In an incredibility distorted piece of writing about the NIZ, Alan Jennings has personified Allentown into a poor outsider of a different culture, which the surrounding blue bloods don't care to help. The supreme irony is that the NIZ will not help the poor of Allentown. The poor of Allentown had no input into the NIZ. Even those with more of a share stake, had little, to no knowledge. Conversely, minority businesses and their low-income customer base were displaced by the project. The project's purpose is to gentrify Hamilton Street, and push the poor out of sight. None of the proposed components of the project will help the plight of low income. CUNA recently recognized these realities, and is seeking a Community Benefit Agreement. What is it that causes an Alan Jennings to compromise his principles so much? Simply put, the designers of this project are the gatekeepers of grants. Once a year, the social agencies gather at City Hall like baby birds. Pawlowski distributes the Community Development Block Grant into their hungry mouths. Likewise, Jennings is dependent on the generosity of the other large players in the Valley, all proponents of the NIZ.
UPDATE: Bernie O'Hare weighs in on Jennings
UPDATE 2: Alan Jennings' organization was apparently paid $25,000 to set up a sting, showing that local realtors steered white and minority potential home buyers in different directions. I can testify, for free, that the City of Allentown did NOT inform the displaced merchants that they might qualify for a NIZ backed loan. Not one of the 34 displaced property owners where made aware that private parties were eligible. (Alan Jennings serves on the NIZ Authority)