Monday, February 17, 2014

A Main Street Manager in the 'Burbs

A mural won't save a business
Roads are a mess, especially in the cities and boroughs. There's simply no place to put the snow, and workers are getting tired. What's really bad is that many small businesses die in this kind of weather. I experienced this yesterday when I drove through Wind Gap, Pen Argyl  and Bangor. I was on my way to a basketball game in Roseto, and was shocked to see so many shuttered businesses. Some stores still have Halloween decorations in their windows. Steckel's Jewelry, the oldest such shop in the Slate Belt, has closed its doors. In the meantime, Bangor's Main Street Manager, funded with Northampton County real estate tax dollars, is safely ensconced in the 'burbs, playing the harmonica.

Does this make any sense at all?

During a December 4 budget hearing, Council member Scott Parsons proposed funding the Slate Belt's Main Street Program, which is supposed to have the financial backing of the five slate belt boroughs, out of general tax revenues instead of hotel tax money. In fact, he proposed taking the money from $52,500 set aside to fix Gracedale's kitchen.

Now there's supposed to be a separate and sacred account for Gracedale. Council previously adopted precisely such a resolution. Parsons and Bob Werner were two of the loudest voices complaining that we spend Gracedale money to put out fires elsewhere. But that's exactly what happened. Unanimously, too. The very same Council which preached about diverting funds from the nursing home did exactly what they condemned. The rationale was nobody intends to fix the kitchen floor this year. It can wait.

Instead of fixing Gracedale's kitchen, this money pays for Main Street Manager Sharon Davis. But aside from Bangor and Pen Argyl, no other Slate Belt borough has signed onto the program. So Davis is doing her Main Street thing, whatever that is, for just two boroughs.

It gets better. Instead of being located in one of the Slate Belt's boroughs, eating with the troops, she's off in the countryside. Her office is located at the Tott's Gap Arts Institute in Upper Mount Bethel, home of the shit wars. While businesses in the Slate Belt dry up, she's going on goofy wisdom walks and conning the county into buying murals done by the artsy-fartsy types. This is not borough business revitalization. This is bullshit.

Her web page is a joke. It contains no links to any programs and no offers to help businesses with grants or loans.

This entire program is a waste of money and the County should pull the plug now.

A real Main Street manager would be exploring ways for boroughs to pool resources, combat the snow and keep businesses 

Want a cost saving suggestion? This program is a failure and should be stopped. I won't charge $715,200 for this idea. 

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

A few points BO,

Werner and Parsons are both big talkers. As time goes on you may find Parsons ego is ten times his size and Warner is a bit of an older version of Barron. He also has an interesting political ego. You'll see.

Also check out this young woman. She may end up being more involved in the county that you think. Word on main street is that she is a frontrunner for Brown's Director of Admisntration.

Keep your eyes on these points old boy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Your claim about Davis seems far fetched. Maybe that rumor is circulating, but I never heard it and I really have a tough time believing it. I wish I knew who you were so I could gauge what you are saying. As I've pointed out, I don't think Davis is even qualified to run a Main Street program.

As for Parsons and Werner, they are both pleasant surprises. Sure, they have egos. You have to have a monster ego to run for office. Shit, I'm friends with Angle. I hold ego against no one. They both work hard and are generally careful. I have no idea what they were thinking here, but Council members all get nutty at budget time .

Anonymous said...

Quite a few have said that
Werner is very partisan behind the scenes.
Word is he has some sort of agenda.

Anonymous said...

Her Facebook Site is pretty informative. I agree with you on the website though.

Anonymous said...

http://urbanaffairs.pasenategop.com/files/2013/05/davis.pdf

Anonymous said...

It's the Slate Belt. Who gives a shit.

Anonymous said...

In the Slate Belt, Angle is the one giving a shit most times.

Ron Beitler said...

Where is that mural?

Anonymous said...

On the old Trust building..facing Merchants Bank.

Anonymous said...

Next to Floyd the barber's shop. You know, by Gomer's.

Anonymous said...

Frank (or his errand boy), if you going to troll websites, anonymously knocking Bob Werner, you are in for a world of hurt.

Anonymous said...

She's pathetic- Politics makes strange "bedfellows"- word on the street is that she has made all the right "connections"- her office may at totts gap, but her reach extends far from the slate belt.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The funding for this should stop now. I'd give her an opportunity to come in and explain exactly what she is doing first, but I'd be inclined to pull the plug. It's a waste of money that is providing no demonstrable help to the Slate Belt. It is obscene for a "Main Street" manager to be housed in the 'burbs. I also question our connection to the Totts Gap Arts Institute., That was a buildingh owned by medical researcher Stewart Wolf. We bought the land, but Wolf's daughter has a sweetheart lease for the Tott's Gap Arts Institute. I think it is very nominal. The county should not be in the business of providing housing for a millionaire.It would make much more sense to use that building , which is almost in Monroe Ciunty, for something else. It could be a group home for the proposed mental health court, and might actually make some money that way.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Sharon Davis who along with her husband sued the city of Easton?

Anonymous said...

Who is "Frank?"

And why is Werner threatening him?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I believe this is the same Sharon Davis. I have no idea who "Frank" is.

Anonymous said...

Bernie if it is the same Sharon Davis you are right on the money. She is a real ditz. If she is a main street manager, main streets in trouble.

In fairness I feel most of these main street manager positions are fluff and just make jobs from partnership friends.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I saw her make one presentation when it was under the Chamber. It was unimpressive. There are some very good and committed Main Street managers, like Pete Lewnes in Allentown. Schlossberg and Brace were both effective. Sharon's talents are best spent on something else.

Anonymous said...

Main Street Managers are creations of the always evil partnership of government and business. The Chamber and the Partnership love to create thiese make work jobs to fish for special govt. cash. Also as launching point for people who are always looking beyond what they are supposed to be doing.

Anonymous said...

Sharon has the floppy hairdo and is more of an artist than a business type. Hardly effective in getting the job done. She has just endeared herself to some naive people in high places.

Anonymous said...

her efforts in Bangor have been a failure just like John Brown was as Mayor. She has his full support and he has intervened on her behalf to step in front of CACLV who wanted to run the Main St program and has already run similar successful programs in the lehigh valley. Brown is beholden to her and her "friend" Dick Mac.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am well aware that Davis has some sort of connection to Richard McAteeer, whose name seems to be popping up everywhere in Northampton County. He is not the Exec, nor should the county spend large sums of money for McAteer's friend.

Anonymous said...

Yoo Frank, Werner is gonna mess you up motha!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Who is Frank?