Dec 30, 2007

BrewPub Owner Serves Himself

Today's Morning Call contains an incredibly self serving letter by the owner of the Allentown BrewPub;,0,1003821.story
Mr. Fegley is not happy that the newspaper reports some of the crime in center city, which in turn could scare some clientele away. He refers to a set of new enterprises and their owners as visionary, but neglects to mention that without exception, they were all highly subsidized by the taxpayers and abated of both local income and real estate taxes. He shows no awareness of the plight of the original merchants, and lauds the new Lanta Terminal, which displaced their customer base; He thinks Hamilton Street is there only for these new "visionaries." In a final confirmation of his entitlement to customized news coverage, he actually "lives" in town near the peasants.

Dec 26, 2007

Sheftel & Malenovsky

In 1920, two brother- in-laws, bought a truck and started dealing in cloth scraps from the many sewing factories in the Lehigh Valley. By 1950 the firm was called A. Sheftel and Sons, but scattered throughout the valley, were still buildings with the older Sheftel and Malenovsky banner painted on the side. Other families also traded in the by-products from the large local needle trade industry, mainly the Levine's and Pearlman's. Although the factories declined locally, the Sheftel sons' grew the business nationally, and today it is operated by the third generation. In the minds of old timers, the Sheftels and Malenovskys are still linked. By coincidence, less than 24 hours after a previous posting concerning my maternal grandfathers citizenship paper, I received a call from the Sheftel family. They had no real knowledge of me, much less my blog. They had discovered, that in their possession, was a copy of my paternal grandfathers citizenship paper, Aaron Moloviensky. My family, in the 1930's had attempted to "Americanize" our name, by changing it from Moloviensky to Molovinsky, it didn't work. Apparently, at sometime in the past, after a local Jewish History exhibit, someone had placed the Moloviensky document in the Sheftel-Malenovsky folder.

Morning Call as Magician

In a clumsy act of distraction, today's Morning Call editorial, tries to shift the blame for firing the police officer from the mayor to city council. In reality, magic aside, Allentown City Council has NEVER voted against the mayor's preference on any issue since his election. Council's function as a rubber stamp is a matter of public record, making today's column nothing more than damage control for the mayor, in regard to a very unpopular decision with the general public. Blind support of the mayor is bad enough, using others as a scapegoat is worse.

Dec 23, 2007

King of the Gypsies

According to my mother, a Gypsy king was buried in Allentown in around 1960, she knew about such things. She was born in Galgo, Hungary, an area of Transylvania, now part of Romania, near present day Gilgau. In Galgo, the Jews and Gypsies lived on the edge of town. In the early 20's, my grandparents, along with their Gypsy neighbors, came to Bethlehem to work at the Steel. On weekends, to make extra money, my grandparents would open their house and show Hungarian movies. None of their relatives, Jew or Gypsy, save one cousin, survived the nazi's; even the cemeteries were desecrated. As you can see from the document above, my grandfather earned his citizenship the hard way.

Dec 22, 2007

King of the Castle

All homes sold will now be inspected by the City of Allentown. They want to protect new residents from deficient properties. Who will protect Allentown from deficient new residents? There is no need for the inspection program, no less than 19 contractors are in the yellow pages offering the service to those that want or need it. When your showing someone your house for sale, the last thing you need is Mayor Pawlowski sitting on your toilet, and Allentown City Council in your bathtub. For most of us our home is our main asset, I think the Morning Call should inform the homeowners that they are no longer king of their castle.

Dec 20, 2007

Sold Down The River

Last night Allentown homeowners got sold down the river by both the city and county elected officials. The county commissioners voted to give 1.5 million dollars to several organizations to make "middle class" homeowners. Those of us familiar with these groups realize the real middle class doesn't need such assistance, and we are again just financing the poverty magnet. Allentown City Council approved a new law mandating that every property must be inspected by the city before it can be sold. Three realtors, portraying themselves as representing the realtors association, endorsed this proposal. After the meeting, in the hallway, they conceded the realtors were never polled on this issue, and as officers of the association they took that decision upon themselves to make. Also in the hallway, the mayor thanked them for their cooperation in this matter. Allentown would be better off, if both the city and county officials, recognized we need self-sufficient home-buyers; The long term taxpaying homeowners, should have the right to sell their house, without the city getting between them and their buyer.

Dec 18, 2007

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.

Dec 15, 2007

Pawlowski's Poor Excuse

Someone once told me the difference between Parkland and Allen is that the Parkland kids can buy better drugs from nicer dealers. There's probably a lot of truth to that statement, and I think truth goes a long way in problem solving. I didn't take much consolation in Mayor Pawlowski's statement that he spent his first two years reviving Allentown financially, and now will focus on crime; those words are almost enough to make me go out and buy a bullet proof vest. All the solutions offered, such as the Route222 anti-gang task force, surveillance camera system, yearlong study of police force, Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and the anonymous tip line, ignore the politically incorrect reality that there is a correlation between poverty and crime. Although the administration wants to make Hamilton Street appear more affluent, by relocating the bus riders to sabotage the existing merchants, elsewhere Allentown remains a publicly financed poverty magnet. The mayor of Hazleton, although offering no solutions to the national dilemma of immigration, sought to avoid its consequences in his community. Allentown can ill afford to lead the nation in a solution to poverty, drug abuse and crime.

