Oct 27, 2016

Election 2016, Foaming At The Mouth

A reader stated at a recent post that he thought things would be dull here, if I didn't allow commenters to banter back and forth.  What I think is dull is seeing a long comment section of two people having their own conservation, especially when they're anonymous.  But, on the topic of dull, I present my 17th post on the incivility of this election.

I have a facebook friend who can't stop complaining about Trump.  She couldn't be more offended if he had grabbed her crotch.  What she will do with that outrage come November 9th, who knows?  She might have to become a blogger.  What started me off for this new post was Morgan Freeman and Colin Powell's endorsement of Clinton.  Morgan narrates Hillary's latest campaign ad, with his iconic voice.  Colin, describing himself as a Republican, came out for Clinton.  Of course, he also came out for Obama in 08 and 12.  He seems to be a Republican in registration only.

Pictured above,  college educated soccer mom thinking about Donald Trump.

Oct 26, 2016

LCA's Drinkable Blend

Long time readers of this blog know that I have been raging against the valley's sacred cows for decades. I complained when Donny Cunningham  pimped our water. We now have multiple bottlers, which steal our water, but provide few jobs. I complained when he invited Ocean Spray and their highly acidic discharge here. They couldn't even meet New Jersey's pollution standards. I raged against the sewage overflowing into Lehigh Parkway, and documented races and marathons, held in feces and toilet paper infested areas next to the creek. I criticized the hypocrites called the Wildlands Conservancy, for tearing down scenic dams, but remaining silent about the sewage.

It turns out now that the silent yuppies are finally stirred up. Joyce Marin, who has made a career out of farmland preservation and other popular environmental fads, is upset because the LCA wants to blend a little sewage into the Little Lehigh. The LCA has been on a program to save a drop of waste water, here and there. The thinking is that if you save enough drops, perhaps they can avoid a real fix, like properly sizing their pipes and treatment facilities. For that reason, South Whitehall just made all their homeowners close off their floor drains, which were a required safeguard when the houses were built. LCA's scientist, shown above, has determined that you can drink a few parts of sewage per million, and not drop dead. A drop here and a drop there, will save an expensive pipe replacement.

Oct 25, 2016

A Day In Pennsyltucky

Only in Pennsyltucky is the former Attorney General lead away in handcuffs, while the Vice President calls himself one of us. Although, I keep wanting to turn my attention to some local annoyances, the absurdity of this election cycle keeps grabbing my attention.  Today, a new ad for Kate McGinty featured Joe Biden telling his fellow Pennsylvanians how he is one of us. Joe lived here until he was 10 years old.

More troubling is the Obamas' campaigning against Trump.  I wish some of Michelle's outrage concerned the Christian children of Mosul, who are being brutally murdered.  She, like her husband, has the speech thing perfected, but they're both  misguided with their empathy.

Coming to the big screen soon will be the story of Kathleen Kane. In a story which reads like a movie script, she was finally sentenced yesterday, but not before she and her identical twin sister forced two State Supreme Court Justices to resign,  for emailing pornography within the court system.

Oct 24, 2016

Mud Wrestling And Politics

Seasoned readers of this blog know that I'm not shy about criticizing officials or policy, when I feel that things are not in the public's best interest. Aggressive as that may be, I am offended by smear tactics and negative campaigning. Certainly, the Trump/Clinton campaigns have been self-described as nasty, and I expect and accept that blood letting. Trump was known as a brawler, and behind those  easy smiles, the Clintons have a long time reputation for viciousness. Locally, I've never seen so much continuous television advertising, nor the low smears being used by McGinty against Pat Toomey.

The national polling released on Friday shows that Trump may have weathered the mud storm. Although, many voters feel that when it came to women in his past that he was no gentleman, they are more concerned about their own future, and change in Washington.

Pundits believe that Toomey's fate lies in Clinton's margin of victory in Pennsylvania. They assume that Clinton will carry the state, and McGinty with her, if she wins by five or six points.

If voters have indeed become immune to mud and sexual escapades, Trump's chances will probably only improve between now and November 8th.  With the news from Iraq, and a lackluster economy, security and prospersity are messages that resonate.

Oct 21, 2016

When Allentown Worked

Regular readers of this blog know that I often visit Allentown's better days of the past. I even belong to a nostalgia group, where someone recently asked where everyone's parents worked. Many group members are in their 50's and 60's. Here was the question; When we grew up the best jobs for our dad's was the Bethlehem steel and mack trucks unless they were lawyers or doctors or had another profession occupation I know my my mom worked in a factory all her life and I think most of them have closed. Where did you mom and dad work and are the companies are open? Over 90 people responded, actually constituting a survey. In current Allentown, this would be a study, which taxpayers would have to pay for; Here, it's on the house, no charge. Fourteen of the fathers worked at Bethlehem Steel, while five worked at Mack Trucks, and five worked retail on Hamilton Street. The others worked at Allentown's many other industries, one or two here and there. Only two respondents said that their fathers weren't much for working. Twenty mothers were stay at home, while eight worked in various sewing factories. The remainder worked as teachers, nurses, factory workers and various other jobs. One person wrote, "My parents sound like the scene you described. My dad worked at Beth Steel and my mom at Penn State Mills on a sewing machine. They owned their own home and sent me to college where I graduated without the burden of a loan. Thanks, Mom and Dad." Shown above was the General Electric plant on S. 12th Street, just beyond the old Mack 5C.
reprinted from November of 2013.

ADDENDUM: There is a current proposal to convert the enormous Adelaide Mill into apartments. Although, we hear catch words like loft and middle class, that won't happen; The size and location of the building, along with the developer's MO, dictate more young, single mothers and children, living in a former factory now broken up into a cheap urban motel. There is something ironic about a former place of production now being a warehouse for people. There is something sad about a city looking upon these conversions as progress.

Oct 20, 2016

Rumble In Sin City

Trump's fight in Las Vegas with Hillary Clinton didn't end at 10:30pm.  After the debate, he was bashed endlessly by both MSNBC and CNN.  None of their combined commentators could get over the fact that he said that he would have to evaluate the results election night, before accepting them.  I suppose that if he didn't make that statement,  they would have found something else with which to beat him up.

Overall, putting aside that media bias, I think that Trump actually did pretty well.  Although Hillary's free college sounds wonderful to the entitlement crowd,  who would pay for it was never addressed.  Although, Trump lacks the debate skills to emphasize the shortcomings of Hillary's plans,  he did manage to suggest that her policies on immigration and refugees could create problems.   He also did fairly well with his premise that there is a gap between her rhetoric and her results. Hillary did well, with some help from Trump himself,  questioning his temperament. 

I believe that the mythical, undecided voter no longer exists.  After the debate, not one word by the pundits  centered on Trump's treatment of women.  By that shift alone,  Trump won.

