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Monday, January 23, 2017

Ray O'Connell Formally Enters Crowded Mayor's Race



Before a group of over 200 supporters crowded into Jack's Slice Restaurant at the Allentown Municipal Golf Course on Sunday afternoon, City Council President Ray O'Connell announced his candidacy for Mayor. His supporters included State Rep. Danny McNeill, all members of City Council and Controller Jeff Glazier. It included city watchdogs like Lou Hershman and Glenn Hunsicker. It included businessman like Joe Clark, Michael O'Brien, Don Ringer and Jeff Vaughan (father of basketball standouts Jay and Sam Vaughan). It included the Chamber's Miriam Huertas, along with community activist Ce-Ce Gerlach. In a city paralyzed by a federal political corruption investigation aimed at incumbent Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski, it was a remarkably refreshing event attended by people of very diverse backgrounds. O'Connell said he was "humbled" by the crowd, and thanked Frank's Slice for letting him use the restaurant to kick off his campaign while Danny McNeill joked that Fed Ed would send the fire marshal to close them down.

The two-term Council member, elected unanimously as Council President three times, is running to restore integrity to Allentown. He said he would "answer all questions from city residents," not just a special few. He also wants to bring community pride back to a city that people are "almost embarrassed" to call their home. He wants to improve the morale of city employees, which he said is at an "all-time low."

His priorities include public safety and a crackdown on those who violate quality of life issues like double parking, noise violations and littering.

He wants the city to "grow our own." This is no reference to urban gardening, but an attempt to garden future police officers, firefighters and EMTs from the ranks of seniors at William Allen, Dieruff and Central Catholic High Schools. He said that could be done through a co-op program where a student spends half a day in school and half a day in training.

He would take on out-of-town landlords who have blighted the city and who couldn't care less about the tenants.

He is well aware that, as goes the school district, so goes the City. "The city is only as strong as the school district, the school district is only as strong as the city."

Hw would strengthen the City's ethics ordinances, crediting Jeannette Eichenwald and Julio Guridy for their work on city contracts.

He would form a task force to review the City's park system, saying there should be neighborhood playgrounds. "A child at 5th and Liberty shouldn't have to go to Ott and Hamilton to go to a playground," he said. "The kids are our future. Old-timers like me will eventually go away. The kids are our future and we'll have to build upon the kids."

Though he's running as a Democrat, O'Connell said Republicans can write him in as well.

The race is a crowded field that includes Democrats Sam Bennett, David Jones, Charlie Thiel, Joshua Siegel and Nathan Woodring. The race also includes incumbent Fed Ed, who is in the race despite a looming federal indictment and a political corruption investigation that has already ensnared three former city officials, his campaign manager, and two businessmen who have admitted paying bribes in exchange for favorable action. They have all pleaded guilty and are currently scheduled for sentencing in late January and early February.

Prominent developer Nat Hyman has switched parties because he is so embarrassed by Pawlowski and is running as a Republican.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank God there are choices. Anyone but Bennett is alive and well. She is even less popular than Hillary Clinton.

Anonymous said...

The more Democrats enter the primary, the higher the odds that Pawlowski will get the nomination. People tend to vote for name recognition, and Ed's been the mayor for over a decade. Most people don't know who these others are and as the crowd gets bigger, the noise gets louder.

Especially Ed's base of support, who know that as long as Ed is Mayor, they get their public assistance. It's quite likely Ed could get as low as 20% of the vote and win the primary. Which means he's mayor for another term.

Anonymous said...

@12:40 As much as I dislike Pawlowski, I'd vote for him over Bennett in a New York minute without thinking twice about it.

Anonymous said...

Also, for all of you who think that the Federal Attorney is going to issue any criminal indictments against Pawlowski, don't hold your breath. The reality here is small-town corruption doesn't take two years to investigate and prosecute. Ed is no Hillary Clinton with a weaving of criminality that is highly complex and difficult to pin down. The FBI can get the goods on him relatively quickly, and they may have some evidence against him along with witnesses for the prosecution.

After nearly two years of investigating Ed, and putting him through an investigative wringer, it appears that whatever evidence the FBI has gathered against Ed may be enough to indict him, as the U. S. Attorney has to convict him on the evidence the FBI has gathered. And the Justice Department is loath to prosecute unless they are reasonably sure they can get a conviction. I don't believe that level of evidence is forthcoming, and if they prosecute him with what they have, Ed may very well walk.

Anonymous said...

If they have been a part of this corruption ridden administration they should be hanging their heads in shame. This went on under YOUR watch and you failed the citizens of Allentown. Nice is good, but no one attached to this administration has done their job.

Bernie O'Hare said...

2:48, You are part of a generation used to having what you want when you want it. Federal investigations do not work that way. The feds will indict when they are ready to indict, but mark my words, they will indict.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Especially Ed's base of support, who know that as long as Ed is Mayor, they get their public assistance"

This base of support is the crony capitalist, and that has been pulled out from under Fed Ed. They have to look elsewhere, and will be leery about giving money to anyone in this atmosphere. From what I saw yesterday, Ray has a very large base of support from many different segments of the community. Plus, I expect that Fed Ed will be indicted very soon.

Anonymous said...

First, the federal investigation into Fed Ed is not completed because new doors have opened up during it. Second, Fed Ed's pivot to the minorities will fail. They don't vote as a block or come out to vote. Third, just as the national election, the people are fed up with the political nonsense and will come out to vote for a non-establishment candidate. Fourth, even though Mr. McConnell is an honorable man, I can't forget how quiet he was on city council when the rotund one ruled through his bought and paid for political proxies on it.

