Monday, March 02, 2015
The Express Times: Comforting the Comfortable, Afflicting the Afflicted
Although Congress and Harrisburg are both usually caught up talking about abortion or gay rights, that's really a smokescreen. The real problem in this country, as most of you already know, is that you don't make enough money. Many of you may be making less than you were ten years ago. while working longer hours. Some of you have been forced to take on an extra job, not for a Summer home or a trip to Europe, but to pay for your children's education. In some cases, it's to put food on the table.
In 2012, the income of the wealthiest 1% rose 20 %. Good for them. For the rest of is, it was just 1%. In fact, for the bottom 90% of the population, income dropped about six percent between 2010 and 2013.
The American Dream is becoming a nightmare.
Express Times launched an attack on them.
It started with a story about an annual fund drive conducted by the Nazareth Borough Police Association. Mayor Carl Strye and a Council member obviously contacted the press in an effort to get some bad publicity. Never mind that Strye was the President of a social club that for decades has been routinely charged with possessing illegal poker machines. Never mind that Strye's fire company conducts one or perhaps two fundraisers of its own every year.
The Mayor hinted that money raised might help pay for some of the litigation in the grievances that these officers are forced to file (and win) against the Borough.
My guess is that some money might go to that, but as I explained in a post last week, the money raised also funds random acts of kindness. This includes a used car that police officers purchased for a woman after her own jalopy was totaled in a hit-and-run. It includes $500 in cash to a single mother who is at her wit's end and already works two jobs. It also includes $500 in college money for a high school senior who writes an essay that officers like.
The reporter who wrote this story knows all this because I told her and wrote about it on this blog. Though the Express Times has no problem lifting one of my stories to create its own, as it did with last week's story about the firing and re-firing of the Plainfield Police Chief, it failed to acknowledge these uses of the money.
In fact, the paper tried to manufacture a few resident complaints. It called two citizens I know in an attempt to get one of them to bash the police union for conducting a fundraiser. These residents refused to play along, even when the reporter told them that residents were complaining.
After publishing a story designed to smear the Nazareth police union without telling the public the full story, the editorial board jumped in and awarded these officers a turkey for daring to solicit funds. Never mind that one of them, Officer Stephen Schleig, had just received a commendation for saving a citizen's life. According to EMT Anthony Skorochod, Officer Schleig started an "AED fibrillation which saved the guys life." (Of course, Skorochod and the other EMTs deserve recognition as well).
Basically, the paper allowed itself to be used by a power structure in Nazareth that is intent on destroying the police union.
Is it any wonder that officers like Lahovsky won't return the paper's calls?
The newspaper continues its bashing. On Sunday, it published an editorial citing four recent arbitration rulings as proof that the "process is out of whack."
A little more than one year ago, I might have agreed with this editorial. But I sat in on the kangaroo court in which Bethlehem City Council voted to fire Officer Hoffman. It opened my eyes. That was a predetermined decision if ever there was one. I saw and heard Bethlehem police officers who were subpoenaed to testify against Officer Hoffman. At considerable risk to their own careers, most spoke on his behalf. I watched in disgust as a council member called a bar bouncer a hero, although my own evidence revealed that he was under house arrest at the time.
Nobody was interested in why this happened. Nobody cared that, two years before this accident in which no one was hurt, Officer Hoffman was holding a dying police officer in his arms, trying to keep him alive. He was the first outside officer on the scene when Officer Robert Lasso was brutally murdered.
We increasingly have recognized that veterans suffering from PTSD will often act erratically, and are trying to get them help instead of punishing them. Certainly we should give as much consideration to a police officer.
In the Lahovsly case, I read the ruling. The paper has, too. It knows Lahovski was exonerated on all but one minor matter. In fact, the record in that case shows that Nazareth officials were exercising a vendetta.
The teacher mentioned received a suspension equivalent to 1/3 of a year.
The Express Times is exhibiting an anti-union bias at a time when most of its readers are struggling to make ends meet. But does it serve those readers or does it serve developers like Mark Mulligan, who will soon be the paper's landlord? Is it interested in telling the truth, or is it interested in access?
I admire and respect much of what The Express Times has done over the years. But in the final analysis, that paper is a sell-out no different than The Morning Call is a sell-out from within the NIZ. One reports to Mulligan, the other to J.B. Reilly.