May 24, 2017

Moshe Dyan


Moshe Dayan on born on a kibbutz near the Sea of Galilee in 1915. When he was 14, he joined the outlawed Haganah, an underground defense force to protect Jewish settlements from Arab attacks. Although caught and imprisoned by the British for two years, he would fight for them in Lebanon during WWII, losing his eye. In the 1948 War of Independence, he fought on all the fronts, defending Israel; by 1953 he was Chief of Staff of the Israeli Armed Forces. In 1956 he led the Suez Campaign.

In 1967 he was Defense Minister for the Six Day War. He remained in that position through the War of 1973. Although a genuine hero in every sense of the word, he was held responsible for the initial success of Egyptian forces in the surprise attack on Yom Kippur (1973), and would resign from his position.

Israel is too small of a country, and it's enemies too numerous, for any miscalculations regarding it's security.

reprinted from February 2013

The Wailing Wall


Israel had hoped that Jordan would not join the Arab forces against them in 1967. It was not to be; their artillery opened fire on Israel. Israeli paratroopers fought with small arms in the Old City. They were ordered to use no artilley, which could damage Holy Shrines.

Although Israeli Jews and Christians were barred from both the Wall and Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the twenty years of Jordanian rule, Israel immediately opened access to all. Administrative control of the Temple Mount, upon which sits the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque, were immediately given to the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic Trust).

The Wailing Wall is the Western Wall of the Mount, which is considered the closest and only remnant of the Second Jewish Temple, and is the holiest site in Judaism. No matter where in the world, all Jews have always prayed facing Jerusalem and the Wall. reprinted from April 2010

May 23, 2017

Bernie O'Hare's Problem


Tirelessly attending one meeting after another, five nights a week, at the midnight hour he bestows praise upon his favorites, and criticism upon his enemies.  Faster than a speeding Lanta Bus, all opposing comments are dismissed as non sequiturs, personal attacks or off topic... Little changes with Bernie O'Hare, aka here as Jimmy Olsen.

Someone recently asked me what is Bernie's problem? He noticed that for months Bernie had been taking cheap shots at both me and my readers. Several months ago he started deleting the signed comments I occasionally submitted to his blog. Most of the comments he receives are anonymous, and many less than profound. He started calling me mean spirited and petty.  Coming from Bernie, all those insults are beyond ironic. Here's a guy who serves up one victim after another, like red meat,  for his anonymous commenters to feast upon.  In a blog post yesterday,  I wrote that Pawlowski won with the Marion Barry vote. Washington voters re-elected Barry knowing full well that he was involved in unlawful acts. O'Hare seized upon the opportunity on facebook to pronounce my analogy as racist.

He describes himself as a bottom feeding blogger, trying to humorlessly dismiss his aggression toward others.  He really does delight in painting his targets with innuendo and distortion.  While most of Bernie's victims have no recourse or vehicle to defend themselves,  that's not the case here.

May 22, 2017

Public Note To Mayor Ed

Hi Mayor Ed. I am very disappointed that thousands of Allentown voters do not realize how corrupt you are!! One of your supporters said he didn't care. I think you are a great politician and liar. Ten years ago exactly when I worked for you in your old job as Director of Community and Economic Development I witnessed your corruption firsthand. Which as I told you when I resigned I did not want to part of. You fired Eric Weiss as head of Buildind Standards because he was not corrupt and would not do your dirty work. When Fran Dougherty told a building inspector not to write a citation on a Nat Hyman property I realized that you he and were in bed together. Neither of you should be Mayor!!! I assume that the FBI will eventually expose you. I love how you staged all that road work on major streets over the last months. Even some relatively smart people that that meant you are a great Mayor. You Bamboozled quite a few people. I feel sorry for the people like Mary Ellen Koval who got caught up in your quest for higher office. You ruined many lives and careers. Karma and the wheels of justice may turn slowly but they do turn!!! Betsy Morris Levin

The above note was written by Betsy Levin, a former city employee, and posted on facebook today. Pawlowski's primary victory disappointed many people. He won with what I call the Marion Barry vote. As I had predicted within 38 votes, he cobbled together enough minority votes to win in the crowded field. Had one of the three top runner ups dropped out and endorsed another, Pawlowski would have lost, handily. A real opportunity exists for an independent this fall. The city hasn't elected a Republican for two decades, since 1997. The primary proved that Pawlowski is unattractive to 75% of the Democrats.

Jews In 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.

This post was first printed in April of 2010, and titled The Synagogues of Jerusalem

May 19, 2017

Who Owns Allentown's Litter


When I grew up in Allentown and graduated from Allen in the mid 1960's, the sidewalks were clean. Now, I don't mean just free from litter, but they were actually clean. Women would come out of their houses with buckets of water, and wash off their stoops and sidewalks. All that has changed. to say the least.  Today the sidewalks are covered with litter every morning. The following is a facebook dialogue between Jude-Laure Denis and myself.

Michael Molovinsky pawlowski didn't receive the support of any organized black or hispanic group. instead, he cobbled together the few necessary votes to win by handing out trinkets, and promising more if re-elected, all on the city dime. although calling people "littering transients from newark" might sound harsh, if you think the quality of life in center city hasn't radically declined, you're a much more tolerant person than me...(this comment was addressing Robert Trotner)

Jude-Laure Denis Let me just set you straight Michael Molovinsky you did not "offend" me. I personally don't care what you say. I don't know you and in fact I long ago stopped caring about what other people think. What I care about is facts. And blaming non-dominant culture folks for the election of Ed Pawlowski is a serious pile of caca.

Michael Molovinsky Jude-Laure Denis, i'm not BLAMING anyone. truth be told, i accurately predicted both the amount of votes that pawlowski would receive, and where they would come from. those predictions are on my blog for the last several months. today the Morning Call verified the facts.

Jude-Laure Denis For the record blaming, Michael Molovinsky, is exactly what you did. we all make mistakes and you made one. Not the end of the world. Own it and move on. As to the number of votes, anyone who understands how you get to a win number knew it would be this low. You predicted it. So did I and a lot of folks who know a heck of a lot more than both of us. End result is the same.


My issue isn't with Ms. Denis.  As she said,  we never met,  nor do we know each other.  She found some of my statements culturally insensitive,  fair enough.   I'll be glad to own anything I say, but I would like to know when the non-dominant culture is going to own the littering, not to mention the stabbings and shootings.

