Jul 10, 2015

The Renaissance, Drive By Shootings, And Resignation

One wonders if there can be a true renaissance, when drive-by shootings are occurring three blocks away. Although discussions of this sort are referred to as nay-saying in Allentown, that reality is affecting the marketplace. Lehigh Valley Health Network was supposed to put their orthopedic satellite on Hamilton, at the arena. After realizing that patients wouldn't go there, they chose the Westfield Building, out on Tilghman street. To fulfill their obligation to J.B. Reilly, they instead installed a fitness center. However, to induce employees to go down there and use it, they must now hire security personnel to escort the nurses to their cars. Although Pawlowski and his police chief say that crime is down, the nurses know better, they see too many victims. Reilly is succeeding in inducing a critical mass of office workers into the zone. They will need lunch, and there will be a market for restaurants. The success of any shops remains to be seen. How many new apartments can be supported, and who will occupy them, also remains to be seen.

Rumors are starting to circulate that Pawlowski is making plans to resign. Consequently, there are discussions on who council would appoint to replace him. This blog will wait to address that topic when a change occurs. However, the uncertainty doesn't help Reilly's Marketplace.

artwork courtesy of Mark Beyer

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, no matter if ultimately proved clear of any wrongdoing, Pawlowski is no longer fit to run a city that really wants to be taken seriously as a wonderful place to live and do business. He's damaged goods.

Having City Hall and his home raided by the FBI, a close friend and advisor skipping town, far too much silence from related business associates, a secretive ANIZDA, a normally in-the-tank local media trying very hard to avoid the topic, all lead to his demise as Mayor. The tarnish is unstoppable now.

PERCEPTION IS REALITY. Like crime in Allentown.

Even if I knew Pawlowski to be pure as the driven snow, I'd advise him to leave office.

Fred Windish

monkey momma said...

I went with my kid to about 6 physical therapy sessions on the same floor where the gym is - City Center One houses a physical therapy office, too. Couple of notes about this experience:
1. The security guards stood on the parking lot's 8th street entrance every time we visited - they were always there. This may have been the same time they trained on their new Epic system. Mind you, they are guarding the entrance to an enclosed parking lot.
2. The enclosed parking lot was always EMPTY.
3. The front desk employees were heard (by me) discussing a recent shooting, and many many times I heard comments from the staff about how scary their urban surroundings are. (I always eavesdrop on front desk staff - it is amazing what they will say when they think someone is playing candy crush.)
4. The front desk employees were also always commenting about all the "no-shows" to physical therapy appointments. Maybe this is common, I don't know, but apparently a lot of patients just bail on their appointments there.
5. The physical therapists were wonderful. The facility is beautiful.
6. It was so dead in that building - no one used the gym. The gym is gorgeous and there were one or two people in it each time I visited. I am here to tell you that there is no way that gym is going to last. Although it is state of the art, and parking is just so easy and FREE, no one is there.

If you build it, maybe they won't come. And the arena schedule this summer is so thin as to be laughable. Arenas are a tough business to run - you cannot make a profit if you're not filling your house more often than the once a month summer schedule of the arena.

The whole thing is awful. I wonder what will happen next. I really want to hear a comment from JB Reilley and Topper and Butz. Where are those guys? Busy consulting their own defense attorneys?

Anonymous said...

MM,
Another edited out news worthy weekend is amid the serious trouble of the downtown arena area¿ Questions will remain unanswered as I am sure phones are unanswered too¿ There is most deffinatly shredding sessions lasting late into the night to build a more discriptive invoicing rewrites¿
Than there is the only bissiness that is truely booming right now at the McKinley Gross building next to the county building¿

redd
patent pending

Anonymous said...

If I may offer a comment regarding process.
Empowering council to appoint an interim mayor
( could that appointee run in the next election?)
is giving the crew of the Titanic the authority to select the next captain.
If this is indeed the process the downward spiral continues.
Sending out an SOS!

Anonymous said...

Regardless if ANIZDA is implicated or not in the mess, it will be affected.

I think the state will insist on being part of the authority, and insist on a considerably more transparent organization with new people.

I see everything in Allentown being scrubbed post-Edageddon.



michael molovinsky said...

@9:22, i have even less faith in state government than local. they can't fix things even when they all agree it's broken. the only difference between this governor and his predecessors is that he has a beard. your state representatives never change.

Reality Bites said...

Monkey Mamma: The enclosed parking lot was always EMPTY.

No one uses the LVH facility. That also means that no one stays at the hotel. The arena is mostly empty.

