|Kachmar with President Geo W Bush|
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.