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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Democracy Still Dead in Allentown

Aside from a few bright spots, it appears that democracy is still very much a thing of the past in Allentown. Those bright spots would be Bib Smith's re-election to the school board and Roger MacLean;s convincing victory in the Allentown City Council race. Lou Hershman, my favorite, came in fourth in a battle for three seats.


Anonymous said...

No shit?'
Color me shocked.

Anonymous said...

The change begins when Ed goes to jail,

Anonymous said...

You get the government you elect. I hope the city-dwellers in Reileytown enjoy living there.

Anonymous said...

Lou never had a great chance as a Republican. I do hope he keeps coming to Council (I'm sure he will) demanding accountability.

As for democracy being dead...I met a lot of good people at the polls today. More will shake out, and more candidates will rise up in the meantime. Today was a dry run for what's coming next.

Anonymous said...

Lou would have had a better chance running for Controller.

Anonymous said...

If democracy is dead in Allentown, in Easton it's been dead for a while and the corpse is now being abused.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ramos should call it quits. He's lost two elections out of two.

Anonymous said...

The Anti Landfill team appears to have won in Lower Saucon, Now let's see some action!

Robert Trotner said...

Latest UNofficial results are that the write in totals for city council were close to 10%, revised upward from the 4.5% reported by the Morning Call about midnight last night. Ce-Ce Gerlach cruised to victory against the Pawlowski machine. Hershman almost took the third council seat. And our bipartisan coalition continues. We have had two major campaign finance reform council victories Pawlowski has actually signed off on that nobody could have expected with all the rubber stampers there. We knew from the beginning this would be a two year effort with many victories along the way. And the coming FBI indictment will mean utter collapse for Pawlowski and his cohorts.

Anonymous said...

Our own little Detroit!

Anonymous said...

7:22 his many times was Lincoln defeated before he became president?

Anonymous said...

Allentown deserves what they get when they continue to vote in these hacks.

Anonymous said...

Pawloski keeps control of Allentown with this Democratic sweep.The voters have shown They don't care about a reformed Allentown

Bernie O'Hare said...

The election of MacLean is not something Pawlowski wished. The 10% write-in sendsa message. I am, however very disappointed to see Lou Hershman lose.

Anonymous said...

All candidates for office in Allentown shall be registered Democrats. Any quality candidate who has something to offer but is not a Democrat simply must change registration and try to win office in the primary. The issues facing City residents are not rigidly tied to party affiliation, I thought Rich Fegley, Roger Maclean and Lou Hershman were the candidates with the most to offer and party affiliation shouldn't even matter.

Unknown said...

Ed treated Roger with less than the respect Roger or the position deserved during Rogers tenure as chief of police.
There should be very interesting. I would expect Roger will bring much more integrity to counsel then the rubberstamp police officer currently taking up space there.

Anonymous said...

12:04 -

I was hopeful for MacLean up until the time he seemed to push back about investigating what's been going on at City Hall. Up until that point, he was one of my top three choices, along with Fegley and Hershman.

Maybe I misunderstood what he meant (I hope), but I had the same optimism a few years ago when Darryl Hendricks ran for council and won.

I hope we don't get similarly disappointed with Roger.

Anonymous said...

The election is yesterday's news, and will be used as a misdirection from what Pawlowski is doing now.

Today I would be concerned with how the Mayor and his crony council are planning to violate Section 807 (B) of the Home Rule Charter by raising the EIT tax.

In addition to violating the charter, raising the earned income tax is just plain stupid. Supposedly, the city has been trying to entice those high-earners commuting to the NIZ into becoming city residents. This proposal certainly won't help that effort, and might push current wage earning residents OUT of the city.

More taxes might work when you're NYC and it's a long commute to escape the city's high taxes. Higher taxes aren't so good when someone can drive 10 minutes away to avoid the higher tax, AND be in a better school district.

Aren't Pawlowski and the Democrats supposed to protect the working man? I guess this won't affect Reilly and other contributors who derive their money from RENTAL (not earned) income. How convenient that working families will be doing the paying, while Pawlowski's millionaire contributors get a free ride.

Short-sighted and self-serving as usual from Pawlowski, but what outcry (if any) will it receive when it's proposed tonight? I'm predicting the last crickets of autumn will be heard tonight at City Hall.

Anonymous said...

12:43 Great post. My guess is that the EIT hike is preferred since in-commuters have to pay as well and the tax increase can be shared by all (i.e. working renters) and not just property owners. The elderly homeowners on fixed incomes can also be spared another crippling blow to their restricted budgets. Middle - Upper income workers who haven't already left for some reason will face ever mounting pressures to leave Allentown. However, they are a shrinking group and many may even vote Republican so good riddance to them!