May 18, 2017

I Offended Someone About Pawlowski Voters


Yesterday, Jude-Laure Denis commented on my blog post, Blaming this on people who "moved here from Newark.. who litter," is a pile of racist dogwhistle politics. Supervoters who are primarily white voted for the son of a bitch and most of them didn't even bother to come out.  If Ms. Denis meant for her identity to be revealed is questionable, but either way, I disagree. As I noted often during this campaign, Pawlowski worked the unaffiliated blacks and Hispanics. I say unaffiliated, because he did not receive the support of the organized more sophisticated groups, such as the local NAACP.  The detailed ward election results will show that Pawlowski did best in center city and Hispanic areas, where the minority demographics predominate. Pawlowski's Facebook page is a journal of him working the intercity barber shops and beauty parlors.

I believe that the white super voters divided their votes between O'Connell, Thiel and Bennett. The point of my post yesterday was that the election was determined by the most transient among us. The good news is that it only occurred because the field was divided by so many candidates.

If Ms. Denis is offended that I called Pawlowski voters litterers from Newark, I can do worse.  Seven people have pleaded guilty to committing criminal acts on Pawlowski's behalf. Littering might be one of the better traits of those who voted for him yesterday.

May 17, 2017

Allentown Loses Election


In my mind Allentown is officially lost. Pawlowski succeeded in having the minority majority knowingly elect a future indictee in a low turnout election.  Understand that this constituency lived in Newark until two years ago, and still contributes to the litter on the streets.  While Hamilton Street has new buildings, it's actually more depressing than ever.

Bernie O'Hare recently wrote; Allentown blogger Michael Molovinsky, whose blog is called Molovinsky on Allentown, spent the crucial week before that City's most important election in its history, talking abut(sp) anything but Allentown. Bernie writes poison like that, thinking that he is cleverly marginalizing me.  But, if this was the most important election in Allentown's history, apparently the voters didn't know. You cannot blame the Morning Call,  they pushed the election every day for months. Despite their effort, turnout was less than 15%.

We in local politics, either as a candidate, supporter or pundit, overestimate the public's interest.

On a positive note,  congratulations to Brad Osborne, on his way to become  Lehigh County Executive.  

CHART FROM LEHIGH VALLEY LIVE

May 16, 2017

Bennett's $10,000 Stoplight

I was very surprised when Allentown installed a stoplight on Lehigh Street for the Bennett Toyota dealerships.  Years ago I lived on a very dangerous intersection which has numerous accidents, including fatalities.  I was told how complicated it was to convince Harrisburg of a stoplight's necessity.

Bennett was one of the largest contributors to Mayor For Life Pawlowski's current campaign. He kicked in about 10% of Pawlowski's war chest, which at about $100k, led the candidate pack.  On Sunday night Pawlowski had a pricy campaign commerical on CNN's popular Anthony Bourdain show, Parts Unknown.

Today Allentown enters parts unknown.  It is not my habit to announce the next day's blog topic. However, tomorrow I will discuss today's winner and loser.  Hopefully, the loser will not be Allentown.

May 15, 2017

The Docility Of The Allentown Liberal


I continue to be amazed by the multiple personality of the local Democrats.  While anguished over Trump in Washington,  they seem to tolerate a Boss Tweed in Allentown.  As I've posted before, I think that Pawlowski has the edge in Tuesday's election,  having assembled a coalition of minority shareholders.  While he doesn't have the support of their organized groups, he has tirelessly campaigned in the barber shops of center city, and other such enclaves.  As mayor he has flattered that demographic by attending their birthday parties.  He has given out City trinkets, and promised more, if re-elected.

Just as the large field of candidates helped Trump win the Republican Primary, the large field of Democrats will help Pawlowski on Tuesday.  With seven candidates dividing up less than seven thousand primary votes,  his strategy will probably prevail.

If he does win,  Allentown may well have it's first Republican mayor in almost two decades come November.  Chances are that Pawlowski will be indicted before the general election.  Although, still eligible for office until and unless convicted,  such negative publicity could propel the Republican candidate to victory.

ADDENDUM: In his post today, Bernie O'Hare tries to make a case that I have been absent from this election,  and as an opposer of the little people, that he so nobly champions.  Bernie thinks of himself as a masterful lawyer, and his readers as a pliable jury.  In today's post,  he cloaks himself repeatedly with the word integrity.  In truth he is a manipulator, who endlessly tries to promote people he likes, and injure those that he doesn't.  His methodology is becoming transparent to more and more people.

May 13, 2017

Looking For Mr. Rogers In Allentown Election


The other day a blogger had a post about a fellow who was allegedly bullied by the current mayor. The blogger said in both the post and a comment that he doubted if the incident warranted criminal charges. In a subsequent youtube interview part1, the victim emotionally reiterated his distress over the confrontation with Pawlowski. He also claimed that despite being a candidate himself for city council, he was not indulging in a political stunt. That claim would of course have much more validity if he was making the accusations this coming Wednesday, instead of this past Thursday and Friday. The incident with Pawlowski happened on May 5th. If the gentleman waited a week for his non-publicity stunt, perhaps he should have waited another week.

If the gentleman was being sincere about not having a political agenda with his news conference, I can't say the same about the blogger and other candidates who jumped onto the bandwagon.

ADDENDUM: While the blogger admitted that the incident didn't rise to the criminal level,  did it even rise to the level of news?  Apparently not to any of the other local media, except for that blogger and facebook.  Is Pawlowski a bully?  Yes he is,  but there appears to be little to this incident but the timing.  As for the others who jumped on the bandwagon,  let me clarify that I find them very viable candidates,  but who apparently succumbed to the heat of the election regarding  this incident, in this last weekend before the vote.
part 2 of youtube

May 12, 2017

Sanitizing New Orleans History


I was aghast when I heard that New Orleans was going to remove its Civil War statues.  Now, while I understood South Carolina removing the Confederate flag from its capital building, removing the statues seems revisionist to me.

I asked a local college history professor I know for his opinion on the topic.  He became more animated than I had ever seen him,  and emphatically claimed that erecting the statues in the first place was the revisionism.  He feels that because he was a slave owner, there should have never been a statue of Jefferson Davis in the first place.

The key word about the college history professor isn't history, but college.  My observation is that college professors spend too much time with eighteen year olds,  and Peter Pan liberalism distorts any objectivity that they may have processed.  The statue of Davis in New Orleans was erected in 1911.  Regardless of the rationale at that time,  it is now part of that city's history.

