Nov 20, 2014

Jew Killing, A Long Tradition

In response to the synagogue killings in Jerusalem, the media has been speculating about a religious war. I'm not sure where those reporters have been for the last 3,000 years, but killing Jews is a historical sport. Almost every language even has special words for the ritual. For many centuries before the Holocaust, killing Jews was called a pogrom. In 1929, the Jews of Hebron were massacred. Yes Dorothy, there were Jews living there long before Israel was created in 1948. There's even a long tradition of killing Jews in their synagogues. Twenty two Jews were murdered in an Istanbul Synagogue in 1986.

What's new is that Jews in Israel are capable of shooting back, capable of defending themselves. Although the world is used to dead Jews, they don't like Jews who fight back. For Israel's audacity to defend itself, it is called racist, apartheid and even nazi. Fortunately for Israel, it doesn't allow those insults to deter them from defending themselves.

South Whitehall Slams It's Placid Residents

Imagine a municipality where the elected officials can announce a 37% increase in taxes, and not one citizen questions it. Such is the case in the burb just west of Allentown. In their defense, the Township maintains that this is the first increase in 29 years. They have been previously operating with a surplus, generated by decades of high end development. One thing is for sure, the township operates virtually with no outside scrutiny, seen elsewhere in the Valley. I think that when the new tax bills arrive next spring, even the normally calm township residents will take notice.

Nov 19, 2014

An Allentown Cheesesteak Story

Readers of The Morning Call have seen several photo spreads of Tony Luke's opening on Hamilton Street. Two spreads in a row showed Mayor Pawlowski and the owner hyping the new cheesesteak spot, along with at least two articles in recent weeks announcing that the business was coming. The same readers have also seen coupon ads by Zandy's, which have been advertising in the paper for maybe 20 years. Zandy's, on the intersection of St. John and Lehigh Streets, is a third generation Allentown business. Yesterday, a reader commented on a different blog topic that the NIZ is crony capitalism, supported by crony journalism. Submitted comments about which cheesesteak you think is better will not appear, I don't care about that. What I do care about is a mayor and a newspaper, who now seems to think that Allentown starts and stops at the NIZ portion of Hamilton Street.

Nov 18, 2014

Allentown's Misplaced Park Priorities

It wasn't that many years ago that Allentown was nationally known for it's park system. This distinction resulted from the foresight and wealth of General Harry Trexler. The general had an elaborate system designed by distinguished landscape architects in 1928, but when the Depression struck in 1929, the plans were put on hold. By the mid 1930's when Roosevelt's New Deal was formulated, Allentown had shovel ready plans. Up to 4,000 men labored throughout the park systems building irreplaceable stone structures. The completed iconic park system became a designation with a national reputation. Move ahead to 2014, and we have a city hall with no institutional memory or knowledge of these resources. We have a succession of park directors from out of town with a background in recreation. The current park budget again doesn't have one dollar earmarked for WPA restoration.* Not unlike Detroit, we will be building a Kaboom Playground, a strategy for impoverished inter-cities, utilizing public planning and participation in construction. While the Kaboom project is the emphasis of the park department, the top wall of the double staircase leading down to the amphitheater at Union Terrace is crumbling. Another winter of wet and freezing may well destroy another monumental structure which we could never replace. Where is Allentown going?

*For the first time since I began advocating for the WPA, this year's budget has $25,000 allocated for an engineering study of the Fountain Park Steps.  Although this hopefully will be a beginning, I believe that the funds would be better spent on a stone mason. The top of the wall at Union Terrace and St. Elmo Street, and the missing treads on the Fountain Park steps, could be replaced with no engineering necessary.

Obama helping to build Kaboom Playground

Nov 17, 2014

The Crime and Nonsense of Grants

Just a few years ago Allentown and the local Chamber of Commerce were conducting Vision meetings for the merchants of Hamilton Mall. While these soon to be displaced saps thought that they were planning Hamilton Streets' future, Reilly and Browne were cooking up the NIZ. On a more regional level, in 2011 the valley received $3.4 million dollars to study development. This hunk of HUD cash was distributed to local agencies, who like baby birds with open beaks, ate it up. The baby birds included LVEDC,LVPC,CACLV,and LANTA. A special director was hired and community meetings were conducted to collect your input. They named this disappearing $3.4million Envision. You can now attend the final meetings where the conclusions are available; Imagine that.

ADDENDUM: There is a mistaken notion that a grant, especially a federal HUD Grant, has little bearing to our pockets. Apologists for this bureaucratic waste say well at least the money is being used locally. If the money is being wasted locally or not, this waste is being repeated locally, regionally and nationally. Grant writing specialists are prized employees in all levels of government. Although due diligence needs to proceed any project or expenditure, the grant process has assumed an expensive life of it's own.

Nov 14, 2014

molovinsky Battlefield Policy

Mayors' Nutter and Pawlowski were recently taped for a Business Matters segment. Both mayors lamented the lack of pension reform as anchors around the neck of government. Neither gentleman bothered to mention that their party, which they fully support, failed to muster even one vote for pension reform in the state house. Although it's easy for me to point out that hypocrisy, many of the other issues I bring to light are painful. I normally support the Lehigh County Commissioners who are being obstructionists in keeping Cedarbrook viable. Although I criticize the South Whitehall Commissioners for allowing the Wildlands Conservancy to set the time table for the Wehr's Dam decision, I admire most of their other good decisions. I suppose that I might be less abrasive and more diplomatic championing these causes, or more political as some would say. My problem then is that there would be one less voice speaking out, and there's so few already.

