Jul 9, 2015

The Honeymoon Is Over

In just a few days time the local newspaper has gone from writing puff pieces to stalking the moving truck driver at Mike Fleck's house. Yesterday, somebody asked me if I feel vindicated, because this blog has been questioning the values of this administration since 2007. Understand, that back then, even the other bloggers thought that I had a personal axe to grind. Truth be told, I was offended by the inequitable policies of city hall, and the hubris and arrogance with which they were implemented. I'm offended that the NIZ fronts one man the money to build $half a billion dollars of real estate, then has the taxpayers pay his mortgage. Although the newspaper is now stalking some of the players, don't expect them to scrutinize the NIZ, they're part and parcel of it. I'm offended that although I have been championing for the WPA structures in our park system for years, half of Lehigh Parkway is now essentially closed from neglect. I'm offended that voters in this town accepted a mayor telling them who to vote for on city council and the school board.

Although these are indeed interesting times politically, this blog will go back to championing for the traditional values which make this town great. Contrary to popular hype, those new shiny buildings are not a renaissance for Allentown. They are just a real estate portfolio for a few chosen men. For a true renaissance we need values, which are solely lacking here in Allentown.


  1. Well put!

    Someone once said it's NEVER a good idea when government picks winners and losers. It's even worse, I think, when a once-trusted local media turns a blind eye and sits quietly, knowing full well this is how its neighbors are being treated. The Pawlowski administration, other local elected officials, and a regular group of corporate cronies, have been allowed to operate without one essential checks and balances piece that earlier protected 'regular people' of smaller voice.

    With few exceptions, our local media has compromised itself, and by doing so is causing its own demise. Thankfully, more reliable, better researched news is readily available through technology. Even these options, and including private blogs like Molovinsky on Allentown, are under the pressure of government message control. Our own little Allentown is but a microcosm of what's going on in Washington, D.C.

    It will be a long journey to turn America around. Yet, we can help by changing-up a few Lehigh Valley tendencies first. I remain grateful, Michael, for the opportunity you provide citizens here.

    Fred Windish

  2. Is the honeymoon over? I really don't see any evidence of that being the case.

    Nothing the Morning Crony has written has been directly critical of the Mayor. Yesterday's article certainly painted Fleck as the villain, and made victims of Fleck's less prominent clients. Unspoken in that narrative is that the Mayor is also a Fleck victim. To the uninformed, it would seem the city has a Fleck problem, not an official corruption problem.

    The only articles they've written on Pawlowski have been reprints of his press releases. They haven't even dared to question the propriety of his running for Governor and US Senate after being elected to do the job of Mayor. They also haven't even dared to suggest his absence to campaign for those positions could be a contributing factor that led to current situation.

    On an even more basic level, while they've parroted the Mayor's decision to suspend his Senate campaign so he can address the city's contracting process, they haven't pursued the Mayor for an explanation (or even tried to explain themselves) what that contracting problem actually is. In an era where politicians often allege that any charge of impropriety is wrong, they haven't even asked the Mayor if the allegations are true.

    In short, they've now allowed over a week to pass without getting him on the record about anything other than what he's wanted, which allows him to build a cover story that can't later be checked against any unscripted statements he's made. Until I see the local press pursuing the Mayor with the same zeal that they're now using to cover Fleck, I'll continue to believe that they're actually working on the cover up trying to save Pawlowski.

    For now, from reading the paper it would appear that everyone agrees that (at a minimum) Allentown City government has a contracting problem that seemingly cannot be discussed by the Mayor, but that needs to be fixed. NOW, not later, and in public. The issue needs to be publicly discussed and investigated by both the Mayor and City Council. That's what would happen in any organization where those involved had nothing to hide.

    If the Mayor can't talk about it publicly because he's also under investigation, then he needs to step aside. The people of this city deserve to know the whole truth, and not on a timetable that benefits the Mayor.

  3. @7:22, you must have missed the headline in yesterday's paper, which stated that the FBI doesn't bother with a search until they feel certain that there is a crime. furthermore, they don't indict cities, but individuals. the paper's honeymoon with pawlowski is over, but will continue with the NIZ, which is legal, but corrupt by design.

