Jul 29, 2010

Towne Dealt Good Hand

Jake Towne was never going to get very many Jewish votes. Although Jews remain firmly in the Democratic aisle, here in the valley, Charlie Dent is very popular with many Jewish voters. What Jake Towne did get today is the headline,* which he would have never received without this controversy. With Jews such a small percentage of the population, about 2% nationally, he may even inadvertently profit numerically from an alleged anti-Semitic association.** Publicity wise, it certainly was a good day for the band Poker Face. I don't believe a third party candidate, in such a nationally funded campaign, need worry about being politically incorrect.

*Headline in hardcopy paper
** I have no reason to believe that Jake Towne is anti-Semitic.

Jul 28, 2010

Open Mike

This posting is intended to provide an opportunity to comment on any topic, or on an earlier posting.

Jul 26, 2010

Muddy Waters

It's been a tough five years for the Little Lehigh under Donny Cunningham. First, he has remained silent on the drilling of wells at the stream's headwater, to accommodate the bottling industry he shepherded to the valley. Now, The Morning Call has publicized the fact that the Lehigh County Authority (water and sewage) has an on going spillage of sewage into the waterway. Recently, when I criticized Cunningham's Plan to demolish the historic stone arch Reading Road Bridge, his blogosphere watchdog, Bernie O'Hare, defended the plan by quoting the "Bridge Doctor", Glenn Solt. Solt is Cunningham's public works director. Solt said that stone arch bridges look pretty, but they're filled with "crap." The Morning Call article quotes Richard Young, Pawlowski's Public Works Director. Young states that the Allentown Sewer Plant, which handles the sewage from the Lehigh County Authority, only intentionally dumps raw sewage downstream from the water plant. He fails to mention that the manhole covers, which overflow during storms, are upstream or just before our water plant. The above photo shows such overflow just west of Schreibers Bridge, which is only a few blocks before the water plant intake pipe. I hope Cunningham and Solt don't see this post. Schreibers Bridge is also a historic stone arch bridge. Built in 1828, it was rehabilitated in 1920 and 1998. Maybe Cunningham should concentrate on what's flowing under the bridges.

photo from The Morning Call
related post on Kleiner's Remember

Jul 23, 2010

Signs Of The Time

As Allentown eagerly awaits the opening of the Cosmopolitan Restaurant and banquet facility on 6th Street, lets go back in time. Before the former Sal's Spaghetti House was demolished on that parcel, preservationists from Bucks County saved the historic sign. Had the couple been somewhat more familiar with Allentown's history, they may have realized that the sign was neither very historic or iconic.

Before Hamilton Street was bi-sected architecturally by the now gone canopy, the street was lined with large neon signs, many of which were much more elaborate than Sal's; That sign became historic by default. Interestingly, the Sal's sign for most of it's

business days, said Pat's. Pat's and the sign go back to the mid 1950's. In the late 70's, the business was taken over by Sal, and the P and T were simply changed to an S and L. But time goes on; Sal's family is now in the sauce business and have a most interesting website. Congratulations to Mayor Pawlowski and Myron Haydt for bringing the Cosmopolitan to 6th Street; May they have the success that both Pat's and Sal's enjoyed.

1963 Pat's advertisement courtesy of Larry P
Hamilton Steet watercolor by Karoline Schaub-Peeler

Jul 20, 2010

Another Meathead Idea

Sal Panto, Easton's recycled mayor, has another idea. The owners of vacant properties will be fined; The longer the vacancy, the higher the fine. The ordinance will be based on the program from Wilmington, Delaware . All the meatheads borrow idea's from other municipalities; it's how you grow bureaucracies and cultivate mediocrity. Of course the only thing worst than a vacant property, is a property with a bad tenant. With all the bad apples rolling around out there, it takes a conscientious landlord a long time to find a good tenant; now he will be punished for his due diligence. Allentown also has such an ordinance in the works. If you like Allentown now, wait until every apartment unit is filled. We will have to speed up the low income conveyor belt from New York and New Jersey. Love those meatheads.
Each administration passes more and more ordinances. In fact, you cannot legislate pride of ownership. So far we have code inspections, rental inspections, point of sale inspections, and now a proposed vacancy registration; just clueless bureaucrats scanning sister cities for more ordinances, how far this All-American city has fallen.

I have once again removed word verification for comments

Jul 17, 2010

I Shot the Sheriff

Andy Roman shot the sheriff, but he didn't shoot the deputy. Once in Allentown, before this Administration chased out people who actually invested their own money, there was a coffee shop called Jerry's. Early in the morning people would gather for coffee and banter. Several large tables would fill up with county workers and early risers, such as myself. It was at these tables, over a few years, that I got to know Sheriff Rossi. I can describe him in one word; dedicated. It is very ironic that Andy Roman called Rossi the "Stealth Sheriff", just because Rossi didn't attend this past Commissioner meeting. I suppose Roman wanted him there to beg for the row office raise, and repent for charging more for laminating gun licenses. I think if Andy wants to find Rossi, he should try the Sheriff's office.

