|Roverfan73 (Panto) with African King|
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."That's classic Panto. But he made a mistake. Instead of posting under his name, he got mixed up and posted as "roverfan73."
"[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."
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.