Feb 1, 2016

Jennings Remains True To His Mission

Over the years, Alan Jennings and I have become friendly. That's pretty amazing, considering that in 2005, if I succeeded with my long shot run for mayor as an independent, I would have locked him up in the basement at city hall. During that period I started proclaiming that Allentown was becoming a poverty magnet, which was a very politically incorrect thing to say. But as a landlord, I knew how many organizations were fixing up hardcore non-workers with move-in money, and what the long term consequence to Allentown would be. Of course, I was profoundly correct, and the consequences are now very obvious.

Yesterday, Alan had an editorial in The Morning Call, which called on Allentown to increase* and improve its affordable housing. Alan stays true to his mission, and I must likewise stay true to my observations. It is self evident that there is no shortage of affordable housing in Allentown, or we simply wouldn't have such a high poverty level. Jennings suggests that people report both deficient landlords and tenants. Systems are already in place for the landlord problem, and what would you do with the problem tenants? Because I remain politically incorrect, I suggest we need only observe the endless litter in the area north of Linden Street, to appreciate our problem is much more than a few bad apples.

Allentown has become a place with the urban problems of usually much larger cities. That toothpaste is not going back into the tube. While these larger cities have spent decades and $billions looking for corrective programs, solutions remain evasive. I commend Alan for his advocacy, but don't look for a fix, much less a quick one.

*ADDENDUM: Alan Jennings has pointed out to me that no where in his editorial did he call for additional affordable housing,  only that existing substandard units be improved.

photocredit: The Morning Call


Anonymous said...

Any idea if Mayor Pawlowski and Mr. Jennings are still hosting their weekly poker game?
Do any of your readers know how many vacancys there are on the ANIZ Board?
I'm surprised Alan didn't discuss pending plans for "renewed" rail service to NYC. That would appear to be the in-crowds favorite distraction.
That's it for now, I've got to prepare for work.
I have one of those NIZ jobs, three in fact, and my rent is due today.
I miss my old job at MACK Trucks.

michael molovinsky said...

@4:02, there are three vacancies on the NIZ board. you may have noticed that both bernie and I covered Jennings' editorial. it was only a couple years ago when i was criticizing jennings' programs, and bernie was defending them. we seemed to have changed position on this topic, which happens frequently, because i'm much more perceptive. i also would make a correction to bernie's take on the historic district. it didn't fall because families moved to avoid the school system; it never really attracted families in the first place. it failed mainly because it was too geographically large for the number of interested buyers, and they failed to created a dominant presence in an area which was becoming increasingly poorer.

Dave said...

Mr Molovinski

Clearly, Mr Jeninngs has his eyes on the Mayor's office. I view his pieces for the Morning Call as campaign literature for the next election, after Pawlowski resigns.

As far as "affordable housing" this is always looked in favor by those who see themselves paying too much money for rent each month, not those who can afford living in either homes in the city or out in the Townships. Those who can afford it, move away from the crime and the "affordable" housing we have now in the older parts of the city. Mr Jennings is saying we need more of this, which would simply increase the crime and lower the desirability of those who live outside of the crafted fairyland of the NIZ

Mr Jennings is appealing to the "gimme" class of people in Allentown, the same class that Pawlowski has appealed to for his base of electoral support, and why he is a three-term mayor.

Instead of more tenements and rental housing, what Allentown needs is an expanded industrial base, with jobs that require skills and pay more than minimum wage. That would give the 20somethings that are the future of the city a reason to stay here and buy homes here and increase the desirability of living in Allentown. Not simply having developers or slum landlords expand the amount of section eight housing to bring in more of the dependent, criminal class which has turned Allentown from an All-America city into a cesspool of crime and violence.

michael molovinsky said...

dave@6:11, i do not believe that jennings wants to be mayor, or has any interest in any elected office. furthermore, i do not believe that the"gimme" class read editorials.
there remains a liberal mentality which believes that solutions to the problems of poverty, crime and education, etc. remain only one program away.

