A new face in the race

Latest in a series of posts on candidates for election

Candidates for various elective positions all across the Valley and, in fact, state-wide, made very brief presentations at the Bethlehem City Democratic Committee meeting last night.

Bethlehem candidates Councilpeople Reynolds, Callahan, and Crampsie Smith spoke — as well as new face Hillary Kwiatek running for Council.

Councilwoman Negron attended the meeting but did not speak.

Councilman Reynolds is, of course, running for Mayor.

Councilman Callahan said he was not sure at this point if he is running for Mayor but for Council for certain.

Councilwoman Crampsie Smith is running for a 4-year Council term.

The presentations are brief. One candidate likened it to speed-dating!

Gadfly hopes you will listen to all. But especially to Hillary Kwiatek’s.




Gadfly apologizes to Councilwoman Crampsie Smith. The audio clip here is from the last City Council meeting. He made a mistake when uploading and now unfortunately can’t restore the proper clip.

O, yes, election season has begun

Latest in a series of posts on candidates for election

ref: Councilman Reynolds opens his mayoral campaign
ref: Thinking about the primary election
ref: Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance issues a CALL TO ACTION

As Gadfly tries to dial back from the national drama (though this week promises to be as portentous as last), he would like to call attention to the beginning of the local political campaign season.

In an event likely to have been overshadowed by the insurrection, Councilman Reynolds kicked off his run for mayor last Wednesday. He should never have any difficulty recalling the exact date he tossed his hat in the ring!

Four City Council seats are also on the line.

Elections excite the Gadfly. They represent periodic new beginnings, fresh starts.

And Councilman Reynolds has laid out substantial visions for the future to woo our votes.

And we will hear more from campaigns that will necessarily have to be run under pandemic rules.

How interesting. What impact will there be on such standard fare as door-to-door solicitation, meet-and-greets, candidate nights, and so forth? Will campaigning radically change? Will we see innovative tactics?

You’ve seen Gadfly hope for competition, the vigorous exchange of ideas in the public square that makes us all better.

He would particularly like to see people of color and women candidates.

But sometimes, as they say, you gotta watch what you ask for.

The Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance is looking for candidates.

That does not bode well, thinks the Gadfly.

We’ve seen one commenter in these pages say that “this group seems to prefer labels & fear-mongering to actual analysis or truth.”

And to wonder “what the term ‘Marxist’ means to them.”

Another poster found the LVGNA commentary “pretty awful . . . incendiary and off-putting, not an opening for a conversation.”

If there is one thing that the insurrection tells us, it’s that we need to seek a greater sense of community.

In addition, Gadfly hears President Waldron’s wise call for civility in our local dealings.

As a first step in fielding a candidate, Gadfly would ask LVGNA to stop the name-calling and to explain how Marxism pertains to the actions done by and positions held by current elected officials.

Councilman Reynolds opens his mayoral campaign!

Latest in a series of posts on candidates for election

“Bethlehem has always been a wonderful place to live but it is time for us to become something more. We need a clear vision for the future of our city that builds on our strengths and reimagines what our community can be. ”

J. William Reynolds Announcement

Reynolds campaign website

Reynolds Facebook

“So you wanna run for City Council”

Latest in a series of posts on candidates for election

So you wanna run for City Council Game Show!
Lehigh Valley Stands Up
Moderated: Jon Irons
December 10, 2020

As you can see from the previous posts this morning, the Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance is aghast at “Slick Willie” Reynolds’ participation in a Zoom event — a “Game Show” — hosted by Lehigh Valley Stands Up called “So you wanna run for City Council.”

It behooves us to learn more about this event and Councilman Reynolds’ participation in it.

You can see for yourself via the link above.

The game was run on Kahoots, which looks like a popular educational tool.

The game was moderated by low-key LVSU member Jon Irons, a familiar public commenter at City Council meetings. There were a dozen participants, two Gadfly knew professionally, and one whom you can see was cooking in her kitchen the entire time. Except very brief comments by winners of the game at the end, participants did not speak.

