Jan 26, 2015

Allentown's Make Believe Economy

In a recent article on the Lehigh Valley economy, credit Tony Iannelli for a glimpse of reality; "There has been tremendous growth on a particular Main Street in Allentown, but that doesn't always translate to what's going on in outlying towns." On the other hand, Don Cunningham, as usual, had much more smile than insight; "We have no reason to be anything but encouraged." Of course, the most deluded is mayor for life Pawlowski;"Not sure where they got their data, but they obviously have not been to Allentown lately." In the real world of Lehigh Valley, things are not as they appear. While Cunningham boasts of the bottling companies which have come to drain our water resources and burden our sewage treatment capacity, a 97 year old local bottler closed. While Pawlowski cuts ribbons on businesses which have been induced into Allentown, other cities in our state hang For Rent signs on the space those same businesses vacated. While the enormous tax incentives may provide ribbon cuttings and photo opportunities for the Cunningham's and Pawlowski's of Pennsylvania, we are in reality just playing musical chairs. Without real additional net gains in employment, we will all eventually pay for these delusions.


Anonymous said...

The curtain is pulled more each day, that's for sure.

I've listened to the opinions of MANY people describing Allentown's new toys. Unfortunately, the impressions are rather disturbing.

For the most part, people accept careless and wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars as OK, so long as they 'get theirs.'

That's a lower form of looting to me. Sad.

Fred Windish

doug_b said...

Allentown's economy tanked a long time ago. After graduating from Lehigh and Penn State - I could not get a job in the Lehigh Valley area in 1972.

Little did I know that it was good fortune not to be in the Lehigh Valley.

Returning several times in those early years, my wife and I realized how 'small' it (Allentown) really was.

All that I read about PA: Harrisburg bankrupt, PA is one of several states (IL and CA) with huge unfunded government pension debt, Philly, Harrisburg, and Chester are in the top 100 'dangerous cities'.

It seems when times are tough, the shysters and their corrupt politics thrive.

Anonymous said...


as mr windish states I have benn stating the entire tenure of allentowns king¿ I just state it a little differently as raping and pilaging of the poverty striken of any and all dignity that maybe left within the human soul upon arrivial to allentown, part of the rustbelt that will never hold up local political parasites pants, ponziescheem pockets filled

patent pending

Dreaming of Justice said...

See.. *where I came from* was a viable city..with an actual economy..I moved here to take a waiting job, or I would never EVER have relocated here. That original job is gone; the business I built to take that job's place is gone; the 18 months worth of never-before-taken unemployment is gone; the first job I had in 18 months is gone (closed!); and now I have landed for now at a start up. Im doing OK-for now. But every moment of economic stability here is marked by weeks of upheaval. If it were not for my elderly father (who is dying of advanced Alzheimer's) I would GTHO. And for any bandwagon bozo who has a snide comment about not letting that screen door hit me- believe me I wont. I can now afford to take my taxes and my income and free will the hell elsewhere. WOOO HOOOO baby.

ironpigpen said...

I saw a comment on FB today that flat out says it is a good thing that A-Treat is closing because now there is more room for NIZ Projects!

I can't say I'm really surprised, however, given the fantastic re-education program that the wonderful people down at The Morning Call have been diligently and selflessly been running in their "newspaper" for quite some time now.

I can say I have a clue what WFMZ has been up to but I'll bet I can take a fairly educated guess.

Forward to Progress, Comrade.



Dreaming of Justice said...

What the geniuses running the City of Allentown failed to realize is that Quality of Life is not measured by proximity to an arena. Quality of Life is independent of that sort of thing entirely. People take their children to parks; people take their children fishing and boating and hunting. People need green space to renew themselves and to let their kids run around and play and imagine and climb trees. Let's look at the reality- not a single community enhancing feature was added to the *business plan* for the NIZ. No grocery stores, no rehabbing of the parks or green spaces. There wasnt even an attempt to eliminate broken windows as was done in New York City by the Giuliani administration to increase property value and discourage vagrancy. There was not a single thought given to homeless shelters nor even the littering issues that plague downtown. I'll guarantee that the snow removal service will remain shamefully performed. A half billion dollars for an arena??? Almost 30% of the city residents live at or below poverty level. In any other state, such a *business plan* would have-and should have been laughed away. NOT HERE.. people are so beaten down that the MC can trumpet jobs creation even as restaurants that were funded by the NIZ grant scale back hours. It is crazy. Ive never seen a city run like this one is. Ive never seen residents so placid and ground-down. Less than 20% of all Allentown's residents have a bachelors degree- so theyre going to have to keep their noses down, scraping along week to week. If the place were run with more of a community-based vision, maybe the few retirees with money would elect to stay here-or at least, stay longer.
Maybe children who go to college and obtain advanced degrees might elect to return here instead of leaving for better opportunities elsewhere. NOBODY stays ina city because of an arena.

Anonymous said...

Comrade Molovinsky,

I must respectfully challenge this notion that there is no "community benefit" to the magnificent Pawlowski Palace of Sport.

Do you have any idea how many local elementary schools "meLVin" (please note the nifty spelling), the official mascot of the AHL's Lehigh Valley Phantoms, has visited in just the first half of the season alone?

And what of the countless visits by Phantoms players to sick people at local area hospitals?

The $ 177.1 million dollar investment in the transformative arena has already paid spectacular dividends to the hopes and dreams of countless local elementary school children as well as local hospital patients!

This is real progress, Comrade, by any measuring stick. Just ask The Morning Call about "community benefit". Or any of the throngs of satisfied citizens strolling all about the Lehigh Valley.


Col. Viktor Tikhonov
Soviet Red Army (ret)

Julian Kern said...

Dreaming of Justice....Well said and I 100% agree. The city did put together a center city initiative plan but most of the things in the plan are things the city did in the past but then were stopped by the administration.

The new development is not benefiting the residents who live just outside of the NIZ or the residents who live in other sections of the city. Like you said 27% of city residents live in poverty and that needs to be addressed plus quality of life issues such as parking, littering, trashed properties, illegal dumping, graffiti, stray animals, traffic, & more. The city needs to focus more on the neglected housing stock.
Most of the jobs that were created are part time low paying jobs.

Residents need to stand up and say enough is enough. They need to get out and vote in people who will actually create change. If we keep voting in the people making this decisions it will only get worse.