Aug 17, 2012

No Grandstanding






The public meetings on the Water System Sale(lease) are being conducted using Pawlowski's tried and true, dog and pony method. After the public is made to suffer through a PowerPoint presentation, survivors are allowed to submit a written question. Since City Council must approve the plan, Jeanette Eichenwald has called for a public input meeting. Pawlowski's not thrilled about that format. At the Pawlowski controlled information meetings, the public is not allowed to speak, or directly ask the mayor a question. The City Council format allows a citizen to speak for up to three minutes. Pawlowski believes that leads to grandstanding.  Although Council must approve the lease concept, it has not been determined if they will be allowed to vote on the actual contract. Another Council, in another era, would have automatically voted NO the first time, to insure they get to approve any contract. This post is based on an article by Scott Kraus, which appeared in yesterday's Morning Call, buried on the obituary page. I have been unable to find the story on their website, or provide a link. The streams which run through our park system provide water for the water filtration plant, and are called The Watershed. Control of these streams would be part of the lease to a private company.
Those concerned about the sale/lease of the water system are welcome to express their displeasure by joining us, when we plant a weeping willow on the bank of Cedar Creek, time and date to be announced.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

You really hate Allentown! You are to the point that you will scrutinize even the smallest things such as street signs. If you hate the city so much why do you not move out of it... oh wait you did! You live in South Whitehall!! Why do you not scrutinize a place where you live. What a grouchy old man you have become. No wonder you only received 3% of the vote. No one cares what you say.

michael molovinsky said...

@5:12, apparently, you care what I say. you send this comment here on a regular basis, and to other blogs and also the morning call. what people really don't care about is what you say.

Anonymous said...

The city will retain complete control of the water sources. You might want to double check that.

michael molovinsky said...

it's already been conceded that the park watershed employees, who oversee the streams and creeks, would work for the new private company, which would also control the filtration and distribution systems. your comment belongs on a written card at the mayor's presentation. such future anonymous comments will not appear. this blog is intended to provide dialogue not available elsewhere, not to parrot the mayor's sales pitch.

Anonymous said...

Did city hall hire a pr firm? If so does anyone know where they are from and what is their salary?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

You really hate Allentown! You are to the point that you will scrutinize even the smallest things such as street signs. If you hate the city so much why do you not move out of it... oh wait you did! You live in South Whitehall!! Why do you not scrutinize a place where you live. What a grouchy old man you have become. No wonder you only received 3% of the vote. No one cares what you say.

August 17, 2012 5:12 AM

Actually your writing is full of hate. Street signs are a huge visual for a community.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Watershed employees will work for this new company but the new company's perspective on park protection may be far different from what Allentown has seen in the past.
Is there protection against rentals
in the Parkway? Will bands; corporate affairs, electric lighting,
vendors, etc.

Anonymous said...

Fifty years of control over anything can forever alter its appearance.

michael molovinsky said...

@7:31, yes, Pawlowski did hire a PR firm to help him promote the water scheme. i've been low keyed, here's the facts; when pawlowski ran in 2005 he pledged to do something about the pensions that his former boss afflerbach gave away. after being elected, pawlowski prevailed on city council to end their lawsuit against the contracts. now, after putting the taxpayers on the line for the arena (they are on the line, contrary to what he said), he wants to sell one of our most important assets, the water distribution system. city council should vote "no" at the concept meeting, and let pawlowski and his "advisors" solve the pension problem without selling the store. if a private company can buy it and make a profit, let the city continue to run it, and raise the rates. the rates will increase under either plan.

Anonymous said...

I read in one of the newspaper accounts that Peter Schweyer doesn't want this to APPEAR to be a done-deal with city council.

How nice.

It would be nice to see council vote this proposal down instead of just deciding which members won't suffer politically by rubber-stamping it. That's the norm for council.

Anonymous said...

Good pun "buried on the obit page".

The issue of the mayor elect getting council to drop the suit is not a completely verified fact.

The police doing the negotiations would say Hershman and Gurity interfered in the process and created the mayor asked them to do it story when they realised they blew it.

michael molovinsky said...

@9:28, as frequent attendee at city council meetings, and one who sat on the podium with pawlowski during 05, i stand by my version.

Anonymous said...

Mike there's no way council will vote no as this plan bails them out too. The key is shifting a portion of the pension expenses to the burbs without being overt on it.

Great political cover - it's someone else's doing. Then when any of those maroons runs for county or state office, they can say they didn't raise the rates, someone else did.

michael molovinsky said...

@10:52, you're correct about the cover. if necessary, i could accept LCA as the successful bidder, even if they're not the high bidder. all contracts usually contain a vehicle where the government unit can justify other considerations beside price. with LCA there would be at least some local accountability. the best outcome would be for allentown to retain the system, and make the necessary cuts and rate raises. typically, we end up with the worst of everything. also typically, it may already be a done deal with some buyer already determined. this administration has demonstrated time and time again that public opinion and due process are not it's concern.

