About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, January 20, 2017

Updated: McClure Comes Out Swinging in NorCo Exec Race

Lamont McClure at his announcement, flanked by
Controller Steve Barron
Blogger's Note: This story originally was published yesterday at 4:26 pm, and has been updated with a few pictures.

Bethlehem Attorney Lamont McClure, a former NorCo Council member for 10 years, declared his candidacy for Northampton County Executive this afternoon. He announced from the people's building, the Northampton County Courthouse, accompanied by his wife Sandra and a bevy of supporters that included Controller Steve Barron, Council member Ken Kraft, Easton City Council member Pete Melan, Democratic activist Joanne Messenlehner, and NorCo Dem Chair Matt Munsey. DA John Morganelli, a friend of McClure's, was also present.

Making clear that he's only ever been interested in county government, he said that in his final two years on Council, "I stood as a bulwark against the corruption, the cronyism and the callousness of the Brown administration." He said he regretted leaving government at that time. What he failed to say is that his father, with whom he was very close, had unexpectedly passed away.

But he's back and as is his style, he pulled no punches in a withering critique of the John Brown administration.

"We're talking about how it used public resources to attempt to advance its political agenda," he said, an obvious reference to Brown's use of public funds to hire Sahl Communications to act as a propaganda machine for him.

McCluremakes a point, as Joanne Messenlehner,
Ken Kraft and wife Sandra listen.
"When we're talking about cronyism, we're talking about installing multiple, multiple employees throughout the county system that do not have the requisite qualifications to serve in the positions they're serving in." This is an obvious reference to Administrator Cathy Allen, who Brown appointed as his right hand despite having no education beyond high school and no experience in management of any kind. She is also a tax deainally was pubishedon 1/19/17 at 4:26pm,andhasbeen updated toincludepictures. dbeat at the wrong end of six tax liens and her home is in foreclosure.

"When we're talking about the callousness of the Brown administration, we're talking about the Brown administration and Council raising your taxes 10% while they were charging the taxpayer for meals and mileage reimbursements that they were not entitled to. That's what they thought of you. That's what they thought of the public. Ten percent tax increases for you, lunch and their mileage reimbursements to drive to work, not even between jobs." This is a reference to an attempt by Brown and Cathy Allen to force taxpayers to pay $1,500 for their meals and mileage, which was flagged by Controller Steve Barron.

Some of McClure's supporters
As another more recent example of what he called the callousness of the Brown administration, McClure cited the stonewalling that has gone on since the tragic death of 15 year-old Grace Packer. Her adopting mother, Sara Packer, was charged in a scheme that involved the rape, murder and dismemberment of this child. She had been a NorCo adoption supervisor. She was discharged in 2010, right before her then husband was charged with sexually abusing this child when she was only nine years old.

NorCo officials ignored multiple media requests for information, even after WFMZ-TV69 and NBC10 reported on the NorCo connection in late December. There was no attempt to reassure the public or defend employees in Children and Youth.

"The county administration has been very slow to explain how this alleged person involved in this horrible death was in charge of adoptions in this county. This Executive has yet to fully explain and put the people of Northampton County at ease with respect to what her role was, what she did, what cases she handled, and the people of Northampton County are entitled to an answer."

After pointing to what he called corruption, cronyism and callousness, McClure went on to say how he'd do things differently.

"We must protect our folks, we must preserve, and we must prosper."

Protection. - "Fundamentally, we're talking about our senior citizens," said McClure. He noted that seniors on fixed incomes must still pay property taxes as a result of the uniformity clause in the state constitution. Until that changes, McClure said that no one's property taxes will go up in the next four years. He also pledged that Gracedale would remain county-owned, and that the administration would be returned to the county. He will also create a task force to tackle the heroin and opioid crisis "and all the unnecessary deaths" this has caused.

Preservation. - McClure claimed that the Brown administration has "abandoned" the farmland preservation program. "Let me be clear, they have abandoned it," he said. "We will preserve farmland once again, and at the rate at which it has been previously preserved. He stressed that he also supports preservation of environmentally sensitive lands and other open space.

Prosper. - "No one knows what is going on in the Northampton County Office of Community and Economic Development," he said. "We don't see any jobs being created that are family sustaining."

He noted that the population is growing, but so is the average age. The result is a brain and labor drain.

"We must encourage our young people to stay home."

He will focus on high tech jobs and insist that 80% of all work be done by local labor.

This news conference was attended by all local media outlets except the Express Times. A reporter strolled by, but the announcement apparently interfered with lunch.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

McClueless is not a viable candidate. Dem's can't find anyone else?

Anonymous said...