Anonymous said...

The problems do remain only one program away.
That program is called a decent job at a living wage.

Alan Jennings in his waning years reveals who he has always been.
There is nothing new revealed, the covers have just been pulled back as he turns to the only script he knows in a sad attempt to save a failed legacy.
Stick a fork in him.

Anonymous said...

Enough Do you as a working person clear 900 a week after taxes.? No, too bad. Add up all the welfare housing , food stamps , medical,utility help free cell phones,oil burner service etc., etc. Now let's add in not paying any taxes. Oh this is where the bleeding heart assholes jump in.( They pay sales tax) Me too. The police have never been to my house,how about yours. The 900 dollar/ week can be milked easily. More kids more money. Prove me wrong.

Concerned Allentonian said...

Emma Tropiano was correct. Daddona created a monster that destroyed Allentown

Now Jennings wants to make the monster bigger. Double down on Daddona's policies. Doing "more of the same" gets you more of the same.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity.

No thanks Alan, I'm pushing away from the dinner table, no more for me, I'm finished.

Anonymous said...

"Just about everyone has benefited."
Alan Jennings

Does this guy have a best friend, or at least an attorney, who could tell him to shut up?

Anonymous said...

The real issue for cities like Allentown is that such jobs really don't exist anymore. Between new technologies (3D printing) and other industrial changes, "manufacturing" in just a few years will probably be done with less than 10% of the human input as was needed 25 years ago.

Cities like Allentown--which were founded to support labor-intensive industries--have not been able to adjust to these changes. Whether there were section 8 housing or not, Allentown would be suffering because the jobs that supported the school district and the overall tax base have either moved away or are drastically reduced in number.

Arguing about the maker/taker stuff doesn't change the fact that our society's assumptions about the economy don't match the economy in front of us.

Monkey Momma said...

The Jennings of the world are probably (?) full of good intentions. But...he does seem to ignore the common thread in almost all cases of poverty in Allentown: single motherhood and large numbers of children born by very young women.

Creating even MORE affordable housing or even MORE programs to deal with the poverty problem simply perpetuates the issue. The handout itself becomes the incentive for more of the same behavior. We're talking psych 101 here, not doctoral degree knowledge.

Any kind of fix isn't going to come from the CACLV or any government agency. A solution will need to come from the people themselves and a major change in the social structure of this society. Put an end to teenagers having kids, and you put an end to poverty. It's that simple, and it is that difficult.

michael molovinsky said...

too many people, especially on an associate's blog, are personifying jennings with the poverty problem in allentown. it's easy to do, because he was very aggressive with his group. take away CACLV, and there were half a dozen other organizations, one of which would have grown into the need, just like alan. compared to many known advocates for the poor in other cities, he's a reasonable person.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, Alan is an ego driven political entity of a particular type.
It's always been about Alan.'
He should quietly retire---emphasis on quietly.

Rich Fegley said...

Corruption. Propaganda. Denial. Apathy.

We are all waiting for the FBI to clean the corruption out of Allentown City Hall and the Lehigh Valley.

The list of names is huge. I don't know how any of them can sleep at night. If you are not talking to the FBI you must be waiting for the FBI to call on you.

Knock, knock.

Dave said...

@11:22 AM

Manufacturing today is not the manufacturing that existed 50 years ago. Iron and steel, textiles, assembling vehicles, toasters and other similar products are, for one reason or another mostly done overseas where workers are paid ten cents on the dollar.

Today, manufacturing jobs are in software development, robotics, artificial intelligence, medicine and health care products, products that in large part, require secondary education and university degrees.