Oct 19, 2016

Pawlowski's Defiance

According to Emily Opilo of The Morning Call, Ed Pawlowski has gone ahead and hired Michael Walker for de-facto head of Community Development,  even though his appointment was rejected by city council.  Pawlowski implemented this end run by designating Walker as Operations Manager. The operation manager position was created when the previous director was also working officially with the NIZ.

There is actually two factors involved in this defiance. The first is that a historically passive city council allowed city hall to get top heavy.  While there are less indians than ever, there are still as many or more chiefs.  The second factor also involves council's passivity. Opilo also writes, Most council members were initially hesitant to make any public moves against Pawlowski. Two months after the investigation was revealed, council signed off on Pawlowski's pick for finance director and also approved his 2016 budget with minimal pushback.   I have always been amazed at council's refusal to use various funding approvals as a negotiating tool to assert themselves as a check and balance on policy. Consequently, over the years,  I and others have described council as a rubber stamp.

Unfortunately, even under the current environment, Pawlowski  holds sway over the majority of council. While several council members are still known essentially as supporters,  Pawlowski still has strong influence over the majority of members.  Besides his known supporters, at least two more members benefit from either city employment or property. It takes only four votes to get your way in Allentown.

ADDENDUM: Pawlowski may be proving that you don't even need four votes to get your way in Allentown.

Oct 18, 2016

Sex and The White House Campaign

The years have bestowed journalist status upon Wolf Blitzer.  Last week, when he interviewed Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, he asked her about the now infamous 2005 tape leak. Although, she stated that she had seen it, he proceeded to have the tape run for the viewing audience. He then had the tape rerun, between each question he asked her.

Last night, Melania Trump suggested to Anderson Cooper that the media is driving the salacious nature of this election, rather than the actions of her husband. To a large extent that is true. The media has fixated on these revelations, and have made them the issue. Years ago, in the era of Walter Cronkite, such accusations would have been considered off limits.

Certainly, Walter would not have run the tape over and over again.

Oct 17, 2016

A Magician's Choice In South Whitehall

One of the South Whitehall Commissioners is an amateur magician.  He is amusing himself giving the residents of South Whitehall a magician's choice, times two, about Wehr's Dam.  A magician's choice is when the audience thinks that they are choosing the card, when in reality, they are steered to that pick.  He got one price to repair the dam, and another to replace it.  He reported that the dam replacement would cost $1.9 million,  so they choose a middle proposal, to only replace 1/3 of the dam, for $600,000.  Although, to the uninformed, it sounds like a reasonable compromise,  it's based on a false comparison.  No portion of the dam needs to be replaced,  all that is needed is a minor repair.  The second portion of the two part trick is putting the issue to referendum.  He knows that the residents never vote themselves a tax increase.  The magician thinks that he can accommodate the Wildlands Conservancy with another dam demolition, and suffer no political consequence.   To me,  they're stealing the history of the township. They are also robbing the citizens,  current and future, of a place of great beauty, which has been enjoyed for over 100 years.  That theft will be their legacy.

Oct 14, 2016

Mutiny At Allentown City Council

The mutiny at city council has been well reported by Emily Opilo, ace reporter for The Morning Call. Emily provided blow by blow tweets to her fan base during the meeting. Some of the barbs were much more interesting than the votes themselves. Even though Pawlowski questioned Julio Guridy's salary at his no-show state commission job, Julio still voted Ed's way. He once again proved to be a loyal soldier of the party, which has rewarded him well for over a decade. Candida Affa also fits that loyal soldier definition very well, although her incentive is less clear. Surprisingly, Cynthia Mota, Julio's protégé, voted with the majority against Pawlowski's pick for Community Development Director, Michael Walker.  Pawlowski even tried to use the race card, touting Walker's African-American background for needed diversity.

In an interesting plot twist,  Craig Messinger, nominee for Public Works Director, withdrew his name, over council's refusal to grant new salaries ahead of the budget proposal. In the Allentown of years ago, we would say that he got his Dutch up. Of course, the big story of the night was that city council finally asserted itself. It only took eleven years.

This is an analysis of the meeting from news sources,  I was not in attendance.

The Noodleboy and Wehr's Dam

Billy Mack and some other young people had been talking about the mural on a building soon to be demolished. They called "him" Noodle Boy, and expressed empathy toward his coming fate. It's a cute story, and the Morning Call decided to cover it.  
 Meanwhile, the paper hadn't printed or even acknowledged my recent letter on Wehr's Dam, about to be unnecessary demolished by a disingenuous referendum. I wrote the editorial because Bill White on September 29th had a column, which contained misinformation about the dam. This misinformation was put out by South Whitehall Township, whose Commissioners are trying to have the residents vote the dam away, relieving them of any political consequences. In the summer of 2014, almost 7,000 residents signed a petition asking that the dam remain. Furthermore, they signed the petition while visiting the dam. Mr. White declined to write a correction, but suggested that I submit an editorial on the topic. That editorial had been sitting somewhere between the editor's desk and his waste can for over a week.  Yesterday, I caught him by telephone.  He must have been too busy to look at the caller ID.  I was told that they haven't had time yet to review my submission.  I'm glad that they sent a reporter out to meet Billy Mack at Noodle Boy.  I wish that they would send a reporter to meet me at the dam.  I would like to tell him or her about how South Whitehall is deceiving the voters, and how we are going to lose a destination that has been cherished for generations.  Noodle Boy can be repainted anywhere. Once the historic dam is demolished, it's gone forever.

Wehr's Dam photo by Yevette Hendler

You're welcome to return today at 2:00PM, when I will have a bonus post on last night's city council meeting.

Oct 13, 2016

Prince William's Great Grandmother

Long before Prince William walked down the aisle in Westminister Abbey, his great grandmother, Princess Alice (Princess Andrew of Greece), walked there during the wedding of her son Phillip, to Princess Elizabeth. Princess(Alice) Andrew, later at the Coronation of Elizabeth, wore the habit of a nun. An extraordinary woman, she had founded a nurses order composed of nuns in Greece. She modeled the order after one started by her aunt and mentor in Russia, whom she had visited many years earlier. Born Princess Alice of Battenberg, she married Prince Andrew of Greece in 1903, assuming her new title.
During the Second World War, she hid a Jewish widow and her children in Athens, saving their lives. In accordance to her wish, she is buried in Jerusalem, next to her cherished aunt Duchess Fyodorovna, in the Russian Orthodox Church of Maria Magdalene.

reprinted from December 2014

ADDENDUM: When Prince Charles attended Simon Peres' funeral in Jerusalem last month, he visited the church and his grandmother's tomb.

Oct 11, 2016

Second Debate Aftermath

Guest Post from a liberal for Clinton 

Elections are won by addition, not subtraction from your base.