LVCI said...

"The key is shifting a portion of the pension expenses to the burbs without being overt on it."

I mentioned this on my blog. That may not be necessarily true. In the event LCA gets the deal, they could very well be making a tidy little profit on behalf of the suburbs.

Ever think LCA could increase the water rates to the suburbs advantage over their current deal they have with Allentown?

LVCI said...

"It may already be a done deal with some buyer already determined"

It would be pretty hard to justify to Allentown's citizens (or the courts) if the LCA upped their offer over the next closest competitor and the city rejected it.

I'd think it would be to LCA's advantage to top any other offer. This being that they could set the rates to their own advantage knowing they could recoup their upfront costs to the benefit of their own water users. PUC or no PUC, I'd be fairly certain they could accomplish this.

Also in legal play, somewhat like the NIZ, they were not involved in this process. Since they are contractually involved with Allentown's water supply for their customers, it's not out of the question. So even if they didn't nail the contract, in my opinion, they could file legal objections similar to what happened in the NIZ fiasco.

LVCI said...

Sorry for all the post.. but let's not forget Whitehall Township's also in play.

michael molovinsky said...

there is also two concurrent major infrastructure projects occurring. allentown is having their 1905 30 " main to the west end relined, presumedly at city expense. LCA is running a new service from allentown (26th and chew) through the cedar creek basin to macgunie.

Anonymous said...

LVCI, it doesn't matter who the successful bidder is. If whoever bids has to raise suburban rates to make the deal work, that in/of itself shifts pension costs - Allentown picks up $150 million and it's paid for by higher rates in both the city and the suburbs.

Agree with MM, on the surface I'd prefer LCA, but I don't see the political payback to Pawlowski. It'll go to someone who can pay him back.

michael molovinsky said...

allentown city council allowed pawlowski to streamroll them with the arena, which is a 30 year deal. one would hope that they would assert themselves with the water system, which is a 50 year deal. already pawlowski stated that council will get to vote whether the city leases the system, but if they get a vote on an actual contract, is "under discussion" when one considers that one councilman is going to harrisburg unopposed, and another will run when the district is finalized, yet neither has asserted himself on council, it's rather disturbing.

ironpigpen said...

"One would hope"

With all due respect, Mr. Molovinsky --- forget hope.

What does the historical record of the Rubber Stamp Council of Apparatchiks say?

:-D

LVCI said...

"LVCI, it doesn't matter who the successful bidder is. If whoever bids has to raise suburban rates to make the deal work, that in/of itself shifts pension costs"

Your assuming incorrectly that there is a single rate tier for water customers. That's not the case. Currently Allentown sells water to LCA at a separate bulk rate.

Conversely, if LCA were to sell the water to Allentown at a higher bulk rate then say to their own customers outside the city limits, we would then be disportionately charged more. Maybe the costs wouldn't be 100% covered, but it would lesson the impact on their own water customers by disportionately charging a higher rate to Allentown's residents then that of their own.

This is the assumption I was implying and the reason why it would be in LCA's best interests to outbid for the leasing contract. Verstehst du?

Anonymous said...

MM -

While we're talking long term contacts that Pawlowski has steamrolled council with, let's not forget the recent Trash-to-Steam vote.

That also was a long term deal with no discernible benefit to the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

How did citizens lose the right to speak?

Anonymous said...

What city council? Allentown is a one party town, in an of itself a perfect example of the problems caused by that. There are few options left. It really is doubtful the arena will work in the long run. Look at all the failed results of development in Allentown over the past three decades. The impetus for change needs to come from the community and not government. The genesis of the current day issues date from the days of Daddona when he advocated for Allentown to become a transfer based (welfare) economy.

Anonymous said...

We are just a cancer that must be remove as per to quote the king?

Anonymous said...

Ref. 8:24am
Your comment is very well thought out and expressed excellently. In encapsulating all of the ills of our beloved City for the past 3 decades. Eroding the Historical and the Natural beauty of Allentown all for greed and power. "what fools we mortals be"
The Old Allentown Curmudgeon

ironpigpen said...

"Verstehst du"

It's pretty obvious LVCI thinks he is responding to me.

It's keeps getting funnier and funnier all the time, exactly how many people responding to anonymous comments THINK they are responding to me!

I have come to the conclusion, Herr Molovinsky, that you are, in fact, THE only person on the entire planet who can, indeed, successfully determine whether or not I am actually responsible for any and all unpopular / unwelcome comments at any given blog.

(Without the benefit of being the person running the actual blog in question, that is ... and you have proven that on more than one occasion, as well)

Glueckwunsche!

ROLF OELER

LVCI said...

Absolutely not. I had not even thought of you. I just thought it would be cute to tag the end that way. You have a patent on German? :-)