Nov 30, 2011

Arena Dooms Old Allentown

A resident of N. 8th Street expressed concern about traffic congestion at last night's arena meeting. She should be concerned, because the City has said that existing traffic patterns and existing parking can accommodate the arena. That's only true if the arena is going to be a failure, anything more successful will impact both traffic and parking. What that resident should really be concerned about is the Old Allentown Preservation Association; Once again those lapdogs ate their doggie biscuit, but this time it's poison. For decades those yuppies yearned for an adjoining quaint downtown, although they never sufficiently patronized such merchants that did remain. For years they supported City policies, and in return had a problem building occasionally removed at taxpayer expense. Welcome to the architectural wasteland coming your way. Welcome to a square block parking lot with a white elephant monstrosity sports palace. Welcome to the fruits of your complicity.

Nov 29, 2011

Lunch At Allen

Up to the mid 60's, students at Allen High could leave the building for lunch. Scattered in alley's around the the school, garages had been converted into lunch shops and hangouts. The Hutch was in the alley between 17th and West Streets, in the unit block between Hamilton and Linden. Suzy's was behind the Nurse's Dormitory, between Chew and Turner. Another was across Linden from the Annex. They all had the same basic decor, a few pinball machines, a few tables and a small lunch counter. Most of the business was during lunch period, and before and after school. It's my understanding that occasionally a kid or two would skip school and hangout all day. Today these garages, turned into luncheonettes, have long ago reverted back to garages. Most of the current residents of West Park probably don't even know about this commercial history right behind their houses. I missed photo day at Allen for my yearbook, but if anybody has a picture of the gang from the Hutch, I'd appreciate a copy.
reprinted from February 2010
UPDATE: Back in 60's we had a few hoods*, but no gangs. Today the schools require staggered starting and dismissal time, plus security guards and city police, to establish basic safety. If that's not enough, we superimpose those discipline issues with a mandate to improve standardized test scores. Imagine allowing students in today's world to roam the neighborhood for lunch.
* not a neighborhood, but a Fonzi type non-conformist

Nov 28, 2011

Backup to the Future

It's the year 2018 and Mayor Guridy has just received the long anticipated study from A&P Associates. Advice from Afflerbach and Pawlowski doesn't come cheap, $475,000, but as City Council President Michael Schlossberg said, "Sometimes it pays to invest in the best." Some of the recommendations to revive Hamilton Street are nothing less than brilliant. Bus transfer stops are to be placed back on Hamilton Street between 7th and 9th, creating foot traffic and enhancing a sense of security. Meter rates will be reduced, once again accepting quarters and other coins. The old Allentown Brew Pub, closed since the KOZ ended in 015, will be torn down to create a convenient pocket parking lot. A national search has begun for a new arena director, and Mayor Guridy promises that the real estate tax increase, necessary to finance the arena, will be temporary.

adapted from a previous post

Nov 27, 2011

Cannibal Valley

During the summer of 1952, Lehigh Valley Transit rode and pulled it's trolley stock over to Bethlehem Steel, to be chopped up and fed to the blast furnaces. The furnaces themselves ceased operation in 1995, and are now a visual backdrop for young artists, most of whom never saw those flames that lit up that skyline. Allentown will now salvage some architectural items documented on this blog, and begin tearing down it's shopping district, which was serviced by those trolleys. As young toothless athletes from Canada, entertain people from Catasauqua, on the ice maintained by a Philadelphia company, Allentown begins another chapter in it's history of cannibalism.

