|A large crowd was on hand for last Wednesday's City Council meeting|
In a weekend story about Upward Allentown, a Morning Call headline (Activists: Neighborhood Improvement Zone has helped improve neighborhoods) actually depicts six banks, Butz and J.B. Reilly) as "activists."
That's like saying all the natural gas companies that make up the PennEast Pipeline are activists.
The Upward Allentown article was pure propaganda. It was like living in Moscow, circa 1975, reading Pravda or Izvestia and hearing how great things were as we all struggled to find enough money to live on. We are not supposed to believe what we "see" but rather, what we are "told." It was rather frightening and showed just what a shameless promoter Commissar Alan Jennings has become for his corporate overseers. A perfect yes man who does what he's told. They in turn throw a few coins at him and then go to church on Sunday.
This misrepresentation from the area's largest newspaper is intended to mislead you. In reality, the NIZ has destroyed many small and minority-owned businesses along Hamilton Street. Mosser Family Village, which has lost funding for its food bank and after-school programs, is in danger of closing.
City oligarchs have balked at a community benefits agreement, the one thing that might make a difference in the third world country that Allentown has become outside of the NIZ. This has been advocated both by former City Council member Michael Donovan and Allentown School Director Ce Ce Gerlach.They've been ignored.
Here's two more myths that The Morning Call (exclusive sale agent for Abe Atiyeh's billboards from its offices in the heart of the NIZ, as well as advertiser for many of the NIZ developers and beneficiaries) is covertly pushing:
- The federal investigation into Allentown's pay-to-play practices begins and ends with former political consultant Miked Fleck, and not the $54 million in state taxes that have been poured into the NIZ board coffers.
- The Allentown crooner who was recently bodyslamned by a police officer is a nuisance (suggested in a headline) who has no right to exercise free speech inside the NIZ, where it might interfere with the "dining experience."
Nowhere is that more evident than in Allentown City Hall chambers.
Before last week's meeting, a nervous Julio Guridy whispered to President Ray O'Connell that he better address the unwashed masses who had come to speak.
After a bullshit holier-than-thou prayer from Julio Guridy, the people were warned that no signs were permitted and even hats would have to be removed.
The signs, in particular, are core political speech. Nobody removed a sign. Fortunately, no one was bodyslammed, but I can see that day coming.
After three minutes, a microwave oven warned when each speaker that he was done, like a three-minute egg.
|Allentown's Richard Fegley|
When Council come to a public hearing on the Elias market expansion, Assistant City Solicitor Shawn M Dethleson actually advised them they could skip letting the public speak, despite of Home Rule Charter provision that specifically gives the public such a right.
That brought Rich Fegley, a real activist, to his feet. Council members tried to shout Fegley down until Council Clerk Mike Hanlon admitted that a mistake had been made.
"I'm glad I spoke out of place and spoke loudly," remarked Fegley. The rest of them would have preferred to keep the public silent. Certainly nobody thanked the brewmaster.
The first amendment is first for a reason. In a democracy, it is our most fundamental right. If that is to be restored in Allentown, we need more Shula singers, sign carriers and Richard Fegleys. And The Morning Call needs to decide whether it exists to perform the public service of providing the news or is just a paid content provider.