Feb 27, 2015

Stealing Businesses Is Now Our Industry

When I was a kid growing up in the 1950's, I couldn't begin to tell you everything that was manufactured in Allentown. If it was telephones at Western Electric, toasters at General Electric, or thousands of shirts and pants at dozens of textile mills, Allentown produced product. We now call distributing all the products Made In China an industry. Commercial Development in 2015 is reduced to stealing existing businesses from another state, or even a neighboring town. We pay people to direct Development Authorities, which orchestrate these musical chair jobs. The tax incentives given to facilitate the musical chairs do nothing for the residents but increase their tax burden. Although having no new product, these Authorities and incentives have become an industry in themselves. They have become the talking points for our politicians. Maybe not as a region or a state, but as a country, we would be much better off producing more, and playing musical chairs less.

photo shows toaster ovens being manufactured on S. 12th St. in Allentown

Feb 26, 2015

Allentown City Hall For Sale

I should clarify that I'm not talking about Allentown's current City Hall, some people think that it already has been bought and sold. I'm talking about the canopy over the main  entrance on Linden Street, and the  CITY HALL sign,  shown in the photograph above. Stored all this time, these Allentown artifacts are now available for the first time in over half a century. Send serious inquires as a confidential comment to this post.

Click on photograph to enlarge image.

Feb 25, 2015

The Sorry Streets Of Allentown

While Mayor Pawlowski boasts of one NIZ success after another, the quality of life for center city residents is dismal this winter. While merchants and property owners cleared their sidewalks, the city and Parking Authority has failed to provide cleared parking spaces, even on Hamilton Street. Quality of life must be for more than a few NIZ barons. In prior administrations, the parking lanes were cleared, curb to curb. Although losing the water department personnel and equipment may have complicated the effort to properly clear the snow and ice, there is no excuse for the state of Allentown's Streets.

Feb 24, 2015

Watchmen For Jerusalem

Isaiah 62:6-7
Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the LORD in remembrance, take no rest, 7 and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.

Christian Zionism is appreciated by Israel
Today, Christians by the thousands, by the tens of thousands, by the hundreds of thousands, by the millions, by the tens of millions – today they have heard this call, and they stand with Israel. I salute you, the people of Israel salute you, the Jewish people salute you.                                                                                                 Benjamin Netanyahu
From a Christian Zionist radio station operated in Israel by Stan Goodenough, to the mega ministries of John Hagee  and Joel Olsteen, Christian appreciation of the Jewish State continues to grow.       Christians United for Israel

On May 28, 1948 the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem fell to the Arab Legion; They immediately destroyed the Hurva Synagogue (in anticipation of the arrival of King Abdullah) and began burning and looting Jewish shops. No Jew would again pray at the Western Wall until 1967. Photo from 1948 Life Magazine shows residents of the Jewish Quarter on the shortest exile in modern Jewish history; 500 yards, through the Zion Gate to the New City.

reprinted from June of 2013

Feb 23, 2015

The Truth Of Wehr's Dam

Recent articles in The Morning Call on Wehr's Dam painted an environmentally motivated Wildlands Conservancy, against a few history buffs, who are without much merit. The reality of the iconic site is just the opposite. The Wildlands has been generalizing the science, and minimizing the rich history. Although strong currents and danger did exist at Allentown's Jordan Park Dam, those things were never a factor at  Wehr's in South Whitehall. The water at Wehr's flows over the dam, not through a pipe, as it did at Jordan Park. Although dams can be a barrier for fish migration, the real factor in that section of the Jordan is the disappearing creek phenomena, where the water dries up into the porous stone stream bed during the summer. Numerous local environmentalist have publicly stated that in the case of Wehr's, the history and beauty trump the Wildlands' generalizations. To create the fabricated cost assigned to repair the dam by the Wildlands, one would have to restore it to brand new condition, for which there is absolutely no need. Although the dam isn't registered as an official historic site, its history has been well appreciated in the Lehigh Valley for generations. Last, but most important,  the reports have not included the scenic beauty of the dam site. The park itself was created because of the majestic view and popularity as a destination.

Feb 20, 2015

Lehigh Valley History, A Thing Of Wonder Gone

The former greenhouse at the current Trexler Park was the pride of Harry and Mary Trexler. The General was very specific in his will about its future;
I, Harry C. Trexler declare this to be my last Will and Testament: ......into the Treasury of the City of Allentown, for the perpetual maintenance of said Park, (Trexler) as well as the Greenhouse thereon located. This bequest shall include all the plants and other contents of said Greenhouse (1929)
Although nobody in charge of Allentown remembers, the greenhouse was a thing of wonder. Full of banana trees and other tropical plants, it was a true escape from winter for all visitors. Its demolition was a project that the Wildlands Conservancy would have loved. The park director at the time touted all the money in maintenance to be saved. He then took that projected money and planted the southeast section of the park along Cedar Creek in natural species. Last year Allentown Park Department cut down all those trees planted at the time, and we now have nothing to show for our loss of the greenhouse.

Flash ahead twenty years, and South Whitehall Township will demolish another thing of wonder, if not stopped. The Wildlands Conservancy paid an engineering firm to compromise their credibility with an absurd report, on how expensive it would be to keep Wehr's Dam. I will not let the dam go quietly.

Feb 19, 2015

South Whitehall's Scandal

Although the massive concrete Wehr's Dam has stood for 110 years, a hired consulting firm just told the South Whitehall Commissioners that it would take almost a $million dollars to repair it. By luck, the group that hired them to reach that conclusion, will save the day and remove the dam at no expense to the taxpayer, how convenient. To accept that paid for conclusion, the commissioners will have to ignore the state's assessment that the dam is in remarkably good condition. Only the narrowest portion of the dam is visible. The dam is actually a wide wedge, which sits firmly on a large concrete platform. If nothing was done to the dam, it would sit there another century. The commissioners have hired an independent engineer to review the study, but how independent he truly is remains to be seen. In Pennsylvania, the bread seems to be buttered on the dam removal side of the equation. It's not that we're environmentally progressive, hydraulic fracking proves otherwise, but Harrisburg is pliable to influence. The Wildlands Conservancy has made harvesting dam removal grants their business. The engineering firm hired by the Conservancy was paid almost $250,000 in taxpayer grants to reach their conclusion. The dilemma facing the South Whitehall Commissioners is nothing less than truth and justice. Over 7,000 people have signed petitions at the dam itself, to save the historic icon. These people know that the dam is solid, how about their leadership?

