Monday, March 07, 2016

Easton Mayor Using Sock Puppets at LVL Online

Roverfan73 (Panto) with African King
Online comment forums, both here and in the newspapers, provide an opportunity for what I call participatory journalism. Members of the public often have insights or knowledge that the story's author lacks. Though these discussions often degenerate quickly, they often add to the story. This is especially so when an elected official participates, even though he subjects himself to the slings and arrows of anonymous attacks. But when an elected official assumes one or more false identities to steer the conversation, it is no longer journalism. It crosses the line into propaganda. That is what is happening at The Express Times with Easton Mayor Sal Panto. He is dishonestly using at least two false identities to pursue his agenda. Let me fill you in.

It takes courage for an elected official to contribute to online discussions. The rare few who do so demonstrate transparency and accountability. Lower Macungie Comm'r Ron Beitler and West Easton Council member Matt Dees actually maintain their own blogs, which I consider a form of public service in an era of dying journalism. This is also something I always admired about Easton Mayor Sal Panto. Over the years, he's participated in numerous online discussions, although he stopped participating here and at Easton Neighbors when he didn't like the way things were going.

He still comments as Sal Panto at LehighValleyLive, the online forum for The Express Times. He will argue his positions forcefully, and is correct to slam people who criticize him or his policies without identifying themselves.

But he does the same thing.

In addition to posting comments under his own name, Panto also uses the sock puppet "roverfan73" and "tom18017" to participate in discussions.

Panto disguised as "roverfan73"

How do I know that he is posting as roverfan73?  It's because of 87 comments posted to a story about Easton's distressed pension fund, back in January. Panto was in the thick of it, mixing it up with a number of people. Then he said he was off to a meeting.

Someone wisecracked, "At Riverview?"

Panto apparently tends bar there part time.

That brought him back.
"[I]f you have a problem with the 80+ hours a week I give the city then come and talk to me about it. I have no problem with you walking with me and let's see if you can keep up."

"[L]et's talk about your solutions. I am always available to discuss city issues. My office is close to you home so it would be easy to set up a time to meet. You see, this issue like many, is very difficult to put in a few words. My door is always open."
That's classic Panto. But he made a mistake. Instead of posting under his name, he got mixed up and posted as "roverfan73."

Under LehighValleyLive's comments policy, a person can use a sock puppet, but is barred from creating multiple accounts. Panto has at least three - himself, roverfan73 and tom18017.

Panto disguised as "tom18017"

He made the same mistake in a story about Easton's parking garage, published last September, that generated 14 comments. First, he took it upon himself to correct several errors that he thought were made by the reporter. He did that as himself - Sal Panto. When someone responded with a complaint, he made this offer. "A am more than happy to justify the construction to you or the reason for the new city hall. Call my office and set up a time we can meet. 610.250.6610 I can also take you though the Alpha Building at that time and show you the capital needs that were needed in this grand ole dame."

That's very nice of him, but he slipped up and posted this comment as tom18017 instead of as Sal Panto.

Nobody named Tom works in the Mayor's office.

At the very least, Panto's use of two sock puppets in addition to his own name is deceptive behavior. When Panto pretends to be several different people, he creates the false impression that several people think like he does. The comments forum then becomes a vehicle for propaganda, not the truth.

The real Sal Panto

As Roverfan73 and tom18017, here is what Panto has had to say about several different topics.

Himself: "The man works tirelessly for he city say and night and if he didn't respond you would criticize him for that as well." ... "Wow. the mayor is doing a great job and the naysayers all over him for doing his job. Call it as you want there are laws on the books and he swore an oath to enforce them,,,,,and I say thank you. Downtown looks better and better everyday." ... "We have a very good mayor ..." ... "I believe this mayor is tough on crime." ... "Can the mayor and council run the country??????" ... "We need Mayor Panto for life! Case closed." ... " I guess good government doesn't warrant news coverage."(He also falsely claims to live in the West Ward, and talks about taking his sons to the parks). 

Easton Public Market: "It has been postponed so many times it is ridiculous and I looked in the windows just today and they are no where ready to open." ... "Seems more like a Reading Terminal than a grocery store. So I can buy my meat and seafood there but not the flour and butter to cook them or the bread crumbs or the dish detergent to clean the pots, pans, and dishes. And how does the city get paid back the million dollars they gave to support the project? I hear in addition to that amount there is another million or so on top of that."

