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Monday, September 11, 2017

O'Connell Write-In Ensures a Fed Ed Victory

For the fourth time, Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski is the Democratic nominee for Allentown Mayor. Though he was under the storm clouds of a federal investigation into political corruption, four percent of the City's Democrats chose him. That was all he needed, thanks to a winner-take-all system of elections and a plethora of candidates who ran for the nomination. I was deeply disappointed to see Ray O'Connell, a man I deeply admire and one who understands Allentown, deprived of the nomination.  This process is about to repeat itself in the general election, even though Fed Ed is now under indictment on 54 counts of corruption charges.

Recent history may repeat itself because, once again, there are numerous candidates. This will enable Fed Ed to win with a plurality of the votes. Though he refused to raise the flag on Syrian Independence Day, he has suddenly become their best friend.  He also has made it a point to reach out to small churches on the east and south side that he previously ignored and will ignore again, once elected.

Nat Hyman is the Republican nominee. He is youthful, energetic, has a terrific sense of humor and is smart. His father was a well-respected physician, and he himself stayed in the Queen City and made it his business headquarters when everyone else was leaving for the 'burbs. The reason he decided to run for Mayor is because he felt he had no choice. Despite Fed Ed's protests that all is well, the City has some serious problems. The redevelopment has slowed. Morale among City workers is terrible. Fed Ed has allowed the Cedar Beach pool contract to get completely out of hand. He is still playing favorites,as evidenced by his removal of basketball rims at the behest of his campaign supporters.

But Hyman has two problems.

The first is that Allentown has become a one-party town. Though there is no Democratic or Republican way if filling a pothole or fixing a pool, Fed Ed has made sure that Democrats have a stranglehold on Allentown. He has viciously attacked Republicans seeking office. Ask Lou Hershman. The seeds of political corruption are still there

Hyman's second big problem is Ray O'Connell, who finished right behind Fed Ed in the Democratic primary.

If the race were just between Ray and Nat, I'd want Ray to win. He may be a bit older than Nat, but is just as energetic, smart and humorous. A former educator, he has great ideas about neighborhood schools. He is the biggest cheerleader that Allen and Dieruff students have,and they need cheerleaders badly. Ray also has experience in government, both on a city and school district level.

But the race is not between Nat and Ray, two men of honor.. This is a race between Nat and disgraced Fed Ed, with two independents thrown in for good measure. Ray has been deprived of a spot on the ballot, so he's waging a Quixotic write-in campaign, hoping that Allentown voters will take the time to type in his name.

Based on what I've seen of Allentown voters, I think Ray is spinning his wheels.

If all of his former opponents backed him, this might work. If the Democratic party opened his mouth and condemned Fed Ed, this might work. But that has not happened.

What's most likely is that, come election day, Ray will have taken away just enough votes from Nat Hyman to ensure a Fed Ed victory. Two men of integrity  will be brushed aside by a Chicago transplant who conducted electronic sweeps of his office,used burner phones and directed campaign donors like Ramzi Haddad to delete incriminating text messages.

There is still a scenario under which O'Connell can become Mayor. Assuming that Fed Ed is elected, he will be forced to resign when he pleads guilty. Under this scenario, Ray would be appointed Mayor, and would have the job until the next election in two years. But what if there is a trial that lasts several months? What good will that do the City?
       
Unlike some others, I had no problem with the crowded primary field. I also have no problem with a person who gets on the ballot as an indie or third-party candidate. Write-in campaigns are fine, too, but should be waged to win, not lose.

I really wish Ray would reconsider. What's best for Allentown is removing Fed Ed. If that means holding your nose and voting for a Republican, you can dump him in four years.      

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

"There is still a scenario under which O'Connell can become Mayor. Assuming that Fed Ed is elected, he will be forced to resign when he pleads guilty. Under this scenario, Ray would be appointed Mayor, and would have the job until the next election in two years. But what if there is a trial that lasts several months? What good will that do the City?"


Big problems with those who believe this:

1) Ed isn't pleading guilty. As you note in a separate post, his legal fees may even be getting paid by a third party.

