Apr 11, 2013
The Administration's Goalie
In two very important initiatives, the Administration's advantage was recently protected at the last second by Tim Benyo, Voter Registration Chief Clerk, an appointed position. Benyo convinced the Save The Water Coalition that they used the wrong procedure, and Kim Velez, that she couldn't withdraw her withdraw. In the Water Lease Petition Drive, the City Solicitor, Jerry Snyder, had scrutinized the law and only ruled that the circulators had to be registered voters of Allentown, and pre-registered with the City Clerk. The City Clerk also functions as the referee on citizen initiatives. When Benyo rejected the water petitions for a ballot question, were Pawlowski and Hanlon really surprised? In the Kim Velez case, Tim Benyo notarized Velez's withdraw form himself, although all petitions must be pre-notarized before being submitted to the Registers Office. Benyo indirectly acknowledged to Velez that he knew that she was approached by an attorney before withdrawing. I have been withholding this post since Velez withdrew, waiting for yesterday's court decision. Although I previously posted that Brennan acted in a way to deprive Velez of her rights, I felt that adding Benyo to a possible conspiracy might injure Velez. How large of an apple cart would a judge be willing to overturn? As it turns out, delicate wording was employed in yesterday's decision to protect Brennan from repercussions. Although I withheld this post, I did contact the Water Lease Opposition and explain my suspicions. When the city took the petitions to Benyo, were they surprised that he cited differences between state law and Home Rule Charter in not accepting them? Who really did the research to justify that opinion? Although Benyo was a legal expert in rejecting the water petitions, three weeks later he personally notarized and implemented the withdraw from an obviously intimidated candidate.