“Thank you,” Mr. Antalics, “for always keeping us on track.”

(Latest post on such topics as Neighborhoods, Southside, Affordable Housing)

Heard on Jeopardy last night: “What Bethlehem resident wants the definition of family as five unrelated persons changed in order to stifle the negative effect of student housing on the Southside?”

Just kidding.

But everybody who follows the Gadfly knows the answer to that question.

Stephen Antalics.

Gadfly #1.

And he is not kidding.

This man has wit and whimsy, for sure, but at Council he is all business.

He’s a Southside warrior.

At Council Tuesday night Stephen challenged the “silence of the lambs” once more.

Classic gadflyism. A model for us all. Listen.

For once, Stephen’s words did not go unanswered.

The 11 o’clock news could well have led off with a fiery segment on the fired-up Congressman Callahan to which I have strongly urged you to listen.

That’s where the sensationalistic headlines would be.

But the precious jewel of the meeting was the easily overlooked — wedged as it was between Callahan fusillades — barely three minutes of Councilwoman Negron in response to Stephen.

Councilwoman Negron’s soft demeanor bespeaks her sincerity and belies her strength.

“Like [Mr. Antalics], the Southside issue is dear to my heart,” she said, recounting the consequence of listening to residents about affordable housing at a meeting of the Southside Vision Housing Committee:

  • “I couldn’t even sleep last night because I was so upset, especially because I heard the urgency in which they were speaking.”
  • “I am not going to go anywhere till something is done, or that will be my end on City Council because there is no purpose if that cannot be changed.”
  • “I just want to assure you [Mr. Antalics] that just because we are not talking about it every night as you have, and you have the right, and I’m glad you have, we are working on it.”
  • “The only reason I was glad to read the[South Bethlehem Historical Society] letter was to realize that I am not crazy or that I am just whining about something dearest to my heart.”
  • “So housing is getting to be a big distress on the Southside, and we are looking to make some changes in the near future.”
  • “Thank you for always keeping us on track.”

Beautiful.

Gadfly has sensed some momentum on the housing issue since that SBHS letter, some tide-turning, though, of course, there are such prior currents as that generated by Southside Vision that he was not aware of.

“We are working on it.” “We are looking to make some changes.”

Action.

“I am not going to go anywhere till something is done.”

Resolve.

Passage of the “Antalics Amendment” is playing on Gadfly’s mind-screen.

And — he knows it’s early — but Gadfly’s mind has been drifting ahead to the mayoral race.

A strong program to improve affordable housing will need the executive’s power.

And will take longer than Mayor Donchez’s term.

There were probable candidates for mayor in the room Tuesday night, and more watching on television. Gadfly thinks this is a cause the next mayor must take up.

Not too early for people to be thinkin’!

Thank you, Mr. Antalics, for always keeping us on track.

Thank you, Councilwoman Negron, for saying thanks.

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