I borrowed the word sanitizing from Condoleezza Rice.  She used it in explaining what a current mistake New Orleans is making in regard to its history.

May 11, 2017

Another Week, Another Defender Of Israel


I was back to the Fearless Fire Hall for another excellent event sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Tea Party.   Last week they hosted Pamela Geller,  who they billed as a freedom of speech advocate.  This week they featured  David Rubin,  who they presented to discuss the new American relationship with Israel under Trump.   Although both descriptions are valid,  my interest lies in their mutual love for Israel, and the defense of the Jewish people.

Fifteen years ago West Bank settler David Rubin's car was raked by gunfire from Palestinian terrorists. While he suffered a severe leg wound,  his three year old son was shot in the head.  Both recovered, and Rubin has dedicated his life to children's rehabilitation from terrorist attacks through the Shiloh Israel Children's Projects.

Rubin has no delusions about the intentions of the Palestinians.
While David’s focus is on developing projects for children, he doesn’t hesitate to speak the truth from a position of faith in a way that most politicians seem to be either unwilling or afraid to do. He proposes bold, realistic solutions to counter the forces of evil in the Middle East and in the world.  
Likewise, he believes that the West Bank belongs divinely to Israel.  He is hopeful that Trump will announce that the United States is moving the embassy to Jerusalem when he visits Israel later this month.

May 10, 2017

Anything Anti-Trump Is Tolerated


I have a liberal acquaintance who has no toleration for any humor that is at the expense of homosexuals. He is even offended when you're not up to date on current designations of the various gay groups and new subgroups.  However, he wasn't offended by Stephen Colbert's homophobic remark about Trump and Putin.  Of course, worst than these late night jokes, is that the Democrats are reduced to these previous second string comedians being their de-facto party leaders.  In some cases they actually believed their act and ran for office, enter Al Franken.  I see commercials for Samantha Bee, whoever the hell she is.  In every one she is bashing Trump.  What would all these comedians do had Hillary won?

Meanwhile, in the real world, Trump has been assembling a first rate team, like Rex Tillerson and Jim Mattis.  The actions taken, such as the strike on the airbase in Syria,  have been measured.  Yesterday's decision to arm the Kurds again shows realistic analysis and resolve.  However,  regardless of accomplishment or facts,  the liberals will wait up for the late night bashing.

May 9, 2017

Molovinsky As The Dour Prophesier

When I ran as the third person in 2005's mayoral race, The Morning Call gave me almost no press.  In addition to not reporting on my most important press conference, they excluded me from their sponsored debate.  My platform back then was that Allentown was becoming a poverty magnet, which would in the coming years adversely effect the housing stock and school system.  Now, don't misunderstand,  I don't think that Allentown was ready to elect an independent in 2005.  But,  the city would have benefitted from hearing my platform.

Flash ahead 12 years, and the paper is now covering all 9 candidates running, and covering them extensively.  What has changed?  The main change is the current reporter assigned to the city beat, Emily Opilo; She is excellent.  Unfortunately, for me and the city,  in 2005 the reporter was about as biased as they come.  Not surprisingly, he ended up being Mike Fleck's last employee, working on the Pawlowski senate campaign, until the FBI came to town two years ago.  Bill White now continues the bias against me, and labels me dour.  Bill White, until this eleventh hour and year, enthusiastically supported Pawlowski; That alone is enough to make someone dour.  I accept that label as a badge of my independence.

We now have Pawlowski, after installing surveillance cameras downtown, wanting gunshot sound locators.  He didn't mention that we would be needing those things back in 2005.

May 8, 2017

Frustration About Pam Geller Outside The Fearless


Unlike some bloggers who fashion themselves as reporters, I provide no contact information for tips or news.  I promote myself only as a guardian of local history, and as an informed commentator on issues of local  consequence.  Never the less, there are people who occasionally call me to vent about one topic or another. Among them is Iman Trek, a videographer and aspiring documentarian, concerned with black equality, among other issues. He was disturbed because I referenced Pamela Geller back in March; He considers her a bigot against Muslims. In the course of the conversation he mentioned that he planned to attend her upcoming event at the Fearless Fire House, and hopefully interview her.  As a disclosure, I told him that I also planned on attending.

Meanwhile, despite managing a blog, I do not do well with information technology; No online banking for me. I made a call to see if I could get a ticket set aside for me at the door, which of course I would gladly pay for. I was told absolutely not, there would be no exceptions to the ticket procurement procedure, specified by Geller's security concerns.  After purchasing the ticket online through Eventbrite,  I received emails reminding me to bring both my printed out ticket and picture ID.

Among other things, Geller is an advocate for freedom of speech; Even the freedom to speak against specific religious sub-groups,  no matter how politically incorrect that may be. Geller's agenda is not my topic here,  you must do your own research for information on her platforms.  Suffice to say she is not popular with some Muslims.

Meanwhile, when Iman Trek arrived at the Fearless Fire House, after walking there from center city,  he was denied entry, because he had not previously procured a ticket through the mandated procedure. He was not a happy camper; I heard about it in a subsequent phone call.  Understand, that from Iman's viewpoint, he walked an hour and a half to a public event, to be denied entry into someplace that seemed almost like an all white Klan House to him.

I don't think that Geller's freedom of speech also automatically gives Trek a freedom of access to listen.  If he had procured a ticket through the specified process, his entry would not have been an issue. Now, if she would have accommodated an antagonistic interview, that's another matter.

May 5, 2017

Pam Geller,Fearless At The Fearless


Last night The Lehigh Valley Tea Party invited Pam Geller to address their membership. The event was open to the public, although identification was necessary to purchase tickets. The Tea Party billed her appearance as following; Pamela Geller, a conservative activist, author, Breitbart reporter and dedicated defender of Individual Rights will join us to discuss our responsibility in protecting Free Speech. 

Although, she  certainly is a free speech advocate, we pro-Israel types also know her as a warrior princess. She is an outspoken critic of radical Jihadist violence, and those who try to minimize it through political correctness and hope for change.

It was appropriate that this fearless woman spoke at the Fearless Fire House.

ADDENDUM: The above portion of this blog post was written prior to the event.  I mention this because being fearless at the fearless wasn't lost on others.  Both the gentleman who introduced Geller used the same phrase, and Geller herself used it in regard to the audience.  Apparently, this was her first engagement that hadn't cancelled on her since the incident in Garland, Texas.  About 150 people attended the event, and many lined up afterwards for a signed copy of her book.

