May 29, 2012

The Mayor's Tool Board

When Mayor Pawlowski chose Andrew Kleiner for Allentown's Environmental Advisory Council, the appointment had to be approved by City Council. I recall Peter Schweyer telling Kleiner that he should let Council know whenever he had any concern about an Allentown policy that adversely affected the environment. Before retiring and dedicating himself to the environment, Dan Poresky had created one of the most successful single store camera businesses in the country; He's a thorough guy. The Advisory members, besides being knowledgeable about the environment, were for the most part, Pawlowski supporters. Poresky recently had an editorial in The Morning Call where he outlined, point by point, the detrimental consequences of the newly approved Trash to Energy plant. He, and numerous environmentalists, spoke out against the project at council, the night it was approved. At a recent Council meeting, the Advisory Council formally stated their opposition to the project."It is the opinion of the EAC that this contract puts Allentown at unnecessary risk for financial losses and environmental damage to the city's air, water, and quality of life while discouraging the adoption of less expensive and environmentally healthier options for its waste." At a previous meeting, Council President Guridy ignored their individual opinions, at this meeting, he told them they were too late. At the next Council meeting, they should tender their resignations, unless they don't mind hanging on the Mayor's pegboard.

UPDATE:  The EAC currently only has three members(Kleiner, Poresky and Thomases), although they're designated for seven.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

MM -

The resignations won't matter. I would imagine that the Mayor and his minions on Council will find others willing to blindly serve as replacements.

I would suggest an alternative.

If they are truly opposed to the trash-to-scheme facility, they should hold continuous press conferences on the subject and generally be a thorn in the side of the Mayor until something changes or the Mayor has them removed.

That's if their seriously opposed. I have found many in the environmental movement to be very willing to sacrifice their "principles" on environmental issues for political involvement. There is always the chance that the minimal "opposition" they gave to City Council was just to keep their conscience clear.

michael molovinsky said...

@10:18, i know that their opposition was sincere, if ineffective. I do not believe that their opposition was minimal; what was minimal was the City Council's desire to perform due diligence and exert independence. Julio Guridy has literally made a living out of compliance politics, being rewarded with a high paying job on the do nothing Joint Bridge Commission.

Anonymous said...

Noboby with any credibility is willing to sit on the Allentown EAC. It's considered something of joke around the area. Has been for sometime. Several well respected members walked away from it. I heard it only has two or three members now.
Damn shame,Allentown really needs strong committees like that, but if city hall shuts them out and quality volunteers think it's a waste of time and effort, well. Im glad I've moved on to greener, more collaborative pastures.
Good luck Allentown .

michael molovinsky said...

to my knowledge it currently has five members. certainly dan poresky and muhlenberg's dave McGuire are well respected in environmental circles. a reporter, or even a different blogger, might have asked them for their intentions now that's it's apparent that the EAC was just window dressing for pawlowski. i happen to know that they were, and perhaps still are, huge pawlowski supporters. i chose not to confront them with my perception on the matter, but I suppose the tool picture is not subtle.

Anonymous said...

The Allentown EAC and Mr Poresky-------way,way too little, way too lat
M

Anonymous said...

I figure the trash plant will begin to kill Allentown about the time Schweyer runs for mayor or county exec. Let's hope for perfect timing.

Anonymous said...

I saw Camera Dan at our Twp. EAC meeting once. He was defending the mayor of Allentown who was trying to log South Mountain.
Some respected environmentalist!

michael molovinsky said...

@1:32, dan put his considerable energy into environmental projects. how many compromises he made because of pawlowski, i'm not in a position to know. at any rate, his fight against the trash to energy plant seemed genuine.

Anonymous said...

Julio was right from the big picture view.

It is too late for Allentowns EAC.

Done - Finished - Kaputt. Stick a fork in it.

Dan Poresky said...

The EAC is no joke.

