Second thoughts about the City Council meeting tonight!


City Council tonight 7pm, Town Hall

A new follower asked Gadfly a simple question: “Should I attend the meeting tonight?”

It made me think of something I should have thought of before.

Gadfly plans to post the impressive public comment recordings from Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting on Martin Tower.

As well as some personal commentary.

But he is in a bit of a time-bind right now.

Though the Mayor and most of City Council might follow the blog, might have followed the last several posts on Martin Tower, and might have the opportunity to hear the recordings when I post them in the near future —

it would have more impact for them to hear such views as were presented last week in the immediacy of the Council meeting tonight.

As is, only one Councilperson attended the meeting and heard the excellent public response.

For maximum impact — for maximum pressure — the Mayor and all City Council must be confronted with those views and ideas — in person.

So Gadfly is suggesting that Thursday presenters present again tonight.

So Gadfly is suggesting that people not at the Planning Commission who were able to follow it through the recent Gadfly posts also come tonight and contribute their views.

Use the time at the beginning of the meeting for “comments on matters not being voted on tonight.”

If, for instance, a member of the EAC will be present tonight, he or she could synopsize their excellent letter to the Planning Commission.

Sorry for the late notice in suggesting this, but this would be a ripe time to be heard on matters Martin Tower.


Martin Tower: “Please, City of Bethlehem, make this a jewel” (15)

(15th in a series on Martin Tower)

Martin Tower demolition May 19

We come now to Gadfly’s favorite part of the Martin Tower marathon postings.

Public comment.

Followers might remember that one motivation for the Gadfly project is to more widely distribute and archive public commentary.

When he began attending City meetings in January 2018, one of the first things that struck him was the high quality of public comments.

And how much of a shame it was that such good commentary simply disappeared into the Town Hall ceiling.

Gadfly loves to hear “the people” talk, and he hopes that the Gadfly blog will even encourage more such commentary.

The hour and more of public commentary at the Planning Commission last week more than met Gadfly’s high expectations.

And the nature of the commentary was different than it was four years ago in 2015 (as examined a few posts back) – even the Planning Commission chair made a big point of that. Only one comment referenced the dreaded creation of a “3rd downtown” that was so much on people’s minds – especially the merchants – at that time.

Not at all surprising, the public commentary this time criticized details of the Master Plan: the size-location-nature of the park, the shamelessly low percentage of open space, the lack of diverse housing, subdividing the property, lack of solar, light pollution, potential gridlock, location of the hotel, parking, the destination of our tax dollars, the mysterious owner, and so forth.

But surprising, pleasantly surprising, was the concerted attack on the quality of the Master Plan. Our commentators to a person wanted the absolute best design and didn’t find it here.

The Master Plan was dull, unimaginative, routine, lacking creativity – the work of an engineer not a planner, much less an artist.

Speakers found the plan underwhelming, something only someone with a Franklinian penchant for right angles could love.

The plan was rather vanilla, with a Levittown look, and better could be found in introductory College design courses.

The Martin Tower site is a gem, a jewel, an icon – it is unique – nothing these people saw in the design rose to the transcendent level it deserves – and which the City must have.

Why not a public market? Why not a big park? Why not a central park/fountain with the iconic I-beam?

Where is the root in the Bethlehem Comprehensive Plan? Have they not heard of the Bethlehem Climate Action Plan? No evidence of either.

So the developer’s Master Plan meets the technical requirements – ok, but ho-hum — can’t we expect more than that!

What here is to be really proud of?

People were asking for more than just technical competence and increased tax dollars.

They yearned for a design that matched their exalted sense of their hometown.

They wanted excitement. They wanted to be enthused — “turned on”!

They wanted something to love.

There was not enough “spark.”

Simply good enough is not good enough.

Strong stuff!

Our people were demanding imagination, creativity, specialness, excellence. They worried that the City would just “settle” with what was presented.

This could be an icon to the future.

There’s more than a hint of desperation in this haunting plea:

“Please, City of Bethlehem, make this a jewel, not another missed opportunity.”


