There is no notice given to the public or an opportunity to be heard . . . And this isn’t a hypothetical issue. This is happening to our City now before our eyes. It has to be stopped before it’s too late.”

So I went. I think the Mayor is dispensing little favors here and there to his pals, and will have more about that tomorrow..

I was pleased to see a number of real reporters on hand, including Scott Kraus of The Morning Call, Colin McEvoy of The Express Times and Randy Kraft of WFMZ. Those are three of the best.

I wanted to catch up with Kraus. But he actually wanted to cover the hearing, so I decided to move up real close and get a better view myself.

That's when it happened.

Cr-a-a-ack! My ass went right through the frickin' seat and onto the floor.

"Blogger down, Code 10-00, Code 10-00," I yelled into my earpiece.

A trash truck arrived.

Everywhere I looked, people were laughing. Scott Kraus, Colin McEvoy, Randy Kraft, Mickey Thompson and Dave Harte all thought this was just hilarious.

This is not like a fart in church, where I can point to some innocent person in front of me and wave my hand, like he or she did it. There's no way I could blame this on anyone else.

But I tried.

"Pawlowski set me up," I said to Dan McCarthy, who chairs Allentown's ZHB.

He just shook his head sadly.

"And he just happened to know exactly where you'd sit," mocked a reporter whose name I will mercifully redact (Scott Kraus).

"That's right, smart ass, because he puts an addictive chemical in my food that controls where my ass goes," I explained.

Now that I'm home, I'm noticing all kinds of aches and pains in my ass and am constipated to boot.

So I'll probably sue the bastards.

That's how we roll in Northampton County.

I'll tell you about the hearing above. I just had to get this off my chest ass.

Elementary Arts Academy Planned at Racquetball Club

Allentown's Racquetball Club, shuttered for nearly three years, is being prepared for a new kind of clientele. Instead of of balls slamming along walls or whirring treadmills, the singing and dancing of children will echo through the halls. This downtown Allentown property, located at 601 Union Street, will be the home of the Arts Academy Elementary Charter School.

Dr. Thomas Lubben, who will chair the Board of Directors, announced this new elementary school during a July 22 news conference at the racquetball club. He was joined by other Directors, including business leaders like Lee Butz and Dennis Coffin, fitness consultant Cyndi Po, dance advocate Janet LaCava and educator Beth Peters.

With this elementary school, the Lehigh Valley now has arts schools from Kindergarten through high school. The Arts Academy Charter Middle School is located in Salisbury Township, and the Charter High School for the Performing Arts is located in Bethlehem. Though unaffiliated, it is expected that many who attend the Arts elementary school will wish to continue with the Arts Academy middle and high schools.

Beginning in September of 2014, as many 500 students in grades K-5 will trickle into what were once 16 racquetball courts. Those will be converted into 30 class rooms. Class sizes will be small. Kindergarten and First Grade will be about 15 students per class. Second through fifth grade will be approximately 20.

This school will mean 50 new jobs for fully certified teachers and other personnel. Applications are being taken now.
The charter will be sought from the Allentown School District, but students will be sought from surrounding school districts.

Calling the location "truly ideal," Dr. Lubben noted its location near the Baum School of Art, Allentown Museum, Community Music School and the Parkettes. In addition, a 75-space parking lot will make bus drop off and pick-up much easier than at other schools.

The school will lease, instead of owning the facility with a 30-year lease with rent starting at $400,000 per year and growing to $550,000.

In addition to their regular curriculum, arts academy students will have two hours instruction each week in dance, theatre, visual art, and both instrumental and vocal music. At least once a month, they'll also visit the Steel Ice Center for figure skating.
Janet LaCava, Beth Peters, Lee Butz, Tom Lubben, Cyndi Po and Dennis Coffin

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Gregory/Mezzacappa Chronicles: Part 4

This is my last installment of the jailhouse conversations that West Easton Wingnut Tricia Mezzacappa strangely published on Facebook, supposedly at Jim Gregory's behest.

In this July 18 conversation, we learn that the "Sicilian connection" put Jim Gregory in jail. His mother thinks he has a gambling problem. She won't give him another cent. Mezzacappa, who wants to know where Gregory's money is located, is dropping off one of his checks for Attorney Gary Asteak. She thinks someone broke into her house, and asks Gregory whether he spoke to Tom Bachik.