photo from August 1952, showing last run on St. John Street to Bethlehem Steel

Nov 25, 2011

The Fifth Estate

Among the best wishes I received yesterday, was a poison note from Future Attendee. The note was so hostile, the editorial board at molovinsky on allentown decided not to publish it. I suspect he was embarrassed about his misinformation about Family Dollar. I have over-ruled the board, because there's a lesson to be found here. Excerpts from Future's homily; have a low level of intelligence... Oh to add once again. I know the majority of city council members outside of the Dias(sp) as well the Mayor. They all laugh at you. you are a mosquito that is easily forgotten about.... So as for your WPA issue. You can keep complaining about a project that was done in the 30's. No one cares that gives a damn. Allentown is making a movement forward not looking back from something that FDR did. Get your proprieties(sp) straight...
There has been some speculation by readers of this blog as to Future's connection to the Administration. Let us hope that it is between much less and none. A few years ago, The Morning Call decided to forgo editorials. Opinions expressed there are now Op-Ed pieces written by readers. Reporter-wise, their staff has been reduced by both the industry wide transition from print to electronic, and their parent company's bankruptcy proceedings.* Having turned into a one party town, there is no opposition in the City Council Chamber. Opposition and critical analysis of taxpayer funded policy now rests in alternative media, what I call here the Fifth Estate. If molovinsky on allentown can contribute to this new estate, my time is well spent.

* Morning Call reporters Scott Kraus and Matt Assad have been doing an excellent job providing information about the arena project.

Nov 24, 2011

Holiday Policy

molovinsky on allentown does not celebrate holidays. On Christmas I usually publish an antique card, but that stems from my appreciation of older graphics. I notice the controversy this year about stores opening earlier on Friday, and even on Thanksgiving itself. Americans chomp at the bit to shop. Perhaps we should replace Thanksgiving with Black Friday, and be over with it. Enough with molovinsky, and back to allentown. The City started eminent domain proceedings against Family Dollar. Suburban Allentonians had no idea how much business was done on the 700 block of Hamilton, and the mayor pitched the arena on that misconception. Family Dollar is going to the mat because that location is one of their most profitable in the country. I know from the Lanta controversy, (removing the bus stops from Hamilton Street) that national chain stores, such as Rite-Aid and Family Dollar, are reluctant to get involved in local politics. However, the inconsideration and methods used by the City in the Arena project, agitated them into action. A Rite-Aid attorney told City Council that they would not go gently into the night. I suspect that the taxpayers will never know what their ouster will really cost us, in many ways.

Nov 23, 2011

The Three Cities

Uncle Sam has given the Lehigh Valley $3.4million dollars to study development. Our tax dollars will be spread out among the bureaucrats, and those in training, to insure that nothing tangible results from the money. Those in charge are experienced in the art of nebulous double talk. Holly Edinger, from the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. said "This spending from HUD will enable the Lehigh Valley to have an unprecedented community conversation about our future." Allentown will use our share to study the now closed factory, where both Obama and Romney had press conferences. Community Development Director Sara Hailstone said "What this will allow us to do is bring jobs back to the core where people can walk to work and walk home from work and we believe that is one of the most sustainable projects we can be involved with." Actually, Sarah, in a time long before you, workers did just that, using the WPA Fountain Park Steps. Using our share to repair those steps would actually produce a return on both the money and your words. Phil Mitman said "This is really about our taxpayer money coming back to the Lehigh Valley." I suppose Phil's right, at least the money is being wasted in the valley.

UPDATE: Alan Jennings and Renew LV are dancing in their underpants about the HUD grant. Most of grant will fund the salaries in various such organizations to conduct public input meetings and other abstractions.

This post is a commentary on a Morning Call article by Scott Kraus.

Nov 22, 2011

2nd and Hamilton

Up to the mid 1960's, before Allentown started tinkering with urban redevelopment, lower Hamilton Street still teemed with businesses. The City had grown from the river west, and lower Hamilton Street was a vibrant area. Two train stations and several rail lines crossed the busy thoroughfare. Front, Ridge and Second were major streets in the first half of the twentieth century. My grandparents settled on the 600 block of 2nd Street in 1895, along with other Jewish immigrants from Russia and Lithuania. As a boy, I worked at my father's meat market on Union Street. I would have lunch at a diner, just out of view in the photo above. The diner was across from the A&P, set back from the people shown on the corner. A&P featured bags of ground to order 8 O'Clock coffee, the Starbucks of it's day.