Street Crime: "use a gun and it should be a minimum sentence of 30 w/o parole." ... "The courts need to be more aggressive in their setting of bail amounts, especially when guns are found." ... "Blame our liberal courts these dirtbags are arrested by the police and out before the paperwork is done."

Magisterial District Judge Antonia Grifo: "Good thing this guy is going to Corpora because if he was going to Grifo she would have him back out on the streets in no time."

DA John Morganelli: "Finally Morganelli wants to get tough on crime. HMMMM any reason other than it is happening in his beloved Bethlehem. He has been tough on crime to some extent in Easton but rumor has it that Magistrate "easy on crime" Grifo let the ARMED actors that held up the Dollar Store and led police on a massive manhunt -- is it true she let them off the hook and dismissed the case. How dare she do that!!! We need the President Judge and the DA to pull her in and set her straight. I am sure if it was Bethlehem John would do it. Let's get tough on crime in Northampton County."

Judge Sam Murray: "I hope he makes better decisions on the bench than the choice for tip staff. He is a good person but his choices were more political than anything. There were so many good people that helped him. It is a shame he didn't choose one of them. But I hear he had a great reception and rumor is it was all donated by the owner of Riverview Country Club. I wonder if that is true, hope not Seems like more of the same at the county."

Easton Peace Candle: "IT'S SIMPLE THE CANDLE SHOULD BE LIT ON FRIDAY NIGHT --- PERIOD ----- " ... "I also vote for candle lighting on Friday. Does GEDP run this city or the Mayor and City Council?"

Public Education: "I am a former public school teacher and loved the profession. I was never paid what teacher's are paid today." ... " C'mon man if you want a full-time President then pay for it. Teachers should know their history just look at Bethlehem Steel and IR where many of the union bosses were paid to do union business. How did it work out for them?" ... " I rarely see any teachers anymore at extra curricular events unless they are being paid. Many don't even don't live in the area. The union saw to that when they got rid of residency requirements."

Suburban kids: "So you think all suburban kids are angels. Think again. Some of the most disrespectful brats come from the wealthier families who let their kids run wild with little oversight."

Easton Snow Plowing: "I traveled many roads in the townships that were worse than the city's streets. Ask some of the residents who live in developments that weren't even plowed." ... "I have to commend the city if Easton. I had to travel I too other areas today including the suburbs and Bethlehem and Easton's roads were far superior."

NorCo(Central Booking): "Northampton County finally coming into the twenty first century. Several years after LEhigh County but it is appreciated." (Emergency Shelter): "Thank you Mayor "Panto and City Council for doing what the county should be paying for. They are supposed to be the human services division of government but they haven't come into the 21st century. Nothing there has changed in the last 50 years."

Glenn Steckman: "Insiders have told me there was tension between the mayor and Steckman but it was always over Steckman's handling of personnel and the public. No one likes to see a person terminated or resign but the fact is this person should have been let go a long time ago. The only reason he lasted as long as he did is because employees have told me often times that Panto is too loyal and always gave Steckman another chance." ... " I had several dealings with this guy and he was rude and nasty." ... "He needs some humility like the mayor."

Allentown Pay-to-Play: "Ah yes Mr. Stathern, he was good friends of you know who --- Mike Fleck. Why not check their involvement together and what Strathern "treated" Fleck to when Fleck was on Easton Council the first time." ... "No doubt the guilty one is the fleckster. I am sure he promised a lot the mayor didn't know because everything he got in contributions he got more money." ... "This guy was friends with Mike Fleck when he was on easton city council and did some unethical things then.. When he was out of work Fleck got him the job in Allemtown. The Fleckster was the main ingredient in all of this and should be in jail." (I am sure the feds would love to know the details here, Sal. Why not give them call? Maybe they'll call you!)

I have asked Panto to explain his use of sock puppets, and if I get an answer, I'll publish it.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Caught! Outstanding work, Bernie.

Anonymous said...

"Me, Myself and Irene"

Anonymous said...

Sal defending Ed.
Priceless.

Anonymous said...

