Sep 1, 2012

The Self-Serving Of Alan Jennings

making way for White Guy Arena
Alan Jennings had stood silently by, while 34 minority merchants were displaced to build the White Guy Arena. He even became part of the NIZ Authority, who decides which developers qualify for Knighthood. Now, he has proposed that the Knights throw half a $million dollars a year at him. He didn't exactly put it that way, but here's the deal; He now proposes a community benefit fund which will pay for startup minority businesses, and other such Feel-Good projects starting on 7th Street. By coincidence, he happens to operate an existing organization housed at 7th and Liberty Streets, which does exactly the projects which he now proposes. Cut out of the deal would be CUNA, which had been meeting and proposing their own community benefit program. Of course the businesses displaced by the arena were started up by minorities, but they were self starters, not part of the Jennings Made Poverty A Business Corporation. As for CUNA, they should have been at City Hall last year, defending the previous existing merchants.

Better Photos By Molovinsky


LVCI said...

Jennings aside, what struck me was the $500,000 a year. Not since biblical times when 'manna from heaven ' rained down on Moses was so much expected from this project. I would think developers might be concerned if they are squeezed for an unexpected 1/2 a million per year.

I also suspect in a few years there will be large city property tax increases on some of these properties in the NIZ. Hence why I also suspect current developers will flip them before that can happen enabling them to walk away before there are diminishing returns.

Anonymous said...

Does Allen know no shame anymore?

michael molovinsky said...

it's a not so transparent attempt to leverage funds to his Community Action Development Corporation of Allentown, located at 443 N. 7th St. i find some hypocrisy and irony to evict self starting merchants, to make way for Big White Boys, then suggest that they support minority startup businesses in the new Designated Minority Business District

Anonymous said...

Sad but true words, MM. These are the politics that are taking place that are keeping many people IN poverty in A-town. There are so many businesses that were started in the area by people who pulled up 'their OWN bootstraps' and they have no representation. Not only are they not being recognized, helped, or rewarded for investing in this city, but many have been penalized. (The 39 businesses displaced was tragic but ask about the rules, regulations, politics, etc many businesses have had to go through just to open their doors to the public; and it's STILL on going....) SMH

Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

Classic Allen Jennings. Grabs some headlines. Cuts out CUNA,a more democraticly run,legit grass-roots group,sets himself up as savior and man of the poor,carves out a hunk of money for his shop and rolls out some vague half baked plans. Beautiful.
What I can't get is how this publicity loving huckster has any credability after years and years of this tired bullshit? It's so transparent.
How does he continue to pull it off?

Anonymous said...

Anyone really surprised?

Allen Jennings ( CACLV ) backed the whole NIZ plan. Supports the sale of Allentown's water supply. Pushed those pesky little people at CUNA aside for the mayor and worked to sell the Hockey Palace to the suburbs.Etc.

Now Allen Jennings ( CAVLV ) get their payoff in publicity,power and cash. He's been a loyal team player. What a guy!

This is the way it was always supposed to play out folks.

michael molovinsky said...

@4:17, it's very politically incorrect to criticize an advocate for the poor. although people will agree with me in private, and comment as such anonymously, not too many people would put their name to this post.

ironpigpen said...

Why stop at $ 500,000?

This is the City With No Limits.

The Phantoms and everybody else are getting $ 233.7 worth of free stuff to help them make money down the line ... why should the people profiting from the Palace of Sport and everything thing else NOT be shaken down for tremendous amounts of "donations" in return for all that up-front Government Caring and Compassion?


michael molovinsky said...

rolf, he wants $500,000 a year.

Anonymous said...

Between the arena and the water sell off we're talking 350 MILLION $$$ plus.

350 MILLION $$$$$$ PLUS. Allen Jennings is just looking for $500,000.00 a year.

With that kind of money at stake the political and money players will squash opponents and ruin lives if they must. Everybody understands this.

Is it any wonder people comment anonymously? It's a wonder people will speak out even in private. It's a vindictive poison environment.

Not many people have the courage you and the Fegley family have.

Anonymous said...

Alan the commensurate example of the gentrifcation of Allentown AKA "push the brown folk out". The social and cultural fall out from this otherwise racist attempt to cleanup Allentown will be profound. Whitey will definitely be at the top of the most unpopular list. Just how long do they think people will put up with their social bias and economic oppresion?