Nov 13, 2014

County Commissioners Euthanizing Cedarbrook

Reflecting upon an article by Samantha Marcus in The Morning Call, the County Commissioners are hellbent on killing Cedarbrook. Despite a most complete, logical plan to restore it's fiscal health, Commissioner Mike Schware keeps saying that he will withhold any nourishment until there is a plan in place. Vic Mazziotti's rationale might even be more Catch 22ish; He claims that the plan to attract higher paying Medicare Rehab patients to one wing is contrary to the facilities' low income mission, and that it should stay exclusively with medicaid patients. Both of these absurd, disingenuous arguments mean that Executive Tom Muller will have to improvise to keep the cherished institution alive, until which time more responsible people occupy the dais at Government Center. Commissioner decisions should not just be an ultra conservative ideology formulated in a void, but a localized decision, reflecting the traditions and best outcome for the residents of Lehigh Valley.

photograph by K Mary Hess

Nov 12, 2014

An Expensive Endeavor

The other day I received a message on my answering machine thanking me for my effort to represent the residents of the 183rd District. Although the election is over and I lost, I am not too proud to still accept contributions. The district is very large, and to get my message out to the voters was an expensive endeavor. Those inclined to contribute can use the paypal button on the sidebar, thank you.

Citizen Abuse

South Whitehall, at this point, is actually abusing it's residents over Wehr's Dam. Over 7,000 have signed petitions to retain the dam, with 6,500 of them actually signing the document while at the dam. The Commissioners are not being uniquely stubborn, rather the problem is politics as usual. Although the dam has been declared structurally good by the state, the township agreed last summer to allow the Wildlands Conservancy to make a case for it's demolition. In a further insult to local residents, the Wildlands' study is being funded by the taxpayers through a grant. Over $200,000 is being spent to make a case which the residents do not want, nor is necessary by any objective criteria. Additionally, the Commissioners feel compelled to defer their decision until which time the Wildlands presents their finished report. In addition to wasting the taxpayer's time and money, the credibility of local government erodes for 7,000 citizens.

photograph by Gregg Obst

Nov 11, 2014

Re-earning My Certificate

Several years ago Allentown Friends Of The Parks presented me with a certificate for my advocacy for the WPA Structures in the park system. A year later, I re-earned the certificate by attempting to defend the WPA Robin Hood Dam. This week I will again re-earn it by explaining to the Park and Recreation Committee that funds have been allocated for WPA restoration, but never used for that purpose. In reality, I will be talking to a proverbial stone wall. The Committee was comprised of Cynthia Mota, Joe Davis and Peter Schweyer, but Schweyer has resigned Council. Mota and Davis allowed the Wildlands to remove the scenic WPA Dam on the recommendation of Park Director John Mikowychok, who had only been in Allentown for six weeks at the time. Neither Mota or Mikowychok had ever seen the dam before. Mikowychok has since resigned, and has been temporarily replaced by Vicky Kistler, from the Health Department. Mikowychok had replaced John Weitzel as Park Director. Weitzel had secured funds to repair/fortify the leaning wall along the Lehigh Parkway entrance road, but the funds were never spent for that purpose. Mikowychok had secured funds for the repair of the steps leading down to Fountain Park. This week when the Park and Recreation Committee meet to discuss the upcoming budget, I will be there re-earning my certificate once again.

Nov 10, 2014

The Night Of Broken Glass

In 1938,  on the nights of November 9 and 10, the Nazis whipped up anti-Jewish riots in a pogrom now known  as Kristallnacht.

During these two nights,    synagogues were set on fire and  thousands of Jewish shop windows were broken.

Ninety one Jews were killed.  30,000 were arrested and taken to camps, a harbinger of the Holocaust.

reprinted from previous years

Nov 7, 2014

Boxing Eggs

When I was a little boy, I would work at my father's meat market, boxing eggs. The job was pretty straightforward. I would take eggs from a big box, and put them in small boxes with folding lids, each of which held a dozen. If I did a whole crate without breaking an egg, I did a good job. The real adventure was the drive to the shop. We lived just off Lehigh Street, and would take it all the way to Union Street. The many landmarks are now gone forever, only remaining in my camera of the past. Shown above in 1952, is the portion of Lehigh Street near the Acorn Hotel, which is not visible in the photograph. Before reaching the Acorn, you drove under The Reading Railroad bridge overpass, which recently has been dismantled and removed. That line served the Mack Plant on S. 10th Street. Just beyond the area pictured, the Quarry Barber railroad spur also crossed Lehigh Street, at the bridge over the Little Lehigh Creek. That line also crossed S. 10th, and served Traylor Engineering, now known as the closed Allentown Metal Works. Just last week Mitt Romney was there, to rebuke Obama's former visit to the site. Mayor Pawlowski is now rebuking Romney, but none of them really know anything about it's past. A half block away, on overgrown steps built by Roosevelt's WPA, a thousand men would climb home everyday, after working at Mack and Traylor. Freight trains, on parallel tracks, from two different railroads, were needed to supply those industrial giants.

