May 6, 2015

The $66 Million Dollar Dinner

Yesterday, a couple from Slatington told me that they went to the Allentown Art Museum during the afternoon on Sunday, then walked up to the Hamilton Kitchen, where they ate outside on the terrace. Except for the traffic noise on 7th Street, they had an enjoyable experience, and think that Allentown has changed for the better. Then, he asked what I thought. I told him that his meal cost the taxpayers of Pennsylvania about $66 million last year, most of which was going to the debt service of one private individual. Never the less, he enjoyed his day, and I have heard this story from different people, numerous times. Most people really don't care what the new experience cost, or who is paying for it, or who owns it. Of course, most people don't care how poorly this state is run, and keep electing the same officials, election after election. Then, there are some people who concern themselves with such matters, welcome to molovinsky on allentown.


Anonymous said...

And the worst part is that they didn't even get a discount on their meal, despite being a part-owner!

michael molovinsky said...

@6:19, actually, i believe the worst part for people from slatington, and other small towns, is that they never get their share from their state taxes, it always goes to the cities. but, time after time, they elect the same state reps, so they're apparently content with their happy meal.

Anonymous said...

You bring up an excellent point, Mr. Molovinsky. One that exemplifies why our nation really IS in financial trouble.

Too many citizens see government dollars as something different from their own dollars. To them, it's all just printed paper coming from someplace else, apart from their personal lives. It's not 'really' money, so who cares?

Truth be told, the billion state dollars already raining down on Allentown were not extra funds laying around in a drawer. They WILL be replaced one way, or another. It will be through higher personal taxes and fees that DO reach all of us. Free money is a myth. Always has been.

The recent Morning Call discussion to determine if the whole arena project and development has been a positive for Allentown was pretty silly when you think about it.

If instead the question referred to the majority of Pennsylvania's productive citizens, I'm certain the answer in conclusion would have been vastly different.

Fred Windish

Bernie O'Hare said...

And what happens once J.B. Reilly has made his money and leaves? And for those few blocks being propped up into a Potemkin Village, how many other blocks are being ignored.

Anonymous said...

Bernie 9:38am
Thank You for that very astute statement....We live in one of those blocks, and the blocks south & east of us are far worse!!
The Old Allentown Curmudgeon (PJF)

Monkey Momma said...

May I bring up another point about the expense of downtown? How about parking meter rates doubling and the hours of payment extending to 10 PM? If you eat at the Hamilton Kitchen, the parking is free! But if you eat at another competitor that's not connected to the JB Reilly empire, you will pay double what you paid last month.

We are told this was done "for the good of downtown." For the good of whose downtown? The residents who live downtown cannot afford this increase. The businesses that existed downtown long before the NIZ was created certainly do not support this increase, either. This parking meter raise is BAD FOR BUSINESS.

But it's fine if you're JB Reilly. Your customers can just park for free inside a taxpayer bought garage. What about customers down at Tucker's Yarn? Or Deliciouso Pizza? Brew Works? They get the shaft.

And who gets this extra money? THE CITY. That's right, the parking authority agreed to hand over the extra income from this price increase to the City of Allentown. And as far as I know, nobody even asked for this extra income to go towards the extra policing that the city is wondering how to afford.

The people who run Allentown (elected and otherwise) are only in it for themselves. They can tell themselves whatever they want to help themselves sleep at night, but raising parking rates on citizens who are already embattled is not doing anything except crush the poor further. And it's crushing the businesses who were here long before Reilly came to town.

doug_b said...

Here's where you're going:

The Philadelphia Parking Authority wants to offer a new smartphone app that would nearly automate the process of paying for on-street parking, but it has run into opposition from the Nutter Administration.

But the Nutter administration wants to put the brakes on this because it could lead to fewer tickets written and a drop in the ticket revenues that go the cash-starved school district.

“It’s great news for customers,” Andrew Stober, with the mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, says of the proposed app. “They’re far less likely to get a ticket as a result of mobile payment technology. (But) the way we’ve set up our revenues from the Parking Authority, that’s bad news for the school district.”

The city and school district share in the net proceeds of the PPA’s on-street operation. Stober (below) says last year that came to about $37 million to the city, and $9.7 million to the school district.

He says the mayor wants the Parking Authority to hold off on the mobile app until its revenue impact is studied.


Charles T from ALLENTOWN! said...

Bernie O'Hare for your information Mr Reilly was born and raised in the Lehigh valley (Salisbury Township specifically), went to Lafayette College and has owned real estate in center city Allentown since 1985.

I suspect as Mr Reilly makes money he isnt leaving Allentown, he was there for the decline and will stay for as long as he is alive. He is a avid supporter of the Boys and Girls club of Allentown and his children have gone to college locally (Lafayette)

I for one enjoy seeing a native of the Lehigh valley do something integral to the rebirth of Allentown, regardless of the mechanisms that may or may not have facilitated it. He is living the dream and has helped Allentown when Allentown needed it most.

monkey momma said...

2:24 AM says, he " for one enjoy seeing a native of the Lehigh valley do something integral to the rebirth of Allentown, regardless of the mechanisms that may or may not have facilitated it."

I really cannot believe I am reading a Reilly supporter literally say the ends justify the means. This really does sum up how Allentown operates.