  4. Going over campaign reports for days and days, I couldn't believe how many campaigns in the Lehigh Valley the soon to be deposed King of Allentown, Ed Pawlowski, was trying to influence or control. Even the Office for Sheriff in Lehigh County didn't go untouched. It seems that that the alleged pristine Joseph Hanna [R] candidate for Sheriff and Pawlowski have ten [10] joint contributors to his campaign. Five [5] of these are special interest labor union PAC's; four [4] which are located outside of Lehigh County and traditionally back democrats. These special interest PAC's consistently gave to the "Friends of Ed Pawlowski" PAC; especially during the construction of the arena. I cannot fathom any pertinent relationship between special interest groups and the Office of Lehigh County Sheriff except for Pawlowski trying to exert his control upon it. And further, shame on Joe Hanna for being in lockstep with Pawlowski once again! I'll know who I'll support!

  5. No question you have consistently pointed out the changes to what was once a spectacular Parkway system, changes to the Hamilton Mall access and vendors, and the general deterioration of a one-proud town throughout the years that I have followed your blog. Many, many comments have been made in addition supporting your points of view, however it is the general citizens of Allentown who need to change their behavior and realize that what you wrote about for years has finally come true. We see this on a state and national level also. It is the fancy covering on the outside of the package that wins the elections, not the quality of the product inside. Until the numbers take the time to demand accountability, insist on input, and not be led astray by pre-packaged hype, just another empty suit will be elected to replace whatever is going on locally now which is finally coming to light.

  6. Didn't miss yesterday's headline, but nothing in that article made a clear connection to wrongdoing by the Mayor. It also didn't mention that they don't investigate contract processes, which the Mayor states is the problem.

    Today's headline would make it seem that Fleck is the focus of the investigation, and his clients are the victims.

    Hopefully, your right and subsequent articles will prove me wrong, but right now I'm not seeing much change in the paper's coverage of Pawlowski. It still seems favorable, or at least as favorable as they can get away with under the circumstances.

  7. Mike,

    The average reader could not be blamed for concluding as 7:22 stated that Fleck is the real problem. Those who have bothered to stay informed understand he is only a symptom of a much larger problem. The paper can spin things as they please, the real story is out of their hands now. Thank goodness.

    Scott Armstrong

  8. comment 8:12, hanna is well liked and has much bi-partisan support. pawlowski, up to last week, was calling people and asking for contributions for his senate race. i doubt if hanna solicited those contributions

    comment 8:23, when it comes to fairness in politics and policy, most people simply don't care. they're content to go to a new arena, watch a hockey game and eat a hot dog.

  9. In fact, as I re-read today's article on Fleck, it goes to great lengths to point out that Pawlowski (and Fleck) insisted on a clear line between the consulting side of Fleck's business separate from the political side.

    Yet Fleck Consulting was helping contractors "navigate the apparatus of city government".

    Wasn't it then-Community and Economic Development Director Ed Pawlowski who spent millions of dollars renovating his City Hall offices supposedly to make City Hall more business or customer-friendly? So how did everything become so difficult to navigate once he became Mayor, to the point where consultants were needed by outsiders?

    That might have been a good point for the Morning Cover-Up to bring to light.

  10. Speaking of hot dogs, no vendors are allowed near the arena. You can only purchase a niz dog

  11. And unlike the discounted rental rates in the NIZ, the hot dogs are only available at premium prices.

  12. Mr. Molovinsky has consistently pointed out serious questions of policy making in the city. He and I have talked often over the years. We do not agree on solutions or approaches all the time, but we do agree that city government often (if not always) acts for a few with little consideration for the community as a whole.

    While on council, I know that I voted for policies that I perceived at the time would be executed appropriately and not wielded in ways that only favored the administration's narrow desires. I cannot take those votes back. They were made. But it is what Mr. Molovinsky correctly identifies that hurts. I trusted that leadership in Allentown would carry out plans in ways that were honest and sincere, as found in well managed cities around the country.

    Watching all this unfold now, also asking why the media never pushed on certain issues, leaves me perplexed. Certainly, we have to wait for the FBI's investigative process to proceed to see what is uncovered, who is at fault, but many questions should have been asked a long time ago, and those who were asking the questions need to be applauded.