074Looking at that pocket park, it’s like in the pocket, it’s like something you might forget . . . having something centralized, having something with more of a focus on it would be a better served opportunity for this site. (Brian Hillard)

Disappointed that there is no opportunity for owner-occupied housing.  (Dana Grubb)

We are concerned about the effect of so many people in such close proximity to the Burnside Plantation. (Charlene Donchez Mowers)

I’m certainly underwhelmed currently by what’s proposed here. (Diane Backus)

Don’t rush to say let’s just get this thing over with. (Edward Deluva)

CRIZ is 53 acres, now imploding the 5-acre asset the CRIZ was designed to preserve. 48 076acres should be returned to the state. (Bruce Haines proxy)

I’ve seen plans like this submitted by Lehigh students in my office when they were just starting out in some kind of urban design program at Lehigh, their plans were better than this. (Mike Topping)

Missing individuality and some of the precepts of modern planning. (Steve Melnick)

You never mentioned the Bethlehem Comprehensive Plan. (Steven Glickman)

The plan is a design only Ben Franklin would love . . . straight lines are not friendly. (Diane Backus)

077Mr. Herrick is a multi-billionaire, owning over 5 billion dollars of real estate, thoroughbred horses, he owns companies doing movies and Broadway shows, he owns athletic groups and a massive art collection. Now with a background like that . . . crying poverty in terms of getting rid of asbestos. (Stephen Antalics)

I would encourage us to seek out development of that property in a remarkable way to really make something the City will be proud of just as what Bethlehem Steel had done for this City and this Valley and the world.  (Edward Deluva)

Who’s going to enjoy the space [of the park] – facing the thruway? (Diane Backus)

What we’ve heard so far is this plan meets the ordinance, this plan is good enough, but good enough is not good enough for this piece of land, and good enough is not good 079enough for Bethlehem. (Paige Van Wirt)

The idea of subdividing this land is a mistake. (Mike Topping)

Why is there no low-income housing? (Diane Backus)

On social media the gas station has been panned big time. (Dana Grubb)

Mixed use does not mean housing over here, and office over there. That is not how cities grow. That is how developers generally think.  (Steven Glickman)

083The lack of a major corporate tenant is a huge disappointment. (Bruce Haines proxy)

The man said it meets requirements – is that the best we get? (Diane Backus)

I think it’s incumbent upon the City to follow these policies [e.g., the Climate Action Plan]. (Edward Deluva)

This site was an icon to our city and our region, and we would be well served to continue with that thought. This could be an icon to the future as we remove the icon from the past. (Brian Hillard)

A park there only to meet the requirements of the ordinance not to become useful not necessarily to become useful to the people who are living there. (Steve Melnick) 091

This was drawn by an engineer who had a straight edge and a scale, and that’s about it. (Mike Topping)

The open space percentage is a shame, an absolute shame. (Diane Backus)

Where is the park? I don’t see the park. (Anon.)

This is a rather vanilla development plan. (Charlene Donchez Mowers)

Why the deception? Why the misrepresentation? . . . So in essence Mr. Herrick owns 62.5% of Martin Towers. Has anyone here ever heard or seen of Mr. Herrick? So where will the profits be going? . . . That site is in a CRIZ zone that will get developmental help by tax dollars, tax dollars generated by citizens of Bethlehem and the state of 094Pennsylvania. (Stephen Antalics)

Why is the hotel not on the street where there is the most traffic and visibility? (Steve Melnick)

I think it would speak very well for these developers if they understood how valuable that remaining land is for the City and to give it back to the City to determine where is the best place for it to be used not by a private entity. I’m speaking to you guys, and I’m hoping you will take that into consideration as a good faith gesture to the City. (Paige Van Wirt)

A pocket park – why not a big park? (Diane Backus)

There’s something here that is truly unique . . . and to just settle for something good is 097not good enough. (Edward Deluva)

Disappointed that we’re not providing housing for all social and economic strata . . . almost every development that comes in nowadays is upscale rental, and gentrification is a real issue. (Dana Grubb)

Why not a public market like Easton has? (Diane Backus)

Competitive disadvantage over the existing hotels and draws customers away from downtown shops and restaurants. (Bruce Haines proxy)

Sort of the look of Levittown coming to Bethlehem, and that is not what Bethlehem planning has been about. (Mike Topping)

098Hire a planner not an engineer and develop your plan using the goals and guidelines outlined in the Comprehensive Plan. (Steven Glickman)

