Oct 31, 2011

Gentrification Day in Allentown

And let’s be quite honest, the intention of this project and the redevelopment of downtown is to remove the stores that bring lower incomes to downtown. Discount sneakers, $1 stores, urban clothes, cheap jewelers, cell phone repair, and barber shops are not (the) answer, they are the past and on 10/31 they will be gone! Now it is time that we take back our downtown and make it in what we want it to look like.....Gentrification is not a bad word Future Downtown Arena Attendee

Today was D day, or should I say G day, for the merchants displaced by the arena. Future Attendee, who has become the De Facto voice of the Administration on this blog, looks forward to the transformation. According to Future, he's in attendance at all Council Meetings, and may well be connected with the regime. I have been told, but have not confirmed, that this blog, along with O'Hare's Ramblings, have been blocked from city computers. I do not have an issue with the Administration's desire for a more upscale downtown, the problem was the method. Such change, if successful, would have been organic, with a level playing field. If gradual market forces would have made the merchant's property more valuable as real estate, than businesses, they would have been eager sellers. Such a transition would not have compromised the merchants rights, and not made the taxpayers potentially liable for the project's failure. This blog is proud to have been a voice for the merchants, and wishes them the best success in their new locations.

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.

Oct 28, 2011

New Slate Member

Last week I received the oversized postcard with the Republican Slate for County Commissioners. These giant postcards have become the mailer of choice for politicians. Although there are four open seats, and four Republicans running, the Slate only contains three members; Scott Ott, Lisa Scheller and Vic Mazziotti. It seems that the fourth Republican, Brad Osborne, wasn't part of the cooperative effort stemming back to the primary. It's my understanding that the Slate was created to oust Dean Browning, for not toting the party line. Frankly, such political nuances don't interest me. I prefer to dwell on the issues, not the characters. As I approached my special archival container for political mailings, I noticed that the Slate now had a fourth member. Putting on my special glasses for political mailings, I saw that it was Geoff Brace. How could this be? The card was practically identical to last weeks, but the new, forth member is a Democrat? Turning the card over, the name linkage continues. Ott, Scheller, and Mazziotti, were now Ott, Scheller, Mazziotti and Brace. They've Got Plans...., They Will...., Vote For..., My first inquiry was to a long time Republican workhorse, who is currently disenchanted with the Republican Party leadership. I explained the card, and his initial reaction was perhaps the Slate was trying to tag team Osborne, as they had done against Browning. The address portion of the card does contain the sender's name, LVAR-PAC. That name didn't register with me or him. A call later in the evening, to Dean Browning, solved the mystery. LVAR is the Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors. Browning believes that the association is supporting those four candidates because of their replies to a survey on county assessments and other real estate issues. I think most voters will find the card most confusing. If you didn't get one in the mail, click on both sides shown here, for a larger version.

Oct 27, 2011

Allentown Picks Winner, Then Announces Contest Rules

In what could only happen in Allentown, the City announced the contest rules, after the winner was picked. The Morning Call dutifully reported on the murky guidelines the City will use to allow property owners use of NIZ tax funds for development. The rules come after developer J.B. Reilly had his plans approved, and even before anybody else knew such a tax incentive was available to private owners. If that wasn't enough favoritism, the City loaned Reilly $20million to do the project. As the kids now say, everything about the deal is sketchy. First of all, what I call the City is called ACIDA. This is handpicked Pawlowski Authority, used as handmaiden of convenience. The Morning Call article kindly refers to the guidelines as flexible, having wiggle room and not cast in stone. Missing from the article is that the CocaCola Park promoters complained that they never were given a chance to bid on arena management. The displaced merchants, despite two meetings with the City, were never informed that the NIZ could be used by private property owners, and the unions have already protested initial renovations by Reilly. Most glaringly missing from the article is no mention of these Bizarro sequence of events; The City will now allow public input after all the decisions were made. The City will now explain how to enter the contest, after the brass ring has been won. The article does mention that The Morning Call building is in the NIZ zone.

Oct 26, 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.

UPDATE: Since a version of this post first appeared in September of 2010, LVIA is under court order to raise $16 million, as noted above. The airport (LVIA) is currently without it's former Executive Director. The Morning Call reports an offer for $18 million for the Queen City. Although such a sale would be incredibly shortsighted, that's a prominent local eye and mental condition.

