"This request is for the period of time extending between 1/1/13 and present. It applies to all City of Bethlehem employees as well as all members of Council and the Planning Commission. What is sought is all correspondence, email communications and text messages between City of Bethlehem employees, City Council members and Planning Commissioners and representatives of the Martin Tower development related to the following topics:I have started to go through it, and will report my conclusions soon. But the more eyes that see this, the more likely it is that someone will pick up on things that I miss. For that reason, I have uploaded the response below.
1) Participation by Martin Tower development in the CRIZ project.
2) The zoning changes at Martin Tower development under consideration by City Council.
3) Campaign contributions.
4) leasing of the martin tower site for Celtic Fest."
This is an exercise in participatory journalism. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go through this RTK and note your conclusions in the comments. Here's what I know so far:
* Developer Lew Ronca and his sidekick, Duane Wagner, were in on this new ordinance from the onset. It is NOT a City proposal, despite the City's claim that it is.
* Duane Wagner went so far as to provide talking points to Planning Director Darlene Heller to use with the public, including the myth that the current ordinance allows up to 425,00 sq ft for retail.
* Lew Ronca was hiding in the hallway during the public hearing, but left because he "needed to avoid reporters." He was engaged in a text message party with DCED Director Alicia Karner during the hearing. The plan, it certainly seems, was to wear the public out with Heller's 2 hour, 15 minute presentation.
Ronca: "Didn't D [Darlene Heller] wear them out?"
Karner: "Only a few."
Ronca: "OK. Keep me posted. Any grumbling from the audience?"
Karner: "Hearing just ended. rest of council to go. 34 speakers. 2 supportive."
Ronca: "What time did you get out of there?"
Karner: "Idk. 1230 or so."
Ronca: "My God. Had I known I would have bought you a drink or two after that!"
Ronca: "There ya go. All was not wasted then!!"
Ronca: "Yes. I read that first thing this morning. Schweder is an asshole by the way."
Karner: "First I ever saw/heard him speak."
Ronca: "There is a story. I'll tell you when I see you."
Karner: "Can't wait (note the sarcasm)."
Ronca: "Can you meet with me and the mayor tmrw at 3:30?"
Karner:"Yes. At Mayor's office?"
Ronca: "Yes please. See you then."
Part One, Part Two, Part 3, Part 3 (cont'd), Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11