A Nice Map of Allentown

Via MyWestEnd, here’s a nice map of Allentown created by Damien Brown. The point was to show where the different neighborhoods begin and end.

Latinos in Allentown, Italians in Easton

Andrew McGill, Scott Kraus and Eugene Taub have a fascinating piece looking at what the new Census numbers tell us about Latino migration to Allentown:

New Census numbers show a local Hispanic population once dominated by people of Puerto Rican ancestry has added many more Caribbean, Central American and South American natives in the last decade. Many hail from the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Ecuador.

In Allentown, these groups topped the charts in growth, swelling 152 percent to nearly 18,000 in the past decade. The Puerto Rican population, while still the dominant minority in the city, grew 67 percent to 29,640.

Meanwhile, the Lehigh Valley’s burgeoning Mexican community has doubled in size. Even Cubans, by far the Valley’s smallest Latino population, have seen modest gains.

But Dominicans? Off the charts.

“Once you get a foothold in a community, you just have everyone come in,” said Erika Sutherland, a professor at Muhlenberg College who is active in the immigrant community. “It’s really easy to be Dominican in Allentown. You can almost live in a small Santo Domingo here.”

Note the similarities with Italian migration to the Easton area in the early 20th century:

What caused Italian immigrants to choose the Easton Area? Small Sicilian towns are rather compact; almost all the inhabitants know each other personally; many are interrelated. Once one townsman migrated to the United States, he tended to influence his relatives and fellow townsmen (his Paesane) to join him. He would pave the way for others by assuring them that jobs and shelter were available. If for some reason or other the first to leave any particular Italian or Siciilian town happened to settle in Easton (perhaps he was assigned to the Easton area by one of the railroads that serve this region) he naturally attracted other people from his home town. It is easy to understand, therefore, why the roots of so-called Italian-Americans (I dislike using such hyphenated terminology, for the days of the hyphenated Americans are in the irretrievable past) lie in a handful of small Sicilian towns – Santo Stefano, Sommatino, Motta D’Affermo, Pietraperzia, Castel Di Lucio (Easton has a lodge by that name) and Pettineo, as well as some who trace their ancestry to the province of Calabria (southern tip of the Italian peninsula).

It is appropriate at this time to point out that the inhabitants of the Borough of Roseto are almost all descendants of people who once lived in the small northern Italian town of Roseto Valfortore. These people also continue to set aside a weekend in August for the celebration of their traditional “Festa.” Just last year, the people of Roseto celebrated the Fiftieth Anniversary of the founding of the Borough of Roseto.

Primary Opinions

A few observations and prematurely-formed opinions on the primary returns:

The first thing to understand was that turnout was a pretty dismal. In Northampton County it was just 13%, 15.99% so partisans of both parties should be careful about overstating wins.

No surprise, Yes Gracedale routed No Gracedale 3-1. Congratulations to everybody on the Yes side on the organizing win. Jenna Portnoy also deserves recognition for her excellent reporting on this issue all year.

The Woodmanites succeeded in knocking off Dean Browning. Dave Najarian narrowly beat Brad Osborne by 33 votes, and Browning came in 6th. Evidently the tea people really really wanted to vote for Scott Ott. Ott received 2308 more votes than the next highest vote-getter, Lisa Scheller. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the Republican base voter the past 2 years, it’s that he loves a professional huckster. I think this is a much better outcome for Democrats than a scenario where Browning was reelected and had to run with 2 or 3 Woodmen. A unified tea party slate means Democrats can make the choice very very clear for voters.

Races I am happiest about: 20-year-old Basilio Bonilla came in second for Bethlehem Area School District, Jeff Warren was reelected in Easton City Council, Richard Yetter won the 3-way magistrate race in Easton, Mike D’Amore won his magistrate race in 31-1-05, and Wayne Maura trounced Justin Serfass in 31-1-06,

Races I am not happy about: Cynthia Mota’s loss for Allentown city council is a big disappointment. Anti-tax blowhard Chris Miller getting on the Democratic ticket for Nazareth School Board is a damn shame.

Bob Mensch Guilty of Disorderly Conduct

JD Malone tells us that the 24th District seat just became a much easier pickup opportunity for Democrats:

Pennsylvania State Sen. Bob Mensch today was found guilty of disorderly conduct for displaying a handgun while driving on Interstate 78.

Mensch, R-Northampton/Lehigh/Bucks/Montgomery, displayed the gun March 9 while driving near mile marker 15, police said.

A Pitiful Field

Nate Silver says the cranks are dominating the weak Republican field for 2012:

Surprise! Barack Obama is Running for President

Are you in?


Just a reminder, there’s two days left in the Best Blogs of the Lehigh Valley contest, so please vote for all of these blogs on both days.

It looks like the slate strategy has worked out really well for us, since all of our blogs are in first place in their categories. But that’s no reason to get complacent! If you need more motivation, just think about how much grumpier than this Bernie is going to be when I clean his clock and this blog gets linked off the Morning Call’s website*.

* I have no idea if that’s what’s going to happen when I win this contest. There’s some kind of awards thing next Thurday, but there are no details. I hope it won’t involve any public speaking :\