Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Wounded Combat Vet Seeks Bethlehem GOP Mayoral Nod

Kachmar with President Geo W Bush
For the first time in 24 years, a Republican is running for Mayor in Bethlehem. John Kachmar, who served as Administrator under Lehigh County Executive Dave Bausch and as Chief of Staff to former Congressman Don Ritter, filed his nomination petition on Tuesday. 

Numerous Republicans who've never served a day in the military, including GOP Exec candidate Steve Lynch, like to dress up in camoflauge on weekends and call themselves "patriots." Kachmar really is. After graduating from Liberty High School, he served in the Marines. He ended up in Vietnam, where he was wounded in action. 

My father, a WWII vet who was wounded in action himself, never talked to me about the war or his experiences as a POW. But he talked to Kachmar. So did acclaimed novelist Kurt Vonnegut. That trio formed an unlikely bond while Kachmar was still a student at Moravian College. 

Kachmar is a patriot. Lynch, not so much.  

After leaving Lehigh County, Kachmar developed considerable experience in managing municipalities throughout the country, mostly in the South. In fact, he actually helped establish several local governments. 

He's been back in Bethlehem, and it's been impossible for him to ignore what's happening. 

My brother and I sat down with him recently at the Santiago Cigar Lounge on the City's south side. Proprietor Consuela, who was smoking a cigar herself, brightened the moment he walked inside. She even brought me a cup of really good coffee, even though I am a nonsmoker. 

At that time, I told him it would be foolish to run for Mayor because the City is dominated by Democrats. Kachmar acknowledged reality, but added that it's time for a change. He noted the city has had tax increases in three of the past four years, and is irked by a stormwater fee that burdens row home owners to the same extent as those living in luxurious estates. He's especially irritated by the City's decision to give the Business Manager slot to a Council member who then recommends his wife to head up another department. He questions why she's given an $8,000 raise in a budget that imposes a tax hike and wonders why the City would endanger public safety by eliminating firefighter slots.  And why a tax increase at all when people are reeling from Covid?

These all seem like good questions in a city that seems to be more concerned about being woke than serving its residents. 

Since he's a Republican, The Morning Call has already tried to trash Kachmar over a 2013 incident in which Kachmar got into a heated argument with a Georgia resident.  Ironically, one of Kachmar's biggest defenders was Brad Raffensperger, Georgia's current Secretary of State and the very man who refused to allow Donald Trump to browbeat him into reversing the results in that state. Kachmar told me they still text each other. 

Kachmar's candidacy would be good for a city in which electoral contests are usually settled in May. It would be even better for its residents. 

An accidental beneficiary of a contested Mayoral race in Bethlehem would be NorCo Executive Lamont McClure. Such a race would drive turnout in Bethlehem in November when he needs it. 


Anonymous said...

Good! Even democrats are not happy with the situation.

T Marshall said...

Dana Grubb for Mayor

Anonymous said...

Bush supporter would be a big plus in Northampton County. Definitely in need of more Rinos in Norco. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

The Bernie spin room is working overtime on this one. Kachmar is a hothead with a short switch and a history of acting out against the public. This guy lacks the temperament to be elected dog catcher! He and Grubb could have a fistfight in City Hall to settle the general election.

From the articles on the confrontation:

Kachmar stood “with his nose in the face” of Bush, according to one witness. After his initial outburst, witnesses say Bush did not respond further to Kachmar’s raunchy expletives, which included the likelihood of anal rape (in explicitly crude language) if he (Kachmar) had Bush arrested.


"David Kornbluh, a member of the Johns Creek Community Association Board and frequent attendee at council meetings, was one of the witnesses in the parking lot. He had stayed to see what Johnson’s concerns were about the Sergeant Road roundabout.

“I saw [Kachmar] walk up to [Johnson] and stand for a few moments and hurl insults at her – and in effect called her a liar for making comments that were untrue,” Kornbluh said. “I heard what she said and found nothing untrue in what she said, although they did not cast city staff in a favorable light.”

Then he saw Kachmar come back and approach Bush. Then there was a lot of puffing up of chests, and noses within an inch of each other.

“For the city manager to come out and take issue with what a citizen said in public comment is unacceptable in my mind,” Kornbluh said. “[Kachmar] stood in our little circle while we were talking, and he began saying she should not have said such lies or whatever.”

Johnson said she never said the city did not respond to her requests about the project. Her complaint was they never provided any of the information she sought. Asked if she felt intimidated by his comments, she said she was “frightened and intimidated.”

Part 1.

Anonymous said...

Part II

Kachmar leveraged his "deplorable" behavior into a six figure buyout from the city, after threatening a lawsuit.

Interestingly, the man who you say was "one of Kachmar's biggest defenders", Brad Raffensperger, called his behavior "deplorable". Some defense!

Part III

This was not Kachmar's first incident of questionable behavior.

He has trouble keeping a driver's license, and drove with a suspended license:

He allegedly slapped a teen in a movie theatre.