Yes, there are currently only three members of the EAC. Julie Thomases (chair), Andrew Kleiner and me. A total of seven are permitted. Started in 2008 by a city ordinance, the Allentown EAC is part of a statewide network of EACs Even though we have no authority and no budget, we are consulted and we are listened to. We have, numerous times, had a positive influence, including the city's decision to not log South Mountain. Greg Weitzel, director or parks and recreation, who very recently resigned to take another position out of the area, came to most of our meetings and used our input in shaping policies that help protect city parks and waterways. Tom Kerr, Allentown's environmental officer, also attends our meetings and has incorporated our advice in allocating over one million dollars in grant money to reduce the city's carbon footprint and save the city money.

Our public opposition to the Delta Thermo incinerator is an example of what the EAC Network advises EACs to avoid. We serve at the pleasure of the mayor. He could quite easily shut us down. Yet, he remains a supporter, recognizes the value of our contributions, looks forward to continuing to work with us and is actively scouting for additional EAC members.

The EAC offers opportunities for people to be heard and to contribute that are not otherwise available. I invite any Allentown resident, interested in protecting and enhancing the city's natural resources or who just wants to know more about the EAC, to attend a meeting or call me. We meet in the City Hall 3rd floor conference room on the second Monday of every month at 5:15. The next meeting is this coming Monday, June 4. The public is welcome to all meetings. I would especially appreciate hearing personally from Anon.

The Allentown EAC maintains a Yahoo group website. Anyone can join, regardless of where you live.


Daniel Poresky
One with the Earth Project
610-434-1396
onewiththeearth.org
dporesky@yahoo.com

michael molovinsky said...

dan, the resignation of all the the previous members would suggest that the administration respects the EAC's opinion much less than you indicate. i will not quibble, except for one exception. this blog, molovinsky on allentown, tipped off The Morning Call about the logging plans. if not for me, you wouldn't even know about the logging scheme.

Dan Poresky said...

Michael,

The EAC is not taking credit for tipping off the newspaper. Nor is the EAC claiming that it is responsible for the logging effort to be canned. There were a number of factors that played into that decision. Which one, if any, was indispensable, I don't know. Do you? I do know that we received calls from Council asking our opinion, we grilled Greg Weitzel repeatedly, we talked directly with the mayor, we blogged in opposition, made public a position statement against it, and were interviewed in the paper.

Regarding the people that left the EAC. At least one moved out of town, four had to leave reluctantly because of work and family demands, two had philosophical differences (one felt the EAC was not taking strong enough positions against the administration on issues and one, who was about to be a member, because we were too confrontational). Another one who had a big influence on policy left in disgust because the city frequently did not notify us early on in their planning of actions that impacted the environment, thus not giving us the opportunity to provide advice from the outset.

michael molovinsky said...

dan, for the record, i blogged about the logging plan on july2,2009 in a post titled "Timber" there is a search engine on the right sidebar. jarrett renshaw of the morning call learned about the scheme from my blog, and then researched it and wrote an article. he did not credit me, but the timeline doesn't lie. i know from 2005 that you are an avid pawlowski supporter. if eight or nine people resigned already, and you only meet once a month for an hour or so, consider that perhaps those four who left used their family as an excuse.

Anonymous said...

Are the EAC agenda and minutes posted at a city site?
Information please.
Who is city councils representation on the EAC?
Answer please.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised, Mr Poretsky, to hear you talk about the logging of South Mountain. At the time, the mayor, Greg Weitzel, and you sir, said it was absolutely not about logging. It was about a " comprehensive 'Stewardship Plan',". Correct me please if my recollection is faulty.
Where is that "Stewardship Plan" at now in the cities parks priorities?

Anonymous said...

The Mayor has other problems now and is largely immune from political pressure regarding the parks. Several City Council seats are up for grabs, and several sitting councilmen, ie., J. G. and P. S. want to be mayor. They should be held politically accountable for the cut in park staff and other park issues. Their Park Committee is a joke. It should be held accountable.
TREXLER TRUST should also be held to a higher standard. Much higher.

michael molovinsky said...

