Jul 18, 2011

Saving the Queen City Airport


When I grew up on Liberator Ave., I would walk up Catalina Ave. toward school, which was at the end of Coronado. The streets were named for the Vultee-Consolidated WW2 planes, and the neighborhood was next to the airport built as part of the war effort. Vultee Street was built to connect the hangers with the Mack 5C plant, which was given over to Vultee-Consolidated for plane part manufacturing. Today this small airport is known as Queen City, and is threatened by Mayor Ed Pawlowski.
1944 was the first full year of the operation for the company's Allentown, Pennsylvania factory. Consolidated Vultee handled over $100M in wartime contracts at their Allentown plant where they produced TBY-2 Sea Wolves, components parts for B-24 Liberator bombers and other essential armaments and products for the war effort.
Pawlowski covets this unique part of our history to expand the tax base. What he doesn't understand is that more housing or commercial space is not in Allentown's best long term interest. Unfortunately, long term interest is not a term understood by our current leadership. There is a whole development of started houses off S. 12th St. and Mack Blvd. which were never completed. There are filled in foundations on 8th Street, also never completed. More housing is the last thing both the real estate market and school system need. Likewise, the existing commercial sector has been struggling to maintain an acceptable occupancy rate. Queen City airport is an unique asset to Allentown. If LVIA does successfully expand, a separate airport for small planes is very desirable for safety. Considering Pawlowski's predetermined objective, I question whether he should have been appointed to the LVIA Board.

Dennis Pearson, long time community activist from the East Side Rittersville area, reports last night(Sept. 23, 2010) that a portion of the State Hospital grounds had been given to the Allentown Commercial and Industrial Development Corporation. Just last week, Dennis requested that the City inform him of any plans concerning that land. Although representatives of the Administration were present, nobody had the consideration to response to Pearson's statement. These open spaces in Allentown, both Queen City and the State Hospital, are too important to let Pawlowski and Cunningham squander them for a short term, politically expedient, tax fix.

Malcolm Gross, an associate of Pawlowski, was just appointed by the court to overseer the $16million dollar payment due to the Fuller family by the Lehigh Valley Airport. The Airport Authority should sell the Fuller land that it never used, and retain Queen City.

portions reprinted from September 23, 2010

13 comments:

gary ledebur said...

"What he (Pawlowski) doesn't understand is that more housing or commercial space is not in Allentown's best long term interest."

This issue needs debate and discussion. It seems clear to me that many citizens want more development for many reasons, e.g. jobs, increased tax base, retail vitality, etc. It seems many, especially MM and his fellow travelers, see development as a fool's errand a waste of resources.

I propose that MM sponsor a debate or discussion, virtual if necessary, on this issue. This is the right question at the right time.

Patrick McHenry said...

Gary -

I don't think MM or others see development as a "fool's errand".

What we see the lack of any long-term planning on the part of the Mayor or city officials. The "plan" is whatever any developer and/or the Mayor's campaign contributors bring forth on that day.

And it comes at the cost of our money or by putting taxpayers at risk.

While the mayor focuses his time and our money on costly longshots, basic city services - police, roads/bridges, etc. languish.

As far as real debate and discussion, if you lived here you would know that doesn't happen. The only "public" meeting on the arena has been for City Council to approve eminent domain - despite EVERY speaker at the meeting being against its use.

If the arena issue has shown anything, it is that public discussion and debate isn't wanted by our "leaders" in City Hall.

Anonymous said...

There is definitely a sense - and it is more than a perception - that the current Administration in Allentown along with City Council 'know better' what is good for Allentown than its citizens do. If actions are taken that have received nothing but opposition, it does call into question whether or not these leaders' judgments are justified. On the other hand, they keep getting re-elected.

It is trite to say, but we usually get the government that we deserve.

The Mayor was appointed to the airport board specifically to drive this one issue - closing Queen City Airport and giving that land to the City. Cunningham has restructured the Airport Authority to lend the Mayor a hand. The two staff members that were against the Queen City closing are gone. It is almost a done deal now.

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg said...

Mike,
We know this is a serious subject and you have posted some serious commentary, but we couldn't help but think that your "headline" could have read "Saving Private Flyin'"
Tom and Steve

Anonymous said...