I'm not the Express' defender in chief, but the courthouse Reporter has been covering a juicy murder trial, not attending press conferences. And the paper printed an internet story on this about an hour after your piece was posted. Lighten up.

Anonymous said...

I'm more interested in Fed Eds announcement, he's got some stones.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Covering a "juicy" murder case is not excuse for refusing to cover the largest government in NC, and one that provides you an office at taxpayer expense. I checked the story, which reports there will be an announcement, but there was no one there. The newspaper has simply abdicated a very basic responsibility it owes to the public in a democracy. It does not exist to spoon feed news releases. It exists to cover the news., If it can't do that, it should just go away. It just got around to covering the Packer story, too. I'll bet Brown loves you. Make sure you don't send anyone to tonight's meeting, or the HS Committee that precedes it. Might interfere with dinner.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I'm more interested in Fed Eds announcement, he's got some stones. "

That should be a very short race.

Anonymous said...

If the lvl is too busy with the murder trial put another body on the press conference. It is blocks away. Send Phony Rhodin up there to ask some high pitch questions. How hard can it be to traverse the four blocks to walk/drive to the courthouse?

Robert Trotner said...

4:32 and 4:37 pm. Indeed. I'm hearing the indictment will come down by very early February. Once he's out the race will really liven up. Look for Joshua Siegel to vault to the top of the pack.

Robert Trotner said...

&

Anonymous said...

Wow Bernie, you really are in the can for McClure. Did Morganelli spoon feed you these lines or did he just lead you on and let your hate of John Brown do the rest.
I love how you poetically claim that McClure didn't mention the death of his father when he decided not to run. We have all lost parents and it sucks, no question. That being said, no one believes for a minute that was the reason for anything. The guy barely won races in a Demo district against underfunded and unknown Republicans. He saw the polls and knew Cusick would have destroyed him in that race, so he did the politically smart thing and bowed out to mount this Executive race for two years. Hell a few of his supporters have said as much around town.
It is all academic. The guy ahs zero appeal and is not a county wide vote getter. Brown by 5 points.

Anonymous said...

It's the Presidential race all over again, 2 poor choices. Sorry to see some of those in attendance that I thought would be better candidates.

Anonymous said...

Would love to see a real Democratic alternative and not this union picked guy. The Dem's must have a real lack of good candidates for this guy to be the only one running.

Anonymous said...

Bush leaguer at best. LaMutt has two chances of winning - none and never. The pathetic "crowd" of supporters who showed up for his announcement is evidence of the lethargic Democrat party in the county. Barney Rubble would have a better chance of beating Brown the Clown.

Anonymous said...

I thought he served two terms that would be eight years? Is he padding his very think resume already?

Anonymous said...

Anybody but Brown and his cohorts on council. I'd even vote for Fed Ed or Carl Strye for County Executive before him.

Anonymous said...

McClure has really packed on the pounds. Guess his asbestos lawsuits have been very lucrative in supporting his fine dining.

Anonymous said...

This is a full-time job, right? He must have won a colossal asbestos lawsuit recently because this position would likely be a huge paycut and I don't understand why he would be interested in doing this. Having an interest in county government alone isn't enough.

Anonymous said...

@Robert Trotner. Joshua Siegel is interesting but no more kids with no real life experience. He's 22 and either just graduated or hasn't even graduated college yet. SOME work experience in some field unrelated to politics needs to be a bare min requirement voters should consider.

Same issue with Ben Long who ran for Schloss seat. Actually both Schloss and long never really had a job outside of politics or government?

Same thing with Justin Simmons right?... We need people who lived in the real world. A government paycheck is not the real world.

Anonymous said...

McClueless thinks his opposition is a bunch of deplorables. Just say no to the ambulance chasing goldbrick.

Demselle said...

Has anyone noticed how well County Council has been operating without LM in the house? He's smalltime county gridlock.

Bernie O'Hare said...

As someone who attends nearly every meeting, I can assure you that Council has not been operating well at all. If short meetings with no or little discussion is your idea of good government, you belong in a more authoritarian regime.

Anonymous said...

Lamont is starting to look like Jabba the Hutt. If this was a sumo wrestling contest he would beat Brown in a landslide.

Bernie O'Hare said...

When you debase yourself with these anonymous personal attacks, you only make him look good and Brown look bad. I am sure he thanks you. He can always drop weight, but ugly people are doomed to remain that way.

Anonymous said...

McClure better pray someone or more with county wide name recognition and some heft ends up running for council. He needs the game to be upped for the Dem's or they will be swarmed by the Republicans.

george schaller said...

I like that ugliness statement Bernie, ugliness can not be washed off nor covered with the sent of a disposable douch trying wash the ugliness of ones insides!

Anonymous said...

Are any of the people that ran four years ago going to run again this time?