above photo taken by Ed Miller in 1953, and included in Pleasant Family Shopping. Gratitude to LVCI for the link

Nov 21, 2011

Israel Bashing

As a life long reader of The Morning Call, over the decades I have seen many serial writers obsessing on their hatred of Israel. Before 1967, they had to question the legitimacy of Israel's creation in 1948. Since then, they now can claim that Israel is an repressive occupier. The current local mantle against Israel is carried by Vincent Stravino.
This retired physician is more articulate than his predecessors, but employs the same propaganda techniques. He always starts out mentioning that he has been there, but then laments if only they didn't participate in human right abuses, what a wonderful place it would be. He states his claim of abuse as a fact, always finding some study which confirms his contention. He always ends his letters mentioning his Jewish and Israeli friends who share his indignation.
On his next trip, the good doctor could visit an Israeli hospital, and see the Palestinian and Arab patients who benefit from the hope of Israel, but that's not his agenda.

The above letter letter was rejected by The Morning Call.

..... we're not going to be able to run this letter as written because it directly comments on Stravino....You can still challenge him by countering points he made in his letter....

I declined the invitation to bicker with Stravino issue by issue, other writers and myself have done that in the past. When I submitted the letter I was aware of the paper's long standing policy that replies must address the issues, not the writer. However, the point of my letter was that he has an agenda, and just plugs in different accusations. I do not believe that the doctor is in any way anti-Semitic, but has been indoctrinated from a point of view which fails to comprehend the entire situation in Israel.

Nov 20, 2011

Selling The Arena

The Morning Call staff was treated to a special premiere* of the Hockey Arena Power-Point, before that presentation hits the public circuit. The publicly funded impact study, or should I say study for impact, states that the arena could generate $39million into downtown's economy. Although they hope to draw no more people than Sovereign Center, that facility claims only benefiting Reading's economy $8million. An expert on such municipal projects, Dennis Coates, said "It is basically a public relations document as opposed to an economic analysis."

*Although much of the critical analysis of the impact study occurs after the jump in the hard copy edition, it is a well done article by Scott Kraus.

Nov 18, 2011

Around the Corner

Yesterday's post about the zoning hearing for Rite-Aid, out on North 7th Street, showed a classic 1950 black and white photograph of Hamilton Street. Today, we go right around the corner, on South 7th Street. Being the oldest blogger in the valley, and being an aficionado of old photographs, you will be submitted to these excursions. Before we begin, a few notes about yesterday's image. Notice that there are many more shoppers on the north side of Hamilton, than the south. This phenomenon always existed. Were the better stores on the north side? Real estate prices and rents were always higher on the Hess's side. OK, lets go around the corner. The Suburban Line Bus is getting ready to head west, the county poor home being the last stop; Today it is known as Cedarbrook. The Lehigh Valley Transit Company had their main stop a block west, on S. 8th Street. The bus is parked in front of the YMCA, which housed a market at street level. If the photograph was extended on the right side, you would see the monument. Across Hamilton Street is Whelan Drug Store, that location currently occupied by a bank. The billboard above, then advertising local Neuweiler Beer, was a prime sign location. Behind the drug store stands the Dime Bank, which will remain as part of the new transformational Arena Complex. Glad you could join me, now get off the bus, and back into 2011.

Nov 17, 2011

Where Was Peter?

