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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, May 22, 2017

Meanwhile ... in the People's Republic of Allentown

From Local 302: Ladder Truck #1 out of service out of the city for repairs. Ladder Truck #2 Out of Service broke down on a call. Engine 11 a 75' quint acting as the Aerial truck. The City is growing and reliable fire trucks are a must. This again highlights the absolute necessity for a Replacement Plan and a new Fleet Services Contact. Call the Mayor and let him know this is unacceptable.
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Bath's Spending Problem Has Nothing To Do With Police Protection

About 70 attend a Bath Town Hall over regional police
Over the weekend, there actually was a town hall without a Congressman. Close to 70 Bath residents braved a rainy Saturday morning to meet at Social Hall, guzzling coffee and munching Dunkin' Donuts. They were there to discuss Bath's continued participation in Colonial Regional Police Department (CRPD). "This place should be packed," complained State Representative Marica Hahn. But to draw 70 people for a weekend meeting about government in a tiny borough of just 2,700 people, is pretty remarkable. At the front of the room was a 15-person police advisory commission, who have been studying CRPD's future in Bath for several months. At the rear were several police officers, along with Chief Roy Seiple, who will be directly impacted by that decision. It's a question of money. It's also a question of public safety.

CPRD, first formed in 1995, is a regional police department that covers Hanover and Lower Nazareth Tp, along with Bath. In 2001, it became the first regional police department in the state to become accredited. It includes 24 police officers. Civilian oversight is provided by a six-person commission, with two members from each of the member municipalities.

Bath has been around a bit longer than CPRD. Settled in 1728, it's a borough consisting of 0.9 square miles and a $1.8 million budget. According to the state Department of Community and Economic Development, it is at least $1 million in debt, with much of that money ($380,000) having been borrowed in just the last year. Its 2017 budget includes nearly $128,000 in debt service. It is nearing its debt limit. Some of the reasons can be gleaned from Borough Manager Bradford Flynn's 2017 Budget Message:
  1. Last year, the Borough decided to purchase the "Thirst Quenchers" building to serve as a new municipal center. That alone will cost $425,000, to say nothing of at least $250,000 in renovations that will follow. 
  2. Legal fees in a borough that serves just 2,700 people have doubled. Forty-one thousand dollars have been budgeted for this year. With a straight face, Borough Manager Brad Flynn justifies this so that the borough can catch up on its codifications. 
  3. In the course of one year, Bath's three-person public works department resigned, and now borough officials are dealing for the first time with a union.
It's a borough with both a spending and a morale problem. Flynn's solution is to dump the one thing the borough appears to be doing well, i.e. protecting the public. He wants to eliminate the CRPD. A manager who thought nothing of borrowing near the limit and who didn't blink an eye when legal fees doubled, was very incensed that the cost of police coverage went up five percent, from $398,000.00 in 2016 to $416,000.00 in 2017. "This increase in cost will prompt upcoming discussions with the Colonial Regional Police Commission about the Borough’s seat at the table and to what future extent," he huffed, in his October 2016 budget message.

Repeated assurances were made on Saturday that "Nothing has been decided." That's window dressing. Flynn's October 2016 Budget Message tells a much different story. It is he, a person who wants to rid the borough of its police protection, who then prepared the "informational" packet that even criticizes CRPD for its "Shop with Cops" program.

Mayor Fiorella Mirabito called CRPD "top notch" and appears to be one person who wants them to stay. But she has no say in this matter, unless there's a tie.

Borough officials claim they've made no decision, either, and then refused to allow Chief Seiple and other CRPD officers to refute the findings in Flynn's so-called "informational" packet. Seiple and others complained that opinions were mislabeled as facts, and facts were misrepresented. As things would get heated, one or another member of the panel would stand up and repeatedly state how much they want to hear from the public.

The longest speeches in a meeting that was ostensibly set up to hear from the public, of course, came from members of the advisory commission. Attorney Beth Beers went on at length. "If we truly believe that we need to go to a different service because we can afford that, it's because we believe we will have the correct and appropriate police service for the Borough of Bath."

Beers insisted that they were not looking for a bargain, though the "informational" packet makes clear that is precisely what they are doing.Moore Tp can provide police protection at a cheaper price with a department that has less manpower and is not accredited. The state police will do it for nothing, if you don't mind waiting an hour for them to respond to a complaint about someone looking in your window.

Most of these harangues would follow a statement by a Bath resident expressing concern about public safety. At least half of those at this meeting appeared to support CRPD.

After Flynn suggested that Bath has no drug problem, a woman named Helen said that "where I live, drugs are a problem. We've had drug busts right across the street from us."

"Do you know how many meth labs were busted on Old Forge over the last two years?"asked one gentleman.

Another asked borough officials whether they have considered allowing themselves to be swallowed up by a government that can provide public safety. A borough that claims to be on the brink of financial disaster and wants to shed its police department has not even considered that possibility.

Chief Seiple noted that Bath pays about 12% of the CRPD budget and gets about 15% of the services. Though borough officials attempted to shut him down, he was plainly irritated at how "Shop with Cops" was misrepresented by Flynn.

"'Shop with Cops' is a program where we solicit donations for underprivileged children within our three jurisdictions to provide them with a Christmas. We give them each $500 and pick them up and go out to Wal Mart. That's a heckuva' program. Eighty per cent, if you want a number, of the kids we pick up for this program are from the Borough of Bath."

As Bath officials should know, truck traffic in the Lehigh Valley and Bath is expected to double over the next ten years. Like it or not, and it's mostly not, the big boxes cometh. Under these conditions, it would be sheer lunacy for the borough to rid itself of a police department that actually is certified to do truck safety inspections

In January, a bank robber in downtown Bath was apprehended by CRPD within a mile of his crime. How long would it take state police to respond? Or Moore Tp?

Instead of shedding CRPD, Borough Council might want to consider eliminating what appears to be its real problem, a spend-happy borough manager who hopes to solve this problem by eliminating CRPD and replacing it with ... whatever. He could them participate himself in "Shop with Cops," but does not live in Bath.

This discussion will continue this evening when the Colonial Regional Police Commission meets at 7 pm.

Friday, May 19, 2017

NorCo Council Approves $6 MM Food Service Contract at Jail

Corrections Director Dan Keen
In a unanimous vote during their May 18 meeting, Northampton County Council approved a new, $6 million food service contract at the jail with GD Correctional Services. The contract is for a period of three years, with two one-year extensions. GD, the food service at nine other penal institutions, was selected as the low bidder among four firms submitting proposals.

Though $6 million is a lot of money, Corrections Director Dan Keen told Council that it comes down to $1.30 per meal per inmate. That's less money than the $1.42 per meal currently being paid and is less than the $1.40 proposed by the next highest proposal. It's also a 2,900-calorie diet, an increase over the current 2,500.

Keen said GD has a "good meal selection," and added it is "very important to have a good meal for the inmates."  He told me after the meeting that nutritionists will prepare diets for people like me, who have food allergies.

"How are the deserts?" wondered Fiscal Affairs Director Jim Hunter. Keen offered to take both of us on a tour, but I turned him down,knowing it was just a trick to get me down there so they could throw me in the hole and force feed me food loaf.