Feb 17, 2015

Paid For By The Friends Of Ed Pawlowski

A mayor being behind the scenes in a city council election is nothing new in Allentown. Doing it so openly, as Mr. Ed now does, suggests that he has faith that Allentown knows or cares little about democracy. Shut up you hicks, and enjoy your hockey.

Schlossberg, A Confession And The Measles

Michael Schlossberg has not been treated particularly well on this page. I have complained more than once that he occupies a state house seat that he has never won against an opponent. I have a confession, I wanted to be that opponent. My neighborhood, District 5 of South Whitehall, was originally scheduled to be included with his State House District 132 in the redistricting. Although that made geographic sense, after the map was challenged, the neighborhood ended up being assigned to District 183, with Harhart in Northampton and Slatington. I decided that I would run anyway, although it meant challenging a 10 term incumbent, in a large geographic area where I was unknown. Anywho, this post was also meant as a compliment, not just a confessional.

Although I may once again annoy my conservative confederates, I support Schlossberg's proposed legislation against philosophical exemptions to immunization. Our children, while sitting side by side in schools, deserve to be protected from unnecessary disease. The proposal would still allow exemptions for religious and medical reasons. I suppose some parents, very philosophically opposed, may change religion, but at least in the process they might become more familiar with the benefit they seek to deny their child.

Feb 16, 2015

Israel Defense Forces

Benny Gantz, Chief of Staff for the IDF, stood on the tracks at the station in Berlin on Saturday, from which Jews were deported to the death camps.
Today too, we are required to deal with hostile states and organizations that seek to harm us, but unlike the past, we face our enemies from a position of strength – stronger than ever before.We won’t allow the horrors of the past to return, we will not allow those who seek our harm to raise their heads. We won’t be helpless when facing our enemies. The nation of Israel will always have the most protective and skilled force. Against any threat, from any distance, we will be fortified and independent in our abilities to defend ourselves. We won’t bow our head before any danger that threatens the Jewish people in its land. The IDF is the Jewish people’s answer to the incinerators, gas chambers, the pits and the killings.
Gantz is the son of a Hungarian Holocaust survivor,  who began his military career as a paratrooper.

reprinted from November 2013

UPDATE: Yesterday, Benny Gantz's commission expired. He is being replaced by Gadi Eizenkot, like all Israeli generals, a veteran and hero of many battles in the defense of Israel.  "I can tell you now, Gadi, I can guarantee that there won't be an easy day. Israel faces many challenges. The Middle East is falling apart," Prime Minister Netanyahu said. "Only the strong survive."

Feb 13, 2015

The Obama Jew

Yesterday's post on Netanyahu addressing Congress received the following comment;

Anonymous said... Please explain to me why American Jews continue to support Obama. Are they blind, or do they just not care about Israel? February 12, 2015 at 9:35 PM

The Jewish support for Obama has exasperated me for years, but I am a minority member of the clan. Obama received 78% of the Jewish vote in his first election, and despite several snubs of Israel, still received 69% of their support in 2012. The Jewish alliance with the Democratic Party goes back to the Roosevelt era. Some sociologists believe that contemporary Judaism has metamorphosed more into social liberalism than traditional religion.  Obama was a liberal's dream candidate.

Feb 12, 2015

Netanyahu's Upcoming Speech

Netanyahu's speech to Congress, scheduled for early March, has become a point of multiple controversy. Did Boehner invite Netanyahu as a partisan to embarrass Obama? Did Netanyahu accept for political purpose back in Israel? Is the invitation and speech so diplomatically uncomfortable as to constitute disrespect to United States? One thing for sure is that there is much more consequence for Israel than United States with any nuclear deal made with Iran. As the United States becomes involved in the ever changing dynamics of the Middle East conflicts, it is Israel which is in the cross-hair of Iranian produced missiles, not America.  According to Netanyahu, “Iran continues to forge ahead through the rubble of the new Middle East; it has already taken over four capitals, Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and now Sana’a. Now it wants to open a third front from the Golan Heights.” Netanyahu said that if that was the way Iran acted without nuclear arms, “Imagine what it will do when it has nuclear weapons.”

Under the dire circumstances facing Israel, I do not find Netanyahu's speech either political or undiplomatic. However, I believe that those terms apply to our Congress members who choose not to attend.

Feb 11, 2015

The Minimum Wage

Although I consider myself a conservative, especially in fiscal matters, today I joined Lehigh Valley's State Representatives and candidates in endorsing the bill to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. The event was organized by Alan Jennings of Community Action, and held at the Second Harvest Food Bank. My position is simply that the fruits of person's labor should earn them more than one Happy Meal. Although the sparse audience was essentially the food Bank workers, one by one, the representatives gave essentially the same speech, some even quoting Roosevelt and Martin Luther King.
reprinted from September 2014 
A sample comment, submitted by Wayne Woodman in Sept. of 2014
Fewer than 2% of working adults earns the minimum wage. It will have no real effect other than to make self indulged elected officials feel like they have compassion for the working poor. Maybe it makes for good politics but it makes for bad policy. A fifty percent increase will definitely have a trickle up affect causing those making more than $10.10 an hour currently to demand commensurately more since they offer more value. In the least worst case this will lead to wage and price inflation negating the increase of the minimum. In the worst case, which is more likely, business owners, especially those in low margin businesses like restaurants, will have a greater incentive to invest in capital to streamline their services or, if possible, fully automate a position currently held by a low wage earner. To weak kneed politicians this is preferable to addressing the real problem. Failing schools are producing graduates, if they graduate at all, unqualified for all but the most minimal of tasks. Our economy is currently oversupplied with these workers and for many residents of inner cities, in particular, these minimum skill jobs are their only access to the first rung on the employment ladder. There is no doubt at all that having a job, even a low wage job, is better than remaining idle when it comes to producing a better future for ones self. This type of thing seems to always occur in election years as the equivalent of the tradition of the Roman Empire of providing bread and circuses to the mob upon the elevation of a new emperor. Once again what makes for good politics produces bad policy. Wayne Woodman September 2014 

At the time, I received many comments opposing an increase to the minimum wage. Yesterday, Tom Wolf pledged to introduce a minimum wage bill to Pennsylvania's State House. Locally, Pat Browne supports the increase. With a Republican majority in both chambers, I see no possibility of it passing. My support is based on my experience as a property manager. When the fruits of a minimum paying job cannot support even a modest roof over your head, in a low rent town, some increase is in order.