Yesterday I received a plea from Peter Lewnes if I could join the effort to stop the Rite-Aid from using their box store plan on 7th Street. Below are excerpts from his letter.
I'm writing for your support against a corporate takeover of 7th and Allen Street at tomorrow night's zoning hearing board meeting. ...
7th Street Allentown's development is facing a serious setback tomorrow night. The Rite Aid Corporation is seeking to demolish 602-618 N 7th Street, an anchor building that admittedly requires a ton of renovation but historically housed Rite Aid and served them well as a facility.
The threat lies with what they propose to replace it with. The Seventh Street Development Committee has worked to protect center city from suburban sprawl and becoming an extension of 145 in Whitehall... SSDC continually advocated for restrictions on big-box, suburban-style development along the corridor - any type of development that would be detrimental to its street-oriented, pedestrian-friendly design.
What Rite Aid is proposing for the corner of 7th and Allen Street flies directly in the face of the results of this public, community-driven process. ... Approving such variances would set a dangerous precedent, making it that much easier for future developers to further decimate the heart of our neighborhood shopping district....
Peter Lewnes
Where was Peter when the city decided to tear down the historical 700 block of Hamilton Street, in the traditional shopping block, to build the Big Ice Box? Where was Peter when merchant after merchant lined up at City Council to plead for their livelihood and 20 years of their labor? The 7th Street Business District has actually prospered from the pending demolition of Hamilton Street. Several merchants have relocated there, including the dynamic New York Fashion.
Asking where Peter was is somewhat rhetorical. I realize that if Peter doesn't serve directly at the favor of the Mayor, his efforts on 7th Street are never the less codependent on City Hall. I wish him well this evening at the zoning hearing.

Bernie O'Hare also covers Lewnes's letter

Nov 16, 2011

The Cattle Drive

A few years ago, Allentown decided it had too many low income people, and that they would curtail that demographic by condemning buildings. Hundreds and hundreds of buildings were tagged in center city, some for such minor violations as peeling paint. It's not uncommon to find up to four tagged buildings in one block. They tagged so many buildings, that rather than contain blight, they helped create it. They also confounded the inconsistency of their housing policy by easing the requirements to convert former commercial buildings into apartments. The end result is no less density, no less apartments, but more blight. They are now trying a herding technique. The poor are being driven off of Hamilton Street, relegated to the upper blocks of North 7th Street. The Administration hopes that Pawlowski Plaza and event center at 7th and Hamilton will attract those with a gold credit card in their wallet. They might need cattle prods to keep the perceived riffraff away.

Nov 15, 2011

Visiting Easton

Being one of the last warm days of the year, I thought we would visit Easton. I thought perhaps it would be more interesting to do the trip circa 1948. Lehigh Valley Transit had a trolley that went from 8th and Hamilton, through Bethlehem, to the circle in Easton. In the photo above, we're coming down Northampton Street, just entering the Circle. The Transit Company was using both trolleys and buses, until they discontinued trolleys completely, in 1953. At this time, Hamilton, Broad and Northampton Streets were the shopping malls of the era, and public transportation serviced the customers. The Transit Company, now Lanta, currently serves the Allentown population from a prison like facility at 6th and Linden Streets; It just needs a fence. Easton mayor Sal Panto is now also abandoning the merchants for a remote transportation/correction facility, which will entertain the inmates with the Al Bundy High School Dropout Museum. Hope you enjoyed the trip.

Nov 14, 2011

Public Arena Meetings

In the words of Councilperson Jeanette Eichenwald, the upcoming public meetings about the arena project are "too little, too late." They will be workshop type meetings, where citizens can sit down with "the very people who are planning and building the arena." If the timing of the meetings, after all the decisions have been made, isn't insulting enough, you get to pay for them. They are being conducted by a public relations firm, hired by the city to blow smoke up ...... Not everyone sees this affront they way I do; Councilman Michael Donovan is "pleased the administration has hired someone to help it do a better job with public relation." Let me translate; Donovan hopes that after the meetings the public will find the project "transformational", as both he and the mayor do. I see at least two obstacles to Donovan's departing legacy; The first is that these meetings will be sparsely attended, except by city workers ordered to attend by their supervisors, after the administrations reads this. Secondly, apparently reporters Lash and Assad of The Morning Call, also found the cart ahead of the horse, in their article about the meetings. In the final disrespect inflicted upon the merchants and their customers of Hamilton Street, demolition and construction will begin during the traditional shopping season. Merry Christmas in downtown Allentown.

