Mar 17, 2008
Chicken or Egg
The Allentown Parking Authority appears to be involved in an impropriety. The Authority professes it had "excess" lots which it is selling to Nic Zawarski through proper procedures. It appears the mayor wants the parcel for his "moving ahead" plan and the Parking Authority is accommodating his agenda. The Authority Board is a who's who of Pawlowski supporters; Malcolm Gross, chairman of Pawlowski's mayoral campaign. Lawrence Hilliard, Pawlowski's finance director at city hall. Democrat Michael Donovan, endorsed by Pawlowski for city council. On January 19, the Board in full agreement declared the lots in "excess", despite the fact that there are more than 124 contracted parkers, using about 60% of the lots capacity. This lot adjoins the hugh Verizon Building and provides safe convenient parking, especially for the night sift women. By January XX *, a complex Request for Proposals was completed and sent out to whom? Is January XX the same as January 20, or is it XX as in who cares anyway. The deadline for proposals was Feb. 15. By the February 27th meeting, Zawarski had complete plans and architectural drawings. Although the Board was ready to approve the deal, Larry Hilliard suggested they wait till next week to avoid the appearance of rushing. Although no price has been officially negotiated, the 1990 tax appraisal was mentioned as the basis. In today's era of sub-prime scandals, using the 1990 tax assessment could quality an appriser for a jail-term. The property should be appraised in 2008 dollars with current comps. The bidding should be competitive with proposals send to a verified list of developers, who would have an appropriate amount of time to response. Most importantly, is there a market for $200,000 plus townhouses at 7th and Linden Streets, and would such a project serve the public interest more than providing safe parking for a large, long time employer? The Authority claims "Within a block to a block and a half radius there are......parking spaces." That's a long distance for a woman to walk at 1:00am., shame on the Authority. I maintain the Mayor's desire for the property came first, and the designation of excess, the request for proposals etc. is a ruse to accommodate him. My problem with the plan is the real victims, the Verizon workers losing their parking for very speculative townhouses. Chicken or Egg, impropriety or shenanigans, excess or coveted, something seems very wrong.