Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Osborne: Time For Trust in South Whitehall II

As a former commissioner pointed out in the BOC meeting last Wednesday, there is a lack of trust among the board members. I think actually the question of trust may be present in the community as well. Here are just some of the topics to consider:

  1. The Covid Caper . . . the $326,000 of Covid relief money that came to the township last fall was spent without any input, knowledge or vote of the board. $138,000 of that was spent for rent of the ROMA building, an expense already in the 2020 budget. After this became public, three members of the board authorized taking $115,000 from the underfunded Fiscal Stability Fund to give to qualified businesses. Why not give these businesses $138,000 from the Relief Fund instead of padding the township coffers?

  2. AWOL on Audits . . .although annual financial audits are required by Pennsylvania law, South Whitehall has not completed an audit in the last 10 years. Two commissioners asked in open session why the audits were not completed and got no answers. What is going on here?

  3. When for Wehr’s Dam? . . . a 2016 referendum approved borrowing up to $600,000 for the repair of Wehr’s Dam, but an engineering study is as far as the initiative has gone in 5 years. Last year, a recently-resigned commissioner wondered aloud how the township “can get out from under this obligation.” In other words, how can the township thwart the will of the people? Is this sentiment the reason little progress has been made?

  4. Comp Plan Canceled . . . the 2009 Comprehensive Plan called for the township to “assess the public’s view on farmland preservation and the use of taxpayer money to preserve more farms.” The vision in the plan also asked the township to “consider a municipal farmland preservation program through purchase of development rights.” Twelve years later, nothing . . . yes, absolutely nothing. Instead, the BOC reversed the tractor gears and adopted the Innovation Overlay District in 2014, a zoning revision that created the concentrated and controversial developments in the township today.

  5. Labor Negotiations Loused Up . . . Some members of the board were denied the right to provide input and guidance before contract negotiations started, as well as the right to attend negotiations for monitoring purposes. Long-term and loyal Public Works employees rejected the administration’s demands and the first labor strike in over 30 years resulted.

  6. Midnight Madness . . . And perhaps the most egregious of all offenses, South Whitehall has a now-sitting commissioner appointed without advertisement, without it being an agenda item, without public comment, occurring, at 11:45 pm, and as The Morning Call headline read on December 5, 2019 “Catcalling, lack of transparency, mistrust’: South Whitehall residents lash out at commissioners over appointment.” Hard to imagine anything worse?

Based on the above information, do you trust the current leadership of South Whitehall?

30 comments:

LVCI said...

I realize this a bit off topic but...
While I really appreciate this information very much it's a shame this kind of stuff has to find it's way to social media rather then a actually functioning newspaper (The Morning Call).

With that said.. once again a great big thank you to BO. Without this blog we'd be living in a complete news vacuum.

Anonymous said...

It is irresponsible to waste any money further degrading the environment by repairing a dam on public property. The dam should be removed, and this water course returned to its natural state.

Anonymous said...

If you remove Wehr's Dam it might flood out the fancy zip line!

Brad Osborne said...

Not off topic at all, and thank you! I decided to take this on because the local media simply does not have the resources to keep up with the topics most relevant to the South Whitehall community. This is a very important, direction-setting election, and I wanted to do my part in getting information to our residents.

To be clear, I do not have a horse in this race. When I mention an individual’s name it’s only because I feel it’s needed for clarity purposes.

Brad Osborne said...

There are some very different thoughts on retaining and maintaining dams in general, so I can appreciate your perspective.

While functional at one time in its history, this particular low-hazard dam now enhances the bucolic nature of Covered Bridge Park. Some feel that is reason enough to keep it in place, some believe its history justifies keeping it.

In any case, in 2016 the voters approved borrowing up to $600,000 to keep this dam in place and bring it up to standards. At this point, I think the will of the people takes precedence over any other competing thoughts. Would you agree?


Anonymous said...

cant wait to move out of South Whitehall. Everything has gone to shit, the administration, elected officials, the police have attitudes unless your a friend of Morgan

Why so many people employed in south whitehall after retiring from the city of allentown

do we want south whitehall to be allentown? no! south whit3ehall became a first class township in order to not be annexed by the city, but the current old guard and incompetent township manager has surrounded themselves with lackeys and malcontents skimming a second municipal pension ,after collecting for the city.

disgusting what is happening

Why is known jaindl attorney Zator the solicitor for the Township, why is known jiandl engineer scott pidcock (who never veer shows up at a meeting anymore) the township engineer?

let the fox into the hen house!

I bet they dont go back to in person meetings with full public participation, bet they make it a lottery to get in....whata joke this township has become

#MorganHasGottaGo
#DrainTheSouthWhitehallSwamp

Anonymous said...

the natural state after removing the dam will destroy the covered bridge. also create snakes and insects next tot he precious child soccer fields! oh no!!!

if the Township manager of Operations ofr whatever his title is Randy Cope didnt have a family connection trying hard to remove the dam it would be shocking if the township tried to remove it at all

also why hasnt the wildlands conservancy tried to removes kerns dam off of kernsvilel road in north whitehall, that dam is probably way more unsafe then the one on south whitehall.....

north whitehall loves it and told the wildlands to go pound sand

wouldnt it be prudent for the fish if all the dams were removed, why doenst the wildlands remove the north whitehall dam and say look this wehrs dam is the last dam to be removed, you are killing the fish that we want to die on a naturally dried out rvier bed in july and august!