Feb 10, 2015

The New Allentown

As I mentioned in a recent post, there certainly is a new order in Allentown. In the Golden Era, we were led by the business giants, through their appointed, duly elected minions. I suppose we are now in an oligarchy, again fronted by appointed minions. There has even been a change in the minion pool. In recent years, you had to be a Democrat to win, now you must be a cooperating Democrat. It is interesting to note that this lack of true democracy seems to bother very few citizens of this former All American City. The anointed mayor can choose the City Council, which was supposed to help regulate him. The oligarchy can choose the school board, which in turn can cooperate with property taxing strategies, which best suit them. While a few of us will still sign the sheet to speak out at public meetings, our words will fall on deaf ears and blank pages.

Feb 6, 2015

Allentown's 8th Street Bridge Project

When the bridge was built in 1912, it was the largest of its type in the world. General Trexler and his Portland Cement Company built the bridge to connect the trolley service from center city Allentown to points south, all the way to Philadelphia. Trexler was also a principal in the trolley company. PennDOT is now doing the first major renovation to the bridge in a century, and I am sorry to report it seems very compromised. While the shorter approaches from both ends are being completely replaced, the longer middle section remains. It appears as if they choose to replace those sections because they're not as high off the ground. The broken rubble from those sections, which could be examined last year on Harrison Street, showed dense concrete, in excellent shape. The bridge in 1912 was a showcase for the new Lehigh Portland Cement Company, and the pride of both Allentown and Trexler. If the high middle sections are still structurally sound, I suspect the approaches were also. I've been told by sources that PennDOT is having trouble with binding the new roadbed to the old concrete. In addition to the binding issue, the new roadbed is higher, adding additional weight to the high arches. Lastly, the bridge to being altered architecturally, by removing the signature walls. This change is supposed to accommodate new walls designed for suicide prevention. I would think that a barrier could have been designed and fastened to the classic existing walls.

Feb 5, 2015

Allentown's New Order

Back in the day, downtown Allentown was invigorated by three department stores, several five and dimes, six movie theaters and countless stores. All these buildings and businesses were owned by different people. There were so many players that these merchants had their own center-city club. Three of the biggest owners merged together and operated Park & Shop.

Allentown is having a rebirth, but not in the historical mercantile  pattern pictured above. Yesterday, the NIZ Authority approved another taxpayer approved loan, again with no deliberation. The beneficiary is, as always, J.B. Reilly, this time to renovate small properties between his large projects. With no due diligence by the Authority so charged, and no scrutiny by the press, only this blog speaks for the underwriting taxpayer.

Feb 4, 2015

Allentown's Choo Choo Madness

The Allentown Economic and Development Corporation has received a $1.8 million grant, toward a $4 million dollar project, to restore a portion of the Barber Quarry branch to service an industrial building on South 10th Street. The building once housed Traylor Engineering, which was a giant back in the day. Recently, it housed a smaller fabricator who President Obama visited on his Allentown photo opportunity mission. The business has since closed, but let's not have that reality stand in the way of grants. Last summer, I fought against Allentown's Trail Network Plan, which catered to the spandex cyclist crowd. The new trail was to be built on the Barber Quarry track line. Not only didn't the AEDC oppose the plan, it's director was an advocate. Now they will be funded to develop that which they wanted to destroy. Where do I begin in Allentown's World of Mirth?    Only in the unaccountable  world of agencies and grants, would $millions of dollars of our money be available for projects which are twenty years too late.  The track is long gone.  The only industry (Traylor Engineering) which would have need, is long gone.  The business reality of South 10th Street is now  a go-cart track and the Hive, which is a Junior Achievement type project.

Barber Quarry Branch Line Posts
The Train of Lehigh Parkway
Allentown Archeology
Junkyard Train

above reprinted from May of 2011

UPDATE: SEPT. 21,2012  AEDC And Pawlowski AT IT AGAIN Pawlowski Development Company is currently conducting a full court press on both the County Commissioners and the Allentown School Board to grant KOZ status to the closed Metal Works, the same building referred to above, from where both Obama and Romney spoke on their visits to Allentown. When Obama was here shortly after being elected, it was still operating. By the time Romney came during his primary, it was already shuttered. At no time did the owner ever cite lack of rail service, or payment of property taxes, as factors in the decline of his company. Pawlowski has Scott Unger, from AEDC, pitching the KOZ, saying that the building will have a choo choo train. The track has been removed and scrapped years ago, all the way from 3th and Union Streets. The cost to restore the rail bed to an empty building on speculation would be untold $millions to the taxpayers. Although in the world of federal grants there is little accounting, this would truly be the Track To No-Where. Ironically, one of the last existing areas with a track spur, along the river by Structural Steel, is being eyed for residential use.

UPDATE: February 4, 2015.  Flash ahead two years, and Scott Unger and his useless AEDC stay silent, while the NIZ kingpins spin removing the last rail spur route in Allentown, along the river, as progress. Meanwhile, back in urban studies, it is accepted that rail service is a huge plus as a commercial incentive.  Bethlehem actively markets its former steel property as having rail service.

Feb 3, 2015

Allentown Forsakes Its History

Once again the plan of a developer is being promoted as progress in the destruction of our history. Waterfront developer Mark Jaindl is going to rip out the LVRR Old Main Line, and give the yuppies another trail for their spandex clad bicycling. He has Whitehall, Allentown and the local planning rubber stamps on board. None of them have a clue about this historic rail line along the west side of the Lehigh River. It is simply the link to the success of Allentown, and in many ways the valley, state and country. I have no plans or allusion about stopping it. I will not be speaking to any more boards and commissions of deaf ears and blind eyes. They are even calling it a Memorial Trail for 9/11. A more enlightened community would preserve the historic track, for a future tourist train ride of our industrial past. Instead, here in the valley we destroy our history, and replace it with a sign. This blog will present photographs of the line and its place in our history, for the edification of those who care.

