Feb 23, 2024

Should Allentown City Council Consider Cease Fire Resolution

Palestinians and other members of the Arab-American communities in Allentown have asked city council to pass a symbolic cease fire resolution, The loss of life in Gaza has been enormous. This tragedy is a  result of Hamas intentionally embedding their military infrastructure in civilian locations, including schools, Mosques, and hospitals. This strategy of using civilians as shields in Gaza isn't a new development, but in place since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. The construction of those military installations and tunnels was done with the full cooperation and knowledge of the population.

The Hamas attack in Israel on October 7 intentionally slaughtered civilians, that was their objective. There was no call for a resolution from the same community at that time. Other groups also want a cease fire, including many Israelis and Jews. However, it should not be the purview of city council to resolve on international conflicts.

On a less sensitive note, Mayor Tuerk has expanded the flag raisings of different countries, including two excursions. While we respect and appreciate all our diversity, I think that we should resolve to limit such activity to improvements in Allentown Pennsylvania.

Feb 22, 2024

Love Letter To Allentown

Tuesday evening, at the same time the leadership of Promise Neighborhoods was having an event* at 19th and Allen Streets, across the fairgrounds at 18th and Turner Streets several people were being shot.

Among others in attendance and in denial of reality at the Promise event were mayor Matt Tuerk and Dan Bosket from Community Action, along with other assorted virtue signalers.

Hasshan Batts meanwhile has been organizing a new leadership clinic** against white supremacy, on our  funding no less.

Although Joe Biden thinks that I'm too young at 77, I have relocated into municipal Allentown as a prerequisite for a mayoral run.

*Love Letters To Allentown

**Leadership Without Limits

Feb 21, 2024

Israel's Dilemma Fighting Martyrdom

Rockets fired from inside Gaza City
During the second world War, the United States had trouble wrapping it's head around the kamikaze attacks. There is a similar situation occurring in Gaza. Israel is not targeting civilians; Hamas has placed their rocket launchers in civilian sites, with public approval. The rockets are fired from playgrounds and rooftops. As of Sunday, Israel aborted twenty five air strikes because their pilots reported seeing civilians near the targets. The leadership of Hamas has spoken in the past of jihad and martyrdom. They stated that they form human shields of women and children. Although urban rocket launchers and civilian causalities serve the purpose of Israel's enemies and distracters, Israel must protect its citizens. 

above reprinted from November of 2012 

ADDENDUM FEBRUARY 21, 2024:When Hamas attacked on October 7, 2023, butchering Israeli children and girls at a music festival, they knew full well that the Israeli response would be ferocious. As always, Hamas fired their weapons in Gaza from civilian locations, themselves placing their civilians in harm's way. Palestinian causalities have been enormous. Although world opinion quickly turned against Israel, they remain determined to destroy an enemy which will accept no co-existence. Many uninformed about the history of the conflict consider Israel an oppressor, some even accusing Israel of genocide. Some are predisposed to think the worse, others don't understand that some realities in this world leave few options.

Feb 20, 2024

Culture And Reality In New Allentown

The juxtaposition of the headlines pretty much says it all about the New Allentown. Although I'm low information on the symphony,  I'm forced to be more up to date on the shootings.  Although we learned that this is first homicide of 2024, we're not informed as to the number of shootings. It is that number, the shootings, that has gutted New Allentown's quality of life. 

In my day, before Allentown became what I now will call New Allentown, a man from Alburtis usually meant that his family lived there for multiple generations. Now it may well mean that he moved there three weeks ago.

In the old times we never had or needed a Lehigh Valley Homicide Task Force.

Feb 19, 2024

$100 A Week

In 1935, a Jewish boy earning $35 a week carrying 300 pound blocks of ice, was offered three times more to fight; win, lose or draw. For one hundred dollars a week, Jock Whitney, British aristocrat and sportsman, owned Abe Simon. Abe won his first 14 fights, 12 by knockout. On his climb to fight Louis in 1941 he would knock out 27 opponents, including Jersey Joe Walcott.



reprinted from September 2009

Feb 16, 2024

A New Police Station For Allentown

The mayor and police chief are clamoring for a new police station, to replace the aging facility built in 1962. The newest house I ever lived in was built in 1956. My previous houses were built in 1929 and 1905. Most of the row houses in Allentown date from 1895 to 1930.  While the police station heating system may indeed needed replacement, that doesn't require a new building. 

I think that this mayor and police chief should concentrate  more on quality of life issues before being concerned with replacing perfectly serviceable  municipal buildings. A new building won't reduce crime, but it will increase taxes.

Shown above is a 1960's era postcard, with a rendering of Allentown's new municipal facilities at that time.

Feb 15, 2024

Republicans Forego Allentown


Republicans have long forfeited Allentown, but with no candidates for this year's state representative races, they are also abandoning surrounding sections of Lehigh County. Josh Siegel in the 22nd,  Mike Schlossberg in the 132nd, Peter Schweyer in 134 and Jeanne McNeill in 133 all get a pass come November. 

A local Republican laments that they can't attract good candidates because the local media amplifies smear tactics used against them. Although there may be some truth to that explanation, as a conservative independent, I find the lack of choice in the voter booth unacceptable.  I hope an independent comes forward in some of these races.

Pictured above is my billboard from 2014, when I ran as an independent against eleven term powerhouse Julie Harhart from Northampton, and a Democrat. If I was younger and nicer, I would love to run again.

Feb 14, 2024

Lanta Suspends Service Because Of Snow

I haven't  been on a Lanta bus since my days at William Allen. However, I've been to Lanta headquarters and other locations for meetings about their service.  I first got on their case when they ended bus service to the former merchants of Hamilton Street, steering their passenger victims to their detention center across from the former Morning Call building. 

It seems that whenever there is a frisky snow predicted, they're awful quick to suspend service. While I can appreciate that they would like to avoid stuck buses, they seem less concerned about stranded passengers. Do not those who take a bus to work depend on it for their return trip home?

Lanta accounts to nobody. Although there are occasional Dept. of Transportation meetings which allow public comment, it doesn't carry any weight with the decision makers.

Feb 13, 2024

Smelling The Roses In Allentown

Last summer I posted about the city purchasing two parcels supposedly for the park system, using funds from the water and sewage lease deal. The transactions interested me, because the last thing the park department needed was more area not to take care of. Although the main stream media never picked up on my revelation, a pit bull from Nazareth now has that bone. Although this blog chronicles the short comings of the park department, especially in regard to the WPA, there is one section, of one park, which receives no criticism.

