I’ve been thinking about the implications of the WFMZ story that puts a firm’s name and face to what seem to be the same sweeps for listening devices at City Hall as those described by the FBI.
I’ve been thinking about what needs to happen if we’re going to create a new Allentown, a new tone, a new way of doing things out in the open and for the community.
I’ve been thinking about what the City Council meeting one day after the upcoming election will bring, and I’ve been thinking that regardless of who remains on the dais, we all have some serious work to do. I hope the folks who ran in the spring with Ed Pawlowski’s PAC are upset politically, not because I have anything against them personally (I don’t), but because of the choice to so closely align with him in the first place. Yes, these decisions were made before the FBI raid. But one of the things I have railed against as an activist in Allentown is what I’ll call “the Pawlowski Method.” Triangulation. Alienation. Poker games as policy meetings. Seeking to control City Council through campaign donations, through access, maybe, to Democratic king makers. Lashing out at even the most mild forms of constructive criticism. Lashing out at the audacity some citizens have to even ask questions. Even while employed in legal ways, the method makes for bad government and bad feelings. It also lays the groundwork for what the FBI thinks is here.
Emily Opilo has a piece in today’s Morning Call showing that PAC candidates who were bringing in thousands of dollars int he primaries have raised only hundreds of dollars for the general election. With under a week to go to the election, Allentown voters have real choices. Elect PAC candidates or don’t. Given Candida Affa’s recent talk of “what the mayor needs now is more support,” she should already be disqualified from your list.
A month or so ago I asked the PAC candidates at Council to yank their PAC yard signs and pay for new ones. I understand now why that hasn’t happened. There’s no money to do it.
Don’t vote for the Mayor’s former PAC-mates, Jeff Glazier and Candida Affa. Write in Rich Fegley. You only need to read Emily Opilo’s twitter accounts of City Council meetings to understand why. You only need to meet him once, and not even over one of his excellent beers at one of his amazing brew pubs to understand why. Write in Shane Fillman, well-known and respected leader in Old Allentown who has pledged to be a watchdog for Allentown’s citizens. These men will vote their conscience and uphold their commitment to reform Allentown.
For School Board, I endorse Ce-Ce Gerlach without reservation. I’ll probably also vote for Bob Smith, simply for the gumption he showed in going public with the Mayor’s moves to charge the ASD for police. Had the Mayor not employed the patented Pawlowski Method, I might feel otherwise. Among the other candidates are two from the former PAC who, but for their alignment with it, would have had my support. I am not an “if you’re not for us you’re against us” kind of person, but I feel very strongly about the negative impact Citizens For a Better Allentown, the official name of the Pawlowski PAC, has already had on our politics. It was the codified extension of the Pawlowski Method, and it sought to lock up his control over City Council and the School Board, netting less democracy, less dissension, less conversation, fewer alternatives, and, finally, fewer solutions. The Pawlowski Method sold our water. It sold our air. It sold our land and sold out our community. While developers stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars on 8 public dimes for every 2 these barons “risk,” there’s still no Community Benefits Agreement, no real plan for improving the actual neighborhoods that make up the so-called Neighborhood Improvement Zone. The Allentown School District is still broke, and this Mayor wants to charge it for School Resource Officers even while he tries to pick the School Board’s newest members.
What about the urban renaissance downtown? Empty storefronts. Phony brands. Massive corporate welfare.