2) No matter how strong the government's case is, it only takes one dissenting juror for Ed to get off. So then we get four more years (and probably more) of Ed.

Honestly, this is the kind of planning that helped Ed get through the Democrat primary.

Hyman is the only real chance to get rid of Pawlowski. We need to take it.

Anonymous said...

Ray's a nice guy and seems likable. But there's certain things that trouble me about him:

1) Ray was a reliable rubber-stamp for Ed for almost the entire time Ray's been on Council. For a good time after the FBI raided City Hall, Ray was even still claiming that Pawlowski would be exonerated. At worse, he knew what was happening and kept quiet until he couldn't credibly do so anymore. At best, he was blissfully ignorant about the corruption that was going on right under his nose.

2) He got into the Democrat primary very late, and split the vote just enough to allow Pawlowski to win. Now he's jumping into the general election as a write in, which will do the same thing. There have long been rumblings that Ray is beholden to Ed because of family members being given City jobs. Could this be Ray's way of repaying the favor or ensuring continued employment for his family members?

3) He's putting himself above the good of the City. Ray supposedly ran in the primary because he felt it was important to get rid of Ed. But by getting into the primary (and now the general), Ray's giving Ed a better chance of winning. So he's either 1) colluding to help Ed (as noted above), 2) has a bloated ego that makes him think he's the only person who can do the job, or 3) can't keep his focus on the bigger goal (getting rid of Pawlowski). No matter what explanation, none of those traits are what you'd want for the next Mayor of Allentown.

4) If ever City Hall needed someone from the outside to go in and shine the light on how City Hall operates, it's now. I'm sure there's plenty that's not covered in the Pawlowski indictment that needs fixing, but might be embarrassing for those currently in City Hall if it came to light. Is this part of Ray's motivation for trying to keep the status quo?

Anonymous said...

Hyman's other problem is that he's really a Democrat running as a Republican. A Wolf in Sheep's clothing.

Hyman decided he was too good a candidate to stand in the Democratic Primary election, and the only reason that he's the Republican nominee is that he used legal measures to sue the real republican candidates out of the primary election.

A Democrat is a Democrat, just as a crook is a crook.

Anonymous said...

5:13 Connell isn't standing for re-election. Which means he's a simple citizen after he leaves office at the beginning of January. Don't expect any verdict in Ed's trial until late spring or summer.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie's excellent post could have been a bit more clear. ray's not running because he expects to win in november, but rather to deny hyman a victory. it is then his hope that pawlowski resigns as part of a plea agreement on January 4th, and he is then appointed mayor by council. as noted in another comment, pawlowski will not plead guilty or resign.

never the less, this is politics, and ray's right to pursue.

Anonymous said...

ray was one of eds rubber stamps on council and was a defender of the clearly corrupt mayor even after the fbi raid.ray is not a good man, he is part of the problem in allentown. he is demonstrating that again now.

Anonymous said...

I'm not an Allentown resident, but I would support third-party candidate John Ingram. He has a solid platform and seems to be they type of mayor the City needs.

Anonymous said...

Well said commentary! I agree with the problems "Fed Ed" has but there are others he is directly responsible for: First, the conditions with the AFD fleet and his vexatious battles with the AFD union. Second, the current opposition with city council and business leaders within the Lehigh Valley. Third, the current state of lawlessness outside of the NIZ. This mayor has consistently refused to bring the APD force compliment up [except for election year 2017] to realistic manpower strength which would enable educated police commanders to launch and provide proactive policing in the neighborhoods. His reliance on downward national trends in violent crime become his mantra of stomping out crime in Allentown is bogus, unrealistic and delusional. The city is rampant with thugs, drug abusers and sellers. Violence is a norm in Pawlowski's Allentown and the uneducated uninformed voters believe this conduct is acceptable in a urban area. O'Connell should have been aware of this, [unless he to is delusional] drop out of the general election, crossover and support the Republican candidate Nat Hyman.

Anonymous said...

