Monday, December 26, 2016

No Mudfair in 2017. Why? Here's what I think

     One of the first great things (at the time) that I experienced when I moved to the Lehigh Valley in  the mid 1990's was the Mayfair celebration on Cedar Beach in Allentown. Way back then, it was a come as you are kind of thing. There was no admission fee, you just found a place to park within a mile or so, and walked up to it. All the entertainment was FREE! And it was a great time. You could walk around and check out all kinds of art exhibits, and sit down just about anywhere and enjoy the music.
        It might be hard for some to believe this, but when Sam Bennett took over as director for a few years, it actually had its' best success financially. Unfortunately she moved on, and it was not long until Ed Pawlowski came to town. Then he became Mayor, and somewhere along the line, somebody decided that Mayfair had to make lots of money. Sure it turned a profit, but hey, why not squeeze every last buck we can out of it?

       So in setting out to make it more popular and more of a money maker, those in charge ended up doing exactly the opposite. They fenced it in and started charging admission. They claimed it was to attract better musical acts, but I think they really just wanted to keep the residents that they considered low income riff raff and a threat to what they wanted their party to be, out.

      In Short, the organizers alienated the very residents that Mayfair was meant to embrace as part of a greater community.  If you see a few parallels between this story and how hardly any of the inner city residents seem to ever show up for events at the PP&L Center, then your eyes are open.

     That Mayfair is on Life Support and possibly about to get Last rites should be an eye opener for all the downtown cheerleaders. It is a symptom of a greater affliction. What will happen when the shine leaves the PP&L Center in 5 to 7 years? When you have a nucleus in the center of the city that can't be adequately supported without most of the money coming from outside it's core, it is hard to maintain its health.

   The Operators of Mayfair over the course of the last decade have completely alienated the citizenry they would supposedly be serving. In Contrast, the downtown revitalization brigade thinks they can survive almost solely on people coming downtown as a destination. Eventually this shell game of tax revenues will end, and without that, then what? Another cycle thru a declining market and the abandonment of the inner city? Will the loft apartments of 2017 become the subsidized public housing of 2032? 

      I wouldn't bet against it.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Mighty wind says Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski will not seek a fourth term

   In recent conversations with a local Democrat who holds office in the Lehigh Valley area, I was assured that the present Mayor of Allentown has no plans to run for a fourth term.
   I am not disparaging my source by referring to them as "A Mighty Wind", in fact, they got a kick out of my reference to the movie of the same title.

   There is some circumstantial evidence hinting that Pawlowski was not going to run. He hasn't put together a campaign team to replace the departed Fleckster, and it should be no surprise to anyone that after the FBI seized all his campaign assets, he is not exactly raking in the cash.

     But most importantly, the looming threat of indictment for his pay to play practices as detailed in the local media and on other local blogs is a dark cloud that has no silver lining for anyone, neither the observed Mayor or the observing public. His ongoing battle over the 2017 budget with City Council and the threat of taxpayer funded lawsuits does him no favors as well, but every conversation always comes back to the sense of inevitability that he will eventually, before the apocalypse perhaps, be indicted,

      There will be turnover at the justice department with a new  Presidential administration which could, and likely will, drag the drama on even longer. And who knows what Pawlowski's not running might inspire the Feds to do, (DEAL or NO DEAL?) you never know.

      There is one more thing I should mention. Currently, Local Activists Sam Bennett, Allentown School Board Member Charlie Thiel, and Lehigh County Commissioner David Jones have all announced their intention to enter the May 2017 Mayoral Primary. There are rumors City Councilman Darryl Hendricks may also enter the Fray.

      I have kept track of local election numbers for years now, and if Pawlowski were to run, that would make 4, and possibly 5 candidates. I believe that Pawlowski has a voter core that consists of twenty eight to thirty one percent (+/- 1.5%)  of Allentown voters who will remain loyal and vote for him under any circumstances. In a multi candidate primary, Thirty percent could be enough to get him nominated for a fourth term.
     In that scenario, I would have sat all the non Pawlowski players down together and told them to try and work out who really wants it and who really has an idea what they want to do. Good intentions are nice, but the road to hell is paved with them, and the current situation in Allentown proves my point.

     I believe my source when they say Mayor Pawlowski is calling it a day at the end of 2017, but I personally won't breath a sigh of relief until he announces it, or the FBI drags him from City Hall in handcuffs.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Trump might be our president Elect, but it is still Christmas

   A question I would never have imagined asking, ever: If it was even slightly suspected that the Russians had helped elect Hillary Clinton, Would not the Republican party be screaming for an investigation?
   Yet here we sit, at what could be the last normal Christmas in American History, wondering if our government will be able to function once the New President takes office.
    I have always believed as a loyal American citizen, and an honorably discharged ,military veteran, that I had a duty to respect those holding office in authority above me, whether I voted for them or not. I believe in practicing the role of "the Loyal Opposition," disagreeing with those in power, but working towards an acceptable compromise.
   I don't believe that Donald Trump and those he are appointing to his Cabinet will have any respect for their opposition. They surely haven't shown any so far. In fact, Mr. Trump is still touring the Country on his so called "Victory tour" rubbing his win in the faces of those in the minority, and doing absolutely nothing to unite the rest of the country behind his myopic vision. His Cabinet is nothing but "My Way or the Highway" people, who have convinced themselves that their self serving financial gain will eventually benefit the rest of us.
   It has never happened before in American history, what makes any of us believe it will happen now?
   I started out in writing this piece wondering if this is America's last "normal" Christmas as we know it in our lifetime. I truly fear that Donald Trump may bring about a global Armageddon through his lack of intelligence of World Affairs. He has surrounded himself with YES People, and I see no one willing to step forward and rein him in.
     If we survive to see the end of his term,it will no doubt be through God's grace, and by enduring many crises similar to the Cuban missile crisis of October 1961. He has already needlessly irritated China, and God knows what action of the many he has suggested that might spur the radical Islamic terror groups to strike at the very heart of America.

         But I still believe in Christmas, and that salvation is out there in one way, shape or form for all of us. Christmas is all about new beginnings, new life, and new ways to do things. I do believe that somehow we Americans are going to find our way to survive a Trump Presidency, even if the path we take is a crucible of fire to get through it.