Jan 9, 2013

Parting Allentown's Water Lease

Allentown City Council had hired the Pennsylvania Economy League to analyze their pension debt problem, in-regard to Pawlowski's plan to lease the water system. The League, while hedging their recommendations, found Pawlowski's plan the most feasible alternative. This conclusion provided all the cover Council members needed to reject the petition last night, in a 6 to 1 vote. An expert on municipal matters feels that the water activists made a strategic mistake. Had the petition been a simple ordinance against selling the water system, instead of a Charter Amendment change, it would have required only one vote from the citizens, instead of two. Such a pending vote in May would have clouded the water for companies bidding on the lease. Never the less, the battle is far from over. Water Companies certainly know that there is citizen opposition to this plan. With over 4000 citizen signatures, an injunction may be considered by the activists.

UPDATE: This blog started out as an adjunct to my activism. After numerous battles and years against City Hall, I am, more and more, allowing my written word to represent me. I consider my late friend Emma Tropiano to be a mentor. Although I never met or knew of him, I had another mentor, Bert Luckenbach. Mr. Luckenbach was still giving them hell when he was 92 years old. He lived in the neighborhood of my youth, Lehigh Parkway (Little Lehigh Manor) and was a staunch park defender. Here's a passage from one of his letters to the editor.

What this town needs is for its citizenry to assert its basic rights and priorities over those public servants who perform with an assumption of proprietary interest, ignoring their true status.
                                                                              Bert Luckenbach,1987


Juan Luis Pedro Felipo de Huevos Epstein said...

That is a good way of looking at it.

Anonymous said...


I went to the meeting last night and spoke, I prefaced my comments with "I should know better than to try to talk sense to this body". I wanted to conclude with something along the lines of "all the new faces in this room are about to discover the utter futility of speaking truth to power in Allentown."
I chose not to but it did turn out to be so.

Scott Armstrong

ironpigpen said...

And so the General Secretary has won his Water War in the City With No (Spending?) Limits.


Never saw THIS result coming ...


michael molovinsky said...

scott, i should clarify for readers that i did not attend the meeting. however, i did sit down with julio guridy a few days prior, and knew council's thinking on the subject. i also spoke with someone knowledgeable about the referendum process. i believe the above post, although short, encapsulates the situation. as to truth to power, i have found this characteristic of city council for decades. a coming post on emma tropiano, was an exception to this rule.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't a request for an injunction require a bond to cover losses if the case goes against the party requesting the injunction. This is why not many injunctions are tried.

Anonymous said...


The limitations of the two vote strategy was clear to City Hall insiders and veteran water warriors alike. ( I will resist speculating while veteran water warriors sat this out.)

The Cordinator's of this initiative deserve tremendous credit.

With the exception of the wonderful JE, no one on City Council should ever hold public office in Allentown again.
To think no less than three of them harbor some ambishion to be mayor.

Anonymous said...

I think I heard Council speaking to the people of Allentown as well.
What I clearly heard City Council say is not printable in a family friendly blog such as this.

Anonymous said...

The water sale foes gave council the option to play out the clock.
Council took that option.
Who could have seriously thought last minute pleading would affect that outcome?
OK,lesson learned. Time for the next move. The clock is ticking,but the game is not over yet.
With every outrage,opposition grows. That is good news.


I was there (sorry I missed you Scott Armstrong) and I was the third to speak. All I know is when a veteran City Council member and a well known community doctor get into a shouting match over insults and I am literally stuck in the middle of the fray, stuff just got REAL... ;)

Also, it did feel like Eminent Domain Deja Vu....

But The VOTE for the REFERENDUM is OFFICIALLY 6 - 1, NO REFERENDUM to be considered by City Council. But PEOPLE, let THIS be the reason that you get out and educate yourselves and "make things happen" for yourselves.... It really is necessary that we become EMPOWERED as a CITY because the decisions being made for us aren't allowing us, as the residents/taxpayers, to make our own decisions....


Alfonso Todd


Anonymous said...

Just imagine the arrogance Mr. Guridy would bring to the job as mayor. His contempt for the people last night was astounding.
Councilman Schweyer tried as hard as he could, unsuccessfully,to have it both ways.
What does the rest of the Valley think of this place?

Anonymous said...

The antis faction needs more sophisticated advisers and a better playbook.

Anonymous said...

The mayor stated that if you "ask the people" you won't get bids???
THAT is very clear.
These crooks have to go - from that 70's IQ guy leading the council to the Mayor and his ilk.
I still have yet to hear any residents supporting the:
1. Airport sale
2. water sale
3. The sell out of the neuweiler brewery building and surrounding area
4. The 200,000,000 being wasted digging Puds mud hole.
5. passing all this money to already very wealthy cronies around the city.
ALSO: why doesn't the huge profit produced by the Allentown Parking Authority
get used for our city?
This place is nearly a total loss.
Bankruptcy is a reasonable answer. Lie to us some more about that option doubling our taxes.

michael molovinsky said...

@4:04, please refrain from crooks and IQ's in future comments, unless you want to sign your name.

Anonymous said...

Allentonians are going to pay one way or the other Mr. Mayor. Only your way they will pay more in the long run, so some absentee corporation can maximize their profit.
How stupid do you think the people are Mr. Mayor?
And people are already bailing out of town, and many who can't leave have given up on civic participation. You, Mr. Mayor, have pushed great people into retreating from the process. They are tired,or scared,or disgusted.
But you know this Mr. Mayor.
On the plus side, you have united a coalition that runs the gamut from one end of the political spectrum to the other.
So thanks for that anyway.

Anonymous said...

It is time to step up the opposition. Some respectful civil disobedience in the American tradition may be in order at this time.
A member of the anti-sale coalition was quoted as saying that he was shocked and surprised by city Council's response.
It is past the time to move be on such extravagant naïveté.

michael molovinsky said...

@5:14, this civil disobedience won't be organized by you, because you don't even sign your name to a blog post. you cannot even speak at at city council meeting, much less speak out, without first giving your name.

Anonymous said...

Did not Thomas Payne, with the help of Benjamin Rush, publish the great American pamphlet Common Sence anonymously?

Yes,come to think of it,he did in fact.

Oh well.

michael molovinsky said...

@6:05, you're correct, but he didn't put his accusations, such as crook, anonymously in someone else's pamphlet. then to call for civil disobedience anonymously, how ridiculous. will he lead the group in a mask?

Anonymous said...

This is your blog and you may have little to lose.
BUT you see how these individuals treat a room FULL of people.
Many of us have much to lose and do not want to experience the repercussions very likely to be meted out by the powers that be.
Still greatly appreciate your blog.

Bill said...

Really disgusted with Council although have seen this pattern in the past. I will vote for Jeannette. Looking for a few good candidates to vote for that are willing to represent the good citizens of Allentown, it is clear we need to clean house.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:00, being a homeowner afraid of repercussions is a poor excuse for anonymity in my book. some of us own multiple properties, yet stand up. it's all those that don't stand up that allow the power to be to get away with things.

Anonymous said...

Did 5:14 use the word crook? Or make any accusations? Did i miss something?

michael molovinsky said...

@1:04, you're correct, the accusation and call for disobedience came from two different comments. the point is don't be so bold commenting on a blog under my name, while submitting a comment anonymously.