May 4, 2017

Activism In A Conforming Community

Why in the world would I want to question anyone's integrity or ethics? Why would I want to imply that someone is a liar? Why would I want public officials to take exception or offense at what I say? Truth be told, I take no pleasure in these confrontations. However, they are a necessary consequence of defending our history or tradition, at least with my limited skill sets. Understand, that there is seldom really due diligence in public deliberation. Instead, there are agendas to be justified by public officials. That's how South Whitehall set out to accommodate the Wildlands Conservancy demolishing Wehr's Dam. That's why the Lehigh County Commissioners have been studying Cedarbrook for years, instead of actually remodeling it. We who defend a dam, or want to see the county nursing home really be viable, must call out the officials who indulge in these dog and pony shows. They count on public decorum to allow the necessary studies to justify their pre-determined agendas. For the most part, it's called governance. For the most part, we limp by, losing a piece of our history now and then. Their hired spokespeople call it progress.

Most local newspapers are now owned by large media corporations, and the staff keep their heads down and safe. Even dissident ranting, at the beginning or end of the meetings, is no longer reported.  We activists who also blog have another outlet.  Although our audience may be miniscule compared to a newspaper,  the truth will linger on.

ADDENDUM: Bill White in his column today writes; Leave it to dour blogger Michael Molovinsky, longtime critic of The Morning Call and other targets,.... Bill is very much into grammar, I suppose dour can only be described as a pejorative adjective. Likewise, he attempts to further marginalize my endeavors by describing the Morning Call and other subjects of my scrutiny as targets.  I must be doing something right.

May 3, 2017

A Populist Evening With Trump


I watched YouTubes of both Trump's speech in Harrisburg (just the beginning), and the monologue by the host comedian at the Correspondents Dinner in Washington. Although, the press thought that the monologue was wonderful, I must say that it was Trump's evening. What he said is reality in today's America. Now, he doesn't speak as artfully as Obama spoke. There is no sophisticated wit to delight the enlightened. Certainly, there is no cool singing a verse or two, but there's reality. Truth is America was tired of Hope With No Change.

While another entertainer commented that there's no funk in the Trump, America is beginning to realize that what entertainers think isn't all that important. Article after article tries to analyze why Hillary lost the election. While these entertainers made their career and fortune portraying the Greatest Generation, they openly supported Hillary continuing Obama's nanny state; Obama-care and Obama-phones rubbed America the wrong way. It is this America that came out to vote last November 8th.  So, while the media and liberals continue to amuse themselves on Sunday morning with the NY Times Magazine, Trump will continue to fill arenas in the Harrisburgs of America.

photocredit: The Mercury News

May 2, 2017

Chris Kocher's Wildlands Conservancy Dilemma


Chris Kocher's letter to the editor,  which appeared in The Morning Call on December 7, 2014, assured the public  that the Wildlands Conservancy will respect certainly whatever decision South Whitehall Township makes about the (Wehr's) dam's future.  It was of course just a public relations gesture, knowing full well how much influence his organization welded over the township.  In reality, the Wildlands have written the township's Master Park Plan, which called for the dam's demolition.

When the Commissioners were presented with over 7,600 signatures, actually collected at the dam itself, they felt publicly pressured not to give the Wildlands permission to proceed with the demolition.  However,  they declined to proclaim the dam saved, or grant it historical designation. Likewise,  despite Kochers gesture in his letter, he made no subsequent statement.

The Commissioners then decided to hold a public referendum on funding the dam's repair, believing that the public would never vote themselves a tax increase to save the dam.  Once again they underestimated the public's regard for the beautiful historic structure.

Although Chris Kocher publicly stated that the Wildlands would back away from the dam's demolition if the Commissioners voted to save it, he never has afforded the residents of South Whitehall the same respect.  On the contrary, the Wildlands has written the state, claiming that the dam is in poorer condition than the state inspection indicated. It is now morally incumbent upon the Wildlands Conservancy to respect the wishes of the public, as affirmed through the referendum.  After writing his letter to the editor back in 2014,  hopefully Kocher has the integrity to now publicly repeat his commitment to the residents of the township.

photocredit: K Mary Hess

May 1, 2017

Confederate Flag, History or Hate


Hotel Bethlehem removed a Confederate flag this weekend that was part of a Civil War reenactment wedding. In the last several years the flag has been deemed a symbol of hate. I never associated it with something encouraging discrimination, but rather more synonymous with rebellion. I think that comparisons to Nazi flags are contrived. Although, the flag may have some association with slavery, it is not reasonably associated with the wholesale extermination of 20 million people.  But even the Nazi flag is part of history.  Understand, that during the crusades and inquisition, there were also victims of the cross.

The American Civil War is one the most studied conflicts in history. Its historical sites spread from Pennsylvania to Florida. While I can understand removing that flag from the South Carolina capital building, removing statues of General Lee from parks in New Orleans is pure revisionism. We cannot edit history on contemporary standards of political correctness. The Confederate flag is certainly appropriate in any reenactment setting.

photocredit: The Morning Call

Morning Call article on incident

Apr 28, 2017

Are There Consequences To Trump Hatred





I understand that Donald Trump is not very presidential, at least in terms of recent history. He was however legitimately elected president under our system. It wss thought by many that he would win the popular vote in November, but lose in the electoral college. Had Hillary won with that predicted formula, there wouldn't be the outrage that now exists.

Is there a point at which the discontent and disrespect for the presidential election is counter to the interests of the country? Although, I keep hearing the protesters say that they're acting out for love of country, I think that it's more of a visceral hatred of Trump. Recently, several AMA psychiatrists pronounced Trump mentally unstable through the media.  It's apparent that such a proclamation is against professional standards. The doctors said that they felt compelled to speak out.  How noble of them. A judge who stopped the government from blocking federal grants to sanctuary cities has been identified as a campaign bungler for Obama. How noble of him.

Partisanship is nothing new, but this negative attitude towards our 45th president is unprecedented. Professional news broadcasters, who always tried to appear objective, now feel free to join in the tar and feathering.  I do not believe that the current atmosphere serves the interests of our country.

Apr 27, 2017

Allentown's Mayoral Race

Back in 2014, I wrote several posts on two people who I thought would run for mayor in the next election, Charlie Thiel and Sam Bennett. In addition to writing about them, I also interviewed them, and ran the subsequent posts on this blog.

