Jun 1, 2011

Silence of the Lambs

This blog has never been too complimentary toward the Old Allentown Preservation Association. I don't have much use for people who go along to get along. It seems that the Mayor always gives them a cookie for their good behavior. By that I mean the city buys some problem property, and spends five times more than it's worth deconverting it back into a single family house. Although the taxpayers can't spend enough preserving architecture for them, not a whimper from them about the endangered merchant's architecture. When Cannons closed as a yuppie bar, a few of their guppies claimed on this blog that they would patronize the new mixed demographic bar; apparently not too many or too often, it closed. As one citizen after another testified against the hockey arena at City Council, the Preservation Association was again silent. They have changed their website from a picture of Pawlowski's house, to pictures of Pawlowski himself. Perhaps they should change their name to the Pawlowski Preservation Association. When the arena leaves out and the Catasauquans head back home up 8th Street, the quality of life in Old Allentown will take another hit. Give them a cookie.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pawlowski's home was even on this group's annual houe tour.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Appeasers, apologists, collaborators….or just well intentioned folk who always seem to be in sync with the city administration?

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

mayors minions.

Monkey Momma said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Old Allentown Preservation Ass'n has specific boundaries for their group. It doesn't include Hamilton street or any of the property up for demolition for the arena. You can see the group's boundaries on their website.

While I'm definitely horrified at how the mayor and council have handled this arena debacle, I'm not sure the Preservation Ass'n is the right group to target here.

michael molovinsky said...

monkey momma, i wouldn't say that i'm targeting them, but pointing out their silence. it's more inter-related than you think. one of the fegley's is a player in the district. they routinely input on other matters. their members are vocal supporters of new restaurants, etc. on hamilton street. they mention their proximity to hamilton street as a advantage on their website. yet not one comment about even the architecture which will be lost?

Anonymous said...

I've come to the conclusion that it's an exclusive club...the haves (city admins & friends) against the have nots (the rest)...

to be part of the "in crowd"...we all want that. we will even sell our souls for it...

kelly said...

The city council and admin sees little or no wrong with taking away one of our fundamental rights that help build this country...the right to own property--because they think they are doing public service.

I can't see them crying over knocking down a few historical buildings if it means more money, jobs, outside investors to make the City of Allentown more vibrant. After all, which is more important, they will argue....

My argument is and always will be with this arena project is that--they are getting confused with their job roles. Their job is not to see who deserves his/her rights (property) more...but how best to serve the public w/o having to take away someone's Constitutional rights if there are other means--and not because they think or hope it's "better".

This arena project--why don't we call it what it is. Aren't we thinking it already? A bait to bring in outside, private investors...

So then are they not taking away one person's property to benefit another--monetarily? (and the benefits will trickle down to the people eventually so it's all good, right?

Is that the role of gov. officials now? To decide who deserves the land more?

Land is running out in the urban areas of Northeast. Cities are old. But that doesn't mean the city can force one person to sell to another party because the one who wants it now has more means and promises to make it good for others...

They cry just compensation...well, nothing is just when you are forced to do something you don't want to and esp. when it's your right that is being taken away.

Therefore, the law is inadequate--unclear.

I believe just compensation was meant for the party who is losing his property....not the one taking it. And strangely it's the ones who are taking it that keeps repeating the words "just compensation."

I wonder why that is...?

Anonymous said...

the proper group to address would be the Allentown Preservation League. Their mission is historic preservation throughout ALL of Allentown and they have been remarkably silent of late. it's why I let my membership expire. This small group that you mention is barely interested in Hamilton Street from my experience. They are more interested in throwing house parties for their fabulous friends, the occasional litter pick up, an annual house tour and few facade projects each year. addressing real quality of life issues? not so much.

Patrick McHenry said...

Monkey Momma & MM -

For the OAPA to NOT have a position on the arena is stunning.

With the proximity of the OAPA district to the proposed arena, I would think that Old Allentown will feel many of the negative effects of the arena. These include things like parking difficulties, traffic problems, etc.