Anonymous said...

allen jennings hasn't felt any shame in 15 or 20 years bro!

michael molovinsky said...

@10:08, i'd like to clarify that my accusations against jennings involve irony and hypocrisy, but not racism. i think that his programs are unproductive and misguided, but not oppressive.

Anonymous said...

I would disagree about the racism charge.

He assumes that minorities cannot succeed without his or someone else's help. In addition, the programs he has supported over the last 20 years have kept minorities at the bottom of the economic ladder. He has been willing to continue advocating for those same policies, and skimming his own salary, despite a lack of results and its effect on the minority population.

He might not be your classic racist, but he's probably done more to set the minority population back than those who are more open about it.

ironpigpen said...

With all due respect, Mr. Molovinsky, I fear you may have missed my point ...

... if $ 500,000 can fund a bunch of beneficial programs ...

... why not shoot for a cool million (or more) and do twice as much good (or more) for the Community Benefit?

Again, this is the City With No Limits. Think much bigger, that's all I'm saying. It's for the Poor, right?



ironpigpen said...

I am actually a rather poor man, truth be told.

But I really am sick and fucking tired of this Big Government-Can-Fix-Everything mentality.

I tell my realtor buddy JIMMY BALLIET all the time, "YOU, for one, are going to be very sorry the day I get sick and tired of going to bat for Capitalism and having my face beat it."


michael molovinsky said...

@7:58, i published your comment with hesitation. although i'm no fan of jennings', or his programs, and understand you consider him an enabler to the determent of minorities, a suggestion of racism is uncalled for. more so, the accusation of skimming his own salary is false. it's common knowledge that his salary is on the low side of an organization with that many employees and that big of a budget. again, such comments as this, when submitted, especially anonymously, often will not appear.

Anonymous said...

7:58 here -

For clarification, the "skimming" comment has nothing to do with the amount of salary, only the reality of where it comes from. While I don't know his benefit package, his current salary, or even if he draws additional funds from the myriad of related organizations he's involved with, a paycheck is still a paycheck and it's coming from the monies the organization receives.

As to the racism charge, this is not someone who has just started his organization and is waiting to see how things turn out. This is someone with a track record of decades of failure. Whether intentionally or through cluelessness, he will not admit that and actively tries to undermine others who try to solve the issues where he has failed (look how he's trying to cut out CUNA).

Those of Jennings' ilk are quick to hurl the racism charge at anyone who disagrees with their positions. All I'm saying is that even those who claim to be helping minorities are often racists, and I think it's appropriate to look at their record (not just their stated intentions) to determine that.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:51, you can certainly find people, including minorities, who find his programs ineffective, but he is not a filter through which all local minority business people must pass. i think you hurl the term racist way too casually.

Anonymous said...

Alan Jennings is a mixed blessing at best. Egotistical,a PR slut,frequent sell out,savior of the suits and powerful,friend of casinos,arenas and privateized water.

He has also done some excellent work for the homeless and those abused by predatory lenders, forced the townships to take some responcebility for the neediest amoung us,etc.

Often hypocritical,yes----a racist never!
Hustling dollars for iffy programs,sometimes ( some CACLV programs have been very effective and provided a positive ROI for taxpayers like weatherization ) -----taking payoff,skiming,or personal profit-----absolutely never! He may like the power be he ain't in it for the personal profit.

Anonymous said...

8:51 here -

You may be right, but maybe that's because of my confusion about what is actually considered "racist" nowadays.

I've seen too many good people destroyed because innocent comments were twisted to have some "racist" meaning. Those on the political left like to use this tactic to avoid legitimate debate on the issues. I would think that the reluctance of many to go on the record about Jennings is a reflection of this reality.

At the same time, those who actually believe that minority men and women are somehow different and cannot succeed without government help are given a free pass. Similarly, the intentions and actions of those who promote policies that have enslaved generations of minority men and women to poverty are never questioned.

I hope you can understand my confusion and frustration with the "racist" label.

Anonymous said...

There are many different ways to "profit" from something, and money is but one way to measure that profit.

You accurately point out that "power" is another way one might profit from something.

I am far less concerned with Jennings' motivations than his results. He has wasted millions in taxpayer dollars over the last two decades and has little to show for it. His few success stories pale in comparison to his failures. Things have gotten worse where he is involved, not better.