Economics is reality, although politics can bend the rules, it can't break them.

The support businesses, such as Chickie & Petes, Tim Horton's, Roar... can't be that busy with the limited amount of pedestrian traffic there.

It's just a matter of time till the deep pockets are empty... like The Cosmopolitan.

Anonymous said...

Even with the FBI running rampant from the City Halls in A-town and Reading,PA, secret relationships being revealed, grimey white collar practices being exposed, and people disappearing in the middle of the night with moving vans and rumors of body wiring and resignations abounding, there is no feeling of vindication in any of this. There really is no time for "I told you so" and "you should have listened". We are a City on the brink and it seems to me that Allentown can survive being called alot of things but with the brand new designation of "corrupt", it may be another 5 - 10 years before we can escape this "overcast and cloudy" reputation.

More than ever, the community needs to band together and keep this town afloat because there is alot of uncertainty in the air. Will the new projects continue? How deep does the illegal practices go? Who is involved and how will the City be effected? Will this halt the ability to attract any new businesses to Allentown? And what kind of government wil we have since the whole admisnistration is basically going to have to start from scratch?

It seems like good entertainment and lunchtime conversation but the reality is if you have a PLAN B when it comes to the "Renaissance Of Allentown Part II", I would be breaking its seal right about now......

- Alfonso Todd

The EPICENTER
www.epicenterus.com

Bernie O'Hare said...

Excellent points, Michael.

Rich Fegley said...

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski spoke to the media today. This was what he had to say...

"There is an ongoing investigation. We have to let the investigation take its course."
...

"There is an ongoing investigation. We are cooperating with the authorities."
...

"We have an ongoing investigation, right? We have to let this investigation take its course. We are cooperating with the authorities. Let's just let it take its course."
...

"I'm here! I'm Mayor! So, ya know, I work hard everyday to continue to move this City forward!"
...

"We have to let the investigation take its course, guys. We have an ongoing investigation. We have to let the investigation take its course."
...

"Thank you very much, that's all I'm saying." - Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-im-here-im-mayor-says-allentown-mayor-ed-pawlowski-after-a-ribbon-cutting-at-pita-king-20150710-premiumvideo.html

https://www.facebook.com/richfegley/posts/10154234212223475

Anonymous said...

Alfonso, government is not that complicated. Policies will anger some. Please others. It takes dialogue and then guts to say "no" when circumstances warrant. Whether someone can sit in the Mayor's chair for 8 years (no longer) and balance competing interests over that time depends on the perspective they have on what is good government. Is it for he or she? Better, is it for the common good. You are correct in that some, including me, look back on what we tried to accomplished and shake our heads. You are also correct that we better think about the future soon.

Frankly, I do think that the political leaders who have been tainted should step aside at least temporarily. Maybe the Mayor should ultimately stay, but frankly, perhaps he needs to step aside until the investigation is complete. If he is vindicated, fine, but right now all of this came under his watch.

I would recommend that the President of Council be designated as interim Mayor until the investigation is completed. This can be done if the current Mayor really wants to demonstrate leadership. There is precedence for a temporary designation such as when a Mayor is out of town.

Just a thought

Anonymous said...

When all the chips are on the table Allentown will be left holding a dud of a hand. Even if they get a year or two at club fed the main players in this, Reilly, Topper, Butz, will all still have made out like bandits. The only people who lose are the people of Allentown. We are left with, I haven't kept track but it was over 3 billion last I looked hard, in debt. Thanks to the NIZ our taxes will have to keep paying that off. Even if downtown fails the big three still got theirs. They put so little into their projects that there is no risk from them. Lehigh gas will get it's cheap rent for their offices as long as they want it, Topper and Reilly still own their taxpayer financed buildings, Butz still has the construction money in his pocket, and the structure is still in place for Jaindl to get taxpayer funding for his riverfront development.

Meanwhile the merchants still lost their buildings on Hamilton st, the cigarette tax still does not go where by law it was set up to go to, the poor still have no new jobs to replace the ones destroyed by the arena, and as I said before the taxpayers still have a huge debt to pay off. All thanks to Pat Browne and a handfull of scum most of whom will still have their jobs when it's all said and done.

~Elijah LoPinto

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:04

Literally anyone whould be a better choice for interim mayor then Julio Guridy, the president of city council who has thumbed his nose at democracy and talked down to the citizens of Allentown from his golden chair since gaining the office.

~Elijah LoPinto

Gina said...