It is true that about 35% - 40% of the Republican base is for Trump and nothing he does will cause them to waver.....he could have dropped his trousers and mooned the moderators and they would cheer him on. BUT, that is not enough voters to reach 50% and one. Simply put, even if ALL of Trump's supporters show up to vote, he falls short. So, to win, he has to, horrors of horrors, reach beyond the deplorables , irredeemables, and alt-right pure reprehensibles. Yes, he followed some coaching advice and bagged the funny pouting faces and seemed sedated, but, his creeping around the stage looked weird & lurking, especially when it is a short woman on stage in front of him. It just looked like he was trying to get into every frame shot of her like a photo bomber. Though a cliche, he really has to appeal to and bring in those white, suburban soccer moms.

Hillary was too clever by half in not responding/defending all the charges leveled at her.....telling folks to go to her web site "Fact Checkers" is lame, and quoting Michele Obama to ignore garbage and "go high" doesn't appeal to non partisan Democrats. Suspect you will see her change that tactic by the next debate, unless he is down in the polls by double digits in the swing states, in which case she will just let him foam in the mouth.

I think he committed three tactical errors that will doom him:

1. Libertarians & BernieManaics are potential swing voters this time. Gary Johnson has lost all creditability. They don't like Trump or Clinton, but, they hate Big Government even more. When Trump went off on his Banana Republic tirade about prosecuting Hillary after he wins the election he strikes the worst fears in their hearts of government run amok.

2. By stating that he "admires" that Hillary is a fighter who never quits, he undermines his theme that she is an old, tired, lazy campaigner that lacks the energy to be President. The reasoning doesn't compute for anyone not suffering from Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

3. Trump broke the Gary Hart Rule of Politics.....you NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER DARE the press to uncover evidence of your indiscretions. When he categorically denied ever actually groping anyone (after Cooper set him up by defining same as a sexual assault) he assured that someone will go for the money and sell an audio or video of a woman alleging otherwise. It will be a Bill Crosby - Roger Ailes cavalcade of women coming forward. They won't be 60+ year old women like he trotted out pre-debate....Bill Clinton women from DogPatch, Arkansas, who looked like Taliban hostages on stage......rather, they will be "10's" in Trump parlance, lookers in their 30's who were beauty pageant contestants or TV show assistants from the last decade, when they were in their late teens or early 20's......who he hit on while married to Melania. You can book that Gloria Alford's phone is ringing off the hook now with prospective clients.

You can stick a fork in him; he's done. The battle now is for Congress....."You need me there so that there is a check on Hillary, not a rubber stamp" will be every Republican's theme now. If she wins by 3 or 4 points they probably get by....if she carries a state by anything above 6 they are in big trouble. Four pickups in the Senate gives them control there (VP casts the tie breaker). They pick up 13 seats in the House and Ryan can't pass anything without Democratic votes, because even with a 30 seat majority now they frustrate him. He loses half of that and he has no where to go but to the Democrats in order to pass even Mother's Day resolutions.
                                                     Guest Post by Trent Hall

molovinsky on allentown will not be published Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Calle Siete

When Julio Guridy proposed adding Calle Siete signs to 7th Street, he was somewhat surprised by the reaction. Although, he might have expected opposition from what Bill White calls the Emma Tropiano people, he didn't expect it from the Hispanic merchants of 7th Street. More unexpectedly, the opposition was lead by Pete Lewnes, quasi government official and manager of 7th Street. The merchants expressed the opinion that it was a diversion from more real problems, such as litter. Lewnes stated that it discriminates against other minorities. Bill White felt that the proposal was divisive. Julio himself got defensive, and stated that Hispanics are now a majority, and deserve a piece of the recognition pie.

Leave it to this blogger, a plain talker, to articulate the real issue. One must understand that the recent attempted gentrification of Hamilton Street intentionally relocated the Hispanics to 7th Street, including the merchants that cater to them. In that sense, it's already a Hispanic ghetto. Peter Lewnes and the merchants want as large of a customer base as they can attract. For that reason, substantial funds have gone into the 7th Street facade program. This isn't some large cosmopolitan, sophisticated area where an ethnic sign will attract suburban curiosity. Unfortunately, the cultural divide and prejudice are real obstacles that Lewnes and the merchants are trying to overcome. The last thing they want to do is brand 7th Street as Hispanic.

Oct 10, 2016

Hurricane Trump

Our political traditions become more cut-throat each election cycle. We now have what has become known as the October Surprise. In this election, Clinton has been aided by a press hostile to her opponent, and the Washington Post did Hillary's dirty work for her. By Saturday morning Donald Trump had replaced Hurricane Matthew as the headline. The tape released on Friday certainly didn't disappoint any Trump haters. It provided all the proof they needed that the candidate has arrested development in his attitude toward women. However, as vulgar as the tape was, our political system now has its own vulgarity. Besides hearing it in Trump's own words, was anything unknown revealed? Trump's video apology was done well enough. Although, rather stiff and scripted, he did indeed apologize, and promise to be a better person. He also shared the blame with the Clinton's, accusing Bill of numerous sexual improprieties, and Hillary of complicity in covering them up.  We are no longer in the era of the Brady Bunch.  While it seemed somewhat like a juvenile excuse to mention the Clintons,  in truth. they had desensitized America to hanky panky by politicians, even in the White House.

From a ethical point of view, Trump's apology was inadequate, but this is politics. He managed to take the best shot against him, and essentially set the bar lower for himself with his upcoming debate with Hillary.  He once again seemed to be best about making lemonade,  if nothing else.

Trump, under incredibly adverse circumstances, spoke fairly well during the debate.  Despite the infamous tape released just two days prior, despite a format aligned with Hillary's experience, Trump managed to hold his own, and even put Hillary on the defensive.  However, Trump's new problem may well be the spectacle he conducted before the debate.  Bringing out Bill Clinton's former accusers was anything but the contriteness recommended by those knowledgeable in damage control. His body language during the debate, although improved since the first encounter, also lacked discipline 

Another consequence of the 2005 tape was that Trump, in addition to debating Hillary, has to contend with numerous Republicans disavowing support.  As an independent, who is critical of partisanship, that jumping of ship amuses me. The first to jump were previously the last to support him.  Some pundits are declaring the Trump ship dead in the water,  and those on the undercard better jump to survive.  I believe that they are confusing this election with a regular campaign.  Trump's base will stand by, and those who have disavowed him may actually suffer.  Trump has always been an independent,  he was just running on the Republican ticket.   The Democrats and the media just assumed that the tape would make Trump unacceptable to all but the most deplorable.  I see no such movement by the public away from him.  Americans appreciate a sense of fair play,  and Trump may have actually gained some sympathy votes for the ploy against him.  All in all, like a hurricane, it made for a messy aftermath.