Bachik is one of the three Deputy Sheriffs who resigned as a result of Mezzacappa's leaked LTCF application.

Does he now work at the jail?

Gregory also calls Warden Todd Buskirk a "piece of shit."

You have a collect call from "Jim Gregory" press 1 to accept

Trish: Hi

Jim: Its the sicilian connection

Trish: What?

Jim: The sicillian connection. Spadoni, Zito D'Atalia, Ingrassia

Trish: You left out Morganelli and Mezzacappa. I am on a permanent "pay no mind list" for 1st and second amendment....wish I was part of the sicillian connection.

Jim: Did you talk to my mom

Trish: Yes, she says you have a gambling problem, and she thinks you are on some OTC supplement from GNC which has steroids in it. I tried to explain that protein powder is not a steroid.

Jim: ****&&&&$###

Trish: She wont give you a penny, and that was firm. I told her that Lina the adulteress has gone way too far with this, and she will have to answer to god. And I told her I sent you the rosary in the mail.

Jim: She believes everything my sister tells her, and she's as dumb as a brick.

Trish: OK, we need plan B. Asteak can see you in jail on Saturday, but he has to be paid, and I am dropping your check off at his office. I really hope you dont bounce it. It has to be made out by you to Gary. Where is all of your money Jim?

Jim: In my pension

Trish: You're mother said you have a gambling problem.

Jim: I gave way too much to [my ex], she always wanted to play the slots. I wanted to play the cards. Slots are the quickest way to lose money fast.

Trish: We are down to $18 on the phone account.

Jim: OK, call xxx-xxx-xxxx, he will loan me some money.

Trish: Ok, I will

Jim: Hey Todd Buskirk, if your're listening in you piece of shit

Trish: WATCH, no threats

Jim: post on facebook, "I would like to know why Heckman, Seyfried, Slevtold and all the other supposed friends why NO ONE has come forward to tell the truth that [my ex] had no bruises on May 16"

Trish: OK, but realize they will keep hitting you with contempts.

Jim: Has Cochran called you?

Trish: I saw his law offices phone number on my caller ID, but no message.

Jim: Keep calling him

Trish: OK, I hope I can pop in to your hearing friday after I convince the judge to reverse Morganelli, and allow prosecution of Gross. We may be able to get a special prosecutor, and thats what I am going to say. Someone has access to this facebook account. It said that "you are now friends with Bill White" under recent activity and that was not there before. You told me you unfriended him.

Jim: I hope you can testify.

Trish: Me too. I think someone went through my house. Someone called in a prescription for me that I did not renew, and a necklace was missing. Cops wont do shit, naturally. Palmer cops are even worse than Easton.

Jim: I'm sending Doug to watch your house.

Trish: OK


Jim: Just wait till I get out. This prison administration has to be completely replaced. They dont get it, Stoffa is out in 6 months.

Trish: Good things will come of this. What did Bachick tell you?

Jim: I'm calling you back

Trish: Watch out we are running out of minutes

Jim: Bye

Trouble in West Easton Wingnut Paradise

There's trouble in West Easton Wingnut Paradise. Nearly every one of Tricia Mezzacappa's blog entries about political prisoner Jim Gregory have been deleted. Her picture is no longer the profile picture on Gregory's Facebook page.

Has the alliance of Wicked Witch of West Easton and Joker Jim vanished?

"[Redacted] The Liar Threw Away A Great Deal" (7/8/13), "Cheesey Cheeto Zito Has a Big Political Pal" (7/3/13), "The Ugly Truth About [Redacted]" (7/6/13), "What Does One Cook During a Heat Wave?" (6/24/13), "Lets Have a Discussion about PFA Laws" (7/9/13), "Dear Jim, Your Camaro Is Safe and Sound and SWEEEEEEET!" (7/14/13), "A Potbelly Pig and a Poodle" (6/26/13), "BEWARE NRA MEMBERS: Blue Grillhouse" (7/11/13), "Father's Day 2013: Earl Has a New Dad" (6/16/13), "Earl and Jim Have More Fun in West Easton" (6/22/13) have all vanished.


