Stop Polluting the Field

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I don’t have any big problems with Ed Pawlowski’s tenure as Allentown Mayor, and think most of Allentown’s problems stem from deindustrialization, the suburbanization of Lehigh County, and previous Mayor Roy Afflerbach’s complete failure to negotiate on behalf of the taxpayers with the police union.

Ed Pawlowski’s got the right pro-growth attitude a Mayor should have, even though in my opinion he’s been a little too focused on mega-projects and fancy restaurants and has been a bit uncreative in leveraging some of Allentown’s unique strengths. The Neighborhood Improvement Zone tax district is a master stroke and will likely prove to be a powerful construction magnet in the years to come, but only now is the first round of downtown buildings starting to take form.

That’s exciting, and I suspect this will come to be seen as a real success story for state public policy, and politicking between state and local elected leaders, but it is a success story you run for Governor on in 2018 or 2024 when the NIZ district has fully blossomed, – not 2014 when all you’ve got are some cranes and scaffolding to point at.

At this time I see very little in the way of substantive accomplishments for Mayor Pawlowski to run for Governor on. What makes me so angry that he might get in the race is that at this point more candidates just pollute the Democratic field.

I love a competitive primary, but after you’ve got 4 or 5 candidates in, adding more doesn’t make things more competitive, it just makes it more likely that a weak candidate like Pawlowski sneaks through. I don’t want our nominee to win with 15 or 20% of the vote, I want a big statewide mandate of 40% or more of the Democratic voters behind our nominee heading into the general election. That’s unrealistic with 5 strong candidates already announced, so we certainly don’t need any more getting in now.

Have your fun this fall, Jack Wagner and Ed Pawlowski, but anybody not polling higher than 10% in January seriously needs to drop out.

This entry was posted in Miscellany.

5 Responses to Stop Polluting the Field

  1. Laughable says:

    Forget polling. A head of cabbage will be corbet. Any D with state legislative credentials, state or municipal exec experience or with a profile that is “interesting” needs to be considering a run. Let 30 people for statewide pacs and get ready. Here’s the test: more than $1M cash on hand by January 1, 2014. $2 by the time petitions are filed. If you can’t clear those lines, you won’t raise the $10 M necessary to win the primary or the $30 M necessary to win the general. Yes, 10 candidates raises the possibility of winning with a low total in the primary, but that possibility is extremely small if you don’t have the cash to run a modern campaign. Here’s what we know about money: McCord and Schwartz might have $6-8 M cash on hand Jan 1, 2014. Wolf has pledged $10 M of his own money. The rest are carrying nothing. Pawlowski has 116k and he’s running his fall campaign like he is behind. The guy has never had $1M cash on hand. he isn’t going to have it on Jan 1, 2014. Pawlowski has absolutely nothing to lose by running for governor. He doesn’t lose his current seat. He only stands to gain, even if he doesn’t get elected.

    My guess: he raises money, realizes it isn’t enough, suspends his campaign in Feb-March, stays out of the primary and puts 100,000 k behind the d nominee hoping that such a financial contribution will give him a cabinet position and a ticket out of allentown. Wanna see something funny after that: watch the power vac that emerges in Allentown. guridy can’t win a mayoral primary. Schweyer will be in the state house. Mark this: the next mayor put into office by the voters is not in office today.

  2. Scott says:

    I’m not sure who the “5 strong candidates” are in the Democratic Field. Allyson Schwartz is certainly one, and I guess you could call Tom Wolf “well-funded”, but “strong” implies support. He’s been polling at 2%. McGinty is slowing gaining traction, but she’s not “strong”, either. That leaves Hanger and Myers, both of whom are weak. McCord is not in the race yet. Pawlowski has done a lot of good things in Allentown. Budget balancing without tax increases and paying down pension obligations are major achievements that you missed, Jon.

    If Pawlowski can raise the money, he’s got a good story to tell.

  3. Ed H. says:

    Maybe Pawlowski is looking at 2016 and Dent?

  4. GDub says:

    I agree with you that P is over-focused on mega projects. Allentown has an interesting and actually surprisingly vibrant downtown retail and restaurant scene right now, and I am always surprised that this doesn’t get more mention.

    It would seem to be somewhat difficult to translate the NIZ into a statewide public policy. Is every large town in PA going to give its taxes to developers and not to state programs? To have wider applicability, it will have to be altered, and an altered NIZ is not going to have the same kinds of results, in all likelihood–so how he “sells” this statewide is an interesting question.

    Not many retail businesses these days make enough during lunchtime to stay open all day. Somehow Allentown has to keep people downtown at night to keep these restaurants open, which is probably going to be the hardest part.