LVSU compiled 20-some mainly multiple-choice questions relating to City Council membership.

  • Should you run for office?
  • I would vote for a city council candidate who supported which of the following statements.
  • Which of the following are great reasons to run for city council?
  • What professional qualities do you need to run for city council?
  • What qualities make for a successful councilperson?
  • What types of people does it help to have in your network to run for council?
  • What are some skills you should have to prepare to run for council?
  • Add some qualities or ideologies you would like to see in city council members.
  • What’s it like to work for council?
  • What is the most time consuming part of a council member’s work week?
  • What type of career background is REQUIRED to run for city council?
  • What are some responsibilities of council members?
  • How much does a city council member earn for their work?
  • What is another IMPORTANT non-legislative role that city council members have?
  • What is a way that elected officials can engage with and grow from constituent feedback and meetings?
  • What are some fundamentals for thinking about a campaign for local office?
  • How many signatures does it take to get on the ballot for a city-wide race?
  • How many votes are needed to win a city council race in Bethlehem?
  • How much cash money should a candidate raise to fund a city council race?
  • What is one of the most expensive parts of a city council campaign?
  • What are some ways to get started with a campaign for city council?
  • Are you feeling ready or willing to run for office?

Our Councilman Reynolds and Allentown City Councilwoman Ce-Ce Gerlach were present to expand on answers to questions. They had no other role in the program. They participated almost not at all. Here’s an example of Councilman Reynolds responding to a question about time management. (1 min.)

There was no political commentary or discussion during the event.

Information about LVSU’s 3-point political platform was quite brief and presented at the end.  The 3-point platform is police accountability, affordable housing, voting rights. None was expanded upon. There was no overt attempt to proselytize. Invitation to join was offered. (4 mins.)

Should “Slick Willie” have passed on this opportunity to foster active public participation in the political process?

Was his behavior anti-American?

Is Lehigh Valley Stands Up not good company?

What are you thinking about a morning devoted, in effect, to the Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance?


See Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance under topics on the right-hand sidebar.

Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance on debunking defunding the police

Latest in a series of posts in the wake of the George Floyd murder

Facebook January 3, 2021

Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance

Wanna hear the truth for a change?

Ya know, just for a goof.

Here ya go.

(Don’t let misguided politicians like Willie Reynolds or brainwash professors like Holona Ochs manipulate your mind with their debunked ideology.)


selections from Christopher Young, “A cop debunks four core myths of the #DefundPolice movement.” New York Post, December 27, 2020.

As a progressive who wants to decriminalize drugs and advance the welfare state, I fit in well in my Pacific Northwest community. Except, that is, for my job: I’ve been a big-city cop here for 26 years. Before that, I served in the military. The raging #DefundthePolice movement doesn’t know me and my colleagues at all — and persistent myths about police and their critics do more harm than good.

Four myths especially deserve debunking by an officer who knows.

1) Police are killing large numbers of civilians. That’s simply not true. . . . The reality is that US policing has steadily improved over the past 50 years. In Gotham, officers firing a gun have gone from a daily to monthly occurrence. And the city has become dramatically safer over the same period. In other words, the NYPD has successfully used less lethal means of preserving — and improving — the rule of law.

2) The anti-cop movement is largely peaceful. Again, false. The movement, rather, is akin to the Batman villain Two-Face. Anyone who watched the protests on television would know that the daytime ones were lawful free speech. But the dynamic changed dramatically at night. Protests became intentional ­riots, designed to draw a police response that allowed rioters to claim victim status.

They would begin with insults, shouted at the riot line for hours in the hope that exhausted officers would retort on video; some told officers to commit ­suicide. Then they would throw rocks, shine bright lasers in our eyes and throw fireworks and Molotov cocktails — forcing the police to respond.