Keen admitted that there is food loaf, but it is only given to inmates who are disciplinary problems.

In other business, Council unanimously approved seven open space grants for projects at municipal parks Matt Dietz and his open space committee reviewed each request and recommended approval.      

Bushkill Tp - $45,256 for a stone trail around a fishing pond at Heintzelman Park, located along West Beil Avenue and High Street. The grant also includes a parking facility, landscaping, signage and other park amenities.

Roseto - $14,435.89 for the rehabilitation of Roseto Park. This includes the relacement of park benches and a concrete walkway.

Tatamy - $20,202.53 for the construction and extension of Tatamy Trail, including a pavilion,picnic tables, benches and landscaping.

Bangor - $21,884.54 for the opening of a road access to Market Street from Eisenhart Blvd at Memorial Park.

Washington Tp - $58,221.09 for improvements at Washington Tp Recreation Complex that include a dog park and a disc golf course.

Bethlehem Tp - $86,779.50 to replace the playground at Comer Park, including safety surfacing around the playground.

Palmer Tp.- $347,473.42 for natural sod athletic field at the Chrin Community Center, together with parking sidewalks and a new western entrance.

Ken Kraft's Good Side

Ken Kraft is a member of NorCo County Council. I criticize him all the time on this blog, but that's nothing compared to what I say to him in person.  I think this would be perfect for his next election.

Hanover Tp To Celebrate Armed Forces Day This Saturday

Hanover Township, Northampton County is hosting their Armed Forces Day event on Saturday, May 20 at 10 AM at Armed Services Park (Hanoverville Road and Route 512). LTC Timothy A. Brooks of the PA National Guard will provide remarks for the occasion. I encourage all to attend and join in honoring those who have served and continue to serve our great nation.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

NorCo HR Director Had No License at Time of her Accident

NorCo Human Resources Director Amy Trapp has come under fire recently for excessive spending on things like gift cards for her pets, an $800 popcorn machine, trips by her staff to Las Vegas and New Orleans and using the county credit card, called a P-card, to buy lunches for her staffers taxpayer expense, even though they are eating at the courthouse and meals are only authorized when an employee is 50 miles away from the courthouse. Controller Steve Barron prepared a detailed memo outlining his concerns and suggesting that perhaps Council should approve all overnight travel when it is 100 or more miles away. Several Council members seemed to appreciate Barron's report, but Benol wants our Controller strung by his thumbs from the courthouse cupola, then drawn and quartered.

Two weeks ago, Trapp attempted to justify her spending at a Council meeting, with the complete support of Executive John Brown. Her husband, who looks like a reject from Duck Dynasty, accompanied her. I thought he was there for moral support but now think he was actually her driver. Wearing a band aid across her nose, she prefaced her remarks with the following: "I had an unfortunate run-in with someone who, not only ran into, but drove away from my car. The good news is that I get a new car, and I'm OK." Everyone felt sorry for her and wished her the best. Even I felt bad for her.

But I have since learned that Trapp only told part of the story. She has actually been charged as a result of that accident, both with changing lanes unsafely and driving without a valid license.

Maybe that's why she was trying out a hoverboard.

Though the citations issued to her explain her options quite clearly, she nevertheless felt she had to contact the court administrator's office to discuss those options. Though that office assured me it felt no pressure in any way from you, I believe it certainly looks as though she was fishing around for a favor.

This isn't Allentown, Amy.

I sought Trapp's side of the story, both by email and telephone call. Late this afternoon, she sat 10' from me at a meeting. She offered no explanation.

Bushkill Cop Charged With Covering Up Wife's Affair With a Minor

Keith Transue, who identifies himself on his Facebook page as a school resource and police officer with Bushkill Township, has been charged with witness intimidation, failing to report child abuse and obstruction of justice in Monroe County. Unsecured bail in the amount of $25,000 has been set by Magisterial District Judge Phillip Riley. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for June 8.

In addition to being a Bushkill Township police officer, Transue also serves on the Mount Pocono Borough Council.

It's a strange case. According to PaHomePage, Transue's wife Robin is alleged to have had sex with a 14 year-old boy six years ago. Instead of reporting it, he covered it up. He took the boy's cell phone, which contained incriminating information, then convinced the boy's parents not to go to the police.

Things got even more bizarre when Robin allegedly hired a hitman to kill her husband. She is supposed to have wanted him eliminated because he threatened to expose her.  

She's been charged, too, both with sexual assault and soliciting murder.

Keith Transue has been placed on administrative leave from his job at Bushkill Township.

Cartwright Secures Grant for Palmer Tp Firefighters

Last week, US Congressman was able to secure a grant for Lower Mount Bethel's Sandt's Eddy Fire Co. This week, he's snagged another one for the Palmer Tp Municipal Fire Station. It's $57,444 for $57,444 Operations and Safety grant. The funds will allow the fire company to purchase supply and attack hoses, including 192 couplings and related equipment. These purchases will improve fire operations and fire safety and will enable them to better serve their community.

“Our nation’s firefighters are called upon day after day to protect American citizens,” said Rep. Cartwright, a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “As these brave men and women put themselves in harm’s way, we must ensure they are equipped with the best tools possible to do their jobs well, and today’s grants will help meet that goal.”

Someone ought to give Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski this message.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fed Ed Gets Dem Nod With Four Percent

When my father was defeated in his bid for re-election as NorCo DA, radio stations  were still providing independent news coverage. So it was a radio reporter who stuck a microphone in my Dad's face to ask for his reaction. "The people have spoken," said my slightly inebriated father. "Fuck 'em."

It would be hard to blame Ray O'Connell or any of he other disappointed Mayoral candidates from feeling that way. But we live in a nation in which a scant plurality, as opposed to a real majority, can decide who leads them. So despite a federal investigation into Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski for political corruption, Democrats have chosen him as the party's nominee for a fourth term as Mayor.

Fed Ed cited his victory as proof that no dark cloud hangs over Allentown. But the reality is that he was chosen by just 1,734 of approximately 42,000 registered Democrats. Four percent of the City's Democrats decided for the other 96%.

Some blame the crowded field of seven candidates as making Fed Ed's nomination inevitable. But it's really a flaw in our winner-take-all system, which fails to provide for Instant-runoff voting (IRV). That's a voting method used in single-seat elections when there are more than two candidates. If voters ranked candidates in order of preference. Though this method is used in several counties and even in our Oscar selections, Maine is the sole state to provides for instant run-offs.

A more simple solution would be a second round of voting, limited to the top two candidates.

The Republican Mayoral primary was much more of a mandate for Nat Hyman. He garnered 1,422 voter to Luiz Garcia's 667.

So unless he's dragged out of office, kicking and screaming, Fed Ed will face Hyman in November. It is the worst possible result

Other disasters. Amy Zanelli, aka the Chicken Lady, cruised to victory in the Lehigh County Commissioner's race for We these constant attacks tiresome andcounterproductiveandwill be ignoring him from this point. st Bathlehem and Allentown's East Side over Dennis Pearson and Basilio Bonilla. Far few voters know her history. She will face Bob Smith, a man who suffered nearly fatal injuries when he broke the fallofa troubled teen who tried to commit suicide and hurled herself off a roof.

