Oct 26, 2012

A Citizen Mission

Yesterday, the citizen group opposed to the privatization of Allentown's water held a press conference at City Hall. There is excellent coverage of the event by reporter Emily Opilo in today's Morning Call. The organizers of this effort are a diverse, impressive group, mostly former supporters of the Mayor's initiatives. They include Dan Poresky from the Mayor's Environmental Advisory Committee and Bill Hoffman, former city controller. Also involved are Richard Fegley from the Brew Works, and the Hunsicker family, icons of southside little league baseball. Below is a condensed version of their statement.

  The public will be asked whether or not the city must come to the voters before it can sell or lease any property or asset worth ten million or more dollars. The mayor's analysis is clearly designed to favor privatization. The mayor is disingenuous in his claims that the only option other than privatizing the water is to have a crippling tax increase. The mayor has said repeatedly that he would prefer not to privatize Allentown's water and sewer operations. But, he says there are no other viable options. Working from the information included in the Mayor's presentations plus our own research, it can be shown that the pension obligation can be met without privatizing our water or having major tax increases. We have petitioned council to give us a chance to work with them and the administration to find the best solution and we were rejected. Our referendum for a ballot question in May doesn't mean we have don't want to work with council now. Our request and our offer to help is still on the table.

Fighting City Hall and putting a referendum on the ballot requires a lot of work. Show above is one of many meetings they will hold to accomplish their mission. They are looking for volunteers to collect signatures on election day. If you support their effort and want to help, call Dan Poresky at 610 434-1396, or other members through their website.


Concerned Citizen said...

In NorCo, 23,000 petition signatures were required to get the Gracedale question (sell or not sell) on the ballot. How come only 2,000 signatures are needed in Lehigh County?

michael molovinsky said...

@7:02. this is a city issue, not a county issue. if they receive enough signatures, the question will only appear in allentown voting districts in may.

Anonymous said...

I think too many people believe there is a silver bullet that will solve the problem.

The idea of getting a court to overturn the pensions is fantasy. Pa. does not allow such a change. Pa. does not allow bankruptcy.

There maybe some small variations, but a tax increase or some kind of asset sale are the only real options.

michael molovinsky said...

@ 9:31, this blog doesn't dance for comments, and especially discounts anonymous comments. act 47, is basically municipal bankruptcy. pawlowski saying "no" to that choice is a political decision, putting his career ahead of the taxpayers. there are other alternatives to the sale (lease is deceptive term for 50 years) the homeowners will either pay higher rates to a private water company, or higher taxes to the city. either way, we must pay for the pension gift given to municipal unions if those contracts are they're allowed to stand.

Bill Sherman said...

Mr, Molovinsky, I saw a man who identified himself as Ed Pawlowski on Melissa Harris Perry's T.V. program on M.S.N.B.C. a few weeks ago.This fellow said he brought the City of Allentown back from financial disaster.Now I hear that another man called Ed Pawloski say the City of Allentown is in fiscal free fall if the water supply is not sold.I only met this Pawlowski twice and I don't know who is the real one. Bill Sherman

Anonymous said...

By Colin McEvoy | The Express-Times on October 26, 2012l

Lease opponents hope voter referendum will pressure council
City council demands answers on lease costs
Mayor says lease will control water/sewer rate increases

For the past three months, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski has pitched a lease of the city's water and sewer systems to address a looming pension crisis he has said could bring the city to the brink of bankruptcy.

According to a study commissioned by city council, that pension crisis could be even worse than the mayor has suggested.

Based on 2011 figures, Pawlowski has previously said the city's unfunded pension liability for police and fire is $130.2 million, and that the city's required minimal payment could exceed $23 million by 2015.

But more recent projections by the Pennsylvania Economy League have found the unfunded liability falls anywhere between $154.1 million and $231.5 million, depending on the city's rate of investment return.

Pawlowski said that report, combined with the recent reduction of Allentown's Moody's credit rating, only further underscore the need for his proposed water and sewer lease.

Anonymous said...

reminds me of Rental Inspections.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

There's no where else in Allentown to turn but here to express citizen concern. Delete if you want.
Last night on Emaus Avenue between S. 4th Street and S. 12th,
children ran across the road in the darkness as some cars speed by. After all it was a Friday night. If only a police officer had been stationed somewhere along this very dark and rainy road with red lights to caution drivers.
Now morning news tragically reads:
local Macungie Township trick-or-treater hit by SUV, dies at hospital, police say." courtesy: Morning Call.

michael molovinsky said...

@6:29, your comment is certainly off topic, but very important. as a youngster in little lehigh manor, between the park and lehigh street, we were in a child friendly neighborhood. occasionally, we had to perform for a treat, but never dodge cars. i doubt if we have enough police coverage at any given time to deploy cars as you suggest.

Anonymous said...

So The Morning Call ISN'T a liberal rag with their own leftist agenda?

It seems that when they cover a story in opposition to your beliefs and/or distort your position, they are vilified.

However, when they cover how construction is affecting center city residents or represent those in opposition to the privatization of water, they can be used as a valuable advocate for your cause.

I was just curious...

michael molovinsky said...

@11:21, how many hours a day do you spend attacking those of your list with distortions of the truth? you're not curious, you're dishonest. for the record, i have never accused The Morning Call of being "a liberal rag with a leftist agenda." I simply criticize and praise specific articles, when in my opinion, it's warranted. attack comments such as yours, which do not contribute to the dialogue, will usually not be posted.

Guy Williams said...

Is it possible for a choice of solutions with projected tax rates and water rates to be put forth before a refurendum happens.Would give citizens a clear choice.Seems like water rate income would involve people beyond city limit and tax increases within the city.

michael molovinsky said...

guy, the simple answer is no. pawlowski said that the agreement will freeze the water rate for two years, then the PUC would approve any rate increases. The PUC said that they would have no authority over a private company, so julio guridy said that council would approve rate increases. julio has come out for the water lease and against the referendum, but doesn't mention that he voted for the pension contract causing all the trouble, more on that on the next post. chances are that council will approve the lease before any referendum in may. if poresky and his group can secure an injunction remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what Scott Armstrong means in comparing this to Rental Inspection?

Rental Inspection was an initiative of the William Heydt administration and one of the prime movers for Rental Inspection. ( and the Disruptive Tenent Clause ) was City Councilman Mr Thomas Burke.

I am totally missing the connection?

michael molovinsky said...

the rental inspections was pushed by the heydt administration, but rejected by council. a citizens group put the issue to ballot by referendum, but council went ahead and approved it before the election. until the afflerbach-pawlowski era, council was not a one party rubber stamp. additionally, historically, there had been some very independently minded council people. currently, eichenwald is asserting herself in that way.