To commemorate the Trump tape release, I have placed a poster on How To Train Your Wife on this blog's sidebar, visible on the web version.  I should clarify that I too found the 2005 tape reprehensible. However,  if I had supported Trump before its release,  I would not change my vote because of it.  Trump supporters had seen the nude pictures of his current wife and accepted the fact that he's a political Hugh Hefner.  America has become jaded enough to know that Sunday school teachers don't win primary elections.  The web site Politico was portraying the Trump supporters outside Trump Tower on Saturday as only the diehard wacko's.   Many substantial supporters, wacko by no measure, are standing by Trump.  Their opposition to politics as usual in Washington continues, and they still see Trump as a possible vehicle of change.  Welcome to democracy in 2016.

Oct 7, 2016

Partisan Politics of Lehigh County

Glenn Eckhart is one of the partisan smiley faces in Lehigh County. Eckhart  had backed Marc Grammes for state rep in the primary race,  to replace retiring Julie Harhart. Another candidate, Cindy Miller, successfully challenged Grammes' nomination petition. The Republican victor ended up being Zach Mako, a young man backed by Harhart. Like dutiful partisans, Grammes and Eckhart are now baking cakes for Mako. The fly on the cake icing is that both of them are totally aware of how unprepared Mako is for such a position.  I suspect that they expect Democrat Phillips Armstrong to prevail, allowing Grammes his fourth try in 2018.  But, never mind that,  Mako is the party's candidate this election, and they're baking him a cake.

As a disclaimer, I should reveal that I tested the water to run as an outsider Republican, but received no feedback from the party machine. As an independent on the ballot in 2014, even the Morning Call conceded that I stood out in the debate with Harhart and the Democrat.

Oct 6, 2016

Allentown's NIZ, When Free Isn't Cheap Enough

Another business, paying minimum rent, bit the dust in Allentown's NIZ. Others, like Moravian Bookstore, are probably being paid to stay there. Pawlowski, The Morning Call, and a few apologists hoping for a crumb or two, keep saying that the sky looks bright, when in truth it has already fallen. The city, acting like a cannibal, would rather sacrifice Symphony Hall than say no to J.B. Reilly's subsidized real estate scheme. They keep hoping that perhaps he's right, in that a few more millennials will turn the tide. They don't understand that with the subsidizes there is not a normal relationship between demand and his new construction.  This boutique legislation, essentially crafted for him, allows him to attach ever expanding state taxes to his debt service, and nobody is counting those chickens. If and when the chicken count gets low, Pat Browne simply adds another amendment, finding yet another revenue source.

Oct 5, 2016

The Synagogues of Jerusalem

Except when barred by one conqueror or another, Jews had lived in Jerusalem since King David. Prior to Jordanian rule in 1948, there was a Jewish majority for 150 years. In 1864, eight thousand of the fifteen thousand population was Jewish. By 1914, two thirds of the sixty five thousand residents were Jewish. In 1948 the United Nations Partition Plan divided the British Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. Jerusalem was to be initially an international city, with access guaranteed for all. This plan was rejected by the surrounding Arab nations, which attacked Israel in concert immediately upon the UN vote. When the truce was declared, Israel had survived, but East Jerusalem(walled Old City) was in procession of TransJordan. The Jordanians subsequently destroyed over 50 synagogues in the Jewish Quarter, which dated back to the 1400's. For hundreds of years both Christians and Jews were prohibited from building higher than Muslim structures. The few synagogues which survived were the ones built mostly below street level. The oldest surviving synagogue, The Jerusalem Synagogue, was built by the Karaite Jews in around 900. Shown above is the Ben Kakai, a Sephardic Synagogue built in the 16th Century.

Perhaps the most famous synagogue destroyed by the Jordanians was the Ashkenazi Hurva Synagogue built in 1720, it's dome visible in the top center of this photograph from the 1920's. It's replacement was completed in 2010.

reprinted from September of 2015

Oct 4, 2016

Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria

The Church and Theology School in Alexandria was  established by
the Apostle Mark in 60AD.  Most of the early converts were common Egyptians who spoke Coptic.  Although, Christians became the majority before the Arab invasion in 636, by the 12th century they were the minority.  The concept of monasteries in Christianity was started by the Coptics in the deserts of Egypt.  Currently,  many Christians are threatened by transitions in the Arab world, let us pray for their safety.

photograph of St. Marks Coptic Church in Alexandria, Egypt.

reprinted from December 2014

Oct 3, 2016

The Entitlement People vs. The Silent Majority

The title for this post is derived from a comment submitted to a prior post.  The commenter was hoping that the silent majority comes out  from the shadows and votes for Trump, to begin to change the status quo.  As an advocate for decades on local issues,  I think that, unfortunately, the key word is silent,  and if so,  it doesn't matter if they are a majority or not.  Now, I will say this;  I believe that Trump has motivated a previous uninvolved citizen,  and I believe that such people will come out and vote for him.  The question is how big is that constituency?  The Democrats do have an organized ground game.  I think it's fair to say that the Trump camp is completely unorganized at getting out the vote.  He is depending on individual volition,  which doesn't have a strong track record when it comes to voting.

We are in an era where political fortune is determined by the entertainment industry.  The liberals are willing to have their opinions shaped by the writers for  Jon Stewart and SNL.  Likewise, the conservatives look for guidance from Rush Limbaugh and other talk show disc jockeys.

I'm blessed by not being politically invested in this presidential election.  When I go to breakfast the morning after, on November 9th,  I will be equally entertained by both the happy camp winners, and the despondent losers.

Sep 30, 2016

2016, The Voting Against Election

In 2016, so many voters are going to the poll to vote against one candidate or another. Rather than who is more popular, it may come down to who is more disliked. Below are two local comments expressing that sentiment.

