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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, October 30, 2015

Landfill Dumps Another $28,700 Into Lower Saucon Races.

IESI, the corporation that has already spent $96,500 in an apparent attempt to buy the Lowwer Saucon Township Council race, has just spent another $28,700. According to a 24-hour report filed with the NorCo elections office on Thursday, IESI has paid that sum to "high-stakes public strategy" firm Mercury, LLC for a mail piece opposed to the candidacies of Priscilla deLeon, Dave Willard and Donna Louder.

deLeon, Willard and Louder are running together as a slate. deLeon and Willard are Democrats, while Louder is a Republican. IESI owns the Bethlehem Landfill, which wants to expand west and will need a more complaint Council. deLeon, Willard and Louder have tended to be anti-landfill.

This slate is opposed by Republicans Tom Maxfield and Sandra Yerger. Democrat Gary Gorman, whose wife is employed as Finance Director in Lower Saucon Township, has publicly supported Willard. According to the Valley Voice, he has "publicly stayed out of the landshipo fray." I'd out it more bluntly. He avoided questions about his position on this blog, and when he finally did answer, indicated he opposes the zoning change now but could change his mind later.

Though Pennsylvania campaign laws generally prohibit corporate donations, they may be made as independent expenditures.

Updated 5:54: An earlier version of this story inaccurately states that Gorman is opposed to landfill opponents deLeon, Willard and Louder. He's a little more slippery.


ILiveinSC said...

I don't understand the big deal Bernie.... this is politics in the good old USA. Furthermore.... if someone has a solution to having landfills and making up for the 2 million we will lose if the landfill closes..........I will be the first to vote for them!

Bernie O'Hare said...

When corporations buyt elections, that is not politics in the good old USA. That is a perversion of democracy and the one man one vote principle of democracy.

Anonymous said...

Response to IESI handbills and mailers


 Protect the Taxpayers - deLeon, Willard, and Louder have protect the taxpayers.

 Maintain High Quality of Life – unchanged!



 Economic Task Force recommended IESI be allowed to expand – Task Force was established after the hearing for the rezoning of Applebutter Road Closed; IESI currently has a proposal before Council and DEP to expand the landfill which will add 2,678.808 more tons of trash and extend the life of the landfill by 5.54 years which means, based on landfill historical tipping fees, the township will have approximately $1,500,000 contributed to township revenue. The township only budgeted $700,000 for 2016; meaning the township should be on sound financial footing and could possible not see any tax increase in the foreseeable future.

 Declining Landfill Fees – This statement is not accurate! If you look at the actual numbers, between 2009 through 2014 the average annual revenue from the landfill was approximately $1,700,000. 2011, 2012, and 2013 were about $2,000,000 but that was the result in the additional trash accepted in the landfill because of Hurricane Irene (2011) and Hurricane Sandy (2013). 2015 is expected to bring in about $1,600,000. 2016 is only “budgeted” to bring in $700,000, but that could change if they are approved to expand into the southeastern region. Based on this information the resident should maintain their quality of life, enjoy the same level of township and emergency services, and not fear any tax burden.


 Some candidates of Lower Saucon oppose responsible rezoning; David Willard (D), Priscilla deLeon (D), and Donna Louder (R). This is an accurate statement, because the rezoning would impact the quality of life and the environment. However, through sound fiscal management that taxpayers should not fear cuts in township or emergency services or fear significant tax increases.

 Landfill Taxes and Fees cover about 1/3 of the annual municipal budget – NOT TRUE! 1/3 = 33.3333333%. Since 1998, the landfills contribution to the township’s revenue at most was 31% and that was in 2011 because of Hurricane Irene. Between 2004 thru 2015 they were between 21%-29%. In 2016, it is projected to be more like 10% of the municipal budget like in 2002, before the Republican controlled Council (MAXFIELD, YERGER, KERN, and HORIZSNY) embarked on a capital spending spree of parks and special projects. Remember, under MAXFIELD, YERGER, KERN, AND HORIZSNY a voter referendum was placed on the ballot that required the taxpayers to .25% of their earned income into the OPEN SPACE FUND. Most of the land acquired through outright purchases or easements around the homes of Councilmen MAXFIELD AND KERN and Councilman YERGER. The residents need to protect their wallets from these four, not deLEON, WILLARD, AND LOUDER.