The bottom line is that in the 21st Century, you can't afford not to have invested in yourself by not going to a trade school, or a community college at least. Even a long-distance trucking job, for example , requires a level of skills today that you can train for in a trade school. Working on cars is not really something you can do under a shade tree; the level of complexity in modern vehicles is something that requires going to an automotive mechanics school and becoming certified. If you're interested in Law Enforcement, again, a high school education simply is inadequate. The military will train you, which is where many of us got our start in life, however getting in the armed forces today is a very competitive process, as the services today are all very much smaller than they used to be, and the physical as well as mental demands are very high.

If you graduated from high school, your skills simply just aren't going to be adequate for you to be successful in life. There is amazon, or federal express, or some other career that you use your hands and muscles, and also the building trades. Unfortunately, you're up against the illegals that are flooding into this nation, looking for the same type of work you are. And willing to be paid less.

Something else happens, remarkably with many people when they invest in themselves, and find a career that you enjoy and earn enough money doing to buy more than groceries and a used Camaro.

You find words and ideas such as Mr Jennings to be .. well... incorrect :) You may even wind up becoming a, ahem, well.. a conservative :)

Anonymous said...

I have an alternative view.
I've known Alan for many many years.

We all know he loves publicity, perhaps more than anything, but that is not what this is about.

Alan is loyal to that small band of elites and well-placed, well-heeled, business players, bankers and suits-------
the movers and shakers who have always been his core constituency.
They have been good to him and now he is there for them, yet again.

By being a lightning rod and a diversion, Alan keeps their names out of the papers and off the news.
We all know who they are, there's no need to name them.

This is a very important mission. In that regard this maybe Alan's finest hour.

Mission Accomplished.

Anonymous said...

No one seriously believes any of this is about affordable housing.
No one.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Let's all agree to talk about a train to NYC.

Anonymous said...

Yes Yes a train to NYC. Another line to the Mexican border. Oh the joy. It,s cruel to have the invaders riding a bus , a maglev would expidite the trip and have them arrive fresh for the welfare greeting ceremony at city hall. Oh the joy!

Anonymous said...

Hint to Alan: since the NIZ is putting the screws to PPL Plaza as Talen leaves, why not convert that prize location to 'affordable housing?' How much fun watching a few thousand of Obama phone folks walking in the 'revitalized' downtown.

michael molovinsky said...

@5:04 and 5:09 almost ended up on the long list of unprinted comments. it would have been nice if allentown hadn't become a poverty magnet, which resulted in over 60 percent of city residents living below the poverty level. however, that is the new reality, and although i'm no utopian, discussions about allentown, if not inclusive, must not marginalize over half the population.

Anonymous said...

Without getting conversational about it--there are differences between good advice for individuals and structuring a strong economy in society.

Even if, today, every student at William Allen applied him or herself perfectly to get a good high school diploma, and even got some post-secondary education--it is highly unlikely that more than a few would find sophisticated and well-paying employment in the Allentown area. The demand simply isn't there. Again, this isn't to say that there's no room for starting a business, etc...but in terms of employers with big impact, they aren't really coming to Allentown.

The challenges of losing manufacturing employment are event spreading to China as well, where robotics and other developments are threatening jobs. Right now the only idea anyone has had is to convince rich people to tip waiters and hairdressers well.

The problem of this debate in Allentown is that we confuse what we would like to see young people do with the problem of what is available for them to do. Telling poor or otherwise marginalized people that they just need to apply themselves is not an answer for our region or our country.

Anonymous said...

By being the @Voice of the Poor@, and the exclusive voice of the poor (aided and abetted always by the Morning Call and a Board of hand picked Directors who kissed his ass)!Mr. Jennings has suppressed two generations of low income and working poor in the Lehigh Valley from finding their own voice and developing their own leadership.
He has kept them quite by sucking all the oxygen out of the air as he's micromanaged the message.
So much easier to manage than authentic grassroots leadership.
This may be his enduring legacy.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:20, and they call me critical? the underclass certainly had/has an effective advocate in jennings, if his skill set prevented others from stepping forward is doubtful.

Anonymous said...

The unwashed and dispossessed don't need a voice.
Mr. Jennings speaks for the Little People.