Feb 20, 2012
Morning Call Distortion
Imagine having a shop on downtown's busiest block, and then ending up in a small strip mall on the other end of the city, miles from your customer base. Imagine knocking on doors looking for a new spot, then read that the city helped you relocate. Imagine investing everything you have, for the second time, in a city that just kicked you off the main street. Then imagine the newspaper writing Allentown hockey arena critics land on their feet. Many merchants who protested removal are now thriving in new locations. Worse yet, the reporters, Matt Assad and Scott Kraus, know that the article spins the reality. Matt Assad attended the meetings with Sara Hailstone, when the merchants complained of no help from the city. If they really had help, why would they have to knock on doors or end up on the east side? I'm friends with the merchants mentioned in the story. They are intelligent, hard working people, who know that they must put the best face on their current situation. Their shops are more than just speculation for a newspaper story, or a blog; Their shops are their home mortgage payments and their children's college tuition. A relative of mine, who survived a concentration camp, built a huge business in Cleveland. I suppose Assad and Kraus would say he landed on his feet. The merchants of Hamilton Street certainly were not submitted to a Holocaust. They were uprooted after building businesses for over 20 years, and forced to relocate. They were deceived by strawbuyers, and threatened by eminent domain. Most received near double the original offers, because they resisted the City's illegal bluffs. The City paid the higher amounts, because eminent domain is illegal when the intention was essentially a private business (arena), including new storefronts. Now there's a real story for Assad and Kraus!