Bernie
How does someone reach Ray? Does he have a campaign phone number?
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

mike is correct, ray has every right to screw the residents of allentown again

Anonymous said...

Ed is going to drag this out to the bitter end. Expect him to be re-elected which will further boost his resolve to fight the 53 felony indictments.

Remember, all it takes is ONE conviction of a felony to trigger his removal from office, even if a mistrial occurs on all 52 other charges.

Anonymous said...

If Ed is forced from office, and a "Temporary" mayor is appointed by City Council, how long does this interim mayor serve? I would hope not the entire unexpired term of Ed.

Anonymous said...

I have faith that the rank and file Democrats will reject Pawlowski at last and vote for the other guy on the ballot. While I agree that Ray O'Connell is a man of honor, I don't believe an educator would have a clue about managing a city of 110,000 people. I wonder if he would be much better than Roy Afflerbach. Despite O'Connell's ill conceived write-n effort, I think Hyman wins on his ability to convey a message of integrity and management experience. The Morning Call editorial yesterday set the stage for this.

Anonymous said...

7:55 We learned that running a city isn't like running a school between 1970-74 when Bartholomew was mayor.

Anonymous said...

One of ordinances that empowered Pawlowski was the ability for him to supercede any and all zoning with a stroke of the pen. There is no proect that vital to the punlic interest that could not wait for a public meeting. Has council retracted that Power? Council should take immediate action to repeal.

Anonymous said...

Dig a liitle deeper about Hyman and you will see that he is not quite as honorable as you think.
His dealings with Pawlowski and supporting him over the years are factual.
Talk to the people who in city hall who have dealt with him over the years.
We the real Nat Hyman stanfd up.

Anonymous said...

Ask Eric Weiss and Betsy Levin about Hyman.
You will get the straight story of what kind of person he is.
Eric Weiss was fired by Pawlowski years ago for putting the heat on Hyman concerning zoning regulations.
Every time they put the pressure on him Pawlowski or Dougherty would tell them to back off.

Anonymous said...

8:53, 8:57 Hyman is a Democrat running as a Republican. He knows Ed and what levers to pull to make things happen in Allentown and whose hand he needs to grease to move the gears of government. He's not squeaky clean in any sense of the imagination.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie
How does someone reach Ray? Does he have a campaign phone number?
Thank you."


I would email him at his city council address. I cannot disclose anyone's phone number without permission and after reading about identity theft via phone number, am reluctant to post anyone's personal cell phone number online. His emailcan be found here: https://www.allentownpa.gov/Government/City-Council/Council-Members

Anonymous said...

9:21 agree.
With that being said, the City and County Republican Parties went to great length by going to the Publishers/Editors of the Morning Call to put the squeeze on O'Connell and get him removed from any publicity/debates or forums that they might have.(article in yesterday's morning call)
So in that sense O'Connell is a threat to Hyman.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I read The Morning Call account, and that's just the way they are. Self-important. They still think they are gatekeepers, standing between the public and information. It's nonsense, and they should just cover everyone. This is a Mayoral race, not the US Presidency.

Anonymous said...

The Republican Party went to the well many times before they had Hyman agree to run as a Republican.People have heard and were told by the leaders in the republican party that 3 other people were ask to run and turned down the offer.
Hyman will take a huge pay cut to be Mayor and everyday will have a conflict of interest concerning his buildings.
Good Luck Nat.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Ask Eric Weiss and Betsy Levin about Hyman."

I reached out to both on multiple occasions, and as long ago as 2007. They refused to talk then. I reached out to Levin again in 2017, and she never responded. My conclusion is that are both fill of shit and have axes to grind. I asked Hyman about this. He said Levin was never in any of his buildings, and he has never met her. He said that he had squatters in a building he had just purchased and agreed to give the guys a few days to get out, and had a meeting with city officials including Weiss about this. He has no idea why Weiss was fired and never asked that he be fired.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"If Ed is forced from office, and a "Temporary" mayor is appointed by City Council, how long does this interim mayor serve? I would hope not the entire unexpired term of Ed."