Move ahead three years and the primary election is upon us. Beyond clarifying that I believe that it's time for Mr. Pawlowski to move on, I decided not to endorse any one candidate. Yesterday, somebody asked me why I didn't attend a recent candidates evening. I don't believe that it's possible to write about so many candidates in an even handed fashion, nor am I motivated to make such an attempt.  Beyond that, I prefer to deal with issues, not personalities. Rest assure that whoever wins this election will clearly know how I feel on the issues facing Allentown.

In the meantime, The Morning Call has been doing extensive interviews with all the candidates. On their page you can read  about how they feel on practically any topic under the sun.

Apr 26, 2017

South Whitehall's Pasteurized Democracy


Recently, the Morning Call printed a letter praising the character of one of the candidates for South Whitehall Commissioner. Now, this is the same newspaper which refuses to print my letters about the township's conspiracy against its voters concerning Wehr's Dam. Although, the residents voted to repair and keep the dam, the township is allowing the Wildlands Conservancy to back-channel with the state, to condemn the structure. While my letter is news in every sense of the word, the candidate endorsement was just puff nonsense; The commissioner election in South Whitehall is only a dummy. There are no more candidates running than available openings. Like the sign pictured above, it is just an allusion of democracy, in an uncontested election.

My readers may be starting to wonder what's with me and this Wehr's Dam conspiracy, post after post?  There has always been sacred cows like the Wildlands Conservancy. However, in the past the newspapers would have an offbeat columnist, like Paul Carpenter, to write about the "irregularities" in the community. After that era, the paper would at least allow a citizen like myself to speak out. We now have entered the pasteurized zone, where no dissent is permitted.

Apr 25, 2017

Questionable Integrity of South Whitehall Township


The new edition of the South Whitehall Township magazine, in addition to updating residents on new programs and regulations, features the park system. Among the many park programs offered this summer, in addition to movies and concerts, are special children's nature programs, outsourced to The Wildlands Conservancy. Though many of these activities are scheduled in Covered Bridge Park, there is not one mention of Wehr's Dam.   Understand, that this past November voters passed the Wehr's Dam Referendum. In doing so, they agreed to a possible tax increase to keep their beloved dam. It is almost unheard of that voters pass a referendum which could increase their taxes. This referendum was put on the ballot by the South Whitehall Commissioners to enable the Wildlands Conservancy to demolish the dam. with no political consequence to the commissioners. So,  after having a devious referendum which backfired on the township and Conservancy, there is no mention of the dam in the summer magazine?

The township is now conspiring with the Wildlands Conservancy to have Harrisburg condemn the dam, despite the referendum. I have secured letters between the Conservancy, Harrisburg and the township, questioning the dam's structural integrity. The integrity that should be questioned is that of the township.

Apr 24, 2017

Allentown's Declining Park System


Bill White recently used this photograph to write about the homeless shelter, which is in the former Fountain Park Pool house. Bill concerns himself with such things, whether homeless people or homeless pets. Now, before you think of me as cold, I am, thank you. My concern with the photograph is the deteriorating swimming pool. Allentown closed the pool years ago,  rather than replace a $160,000 filter pump. We now know, from Cedar Beach, that building a municipal swimming pool costs $millions of dollars. Why would you discard one for less than $200,000? If losing the Fountain pool wasn't enough, the park department has announced that they're going to also close Irving Park Pool. Actually, Pawlowski renamed that park after a football player. If all this neglect isn't enough to aggravate a park traditionalist like myself, Pawlowski also spent $1.5 million to purchase two distressed parcels for new parks,  that we don't need.

As a lifelong resident and advocate for the park system, I offered City Council my input several times; They declined. You would think that they would get tired of feigning outrage about the deteriorating park system,  when they approved every decision along its decline.

photocredit: The Morning Call

Apr 21, 2017

General Trexler's Streets


Allentown benefitted enormously from General Harry Trexler. Most obvious is the park system, which unfortunately has suffered continuous depreciation under Pawlowski's misguided priorities, and The Wildlands Conservancy's agenda.  The General's various business interests played an important part in Allentown's prosperity.  He was largely responsible for developing the West End, through his lumber, real estate and construction businesses. His connection with the Lehigh Portland Cement Company resulted in several concrete streets, which have lasted almost a hundred years.

Yesterday,  Chew Street was blacktopped over the cement, which had been there since the 1920's. Nearby, Allen Street is also still cement from that era.  Unlike cement which lasts forever,  blacktop lasts  about ten minutes;  I suppose that's why they use it now.

Apr 20, 2017

Crimes By The Wildlands Conservancy

photo by Tami Quigley

The top photo shows the Robin Hood Bridge, before the Wildlands Conservancy demolished the little folly Robin Hood Dam, just downstream beyond the bridge. The dam was only about 10 inches high, and was built as a visual effect to accompany the bridge in 1941. It was the last WPA project in Allentown, and considered the final touch for Lehigh Parkway. Several years ago, the Wildlands told the Allentown Park Director and City Council that it wanted to demolish the dam. The only thing that stood between their bulldozer and the dam was yours truly. I managed to hold up the demolition for a couple weeks, during which time I tried to educate city council about the park, but to no avail. If demolishing the dam wasn't bad enough, The Wildlands Conservancy piled the broken dam ruble around the stone bridge piers, as seen in the bottom photo. I'm sad to report that the situation is now even worse. All that ruble collected silt, and now weeds and brush is growing around the stone bridge piers. I suppose the Wildlands Conservancy considers it an extension of its riparian buffers.

The Wildlands Conservancy is now going to demolish Wehr's Dam at Covered Bridge Park in South Whitehall. The township commissioners are cooperating, by having a grossly inflated price associated with repairing the dam, to justify a disingenuous referendum. Sadly, by next spring I will be showing you before and after pictures of that crime.


top photo by Tami Quigley

above reprinted from August 2016

UPDATE: To everyones surprise, especially the Wildlands Conservancy and the South Whitehall Commissioners, the referendum was approved by the voters this past November. The Wildlands Conservancy and the South Whitehall Commissioners are now conspiring to have the dam demolished anyway, by exaggerating its problems with the Pa. DEP.. Although, I have documented the communication between the Wildlands, State and township, the Morning Call will not report the conspiracy. As for Lehigh Parkway, the Wildlands Conservancy should be made to remove the former dam ruble that is despoiling the vista of the Robin Hood Bridge piers.