I told you she's a witch.

In addition to deleting those Gregory posts, Mezzacappa got rid of a few poorly advised  few weekend entries.

One announced that she and Gregory were forming a nonprofit called The Innocence Project (never mind that there already is an Innocence Project) that would raise money to free wrongly convicted victims. They would champion the cause of Michael Piper, convicted last year of repeatedly raping a 12 year-old girl over a  1 1/2 year period. Mezzacappa published a handwritten letter from Piper, claiming that the little girl set him up.


Then there was a bizarre entry about Kirkland Village, where she may have been employed.


She hints that Gregory may very well have had a change of heart concerning his behavior, claiming he's suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

Or more likely, a return to Planet Earth after a heart-to-heart with a lawyer.

Open carry advocate Mezzacappa wraps things up by fantasizing about my death again.

"Is it only me, or are their [sic] other people who would like to see his head prominently displayed on a target bale at a rifle range?" she asks.

I do have a rather large head.

She also asks, "Why can't some 18-wheeler cut O'Hare and his bike in half? Oopsie."

Nothing wrong with her. In fairness, I do think she did a great job in The Wizard of Oz.

I tried contacting Gregory in his jail cell.

"Evening Commissioner," he said. "Ever wonder how I got these scars?"

I'm thinking botox.

Ice Cream Floats For a Cause

Front: Brothers Chase (age 8) and Jackson (age 5) Barlok
Rear: Trisha Mukherjee (age 8), Marina Taddeo (age 9) and Tanaya Mukherjee (age 12)
While most kids enjoy spending hot Summer days at the pool, one group of enterprising Hanover Township kids is busily raising money for different causes at a bi-weekly ice cream float stand off of Macada Road. With ice cream in one hand and soda in another, they're making money. They've raised $82 for animal shelter Peaceable Kingdom a few weeks ago, and another $117 for diabetes research on the hottest day in July. The rain forests are next.

The masterminds behind this operation are Marina Taddeo, age 8, and Tanaya Mukherhjee, age 12. Marino's father suffers from diabetes. "I get upset when the ambulance comes," she explained. Other young philanthropists include Tanaya's sister Trisha, age 8, and brothers Chase and Jackson Barlok, aged 8 and 5.

Chase and Jackson were eating up the profits.

Asked whether they might mix things up with a lemonade stand or a kissing stand for the boys, Marina flatly said No.

"That would be gross," she said.
"You're gonna' buy one of my floats," Marina Taddeo announces, as sisters Trisha and Tanaya Mukherjee supervise.
Despite all this beauty, no kisses are being sold at the ice cream float stand

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Gregory/Mezzacappa Chronicles: Part 3

In this July 16 conversation, Jim Gregory instructs Mezzacappa to bash Bill White and essentially claims he is a political prisoner of the John Callahan and John Stoffa machines. He claims the jail is full of innocent people. Mezzacappa calls Morning Call columnist Bill White a "fag" and suggests that Gregory should forgive his 90 year-old mother.

You have a collect call from NCP. "Jim Gregory" Press 1 to accept

Trish: Hi, you must have read my mind. Just got off the phone with Doug Camaro

Jim: Oh, Great

Trish: I am setting up his phone account with you, then we are meeting up tonight to move the camaro out of West Easton. I will keep xxx and xxx with me though.

Jim: Yeah, definately....not sure whats left

Trish : We'll work it out

Jim: I got moved to general population....AIr conditioning at last!

Trish: How many cell mates do you have?

Jim: One , but he's leaving

Trish: Ok..Bill White took us out again. He's writing about the Dana Grubb incident on 7/4 at City Hall.

Jim: He has the thinnest skin in the world

Trish : No kidding. You're locked up, what a bully! You cant bash him back, but I can. I think everyone must know by now I have one. $**** newspapers!

Jim : Bash the ***T out of him blogging

Trish : I will, he's a real fag

Jim: Visitation is 2pm

Trish: OK, what days?

Jim: I think its just 2 days a week. Today, and Friday I think

Trish: OK, I'll be there.

Jim: I got commissary finally

Trish : Great! Who set that up?

Jim: xxxxxx xxxxxx

Trish: Ok good

Jim: Zito actually requested an ADA to have more lawyers on the case, but Morganelli refused.