Easton voters went with incumbents Sandra Vulcano and Jim Edinger over Taiba Sultana and Terrence Miller

Silver linings. Alicia Zito and Vivian Zumas, both of whom captured the nomination of both parties for Magisterial District Judge slots in the slate belt and  east Bethlehem.

Tracy Magnotta,who won in the Saucon Valley School Board race.

Bob Cartwright, who fought off an attempt to remove him from the Bangor School Board, has survived on the Republican ballot.

Matt Dees survived an ugly attempt by Tricia Mezzacappa to knock him off the Democratic ballot in West Easton. She will be on the Republican ballot, but only captured 24 votes, about half as many as four years ago.

I'll have more to say tomorrow. I spent a long day yesterday as an election judge and need a little time to recharge my batteries.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Allentown Firefighters Using Pick-Up Truck Again

From Local 302 Allentown International Association of Firefighters: "This is a glaring indictment of Mayor Ed Pawlowski and his cronies' mismanagement of the City of Allentown.

"We have come full circle. Just 3 short weeks ago Rescue Engine 9 had to run out of a pickup truck do to the lack of a fleet replacement plan. Rescue Engine 9 is out of service again as well as the reserve Engine they changed in to. Once again our center city Rescue Engine is running out of a pickup.

"Mayor Ed Pawlowski said it was a Political Stunt and "Nonsense", he even found it humorous. He has proven he cannot handle the Public Safety Crisis Allentown is in. The citizens and Firefighters are fed up with the Mayor not taking our safety seriously.

"Once again call the Mayor's office and tell him enough is enough!"

My previous stories:

4/14: Fed Ed Has Allentown Firefighters Use Pick-Up as Engine Truck.

4/19: Allentown Ladder Truck Breaks Down Battling Blaze

4/20: O'Connell: Faulty Fire Trucks An Embarrassment to City

4/28: Another Allentown Fire Engine Breaks Down

5/4: Updated: Allentown Fire Dep't Still Running on Fumes

A Message From Allentown's Former DCED Director

Betsy Morris Levin: "Please if you are an Allentown registered voter do not vote for mayor Ed Pawlowski [today]. All politicians are not corrupt. But he is. I have experienced it firsthand. I am voting for Ray O'Connell. He is a tough and smart public servant. I think that he is the candidate with the ability and experience to hit the ground running."

Blue Lives Matter

Actually, all lives matter. This is National Police Week, a tradition started by President John F Kennedy. While most events will take place at the nation's capital, I'm sure our local officers will appreciate a simple thank you.

So that's what I did today. I pulled right alongside Nazareth Police Officer Stephen Schleig, who has been decorated several times and even delivered a baby, and thanked him for what he does.

"You're not writing another blog, are you?"

Last night, I also had an opportunity to thank another police officer. I left a Bethlehem Township Commissioners' meeting early and wanted to get home, put on my election judge nightgown and go to bed early for what will be a very long day today. He pulled me over because I was unfortunately driving too fast.

Whem he asked me where I had been, I told him I had just escaped from a township meeting .

"Oh, are you a Commissioner?"

"Worse, I'm a blogger."

"Step out of the car!"

I should be back in about six months.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Allentown's Election Is About Integrity, Not Politics

In the dawn of this nation's history, when British regulars and Hessian mercenaries had George Washington on his heels, Zions's Church in Northamptontown became the hiding place of the Liberty Bell, one of our most important symbols. Residents in that small community could be trusted. They were patriots who would resist tyranny and had already driven William Allen's loyalist family out of town. These true freedom fighters were the original inhabitants of what eventually became known as Allentown. They took a stand. Will that continue on Tuesday?

Will the voters speak out against the tyranny of a vindictive Mayor who has embroiled the entire city in a cauldron of political corruption? Will the voters finally say No to a false prophet who beats his chest about kindness while bullying truly Godly men like Eugene McDuffie, to say nothing of others? Will the dark clouds that have resulted in seven guilty pleas finally be lifted, or will Allentown continue with a paranoid man who sweeps his office for electronic bugs and uses burner phones? Will Allentown finally install someone who cares about public safety or a man who laughs at a fire department whose operating budget he has slashed by 65% since 2008?

We'll know Tuesday night.

A cornucopia of mayoral candidates, both Democrat and Republican, are in this race. I prefer Ray O'Connell, a man who understands the symbiotic relationship between the struggling city and its distressed school district. But there's much positive to be said for most of the candidates running. Thiel has business acumen. Garcia and Jones offer real ethnic diversity. Bennett has connections to small businesses and nonprofits, and knows people  in Harrisburg and Washington. Siegel brings intelligence and youthful exuberance.

They have their differences, but all but Nat Hyman and Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski have something in common. They bring integrity. As the sign outside Rick Orloski's office says, Vote Integrity. It is time for the citizens of Allentown to rise up again and say No to tyranny and political corruption.

Hyman's False Advertising

Hyman lacks the integrity needed to be a decent Mayor. Former Department of Community and Economic Development Director Betsy Morris Levin, on her Facebook page, states he was operating a building with multiple people living and working inside, but Fed Ed gave him a pass and protected him back in 2007.

What Levin has to say is troubling, but I'd want to hear from him before condemning him. But now there is additional evidence of his dishonesty, coming directly from Hyman himself.  

It's an ad with a pic of Hyman talking to firefighters, apparently directing their efforts in battling some blaze. Wherever that is, it isn't in Allentown. .

Local 302 Allentown International Association of Firefighters has made no endorsement in the Mayoral race. Imagine their surprise when they saw this Hyman ad of him talking to Cetronia Volunteer Fire Company firefighters, who apparently have no problem jeopardizing their nonprofit status in South Whitehall Township by allowing themselves to be used for partisan political purposes

Brilliant, guys!

So far as I know,and I spoke to several Allentown firefighters, Hyman has never reached out to or discussed any issues with them. He is just using their public safety crisis to propel himself into the Republican candidate's spot on May 16th.

This is dishonest behavior, and should disqualify Hyman from serious consideration by anyone interested in integrity in government.

The real Fed Ed

The other candidate who lacks integrity is Public Official No.3, incumbent Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski. The real Fed Ed is far removed from the amiable if long-winded man delivering those lengthy power points. He is in fact malicious and vindictive, as those who know him can attest. Ask Candida Affa, a person who refuses to be intimidated by anyone, why she no longer supports Fed Ed. Ask Cynthia Mota whether he went after her one evening after she refused to vote the way he wanted. Ask the small businesses he shut down on pretexts. Ask the elderly lady who wanted to have a yard sale now and then for pin money. Ask Jeremy Warmkessel, a decorated firefighter who Fed Ed attempted to silence with bully tactics in a recent exchange.

This is all Fed Ed.

None of this has anything to do with Miked Fleck, the supposed mastermind of political corruption in Allentown, or any of the six others who have pleaded guilty to offenses that include bribery and bid-rigging.