Anonymous said...

In answer to your question, Brad Osborne, "no" I don't agree that because people voted to keep a dam that is terrible for the watershed, that justifies it.

As our founders noted, there can be a tyranny of the majority. Not that the small number of voters who voted for this can be considered a majority.

What is more bucolic that a stream in its natural state? If you take the position that this "history" of this dam justifies keeping it, we might as well pause all development everywhere, because of the "history" of everything. In counterpoint, progress marches on, and in this case, removing the dam would be a small step forward for the local wildlife.

Anonymous said...

"cant wait to move out of South Whitehall. Everything has gone to shit, the administration, elected officials, the police have attitudes unless your a friend of Morgan

Why so many people employed in south whitehall after retiring from the city of allentown

do we want south whitehall to be allentown? no! south whit3ehall became a first class township in order to not be annexed by the city, but the current old guard and incompetent township manager has surrounded themselves with lackeys and malcontents skimming a second municipal pension ,after collecting for the city.

disgusting what is happening

Why is known jaindl attorney Zator the solicitor for the Township, why is known jiandl engineer scott pidcock (who never veer shows up at a meeting anymore) the township engineer?

let the fox into the hen house!

I bet they dont go back to in person meetings with full public participation, bet they make it a lottery to get in....whata joke this township has become"

I'd love to help you pack the truck, maybe you can move to a place that does not participate in the best school system in the region, that has the best level of municipal services and has the highest quality of life in Lehigh Valley. As far as your comment about "turning SWT into Allentown", you should be glad to have those employees who voluntarily left Allentown for the security and outstanding work environment at a first class Township. I'll bet Allentown really misses those competent professionals. One could argue that you are the joke, I'd love to live in South Whitehall.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, Anonymous 11:34 is not well-versed in the basics of both U.S. Constitutional and PA law.

Anonymous 11:34 claims that when voters chose to protect Wehr's Dam via the 2016 referendum, they were demonstrating the centuries-old idea of "tyranny of the majority." In Federalist No. 51, James Madison argues that in order to avoid avoid incidents in which the majority threatened the rights of the minority (i.e. tyranny of the majority), power should be spread out in a system of checks and balances. The tyrannic majority accomplishes its goals at the expense of the minority. Wehr's Dam was a policy decision, and it did not threaten the rights or livelihoods of those that voted against it.

Putting aside the asinine claim of "tyranny of the majority", let's take a closer look at how the referendum came to be. Another astute idea the Founding Father's had was to utilize the republican principle...or the creation of a republic where decisions were delegated to a small number of citizens elected by the rest. This is how decisions are made in South Whitehall Township. We have an elected board of five commissioners.

Under PA law, referendums are initiated by legislative bodies. In this case, it was those Commissioners, who, in 2016, made the unanimous decision to put the referendum on the ballot.

There's no "tyranny of the majority" going on as it related to Wehr's Dam. SWT Commissioners (and the voters) simply followed all appropriate laws and procedures.

Anyone trying to dramatize or ridicule the citizen efforts and referendum vote to save Wehr's Dam is just a sore loser -- probably someone in cahoots with the notorious Dam-Demonizer Tori Morgan and her neighbor/designated attack dog Mad Matty Mobilio.

Anonymous said...

Oh Ben

Brad Osborne said...

You present yet a third perspective, which is an interesting one, and may draw some additional comments. Thank you for your feedback!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:34 has taken a simple local topic and obscured it with national politics. In his/her twisted logic, the proposed library tax (which failed to gain voter support in a separate referendum that same year) should be enacted anyway because of the "tyranny of the majority"??

BTW, how did South Whitehall get a new and renovated library building without the benefit of this tax that was needed so badly to make it happen?? Tori??

Brad Osborne said...

You present yet a third perspective, which is an interesting one, and may draw some additional comments. Thank you for your feedback!

Brad Osborne said...

You present yet a third perspective, which is an interesting one, and may draw some additional comments. Thank you for your feedback!

Anonymous said...

Make South Whitehall Great again Vote out Tori Morgan and Our Own Sleepy Joe Setton !!

Rob said...

Take a drive around and see the signs for Morgan... and puppet Setton are placed

Jaindl properties
Kay Builders property
Abe Atiyeh properties
Park view hotel property
Warehouses under construction property
zator law property

Maybe Morgan is the puppet for these land owners

Anonymous said...

Put another way, how many fish have to die so that certain "voters" can look at an old dam on rare occasions?

This question doesn't involve legal debates, it involves one obviously right answer. Obsolete dams should be removed, the sooner the better. Will there be any fish left by the time the "voters" finally do the right thing?

Anonymous said...