If the arena lives up to the Mayor's dreams, there will likely be traffic jams, and on-street parking will be at a premium. Imagine trying to get to your home at a time when an event is starting/ending. Who will want to sit out on their porches or have their house windows open to breathe in car exhaust generated by the additional traffic?

The character of the neighborhood will undoubtedly change. If they remain silent, OAPA might just get what their silence deserves.

Anonymous said...

Patrick,

My experience is that the OAPA folks don't care about quality of life. Each time a quality of life opportunity or challenge comes along, the house party types throw another house party or try to do another building improvement. the organization has done more than 100 facade improvements but when given the opportunity to start tackling real quality of life stuff, many of them complained that it was a waste of time and money. So yeah, the group will get what it deserves.

That said, on matters of historic preservation, the Allentown Preservation League needs to be called out for its silence. But don't worry: next spring they'll host another preservation awards banquet and all will be better.

Monkey Momma said...

MM and PM -
I understand what you two are saying, and I do agree it is odd that the OAPA is silent on this matter. And I would bet there is a lot of cross fertilization between council, the mayor's office and OAPA. Quite frankly, any organization that proports to be serving the needs of folks downtown ought to be involved in this project.

Kelly -
You stated in your first paragraph that you believe the mayor and council "think they are doing public service." But, I disagree. I would bet the mayor and council privately think they are taking advantage of a big freebie, and this is a great (and FREE!) opportunity to build their resume. There really isn't (to me) any other reasonable explanation as to why this project is SUCH A RUSH and impedes on so many people's rights. If this was such a great area for an arena, you can bet a PRIVATE investor would have made a PRIVATE deal with these landowners on their own. Nobody in government can say, "no thanks" to any kind of handout, and that is the driver here. They can spin it however they want, but the catalyst is the funding being available NOW, not later, which is why the Lehigh River area is out of the picture (too hard to develop due to contaminants.)

I have asked for details on the planned "Entertainment District," of which the hockey arena is only a component. What I've gotten is dead silence. Nobody says ANYTHING about the big picture here. Which tells me they are hiding something. It stinks to high heaven.

I really could be sold, in general, on the idea of hockey in Allentown. But the lack of thought being put into big issues here, not to mention the illegal and immoral seizure of this property, literally makes me sick. As a private property owner, I have to wonder when my property will be seized so that friends of the mayor can realize their own dream.

Patrick McHenry said...

Monkey Momma -

I don't think that the details of the "Entertainment District" (or any vision for downtown) actually exists, other than as a Pawlowski's catch-phrase. As always, the plan for downtown is whatever a developer/campaign contributor proposes today or (as you say) whatever "free money" (otherwise known as our money) is available to be spent.

I think that egos have taken over for some (if not all) on council. They are building a monument to their own arrogance, and use "the good of the people" as their reason.

Of course, there is no effort to include the people that they supposedly serve in the process. They know best, and we'll eventually thank them for their great deeds and leadership.

kelly said...

monkey momma,
i said that's what they think...but didn't say i agreed with them...just giving them the benefit of the doubt that they may truly think they are serving the public...although, the some of the public is crying out no...they say majority wins...and the few who have to sacrifice is worth the sacrifice...

one thing everyone has to understand is that the city can only use eminent domain for the purpose of an arena--a public facility of somekind...if it extends out to other retail businesses or hotels...than it's illegal to use eminent domain....

remember our tax dollars will be used to pay for this arena...

they can't be talking about other retail businesses and such now...too soon. private investors cannot be part of this plan now or eminent domain will fall through....

kelly said...

Oh, BTW, I'm one of the merchants being threatened with eminent domain right now...

They say my sacrifice is needed for Allentown. I understand. I can be reasonable...so please stop threatening me and treat me with the same decency you would want to be treated with...

After all, I do own the land right now that you are trying to take away from me.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

You need to follow the money trail.

All of this goes much deeper and the cast of characters involved in this travesty grows exponentially.

Just like the park. It was a done deal before it was even announced.

On the park, take a survey now. It would be interesting to see who actually uses the park.

I think we would all be surprised but would have to realize they were successful in their original but non-stated intent.

It's all about the children - right!