Mar 20, 2012

CUNA To Question Pawlowski


Nobody could ever accuse CUNA* of being pro-active. Now, that the entire square block has been demolished, CUNA wants Pawlowski and Hailstone to come to a meeting and explain what guarantees has the City given that the public investment will truly benefit existing residents and living conditions.(education, housing, poverty)? They plan on holding four informational meetings before inviting Pawlowski. The first occurred last night; The second meeting will be held at 2:00PM at Zion Church, 620 Hamilton, this Sunday, March 25th.
UPDATE: Click on Cuna letter to enlarge


*Congregations United for Neighborhood Action

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ya gota be kidding. Now that everything's demoslished, they care?

Anonymous said...

Comedie des Meprises

michael molovinsky said...

they do note in their letter that there was insufficient public input on the project. they hope to generate an audience of 500 for the pawlowski meeting, to assert pressure for projects which better the intercity demographic. IMO, their efforts would have had more leverage this past summer and fall. perhaps cramming council chambers, as did the union with the trash to cash project.

doug_b said...

Allentown has been ‘occupied’ by the modern day vandals, and you’ve been sacked. Without adequate housing, good paying jobs, and a business district, Allentown is but a burned out shell. As Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland: “There is no there, there.” The rusting stacks of Beth Steel even look similar to the broken Roman columns.

The double whammy, is that the occupiers live off the government – entitlements, SNAP, section 8, EBT, ‘services’, just to name a few. Liberal politicians (aka “the profligate”) rush in to fill this entitlement void. This environment is their segway. Their main motivation is power, control (lots of rules), and in a Marxist way messing with responsible citizens.

The occupiers and your government don’t give a whit about what you’re trying to preserve. Remember that those that care the least control the relationship.

I find it amusing that anyone would drive to Allentown to spend the night in a hotel, and see a hockey game. Shopping? Some mall stores? How about an Applebees or Olive Garden for a fine dining experience. Sounds like you need a water park in there too. What are those businesses going to do the other 6 days a week?

Don’t worry, Allentown won’t go bankrupt. They’ll manage a mill or two tax increase for the surrounding counties, or get some money from the state. And even if they do go bust (Harrisburg has already missed two bond payments) I’m sure the entitlements will continue.

Anonymous said...

Interesting Phantoms Press Release today.

Along with a local health care provider they are redefining community health.

The disadvantaged need not apply. Remember the Eagles training camp.

Canary_Forever said...

doug_b

I agree with most of your comments about the decline of Allentown. Generally I am an opponent of taxpayer-funded development. This arena plan feels like a Hail Mary, but given the condition of Allentown, maybe a Hail Mary is the only remaining option. I am skeptical of the arena plan but having said that, I haven't seen anybody articulate a better plan, just a lot of criticism. What would happen to Allentown if the arena plan never happened and the status quo were allowed to continue?

Question for Mike - would you be a supporter of the arena plan if the location were changed to the waterfront?

michael molovinsky said...

canary, i would support the arena plan if it was built behind the previous stores on hamilton street, or at the riverfront, or coke cola park, or the old 5C on lehigh street, WITHOUT the NIZ. at any rate, i do not believe that it will be Transformational, except for those few who will end up with a $100million dollars worth of real estate, at taxpayer expense. it's apparent that the sands casino will operate a top notch entertainment center as a loss leader for it's gambling. Allentown enters the entertainment field at the worst time. 40 hockey home games do not transform allentown, or even sell a few hamburgers off the arena site.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's good to see CUNA take an interest, even if it is late. Unfortunately, too few people know about this or care. If entities like CUNA look at this dispassionately, I believe the only conclusion they can reach is that this is a bad thing for the poor and disadvantaged.

Canary_Forever said...

Mike, you make good points about this being a bad time to enter the entertainment space by going into competition with Sands and SteelStacks. Also nobody has adequately explained the point of building a new Hotel downtown when I doubt that the existing downtown Hotel will be anywhere close to full, even with the Arena.

I too would prefer the Arena be built without the NIZ. But in the absence of the NIZ I doubt any private developer would take that kind of risk. Let's say the Arena plan were cancelled tomorrow, the demolished buildings were magically restored to their original condition, Pawlowski were hit by lightning and, as his last official act, appointed you Mayor. How would you utilize the power of City Government to revitalize Allentown?

michael molovinsky said...

canary, i've been asked these types of questions before, and have little desire to answer. excuse my arrogance, but i consider this blog and specific advocating, such as for the WPA, Reading Road Bridge, etc, my humble contribution.
so, a short answer; as you may know, as an opponent of the poverty magnet, perhaps i would not have dug our hole so deep in the first place. that said, I would maximize our potential by utilizing our private assets. take croc rock as an example. one of the more successful nightspots in the country, and allentown will not cooperate with them in regard to using city parking lots after normal business hours?

Canary_Forever said...

I'm sorry to hear that you don't have any plan that can help the situation going forward. I wasn't asking the question to score points or play "gotcha", I really wish there were some other proactive steps that would help the City recover from its current condition. Allentown was a great place to grow up, and I still return often to visit family living there now, but it doesn't seem like a place I could relocate to and raise a family of my own.

As a history buff myself, I applaud your efforts at historical preservation. Unfortunately I think you'll agree that Allentown's problems are so serious that they will not be fixed by an influx of tourists coming to see a preserved Reading Road bridge or WPA steps.

michael molovinsky said...

canary, will you be moving back because of the arena? if $800 million of subsidized development does occur, your family may well find their fees and taxes up considerably, so that the city and school system remain revenue neutral. perhaps they can move where you now.