Anonymous said...

1:25 -

The thing is, the EIT increase is FOR RESIDENTS ONLY, not the commuters.

So basically, you're taxing the middle class and other wage earners out of the city. Last time I checked, the city is in need of more wage earners, not less.

As far as another crippling blow to the elderly's budgets, do you mean like the water and sewer rate increases that will start next year, plus an additional amount to cover capital improvements? That was because of Pawlowski's previous bright idea, and those increased W&S rates will even be passed onto our public schools (so the school district can then raise your property taxes to cover that).

I'm hoping your closing remark about republicans is some sort of sarcasm, since it's not the republicans that have driven this city into the ground financially, who sold our water system, or who are proposing a wage increase on working families. One-party rule has not served this city well.

Anonymous said...

The people who complain about an EIT rate hike need to relax... it takes the city of Allentown to only 1.65%.... lets compare that to the other cities in PA.

Philly: 3.92%
Pittsburgh: 3.00%
Allentown: 1.33%
Erie: 1.18%
Reading: 3.60%
Scranton: 3.40%
Bethlehem: 1.00%
Lancaster: 1.10%
Harrisburg: 2.00%
Altoona: 1.45%
York: 1.25%
State College: 2.25%
Wilkes-Barre: 3.00%
Williamsport: 2.00%
Easton: 1.95%

Anonymous said...

The fact is that Allentown Administration received something like $220,000,000 from Water deal, and used all that money (Abe A got $1.4M), and now must borrow still more ($4M) and raise taxes.

What happens when the credit runs out, when you cant borrow any more to pay the Water note ($220M will costs taxpayers $800M)? Tax the middle class to death till the rest of them leave the city.

Then Allentown becomes Detroit. O'Reilly and Butz et al walk away from thier empty rental properties after collecting rent for many years, and then what is left - sell Lehigh Parkway to whom?

Whom on council or council-elect can figure this out, who has the courage to start slim-fasting city staff and services in lieu of a huge tax increases for many years.

What will be left for Mayor Guridy in 2022?

Anonymous said...

The increase should be twice as much. Allentown needs it badly to show sheep voters just exactly what special brand of assholes they are. Although, most of the sheep are likely not tax contributors. The gubmint that robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul.

Anonymous said...

I found Ce Ce Gerlach's comments in the Morning Call interesting, with Armstrong out she is claiming there will be a "revolution" on the school board. I didn't know Armstrong had that much power that a revolution would be forthcoming in his absence. If Ce-Ce's revolution is anything like the Bolshevik Revolution all Allentown residents should be worried. Lets hope her forecasted revolution isn't kind leading to chaos in which socialists with the allegiance of the lower classes and the political left seize control (wait..is that what already happens in Allentown elections?). The City's EIT increase and LCA's looming water/sewer increases might seem like good news compared to may come from the ASD revolution.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, me too
With the budget being redd at the counsil circus and excepted I am still not seeing about 1.25 million that was allocated at three different public meetings yet still neverever materialize in the schell trix played by the king and his court jesters¿!($

patent pending

Anonymous said...

O'Reilly will probably have enough cash to buy Lehigh parkway and establish his baronial estate! he can probably get mayor and council to re-zone so he can hunt on his estate!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Woodman could write a check?

Rich Fegley said...

This is the bill to be voted on by City Council regarding the $5.5 million increase to the EIT. EIT is Earned Income Tax. All residents will share in paying for this increase. Bill 82 2016 EIT Tax

The bill states this at the beginning:

WHEREAS, the City of Allentown is a city of the third class operating under a Home Rule Charter form of governance authorized by the Home Rule and Optional Plans Law, 53 Pa.C.S.A. §2961 et seq.

WHEREAS, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary contained in the City’s Home Rule Charter, as determined by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, the Home Rule and Optional Plans Law permits the City to increase its earned income tax.

This second "WHEREAS" is where this bill will be killed.

The City's Home Rule Charter states:


B. Council shall not raise the rates of the deed transfer, earned income, business privilege, the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax beyond $52, amusement devices, and resident taxes above their respective 1996 levels. (5/16/06)

This says that Council shall not raise the rate of
the earned income tax beyond its 1996 level.

Lou Hershman said tonight that the EIT was set at 1.0% in 1996. Any amount above the 1% is additional tax that is allowed by the Municipal Pension Plan Funding Standard and Recovery Act, 53 P.S. §895.101 et seq., a/k/a “Act 205”. This is something that the Mayor and Council were allowed to approve a few years ago. That is why we have a 1.33% EIT currently.

Tonight, the solicitor confirmed to City Council that the Home Rule and Optional Plans Law allows the Mayor and City Council to increase the EIT tax from 1.33% to 1.65% in order to balance the 2016 Budget.

