Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rep Charlie Dent votes "No"

The US House of Representatives approved the $819 billion stimulus by a vote of 244 to 188.  All of the Republicans voted no, and all but 11 Democrats, voted yes.

Rep Charlie Dent- R  joined his fellow Republicans in voting against the mult-billion stimulus package. 


Get Involved- Every Voice Counts

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Public Officials need to "be held to account"

Part 2 of 3

This is my second blog about President Obama’s inaugural speech. In
the second part of his speech, President Obama stated, "Those of us
who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend
wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day —
because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and
their government".

This is a very clear and blunt statement. All of our public officials
need to be held accountable to the highest level of ethics standards.
The President is correct; there is a scared trust between our public
officials and the public. Too many times, our public officials violate
this trust. Too many times, our public officials forget they are
humble servants to the public. Too many times, the public has not
demanded accountability and answers to these transgressions.

And, too many times, the public has been thwarted in their efforts to get accountability.

Now, the hard part: How do we break the bad habit of conducting
business in the shadows of our government, instead of conducting the
people’s business in the light of day? I believe the answer to this
important question lies in the plain fact that elected officials work for the
public, not themselves. I would suggest candidates and elected
official establish and regularly update a blog. This would
allow easy access to their ideas and allows the public to provide
input and feedback.

In this local election year, I am hoping the voting public will demand
answers, hold the victors to their campaign promises, and hold our
elected officials to the highest level of ethical standards.


Get Involved - Every Voice Counts!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Challenge to our Elected Officials!

Part 1 of 3.

I believe President Obama gave an interesting and enlighten inaugural speech.  At times the speech was stark and somber, at other times, the President challenged us to do better. In the next few days, I will discuss several interesting aspects of his speech.

In the first part of his speech, President Obama stated: "On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics".

I believe this is a challenge to our political leaders to stop the political bickering and focus on the problems of our community. These challenges applies to all National, State, County, and local politicians. At the county and local level we spend too much time posturing, bickering, and voting along party lines, which results in a in-effective political system.

To be fair, honest political discourse makes us a better and stronger society, so we can create innovative solutions to our various problems. However, petty political bickering starts to unravel the very fabric of our government and inhibits our political system to respond effectively to problems.

In this election year, it will be important the voters question, probe, and demand answers on how our candidates will work together.

Get Involved - Every Voice Counts

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

“A Change Gonna Come” - Sam Cooke

Today, Barack Obama will take the oath of office to become the 44th President of the United States.

Many people in our community worked hard to get President Elect Barack
Obama elected. They saw a man of hope and principle, not a man of color. As one of friends stated, they saw his intelligence, his honesty, his genuine smile, and his ability to bring people together. They felt they were a part of creating something very special.

For many other people, they will celebrate the joy of a promise fulfilled. A promise that each of our parents made to us. If you work hard enough, you can do anything you want. Even, be elected President of the United States.

I will feel very proud on this inauguration day. I will feel proud that, as a nation, we have moved toward the vision of our founding fathers in order to create a better future. A future filled with hope and a promise to remake America

I pray that for all of us, this is just not another day. But a day we celebrate together, as a united people, this great and wondrous achievement. A day where hope is renewed, dreams rekindled, and the future of our children is restored.

Congratulations President Elect Obama.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Northampton County Council makes appointment

Last night, the Northampton County Council appointed Democratic Bangor Mayor Joe Capozzolo to fill the council vacancy. The good news is the County Council appointed a new member. So, here is the question. Can the new council member effectively serve the citizens of Bangor and the citizens  Northampton County Council at the same time?  Let me know your thoughts?


Get Involved. Every Voice Counts!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Advice to the Northampton County Council

It is about that time again. It is time to start the latest round of "Lets Choose a County Council Member". I must admit the opening statement of this blog is a bit sarcastic, but I am wondering how the council will actually pick a new member.

Right now, we have 16 people who have applied for the Northampton County Council vacancy. According to the Morning Call, we have eight Democrats, seven Republicans, and one person from the Constitution party. In all seriousness, this is a very important appointment.

As I have stated before, please stop the political in-fighting and think about the people of Northampton County. This is your chance to appoint a person that is not tied to any political party dogma. Choose a person with an independent spirit who is willing to represent the people of Northampton County - period.

If the County Council is unable to agree on an person to fill the vacancy, it will be an embarrassment.  It will show we have not learned the lessons of the 2008 election. The people want to change how our government operates and is expecting our political leaders to create an bi-partisan approach in resolving our issues.

The people of Northampton County deserve and demand our best and brightest. It is time to act!

Get Involved - Every Voice Counts!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Help for the Lehigh Valley Zoo?


In these trying economic times, it is imperative that governments make sound financial choices to ensure that taxpayers’ money is being spent wisely.

One of these haunting and long lasting decisions will be discussed at the January 14, 2009 Lehigh County Commissioners meeting. The question before the board is whether the taxpayers of Lehigh County should spend $400,000 this year to help the Leigh Valley Zoo survive. So far, Lehigh County has already provided a $150,000 line of credit to keep the zoo operating until February 2009. There is no doubt that the zoo is at a critical juncture.