 These candidates are ready to stick it to you with even higher taxes: David Willard (D), Priscilla deLeon (D) and Donna Louder (R). In the 2015 budget, only Willard voted to increase taxes, deLeon voted against the tax increase, and Donna Louder wasn’t on council. Willard decision to vote for the tax increase was to provide a cushion should IESI not be able to obtain their Southeastern Expansion that is currently in the approval phase.

Anonymous said...

Gary W. Gorman writes:

"This slate is opposed by Republicans Tom Maxfield, Sandra Yerger and Democrat Gary Gorman."

This is not true. I have publically stated (on this blog, in fact) that I support David Willard. And, on most issues facing our Township, I support all the candidates. I have been mostly silent about the other candidates because I want to be neutral, and if elected, want to work in unison with them. However, I reached out to some of the candidates before the election (and during) and asked for a fair, respectable, collaborative and cooperative campaign. I was taken aback by the response I received from my party.

I also received a telephone call from the Northampton County Democratic chair asking me why I was not on the same slate as the other Democratic candidates. When I explained the steps that I took, explained my positions on issues and that I attempted to do so, he was concerned as to the information he had already received from them...and he promised me that he would attempt to speak to the democrat candidates again in an attempt to change their position regarding me. At no time, was it conveyed to me that they did not include me because of a potential conflict of interest, as they should (and do) know that my wife is not a Township policy maker, despite her title. I do not know if he reached out to them again, but I did explain this to David Willard, who I believe is a good Council person, as are our other Council members.

As Paul Bealer from the Valley Voice wrote today:

"Also seeking one of three council seats is township
resident Gary Gorman, a social worker who is married to
the township’s finance director.
He has publicly stayed out of the landfill fray. Gorman
touts open space preservation and strengthening economic
He is a township parks and recreation board member."

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. Gorman, I am entitled to my opinion, but not my facts. I will correct my post accordingly.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The other candidates should not be supporting you simply because you are a Democrat. Your wife's employment in the Township as a policy maker raises deep concerns about your suitability for office, and I could nbever support a walking and talking conflict of interest who has been evasive on a major issue.

Anonymous said...

If the landfill was doing nothing wrong, it wouldn't need to donate a dime.
Folks need to attend Lower Saucon government meetings and listen to Steel City residents describe life under the landfill's presence. Then decide who deserves a vote.

Anonymous said...

In the Saucon Source, Know the Candidates, Donna Louder suggests the following:
“One example would be to revisit the regionalization of the Lower Saucon/Hellertown police departments. Being the police department is the greatest expense to the township”.
When we discuss candidates and their respective spouses working for the Township in relation to conflict of interests let us not forget that Donna Louders husband is a Lower Saucon Township Police Officer and both jointly have filed a federal lawsuit suing the township police department. Donna Louders suit was dismissed as unfounded according to local news sources and her husband, Tom Louder’s disposition has not been made public as of yet. I am curious as how one, Mathew McClarin can state that he won:
“Matt McCLarin said...
Donna Louder's husband Tom as you well know is on the police force was demoted by Lesser for speaking out against the landfill in public. A lawsuit followed which Louder won.
There has been much said about IESI supporting local candidates which I may add I do not agree with, there also is a lot of dirty politics of certain candidates that are at play and are not being discussed. So if you are calling out one candidate, Gary Gorman with a conflict of interest let us not forget Donna Louder who’s personal agenda beyond running the landfill out of business may also include dismantling the Township’s police department which is a conflict of interest in my opinion.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have already explained that Gorman's wife is a policy maker while Louder's husband is not. As for a specific instance of employment, Louder would have to recuse herself.

Anonymous said...

Gary W. Gorman responds to BOH @ 11:14am:

"I have already explained that Gorman's wife is a policy maker while Louder's husband is not. As for a specific instance of employment, Louder would have to recuse herself."

You should write, "As I have already inaccurately explained...". My wife is not a policy maker. The Township Manager, along with the majority of the Council members are thee policy makers. Per the Township's code, The Director of Finance makes recommendations to the Township Manager, who in turn, decides policy and it gets voted on by Council. All Townships have different ways of constructing their governments, some similar, some not.

In Lower Saucon Township, the Finance Director reports, but The Township Manager and Council members decide. You might want to interview those in charge of the township before you continue to make this erroneous claim.