If local politicians were serious about jobs, they would attempt to create an environment that would be inducive for business to want to establish their business here. High taxation and high crime is killing business, therefore how can jobs be created? When tax payer money is spent by irresponsible power hungry politicians to expand "development" for political reasons, where are the customers,/clients/consumers, going to come from when jobs are in decline? All levels of government needs to get out of the way for business to expand. The best way to do that is to get active against their pet projects and to vote the the irresponsible out of office and to shrink the government overall. We don't need them as much as they need us. Why so many people don't understand this is unbelievable to me. We have been dumbed down and have become entirely too dependent on our elected, to give us what we "want" and the politicians are more than willing to spent "our" money to oblige. Entitlements will be our downfall! We need intelligent, productive people to make a society great, not parasites with their hands out! All the development in the world will not help the situation we are in unless we carefully select the people we vote for and what it is that we perceive the function of government is. We also need to understand that we the people, need to hold our government accountable. We have NOT done this! PA has become a nanny state! Give up the entitlements and the entitlement mentality and we will become free to grow and prosper.
Stealth.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Stealth,You claim we dont understand your way of thinking.Yes we do and most reject it or write off the rheteric.Companies come and go based on labor rates and lease per sq. foot rates not taxation and crime.When was the last time a warehouse or plant was robbed.Check out the employers in the industrial parks their average pay scale is 10 to 13. Compare with columbia SC.Reagan was pro business and corpoate friendly and even lowered some tax rates and promised more jobs.Remember the old trickle down theory.Thats when the companies started to diversify and many built new plants in mexico.We havent forgotten.I will remind you that there are towns and communities in this area that never had any other than right wing conservative leadership.So are they any better off at this time.

Anonymous said...

"we dont understand your way of thinking.Yes we do and most reject it or write off the rheteric."

Reject the facts all you want. PA is still a nanny state. Look around and you will see all the "rhetoric" the left has created. Denial is an accepted virtue of the left, so it seems. Just keep digging your hole!
Stealth.

gary ledebur said...

"We need intelligent, productive people to make a society great, not parasites with their hands out!" --- Anon 10:30 am

"parasites" in reference to the poor and unemployed is an acceptable term on this blog but "tea baggers" is not. Interesting values MM.

Anonymous said...

Stealth:

Dude - on target. Good comment!

Keep them coming. Thanks.

Chumsrubber

Anonymous said...

Baseball games are occasionally won by that last inning, last batter home run to far left field that brings in the winning run and ends the game. The fans go wild. They love it. It is similar to the hole-in-one at the master's on the last day of play when the leaders are neck and neck. What a rush. Fans secretly want to witness it but most do not expect it.

The reality though is that this is not how most games or matches are won or projects successfully completed. It is a much more deliberate focused and arduous process. It takes requisite blood, sweat and tears. Through this process success tends to build incrementally, with some failure, but over all moving forward over time. This process is quite the opposite of the strategy employed by The City of Allentown which always seems fixated on the grand slam.

Perhaps most bothersome about the current administration isn't necessarily the dominance of one particular party but the manner in which they often handle the minority point of view. That voice is not seen as an important part of the demographic process but instead is one treated more often with disdain and impatience.

The opposition is regularly treated with contempt in the expression of their point of view and for the most part vilified for their stance on any given issue. It is amazing how some public officials are awarded with promotion upon election and some with demotion. An odd system and process. All depending upon which side of the fence the individual happens to be on.

We live in a city with an unhealthy balance of power that is disrespectful of the needs of the electorate and seems to appease them only when it is election time. Little concern is given to their concerns after that point in time. The administration and almost all Caucasian middle class city council seem to understand little about this city and it's people. They only appear to have an interest in promoting their pet project(s) of the moment. Sad but seemingly true.

Perhaps the current project is the last hurrah for this administration. Their final "ace in a whole" so to speak. After this, what is there? Perhaps the city needs to hit bottom before it really is time for it to turn around. I do not think we are there yet.

Anonymous said...

"Parasites" is descriptive...not vulgar.

Anonymous said...

"parasites" in reference to the poor and unemployed is an acceptable term on this blog but "tea baggers" is not. Interesting values MM."

The majority of the "poor" that are on government entitlements are not disabled or simply unemployed. They are just plain lazy because they are accustomed to the welfare checks coming in. That should be obvious to all intelligent people. We now have more on welfare then ever so how did welfare really help anyone? Affirmative Action, (introduced by Kennedy and furthered by Johnson starting in 61), also, has done more harm than good, another lib failure! When 95% of one race of people vote for the same party, there might be a problem somewhere! The simple fact is that the Democrats are instrumental in creating the poor, (that they depend on for votes), and have been doing that for over 50 years and it is taking it's toll on society. Obama himself and his parents were on welfare, so I can understand why he despises successful citizens that worked hard all their lives to attain a good lifestyle. He is not a leader in any way, he is a divider. He is also anti business because he perceives CEO's and the like, as being "rich and greedy", even though almost all wealth and all jobs are created by private business, not by government as he believes. He is bringing this country down, not lifting it up! The jobless numbers prove it! How the American people can be stupid enough to vote for a "personality" that has no redeeming trait other than to be a good speaker, (so was Malcolm X), is beyond me. The politically correct curriculum in the public schools that is infecting most with the liberal disease, maybe? By the way, I used to be a Democrat! Now I am one of those dreaded conservative tea party members that the libs fear and hate but know nothing about!
Stealth.