Oh good grief. If you are going to use the interwebz Sal please learn how to use it properly. What a turn that once besties with Miked Fleck now SalRoverFanTom is tossing him under the bus. And speaking of Miked Fleck, this has to be absolute toeture for him reading what his former cronies are now alleging and not being able to spin a response.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Seems to me as if my crystal ball has been spot on about the nue nue nue creation of the nations cistern¿!)$ boilZ, zit and cyst are all commonlly connected spinkterized in the anal canal that runs through creating a infection just like but similar to allentowns head hemrode with inflamed boil were the Game, Cainning of the BoilZ is the populuses arena agenda transeiant transplants Relocation epicentralized like the cancer it truely is but not limited too¿!)$
I seem to remember thkis same circus sideshow freeks and geeks in the lehighvally mall shit slinging transgretion too, only the ringmasters have hired nue faces and quite possibly this time designing political parasites will be charged truely as the criminals they are collectivley as a whole¿!)$
redd for Republican
patent pending

Anonymous said...

Wait, Mayor Panto expects there to be dish detergent and flour at a farmer's market?

Anonymous said...

Roverfan73

Shit, I got caught.

Anonymous said...

Bringing in Morganelli and the Court was a bad move, and how does this guy seriously not understand what a farmer's market is?

Alright, let's get this guy out of office and move on.

Anonymous said...

"Can the mayor and council run the country??????" LOL. Not only is this guy an idiot as far as how he got caught, but he's an actual vain idiot.

Anonymous said...

Villiage idiots one and all from top to bottom as well as the collective real property private sector campaign donors¿!)$ Collectivley collusional dullusional circus sticks, I will gladly eat my hamburgers two tuesdays but one from now¿!)$
The digital Game, Caining of the inflmed hemrode topped with a boil shall begin no sooner nor no later because the boilZ must be bursted before the healing can take place¿!)$
Noon time coffee and exerciZin a mans main mussel¿!)$ This is your brain this is your brain goin down the drain in cistern epicentral¿!)$
Gotta go much more work to be done in this cleansing of the soul sale sectors criminal subsects set¿!)$
redd for Republican
patent pending

Anonymous said...

I have been blackballed and permanently removed from LVL, and MCALL.com, probably to being on topic in the Easton and Allentown discussions. But I am still

Stuckineaston , and I must say WELCOME Mr. O'hare. You have seen what I've been on for the last three years. However, I'm not a Demo or a Repub, so how do I help fix this city???

Bernie O'Hare said...

StuckinEaston, Start going to meetings and speak out.

Dennis R. Lieb said...

The recollections of past mis-deeds by our illustrious mayor that these "anonymous" comments stir up within me would take a month to retell. I am going to analyse the list from this post and pick just the creme-de-la-creme then get back later with the dirt.

I - and many of my cohorts in the West Ward - have known for years that Panto was posting under aliases...it was obvious from the common spelling mistakes and the awkward sentence structures that bubbled to the surface whenever someone (often me) hit a nerve in criticism of his performance.

What a disgrace. Will the "legitimate" press call him out on this and make a real story of it or continue to play a game of The Emperor's New Clothes?

DRL

Anonymous said...

Easton is once again a JEWEL thanks to Mayor Panto...You need to stop always looking to disparage people. Sad you are such a miserable, angry individual!

Anonymous said...

A jewel? I like the 2-3 blocks in Easton I would actually go to but a jewel?

Peter J.Cochran said...

Bernie, I need to put in my 2 cents here- Mr. Panto in involved with so many issues now that the former city administrator is gone . In addition Mr.Panto has indeed been involved in this community and if he used 'PSY_OPS to effect an opinion ,well he did it at the interest of his constituents. I think your too critical of him,much like like the press is of other people in the spot light.-THE issue is the press does not create anything-just like OUR god given celebrities --- they preform acts of entertainment, but fail to PRODUCE anything.

Bernie O'Hare said...

If expecting him to be honest is being too critical, I plead guilty.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, this is some of your finest work. Although, the horrendous grammar and construction of the sock puppet comments are a dead giveaway. This is a guy with college degrees? What a stupid and dishonest pretender. Nice work, Bernie. You're getting better and better.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"What a disgrace. Will the "legitimate" press call him out on this and make a real story of it or continue to play a game of The Emperor's New Clothes?"

This is already a real story. What the papers do is their own business.

Unknown said...

I always thought tom18017 was tom hess. He works for the mayor.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hess does not work for the Mayor. He is City Council's clerk and a long time resident of the City's south side. When Panto created tom28017, he was described as a Bethlehem expatriate who moved to and lives in the west ward.

Doh Biden said...

I've sparred online with hiz dizonor numerous times. I had no idea I was fighting three against one. I shouldn't be surprised. Growing up in Easton, those South Side punks never fought fair. Excellent work, Bernie. I savored every word. Thank you.

DRL said...