Trish: Oh, thats good. I'm going toe to toe with him Friday. I want to try to move it to another hearing date when I can call witnesses, and supbeona Houck and Walsh. I am hoping Phil will be there. My lawyer cant go.

Jim: Good for you,...there are innocent guys in here cause their lawyers stabbed them in the back, and these judges love handing out jail time.

Trish : Horrible

Jim: I can mail things out now

Trish: Do you have to pay for stamps?

Jim : I dont think so, but if I do, it comes from the commissary account.

Trish: Ok, how long is the visitation?

Jim: I think a half hour

Trish: Ok, I'll wear the sky scrapers you got me

Jim: Cool


Trish: We have 3 more minutes

Jim: Keep money on the account, and take it from XXXXX

Trish: OK I will

Jim: The harassment hearing is Tuesday, Barner, I think its still on

Trish: I'll find out, and I'll try to go. I cant believe she did this to you. My ex violated his a bizillion times, so I packed up Earl and moved, end of story. What's wrong with her?

Jim : $$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$$

Trish: Sucks

Jim: Its Callahan, Stoffa, etc..etc...political machines

Trish: YEP, counting the days till he is out. 2014 will be a better year. Can you contact your mom?

Jim: I wont

Trish: Write her a letter and tell her you forgive her


JIM: See in a few

Trish: Will do

The Gregory/Mezzacappa Chronicles: Part 2

Lack of vegetarian choices on the menu is lamented in this 7/15 conversation from the can. Mezzacappa also tries to create the false impression that "Doug Camaro" one of her many pseudonyms, is a real person.

There is a collect call from NCP. Its "Jim Gregory"

Trish: Yes

Jim: Hi, I am still in intake and cant have visitors. Not until I am moved to another area

Trish: OK, Doug Camaro called about the camaro. I agree with him that we bring it to.XXXXX.

Jim: Its doesnt matter right now. You can if you want.

Trish: OK. He asked for the phone numbers of XXXX and XXXX. He wants to call them. I gave him instructions how to set up an account so you can call him. What about the bird? Do you have one?

Jim: Yeah.....I want XXXX and XXXX to stay there while I am in here. Call xxx-xxxx and I think they both have a key. I think XXXX is already there, thats what Rybak was going to do. One has a key.

Trish: Ok , I'll make sure though

Jim: Ok, get the XXXX from the camaro and reimburse yourself for the phone account.

Trish : Yep, I saw it, its right where you said. Thanks . Dont know whats wrong with Earl. He is refusing to come inside at all. Its so hot out there, but he wont budge. Not sure if he's waiting for you to come back, or the air-conditioning that he detests. He sometimes goes "on strike" when I put it on, consistently. Is it hot in there?

Jim: Yeah.

Trish: DO they know you are a vegetarian?

Jim: No, we have to eat what they give us. I am starving. The CO s are great. They are throwing me extra apples and oranges.

Trish: Sorry

Jim: Start blogging about xxxxx and xxxx

Trish: I know, its horrible, and corrupt. Its your facebook...so why was she looking at it to begin with. All the comments are from O'hare. I'll send you what I can, in the mail.

Jim: I have a bunch of stuff for you.

Trish: You may be able to leave it at the reception desk, but not sure.

Jim: What about the papers and 69 news?

Trish, I'll send you whatever I can find. What is your inamte number?

Jim: Its 18648. I cannot get commissary until I am off this isolation. The xxx and xxx, $$%%%% , you have to blog about it.

Trish: I know. Its sucks,....look at what Yetter just did to me? They are building a wall around us, so we have to stick together. The first amendment only applies to that **%%$ tard O'Hare, and no one else.

Jim: ***** && $$$** Harvini!!!!

Trish : LOL, its not going away. He is there.

Jim: You have to.

Trish: Maybe

Jim: My lawyer stopped in today

Trish: Oh, thats great

Jim : Go into the trunk, get xxx and xxx and xxxxx&&&%%

Trish: you know I cant do that

Jim: I know


Trish: We are running out of minutes

Jim: OK, get a message to XXXXX

Trish: OK, I will. I just reinstated my lawsuit against ET. [The Express Times]

Jim: Cant wait for mine

Trish: I'll keep you posted and will find out about visitation

Jim: OK

Trish : Tomorrow


Jim: Bye

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Gregory/Mezzacappa Chronicles: Part 1

For reasons that elude me, Jim Gregory and Tricia Mezzacappa have decided to post their conversations on Facebook, for the entire world to see. In this conversation, Gregory wants Mezzacappa to blog about some people that even she thinks can get them both in trouble.

