Oct 30, 2011

An Independent Lady

Although Allentown City Council is currently composed of all Democrats, there is an independent voice. On the vote for approving Eminent Domain, the only dissenting vote came from Jeanette Eichenwald. Whenever a group is being disenfranchised, they have an ally in Eichenwald. Her passion for prejudice reduction is well known in the community, and always supercedes any party affiliation or loyalty. Eichenwald's campaign budget for this coming election is $0.00. She feels that it's inappropriate for financial support to be a factor in City Council Elections. The moral compass in the Council Chamber has always pointed to her seat on the dais.


Bernie O'Hare said...

I have always admired and respected Jeanette and share your assessment of her.

Patrick McHenry said...

MM -

While I do agree with some of the points you raise about Eichenwald, throwing an occasional bone to those who oppose the way this city is being run is not politically dangerous and certainly not enough to warrant being re-elected.

I think it is worth noting that many of her "independent" votes have come when it is evident that there is no chance of "her side" carrying the day (such as the eminent domain vote). I've seen little evidence of her succeeding in changing (or even trying to change) the minds of her colleagues on those issues where she disagrees with the Administration.

On those rare times when I can remember council as being genuinely divided and her vote mattered, she's fallen in line with the Party line and given Pawlowski the vote he needs.

But it is the arena issue that you cite that makes the most damning case against her (and any incumbent). Other than the eminent domain hearing, Council has had no public meetings on the arena project. That's not the way City Government should be run. Yet I must have missed the Eichenwald press conferences taking City Hall to task for this and letting the residents know what's in the works.

In other matters, I've read of her complaining about things like the amount of time City Council has to review the annual budget, and then do nothing to try to change the process. And here we are again this year, with council having the same short time to review the new budget. In a city that has run multi-million dollar deficits for several years in a row, that's a recipe for disaster.

I have no doubt that she is a kind person who cares about the city. But she is not what is needed on council. The way city government is being run needs to be reformed, and she has been part of what I would easily classify as one of the worst city councils in Allentown's history.

While I will concede that she might not appear as bad as other "rubber stampers" running on her side of the ticket, Council needs a real shakeup to send a message to Pawlowski. That message from the voters won't come by re-electing Eichenwald.

michael molovinsky said...

patrick, this blog, while political, strives to be non-partisan. i have dennis pearson's (democrat) banner on the sidebar in tribute to his 35 years of public activism. I included a short profile of eric weiss (republican) because of his unique knowledge of allentown's housing situation. a few years ago, when i held a meeting at a small center city church to oppose the removal of bus stops on hamilton street, jeanette eichenwald attended.

Anonymous said...

Jeanette is freaking out right now b/c she has run a terrible campaign, knocked on virtually no doors and is getting out worked in this election. If she and Frank Concannon win, Republicans should just switch registration b/c the two party system in Allentown will be dead. I like Jeanette just as much as you you do. But campaigning is not her thing.