“Money and Establishment Endorsements Against the OFA Volunteer Base”

Rich Wilkins on the Bethlehem Mayor race:

Another major primary that may effect other races is happening in Bethlehem- Callahan’s city. The race for Council will likely be contested in the primary. The race for Mayor is turning into the most interesting race in the Valley. City Council members Willie Reynolds and Bob Donchez are in fact going to have their primary in May. The race is being described by people in the know as “money and establishment endorsements against the OFA volunteer base and people going door to door virtually everywhere.” Reynolds is running hard with his upstart operation, opening and office and packing hotel ball rooms with crowds that aren’t the normal elders of the party patting each other on the back. Willie’s trying to get young people engaged in his race, and from what I’ve seen at his events, he is doing it. With that all said, Donchez has finished first in his council races plenty of times, and has lots of fans in town. The race is likely to spike Bethlehem turnout way up. While it has no effect on Northampton County, it’s also worth noting on the Bethlehem races that West Bethlehem has a County Commissioner’s primary in Lehigh County that also may drive up turnout as well.


  1. So it’s one special interest group against another special interest group.

    The moneyed/establishment interests have done an outstanding job in Bethlehem and deserve to be commended and not ridiculed.

    The OFA has youth and exuberance on its side, but whether their ideas would improve or destroy Bethlehem is a legitimate topic for discussion.

    It’ll be an interesting race.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      Politics is all about brokering competing claims of interest groups. People need to get over the idea that interest group is an inherently dirty concept. It just means people working together for a common purpose. Sometimes it’s people wanting the policy environment to be more favorable to downtown grocery stores. Sometimes it’s B. Braun and their employees trying to get the Congressmen to repeal the medical device tax. It’s the ideas that are good or bad, not the interests organizing on behalf of them.

      • Agree with you 100% – and if you actually read my post you’d see that it was their ideas that I referred to.

        For you to implement your though here though, you need to stop ridiculing the “moneyed establishment” base and focus on their ideas instead. You’ve admitted often that Bethlehem is a great city and you want to make it greater – then you can start by congratulating the group you ridicule that they’ve done a pretty damn good job.

        • Jon Geeting says:

          Bold ideas and the politicians and civil society leaders who championed them deserve a lot of credit for Bethlehem’s successful deindustrialization. Some of those same people now think the time for bold ideas is over, and I disagree with them. Anybody who thinks it’s time for Bethlehem to coast on the current policies deserves to be ridiculed. You don’t get full credit for doing half the job.

          • Actually the biggest reason Bethlehem is the success it is was because politicians stayed out of the way. It was people like Frank Gillespie, John Saraceno, and Tony Boyle and establishments like Lehigh and Moravian that did the hard work and put the money up to get things done. BEDCO and Donna Taggart were smart enough to be in/out and out of the way as quickly as was humanly possible.

            That being said, please take your own advice and stop ridiculing people who have done a great job.

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