Nov 21, 2009

Sympathy For The Devil


I suspect that if you engage a search engine with the words Nick Balzano and sympathy, this post will be the lone ranger. Nick became, overnight, a human pinata. The band bashing him, had to add additional wagons. I don't mind offering some defense to someone who stepped on a sacred cow's tail. Actually, the only thing I despise more than Boy Scouts is those pre-Girl Scouts; Brownies are vile. Nick's ill advised comment was four seconds of a 15-minute presentation. He was rightfully frustrated that his union members, the boots on the ground, absorbed all the layoffs in the city, while all the new fifth floor white collar positions were spared. Although his union did decline to re-negotiate their contract, the large increase resulted from concessions made in previous years. Now I'm sure there is much more to this story than I know. I do know it seems that everybody was willing to throw him under the bus, and with his resignation, he apparently fell on the sword as his reward for ten years of leading the local union.

22 comments:

Katie Bee said...

FInally, someone withy a little empathy.

monkey momma said...

Molovinsky, I think you're just looking for a fight with this post! Seriously, supporting the dude who said, "There will be no volunteering inn Allentown" is a little over the top.

In no way does this union help move the City forward, and Balzano's comments were just about as clear as can be. It's not just that he slammed a boy scout, it's that he decried any and all volunteerism in the city of Allentown.

My daughter is a brownie, and I have to say, the whole scout thing is a little lame, IMHO. I wouldn't say Brownies are "vile," since they're all (by definition) little girls. And, I admit that all Scouts just want to give back to their community, like this young man did with his Eagle Scout project. Did he get the proper approvals? It's hard to know - nobody has addressed that yet. If the kid just decided to embark on this project with no consent, then that's a problem. But, eagle scout projects are usually passed thru a series of approvals, so at some point I have to believe the city of Allentown gave approval for this project.

Balzano could have handled this situation MUCH better, like having it in private with the administration instead of making a huge deal out of a scout's project in the middle of a high profile speech. What a bozo. He totally lost the confidence of the city with that comment, and he deserves to lose his post over this debacle. I absolutely hate agreeing with right wing loonies, but Balzano went a little psycho and deserved the scrutiny from the national media. What an embarassment.

michael molovinsky said...

monkey momma, my comments about all kinds of scouts was tongue in cheek. actually the reporter had already left council chambers and balzano was venting his frustration at council, fueled by the layoffs. the reporter was tipped off about the comment, researched the minutes the next day, and the story unfolded. balzano owns the comments and paid the price. my feeling is that his comments about volunteers must be taken in context of protecting the remaining park workers, of which 17 have been already laid off. i think by any standard the story developed it's own wings. because of one man's statement, and not a well thought out one at that, we have a national union being criticized. i'm no authority on the merits of that criticism, but i do know when something gets blown out of proportion.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Molovinsky, I think you're just looking for a fight with this post! Seriously, supporting the dude who said, "There will be no volunteering inn Allentown" is a little over the top."

Agreed.

Anonymous said...

MM, as the reactionary crowd has shown, you will be attacked for actually thinking before blogging, and for seeing things in shades of gray rather than black and white (and I don't mean emulsion).

Anonymous said...

What Nick lacked was a corporate communicator, a smoooooocher, the kind that appear on daily TV as talking heads. Maybe he had the best interests of fellow workers, but to bash a young man for trying to make a park nicer, was a very stupid move. Network TV showed images of the before and after of the pathway. Why hadn't Nick and his crew cleaned up the park beforehand so it did not need this scout's attention? That is the question Nick forgot to answer.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 8:39, allentown has an enormous park system. i suspect that even before the layoff's they were way too short staffed to maintain everywhere. in addition they have been doing much of the new projects in house; i.e. they dredged the ponds, they dug the paths for the rosegarden sidewalk, etc.
the purpose of this post was not to give the gentleman a pass on his statement, but to put it in perspective. boy scouts have been molested by scout masters with much less publicity. this was a perfect storm; boyscout, seiu union, cable news, acorn, obama

Anonymous said...

I'm generally in agreement with you MM. Union jobs were sacrificed while management positions went unexamined, and Balzano was right to be frustrated that his union bore the brunt of the layoffs and cutbacks. However, Balzano has taken the position throughout the duration of this cutback period that volunteers are pitted against union workers, and that's just not the case. You know as well as anyone that there is more than enough work to go around, repairs to be made, regularly scheduled maintenance, etc...