related post at LV Ramblings

Jul 14, 2010

More Weeding, Less Talking

Allentown has a few icons, such as the PPL Tower, the 8th Street and Tilghman Street Bridges. In Europe many bridges date from the middle ages, there are even Roman bridges still in use. It seems here in Allentown we cannot even keep an 80 year old bridge together. Earlier this year County Executive Cunningham and Mayor Pawlowski had a press conference under the Tilghman Street Bridge, while on the top weeds and saplings were growing out of the road bed. The bushes and weeds are still there, on both bridges, eroding away magnificent irreplaceable structures. Lets hope these great silver tongued planners stop waiting for penn-dot, and get around to buying a bottle of weed begone.
UPDATE: When I was a kid I grew up in Lehigh Parkway South, this was a development of twin homes built for the returning GI's, the streets were named for planes built during the war; Liberator, Catalina, and Coronado.(Queen City Airport was a WW2 plane factory). Getting into the rest of Allentown was a bit inconvenient. To go downtown(Hamilton St. was the Shopping Mecca of Lehigh Valley) you would have to go over the 8th Street Bridge. To get to the east side you would go down the Lehigh Street hill, up to Union and then over the river. Getting to points west required going over the stone arch bridge near Regency Towers. Construction of the 15th Street bridge finally connected the south side with the rest of Allentown. The metal deck, which was annoying from day one, was supposed to be temporary. So here we are, fifty some years later, being told the bridge is ready to be replaced. Is there anyone in authority who remembers how difficult it was to navigate Allentown before the bridge? So now the decaying 8th Street Bridge will absorb the traffic during construction of the new 15th Street Bridge? Allentown meanwhile defers simple maintenance, like rail painting, because of promises from Harrisburg? We truly are slow learners.

UPDATE: Lipstick on a pig; Allentown now has hung banners on the 15th St. bridge lightposts, distracting drivers attention somewhat away from the rusting rails.

UPDATE: Sept. 15, 2009. The railings on the 15th St. Bridge have been painted. The Linden Street Bridge, an iconic stone arch bridge over the Jordan Creek and Historic Rail lines has been torn down. No repairs have been done to either the 8th Street or Tilghman Street Bridges. Both the silver tongues are insured of re-election. We're still slow learners.

UPDATE: July 14, 2010. Don Cunningham now plans on tearing down the historic Reading Road stone arch bridge. His Administration exaggerates the amount of traffic, and ignores the fact that the bridge could easily have a weight restriction without inconvenience, because of nearby Hamilton Blvd. He is devoid of any sense of local tradition or history.

reprinted from July 31, 2007 and Sept. 15, 2009

Jul 11, 2010

Joseph's Tomb

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath. He had said, "God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place." (Exo 13:19)
For a thousand years, Jews had prayed at and cared for the Tomb of the Patriarch Joseph. The Samaritans had worshipped at the Tomb for 1,700 years.

On October 7, 2000, Ehud Barak ordered Israeli Border Police to withdraw from guarding the Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus (Shechem). Within hours it was destroyed. Since then there has been a pattern of the IDF escorting religious Jews to clean up the destruction, and then more desecration after they leave.
The bones of Joseph which the Children of Israel brought up from Egypt were buried in Shechem in the portion of the field that had been purchased by Jacob. (Joshua 24:32)

Jul 9, 2010

When Boxing was King

Although my fascination with boxing from the 1930's began with a family connection, was fed by a curiosity about the many Jewish boxers, the real hook is my love of black and white photography. Some of the best photographers of the era aimed their camera's at the ring during those years. Shown here is a boxing portrait of Izzy Jannazo. This tough welterweight fought the best, from Barney Ross to Sugar Ray Robinson. These photographs are from the Harry Winkler Collection, now housed at the University Library of Notre Dame.

Tony Chavez was the first New Mexican to fight for a title. He moved to Los Angeles to train for his lightweight title fight with Henry Armstrong. Harry Winkler assembled these amazing images while working as the Los Angeles correspondent for Ring Magazine.

Freddie Miller won 210 fights out of 250, between 1927 and 1940. This featherweight champ had two of his most famous fights with Abie Israel.

I will donate a complete black and white darkroom to any interested youth group

Jul 6, 2010

Mutilating Cedar Park

The traditional gravel walking/jogging path of west Cedar Park has been replaced by macadam roads. Although this blog, and others, embarrassed the Administration enough to eliminate even more planned roads within the previous open space, the damage is still substantial. Two new entrances have been built into the park from Ott Street.

A new main entrance ignores the park topography and ramps into the park like a boat landing. This intrusion eliminates the serenity of the previously passive side of the park.

Perhaps the most offensive aspect of this monstrosity is the half clover leaf, clearly designed for bicycles at the expense of both the open space and walker safety. Also added for bicycle convenience is an additional new entrance off Ott Street by Honochick Drive. Once again a clover design is provided so that the cyclists need not slow down.

Jul 2, 2010


E-ZSmile Cunningham even brought a smirk to my stern face the other morning. I was reading about the press conference over at the new Bennett Toyota site on Lehigh Street. Although the dealership will be simply moving from Hanover Avenue to Lehigh Street, supposedly the workforce will increase from 100 employees to 250, that's a 150% increase. Bennett also claimed that although national Toyota sales are down 16%, his are up 22%. I suppose if you're doing 38% better than your competitors, you could hire 150% more employees. Anyway, the frozen grin never left Don's face. Cunningham can even talk while he's grinning; He called the move "economic growth." Nothing was said about was what to become of the large existing facility on Hanover Avenue when it closes.