Enormous fabrication by Fuller Company sided at  Lehigh Structural Steel, on Lehigh Valley Railroad Old Main near the Tilghman Street Bridge

UPDATE:The track is still be used, with one client at the former Structural Steel location. That user will be relocated. Meanwhile, back at the taxpayer trough, AEDC wants to spend $millions to lay a track to their empty factories on S. 10th Street, hoping to lure a tenant in need of rail freight service. Allentown is musical chairs, at taxpayer expense.

Feb 2, 2015

Pawlowski's Sorry Speech

When Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski gave his State Of The City speech the other day, he spoke the usual platitudes; He wants the lives of all Allentonians to be better. That sort of stock speech is not worthy of my analysis, but I would like to discuss where he gave the speech. Needless to say the lives of all Allentonians won't be better, considering one objective of the NIZ is to push the underclass out of the new nirvana. What should be a goal is improving the lot of all businesses, beside those few new chosen ones, subsidized by the NIZ. For decades the speech was given at the current Holiday Inn at 9th and Hamilton. With J.B. Reilly's brand new subsidized Renaissance Hotel, the future for the Holiday Inn looks bleak. Pawlowski had an opportunity to tell the owners that they're not forgotten, by once again using their facility to give the speech; Instead, he pontificated at the shiny new Renaissance.

photo of hapless Allentown's forsaken Holiday Inn by molovinsky

Jan 30, 2015

Allentown's Coffee Square

When the staff of molovinsky on allentown recently visited Tim Hortons on a weekend evening, we were the only patrons. Likewise, when we visited Johnny's across the square on a business morning, there was only one other table occupied. Despite that reality, Starbucks will now be occupying the third corner. Although City Center Real Estate Company and the Pawlowski Administration wants people to think that the Starbucks entrance symbolizes something exclusive, the shoppers at Target on Cedar Crest Blvd. know better. The reality is that the existing coffee shops, which are only doing marginally at best, will do even less. Whatever failure or disappointment that visits these businesses, don't blame the Morning Call. They have been promoting the shops in a shameless manner. After multiple articles announcing the opening of a Philadelphia cheesesteak business, this weekend they will review the cheesesteak. How cheesy is that?

Jan 29, 2015

Reducing Democracy In Allentown

As I posted yesterday, and reported in today's Morning Call, Pawlowski has started a PAC to squash any deliberation of his ideas, at both City Council and the school district. Joining and supporting this PAC are Allentown's state representatives, newly elected Peter Schweyer and Michael Schlossberg.  Schlossberg says that some level of agreement is necessary. This political wisdom coming from someone who has never had an opponent. While Pawlowski claims that his goal is to improve the school district, both he and the article omit the fact that the NIZ's J.B. Reilly is seeking school tax reductions on the new buildings. If things are not bleak enough on the democracy horizon, Jeanette Eicenwald announced that she will not seek re-election. Allentown should be outraged by Pawlowski and his PAC, and with the support by Schweyer and Schlossberg for it; In truth, the voters don't care beyond the beer and pretzels at the new arena.

Jan 28, 2015

Pawlowski $Invests In Allentown School Board

Recently, a comment on this blog stated that both the Allentown City Council and Allentown School Board do Pawlowski's bidding. Although city council, with one full time exception, certainly stamps things for Pawlowski, the same cannot be said for the school board. For example, the board refused to give a proposal to remodel the Phoenix Mill into apartments the KOZ status pushed by the administration. Because school board candidates can cross register, there are several Republicans on the board, including two staunch conservatives. Mayor For Life has now established a PAC to financially support candidates with his vision. So far, the PAC is supporting Charlie Thiel and Elizabeth Martinez for re-election to the board. When this blogger interviewed Thiel last year, he indicated that he wouldn't hesitate to oppose Pawlowski for mayor. The PAC support doesn't bode well for that declared independence. Bi-lingual Martinez has been hired by dutchman Peter Schweyer, elected to represent Allentown's hispanics in the state house.

Jan 27, 2015

A Park Protestor From The Past

`Green' Curtain Blocks Sledding And The View
January 09, 1992|The Morning Call
To the Editor:
Hold your sleds girls and boys! Others, too, on the alert! With the planting of a dense cluster of 60 evergreen trees and the erection of a "No Sledding" sign, creating a veritable iron curtain, the park and watershed people have once again undertaken their repetitive effort of the past 45 years to eliminate a most popular sledding slope in Lehigh Parkway. The motive -- crass self-interest in defiance of public good. The effect -- an impassable barrier and concealment of a magnificent vista of "one of the finest valleys in Eastern Pennsylvania."
Children and adults from the 400 homes with longtime and easy access to the slope and others arriving in cars have enjoyed sledding here after school and into the night and throughout the day and night on weekends. Yet sledding is but one of the attractions of this enduring slope. In summer children and teachers from Lehigh Parkway Elementary School have enjoyed a walk down the slope and into the park for a break from book and blackboard. Birders, joggers, hikers and others on a leisurely stroll engrossed in their particular interest have found the slope irresistible.
For a host of others, this opening into the park after a long stretch of woods presents a charming vista and urge to descend. Interest is immediately evoked by the sight of a mid-19th century log house (now tenanted by a city employee whose privacy is further enhanced by the closure of the slope) and a historic wagon trail leading past the site of a lime kiln to tillable lands of earlier times.
The view takes in an expanse of meadowlands, now groomed, to the Little Lehigh River and up the western slope to Lehigh Parkway North. Indeed, a pleasant view to be esteemed and preserved for generations to come. It was distressing on New Year's Day to see a family and their guests intent upon a walk down the slope suddenly stop in amazement and shock as the closure became evident.
The cost in dollars through the years of the park peoples' fixation on destroying the Parkway slope must be staggering indeed without dwelling on other deliberate depletions. Typically, the placement of the 1991 "No Sledding" sign employed a team of four men with three vehicles -- a backhoe, a panel truck, and a super cab pickup truck, the latter furnishing radio music.
ALLENTOWN The Morning Call, January 9, 1992
reprinted from January 2012

I grew up in the same neighborhood and spent my childhood winters sledding on the same hill. Mr. Luckenbach would also be saddened that the historic Wagon Trail is now also blocked off, near it's exit halfway on the hill. I suppose children, mittens and sledding is too passive a recreation for this Administration's taste.