Two years.

Anonymous said...

With the Allentown voters not being the smartest and most observant of what is going on in city government and city politics I would say that Pawlowski does have a chance at winning.
His victory will be short lived however.
Ask an law enforcement individual and they will all tell you he is going to Federal Prison.
Hyman should forget about O'Connell and start beating up on Ed every chance he gets.
I feel it will take about 3000 votes to win.
Hyman needs to make sure he has 3001.

Anonymous said...

ALL the WAY with RAY.
I was a colleague of Ray's.
He is a good man who cares very deeply about Allentown.
He has helped more people in town than Pawlowski and Hyman will ever help.
You may not like what he is doing now or his politics , but never question his honesty and integrity and his commitment to the city.
If he goes down he goes down fighting.

Anonymous said...

Ray is a good guy. Vote for him. Tell all your friends to also. The more write-in votes he gets the better.

Iman Trek said...

Rays a good dude, and deserves a shot. he is not getting any younger or healthier Bernie...

Anonymous said...

"He is a good man who cares very deeply about Allentown." "Ray is a good man"

So was Roy Afflerbach. There are hundreds of good men who care deeply about Allentown and that's a good thing. Ray is one of them. However, the City of Allentown needs a management professional with real executive experience. The City government needs new leadership and new appointments on boards and commissions. The Zoning Hearing Board and Planning Commission for example are full of Pawlwoski supporters planted there to take orders from him. It may take years to turn this around and I believe Hyman has the necessary skills to do it while also overseeing the development of downtown under the NIZ.

Anonymous said...

11:08 ANIZDA is a completely separate entity from the mayor's office. Allentown needs a full-time mayor, and not one who thinks he can run his development business as well as govern the city.

Ray is the man.

Anonymous said...

Ray was against the water sale, until he received what he desired. Ray's unemployed useless son Brandan gets hired by Fed Ed. Then Ray changes his stance and votes for the water sale. Dirty politics at it's best!

Anonymous said...

I was a Thiel supporter in the primary.
I stood at the Temple voting area at 27th and Tilghman streets for many hours along side Mr.Hyman and he said many times I don't care if I am not Mayor, I will go back to work and make millions.
Just who we don't need.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1:28, what you post is factually inaccurate Ray's son was hired a year before the lease. Ray always supported the lease and would never prostitute himself. Unfortunately, I may be responsible for your incorrect belief bc I wrote in 2013 that Ray had switched his vote. He always supported the lease. To the extent that I have misled you, I am sorry.

1:30, Hyman very obviously wants to be Mayor or he would not have been standing at the polls for hours with you. I could hear him say something like that as a joke. You apparently have no sense of humor. That's odd bc you supported Thiel.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you're counting on democracy to provide a positive solution in a town where, as you've documented for years, democracy is dead. Allentown will get what it deserves, a burner phone mayor who'll plead guilty to 50+ counts just days after he's sworn in again. He will then resign and report to federal prison. The interesting chapter is the one about the next mayor, who will be sworn in shortly after Fed Ed. Ray may be jockeying for the job under that scenario.

Bernie O'Hare said...

He is, but as I explained, it will likely not happen that way,

Anonymous said...

Bernie was against Hyman before he was for him. Let us not forget. Hyman would never lie for he is an honorable man.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I was opposed to Hyman but changed my thinking after meeting with him and getting answers to some questions. He and Ray are both men of honor. Fed Ed is not.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I this is an Allentown post but I have a request regarding Northampton County. It has come to my attention that Northampton County Council is planning to restrict the county executive to two terms. Mr. Cussick claims they have already restricted county council people to no more than three consecutive terms. Is this true? Can they do it per state law? This is a real red meat issue but is it wise or even legal?

Thanks

Bernie O'Hare said...

Your post is off topic. I will write about it separately.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
You say an O'Connell write in ensures a victory for FED ED.
Allentown is Democratic city with a 4 to 1 advantage.If O'Connell continues with his write in campaign, Pawlowski wins.
If O'Connell doesn't pursue it, Pawlowski still wins.
4 to 1 Democratic advantage is just too much to over come.
So maybe O'Connell knows exactly the game plan by the FEDS ????
Stay tuned.
City without limits.
What a soap opera.



