May 13, 2012
Great Balls of Fire
Sunday's piece on the arena epic. Although I have already criticized it for verboseness and style, allow me to redress some errors of substance. The largest area ever submitted to a redevelopment bulldozer was the Lehigh Street hill, near South 6th Street and the now closed racquet ball club. Three square blocks were then leveled. Like the arena project, the displaced were a minority, who received little consolation for their ordeal. This morning's article continues to minimize the abuse recently suffered by the displaced merchants. Last summer, the newspaper dismissed the merchants as selling discount clothes and cheap electronics. Today, one very short paragraph was used to dismiss their twenty years on Hamilton Street. They're conveniently dispatched by saying that they were overpaid for their property. They could have written how the day care center never reopened, or one merchant ended up on Hanover Avenue, with no foot traffic or business. The laborious article is written with a wildfire theme. The reporters marvel themselves with the imagery; Inferno,firestorm,burning, extinguishing the flare-up,spark,etc, etc, WE GET IT. The article minimizes the City's arrogance and secrecy, instead, elaborating on accusations that the townships are being punitive toward Allentown. While they briefly gloss over the insider deals, they write that municipalities and developers have been colluding on the lawsuits. They quote Alan Jennings defending Allentown and the project, but omit that as an advocate for the poor, he's on the wrong side of the issue. The article concludes with an insider explaining what a catastrophe it would be for Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley, if the arena isn't built. Although it would be a catastrophic for Pawlowski and Reilly, the rest is meant as an ultimatum. The article ends with threats about a wildfire and scorched earth.