I was particularly stuck and saddened at how Fed Ed bullied Eugene McDuffie earlier this month, as I told you on Friday. McDuffie is a saintly and gentle man, a person who I think has been touched by the hand of God. Jews and Muslims would call him righteous. Buddhists would say he's achieved enlightenment. We Catholics would say it's the Holy Spirit. He has spent his adult life caring for troubled teens and the homeless. Eugene is an announced City Council candidate, but only to bring attention to his bigger mission. He has spent no money. He has no money to spend. He has no intention of winning any political race. But he's been making the rounds in his one and only suit, wearing only the one pair of red shoes he can afford. He has continued his push to help troubled teens and the homeless.

Sir Sly would say,

"It feels good to be running from the Devil,
Another breath and I'm up another level.
It feels good to be up above the clouds.
It feels good for the first time in a long time, now."

Fed Ed bashed Eugene for doing God's work. I told you Eugene's story because it shows Fed Ed without his make up. He's a bully with no integrity. Amazingly, while under investigation for political corruption, he also used his city offices to play politics, which is a theft of public services. This is the height of arrogance. His mean streak has been corroborated by so many others that I would be writing until Tuesday if I listed every incident over the past 12 years.

Eugene McDuffie Story Criticism

Allentown blogger Michael Molovinsky, whose blog is called Molovinsky on Allentown, spent the crucial week before that City's most important election in its history, talking abut anything but Allentown. He disparaged some poor fellow who was turned away from a tea party event featuring Pam Geller. He complained about being called dour and the lack of media coverage given to him when he ran for Mayor in 2005. He complained about comedians who dare to criticize Donald Trump. He condemned the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans  

It's his blog and he can write what he wants. But he has no right to dictate my topics. He has taken me to task for telling Eugene McDuffie's story. He notes that newspapers wrote no story, which implies that there is no story to write. Based on that logic, he should probably stop writing. I base my publishing decisions on what I think readers ought to know. They ought to know that Fed Ed continues to be a bully.

Molovinsky implied that McDuffie engaged in a political stunt and outright accuses me of playing politics, along with several candidates who commented on my blog or appeared at McDuffie's news conference.

As I explained, this is about integrity, not politics Eugene McDuffie, who was scarred by abusive parents and spent years on the streets of New York City, felt bound to speak out. So did I.

Do Miller and Sultana Have a Prayer in Easton?

Miller in Saturday's rain. 
Terrence Miller and Taiba Sultana are two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for Easton City Council in Tuesday's primary. They've battled nomination challenges from their opponents, Jim Edinger and Sandra Vulcano. They've endured candidates' nights in which Easton's Dem machine has given them less than 24 hours notice  They endured a NAACP candidates' night that received no publicity, in which Sandra Vulcano tried to talk the entire night and Ken Jones, who is not running this year, got into a shouting match with Miller.

Over the weekend, some Democrats received a letter from Mayor Sal Panto endorsing his rubber stamp, Jim Edinger.  Panto is the person who was posting on Lehigh Valley Live under two different sock puppets, but was so stupid about it he began posting comments under those names as the Mayor. Having the endorsement of a dishonest man is no reason for cheer.

But this is Easton

Expect the same ol' same ol'.  

NAACP to Meet Several Area School Superintendents Today

Lance Wheeler, President of Easton's NAACP, is meeting today with several school superintendents concerning the racism that unfortunately still exists at our area schools. He is hopeful that an area diversity committee can open closed eyes. As for me, I'm quite happy at the prom pictures from area high schools over the last two weeks.They include numerous interracial couples  I have more confidence in our younger generation than with people my age.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fed Ed Tries Bully Tactics on Eugene McDuffie

I've told you before that Allentown City Council needs cops, not criminals. I feel reassured knowing that former police chief Roger MacLean is on Council. The same goes for Daryl Hendricks, a former Captain. He has Fed Ed's number and most certainly deserves re-election. I also support Ed Zucal, a retired APD SGT, and Dan Buglio, a Deputy Corner and part-time police officer in Coplay and Slatington. These guys put their their lives on the line for you. They know what it means to serve. Allentown is in crisis mode and really needs first responders on Council.

Having said that, I want to talk a moment about Eugene McDuffie, another City Council candidate. I met him in the September 2015, and over the course of a few hours, he told me his life story. It's the sad story of a 14 year-old boy who ran away from abusive parents to live on the streets of NYC. Thinking he was worthless, as attempted to end his own life several times. But it's also a happy story. He found God, moved to Allentown, raised a family of his own and has a passion for the City's homeless. It was McDuffie who was my tour guide several years ago.

He is a gentle man. His view of the world and other people is almost childlike. He is someone I consider a man of God, even if he lacks a degree from Moody's Bible Institute. I chose not to support him in his bid for a seat on City Council, but only because I believe he does more good helping people one-on-one. Believe it or not, I think he's far more comfortable with the homeless and addicts than with politicians. He is " Pawlowskia first responder for the soul.

McDuffie asked to speak to me yesterday. Apparently,he's been accosted by Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski. On May 5, he was summoned by Fed Ed assistant Ismael Arcelay for a meeting at City Hall concerning the Human Relations Commission, of which he was a member. He went into a room and Fed Ed was sitting there, along with City Council candidate Jessica Ortiz, who is in Fed Ed's pocket.

Fed Ed had no interest in discussing human relations. He was misusing city resources for politics. He was there to bully McDuffie. He demanded to know why McDuffie had posed for pictures with Allentown activist Robert Trotner. He then demanded to know why he had appeared in a video with Mayoral candidate Josh Siegel. Grabbing his cell phone, he shoved it into McDuffie's face, yelling at him. McDuffie was extremely upset that evening and has decided to resign from the Human Relations Commission, which he believes is being perverted by Fed Ed for political purposes. Last night, he went to Allentown police to see if Fed Ed's conduct amounts to criminal harassment.

So much for the phony who exhorts everyone to "be kind."

Whether this conduct constitutes harassment is in my view questionable. But I do know that using public resources for political purposes, as Fed Ed clearly did, is a theft of services from the taxpayers of Allentown. It is precisely that kind of conduct that led to Bonusgate.

According to McDuffie, Fed Ed has tried similar bullying tactics on two of his former supporters. One of them is Cynthia Mota and the other is Candida Affa.

He's a bully.

LC Comm'r Race: Candidate Chicken Lady Cries Fowl

Amy Zanelli is the establishment candidate for Lehigh County Commissioner in District Three, which includes west Bethlehem and Allentown's east side. Incumbent Tom Muller endorsed her on the very night that he decided against seeking re-election himself. Two other Democrats, opportunist Basilio Bonilla and longtime citizen activist Dennis Pearson, were also running. Muller shoved them aside without doing his homework. Had he done so, he would have learned she was fired in 2012 for failing to show up at her job as a caseworker for child protective services in New Jersey.  He would have known that she was fired from a similar position in Northampton County in 2015. Muller told the crowd that Zanelli had been an announcer with the Lehigh Valley Roller Girls, but this is what Lehigh Valley Roller Girl Michelle Torte MessaHess said on her Facebook page: "DO NOT VOTE FOR THIS WOMAN. I care too much for Lehigh County and its residents. She is mentally unfit, financially irresponsible, and devoid of familial accountability. She has caused tyranny in several, local non-profit organizations within Lehigh and surrounding counties. DO WHAT'S RIGHT. SHARE THIS POST AND VOTE NO TO AMY ZANELLI."

