Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Bryan Callahan Seeks Second Term in Bethlehem
In 2015, I told you that a review of Bryan's campaign finances showed that 31% of his contributions between 2013 and 20015 came from unions, developers, engineers and others with a vested interest in the Bethlehem’s CRIZ, TIF or other city-sponsored projects. In 2016, an off-election year, he raised another $18,325.00, and this time, 74% of his funding came from the same crony capitalists.
Last year, he said he was "proud" to vote for a new parking garage in South Bethlehem, which did have widespread support. What he failed to say is that he also accepted $1,000 from the Benners, who are developing the office building next door. He also took $9,000 from the trade unions who will build that garage.
At a time when the Bethlehem citizenry is acutely sensitive of pay-to-play in local politics, and two Council members have actually proposed reforms, Callahan's campaign finance is disappointing, to say the least.
Today, I am proud to announce that I am seeking re-election to Bethlehem City Council. Four Years ago, I chose to run on a simple platform; Keep our City growing, Keep our neighborhoods clean and safe and Keep our taxes low. While we have made great strides in each of these areas, I believe there is more work to do. “I am passionate about Bethlehem. I look forward to working for the residents of Bethlehem and keeping Bethlehem a great place to live, work and visit.”
Callahan portrays himself as a financial watchdog. He points out he was the lone no vote for a property tax increase in 2016. In 2017, he claims that he fought for a tax decrease. What he fails to say is that he failed. Once again, he was the sole No vote. "I supported additional transparency efforts on the way we spend your tax dollars and ways to reduce and streamline our city government," he claims. What transparency efforts? I wish he were a bit more transparent about what exactly he did. Whatever they are, he claims his efforts "helped the City’s Bond rating rise from BBB+ to AAA- with a positive outlook."
He said that he will "continue to push for the redevelopment of the old Bethlehem Steel property, the Martin Tower site and infill development throughout our City. By growing our tax base, we all win."
And he collects more campaign dollars.
He claims he was "most proud to spearhead the effort to create an Italian Festival as a tribute to my late wife."
He lives in downtown Bethlehem. "Living in the heart of the downtown has allowed me to experience the vibrancy of our City from a unique point of view," he says."Bethlehem really is a special place." I agree.
I've been highly critical here of many of things Bryan says and has done. I really wish he would tone down the money from groups and people who are looking for something.. I wish they' all tone it down. But if truth be told, he is at heart a very gentle soul who wants what is best for Bethlehem.
I know he really pissed off merchants during the Martin Tower debate, but it's hard to stay mad at him.
Callahan has largely been ineffectual in his first term. He sometimes seems to forget why he's there. But I'd vote for him. He reminds me of an athlete who can't seem to get anything right.You begin to wonder why the coach is even playing him. Then all of a sudden, everything clicks. I think Bryan has great potential, and on his own merit.
He's a starter.
Callahan is a teacher at Freedom High School and is the older brother of former Mayor John Callahan.
He's currently on the bench, but should be a starter, too.
According to The Express Times, Eric Evans also announced today that he is seeking re-election, too. Though I received a notice from Callahan, I received nothing from Eric. After he reads what i write about Bryan, I doubt I'll get one.
I'm unaware of anyone else seeking these offices, which is bad for democracy.