Oct 25, 2011

What Is It?

What is it columns seem to be popular, and popularity is all I want for Christmas. The first person to identify what the object in the picture does, wins the contest. The winner gets his choice of a one month subscription to The Morning Call, or cleaning the Porta-John for a week at the Allentown Arena construction site. Contest entries must be submitted by 12:00pm, Oct. 26, 2011.

Oct 24, 2011

No Jews of Libya

Despite having settled there hundreds of years before Christ, there are no Jews in Libya.
I left Libya more than 42 years ago when the mobs were roaming the streets. They were not chanting for democracy or yearning for freedom — they were looking for Jews.
Gina Waldman.
This community, that goes back 2,500 years, has obliterated their oldest minority...They drink anti-semitism with their mother's milk.
Gina Zanzur
After the creation of Israel in 1948, anti-Jewish riots and killings forced 30,000 Jews to flee. After the 1967 Israeli war, the remaining 6,000 were expelled, each allowed one suitcase and $20.
historic photo of the Jewish Quarter in Tripoli

reprinted from March 14, 2011

UPDATE: An envoy from the displaced Libyan Jewish community now living in Italy, was told that there would be no place for Jews in the new Libya.

Oct 23, 2011

Future Downtown Arena Attendee

Regular readers of this blog are familiar with the commentator who identifies himself as Future Downtown Arena Attendee. He first appeared months ago, when I began posting about this misguided project and it's mistreatment of our long standing merchants. He is a staunch defender of the project, with no use for the current merchants or their clientele. Beyond being an apologists for the Administration, some readers have speculated that he actually works for the City or has another interest in the project. I generally appreciated his participation in the dialogue; It provided an insight into the arrogance by those who govern us. On my recent post, questioning which branch of our local government considered us dumber, Future made this comment.
Why do you think that you are entitled to public comment on this? The people elected the officials to speak on their behalf. The officials are speaking. If you don't like what they are saying do not vote for them in their reelection bids.
The blogger known as LVCI made an excellent reply. Below are excerpts from his comment.
Voting for a public official is nothing more then hiring someone to do a job on our behalf. We are the owners and city hall officials are our employees, we aren't theirs. Not one official running for office mentioned in their campaign they were going to seize over 30 private properties downtown, bulldoze an entire square block and risk advancing over $160 million of the taxpayers' dollars to do it. They didn't mention the new, sometimes expen$ive, pre-sale inspections before one sells their home. Nor was there any mention in their campaigns while they were running for office that they were going to put in miles of bike trails, a playground or install asphalt roadways in a park either. A lot of changes affect us for many years long after their time in office. The police & fire pensions are a fine example of that. According to your way of thinking why bother having public meetings after elections. Our civic responsibilities are completely done after we elect them, right? Citizens should only concern themselves every 4 years after the $'s are spent and the changes are already done that affect them. Is that the way you want it?
Come to think of it, that pretty much seems the way we're being dealt with already.
I suppose that Future Attendee and LVCI both have a point. As voters we don't seem to learn from our mistakes. Although a previous City Council lamented about the Police Pension they approved, many of the lamenters were re-elected. Currently, members are awaking to the lack of public and Council input concerning the Transformational arena. Will there be consequences come election day next month? Last night I drove past the Sangria Restaurant. Although I wish this business and all others well, I must report that they were virtually empty. This attempt at a restaurant row was subsidized by the Administration to the tune of half a $million of taxpayer dollars. If the new restaurants are struggling with easy available parking, how will they fare with congestion caused by the hockey fans? After two hotdogs and a beer, will the hockey fans patronize Sangria after the game? A failure of the arena and adjoining event center will put the taxpayers on the hook for over $200 million; Now that's a transformation! I hope that Future Downtown Arena Attendee at least actually attends.

Oct 21, 2011

A Step Daughter

The young bride pictured is not my step daughter, but she is a daughter of the steps. In addition to choosing the steps at Fountain Park for her wedding pictures, she also helped to dig out and recover the steps at the Boat Landing, in Lehigh Parkway. Although it is wonderful that a young person appreciates the WPA structures, I wish that the Mayor, Park Director and Trexler Trust shared her love of Allentown history and values. Next week, the Park Department, funded by the Trexler Trust, moves forward with their Path Plan. The money they spend on new, unnecessary macadam paths could restore the irreplaceable WPA icons.