Paul Pozzi started working for the department in 1979. In 1985, he joined the small crew at the Rose and Old Fashion Gardens. For the last decade, the gardens have been solely under his magnificent care. We who take solace in that magic place owe him a debt of gratitude.

photo by molovinsky, flowers by Paul Pozzi 

above reprinted from August of 2015

ADDENDUM FEBRUARY 13, 2024:Mr. Pozzi, after over forty five years working for the park depaartment, has retired. If his replacement comes to know half as much about the gardens, or works half as hard, we'll still be in good shape. Thank you Paul!

Feb 12, 2024

The Legend Begins


On July 4th, 1934 Joe louis made his debut as a professional fighter. Eleven months and nineteen straight victories later, most by knockout, 62,000 fight fans would jam Yankee Stadium to watch the new sensation fight the giant, Primo Carnera.

New York, New York - Primo Carnera, giant Italian boxer and former heavyweight champion of the world, and Joe Louis, hard-hitting negro heavyweight from Detroit, Michigan, weighed-in this afternoon at the offices of the New York State Boxing Commission for their fifteen round bout tonight at the Yankee Stadium. - 6.25.1935

Although badly battered from the first round, Carnera would gamely stay in the fight till it was stopped in round six. The legend of the Brown Bomber was clearly established.
photo of Primo Carnera

This blog has produced 24 posts chronicling the Joe Louis boxing era, many featuring Abe Simon, a Jewish heavyweight of the era; Simon and my mother were cousins. Lately, Allentown political shenanigans have allowed me little time and space to visit Madison Square Garden in the early 1940's. During the next few weeks I will reprint these posts, while still assigning staff to City Hall. One of my attractions to the boxing world is the black and white photography produced during that era. The public would listen to the fights on the radio, and then see the photographs in the newspapers the following day. While reproducing these posts, I may in some instances substitute alternative photographs, all classic images from the age of film and flash bulbs.

reprinted from December of 2012

Feb 9, 2024

Securing Our Assets


During the World War we secured our assets with armed guards. The private police force at Bethlehem Steel outnumbered the City's police force. Last week, Wayne LaPierce, vice president of the NRA, outraged some liberal elements when he suggested policeman for our schools. The president of the Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, responded: Schools must be safe sanctuaries, not armed fortresses. Anyone who would suggest otherwise doesn’t understand that our public schools must first and foremost be places where teachers can safely educate and nurture our students. An unintended consequence of this debate was the frenzy it created at gun stores across America. Although the figures have not yet been compiled, it may have resulted in the sale of an additional 30 million firearms, especially those of high capacity. Weingarten must consider that even if the sale of firearms were banned tomorrow, there will still be over 200 million guns in the United States. I believe that a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines does not infringe upon the Second Amendment. However, whatever changes are implemented in regard to the sale of firearms, it will take decades to affect the volume of weapons currently in private hands. In the meantime, I don't think that a friendly policeman at a school is a bad role model. We must guard our assets.

reprinted from December 2012 

ADDENDUM FEBRUARY 9, 2024:School security, including police, is now a fact of life in many cities, including Allentown. While student discipline is an ongoing problem, recently the district accused and dismissed a principal for overreacting. While I'm uninformed about specifics, being a school employee is apparently increasingly difficult, at least under this administration and board.

Feb 8, 2024

The Lehigh Valley At War


If you lived in the Lehigh Valley during either World War, you knew that those victories required an enormous amount of equipment. Mack Truck was under control of the War Department during both conflicts, starting in 1915 and then again in 1942. The Queen City Airport on Lehigh Street is a vestige of the second war. Mack Truck and Consolidated-Vultee Aircraft joined forces to produce planes and plane parts. Mack's biggest contribution was its trucks during WW1, establishing their reputation for durability. The naval gun shop at Bethlehem Steel was one of the largest in the world when built. With barrels up to 14 inches, it was capable of providing up to 30 guns a day.

Mack Trucks for War Department 1918

above reprinted from January 2013

UPDATE May 2, 2018: Mack Defense, a division of Mack Truck in Macungie, was just awarded a Defense Department contract for $82 million to produce trucks through 2023.

Feb 7, 2024

Cloning Yuppies For Allentown

When molovinsky on allentown began almost five years ago, I used to say that It's good to be Butz, I must now add, but it's better to be J.B. Reilly. In today's Morning Call we learn that "under Allentown's arena block master development agreement, if City Center determines a hotel is not feasible, it could build apartments or offices instead."  That is news to me, and as a blogging naysayer I'm more informed than most. All state taxes in the 130 acre NIZ will be going to pay for the arena complex. Reilly will own from the second floor up on two portions of the complex, one on Hamilton Street, the other on 7th Street. Lehigh Valley Hospital will the the tenant on the Hamilton portion, while the 7th Street side may well now be apartments instead of a hotel. Reilly is also building apartments on the other side of 7th Street, at the Linden Street corner. Although I have no background in office development, I do know the apartment market. No upscale apartment development in center-city has ever met it's target demographic without substantial subsidy, and then only with limited units. There are not enough Yuppies in Allentown to occupy the current supply of loft apartments, much less without Reilly's new apartments. Perhaps he can use his influence with Lehigh Valley Hospital for a clandestine Yuppie cloning laboratory.

reprinted from January 2013 

ADDENDUM FEBRUARY 7, 2024:Although the hospital never did clone millennials for Reilly, it's my understanding that they do steer their interns his way. Blocks of other units are supposedly tied to office leases. Whatever his true occupancy figure, what is obvious is the continued lack of vitality in town on evenings and weekends.

Feb 6, 2024

Best By Test


Growing up in Little Lehigh Parkway, now called Little Lehigh Manor by the Realtors, the milkman was an early morning fixture.  Almost every house had the insulated aluminum milkbox.  The milk trucks were distinctive, and the drivers wore a uniform, indicative of their responsibility.  Freeman's milk was the best by test, or so the slogan said.  Their trucks were red and immaculate.  The dairy building  still stands, a quarter block north of 13th and Tilghman Streets.  They competed with a giant, Lehigh Valley Co-Operative Farmers.  That dairy, on the Allentown/Whitehall border, just north of the Sumner Avenue Bridge on 7th Street, even sported an ice cream parlor.  Milk, up to the mid 50's, came in a bottle.  The milkman would take the empties away when delivering your fresh order.  In addition to white and chocolate,  they produced strawberry milk  in the summer.  About once a week the milkman would knock on the door to settle up;  times have changed.






