Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pawlowski for Senate is good for Democracy in Pennsylvania

           There are pros and cons to every good debate, and in the debate over whether or not Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski should run for United States Senator, the pros far outweigh the cons. The end result is that a contest between Joe Sestak and Ed Pawlowski will give registered Democrats a reason to get out and get involved in races across the state all through 2016. The Senate race will be the top tier race, and will generate regular blurbs for all media avenues. With Incumbent Pat Toomey running unopposed (for now) on the Republican side, The Democrats will have a huge advantage in framing the political discussion.
             I worked for Sestak last time, and I was disappointed when he lost. I am open minded about a Pawlowski campaign, and the opportunity to have two candidates that challenge each other to be better candidates. Allentown's mayor, despite the legitimate concerns of his many detractors, has proven himself to be a savvy fighting tiger in the political ring. Ed Pawlowski has shown a knack for always ending up on the winning side, no matter where he started. I say it is a good thing for voters to have choices, even if they might not particularly care for any of those particular choices. (and in that I include all three candidates Sestak, Pawlowski, and Toomey). I say that because choices can drive an honest discussion and give voters real positions to define each candidate on. Variety is said to be the spice of life. In this case I would say the same about politics.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Attorney General Kathleen Kane should immediately resign

     I was one of the many Pennsylvanians who voted for Kathleen Kane to be Attorney General in November of 2012.  I thought she would be a refreshing choice who would search out and discover the truth about then Governor Corbett's involvement in the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State disaster. I thought she might shine a light on the coziness between Corbett and the Fracking Industry.

     I was wrong about that. I am greatly disappointed that the only real newsworthy events to come about during Kane's tenure as Attorney General is her own alleged abuses in office. I am a believer of Due Process, but I am also a realist. I don't see how Kane can execute her duties representing the people of our Commonwealth when the common citizen can't have faith in her integrity. The Attorney General has to be above all reproach in executing the duties of office, and I believe there is enough reason to conclude Kane's office has lost the faith of the people.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2011 - Reform Team! 2015 Results Team! Same Difference!

       There are so many ways to describe the Republican Party side of Lehigh County Commissioner's races this year, that it is hard to pick the right one. One thing is for sure, For the Third election cycle in a row, the theme of far right Republicans is "BLAME DEAN BROWNING!" It does not matter that Dean hasn't held office for four years, it has been working, and by their reasoning, it should work again.

        There are five candidates for the four at large seats open. The two elected incumbents are Brad Osborne and Vic Mazziotti. The appointed incumbent is Amanda Holt, who was selected when Scott Ott moved to Texas following his loss in the County Executive race. That leaves Dean Browning and local Cycling enthusiast  Marty Nothstein basically vying for the seat being vacated by Lisa Scheller, who has decided not to run. Because the top four votegetters are the ones that will move ahead to the general election, it is possible that only two of the incumbents could move forward if both Browning and Nothstein make the top four.

      If you were handicapping by experience, Browning, Osborne, and Mazziotti would be shoo ins, with Nothstein and Holt vying for the last spot. But  reality is that Lehigh County voters are actually a fairly predictable bunch. For a primary election in a local year, turnout for Republicans will likely be between 15% to 18% of registered  Rs. That means between 13,000 to 15,000 voters countywide.
      The big variable in R turnout is that those Rs turning out in the primary lean toward the more conservative side, and are susceptible to believing twisted attack ads against more moderate candidates. The proof is in the tangled reasoning used the last two cycles against Dean Browning.
      The so called "REFORM" team of 2011 ran on a pledge to get rid of the 16% tax hike, which they solely and wrongly blamed Browning for. That tax repeal never happened. Instead we got a reassessment where many lower end homeowners got a property tax increase, while the higher end got a break.
        Like most politicians, once elected, they got busy protecting their incumbency. Instead of addressing their failings,they have now rebranded their slate as the "RESULTS" team. despite have no good results that I can see, other than constant dysfunction and squabbling with the County Executive.

   They don't have any real results to point to, so they are falling back on the old, "Dean Browning is bad!" playbook. Sadly, it is possible that combined with the hit jobs done by the Morning Call newspaper, one of the better candidates in either party might not make the November ballot, leaving voters once again with choices between political extremes.

