Feb 14, 2014

Two Tales of One City

I have lived in the City of Allentown since 1978 and the recent snowfall has reminded me that city services are being more efficiently performed now than at any other time in my memory...not perfect, but better. On those very rare occasions when I bother to go downtown, I am starting to see a profoundly different city. Every other Mayor in my lifetime was just trying to re-capture some glorious past which, take it from me, wasn't all that glorious to start with. I think that when it is all said and done, that Mayor Pawlowski will have had as significant impact on Allentown that Caesar Augustus did on Rome or that Napoleon III had on Paris in that he is changing the face of the City I realize this sounds like sucking up on a grand level and perhaps it is but I am trying to offer a lifetime's perspective on a City which historically has underperformed all our expectations.
Todd Larmer

The roads here are a nightmare. Almost every street in the downtown has been posted posted "No Parking" for so long residents are ignoring the warning. Most streets are reduced to a single lane with cars parked in snow bunkers carved out by the locals. Others are buried and have not been moved in weeks. Yet none of our local media outlets are ready to report what an abysmal job the city administration has done. Can't wait for the arena traffic to add to the joy.
Scott Armstrong

Todd lives in the west end, where most cars are parked in garages. The streets are pre-treated before the snow, and plowed fairly quickly. Scott lives on the fringe of center city, by West Park.

UPDATE: Comments on Facebook

   Jean Lambert-  east side of allentown bad
   Michael Hysick-The St. Francis of Assisi neighborhood is real bad
   Benito Cruz Jr.-I could use a run of napalm on my block
   Kenneth Heffentrager- How do you close Green St. 3 days ago to say now to be removed still     
   nothing has been done... Tilghman has been closed to parking for days...
   Bill Stauffer-Several streets are closed in my neighborhood as well...City does not seem to have the
   same level of manpower it had to remove snow that it did prior to the "lease" of our water system
   Michael E. Golden-Where The Hell Are The Snow Plows?? Isn't West Brook Park Part Of Allentown!
photocredit:Emily Robson/The Morning Call/December 8, 2013


Anonymous said...

Here’s a more apt historical reference for Todd, “Potemkin Village”. Look it up.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Todd appears to be suffering from grandiose delusions. As he attempts to 'set the record straight' he is ignorant of previous records (being dismissive) and modifies the current based on his wishes rather than reality.

Anonymous said...

Yo, lighten up. This piece was obviously satire. That is the trouble when you try to use satire r, people take it seriously.

michael molovinsky said...

@9:02, no satire here today. i pointed out to mr. larmer, on his facebook page from where i lifted the comment, that the result of the "transformation" remains to be seen. his comment was supported by numerous people, including joe mcdermott, Mike Molovinsky, I know you and I disagree on many things (though I love your history blog posts) but c'mon, man, you have to acknowledge that Allentown has made some tremendous progress under Ed's administration.

monkey momma said...

Caesar…Napolean…and now Pawlowski.

This is going to provide me with all I need to laugh my entire day away. Thanks, Todd Larmer!

monkey momma said...

Maybe Todd has been enjoying the absinthe too much. (I checked out his FB page.)

I gather from his comments and his friends' comments that they are dead serious about this "Pawlowski is awesome" thing. It's very bizarre that their praise is coming BEFORE we see ANY evidence of transformation. Spending a huge load of cash is not transformative - it's wasteful.

michael molovinsky said...

monkey momma, the arena certainly has the potential to be a white elephant. comcast has projected 12 to 24 concerts + 40 home hockey games leaves over 300 idle nights. joe mcdermott was a paid writer for pawlowski, the woman cheerleader has use of the former salomon jewelry store for her art studio, courtesy of j.b.reilly.

Anonymous said...

I would be FAR more excited by the changes in Allentown if they were brought about more with private funding. ANYONE can blow someone else's big dollars on edifices of all

Much better if private funding stepped up to satisfy a public need. Not enough of either is present is present here. Confiscated public funds from taxpayers statewide are easy to spend on just about anything.

I would assume most of us would not choose to finance the installation of a swimming pool at the neighbor's house.

Anonymous said...

In my haste to offer my 8:35 comment, I missed typing a few words. Sorry.

It seems as if the Morning Call is about to publish a special section about the Allentown district and praise all the amazing individuals who are providing this to us. That should be interesting in what it says, and does not say!

Guy Williams said...

The city has had problems with snow removal for as long as we all can remember. My problem with the city has always been their inability to come up with low cost, common sense solutions to the many problems we citizens face living here. Seems like their not even willing to try. Consider this. Involve Allentown Parking Authority in a more direct way during these emergencies. Whats wrong with APA employees assisting city workers in the effort to remove snow. Have seen city workers used to direct traffic around plows and riding shot gun etc, etc many of these support tasks could be performed by the parking ticket agents. Since APA would pay their people out of their own budget could save on city overtime. The best test of any leader should be how they handle the basics, which effect our every day lives. Pawlowski in my view is rolling the dice with the cities future. I personally hope it works but not willing to give premature praise.

Anonymous said...

I have lived park street in allentown since 1969 and I think it hasn't been plowed since the appointment of 2006? This two block street also is the home of a world famous hotdog vendor?

patent peding

Anonymous said...

My concern for the future of Allentown deepens. Given the inability of the city to deal with the accumulated snow over the past few weeks, my faith in the city administration to administer is almost non existent. I have heard increasing criticism of the mayor and building discontent with his capacity to be a leader of Allentown as well as the deficits in his personality that appear to make him incapable of having any real sense of compassion for the people of this city. Frankly life in Allentown right now is Hell. There is no where to park and it is almost impossible to get anywhere in any reasonable amount of time. The morning call laughingly only features articles depicting a merry winter wonderland and prognostications of why there is so much snow. They do no address the hardships of those living in the city or those trying to make a living in Allentown nor the ineptness of the city itself in dealing with this crisis. For the arena to succeed something will need to be done. Todd Larmer is out of touch with Allentown and should stay in the West End where he is nice and cozy and entertains himself making snow angels on his front lawn. I also hope the man who is our mayor leaves soon.

Anonymous said...

I thought the APA was a private company. The sign in front of my house says street cleaning year round. Maybe we should call their office 40 times everyday till the streets are cleaned

Jojo said...

I'm glad you wrote this. I was learning to deal with the snow not being plowed or removed, and then i was learning to deal with the fact I couldn't park in the spaces my neighbors and I dug out, but then I saw my neighbors cars getting towed and that's just too much. They were towed on Friday but the snow wasn't removed until Sunday. By the way the sign saying no parking was one sign tied to a tree (I always look at the trees for parking clues) that had blown over. Was this happening in the west end? Why did the morning call not have one story about it?
Any would be mayor should think about what to do about the APA there is no more hated organization by ordinary citizens.

X. City resident said...

Driving through the city is a nightmare, most double Lane streets are down to one lane or even a half of Lane. This stems from the 80 or so workers that went to Lca with the sale of the water system. How sad it is when the mayor goes on the news and says how great the plowing is going etc..

What a joke... Meanwhile down at the arena things are on schedule actually ahead of schedule, who needs public works when we have such a big arena being built? Hahaha

Anonymous said...

I believe everyone is starting to feel the effects of water/sewer lease, where a lot of seasoned personnel were used to help in these kinds of winters. Wait the real fun is just beginning. This city Budget has so many holes the rats can't find there way out of here fast enough. Just think everyone that is saying this mayor made all the right calls will be here when the taxpayers want there heads.