Mar 9, 2011

No More Strawberry Pie

A letter from the blogger LVCI

I couldn't be more cranked with AllentownAfterThoughts blog today- "Lamenting Hess's"

Same goes with this hockey arena’s "pie in the sky" dream. Is this not the same exact urban plan that was already implemented in Detroit and Camden, NJ? Did the stadiums or casinos in Atlantic City, Bethlehem, Las Vegas or any other town solvent? Can not we examine what these cities have done already and see if it has paid off for them? Will it not cost taxpayers nearly million$ to tread this the same path that has yielded so little to those other cities?

In a very intellectual way the post is saying neither we (people my age) nor our ancestors know squat. Rather then reviewing local history as to how the city’s leading founders and business people like the Leh's, Zoillinger's, Bennioffs, Stangels, etc. created local wealth.. Pooley is basically calling both them and us a bunch of old whining fools who’s time and methods to success are of bygone historical unimportance. He (and others) should learn from these formers their business methods and contributions to local history rather then dismiss them in-so-much as if they are yesterday rubbish!

The Industrialization age in America (created by the old farts) is what made America a wealthy super power. W/O industrialization (manufacturing) we're sinking faster then a rock. The only reason we're surviving this long is because of the remnants of what these former industrialists had created. Remnants that are fading (wire mills, textiles, steel, cars, etc.) and along with it our entire country. Not because our peoples aren’t hard workers, but rather because we have have been stripped of the tools we need to succeed by foolish trade policies

What pissses me off the most is when the blogger says, "For many of us—younger, more recently arrived—Hess’s is merely an irritating verbal tic. Long past time to move on."

Gee I hope Pooley's visit to the new "Burrito Works" will deter Allentown from looking like Detroit a few short years from now. It seems to me the more "educated", the less common sense is retained.

The hot talk this month from both the school superintendent and RenewLV is "urban manufacturing." Unless states and city's band together and pressure the federal legislators to review trade agreements this isn't going to happen and is nothing more then a pipe dream.

Why should a company spend 10's of millions to build a plant, hire workers and try and market a product when all they have to do is set up a warehouse, call China to send them the products they wish to sell? Unless and until it is more advantageous to make and market here.. nothing will change. Not for Detroit, Camden, Allentown nor any other city.

There is an underlying tone that "older experienced folks" are holding this nation and city back. I see a ever rising amount of cynicism against anyone over 50. And this is what some who are charged with teaching are imparting to these kids in college? Scary stuff!

This form of age discrimination results in the kind of crap we're beginning to see...
Getting rid of the low cost non profit senior homes. Cutting Social Security and Medicare. Fifty and out. The 50 and older crowd is now accused of screwing the younger generation even though it was we who bought them their video games, cellphones and paid for their college. Our generation brought the end of the military draft for them. Fought like hell against all kinds of discrimination. Built the biggest industrialized nation on Earth (until a few years ago). Brought technology and medicine where it is today. Built most of the aging infrastructure you see around us today. Died in the Jungles of Vietnam. Fought for the few limited worker protection laws under the federal government and state’s currently you enjoy today. (Which under the new budget cut proposals amongst other things will strip nearly 60% of the NLRB’s funding).

You should consider yourselves fortunate that we are here to remind you of what it was like when Hess’s, Bethlehem Steel, the textiles and manufacturing were around. That there are those of us who are still alive who remember how we accomplished it and live to tell.

If we were able to FIX these trade agreements, these folks would be the very first ones that would embrace the return of these icons with their current “urbanism” aspirations. We already had everything you theorists are planning to try and replicate with your “urbanism”. Yet at the very same time fault our generation when we point this stuff out.

Hell have you folks even thought about why one organization calls themselves “Renew Lehigh Valley”?

What is it about RENEW you don’t understand?

This is a condensed version of an email sent to me yesterday from the blogger LVCI. The post title was inspired from a recent comment which informed me that I should get over the fact that there is no more strawberry pie at Hess's.


Allentown taxpayer said...

