Aug 14, 2010

The Mayor's Basement

Until now, I have refrained from commenting on the Mayor renovating his basement without a permit. My initial reaction was that Bernie O'Hare crossed the line discussing the Mayor's house, and especially involving his wife. I still feel that way, but now the story has appeared in The Morning Call. Jeff Pooley writes that the mayor should follow the "Good Rules" imposed on everybody else. Richard comments on Pooley's blog that the whole chain of city command should be investigated. It is these reactions, by both Jeff and Richard, to which I now respond.

Richard, are you really surprised that rules are not applied to everyone equally? This inequity is a widespread fact of life; It is the same everywhere, and is certainly not unique to just today's Allentown. Jeff, accepting this fact of life, are you sure that having so many rules is good policy?

I have often written that Allentown has never heard of an ordinance that it doesn't want. It wants to inspect your property when you buy it, if you rent it, if you want to sell it, and next, if it's vacant. I personally don't feel that an investigation of the Mayor's renovation is necessary. I would however, appreciate City Council realizing that we have more than enough ordinances governing private property, and it's time to show our taxpayers some respect.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mike,

In this country the “rules” are supposed to be applied by the “authorities” uniformly. Remember “equal under the law”? Of course we all understand this tenet is more clearly a goal rather than a reality, however the pursuit of this “goal” is something we can never abandoned and when our “betters” are caught in the act those who care must call them out.

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

scott, although i wouldn't have pursued the permit issue, i don't condemn those that have. instead, i the question the endless menu of regulation, inspection and permit in allentown, and the assault on our property rights.

Anonymous said...

So the mayor is hoisted on his own petard? I like that imagery.

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

scott, using your metaphor (not mine), the "trap or petard" was created not only by pawlowski, but also heydt. allentown falsely thinking that they can legislate pride of ownership is nothing new. allentown falsely thinking that they can improve the perception of the city by concentrating on the buildings is nothing new.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Again we will have to agree to disagree. Keep up the good work.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

MM -

I agree with your point that Allentown has too many ordinances. However, I think one of the reasons for that is because not everyone is playing by the same rules. It is easier to propose and pass new laws when you know YOU won't be following them.

Because of his visibility and his wife's lack of discretion, the Mayor was caught this time.

I have also heard that the Mayor routinely waves the fees on projects he favors for developers who support him. If true, that is certainly important for a cash-strapped city.

The basement might actually just be the tip of the iceberg.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 9:07. i reluctantly posted your comment. it contains too much accusation and innuendo for this blog, as an unsigned comment. this post concerns allentown mistakenly trying to remedy social problems through intensive property regulation.

Anonymous said...

MM -

I agree with your point that Allentown has too many ordinances. However, I think one of the reasons for that is because not everyone is playing by the same rules

Dear MM,
Too many ordinances! Are you kidding. Upper Saucon Township just passed a 400 + page Zoning Ordinace. Talk about a loss of freedom.

monkey momma said...

So if we don't like the rules, we don't have to follow them? And status quo defends any corrupt practice?

The mayor is NOT above the law. And whether or not he is responsible (or the contractor) for filing the appropriate paperwork, this whole story still smacks of corruption and a "good old boys" network. $500 is ridiculously low - laugh out loud low - for ANY contractor work, let alone drywall and renovations that merited multiple visits from the contractor.

Just because "everyone else does it" is NOT a valid reason for the mayor to be placed above the law. And, if the law is flawed, it should be changed before it is flouted.

To me, this is one more case study in politicians gone bad. I'm sure it's the same way all over the country and the world, but that does not make it right.

Anonymous said...

I support the city's inspections.

The mayor should have gotten a permit, but he didn't. It's much ado about nothing.