Nov 13, 2011

A Fitting Birthday Present

In a recent puff piece in The Morning Call about Allentown's 250th birthday, Mayor Ed Pawlowski used the phrase, "City Without Limits," no less than three times. What does that slogan mean?
First, let me tell you that it is just a slogan, created by a paid image consultant. How ironic that the current leadership in Allentown, which was the sanctuary of the Liberty Bell and a bastion of industrial America, can only describe our city in paid-for, meaningless slogans. Truth be told, the current leadership has no institutional memory of Allentown. They didn't live here when Allentown was the All-American City. The proposed hockey arena is referred to as "transformational."
Allentown was transformational in creating the American dream. "Built like a Mack truck" was a meaningful slogan. It meant the people of Allentown had the work ethic and skill to produce the best. The Western Electric plant on Union Boulevard first produced transistors and then silicon chips as Lucent. A hundred factories required several train lines to haul raw material and finished products in and out of Allentown. Hess Brothers taught store owners all over the country how to merchandise their products.
Before somebody reminds me that there is no more strawberry pie at the Patio Restaurant in Hess's basement, let me get back to 2011. If we are to celebrate our 250th birthday, let us honor some historic icons that still exist. In the mid-1930s our park system benefited from magnificent stone structures built by the Works Progress Administration during Roosevelt's New Deal program. These icons of our nationally known park system are in need of major restoration, if they are to remain standing. Such a restoration would be a most fitting tribute to our upcoming birthday.
Michael Molovinsky

The above, titled as A Slogan Won't transform Allentown, was printed in The Morning Call on Saturday, November 12, 2011.

Nov 11, 2011

An American Hero

This painting, by aviation artist Mark Postlethwaite, based on World War 2, illustrates an actual air battle; Focke Wulf Fw 190D-9 of 14/JG26 flown by Ofw. Werner Zech is intercepted by a P-51 Mustang of the 339th FG flown by Captain Francis R. Gerard, 18th March 1945. Frank Gerard was one of our flying aces, shooting down four enemy aircraft from his Mustang in one battle over Leipzig, Germany. The retired Major General passed away this week and will be buried tomorrow with full military honors.

reprinted from November 5, 2008

A Tailor from North Street

The Allentown Housing and Development Corp. recently purchased a home at 421 North St. That block of North Street was destroyed by fire, and the agency has built a block of new houses on the street's south side; it will next develop the other side of the street. The deed transfer caught my attention because Morris Wolf lived in the house in 1903. Wolf signed up with the Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry on July 18, 1861, in Philadelphia, when he was 22 years old. He was a private in Company A, of the 3rd Cavalry. This unit was also known as the 60th Regiment and was later called Young's Kentucky Light Cavalry.It defended Washington, D.C., until March 1862, then participated in many of the war's most famous battles: Williamsburg, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg. Wolf had signed up for three years and was mustered out Aug. 24,1864.

Recently, to commemorate Memorial Day, the local veterans group placed more than 500 flags at Fairview Cemetery. If that wasn't enough of a good deed, the group also set upright more than 300 toppled grave markers. Visiting Fairview recently, I saw they had not overlooked the graves of either Mr. Wolf, or another veteran, Joseph Levine. I have concerned myself with Allentown's Fairview Cemetery for the last few years. I first became interested in the small Jewish section, called Mt. Sinai. This was the first organized Jewish cemetery in Allentown. Currently, all the synagogues have their own cemeteries, and Mt. Sinai has been mostly unused for many decades.

Mr. Wolf lies next to his wife, Julia, who died in 1907. Morris would live on for 30 more years, passing away in 1937, at age 98.
Mr. Levine, a World War II veteran, and his wife, Ethel, were the first and last people to be buried there after almost 25 years of inactivity. When Ethel died at age 93 in 2000, it was the first burial at Mt. Sinai since 1976. Joseph was 103 years old when he passed away in 2006.