Bernie O'Hare said...

So far as I know, Brown and the incumbent slate of five at-large Rs plan to run. Of the Ds, I believe Lori Vargo Heffner might give it a go, but she suffered a family loss recently and I am leaving her alone. Some other Ds are mulling a run, but are still undecided.

Anonymous said...

Anyone but Brown. Lamont is a terrible choice except when you consider the alternative..four more years of Allen and the Clown will sink us totally. Hold our noses and hope for the best...I guess. A Dem. executive could possibly help the situation even with all the R's who will regain their seats fairly easily. Exec. has some power and it could work. Balance of power and all that. Lori has a shot and it would be nice to see her at the table instead of Vaughn. The rest of the R's are safe as far as I can see right now.

Anonymous said...

Wow, can I have some of what 3:03 is smoking must be a Dem committee person or employee. Let us be clear. Lamont McClure on his own will lose the Executive race. The guy barely won his Dist4rict in the past. The last time he ran for Executive he came in third out of third in a Democratic primary. So the ideas that he can beat Brown while the five at large council Republicans can win easily is an exercise in cognitive dissidence. If they win easily, Brown wins by a landslide. Ms.Hefner ran in McClure's old District and got trumped by Cusick. So as a nice lady great but as a county wide candidate anchoring a slate, problematic. The Democratic leadership may love her but that is meaningless to voters.

The only hope McClure has is if he has some strong backing on the county council ticket. He should pray that a Seryfried, Heckman or Grucella run for County Council. Their name's at least will get countywide voters attention and give Lamont a chance. Of course ego as it is will probably make him listen to his inner circle tell him how easily he will win on his own. Four years ago I believe Benol came in fifth berating out Heckman by a few hundred votes. If McClure does manage to win he will need at least a few Dem's on Council to save his agenda. Four years ago the Hunter woman was the anointed savior of the Democrats and came in eight behind Heckman and Seyfried. So it is time to face reality if you are serious about winning. If this is just an exercise in anger and ego, then carry on. Delusional thinking can be nice.

He will really need help if the rumors that he is giving Kraft and Werner jobs is true, the Republicans will replace their seats with other Republicans and would be silly not to at least in District two.

The Old Oak Tree in Walnutport!

Anonymous said...

Your crystal ball is just as accurate as mine is. We shall see who is right and who is wrong...in the fall.

Anonymous said...

Ron Heckman could win this executive race. He should recruit a council ticket from the four corners of the county a mixture of experience like Grucela or Heller and some newcomers like Alicia Karner and Peter Melan

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have heard no rumors of jobs being offered to anyone. Also, it would be a bit absurd to offer the two Democrats on Council jobs and weaken his position. I suspect this rumor is actually disinformation or fake news designed to slur McClure and other Dems. I'd love to see a Heckman or Seyfried in there, but you will immediately label them as retreads. Also, your condemnation of Lori Vargo Heffner as being trounced by Cusick is a bit off. She garnered 46.49% of the vote in a conservative district. But I do not know if she is running and will wait to hear from her.

Norco Twink said...

Say what you will about Lil Stevie Blunder's questionable past and new association with the author of this blog the guy is rocking the goatee well and has slimmed down in recent months. Stevie if your reading this come out to the Green Door tuesday night for a party to remember!

Anonymous said...

Bernie, who knows what will happen. Suffice it to say four years ago with Callahan and a million phone calls and all kinds of Demo committee cheerleading the Republicans romped. I would agree that without any real countywide name recognition in an off year election McClure faced a real uphill battle. One of the other people with well known names and wins would be better but they aren't running

So forget about all the phone calls and all the usual political stuff, if the Democrats are serious about winning county wide they need to find a Republican to run in Bethlehem for something in the Fall. Without that race, the Republican county will run wild over a laxadasical Democrat turnout in Bethlehem. Facts are facts.

Anonymous said...

9:50 you are right on the money. Lamont is a weak candidate who came in third in the last primary. Callahan tried to drive turn out last election but with no races in Bethlehem or Easton it is tough to win county wide. He even had a pretty strong slate of Dems running for council but they all lost. The fact that Trump just won Northampton does not look good for the D's in the future. Brown is terrible and could be beat but do not think Lamont is the guy.

Anonymous said...

Please..someone..anyone..challenge Loser Lamont..in the Dem. party primary. The county is now red! There has to be another candidate with a vision that can energize the dormant voting base of the party. Lamont is not that person and he never was that person. The unions will not be enough to turn this county around. They will support the party nominee. the party faithful are waiting for the person we can get behind and be proud of and want to work for and be proud of as party standard bearer.

Anonymous said...

I think you're going to get your wish stay tuned