May 12, 2009

Politics, Allentown Style


Last week I was watching channel WFMZ-TV69, a segment about primary mayoral candidates. First was Edwin Pawlowski, then Dic......the screen went blank, both sound and video for a few seconds.... pon. Well, as it turns out, Dic Pon did better last week than Dick Nepon did this week. Unfortunately there was no video glitch this time, and Nepon had to explain a discrepancy in his resume. This posting is not about that discrepancy, but about how Allentown chews up and spits out political aspirations. First and obvious is that the incumbent has a bully platform. Witness Pawlowski's press conference yesterday about "Friends of the Parks" program. Excuse my ego, but somehow I can't help but think my blog recently helped precipitate that event, especially when "Mikie Will Say It" ended with the phrase "friends of the Park". How much coverage will the skeleton crew at The Morning Call be able to provide a minor candidate with press conferences this coming summer and fall? Another controversy has been the Call's position of making endorsements, a policy I never agreed with, nor benefited from. Even we here in the blogosphere play hardball; witness the Stoffa/McHale photo portrayals at a leading blog.



WELCOME TO THE FUNHOUSE, WELCOME TO ALLENTOWN

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

MM,
As a volunteer member of Friend of the Park and a long term resident, I can assure you that FOP have been working hard for over two years to get to this point. Your blog is interesting, but certainly did not precipitate our press conference. I'm surprised that you have not attended any meetings or joined a committee - we are happy to accept volunteers!

michael molovinsky said...

dear anon 8:51, since you're promoting a cause i'm surprised you're commenting anonymously. i hope your group does no harm, i.e, pulling out saplings from the stone steps, etc. i did hear about tree plantings which will complicate the grass cutting and increase the expense involved. sorry, although you may be well correct that i'm over-inflating this blog's influence, i find the timing of the news conference very "political". don't be surprised i haven't joined your group, but i did lobby heydt about re-pointing and restoring union terrace years ago, which i was happy to see done. exactly what point has it taken you two years to reach?

Anonymous said...

The newer group tree plantings in Lehigh Parkway are destroying the only remaming large open spaces left. The park needs open space with nothing but grass to welcome a variety of sporting, family, and group gatherings.

Anonymous said...

Had no idea there was a press conference, but of course your recent "Stairway to Shame" blog had to cause this "protect one's bkck reaction." Good work, Mr. Molovinsky!

Anonymous said...

"Your blog is interesting, but certainly did not precipitate our press conference."

This and Specter's political move are about the same.

Anonymous said...

MM wrote:
"How much coverage will the skeleton crew at The Morning Call be able to provide minor candidate with press conferences this coming summer and fall?"

Comment:
Did you see today's MC front section, all four-pages.
Two pages of somewhat stories,
two pages of top to bottom ads. Blogs are already the informational highway as they are increasingly timely, on-target with citizen input, issues and news.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what 8:51 post means by "Friends of the Park," but unquestionably, Mr. Molovinsky wrote the term a week ago and must get credit for the expression.

Where was this "friend" for the past 20 years while the staircase at 12th st. fell into ruin?

Dick Nepon said...

I have not used the noted résumé to get any job; I did not use it to promote my candidacy for Mayor. It is an old résumé brought up as misdirection, in order to not discuss issues important to the well being of Allentown. It would be more appropriate to report on the many campaign issues I have addressed on my Facebook page, my Blog, or my FAQ.

I am proud of my association with Antioch-Columbia, and the education I received there. It is worth no less to me because I didn’t pay for the paper.

Anonymous said...

MM, question on committees - I looked at the list of people who are going to serve on this new organization, and it seems to me that it's the same names over and over.

I don't pin this on Pawlowski because these same names have been involved in various capacities for several administrations.

Also, I thank all of these people; it's obvious they give a lot of time to the cause, and without volunteers we'd really be in trouble.

But my question is, why aren't there more people involved, more volunteers stepping up?

