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.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The 2017 Allentown REPUBLICAN MAYORAL Primary and why it matters

  There are thirteen thousand five hundred and ninety two (13,592) registered REPUBLICAN voters in Allentown. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, compared to the forty five thousand seven hundred and fifty three (45,753) registered Democrats also in Allentown.

      But what we have coming up here on May 16th is a primary. A primary that so far has seven announced Democrat candidates and three Republicans. Today it is time to look at the Republican numbers. When I look at the turnout numbers for the 57 Allentown precincts since 2001, there is one very clear pattern, and that pattern is that despite being outnumbered by approximately 3.5 to 1, The registered Republicans do participate in the process. I believe that it is mostly because they (and their county party leaders) realize their importance in helping elect Republican candidates countywide.
      You would think that because Republican candidates theoretically don't have a chance in Allentown, that Republican voters might be as complacent as well as apathetic as the Democrats in Allentown, but they are not. While Democratic Turnout in Municipal primaries has struggled to break 10% in most districts, Republican turnout has in many precincts surpassed 25% and in one case, 30%.

      (We will touch on the General election in a future post, where R's out perform D's in Lehigh County in municipal elections by at least 27% to 18%, and the 20+% of Independents that participate go for R candidates by an 85% to 15% margin)

        So this year we have what I see as a perfect storm that could very well elect the first Republican Mayor in Allentown since 1997.  This storm is reliant on incumbent Ed Pawlowski winning a plurality over the six other candidates and becoming the Democratic nominee. For Republicans, this will be a Christmas gift of unfathomable proportions. This will turn off many of the few Democrats that do turn out in Allentown on Municipal election years, and help the Republicans maintain their majority at County Government levels. It will also, in my opinion, very likely give Allentown a Republican mayor, and possibly a Republican City Council member or two.

    If you don't believe it possible, I will point out to you that Republican Congressman Charlie Dent won Lehigh County by over 17,000 votes, despite the Democrats having a registration edge of over 35,000 voters. Ninety percent of that supposed edge (32,000) exists in Allentown. So you put a damaged incumbent who is under Federal Investigation as the Democratic nominee, and have him face a young energetic and charismatic Republican, and you have got yourself a horse race.

      Which brings me to handicapping the three Republican candidates. First in was Democrat turned Republican Nat Hyman, a property developer in Allentown Center City who, for the most part, is on the outside of the NIZ looking in. The last time R's ran a converted D against the current mayor that did not end well at all. Second in was Christopher Pez, an area native, and an Allentown Central Catholic grad who likely appeals to the local R's for being a guy who ran his own company and knows what small business owners have to endure on a daily basis.  Third, is Allentown Police Officer Luiz Garcia. Garcia is well spoken and articulates his platform and passion for the City very well. All things being equal, when I use my formula to score the three candidates, I think the Republican Primary has a turnout in Allentown of 22 to 25% of the registered R's. Which means 3200 to 3500 votes will be cast.

      My vote breakdown, based using census figures on median income,  past voter activity and preferences, plus a couple of other variables I came up with over the past decade, breaks it down this way:
             Pez              1440 to 1536 (45%)
             Garcia         1120 to 1216 (35%)
             Hyman          640 to 700   (20%)

            I believe this race is truly a toss up between Garcia and Pez. And to be honest, I feel there is a bias against Hispanics in the Republican base. Trump didn't win without their votes, but I also believe that it can be overcome. It will be tough for Garcia, but I think it possible.

            I also think that either Pez or Garcia could defeat Pawlowski. Hyman has no shot on that regard, because he played ball with the mayor many times, and Whoever the Dem nominee is, even if not Pawlowski, would toss it in his face regularly.

            I ran this data with the variable that Pawlowski does not get indicted BEFORE the Primary day. If that happens, Pawlowski's safety gap of votes would shrink to a point where he likely would still get 15% of the Dem vote, but give one of his challengers a chance to get by him.

      We have a long way to go, more than two months are left. The ride is going to be fun!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

So prospective candidate, you want voters to listen to you?

  The first thing a candidate should do is try listening to the voters first. A group of canvassers set out not to change anyone's minds, but to find out what was on them. In engaging the voters, they learned that voters like it when people listen to what they have to say, giving their voice an outlet. Click on the included link and take a read.