Sunday, September 10, 2017

Defining "Constituent Services"

     Just when you thought the Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski show could not get any more bizarre, the legal spokesman for the Mayor facing over 50 Federal indictments claims that what the mayor was doing was actually basic constituent services, and part of his job as an elected official.
     You see, When folks wanted to do business with the city, it was his job to help them accomplish whatever end they were seeking. There was nothing wrong with him accepting bribes thousands of dollars in contributions to one of his various campaigns for whatever office he was thinking about running for that week. If it helped a business or Constituent get a Public Contract, or get a zoning board approval, what was wrong with that? Especially if the Mayor's campaign of the week got a few thousand large deposited in the bank account out of it? That is an accepted business practice in most  some places.
      Also, the mayor has put forth as part of his defense that he was troubled to hear that some of his campaign aides might have been making promises to donors that may not have been legal! Who would have though Mike Fleck and the near dozen other folks indicted and taking plea deals would have done something like that?!

    But really, the Mayor would just like everyone possible to believe that his indictment for corruption in office is really only a big misunderstanding of how "Constituent services" is supposed to work.

     The thing is, most reasonable, educated folks get what the mayor doesn't.  The Mayor acted like "constituent Services" are something his Constituent's and others are supposed to do FOR HIM. In Mayor Ed's mind, all potential bribers  donors are SUPPOSED to serve HIS NEEDS, not the other way around. It is all in the definition, and whose definition you ascribe too.

     It is actually very simple,  Ed Pawlowski is nothing more than another self serving, arrogant elected official who used their office for personal gain. He got caught, and now he has to face the consequences of those selfish acts. The mayor was not helping anyone out of the goodness of his heart. The FBI tapes put in evidence with the indictments clearly show he directed his staff on how to get campaign donations, and he directed city employees to award contracts based on who bribed donated to his campaigns.

      That's all there is to it.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Decades of progress regressed in less than 8 months

          The summer of 78, I was 17, and my Dad turned 65. and filed for his Social security. We talked about how different America would likely be by the time I turned 65. He was an old Irish guy who had been in the laborers Union since the end of World War II and had worked Construction all those years with men of many races from many places. He had this idea that he passed on to his kids that someday America would not have to worry about race riots and inequality.

         He thought the turmoil of the 1960s would make us stronger and better as a people. As I speed toward 60 now almost 40 years later, I am ashamed that we haven't made any progress, instead, I think we are falling back. All my life I have tried to practice the example he and my Mom lived, one that MLK put forth so eloquently not so long ago, that we would judge one another by our character, and not by the color of our skin.
The promise of a black President of great character elected in 2008 made me think we were so close, yet the election of a bigoted misogynistic narcissus in 2016 tells me we are far away.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

First look at November Allentown Mayor's race

     I know many folks are aghast at the result of the municipal primary Tuesday. Yes, The mayor who has not been charged defeated 6 challengers by winning only 28% of barely 6300 Democrat party votes.
     What a sad state of affairs, that out of 43,000 registered Democrats in Allentown, barely 12% of them voted in 57 precincts. The Edster received just over 1700 votes, which means less than 4% of the eligible voters supported him. Which brings us to his anointed challenger, Democrat turned Republican and Trump wannabe, Nat Hyman, who received 1446 votes of 2222 cast by Republicans, soundly defeating dogged challenger Luiz Garcia's 674 by a more than 2 to one margin. There were over one hundred write ins for other candidates, but it did not matter.

    So the race in November is Pawlowski versus Hyman. Today I write that it looks like a minimum of a 62% to 38% victory for incumbent mayor Pawlowski, with a turnout of 7800 Democrats and 3600 Republicans. That means Dem turnout around 18% and Rep turnout around 35%.  It also looks as if even if he were to be indicted, Ed Pawlowski would still get 55% of the vote.
     There are rumors of a Democrat who did not run in May running as an Independent, and it is my opinion that for every vote taken from Ed Pawlowski, an Independent would take 1.5 from Hyman.
      Hyman is a dead duck candidate, barring an indictment AND a resignation/withdrawal by Pawlowski. Pawlowski will inevitably serve a Fourth terms. Congratulations Allentown Democratic Party Leaders. You get the Dumbass award for 2017 and beyond, and you deserve it. You have enabled the mastermind of more than a decade of criminal activity in elected office to continue his reign of terror. All because you put party before doing what is right. And you point fingers at national Republicans? A pox on both your houses. Neither of you serve the citizenry, you only serve yourselves.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