Flawed vehicle we are forced to own
That is for your average conservative an apt description of this year’s presidential race. Trump is not a conservative; he is not even a real Republican. He has no ideology as far as anyone can tell; he is, however, the candidate who became the nominee of the Republican Party. He is the only option conservatives have. We have to support him in order to arrest the country’s dramatic move to the left of the newly radicalized Democratic Party. Hillary has taken up the hammer and sickle from the term limited Obama and has vowed to preserve and extend the power of central authority. The pipe dream of a caretaker government, with open borders, free college education, single payer health care, a government controlled economy, and extensions of every sort of government assistance are being sold as a can do to a deluded nation that has apparently forgotten or was never taught that, historically, socialism provides us no record of long term success. To stop this march towards madness, bankruptcy, calamity, and destruction conservatives are forced to root for an inarticulate boob in the debates and pray this enigma of a man manages somehow to pull out a victory in November. To make matters worse, he is not only running against the Democratic Party but many of the nation’s moneyed interests (corporations, Wall Street, big labor) and last but not least, the media. Even with this massive assembly of power arrayed against him, he has managed to catch up to the power elite’s candidate/Hillary in the polls. It is nothing short of a miracle. None of this makes it any easier for those such as me who wonder who and what he is. His inability to articulate any cogent message is painful. His demeanor is an insult to comportment. He is unfortunately the champion that has been forced upon us. All we know is he is not Hillary, the candidate of absolute corruption that we detest and fear. We must support him because the alternative is just too terrible.
                                                  Scott Armstrong, Allentown

Considering the recent reports on her many and varied health issues, I thought she'd have to be carried off the stage, but she held up pretty well. It was I who nearly fell off my chair when I heard her strongly imply that there were "moral" differences between her and Mr. Trump that make her clearly the better candidate. Since when is morality a strong point in the Clinton household? A lawyer fired for being a sneak, a first lady who muscled her way into the health insurance issues with a plan developed by nitwits, a Secretary of State who failed even to understand her responsibility to maintain confidentiality and security,and then quit the job, and a husband who's been off the track for their entire marriage but apparently still has political capitol she can spend on herself. This is a perennial candidate, who's strongest trait is hubris, not morality. As potentially the first woman president, she's a well-poisoner at best and a toxic dump at least. With Trump, there is immaturity and arrogance and vindictiveness, but I do believe he will listen to the people and have hope that he will make a few needed changes to immigration, national security and trade and debt, and maybe even keep us out of war. Like Obama, Hillary is neither listening nor talking to me.
                                                Christine Sforza, Whitehall


Michael, just read the comments of your viewers urging voters for Trump. I think September was Trump's high water mark. His obvious incompetence for the White House is now penetrating subliminally to rational Republicans. Enough of them are going to either not vote for President, or will even vote for Hillary, making up for the drop off in the black vote, that Hillary couldn't mobilize. You think Ford & Bush 41 & Bush 43 have been wiped out of the collective Republican memory? So that the only Republican President in modern history was St. Ronnie? Guess again. Trump will be like those "forgotten" Egyptian Pharaohs that successors kept defacing by chiseling their names off of the monuments. Never.To. Be. Mentioned. Again. He & Ailes will start Trump TV; and, of course, in perfect irony, it will not take audience share away from NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, or MSNBC, but, will fragment a chunk away from Fox! There, folks will hear how Trump actually won the 2016 election, but, was robbed...it was rigged. And how climate change is a hoax, black families were more stable under slavery, the earth is flat, the moon landing was a hoax, evolution is just a theory, creationism real, Jesus is coming back soon, the Holocaust never happened, and smoking does not cause cancer. The commercials will be never ending and continue to fleece the viewers like Fox and talk radio does now ........selling gold, reverse mortgages, meteorite insurance, "male enhancement" potions/devices, survival seeds and Depends....... targeting white non college & senior citizens to purchase Life Alert systems, stool softeners, and cheap flooring. And now, they will get pitched Trump shirts/ties/dresses etc., all made in China & Mexico. Gotta move product, you know.
                                               Hillary Supporter, South Florida

Sep 29, 2016

The Transfiguration of Ed Pawlowski

I've written before how Pawlowski is trying to re-image himself. On his facebook page he can be seen cultivating the little people,  who will be important supporters, if he can beat the coming criminal storm.
He is also trying to tidy up and explain away some dirty deals that may or may not factor into the investigation of his administration.

One of those shenanigans factored into the recent announcement of unlimited bicycling in Trexler Park.   Pawlowski purchased two distressed real estate parcels from Abe Atiyeh, at a 400% gain for the developer.

The Park Department will shortly announce an ambitious bicycle trail,  extending from the useless Basin Street parcel purchased from Atiyeh,  through Atiyeh's distressed former fertilizer plant parcel, all the way to Trexler Park.  The spandex yuppies will applaud, and Pawlowski will have transformed a sleazy deal into an accomplishment.

As a defender of the traditional park system,  I am particularly appalled at this scheme.  Precious resources will be alloted to construct this path,  while the irreplaceable WPA structures crumble away.  We are in the process of losing the iconic double stairway in Lehigh Parkway.  The landings are breaking up,  allowing rushing water from the roadway to steep through the steps below.

There is no less than three parties who must stand silently by to enable such misappropriation.  That would be the Park Director, the Trexler Trust and City Council.

photocredit: molovinsky

Sep 28, 2016

The Dinosaurs Of Sumner Avenue

Up to the early 1950's, Allentown was heated by coal, and much of it came from Sumner Avenue. Sumner was a unique street, because it was served by the West End Branch of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The spur route ran along Sumner, until it crossed Tilghman at 17th Street, and then looped back East along Liberty Street, ending at 12th. Coal trucks would elevate up, and the coal would be pushed down chutes into the basement coal bins, usually under the front porches of the row houses. Several times a day coal would need to be shoveled into the boiler or furnace. By the early 1970's, although most of the coal yards were closed for over a decade, the machines of that industry still stood on Sumner Avenue. Eventually, they took a short trip to one of the scrap yards, which are still on the avenue, but not before I photographed them.

reprinted from 2011

Sep 27, 2016

Trump Wins Debate

Recently, I did a post on the liberal hysteria about Donald Trump.  I put the piece on social media, and the group went crazy.  Rather than discuss the media phenomena to which I was referring,  they went right after Trump, as on cue.  I believe that this hysteria is fueled by their perception that indeed Trump may win the White House.  In another recent post,  I questioned the validity of the local college poll, which had Mrs. Clinton ahead by 9 points.  One week later, they report that the lead has shrunk to 3 points.  I believe that one week later, they realized what fools they had made of themselves, and decided to be more honest in their new tally.

We then learned that Mrs. Clinton will be prepared for the debate.  Two months ago, they considered the debate a joke,  after all, Clinton went to law school, was a senator and Secretary of State. Then, we learn that she will be prepared.  In other words,  they lowered the expectations about her performance.

Last night, after the 90 minute rumble, the pundits agreed in unison that Hillary had won. They found her more presidential, and felt that Trump went down too many rabbit holes.  They are wrong. Who won is who moves up and down in the polls. I believe that the upward move will be by Trump.  The public is not satisfied with the status quo, and has lost faith in damn statistics.  The case to be made was for change,  and Hillary failed to convince that she could bring any.

Sep 26, 2016

Pawlowski Puts Facts On The Ground

Pawlowski went ahead and had his nominee for Community Development Director start work, although the majority of Council indicated that they wouldn't approve him.  Meanwhile, back at the council chambers, council said that they couldn't fit the vote in until mid October.   Will they have the fortitude to send someone packing after he has already been working almost a month?

