Recruiting the developers

(No answer yet. If you know any of these gentlemen, please put in a good word for the Gadfly.)  

49 W. Greenwich St.
Bethlehem PA 18018
February 8, 2019

Dennis E. Benner, Lou Pektor, Michael Perruci, Jim Petrucci, Michael F. Ronca

Good Sirs:

I write you because Bethlehem Councilman Callahan cited you five at a recent Council meeting as developers who have made important contributions to the city. And who will continue to do so.

I have an idea that I ‘m going to pitch to Council soon, and I’d like to invite you to be part of it.

I’m just your average citizen who on retirement from Lehigh University recently as a Professor of American Literature for almost 50 years has been enjoying learning about and commenting on our City government.

One thing I could not help but notice is the importance of our history to the City’s identity.

You folks are instrumental in creating the present and the future of the City, but that work should always grow out of a connection with and feeling for the City’s past.

I’ll bet that you have all attended Council meetings for one reason or another and are aware that each meeting begins in traditional fashion with a prayer and the pledge of allegiance.

I am going to propose to Council that we add a third element to the opening ceremony – a “Bethlehem Moment.” The Bethlehem Moment – literally 1-2 minutes – would be a slice of Bethlehem history. For instance, I did one as part of public comment last meeting on the opening of Memorial Pool in 1957.

I’ll need to suggest to Council who would do these Moments. I have approached the School District about involving students, and I will be contacting Historic Bethlehem and many other organizations and individuals.

I’m wondering if I could count on each of you to do one Moment a year. You might think of it as a charitable contribution of a non-financial kind. I’ll bet that you have never received this kind of request, and I can well imagine you saying, O, my, this is not what I do! But I and others would be available to help you select a Moment and prepare the paragraph of text if needed.

Nothing definite required at this time. All I’m hoping for is a nod of willingness to hear more and to participate once we get organized.

Ed Gallagher

free marketers never acknowledge their own pie-in-the sky fantasy

Breena Holland is an Associate Professor at Lehigh University in the Department of Political Science and the Environmental Initiative. She is a past and current director of Lehigh University’s South Side Initiative.


It’s great to see the likes of Jonah Goldberg feeling threatened enough by the GND that they have to come out and try to stifle its momentum. Note that his comments do not at any point acknowledge the seriousness of the climate change problem and the importance of a radical reduction in emissions over the next decade. The GND may be an aspirational document, but there is real thinking behind it and real policy wonks starting to figure out what implementing it would entail. I find it outrageous that free marketers at the American Enterprise Institute never acknowledge their own pie-in-the sky fantasy that markets can solve environmental problems. They are the ones who are living in a fantasy world. Yes, government can always do better, and there are some social problems that markets can be left to fix. But climate change is not one of them. Conservatives in this country seem to be the only significant political group in all of the industrialized-democratic world who still think such problems can be solved without significant government intervention. There are no solutions in Goldberg’s article, no acknowledgement of the significance of the problem, and no references to support any of his claims. It’s no wonder 60 reps in the house have already jumped on board with AOC’s fantasy.


A modest proposal: an even merrier more

(3rd in a series of modest proposals)

It’s the new year. And it’s an election year. A time to be proposing things.

The Gadfly project is all about participation of, interaction with, and communication to the public.

(It’s a bit distant but mark your calendars for the March 26 launch of the City Communication Survey led by CM Reynolds. 3:30 Town Hall. Gadfly will remind you.)

In his previous modest proposal Gadfly asked us to think about City Council meetings in terms of two metaphors.

The City Council meeting is the public face of City government and should be the hub of the wheel of City governance.

And he suggested that Council invite certain Authorities and Boards and so forth to “visit” the meeting twice a year to talk with/to Council and the public.

This next proposal is similar.

Gadfly didn’t always understand the finances at the series of budget meetings at the end of last year, but he very much appreciated “meeting” the department heads, who were pretty much unknown to him beforehand, and hearing them talk expertly about what they were doing or planning to do in their areas.

Now that was interesting and enlightening. And humanizing.

Could these department heads be brought in to enliven the Council meetings with discussion of real work affecting residents in process or planned?

The City organization chart shows 7 departments under the Mayor. (There’s a link to the chart on the Gadfly sidebar.)