Where are the solar roofs?  Where are the grass roofs? (Diane Backus)

If this is only using 5 acres of the CRIZ, my overriding question is what is going to happen to that very valuable remaining CRIZ land?  (Paige Van Wirt)

This is truly a gem project. . . . It’s incumbent upon the City to take a really hard look at this.  (Edward Deluva)

Light pollution is [will be] real [for people in the townhouses]. (Steve Melnick)

Is it fair for a multi-billionaire to take Pennsylvania tax dollars with no interest and 099redeveloping down in Florida? (Stephen Antalics)

Going to be a fair amount of gridlock. (Steve Melnick)

Please, City of Bethlehem, make this a jewel, not another missed opportunity. (Diane Backus)


Martin Tower Master Plan

Eaton Ave. north

1 – medical
2 – medical
3 – retail
4 – gas/convenience
8 – Offices
7 – Hotel (132 rooms)
6 – Restaurant
5 – Retail
9 –528 apartments, 3 stories

1-2 bedroom

pocket park at bottom


Rt. 378 south


Council Candidates – 4-year seat – Prompt 3 (24)

(24th in a series of posts on candidates for election)

BCDC is hosting a candidates’ forum May 6, 6PM, at Steelworkers Hall,
53 E. Lehigh St.

Election Day is May 21.

Order in which contributions were received this time.

Vote for three.

All of the candidates deserve our thanks!

Please expand on one of the points that you listed in response to question #2.

J. William Reynolds (incumbent) Reynolds 3

NorthSide 2027 is an initiative that encompasses the work that we need to continue to pursue in Bethlehem. Bringing together the Bethlehem Area School District, Moravian College, citizens, small businesses, and City Hall, we are trying to invest in and revitalize our neighborhoods with a comprehensive approach to community development. In the past year, we have brought together neighborhood stakeholders, hired a consultant, held public meetings, and gathered ideas relating to the strengths and weaknesses of our north side neighborhoods. As the initial plan nears completion, the implementation of the neighborhood strategies will be one of my priorities if elected to another term.

Different priorities for different neighbors have emerged during the planning process for NS2027. While that can be a challenge, it also holds the potential for the initiative to bring together neighbors for a shared, unique purpose. Projects such as the Bethlehem Food Co-op give us the opportunity to make structural investments that can positively impact the future of our city’s families.

Improving our community’s connections with our neighborhood elementary schools,
making our neighborhoods more walkable, and improving opportunities for our families are all priorities that will be important tenets of the NS2027 plan moving forward. As important as the priorities of the “plan” are, however, I am hoping that the legacy of the plan will be the permanent structure of interested community stakeholders that has been created, engaged, and empowered.

Bethlehem families’ lives are often intertwined between our school district, city government, the physical space of their neighborhoods, and the businesses/services that are within walking distance of their home. As a city, we owe it to our neighborhoods to look through that interconnected lens if we are going to maintain and improve the quality of life that has always made Bethlehem special.

David Saltzer  David Saltzer

I am happy to follow up on my statement in last week’s edition that, as a city council member, my first and foremost goal is to make Bethlehem a safe city for our residents, visitors, and employees. As a retired City of Bethlehem Firefighter who had to retire early due to an on-the-job injury, I believe strongly in upholding the motto of public safety workers — Everyone goes home.

I’ve worked in a multitude of emergency services facets, starting at age 16 as a volunteer firefighter and EMT, and later becoming a 911 dispatcher and, in 1999, an acting supervisor. Through these experiences, I gained a first-hand understanding of what goes into the everyday aspect of each job. I also have a firm understanding and knowledge related to negotiating with the city administration and council on topics such as safe staffing levels for fire, police and EMS, and making sure that first responders have working equipment to do their jobs. I understand the budgeting of these items and the cost factor that accompanies them; however, what is the cost of a life? For first responders and their families, this is a common worry. For those not close to the job, sometimes strains related to emergency services staffing levels and equipment shortages seem not as dire. With ongoing cuts to the fire department’s staffing levels, our aging and outdated equipment, and fleets of vehicles that may or may not work, the job becomes more difficult and it makes it much more complicated to keep fellow firefighters, residents, and visitors safe.