To me, the delay of the vote already indicates acceptance by council.  I have often seen things put on the schedule at the last moment to accommodate one agenda or person.  Another irony of this situation is that the administration is justifying the pre-approval hiring based on an opinion from a previous solictor, who of course served at Pawlowski's pleasure.  Council voted for no confidence in Pawlowski,  and I have little confidence that council will assert itself in this matter.

Sep 23, 2016

Trump In The White House

I'm so amused at the liberals and their fear of Trump. They actually equate a victory by him with the end of the Earth. Let me assure them that we will all still be here for the 2020 election, when they can again let their hysteria go wild.

It would be incorrect to interpret this post as pro-Trump, rather I remain amazed at the hostility towards him by the Clinton supporters.  I see otherwise rational people pulling their hair out about his candidacy.

It is my intention to vote for Mr. Johnson.  However, I will remain in the United States after whoever wins.

Sep 22, 2016

Obama's Gift To Trump

While another immigrant terrorized NYC with bombs this past weekend, Obama told the United Nations that walls only imprison us. He is so in love with the sound of  his own voice, that he doesn't understand how out of touch his words actually are.  While his words didn't even electrify the choir to which  he was preaching,  outside that building, his words were totally off-key.  He doesn't understand that Lady Liberty didn't mean to welcome blood hungry terrorists with meat cleavers. Pictured above a NYC cop, several days after being attacked by another terrorist just last week.

Obama is actively campaigning for Hillary Clinton.  He did her no good with his UN speech.

Sep 21, 2016

The Exoneration of Edwin Pawlowski

The Supreme Court decision (reversing the conviction) in the Virginia Governor corruption matter, U.S. vs. McDonnell, has made it impossible to convict politicians of bribery in the absence of EXPLICIT evidence of written or oral testimony that supports a DIRECT quid pro quo. The evidence has to rise to the level of actual statements between the parties that "when I give you the money, it is for the specific purpose of giving me the XYZ contract." And the politician has to reply, "Yes, I will do that because you are giving me the money." The mere fact that a party gives money & other expensive gifts & favors to the politician and the politician subsequently later takes favorable action in matters of interest, concern & direct benefit to the giver is now NOT considered a bribe, but, rather, under the Supreme Court's new understandings, mere custome & usage and political courtesy extended between politicians and their constitutents/donors/benefactors. To have decided otherwise, the Court felt would be to "criminalize" the normal social/commercial discourse between politicians and their friends & financial supporters.

So, the Mayor probably can't be prosecuted. I suspect law enforcement was waiting for the decision in McDonnell to come down before proceeding to indict him. The tapes undoubtedly record aides or even donors talking to the Mayor or his top aides about soliciting/giving/receiving funds and the Mayor saying he understands their needs & wants, is sympathetic and agrees to help, yadda yadda, but, presumably no one was dumb enough, or felt the need to even be as blunt to say or put in writing, "I am giving you XXXX dollars, and you agree to give me that zoning exemption for the YYY site, correct? "Yes, I agree if you give me the money I will rubber stamp the YYY site tomorrow." No one says, "I hereby announce I am bribing you.....I hereby accept a bribe."

Get use to Mayor for Life Ed Pawlowski.


The above brief is from the molovinsky on allentown legal staff. I have heard back channel about some of the emails pertinent to this case.  Although, I do not believe that they rise to the criminal threshold as described above, there is a twist to the Allentown case.  Supposedly, Pawlowski/Fleck reached out in soliciting contributions.  Rumor has it that here will be at least one other indictment before Pawlowski.

ADDENDUM: Bernie O'Hare also chose to address the Pawlowski topic today.  He contends that there will be an upcoming RICO prosecution,  making the McDonnell decision less relevant in Pawlowski's case.  

Sep 20, 2016

The Valley of Lying Sacks

According to the new Morning Call/ Muhlenberg College poll,  Donald Trump is 9 points behind Ms. Clinton.  Over the years,  I have developed no faith in Muhlenberg's polls.  In Allentown's 2005 mayoral election they were 20 points off.  Once, they and the paper collaborated on measuring how the debates were effecting undecided voters.  By chance,  I knew most of the supposed undecided independents,  and they were anything but that.  At best, I can conclude that their polls are useless;  At worst,  I can suspect that they are actually trying to influence voters.

Am I cynical,  or do we live in the Valley of Lying Sacks?  Over the years I have seen Allentown City Council approve numerous mistruths.  I have seen the County Commissioners ignore history and fund political correctness.  Whose going to farm all those preserved acres?  Never mind, it will yield Jaindl cheap farmland to rent, and grow feed corn.  Even the South Whitehall Commissioners have joined the disingenuous, by greatly inflating the cost to maintain Wehr's Dam, and justify a referendum.

I'm not sure who will win Pennsylvania,  but it will not be a 9 point spread.  It will be very close.  Perhaps our local college professors should attend Molovinsky University.

Sep 19, 2016

Whose Afraid of Booze and Drugs

Regular readers of this blog know that I'm lite on the personal stuff. For today, I make an exception.  When I ran an as independent for mayor in 2005, somebody commented that I didn't even graduate from William Allen.  They had searched the yearbooks for several years,  and couldn't find my name or picture.  Truth be known,  William Allen and I separated several times.  This weekend I attended the 70th Birthday Party for what I consider my "class", or the fellow delinquents that I spend the most years with.   It is 52 years since graduation, and most of us turned 70 in 2016.

Graduated or not, I started College in NYC after high school.  This weekend we learn that Edward Albee passed away.  It is known that he fashioned Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf after the relationship between underground film makers Marie Menken and Willard Maas.  I'm afraid that my discipline hadn't improved much by college, because I recall a crazed evening in their Brooklyn penthouse.

I suppose that if there is a moral to this post it is to keep your babies away from booze and drugs, or risk them reduced to writing a non-monetized blog in their sunset.

Sep 16, 2016

X-Raying Trump and Clinton

Nothing exemplifies the difference in media treatment more than the controversy about the candidates's health.  While Clinton literally collapses,  the liberal media is concentrating on the disclosure that Trump doesn't exercise.  To me, it doesn't appear that Hillary works out too much either.  Putting aside political bias,  it takes no doctor to see that Trump is in better shape.  Although that certainly doesn't qualify him as a better candidate,  it does disqualify any media pretense for objectivity.  Both of the candidates are pushing 70.  Many of us that age don't have the energy to attend a rally, much less give one every night.

