Archives for January 29, 2013

Just Do the Study!

Nobody thinks Bethlehem should hastily let the County take over 9/11 dispatch. Nobody is suggesting that:

Hudak said if city merged its 911 center with Northampton County’s, the police’s ability to fight crime by using strategically placed cameras throughout the city would be compromised. “I worry about us,” Hudak said. “If you have all those cameras and nobody’s watching them, what good are they?”

Hudak acknowledged that the cost of maintaining Bethlehem’s 911 center will continue to increase, and said the city will likely have to merge with the county eventually because of decreased state funding.

But he said he was wary of claims that a merger would save city residents money. “They would be transferring what they are paying in city taxes to the county,” Hudak said. “So are you really saving [taxpayers] money? No.”

Actually nobody knows the answer to that question, because nobody’s done the study yet.

Ask city politicians, first responders and residents to list all their concerns, and then try to figure out whether the County could deliver the same quality of services.

Is there actually a good reason why the county 911 center can’t work with the city’s police cameras, or are people just assuming that? Would paying some people to do that job from the county be cheaper than running the entire 911 center in-house? Who knows! Just do the study and then we can all debate the trade-offs.

Two Questions for the Bethlehem Mayor Candidates

It hasn’t been in the news for a while, but it’s important to remember that the Allentown NIZ legal controversy was not resolved the way Bethlehem’s politicians wanted, and they think that it puts them at a disadvantage in the competition for real estate investment. I’m not sure it’s as big a deal as some people are thinking, but if you believe this story then the implication is that Bethlehem needs to do even more to make its high-growth areas attractive to developers. The recent zoning rewrite is basically already obsolete.

So two questions I’d like to see addressed by the candidates for Bethlehem Mayor are:

1. What can Bethlehem do to compete with downtown Allentown for real estate investment?

2. What can Bethlehem do to cooperate with Allentown on mutually-beneficial public goods?

The main idea I have is free Bus Rapid Transit along W. Broad/Hanover Ave to cut travel times between downtown Bethlehem and the Allentown waterfront and downtown areas, and increase infill development along that corridor.. What else?

Northampton County Democrats Primary Open Thread

The 2013 field looks huge on the NorCo Dem side, naturally, since there are 5 Republican-held At-Large seats up and the smart money’s on Dems taking most of those seats.

Who are your favorite candidates of the people Bernie O’Hare listed?

I know I will definitely be supporting:

Jeff Warren
Randy Galiotto

I know I will definitely not be supporting:

John Stoffa
Kerry Myers

But what about the rest? I don’t have strong opinions about any of these people. Who would be on your 5-person slate?

Ismael Arcelay
Christen Borso
Deb Hunter
Ron Heckman
Geoffrey M. Roche
Bill Wallace
Kelly Gross
Jerry Seyfried
Jason Toedter
Thomas O’Donnell

Dean Browning Will Challenge Scott Ott in the Republican Primary

The primary fight with Dean Browning should soften up Scott Ott for the November general election pretty nicely if any Democrats get in, but I doubt Browning can pull out a win. The trouble as always is the Republican electorate, who are in the grips of some pretty far-out antisocial Randian ideas. Now that they’ve been mainlining teh craZy, they can’t get off on the regular bad Republican ideas that Dean Browning is offering them, like term limits.