I could not agree more with the article that LVCI targets. And I am over the age of 50.
Maybe we would not be so cranky if we ate some strawberry pie. Get over it. Progress is about looking forward, not backward.

michael molovinsky said...

taxpayer, i don't think that LVCI is saying that we should look backwards, rather, don't dismiss the institutional memory and wisdom which is still available. for example, afflerbach paid a consultant $100,000 to recommend that we keep hamilton street clean. cleaning hamilton street was standard procedure during the hess's era. the new school superintendent recommends that we attract new industry for our vacant factory buildings, as if nobody ever tried that! LVCI is saying that we shouldn't discount local experience in the planning process.

Patrick McHenry said...

Allentown taxpayer said...

"Progress is about looking forward, not backward."


Allentown Taxpayer -

The mantra that if you're not for the hockey arena (or whatever the government project of the day is) that you must be waiting for the return of Hess's is getting old. It is a progressive tactic to ridicule opponents instead of discussing the issue and looking at the facts.

We need to stop looking for City Hall (and Harrisburg) to be involved in funding economic development and instead demand that they focus on the core functions of city government (police, fire, public works). The economic development will follow once our house is in order.

Right now, we have a major bridge accessing center city that is partially closed and will be FULLY closed for over 2 years. How can that be acceptable to ANYBODY?

We have an inadequately-staffed police force because our city politicians won't correct an outrageous pension deal, because doing so would threaten the union funding those politicians receive.

We continue to accept federal and state funding to "help" those below the poverty line, but despite all the money over all the years we have attracted or produced an unsustainable number of people living off the system.

I could go on with examples but instead taking on the difficult task of dealing with those issues, City Hall is now looking for an arena to "bring us back from the brink". Never mind that the outcome might not have been so rosy for similar projects in other cities.

The price of the project seems to jump up by $10 million every other week, but it doesn't matter because our politicians assure us that it won't cost us anything. Of course, we can believe that even though this is the same administration that has been borrowing and raising taxes (EIT, LST) on working people to cover multi-million dollar deficits.

And if someone dares to point any of this out - or even ask for answers to the most basic of questions - they must be looking backwards and longing for strawberry pie? Gimme a break.

michael molovinsky said...

comment from "Local"

Learn from history or relive it.

dear local, once again although i receive email notification, your comments are not appearing on my blog. please submit under a different identity option or browser.

Anonymous said...

It is dangerous to presume wisdom based primarily on ones age and educational attaintment. We are being invade by a whole crop of young arrogant Drs., in many occupations, that are ignorant of the past. Both Pooleys included.

Life is more than going to class and doing papers and projects and parroting the vain rhetoric of their "mentors". Life is about living and learning and yes continually being cognizant of the past.

This too shall pass and this ignorant twits will grow old, much to their disappointment. They need to be treated like fruit flies in summer . Lighted lifespan and a minor annoyance while they spend most of their lives just buzzing around with no significant meaningful purpose.

gary ledebur said...

This is an important debate. What is the purpose of local government? Is it to only perform the core functions as Patrick McHenry states? Is it to promote economic development as the mayor and school superintendent claim?

I suggest that those over 50 with the views of LVCI organize and create a political movement just as the Tea Party has done nationally. It could be called the "Strawberry Pie Party."

Patrick McHenry said...

Anon 7:12 said:

"This too shall pass and this ignorant twits will grow old, much to their disappointment."


Anon -

While the current crop will indeed grow old and move on, they will only be replaced by the next generation of bureaucrats who know better than us as to how to spend our money.

Nothing will change unless (and until) we shut off the funding.

michael molovinsky said...

i believe that jeff pooley does value experience.

gary, i do agree that this is an important discussion. government has never done well promoting economic activity .

Patrick McHenry said...

Gary -

How about instead of arguing if local government should only be focusing on "core functions", we simply agree that it should perform those core functions well before embarking on other projects.

By the way, I'm not close to being over 50 and I don't like strawberry pie. You and your fellow progressives seem to be the only ones focused on the pie.

Monkey Momma said...

The way I understand Pooley's post, the old guard in Allentown simply needs to DIE OFF so memories of the good old days don't taint the notion that things are just dandy in this town.