    Honestly, Amanda Holt has shown me nothing. Voters like having a woman on the slate, so I doubt she gets kicked off. For me Nothstein is the wildcard. He may be a past Olympic hero, but to residents near the Velodrome, he isn't exactly beloved. His indifference to traffic and noise complaints over the years hasn't endeared him to the community, especially the blaring of rap music at 8 AM on Saturday Morning over the speakers that can be heard more than two miles away in the Redners store parking lot.
        If he makes it thru the Primary, you can be guaranteed that come fall his management of the Velodrome and recurring requests for financial support from the County General fund will be examined. You give voters a choice between financially supporting the Cedar Brook County Nursing Homes or the Velodrome, which caters to a somewhat elitist clientele, which do you think they will choose?
      You can disagree with it, but the candidates on the ballot in November would be foolish not to exploit this achilles heel in Nothstein's resume if he makes it that far. This time Democrats are prepared to fight back, unlike four years ago. The incumbent R's, Osborne, Mazziotti, and Holt have a record of ineptitude that they have to defend, and it won't be so easy to keep their seats.

    Reform Team or Results Team, it may not matter come November, if they can't put forward an agenda with a defined plan and defend their record, it is possible they will more likely be the LOSING team.


The Lehigh valley Planning Commission proposes putting the Fox in the Henhouse.

      The purpose of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission is to make the area's largest land owner happy.

      Okay, maybe that is not true, but it sure seems that way. And what better way to appease the most powerful landowner in the region than by putting him directly on the Planning Commission? Doesn't it make sense to put the architect of our traffic nightmare in charge of future planning? It only seems right that he be in a position to influence where and how the Valley grows, after all, he stands to make the most profit from it.

       You can't stop what some consider "Progress."  The doubling of Truck Traffic over the next twenty five years  will take place no matter who is on the Planning Commission. The only questions are, how much will certain people profit from it, and can it be managed to lessen the impact on the quality of life? Maybe David Jaindl cares about that. Then again, maybe not. With his track record, I wouldn't hold my breath.


America the Hateful

    The State of Indiana has made it legal to discriminate against gays. Several States, most notably Arkansas, have announced plans to enact similar measures. What the hell is wrong with us?

     Meanwhile, in Lehigh County news, a local black activist group is miffed because an Allentown School District teacher refused to meet with them after she made reference to the "N" word in her classroom. The teacher used the offending word after being subjected to rap lyrics celebrating the Nazi Killing of Jews. The Teacher's spouse happens to be Jewish.

    The main spokesperson for the Black Activist group, while espousing outrage at the use of the "N" word, doesn't seem to feel the need to talk to the parents of the students involved about the bad behavior of their child. Singing about Nazis killing Jews is okay, but don't say "N*****r"?

     Equal respect and rights for all should be the goal of our society. You can't cry foul over one slight without addressing them all.

     America is not beautiful when it is the face of hate.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sal Panto finally has a Colonoscopy

           When I first read about this, I wondered, why is this news?

            Then it hit me: Sal was only having Bernie O'Hare's Lehigh Valley Ramblings blog removed from his ass!

Monday, March 9, 2015

How Northampton County Elected Officials would probably handle a Zombie Apocalypse

    I am a big fan of AMC's Walking Dead TV show. I haven't missed an episode in the 5 seasons it has been broadcast. This season, the Intrepid crew of survivors lead by a former Georgia Sheriff named Rick Grimes has had to deal with Cannibals as well as the regular passing herds of "walkers", and the deaths of two beloved characters. But here we are, after the most recent episode, with the possibility of a civilized, sustainable community. Their new possible home is located in the vicinty of Alexandria Virginia and it is all run by a former Ohio Congresswoman. Her name is Deanna, and she tells Sheriff Grimes she has a plan to rebuild society. She ended up in Alexandria because the Army Forced her to go there after she left Washington to go back to Ohio to help manage the Zombie Apocalypse crisis. Unfortunately she never made it to Ohio.
       But the idea of what local elected officials might do in an actual Zombie Apocalypse is intriguing to me.

        The group that I think would be the most interesting to watch would have to be the gang over in the People's Republic of Northampton County, as one of my favorite local bloggers call them.