Yet the mainstream media adopted the comically false “peaceful-protest” narrative and perpetuated the myth of pervasive police brutality. For activists, it was a successful propaganda operation, encouraging the police to engage with force, then driving the narrative that law enforcement “overreacted” to latter-day Gandhis.

3) Abolishing police wouldn’t lead to lawlessness. Many of the defunders are genuine anarchists, who want no government at all and believe in a society of angels who serve each other voluntarily.

This is nonsense. One of the greatest achievements in human history was creating government monopolies on the use of force. Ancient tribal societies had a violent death rate of 500 per 100,000 people per year. That number dropped to 50 in medieval societies and just one to five in the modern West.

Seattle’s recent experiment with the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ, proves this. Police weren’t allowed in the “occupied” protest zone for three weeks. It immediately became a hellscape and led to the shooting deaths of two young black men — the very people the movement claims to want to protect from the police.

4) Today’s police are “militarized.” Wrong, wrong, wrong. As a soldier, I rode in an armored vehicle and sat in a turret with a belt-fed machine gun. My job was to shoot enemy soldiers. In my 26 years as a cop, I have done no such thing.

Contrary to activist complaints, SWAT teams’ armored vehicles, armored clothing and special training help them avoid deadly force, not commit it. A regular cop is often justified shooting someone who threateningly brandishes a gun. A SWAT officer wearing protection, however, will wait longer before resorting to deadly force. In Seattle, our SWAT team recently saved a suicidal young black man with a gun.

Here’s the reality. We need police on the streets.

Social-justice warriors say that policing is hopelessly broken, and the only solution is “defund, disarm and disband.” Take it from a left-leaning cop: Those arguments are either wildly exaggerated or just plain false.


See Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance under topics on the right-hand sidebar.

Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance asks a question

Latest in a series of posts on candidates for election

Facebook January 3, 2021

Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance


Remember when two-faced Bethlehem City Council members insisted they never publicly stated they were going to defund the police?

Well, on December 10th, current Councilman Willie Reynolds (who we have it on good authority is about to announce his candidacy for Mayor) participated in a “How to Run for City Council” Zoom meeting where he was giving advice to the same local Marxist group that demanded the defunding and elimination of the police.

Slick Willie’s master plan is to become mayor and then pack city council not just with the leftists who already sit there but with Marxist radicals who called the Bethlehem police an evil machine and said they didn’t want to hear from any more white people but we just want your money, frankly.

Are you going to allow Marxist radicals and their puppet to take over the City of Bethlehem?


 See Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance under topics on the right-hand sidebar.

Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance issues a CALL TO ACTION

Latest in a series of posts on candidates for election

Ref: Thinking about the primary election


Facebook January 3, 2021

Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance

See Lehigh Valley Good Neighbors Alliance under topics on the right-hand sidebar.

Thinking about the primary election

Latest in a series of posts on candidates for election

The last post got me thinking.

Mayor Donchez can’t run again. He’s in the 8th inning of his second term. Still a good bit of time to go. And there will be important things for him to do. He won’t be checking out.

But attention will inevitably turn in the next few months to the next Administration.

Gadfly posted the post below back in September.

Expectation seems to be that Councilmen Callahan and Reynolds will run for Mayor.

And who might be standing on the sidelines with hat in hand poised to throw?

And the terms of current Council members Callahan, Cramspsie Smith, Negron, and Waldron are up in 2021.

Potential for a lot of turnover.

Could/should be lively election.

Gadfly wondered in the post below where are the Republicans in this town? And Independents? And African Americans? And Latinx? And women? And LGBTQ?

Even if current election chances are slim, one could hope for candidates from such constituencies to gain experience for future elections.

Maybe more importantly right now, perhaps we should be thinking about what the key issues and priorities should be for our candidates.

Gadfly would welcome your thinking in this regard.

What needs to be done?

What do you want to see on the platforms for candidates in the May primary?


