“The problem with blogs like this is that they often spew fake news” (62)

(62nd in a series of posts on candidates for election)

The problem with blogs like this is that they often spew fake news. Did anyone reach out to the parties involved to ask about the situation? NO! You are seriously ok with typing things that are not true and not factual. I know both Councilman Callahan and Carol Ritter very well. The facts are that in order to run a good campaign, you have to pay for signs, walk pieces and mail pieces. They cost money. I don’t think it’s a secret that Councilman Callahan and Carol Ritter have the same views on how to keep moving Bethlehem forward. I also know that people like Van Wirt and Carpenter have no clue where Bethlehem was just 15-20 years ago.
The facts are that Councilman Callahan gave the Ritter campaign a $4000 loan that is being paid back in full. The facts are that Carol Ritter and her campaign wanted to do 3 mail pieces to let the voters know who she is, where she came from (Born and raised in Bethlehem) and what her vision for the future of Bethlehem is.
The facts are that the Ritter campaign is waiting on some more contributions to come in to cover the cost of the mail pieces that had to be paid by last week to ensure the mail pieces dropped in time before election day.
More fake news and hysteria from the Van Wirt clan. What troubles me is that these same people, who are so upset over the campaign loan, didn’t have a problem with Van Wirt self-funding her last campaign to the tune of $9,000 and Carpenter self-funded his campaign with over $4000? Is it Ok that Carpenter received thousands of dollars from Steve and Barbara Diamond? It sounds like the historical elites only want the wealthy to be able to run campaigns and run for political office!!!
The facts are that people like Michael Colon, Olga Negron, Adam Waldron, Willy Reynolds, Brian Callahan, Grace Crampsie Smith, and Carol Ritter are middle-class residents who love and care for Bethlehem and have as much right to run and fund their campaigns as does Van Wirt, Carpenter and the other elitists who think they know what’s best for Bethlehem.
Unions, developers and yes even other council members have as much right to help elect good people to represent Bethlehem and to keep moving the City forward from the disaster of the Steel closing. I trust the people who were raised here and know Bethlehem better than Van Wirt who just moved here.


4 thoughts on ““The problem with blogs like this is that they often spew fake news” (62)

  1. I know Carol and like her a lot. It’s about the principle of this for me. If a $4,000 contribution from one elected official’s campaign fund to another candidate’s campaign fund is a loan to that candidate, then it should be reflected as such on the report. That’s all. It wasn’t!

  2. I love Bethlehem, and being from Bethlehem, and living in west Bethlehem, and all things Bethlehem. I was born and raised here with a few years’ hiatus in D.C. and Chicago, and could not wait to move back to raise my family. I consider myself middle class and come from a working/middle class background and that is important to my identity and values.

    That said, it’s not a skill to be “from Bethlehem.” We have our own little machine politics system and I don’t see why it benefits us to keep it that way. If we love Bethlehem, don’t we want to open our arms to other folks who see what we see in it, and welcome their views and opinions? Is everyone who moved from out of town an “elitist.” (Ugh, that word. What does it even mean?)

    Every candidate from Bethlehem has been acting like whoever loves it the most deserves to be on City Council. We get it, you love it here. Hey, so do we! That doesn’t, by itself, qualify anyone for the job. A council position is not and should never be a birthright. As campaign financing goes, I do take issue with a totally self-funded campaign. But sharing funds among candidates is also distasteful at best – council members should be accountable to the public, not in debt to each other.

  3. I’m not sure how to reply to this post (#62) but I’ll try. First, I’ll assume for the purposes of this reply, that the writer has first hand knowledge of the Ritter campaign funding by the Friends of Bryan Callahan and Councilman Callahan. Loan or not, the concern is that candidates for Council should be independent thinkers and not someone who can be counted on to vote a certain way. Unfortunately, there should be some concern by the voters whether Ms. Ritter is truly independent. BTW, either Ms. Ritter or Councilman Callahan could have explained things as did the writer. They did not. Second, the reason that Ms. Van Wirt and Mr. Carpenter are self-funded (or even if private individuals donated to either of their campaigns – and I have no knowledge about that at all) is to preserve their independence and avoid even the appearance of a lack of independence should they be elected. I fail to see how self-funding or individual donations are somehow wrong. Third, you don’t have to be a life long resident of Bethlehem to know where the City today comes from: the hard work and foresight of prior administrations and the citizens who stuck it out. That said, that is not a qualifying factor in securing a Council seat. It certainly helps inform decisions but that kind of research is what I would expect any intelligent Council person to undertake when assessing a matter requiring Council action. We should be electing candidates who have knowledge and experience in dealing with the issues facing Bethlehem. Responsible development is one of them and both Ms. Van Wirt and Mr. Carpenter have that experience and the power of independent thinking to address that issue and others. Finally, do Ms. Ritter, Ms. Crampsie Smith and Councilman Callahan embrace the divisiveness of the writer (#62)? I hope not but wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear from them directly on that.

  4. Dear Gadfly,
    Since Ms Martin mentioned me personally, I feel I must reply. The important difference in our contribution to a candidate is that our livelihood does not depend on securing largess from the city in the form of contracts, permits, licenses, tax abatement (TIF, CRIZ) and other benefits that can flow to those who seek to influence public officials. We are advocates for good government, were actively involved in a grassroots effort to establish common sense ethical guardrails that would protect Bethlehem from the devastating corruption experienced by Allentown. The practice of using campaign funds breeds cronyism and is not in the interest of democracy. What we want from our local government is to be independent of special interests and make decisions that benefit the city rather than special interests. This is admittedly not an easy task because of the very real effort by various entities to cultivate relationships with local officials for the purpose of influence; campaign contributions are a major way to do so. If you want to know more about high standards in municipal ethics please visit cityethics.org. As for being originally from Bethlehem or not, everyone should be in favor of good government and sound democratic practices whether one is from here or not.

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