Muller failed to mention that Zanelli is Hanover Township's chicken lady. Before she got canned by Northampton County, she lived in Hanover Township.She showed up at a Supervisors' meeting one night, asking them to do something about the Township's ban on backyard chickens She received permission to make a presentation at the following meeting, but never showed.

I spoke with Zanelli about these allegations, which she said were dismissed by the newspaper and WFMZ-TV69. She told me her termination in New Jersey was the result of discrimination. In Northampton, it was a misunderstanding about her hours. My own view of the information I had is that there are too many red flags for her. So after some thought, I posted a story entitled, "Why You Need to Vote for Dennis Pearson for LC Comm'r."

Zanelli published this comment, I wish to share it with you.
Greetings Mr. O’Hare and friends. My apologies for being late to the game here, but I didn’t realize this piece ran until I received a message from Dennis this morning. I will be the first to tell you that I have the utmost respect for Dennis and have no qualms about your endorsement of his candidacy. However, I think it’s important to note that the allegations regarding my raising chickens and my former places of employment are unfounded. For the record, I did not need to show up to the next township meeting. I was granted permission to raise my chickens into adulthood and re-home them for the sake of the children who were helping to care for them. And I did. In addition, the controversy surrounding my previous employment is untrue. In fact, it was at the hands of my competition that several news sources in the area received this false information and this was the only website where it appeared. Several days ago, I spoke to Mr. O’Hare and offered to meet with him to show him proof that in both instances, I was exonerated of all false claims. He refused. Neither case involved FMLA and since leaving Northampton County, they have since sent correspondence offering me two similar positions of employment, both at higher levels and pay grades. I have proof of those as well. I do not know who made a post on my behalf last night, but for that I am grateful. I can assure you it was not myself and my camp is too busy working to get me elected to spend their valuable time entertaining false accusations and fake news. With that said, this would not be the first time in history that an intelligent, well-spoken, beautiful woman has intimidated a man who then feels the need to spread rumors and lies in an attempt to tear her down. But as my grandmother used to say, if you have a target on your back it’s only because you’re so far ahead that it’s all they can see of you. See you all at the polls.
Unfounded claims.- Nothing I wrote is "unfounded." She was terminated in 2012 from a child protective services agency in New Jersey at a time when  staffing shortages and increased complaints had reached crisis levels. She appealed her Jersey termination and an arbitrator ruled against her. I have a copy of the lengthy decision. She simply refused to work, letting our most vulnerable element, our children, go without protection.

While refusing to come to work, she was being treated for a mental illness of some kind and was both receiving medication and undergoing therapy. Though too sick to work, she was still selling Avon products and brought them in for other workers.

The same thing happened in Northampton County, where she was terminated before her probation was up because of a disagreement over the number of hours she would work.Once again, she let down the most vulnerable element of our society.

Newspaper coverage.-  With limited exceptions, newspapers run for the hills from election stories. While there is always the danger that they are being played, failure to report at all is in my view irresponsible.I believe voters have a right to know that Zanelli was terminated from two positions and that some people take a very dim view of her role in ventures like the Lehigh Valley Roller Girls.

The chickens.- Zanelli now claims she had no reason to return to the Supervisors because the Township made special accommodations for her. She had50 people sign a petition for her and then let them all down because she was given whatever she wanted. Are you beginning to see a pattern?

Refusal to meet her.-  She did offer to meet with me concerning this matter, but she answered my questions so I saw no point. She may have concluded that I refused to meet her, but why would I call her if I didn't want her side? She gave it to me, and those flags were still there. I certainly would have met her if that is what she wanted.  

Sexism. - Zanelli finished by asserting that she is "an intelligent, well-spoken, beautiful woman" who "has intimidated a man who then feels the need to spread rumors and lies in an attempt to tear her down." Actually Amy, what you look like is irrelevant to me, as is your sex. There were no lies. No rumors. Just facts.

Dennis Pearson and Bob Smith are both head and shoulders above these other candidates They have integrity something missing from Zanelli and Bonilla. They have their roots here,and do not move every three seconds.

Cartwright Gets Homeland Security Grant For Lower Mount Bethel Firefighters

Maybe someone should ask U.S. Congressmen Matt Cartwright and Charlie Dent to team up with Allentown firefighters. Cartwright has just secured a  $118,096 Operations and Safety grant for the  Lower Mount Bethel Township Sandt’s Eddy Fire Company .

The funds will allow the fire company to purchase Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) units. Each unit will include: harness/backpack, face piece, and two cylinders. This type of equipment is worn by rescue workers, firefighters, and others to provide breathable air in an immediate dangerous-to-life or health atmosphere.

“Our firefighters work tirelessly every day to protect our communities and keep our families safe,” said Rep. Cartwright, a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “I will continue to support this federal program which helps to ensure safety of our communities.”

The purpose of the AFG is to award competitive grants directly to fire departments to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel. Since 2001, the AFG program has provided approximately $6.7 billion in grants to first-responder organizations to obtain much-needed emergency response equipment, personal protective equipment, firefighting and emergency vehicles, and training.

I wonder whether Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski ever bothered to apply.

During the current funding cycle, the AFG program will award another $310.5 million to first-responder organizations that need support to improve their capability to respond to fires and emergencies of all types.

NorCo Fixes Flag Display

Sometime this morning, while on his way to court, a local attorney tells me saw three guys working on the American flag located right outside the courthouse. For this first time since last October, it finally looks like an American flag instead of a distress signal. It was only fixed after this blog shamed the Brown administration.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sunshine Act Prompts East Allen to Postpone Big Box Hearing

These people were unable to see or
hear what was happening in the meeting.
Welcome to America's Truck Stop! The Fed Ex ground facility going up right now in Allen Township is expected to be the largest ground facility in the world, according to Lehigh Valley Planning Commission Executive Director Becky Bradley. In addition to the Fed Ex itself, The Morning Call reports that Allen Township is planning for 13 warehouses around the Fed Ex. They will take up as much room as 100 football fields. This demand for big boxes is so strong that it has spilled over into East Allen Township. Last night, East Allen Supervisors were expected to consider a proposal to change the zoning designation of 155.03 acres along the southwest side of Weaversville Road, from Agricultural to Light Industrial. The suits were all there. Lehigh Valley International Airport, which owns the land. The Rockefeller Group, salivating for more big boxes. But the meeting ended abruptly with no decision or testimony because some bottom-feeder pointed out that Supervisors were violating the Sunshine Act.

That troublemaker was me.

I was there once before and had no trouble finding a place to park. But last night was different. There was no room in the parking lot, but I eventually was able to park on the grass at an empty lot next to the fire company. I was far from alone. Many cars were already there.

80 people were inside the meeting room
Walking toward the municipal building, I noticed a state trooper parked there. Maybe someone had tipped him off that I was coming. But he let me go by without tasing me. He must have been lying in wait for Ron Angle, who like me pops up at the strangest places.

The hallway inside the municipal building was packed with about 20 people. They were unable to get inside the meeting room. More importantly, they were unable to hear the meeting in any way. Resident Sonia Shadid told me another 20 people had previously been sent away.

