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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, April 10, 2015

Republicans To Host Candidates' Night at NCC

Northampton County Republicans will host a Candidates’ Forum and Debate on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at Northampton Community College, 3835 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem, PA 18020. The meeting room will be at the Gates/Alumni Center (across from the main campus) in room 130. Doors will open at 6:30 and the forum will begin at 7pm.

Though only Republican candidates will be heard, everyone is welcome to attend. This is in stark contrast from similar Democrat candidate nights, in which even the audience is limited to committee members.

One reason for this refreshing transparency is the number of races in Bethlehem Township. In the words of GOP Vice Chair Lee Snover,

"Election excitement is in the air especially in Bethlehem Township. With an unprecedented 8 Republicans running for 3 commissioner positions in the township, this forum will help the voters chose those who truly represent their own views. The forum will include the Bethlehem Township Commissioner races and Northampton County Council Districts 3 and 4.

"The Bethlehem Township candidates for commissioner will have a question and answer session followed by a question and answer session for the contested county council candidates in District 3 and District 4."

"We will also have the Republican Candidate for the Court of Common Pleas, Victor Scomillo, there to address the voters. Please remember this event is limited to candidates who are registered Republicans as this is a primary election event. This is not the forum for cross-filed candidates who are not registered Republicans.

"The mission of the NCRC is to consistently work toward good government for all by promoting the principles of the Republican Party, encouraging open communication with the voters, and encouraging, training, and helping Republican candidates get elected."

As I observed in a post earlier this month, Bethlehem Township is tea party central. Already a Republican stronghold, there is a concentration of tea party members in the first ward. For the most part, these are very decent and likable people. But a small segment, who call themselves RATs (Republican Action Team), are more intent on accumulating power for themselves than in espousing Republican values. They will support Democrats over Republicans who fail their strange loyalty tests.

Some of these RATs hate judicial candidate Vic Scomilio. This is not because of his ties to an ineffectual County Exec like John Brown, which is what troubles most Democrats. They detest Vic because he worked hard to get Jennifer Sletvold, another Republican, elected judge. You see, she was opposed in her primary by RAT Tom Carroll. So Carroll and fellow RATs like Ronnie del Wacko and Tony Simao jumped on the Abe Kassis bandwagon and Carroll even circulated for Abe. This has nothing to do with principle. It has everything to do with power and vindictiveness.

1st Ward

Tom Nolan, an engineer at Lehigh Heavy Forge, has two Republican opponents. One of them is former Commissioner Art Murphy, who works for Selvaggio and Son. The other, Wayne Buller, is definitely a tea party and RAT favorite. Regulars like Ben Hedrick, Andy Azan and Melissa Miller (significant other of NorCo Council member Seth Vaughn) are behind this campaign. Buller works in waste water treatment, so he knows all about shit. Nolan is well known and respected in his ward, but I worry that Art Murphy will siphon off votes that would otherwise go to Nolan, leaving the door wide open for Buller. Is Buller tea party or RAT? I don't know.

3rd Ward

Phil Barnard, Manager at Bay Insulation, has been a moderating influence on the Board. Well-spoken and thoughtful, he really listens to residents and tries very hard to be transparent. He's precisely the kind of guy who Republicans should be embracing and grooming for higher office. I could see him as County Executive or in the State Senate.

Phil two opponents, Republican Fran Blatz and Democrat Kim Jenkins. Blatz, whom I believe to be the tea-party candidate, is listed as the Pro-life leader at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Jenkins is the Secretary of the Bethlehem Township Athletic Association, which Barnard has steadfastly supported during his four years as a Commissioner. .

At Large

This morning, someone anonymously taunted incumbent Commish Marty Zawarski, whio's seeking re-election. "Rumor has it that Commish Z is looking down every possible alley for votes. He must be worried." He is, and has every reason to be worried. He is facing challenge by two Republicans, both former Commissioners. They include Paul Weiss and the tea party sponsored candidate, Bob Birk.

To his credit, Zawarski is running hard. That, or unopposed, is the only way to go. Birk, whose ethics statement lists his occupation as "unemployed," obviously has lots of time on his hands to knock on doors. So Zawarski is knocking on doors, too, and has sent out a flier.

As with Nolan, my concern is that paul Weiss is going to take away just enough votes from Zawarski to ensure that Birk wins.

What happens if the RAT coup succeeds?

Several things. You can look to an end to any financial contributions to the Township's athletic organizations. They would look for ways to limit any contribution to the volunteer firefighters. I would expect them to flush the idea of Bulldog bathrooms. Though two union contracts are locked up until 2017, I would expect them to oppose any further wage hikes, especially for nonunion employees. They would likely seek to replace the Solicitor, Manager and Engineer.

There's a RAT or tea party dude running in one of the County Council races, too.

Matt Dietz, a Hayden Phillips protege, is a RAT favorite who just ran for Congress. He is is squaring off against Glenn Geissinger protege Lorin Bradley in the northern tier and slate belt.

There's a contested County Council race in Bethlehem Township, too. John Cusick is attempting a comeback, but Mickey Thompson wants that job.

It would be an ideal night for me. But I'll be covering County Council. There is a lot going on there, too.


Anonymous said...

"They will support Democrats over Republicans who fail their strange loyalty tests."

They may attack the other Republicans but your assessment is a stretch.
I have spent a Hell of a lot of time around rock-ribbed Republicans and they do not, repeat do not vote for Democrats. They may fight against a particular Republican, or group of Republicans, they may stay home and not vote but they would rather die than vote for a Democrat.