Occasionally the bottle, and later the cartons, would feature themes and advertisements.  A picture of Hopalong Cassidy would entertain young boys as they poured milk into their Corn Flakes.  Earlier, during the War, (Second World) bottles would encourage customers to do their part;  buy a bond or scrap some metal for the war effort.

reprinted from 2009

Feb 5, 2024

The Tracks Of Allentown


Up to the early 1950's, you pretty much drove over tracks wherever you went in Allentown. While the trolleys moved the people, the Lehigh Valley Railroad freight cars moved the materials in and out of our factories. Shown above, the Lehigh Valley Transit trolley moves across the former steel Hamilton Street Bridge. The huge UGI gas tank can be seen on Union Street. While the trolleys gave way to buses by 1953, the freight rail spurs would tarry on for two more decades. 

 reprinted from January of 2013

Feb 2, 2024

Retiring In Allentown

U.S. News and World Report tells us that Allentown is the fifth best place to retire in the United States. Expect local real estate to explode as herds of gray haired migrate from Florida and Arizona to the Strata complexes in culturally rich center city. 

Local political genius County Executive Phillips Armstrong cited our metrics, like transportation. Expect to see more cappuccino and croissants at the Lanta Detention Center.

I can only hope that the magazine's news is more accurate than their retirement recommendations. However, if you disagree with me and find their retirement survey valid, there is great news. The best rated place in the country to retire isn't far away, Harrisburg! Please take Phil Armstrong with you.

Feb 1, 2024

Shapiro As Deaf, Dumb and Blind

First off, allow me to clarify that when I refer to dumb, I'm not referencing the inability to speak, but rather not being blessed with intelligence.  I first made that observation when he appointed Pat Browne as Revenue Director.  Browne's NIZ is an unlimited private subsidy on the back of taxpayers. For Shapiro to cite Lehigh Valley as a showcase of success, testifies as to his cluelessness.

Shapiro's team handed out little gift bags with slogans printed on them.  Assorted useless bureaucrats praised his plans, which supposedly will not raise taxes :)

Meanwhile, back at the pump, Pennsylvanians enjoy one of the highest gasoline taxes in the country.  I wonder if the Governor noticed that Rt. 22 has never been widened through the valley, thanks to his Pat Browne instead wanting a new exit for a developer's warehouse park.

I'd like Josh to prove me wrong, but in the meantime I'm not hopeful.

Jan 31, 2024

The Morning Call's Lost Memory

A lead story in today's Morning Call features the temporary construction jobs created by the arena, which will end by 2014. Although the article was written by two reporters, and included proud quotes from the city's community development director, none of them know or appreciate the thousands of jobs that block provided for over 100 years. The Palace of Sport and False Hope is not being build on previously vacant land, but on Allentown's mercantile history. While the reporters wrote about what the job means to one construction worker, they never showed the same sensitivity toward the displaced former merchants. Ironically, over the years, those 34 demolished buildings  provided the paper with many advertising dollars. We will see how much revenue comes to The Morning Call from the arena.
  
reprinted from January of 2013

Jan 30, 2024

2019 In Allentown

Ed Pawlowski is in the second year of his fourth term, an unprecedented record in Pennsylvania. Although people refer to him as the little Daley, a reference to his Chicago roots, he has never gained support outside of the Democratic stronghold of Allentown, which he rules without debate. The bloom is off the rose at the arena; 2018  showed only twenty three events beside the home hockey games, and most of them were poorly attended. The remaining merchants, in the adjoining blocks, resentfully refer to it as The Dead Zone. Although the new arena complex manager, and the new police chief, promise to work together to better safeguard the patrons upon departing, suburbanites continue to fear the place, and rightfully so. The Reilly Apartment Tower, once conceived as a hotel before being built in 2013, is receiving the national HUD award for providing in house daycare for single mothers. Cynthia Mota, president of City Council, promises to work with Aqua America about the water rates, currently highest in United States. City Center Two, vacant since being constructed in 2014, will become the new City Hall in 2020. In separate studies, prepared by both the Administration and City Council, taxpayers are expected to realize significant savings by the move. The current City Hall will become administrative offices for the Lehigh County Prison, one of the fastest growing correction institutions in the country.

above reprinted from January 2013
 
ADDENDUM JANUARY 30, 2024: The above  post was written in 2013, looking ahead to the future in 2019. Ed Pawlowski did not finish his 4th term, at least not in Allentown.  The arena never even did have 23 events besides hockey games in one year. Hamilton Street is still a dead zone, a $Billion Dollars and eleven years later. We had so many police chiefs since 2013, I can't remember all their names. Cynthia Mota is now the president of City Council. The prison, if not the hotel, retains good occupancy.

Jan 29, 2024

Allentown 1950


Sixty years ago downtown Allentown hummed. It was fueled by the vision of people who developed empires, not cookie cutter ideas from the National Magazines for Bureaucrats, like the arena. Shown here is the Transit Office and depot at the side of 8th and Hamilton. General Trexler had been a principle in the Trolley Company, which also built the 8th Street Bridge, to connect Allentown with points south, all the way to Philadelphia. In addition to being the terminal for the Philadelphia bound Liberty Bell, it also fed the merchants of Allentown with thousands of shoppers from its many Allentown routes. The shoppers now sit on the cold steel benches at the Lanta Detention Center on 7th Street, as the non-visionaries prepare to demolish the center of town, to build a monstrosity.

The light and shadows reveal that this is an early morning photo. In a few hours 8th and Hamilton (behind the trolley) would be clogged with shoppers                                                               

reprinted from December 2011

ADDENDUM JANUARY 29, 2024:A lot has changed since I wrote this piece over a decade ago, but also very little. Although we have a cookie sheet of new buildings, both commercial and residential, the town remains virtually empty. The arena is vastly underused, seemingly a prop to justify the NIZ scheme. Fortunately for the few principals involved, most criticism of the development is limited to this blog.

Jan 26, 2024

Allentown's Resignation To Crime

I do not believe that Mayor Tuerk and Chief Roca announcing the installation of gun shot detectors reassured too many citizens.  It seems that we have sub-contracted out the crime problem. I suppose the detectors will tell Promise Neighborhoods where they have to assign more mentors.