How Allentown Primary Mayoral races are trending

        Over the last couple of weeks we did some informal polling. I purchased a list of Allentown voters with the following parameter,  that they had to have voted in each municipal primary since 2009. They were two separate lists, one Democratic and one Republican. We compared our lists to the signatures on the petitions that were submitted by all seven Democratic candidates, and the three at the time Republican candidates. Even after Chris Pez was stricken from the ballot, We removed all those who signed candidate petitions that were on the list I received from the pool of available possible poll participants. We also removed all those known as party operatives and office holders, as well as poll workers. I wanted as "clean" a field to survey as I could get. I also threw out anyone I knew personally. This was an extremely time consuming project, and I would like to thank my two helpers Kathy and Jen for their efforts in making calls and getting this done.
         Please realize that I made a calculated decision to concentrate the polling on people that were most likely to vote. WE had 16 voters tell us that they were not voting. We did not ask why, but that means 92% (200) of those 216 that did answer our call were extremely likely to continue their pattern of voting in each and every election. These are the SUPER of the SUPER voters.

       There are 57 precincts in Allentown, so it was the intent to call at least 3 voters in each precinct for the Dems, and two in each for the Republicans.  We wanted to get at least 110 Allentown Democrats to answer the poll questions, and 90 Republicans. It took 8 days and  298 phone calls to get what might be considered a decent spread of data. Some people hang up and some don't answer the phone, but after receiving 110 Dem and  90 Rep responses, we tallied up the data.

    (Note: Even Though Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than three to one in Allentown, Republican turnout is usually greater in Lehigh County overall, and with there being a contested County Executive race on the Republican side, I feel Republican turnout in Allentown will be substantial, so I decided to query an almost comparable number of R's in the mayoral race.

        Our query started with telling the voter we were conducting an independent poll on the mayoral election, We first asked if they were going to vote. We made  120 Republican calls, 27 of which got no answer. We had 93 Republicans answer the phone, of which only three said they would probably not vote. We thanked those three for their time and moved on to the next call. Of the 90 who said they would be voting, we asked who they would be voting for.
            45 said Nat Hyman, 38 said Luis Garcia, and 7 were undecided.  Percentage wise that works out to a Hyman 50%, Garcia 46, and undecided 4%. I can see why Hyman seems desperate to get Garcia out of the race by any means. as a former Democrat who appears to be opportunistically running as a Republican, he is on some very shaky ground. But if he really has the financial backing of the City's movers and shakers, He will likely pull away over the next 6 weeks and easily defeat Garcia. I do think Garcia has a chance, it all depends on whether he gets the minority community engaged in actually participating. He has made inroads with the standard city Republicans, and although the sleeping potential electoral giant of the Hispanic community has not awakened yet, there is always a first time

        When I tried to look at what precincts gave which candidate the most support, the best I could see was that Nat Hyman had a good response in the old Fairgrounds area of the City where he owns a great deal of property, so he has a great number of signs out .  Garcia had a good cluster in the near West Side, from ninth Street going west. This was a small sampling, but it was only meant to get a general idea of where the candidates stand.

        So what about the Democratic side?

        We started work on this poll immediately after the news reports of the first Mayoral candidates forum, and the day after news broke that the Incumbent Mayor's former right hand man had made a plea deal in the Pay to Play scandal. we made 178 calls, of which we had 123 answer the phone. We had 13 Dems tell us that they were likely not voting in May.

    I will just cut to the chase: Out of 110 responses, Ray O'Connell got the most with 20. Ed Pawlowski had 17, Charlie Thiel 16, Sam Bennett, David Jones, and Josh Siegel each had 13, While Woodring had 2. There were 17 undecided voters.

       At first glance, it looks as if the Democratic primary for Mayor is still anybody's to win, except for Woodring. But I think it is important to note that Ray O'Connell appears to have cracked Pawlowski's stone cold solid wall of supporters, and his willingness to confront the mayor face to face in a public forum scored him some points. Pawlowski's "What Clouds?" response to those pointing out the obvious uneasiness hanging over Allentown's business climate as a result of the Federal Investigation depicted him as both arrogant and delusional.

         This research is not the most scientific, and we did not have the greatest of resources to carry it out, but we tried to be fair and as broad based in the query as possible. This method has its strengths, but also its faults, so take it with a grain of salt. Also note we stopped making calls when we got the targeted number of responses.

        So after looking at the answers, I think that Pawlowski is going to start fading on the Democratic side, with O'Connell and Thiel the top two and Sam Bennett right behind, after that it is a pick'em for what order they come in. Yes, Pawlowski may do no better than fourth when all is said and done, especially if an indictment comes down before the Primary. He still might win, if his base stays loyal enough and the turnout low enough, but that likelihood seems to be slipping away.