The Housing and Development Corp. and North Street are now part of Allentown's new neighborhood initiative called Jordan Heights.Although soon there will be a new house at 421 North St., there is a history that will remain with the parcel. Once a tailor lived there who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg.

reprinted from July 4, 2010 and June 7, 2011

Nov 10, 2011

Mayo Can't Add

I was disappointed when the new acting superintendent, Russ Mayo, said he planned on going forward with Zahorchak's Pathway to Success, but chalked it up to politeness for a departing associate. I assumed that Mayo would gradually undo his predecessor's damage. Yesterday's newsletter said that the current principal of Allen, Michael Rodriguez, was leaving for another district. I assumed that Keith Falko would now be returned; Does not 1 + 1 = 2? Have not the discipline problems at Allen been headlines in the newspaper? Was not Falko revered as a disciplinarian? In a previous post I wrote that Falko should be returned to Allen. Apparently, although boots on ground also had made the same suggestion, here's Mayo's answer
Keith Falko will continue to assist us at the district level with the ASD program of study, the Dual Enrollment effort, the high school graduation initiative grant, and with assisting the ASD middle and high school principals during this transition. “Keith’s experience in this district, his expertise, and general wisdom is invaluable to me personally,” commented Dr. Mayo. “I want his expertise influencing this district as a whole. I appreciate the interest many of the faculty and staff have in his returning to Allen as principal, but his influence district-wide is even more valuable to us.”
Fortunately, for the neighbors and parents of Allen, there is a new player in the game. On Tuesday, voters elected Scott Armstrong to the School Board. Like David Zimmerman, Scott lives in the Allen neighborhood and has first hand knowledge of conditions at the school. I believe that together they will provide some much needed tutoring to Mayo about how to restore civility to that neighborhood.
UPDATE: The above commentary was based on a news release issued yesterday by the Allentown School District. In today's Morning Call, reporter Steve Esack details the consequences of poor decisions by former Superintendent Zahorchak. In my opinion, nothing in the article suggests that we can expect much better from current acting superintendent Russ Mayo.
UPDATE 2: I've been informed that the school district has been audited personnel wise, in regard to the grant that removed the four principals from their original positions. Consequently, Falko cannot return to Allen. With Rodriguez's departure, the system now has lost 3 of the 4 principals that were doing a good job before Zahorchak chased that grant, without the School's Board's knowledge.

Nov 9, 2011

One Party Town

Peter Schweyer attributed his victory to the voters overwhelmingly approving the vision being implemented by him and his fellow Democrats. He ignored the fact that the vast middle class voted with their feet, and moved out of Allentown in the last decade. Jeanette Eichenwald attributed her victory to spending no money on the campaign. Frank Concannon, 88 years old, confided that he did no campaigning at all and conceded It's a little strange. As I mentioned in a previous post, no Republican has won in Allentown since 2003. In 2005, Republican candidate for City Council Charlie Thiel, paid to have billboards put up throughout the city, to no avail. This cycle, Republican Eric Weiss knocked on hundreds of doors, and was aided by two mailings from the LVAR-PAC. We are a one party town. The new electronic voting machines make the one party pick easier than ever. With the old lever machines, a voter could see all the candidate names before them on the machine. Now. the new electronic machine asks if you would like to be a one party monkey, and apparently, the vast majority push yes.

Nov 8, 2011

The Mohican Markets

Once, before the malls, there were three thriving cities in the Lehigh Valley, and some merchants would have a store in each of the downtowns. Some of the buildings still exist, and have been reused; the Allentown Farr (shoe) Building is now loft apartments. Two of three Mohican Market buildings, famous for baked goods, no longer exist. The Easton location, on S. 4th St., was victim to fire. The Allentown store now is the parking lot behind the new Butz office building. The Mohican Markets were last owned and operated by Bernard Molovinsky.

recipe for Mohican Chocolate Chip Brownies

Nov 7, 2011

Kingdom At Stevens

On Saturday afternoon, Stevens Park, a large center city playground, teemed with festivity. As the parents and older kids swayed to the Latin beat from a live band, children at the other side were entertained with craft activities. In between, large stands provided free hot food. The event was sponsored by Kingdom Life Family Center, an outreach ministry based in Orefield. After leaving the park, I decided to visit some merchants who are relocating to 7th Street from Hamilton. On 7th, I encountered the Pastor of the Ministry, Tony Adamo. It is his hope to secure a storefront in that vicinity, and establish a full time presence in Allentown. That would be a blessing.