Jan 26, 2015

Allentown's Make Believe Economy

In a recent article on the Lehigh Valley economy, credit Tony Iannelli for a glimpse of reality; "There has been tremendous growth on a particular Main Street in Allentown, but that doesn't always translate to what's going on in outlying towns." On the other hand, Don Cunningham, as usual, had much more smile than insight; "We have no reason to be anything but encouraged." Of course, the most deluded is mayor for life Pawlowski;"Not sure where they got their data, but they obviously have not been to Allentown lately." In the real world of Lehigh Valley, things are not as they appear. While Cunningham boasts of the bottling companies which have come to drain our water resources and burden our sewage treatment capacity, a 97 year old local bottler closed. While Pawlowski cuts ribbons on businesses which have been induced into Allentown, other cities in our state hang For Rent signs on the space those same businesses vacated. While the enormous tax incentives may provide ribbon cuttings and photo opportunities for the Cunningham's and Pawlowski's of Pennsylvania, we are in reality just playing musical chairs. Without real additional net gains in employment, we will all eventually pay for these delusions.

Jan 23, 2015

A Russian Orthodox Corner In Allentown

While the pulpit section of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary Orthodox Church is adorned with murals and icons of Mary, parishioners may notice that there is no such imagery on the beautiful stained glass windows. More careful inspection reveals that while there are no graven images in the glass, Stars of David and scrolls can be seen. As the ancestors of the current members came from eastern Europe and the Czarist Russian Empire, so did the building's original congregation. The gothic edifice was built as a synagogue in 1909 by Allentown's Russian Jews. The Orthodox Jewish congregation, Sons Of Israel, utilized the structure for 50 years before it was repurposed by the current American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox congregation.

Jan 22, 2015

The Mad Men of Allentown

Back in the day, the titans of Allentown would fill the five barberchairs of the Colonial Barbershop, 538 Hamilton Street. That was when the town had three department stores. That was when Wetherhold and Metzger had two shoe stores on Hamilton Street. That was when Harvey Farr would meet Donald Miller and John Leh at the Livingston Club for lunch, and discuss acquiring more lots for Park & Shop. By 1995 all that was gone, but Frank Gallucci, 82, would still give some old timers a trim. The Colonial Barbershop property, closed for many years, has been purchased by J.B. Reilly. It is my pleasure to present this previously unseen portrait of Gallucci, toward the end of his career.

reprinted from May 2013

Jan 21, 2015

A Road Runs Through It

Once, there was a time when gasoline was twenty five cents a gallon, there was no internet, and a family would go for a drive on Sunday. There was no traffic congestion or road rage. The cars were large, and they all came from Detroit. You could drive through a park, even an amusement park. There was no rush to get back to the television; It was very small, with only a few channels. Life now seems to revolve around small silicon chips, I preferred when it was large engines.

photograph shows the road through Dorney Park
reprinted from June 2012

Jan 20, 2015

NIZ Bitch Slaps Allentown Taxpayers

J.B. Reilly wants the best of both worlds; While poaching tenants with lower rents and paying his mortgages with state taxdollars, he now wants his property taxes reduced, based on the lower rents, instead of the construction cost which we are paying for. All our local politicians are complicit in Reilly's appeal to the assessment board. The NIZ was essentially designed with him in mind, and the entire NIZ Board has been carrying his water. I doubt that he would make this assessment appeal without their knowledge and approval. If the city and school district doesn't get the full anticipated taxes, WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY BENEFIT? Pat Browne, Ed Pawlowski, Michael Schlossberg, Sy Taub, ETC. should be ashamed.

The Hype and Reality of Allentown's NIZ

Allentown has certainly received mucho hype for it's new taxpayer subsidized growth. Mayor Ed pastes his facebook page with each new accolade. The challenge is not to confuse the hype with the reality. Locally, the hype was cultivated by placing the Morning Call in the NIZ, even though their building was on the wrong side of Linden Street. Likewise, the national stories are bandwagon writing, relying on google searches, vs. real research. The owners of the Cosmopolitan learned that the lunch dollars don't spread out everywhere. Allentown does have a new prime corner. In it's mercantile heydays it was 9th and Hamilton, with nationally renown Hess's. The new corner is 7th and Hamilton, with the taxpayer palace of hope. Shown above are Allentown's new players, cutting the ribbon for the Renaissance Hotel. Although it's future is somewhat doubtful, it will succeed in reducing the Hilton at 9th Street into a flop house. For those who prefer the hype, the Morning Call can be purchased everywhere. Save for this blog, reality is much harder to find.

Jan 19, 2015

Old Allentown's Inconvenient Truth

                                                   click photograph to enlarge
The merchants who built Hamilton Street counted on architecture to attract shoppers into their emporiums. Large neon signs wouldn't appear for another fifty years. The soffit and fascia shown above, halfway between 7th and 8th on Hamilton, is one of the most elaborate facades in Allentown. One thing you can say about Allentown City Hall, they never let culture, art, or history get into the way of their plans. As successful cities come to value and profit from their history more and more, Allentown keeps using the standard catalog of proven failures. I know from other projects on Hamilton Street that Pawlowski isn't big on history. The Cityline Building in the 800 Block was permitted to stucco over beautiful brickwork. Sad that the puppies, who are directors at the Art Museum and Historical Society, remain silent on the planned destruction. It's hard to describe the magnificence of the skylight shown below, also in the targeted block. It's very large in three sections, in pristine condition. Should be quite a snack for Pawlowski's bulldozer.
The bulldozer prevailed, and the former architectural treasures of our mercantile history were not preserved, save for this blog's archives. Above is reprinted from May 2011

UPDATE:  The post above, reprinted from May of 2013, was then titled Stealing Allentown's Treasures. This past weekend, a member of Old Allentown Preservation Association, and an active local Democrat, bragged on facebook about how he had recycled an old second floor office door from the demolished buildings in the arena zone. In truth, Old Allentown also turned a self serving, callous eye to the destruction noted in the above post. Although I'm glad the door was recycled, allow this post to note the irony and hypocrisy of the Association.

