Sep 28, 2012

The Selling Of Allentown

Ed Pawlowski & Company has been selling off Allentown the past several years. He sold center city to the Hammes, Brooks, and J.B. Reilly groups without much public resistance. The former merchants and their supporters virtually had no influence. When he sold the city air rights to the Trash To Cash&Energy Company, it raised a few eyebrows. A chamber full of outside union members, and a few motorcycles, intimidated the Council into staying with the Administration's yard sale on that deal. It was reported last night that the public's right to referendum was mentioned, that may well be the card to play. Although City Council can issue a referendum on their own, on their own, they don't have the will. The water opponents will have to do it the old fashioned way, the hard way. The procedure requires 2000 signatures. If a successful restaurateur, and a former successful merchant, combine energy, that should be a doable feat.


Anonymous said...

Petition? - Where do I sign?

Anonymous said...

Where do I sign? March the neighborhoods. You'll find triple the amount of signatures you need.

Anonymous said...

Collecting the signatures can be done quite simply by getting them at the polls on the day of the upcoming election.
All registered voters--all residents-- all at one time in one day.
Put your thinking cap on--piece of cake.
Thank you got the public service you provide MM.

Anonymous said...

Skip the marching. Sit in a nice lawn chair at your friendly neighborhood polling place.

Anonymous said...

Force the Council to vote it down first. It's important to build a record that establishes their willingness to rubber stamp for the mayor and their lack of co operation with the will of the voters. Those who oppose the will of the voters on the Water issue will be punished by those same voters come election time.
Count on this.

ironpigpen said...

With all due resepct, Mr. Molovinsky ...

... the Brooks Brothers did not BUY anything from Chairman Pawlowski ...

... the record-smashing $ 177.1 million dollar Palace of Sport was GIVEN to them by Commonwealth of Pennsylvania lawmakers led by Senator Pat Browne.



Anonymous said...

Democracy in action in Allentown. It is a beautiful thing to see.

Thank you Michael for getting the word out about this.

Anonymous said...

I agree put it up the referendum for the people to decide.

Anonymous said...

Let's also not forget, ROLF, Pawlowski gave the Phantoms all revenue that will come from naming rights for the building. In effect, most of the money the Phantoms are projected to contribute won't come from them anyway. Overly sweet deal, I'd say.

ironpigpen said...

I think it would be a lovely gesture on the part of the Brooks Brothers to offer half price tickets to the Pawlowski Palace of Sport for visiting fans of the Hershey Bears and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins.

For starters, these people, whether they realize it or not, have actually been helping to fund Pawlowski's Historic Transformation (which directly involves the American Hockey League and its supporters) so I think it would be more than sporting to give them something tangible.

Besides, these very same visiting people are going to be spending so much money running up a large restaurant bill at the Brewworks, Cosmopolitan, Johnny Mananas, etc.

And that overnight hotel stay downtown will not come cheap, either ...



Anonymous said...

City council and the Mayor are soon going to realize that water privatization is political kryptonite.

Proceed at your own peril.

This deal only works if you do not look too closely at it. The closer you get to it, the worse it smells.

Very soon, our elected officials are going to become allergic to the idea.

Anonymous said...

will the petitions
be available at the voting centers?
Where may I find this said petition so that I too may sign on?

Doc Rock said...

There isn't anything Pawlowski will not do to avoid facing up to the pension crisis that infects Allentown and every other municipality.

Why not sell "naming rights" to the City Without Limits? Reillytown? Butzville? Toppertown? Pawlowskiplatz? Jaindl Junction? Afflerbach Acres?

The possibilities are endless!

michael molovinsky said...

@1:16, i intended in this post to suggest opponents consider the referendum option. in a previous post, i suggested an injunction. perhaps they would need both to stop the water lease. to my knowledge, no individual or group has yet to start such an initiative. if a petition drive does materialize, i'll announce it.

Anonymous said...

I hate to rain on the parade, but..

1) Referendums aren't binding in PA

2) By the time it's on the ballot for a non-binding referendum in May, the deal will already be done.

3). Political Kryptonite? This is Allentown. One of those who VOTED for the pension deal is now City Council President. No one is held accountable in Allentown anymore. Even if the Democrat voters throw those who support the deal out of office, they will just be replaced by a fresh batch of democrats willing to do the bidding of the Party.

Bottom line - Get a lawyer and file an injunction.

Anonymous said...

A referendum and an injunction are BOTH in order.

Still alive in Allentown 20 years from now said...

Molovinski, what a miserable little man you are, squandering the diminishing days of your waning Golden Years like this. Sad, but not forever.

michael molovinsky said...

bill villa, my criticism is directed at poor public policy, and for the most part, is limited to this blog. your hateful comments are sent out all day, to numerous people, who have often requested that you leave them alone. you celebrate people's illness, and speculate on their death. similar, and in some cases, identical comments on your blog leave little doubt as to your identity. if you want to see miserable, you need only look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

Water privatization and what to expect? These stats from

Rate Hikes
Hingham and Hull, Massachusetts

Massachusetts-American, an American Water Works subsidiary, more than doubled water rates over a five-year period, claiming the increase was needed to build a new water treatment facility. There is evidence, however, that the company inflated the costs of the new facility to increase its profits.

Huber Heights, Ohio

In 1993, American Water Works purchased Ohio Suburban Water, a small outfit that provided water for 40,000 customers in Huber Heights and parts of the Mad River Township. The city opposed the sale, concerned that the company would raise rates and extend service to areas beyond the city limits without annexation, thus impairing the city’s ability to grow. The city’s fears soon materialized – the company increased its rates by 30 percent. At the same time the company moved to contract with Industrial Water to deliver up to 2 million gallons of Huber Heights’ water a day to the Wiley Industrial Park, located outside the city.

Pekin, Illinois

Negative Economic Impacts

One of the main arguments for privatization of water systems is that it will save municipalities millions of dollars. For example, the Mayor of Stockton, California, a proponent of privatization, claims that the city’s 20-year, $600-million deal with OMI-Thames Water, which went into effect on August 1, 2003, will save the city as much as $97 million compared to continued public utility operation. Several studies suggest that this may not be true. A study by the Pacific Institute finds that Stockton stands to lose $1.7 million over the life of the deal. 3) According to Public Citizen, it is also possible that Stockton, like other cites where Thames and OMI have operated, will face higher utility rates due to additional charges, change orders, automatic cost-of-living increases and independent audits However, none of this takes into account the substantial cost of preparing for privatization. Public Citizen estimates that the minimum cost of feasibility studies, evaluating bids, negotiating contracts, and severance pay to municipal workers was $4.9 million between 2000 and the start of the contract in 2003. This does not include the thousands of hours that city staff spent on the issue, nor does it include the costs of negotiations with disgruntled public employee unions facing privatization of their jobs.

In 1982, Illinois-American, another subsidiary of American Water Works, acquired Pekin’s water system from a local private owner. In the 18 years that followed, rates increased by 204 percent. At the same time, the company failed to keep infrastructure up-to-date. The company’s behavior negatively impacted the city’s economic growth and added to its expenses.