Tuerk is proving to have the wrong stuff for the job. Reilly's NIZ has so far escaped any serious crime in the Strata complexes. The Morning Call continues to cherry pick nice editorials, avoiding my ilk. Nevertheless, the evenings and weekends do not reflect a $Billion Dollars of taxpayer investment...it remains the valley's dead zone.

While I'm not sure how much stouter police enforcement would help, I know that the current plans are a case study in failure.

photocredit:LehighValleyNews.Com

Jan 25, 2024

Molovinsky Rejected By NASA For Seniors In Space Program

My quest to be a senior astronaut is officially over. Although I squeaked through the physical, I didn't do as well on the psychological profile.

Upon then arriving in Tallahassee,  I discovered that Governor Ron pulled the plug on my plan B.

I'm on the bus and should arrive back in Allentown around noon today.  I gave it my best, but I'm resigned to continue being a blogger.

Jan 24, 2024

Relics Of Our Past


One of the surviving relics of our industrial past is the right of way of former railroad spur lines. Allentown literally had hundreds of factories serviced by several spur routes and numerous rail sidings. The area between Second and Front Streets was crisscrossed with tracks.  Even the west end had service. A line ran behind the current site of B'nai B'rith Apartments, across 17 th St. and up along side of the dry-cleaners. The B'nai B'rith was the site of the former Trexler Lumber Yard, which burned to the ground in a spectacular fire in the mid 70's; The heat from the fire could be felt in West Park. The rails and ties are gone, long ago sold to scrap yards. In many cases the space occupied by the right of ways can still be seen to the knowing eye. They appear as alleys which were never paved. Here and there a surviving loading dock provides another clue. Show in this photo from 1939 are the Mack Truck factories on S. 10th Street, now part of the Bridgeworks Complex. Here the components for Mack Trucks were manufactured. The parts were then trucked to the Assembly Plant (5C) located on S. 12 Street, right off of Lehigh Street. "Built Like A Mack Truck" became a figure of speech across America. It was a prouder time than the lyrics from Billy Joe; little did we know that things could get worse.

reprinted from September of 2009

Jan 23, 2024

Fairview Cemetery, An Allentown Dilemma

The condition of Fairview Cemetery has been in decline for decades.  It first caught my attention in 1997, when I began hunting for the grave of a young woman who died in 1918. 

By 1900, Fairview was Lehigh Valley's most prestigious cemetery.  It would become the final resting place of Allentown's most prominent citizens, including Harry Trexler, John Leh, Jack Mack and numerous others.  Despite my status as a dissident chronicler of local government and a critic of the local press,  my postings caught the attention of a previous editor at the Morning Call, whose own grandmother is buried at Fairview.  While the paper did a story on my efforts in 2008,  and I did manage to coordinate a meeting between management and some concerned citizens,  any benefit to the cemetery's condition was short lived.

Internet search engines have long arms. In the following years I would receive messages from various people upset about conditions at the cemetery.  A few years ago, Tyler Fatzinger became interested in the cemetery, and took it upon himself to start cleaning up certain areas. I suggested to Taylor that he start a facebook page, so that concerned citizens and distressed relatives might connect.  Once again the situation caught the paper's attention, and another story appeared in 2019.  Tyler Fatzinger was recently informed by the cemetery operator that he was trespassing, and must cease from his efforts to improve the cemetery.

Why would both the cemetery and city establishments reject help, and discourage shining a light on this situation? Orphan cemeteries are a problem across the country. An orphan cemetery is an old cemetery no longer affiliated with an active congregation or a funded organization.  These cemeteries are often large, with no concerned descendants or remaining funds.  While perpetual care may have been paid by family decades earlier,  those funds in current dollars are woefully short.

In Fairview's case, the current management operates a crematorium and also conducts new burials on the grounds. Funds from the previous management were supposedly not passed forward.  While the Trexler Trust maintains Harry Trexler's grave, and a few other plots are privately maintained,  there understandably is no desire to take responsibility for the entire sixty acre cemetery. The current operator provides minimal care to the cemetery,  with even less for those sections toward the back.  While the cemetery grass may only be cut twice a season,  that's still more care than a true "orphan cemetery" would receive.  Some of the new burials appear to be on old plots, owned by other families, but unused for many, many decades, and on former areas designated as pathways between those plots. There seems to be no regulatory oversight. Recently, both state senator Pat Browne and the Orloski Law firm have acted in behalf of the cemetery operator.

While family members may be exasperated by the neglect,  local government does not seem eager to adopt either the problem or the expense of Fairview Cemetery.

reprinted from June of 2021

Jan 22, 2024

Guns And Cars In Allentown

News of a traffic study to reduce pedestrian deaths in Allentown generated some back channel comments to this blog's office. If such a dog and pony show is necessary, instead of just some common sense enforcement is a valid question, but such is the way of government. Talking of local government, allow me to backtrack a few decades.

I used to live on the corner of 24th and Union Streets. Because the last previous stop sign on Union Street was by Union Terrace at St. Elmo, many cars wouldn't stop when they reached 24th, to dire consequences. I was told that a light could not be installed at that intersection because it would require interacting with the state for permission...so the carnage continues. Years later, the city installed unnecessary lights at 13th and 14th and  Chew, because they had a grant from the state for extra stop lights?!?!

There are streets in Allentown that have been dangerous forever, such as East Hamilton/Hanover Ave. Lowering the speed limit and adding flashing lights shouldn't have required a special study. 

Part of the proposed study deals with bicycle lanes. When they put those bike stencils on narrow Martin Luther  King, west of Schreiber's Bridge, I snickered... talk about an attractive nuisance...that road is barely wide enough for passing cars. In real Allentown you have teenagers doing bike wheelies in the middle of Tilghman Street. 

Please excuse guns in the title and artwork,  I keep confusing these studies with reality.

artwork by Allentown native Mark Beyer

Jan 19, 2024

The Winter Of My Discontent


With the forecast of another snowstorm coming Wednesday evening, my memory turns to the winter of 1993-94. I was living on a long corner on Union Street, in Hamilton Park. By this time in 1994, the path from my front door to the sidewalk was like a snow tunnel, with walls over three feet high. The busy intersection had a crossing guard, and it was important that I kept the corner clear, constantly digging through the plow curl from two directions.  The reason I remember that winter wasn't because of my house, but at the time I maintained buildings in center city. My days consisted mostly of salting, chopping and shoveling, one property after another, from one snowstorm after another. Driving my station wagon, filled with 50lb. salt bags, up the alleys was like a kiddie ride at Dorney Park, the ruts would steer the car, no hands were necessary. 