Jan 16, 2015

Pawlowski At Epicenter

Long before the NIZ, promoter and media consultant Alfonso Todd has been plying his trade from the upper floors of Hamilton Street. When I first met him he operated out of the former 1st National Bank building at 7th and Hamilton. At the time the former building was named Monument Center, and now is the site of National Penn, in Reilly's City Center 2. As Todd's promotions expanded, he moved to the current Hamilton Business Center, the large older office building at 11th and Hamilton. Todd and partners are now in the Somach Building, in still larger space, reflecting his determination to provide promotional services to the diverse market segments of the Lehigh Valley. Yesterday, as he kicked off yet another project, Mayor Pawlowski stopped by to wish the enterprise success. Although the mayor doesn't normally receive an abundance of praise on this page, his visit yesterday demonstrates that he understands that the future of Hamilton Street rests as much with the Alfonso Todd's of Allentown, as it does with the J.B. Reillys'.

Jan 15, 2015

Moshe Dayan

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

Jan 14, 2015

Allentown's Tower Of Babel

I was at the Allentown Planning Commission meeting for the arena. To say that it was a rubber stamp procedure is exaggerating the commission's integrity. The only question they asked was how the garage door would look on the service entrance. Likewise, the chosen one J.B. Reilly, only gets green lights by all the bureaucracies; One only look at the wooden framed apartments on top of the steel first floor at 7th and Linden. Another developer, one from yesteryear, Bruce Loch, is not getting the same reception for his proposal. He's still trying to get to first base with his tower proposed for 9th and Walnut. He should make Reilly his partner. While I'm back on the subject of Reillytown, let me express doubt about the Lehigh County Community College announcement. Supposedly, their building on Hamilton Street across from the arena no longer suits their needs, but Reilly isn't interested. This blogger predicts that at the end of the transactions Reilly will in fact own the building. If the students study and follow that deal, they would get a real education.

Defending The Wall

The Western Wall was built in 19 BC by Herod the Great, almost 600 years before the birth of Mohammed. Herod built the current wall to expand the Mount of the Second Temple, built in 516 BC, after the Jews returned from the Babylonian Exile. The Second Temple would stand until destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Over 600 year later, in 691 AD, Muslims would build the Dome of The Rock, on top of the Mount where the Temple had stood. Today, there are 17 stone courses of the wall below the current street level. Although Jews have been praying at the Wall for over a thousand years, last week the Palestinian Authority issued a report stating that the wall is not Jewish, but part of the Dome. This report, although contradicted by Bible, history, archeology and even photography, is never the less disturbing; It plants another seed of revisionism against the history of the Jewish people. Recently, UNESCO declared that Rachel's Tomb is actually a Mosque, ignoring the thousands of years of Jewish reverence.

photograph shows Jews praying at The Wall in 1895

reprinted from November 2010

Jan 13, 2015

Fighting Terrorism

In United States, one well read speech at a national convention can put you in the White House four years later. In Israel, the price of admission is much higher. Sabena Flight 571 was hijacked on May 8, 1972. When an elite team of Israeli commandoes burst into the plane, they were led by Ehud Barak. Barak would later become Prime Minister, and currently serves as Defense Minister. One of the commandoes was shot by friendly fire in the close quarter gunbattle. That former commando is in Washington today, to speak with the former speech reader. Although Binyamin Netanyaho would recover from his bullet wound, four years later, his brother was killed leading the raid to free the hostages at Entebbe.
We did not look for wars. They were forced upon us. But when we were attacked, we did not have the right to lose a single time. And when we won we returned to seeking peace. Today, I suggest to those who seek war not to make the same mistake again. Do not disrespect our ability ... we are prepared to physically defend our land and morally defend our heritage. Shimon Peres, May 9, 2011
photo of Israeli Commando Binyamin Netanyaho

reprinted from 2011 and 2012

 Yesterday was the 37th anniversary of the Raid on Entebbe.  Although the enemies of Israel (and the Jews) continue to blame that tiny state for all the troubles in the Middle East, history and current events indicate otherwise.

reprinted from July 2013

UPDATE January 13, 2015:  This post was previously titled Defending Israel. Netanyaho was well entitled to participate in the march in Paris, Israel has been defending against terrorism for decades. Likewise, United States need not apologize for not being in the march, this country has spend the most blood and treasure in this effort. This war is much more than a march, but a prolonged conflict, far away from a one day media special.

Jan 12, 2015

When Rustlers Cry Poaching

molovinsky on allentown was hoping to get back to local history this week, but the folly of the NIZ has once again intervened. Seems like the NIZ rustlers are upset because Bethlehem is trying to lure Talen, the PPL spinoff for electricity generation. Sy Traub, chairman of the NIZ, said, "To poach a major company right across the city line, that wouldn't make a great deal of sense." Of course Sy had no problem with Allentown poaching National Penn from Boyertown, or even stealing the main tenant from Allentown's own Masonic Temple. All's fair in love and NIZ. Also in NIZ NEWS, Harrisburg has shook it's head no about about using state income tax for sidewalks and streetlights. Here at the molovinsky office, headquartered in City Center 2, along with National Penn Bank, we decided to use the rustler photo once more, before returning it to the Allentown Library later today. Currently, we're operating out of a broom closet, but J.B. has promised us better space in the proposed Walnut Street Tower.

Jan 9, 2015

SteakHouse Rustling

Most of the poaching for J.B. Reilly's City Center has gone on quietly, save for this blog. I did mention how the move by National Penn was Allentown's gain, but Boyertown's loss. I suppose my biggest protest involved the major accountant vacating the Masonic Temple for new digs in City Center 367. Apparently, the management of Promenade Shops also isn't taking the highjacking of Shula's as a community benefit, and has filed a lawsuit over the lease default. With these steals spread out over a large area, and a blind eye from the local MSM, the negative consequences of the NIZ has been mostly hushed over. Combine a license to rustle like the NIZ, with the ambition and connections of a J.B., and one area's benefit causes a corresponding demise elsewhere in the state. The number crunchers in Harrisburg did realize the problem after the fact, thus the newly hatched CRIZ alternative. The sorry story of our state representatives also contribute to Pennsylvania's dilemma; Complacent incumbents unopposed term after term. We are at the point now where nobody will invest anything in Pennsylvania, without being subsidized by the taxpayers.