Oct 20, 2011

Who Thinks You're Dumber?

According to The Morning Call, Allentown City Hall will now conduct a series of public meetings on the arena. Although all arrangements are a done deal, public comment will be sought. Although the Mayor preferred to first make the presentations to civic groups and other selected voter groups, City Council insisted that John Q get the presentations first; Council wants to credit themselves for insisting on this sequence, for the upcoming meaningless meetings. In truth, a more responsible City Council would have postponed the Administration's request for Eminent Domain, insisting on public input. They would have asserted themselves when it counted. Council members may pose now, in election season, as concerned about public opinion, but in addition to being too little, it's too late. One of them actually said, Better late than never.

Oct 19, 2011

Republican Halloween

They say all politics is local. I thought about that last night as I covered a City Republican Halloween Party. While the Republicans fare well in Lehigh County, David Bausch was the last one to win a seat on Allentown City Council, and that was back in 2003. This year, among a good slate of candidates, that Party has put up Eric Weiss for City Council. Weiss spend a career at City Hall, working his way up to head of Code Enforcement and Building Standards. In a city where one of the biggest problems comes from inter-city apartments, his experience should make him a hot ticket.

Oct 18, 2011

Light Unto The Nations

While Polish soccer fans taunt a visiting team from Tel Aviv, and a doctor from Bethlehem joins a flotilla to Free Gaza, Israel is releasing over 1000 of it's avowed enemies to free one soldier. The soldier was abducted in Israel in 2006, and dragged into Gaza, while his two comrades were killed. His abductors will also be released, along with dozens of others, who pride themselves on how many Jews they have killed. In that group is a bomber, who alone blew up 30 Jews. Israelis know that some of these terrorists will return to Israel, and kill more Jews. The Israeli soldier was 19 when captured. He has not been seen since 2009. While the Polish fans jeer, and the doctor rants, the light shines.

photo: Israel attempts to rescue besieged Jews in Jerusalem, 1948

Oct 17, 2011

Bring Back Falko

Slow learning seems more apparent at the Administration office on Penn Street, than in any particular Allentown School. If I had to choose one blunder of Gerald Zahorchak's scramble of the Allentown School District, removing Keith Falko from Allen High would be it. Everybody agreed; teachers, students and parents, that Falko ran that ship as tight as it could be run. Zahorchak, always chasing grants and the newest concepts, shifted four principals, decimating discipline in the district. Falko was to end up at the 4th & Allen Over-Achiever Academy, which was wisely never instituted. His talent is now squandered down on Penn Street. The grant that Zahorchak chased, never paid off as large as anticipated anyway. Despite statistics being generated by a Director of Unnecessary Information, facts on the ground indicate that commotion is rampant at Allen.* Rumor is that although the new principal and his four assistants are nice guys, they don't command anywhere near the respect that Falko did. Hopefully, acting Superintendent Russ Mayo can see a winning play when it's staring him in the face.

*Steve Esack, The Morning Call, Parent Says Behavior At Allen High Out of Control, October 14, 2011

Oct 16, 2011

The Morning Call Delivery

I've been a continuous Morning Call subscriber for 34 years, every day, seven days a week. I think that might well be some sort of record. Even other dinosaurs, occasionally, have let their subscriptions expire, to take advantage of some promotion. Not me, full ticket, paid by the year. The last couple of years, as their delivery system broke down, I have taken to pay semi annually. Quarterly will now be the prudent choice. I no longer attempt to complain about a missing paper. Waiting to speak to somebody in India is detrimental to my blood pressure. molovinsky on allentown opens early, but the paper keeps coming later; Even mcall doesn't refresh itself until about 5:45 a.m. I no longer get the paper in time for my morning coffee, the pot is long empty by the time it arrives. I suppose soon I'll have to get my news from the City Web Site.

UPDATE February 15, 2014.    If you're having a delivery issue,  here is a petition addressing that problem.