Yes there have been a few exceptions. Peg Ferraro led a contingent of mainstream Republican in supporting john
stoffa in 2005. The reason was not a love of Stoffa but she was angry that renegade Republican Bob Nyce beat her in the primary. So other than matters of personal revenge, Republicans just don't do that.

So while there may be some infighting amongst the republicans they will not soil their principles and ever vote for a Godless, liberal progressive Stalinist Democrat. You can take that to the bank.

Democrats may vote Republican but Republicans do not vote for Democrats.

A wise old man

Anonymous said...

Lorin Bradley has presided over a Nazareth School Board that has raised taxes in each of the last 13 years. He's fiscally irresponsible and heartless toward taxpayers. 13 years! He just can't say no.

Anonymous said...

Bernie you need to go to this event. You can cover council anytime.

Anonymous said...

Nolan is one of the few reasonable people in
Bethlehem Twp. politics.

Lighthouse said...

"Democrats may vote Republican but Republicans do not vote for Democrats" 2:59

and therein lies the problem with the current Republican party, and the hyper-partisan "my way or the highway" that would rather slash and burn than compromise in any way.

"I'd rather get 80% of what I want than to go over the cliff with my flag flying" ("The Wit and Wisdom of Ronald Reagan). Reagan would sadly be targeted as a RINO in much of today's GOP.

Anonymous said...

GO RAT'S GO!!!!!!!

Rid the township of useless expenditures and union pukes posing as workers.

GO RAT'S GO!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"Weiss is going to take away enough votes for Birk to win". And this was cleverly orchestrated by Republican Party Leader Lee Snover, who has some kind of ax to grind with Mr. Zawarski. Lee is basically handing the position over to a Tea Party candidate. It's time party leadership look at issues like this and make a change. Paul will not do any campaigning because he is dealing with personal issues most people in the know, know about. But Lee has her agenda. Lee what were you thinking. Lee I hear the Tea Party calling your name.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bernard is also a voice of reason.

Anonymous said...

If it was up to Republicans, community colleges wouldn't exist.

Anonymous said...

2:59 AM - must have been a typo or auto correct error.

Meant to say "A white old man".

Anonymous said...

9:01 is Mary Z
very obvious

Anonymous said...

7:39 you must be kidding or Mr. Nolan himself. The gentleman is rude and a self praiser. Time for him to go!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. Nolan is a class act. He gets a little ponderous at times, which drives his fellow Board members nuts, but is very dedicated and is well-respected in the community. Like Barnard, he listens to the people.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"And this was cleverly orchestrated by Republican Party Leader Lee Snover, who has some kind of ax to grind with Mr. Zawarski."

This is just nutty. Lee Snover knows Paul and is friends with him. The loyalty among friends counts for something in my world. She has no ax to grind with Marty. I will say Paul should not have run. Zawarski did not run against him. That was Breslin. Paul took it too lightly and is now bitter. He'd be better off waiting and then running for the right reason instead of bitterness. I say this as someone who admires Paul.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Birk lists his occupation as "unemployed". That's been the story pretty much of his adult life. He is out of touch with reality.

Lighthouse said...

I find your reference to "the tea party sponsored candidate, Bob Birk" interesting. Mr. Birk was a proud supporter of building the Community Center when he was on the Board, despite John Brinson's scare-tactic flier about taxes bringing so many people to a meeting once, it had to be postponed and moved to Freedom. I am glad that he was pro-public Community Center, but seems contrary to Tea Party rhetoric.

If this "sponsorship" is in fact, and not conjecture, it shows two things. A.) the Tea Party will support whoever they think can possibly win, and who they think they can better control than their past experiments. B.) I could be wrong, but politically I have always perceived Birk as thriving on feeling "part of something", and the TParty element is probably seen as the most politically active horse to hitch his wagon to. I won't psychoanalyze beyond that, but running/elected to BOC and Treasurer, hanging out at the Twp building, and trying to be a good foot-soldier for the larger NorCo GOP in the past, I can see this being important for him. I am sure he is working very hard at making personal contact with as many as he can, door to door. He was always very good at that in the past.

As to whether he'll be Tea Party if elected to the Board, I think depends if they are part of the majority, or not. He'll be part of anything that has a (R) after it, Tea Party or "establishment."

Beyond that, I do agree with your analysis Bernie that the three way races at-large and in the first ward will be an interesting plurality victory for somebody. For that reason, no doubt the count for the "write-in" Dems will make the primary only round one, unless a candidate nails both parties.

Anonymous said...

Marty Zawarski's win against Murphy was an anomaly. Remember that Marty was responsible for much of the the home building sprawl in the Township with NO traffic improvements. He is part of the problem that the Township now has to deal with. Moreover as his home start to age in Wagner Farms, Nancy Run Estates and the homeowners are stuck repairing shoody construction.. he will certainly lose votes. Weiss may end up wining this one. No more developers on local boards. Look at the pressure Jaindl was put under for the LVPC and that Board has NO power. He removed his name from nomination. Why in the world would a Township put a fox like Zawarski back in the hen house?

Anonymous said...

Scomillio bad mouthed Sletvold in a vain effort to get the Rep.endorsement. When they said the next endorsement is yours he became a good boy.

Anonymous said...

you always know when someone is called on it when there is no response...

Anonymous said...

"what? I am not the sharpest tool in the shed?? Well, at least I know who the current tool makers are"

Anonymous said...

Bob Birk is a buffoon...