Jan 8, 2015

For Whom Does The Morning Call Work

An article in today's Morning Call by Matt Assad follows the paper's new agenda, reporting J.B. Reilly's business promotions as news. This latest article claims that there is a shortage of market rate housing for the yuppies and empty nesters, but a surplus of low rent housing for the poor. Although Assad is correct about the proportion of low and high end units available, he's taking Reilly's promotion as a fact. In reality, just like the restaurants needed to be primed by giving out gift cards, the flats and lofts will also need to be pumped. Currently, Reilly is taking $100 returnable deposits for his yet completed apartments, certainly not an indicator of demand. Getting people to drive into center city for dinner is one thing, getting them to live there is another. The stated demand is bogus, the real urgency is taking advantage of building a real estate empire at taxpayer expense.

Jan 7, 2015

Stealing For Jesus

A former sportscaster is on trial for bilking hundreds of sports fans out of thousands of dollars, for sport travel packages that he failed to deliver. He has been defending himself wearing a cross and holding a bible, claiming that he misspent the money on good deeds. I have no interest in the defendant or the case, only the defense concept, which isn't novel. Over the years, hundreds of defendants seem to find religion in the time between being arrested and facing the judge. I would think that such pious people wouldn't mind spending some time incarnated, atoning for their sins. This blog occasionally veers from local politics and history with holy land posts. Perhaps this post should be filed under unholy.
photo by Rick Kintzel/Doylestown Intelligencer

Jan 6, 2015

An Eminent Domain Failure

During the early 1970's, Allentown demolished the entire neighborhood between Union and Lawrence Streets. It was, in a large part, home to the black community. How ironic that we destroyed the cohesion of a neighborhood, but renamed Lawrence Street after Martin Luther King. The only remnant of the neighborhood is the St. James A.M.E. Church. Going up the hill today we now have a vacant bank call center on the east, and the Housing Authority Project on the west. A whole neighborhood existed in from both sides of Lehigh Street, including black owned shops. The houses were old and humble, but people owned them, many for generations. Some blacks at the time wondered if the project was Urban Renewal or Negro Removal?
above reprinted from January 24, 2011 (then titled Downhill on Lehigh Street)
You don't have to go far from Hamilton Street to see an eminent domain failure; Only several blocks and 40 years. Fortunately, for our imported leaders, memory of this debacle has faded. Allentown now wants to discard the most historic mercantile block of Hamilton Street, so that an out of state developer can force feed hotdogs to people from Catasauqua, at minor league hockey games.
reprinted from 2012

Editor's note: By any criterion, including my own, the NIZ is not a failure. However, I proudly present this analysis of a previous urban renewal project. For those inclined toward reading only optimistic and happy promotion, may I recommend the Morning Call.

Jan 5, 2015

Smoke And Reality Of The NIZ

Ce-Ce Gerlach in her debate with Ed Pawlowski on Business Matters had to keep calling the mayor out on his distortions about the NIZ. He referred to a position of waitress at the Hamilton Kitchen as transformative. Although it may be life changing for that particular woman, being a waitress is nothing novel or prosperous for hundreds of others in the Lehigh Valley. Ce-Ce pointed out that the quality of her life at 9th and Walnut won't improve until there are grocery stores and pharmacies in her neighborhood. Toward the end of the program Pawlowski finally did concede that the jobs going to the local folks are entry level. Funny to see a Democrat defending trickle down economics. While Ce-Ce would like to see inclusionary zoning for the new upscale flats, Pawlowski had a slip of the tongue and referred to it as exclusionary. I believe that neither Ce-Ce or suburban apartment owners need worry about gentrification in downtown Allentown, it won't happen.

Jan 2, 2015

When Puppets Think They're Real

Ray O'Connell is poised to be the next Allentown City Council President. Julio Guridy is spinning the change that he is granting the position to O'Connell, because it will be good for him to be president for a year. He notes the big decisions, such as the water lease and the NIZ, as his legacy. Michael Schlossberg, on a recent Business Matters, noted his involvement in the NIZ by voting for eminent domain. On Pawlowski's facebook page, a friend compliments him as the architect of the NIZ and Allentown's revival. I'm sure that when J.B Reilly is depositing the state income tax checks into City Center's account, he doesn't care which of the puppets wants to think of himself as real.

Jan 1, 2015

Zeppelin Over Jerusalem

The German airship LZ127 Graf Zeppelin was in service from 1928 to 1937. Two of it's 590 flights were over Jerusalem. The first occurred on March 26, 1929. It was a night flight, during which they dropped mail into the German colony at Jaffa. The second flight, pictured above, was from Cairo on April 11, 1931. The ship hovered above the Church of Holy Sepulchre for several minutes.

reprinted from July 2013

Dec 31, 2014

Over The Dam In 2014

For this early morning edition blog, 2014 is under the ice and over the dam. Between fighting to preserve Wehr's Dam, running for office and providing reality checks about downtown Allentown, it's been a busy year. I believe that the unvarnished truth is a commodity in short supply in the Lehigh Valley. From the main stream media, out of town readers would think that Allentown has turned completely around. We who actually plug the meters on Hamilton Street know that although the new buildings are in place, the promised commerce has yet to begin. So far even the arena events can be counted on one hand. Mayor Pawlowski had read so many promotions about the New Allentown in the local paper, he thought that he could ride that bus to Harrisburg. Although the articles about success were premature, I do believe that real change is coming Allentown's way.  molovinsky on allentown will be glad to celebrate that success when it arrives, but in the meantime will tell it like it is.