Though there may have been no room to sit, I figured I could stand alongside a wall and decided to go in. But as I walked in, a big and burly firefighter with 24-inch pythons stopped me at the door. He told me no more than 80 people are allowed inside the room, and that I alone probably count as 10 people, so I wasn't getting in. He weakened a little when I told him I am friends with King Allentown, but he insisted on following the law.

So I insisted on following the law, too. The Sunshine Law. Though largely toothless, it does provide that the "right of the public to be present at all meetings of agencies and to witness the deliberation, policy formulation and decisionmaking of agencies is vital to the enhancement and proper functioning of the democratic process." It provides for public participation at meetings, enabling the public to speak on matters before official action is taken. In this case, the public was being deprived of the opportunity to both listen and speak.

From the doorway, I loudly objected. You see, there's a provision in the Sunshine Act that enables any person, even a bottom-feeding blogger, "to raise an objection at any time to a perceived violation of this chapter at any meeting of a board or council."

So I did. I pointed out that the public was being deprived the opportunity to witness government in action and to add their own voice. Shadid told Supervisors that about 15-20 members of the public had actually been turned away.

Solicitor Joe Piperato was receptive to this argument and explained the law to Supervisors. They unanimously voted to postpone its public hearing until they can find a bigger hall.

After it was over, I thanked each Supervisor and Piperato, all of whom were very gracious.

Lehigh Valley truck traffic is expected to double in the next ten years as a result if all these box boxes,and it will be coming down Airport Road. About 100 people were on hand for this meeting, not including the ones sent away. But I saw no one from the daily newspapers.

Best Campaign Ad This Election Cycle

Northampton County Should Fix Its Flag

Outside the Northampton County Courthouse rotunda are three flagpoles that include the Stars and Stripes, Commonwealth and county flags. Since October, the red, white and blue has looked more like the black and blue. The other flags are fine, but a clip for the stars and bars needs to be extended so that the flag actually looks like a flag. I find it disgraceful that the county government has so little regard for our national symbol.

If Executive John Brown is too busy to pay the proper respect, I know someone who will do so.  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dent on FBI Director Firing

(Lehigh Valley, PA) Representative Charlie Dent (PA-15) released the following statement regarding yesterday’s firing of FBI Director James Comey:

“Director Comey always struck me as a decent and honorable man who was put in an extremely difficult situation. His firing by President Trump is both confounding and troubling, and it is now harder to resist calls for an independent investigation or select committee. The President must provide a much clearer explanation as to the timing and rationale for this action. Additionally, more information is needed about how the Director’s firing will impact the investigations by the FBI and both branches of Congress."

Why You Need to Vote For Dennis Pearson For LC Comm'r

Dennis Pearson
Never say never. At age 70, Dennis Pearson is finally a married man. I also believe the time has come for the people of Lehigh County to elect him as a District Commissioner representing West Bethlehem and Allentown's east side. He has been a tireless advocate for neighborhoods, and has taken a keen interest in local government for decades.  While his delivery has always raised eyebrows and snickers, his dedication and knowledge are beyond dispute.

Dennis has two Democratic rivals.One of them is Basilio Bonilla, a former Bethlehem School Director who , when he bothered showing up, managed to piss everyone off. A grandstander, he was yanked from every committee post after Bethlehem's School Board had to apologize for a second time to Allentown's School Board after he attempted to interfere in their business. Some say he's matured. I'd prefer to see him spend more time serving his community instead of being a professional candidate.

Then there's Amy Zanelli, the supposed establishment candidate. I remember her as the chicken lady.

In 2015, Zanelli lived in Hanover Township, Northampton County and appeared at a Supervisors' meeting to complain about the Township's ban on chickens in residential areas. She told Supervisors she was a caseworker in Children and Youth. Flashing her badge,she accused Manager Jay Finnigan of fowl play for refusing to allow her to own backyard chickens. She asked Supervisors if she could make a presentation at their next meeting, and they agreed, but she never showed up.

That was the last I saw of the chicken lady until early this year, when Tom Muller announced he had decided against running for re-election as Lehigh County Executive Muller singled the chicken lady out as his preferred candidate in that district. She was identified as a Rutgers grad who worked in child protective services in New Jersey and now is a realtor.

What Muller failed to mention is that the chicken lady had been fired.

Zanelli had been employed as an intake worker in Somerset County, but was terminated in 2012 because she refused to return to work after receiving a number of leaves of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Though she refused to work, she dropped in on her office one day to deliver Avon products to co-workers.

Zanelli appealed her termination and lost.

She told me she was a victim of discrimination.

Zanelli worked in Northampton County Children and Youth as a caseworker between  March and October 2015. She was terminated there as well, and during her probationary period.

She told me this was because her hours had been expanded beyond the time she had agreed to give.

Dennis is far superior to both of these candidates.    

Brown Skips NorCo Retiree Luncheon

Nearly 200 people attended the semi-annual luncheon for retirees at Northampton's Memorial Community Center on Tuesday. Executive John Brown failed to appear. He has been a no-show at every retiree luncheon since he was first elected, though he and Council are always invited.

Because Brown was invited, so was Lamont McClure, a ten-year Council veteran who is Brown's Democratic opponent in the Executive race. McClure received a very friendly reception,especially from former Gracedale employees.

Peg Ferraro and Ron Heckman, a retiree who is running for Council, were there. So was Matt Dietz, who represents the slate belt region on county council.

Peg was questioned on her vote against a cost of living increase (COLA) last year, and she explained that she got no COLA last year and was primarily concerned that the funds are stable.

No Wild Turkey at Turkey Hill

Steve Salvesen
You might be able to buy booze at Wegmans or Weiss. But by a 3 to 1 vote at their May 9 meeting, Hanover Township Supervisors voted down an ordinance that would have approved the transfer of a liquor license to a high-end Turkey Hill gas station located at Sterners Way. Mark Tanczos, who owns a beer distributorship, recused himself. The sole Yes vote was cast by John Diacogiannis. Jack Nagle, Steve Salvesen and Michael Prendeville voted No.

Each Supervisor explained his vote. Salvesen said that he supported alcohol sales at Wegmans and Weiss because there was testimony from both of those stores that there would be 24 hour supervision of the alcoholic beverages sold there,but no such assurance was made by Turkey Hill, a gas station that hires part-time people. He said there were too many avenues for abuse.

Nagle said it comes down to common sense and thinking about the "health and well-being of our Township." He said that, contrary to testimony offered at a hearing two weeks before, a convenience store like Turkey Hill is a destination for people who want to get a quick can of soda or jug of milk. He said permitting alcohol sales at a gas station "goes totally against what's been going on in this nation for the last 30 years, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Transportation Safety Authority. ... For me, to permit alcohol to be consumed at a place that dispenses gasoline is literally like throwing gasoline on a fire."

John Diacogiannis
Prendeville said the density of alcohol licenses "contributes in a very detrimental way to neighborhoods." He said he would be uncomfortable sending his children to get a gallon of milk at Turkey Hill at 1 am and have them compete against people trying to buy and drink alcohol at a gas station because other bars have closed. "The potential risk far outweighs any reward in my mind," he concluded. "It has the potential to introduce problems that have already overburdened our police department and first responders."