Oct 14, 2011

The Morning Call Forgets The Meat

Despite a large front page story on the Arena and Mr. Reilly's spinoff development, complete with charts and graphs, despite being written by two of it's reporters, where's the beef? Like the famous 1984 commercial, the articles are large buns with small hamburgers. The real story is that none of the merchants were ever told that they could use taxes to purchase a new building, after being displaced by the city. The use of sales tax, 6% of their gross sales, could have been used for debt service on a new Hamilton Street location. To my knowledge, none of the affected merchants, will have a new retail store on Hamilton Street, or will have any benefit from the NIZ. They had asked for a meeting with the city for help, which was attended by The Morning Call, and were never told that the NIZ lever could be used by private property owners. They asked for a meeting with Senator Brown, and were never told about options which could have helped them save their businesses. The explanation by Browne and the Administration that this information was available if they had asked the proper questions, is unacceptable. FACTS ON THE GROUND INDICATE THAT THE LAW WAS APPLIED IN A SELECTIVE FASHION, TO FASHIONABLE PEOPLE. If this post sounds repetitive, that's because it is. There's still no hamburger inside the bun, and still no explanation.

Oct 13, 2011

The Historical Record

During the City Council Eminent Domain Hearing, Louie Belletieri came in about halfway during the meeting. I encouraged him to stay and say a few words. Louie stood up at the meeting's end and told City Council that they should pay the shopowners straight up. Although Louie wasn't involved with the issue before, during or after that meeting, his Godfather presentation resonated with the local newspaper reporter. In addition to quoting Louie for the coverage about eminent domain, the paper used it as the Quote Of The Week, in the weekend edition. Fortunately, for the historical record, a local documentary videophotographer was covering the meeting. Sydney "Imantrek" McKenzie captured the soul of the shareowners, the storeowners, whose lives were being bashed by the hockey puck.

In addition to making documentaries, Imantrek also produces music and Grounzero, an internet magazine. He is now lending his talent to the fight to preserve Allentown's WPA icons. Like many true artists before him, he remains an outsider to the newspaper and local art establishment.

Oct 12, 2011

Early Morning in Allentown

Sixty years ago the Soldiers Monument stood over 7th and Hamilton, as it still does. While today businesses limit restroom use to patrons, at that time the city provided underground public comfort stations at the square, staffed by full time attendants. The stores attracted so many shoppers, the police needed a tower for crowd overview. While fifty stores lined each block, lawyers, doctors, accountants and tailors occupied the offices above. Times change. If we find that the Monument impedes traffic flow for the new arena, they can move it to a less inconvenient location.

Oct 11, 2011

Unhappy Campers

As the countdown to the beginning of Mayor Pawlowski's transformation nears, I thought my camera and I would visit 7th and Hamilton. Uncle Sam and the Wall Street protesters are not the only unhappy campers by that corner.

Once again the rat has been inflated on a union picket line. Preliminary construction on a NIZ site doesn't bode well for the unions in Allentown's transformation.

Of course, the most victimized near that corner are the merchants. Although I'm privilege to their survival plans, it's not my place to reveal them at this time. I will say that they only have 20 days remaining to relocate, and yet still
attempt to make a living while doing so. Moving a few boxes makes me nervous, much less an entire inventory, from over twenty years on Hamilton Street. For a city supposedly improving itself, I certainly saw much pain today near 7th and Hamilton.

Pawlowski Gets Foot Massage

Last night for half an hour, Tony No Shame Iannelli groveled at Ed Pawlowski's feet, while his producer, City Councilman Mike Schlossberg, shined Pawlowski's shoes. Before the first commercial, No Shame said that he's "really beating the Mayor up." By the second commercial, he admitted that the program was softball. Actually, the program was T-Ball. The closest Iannelli got to any evaluation of the Mayor's plans for Hamilton Street, was to call all critics "out of town nay-sayers." Considering that the plan displaces over 34 business owners, and tears the heart out of the historic shopping district, this was a staggering suck-up by the host of Business Matters, and Director of the Chamber of Commerce. They concluded the pathetic program by announcing that Pawlowski has named Iannelli, and Pawlowski's campaign manager, Mal Gross, as Chairmen of Allentown's 250th Anniversary Celebration.