This post is somewhat unusual for me. I have for the most part maintained a privacy wall between my business and my blogging. Tomorrow evening, The Tenant Association of Allentown will complain to City Council about slumlords; I thought that in the interest of balance I would give a glimpse into conscientious landlording. Although the meeting might be cancelled once again because of the snow, Allentown's many good landlords will still be out shoveling the sidewalks.

reprinted from February of 2014

photocredit: Billy Mack

Jan 18, 2024

Sledding In Allentown


The photograph shown above is from 1958. It was taken in Little Lehigh Manor, the 1940's era housing development located above Lehigh Parkway's south ridge. I had the pleasure of growing up in that neighborhood. The hill favored by us kids of Lehigh Parkway was above the Log & Stone House.

Other popular sledding hills were in Allentown's west end,  behind Cedar Crest College, and Ott Street, between Livingston and Greenleaf Streets.  Years ago, a bridge crossed the creek by the park office at 30th and Parkway Blvd., with a parking area for sledders by the Cedar Crest hill. The Ott Street hill was closed to cars by the city, as an accommodation for sledders.  None of these hills are now accessible to a kid with a sled.

photo courtesy of S. Williams

reprinted from previous years

Jan 17, 2024

The Lehigh Valley Bureau Of Nonsense

When I comment on a story in The Morning Call, I like to do it in a timely way, so that my readers can find it before their parakeet messes it too much. Sometimes things must be put off. A candidate gets disenfranchised, so this little blog must produce an afternoon story. That story gets a bigger treatment on a bigger blog, and before long, our trusted press assigns space on the parakeet mat. Do people still have parakeets? I'm also restricted by having the hours of a three year old. While I'm blog blabbering here, someone recently asked if I don't want comments? My moderation system and baby naps certainly don't allow for immediate gratification. I also would rather reject a comment, then print it, and have to insult its sender. So, let's just say that I do appreciate your readership, and that your insightful comments are always welcome, even if printed in a delayed fashion. With all that out of the way, let's move on to today's topic, those taxpayer funded development agencies. An article in The Morning Call last week quoted some official from the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, we also have one here in Allentown. They get federal grants to study each other. The  quotes from the golfer who works there;  He pointed to housing developments like The Townes at Trexler Square on Walnut Street in downtown Allentown as being attractive to incoming families. (According to its website, the $200,000-plus town houses by Nic Zawarski & Sons are sold out.) In all due respect to the golfer and the Parakeet Mat, here's the reality. Most of the units were purchased by investors, not yuppies wanting the urban dream. The last batch of units were sold by auction, at fifty cents on the dollar. The last section of townhouses were never completed, the foundations filled in with stone. Never the less, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation gets millions of dollars in grants, to gather and dispense nonsense. 

above reprinted from March of 2013

ADDENDUM JANUARY 17, 2024: A recent post of mine titled a Citizen's Reply to Mayor Tuerk was first submitted to and rejected by the Morning Call as a letter to the editor. While the paper's previous editor had distain for me and this blog, I was speculating that the new guard might appreciate a change from their usual  stable of contributors. I note that a sister paper, the Baltimore Sun, was just spun off to a private owner tired of the Sun's recent apathy concerning local politics.

Jan 16, 2024

Mayor Tuerk As Mr. Rogers

In a facebook self video on Sunday, Matt Tuerk repeatedly told us to be kind. He also promised us that the city would catch up on the litter this week when the wind dies down. 

I think the city would be better off if Tuerk realized he can't wish kindness on people, but he can get tougher on litter. 

Mr. Rogers himself had a connection with Allentown.  A previous minister at a large local church was friends with Rogers, and Rogers himself came to the farewell service in Allentown when the pastor retired.  

Bill White reported on the occasion.

Jan 15, 2024

Tuerk's Sake Of The City

Tuerk's speech to the large polite group gathered in Jaindl's waterfront emporium was less than encouraging.  We are truly a tale of two cities...One with continuous mostly misunderstood development fueled by diverted state taxes, the other rising crime with no real solutions proposed. 

Tuerk was dressed enough not to insult the affluent there with a promise of more Promise non-profit distraction. Instead, he referred to installing gun shot detectors. They can be mounted on the lampposts along with the cameras that are of no help.  The detectors are of little consolation to the violence weary.

In his earlier New Year message, Tuerk referred to modern policing.  I'm sure those present for his Sake Of The City speech would prefer tough policing, and much more of it.

Shown above at last year's Syrian Flag raising is Mayor Tuerk with new council president Cynthia Mota, councilwoman Candida Affa, and former councilman Julio Guridy.

Jan 12, 2024

Raising Dinosaurs

Not unlike Jurassic Park, Allentown's NIZ is raising dinosaurs. Tomorrow's Morning Call announces that Bruce Loch wants to build the tallest building in Allentown, 33 stories. Loch is a developer from yesteryear, when Joe Daddona was mayor. Daddona sold all the little corner triangles in Allentown to Bruce Loch, and his building partner John Troxell. All those houses in Hamilton Park, the ones with few windows, on the small odd lots, were built by Loch/Troxell. Back in the day I took Troxell to zoning, because he wanted to build twins on a small lot. Although I succeeded in restricting him to a single house, after the hearing, he told me if he had his way he would parachute a dozen prefab boxes on the parcel. Needless to say,  there's no market for Loch's skyscraper, but isn't Allentown's NIZ fun?

above reprinted from March of 2013 

 ADDENDUM JANUARY 12, 2024: Over a decade later and the plan is back on the table, this time with a new developer and four more stories. Now that the office market is saturated, the new plan calls for apartments above the bottom commerical floors. This plan allows them to harvest our state taxes through the NIZ, with little to no scrutiny. Although new state senator Jarrett Coleman has been trying to shine light on the NIZ books, Pat Browne and Company has managed to keep us in the dark.