Gadfly would imagine that in conjunction with formulating a budget each department has a set of goals – an annual plan of some sort – for the year that is the subject of periodic review with the Mayor and is the point of reference for the department’s performance evaluation.

Similar to the previous modest proposal, Gadfly is suggesting that each department head come to a meeting twice a year, once in the first half and once in the second, and briefly tell “us” what’s happening in that department. Highlights.

Our Council meetings are “live” and on video now. We could announce a schedule of such guest appearances – “coming attractions” — and promote them in a modest way. People with interest in certain areas could be alerted to attend or tune in or catch up later.

Gadfly likes to say that he hungers for information. He wants to know as much as possible about what is going on in his town.

Newsletters and other mechanisms and tools to push out information to the public that will come out of the Communication Survey are good things.

But Gadfly modestly proposes modest personal interaction that would spice up the necessary and important business and busy-ness of necessary Council routine.

And give the public a reason to be involved.

(“Modest Proposals.” Things – even really small things – that we’d like to see happen. Gadfly invites you to contribute your modest proposals. If you favor a modest proposal, let the Mayor and Council know – email links are on the Gadfly sidebar.)

The City is looking for volunteers!

Eeek, Gadfly forgot to pass this notice on the City web site on to faithful followers:

February 1, 2019 8:21 AM

Anyone interested in serving on a City Authority, Board or Commission, please submit a letter of interest and resume to or

Gadfly has spent a year vagabonding around from meeting to meeting of our Authorities, Boards, and Commissions.

Check them out on the City web site.

There’s a bunch of them.

By and large, Gadfly has been very, very impressed at the good, selfless work done by “regular” residents.

He finally caught up with a Southside group two weeks ago and was quite impressed with the range of activities going on that he never heard about.

You might have a particular skill, talent, or interest that matches with one of these ABC’s.Uncle Sam

Or you just might want to get involved.

Getting involved — participating — is what the Gadfly project is all about.

So think on this opportunity to get your name in the mix and consider hustling off an email to headquarters registering your willingness to serve.

The Dems host a handful of candidates

(6th in a series of posts on candidates for election)

Last night 5 of the 6 candidates for City Council gave brief presentations at the regular monthly meeting of the Bethlehem City Democratic Committee. (Candidate Ritter was not present.)

Very brief.

The Dems plan to have a more extensive forum with all candidates together at the end of April or the beginning of May, just before the election.

See below for calendar items.

New candidates

Grace Crampsie Smith

David Saltzer


Michael Colon

Willie Reynolds

Paige Van Wirt


Now, class, are you paying attention? Can you identify the candidates?

Mark your calendars

Petition signing, Saturday, Feb. 23, Steelworker’s Union Hall, 53 E. Lehigh St., 10-5: candidates will probably be there.

Campaign kick-offs.  (I assume we are all invited.)

Smith: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 5:30-7:30, Roosevelt’s

Reynolds: Thursday, Feb. 24, 6:30, BrewWorks

Require climate impacts on new developments and major renovations

See Kathy Fox’s “A question for prospective city council members”


I think climate impacts — and other sustainability impacts — should definitely be required for all planning & zoning submissions — for all new developments & major renovations. As a starting point, we could use the Sustainability Impact Assessment project completed by 5 students last summer.

Peter Crownfield

(Be sure to see Peter’s comments on the “Thinking green” and “Reducing carbon emissions” posts as well.)

Yes, use zoning and building codes to effect local changes


Kathy Fox hits the nail on the head with addressing these kinds of issues using zoning and building codes to effect local changes. Too bad city officials don’t.

Why not require solar panels on the roofs of buildings over a certain square footage? Why not require warehouses to then provide onsite rest parking for diesel fuel drinking semis? Why not use the solar energy created to allow those semis to plug in instead of running engines that pollute, while a driver rests? Why not up the ante on reconstruction and new construction with more environmentally friendly energy standards/requirements?

Yes, there is much that could be done to address environmental concerns, but it seems that election time rhetoric is the only time we hear about soon to be forgotten ideas, in the name of getting elected.

This is a practice and philosophy, not a campaign bullet point.

Dana Grubb