I completely agree with LVCI's contention that Camden, Detroit, etc. prove that stadiums do NOT equal prosperity for the surrounding area. This area needs JOBS - any kind of jobs - before we will see a return to a robust economy driven by private enterprise. And jobs aren't here in Allentown, just as they are scarce all over the rust belt. We simply haven't developed another industry to replace the old industries that flew overseas. Frankly, it's not a problem that local government can solve.

gary ledebur said...

Patrick McHenry: No argument here. Core functions should and must be done well. The question seems to be "should local government spend time and treasure on economic development?"

As to the Strawberry Pie Party, one need not like the pie or be over 50. I am sure many of the teabaggers don't drink tea.

Patrick McHenry said...

gary ledebur said...



Gary -

Thank you for again displaying the true hate and contempt for people that lurks just beneath the false benevolence of the Left.

Anonymous said...

Mr. McHenry,

Thank you having the courage to state what has long been obvious but is constantly given a pass.

It does appear that Civility is optional for some while mandated for others.

And it is disgusting.

michael molovinsky said...

patrick, i believe that gary, from listening to jon steward liberal media types so intently, honestly doesn't understand or mean the implied insult.

Anonymous said...

I did not know ignorance of the law was an acceptable excuse for breaking it...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it is the Progressive Liberal Democrat Left who incessantly lecture about Civility and Tone..., therefore, feet WILL to be held to the fire.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 10:52, the point is well made, now let us go back on topic about who is looking forward or backwards

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
michael molovinsky said...

deleted anon 12:36, you're entitled to start a blog called Against Progressive Liberal Democrats, but i do not wish to keep hosting the same sentiment (or any sentiment) over and over

Jeff Pooley said...

Here was my response to LVCI's note, which I had sent as an email since I didn't think the original LVCI letter would be posted (but have no problem with it being posted).


Hi LVCI, Nice comments, absolutely no offense taken.

I agree with you for the most part on trade policy.

On Hess's, it's not that we can't learn from the business greats. It's simply this: to the extent that we focus on Hess's (and the rest), we're not only pining for something that will *never* come back, but also contributing to the nasty feelings folks have about Allentown. Who cares, you might fairly ask? It matters just because the fate of the center city depends on perception, that's it's possible for it to become vital. To the extent that folks are fixated on the past--which for a variety of reasons will never come back--the downtown will never escape the it's-hell-here perception death spiral.

I agree that the "For many of us... move on" was poorly chosen. Didn't mean any disrespect. Just the point that we are, in a way, unburdened by the nostalgia for Hess's if we arrived recently or never lived through it.

Anyway, thanks for noticing and for venting. Jeff

Patrick McHenry said...

Jeff -

You mistake the nostalgia as being for Hess's.

While Hess's was great, people long for the time when one could walk along Hamilton Street (and most other streets in the City) and feel safe. Or that the streets were clean and snow was shoveled.

That wasn't perception - it was reality. And it certainly doesn't have to be gone forever.

The longing isn't for a building that won't come back - it's for City Hall to deliver the very basic city services that we already pay for. Downtown will become "vital" again when those basic issues are addressed.

As to the arena, many have a problem with believing that an administration which cannot perform the basic services of government - or responsibly handle the funding it currently receives -is going to properly manage another $70 to $100 million for a hockey arena.

gary ledebur said...

I apologize for the use of the term "teabaggers." I truly did not mean to disparage anyone.

John said...

What I find amazing, honestly, with Allentown politics is the fact that most of the people calling the biggest shots are transplants from out of the area and have no idea what Allentown was (not that they care anyway). Although this is the case, they still get elected and appointed.

You have Afflerbach that was elected from his mother's basement if I remember correctly), Pawlowski (who is from Chicago), Karen Pooley (who is from New York), these are just the ones off the top of my head.

How exactly can these people solve the problems in our City if they don't want to look into the past to see what caused them?

Yes, Allentown WAS a great City, can it be again, absolutely. But to make it a viable City the powers to be need to look at the residents and ask them what they see as problems. Besides, is this not the principles of democracy.

John said...

lol...nevermind, just read Pooley resigned (Shucks)