Aug 6, 2009

The Two Professors Fail

There are two college professors on City Council, and last night they both failed the public. I intended on addressing a posting about Michael D'Amore, Council President, in a few days. Both our professors are Michael's, so I will be using last names. D'Amore, through procedural shenanigans, was attempting to stop the public from speaking, but wouldn't admit it, even when his intentions were repeatedly questioned. The other professor, Michael Donovan, supported D'Amore's position; that all 80 plus citizens should wait till Aug. 13th for discussion. Even though guilty of the same crime, I was prepared to give Donovan some slack, after all, those of us opposed to these constructions on our park system need his support. Donovan however, has written a defense of his position on his blog, called Inclusion*. One of his rationalizations was to give adequate time for excellent notification. I have been attending Council Meetings for Decades. Last nights meeting had more publicity than any in recent memory. Wednesday morning The Morning Call had a rather large story, by recent standards, about the meeting. Donovan himself is quoted in enlarged type in a special box; "I want to force an appropriate discussion to get this thing right. I think it's clear to me that there has not been enough widespread discussion...." In addition to the newspaper story we have learned that the Mayor's wife sent out an email encouraging proponents to attend. The meeting was also mentioned on local radio several times.

For this posting I'm not even dwelling on the fact that the City Charter demands Citizen Discussion through the Petition Submitted. D'Amore teaches Political Science

Donovan, on his blog, goes on to note the important parties were not present, Mayor Pawlowski and Park Director Weitzel.

Mr. Donovan, the petition requested that implementation of the Park Plan be suspended because of lack of information and public input. You and Mr. D'Amore repeatedly conceded that the Administration was less than forthright with the plans. Both Pawlowski and Weitzel have repeatedly avoided the Council Chamber when the public sought information for the last three meetings. Last night several citizens testified that Weitzel wouldn't provide information when asked. The public has come to the well three time in the last month, and you and D'Amore can only say try again next week.

*Mr. Donovan's explanation can be found at

Mr. Donovan, I will be happy to cut and paste a similar size (to this post) reply from you here.


Bernie O'Hare said...

Whatever their thinking, there is no way that D'Amore or Donovan could have prevented the public from speaking last night. The Sunshine Act guarantees that right, and I know from previous experience that Eichenwald, Guridy and the others would persuade Donovan and D'Amore. They've done it before.

I will not ascribe bad motives to either professor. Most importantly, the public was ultimately heard. So your point is really academic. Perhaps there are three professors.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, there seems to be four professors. i have attended many, many more allentown city council meetings than you. i ASSURE you that if mrs. eichenwald was absent last night, the public would not have been allowed to speak. that's why i gave her credit. if you have any doubt of my claim, please consult with your other allentown contacts for their opinion on my assertion.

i will subscribe donovan's behavior to a bad night

d'amore not only attempted to halt discussion, but was disingenuous about it.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, i know you have only attended a few meetings here in allentown. the reason both myself and joe hilliard asked d'amore straight up if he would allow comments, was because we have witnessed this maneuver on more than one occasion. there must be more sunshine in northampton
for those reading this blog, who did not attend the meeting last night, let me add this note; although courtesy of the floor is the first item of business when the meeting began at 7;30, it took mrs. eichenwald one hour, and multiple attempts, to prevail in allowing the public to speak, which finally began past 8:30.

Anonymous said...

Can you tell us where these professors teach? Public college? Private?

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael:

I really want to say one thing, but I will not.

You have your opinion on what we are trying to do. For me, I have mine. Like I have said on my blog, I'll risk whatever people think of my approach.

You can risk your approach.

I have had a lot of failures in my life. Lots of success, too. So, the fact you think I have failed is ok.

Best regards,


michael molovinsky said...

anon 11:21, no. although i may occasionally slip, it is my policy to not mention employers, addresses or other personal information. i used " professors fail" as a vehicle for my premise that both councilmen where in error about trying to stop the public from presenting their views last night.

michael molovinsky said...

mr. donovan, i think you failed last night in your decision not to let the assembled citizens speak. i would never think of you as a failure. please understand that this is a political action blog. last night many people, many of them elderly walked two blocks from their cars to address city council.( and back at 10:30 pm) it was improper to tell them that they cannot address council,but must come back again in 8 days. of those 80, at least half were up there in years. one elderly woman had to helped to get up off the chair.

you chose to defend your decision in what you described might appear "convoluted"
i chose to express myself in what may be described as "blunt."
I regret that you are offended, but i'm here to advocate for the people sitting in front of the dais

Michael Donovan said...

Michael...the last entry was mine...sorry didn't select the right bullet.

Michael Donovan said...

No offense, Michael...just expressing my response...that is all.

Bernie O'Hare said...

No question you've attended more A-town city council meetings than I have ever done.