@9:59 and 11:26, dan could not have made himself more accessible, he even provided his phone number. you are free to phone him.

Anonymous said...

EAC member Dan Poretsky's contention that the EAC had a positive and moderating influence on Greg Weitzel,and protected Allentown's streams and parks,would appear to be contradicted by EAC members Andrew Kleiner's highly touted blog, REMEMBER ALLENTOWN. See,for example, NO MORE POO,and POO SILENCE, Oct.,2010 and HARD TIMES FOR CEDAR CREEK,May,2012 for several of many examples of environmental abuse by Mr. Weitzel's parks department, and the EAC inability to forstall serious environmental harm along Allentown's streams and in it's parks.

Anonymous said...

MM, quality volunteers on a body like the EAC should be prepared to spend 6,8,10, hours a month on committee tasks,or sub-committee business. the chairman even more. any less and they are not doing justice to the charge.
the 90 minutes at the meeting is just an update, and/or a wrap-up.
done right, it's a big commitment.

Anonymous said...

Yes, see Andrews excellent documentipn of the many continued abuses of Cedar Beach park west of Ott St. Andrew Kleiner did wonderful work on park land and stream bank destruction.
I can't remember Mr Poretsky speaking up, except to say the parks department was going to plant many trees there. Mr Poretsky was also silent as Andrew and others took issue with those blacktop trails. REMEMBER ALLENTOWN documented just why those trails hurt the soil and the creek. And he backed it up with sources and science.
I think Mr Piretsky should go back and read REMEMBER ALLENTOWN.

Anonymous said...

Greg Weitzel was openly contemptuous of the EAC, and the Mayor and Mr Poretsky knew it. If he came to EAC meetings,it was to feign collaboration and monitor activity.
Weitzel used hollow Town Hall meetings, push polls and consultants, many his Penn State biuddies,to validate prearranged conclusions. The Trails Plan and all the others were a fix.
"YOU CAN FOOL SOME OF THE PEOPLE SOME OF THE TIME,...................."
We are not all stupid. The EAC is a joke,but just one of many in The City With No Limits.

Anonymous said...

I went through some REMEMBER ALLENTOWN stuff today. Mostly Lehigh Parkway and Cedar Beach posts.Remarkable, thank you.
Am I to believe that the situation there would be even more dire than Andrew Kleiner documents if it were not for the eac?
Wow!

Anonymous said...

Greg Weitzel treated the eac like a dirty dog, ignored serious environmental issue and created others..
AND, you better believe the mayor knew everything Weitzel was up to and let him get away with it.

PS I am not saying this as one of this blogs --mayor can do no right-- bashers. I am a Dem, and I support the mayor,but on the parks and streams and conservation he has been very,very disappointing .

Anonymous said...

10:18".....I have found that many in the environmental movement ready to sacrifice their principles....."
You should go on Rush Limbalh.
You know so much .
You are really profound and wise. A real deep and principled thinker.
Don't stop, very impressive. A rare intellectual.

Anonymous said...

SUPPORT THE MAYOR

LOG THE PARKWAY

BE ONE WITH THE EARTH AND TURN OUT THE LIGHTS WHEN YOU LEAVE ALLENTOWN

PAVE THE TRAILS


THANK YOU FOR YOUR VISION AND SERVICE MR WEITZEL
( DID YOU TURN OUT THE LIGHTS WHEN YOU LEFT ALLENTOWN ? )

PARK WORKS MEETING AFTER WORK TODAY AT THE PA STATE UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICE--DAN PORETSKY YOU ARE ALWAYS WELCOME TO ATTEND


REMEMBER TO BE A FRIEND OF ALLENTOWNS PARKS


THE FUTURE IS SO BRIGHT I GOTTA WEAR SHADES

HAVE A NICE SMILEY FACE DAY