Reflections on some of the more dubious quotes from our favorite multiple personality politician:

"The man works tirelessly for he city say and night and if he didn't respond you would criticize him for that as well."

As I've mentioned before, he has not only failed to respond to direct communication by me to his office but he also ignored months of attempts by the residents of Ferry Street to put together a city/county/neighborhood vision plan for the decrepitating conditions on the 600 block of Pine Street. He pre-empted a long-planned meeting with neighbors and county officials by pulling a grandstanding act the day before, showing up on the block with the code team and handing out dozens of citations for minor violations while dragging the press along to brag about his RDA projects in the next block. All goodwill amongst the neighbors was sacrificed for one ego-maniacal tirade.

"And how does the city get paid back the million dollars they gave to support the project?" (regarding Easton Public Market)

It is my understanding that the first $1 million came straight out of the additional bond that was (already) floated to pay for the cost-overruns at the new city hall. The money was given by city council to GEDP as a grant or forgivable loan (a distinction without a difference) which basically means the taxpayers are on the hook for it. If someone with better info can show me that this is not the case I'd sure like to know about it. Regardless of this fact, how does the mayor - primarily responsible for giving the money away for free - get off criticizing GEDP or EFM for accepting his largess?

"IT'S SIMPLE THE CANDLE SHOULD BE LIT ON FRIDAY NIGHT --- PERIOD ----- " ... "I also vote for candle lighting on Friday. Does GEDP run this city or the Mayor and City Council?"

So much for independent online polling. How many of Easton's 28,000 residents know he is speaking for them all now? And to answer his presumptuous question about who runs the city: it is not any of either GEDP, the mayor or city council. It is the citizens. He should get that through his head and would do well to start listening to them instead of thinking and answering for them.

" I had several dealings with this guy and he was rude and nasty." ... "He needs some humility like the mayor." (On Glenn Steckman)

Character assassination of a former city employee. Does anyone know where Glenn is these days? This has lawsuit written all over it.

"This guy was friends with Mike Fleck when he was on easton city council and did some unethical things then...The Fleckster was the main ingredient in all of this and should be in jail."

Again, here we have a duly elected official of Easton, sworn to uphold the law, admitting that he knew of unethical behavior by a sitting councilperson years ago and did nothing about it. I have had the EPD Swat team bash down a door on my street at 5 am with megaphones, battering rams and machine guns drawn; all for a low-level dealer that was back in his house the next day. If I am going to pay for stunts like this I at least could have the satisfaction of it being the mayor's door one morning. FBI...are you listening?

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Just maybe all those with this eclectic mutiple personality disorder are all ACTing in the same LVHN formally the great allentown hospital circus freeks and geeks by desighn that is also used in the DSM to describe those criminally insaine but lucid enough not to be able to use the insanity plea when henous war crimes were committed yet ommited by some other factoring party of the browne Z creation twiztZ of the koz, noz or whatever they collectively put to print in that packet of papers that the sneek that snuk RePete of the soul sale sectors apprentence, ie elder abuse has now moved on too child abuse but not limited too; and much more to come from the hamburgerler as it too has been up to anticipated antics latley¿!)$
I like many others lately hate to assosiate with eithier party¿!)$
redd for Republican
patent pending

Anonymous said...

I think it's touching the way Sal defends Fed Ed.
The man is loyal.

Anonymous said...

Panto throwing Murray under the bus =👍🏻

Eastonres said...

Oh my! When will someone tell the Emperor (aka Mr Panto) he is prancing around naked!?

Bernie O'Hare said...

He is unfortunately surrounded by sycophants.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, and compiling the multiple posts, Bernie.

What does Panto do besides post online all day?

Anonymous said...

Murray and Panto to light the Peace Candle !

Anonymous said...

You can't compare Murray to Panto Sam is an honest person unlike the King ofEaston and HIS FAMILY WHO RUN PANTO LAND AT HOLY CROSS PARK he should resign he disgraced the office ofMayor

Anonymous said...

Panto is as much of a jackass at Pawlowski. Do what you always did, get what you always got. Better candidates need to be involved in politics who are retired from private sector, not these flunkies.

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Anonymous said...

i have been in several discussions with the king of Easton and most time when you didn't agree with him or his way of thinking he would call commenters cowards for not posting their names as he does.. This man is a disgrace.. Gee who is the coward now Sal at least you could do is apologize to the people of Easton or better yet resign...

Anonymous said...

Sal is a turd great work Bernie