Nov 10, 2015

Naysaying In Allentown

An apologist, who is in a profession to profit from the current development, wrote these kind words about me recently; Why would they spend 20 million in a new apartment building if the Strata 1 was not filled? Business people make business decisions. Strata 1 is full, don't be fooled by the incessant haters and naysayers... Of course the answer is simple. Because the taxpayers are paying the construction costs and debt service for these privately owned buildings, there are no normal business decisions being made. With nobody currently questioning the bills or figures submitted, or the taxes grabbed, the chosen developers would be stupid to stop building, while this environment remains unregulated.

But lets move away from the lucrative nuts and bolts of the NIZ, and examine me, as a naysayer. I first heard this term applied toward me and this blog by Pawlowski, about eight years ago. His majesty, at the time, wasn't used to any scrutiny. With an adoring press and public, I was writing heresy. At that time, even my fellow blogger from Nazareth condemned my criticism of Allentown's administration.

In recent weeks, Pawlowski's face was used on numerous mailers to personify corruption. I actually take no pleasure in his fall from grace, and wish him a soft landing in his current predicament. This blog's raison d'exister is to cast light on those decisions which unnecessarily depreciate our life. If normal business decisions were being made, or our park treasures were being properly maintained, and citizens questioning local officials were shown appropriate respect, I could write more posts on history, and less about politics.


Anonymous said...


Remember the "Allentown Informer"? Before there were blogs there was the Yahoo group site. Roy Affelerbach hated it and referred to those involved as a few "yahoos" . When we broke the story of the new police chief's use of a city credit card for personal purchases the Morning Call covered for him. We then became a forum that hotly discussed the police contract. That is when debate and disagreement became a problem in Allentown and all of us asking questions were personally attacked by the administration and their (Democrat) supporters. That behavior was shameful then and remains so to this day. It was however condoned by many who should have known better.If Ed wasn't under investigation it would still be happening now.

Scott Armstrong

Chris said...

Mike, you're right on. Normal business decisions are not being made. And still, some of City Center's own storefronts remain vacant.

Anonymous said...

Your first paragraph sums everything up very well!

Many people still don't understand the 'unique' characteristics of this development plan. Taxpayer funds aren't being used here to create highways, repair bridges, build state office buildings, public parks, schools and hospitals. They are being used in a careless, unchecked manner to create PRIVATE real estate empires.

Our tax money isn't being provided in the form of attractive, low interest loans. We hold no equity interest in these buildings. We have no ability to re-purpose these structures for public benefit, unless we again buy what we already created to begin with. If my understanding here is not accurate, someone please correct me.

I have read many opinions from locals acknowledging "OK, maybe this IS a little too generous, even an abuse of our tax dollars. But, who cares? This time the graft is staying right here. It's OUR graft!" Nice.

No matter where you live, thank your state legislator today!

Fred Windish

alfonso todd said...

Been a Naysayer and told I am on the wrong side of history for years.... Welcome to the darkside... lol

Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

I look at it this way: if lowering the cost of doing business (through tax reductions, etc)promotes the growth of a business, then why not lower the cost to every business? Why pick out special neighborhoods and developers? There is no repealing the laws of economics (except by the government, that is). As soon as the tax advantages end you will see a spike in rents and other costs of doing business downtown. That will be followed by the flight of those tenants and blight once again.

Call me a 'naysayer' if they must. All I do is apply simple economic and human nature principles to the NIZ.

Anonymous said...

The NIZ, a "tax-diversion scheme".

Under the NIZ, instead of going into Pennsylvania’s treasury, tax dollars from the special downtown zone go to the developers to finance their costs of building within the zone. The developer can use that money to service debt.

What a great deal...but great for whom?

Mike, is it possible that the legislature can come to its senses and place a limit on all of this? I know that this is a (flawed) law, but it certainly appears that it is way too generous toward certain people. Any chance of it being halted?


michael molovinsky said...

vor@10:46, there doesn't even seem to be the will to hold the NIZ to the legislation as it was written. so, brown and reilly applied the cigarette tax loophole, which is obscene, and now the talen compromise, allowing both the arena and jaindl to share talen's taxes. gotta love the self serving midgets called state representatives, no offense meant to little people.

monkey momma said...

None of the NIZ is about "business decisions." It's about politics and greed. Capitalism is about competing on a level playing field, and the NIZ is anything but level. If anyone participating in NIZ shenanigans thinks this is business, they don't understand the benefits of fair competition in a market, and they have never had the pleasure of making money in an ethically sound manner.

The NIZ is a scam for a select few, and eventually, it will be totally exposed as such. Even if the FBI investigation falls flat (and it probably will, because the FBI is rather inept), the mechanics of this legislation do not work in the long term. We've seen the cracked concrete at the arena after only a year. What else is cracked? Time will tell us everything.

This "rising tide" is not designed to lift all boats - it is designed to drown competition through unfair and unethical, if not illegal, means.

Anonymous said...

Our legislators in Harrisburg are ABSOLUTELY the problem here.

First, blame your representative for having approved such a pie-in-the-sky scheme under the cover of darkness. Most likely, without even reading the plan. Next, for allowing such a poorly performing 'investment' to continue on, knowing full well the budget shortfall already created just to establish the NIZ continues to deepen.

How long does it take to fill in a money pit that continues to grow?

Fred Windish

michael molovinsky said...

momma@1:04, i do not believe that the FBI investigation has anything directly to do with the NIZ, but rather unrelated city hall business. however, i do agree that the NIZ is corrupt by definition, and believe that in the future it will be a case study in favoritism.