"Take a drive around and see the signs for Morgan... and puppet Setton are placed

Jaindl properties
Kay Builders property
Abe Atiyeh properties
Park view hotel property
Warehouses under construction property
zator law property

Maybe Morgan is the puppet for these land owners"

I wonder who was the puppet for the builder who built your subdivision? People sell land to developers and they build subdivisions because of high consumer demand for new houses in the location, same as you did. Unless you have never done on-line shopping with home delivery, you are a hypocrite for criticizing truck terminals, they are being built everywhere not just in SWT.

Mr. Frank Rizzo said...

9:18 AM

Why hasnt the wildlands removed the dam on the Jordan River at Kernsville Road?

Why hasnt the wildlands removed the dams for the Cedar Creek in Trexler Park?

Why hasnt the wildlands removed the Cementon dam on the Lehigh River?

Why hasnt the wildlands removed the Spring Mill Dam at the Spring Creek in Cementon?


--- Whitehall, Cementon and the Trexler Trust told the Wildlands to go fuck themselves, that is why. They dont have the politicians through family in their pockets in those communities

Oscar said...

Annonymous @April 15, 2021 at 9:18 AM

You ever see the fish alive when the entire riverbed is dried up in the summer months?

What fish do you want to save by killing them by removing the dam?

you sir really are a Tori Lover

#NoMoreTori2021
#DrainTheSWTSwamp
#MorganHasGottaGo
#SaveWehrsDam
#ReneeBickelHasGootaGo

Anonymous said...

The science behind dam removal is irrefutable.

But y'all go on.

Roger Mudd said...

April 15, 2021 at 9:40 PM, and why are 4 dams still in existence? Ya'll would think that the wildlands would be targetting other scientific dams and removing them, what was the last dam they removed?

The community of those other dams like south whitehall residents who voted want to keep the dam.

The removal of Wehr's Covered bridge would be even better from a traffic aspect if it was torn down and replaced with a modern 2 lane concrete bridge! Why is Lehigh County sinking $1,250,000 into Manassas Guth Bridge, a functional obsolete and falling down wood bridge, doesnt make scientific sense right?

Fake name said...

"I wonder who was the puppet for the builder who built your subdivision? People sell land to developers and they build subdivisions because of high consumer demand for new houses in the location, same as you did. Unless you have never done on-line shopping with home delivery, you are a hypocrite for criticizing truck terminals, they are being built everywhere not just in SWT.

April 15, 2021 at 1:09 PM"

Warehouses are not truck terminals moron, google the difference internet tough guy

Anonymous said...

The person above admitted losing the "legal" argument after a previous post. It certainly exposes his "fishy" self.

Does this individual think that the actions and policies of Morgan, Setton, and Mad Matty are examples of "tyranny of the majority?"

Chris Peischl said...

Do you know what the natural water course of the Jordan creek was? Do you know the township altered the natural flow of the Jordan creek below the dam with those ugly stone squares? Why aren’t you complaining about that? The dam has an historical value of the region. The majority decided to repair the dam. Live with it and stop being a hypocrite

Roscoe said...

Lehigh County wants to spend 8.9 million to rehabilitate Wehr's Covered Bridge.

Wehr's Dam Covered Timber Bridge Rehabilitation - Carrying Wehr's Mill Road over the Jordan Creek - South Whitehall Township - Lehigh County - $8,899,043

8.9 million for a wooden bridge that is obsolete, a burden to taxpayers, and serves no legitimate purpose.... sounds alot like the dam?




(Note: to be fair the covered bridge could be replaced with a concrete structure for half the cost, burn it down and make it modern I say!)

Anonymous said...

"Warehouses are not truck terminals moron, google the difference internet tough guy"

Yes!! An angry hypocrite, perfect. I stand corrected, a warehouse is where trucks bring things to be stored for subsequent distribution by other trucks. A Truck Terminal is where trucks bring things in for more immediate transfer to other trucks for distribution. THANK YOU, so much for demanding clarification of this extremely important distinction. I'm still curious as to which former Commissioner was the puppet for your subdivision.

Mr. Internet Tough Guy

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 8:06: interesting to everyone who reads this blog, Benjamin, you started out with your ill-advised premise of “the tyranny of the majority”, then when that was challenged, you morphed to “let’s save the fish” pseudo-science (wow!), and now you’re curious as to which commissioner championed the massive developments being thrust upon our residents? Really? Answer . . . your president of the board, Ms. Tori Morgan, who sponsored the destructive “Innovative Overlay District” in 2014 that has led to where we are today in absolute contrast to the 2009 Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2009!!

BTW, Benjamin, have you submitted your resume for the board vacancy to continue this tragedy for our township? Askin’ for a friend.

Anonymous said...

Ben has submitted to be appointed, along with Tom Johns, Mark Luethe, and Dean Browning


Tom Johns will be appointed by a 2-2 ties with Keisha Champagnie deciding it as the vacancy board tie breaker....

Very interesting vthat Madam Morgan replaced Dave Torrey with Keisha for no other reason but to have a puppet

South Whitehall Puppet Show will be Wednesday night and all next week

#MorganHasGottaGo