Sunday, 7/14/13, around 10:15 AM

Trish: Hi, how are, you...I have one foot out the door, we have to make this one quick

Jim: Ok, let everyone know I am in 23 hour lockdown..in isolation, in a private cell

Trish: Why are you on isolation?

Jim: They said its for my own protection, being an ex-cop, but not sure, someone said I am on suicide watch, what a joke

Trish: What color jumpsuit are you in?

Jim: Orange

Trish: No way, thats the color for troublemakers

Jim: Yeah, I know, this sucks because I cant get out of this cell. The CO was nice enough to let me use the phone

Trish: Ok, I set up the account....$1.80 per minute

Jim: Ryback said he talked to 69 news..what has been printed in the newspaper?

Trish: They did an article on you, and I got the DA on a hearing list for Friday, they printed both on Saturday

Jim : What did they write?

Trish, I have to get going, but how about George Zimmerman found not guilty? (jumping up on couch and cheering) YEAHHHHH BABY!!! 2 nd Amendment justice....whooooHOO.

Jim: ok, ok, ok, ok.........

Jim: Zito, D'Atalia, Cohen...$$%^&&$$$$$

Trish: I know

Jim: %%&&&*&&&&&***** B***H !!!!

Trish: I hear you, God takes care of people like that. Zito needs an up dose on his Aricept an Namenda because he is crazy

Jim: Start bloggging about *******

Trish: We have to be careful. They can slap a search warrant on my computer too...

Jim: Make sure people know what is going on in here...I am on 23 hour lock-in

Trish: Will do, call me ...all week between xxx and xxx, I wont be here. I just got back from getting your camaro, its here.

Jim :ok, bye

Friday, July 19, 2013

Gregory Cleared on Third Contempt Citation

Judge Leonard Zito today dismissed a criminal contempt citation filed against Bethlehem Mayoral candidate and Northampton County Human Services caseworker Jim Gregory. It was the third of three contempt citations filed against Gregory for violation of a temporary Protection from Abuse Act Order (PFA) entered against him in May.

On July 3, Judge Zito entered a final PFA against Gregory, barring him from any contact, direct or indirect, with his ex. Zito also found Gregory guilty of criminal contempt following a hearing that day, and placed him on six months supervised probation. 

In a second hearing on July 12, Judge Zito entered a second PFA against Gregory following a claim of abuse from his sister. In addition, Gregory was convicted of criminal contempt a second time, based on Internet threats to his ex. This time, Gregory was sentenced to six months in prison, although Judge Zito indicated he might parole Gregory after a psychological evaluation.

As Gregory was slapped in hand cuffs and carted away by deputies, his ex-girlfriend and even her mother burst into tears.

Today, she did not appear, and my guess is she's had enough. She is likely unwilling to go through the ordeal, knowing that Gregory is unable to hurt her. I did not speak to her or her mother. I did call Allentown Attorney Leighton Cohen, who represented her in previous hearings. He was unavailable.

Instead of flip flops or a suit, Gregory came to court in an orange jump suit and shackles. He had no friends in the courtroom, not even Tricia Mezzacappa. She has savaged Judge Zito on her blog, and her appearance would have been unhelpful.

Though this third contempt citation was dismissed, Gregory will remain in jail. Contrary to some anonymous claims, he was not released.

For once, Gregory said nothing.

Updated: Gregory's ex has withdrawn the harassment prosecution previously filed against him as well, according to The Express Times.

Judge Baratta: I'm No Super DA

Armed with a big box, Tricia Mezzacappa attempted this morning to persuade President Judge Stephen Baratta that District Attorney John Morganelli abused his discretion when he decided against prosecuting Kelly Gross over the leak of Mezzacappa's concealed carry gun permit application. Gross and Mezzacappa are long-time foes.