Oct 10, 2011

March 27, 1942

Guest Post by Mike Casey
Before 18,220 fans at Madison Square Garden on March 27, 1942, big Abe Simon stepped into the ring for the final fight of his career. Scaling 255 1/4lbs, he was a massive, bear of a man who had once used his considerable size and muscle on the gridiron. Abe outweighed Joe Louis by nearly 48 pounds, but already knew the dangers of duelling with the Brown Bomber. Just a year before at the Olympia Stadium in Detroit, Joe had decked Simon four times and stopped him in thirteen rounds.Coming back for seconds was never a good idea against the prime Louis. But Abe had heart, pluck and a big punch and everyone knew that anything could happen in heavyweight boxing. Simon had knocked out Jersey Joe Walcott in six rounds, beaten Roscoe Toles and drawn with Turkey Thompson. Abe had also waged a thrilling battle of the giants with Buddy Baer, in which he had beaten Buddy severely in the opening round before being stopped in the third.......Louis finished the fight quickly in the sixth round, sending Abe down and out with a final left-right blast. Perhaps Joe had been riled after first snapping Simon to attention with a quick-fire combination in the second round. Big Abe had laughed at him....
copy courtesy of Mike Casey Archives
photograph(added by molovinsky): Abe Simon in corner after fight, with manager Jimmy Johnston

Oct 9, 2011

Comments on Blogging

I don't make Pawlowski's day. Probably, at most, I'm a minor thorn in his side. Being an equal opportunity basher, I have also alienated people at The Morning Call; Most of my criticism of Allentown is only read on this blog. Occasionally, Gunther Walsh is kind enough to voice one of my diatribes on WAEB radio. This brings us to the issue of blogging and comments. All bloggers, myself included, prefer more, than less readers. Advice articles on blogging emphasize the importance of comments for increased readership. Allow your readers to interact with your blog. Respond to all their comments. Last night I received the following comment on the Tea Leaves post.
Read the Sunday paper to see what kind of scum bag mayor and city council we are dealing with. With these unethical and amoral idiots at the helm there is little hope for Allentown.
And biblical principles. Pawlowski might think he is the Antichrist but too many people hate him. Wonder why.He and XXXX XXXXX can retire to XXXX and develop their spec properties. Maybe they will take XXXX XXXX XXXXX with them. Another one of their scams.
Even though I am opposed to the Mayor's plans concerning the sports palace complex, and many other programs, and often address City Council, I have never used or felt the above adjectives and adverbs. Although I do not believe that bloggers own, or are responsible for the words in the comments, they can undermine a mission. I see this blog as a tool to help effect some change in Allentown. Consequently, do not expect submitted comments, as above, to appear on this blog. I appreciate your readership, but will not compromise my community efforts for the sake of increased circulation of this blog.

Oct 7, 2011

The Great White Hunter

In my Newspaper Safari post I used the phrase Great White Hunter. Although I would not allow my readers go off on a racial dialogue, some explanation is in order. As a six year old boy watching Ramar of the Jungle, the hunters were white, and wore pith helmets. Africa was a tropical jungle, inhabited by blacks,living in huts. Despite the image I show here, the 1953 television show itself was black and white. As an impressionable boy, I do not believe I developed any racial attitudes from the program, but I certainly received some distorted geography. The Tarzan movies continued the myth that Africa was all jungle. Whether in Hollywood with Robert Redford, or in the local paper with some guy from Catasauqua, The Great White Hunter continues on in modern times.

Oct 6, 2011

Allentown's Tea Leaves

Some people read tea leaves, I read deed transfers. I can tell you that Pawlowski's Transformation includes 3 square blocks. In addition to the publicly stated 700 block of Hamilton Street, projects will also be built on blocks to the east and north. When completed, downtown will have two separate shopping districts; There will be the low income Hispanic Shopping District on 7th Street, and the hoped for middle class district on Hamilton, west of 8th Street. These two districts will be physically separated by the new projects; hockey arena, event center and hotel(s). In a recent Morning Call article The heart was torn out of the city, Easton's Mayor Sal Panto says that their 1966 renewal project was a total mistake. Panto won't apply the lesson to that city's new plans about a Lanta Terminal and High School Sports Museum. Here in Allentown, Pawlowski wasn't even here for our previous failures. The stark, former bank call center on the Lehigh Street hill, between Martin Luther Drive and Union Street, is testament to Allentown's previous failed attempt at transformation. Although the current Hamilton Street, shown above around 1950, is a shadow of it's former glory, the buildings remained for future renewal. That option will end come November. It is my fear that some mayor will say in 2050, that tearing down those buildings, was a total mistake.