He was accused of steering a contract to a friend while an administrator in St. Mary's County MD.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Dana Grubb for Mayor"

Dana should have run as an indie. In a two-person race against Willie, he loses in May. If there were three Dems in the race, I think he'd have a shot. But there aren't and he doesn't.

I think the way the city has been handled in recent years needs some review it will never get if the race is over in the primary. Bethlehem likes to talk about diversity. That should include diversity of opinions.

Anonymous said...

Brought coffee to a non smoker ? Hmmm.
Next? Delivered hot dog to a vegan ,?

Anonymous said...

John is a Bethlehem native of the old school, South Side, steel company hardened variety. He doesn’t take any crap and has an excellent BS detector. He loves Bethlehem and would be a terrific city executive who would look out for the interests of everyday citizens. He also knows how to manage government budgets and how to effectively root out waste and inefficiency. I think he’ll be an excellent candidate.

Anonymous said...

Bethlehem needs another choice. The City has went to far left in recent years and needs a moderate in there to bring it back to the center. Tax increases every year, spending out of control and initial talk of defunding the police department. Bethlehem needs a different choice other than Grub or Reynolds.

Anonymous said...

A snowball has a better chance in hell than a Republican has of winning in Bethlehem. Steve Samuelson spent no money and got 70% of the vote against Scott Hough, who worked hard.

Anonymous said...

The most disturbing thing about Kachmar is this:

No...not the fact that he slapped a teen. The fact that he was watching "Battlefield Earth"

serious lapse in judgment

Woke This Way said...

A ham sandwich, were it to secure the D nomination for Bethlehem mayor, would soundly defeat any fill-in-the-blank R in one-party Bethlehem. There's no need for the usual suspects to trash a guy who offers a choice. It certainly reinforces my belief that all candidates for office must have a few screws loose. And how long do we go with the name of the birthplace of Jesus (from apartheid Zionist Israel), to the exclusion of all non-Christians in that city? Equity for first peoples and all peoples requires the name of the city be changed. How about Leni Lenapi Burg? Or does that sound too Jewish? Also, let's discuss the chilling display privilege and exploitation behind historic preservation zones. Preserving citadels to WASP overlords and robber barons is insulting and hurtful. It rubs the noses of every other culture into the past of paternalist torture inflicted upon them by white devils in big fancy houses.

Anonymous said...

@1:02: Steve Samuelson is a fine example of how good government can work. No outside influence ($$$) so nobody to answer to except his constituents. He's terribly consistent and voter's respond every 2 years.

Anonymous said...

Don't legitimize Lynch by continuing to mention his name as if he was ever a threat. Reminds me of of of my favorite sayings, "Don't get in the way of a man trying to hang himself". Lynch will be responsible for his defeat all by himself.
Kachmar sounds like a ball buster that could make a difference in the progressive hug fest of Bethlehem.

Anonymous said...

Samuelson much like Freeman are products of lethargic demo strongholds. Samuelson is invisible in Harrisburg. He is a lifer who just sucks air. One day maybe an ambitious
Dem will run against him but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Bethlehem keep voting for the dems--your taxes will go up again

Anonymous said...

Samuelson is not a fine example of how good government works because he cant get anything done!! Seriously, what has he got passed? He is just collecting a check and bumping up his retirement.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The way I look at it, a wounded combat vet who has spent his adult career in government has every right to be a bit ballsy. You can whine anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to Mr. Kachmar ! Semper Fidelis

Anonymous said...

Oh brother, you sound like a real whack job.��

Anonymous said...

Was not whining, I'm serious about the ball buster comment. The best leaders, educators and coaches I ever had were not concerned with my feelings. They let you know where you needed to be to succeed. Simple as that. Kachmar sounds like he knows how to get to the point.

Anonymous said...

"Bethlehem likes to talk about diversity. That should include diversity of opinions." What a great quote. Seems like I've heard that somewhere before.

Anonymous said...

Why on Earth would Bethlehem want as its mayor a man who has resigned in disgrace from at least two jobs in municipal or county government?

For one of his resignations he was given a 138k buyout (only SIX MONTHS of his pay) in exchange for not filing a lawsuit against the city as he was threatening.4/6 council members voted for the buyout, and the other two said he shouldn't be paid at all, one saying "This man deserves not one penny. He has been poison to this city, and I won't support the settlement. I don't want another city to go through what we have gone through. His actions don't deserve any settlement for his services." That doesn't sound like a public servant to me.

We don't care if you think our government is too progressive, Bernie (it's not). You don't live in Bethlehem. So we don't particularly care what you think.

Bernie O'Hare said...

When you serve your country honorably in Vietnam and get your woke ass shot up in the process, I might be inclined to listen to what you say. But you're too much of a pussy to even say who you are. Also, no one tells a reporter he's unable to cover a city bc he lives somewhere else. In fact, you idiots have people from Bangor running your DCED.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

If news reporters and bloggers would only report on cities and towns where they live, journalism would not exist.