This leads to several interesting questions. First, is Lehigh County the only government entity with responsibility to fund the Lehigh Valley Zoo or should Northampton County bear some of this burden? Second, is the zoo worth saving? In fact, is it the responsibility of government to preserve cultural treasures, such as libraries, art museums, and, yes, zoos?

It is important to examine these issues from a broader community perspective. I believe we have the responsibility to create cultural treasures for all citizens of the various municipalities in the Lehigh Valley. I realize this statement smacks of regional cooperation in the management of our cultural attractions. But, we are at a point in time in our community development, where we need to put aside our differences and create regional services. Yes, I do believe that Northampton County bears some of the burden to fund the Lehigh Valley Zoo. As we teach our children, it is time to share.

I think Aristotle said it best. “All men by nature desire knowledge.” Do we have the responsibility to create and preserve cultural treasures that enhance our ability to teach our children? Do we have the responsibility to teach our children about the animals that inhabitant our planet? The simple answer is yes. It is important to create multiple educational opportunities for our children. Zoos are an important link in our educational journey and deserve to be preserved.

So here is my proposal: Lehigh County should fund $150,000 and Northampton County should provide another $150,000. The Zoo leadership team needs to raise the last $100,000 needed to keep the zoo operating. It must then present a viable business plan to achieve profitability within two years. Finally, a partnership with the Philadelphia Zoo for assistance in creating a robust marketing plan should be created.

In reality, this decision is about enhancing our quality of life, and not about political games. It is time to act!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Forks Township Elected Auditor Meeting

Tonight, Forks Township held it's annual Elected Auditor meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to set the 2009 salaries for the BoS Secretary/Treasurer and the Working Supervisor. The Working Supervisor is a person that is a elected supervisor, while holding a township paying position. In this case, the Working Supervisor is also the Community Center manager.

The good news is the Elected Auditors decided to hold the line on salaries and granted no pay raises for 2009.  The final vote was 2 to 1.

Here are the 2009 salaries:

Secretary/Treasurer : $2271 per year

Community Center Manager: $43,000 per year.


Get Involved - Every Voice Counts

Monday, January 5, 2009

Forks BoS Re-Organizational Meeting

I was unable to attend the Forks Township BoS meeting.  According to reliable sources at the meeting, the new 2009 Forks Township BoS re-organizational meeting was held tonight. Here are the 2009 BoS officers:


Chairman: C David Howell.

Vice Chairman: Bonnie Nicholas.

Secretary/Treasurer: Bob Egolf

Township Solicitor: Karl Kline

Township Engineer: Fred Hay

Township Zoning Officer: Tim Weiss


Congratulations to all!


Get Involved - Every Voice Counts

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Back Again - KMRD Files a Appeal

According to the Morning Call, KMRD has filed a appeal of the Zoning Hearing Board(ZHB) decision to the Court of Common Pleas. The appeal list 76 points where KMRD claims the ZHB erred in it's decision.

It is clear the township intends to continue the legal battle. I know the citizens of our community will support the township decision to continue the legal fight.


Get Involved - Every Voice Counts!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

In 2009 - Yes we can!

Since 2009 is a local government election year, I would like to share what I believe should be accomplished in the upcoming year. So, here it is, my own Forks Township 2009 wish list.

  1. Lean Township Spending
  2. -- It is very hard to understand how the township could cut only $49,000 in costs, while raising taxes by .5 mills (10%). Forks should suspend all '09 capital spending and take a another look at the '09 budget to reduce costs. It is time to act!
  3. Clean Government
  4. -- In my mind, Clean Government has three basic components. First, candidates for public office should have the highest level of integrity. Second, Forks needs to have an open access policy to documents and officials. Finally, Township elected officials should proactively reach out to the public on critical issues and seek diverse ideas while formulating public policy. It is time to act!
  5. Go Green
  6. -- Too many times, innovative energy saving solutions are just talk and nothing more. Forks needs to implement forward thinking ideas. In terms of open space, it is clear that the decision about whether to fund an open space initiative should be up to the voters. A private citizen (or group) should take the lead in crafting and leading a winnable Open Space Referendum. Forks' farm acreage is shrinking fast, and it is critical that a decision be made ASAP. It is time to act!
  7. Create a truly transparent government
  8. -- The good folks of Forks Township deserve easy and consistent access to public township records. The 2009 budget with all accounting notes, all 2009 department plans, all five-year plans, all developer plans, all final legal decisions from the Zoning Hearing Board, all drafts of the Comprehensive Plan (including maps/exhibits), and all public testimony on any topic - should be easily available. I have a simple and easy solution: Reduce the per copy price from 25 cents to 10 cents and put these documents on-line. It is time to act!
  9. Create a robust and active Business Relations organization
  10. -- This is critical to figuring out why so many businesses in this township fail. It is disturbing that Forks Township does not collect data on business failures in order to determine the root cause and help to prevent it in the first place. It is time to act!
  11. Proactive Community Planning
  12. -- We need to proactively identify businesses we want in Forks Township. So let's start with this idea: Ask Home Goods to occupy the old Laneco building! I do not want to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Laneco store closing. I prefer to celebrate its newest tenant! It is time to act!

In the New Year - Get Involved. Every Voice Counts!