May 27, 2022

The Lehigh Valley's Lost Morality

One of the headlines in today's paper is that the Allentown Planning Board approved J.B. Reilly's new apartments on the former parking lot next to Symphony Hall. Never mind that Symphony Hall expressed its displeasure at losing the convenience of an adjoining surface lot.  The Parking Authority, serving what is masquerading as progress in Allentown, cooperated with the sale.  Never mind that the Community Music School, primary tenant of Symphony Hall, said that it would relocate without that lot.  Allentown's commissions and authorities are mere bobbleheads.

Not only has the Parking Authority played ball with private developers using progress as an excuse, the Park Department compromised itself to cover Pawlowski's purchase of unnecessary land, at a greatly inflated price.  Isn't it wonderful to add a park or two when the department cannot afford to maintain what they already have.  While the collapsed portion of the wall was repaired so that Lehigh Parkway could reopen,  the rest of the wall was never repointed,  and the double stairwell is falling apart.

It's not just Allentown officials compromising themselves, it has become standard procedure in the valley.  The South Whitehall Commissioners inflated the price to repair Wehr's Dam by 1000%, to justify a referendum to accommodate the Wildlands Conservancy.   Call these things progress,  but it's really just excuses for corrupt agendas.

above reprinted from September of 2016 

ADDENDUM MAY 27, 2022: It's easy for corruption to masquerade as progress. By corruption, I don't necessarily mean illegal or indictable offenses, but rather the compromise of public assets...Let's call it soft corruption. Fifty years ago the Parking Authority was started to bail out the influential owners of the over the hill Park & Shop. The malls had opened on MacArthur Rd., and the demand for parking in downtown dwindled rapidly. However, the surface lots would provide convenient parking for the more tenants and their cars living in center city. There are dozens of possible posts about the shady deals of the Parking Authority over the ensuing decades, but we stay with this abridged version while I skip ahead forty five years to the NIZ. Those surface lots, although serving the public purpose of neighborhood parking, provided easy cheap building lots for the new generation of connected movers and shakers... No buildings to buy and demolish. The public is simply told that parking decks are progress. 

The wall in the Parkway was finally finished, but the landings on the double stairway remain to be fixed. The Community Music School is losing their parking once again at their new location.  If the Parking Authority still owns any lots, it's only because no developer has yet expressed an interest in it.  South Whitehall, only because of a completely new dais of commissioners, will finally repair Wehr's Dam.

On another note, new mayor Tuerk seems to be a populist. Yesterday someone mentioned his open office door policy to me. However, I seemingly have turned into a persona-non-grata, rather quickly even for me, with this new administration.


  1. If Pat Browne does lose his senate seat what do you think the repercussions will be for the NIZ. He is the NIZ's protector.

  2. Speaking of Pat, if he goes down, that is extremely bad news for the ASD as well.

  3. scott@8:16,8:17, the NIZ is/was written in pencil. It has been changed numerous times to accommodate new opportunities for Reilly. If Browne loses, I'm sure even more flexibility will be built into it before he leaves office. I noticed that Reilly was Browne's largest campaign donor. As for the schools...It is my observation that the school/state budgets are staggered to allow the elected officials to be white knights. That will continue... I never seen anything or anybody change Harrisburg in the slightest.

  4. Pat Browne has a lot of influence in Harrisburg , Jarod won't.