After my father rounded the second curve on Lehigh Street, we would head up the steep Lehigh Street hill. It was packed with houses and people. At the top of the hill, we would turn right on to Union Street. Going down Union Street, Grammes Metal was built on the next big curve. Grammes made a large assortment of finished decorative metal products. Beyond Grammes were numerous railroad crossings. The Lehigh Valley Railroad tracks crossed Union, as did the Jersey Central and several spurs, near Basin Street. It was not unusual to wait twenty-five minutes for the endless freight trains to pass. A two plus story tower gave the railroad men view and control of the busy crossing. A few more blocks and we were at the meat market, in time for me to break some eggs.

reprinted from August 2012

Nov 6, 2014

Photos of Lehigh Valley

Photos of Lehigh Valley showcases work by K Mary Hess, an extraordinarily gifted landscape photographer.

Molovinsky Back On Watch

Between working to save Wehr's Dam, and trying to be the first independent in Harrisburg for 85 years, downtown Allentown has been spared my scrutiny for months. Although the paint hasn't completely dried on the arena district, the first cracks are beginning to appear. While the godfathers Reilly and Topper need a wheelbarrow for their profits, PPl has announced layoffs. Topper's Lehigh Gas, propped up by the unprecedented use of Pennsylvania's cigarette tax, created windfall profits for it's new parent company. The glut of new restaurants, subsidized by their landlord's NIZ, known formally as our state taxes, will become even slower as less workers lunch on Hamilton Street. Add the NIZ new employees, subtract the 300 PPL workers to be laid off, and we're probably in negative territory. Thank goodness that the taxpayers of Slatington and Danielsville are indirectly footing the bill. Thank goodness for local truth seekers that I'm back on duty.

Nov 5, 2014

The Death Of Democracy In The Lehigh Valley

This death report might be somewhat exaggerated, because I'm not sure that democracy was ever alive in the Lehigh Valley. Out of eleven state house races, six of the candidates were unopposed. By now all my readers probably know that I failed in my attempt to be the first independent or third party candidate in the state house since the 1930's. Someone once told me that if an independent does nothings, he still gets 3% of the vote in a three way race, but if he does everything, he only gets 5%. Last night, according to news sources, I got 9%. Ms. Harhart received 60% and the Democrat got 30%. On my campaign facebook page, Mr. Molovinsky Goes To Harrisburg, I tried to pump up the residents of Northampton and Slatington by asserting that they have the moxie to vote for an independent, apparently they didn't. However, in fairness to my fellow citizens of the 183rd, I must confess that I only managed to man 4 districts with poll workers. Here in lies  another advantage of the party machines. The Democrat, with no qualifications what-so-ever, manned the district with party faithful and received 30% of the vote. Although they will celebrate Tom Wolf's victory, that willingness to blindly support any D candidate on the local level (same for R's) is most unimpressive. It makes me proud to be an independent.

Nov 4, 2014

Molovinsky Moxie Time

Everyone must know, no matter how partisan they may be, that Harrisburg is broken. If you, or a friend, live north of Route 22, chances are that you're in the 183rd District. My candidacy is an opportunity to tell the Republicans and Democrats that you expect more out of your legislators. I will bring an unprecedented tenacity to the state house, without any consideration for party agendas or being re-elected. Help me be your message. Get your friends to the poll, and vote Molovinsky- Independent.

Nov 3, 2014

A Campaign Of Consequence

In my unhumble opinion, my candidacy in the 183rd District is the most interesting choice in the valley for the voters tomorrow. We know that a Republican incumbent who has held a seat for twenty years, but isn't known for legislating, has been there for 16 years too many. Although the Democratic challenger has a party machine working for her, she has no credentials on her own. Local Lower Macungie Commissioner Ron Beitler supports me, but wonders if the voters have the right stuff to go beyond the normal two party choice? I believe that they do! There's a self sufficiently in those long miles between the houses in the large district. If they come out to vote, they would just as soon make it meaningful.

Oct 30, 2014

Trusted Poll Sidekicks Needed

If you could help out for a couple hours on Tuesday Election Day, please contact me. Being an independent, there's no party faithful to blindly donate, canvass or work at the polls. It also means that there are no special interests, obligations or agendas that I must accommodate in Harrisburg. My votes will be simply for the people's best interest, each and every time. Contact me by email at mmolovinsky@aol or phone at 610 395-1815. Thank you.

Oct 29, 2014

Lehigh Valley's Political Malaise

Last night I attended the Candidate's Meet and Greet, hosted by the Northampton Chapter of The League Of Women Voters. Between the media not giving this event proper publicity, and the public malaise, it was sparsely attended. That didn't stop local representatives Steve Samuelson and Bob Freeman from giving a long stump speech, as if on auto-robot. These well pressed suits are on their 9th term, unopposed. Some people wonder if they might be wasting their vote on an independent. In this valley, it would be the most meaningful vote they could cast.

Oct 28, 2014

North Of Route 22

If you have a family member or friend who lives north of 22, south of the Blue Mountain, and between Slatington and Bath, chances are that they live in the 183rd District. Please do both of us a favor, and tell them to vote Molovinsky-Independent next Tuesday. There's no party members knocking on doors for me, but there's a real opportunity for some change in Harrisburg. The 10 term Republican incumbent only concentrates on getting re-elected.  The Democrat simply needs a job. The former will bring nothing new to the table, the latter  has nothing at all to bring to the table.  This blog is an archive on my community activism for many years, and my application for election. Please reach out to your friends and family on my behalf. We have the right stuff to be uniquely issue orientated and elect an independent to Harrisburg, instead of the usual partisan agendas. Thank you.