A further complication to the above is the inability to retain fully-trained public safety workers in the city when they can take their experience to another municipality or township and make better wages, while working in an environment with more secure staffing levels and better equipment. For example, our city paramedics are top-notch but must work at multiple places just to make ends meet. These men and women clock in and may not see the station again until they go home and are highly under-appreciated. These are things that need to change. I also feel, as a 911 dispatcher and acting supervisor since 1999, I would be a key person to aid in the facilitation of the ongoing transition of our 911 system going to Northampton County. I have input and ideas to help with a much smoother transition than how it is occurring currently.

My last part of the plan that I would like to see is a joint public safety training facility for fire, police, and EMS—a place to train that isn’t in a parking lot somewhere. This isn’t a new idea and has been talked about at length before, but it has never materialized. I’d also like to look at other opportunities for employee recruitment and retention, such as the apprenticeship program that Allentown Fire Department uses. Together, these elements I outlined: safe staffing, working and upgraded equipment, a better- functioning 911 center, and proper training will help keep this city one of the safest in the country for its residents, visitors, and employees.

Paige Van Wirt (incumbent)  Van Wirt 2

Gadfly, in answering your questions, I have been thinking a lot about Jane Jacobs. Jacobs, an urbanist, changed the way city planning was understood in America. In her book Death and Life of Great American Cities, written in 1961, Ms. Jacobs challenged the status quo of large, shiny projects, arguing for eyes on the street and human scale. “At a time when both common and inspired wisdom called for bulldozing slums and opening up city space, Ms. Jacobs’s prescription was ever more diversity, density and dynamism – in effect, to crowd people and activities together in a jumping, joyous urban jumble.” NYT, 2006.

Bethlehem is in the same type of moment as New York City in Jacobs’ day — do we continue with auto-centric thinking for our two downtowns? How do we create a city where people want to walk — for recreation, for exercise, for work? A city in which people want to walk creates a human scale and that elusive but magical word — community. Walkability doesn’t mean shaming people into not driving — just the opposite. It means understanding the “jumping joyous urban jumble” and how to foster development that honors the humans in the downtown, rather than a Corbu-inspired “tower in the park” idealism. We see it playing out every day as our beautiful city is appreciated by investors — how do we capture this energy and steer it to create a city where we all want to be? It means having a plan and expecting others who want to invest here to honor a city’s vision for itself.

One of Jacobs’ epic battles was with Robert Moses, the powerful chairman of the NYC Parks Commission. Moses favored highways over public transit. He saw his efforts in placing the Cross Bronx expressway in the middle of a vivid working-class neighborhood as “slum clearing.” She successfully fought his efforts to do the same to her beloved Greenwich village, by defeating the Lower Manhattan Expressway ripping through the heart of the village. Bethlehem is at a pivot point where we can continue to look at our city through old paradigms of “any development is good development,” or we can take Jacobs’ philosophy to heart locally and understand that when change comes to our beautiful city, it should be shaped and guided by principles that value the human, the public, the citizens of Bethlehem.

Michael Colon (incumbent)  Colon 2

Last time I mentioned I want City Hall to continue to have the resources to meet the needs of our community. Since I’ve been on Council we’ve consolidated departments (Recreation and Public Works), eliminated departments (911 moving out of the city), and cut a few positions (various departments). The primary function of local government is to deliver core services: police, fire, EMS, public works (streets), water, sewer, and community and economic development. City Hall is currently seeing its lowest staffing levels anyone can remember. This makes the delivery of services all the more challenging.

These moves and decisions are usually made during the budget process, which makes Council’s role in adopting a budget so important. However taxes are also raised during the budget process. All policies, agendas, programs, etc. have a cost associated with them. Bethlehem has been fortunate to maintain the delivery of services while only adopting modest tax increases the last few years.

At the end of the day that’s what I hear most from citizens, “Don’t raise my taxes.” What is implicit is the understanding that citizens still want a police officer nearby when they need one, their street maintained, a firefighter on standby in case of an emergency, and someone at City Hall to help them when they call or walk-in.

The budget process is tedious, it is complex, and it always has to be balanced. What I will continue to do is look at it comprehensively each budget season to balance the needs of our city and neighborhoods with the resources we have at our disposable.

Carol Ritter Ritter

Carol has an excused absence from d’professor.



