Geeting Married, Going to Mexico

The newly-wedded Geeting
Unit is headed down to Tulum, Mexico on honeymoon this morning, so no blogging will be happening here until the 31st. I didn’t buy a mobile data package for the trip so I really won’t be reading the Internet at all this time.

Please (!) flag any interesting land use and development politics news for me in the comments, of any other stuff you think I’d like to be up to date on.

Romney Tells Employers to Tell Employees How to Vote

Gross:

Romney, speaking on a call to the very conservative National Federation of Independent Business, tells a group of business owners that they should “make it very clear” how they feel about the candidates. The audio,discovered by In These Times, also captures Romney telling the business owners to “pass… along to your employees” how their jobs might be effected by who wins in November:

I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope — I hope you pass those along to your employees. Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well.

(Thanks: Annie-Rose Strasser)

Has Anybody Ever Tried This?

I was reading about the ballot initiative process in the Allentown city charter, and it says citizens can call a special meeting of city council with only 200 petition signatures. Seems like the political tide on city council is turning against water privatization so people might want to save this tactic for another hot debate. But what a great way to bring media attention to an issue right?

Romney Was Lying About the “Binder Full of Women”

Last night Mitt Romney handed his opponents a nice twofer – a classically weird meme-ready phrase, used in the service of a lie about his record as Governor.

David Bernstein:

What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.

They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.

I have written about this before, in various contexts; tonight I’ve checked with several people directly involved in the MassGAP effort who confirm that this history as I’ve just presented it is correct — and that Romney’s claim tonight, that he asked for such a study, is false.

I will write more about this later, but for tonight let me just make a few quick additional points. First of all, according to MassGAP and MWPC, Romney did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments, which is a reasonably impressive 42 percent. However, as I have reported before, those were almost all to head departments and agencies that he didn’t care about — and in some cases, that he quite specifically wanted to not really do anything. None of the senior positions Romney cared about — budget, business development, etc. — went to women.

NIZ Opponents: It’s Good That KNBT Is Moving to Allentown BUT BUT BUT!!

Would KNBT be moving to Allentown in a FREE MARKET STATE OF NATURE?? Without the Dread RENT SUBSIDIES???

Who the fuck cares? It worked.

National Penn Bancshares Moving Into Allentown NIZ

Colin McEvoy has the huge news:

National Penn Bancshares Inc., the parent company of Lehigh Valley bank KNBT, will move its headquarters into Two Center City, a part of the Allentown hockey arena redevelopment project, the company announced this morning in a news release [...]

The Allentown operation will be in developer J.B. Reilly‘s building at Seventh and Hamilton streets and employ 275 people in the new tax district, the company said [...]

“It certainly is good news,” Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce President Tony Iannelli said, calling the company’s move a “shot in the arm” for Allentown’s redevelopment effort. “Who would have thought this kind of activity three, four years ago?”

He said the move is the reverse of what’s been seen in recent years, as this company is moving from the suburbs into an urban core.

An “extremely solid organization like KNBT” making a commitment to Center City Allentown is all about “building credibility,” he said. It started with J.B. Reilly bringing its “strong reputation” to the project and has been enhanced by National Penn, he said.

This is the Thode-Geeting cheap rents theory in action. KNBT is based in suburban Boyertown now, but cheap rents in the NIZ make Allentown a more attractive destination, so they’re moving. 245 jobs downtown will help enlarge the market (in addition to hundreds of others), allowing the downtown area to support all kinds of other service businesses that the market is too small to support today. The more people that are working (and living) downtown, the more businesses the market can support.

Use “Impact Fee” Money to Buy Up Development Rights to Farmland

I can think of a ton of a lot of great uses for this $549,112 windfall in Lehigh and Northampton Counties but the one most in line with the intent of the natural gas impact fee law is probably to buy up the development rights to farmland and open space areas that developers might want to turn into exurban single-family homes and strip malls.

The next best use would be funding the Bi-County Health Department.