Oct 5, 2011

Newspaper Safari

People occasionally contact me when they're exasperated with the city, but a gentleman I spoke with yesterday was fuming at the newspaper. A column on the front page of the sports section glorified shooting a lioness on an African Safari. If that didn't offend this guy enough, the hunter planned to return to Africa, to shoot an elephant. The hunter's only concern was that killing deer in Pennsylvania just wouldn't do it for him any longer. He says that in Africa, if your check book is big enough, you can kill anything. Hope that doesn't include bloggers, but back to the upset newspaper reader. I think he can accept the misguided hunter, but he wonders what processed the columnist and his editor. I should mention that the paper included a photograph of the Great White Hunter and the dead lioness. Perhaps to the reporter, who covers both sports and outdoors, bagging a lion hunter is a bigger catch than the usual teenage boy shoots first deer story. Anyway, for us Babar fans, it was offensive.

I have purposely not linked to the article, nor will I host comments mentioning the hunter by name

Oct 4, 2011

Connecting the Neglect

Although this blog has documented the deterioration of the iconic WPA Structures throughout the park system, the City goes forward with new park projects without addressing problems with existing features; We will now connect the neglect. The Morning Call this past weekend distributed the Fall and Winter Directory to Parks and Recreation. The cost of the slick magazine could have in itself repaired one set of steps at Irving Park. The City is going ahead with it's plans and paid consultants for the Network of Bicycle and Pedestrian Trails. The next meeting for that project will be October 26, at the Library. I attended the previous meeting last April. The theme is Connecting our Community. Park Director Weitzel and the paid consultant spoke about connecting the children of Allentown with the park system. Although they had a professionally produced large illustration of the Fountain Park area, the Lawrence Street WPA Steps were not included. In reality, that magnificent structure was built exactly for that purpose in 1936. It now stands neglected, with numerous missing steps, as a monument to this Park Department's misplaced priorities.

This evening the WPA Support Group will meet once again at the Library. Park Director Weitzel has asked to attend to present the achievements of his department. I told him he was welcome to make a short presentation. A few members of our group will also make short presentations on the current condition of the iconic WPA structures, which had made our park system famous. The meeting is this evening, in the lower level of the Allentown Library, at 7:00p.m. Members of the public, press and Trexler Trust are invited to attend.

Oct 3, 2011

Korean on Mayor's Menu

Last week blogger Bernie O'Hare reported on the Lehigh Valley Mayor's Dinner. Although he presented a glimpse of statements made, he neglected to report on the food served, Korean. I don't mean Asian style rice and pork, but they ate actual Koreans, former Allentown merchants. These unusual victuals were arranged by Sara Hailstone, Allentown's Community Development Director.

Although the above is satire, now some ugly truths. Although Hailstone promised the merchants assistance in relocating, in reality, obstacles were put in their place. In one instance, a long standing displaced merchant was told by a landlord in another location that he wouldn't rent to him, because of his merchandize and clientele. The landlord said that the City wanted a new look, and he didn't want to jeopardize his hopes for a future grant. Another merchant was denied relocation funds previously promised. Although I attended the meeting between Hailstone and the merchants, and heard the promises, I will provide no details about the identity of the merchants. These unfortunate victims of Allentown's progress still hope to make a living here, despite the city.

Oct 1, 2011

Holmes vs. Panto

Sal Panto does pretty good in the local blogosphere. He's in Bernie O'Hare's Walk on Water Club. The ReNew Yuppies like him because of the his position on trains, planes, and buses. About the only blogger not impressed is me. I've seen him back things to a fault, like the parking deck behind the Wolfe School. Although his supporters keep saying that Easton is different than Allentown, I know that the Lanta Terminal and the Al Bundy Museum of High School Jocks are canned mediocrity. Apparently, Larry Holmes is also less than impressed with Panto's plans. The Morning Call reported that Holmes will move his nightclub rather than pay more taxes for the Improvement District . Reinforcing my opinion of Panto, his best argument to Holmes is that his proposals, (Panto's) haven't passed yet. While other mayor's made light of themselves, Panto hurt his arm patting himself on his own back at the Mayor's dinner. Panto may well induce Holmes to stay put with one incentive or another, but it sure won't be because of enthusiasm for Panto's plans.

Holmes tutors Ray Mercer, 1992