Oct 27, 2014

Political Low Hanging Fruit

If it's kissing a baby or encouraging seniors to vote for them with absentee ballots, both our young and old are only props and pawns for the established political machine. Recently, I have been reporting on the machination at Luther Crest, where Ryan Mackenzie 134th, attempted to pass the baton to Julie Harhart 183rd, putting that facility in violation of it's 501C charter. If the residents of a premiere continuing care facility like Luther Crest are victimized and manipulated by incomplete voter information, despite explicit IRS rules pertaining to non-profit institutions, what shenanigans occur  at the lesser regarded nursing homes? Who protects the seniors from the very politicians who are supposed to represent them? In the ideal world, it would be the custodians of these nursing homes, who would make sure that the residents are given full information about their cherished voting options. In the real world, the managers of these nursing homes acquiesce to the influence of the career politicians. As I write this post, I am also filling out formal complaints about this one incident of election suppression which was visited upon Luther Crest by the hubris of the incumbents. Although there will be no remedy for the Luther Crest residents within the eight days until the election, perhaps my action will help some nursing home residents next year have full access to their voting options. Our elderly take their right to vote very seriously, so should their caretakers.

Oct 24, 2014

The Hubris Of Harrisburg

Our representatives in Harrisburg have not been doing a good job of guarding against arrogance, in addition to the their poor performance as legislators. When Ryan MacKenzie allowed Julie Harhart to attend the Senior Expo at Luther Crest on September 19th, he knowingly put Luther Crest in jeopardy regarding their tax-exempt political requirements. Ryan knew that the Luther Crest residents would find Harhart on the ballot come November 4th, not himself. As if redistricting and gerrymandering isn't egregious enough, they thought that they could pass the crown with no consequence. The regulations clearly state that all candidates for an upcoming election must be present, or subsequently invited. Between Mackenzie having no opponent for his election, and Harhart running for her 11th term, they think that they own those seats in Harrisburg. The seats belong to the people, and should be occupied by those who don't take that privilege for granted.

Elder Issues In Lehigh Valley

Over forty years ago, I did a series of photographs that were used by PBS39 for a program entitled Accent On Aging. Now, over four decades later, it pains me to still see elder issues in our communities. The Lehigh Valley Commissioners have cut the budget funds which were intended to modernize Cedarbrook. This modernization is necessary for several reasons. First and foremost, it would make Cedarbrook competitive in the rehabilitation field, which in turn would enhance it's economic viability. Secondly, it would indicate a commitment by the Commissioners, which is in serious doubt.

In nursing home options, the opposite of the county's Cedarbrook might be the exclusive Luther Crest in South Whitehall. As I posted yesterday, I have been denied entry as a candidate, despite Julie Harhart's appearance there five weeks ago. I'll let that post serve as a discussion place for the legal and political issues, but will make an observation here about Luther Crest. I was somewhat shocked that generally there are only two events on their monthly calendar, and that management would be deciding what information is made available for the residents, who are a former Who's Who of the valley business world.

Oct 22, 2014

Political Gate-keeping At Luther Crest

Although the residents of South Whitehall's Luther Crest are politically sophisticated, this year is particularly confusing. After having been part of the 134th state house district for over 20 years, this year for the first time residents will be voting for the 183rd representative, although they're still currently represented by Ryan MacKenzie of the 134th. Ryan, being a good Republican, had Julie Harhart, the 183rd incumbent, at Luther Crest's Senior Expo last month. Needless to say, both Republicans knew that they were attempting to pass the mantle with soft campaigning. As the independent candidate I have been unsuccessfully trying to gain access to the Luther Crest community room since early Monday morning. I believe that the residents of this exclusive community would not be happy to know that information about all their upcoming voting options is being stopped at the door by management.

UPDATE: Under IRS rules pertaining to non-profits and political candidates, because Julie Harhart appeared there in September, and she's not the state representative for Luther Crest, but an active candidate to be the state representative for Luther Crest,  I must now also be permitted equal access.

Vanilla or Chocolate, The Sad Lack of Political Choice

Yesterday, some fella came on to my campaign site, Mr. Molovinsky Goes To Harrisburg, and asked why I'm any different than the Republican. I replied that it was a strange question, considering that recently the former chair of the Republican party accused me of having Democratic positions. Within another two questions, it was very apparent that this visitor to my site was in fact a junior political operative cadet. After a visit to his page revealed a picture of Tom Wolf as his cover photo,  operative in training pants was dispatched. The trainee then reported the results of his mission to Terri Powells' Campaign page. Another pack member then congratulated her on being the only candidate in the debate who answered all the questions.

The Morning Call article on the debate accurately reported that I questioned several of the questions. The article made it less clear that after my editorials, I did in fact answer every question. In the case of the student loan question, I replied that there are different colleges available with a large range of  tuitions. I feel that if one contracts a loan, or a mortgage, it is an obligation that should be met. Furthermore, honoring those obligations is educational in itself.

