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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Let's Saunter.

College Employee--"John, tell them about your proposal for the Bethlehem Steel property..."

Candidate--"Well, the world's oil supplies will be exhausted in about 30 years; according to oil company research. So we must dedicate ourselves to finding a viable alternative. We could build a world-class energy research facility there. And the worlds great minds can come from near and far to make hydrogen fuel economical and viable. All-the-while putting the Lehigh Valley on the map as an academic Mecca."

Voter--"Is that really important to the Northampton County voters? I mean, if you really want to get elected with a small budget campaign, shouldn't your time be spent touting more Northampton Countyish issues?"

College Student-- "Do you have any other plans for the Bethlehem Steel site?"

Any hopes I had of firming up my vote for County Executive after that hour were destroyed. My head was spinning. I found the candidate to be a bit aloof and very apathetic to issues important to Eastonians. He was a nice enough guy, but he failed to give me confidence in his abilities to represent me as a resident of the county or city. His focus was lacking.

When he praised the current executive's work on the new court house facilities a voter asked him how the neighborhood surrounding the complex was being helped. The candidate focused on justifying the prison. The voter stated that he understood the need for the prison, but he understood the needs of the city's residents more. The candidate failed to notice that "Northampton County Camelot" was constructed in the middle of one of the lowest earning areas of the city. A shiny castle in a sea of urban decay.
The candidate talked of taxes as a way of life and expressed his belief in the necessity tiny increases, but he failed to discuss tax compromises such as fees and new revenues. Garbage tipping fee increases were mentioned, but he acknowledged his competitor for pushing the issue forward.
He debated a voter over whether visitors were as important as residents. Being the world's concierge seems to be all the rage these days. Service out over service in. Hosting friends over providing for the needs of the home.

He gave the impression of being just another suburban bureaucrat that only thought of Easton as a living; not a place to live.

By not satisfactorily addressing the county's relationship with the city (outside of pledging to meet with the Mayors-- including Allentown's--monthly), he failed to lobby my support. The only thing he said that actually leveraged my vote was that he thought his competitor "would make a very good County Executive."

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