An Editorial in The Morning Call, click on Photograph
City Council's Waterloo: In the past year Mayor Pawlowski has ushered two major agendas through City Council with long term obligations, the Arena Project and the Trash To Energy contract. Both projects were controversial, had opponents, but didn't demonstrate that City Council can assert itself as an independently minded body of city government. Although both those projects involved enormous sums of money and outside interests, the mayor is once again at the door of City Council, with yet another monumental project. His newest plan, to lease the water and sewer systems for 50 years, will have unprecedented consequences. Three generations of Allentonians will experience both rate increases, and likely, less responsive service. Although Pawlowski can summon a few supporters to endorse his plan, opposition is widespread, from practically everybody who has a water meter in their basement. The plan would transfer some city workers to a private company, and result in disruptive bumping and reorganization of both street and park workers. If City Council cannot protect such a primary municipal service as water, existing since 1905, for whom do they serve? If City Council yet once again accommodates the mayor, their complicity this time will have repercussions. Each new increased water bill will remind the voters of this betrayal. For a primarily young City Council, with political ambitions of their own, they will gamble their future career with this vote. One Councilman, Michael Schlossberg, who is going to Harrisburg unopposed as a State Representative, is resigning early from Council to evade this damaging baggage. Another, Peter Schweyer, also wanted to run for State Representative, but was sidelined by the district mapping controversy. Supposedly, both Schweyer and Guridy would also like to run for Mayor in the future. A "Yes" vote on the water scheme could well be their Waterloo. The water bill will remind the voters, four times each year, for the next 50 years, that City Council elected to be nothing more than a rubber stamp.