Jan 11, 2024

Hurricane Diane, 1955


Hurricane Diane hit the Lehigh Valley in August of 1955. Living in Little Lehigh Manor, I remember huddling in the house, while the metal garbage cans of the era flew around the neighborhood. My father, whose meat market was on Union Street by the Lehigh River, worked throughout the night. Fortunately for him, his market had an second floor backup cooler, and a small freight elevator. While the retail business district on Hamilton Street is elevated enough to be unaffected from flooding, center city Easton was devastated by the Delaware. The next morning was rather surreal for a nine year old boy. A large willow tree on the corner of Lehigh Parkway South and Catalina Ave. was lying on it's side. Although the Little Lehigh receded quickly, the park road and basin had been flooded. Diane remains a record in flooding and damage. Let us hope it remains that way.

photo from August 1955. Lehigh River rising by former A&B Meats. The row of houses shown were demolished to make way for a new bridge approach several years later.

reprinted from previous years

Jan 10, 2024

A Citizen's Reply to Mayor Tuerk

When I read Mayor Tuerk's New Year message in the Morning Call last Thursday,  I thought that a citizen's reply was in order, and that I was just the citizen to make it.  As a long time activist and blogger, I think even our best elected officials benefit from a critique now and then.

Tuerk is hopeful that Allentown will receive a large grant for retraining people for employment. Allentown has no shortage of new buildings in center city, on the contrary. They are very unique, because they are publicly funded, but privately owned, and mostly by one man. When the legislation enabling this unique situation was slid through Harrisburg, the promise was that this windfall tide would raise everybody's ship. As it is turning out, the taxpayers got no relief, and we're hoping to retrain the jobless? In the real world, where politicians never dwell, those jobs in those new buildings require college degrees, and our jobless are apparently not interested in blue collar jobs, because industry can't find enough workers.

While the mayor wrote about firefighting, more personnel and equipment, he didn't say much about crimefighting.  This oversight came on the heels of a very bloody weekend, with six shootings.  While Tuerk probably wrote the editorial before the weekend, public safety has been on everybody's mind for a long time. Many believe that there is generally a lack of police enforcement, characterized by loud cars double parking.  We keep seeing reference to some supposed non-profits fighting violence. I can assure the mayor that citizens want the police doing that job. While those references to non-profits may pay good political dividends, they don't make improved public safety. 

Mayor Tuerk devoted considerable column space to trees and the environment,  but not one word about our schools. While the schools are separate from City Hall,  their quality goes hand in hand with quality of life in Allentown. Quality of life goes hand in hand with the perception of civility. Civility is perceived by clean quiet streets. 

Tuerk's column was preaching to the wrong choir. Those of us who still subscribe to our local newspaper don't care about grants and their usually false promise of a better life. From City Hall we want a better life in more simpler ways, like cleaner streets with more police cars.

photo of Tuerk at city council/molovinsky

Jan 9, 2024

Morning Call A Day Late And A Mile Off

A shooting in the 300 Block of Hamilton Street Thursday evening didn't make the paper until noon on Saturday, then it was described as on East Hamilton Street. The timely video report on WFMZ clearly showed the police presence just west of 2nd and Hamilton Streets. 

I do not believe that the Morning Call was intentionally downplaying the shooting.  Rather perhaps the reporter  didn't realize that East Hamilton Street is on the other side of the Lehigh River.  On Monday the Morning Call was still using the erroneous East Hamilton Street location.

Institutional knowledge of the town is getting thinner and thinner at 6th & Linden.  Of course now 6th & Linden is just a figure of speech, with the paper no longer having a physical presence there or anywhere.  I do however appreciate and admire that they still produce the paper under that handicap.

artwork by Allentown native Mark Beyer

Jan 8, 2024

Greetings From Northampton County

Over the last few days residents of Northampton County were greeted by the accomplishments of their elected officials by letter after letter in the Morning Call and anywhere else that would print them. These holiday messages came from Susan Wild in Washington, Boscola in Harrisburg and Mcclure in Easton. 

While those accomplishments may have resonated with some voters, I doubt that they impressed the depressed north of Easton along the Delaware.  Route 611, between Portland and the Water Gap has been closed for over a year. Although there is bureaucratic mumble jumbo about permits, clearly there is no influential important entity along that stretch. Even the iconic jazz spot, the Deer Head Inn, is shuttered.

During WW2 we built 2000 ships and 300,000 planes. How long would it have taken them to remove some rocks from a strategic road back then?

Jan 5, 2024

Welcome To The Vendig


In 1933, with the end of Prohibition, my grandparents(maternal) started operating the Vendig Hotel. They were the working partners, another immigrant family, here longer, were the silent backers. The hotel was directly across from the current Main Street Depot Restaurant in Bethlehem, which was the old New Jersey Line Terminal. With my grandmother cooking, they became well known for crab cakes and other shelled seafood. What wasn't known, was that she was strictly kosher, and never even tasted anything she prepared. As some may recall, my grandparents came from Hungarian Transylvania (now Romania) in the early 20's. Family lore* says Bela Lugosi visited the hotel. Lugosi was born in the same area of then Hungary, and started his acting career playing Jesus in Passion Plays. In 1931, after immigrating to America years earlier, he got his big break playing Dracula. Typecast as a villain, Lugosi was reduced in later years to drug addiction and playing in low budget monster films. He died in the mid 50's and was buried in his Dracula cape.

*My uncle, who as a boy lived above the hotel, had no recollection of Lugosi. The partner families would later merge through marriage, and 40 years later come to own the old vaudeville theater in South Bethlehem known as The Globe. It too is gone.                                                      

reprinted from 2008

Jan 4, 2024

Allentown Johnny Leonard

Born Johnny Lakatosh in 1902, Allentown Johnny Leonard fought between 1920 and 1928. Allentown became part of his fight name, to identify him from another Leonard of that period. Although the tough featherweight never got a title shot, he fought and beat some of the best, including the future champions. Fifteen of his fights occurred in Allentown, one at the Lyric Theater, now known as Symphony Hall. Many of his other Allentown fights probably took place at Mealey Auditorium, which was located in the vicinity of 4th and Hamilton. Allentown Johnny's record was 32/27/11.