Whoever projects themselves as an anti-establishment candidate has the best chance!

Bernie O'Hare said...

You condemn O'Connell (not McConnell) for failing to speak out sooner. Yet you don't even say who you are. If you are interested in integrity, you should really ID yourself. By your reasoning, no one can really run.

Anonymous said...

@7:25 "Whoever projects themselves as an anti-establishment candidate has the best chance!"

That may work with Republicans. With the Democrats it's who comes with the cash that has the best chance.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Fed Ed's indictment has been your wet dream for two years. Not going to happen. You will have to find another shady politician to obsess on.

Anonymous said...

The picture you have here is really outdated as 3/7 people are no longer on Council. There are no current pictures of all seven city council members? And why isn't Jeff Glazier biting or picking at his fingernails as he usually does during council meetings in his role as controller?

Canary_In_Coalmine said...

Can Pawlowski continue to run for Mayor while under indictment but not yet convicted?

If Pawlowski wins, and then pleads or gets convicted, who becomes Mayor?

Anonymous said...

@9:40 "Can Pawlowski continue to run for Mayor while under indictment but not yet convicted?" Both yes and no.

Yes, he can continue to serve as mayor as he has the presumption of innocence unless he is convicted of "something".

If indicted, he can also be removed as mayor by City Council. Probably by a majority vote.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Fed Ed cannot be removed from office except in accordance with the state constitution. City Council has no power to remove him, notwithstanding the Charter.

Anonymous said...

Except Ce Ce Gerlach over the weekend with Rays approval violated state and local ethics mandates by emailing all the ASD employees with Ray's flyer telling them to come meet Allentown's next mayor. Jeez this guy is always turning his head when corruption raises its head. FedEd lite

george schaller said...

Bernie,
Which fire marshal of fed eds collectivity would show up with hands as soft as feminine genitailia?

Anonymous said...

Your video features a picture of Jeanette Eichenwald. I thougfht she was supporting Bennett.

Anonymous said...

Not all some

Bernie O'Hare said...

12:46, So far as I know, Jeanette supports Sam. The purpose of posting that pic is to show that O'Connell can work with Council. I should have used a more recent picture.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Except Ce Ce Gerlach over the weekend with Rays approval violated state and local ethics mandates by emailing all the ASD employees with Ray's flyer telling them to come meet Allentown's next mayor. Jeez this guy is always turning his head when corruption raises its head. FedEd lite"

Your name is? I have no idea whether Gerlach, who is a partisan, emailed all ASD employees. If she did, she better be emailing them at their home and not school addresses. Also, an email from a school director to an employee can be construed as coercion. If she did this, she probably violated a policy adopted by the school district. But I certainly don't know that she did what you say she did, and I have no idea whether O'Connell knew about it. I suspect you don't know, either.

I do know Ray is a former administrator there so he is getting a lot of support from them bc they liked him.

Anonymous said...

Ask her if she did it, and it was district email not personal.

Anonymous said...

I just asked an ASD employee and he received no such email.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:38, Instead I'll ask you to ID yourself. I am always suspicious when people piously pronounce on the ethics of others, but lack the personal integrity to say who they are. It is no secret that there is friction between Gerlach and Thiel. It is entirely within the realm of possibilities that he or one of his supporters cooked up this false accusation to smear them both. And to be clear,I am not accusing him either and have no reason to believe anything but the best of him, but this is what crosses my mind when there are so many candidates. Or it could be Fed Ed,who never took kindly to Gerlach's criticisms. I am actually more suspicious of you than I am concerned about what I believe to be a false accusation. I have been highly critical of Gerlach in prior posts, and some say unfairly, but am not going to ask her to deny an anonymous accusation with no foundation. Besides, she's not running for Mayor.

Amy H said...

Cece has it on her Facebook as an event to meet ray occonnell as the next mayor. I like what he is saying about the school district and its importance to the city. Lots of candidates to choose from.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks, Amy. That is completely ethical.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

If you want to attack someone on the basis of her name, provide your own until that time, I'll call you the name that applies-Asshole.

Anonymous said...

I am more concerned about your use of Talek "The Real Deal" Williams in Ray's "promo" video! Perhaps Talek prefers another candidate (doubtful)!!! I surely hope he displays his anger with another 360 jam against your CCHS Vikings! (Your grandson played a good game that day)

Bernie O'Hare said...

Fortunately he does not know where I live. Allen's basketball program is a thing of beauty. Although I did not like losing to them, that team is drawing huge crowds and instilling pride in that school's students.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for those who continue to suffer under the mayors vindictive reign of terror.
He's not a nice man.

Iman Trek said...

So where is the coverage on the new superintendent of ASD???

Bernie O'Hare said...

As I have explained many times, I don't generally do school districts. They are too complicated, speak a language I don't understand, and i am only familiar with catholic schools. I will refund your subscription.

Iman Trek said...

lol....no problem. I can eat the subscriptionloss Bernie!!! How is it any less complicated than feded??


Bernie O'Hare said...

Your refund is in the mail. School districts really ARE complicated. First, they speak a different language i have never been able to translate. Second, every one of them is so different. It's often hard to tell whether it is the teachers who are out of line or the students and their parents or the administrators. Then there are always anti-tax groups. I can think of nothing more important than education, and the whole dynamic completely mystifies me. I am a product of catholic schools as are my children,so i really do find the whole process quite complicated.

Iman Trek said...

well said man. thank you for esponding Bernie. it is a mess...