BCDC is hosting a candidates’ forum May 6, 6PM, at Steelworkers Hall,
53 E. Lehigh St.

Council Candidates – 2-year seat – Prompt 3 (23)

(23rd in a series of posts on candidates for election)

BCDC is hosting a candidates’ forum May 6, 6PM, at Steelworkers Hall,
53 E. Lehigh St.

Election Day is May 21.

Order in which contributions were received this time.

Vote for one.

All of the candidates deserve our thanks!

Please expand on one of the points that you listed in response to question #2.

Ashley Daubert  Ashley Daubert

In prompt two, I explained (briefly) that one of my initiatives as a BCC candidate was “community wellness.” Specifically, destigmatizing mental illness and eliminating the division that exists between mental and physical health – and, instead, integrating them into the umbrella term “wellness.” As an ANCC psychiatric-mental health RN, I have seen people at their lowest. Mental health does not have a face, or a socioeconomic class, or an age, or a gender, etc. It does not discriminate. The purpose of this initiative is to examine the “wellness” of our community – to address the opioid epidemic; to examine the affordability of housing related to respective income potential, rates of homelessness, crime rates and public safety; to talk about why the suicide rate in the Lehigh Valley is at an all-time high; to be aware of the issues our children and our aging population are facing; and to come together as a community to address these issues. My plan is to increase education and awareness – to get out in the community and talk to community leaders and school officials, those who are currently suffering from/with one or more of the aforementioned challenges, local law enforcement, and organizations that work to combat these issues. We need to talk about these things – and not just hear one another, but actively listen, and work together to come up with viable solutions to address human suffering within our City. I see it every day. Creating partnerships and increasing education and awareness are the first steps in the development of a plan of action. A plan that has the ability to change the quality-of-life for those that need it most. In terms of value, you can’t “quantify” waking up every morning with purpose and being thankful to be alive. Imagine being able to change the course of someone’s life – to know that your efforts have made your community a better place to live, work, and raise a family, for all.

I have the power to do that.

You have the power to do that.

We have the power to do that.

Will Carpenter Will Carpenter

Why have a plan?

I have witnessed many cities progress through a reactionary process. If someone wants to put something new here, then let’s be grateful  and find a way to make it work.  The results are not always bad. Most development comes about because a need is identified and filling that need can benefit the investor and the community.  The problem with this type of reactionary planning approach is that each new piece takes away a little from what exists rather than building together on a unified vision.

As a member of the Bethlehem City Council, I will become fully knowledgeable of our current comprehensive plan to understand the stake holders and its history.  I will work to understand what the vision of growth was, what parts of our natural resources it seeks to enhance, what deficiencies in our commercial, housing, or transportation policies it seeks to address. What coming trends and future needs it looks to adapt to and prepare for. This will be the context through which I would consider zoning issues, traffic flow, use of public funds, and other issues.

Cities with good leadership and a solid vision become the most attractive place to live and invest in. Taking a thorough look at what we have, what we want, and what we need to protect will help to refine a vision and a plan.  For residents, investors, and developers this plan gives a structure, a level of certainty, and that tends to attract more investment and development, which bring good jobs and a vibrant economy. No plan can ever anticipate all the future needs or possibilities. Changes must be made thoughtfully, with public input and open discussion, and we must trust our planning staff to protect the long-term thinking and not allow short-term political needs to take us off course.

Grace Crampsie Smith grace crampsie smith

While all of my priorities are vital, I would like to expand on priority #1, assuring the health, safety, and well being of all. As a school counselor, within the past 2 years, I have seen an astoundingly significant increase in the number of students and families facing homelessness. This is a direct result of the lack of affordable housing throughout our country and within our communities such as Bethlehem. The disparity between housing costs and income has grown considerably and has received national and local media attention.

Families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered
cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing,
transportation, and medical care. An estimated 12 million renters and homeowner
households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing. A
family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local
fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.

While development of residential properties is essential, let’s examine the
disproportion between the development of high-end luxury apartments and condos
versus affordable residential units. We are all interdependent upon one another and thus must assure that our neighbors have the basic needs of life met, first and
foremost, affordable and suitable housing.

As I have noted previously, Council members must be mindful that our community
is made up of people from all walks of life who have varied incomes, educations, and
skills, and we all want the same thing – to provide for our families and have a good
quality of life.