As someone who is basically non-partisan, it has become more difficult to discern attempted truth in the news.  Truth seekers must mix numerous sources,  then go through an elaborate filtration process to distill small drops of it.  We have come to rely on those sources which lie the least.

illustration credit: Ben Garrison@grrrgraphics

Sep 15, 2016

The Dimness of Allentown's Future

This blog concerns itself with the intersection between local politics and history. By those parameters, the future of Allentown does indeed looks bleak. There is nobody on the political horizon who appears pragmatic enough for the current reality. We are aptly described as a small town with big town problems. The potential crop of candidates even believe that positive thought in itself is a strategy. Now, positive thought certainly has its place, I enjoy sermons by Joel Osteen; However, it's not enough of a plan with which to manage a city. They have confused J.B. Reilly's real estate portfolio with revitalization. The candidates on the horizon, at best, suffer from political correctness, at worst, to outright acceptance of the status quo.

I believe that it is possible that Ed Pawlowski will not be prosecuted, or will be exonerated if indicted. More on that in a future post. I personally think that a fourth Pawlowski term would be better than some of the alternative candidates.

As for history, and the importance of its gift for future generations, there is nobody serving on any level of local government who has a clue.

Sep 14, 2016

The Lehigh Valley's Lost Morality

One of the headlines in today's paper is that the Allentown Planning Board approved J.B. Reilly's new apartments on the former parking lot next to Symphony Hall. Never mind that Symphony Hall expressed its displeasure at losing the convenience of an adjoining surface lot.  The Parking Authority, serving what is masquerading as progress in Allentown, cooperated with the sale.  Never mind that the Community Music School, primary tenant of Symphony Hall, said that it would relocate without that lot.  Allentown's commissions and authorities are mere bobbleheads.

Not only has the Parking Authority played ball with private developers using progress as an excuse, the Park Department compromised itself to cover Pawlowski's purchase of unnecessary land, at a greatly inflated price.  Isn't it wonderful to add a park or two when the department cannot afford to maintain what they already have.  While the collapsed portion of the wall was repaired so that Lehigh Parkway could reopen,  the rest of the wall was never repointed,  and the double stairwell is falling apart.

It's not just Allentown officials compromising themselves, it has become standard procedure in the valley.  The South Whitehall Commissioners inflated the price to repair Wehr's Dam by 1000%, to justify a referendum to accommodate the Wildlands Conservancy.   Call these things progress,  but it's really just excuses for corrupt agendas.

Sep 13, 2016

Pawlowski and The Little People

Lately, I noticed on facebook, that Ed Pawlowski has started attending littler events, such as a small hispanic church picnic. Understand that if Mayor Ed had his choice, he still would be a candidate for the United States Senate, and not the object of an FBI investigation. He still might had,  under the prior scenario, attended a mega congregation picnic, but previously he didn't have interest in the small fry stuff. Why now is Ed showing up at the munchkin events? Does he want to say he got religion as part of his future defense? Naw, he always had big church religion. Beyond the obvious, that his personal cache has depreciated, he might be trying to cultivate a Marion Barry constituency. When the Washington mayor got popped for cocaine, his followers still elected him. I think that the taint from the Raid On City Hall has made bigger office, or big appointments, on the state or federal level, a goal no longer attainable. Perhaps Ed sees being Mayor For Life now as his best shot, supported by the little people, more tolerant of legal scrapes. 

ADDENDUM: The above is a reprinted post from September 7, 2015. Ed has continued courting the little people. Before the scandal, aka FBI investigation, he certainly keep company with more uptown constituents. However, in all fairness to him, he has always been inclusive with city residents. There is now, however, a noticeable difference in photo ops. Previously, they were Morning Call moments, often appearing on the weekend society page; Now, they are cell phone selfies. If Ed is still available to run for a 4th term,  it is the little people who will elect him.  They are less sensitive to the scandal,  and more flattered by his attention.  I believe that there has been too much damage done to the city's self esteem for the more established Democrats to again support him.

Sep 12, 2016

The Spandex Yuppie Dilemma

The spandex yuppies, who have been championing for decades for Rails to Trails, have created a dilemma for themselves. This is the same constituency who would like to see rail service reestablished between Lehigh Valley and NYC. Norfolk Southern, the current rail freight operator, has informed those yuppies that there is essentially only one track left, and that they need it exclusively for the freight service.

molovinsky on allentown is a teacher and student of our past rail history. I have documented all the major rail and spur routes that intersected Allentown. Recently, I protested against the riverfront NIZ removing the last remnant of the Lehigh Valley Rail Road Old Main Line from along the Lehigh River.

$Millions have been wasted on both removing tracks for the spandex crowd, and planning to restore rail service on tracks that no longer exist.   Even as I write this, the Allentown Economic Development Corporation has a plan to restore a freight track back to its building on S. 10th Street, although a tenant who could possibly utilize such service hasn't existed for 50 years.  Spare us the expense of bureaucrats who want to fund solutions to problems that they helped create.

Shown above, a Lehigh Valley RailRoad freight train heads north on it's Old Main Track.  That track has recently been removed to make more Rail to Trail.

Sep 9, 2016

Mapping Allentown's Past

The map, partially shown above, was produced by the Nathan Nirenstein Company of Springfield, Massachusetts in 1929. His firm specialized in engineering maps of various center cities on the eastern seacoast. The map is 22X30, and expands out from 7th and Hamilton for 2 1/2 blocks east and west,  2 blocks north and south. The map includes names of both the owner of the building, and the merchant/tenant occupying the space, if different.

While numerous small banks are shown on both Hamilton and the side streets, the coming Depression surely culled that herd. Allentown City Hall and police station are still on Linden Street, while the post office is at 6th and Turner. Two large hardware stores, Young and Hersh, are on Hamilton Street.

The buildings are owned by hundreds of different people.  What will future generations think when they see a 2016 map, and all the buildings are owned by just a few people?

Sep 8, 2016

Allentown's History A Thing Of The Past

As I've been studying up on Allentown's former merchants, I keep thinking of the radial population shift experienced by this city in one generation. While most the merchants of 1930 were at least 3th generation Allentonians, the new residents, mostly Hispanic, are almost all recent arrivals. Interest in local history is so small that even the local historic society concentrates on topics of national interest, such as Abraham Lincoln.

Talking of Lincoln, this population shift has had political consequences.  Pawlowski, who hails from Chicago,  was not unlike the carpetbaggers who went south after the civil war.  I believe that we are in a historic void, between the old Pa. Dutch culture, and the new Hispanic population, which has not yet risen politically.  And, like the south after the Civil War,  the opportunists are making hay.

postcard above,  Hamilton Street 1930

Sep 7, 2016

Hamilton Street's Golden Era

Wetherhold & Metzger was one of the giants of Hamilton Street. The extended family operated two stores on Hamilton Street. When exactly was the height of the golden era I suppose is a frame of reference. I can tell you that as a early baby boomer, Hamilton Street was booming in the 1950's. With three large department stores, three large 5&10's, half a dozen shoe stores, half a dozen jewelers, women and men's stores, there was something for everybody. In addition to Hamilton, stores were also located on the number streets.