In my limited experience, Jeanette is certainly the conscience of that body. But I also believe D'Amore had no intention of silencing anyone. And no one was silenced. So you are criticizing D'Amore for something that never occurred, but for something you think he wanted to do. You may be right. But you may be wrong, too.

You point to the delay as proof of your point. You neglect to point out the time consumed by people speaking during courtesy of the floor, and there were four of them. After that, the debate that preceded the re-opening of the courtesy of the floor was largely procedural. It was very clear, at least to me, that the public was going to be allowed to speak. And that's what happened.

Had D'Amore tried to shut people down, we could do exactly what the Sunshine Act gives us the right to do, and make a public objection on the basis of a perceived violation. I don't know if you've ever tried that. Those objections must be addressed, and at the meeting. Last time I did that was at Allentown. They listened and actually reversed themselves on a long standing rule that is illegal. I do think they want to follow the law, but I genuinely like these folks. If you have a different view, good. That just betrays a healthy distrust of your government. Nothing wrong with that.

One way or another, the public was going to speak last night.

Michael Donovan said...

To the anon...Private.

Private undergrad and grad, too.

Public elementary and secondary.

Public post grad.

First generation college grad.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, i have no doubt what so ever, that d'amore would have prevented the public from speaking if he could have succeeded. may i add that this was also the observation of the morning call reporter, which he wrote that this morning. the citizen petition and mrs. eichenwalds resolution were two different items, even if concerning the same subject. first he said no discussion for the petition because of the resolution, then he said no discussion of the resolution because of sending it to committee. he could have allowed discussion of the petition during courtesy or put it in the agenda portion, also allowing discussion.

Anonymous said...

We definitely felt D'Amore (is he in deep with mayor) (why do we keep thinking Dean Martin here?) was trying to curtail public speech. We agree if Mrs. Eichenwald had not been there, he might have succeeded. She was stellar. Folks in back of hall agreed. Does he think he's fooling us? Sometimes professors think they are so much smarter than us stupid citizens who elected them in the first place.
Hmmmmmmmm. Maybe they're right.

Anonymous said...

Bernie's post: 10:35 p.m.

Big fan here, Bernie, but don't agree. While the Sunshine Act guarantees, council could have refused public speech and subsequently faced consequences.

Anonymous said...

i ASSURE you that if mrs. eichenwald was absent last night, the public would not have been allowed to speak. that's why i gave her credit.


Anonymous said...

Professor Donovan looked so weak. He never should have admitted he didn't know what he was doing! What kinda thing is that for a strong leader to say? He should have stayed his ground, demanded the mayor prove Donovan wrong, not the other way around. Terribly weak conduct.

Anonymous said...

D'Amore recommended public speech be placed under New Businesses, one of the very last items on the agenda and surely would have been near 10 p.m., this is a ploy to exhaust folks and have them leave discouraged.

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

I have no doubt that Council expected a large crowd Wednesday night, and that some on Council wanted a way to "manage" the crowd and keep them from "delaying the regular meeting".

This approach is contrary to good government, frustrating to concerned citizens, and (as others have noted) not a new tactic in Allentown City Hall.

michael molovinsky said...

some background; bernie o'hare has been a regular at northampton meetings and a advocate for the sunshine act, where he has succeeded in that regard. but he makes assumptions about allentown city council. until the police shortage, especially when howells was council president, there was a cop at every meeting. i have seen several people escorted from chambers for exerting their right to speak, and many more so threatened, myself included.

wednesday evening only the boy scouts present could have been impressed with council. they begged the solicitor to say their power is limited to the purse strings, but they have never said no to a pawlowski appropriation.
one would think they would welcome the opportunity to exert themselves in the final quarter of this administrations term by saving the iconic cedar park from unpopular changes

michael molovinsky said...

anon 7:55, it should be noted that the agenda was very short, with not one item requiring discussion from either the council or public. without the citizens there to address the park plan, it would have been less than an hour meeting. as it turned out, that much time was spent trying to suppress the public and justifying things with the solicitor and clerk. i would refer bernie to the morning call reporter, although new (morning call changes them out every six months) i'm sure he's seen these tactics used enough here in allentown.
but i digress, i would have to wear out a keyboard convincing bernie he's wrong on something.
it appears michael donovan might wear out a keyboard deciding how he feels about this.
it appears michael d'amore might wear out a keyboard telling us where he is going to refer what to where and when and how

it appears pawlowski and weitzel might wear out a park by stuffing 20 lbs. in a five pound bag.

it's becoming increasing difficult to protect this park

Anonymous said...

It just seems to me, in the end, no one stands up to The Mayor.

Something happens to them (City Council) when they get into the office. Fall in love with the office more than the purpose and principals of the elected position.

Both Council and The Mayor will drive this city into bankruptcy and when little is left to salvage most will probably be long gone.

Judge a man by his actions. Doesn't anyone else find the the verbose rhetoric that characterizes the interactions of council members tiresome?