Dec 30, 2014

Scott Armstrong On Poverty

I read with trepidation Alan Jennings op-ed titled “9 things to do to end poverty”. By his own admission he and CALV have failed to “achieve victory” on the very same goal. Common sense would therefore dictate that his advice be greeted with a good deal of skepticism. Rather than deal with his argument point by point it is perhaps wiser to question his premise that his/CALV’s approach to ending poverty works and we just need more of it. What Alan seems not to have learned, after a lifetime of effort, is that in America only the poor can truly save themselves from poverty. If it were otherwise, the fruits of Alan’s and the government’s best intentions, efforts, and investments would be apparent. Sadly, the nation’s approach to ending poverty has failed. Why? Because Alan Jennings and other well intentioned liberals who, with the best of intentions, fashion themselves as champions of the poor, make the faulty presumption that the poor need a savior rather than a goal. With the exception of his fourth point which states that women make poor choices in men, Alan’s op-ed is filled with what society must do for the poor rather than what those in poverty need to do to lift themselves from poverty. The truth is all the white guilt and good intentions won’t change the outcomes of those born into dysfunctional circumstances unless a message of self sufficiency is delivered with the aid. The lesson that waiting for the government or one of its agencies to solve one’s problems and/or resolve personal fiscal situations is an exercise in extended futility has been learned by all except those who fashion themselves has champions of the poor. Alan’s last point perhaps sums up the problem neatly; “Get off the couch. Stop griping and do something about it. Get together with someone with whom you don't agree but with whom you share a common concern. Look for common ground. Agree on a solution. And get to work. Justice shouldn't have to wait.” Mr. Jennings doesn’t hesitate to deliver the message that “the reader/society”” needs to work harder to solve the issue of poverty. Alan’s recipe for success seems to perpetuate dependency by asking only those who don’t need assistance to heed his call for action and imply to those in need that their only hope is outside help. Denying agency to the poor serves the interests of no one other than their ostensible saviors. In admitting failure Alan should recognize the flaw in his/society’s current approach, and then all those who seek to end poverty should look for solutions that actually work.
Scott Armstrong

Dec 29, 2014

City Center Monopoly Money

City Center is the name of J.B. Reilly's center city real estate company, he owns most of the new buildings in the taxpayer funded arena district. I have been comparing it to a movie set or an amusement park, where Reilly keeps priming the pump, hoping that Frankenstein City comes alive on it's own. Near the end of a recent  Morning Call article on a new gift card program, we learn that indeed the restaurants are being peppered with gift card bearing customers, donated by Reilly, and distributed to Air Product employees. I do believe that the monster will eventually rise on his own, but how much of our state taxpayer dollars it will take is anybody's guess.

Dec 26, 2014

Cloning Yuppies For Allentown

When molovinsky on allentown began almost five years ago, I used to say that It's good to be Butz, I must now add, but it's better to be J.B. Reilly. In today's Morning Call we learn that "under Allentown's arena block master development agreement, if City Center determines a hotel is not feasible, it could build apartments or offices instead."  That is news to me, and as a blogging naysayer I'm more informed than most. All state taxes in the 130 acre NIZ will be going to pay for the arena complex. Reilly will own from the second floor up on two portions of the complex, one on Hamilton Street, the other on 7th Street. Lehigh Valley Hospital will the the tenant on the Hamilton portion, while the 7th Street side may well now be apartments instead of a hotel. Reilly is also building apartments on the other side of 7th Street, at the Linden Street corner. Although I have no background in office development, I do know the apartment market. No upscale apartment development in center-city has ever met it's target demographic without substantial subsidy, and then only with limited units. There are not enough Yuppies in Allentown to occupy the current supply of loft apartments, much less without Reilly's new apartments. Perhaps he can use his influence with Lehigh Valley Hospital for a clandestine Yuppie cloning laboratory.

Reprinted from January 2013.  Since the Morning Call has taken upon itself to promote the NIZ,  as a public health service,  this blog will  conduct reality testing.

Dec 24, 2014

Season's Greetings

Capernaum By The Sea

Matthew 4:13: And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum,...

Capernaum, the city of Jesus, is on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The foundation of the Synagogue of Jesus, is beneath the ornate 4th century synagogue, partially restored by the Franciscans in the early 1900's.
Mark 1:21: he entered into the synagogue and taught
Nearby, the modern Church of St. Peter's House was built by the Franciscans in 1990. It's glass floor reveals the lower walls of the 5th century octagon church, which was built around the walls of St. Peter's House. Also there, shown in the photograph, is the Greek Orthodox Church of the Twelve Apostles. It was built in 1931, during the British Mandate period (1917-1948).

reprinted from December 2013

Grants, Government At It's Worse

In an editorial published yesterday, the Director Of Using Up the $3.4 million HUD grant to study Lehigh Valley praised the endeavor. About the most concrete result she could mention was the recommendation that the Lehigh Valley continue to have cute weekend center square farmer markets during the summer, so that low income have access to vegetables. I have criticized this grant before. I wish she had just wasted the money and said nothing, but she felt compelled to justify this taxpayer abuse. Had she at least recommended that full-time supermarkets be induced to open in our center cities, it would have been very expensive advise, but at least of some community benefit. Next summer, if you visit Easton Center Square, have some yuppie goat cheese at $3.4 million a pound.

 Addendum: Here is one of my previous posts on this grant, I have done several: Envision Lehigh Valley has a difficult job, they must spend $3.4 million* of our tax dollars within 3 years, but they're up to the task. An article in today's Morning Call references their fair housing study. Were certain groups discriminated against in the mortgage market? Considering the historically high percentage of non-performing loans and foreclosures, evidence would suggest that anybody qualified for anything. Were certain groups steered to or from certain neighborhoods? I don't know, but what I do know is that when urban school districts are facing substantial teacher layoffs because of lack of funds, and we are wasting money on surveys and study committees, that is real discrimination.

*The Morning Call article refers to $4.3 million,  but rest assure that those bureaucrats will use our money well,  regardless of the correct amount.

Addendum To Addendum.

I was just reading about ReNew Lehigh Valley and sustainable communities. People who need people are the nicest people in the world! These types of organizations spend $millions of dollars in grants to see what the ten yuppies in the valley want to improve their quality of life. Is it a $million dollar a mile train track to NYC to catch dinner and a show? Is it a valley wide health organization to supplement ObamaCare? Should we buy some more farms to make sure we don't lose any of the 33 million existing acres of farmland in Pennsylvania? Meanwhile, step on no toes. Don't say anything about fracking or burning sewage and trash to make energy. Spend grants on surveys and public input meetings, but don't support efforts for a public referendum. People who need people are the nicest people in the world.

UPDATE: I was misinformed,  my apology, now that these organizations are halfway through a three year, $3.4 million dollar grant to get our input (and their salaries) I must man up and admit that I was wrong,  I should have said People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.