Recent initiatives such as the partnership between the Community Action
Development Corp. of Bethlehem and the City of Bethlehem to rehab homes on the
South Side is promising and needs to be expanded upon.

To further address this issue, I would propose developing a task force of public and
private entities. I have been fortunate to witness the success of my dear friend and
mentor Mary Scullion, Founder of Project Home in Philadelphia. Mary has
developed a successful plan to address homelessness that has received international
recognition. She accomplished a significant decrease in homelessness via the
collaborative efforts of public officials and private entrepreneurs.

After all, assuring our community members have affordable and suitable housing
promotes stronger, safer neighborhoods, which benefits the community at large.



BCDC is hosting a candidates’ forum May 6, 6PM, at Steelworkers Hall,
53 E. Lehigh St.

Martin Tower: The City’s review response (15)

Ok, so you have taken the “Connecting Bethlehem” survey, but have you forced others?

(15th in a series on Martin Tower)

Martin Tower demolition May 19

Martin Tower Master Plan

Eaton Ave. north

1 – medical

2 – medical

3 – retail

4 – gas/convenience


8 – Offices

7 – Hotel (132 rooms)

6 – Restaurant

5 – Retail


9 –

528 apartments, 3 stories

1-2 bedroom

pocket park at bottom


Rt. 378 south

Gadfly is taking the April 11 Planning Commission meeting on the Martin Tower Master Plan one step at a time.

After Mr. Wagner presented the Master Plan for the developer, the City hit the high points of its detailed April 5 review of the plan, the “Martin Tower Complex Master Plan Review. “

Now’s the time we should spend some time reviewing the review.

Audio of this section of the meeting is here:

The highlights the City highlighted (Gadfly needs a rest!) “in a big picture kind of way” include:

  • minimizing parking
  • minimizing impervious coverage
  • allowing shared parking
  • increasing green space
  • moving buildings up to the street
  • mixed-use
  • residential uses on upper floors
  • greater variety of housing types
  • mixed use = more sustainable
  • active or passive outdoor recreational use
  • flat areas are developed for parking, beyond parking ground slopes off
  • pond and park on sloped area and wooded area, not good
  • trees removed must be replaced
  • need to retain as many trees as possible
  • thus more recreational space on interior of the lot
  • phasing of development
  • public roads? public utilities?
  • trail system is beautiful asset, has some funding, looking for other funding
  • connector to network of trails, very important
  • Burnside
  • sightlines
  • pedestrian and bicycle safety
  • connectivity to exterior sites as well as interior
  • need tree inventory
  • traffic numbers compared to Martin Tower unsure
  • but traffic patterns now will be much different for sure
  • variety of parking
  • matching street lighting

The City concluded highlighting (yuck) as important points: variety of uses (?), variety of housing types, cutting back on impervious uses.

Subsequent short discussion with Commissioners focused on parking, with the developer indicating that shared parking is not desired by tenants and thus is not acceptable, realistic, practical.

This is the first time Gadfly has had any concrete sense of the preliminary interaction between the City and a developer.


My sense is that the City is on to several concerns voiced by Gadfly followers.


Want to add anything else before we actually look at what people like “us” said during public comment?

Ok, so you have taken the “Connecting Bethlehem” survey, but have you forced others?

H. D.: “beauty without strength, chokes out life” (14)

(14th in a series of posts on H.D.)

Finding H.D.: A Community Exploration of the Life and Work of Hilda Doolittle

The next event in this year-long series is a panel discussion on “H.D. and the Natural World,” Tuesday, April 16, 6:30-8:00pm at the Bethlehem Area Public Library.

Sheltered Garden

I have had enough.
I gasp for breath.

Every way ends, every road,
every foot-path leads at last
to the hill-crest—
then you retrace your steps,
or find the same slope on the other side,

 I have had enough—
border-pinks, clove-pinks, wax-lilies,
herbs, sweet-cress.

O for some sharp swish of a branch—
there is no scent of resin
in this place,
no taste of bark, of coarse weeds,
aromatic, astringent—
only border on border of scented pinks.

 Have you seen fruit under cover
that wanted light—
pears wadded in cloth,
protected from the frost,
melons, almost ripe,
smothered in straw?