Anonymous said...

As anon 8:53 stated "Dig a liitle deeper about Hyman and you will see that he is not quite as honorable as you think. His dealings with Pawlowski and supporting him over the years are factual."

I was in several of Hyman's properties as a first responder in 2007 & 2008 and they were definitely not within code. Because he supported Fed Ed in those days, Fed Ed would not allow Building Standards to cite them. Dig a little deeper Bernie.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have spoken to firefighters and they concede these were vacant buildings that Hyman had just acquired.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, gnats run is just like and similar to the basement dwellerz that governor Wolf told them all to stick it in there ass! Always has and will continue to be the same great and powerful OZ behind the curtain!

Didn't these same circus carnival actors play in the act with corbett under the bigtop?

Anonymous said...

When you met with Hyman did you ask him why he had some student at Muhlenberg be his front-woman for filing the challenges in the Republican primary? Also, why did he hide the fact that he was paying for the challenges until he had to disclose when he filed his campaign paperwork?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I did and refuse to answer you until you have the basic decency to say who you are.

Anonymous said...

you have information pertinent to an election and of interest to your readers and you won't disclose it because I'm anonymous?

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are trying to muddy someone up while you yourself are not saying who you are. If you want to challenge someone's integrity, I expect integrity from you. You choose not to provide it.

Anonymous said...

If you think providing the information you have will challenge his integrity, I guess you've provided some useful insight.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I did not say that, but this is what I would expect from someone who has no integrity, as you have established.

Chris Casey said...

The idea that Ray could get appointed after Pawlowski resigns is realistic. Unfortunately, there will be more than one person applying to Council to interview as Interim mayor until the elections of 2019. The scuttle butt is that there is a play in place to get Charlie Thiel in as Mayor. So if both Thiel and O'Connell both apply to be interim mayor, how do they decide, by who got more votes in the 2017 primary? Or do they appoint Julio Guridy because he won't run for it in 2019, and wants to keep his seat on the DRJTBA? Maybe Julio could not take it? Would Hendricks? Bigger question: Whose names are on the still sealed indictments? I have a lead, but I am waiting to see of it is true.

george schaller said...

Bernie,
obviously he is a reel REpublican and you yourself had said some time ago that this left and right shit is just that SHIT! We all are in this shit together here in the lehigh valley and no matter the D or R tagg, for the children we all must fight nice with candor and composure to one another. Please we all know Fed Ed will be soon doing a long time behind bars and we all do not need this non disclosure of pertinant information being with held.
I for one am niether as written many times but I was told by a elder that I had to make a choice and join one or the other, and no matter the D or R first of all and formost I am a humanist by design and it just so happens the design is American made.
I have been in observance mode for some time locally and notice the authoritarian comment when infact to me it looks as if it is a capitolist.
I could be wrong or I could be right but its just my perception. When we have any people liveing in squaller that is rentable blight I personaly find it REpulsive and I have up close experience on this matter because of my zip code that has blight designs designated upon for years.
REpublican redd
humanist by design

Anonymous said...

The more Bernie beats up on President Trump, the more it reflects poorly upon the would be 'Republican' Mayor Hyman ...

Bernie O'Hare said...

On the contrary, Trump is an authoritarian, not a Republican.

Anonymous said...

That be will of absolutely no concern in the one-party city.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Try responding in clear English, if you can, or put the vodka down.

Charlie Sch said...

Someone wrote that a teacher is not enough qualifications to be Mayor. Ray O'Connell was not just a teacher, but was a top level manager. He was actually running the School District when Scott was Superintendent.

Anonymous said...

I was at the Ad. Bldg. working when O'Connell was there.
He was one of the very few who knew the school district like the back of his hand.
He was a top notch administrator who took the time to interact with everyone from the custodians to his colleagues.
He lived for the ASD.