It's sad that the political machine is Pennsylvania is spending a 100 $million dollars to give most voters only two choices for each position. That wouldn't be much of an ice cream parlor, regardless of how fancy it might be. It's my honor to give the voters of the 183rd District a real choice.

CORRECTION: In the majority of the State Representative races, 6 out of 11, there are no choices, the incumbents are unopposed.

Oct 21, 2014

Molovinsky WPA Mini Tour

Many long time readers know that several years I started a group whose mission is to help preserve the WPA structures in the Allentown Park System. Consequently, I led two tours of Lehigh Parkway, in conjunction with Friends Of The Allentown Parks. This coming Saturday, October 25th, again in conjunction with Friends, I will be directing college volunteers to help clear some structures. While there, between 9 and 11-am, I'll be glad to conduct a mini tour of several sites. We will be meeting at the Robin Hood parking lot at 9:00-am, and concentrating on that side of the creek.

Oct 20, 2014

Molovinsky Stands Out

Independent candidate Michael Molovinsky may be a long shot for the 183rd state house district, but he had little trouble standing out in a three-way candidate debate Saturday morning. The candidate, known best for his "Molovinsky on Allentown" blog and persistence on infrastructure and environmental issues, combined confidence and bold, stylistic responses to questions posed by hosts from the League of Women Voters of Northampton County.Samantha Marcus/The Morning Call/Oct.20,2014
I agree with The Morning Call that I outshone my opponents,  but believe that my odds of being elected are much better than the paper indicated. Although it is true that independents are at a disadvantage of not having a party machine and money behind them, the people have had enough of politics as usual. They realize that Harrisburg is broken, with either Republicans or Democrats. They realize that the incumbent has been there long enough, and it's time for a change. They realize that too much of their taxes have been going to the large cities, and that they're not getting their fair share. They realize that I have the tenacity to stand up for them in Harrisburg.

Oct 16, 2014

Another Oversize Postcard And Fib By Julie

Voters in the 183rd District received another oversize card and fib by Julie Harhart. In the latest fib, Julie portrays herself as an independent leader, working for educational funding in Pennsylvania. Very small print reveals that the very large card was paid for by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, where Julie is known as a chair warming rubber stamp, certainly not a leader.

Oct 15, 2014

The Politics Of Wehr's Dam, 2

The South Whitehall Historic Overlay District resulted from about 1,000 signatures to save the King George Inn. Currently, there are 5,000 signatures to save Wehr's Dam, of which 4,600 were collected at the dam itself. The recent public meeting and power point presentation conducted by the Wildlands Conservancy on dam removals, was requested by the President of the South Whitehall Commissioners. When the Overlay District was enacted, I suggested that "and dam" be added to the Wehr's Covered Bridge listing.  The solicitor chimed in that such changes were not permitted at the ordinance reading; Actually, that is the exact legal reason for the final reading. The Commissioners have used every conceivable excuse and cover since June to protect the agenda of the Wildlands Conservancy. It's apparently incumbent upon the people of South Whitehall to now protect their park.

photograph by K Mary Hess

Oct 14, 2014

The Politics Of Wehr's Dam

Taking on the influence of the Wildlands Conservancy is no easy task. Their sponsors and donors are a who's who of Lehigh Valley, but that doesn't make them correct on every issue and endeavor. Although they may be a sacred cow, there are other things precious in this valley, such as our parks. Allentown's two recent park directors were from out of town, with no knowledge or feel for local history or tradition. The first one was given an award for his cooperation with the Conservancy. The second one, although he only stayed for about a year, is quoted on their website. That gentleman endorsed the demolition of the Parkway's Robin Hood Dam, after being in town for only several weeks. In Allentown, many local residents are upset about the riparian buffers in the parks, a Wildlands Project. These buffers block both view and access to the creeks, but because the storm runoff is piped directly into the streams, they serve no purpose. Just as the science of buffers isn't site specific to Allentown parks, their rationale for dam removals have also been generalized. This generalization was very blatant in regard to the Robin Hood Dam, which was only 14 inches high. Combine a sacred cow, with generalizations and a brand new from out of town park director, and you lose an historical structure of beauty forever.

Beauty and history is what Wehr's Dam in Covered Bridge Park is about. Last June, Wildlands told the South Whitehall Commissioners that the dam was neither aesthetic or historical. That distortion of fact has now awakened over 5,000 people, who beg to differ with the Conservancy. I personally don't believe that their conservation projects are appropriate to our parks. There are millions of acres of stream front in the state to conserve. I believe that the public, and especially children, are entitled to the stream side experience that differentiates parks from wildlands. The children are also entitled to the history of their parks, if it is a WPA dam from 1941, or a mill dam from 1904.