Originally posted September 29, 2020

Where are the Republicans?

Or Independents?

Gadfly is jogged to ask by this post in Bernie O’Hare’s “Lehigh Valley Ramblings” the other day about the “Bethlehem Democratic Party Machine.”

Hoping to provide a beneficial public service, Gadfly plans to help people be the best informed voters they can be by providing info on all the candidates in next spring’s election.

He’s hoping there will be several Democratic candidates for Mayor, and scuttlebutt indicates there will be.

But where are the Republicans in this town? And Independents? And African Americans? And Latinx? And women? And LGBTQ?

Gadfly hopes for competition, for choice.

That’s the kind of thing we gadflies live for.

Especially as he plans to retire Election Day +1.

Wants to go out with some drama!

Alan Jennings: “There is too much to do”

Latest in a series of posts on City Government

We turned the corner. New year. Time for resolutions. Setting agendas. Mayoral and Councilpersonic elections coming into view. Platforms forming. Gadfly welcomes essays like this. Getting us thinking. What needs to be done? What is it on which we’d like to see local government working?

selections from Alan Jennings, “Strap in Lehigh Valley, we have things to do.” Morning Call, January 3, 2020.

Well, that was the year from hell. Certainly, the worst of my 62.

Let’s just try to move on. There is too much to do.

To be sure, our most challenging problems are national in scope . . .

But there are a ton of issues right here in our own little once-green spot on the planet we call the Lehigh Valley. Here is what you can expect the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley to pursue.

The big project is the completion of a strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion. For many months, now, dozens of people from the nonprofit, for-profit and public sectors have been crafting a strategy to finally unlock the doors that have kept far too many from accessing economic opportunity.

It will include better access to markets for minority-owned businesses, elimination of cash bail and other criminal justice reforms, testing (some call it “secret shoppers”) various groups to ensure they are treating people the same regardless of the color of their skin or the language they speak, more participation on boards of directors, and much, much more.

This should be a game-changer, folks.

The condition of our housing stock needs an enormous amount of funding to bring it up to modern (meaning habitable) standards. We are dramatically expanding our work in this area.

The efficiency of COVID-19 in its destruction of small businesses will open many opportunities for new businesses in this market. CACLV has tripled its small business coaching and lending capacity.

The Lehigh Valley has successfully transitioned from an industrial economy to a broader, more diverse economy; and, yet, we have not lost the identity and culture of that past. We have a lot of “hip” going on, with ArtsQuest leading the way. Allentown’s downtown revitalization, the Easton vibe, Bethlehem’s gentility and other factors make it a real, live, developing culture with an enviable quality of life.

We’ve got colleges, top-notch health care systems, a business community that is refreshingly progressive. Even the Chamber CEO is a closet liberal (couldn’t help outing you, Tony).

We’ve got Musikfest (I hope), minor league hockey and baseball teams and a top-notch sports and concert arena.

But we aren’t good enough. With one in eight Lehigh County residents and one in 11 Northampton County residents living below the poverty line, and a marketplace that is merciless, too many are being left behind.

The unaffordability of housing in this market and its substandard condition is worse than a crisis — it’s a disaster. It is a public health problem by causing asthma and lead poisoning. It is an education problem by forcing families to move frequently, disrupting the rhythm of their lives, especially the kids’ educations. And if the schools struggle to teach, it becomes a community development issue if people of means don’t want to live here.

Check this out: 79% of white children who live in suburban communities take the college entrance exams (SAT or ACT). Just 8% of urban Latinos take the exams, and a particularly shocking 4% of urban African Americans take them. Those three data points are all we need to understand why color and class are almost synonymous in the Lehigh Valley; they also explain tidily why there is so much income and wealth disparity in our society.

The weaknesses in our behavioral health services, from detox and residential rehab to the critical shortage of psychiatrists, are known by all, including our two, big systems. COVID-19 is a roll-the-dice complication to all these issues.