Anonymous said...

I'm sensing there's cash floating around and CUNA's looking to shake someone down.

They'll be silent again once they get their cut of the action.

Anonymous said...

Canary_Forever said...
I too would prefer the Arena be built without the NIZ. But in the absence of the NIZ I doubt any private developer would take that kind of risk.
That Is the point.
Neither would this tax payer.

AuH20 said...

It sounds like Annon 5:14 PM has it figure out. Can Jessie Jackson be far behind?

Elijah LoPinto said...

Canary

You want a plan to move forward without the NIZ, I'll give you my perfect world version.

Existing taxes should be used to put people to work building long term infrastructure and repairing the old. Existing bridges and roads need to be repaired, the cities water mains, as evidenced by the 10th st sinkhole and the 90's arena site sinkhole, need to be replaced. The water main work can be used to lower UGI's cost of repairs, while the road is torn up replacing water mains, gas lines get replaced too preventing the need for the consumer tax addition being asked for in Harrisburg.

Create or at least look into a BID (business improvement district) rather then a NIZ, where businesses that already exist pay a new extra tax to fund future development that is approved by those who pay the extra tax.

Work to pass legislation that forces these sort of actions in the future to be more apparent. When Scott Unger told me that while what the morning call reporting of ACIDA only publishing their agenda once a year, adding the NIZ work to the agenda after it was published, etc, was correct he countered that they had done everything legally required to publish their "public" meetings. This makes it quite apparent to me that there are not enough requirements as to how to publish meetings about public works projects like the NIZ and that we need to make sure that in any future projects like this there is transparency and not just a chance for the public to comment but an actual way to let the public be involved in the decision making (forcing a referendum vote on all public works projects over $1,000,000 for example)

I have lots of other ideas as to how to fix the broken cogs in our system on a larger level, but it's really not that hard to figure out. We are unfortunately not living in a democracy, we live in a representative republic. But everyone sees democracy is the way to go. Were trying to spread it around the world, lets build some here. Direct Democracy can be useful in many forms, more referendum requirements rather then our elected officials making the decisions for us, more people who understand and are willing to use the initiative process. I'm a big supporter of NI4D.US (the national initiative for democracy) More public transparency and actually holding politicians accountable at election time for not listening when the public does voice their opinion.

But above all more people need to actually think and care about what goes on around them, not just blindly follow party lines and let others make the decisions for them.

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...

Oh Elijah Pinto...

First, Go F'n occupy something. If you can. Why? Because your own organization in a huge divide. Example being what Adam Santo has said. Also your new FB page is horrible. But nice try. You are and the occupy movement is irrelevant in Allentown. Nice try.

The best part about occupy allentown is that you make zero points. You argue against anything government. Guess what, no one gives a shit about what the movements message is. You do not occupy shit, it is a bunch of your friends that sit on your couch, as the founder of occupy Allentown, Adam Santo has pointed out.

To be honest Elijah, no one cares what you say. The residents, the government, the newspapers etc.. oh let me add you have members in your group that believe that 9/11 was inside job, i.e. John Potak... your value on any subject has a value of zero.

Anonymous said...

fdaa,
Please crawl back under the rock that you came from.

Canary_In_Coalmine said...

Mike,

I would LOVE it if my family moved to where I am now, I have been trying to get them to do so for several years.

In answer to your question about whether or not the Arena would cause me to move back to Allentown, the answer is no. As long as my plan is to have children, living in the ASD is not an option. Which is a shame, because the cost of a large beautiful colonial in Allentown is a fraction of the cost of same where I currently live. If I decided that I would not be having children, I would seriously consider relocating to Allentown, not for the Arena but for proximity to my family and, even after taxes, the very low cost of living.

When I graduated from Allen in the mid-90s the ASD was a robust school system with fantastic teachers, programs, and students. My own view is that fixing Allentown starts with major changes in the schools, or rather, in the homes of students. There is too much finger pointing at teachers when the problem is clearly what happens outside of school hours. I would start by instituting financial penalties for parents/guardians of students who act out and don't do their homework. Taxpayers spend vast amounts of resources to try and educate, therefore parents who don't support that effort at home should reimburse the taxpayers for the public resources that their offspring are wasting. Such penalties could be garnished from public assistance checks, or in the case of true financial hardship, by performing community service. Any funds collected could be applied to the high costs of running the schools, or running after-school programs. Anyone who doesn't like it should be encouraged to relocate elsewhere, and take their problem offspring with them. Allentown needs some strong medicine to encourage bad actors to relocate elsewhere, something that makes it unpleasant to live there if you aren't willing to be a productive and law abiding citizen. Without a doubt it's a Hail Mary, since the civil libertarians and others will fight tooth and nail, but if such a penalty system were implemented it would have the dual benefit of addressing the school funding problem and raising the general level of performance. Eventually, through media coverage of Allentown's "tough love" policies, the message would get out that you should only live in Allentown if you're serious about your children doing well in school, which would be the catalyst for a major turnaround in the City Without Limits.

Anonymous said...

To the person that said Occupiers live off the gov't...excuse me bud, I work 40+ hrs a week for PennDot. I can say that southern republicans live in trailers and marry their sisters but I'm not a jerk so I'm not going off stereotypes...oh wait...