When I ran as an independent candidate for mayor in 2005, I was shunned for my politically incorrect statements. The Morning Call declined to run my photograph, allow me to participate in their sponsored debate, or profile my candidacy. Because I said that Allentown had become a poverty magnet, the NAACP president asked me to prove that I was not a racist. Since that time the community has learned that I never was a racist, the term Poverty Magnet is used by no less than Alan Jennings, but poverty continues as a growth industry. While the NAACP president was questioning me, he never disclosed that he was employed by Jennings. If organizations such as Jennings' Community Action Committee of The Lehigh Valley just serve existing poverty, or help attract more to the valley, remains a taboo question. As a center city property manager for many years, who asked thousands of people why they moved here, I knew the answer. Putting aside the Poverty Magnet, one thing is for certain; poverty is a growth industry. Jennings and other poverty entrepreneurs would have you believe that they alone provide for the poor among us. Actually the city, county and state have thousands of employees and millions of dollars for that purpose. Jennings' organization became so large, that when he complains of one cutback, another branch is receiving grants. Three years into the great recession, a state sponsored job training program is finally cutting back. Considering the want ads have been non-existent, who have they been training for what? Jennings will go on. Years ago Habitat for Humanity built a few houses on N. 5th Street. Although the newspaper article stated the new owners put in sweat equity, in fact, they could hardly get near the place. Different congregations were literally lined up and waiting to work, they needed a coordinator to keep it from being too crowded and dangerous. There is always a corporation or a church looking to feel good about itself. Occasionally, there will be a bastard like me, to question what's really going on.
this post was written with a grant from the Council of Bastards