        That means that come November, it will likely be either O'Connell or Thiel destroying Hyman in a landslide. That is where it appears to stand as of now.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Ides of March in Allentown/Lehigh County Politics

  I understand why ballot challenges take place. Politics is a blood sport in Pennsylvania, with no holds barred. I get it, if you can run for office without an opponent, it makes your life easier. But should you? First case in point, Allentown Council Candidate Courtney Robinson (No relation to Courtney Love) has challenged the petitions of candidate John Rosario. Both are vying to finish out the two years left on the term of Jeff Glazier, who got himself appointed City Controller after Mary Ellen Koval was indicted and took a plea deal.
       Rosario filed petitions for both the 2 year, and for a four year term. I don't know the specifics yet of the challenge, but I have to wonder, why? If you want to hold elected office, go out there and convince people to Vote FOR YOU. Don't surreptitiously use legal shenanigans to rig the game in your favor. Just because it is legal, doesn't make it right.

        One other point  (Coo Coo Kachoo) Mr. Robinson, did you think this thru? Because John Rosario is very active in the Hispanic Community, which makes up more than 50% of the Allentown Population now. Granted, their community hasn't exactly exercised their power at the Ballot box, but has it ever occurred to you that you might be waking up a sleeping Giant? You would still have to face Lou Hershman in November, perhaps losing to him would be the ultimate and deserved slap down.

        Second Case in point: selective enforcement of City code. When Daryl Hendricks ran for City Council for the first time, he was still an active member of the Allentown Police Department. He did not retire until AFTER he was elected. Luis Garcia is presently an active member of the Allentown Police Department, yet he is being given an ultimatum to either quit his job or drop out of the race.  
        Uh, isn't that sort of a double standard? I can't help but wonder if it is motivated by other forces with ulterior motives, which I will get to after I discuss the next case in Point:

        Republican Christopher Pez submitted only 114 of the 100 needed signatures to get on the ballot. I said in an earlier post I was troubled by his petitions, now I will say exactly why. Pez submitted ten pages of signatures. On page 7 of ten there are 12 sigs, and on page 9 of ten, 10 sigs, that all share the same inadvertent error. The signor put their zip code in place of the date, and then the date was added beside that, outside the lines. That is 22 sigs of 114 that can be questioned on legal technicality.

         Now all is not lost here. I have seen a few challenges here locally, and I believe that judges have been inclined to side whenever possible with keeping candidates on the ballot. Only when they see a clear piece of evidence that a petitioner was willingly trying to subvert the Democratic process do they act. Back in 2006 a certain State rep near Erie had her staff fill out petitions and turn them in. She got tossed and was dealt some harsh justice, but that was the extreme.
        Mr. Pez expressed to me via email that he went about collecting his own sigs because he wanted to meet and talk to voters. What can be more Democratic than that? So I will wait to see how this shakes out in court.

          So who benefits if both Garcia and Pez end up off the ballot? You would think Democrat turned Republican Landlord Developer Nat Hyman would have an easy path to the Nomination, and could concentrate on whoever he might face in November. That would likely be true, but........

          You would be WRONG.

          This being the Ides of March, the day Caesar was betrayed, is so appropriate, because the candidate who would benefit the most is........ Brad Osborne, current County Commissioner and now County Executive candidate.

            You see, If there is no contested Mayor's Race in Allentown, plus only one City Council Candidate, R's in Allentown won't be as interested in voting. Republican Glenn Eckhart is a blue Collar kind of guy who appeals to the hard working Allentown inner City Voter, unlike Brad (I'm not really related to OZZY) Osborne.

            No real races for R's in Allentown translates into a plus for the Commissioner who has never bitten the head off a live bat (as far as I know.) It does sound a bit Machiavellian, but it makes a great deal of sense. Glenn Eckhart has run two successful County Controller campaigns and has name recognition across all of Lehigh County. He will do well with the regular working folks. Osborne, on the other hand, is a champion of the South Whitehall McMansion land, and while he has the money to spread his message, he isn't all that well liked. He's been wishy washy on just about every issue of import in the County, and always seems to see which way the wind is blowing before casting a vote. The inability of the Commissioners to move forward with a purpose concerning the County Nursing Homes is an immediate case in point.
     So it is in Brad's best interests to try and knock a peg or two out from under Glenn's base support.

       Okay, one last thought: I am absolutely stunned that as of yet, no one challenged the candidacy of Allentown Mayoral hopeful of Nathan Woodring, that was a no brainer, his petitions were absolutely vulnerable. I can't print the names, but I found two signers who do not live at the address they listed and also were not on the voter rolls. But it is too late now, and not my call to make. Lets see how they roll now.