reprinted from March of 2013

Jan 3, 2024

The Price Of Criticism

Being a watchman is not without cost. I would have little motivation to labour with this blog, five days a week, if I had to consider local government and the press off limits. I had requested pre-event publicity about the Parkway WPA Tour from The Morning Call. I sent the request to five staff members, covering all pay grades of decision. Although I received no replies, the paper demonstrated that they had both the resources and space for coverage, if they so desired. On Thursday, they dispatched a photographer to the park. Friday's paper contained about a half page spread, with two large photographs of a women and her dogs. A large vertical caption elaborated about huskies and next week's weather. This is National History Month, as another feature in the paper pointed out. Allentown's new generation, and its new residents, know little to nothing about the stone structures which are the signatures of our park system. Roosevelt, the depression, the New Deal, and the WPA might have some relevance during History Month. Today's WPA Tour didn't suffer from the paper's boycott of me, about 30 people attended. I suspect the paper will catch up on our WPA treasures, albeit minus myself. Allentown has just appointed a new park director. Let us hope he develops an interest in the treasures of Allentown.
UPDATE: I would like to express my gratitude to everybody who came out yesterday, to both support and learn about the WPA structures. I know that because of the nice weather and fishing season, parking was a challenge. I would also like to express my gratitude to Friends Of Allentown Parks, for adopting the WPA cause. I look forward in the future to conducting another such Discovery Walk. This coming fall we will conduct another Allentown WPA Association meeting, to which I hope to attract more converts. Again, thank you.

reprinted from April of 2013

ADDENDUM JANUARY 3, 2024: The Tuerk administration had shown no interest even in my early offers for park tours, and I assume that with my recent criticism of the administration, my stock is even lower.  Likewise, my rapport with the Morning Call has not improved.

Jan 2, 2024

Tuerk Falters On Allentown Violence

Mayor Tuerk attributed our violent weekend to the number of guns in our community. That would be news to the State Trooper who was stabbed over the weekend in Berks County. Of course the problem isn't guns and knives, rather the denizens who use them.

There isn't an easy solution to the denizen problem.  Pandering politicians, society and pop culture glorify that life.  However, Allentown doesn't have to be so hospitable to the perpetrators. When the police see a car double parked, take the opportunity to check out the driver...in the least he/she is blocking traffic.

I understand that people are hurting from the violence, and that the rally at Promise Neighborhoods was an opportunity to share that pain.

Allentown is a municipality with a mayor and police department. Resources directed to non-profits such as Promise Neighborhoods are actually defunding the police. While Promise received combined $millions from Washington, Harrisburg and Allentown, the Allentown police department remains understaffed.

Tuerk sees Promise Neighborhoods as a solution to our troubles.  WFMZ's report on the shootings ended telling us that Promise Neighborhoods went to the scene of all three shootings, to let the neighbors know that their resources are available.  

photocredit:Ryan Gaylor/LehighvalleyNews.com

Jan 1, 2024

Mayor Tuerk, Less Promise More Police


Mayor Tuerk, last time you had the displeasure of seeing me was at the Promise Neighborhood Allentown Budget Love Fest...That sure was a friendlier venue for you than city council!! Many years ago that building housed an apron supply business. They would supply my father's meat market, farther down on Union Street, with clean butcher coats and aprons every week. Talking about blood, I'm here to talk about the weekend shootings in the Ward and East Side.

Although I live farther west in Allentown, I spend a lot of time in the Ward.  I often see cars double parked on 2nd,  talking to one person after another, then moving on to the next block and repeating the conversations.  I see this week after week. I often wonder why the police don't see these things?

You need to start thinking less about appeasing Promise Neighborhoods and the politics involved with such distractions from real public safety. You need to direct Chief Roca to start cracking down on the lawlessness in front of our eyes. 

Frankly, you and Roca need to start doing a better job!

photo of cynical blogger in gray hair and black coat listening to Tuerk preach to the choir/Promise Neighborhood grant(s) recipient and voter block.

Dec 29, 2023

Jennings' Campaign to Free Ed Pawlowski

Alan Jennings,  former founder and long time head of Community Action of Lehigh Valley, has been actively campaigning to have Ed Pawlowski released early from his prison sentence.  On facebook one of Alan's friends writes:

The only thing Ed was guilty of was grandiosity and hubris, thinking an Allentown mayor could become governor? The campaign financing structure whereby you need to hit up millionaires or be a billionaire is also to blame! Politicians need to put their hat out for donations to a ridiculous degree.
Of course the above is nonsense. Pawlowski used every city contract as an opportunity to twist arms for campaign contributions.  Contracts were not given out based on price or value for the city, but rather donations to Pawlowski.  That is the corruption for which he is serving time.

Jennings marginalizes that reality in his campaign for Pawlowski. Jennings himself made a career of twisting arms to get funding for the sacred cow he operated. 

One person who knew Pawlowski well was Michael Adams, former long term tenant at the Log & Stone house in Lehigh Parkway. When Adams injected some truthful reality into Jennings' facebook post, Jennings resorted to an ad hominem attack. 

Apparently, Mike, you have crawled out of the dark hole into which you were heading when I stopped talking to you. Regarding Ed, you don’t know as much as you think you do about my role. And I’m not going to waste anymore time on you because you have chosen to  take pot shots at those trying to make a difference rather than contribute as you once did. Go back into your hole.
The problem with the Jennings and Pawlowskis of the world is that they're holier than thou, especially with other people's money.

Dec 28, 2023

Lehigh Valley Railroad Old Main Line


The last portions of the Old Main Line were recently removed from Jaindl's NIZ waterfront parcel. Save for this blogger, not a peep from anybody else in protest. On the contrary, the track removal was spun as a positive, with notions that it would become part of the rail to trail network.

Shown in the photo above, the Old Main crosses Hamilton Street. There was a siding for the large white warehouse on the far right side of the photo. The line had numerous sidings, serving companies both along the river and on Front Street. For A&B Meats, the siding went into the plant.

Just south of Union Street there was a freight terminal and small yard. Although the old iron trestle bridge still spans the Lehigh north of American Parkway, only little scattered sections of rail remain on the west side of the Lehigh River.

ADDENDUM: My pieces on local history are not taken from Wikipedia and other sources, but rather from my experiences growing up in Allentown.  My father's family operated a small meat packing operation on Union Street. Included in the parcel was a garage on Walnut Street, and the white warehouse shown above on Hamilton.  I spent many hours waiting for the trains to cross Union Street.

reprinted from February of 2020

Dec 27, 2023

DeSantis Unleashes Death Train On Trump Supporters

The Brightline private train line has killed 104 Trump supporters since its recent startup. Roaring through sleepy towns at 80 miles an hour, many elderly don't even hear the whistle before they become a roadkill pancake. 