photograph by Gregg Obst

Oct 13, 2014

The Wildlands Conservancy Fakes Science

Chris Kocher, executive director of the Wildlands Conservancy, forgot to mention in a recent editorial that they will arrogantly fake and lie about the science, if it moves their agenda forward. Their current agenda is demolishing Wehr's Dam in South Whitehall's Covered Bridge Park, but lets examine their destruction in Allentown's Lehigh Parkway. I have a copy of the original 1940 rendering of the Robin Hood Bridge and Dam. This was the last WPA project in Allentown, and the city took great pride in it's design. The bridge piers and approach walls were designed to match and merge with the magnificent WPA stone walls, built in the park between 1935-37. The small dam, only 14 inches high, was no barrier to any self-respecting fish. The Wildlands testified in front of Allentown City Council that the dam was prohibiting fish migration with their canned speech about being experts on such things, never mind thousands of fisherman in the Parkway for 80 years. They also removed the Trout Nursery Dam, contributing to the kill of 2.000 fish this summer, but I digress. The firm hired to prepare the Covered Bridge Master Plan clearly states that removing the dam may very well increase flooding, as untold tons of silt change the downstream bed. The current firm, hired by Wildlands, calls that potential flooding a myth; Science to fit the agenda. Back to Lehigh Parkway. Although it is not my normal format to use two photographs in one blog post, the before and after views of Robin Hood Bridge are a tragedy. Before the Wildlands, the stone bridge piers raised photographically out of the water, a beautiful sight pleasing park goers for over 70years. After demolishing the dam, the Wildlands broke up the concrete and had the rubble placed around the bridge piers, despoiling the the vista forever.

top photograph by Tami Quigley

Oct 11, 2014

South Whitehall Commissioners Double Down On Master Plan

It's the year 2030, and a young girl asks her mom if they can go to Playworld's Plastic Playground. As they enter the parking lot, the mother tells her daughter that right beyond that large swath of trees and bushes, is where she played as a girl with grandmother.
  Why did you play there? the girl asks
  Grandmom used to like and sit and look at the dam, the mother replies
  What's a dam?
  It's a wall that the creek water would flow over.
  Is there a creek there mom?

In January of 2014 the South Whitehall Commissioners adopted the Covered Bridge Park Master Plan. It was an expensive plan created by a landscape architectural firm in tandem with input from the Wildlands Conservancy. The public input meetings were either sparsely attended or not at all. What emerged is a unimaginative hodge podge of contemporary environmental hocus pocus and catalog recreational tubberware. What is gone is the beautiful park, enjoyed by generations of township residents. The environmentalists would demolish the dam and replace the vista with a 75 foot wide riparian buffer. This buffer would run the entire length of creek, leaving only a glimpse of the creek as residents cross one of the three bridges. Former icons of the park, such as the dam, would be represented by interpretive signs. A huge playground, featuring Playworld equipment, would be the park's new centerpiece, replacing the current beauty and history.

Enter the Wildlands Conservancy in June of 2014, realizing that the Commissioners are invested both financially and mentally into the Master Plan. Out of this opportunity, they declare that demolishing Wehr's Dam is now their highest priority. We who are defending Wehr's Dam are here to tell you that like water over the dam, the money spent on the Master Plan is gone. However, we will not allow the beautiful park to be lost to our children and grandchildren, just to accommodate the Wildlands Conservancy's agenda.
photograph by Mary K Hess

Oct 10, 2014

South Whitehall And Wildlands Mislead Public

It's becoming clear that the public is being mislead by not only the Wildlands Conservancy, but also by their own Commissioners. In Thursday's editorial, Chris Kocher, Executive Director of the Wildlands stated that the master-plan for the park has the dam removed. What he and the Commissioners fail to acknowledge is that this master-plan was created in conjunction with the Wildlands.  So, currently the Wildlands and Commissioners are justifying removing the dam, based on a master plan inputed by the Wildlands. In the dog and pony show called government, they would retort that there was public input to the plan. At last night's presentation, they distributed a public questionnaire, hoping once again to actually use the objectors present, as public input to justify their agenda. I left in protest. If all this isn't disingenuous enough, the dam removal director, Abigail Pattishall, told me last night that Koch's editorial was misinformation.

Both the Commissioners and the Wildlands are ignoring the DEP report that states that overall, the dam is in good condition. The Wildlands' hired engineer tried to dismiss that report, by saying that their study is much more thorough. Although the water is only several inches deep, they actually brought in a scuba diver. The dam officially stands or falls by degree of the DEP, which has no problem with it. The problem is the agenda of the Wildlands, and the complicity of the Commissioners.

Oct 9, 2014

An Open Letter To Lehigh County Commissioners

Although the state mandates prisons, and no such mandate exists for nursing homes, I believe that a sacred covenant exists between the county and it's elderly, to maintain Cedarbrook. Northampton has a very old prison and a modern nursing home. Here in Lehigh County, we have a modern high rise prison and a very old nursing home. Prisoners in Lehigh County have nicer amenities than the patients at it's nursing home. What's wrong with that picture, what's wrong with those priorities?
UPDATE: I fully support County Executive Tom Muller's plan to renovate a wing of the Cedarbrook into private and semi-private rooms.  His analysis has the project paying for itself within three years, by attracting rehabilitation residents.  Instead of pursuing this viable turn around project, the Commissioners would rather explore the sale option.
photograph by K Mary Hess

Oct 8, 2014

Lehigh County Poor House

The Lehigh County Alms House, or poor house, goes back to the 1840's. Today, 175 years later, now known as Cedarbrook Nursing Home, the residents are still fighting for their dignity. A few years ago I visited the county pauper's grave-field. It is now separated from the nursing home by the 309 highway at Hamilton Blvd. Although the name of Cedarbrook has changed over the many years, nobody ever chose to become old and poor.