Even more damning is that he perpetuates a system that treats minority men and women as something less than others and who can only succeed with his (and the government's) help. The policies he supports have actually kept the poor (minority and white alike) from reaching their full potential as human beings and participating in the American Dream.

That's not just wrong, it's immoral.

Anonymous said...

I can remember the days when a few citizens challenged the plastic playground down at Cedar Beach. A local church did a call for action at a Sunday service to combat the racists opposed to the playground.

Many flooded to support the plastic playground cause. So therefore the point was those who opposed the playground thought those other than white should not be allowed in because they were different?

Ludicurs! Morally and ethically twisted but no one called them on that.

But now when some are excluded and they all happen to be of a race/nationality/ethnicity other than Caucasian it is justified in the name of economic development.

How about all of those mentioned above by Mr. Todd who have legitimately tried to start a business and have been unsuccessful at sustaining it. Why did they not get help like Brew Works and Reilly?

Please what America am I living in? I thought we were all equal and had the same opportunity to pursue the American dream.

But now it is evident that some are more entitled and others and the division appears to be primarily along race/nationality/ethnicity lines. And that does not appear racist?

Perhaps malignant discrimination, hate, bias, bigotry are better words.

Personally I have talked with thousands of individuals in Allentown who do not frequent the LVCC or shop at Wegman's who would think racist is just the perfect word to describe the barriers in their way as they try to survive, forget about pursuing the American Dream.

Being able to pursue the American dream is a dream in and of itself for many in this town.

Man cannot serve two masters. Why doesn't CACLV join forces with CUNA. No operational expense cut on that one. They, CUNA et al, are trying to make a difference without all the government / grant BS that has bankrupted this country.

Safe Harbor Fan

Anonymous said...

CACLV is not interested in collaboration with CUNA.
Authentic collaboration has never been Mr. Jennings thing.
The "local church" that came out to support the plastic playground happened to be the mayor's wife's congregation. The unfortunate allegations of racism were challenged,including on this blog.
Unregulated betting parlor capitalism and Wild West Wall St. killed the American dream------- can you say Jamie Dimon's JP Morgan Chase,Jon Corzine's MF Global and Lloyd Blankfein's Goldman Sachs.
Mr.Jennings may be a B.S. artist but there's scant evidence he's a racist and it's unlikely he killed the American Dream.
Jennings has been an advocate for Safe Harbor.

Anonymous said...

Typical rationalizations abound on the topic of racism. Perhaps it is not the individual guilty of the sin but the association that comes through participation in a situation that has all the smackings of such. It is what it is, no excuses. Many a man has become what he feared even when he believes his intentions are otherwise. There are plenty of Allentonians helping their fellows on a daily basis without the need for a PR person or government grant. Neither will they ever be asked to join the NIZ authority.

Anonymous said...

Alot of racism talk. There needs to be a way to disagree without it being called racism?

The one point that needs to be adressed is Alan wearing two hats at the table.

He can't be on the NIZ authority and be head of a group negotiating with them.

Too many conflits of interest on this authority.

Anonymous said...

I will even go as far as to say take the american dream right out of the harts of many?


guy williams said...

It has been my observation that as far as minority businesses go what alan and peter have been trying to do is change the perceptions of such establishments.Curb appeal.Lets face it the general public will not pull over and patronize establishments that have hand written product prices written on the back of flattened cig cartons that are plastered all over the windows.Peter has done a great job of bringing curb appeal to 7th street.

Anonymous said...

Peter is doing great work on 7th in spite of Jennings and the mayor.
7th looks a million times better than it did five, ten or twenty years ago.

Anonymous said...

I am a fan of both Alan Jennings and Peter Lewnes. Jennings showed leadership by starting the 7th St. Main Street Program in Allentown. Where would that gateway be without that organization. Peter Lewnes' impact is being felt as he redesigns the 7th Street streetscape and the facades of numerous 7th Street businesses. Kudos to both.

Jennings is wrong to support Allentown's water privatization deal. I believe that when he looks at it closely and how much it will negatively impact the poor who he really cares about, will wake up and reverse his position.

Unfortunately, he is on the NIZ board, and may be too imbedded in the status quo to reverse his position publicly.

Anonymous said...

Jennings is a sell out but not a dummy. He knows damn well how this will effect the poor and middle class.
If you think he going to reverse his position your the dummy ,
The fix is already in with Jennings.

Anonymous said...

Follow the money...