If this goes through and I highly suspect that it will, they are equally if not more responsible than the mayor.

Next weeks show should prove to be a real media event. Look forward to another power point and lots of kids. I mean lots of disabled kids in the crowd.

BTW who is running against Pawlowski in the next election? Is that this year or next (sic)?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
Long time Allentown city hall meeting attendee here. D'Amore definitely wanted to stop public speech.

Anonymous said...

"Something happens to them (City Council) when they get into the office. Fall in love with the office more than the purpose and principals of the elected position."

Absolutely Agree. Have personally known candidates one would swear would have become stellar officials only to watch them disintegrate into greedy dishonest office holders once they get a title. Something happens.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday at 8 a.m., with the sun shining, gun shots ran out near West Park. Allentown needs a strong law and order chief executive officer.

LVCI said...

At this point most of the discussion has become 'Monday Morning Quarterbacking'.

More important is getting an eyeball of the very latest "modified" plans. No one will be able to address the Aug 13th meeting in any kind informative way w/o them.

If these are not forthcoming (and very soon), it means once again (as been stated for months).. No one's getting information. Great leverage for Mr. Mayor & company.. not so good for fair discussion. If no one is able to see these before the meeting, then I consider this scheming in shady corners.

Lord, someone take pull the plug on the projector if it's going to be yet another PPPP...

Pawloski Power Point Presentation!!!

If the mayor can't be forthright before the meeting with the full plans after all this chaos, then let it be said.. business as usual at city hall. Let's hope not!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Big fan here, Bernie, but don't agree."

That's ok. Gotta' call these things as we see them.

michael molovinsky said...

ironpig, i realize that information is readily available, but please refer to my 11:30 pm. comment. thank you.

ironpigpen said...

Whoops, sorry dude. Did not see that. Usually, I skip YOUR comments because I think I have a decent grasp of your position.

I can understand why you might choose a policy for whatever reason and try to enforce it.

My father was a VP at Air Products a long, long time. They have certain policies for certain reasons, too.

No nepotism would be one for old AP. Maybe those AP guys are smart for maintaining policy. Maybe you are, too.


Still can't believe Gestapo has not picked you up yet...

Andrew Kleiner said...

I received an email today with a frequently asked question about the Cedar Beach plan and a letter from the mayor. I signed up for updates on the city website. Have you all seen this?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
Re: campaign suggestion
city's website includes phone no. for Mr. D'Amore but none for Mr. Phillips. Makes a difference to have a phone no. provided. Perhaps Mr. Phillips would include one on the site for
voters to discuss issues with him? If Mr. Phillips doesn't wish to provide home phone, buy a cell for just this purpose.

LVCI said...

If one thinks the homeowners living near the park shouldn't have a say in what becomes of their neighborhood park take a look at the Lehigh County website assessment search records .

I did a few samplings combining the total yearly County, City & school taxes they pay...amazing!
28th Street
College Heights (28 hundred block)

Yeah I know, they only get one vote like everybody else but... If you drive this tax base out of Allentown will these properties too become rentals of the future!

It's quite clear they're carrying a major portion of the load for the rest of the city.

Take note many of the last names. Diversity

michael molovinsky said...

andrew, i have not seen the email,but have heard about it. surely only those with misinformation and misconceptions could be opposed to these park plan? the city refers to intensive public input; what they mean is a few people spoke intensively. most native allentownians, the super voters, prefer the parks to remain the same. any playground would have to be small enough to not force any venues over across ott street. the jogging path should be neither paved or lighted. the rose garden should not encourage more weddings with a pavilion. your blog, Remember, has documented many cases of neglect in the parks. If mr. weitzel cannot be satisfied with being a good steward of the existing designs, he should go elsewhere. there may be communities looking to redesign their park systems, but this isn't one of them.

Andrew Kleiner said...

Unless I misread something in the email, there is no mention of the wedding pavilion any longer. It mentions only erecting stone towers between the existing gazebos. The email calls it a place for a photo op; it never says the word wedding.

Also, our parks do need better maintenance, no doubt about it.

Andrew Kleiner said...

Forgive the double post but I recheck that email. It seems as if they are calling it an "arbor" rather than a pavilion.

michael molovinsky said...

lvci, some of the new homes in the hybrid, area, allentown city but parkland schools, pay over 20k a year in taxes. the people most affected by these park changes, the ones near the rose garden and cedar crest, were not even consulted for their input; so much for intensive input. one couple testified the park department planned a park interconnection path through their property and never even consulted them, pure arrogance.

Anonymous said...

Dear Andrew,
Could you find out more about the gazebo vs. pavilion? Is it possible they are going to leave the vintage gazebo? That would be very good news. Also, Andrew,
Maybe you know. Isn’t it possible to pave with some type of vintage styled Belgium brick instead of concrete?

Andrew Kleiner said...

Anon, I will get a direct answer for you next week.