Oct 7, 2014

Julie's Big Fib

Julie Harhart's oversized card contains an oversized lie of omission. While she claims that she voted against a pay raise for state representatives, she omits the fact that she voted for a 50% increase to her pension payments, for life. Although she claims that she has a proven record for jobs and small businesses, the empty storerooms along the main street in Slatington and Northampton prove otherwise. In very small print we learn that the mailing was paid for by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania. I hope to send one mailing, paid for by the people of Lehigh Valley. Please consider using the paypal button the the sidebar, to help me inform the voters that they now have an alternative to politics as usual in Harrisburg. Thank you.

Oct 6, 2014

The Party Machines

I've worked with a local Democratic activist on several causes who would like to think of herself as bipartisan. When I asked her why she was working for my Democratic opponent, Terri Powells, she stammered and said that she and Terri met Michele Obama together. Powells herself, lists her experience as having campaigned for Barack Obama. Apparently, in Democratic circles, having worked on a campaign counts as relevant experience. She is also being endorsed by some unions, although she never actually worked on an issue. Likewise, local Democratic promoter Sam Bennett has held fund raisers for her. All the local elected officials and advocates know me from my involvement in one issue or another for the last two decades, although none has crossed party lines and publicly endorsed me. I've been told that when they close the curtain, they vote their true choice. I don't think that's good enough. I think that's why Harrisburg is paralyzed. I ask those, in and beyond the 183rd District, who want more choice politically, to contribute to my campaign. I have installed a paypal button on the sidebar, thank you.

Oct 5, 2014

The Heart Of Harhart Country

Harhart family businesses dominate the main intersection in Northampton. While Northampton has been good to the family, it's not apparent that Julie Harhart's twenty year reign as State Representative has been good to the 183rd District. While she rubber stamps $billions of dollars in Harrisburg going to Pennsylvania's large cities, the smaller towns in her district haven't received their share. I erected a billboard in Northampton, close to the entrance of her office, to let the citizens know that an alternative is available. They may decide to allow Julie to retire this year, and start receiving the 50% increase in pension that she voted for herself.

Oct 3, 2014

The Culture Of Harrisburg

Today, before any revelations about pornographic emails, I intended to write about Pennsylvania's DEP. One must wonder exactly who they have been protecting? Opponents of hydraulic fracturing are dubious about the oversight at the drill sites. Considering the resources and influence of the gas companies, plus the economic benefits to portions of the state, the suspicions of the opponents are very well justified. In this current election cycle, the politicians on both sides of the aisle only concern themselves with the tax equation, nobody talks about public health concerns. This blog has been questioning the DEP for years. While sewage overflows along the Little Lehigh for years, repair plans keep being extended, rather than implemented. Pennsylvania has torn down more dams than any other state in the country. Are we more environmentally progressive than Washington state or California, or just less discriminating with approvals? Locally, the Wildlands Conservancy has a pipeline of grants from the state's DEP, destroying our parks under the disguise of stream improvement. The indiscriminate demolition of the Trout Nursery Dam contributed to the unprecedented fish kill this summer. Like the Girls Gone Wild videos, Harrisburg has been wild for years. Notice I mentioned both sides of the isle. That's part of the problem, there should be more than just two sides. I'm an Independent, fed up with the culture of Harrisburg.

Oct 2, 2014

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's An Independent

Yesterday, on my campaign page, Mr. Molovinsky Goes To Harrisburg, a member the local Republican Party chided me for taking a Democratic position on the minimum wage increase. He must have mistaken me for a Republican Lite, which I am not. Likewise, I am not a Conservative Democrat. I'm an Independent, who analyzes each issue separately, free of any party playbook. I'm pragmatic, looking for solutions which could be implemented to improve our situation. The voters have been programmed to partisan politics for too long, but they realize that they are being victimized by the stagnation in Harrisburg.

Sep 30, 2014

Allentown's Frankenstein Plan Abandoned

Allentown's Mayor Pawlowski has a new vision for Allentown; mixing our trash and sewage together to make energy. Yesterday's paper had a long article on the power brokering involved in this trash to energy proposal. A facility would be built next to the sewage plant on Kline's Island. Sewage sludge would be mixed with trash and burnt to produce electricity. This particular mixture and process has never been tried before, lucky Allentown. The principals in the project are counting on Governor Rendell's appointee's to approve a $32 million dollar bond for the project, on their way out the door, before year's end. What doesn't smell about this vision?

UPDATE: Allentown should be concentrating on upgrading the LCA sewage line along the Little Lehigh, which periodically spills raw sewage into our creek and water supply. Also periodically, the sewage plant must bypass raw sewage into the Lehigh River. It is inappropriate to be promoting a private for profit company, with unproven technology, instead of fixing long existing problems.

Reprinted from November 15, 2010

UPDATE September 30th, 2014:  Allentown's Pawlowski has apparently outgrown his need to capitulate to Delta Thermos hideous plan to mix sewage with trash and burn it to produce electricity.  At one point they were even going to allow Delta to import additional trash from New Jersey if we didn't have enough.  I don't know if they were also going to import additional sewage,  what a concept. Anyway, Pawlowski has graduated to bigger things now with the arena and NIZ. The city had spent one half million dollars of taxpayer money on studies justifying the plan. Congratulations to Rich Fegley and Dan Poresky for their perseverance in fighting this monstrous plan.