At 2:00pm this afternoon, I will present a 1930 map showing the business district of downtown Allentown. We will be meeting at The Coffee House Without Limits. The shop is located on 4th, just north of Tilghman Street, in the Alternative Gallery. You are cordially invited to join us.

Sep 6, 2016

A Reflection on Allentown

After the lily ponds were rebuilt about five years ago, there was little attempt to restore the water lilies. The park department now calls them reflective ponds; Actually, they are a reflection on how much Allentown has changed for the worse. There is now one(1) lily growing in one(1) of the ponds.

The parks were a great source of pride to Allentown. Shown above, the linen postcard probably dates back to the mid 1940's. None of the houses on either Parkway Blvd or Ott Street have yet to be built.

A presentation, summary and discussion of a circa 1930 map of Allentown's business district, showing the leading merchants of that era.

The session will be held at the Coffee Shop Without Limits, located at the Alternative Gallery, on 4th Street, just north of Tilghman.

The short session will begin at 2:00 pm  tomorrow,  Wednesday, September 7th.

Sep 5, 2016

The Great Allentown Fair

The Morning Call website is hosting an archive of Fair Pictures from over the years. Being a fan both of fair pictures and black and white photography, looking at the 111 photos presented was a treat.

The photo shown above, which I will get back to, reminded me of one of my unique fair experiences. In previous posts, I have discussed that both my father and myself had stands at the fair. While my father learned that you couldn't sell hotdogs near Yocco's, I learned that drunks leaving the beer garden loved to buy printed T-shirts.

But today's post has to with George Kistler, long time City Clerk during the 1950's and 60's. George loved the fair, and loved sharing his fascination with a large group of people. I was fortunate enough to be invited several times. The routine was always the same; Dinner at a local stand on the eastern side of the fairgrounds, followed by the wrestling show. I remember photographing Andre The Giant.

The Morning Call fair picture above is none other than Jim "Super Fly" Snuka, who was recently back in Allentown, for a most regrettable reason.

A presentation, summary and discussion of a circa 1930 map of Allentown's business district, showing the leading merchants of that era.

The session will be held at the Coffee Shop Without Limits, located at the Alternative Gallery, on 4th Street, just north of Tilghman.

The short session will begin at 2:00 pm this coming Wednesday, September 7th.

Sep 2, 2016

Fly Me To The Moon From The Lehigh Valley Airport

Believe it or not,  I'm trying to become less acidic in my criticism of public officials, both elected and appointed.  While the elected ones have been submitted to some public scrutiny,  the appointed ones are usually the wrong people in the right place.  Among the most useless of the boards may be the Airport Authority.  While just bailing themselves out from a two decade mistake,  they embark on another unjustified expansion.

If the local airport has any advantage, it is that it is easy.  While it's essentially expensive flights to nowhere,  at least it's easy.  When you enter the arriving baggage area, the car rental desks are right there.  If you want a cab,  merely go through the doors and look left.  I suppose all that was too convenient, because the LVIA will now build a separate Transportation Hub.

If this seems like just another unnecessary fix to something that isn't broken, it gets worse.  Several months ago,  I questioned one of the most informed authority members about this proposal,  and he knew nothing about it.

Sep 1, 2016

Molovinsky University

I own several historical maps of Allentown. In the first session of Molovinsky University, we discussed a map of the former railroad spur routes throughout Allentown. The second session will analyze a map of center city merchants. Although the map is undated, I estimate it harks back to the very late 1920's, or very early 1930's. City Hall and the police are still located on Linden Street, and the art deco Post Office has yet to be built. The number streets, as is Linden Street, is packed with merchants of all types. Dating this map will be exercise for all Allentown history buffs. This upcoming session, as was the first, will be held at the coffee shop off 4th and Tilghman, again at an inconvenient time to limit participation. I like history, people, not so much...

Place: The Coffee House Without  Limits, Located at the Alternative Gallery, Northeast corner of 4th and Tilghman Streets.

Date & Time:  Wednesday September 7th,  at 2:00 pm

Bonus Friday;  A second post, on the Lehigh Valley Airport, will appear at 11:30 AM today.

Taxing Allentown's Arena

A headline in Monday's Morning Call lamented that taxpayers spent $84K challenging the Arena Authority for more school taxes.  Sy Traub, the Authority chairman, commented,  They wasted our money and theirs. Very frustrating.  Personally, I was frustrated that the school district decided against appealing the decision. I was further frustrated that the arena legislation was amended to codify the arena's position.

The legislation was not written on a mountain, and chiseled into a stone tablet to guide mankind forever more. It is imperative that such laws be tested, and submitted to reasonable scrutiny.

Aug 31, 2016

The Mighty Atom

Years ago, at the Allentown Fair, as one would push through a sea of carney delusion, tucked back by the 4H animals, was an island of reality. There, in an old battered truck, an ancient Jewish strongman performed incredible feats of strength, to sell only homemade kosher soap. Standing on a platform on the rear of his truck, flanked by photographs from his performing youth, he would bent horse shoes and bite through nails. Many years earlier, my mother as a little girl in Bethlehem, saw him pull a truck uphill with his hair. Even as an old man, like a reincarnation of Samson, his grey hair was still long.
In the summers of 1964 and 1965, myself and a friend,(Fred Schoenk, retired Allentown art teacher) made and sold printed tee-shirts at the fair. We had the honor to know Joseph Greenstein(The Mighty Atom) and his wife. For those interested, there are various articles on the Mighty Atom and even at least one book. Enjoy the fair!

reprinted every year since 2007

Aug 30, 2016

A Crime Against Allentown's Treasure

Readers of this blog know that I was very offended that the Wildlands Conservancy demolished the small dam by the bridge at Robin Hood, in Lehigh Parkway.  To add insult to injury, they piled the smashed dam ruble around the stone piers of the bridge.  While previously the stone piers rose majestically of the water, they were now surrounded by ruble.  That ruble has now accumulated silt, and tall weeds and brush now grow around the piers.  Furthermore, this accumulation has now completely blocked off the flow of water from under one side the bridge.

I call upon the Allentown Park Director to insist that the Wildlands  remove this ruble at their expense.    They were, unfortunately, given permission to remove the dam, but they were never authorized to depreciate the bridge or stream in such a way.

The banks of the stream are so overgrown by the bridge, that the creek can no longer be seen.  The WPA water fountain that sits on the edge of the weed barrier is a reminder of how beautiful the park used to be.  Robin Hood is really a disgusting mess now,  and this blog will tolerate no environmental rationalizations as an excuse for the abuse of this former treasure.

When the classic postcard shown above was made,  the stream bank provided both access and view to enjoy the Little Lehigh.