The Banker

michael molovinsky said...

anon 10:38, i can well believe an organization called 'friends of the park" existed long before my posting last week. i questioned the timing of the press conference not because of the phrase or my blog, but because the morning call reproduced my blog about the stairway to shame and other short comings involving the new park plans. at this time i'm not familiar with the organization, but i hope they are indeed friends of the park and not friends of pawlowski's plans for the parks. although this might provide ammunition for the villa's antagonism and distortions against me, it is sad indeed that the chen art group members are showing at pawlowski's campaign headquarters. i not sure what the message is, but groups, whether art or park, should bend over backwards to avoid such involvements.

Anonymous said...

11:48 posted: "MM, question on committees - I looked at the list of people who are going to serve on this new organization, and it seems to me that it's the same names over and over."

Where did this person see such a list? Why should the park system be a political tool?
If there is such a list, sure hope it says, "Additional volunteers are welcome to join."

Anonymous said...

"Blogs are already the informational highway as they are increasingly timely, on-target with citizen input, issues and news."

- they may be on target with issues but many lack facts and use much speculation, something that makes this form still too unreliable for me

- As for the parks, I wish the city would maintain what we have but leave well enough alone. They're great now and shouldn't be messed with/

Anonymous said...

MM,
The character "assassination" tactics I have seen used over the years against "people who, supposedly, shouldn't be in the politics game" is the reason MANY of us don't even attempt to go into politics. The way I see it, I don't need an office or title to make an effective change in my community. BUT, I do see the need for leadership and I will continue to go forward with my events, meetings, and involvement in the community UNTIL I, EVENTUALLY, GET RUN OUT OF TOWN...

Alfonso Todd

www.5minutes2shine.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Anon 1259pm, the list of board members was posted in a press release on the city's website -

http://www.allentownpa.gov/Home/tabid/36/ctl/Detail/mid/634/xmid/699/xmfid/8/Default.aspx

It does say anyone can join Friends of the Parks but I believe that would be as a volunteer, not as a board member. My question was toward who serves on boards and committees.

The Banker

michael molovinsky said...

banker, thank you for that link; i took no consolation reading the board membership. their following statement,

" Steffy lauds the Trexler Trust for its stewardship of the parks through the years as envisioned by philanthropist Harry C. Trexler and a forward-looking mayor..."

cements the notion that this a political agenda, rather than a park friendly effort. pawlowski states the parks are in such great shape they can improve them, rather than have to save them. I DISAGREE. Harry Trexler would be appalled by these plans and the condition of the WPA structures.

I WILL ORGANIZE A MEETING IN MID JUNE FOR REAL FRIENDS OF THE PARKS, MICHAEL MOLOVINSKY

Anonymous said...

To Banker:

Why shouldn't everyone be allowed to become a board member?

Who decided who should sit and serve on this particular committee?

Anonymous said...

If Steffy is so right about the
Trexler Trust continual care of city parks, why are those steps in ruin, the stone walls disintegrating, restrooms in disrepair, handicap children's playgrounds few, and why did a judge hand down a decision that would cause many to blush?

Anonymous said...

MM, I like your approach and the meeting should DEFINITELY get things going. But not to be too OT, while we are on the subject of Allentown politics, did you see this:

Allentown voters are invited tonight to watch the seven Democratic candidates for city council debate the issues facing the city, but if you want to go be sure to bring your wallet.

It will cost you $30 to enter the Rodale Room at Allentown's Symphony Hall, but if you're a member of the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, the event's sponsor, it will only cost you $20 The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m.

-Queen City Daily

Maybe this is "much ado about nothing" to some, but when it costs to be an informed citizen (who DOESN'T want to know about the people they are supposed to vote for) then we have a SERIOUS problem,

- Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

Informed Voter:

Thirty dollars is a lot of money to many city residents. I agree with Alfonso, why didn't candidates host this event at a free admission hall?

Anonymous said...

Today's Morning Call printed the following article that indicates local unemployment issues.
Why charge $30.00?

