Dec 29, 2017

Allentown's Pending Cold Winter

2018 promises to be a cold winter in Allentown. The city is being governed by a mayor facing over fifty charges of corruption. He was elected by plurality in a three way election, mostly by Allentown's newer Hispanic population. If he is forced to resign because of a plea or conviction, Ray O'Connell expects to be selected mayor by city council.

The photograph shown above is from 1958. It was taken in Little Lehigh Manor, the 1940's era housing development located above Lehigh Parkway's south ridge. I had the pleasure of growing up in that neighborhood. In yesterday's post the hill favored by the kids of that neighborhood was featured. Other popular sledding hills in Allentown were behind Cedar Crest College, and Ott Street, between Livingston and Greenleaf Streets. Years ago a bridge crossed the creek by the park office at 30th and Parkway Blvd., with a parking area for sledders by the Cedar Crest hill.  The Ott Street hill was closed to cars by the city, as an accommodation for sledders.

None of these hills are now accessible to a kid with a sled. The current mayor has no memory of those times, and might be too preoccupied to care much about sledding this winter.

photo courtesy of S. Williams.


Fire the incompetants said...

I was under the impression that the Home Rule Charter hands the Office of Mayor to the President of City Council. O'Connell will be off of council in January. Therefore, the successor will be the new president. I understand the new Mayor can call a special election, [from within the winning party], and O'Connell can waltz in. [The O'Connell/Hendricks plan behind the idiotic write-in campaign by O'Connell]!

But at this stage of the game, anything new is refreshing. Whomever takes control of the 5th floor in City Hall has to clean out Pawlowski's cabinet, make changes in the physical outlay of the city and offer up good, sound, public safety plans. We don't need basketballs, toy footballs and beards to battle crime. We need people who know how to combat this; the current crop of inexperienced leadership is incompetent and useless.

michael molovinsky said...

fire@7:56, you're correct that the president of city council becomes acting mayor, UNTIL council APPOINTS a replacement. it is ray's understanding that he will then be appointed.

William Sherman said...

Where is the guarantee council will pick Mr.O'Connell as appointed mayor ?

michael molovinsky said...

william@3:58, in my experience as a longtime observer of city council, although the public may imagine some suspense at votes, they are always pre-determined back room. O'Connell had such an understanding of being appointed back in september. I doubt if those council members would renege on their pledge.

Robert Trotner said...

I've heard that certain factions are waging a fierce campaign to have the council appoint Thiel after the council president serves his thirty days. That's why Hendricks and McLean are going toe to toe for council president. Hendricks is obviously in the O'Connell camp but McLean wants to be in a position to forge a majority for Thiel. Given the forces arrayed in favor of Thiel, it's probably 50-50 at this point.

It's hard to know whether the struggle is just a question of personal ambition or if it's issue based. The forces pushing for Thiel are also heavily entangled with the NIZ so they may feel Thiel will allow Reilly, Jaindl,et al. a freer hand in Allentown development.

michael molovinsky said...

robert@5:17, although it is not my normal policy to engage in the comment section, on this topic i make an exception.

i'm not surprised that pledges made in the fall are being now re-evaluated. furthermore, it is my opinion that both pawlowski and the trial will continue on much longer than hoped.

the longer the time between the "understanding" last fall, and the mayor's departure, the less chance of O'Connell being appointed. finally, i do NOT even consider a conviction of pawlowski a certainty.

William Sherman said...

The mayor's conviction is not a sure thing. The jury will have to sort thru 54 criminal charges ,not an easy job. People are wondering how the mayor can finance a lengthy trial. A guilty plea would seem to be in order reducing a jail term. With a plea bargain Who is going to push the mayor to resign. Every day He stays in office He adds to his unused vacation and sick days which he is entitled to.

Robert Trotner said...

The Fed's final plea offer contains a provision that he NOT be sworn in today, so we'll know by 5 pm today whether he'll plead. As far as money, the rumor is that he has extensive resources in Chicago.

William Sherman said...

Thanks for the information. I will be checking on-line later today.

TRENT HALL said...

Most unlikely the jury will have to ponder 54 charges. The court will dismiss some of them after the sides rest, on the grounds that the Government either didn't establish sufficient probative evidence to sustain letting them go to the jury, or that Supreme Court rulings negate their validity as "crimes."

If the more serious felonies are dismissed, or if a not guilty verdict is rendered on them, then the Mayor may feel that resignation because of a conviction on lesser counts does not warrant his resignation, pending appeal on same. He may proclaim that since "no final judgment" has been rendered yet, resignation under that situation thwarts the expressed popular will of the electorate.

Then the PR considerations would presumably determine whether or not the Council would want to initiate a removal process. That would really be quite a show and reveal exactly who or what factions prevail. The Mayor is adapt at divide & conquer tactics and so shouldn't be automatically presumed to be a loser in that scenario.

Interestingly, NY voters approved a ballot provision, effective today, that permits convicted public officials from receiving retirement & pension benefits. It's designed to felicitate negotiations to effect resignations.