Apr 19, 2017

Fighting Sacred Cows


One of the things that sustains me producing this blog, day in and out for ten years, is fighting the sacred cows which roam in our valley. Of course, one of the most influential is The Wildlands Conservancy. Northampton County has officially turned over planning of their park system to those schemers. Recently, when I told the South Whitehall Commissioners that they were in bed with the Conservancy, one of their members took offense. Never mind that the Conservancy officially manages the largest program in their largest park, or that their park director is the son of one the Conservancy's paid officers. Facts aside, he took offense. Despite a voters referendum to maintain Wehr's Dam, its survival is in jeopardy because of back channel communication between the Conservancy and the state DEP. Despite having documented this outrage to The Morning Call, the newspaper refuses to print my exposé, in order to protect the Wildlands Conservancy.

The Wildlands Conservancy has degraded the Allentown Park System, by both deed and silence. They persuaded a weak park director, mayor, and city council to demolish the Robin Hood and Fish Hatchery Dams. Likewise, all summer the creeks are hidden from view, while invasive species clog access to the refreshing water. Our elected officials apparently cannot understand that our parks were not meant to be wildlands.

Although fighting sacred cows and hypocrites is taxing, I gladly pay the price. It's awkward to be told to keep it short and polite before you speak. It's frustrating to see the local media ignore the truth.

Remember, when you visit the parks this summer to keep your kids and pets away from the tick infested bush and weeds along the creeks.

Apr 18, 2017

Pawlowski's Pitch


HOST A HOUSE PARTY WITH THE MAYOR
Our campaign has been working hard and now we're getting ready to really ramp things up for the Primary Election Campaign.
As a fun and exciting way to kick off the fall campaign, we're planning Pawlowski for Mayor House Parties across Allentown and we need your help.
Can you help us by hosting a house party?
As a host, we'll ask you to invite your friends and neighbors to come over to your house to spend a fun evening hearing about the great things happening in Allentown and have an opportunity to ask questions directly to the mayor.
A victory in the Primary is an important step toward Reelection. I need your help to finish the job of moving our city forward. Please help us by hosting a house party and getting your friends and neighbors involved in our campaign.
Also if you have friends who might want to host their own house party, please forward this email and ask them to sign up as a host. 
Thank you for all of your hard work and support.
Sincerely, Mayor Ed Pawlowski

Pawlowski has been pitching small Hispanic gatherings at house parties, complete with a power point presentation on how Allentown has been revitalizing under his leadership. With the crowded field, he probably only needs about 1700 votes. However, his strategy is no secret to his opponents, who are endeavoring to match that number. Consequently, this highly contested primary may actually result in a high turnout.

sourced from facebook

Apr 17, 2017

Muhlenberg Poll Bodes Well For Pawlowski

A poll by Muhlenberg College indicated about a third of Allentown residents would vote for Pawlowski again.  The Morning Call reporter,  Emily Opilo, was surprised about how many city residents were unaware of Pawlowski's pending indictment.  She must think that everybody reads The Morning Call!!!  In general, the Hispanic minority majority are not well informed on local issues.  As I previously posted,  Pawlowski has been courting this demographic for months.   Many who do know of Pawlowski's troubles are not bothered by the accusations, even if true.  With seven candidates in the Democratic primary,  it will not take many votes to win.

If there is a silver cloud in this poll for the other candidates, it is the fact that Muhlenberg polls are always far off the mark.  Someone suggested that if the other candidates really want to see new leadership in Allentown,  that most of them should withdraw, and throw their support to someone at the front of the pack.  Having spoken to most of the candidates,  I don't see that happening.

Apr 14, 2017

Wrestling With Lehigh Valley Indifference


It's not  easy wrestling with the indifference of the Lehigh Valley. Once three cities of concerned citizenry, we're now an area of newcomers. The large growing Hispanic demographic is isolated from local issues by both language and poverty. The wealthy suburban migrants didn't move here to bother themselves with local politics. Consequently, we have an upcoming mayoral election with nine candidates, headed by our own Boss Tweed.

Our newspaper, once owned by a local family, is now part of a national media company.  Its building is now owned by the largest property owner in center city, and principal beneficiary of the largest tax incentive program in Pennsylvania's history.

Advocates who fight for issues, especially against local sacred cows,  are mostly reduced to private soapboxes, to publicize their cause.  Whether you're a blogger trying to inform the public that a municipality is trying to subvert the results of a referendum,  or a former president judge rallying against excessive profits from a tax-free hospital,  the sacred cows are protected by the media.  Furthermore,  the media is very indignant when you point that shortcoming out.  Never the less, there are a few of us who continue to dive into the ring.

Apr 13, 2017

NIZ And The Taxpayer


New construction is pretty easy to tax,  the cost is a matter of public record, especially in the NIZ.  Reilly's City Center Real Estate is allowed to harness state taxes to pay its debt service.  When PA's largest tax incentive program was being hawked,  J Q Public was told that the local property taxes generated would be his reward.  As it turned out,  Reilly's attorney found a loose end, putting less money into the local tax coffers.

The assessment on commercial buildings can be challenged based on income generated. Because Reilly charges less rent in his taxpayer subsidized buildings,  his attorney has successfully challenged the assessments based on construction cost.  Although there is some logic to that argument, it ignores the reality of the public subsidy,  and the original rational for the program.  His attorney claims that the public is still getting more than they were before the revitalization, and omits the fact that it's almost a $million less annually than expected.

Because the Allentown School District is experiencing a huge shortfall, this tax reduction for Reilly has real consequences to the public.  Mayor for Life Ed Pawlowski thinks that the tax break for Reilly is fair.

photocredit: The Morning Call

Apr 12, 2017

Fake Indignation By South Whitehall Commissioners


In June of 2014,  South Whitehall Commissioners approved the removal of Wehr's Dam by The Wildlands Conservancy.  As this press article from the time clearly shows,  the subsequent study of the dam was only directed at it's removal.

The Wildlands Conservancy designed South Whitehall's Park Master Plan, which calls for the dam's removal.

The Wildlands Conservancy is in charge of the Jordan Greenway Project in South Whitehall's Covered Bridge Park.

South Whitehall allowed the Wildlands Conservancy to send reports to Harrisburg, claiming that the dam is in poor condition.

Since residents voted to preserve the dam last November,  South Whitehall has not modified its MasterPlan calling for the dam's demolition.

South Whitehall has not advocated for the dam, or corrected misinformation forwarded to the state DEP by the Wildlands Conservancy.