Diacogiannis, unlike his fellow Supervisors, voted to approve the liquor license transfer. He reasoned that the state legislature has expanded sales to gas stations. "This decision has already been made by the state," he said. "It's really not our part to make these decisions."

Finnigan later noted that there were also concerns whether parking would be adequate for this new use, but there was no plan to review.

Though Supervisors denied a liquor license transfer to Turkey Hill, they unanimously approved changes to their zoning ordinance that would permit distilleries, brew pubs and wineries at certain places within the Township. Solicitor Jim Broughal explained the reason for this ordinance. If you don't put this in your ordinance, your neighbor can put a distillery in his house," he explained. "You are required by law to provide for every use we know about. If you don't, it's exclusionary zoning."

They also adopted an ordinance banning invasive bamboo, joining a number of other Lehigh Valley municipalities that have followed Bethlehem Township's lead in banning or regulating this legal immigrant from southeast China.

Invasive or running bamboo is actually a grass and is recognized by the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as one of the fastest growing and most invasive plants in the world. According to a study by the Institute of Invasive Bamboo Research, running bamboo even survived the Hiroshima bomb.
Throughout Pennsylvania, 19 communities have adopted bamboo ordinances. Some, like Douglass Township, have imposed a ban on this grass,which can reach a height of .

A Cumberland County Court has declared running bamboo a "vegetative nuisance" The court reasoned that urban living includes certain responsibilities, including a responsibility to take precautions against invasive plants that encroach upon another person's property.

Supervisors endorsed the bamboo ban in a 4 to 1 vote. Once again, John Diacogiannis was the sole dissenter. He called it an "invasion of individual property rights." He said this is a matter that neighbors should handle between themselves, although some neighbors can be unreasonable. He said he doesn't like invasive bamboo, wither, but is opposed to an ordinance "for every single little thing."

"I'm planting it!" joked a resident who earlier that evening had complained about an unreasonable neighbor."I gotta' go."

 In an unusually busy night, Supervisors also approved the vacation of paper streets laid out on property owned by the Earl Kunsman family, near Bath Pike. Prominent Bethlehem Attorney Jim Holzinger advised Supervisors that he was unable to ascertain that these roads ever existed or were accepted by the Township,but are referred to in the deeds.

Finally, Bill Vogler asked Supervisors to do something about sinkholes.He recognized that "we live on Swiss cheese, but said sinkholes caused by water main breaks are different than those that occur naturally. Several water companies have infrastructure in the Township, according to Diacogiannis.

Vogler and Finnigan discussed the situation after the meeting.

Finnigan Tormented on 60th Birthday

Hanover Township Manager Jay Finnigan celebrated his 60th birthday on Monday. Quietly. That changed Tuesday night. Supervisors decided to draw attention to Finnigan's sixth decade on earth with both balloons and insults.

"Is that his age or IQ?" wisecracked Solicitor Jim Broughal. "His IQ isn't rising," answered Jack Nagle.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Bangor School District To Form Diversity Committee

In the wake of a pretty serious act of discrimination at Bangor High School on Friday, Superintendent Frank DeFelice and Easton NAACP President Lance Wheeler met yesterday. While school officials are unable to get into specifics, I understand that disciplinary action has been taken against the students involved in that incident. In addition, the school district has agreed to form a diversity committee that will include parents , administrators and teacher. The goal will be to level the playing field.

A diversity committee was formed once before in Bangor, after a federal lawsuit alleging racial discrimination was settled.

It met only once.

This one needs to be more active.    

Lance Wheeler will make sure.

It appears that pockets of racism are still prevalent in the Bangor area. Not the subtle kind, either.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with yet another mother of three biracial children. Her oldest graduated last year, but she still has two boys going through the system. None of her three children ever presented a disciplinary problem. Their experience at what really is a good school is mostly positive. But not completely.

One of her sons, when in the 9th grade, was involved in a debate class and was arguing his points. The student opposed to him eventually blurted out that no one cares what he thinks because he is a "n-gg-r." School officials admonished the boy, but when they called his parents, they were told that is the way they all feel.

Her daughter, who was a senior last year, also experienced a racist encounter with a star baseball player. She had been trying to park her car in her numbered spot when another girl jumped in ahead of her. The two began to argue, and the star baseball player intervened.

He yelled at the biracial girl, "Get in your car. You need to leave. You and your brother are n-gg-rs here,and we don't want your kind."

This incident was witnessed by several students,and an Assistant Principal who conducted an investigation brought them all into his office and told the star baseball player, whose dad happens to be a coach, That statements like that are not permitted on campus. That was it. No apology. No discipline. Everyone was just sent back to class.

Bangor at the time was undefeated in baseball. It finished 23-1.It was around this time when that incident happened.  

Is Lehigh County Sanctuary City? Beitler Says No, ICE Says Yes

In an interesting piece on negative campaigning in the Lehigh County Executive race, Lower Mac Comm'r and blogger Ron Beitler asserts that Lehigh County is not a sanctuary city. I tend to agree, but would feel a lot better if ICE and Center for Immigration Studies felt the same way. .I wish I could answer this definitively, but can't.

Campaign Signs in East Allen Township

The purpose of an election is to get people top vote for you, not piss them off. Someone might want to tell that to East Allen Township Supervisor candidate Georgiann Hunsicker and her husband. They've been planting campaign signs in people's yards without permission, and when property owners take them down, they get phone calls threatening them with criminal prosecution unless the signs return to their supposedly rightful place. What these people are being told is that they have no right to interfere with political signs placed in the public right-of-way.

There's no question that the public right of way extends into the yards of many people, especially in the 'burbs. But the property is still owned by the homeowner. It is subject to the public right-pf way. To know exactly where that right of way ends would require a survey.

Hunsicker believes it is her God-given right to plant her 100 signs anywhere within a public right-of-way, even if that right of way extends over someone's property. It's not. According to PennDOT, they compromise public safety because they distract drivers. They also pose liability concerns. And if a person owns property that is subject to a right-of-way, he still owns the property. Any person who wishes to place a campaign sign on someone else's property, even if it is on the public right-of-way, still needs permission from the property owner.  The fact that PennDOT or the township has an easement for road purposes does not mean that a political candidate has an easement for sign purposes.

Generally, people like to be asked. My guess is that Hunsicker has lost more votes than she has gained as a result of her behavior with residents who object to her signs in their yards.

We'll know in a week.  

Apologies to E Allen BOS Candidate Don Heiney

I was quite pleased with myself when I published an unofficial list in early March of candidates running for local office in Northampton County. I got it out there just hours after the deadline for filing had passed. I made a few mistakes, and corrected them as they were noticed. But in one case, I completely missed a candidate running for a Supervisor's seat in East Allen Township. His name is Don Heiney.

Two seats are up this year. One Democrat and six Republicans are seeking their party's nomination for two seats. The lone Democrat running is Eric Yocum. The six Republicans are Heiney, incumbent Madelyn Kemp, Janice Buskirk, Brian Budraitis, Georgiann Hunsicker and Edward Heiser.

The Fed Ex being built in Allen Township, which is going to spawn big boxes and traffic congestion in East Allen Township, has people concerned.