Morning Call: 5/13/09
"Dottie Hutchison had never been unemployed before. She first started working at 14, helping out in her high school's kitchen. She stopped at 56, when her 22-year clerical job at a Supervalu distribution center moved to Lancaster.
Now a year out of work, the West Easton resident tried her luck at The Morning Call/CareerBuilder Career Fair on Tuesday at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown. And despite a national slowdown in the growth of unemployment, she didn't find much cause for hope from the attending vendors.
''The only one taking applications was Burger King,'' she said. ''I'm even willing to scrub bathrooms at this point. It's terrible -- it's to the point that you can't stand it anymore.''
Hutchison was one of nearly 3,000 attendees to the career fair, almost a third more job seekers than last year, organizers said. At the same time, far fewer employers were seeking applicants, down to 46 vendors from last year's 70."

michael molovinsky said...

jarrett renshaw now reports on the queen city blog (mcall.com) that the chamber of commerce has changed it's mind and the debate will be free. originally. they mentioned recouping their costs, i suppose for the room rental at symphony hall. considering that organization, symphony hall, is on it's knee's financially, perhaps they also shouldn't charge and hope for some much needed public exposure.

Anonymous said...

The power of the internet strikes, once again.....

- Alfonso

Anonymous said...

Would you please tell us once again the details for this political debate? time and is it today? thank you.

Anonymous said...

At your suggestion, some of us mosied on over to QC blog. Very interesting, very interesting indeed, especially the relationship between
tonight's moderator and some of the candidates. Might be of interest to others?

michael molovinsky said...

the debate between the city council candidates is this evening at 5;30, in the rodale room at symphony hall, free of charge. according to reporter renshaw the candidates themselves were upset at the proposed admission fee, that was probably the reason the chamber changed it's mind.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,


ABW was to be charged late fees for a city-owned golf course snack bar that opened about two months behind schedule.
Even though Allentown city council hailed hot air a few weeks ago about the delinquency, was anything really done to collect the fees?


"Posted by Scott Kraus at 03:26:45 PM on May 4, 2009 Golfers coming off the links late Tuesday afternoon at Allentown Municipal Golf Course will be able to celebrate their bogeys in style with free munchies and beer samples.
Mayor Ed Pawlowski will appear at an opening for the new Allentown Brew Works On The Green clubhouse restaurant at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The pub has actually been open since Friday working out the kinks, according to co-owner Jeff Fegley.

We know there has been some controversy over the opening of the restaurant, some if it recorded on this very blog, but we are not going to go there in this post. We'll leave that to city beat reporter Jarrett Renshaw.

Fegley says the golf course pub features six of Brew Works best brews plus a menu of domestic beers like Sam Adams and Budweiser."

michael molovinsky said...

anon 1:07, it is my understanding that pawlowski claimed some repairs which were the city's responsibility, were the cause for the holdup, so thus no fines were imposed. as i mentioned in a previous comment, i will be organizing a meeting (late june) for citizens to vent concerns over the park and other issues. I WILL NOT ALLOW ANY MAYORAL OR COUNCIL CANDIDATES (OR MEMBERS) TO SPEAK. THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES HAS COME AND GONE.

Anonymous said...

I am a resident of the west end, and I did attend the press conference on Monday morning. There were more than 60 people present, and the event was very well organized. A press conference like that takes more time to plan than the several days that passed after your post.

Looking at the list of Board Members posted on that link, I see that Sandy Tenney is the Secretary of the Friends of the Allentown Parks - she is also the wife of Mr. Nepon, the mayor's only Democratic Challenger for Mayor. I'd think that would indicate that this body is not simply a "mayor's pick."

Regarding the Banker's question as to who is involved in Boards and Committees - the initial post on this thread does indicate that the organization is interested in having people join their committees. No nonprofit organization anywhere in the Lehigh Valley or elsewhere just opens their Board of Directors to "anyone from the general public," but certainly those who become involved as volunteers and committee people are typically considered for Board Membership.

The press release includes contact information for this organization. Instead of assuming that this group is opposed to your opinions - why don't you contact them?

