“I am no one of importance”

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Gadfly has described himself as Maddow’d in respect to coronavirus in nursing homes and other senior-care facilities.

Rachel Maddow was like an early warning sensor beeping the need to more carefully scrutinize conditions in such places accounting for almost 50% of deaths by virus.

Maddow has transitioned a bit as more attention has been focused on these senior sites where “death is waiting to happen.”

See, for instance, this article in today’s Morning Call: Peter Hall, “Auditor general calls for greater transparency, more testing for nursing home coronavirus cases.”

She’s transitioned to focus on jails and food-processing plants.

Death is also waiting to happen in food-processing plants.

See this brutal article in the Wednesday Philadelphia Inquirer provided to Gadfly by Councilwoman Olga Negron: DEADLY RIDE: Pa. poultry workers traveling to their plant in a crowded van were stricken by the virus.

Eight people crammed in a van riding 30 miles to and from work in a plant where people work close together — one passenger dead, the rest sick, all fearful of losing their jobs.


“I am no one of importance,” one says, in regard to what is being done for worker safety.


Councilwoman Negron is involved through her “day job” because these workers are Latino.

In fact, 35% of the workers in the food-processing industry nation-wide are Latino.

Essential workers.

Councilwoman Negron through her “day job” is in direct contact with the family that lost their dad (Arismendi Bera), and every day she fields phone calls from two or three Latino workers from that plant. Even though the plant is not in Bethlehem, COVID-19 positive workers are sharing her firm’s number, seeking a place to vent their fears to someone in their own language. They need someone to talk to.

It’s easy to say that except for the soul-wearying work performed by day-jobber Negron that this is not a story about Bethlehem.

But we know from her April 8 post that she has been busy fielding calls from local Hispanic/Latinos as well.

Bethlehem is 30% Hispanic/Latino, yet this community accounts for 44% of the cases tested positive for the virus.

Which leads Gadfly — who, of course, knows nothing of such Urban Administration matters — to wonder whether a city with such a substantial block should not have some formal liaison within city government.

The Mayor does have a Latino Advisory Committee.

Why is such liaison left to the Negrons and the non-profits like the Hispanic Center?

But maybe it is best so.

Gadfly just wonders.

“I am no one of importance,” haunts him.

Giving thanks #2

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Friedman 1


My sister Nancy Perusso, her husband Mike and daughter Emily dress up a mannequin that belonged to my mother for many years. Mom bought it from Orrs when it went out of business. “Sophia,” as she is named, gets dressed up for many special occasions and for the past 3 weeks, she’s been donning nurse gear to support our front-line crew.

Jim Friedman

A plug for the Bethlehem Press, a plug for a press in Bethlehem

We need a local newspaper.

I was just very impressed by the amount of data about local events affected by the virus in yesterday’s BP issue.

I have remarked appreciatively in these pages several times about the community feel in the BP.

Gadfly loves community.

Sure, the paper doesn’t have some of the things we might want.

Like how about a weekly analysis of a city-related issue by a serious columnist who takes the city as his/her beat.

But the paper probably doesn’t have the resources for that.

Yet it might have if more people subscribed, he says perhaps naively.

Gadfly thinks everybody should subscribe to the BP.

Frankly, there’s usually very little in the Morning Call that I don’t already know when I take it to the bathroom with me in the morning.

Though I have found it good lately for local virus info.

Frankly again, people compliment the Gadfly for providing a bit more depth or breadth about city activities.

So I think there’s an appetite for more.

I’m old-fashioned, I know, I know.

Facebook and Twitter just don’t do it for me in terms of what I want/need to know about local affairs.

Give me a good local newspaper.

Buck the trail of newspaper death rattles.

Subscribe to the BP and make your wishes known.

City (not City Council) meetings continue closed through May 15, but golf course is opening!

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Released April 29, 2020:

All Public Meetings Cancelled through May 15, 2020

Mayor Bob Donchez announced today that the order cancelling all public meeting through Thursday, April 30, 2020 is being extended through Friday May 15, 2020 at which time the situation will be reevaluated. This includes the cancellation of the Mayor’s monthly “Open Door” on May 11, 2020. Such reevaluation may require additional cancellations. Notice will be provided once a determination is made.

Note, this does not apply to City Council meetings. City Council will determine whether or not to hold or cancel Council meetings.

Reminder that City Hall remains closed to the public until further notice. City Hall will remain operational but closed to the public. City employees will be available to assist residents via phone and email.

Please monitor the City’s website at http://www.bethlehem-pa.gov and social media for additional information on City facilities, public meetings and updates on COVID-19.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

Giving thanks

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Gadfly is under house arrest. He has not been out since Jimmy Carter was president. Or so it seems.

But he had an hour of emergency work release this morning.

And found this at 807 N. Center.

House arrest does not shackle the mind. Especially the worrying part.

Gadfly son #4 works on an assembly line. Gadfly son #5 is a UPS driver. Gadfly son #6 works in a warehouse.

Anxiety is not known for downtime.

Is much of this kind of public thanks going on?

Please share with Gadfly any such public displays you come across.

Well done, 807!


The Gadfly