        As the first reports of Walkers attacking the living and making more Walkers started filtering in, what would they do?
      Take County Executive John Brown, for example, I bet the first thing old Brownie would do is put out an unbid contract for a consultant to advise him on the best course of action. Probably someone from Bangor. The person may or may not already be a "Walker" but who could tell?
      Second, he would appoint an advisory board to think up ideas on what to do. There would be the start of the problem, as one of the political parties, most likely the Tea Party branch of the Republicans, would insist that at least two of the seven advisory board members be Walkers. It wouldn't matter that all the Walkers would want to do is stumble around biting people, in fact, it might be hard to distinguish Walkers from Tea Party people to begin with.
       With all the dickering going on, John Brown would likely try to set up a meeting for the Walker advisory board candidates with Controller Steve Barron, pretending he wanted Barron's input, but really just hoping Barron gets bit. Brown would probably offer Blogger Bernie O'hare press credentials to that event as well, hoping to literally, "kill two birds" with one stone.

      Meanwhile, Over in the City of Easton, Mayor Panto would urge City Council to pass a "Walker" Tax, requiring any and all Walkers to register with the city and pay a $50 registration fee. Walkers from Outside Easton who commute into town everyday to feed on residents would have to Pay $250. However, Panto would waive registration fees for anyone who volunteers to work for the Parking Authority, or signs a waiver vowing not to bite Easton Residents.

      District Attorney John Morganelli would likely Challenge Panto's plan in court in whatever way he found possible, but would likely compromise if Panto offered to let the prison hire Walkers as guards.

       Now there is no telling what smaller municipalities might do, because it is likely that folks like Police Chief Trachtca up in Nazareth would declare open hunting season on Walkers, and that opens the possibility that a few folks who aren't walkers might get "Accidentally" taken out, but that's the worst case scenario.

    Then again, Walkers could be a boon to Northampton County, John Brown could save a lot of money by replacing anyone who retires from the County Workforce with one. You have to wonder if Brown would notice the difference, even if the public might. 

       Now what would Congressman Matt Cartwright do?  Honestly, if he was on the floor of Congress when the Zombie Apocalypse broke out, he likely would not make it out of the town alive. Those people eat each other for Breakfast as it is. We would never see him again. And so it would go.

Monday, March 2, 2015

How you know when your local Municipality (Township) has too much money

            Let's say your Township has thirty thousand residents.  Most of your residents live in Single family homes with average income far above $60k per household. Your Township collect more money in taxes and fees than it knows what to do with. Now you have THREE Million Three hundred thousand some dollars laying around, burning a hole in the elected officials pockets. What do you do? Do you spend it on Public Safety? Do you join with neighboring municipalities for better police protection? Of Course not! You continue to mooch off the police forces of your neighboring municipalities, and tax the State police with your residential policing.

       In fact, one local municipality, (We are talking You, Lower Macungie!) has decided to spend that large amount of money on, of all things, Artificial turf for certain Sports fields. That's right, artificial turf, because grass is so much more expensive to maintain.

       This is the greatest example of spending stupidity in local government for the last decade. Shame on the three boneheaded Township Commissioners who voted for this travesty.

        What a waste of money. The three geniuses are nothing more than a continuation of the corrupt old gang that the people tried to vote out less than ten years ago. They put concerns of a powerful few ahead of the many. Why no one questions the motivations behind their actions escapes me. The two biggest motivations in the world are Love and Money. Which do you think drove this vote?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Moratorium on the Death Penalty in PA is wrong

        There are so many issues that our new Governor has to deal with, and I never thought that the Death Penalty would be one.  The issue here is that the Governor is disregarding his oath of office to upheld the laws of the Commonwealth. By refusing to do his duty as Governor, he is disregarding the will of the people.
        We have a justice system that I admit is flawed, but that is why we rarely execute anyone in Pennsylvania, and over 200 citizens are sitting on death row. The legislature passed laws making the Death Penalty part of our legal system. A Governor signed those acts into law.

      They have not been repealed.

      So until such day as the citizens of Pennsylvania see fit to elect a legislature with a directive to change the law, then it is the duty of those presently elected to office to govern by those statutes.

      For the record, I believe all life is sacred, but to protect the greater welfare of the community, we need the deterrent of a Death Penalty for those with a wanton disregard for the lives of others. You can disagree with me all you want, just respect my right to disagree with you, and we can all live together in peace. It is not as hard as some would make it out to be.