  13. Every branch of municipal government, both political parties, what civic organizations there are, and most certainly the pathetic press, has failed this hurting town. It is a city in free fall.
    A Banana Republic.
    Without serious and concerted assistance it has the capacity to cripple the entire region.
    The underlying issues in play here are huge and cannot be wished away or papered over with a Potemkin Village and a hockey team.

  14. @12:13, i'm amazed that people refer to of a half dozen new buildings as a renaissance, with drive-by shootings three blocks away, and arena events very far and few between. i will concede that there is a friday happy hour buzz, but that cannot sustain a dozen new restaurants.

  15. A few people have been vocal about what we saw as corruption on many different levels in city hall. What we got for our efforts was to have our motives and integrity impugned by the mayor and his acolytes on both council and in the media.
    Many times I have met people and once they found out who I was they were shocked.They told me they heard nothing but bad things about me, I was this, I was that...none of it good. My wife ran into the same thing, when they found out she was married to me they said oh.... and changed the subject.
    I don't write this for sympathy, I write it simply so that people know what those who have cared enough to speak out have suffered.

    Scott Armstrong

  16. Why should we care?

    Speak out against the Democrat Party in any way, shape or form --- get your head handed to you by leftist highbrows or the 'enlightened' moderates that dare not upset those sanctimonious ones who clearly care so much.

    Bah. There is no point to it all anymore. Because we are all just slaves to the wealthy, or so the Populist Heroes playing on peoples' emotions would have me believe.

  17. Some of this administrations harshest critics have been Democrats. Many have paid a high price for their outspoken courage.

  18. @6:14, as someone pretty in tune with allentown politics, that's news to me. i would describe eichenwald as a critic, but don't know of a price she paid. would you care to name some others, or is this an attempt to distance some of the rubber stampers from the recent current events?

  19. The reality is we have that it appears as if we all been robbed. Robbed of open and accountable government and not represented by those sworn to do so. The disregard for our historic structures is analogousness of what has been done to us. Our "leaders" ignore our real treasures and let them rot while they went for the bright plastics. And it is true that our citizens have allowed our officials to get away with it.

  20. The Morning Call is in business for one reason and one reason only: to make money. This is how it has always been. When I read "Team of Rivals" (about LIncoln's days) I was surprised to read about tainted and skewed journalism. But I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. If you follow the dollar, you will find the truth. And the truth is, the Morning Call has no other obligation than to make money. People want to see pictures of Prom and read about Musikfest's food. They just don't seem so interested in reading about how local elected officials are taking complete and total advantage of our ignorance.

    The Follow the Dollar theory works for the poor, neglected WPA structures, too. Of course the stones are falling out - who would put money behind advocating for their maintenance? There are no big bucks in that. Just like the Cedar Beach pool - nobody with deep pockets is interested in that. But the Conservancy - they get grant money. There's money there. Hence, the weeds at the creek's edge. (Because that's what they want.)

    Allentown is just such a ripe city for corruption. Hardly anyone cares what happens in City Hall, and those that do care and speak out are basically tarred and feathered. ('m looking at you, Armstrong.) I hide behind an anonymous name for many reasons. I am not proud, but I am informed. And, I am appreciative of folks like Molovinsky who highlight, fearlessly, the truth. I am not sure what it will take to restore ethics to this city other than a complete and total implosion, but I hope it doesn't come to that. I do care, deeply, about this crazy city, and I am so thankful for rogue bloggers who take the time - the incredible amount of time - and energy to keep folks like me informed.

  21. Rich Fegley, Michael Donovon. Councilwoman Eichenwald's been vilified in her own community. I won't out others, businesses and careers have suffered enough.
    I'll stop there.

  22. As a fellow Lehigh Parkway Elementary School student, who grew up on the beautiful park's edge, I have followed your consistent view on the violation of Coe Allentown values for a long time. I, too, am offended -- a good word to describe reaction to this mess -- at the use of taxpayer monies to pay mortgages for moguls. Continued good work, Mike, and I sure hope someone fixes Lehigh Parkway's stone icons soon.


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