Heiney has a fairly impressive resume. He's held the following positions in East Allen Township: Supervisor – 2 ½ yrs; Chairman, Municipal Authority – 3 yrs; Chairman, Planning Commission – 4 yrs; Chairman, Board of Auditors – 5 yrs; Township Delegate, Board of the First Regional Compost Authority (FRCA) – 4 yrs; and Township Delegate, Nazareth Area Council of Governments (NAZCOG) – 4 yrs.

He is a Certified Community Planner with training in community planning, zoning, Subdivision and Land Development (SALDO) Review and creating an Implementable Comprehensive Plan (series 1, 2 and 3)

In the real world, he has been an independent IT Professional for over 17 years.

And he's got a beard. They like those in East Allen Township

Monday, May 08, 2017

NorCo Exec: McClure Way Ahead in Money Race

Lamont McClure at Bethlehem rally
Though the numbers that matter are the ones registered in the voting booth, it's no secret that money helps get the message out. Right now, Democrat Lamont McClure is way ahead in that category in his bid to become the next county executive. He is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination, and used his time to focus on raising money. His second Friday Pre-Primary report shows that he has raised $49.5000 so far. His total warchest now stands at $51,778.56.

Incumbent John Brown, running unopposed for the GOP nod, has made no effort to campaign. He skipped a county party meeting last week and also was a no-show at a pizza party thrown by popular Judge Emil Giordano, a Republican running for the Superior Court. His second Friday Pre-Primary report shows just one contribution, $1,500 from landfill owner Charles Chrin. His warchest  has just $2,137.74.

That's hardly enough for one night in Vegas.

Most of McClure's money comes from unions, including AFSCME, the bargaining unit that represents many of the county's unionized workers. That's no surprise, given that Brown has hardly endeared himself to county workers. But what is a surprise is to see that several Bethlehem Democrats who previously supported Brown are now supporting McClure.        

Brown kept things close in Bethlehem, enabling him to win the race countywide. He appears to have lost his Bethlehem advantage.

Fed Ed's Candidates

I support cops, not criminals, in Allentown. So the last person I'd like to see elected next week is Public Official No. 3, aka Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski. We now know who he is pushing, thanks to a little house party last night. City Council candidate Jessica Lee Ortiz, who masqueraded as a grass roots candidate, is a No. So are school board candidates Lisa Conover and Phoebe Harris. These supposed grass roots candidates  are Fed Ed put-ups.

Dour Molovinsky to become Whirling Dervish

As most regular Lehigh Valley blog readers may have noticed, Allentown blogger Michael Molovinsky was really blowin' oil a few weeks ago when Morning Call columnist Bill White wrote about his annual Hall of Fame and forgot to mention me. Twice. Now I agree that I am entirely unforgettable. But I usually only get that from the ladies, and then, only in my dreams. Denied his moment of schadenfreude, Molovinsky was outraged and claimed there had been some sort of conspiracy theory.

Last week, White wrote about his Hall of Fame again, and made sure he mentioned me this time. Twice. He explained he had forgotten. But at the same time, he also ripped into dour (I prefer to call him petty) Molovinsky, who started blowin' oil again. "[T]hey both knew that i hit the nail on the head, and that's why they were both offended," he insisted, before being sedated.

On Thursday night, he begin to feel a little better and decided to go to the Lehigh Valley Tea Party. Fellow zionist Pamela Geller, who hates the Islamization of America almost as much as he does, was the main speaker. Maybe he could cry on her shoulder about Wehr's Dam and Bill White. But alas, his dreams were dashed.

You see, Northampton County Bulldog Ron Angle was at that meeting, too. I was busy covering NorCo Council, as any award-winning broadcast journalist would do, but Angle was at the tea party as my eyes and ears.

I'm everywhere.

Unfortunately, Ron is a conservative, and really liked what Pamela had to say. So after her speech, he stood in line and bought her book.

"Have you ever heard of Bernie O'Hare?" he asked as he handed her a copy of her book to sign.

"Why of course. He's the number one blogger in the Lehigh Valley," she answered. "Everyone knows that." And that's how she signed the book for me.

Unfortunately, Molovinsky was standing behind Angle all this time. Hearing that I was the number one blogger was more than the dour little bastard could bear. He began blowin' oil everywhere, started rolling on the floor and screaming "Allahu Akbar," converted to Islam himself, and had to be carted away in a tow truck. He's been on a lift all weekend.

He may never write again. Doctors tell me he now wants to become a whirling dervish.

Grammar teachers everywhere will be thankful.

Meet Wind Gap Magisterial Candidate Mike Ondilla

Wind Gap's Magisterial District Judge race is a three-way affair including incumbent Doug Schlegel and Attorneys Dave Jordan and Mike Ondilla. Mike's wife called me and told me, "You really need to meet my husband." I made her a promise to do so but fell short. I missed him at Rita's Italian Ice, where he had a campaign event last weekend. But we finally connected on Friday, when Ondilla filed his second Friday Pre-Primary report.

A graduate of Moravian College and Widener School of Law, Ondilla got his start as a law clerk for Judge Leonard Zito. "Nothing riled him," he told me. He said he learned more than the law from Judge Zito

After his clerkship, Ondilla worked with a few firms but then took a slightly different path than most lawyers. He became a sales tax consultant.  He can use his legal knowledge, but does not have to worry about winding down his practice if elected.

He's fortunate to have a lot of support in Wind Gap. He is backed both by Democrat Scott Parsons and Republican Matt Dietz. He also has the support of Adriane Masut, who was Magisterial District Judge in Wind Gap before it went to Schlegel.

I gave him a few openings to take shots at his opponents but he declined, telling me he'd rather lose than go negative.

Obviously, he'd make a great Magisterial District Judge.

NAACP Wants Moon Cricket Lesson From Bangor Schools

Lance Wheeler, President of the Easton branch of the NAACP, likes to learn new things.Today, he plans to visit Bangor Area School District to learn all about moon crickets. He has read the stories and also has been contacted by parents in the slate belt with additional stories.

I have previously told you that two of the high school's most talented basketball players were thrown off the team at the end of the season. They happen to be of color. Did race play a role in this decision? I'd hope not.

Then on Friday, just as my moon cricket story began to die down, a student at the high school donned KKK garb - some say it was ISIS - and shouted "F-ck n-gg-rs!" A mother of biracial children pulled them out of the school, and they may be home-schooled for the rest of the year.

Swift action has been taken. Some of the students who instigated this have been suspended. One has been expelled.

But this story has led to a charge of racism by another parent with bi-racial children. She emailed me. I have been unable to talk to her and don't have permission to use her name. But she claims that reported discrimination against her children to an assistant principal who told her he "had no tolerance for bullying, or racism in his school. The students should always feel safe there and like a big family. ... However, after his investigation and interviews with witness the perpetrator was called in the office along with my children and told not to say things like that anymore and that was it. No disciplinary action, no apology to my kids nothing."

The claim is that the student who donned this regalia was instigated by others, and I can see that happening. But I have since seen his Facebook page. If Bangor school officials are unaware of it, they really need to take a look. It is loaded with photographs of the Confederate flag. That in and of itself could have many explanations. But what really bothers me is the one above.

Like I said on Friday, Bangor has a problem.