And, If I am elected, I would recuse myself in specific areas of employment...and I have stated this repeatedly and thoroughly before the primary when I was originally asked to run as I didn't (don't) want the semblance of a conflict of interest. I researched these issues specifically before I agreed to launch my campaign.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am completely comfortable asserting that your wife is a policy maker. If she makes recommendation, that's policy. I'm not too concerned about you getting elected. I think people see through you.

Anonymous said...

Too bad you can only see thru certain candidates. And lucky for you that none of this will affect you. I don't live in lala land where closing businesses and boycotting others from opening is good for us or the economy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have made clear I have no opinion on the merits of the landfill expansion. I do have an opinion, however, on corporate America buying an election.

Matt McCLarin said...

Mr Gorman,
I have more respect for you than the other commenters on this blog at least you sign your name. One question when you said "As part of my platform, I am been running an independent, grass-roots campaign, and have not accepted any outside contributions, despite offers- and will continue to do so". Who made the offer and exactly who contacted you? Please respond if you read this before the election.

Anonymous said...

Gary W. Gorman responds:

BOH @ 9:25am: "I think people see through you."

I hope so...It's called transparency and it is part of my platform.

BOH: "I'm not too concerned about you getting elected."

I don't know why you would be concerned as you don't live in this Township. Am I electable? I don't know. My principles, ideas and beliefs are ongoing and evolve over time through observation, reading, studying and thinking. These attitudes aren't necessarily Republican or Democrat. Also, I am not one to push through a personal agenda or mislead the public through scare tactics or bias the discussion through rigid points of view. A person who acquires political beliefs early in life and then rarely changes them is incapable from learning from experience.

Matt McClarin @ 4:24pm;

Thank you for your question. This is an easy one to answer and I am surprised that no one has asked my this until now. When I first entered this race, I called voter registration to inquire about campaign financing. I was told that if I were to accept "any" money from outside resources, I would need to file paperwork with their office. I stated that I didn't want to accept any outside monies, but to self-fund my campaign.

The clerk explained that if I wanted to finance my campaign independently, I need to adhere to quarterly time frames and financial thresholds, which she outlined for me. I haven't even come close to reaching any of those thresholds as I have only spent a couple of a hundred dollars in campaign signs since starting my campaign.

However, once I started my campaign and placed signs around our Township, I have had a few constituents contact me (some literally knocking on my front door and offering me cash, or calling me to say, "I'll pay for your mailers", etc...) I have had family members express interest in contributing to my campaign, too. I explained to all of them that I cannot and will not accept their contributions because I don't believe that elections (any election) should be bought. That is simply one of my principles and core beliefs.

To answer your question deeper, because I know that you are passionate about this election (I read your letter on this blog a few times and I thank you for sharing your thoughts)...At no time, as anyone from IESI contacted me offering to support me and to the best of my knowledge and belief has IESI contacted any other candidate in this race.

Moreover, I know that IESI has paid for advertising for Tom Maxfield and Sandra Yerger, which to the best of my knowledge they were not aware IESI was doing until after the fact. Whereas, Prisilla Deleon, David Willard and Donna Louder established "Citizens for Lower Saucon Protection" which is a committee that allows campaign contributions and on David Willards's website, www.democracy.com/dave4council, he has a link soliciting donations.

Therefore, I contend that I am the only candidate that has not accepted outside contributions. I understand that Councilman David Willard is also making this statement, but I disagree with its accuracy. Josh Popichak of the Saucon Source asked me about my assertion versus David Willard's presentation and I explained the above to him and provided the aforementioned links. Josh replied, "Fair enough. I was just pointing it out. I didn't say it was an accurate claim. I would love to investigate each claim by each candidate fully but unfortunately I don't have the time or resources to do that (nor do any of the local media, really).

Bernie O'Hare said...

Gary Gorman, when I said people see through you, i was not complimenting you on your transparency, but noting your lack of it. You come on this blog with all kinds of comments, but have a rough time answering simple questions. Your answer to the question about the landfill expansion, for example, was quite slippery. It was not me, but others, who noted your evasiveness. I believe they are correct.

I see you intimating that only people who live in Lower Saucon have a right to say anything. That would seem to exclude nearly all media coverage. I live in the Lehigh Valley and cover the Lehigh Valley. And to be clear, I was raised in Hellertown. I know the community quite well.

Anonymous said...

Gary Gorman responds to BOH @ 6:20pm:

"Gary Gorman, when I said people see through you, i was not complimenting you on your transparency, but noting your lack of it."

Duh. I know. I can see through your bullsh*t. Again...it's called transparency.