Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Coplay Council's Carl Luckenbach Messes Up a Church Picnic
Coplay has always been one of my favorite Lehigh Valley communities. In July, it's home to an annual baseball tournament for kids age 9 and under. It's great for the kids. For many of them, it's their first opportunity to use big barrel bats. I can still remember those games vividly.This successful tournament has been going on for close to thirty years. Instead of power bars, baseball players consume the best homemade pierogies in the world, along with strawberry shortcake. The tournament always ends with a night of fireworks to match those that go on inside the baseball diamonds.
Fireworks have been going on at Coplay Borough Council, too. In 2010, I attended a fractious meeting, and concluded pretty quickly that they pretty much thumb their noses at the Sunshine Act. The Morning Call's Bill White reached pretty much the same conclusion.
I thought things must be improving after Bill Leiner, a former Lehigh County Commissioner and one-time Mayor of Coplay, was elected to Borough Council. Just last year, he told The Whitehall-Coplay Press that he would "continue to work for open, honest government ... and work to eliminate the negative politics from the council chamber during meetings."
In August, while attending a picnic at St. Peter's Catholic Church, Leiner was approached by someone who told him he'd like to kill him.
"If I could kill you and get away with it, I would," said this person repeatedly until Leiner decided he better get the hell out of there.
The person who threatened him is another member of Borough Council, Carl Luckenbach.
I contacted Leiner, who tells me he has no idea what set this guy off. I contacted Luckenbach late yesterday, but have not heard back from him. If I do, I'll update this post.
Luckenbach was charged with disorderly conduct, and last week, entered a plea of guilty. His fine and court costs totaled just $168, which is something of a bargain for a conditional death threat.
Maybe District Judge Robert Halal was running a special. Or it's not considered that serious at a Catholic Church picnic.
Leiner told me he's satisfied that Luckenback "has paid his debt to society," but I don't know. While there is no way to force him out of office for a summary offense, his threatening remark to another elected official undermines Borough Council, and he should resign.