If you read Home Rule and Optional Plans Law, 53 Pa.C.S.A. §2961 et seq., it does not state anywhere that the City is not allowed to set its own rate of taxation. The Mayor and the Solicitor are saying that City Council is allowed to raise the rate of the earned income tax beyond its 1996 level as per the Home Rule and Optional Plans Law.

The Home Rule and Optional Plans Law also states:

(h) Levying taxes.--This section does not limit or take away any right of a municipality which adopts a home rule charter from levying any tax which it had the power to levy had it not adopted a home rule charter.

(i) Establishment of rates of taxation.--No provision of this subpart or any other statute shall limit a municipality which adopts a home rule charter from establishing its own rates of taxation upon all authorized subjects of taxation except those specified in subsection (a)(7).

Section 807B of the City of Allentown's Home Rule Charter states that Council shall not raise the rate of the earned income tax beyond its 1996 level. This is our City's law. The Home Rule and Optional Plans Law does not override our Home Rule Charter. It leaves taxation rates up to the City. It does not give the Mayor the right to override the City's Home Rule Charter.

Facebook post with more documentation

Morning Call post regarding EIT increase

Anonymous said...

I surmise this revolution will include treating guests speaking at courtesy of the floor with respect, rather than the contempt that Armstrong doled out. Never seen anyone like him, huffing and puffing; turning his back to speakers, attempting to intimidate the timekeeper. He is a pathetic creature and now he can go cut all the grass he wants while his wife supports him.

Anonymous said...

We just don't care, Rich. We flat out love Tax & Spend Democrats here in the City Without Limits. Because it's all about the fairness, dude. So brew us some more beer already, please. We're all just slaves to the wealthy, anyway.

Anonymous said...

As a previous post pointed out, the real question is why a City with a half billion dollars in new development, and which also just leased its water system for $200 million, has to raise taxes at all. If anything, taxes should be going DOWN.

We know that one of the accusations in the FBI probe is that the city paid $1.4 million to an Ed Pawlowski campaign contributor for “park land”, and paid about $1 million over the appraised value for land that was NOT needed for the park system.

Is that type of spending the real reason that City residents will be paying more?

Anonymous said...

It seems that this is the opportunity for Solicitor Wild to prove she represents the people and is not just a flunkie for the Mayor.

I would hope that she quickly gives City Council her legal opinion, and THEN PUBLICLY URGES COUNCIL AND THE MAYOR TO RELEASE IT TO THE PEOPLE. She should recommend they also publicly release the previous solicitor's opinion as well.

If they are on sound legal footing, it shouldn't be a problem.

Transparency has been lacking in City Hall, and if something as important as the Home Rule Charter is being circumvented, city residents should have all the information as to why it's allowed.

Anonymous said...

Internally and in the community, people are still being strong armed and bullied.
I hope and pray the FBI is watching.

Anonymous said...

The Iron Lady and Lou Hershman both asked for the legal opinion that mayor and council are using to raise EIT - both have been stone-walled.

Rich - why don't you ask; maybe line up 30-50 people for next council meeting, who each ask; "show us the legal opinion that is used to justify increases in EIT."

Maybe Opio would pick up on it????

bball24 said...

Anatomy of an election. 52 people voted at one voting place in the first ward. Of those 5, 37 of those voted for school board. 21 of those 37 voters went straight party line democrat.

This demonstrates a few things that are true at some level. Voters don't educate themselves on the candidates. There's also a distrust of the Republican Party in the inner cities in the country.

bball24 said...

Of those 52

Anonymous said...

The Republicans have proven time and again that they just don't care about people. Meanwhile, the Democrats have done so well with their stewardship of Allentown, particularly during the Pawlowski Era. Democrats are the "rising tide to lift all boats," to quote our historic (and awesome) President. All the Republicans have to offer is their tired and worn-out hate. So, in other words, there really is no need for more than one party in the City Without (Spending) Limits.

Anonymous said...

Ramos would find the First Ward their very own City Council person for those 52 votes.
Now there's a man with a plan!

Anonymous said...

Still obsessed with Ramos, eh?

Anonymous said...

Hardly. Just interested in holding candidates accountable for what they say.
Apparently, 8:26, you take issue with that approach,

Anonymous said...

If you want to be so obsessed with Ramos, and you clearly are, all I can say is have a wonderful time doing it!

michael molovinsky said...

@9:24, the following comment was sent to blog yesterday, to the bob smith and scott armstrong flyer post.

To bad about armstrong, lol, blog menter strikes again and so accurately as usual.

now, because it was sent anonymously, i can't be sure who sent it and the other 2000 similar comments to my blog in the last few years, but obsessions may run much deeper than you can imagine.