Last Wednesday, when I told the commissioners that they were cooperating with the Wildlands Conservancy to subvert the intent of the voters referendum,  they took great offense.

photocredit: ytreephotography.com

Apr 11, 2017

Bill White Exonerates Bernie O'Hare


On Sunday, Bill White started his annual Hall of Shame series.  Although, he claims it is a hall of fame,  we all know better.  As usual in Part 1,  he lists all the previous people that he has ridiculed over the years. Previous winner Bernie O'Hare has been flattering to Bill recently.  In one blog post he identifies White as a winner in a state journalism award ceremony.  In another post, he pictures White at a public meeting.  In White's column, both print and web versions, O'Hare's name doesn't appear with all the other previous honorees. In a follow up blog piece on the history of his Hall of Shame, he again fails to correct the O'Hare oversight. With two columns, we must assume that it was an intentional omission.

O'Hare received an award for his writing in the Bethlehem Press from the same outfit that awarded White. Perhaps White doesn't want to diminish his award by identifying a fellow winner with his booby prize contest. Regardless, congratulations to O'Hare, for being the first person to escape from the annual shaming.

ADDENDUM: Bernie O'Hare took this post as an attack upon both himself and Bill White.  You can read his reaction here.  He finds me jealous, mean spirited, and petty. 

UPDATE: I placed the following comment on O'Hare's blog post, he subsequently deleted it;
 bernie, last time i commented on one of your blog posts you deleted it, hopefully you will allow this one to stand. the difference between you and me is your concept of loyalty. i don't factor loyalty or friendship into blogging; i simply write the truth, as i see it. last year when you mentioned a small monetary contribution to morganelli as a disclaimer, i commented that you made an "understatement". you took my observation as a personal insult, and violation of our friendship. i simply thought a $25 dollar contribution was nothing compared to all the favorable things that you wrote about him over the years. likewise, yesterday i pointed out that i believe that bill white was extending you a courtesy by not including you in his recap list. again, you took it as an insult. IMO, the only ad hominem attack was your reply.

Apr 10, 2017

Brouhaha In The Political Blogosphere


As I have written previously, besides wanting to see Pawlowski replaced, I will be making no recommendation in the mayoral race.  Although, it was my intention to reprint my neutrality before the election, circumstances accelerate my schedule.  Over the weekend candidate Sam Bennett linked to my previous post about Bill White and Pawlowski on a facebook page.  Fellow blogger Chris Casey then chimed in that Pawlowski was instrumental in the NIZ, and went on to write about Bennett;  The only reason you are running for mayor is your ego. You have no skills or experience whatsoever that would qualify you to handle the debacle that is Allentown at this level.......

Casey has been active in the Democratic politics, and ran himself for office in the past.  He openly admits to having done oppositional research, including some assignments for previous local elections. Because I find Bennett's qualifications on par with her opponents,  I cannot help but think that Casey's comment was politically motivated.  If his motivation indeed was to help another candidate,  it's no crime;  It's called politics.

It is my hope that Casey takes this post as the political observation that it is, as opposed to a personal insult. I also commented on Bennett's Facebook post, but only reaffirming Pawlowski's incidental involvement in the NIZ.  I feel compelled to set the record straight on links concerning my blog posts.

Apr 9, 2017

Slaughter Of The Innocents


Much of the dogma, liturgy and shrines of the Coptic Church deal with the Holy Family's stay in Egypt, when they fled the Slaughter of the Innocents. With of the fall of various despots in the middle east, the iron fists which protected religious minorities are no longer there. Particularly affected, are the ancient Coptic Christians of Egypt. Saint Mena Coptic Orthodox Church dates back to the 6th century, and was rebuilt in 725 AD. It was put to the torch by a mob on Saturday, while the army stood by.
reprinted from May 2011,  April 2013

UPDATE:  The Coptic Christians have suffered yet another attack yesterday in Egypt.

The Coptic 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, the Coptics are threatened by transitions in Egypt, let us pray for their safety.

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

reprinted from December 2016

Apr 7, 2017

Bill White's Elephant

In Bill White's recent column on the upcoming Democratic primary, he fails to mention the elephant in the news room.  He gives Pawlowski some of the credit for the redevelopment of downtown, but doesn't specifically mention the NIZ and J.B. Reilly.  This is a real omission,  because Reilly now literally owns the Morning Call building, and most of the developable real estate in the NIZ.  I see no relationship to the NIZ by Pawlowski.  It was created by Pat Browne.  I would bet that J.B. knew about the proposal long before Pawlowski.  Although, it occurred on Pawlowski's watch, and they allowed him to cut a few ribbons,  he was not involved in its inception or implementation.  As proof of his irrelevance to the NIZ,  not one of the FBI's accusations against the Pawlowski administration involve any NIZ projects.

I do not believe that Reilly owning the newspaper building in itself negates the paper's ability to deliver NIZ news. Another article on the NIZ in Thursday's paper spells out how Reilly received the overwhelming majority of the program's tax benefit toward his debt service.  However,  considering White's continuous defense of all things NIZ, a fuller disclosure was in order.

Apr 6, 2017

Allentown Cheerleading


There's a young Allentown cheerleader I sparred with several times on facebook. Yesterday, he found and posted a list which rated Allentown as one of the top five midsize cities in the northeast to visit. How silly is that? I drive all around Allentown, including Hamilton Street, several times a week. Can you imagine how disappointing it would be to actually take a vocation to Allentown based on that article? The list was created by some travel outfit called RewardExpert.

Now, I understand how such a list gets created. Some young person gets an assignment, and bases the article on other articles that he has read,  without ever visiting the town himself.  But how does the cheerleader, who actually lives here, take pride in such nonsense? Now, that's not to say that Allentown isn't improving, but to be a vocation destination?

Apr 5, 2017

Gethsemane 1934


Maria Magdalene (Mary Magdalene) is the Russian Orthodox Church located on the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem.
The church is dedicated to Miryam of Migdal, a follower of Jesus. Maria Magdalene was the first to see Christ after he was resurrected, and was a crucial and important disciple of Jesus, and seemingly his primary female associate, along with Mary of Bethany, whom some believe to have been the same woman.
The church was built in 1886 by Tzar Alexander III as a commemoration for his mother, Empress Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, in the traditional tented roof Russian style, including seven onion shaped golden domes. Photograph dates from 1934

reprinted from April 2015

Apr 4, 2017

Mr. Molovinsky, That's Being Very Insensitive

Recently, I got a call from a valued reader saying I was being culturally rude in a post.  He was alarmed because I was quoting someone  he considers biased against a certain group.  He asked me several times how I would feel if someone was making a comment that I considered anti-semitic.  Although, I was glad to discuss the issue with him,  he overestimates my sensitivity.