Updated 5:30 AM  The local newspaper reports that Pez's petitions are being challenged on the basis that 40 of the sigs are from people who are not registered Republicans. If that is the case, Pez is likely dead in the water, and that is unfortunate.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Why can't local government help citizens. instead of F#CK them?

   Two doors down from me there is a 90+year old women. During the week a Mini Lanta Bus comes, backs up her driveway, and takes her over to a facility across from Lehigh Valley Hospital.
    Today, Several of my neighbors and I took the time to clear her driveway after the heavy snow.

     Despite her daughter asking the Township to please not plow their driveway in, they did it anyway, putting a four foot wide and several feet high ice wall at the end of it. How do they expect a 60+ year old woman to clear that for her 90 year old mother?

     The Township says it can't be helped, but I think they are just being A$$HOLES. Any Comments?

Monday, March 13, 2017

I believe there will be Petition Challenges in Allentown

  First things first, I do not live in Allentown and have no horse in any of these races

     Now  I wish it were not so. but after viewing the petitions for every candidate for Mayor and City Council in Allentown, I have some observations. First, The Candidates for Mayor. There is one Glaring problem for one candidate in particular, Nathan Woodring. You need 100 valid signatures to be on the ballot as a candidate. Nathan Woodring turned in exactly 100 signatures.  That is all. That is a recipe for disaster. While I was at Lehigh County Voter Registration on Monday a person came in asking for information on how to challenge a candidate's petition's. I asked the person who they were challenging, and they admitted it was Woodring's. Voter registration turned them away, sending them to the proper place and procedures for petition challenges. You only need to find one signature with an issue to get tossed with that kind of margin. After looking at Woodring's sigs, I think they will find at least one.

        Now, just for the heck of it, I looked at the petitions filed by the Republican candidates. I was deeply troubled to see that Chris Pez only filed 113 signatures. Luis Garcia filed almost 200, and Democrat turned Republican Nat Hyman filed several hundred. I quit counting after page 15. Pez has left himself exposed to a challenge if Hyman or Garcia were to decide it worthwhile to knock him off the ballot.   
        I doubt if Garcia would do it, I see him as a guy who wants to take on all challenges. Hyman, though,as a former Democrat who some believe may have been recruited to be a Republican surrogate for interests of businessmen who are uncomfortable backing the current Democratic incumbent, would see knocking Pez off the ballot as a plus for his long term campaign.

    The thing to remember here on the Democratic side is that the more candidates there are, the more split the vote, the better chance Pawlowski has. On the Republican side, as a Democrat turned Republican, Hyman needs as little competition as possible. The West End R's will never vote for a Hispanic or black, ask Tony Phillips how that worked out in 2009.

   That is why I believe Pawlowski IS NOT behind any challenges. I have people telling me what they think, and I have my own personal experience today, but I do not know who is behind it, and guesses can be wrong.

     It would also not surprise me if Mayoral candidate Joshua Siegel is challenged, and while I believe his signatures are good, I believe it would be a tactic specifically designed to drain his campaign finances. It could also backfire, encouraging people to fund his campaign in the face of blatant unfairness by those entrenched as political players.

     Okay, now moving on to the candidates for City Council. I looked at every single petition. It says a lot that Julio Guridy is using many of the former Fleck organization employees to help his campaign. Cynthia Mota? there is nothing about her petitions that on face value that you would immediately challenge, but I have to wonder if she actually circulated each of her petitions. If I was going to challenge, I would ask why she is listed as the circulator on the back on several different petitions on the same dates. in neighborhoods in three different parts of the city. She has several hundred signatures and would survive any challenges, but I am curious why she is listed as almost the sole circulator. Maybe she really did cover all that ground in a very short period of time, so I have to give her benefit of the doubt.

    I like Eugene McDuffie. His heart is in the right place, he believes the next generation of Allentown deserves a chance, but he only turned in 130 + signatures. I looked at them, and they look good, but again, I can see one of the unscrupulous INS taking a shot to knock him out and make him spend what little campaign funds he has.. It is what insecure people do.
     I also believe that Allentown Tenant Association President Ken Heffentreger might get challenged. While he turned in more than enough signatures, those with deeper pocketbooks could force him into court and defending his petitions, and drain his meager campaign funds. This is what they do. I don't like it, but it is how they roll.  We will find out first thing Wednesday morning who gets bitch slapped, and who does not.

Update 3 PM:  I mistakenly said that West end R's would never vote for a Hispanic or black. That is too big a blanket of a statement. What I should have written, and am writing now, is that I don't believe that the West end R's will be completely supportive of a minority candidate (from either party), and that is backed up by past election turnout and results. I regret casting such a wide blanket over one particular voting block.