In small towns like Palm Bay Florida, the laidback pedestrians were used to slow moving freight trains. All that changed with Brightline's plan to join Miami and Orlando with a speedy connection. While the line invested $millions in new tracks and bridges capable of handling the speed up to 130mph, the human factor got no attention. On the contrary, complaints about the loud whistles will only increase the carnage. 

Perhaps the next president could control the border problem with a Brightline Train instead of a wall.

The above post supplied by Rainy Morning Chronicle, a sister publication.

Dec 26, 2023

The Fountain Park Flood Wall

Last week I used this photo in regard to the water lease controversy. It shows the rear of the Allentown water plant on Martin Luther King Drive. Although I identified the railroad track as part of the former Barber Quarry Spur route, a mystery remained. The rail line itself was on the south side of the Little Lehigh Creek. It would past Schreibers Bridge, and end up past Union Terrace, behind the present day Hamilton Family Dinner. An inquiry to Mark Rabenold, local train historian, was in order. Wow... that's a rare photo, indeed! What you have there is the remnant of the siding that used to cross a short trestle/bridge over the Little Lehigh creek and once serviced the city's water works. You're right in that it came off the Barber branch. According to Dave R. Latshaw's article on the Barber branch in the 1988 Proceedings of the Lehigh County Historical Society.
"Initially coal was unloaded from hopper cars standing on a siding located along the south bank of Little Lehigh Creek and was carried across the creek by donkeys pulling two-wheel carts over a bridge built by Col. Harry C. Trexler directly behind the pump station. In later years a conveyor operated by electricity hauled coal from cars spotted on branch track to storage bins at the pump station. Circa 1910, the water department constructed a railroad bridge from the branch to the pump station. This bridge allowed the movement of coal in hopper cars directly to the boiler house....In August 1936, because flooding of Little Lehigh creek on occasion threatened the pump station and filtration plant, municipal authorities approved construction of a flood wall along the creek's north bank. In addition, a pit was built to allow dumping coal between the tracks and a conveyor then lifted coal from the pit to a coal pile on the east side of the boiler house." "Because only one car could be dumped at a time, the branch train pushed a car loaded with pea coal to the dump pit at least twice per week." "Railroad service to the water department ended in the 1946-1947 era."
The wall, which still protects Fountain Park from flooding, was another project of the WPA. 

reprinted from April of 2013

Dec 25, 2023

The Trains Of Allentown





As a blogger, at the moment, I need a rest from those bureaucracies which I find so exasperating, and perhaps visa versa. I suppose it would be a good time to stop and reminisce some more about trains, both model and real. Shown above was the real deal when the 0 gauge was king. Before I go too far, let me state that growing up I never had a train. For a few years I had a friend whose father, looking back, was rather obsessed with the hobby. He had the transformer shown. It was 275 watts, and could operate four trains and an assortment of accessories. For many years, Bloch's Hobby Store, in the 400 block of 7th Street, was a model train expert. Trains were also sold at Pollard's Firestone Tire Store, also on 7th Street.

I've presented a number of Barber Quarry branch line photographs in previous posts. The one below shows the siding at the former Traylor Engineering Plant on S. 10th Street, now owned by the AEDC. About 20 years ago the track was removed for the entire  length of the former rail line.
  photogragh by Mark Rabenold, 1987

reprinted from April of 2013

Dec 22, 2023

Thank You Jarrett Coleman

Students of this blog know that I don't make nice with much, people or institutions. I would like to express my gratitude to Jarrett Coleman for following through with his campaign pledge to make the NIZ more accountable.  He has received no support from his local elected peers, in either the state senate or lower house.

There is however one monkey wrench in Coleman's good intentions.  In the meantime, between Coleman's election and his senate NIZ resolution, Governor Shapiro appointed Pat Browne director of the Revenue Department. Pat Browne was the architect of the NIZ. The information needed to evaluate the success of the NIZ must ultimately come from Browne's department?!?

Pennsylvania has always been the place where the good old boys and girls stay safe and protected by each other. It's no accident that we have some of the highest taxes in the country and that the incumbents stay forever. 

I'm hoping that Jarrett doesn't join the club.

Dec 21, 2023

Ice Skating At Union Terrace


The skating pond at Union Terrace was a rite of growing up in Allentown.  Putting aside climate change, the pond was frozen every winter.  Maybe the park department intentionally slowed, or even shut off the flow of water.  A fire was kept burning in a metal barrel by the southwest corner of the ice rink.  Benches lined the south side where a kid could put his skates on.

While Albeth Ice Ring on the east side was a skating option for the serious skaters,  Union Terrace was the choice for us less graceful, but more interested in socializing.  There were no iphones or youtubes,  just kids interacting with other kids.

The center city and west end kids walked home from the pond.  There were no cell phones to call for a ride,  and nobody would want to be seen getting into their parent's car.

At that time the park department was a significant part of growing up in Allentown.  Come summer each part of the city had its own pool.  For some things, like Allentown and its park system, going backwards wouldn't be a bad thing.

molovinsky on allentown is published early morning every weekday.

reprinted from January of 2019

Dec 20, 2023

Code Department Fails Inspection

I was informed last week that City Line Construction was working in force on the problems at the Hamilton Business Center.  When I drove by on Friday, no less than five of their trucks were in front of the building. I told a tenant there that I was sure that with the good faith effort by the building owner, that the city would allow the tenants to remain, but I was wrong.  As it turned out the owner had to seek relief through a court injunction against the city order. 

Early last week when this situation unfolded, Vicky Kistler was offended by the rumor that the raid and subsequent tags were a political reprisal. With all that work being done rectifying the violations, the city's refusal to allow the tenants to remain appeared to be doubling down by Kistler and the city. As of late yesterday afternoon, both the city and owner announced a settlement, with no further comment.

In my view if the safety issues were being addressed, the city's stubbornness became harassment, against both the owner and the tenants.

ADDENDUM 10:30AM: WFMZ reports that the owner withdrew his injunction request, and that tenants again are ordered to move out. This latest development puzzles me.  Was the owner told that if he wins the battle, he will lose the war?

ADDENDUM 3:30PM: The Morning Call reports that the city stated this morning,  “due to the seriousness of the life safety issues, we anticipate that it could take several months to bring the property into compliance.” 

The fire suppression system reportedly passed inspection as recently as this past October. The iconic property started life as Chrysler First Financial. Over the years I have been in it often, it's way beyond just a substantial building.  Perhaps if the out of town owner was more familiar with the reputation of Allentown city hall/ code departments, he would be more defensive about protecting his interests.