Jul 12, 2012

Allentown's Prime Time

During Allentown's prime time, it prospered as an enlightened oligarchy. Allentown's leaders would meet for lunch at the Livingston Club on S. 7th Street, and decide what this town needed to do to remain The All-American City. John Leh, Donald Miller and Harvey Farr owned the Park&Shop, and made sure that there was adequate parking for all the merchants. Although an eccentric outsider, Max Hess Jr. did more than his share for Hamilton Street. Not only did Hamilton Street prosper, but so did everyone else, living and working on the side streets leading to Hamilton. Although the oligarchy died off, and the Livingston was torn down, democracy doesn't seem to have served Allentown very well. We now have a strong arm-mayor and a subservient City Council. If the current project, with no cost limits, transforms Allentown remains to be seen. I remain doubtful that any benefits will spread down the side streets.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why council rolls over so completely?
You would think at least a few of them would be principled.
I also don't understand why the republicans can't run even just one good strong person,and win just one seat??
I miss Lou Hershman and Tom Burke.
Both parties are failing Allentown.

michael molovinsky said...

@7:05, i think that by any definition eric weiss had to be considered a good strong person. we appear to have reached the point where because of registration and demographics, no republican can win.

Anonymous said...

Bethlehem seems to do so much better attracting leaders at all civic and political levels. Not in every case, but generally across the board-------much better.
And Easton has lively civic conversations and more really engaged community groups and activists.
Something is very troubling about Allentown's disfunction,and it goes way back.

Anonymous said...

Louie Belliterri (spelling?) is a standup guy with bipartisan appeal.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. The general tenor seems to be people are really angry in Allentown.

More and more is being taken away from them and very few people are able to rationalize or justify the expenditure of our money for this current pipe dream. Priorities are totally out of line.

Out current civic leaders are so self centered they are spineless when it comes to taking care of "the community".

They are completely out of touch with the people of Allentown and the realities of the economic conditions most of use are living under.

This is the "Wally" world form of community development. They all want to be the kingpins and rule the realm. Soon they may find they have nothing left to rule.

These are not the men or women of the last generation, you referred to in your post, these are their spoiled arrogant and egotistical spawn.

Nothing changes, nothing changes.

michael molovinsky said...

@9:10, although Miller, Leh and Farr did call the shots, in between their properties were hundreds of private owners, who all profited from their vision, as did the whole town. the current power structure literally will benefit only a few people, at the expense of the whole town.

Anonymous said...

MM :
Is my Mac on the fritz again or are you screening out comments that are relevant and not insulting?
I want to give you the benefit of the doubt.

michael molovinsky said...

i screen out very few comments, none to this post. most rejected comments take very personal shots at someone, and are submitted anonymously

Anonymous said...

I'll take your word on that. The problem must be on my end.
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives really need to gear up and make a full-out all hands on deck effort to get a person in the mayor's chair.

It's not a Republican or Democrat thing either. Whether it's Allentown, Reading, or Chicago even, the liberal progressive nonsense only makes cities worse.

A candidate could run on an anti-crime platform and agenda and get a good shot at winning.

People are tired of the crime on both sides of the aisle.

michael molovinsky said...

@10:08 & 10:42, i also rejected comments (although not today, yet) that become repetitive about some ideology, such as liberal progressive democrats.
this is essentially a non-partisan blog, and i will not let repetitive comments characterize it as something else.

ironpigpen said...

Realistic Conservatives have known for quite some time that the City With No Spending Limits is a lost cause and, yes, it really IS that simple.

To re-arrange a line from the movie, LAST OF THE MOHICANS :

"The Fort is theirs (and always will be forever more), Mr. Molovinsky."

--------------------------

What we've got here is failure to communicate.

Some people you just can't reach. So, we get what we had here last week. Which is the way they want it.

Well --- they gets it!

I don't like it anymore than you do.

ROLF OELER

Anonymous said...

The political corrupt machine of allentown pa can prop up any dummy to have the seat as mayor. The current one is the best yet he wants his piece of the pie and they lead him around like a jackass and a carrot on a stick? @The entire eight years have been spent pointing in different directions, just reading about it makes my head spin.

Anonymous said...

A "conservative" republican can't win in Allentown.
A pragmatic republican with broad bipartisan appeal could if a coalition was thoughtly built. Eric Weiss has that pragmatism and wide appeal.
It's doubtful that the republican firebrands that seem to control the Lehigh County GOP would support such a non-idealogical race.
You want conservative red meat so you can feel pure,then you don't have a chance.
Then we all lose.

Anonymous said...

10:42
Just waving the bloody shirt of fear of crime to win a race is so lame. Like everyone who runs doesn't claim to address crime.
Even the fools who vote in Allentown can see thru that simple gambit.
Please,ya gotta do better than that!

Anonymous said...

You need someone who will change the culture in Allentown City Hall. If it's Eric Weiss, fine. If it's a more conservative republican, fine.

If it's Pawlowski, we get four more years of decline and failure.

Anonymous said...

Sir, this is off topic but I want you to know;
No city workers report to the big white barn in the Lehigh Parkway any longer. That crew is gone.
One response to the reduced workforce has been to mow the lawn at the shortest possible setting hoping to reduce manpower.
This has resulted in large brown areas where the sod is killed due to mowing far too low. The heat and dry condishions increases the already negative impact on the sod. Grass will not grow back on many of these patches.
Weeds will fill many of these areas. Marginal lawn will now become ever more compromised.
I do not expect you to take my word for this. Check with any independent qualified lawn or sod expert.
The great lawns of all Allentown's parks are being killed by ignorance and neglect,
I wanted you to know.
God bless you for your work in trying to protect Allentown parks.

Anonymous said...

6:26
What part of this don't you get---A CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN CAN'T WIN IN THIS BLUECOLLAR TOWN IN THESE ECONOMIC TIMES,with these demographics.
Get off you rigid conservative high horse,role up you sleeves and built a republican/independent/pragmatic political colalition,including some democrats who aren't happy happy with what's going on,that might save this town.
Or stay home and watch Fox News while you feel smug and righteous.

Guy Williams said...

I believe its a shame the Rep cant come up with an effective city organization.A lot of chiefs and few indians to canvas the city wards.Sure there was Scott,Kim,Kay and a small dedicated group who did a good job but it seems they were expected to do it all.Also where was the county organizational support and money?Do you realize how much Rep high rollers money goes to Dent and the national committee.The blame falls in the lap of the county chair.

Anonymous said...

The GOP high rollers don't care about the hard working little guys who actually live on the neighborhoods like Kim,Kay and Scott.
Really. No kidding? Ya'really think so?
Gosh,that's a real shock! And I always thought the republican high rollers really cared about us salt of the earth folk. Suddenly I'm confused.

Anonymous said...

The Republicans have always been the party looking out got the interest of the little guy.

Anonymous said...

The Current mayor of Allentown has a facebook and he post on it regularly(whether its him on it all the time remains to be seen, but I have seen responses to some peoples questions or comments on post), The last major topic he was pushing was community meeting open to anyone about what to do about the pension obligation problem which could cripple the city in the near future. He also has been showcasing some of the new police force members, community events, and some other issues. If some of the people on here who claim they care so much about the city you should probably add him on facebook its pretty well run and regularly updated page.