This leak has already led to criminal charges against one deputy sheriff and  the termination of two others. The deputy pulled the application from courthouse files and then provided it to Kelly Gross, West Easton Borough Council President. From there, it made its way to Attorney Richard Orloski. He is suing Mezzacappa, but she still listed him as one of her references. She also named Executive John Stoffa as a second reference. Neither Stoffa nor Orloski agreed to be references, and both would have argued against giving her a license to carry.

The Sheriff, overwhelmed with gun permit applications, never checked. 

How the application ever made its way from Gross to Attorney Orloski is unclear. She has denied providing it to him. Morganelli noted this when deciding against prosecuting her. He added that Gross herself was a victim "in fear of her life" as a result of threats made by Mezzacappa.

Last year, Mezzacappa was convicted of disorderly conduct after a borough hall tirade in which she threatened to drag Gross to the river and drown her. Since that incident, West Easton Borough offices are locked. Members of the public must ring a bell to gain admission. Mezzacappa is not admitted without a police escort.

Morganelli also noted that Gross, unlike the Deputy charged, is a civilian, not a member of law enforcement. 

Morganelli did not attend this morning's hearing.

"What you're asking me to be is a super district attorney," Judge Baratta told Mezacappa. He gave her twenty days to file a brief in support of her position, after which he will make a ruling.

On her blog, Mezzacappa had made an appeal for public support, hoping to pressure the judge into following popular sentiment instead of the law.

But she had no support at all. Despite her appeal to unions, no one was at her side this morning.

All she had was a big cardboard box.

(Updated 2:15 PM to correct some grammatical errors. I dictated this blog with word verification software, and there were some errors).  

$19.6 Million Bridge Bond Sails Through Council

By a 8-0 vote, with Bruce Gilbert absent, Executive John Stoffa's $19.6 million bridge bind sailed through Council last night. Even Lamont McClure, who previously suggested a more piecemeal approach to bridge repairs, supported it. The primary reason is the low debt service, thanks to a 3.1% interest rate on the bonds sold today.

In addition to funding the repair of 16 county-owned bridges over the next three years, the money will enable to County to buy desperately-needed generators at Gracedale and the courthouse.

In a pointed criticism of failures at the state level, Council President John Cusick said, "I'm just glad to see there's a governing body in Pennsylvania that can address transportation issues."

Best (Worst) Angle Shot Ever

Northampton County Solicitor Dan Spengler is a quiet unassuming guy. But last night, he gave former Council member Ron Angle the worst (or best) shot I've ever seen aimed at him. The sad part is that Angle was not there to respond.

At issue is a goofy ordinance proposed by Lamont McClure, which prevents an Executive from using a competitive bid for services if he's already started a negotiated bid process called RFP. (Request for Proposals). This is the result of John Stoffa's attempts to award a transportation contract at Gracedale to Lifestar. After Council repeatedly rejected Lifestar in the RFP process, Stoffa just went with a competitive bid, hoping to save the County over $800,000. Council, upset at the end run, sued.

The problem with last night's ordinance, as pointed out by Danny Spengler, is it doesn't really solve the problem. The Executive can continue with his choice in the RFP process, and Council can reject it ad infinitum, with no resolution.

Unhappy with McClure's proposal, Council member Scott Parsons complained, "If you're going to fix it, fix the whole thing." But Council member Ken Kraft countered, "What you want is utopia, and you can't get there unless you're from the Slate Belt."

Personally, I thought it was Nazareth.

Spengler, as Solicitor to former Executive Glenn Reibman, often tangled with Angle. He told Council this whole ordinance was enacted as an "Angle special," in reaction to Angle's belief that a contract award to Colonial Healthcare was directly related to their contributions to Reibman. But his ordinance fails to spell out what happens in the event of an impasse between Council and the Executive.

"When a skunk leaves, sometimes the stink remains," said Spengler.  

This, of course, is a vicious personal attack on someone who was not even present to defend himself. I'm sure Ron will laugh his ass off when he hears about this shot.

Bob Werner Can't Get a Dam Break

Bob Werner is the Rodney Dangerfield of Northampton County Council. He gets no respect. He was all alone in his vote against a lease for a centralized human services building. I think he is the sole Council member to vote against suing Executive Stoffa over the transportation contract at Gracedale. Last night, he couldn't even get his dam resolution through Council.