Here in the blogosphere, anonymous is the comment name of choice.  Most people aren't willing to own their own words, even when they're being politically correct.  However,  anonymous said allows them to really let loose.  Some bloggers allow anonymous, but then reprimand their commenters when they insult someone.  Here at molovinsky, I allow registered pseudonyms.

Now, there is nothing wrong with people who have manners, but chances are they will not become bloggers.

Apr 3, 2017

The Hope of Marine Le Pen


With the exception of Israel, this blog seldom goes outside of the USA.  I mention Israel, because today I write about Marine Le Pen,  who is being compared to Donald Trump,  as France's populist candidate. Marine Le Pen is a French nationalist who wants to divorce France from the European Union.  She wants to reestablish her country's borders and currency. She wants to unlink their destiny with Brussels and Berlin, especially in regard to immigrants and refugees. Le Pen heads the far right National Front Party.  The party was led by her father for decades,  who was known for his anti-semitic statements.

Marine's rising popularity is tied to increasing fear about the unassimilated Muslim minority, and the radicalization therein.  That radicalization has resulted in lethal attacks against the general population, and Jews in particular.  Le Pen would minimize immigration,  and greatly restrict refugees.  She openly considers France a Christian nation.  She would ban Hijabs, and expect Jews to sacrifice yarmulkas, instead using hats for religious head covering.  She would ban dual citizenship outside of Europe, which would mean that some French Jews could no longer also maintain Israeli citizenship.  While such proposed restrictions alarm most French Jews, there are those among them that find the status quo more dangerous.  Complete religious freedom doesn't mean much if you're being run down by trucks or shot in Jewish Day Schools.

Unlike Trump, Le Pen is seasoned in politics and is articulate.  The French election involves two rounds, with the first occurring this month.  The top two vote getters face off in May.

Mar 31, 2017

Pawlowski's Immigrants


Yesterday, Pawlowski announced The Mayor's Office of Immigration Services in the city's Alliance Hall.  I have reported previously that Pawlowski is courting the small migrant groups in Allentown, and has provided them with  space in the city owned building. Among those groups were new Liberian and Kenyan organizations.

The immigration help center may jeopardize Allentown's federal block grant funds. Pawlowski claims that those funds are marginal anyway. In years past he had a designated employee who processed an elaborate application process from various agencies, which was an annual tradition since his first term in 2006.  Those funds might be marginal to the city, but they are primary to various agencies which depend on them to operate.

He now states that "We can't have a large portion of our citizenship living in fear," I don't know how many people, if any, Pawlowski's action will actually save from deportation. With our Democratic City Council he will probably get away with this election stunt.  I do know that there are other fears in Allentown, such as fear of crime.  There's even the fear of bad local government.

Mar 30, 2017

Pawlowski's Patronage Positions

During the mayoral campaign of 2005 I was aghast at Pawlowski's blatant acts of pandering. He would point out to the audience and say "There's a man who will work at city hall if I'm elected"., "That woman will be at city hall if you elect me"; even the person who carried his briefcase during the campaign now works at city hall. Although I will not reveal the names or positions of these individuals, let me assure you their jobs are by no means necessary, and we would all be better off with a few more police officers. This brings me to an article in today's Morning Call, that Louie Belletieri is resigning his unnecessary job, because he couldn't handle the frustration with City Hall's slow pace and bureaucracy. Fortunately for Pawlowski, the reporter doesn't realize that as Director of Community Development under Afflerbach, Pawlowski implemented and spend $3 million dollars remodeling city Hall to make it efficient and business friendly. Although this past October, Pawlowski hired a second coordinator to help people through the city permit process, and Louie said "it's not like the real world," the mayor hopes to refill the "position" as soon as possible. It's not the real world.

REPRINTED FROM DECEMBER 18, 2007 

UPDATE: Pawlowski would go on to his second, third and now attempted fourth term, and really show Allentown what patronage can be. Now wounded by the federal investigation, he's hoping that his handout of jobs and promises to the little people will be enough to cobble together a victory this coming May.

Mar 29, 2017

The People's Candidate


In the late 1970's, neighbors would gather in the market on 9th Street to complain and receive consolation from the woman behind the cash register. Emma was a neighborhood institution. A native Allentonian, she had gone through school with mayor for life Joe Dadonna, and knew everybody at City Hall. More important, she wasn't shy about speaking out. What concerned the long time neighbors back then was a plan to create a Historical District, by a few newcomers.

What concerned Emma wasn't so much the concept, but the proposed size of the district, sixteen square blocks. The planners unfortunately all wanted their homes included, and they lived in an area spread out from Hall Street to 12th, Linden to Liberty.* Shoving property restrictions down the throats of thousands of people who lived in the neighborhood for generations didn't seem right to Emma. As the battle to establish the district became more pitched, Emma began referring to it as the Hysterical District.
Emma eventually lost the battle, but won the hearts of thousands of Allentonians. Emma Tropiano would be elected to City Council beginning in 1986, and would serve four terms. In 1993 she lost the Democratic Primary for Mayor by ONE (1) vote.

Her common sense votes and positions became easy fodder for ridicule. Bashed for opposing fluoridation, our clean water advocates now question the wisdom of that additive. Although every founding member of the Historical District moved away over the years, Emma continued to live on 9th Street, one block up from the store. In the mid 1990's, disgusted by the deterioration of the streetscape, she proposed banning household furniture from front porches. Her proposal was labeled as racist against those who could not afford proper lawn furniture. Today, SWEEP officers issue tickets for sofas on the porch.

Being blunt in the era of political correctness cost Emma. Although a tireless advocate for thousands of Allentown residents of all color, many people who never knew her, now read that she was a bigot. They don't know who called on her for help. They don't know who knocked on her door everyday for assistance. They don't know who approached her at diners and luncheonettes all over Allentown for decades. We who knew her remember, and we remember the truth about a caring woman.

* Because the designated Historical District was too large, it has failed, to this day, to create the atmosphere envisioned by the long gone founders. Perhaps had they listened to, instead of ridiculing, the plain spoken shopkeeper, they would have created a smaller critical mass of like thinking homeowners, who then could have expanded the area.

reprinted yearly since 2010

photo: The Morning Call