As a side note: to everyone who is complaining about tree plantings in the parks - you do not speak for me or (I think) the majority of parks users, who prefer to see recreational use on fields designated as such, and enjoy the beauty and environmental benefits of trees in the rest of our parks!

michael molovinsky said...

anon 3:32, i welcome your comment, it represents a different POV than my own. let us agree that neither of us speak for each other, how the majority feels is a question mark. unfortunately, the majority seldom expresses its opinion on such things.
as you may know, pawlowski was formally the head of the alliance for building communities, where mrs. nepon now works, and where pawlowski certainly still has much influence. the friends organization was apparently started in 08, before dick announced his intentions, so sandy being a member means nothing. dick nepon, as you may or not know, carried pawlowski's briefcase around for him in the 05 campaign. today, he more or less admitted he was given a job for which he was not qualified, perhaps pawlowski rewarded the whole family. this is besides the point, my point is that your assertion about tenney not be a mayor's pick is faulty. FYI, I spoke against the park plans to city council, and also expressed my views privately to malcolm gross. i can only guess who you are supporting for mayor. the plans for cedar park are HORRENDOUS, AND YOUR ORGANIZATION IS PART OF THE PROBLEM, MICHAEL MOLOVINSKY

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify - I am not involved with this organization, although I do intend to join as a member.

I do not like all of the plans for Cedar Creek Parkway, and I intend to make my feelings known to the Friends group.

I appreciate your vocal opposition to such plans, and I also appreciate your point about Ms. Tenney's involvement not being indicitave of the Mayor's relationship with this body. I do however still think that the names listed are somewhat varied from "the usuals" as claimed above. And if more of those posting on this blog about their dislike for the city plans would be involved with the group - perhaps their agenda would shift? My point is simply, "why not try?" It seemed from the first comment on this post that you would be welcome to meet with this organization or to become involved. This organization clearly stated at the press conference that they intend to be a voice for park users and an advocate for the parks. That is what makes me want to join them, and it seems that it would be more productive to work with them and see if your views can be heard and shared, rather than immediately starting an opposition movement.

I do not want to overstep in speaking for others, but one of my neighbors is on the Board of Directors at the Friends group - she invited me to attend the event on Monday, and I was generally pleased with what I saw and heard. This same woman has openly criticized the current maintanance of the parks, and is not in favor of many of the improvement plans. She is active in this group not because it is a "rubber stamp" but because it is a vehicle for advocacy, and I suspect that if you became involved, you would find that you are not alone in your concerns.

michael molovinsky said...

anon (4:38) again, i'm glad for your comment and your participation in that group. i have been involved in political activity for many years, generally speaking, boards want people who endorse presented plans, that's a fact. i have spoken in front of many of them. years ago i spoke in front of the redevelopment authority, which actually contained one of my tenants, but not me! after operating property in allentown for over 35 years, rather in an exemplary fashion, i have never been asked to serve on any board, even those concerning real estate. (yes, i have applied) i know of people who are on multiple boards, five and six, they're recommended from one director to another because they are "rubber stamp", yes men and yes women.

Anonymous said...

I suppose that may be a sad reality of how many organizations work. Yet I still feel you do yourself no favors by dismissing a group that has indicated in all of their forums (the press release, the conference, and on this blog) that they are open to the involvement of any member of the community. If you were to request involvement on a committee and be turned away, I would be the first to attend your planned forum (I may attend regardless) to form an inclusive group. But so far, I have no indication that this group isn't just that.

Thank you for allowing me to post my comments and engaging in a respectful debate.

Anonymous said...

Took quick glance today at this blog and saw last comment with regard to new Friends of the Parks. If we are to believe quote attributed to Steffy is correct, seems this group (appointed by very mayor mentioned) is convinced of its own importance.


"" Steffy lauds the Trexler Trust for its stewardship of the parks through the years as envisioned by philanthropist Harry C. Trexler and a forward-looking mayor..."

Anonymous said...

Do not believe for a moment Tenney was picked for any reason other than a mayor's voice. The board as listed on the city's web site reflect political relationships.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know or remember that Tenney had been employed by the city and after her job was eliminated, she sued the city of Allentown in 2004? This is a link to a document pertaining to that lawsuit: http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/04D0556P.pdf

Anonymous said...

The Emperor New Clothes. Seems like there's a lot of people responding to the fact that they're (we're) tired of being lied to by politicos- or politico wannabees. I read the dirt ringing out and am amazed how many are fooled by the fools who create it and are the ones clammering for their chance to suckle off the taxes they love just so they can be someone. I wonder if they'll wonder why people are snickering at them as they parade down the street and smile and wave for cameras wearing the emporer's new clothes?