Nov 5, 2011

Secrets From The Shadow

The headline in the paper said that infamous developer, Abe Atiyeh, might monkey wench Pawlowski's Palace of Sport with a lawsuit. It says that he has been a tenant in the building since 2004. That's not exactly true, he's been a tenant on the building* since then. Nobody has used the inside of the building for many years. Regardless of Atiyeh's weak case as a displaced tenant, his other points are right on target. The threat and passage of eminent domain was, as he claims, a misuse of that law. Also, as he claims, the building is not blighted. Matter of fact, this blog reported on a luncheon given by Pawlowski and Realtors several years ago to promote the building.While Pawlowski and crew were serving lunch in a winterized building with no running water, a coffee shop across the street, in the Monument building, was being cited for multiple code violations. I suppose the status of a building in Allentown depends on the Mayor's agenda.

*Atiyeh has a small sign advertising his nursing home in Whitehall painted on the side of the building. Atiyeh has a long term lease for that sign which has been conveyed to several owners. Because the sign will be covered up by the adjoining Arena, he seeks compensation.

Nov 4, 2011

Would Be Kingmaker

There's a new factor in Lehigh Valley politics, and it's the Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors. Valley voters have received no less than four slick mailings from the LVAR-PAC. Their mailing placing a Democrat with an organized slate of Republicans was the topic of a previous post. Their second mailing for this hybrid team now identifies the team as bipartisan. An Allentown City Council candidate has also benefited from two of their mailings.
Ryan Conrad, who has both an undergraduate and graduate degree in political science. became CEO of the Realtors Association this past September. Before becoming a Realtor, he worked for various elected officials in New York State. Ryan is vice president of the Township Commissioners in Lower Macungie. Look for more voting advice from your friendly neighborhood real estate professional.

Nov 3, 2011

Pawlowski's Palace of Sport

Although the Arena/Concert Venue will not open for over a year, attendance is already down over 1 million people. Only several months ago, Mayor Pawlowski told City Council that the Center would attract 1.5 million people annually. Earlier, he used the figure of two million. Although his current figure of 500,000 is more realistic, there's still no lack of sugarplums. The Morning Call uses the term vision, hallucination would be more accurate. The best guess estimate for the 40 home hockey games would be 200,000, requiring an additional draw of 300,000 for concerts. Between the lines, his mention that real estate taxes may be necessary to finance the project, is the writing on the wall. Also translating political speak into english, there are no plans, whatsoever, for parking and traffic. His claim that the hockey fans will visit upscale restaurants and stores after the games is beyond wishful thinking.

Here is the Shadow Mayor's* take; The square block White Elephant will sit dormant most days and nights of the year, creating a ghost town feeling, sucking whatever life downtown had remaining. Stores and restaurants, induced by grants and incentives, will wither and drop away when the owners must start reaching into their own pockets. On the sixty or so nights a game or event takes place, the restaurants will do virtually no business, as the fans scurry back to their cars afterwards. Welcome to the bitterness of the sugarplum's reality.

*a self anointed title I bestowed upon myself

Nov 1, 2011

Picture of Dedication

Lou Hershman in the past has served as Controller for a total of has 24 years. During his tenures, there were never any questions about where and how taxpayer money was spent. Who knows where to look, and what to look for, better than Lou Hershman. Lou's not a good public speaker, but as an accountant, he's great with numbers. It's hard to imagine a more dedicated man offering his services to the city. I think even if I was a straight Democrat lever puller, a real party man, I would vote for Hershman, just to keep the game honest. The controller makes no policy decisions, he only safeguards the budget. Of course, I suppose a town as prosperous as Allentown, need not concern itself with cash issues.