As the last anon points out, the path didn't become an overgrown illegal dump site overnight, it was neglected for years to get that way. And I don't place that blame on the union, their work is assigned and prioritized by the city, but the fact is still that it didn't get done. This city could use a few more volunteers like Mr. Anderson, and instead of Nick Balzano trying to block volunteers from helping out, he should have seen it as an opportunity to get even more advocates for his cause. As you and your group at Lehigh Parkway found, volunteers can do a lot of work with a few tools and some back muscle... but volunteers can also bear the best witness to the needs of the parks that can not be met by a group of well intentioned volunteers.

Anonymous said...

"And I don't place that blame on the union, their work is assigned and prioritized by the city, but the fact is still that it didn't get done."

Good point! However, Weitzel has been at his job three years, why didn't he inspect the path and assign workers or post on the city's Web page, a call for volunteers?

Anonymous said...

What does IMHO mean?

(I had a doctor appointment instead of school that day)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
If Nick behaved this way to a scout’s volunteer efforts, why didn't he do the same when you and your friends cleaned those boat ramp steps?

Anonymous said...

Every week for years, a downtown church opens its doors to the hunger for a hot lunch meal.
The line never gets smaller.
Those volunteers take the place of paid kitchen and restaurant workers. Should these volunteers now fear union retribution?

michael molovinsky said...

anon 11:09, i also had to check google definitions; in my humble opinion.

anon 11:11, the steps were abandoned by the park dept. for over 40 years, so it was not a job which the union would have been assigned. i know the pawlowski and weitzel were not happy with that project, i don't know how the union felt.

Anonymous said...

The city does not want thinking, engaged, thoughtful volunteers in the park. The city doesn't want MM or Mr.A.Kliener, at least not when the young man shows any sign of independent thought, or any of the best people in various city related groups like the Envirnomental Advisery Board or Parks Friends,or other groups even if they are part of offical groups. The mayor and parks director want to do what THEY WANT. They do not want good volenteers who may have intelligent view points. This is why the Wildlands Group is so important to the city. Wildlands picks up their check and goes along to get along. Perfect, no muss, no fuss, no pesky intelligent points of view.
The unions may have been less than savy in the way they handeled the Boy Scouts, but in the end they are just a scape goat. Why isn't the park full of volenteers, working with the blessing of the unions? Ask the parks director or mayor and see what his answer is.
They do not really want them.

Anonymous said...

TO: Anon 9:10

Friends of the Park is a pre-orchestrated front group for Pawlausky and Malcolm Gross of the Trexler Trust board. They certainly are not 'independent thinkers'.

Anon.

Anonymous said...

The obvious question is: Why hasn't the Trexler Trust earmarked $$ for hiring back laid off Parks Dept. employees, instead of....... (fill in the blanks).

Anon.

Anonymous said...

Answer to anon 1:30 pm:" Why hasn't Trexler
Trust ....?". We think because they are, however well intentioned, mostly a bunch of wealthy, out of touch white guys who do not really know what is happening in the parks. Do they ever even go to the parks, andrew kleiner,Katie Bee, MM? Do any of you ever see any of them anywhere in the parks? Well? Maybe Trexler Park or the Rose Garden, once in a great while. Does anyone ever, ever,see the mayor there? Andrew, Katie, MM? Speak up please. We know your out there. They may even really care, let us give them the beneft of the doubt. We beleive they are way out of touch with the city, not just with the parks. Do they see the damage on the tow path Andrew? At Jordan creek? Speak up, young sir. Miss. Bee,MM? Please.Very unfortunate, all this. We think this once beautiful city is running out of time.

michael molovinsky said...

the trexler trust is very much in touch with the mayor's version of the city, that's the problem. the trust is dominated by a couple of pawlowski's advisors. they will not pay to rehire people pawlowski has laid off. it goes without saying that the trust should be putting the park first, and not the administration.

Anonymous said...

no one has a problem with the idea of the trust being responsible for paying the salaries of city employees? Isn't that how we got into this dilemma in the first place? Layoffs came to the parks department because the trust's contribution will be lower than in prior years. Trexler's will does not say "pay for the city to hire staff" it says "pay to improve and expand the parks"

michael molovinsky said...

as i recall the afflerbach administration, under community development director pawlowski, was misusing the trust funds for operating expenses. the funds were then held in escrow by a judge for several years, resulting in the windfall now being used to overburden cedar park with novelties. i do believe the funds are to be used for everything but salaries in the parks.

Anonymous said...

Well Mike, Andrew, Katie Bee, do any of you ever see the mayor or Trexler Trustees walking in the park? You can tell us. Yes or no?

michael molovinsky said...

anon 8:12, i don't see them, (i don't walk very often) i don't think they need necessarily to walk in the park, but they should solicit different viewpoints concerning the park, before allocating funds.