Apr 9, 2013
The Allentown Arena Sideshow
Years ago, when the circus came to town, it had sideshows. The purpose of these attractions was to make sure that by the time you left the circus grounds, your pockets were empty of any spare cash. In a similar fashion, the politically correct term of Community Benefit is being used to extract even more tax dollars. The Community College is proudly going to be operating the job training program, connected with the arena complex. I don't know who they will be training for what, but it won't be the doctors for the sports medicine center, at least I hope not. It won't be the bankers for National Penn Headquarters. Maybe they could train their students to smoke cigarettes, and help Joe Topper extract more CHIP tax from Pennsylvania for his mortgage debt service. A recent article by the Philadelphia Inquirer noted the decrease in state funds going to CHIP, but the reporter apparently didn't realize that the difference is helping Allentown's chosen few. Alan Jennings is extracting developer fees for his small business incubator division, despite the fact that 7th Street is apparently already 90% occupied. CUNA, and the other well intentioned who requested Community Benefit, inadvertently gave license for these sideshows. If the powers that be really wanted to feature minority business people serving low income clientele, they would have left Hamilton Street as it was.