Julio is no longer president. But you're not wrong.

michael molovinsky said...

elijah, we can only speculate at this point, who and what, are the objects of a wrong doing investigation. however, i am certain that it does not involve reilly, topper, butz or the niz directly. i personally feel that the niz act and implementation is a crime against the taxpayers of pa., but i suspect the investigation deals with city hall, not the niz authority. you will be relieved to know that julio is no longer council president, it is currently ray o'connell

Chris Casey said...

Should the present Mayor resign, under the City Charter I believe Ray O'Connell would become acting Mayor until the nest municipal election cycle. Council would get to appoint someone to his seat as well.
My wife and I have attended activities at the PPL. We have tickets to future activities there. I want the city to bloom. But the means used to get there are now being proven to undermine that metamorphosis.
It is always about the money. Some people never have enough, and others are jealous that somebody got something that they didn't. And this jealousy involve multi millionaires and likely Billionaires.
I actually feel Sympathy for the Devil/Mayor of Allentown. I think he really believed that he was doing what was best for the city, and maybe he made numerous possible ethical compromises along the way.
Maybe Hollywood will come to town and make a sequel to "American Hustle" called "Allentown Hustle." Lots of temporary jobs, and maybe Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper could play the Pawlowski's?

Anonymous said...

Knowing Julio is no longer in charge makes me smile almost as much as the FBI going after Ed.

~Elijah

Anonymous said...

Well, Molovinsky, your certainty at 8:29 that the investigation "does not involve Reilly...[or] Butz" was wrong. And that's OK. We're all in the dark here. I'm very curious to hear what you think of things now that the subpoena list is public.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:36am, i think that my comment of 8:29 is spot on. the morning call article seems to indicate that pawlowski is being investigated for influence peddling. reilly's projects in the niz are the lion's share of construction in town, but i still don't see anything, at this point, that indicates that reilly himself or the niz itself is under investigation.

Julian Kern said...

SECTION 304 VACANCY
A. If the office of the Mayor becomes vacant for any reason, Council shall appoint an interim Mayor of the same
political party who shall serve until the next Municipal election.
B. If the Council fails to act within thirty days following the occurrence of the vacancy, the Court of Common Pleas of
Lehigh County shall, upon petition of three members of Council or ten qualified electors of the City, fill the vacancy in such office
by the appointment of a qualified resident of the City. A vacancy in the office of Mayor shall be filled at the next Municipal
Election, in the manner provided by law. The person elected shall hold the qualifications for the office of the Mayor and shall
serve the remaining portion of the vacated term.
C. If the vacancy occurs more than ninety (90) days before the next general municipal election, the appointee as
selected in the preceding paragraph shall serve until the first Monday of January next following said election. If a portion of the
term remains beyond said date, an individual shall be elected at said general municipal election to serve from the first Monday of
January following said election to the end of the term as provided in Section 302.
D. Until the vacancy is filled, the President of Council shall act as Mayor. If the President of Council should resign or
be unable to act, the Acting Mayor shall be ch

michael molovinsky said...

michael donovan requested that i clarify that he made comment 8:04 pm, july 10th. he inadvertently sent it under the anonymous heading.

Anonymous said...

The idea that a mayor will "step aside" for weeks or (many) months is totally unrealistic.

Michael Donovan said...

It is if you are innocent.

Anonymous said...

re: monkey momma's comments
The LVH building is a joke. As an employee, I wasn't allowed to park in that lovely enclosed parking lot underneath the actual building while going through EPIC training-- I had to park BLOCKS away-- It seems that all of the peons of LVH have to park quite a distance away as well from what I could see. While attempting to try to park in that "special" lot under the building, I had some nasty parking lot gestapo make me turn around since I didn't have the correct magical permit affixed to my rear view mirror. Undoubtably that lot is somehow restricted to "special people" .
Honestly, they would have to hire a fleet of security officers to escort each and every one of us. I just walked quickly with my keys sticking out between my knuckles. When I work at the Bethlehem site, I wind up parking at the dead mall next door and spend fifteen minutes just walking to the desk where I work, so it made no difference to me.
Taking a peak at the restaurants near the entrance, I find it hard to imagine most employees having lunches long enough to dine there, let alone being able to afford to eat there. Granted, I could afford a soft pretzel...
As far as the gyn is concerned, I would rather pull out my hair one by one than deal with the traffic to go there in the morning before or after work. I highly doubt any potential patient would want to deal with driving there for a doctor's appointment, unless they live a very short distance away and are very familiar with the area.
After driving through the decrepit outlying area filled with blighted/condemned houses and finally parking, the first thought that came to mind as I saw the newly developed area was, "I smell a rat".