 Why not let the pears cling
to the empty branch?
All your coaxing will only make
a bitter fruit—
let them cling, ripen of themselves,
test their own worth,
nipped, shrivelled by the frost,
to fall at last but fair
with a russet coat.

Or the melon—
let it bleach yellow
in the winter light,
even tart to the taste—
it is better to taste of frost—
the exquisite frost—
than of wadding and of dead grass.

For this beauty,
beauty without strength,
chokes out life.
I want wind to break,
scatter these pink-stalks,
snap off their spiced heads,
fling them about with dead leaves—
spread the paths with twigs,
limbs broken off,
trail great pine branches,
hurled from some far wood
right across the melon-patch,
break pear and quince—
leave half-trees, torn, twisted
but showing the fight was valiant.

O to blot out this garden
to forget, to find a new beauty
in some terrible
wind-tortured place.

A revolt against the traditional image of femininity.” Sirma Soran Gumpert

“H. D.’s polemic against the wadding that, in the name of protecting (particularly) women from life, chokes life out of them.” Adalaide Kirby Morris

“The need for fearlessness. . . . a courage that fears stagnation and suffocation more than failure itself.”  Maria Stadter Fox

“The poem promotes a renewal of the concept of beauty; beauty ‘without
strength’, she writes, ‘chokes out life’.” Elizabeth O’Connor

The next event in this year-long series is a panel discussion on “H.D. and the Natural World,” Tuesday, April 16, 6:30-8:00pm at the Bethlehem Area Public Library.

Be there!

Martin Tower: the developer’s presentation (14)

Ok, so you have taken the “Connecting Bethlehem” survey, but have you forced others?

(14th in a series on Martin Tower)

Martin Tower demolition May 19

Martin Tower Master Plan

Eaton Ave. north

1 – medical

2 – medical

3 – retail

4 – gas/convenience


8 – Offices

7 – Hotel (132 rooms)

6 – Restaurant

5 – Retail



9 –

528 apartments, 3 stories

1-2 bedroom

pocket park at bottom



Rt. 378 south

Gadfly’s going to work through the Martin Tower meeting at the Planning Commission April 11 in several posts

Beginning at the beginning.

Duane Wagner presented the developer Master Plan, taking about 1/2hr. We have the full audio of his presentation below.

Gadfly thought his presentation was clear and thorough.

But Gadfly particularly noted how in his prefatory remarks Wagner was careful to frame the presentation of the Master Plan squarely in the 2015 debates.

Listen to the deference to concerns about a “3rd downtown” and specific injunctions from 2015 City Council in this pertinent interchange between Wagner and PC Commissioner Malozi:

Mr. Malozi: “What was driving how you came up with those mixes, what’s shown on the plan, the different uses there?”

Mr. Wagner: “The biggest thing that drove us was the direction from the zoning ordinance, the City Council, what we heard from them. It was important to create some residences that support the downtown and create a base, find office type uses that create employees, and also to provide some retail on site to support both the employees and the residents. . . . We tried to be cognizant of all the comments and all the direction we got. . . . not to put too much there to drain the downtown or put forth fuel to the concern that that could happen. . . . We feel it’s a good mix that accomplishes what the ordinance wanted as well as what we heard from City Council.”

Wagner clearly lists and discusses the take-aways from the 2015 debates that were considered in the formulation of the Master Plan:


And he also clearly addresses where the Master Plan stands in relation to the operative zoning ordinance:


In short, Gadfly felt that Wagner was “politic” in the way he approached his presentation. Gadfly felt a direct connection between his review of 2-3 dozen documents from the hot mess in 2015 in Wagner’s opening words.

The developers were roundly criticized in 2015 for their silence. Wagner here tries to show that they were “listening.”

So let’s get into the details of Wagner’s presentation, though, except for this example of what the apartments might look like, my pictures of his additional slides of the site are not useful.


Ok, now here’s the full audio of Wagner’s presentation with some pertinent time marks.

14:10: parking
19:30: access
21:41: walkability
23:10: sidewalks
24:28: the pocket park
25:23: sightlines
27:10: employment
28:06: tax revenue

Lots to chew on here. Comments welcome. But Gadfly will continue on especially to public commentary.

Ok, so you have taken the “Connecting Bethlehem” survey, but have you forced others?