Sep 29, 2014

The Minimum Wage and The Speech Givers

Although I consider myself a conservative, especially in fiscal matters, today I joined Lehigh Valley's State Representatives and candidates in endorsing the bill to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. The event was organized by Alan Jennings of Community Action, and held at the Second Harvest Food Bank. My position is simply that the fruits of person's labor should earn them more than one Happy Meal. Although the sparse audience was essentially the food Bank workers, one by one, the representatives gave essentially the same speech, some even quoting Roosevelt and Martin Luther King. To whom were they speaking? Although they were clearly preaching to the choir, they all rambled on. It's my pledge to work more and speak less than they do.

Park Creeks Before The Hijack

The blogger LVCI makes an eloquent case for Allentown's traditional park system,  before being hijacked by the Wildlands Conservancy.

Park Creeks Which Would You Rather?

Sep 28, 2014

South Whitehall's Sweet Spot

For decades before it was called Covered Bridge Park, people would visit Wehr's Dam. The combination of water going over the dam and under the bridge is a visual duet. In his column yesterday, Bill White wouldn't even allow his dog to swim in the mill pond, but would allow park decisions to be dictated by the Wildlands Conservancy. If White had taken his dog to the parks in Allentown this summer, he also couldn't swim, because of the high weed barrier along the creek's edge. Anybody who would want to exchange a beautiful vista for a wall of weeds doesn't understand why parks were created. Taking over is what the Wildlands has done with the Allentown Park System. One out of town park director after another, has been hired to serve the Conservancy's agenda. But I digress, we're here to defend Wehr's Dam from the Wildlands Conservancy's demolition. As a defender of the dam, I resent that we citizens must defend our parks. In a better government, the Commissioners would be the defenders, instead of bending to outside agendas. Bill White underestimates the number of dam supporters at 2,000. There are currently 3,000, 90% of which signed the petition while at the dam. Although the Commissioners insist on adhering to the Wildlands time table for it's decision, they should understand that by spring they will have offended 6,000 people. We will not go away. Although the Commissioners may be willing to hand over our park's history and beauty, we will make no concessions in defending the park.
photograph by K Mary Hess

Sep 26, 2014

The Morning Arena

The Allentown based newspaper, The Morning Arena, formally The Morning Call, is having a special feature this Sunday on guess what, Behind The Scenes at the arena. Besides for the Governor's race, bands that have cancelled at the arena are getting much more attention than candidates that are still running for the State House. As the area's only independent candidate, who received no coverage during the primary election cycle, I feel somewhat short-changed in terms of the equal time and space doctrine.

I do have a plan to get coverage,  I will submit the above paragraph to Bill White's bad writing contest.  

Sep 24, 2014

Looking For Visibility

If you're willing to host a yard sign, and live on Routes 309, 873, 329, 145, 248, 946 or anywhere else with high visibility in the 183rd State House District, please contact me by comment. Leave your name and phone number, but such contact information will not be printed. Thank you.

Sep 23, 2014

A Campaign For Change

In six weeks from now you will hopefully be going to the polls to elect those whom you have decided can best represent you. Although I'm in need of neither a job or career, I decided this past April to offer my advocacy to the voters. Redistricting has put my neighborhood in the 183rd District, which is an enormous geographical area, stretching from Slatington east to north of Bath. The current incumbent there, running for her 21st year in office, concentrates her efforts in getting reelected every two years. She sends birthday cards by the thousands, and gives out certificates by the hundreds. She has brought back very little in state benefits to her constituents, who have now been short-changed for two decades. While the party machines campaign to perpetuate the status quo, I'm an Independent for change. I benefit from no party fundraisers. My fundraiser is that paypal button on the sidebar of this blog. Although most of you do not live in the 183rd, I ask you to consider a donation to my campaign. You are living in a state where out of 253 representatives and senators, not one is an independent or from a third party. It's time for the voters of the Lehigh Valley to say that they had enough with politics as usual.  I need some financial help to get my message out to the voters. I'm not looking for a few large donations from party fatcats, I want modest contributions from the people, who want change in Harrisburg. Thank you.

Sep 21, 2014

The Wehr's Dam Conspiracy

Recent articles concerning Wehr's Dam have been headlined Dam's Days May Be Numbered, Trying To Save The Dam, etc. This past week the dam was inspected by gentlemen who only identified themselves as being from Harrisburg. I can only assume it's the DEP, accommodating the Wildlands Conservancy, with whose cooperation and grants 9 dams have already been demolished in the Valley. My problem is that the dam was inspected a couple of years ago, and rated low hazard, which is the best rating this dam hating state gives. Such dams are scheduled to be inspected every five years, so some influence was used to have this recent inspection. In June, when South Whitehall Commissioner President Christina Morgan asked the Wildlands how to handle potential objectors to demolishing the dam, the Wildlands recommended an informational meeting to educate the public about the damn dams. This meeting will soon be announced by South Whitehall. Although the dam was low hazard two years ago, I fully expect a new, much more dire report. Anybody who has visited the dam realizes that the concrete wall, complete with buttresses, would stand unattended for another 100 years. I'm fed up with the concept that thousands of local residents must defend our dam. It's time for Morgan to tell the Wildlands to move on. It's time for Morgan to include the dam in the recently enacted Historical Overlay District. Covered Bridge Park was not meant to be a workshop for the Wildlands Conservancy. Christina Morgan was not elected to do their bidding. Enough is enough.