It is, quite literally, a dam resolution.

Werner, who represents the Easton area, opposes a Wildlands Conservancy proposal to remove two dams on the Lehigh River, one at the Forks of the Delaware and the Chain Dam upstream. According to the Wildlands, the removal of these dams would encourage shad to make their way up the Lehigh River, transforming Easton into the Shad Capital of the World.

In 1994, fish ladders were installed, but the shad won't go up them. They won't go up elevators at other locations, according to Werner.

So Wildlands wants to rip out the dams ($11 million) and construct a pumping station ($6 million) to keep the canal full of water after their own efforts have drained it.

"Government at its finest," wisecracked Council member Ken Kraft.

But Council tabled the resolution, 7-1, because Lamont McClure wants to hear from sportsmen and Tom Dietrich believes removal might alleviate flooding.

Bruce Gilbert was absent.

The County Counters

At the end of every Council meeting, Council Clerk Frank Flisser is called on to deliver a report. It varies from "No report" to "My dog ate it." But last night, he spoke. He told the tale of Ted and Jane Tofari, who plan to visit every county courthouse in the country. There are 3,143 of them, if you're counting.

Jane and Ted dropped in at both Lehigh (#3,000) and Northampton (#3,001) County courthouses earlier this week. When they get to each courthouse, they also look around until they find a coin.

In Allentown, that must have taken a long time because the City probably already grabbed it. You see, fancy parking meters surround the courthouse, and magically revert to 0 when someone pulls out of his spot. In Easton, it's much easier to park and find money. Even with an RV, the Tofaris could probably park for free if they were willing to climb the Washington Street hill. On the way up, they could find lots of money by rifling through the pockets of those who never made it up.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jim Gregory, From NCP

Trica Mezzacappa has posted her transcript of a telephone conversation with Gregory from this morning. For some reason,she has not placed it on her blog, but is instead using Facebook.

Live from NCP 7/17/2013 8:30 am

You have a collect call from "Jim Gregory" Press 1 to accept

Trish: Hi

Jim: get a pen and write this thought down

Trish: OK

Jim..............................suppose if Spadoni and Zito are friends, and are trying to piss off SLevtold.....

Trish: I have the whole thought down on paper. I have 3 cases in the county too. I'm not sure I will write it all out here. I have to be there Friday. Steve is taking care of the bird. Met him when we (me and Doug) xxx xxxxx xxxxxx xxxx. Shaun drove past when I was talking to him

Jim: I hope the hearing for next week still goes on. I have to get the truth out. Call Rybak, Corcoran, Heinczman and Asteak. I need a lawyer here for 11 am tomorrow , courtroom 2.

Trish: Can you pay them?

Jim: I will get a lump sum when I retire

Trish: We have no money Jim, but I will call them. She has ruined you

Jim: They said no one was approved on the visitors list because I did not write down their age. Another inmate said that is total BS. Other inmate stories are coming. You are getting a letter. People are in here for dumb reasons.

Trish: OK, cant wait to hear the stories. Turn lemons into lemonade. I am working on the lemonade stand and want to get the fired deputies to help. We will all be armed, and work the stand to benefit our new cause..probably on my property. I will give everyone who wants a voice, a voice. Peopel have to be heard, and their stories must come out. This is a fantastic idea. I lOVE IT.

Jim: lol

Trish: Are they giving you vegetarian food?

Jim: No, I'm not eating much, lost weight here, but I had cereal this morning

Trish: The bird is so cool, and beautiful. Steve is mowing the lawn.If anything changes I'll take the bird. Steve is a good guy. I have your back

Jim: Ok thanks.

Trish: We're getting through this one step at a time. Hang in there. I'll do everything I can do from here, and keep the phone going , I hope


Jim: Call the morning call and tell them to publish the letter I sent them last thursday..about the retirement age for judges. I think the public should see that I supported Zito even during this

Trish: I just gave him a wig, sorry.

Jim: OK.

Trish: If you get thrown in the hole I dont think we can talk, not sure about mail.

Jim: I solved it. We're getting the list taken care of. They have been great to me, giving me fruit


Trish: We're getting disconnected

Jim: I'll call you later