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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, February 13, 2017

Desert Storm, Desert Shield Marine To Seek BT Comm'r Slot

John Merhottein is a Marine who served his country during Desert Storm and Desert Shield. He then became a computer programmer, loss prevention manager and project manager. He married, has a family and has live in Bethlehem Township for the past ten years. Now he would like to be a Commissioner representing the fourth word. That ward is currently represented by Pat Breslin, who has apparently decided to call it quits after one term.

John is a Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and an elected Northampton County Republican Committee member.

His campaign will focus on the following issues that include fiscal conservatism, government transparency, the inclusion of public input on all matters, expenses cut when and where possible, as well as insisting the Bethlehem Area Library increase its services to the township.

On his webpage, he gives a pretty good explanation of what prompted him to run.

"When I heard our taxes were going to go up 37% in 2016, I thought I should go to the budget meetings and find out why. It was interesting to see what budget items residents supported and the ones they were against.

"I wanted to continue to go to the Board of Commissioners meetings, so I had an understanding of what was going on in our township. I found myself enjoying the workings of the township & I liked sharing that information with my neighbors.

"In July of 2016, the Board was presented with a vote to repair the community center for 2.7 million dollars. How could this be? A 10-year-old building that needed almost 3 million dollars of repairs? I wanted answers! I asked my questions to the board and didn't get my answers. Needless to say, I was upset leaving that meeting.

"The more I thought about it and realized that screaming at the board wasn't going to be very productive, and I thought 'What could I do to make a difference?' Thinking about the passionate debate during both the budget and community center meetings, I reached out to Commissioner Malissa Davis with an idea. Could we break down the budget and community center statistics into snapshots? Could we see the number of people that used the community center and library? Anything that a resident wanted, could we get is added to a dashboard? During my first meeting with Commissioner Davis, she asked Melissa Shafer the township Manager to join us. I could not believe how open to suggestions they were. Thanks to Melissa and her staff, the first dashboard was published in October of 2016. It is a work in progress and one I will continue to help grow.

"My goal with the dashboard was to get the information in the hands of the residents and Commissioners, so they could see where their tax dollars and township resources were being spent and as a township have an intelligent discussion.

"Transparency in government is great for the residents and the Board. It allows them and us to make informed decisions. Hopefully, the dashboard will mature into something that has everything a resident could want. I would be honored to take the lead and have a transparent Bethlehem Township. My first task would be to keep working on that dashboard and get the facts and figures to the township residents, Commissioners and township employees.

"Attending the Commissioners meetings has also enlightened me to other issues in the township such as storm water, traffic, and development.

"I have no special interests. I will always put residents concerns first. I will be accessible via email, Facebook, my website, phone or in person. If you have a question, concern or problem, I promise to get you an answer as soon as possible.

"I'm not a politician. I'm like the majority of you, a guy with a family who plans to live in the township for a significant number of years. I love our town and my neighborhood and want it to be the best it could be."


Anonymous said...

"dashboards" -- really? whats that? millennial speak? "library" -- been around for decades, have fun fighting that war when you try to take it away. there are lots of people in the Township that love and support the library and the others really don't care. "transparency" -- that Township is as transparent as law and good government would allow. their manager has done almost everything possible except for announcing every time the Township is about to mow lawns and whether the public is ok with that. how about this as a platform -- plow the streets, pave the streets, pick up the trash on the side of the roads, keep a lid on crime, no tax increases and work with what you have, keep crime low, fix the community center and stop spending money on gimmicky things!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a guy we need on county council!

Anonymous said...

Breslin made a wise choice not to run.

X said...

Ya gotta get up early in the morning to think out of the box against 6:51 AM's logic! These advertismentalists that think a gaget is better than word of mouth that is similar to the Honda sale pitch with the car that sells itself.
There seems to be no mention of those that fight everyday right here on American soil never having the satisfaction of comming close to the political pandering that goes on to sell the public out! This in no way is not a Thank You to all that serve in America's military!
REpublican redd
humanist by design

Bernie O'Hare said...

" there are lots of people in the Township that love and support the library and the others really don't care."

As I read through his webpage, my understanding is that Merhottein supports the library, but wants better service in his community. It is a fair point.

As for the dashboard talk, that is bureaucratese, I agree. It is from the private sector.Brown talks like that in NC and is as nontransparent as they come.

Anonymous said...

You have my vote just on being a parent with youth, something that is missing on this current board. A voice for the youth in the township! Continued support for the library and all youth organizations in the township.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am quite impressed by what I saw on his webpage and from what I've seen of him at meetings. He pretty much does nail my requirements of transparency and accountability, and though I would not call it a "dashboard," I like his effort to put government finances in perspective. I admire trying to make the library more responsive to the needs of BT. He reminds me a bit of former Comm'rs Jerry Bachta and Paul Weiss. Conservative, but open.

Anonymous said...

If someone would just announce a candidacy to run against Hudak.

Anonymous said...

Pat Breslin is supposed to be on the Guenther show tomorrow 2/15 at 940am to supposedly explain how/why he believes the Township is wasting money. Should be interesting, but I'm guessing the usual suspects: community center and the Bethlehem library.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'd like Breslin to explain if he really lives where he says he does. I'd also like to know why he brays away on WAEB but never says a word during meetings.

Anonymous said...

Pat Breslin has been a Commissioner for nearly 4 years. How can he complain about wasting money when he is on the Board that spends the money? I recall he was actually President of that Board. If there is waste, its his fault. Agree with Bernie, where does Breslin really live? Why does he not provide copies of his tax returns over the past three or so years to prove his place of residence suppported by a copy of drivers license? That should do it!

Anonymous said...

I listened to it. He came off as kinda clueless, offering few details, and Gunther took advantage of it. His main complaint seemed to be that the Township "shouldn't be in the gym business." Complained about the Housenick mansion (which I actually agree with him, it is a money pit and should be sold off to the highest bidder) along with the proposed trail around it. He also felt that RFP's should be issued for things like outside engineering services, but when Gunther pushed him, he couldn't even define what RFP stands for.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'll give it a listen tonight.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, would love your thoughts if you listened to Breslin. I thought it was painful....

Bernie O'Hare said...

I did listen. It was horrible! It was also quite dishonest. He presented himself as some kind of conservative champion when the truth is that he just sits there during meetings. He failed to come up with a single idea when pressed, and was unable to explain what an RPF is. If he is not running for office, I will let this go and say good riddance. But of he is, he really needs to be taken to task.