Dec 13, 2007

Dr. Lee County

With Lehigh County moving forward with a possible health agency, I hope they remember the Hippocratic oath to do no harm. As a baby boomer I have been concerned with reports of fluoride contributing to brittle bones. It's my understanding that fluoride only helps the teeth of young children, and can be effectively applied topically, and enhanced through toothpaste and mouth wash. The current director of the Allentown Health Bureau can foresee dental programs as a component of a regional department, perhaps that would be a more appropriate venue to provide fluoridation to children. Although my demographic might benefit from valium or viagra in the water supply, I think pure water should be the regional goal.

Dec 12, 2007

Lanta Lacks Manners

Although not reported today in the Morning Call, merchants and bus riders attended the Lanta meeting yesterday. Apparently a pattern is emerging, while the board does not respond or ask questions during public input, after the speakers leave the room, their comments are dismissed under the nay-sayer category. According to report today in the Express Times, board members wonder where the complainers where during the seven years of public planning. I, as a public meeting junkie, never heard of the project until which time it was announced. If not for the Allentown Parking Authority building the deck and needing some more state money, there would be no Lanta transfer station. Will Lanta build a station on their own without the Riverwalk project in Easton? Has Lanta been holding public meetings on the Easton project for the last seven years?

Dec 11, 2007

Monster as Landlord

Can anyone explain why the Allentown Parking Authority should be a landlord? It is apparently not to make money, because the rent is far below the cost to construct the square footage. It is not to serve a local neighborhood need or the need of the bus riders, few of them purchase private vineyard wine or natural fiber designer clothes. Here's the answer; because Linda Kauffman, former director of the Allentown Parking Authority, thought it was a good idea. She also wanted stores in the new deck at 4th and Hamilton, but City Council decided not to compete with local investors. So now we have a parking deck which is mostly empty, a Lanta Transfer Station which is putting the Hamilton Street merchants out of business, and a new subsidized yuppie who will fail anyway because she is in the wrong location for her product. Ms. Kauffman retired and moved to the Maryland beach.

Dec 10, 2007

Hark The Herald

The holiday season is not an easy time to question a faith-based initiative, but it is sure an opportune time to announce one. Last week in Mayor Pawlowski's weekly press conference he announced his Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, to be run by one of his special assistants. Today, in the Morning Call's monthly endorsement of Mayor Ed, the "office" was heralded as an imaginative way to improve the city through the mayor's "moral leadership". One must wonder what the members of The Council of Churches, Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding, and CUNA (Congregations United for Neighborhood Action) feel they have been doing for the last twenty years?

Dec 6, 2007

Once Upon a Time

This image heralds back to once upon a time, when traffic, buses and shoppers on Hamilton Street were desired, much less called congestion. Although Lanta's circulator bus has only attracted 12 riders a day, their new concessions, which do not start until Feb.11, only add stops on 7th and 8th streets to the northwest and south sides. No concessions will be made for the Hanover Ave. and east side passengers. Lanta has clearly put the justification of their new transfer station over the survival of our merchants. I ask you to join me, merchants and bus riders on Tuesday Dec. 11, at 12 noon at the Lanta Headquarters, 1060 Lehigh Street, to let them know their still doing too little, too late.
The image is part of a watercolor by Karoline Schaub-Peeler

Dec 5, 2007

Lanta gives Coal

Despite the media attention yesterday, I'm afraid Lanta gave the merchants a piece of gift-wrapped coal for Christmas. The main concentration of stores on Hamilton Street are between 7th and 8th. These merchants were dependent upon the transfer stops located there and around the corner. The bus riders would shop while waiting for their connecting bus, and could always take the next, if they missed the first. The circulator bus failed, because it was not convenient to ride from the Lanta Transfer Station to Hamilton Street, and then back again to the station, to purchase an item or two. A Lanta board member stated he is not sure its Lanta's responsibility to appease the merchants. I would think it is Lanta's mission to care about the riders, and Hamilton Street provided them with a convenient, affordable shopping venue. The new announced Lanta bus stops on 7th and 8th streets are not transfer stations; more troubling, they do NOT include the routes which provided the most shoppers for the affected merchants, the routes which go to the east side, A, E and G. I do not relish appearing ungrateful for accommodations being made by Lanta, but I believe the survival of the Hamilton Street merchants is more important for the community than the fullest utilization of the Lanta Transfer Station.

Dec 2, 2007

Monster is generous

Resident Allentown Monster Frankenstein, aka, Allentown Parking Authority, will share its spoils in the form of an annual wage increase of 7% for the next three years. In return workers will have to pay something toward health insurance if they choose the premium policy option. This creature writes over 100,000 tickets at year and still has meters as far out as 10th and Chew, five blocks beyond the closest store. The "Authority" is a blatant nuisance tax against Allentown's poorest residents.

Dec 1, 2007

Low Class Lanta

Yesterday, Mayor Pawlowski rode the bus. "We have great transportation for a region of this size. Right now, the bus is confined to people who don't have the opportunity to own a car,'' he said, ''but how do we make it attractive for middle-class folks like myself to use it?''
Perhaps have two separate bus lines based on class? Perhaps move the current low class users off Hamilton Street?