The Evil Genius of Political Retaliation, Bridget Anne Kelly, Mr. Christie’s deputy chief of staff for legislative and intergovernmental affairs was fired by Governor Christie. Bridget found a diabolical way to pay-back political enemies. Close four lanes of the George Washington Bridge. A mastermind of retaliation, she emailed David Wildstein, a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s at the Port Authority which runs the George Washington Bridge. Bridget’s email said: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
Northampton township also knows a bit about illicitly using the power of government to punish enemies and reward friends. The Supervisors just fired a Democrat and hired a Republican to do the video recording. Several years ago a supervisor sent an e-mail reminding potential contributors how well they do when Republicans ran the show.
The man who received the highest number of votes for Supervisor ever, Larry Weinstein, was passed over by the Northampton Board of Supervisors in favor of a supervisor who is selling electricity to the Sewage Board. Weinstein was not voted to be Chairman or Vice Chairman. He has the same status on the board as the minority supervisor, Dr. Kim Rose. (See Footnotes #1 and #2). That would be none. The three rulers, Komelasky, Silver and Moore, the Northampton Troika, constitute a majority. They don’t need Larry Weinstein and they just advised him they don’t by not appointing him Chairman or Vice Chairman.
Being chairman is difficult you say? Think again. Come to or watch a Supervisor meeting. See the involvement of the Township Attorney with the chairman. The attorney gives the answers unless the Township Manager does. The Chairman is the person with the gavel but the power may or does lie elsewhere.
The suspicious votes which shoved Weinstein’s record-breaking number of votes aside, happened less than three weeks after the politicians who run Northampton refused to honor an agreement to sell the old Richboro Schoolhouse to the Community Torah Center. The details are simple. When the time to bid expired only one bidder had submitted a bid. The successful bid was ignored and another bidder “appeared”. Shortly after the first bid it was increased $50,000 because, apparently, someone reveled their first bid was too low. Is Northampton Corrupt? Is Rice White?
Political Bias Against Weinstein? Crony Appointments? How obvious must Corruption be for the community to holler Enough!
Corruption includes but is not limited to: bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. All seem to be happening in Northampton. Northampton is close to Philly and other known sources of corrupt politicians so Northampton is not unique but when politicians don’t follow or break the rules the community is at risk. With the recent history of physical assaults during and after Northampton Government meetings, with the un-announced assignment of a plain clothes detective to government meetings, Northampton is further along the Corruption Trail than is evident to a casual observer. All’s well ’til the hurricane hits.
The appearance of impropriety is often like seeing only the tip of an iceberg. Repression of political opponents is another sign there’s more to Northampton Politics than meets the eye. Overlooking Larry Weinstein is a blatant slap in the face to the citizens of Northampotn who turned out and voted for Larry. What does that mean to you? More important, what are you going to do about it?
If history is a guide, very little. There are no more than 10 Northampton citizens at large interested enough in the township to follow the issues. The record setting budget was presented by the township manager. Robert Pellegrino and there was only one dissenter, Democrat Supervisor Frank Rothermel. How little and how ineffective is the Board of Supervisors when one lone supervisor reads and comments on the record busting budget? How pathetic when so few Northampton citizens show up at the Supervisor Meetings.
Who’s in charge of Northampton? (Hint: his initials are: George Komelasky). It’s sure not Larry Weinstein, the top vote getter who should do something about it like change his political party. Why be loyal to people who dream up ways to poke their finger in your eye and get away with it? Why support the ruling elite when it’s all one way against you. A moment when you are tested may go un-noticed but when the snakes are out in the open the test is as clear as can be.
Footnote #1. Democratic Bucks County Commissioner Diane Marseglia is going to run against Republican State Senator “Tommy” Tomlinson per the December 10, 2013 report in the Courier. Rumor is Supervisor Dr. Kim Rose wanted to run for State Senate.
#2. Dr Kim Rose may be gearing up to run for Commissioner Diane Marseglia’s seat as Commissioner.
Answer. the Township Manager with the approval of the Board of Supervisors.
Will the new Republican administration stand up for the public and continue to show video’s of the Sewage Board Meetings? No. Why Not? Because it’s harder to continue the corruption when the public can see what’s going on.
There’s also the idea of the First Amendment’s Right to Free Speech. The previous Republican administration supported just enough speaking by the citizens to get past a political Bucks County Judge. During the past two years the amount of free speech in Northampton was greatly increased. Two Citizens Comment periods were included at every Supervisor’s meeting, thanks to the efforts of Supervisor Frank Rothermel. A video camera was installed at the Sewage Board over the fierce opposition of the Chairman. Also included by supervisor Rothermel was his request that citizens comment on Motions after they were proposed and discussed by the board. I’d go further. I’d ask for a show of hands of those present to approve or disapprove of the motion before the vote but I’m more Libertarian on Free Speech, having sued Northampton Township AND WON twice for restricting Free Speech.
There are many reasons government doesn’t want to hear from the people but the most important is the people can speak truth to power. The most dependable attribute of a politician is prevarication. Most of the time the public doesn’t like to hear lies but some politicians have been very successful doing it. Northampton has proven that many times and if history is a guide will continue to shut out and shut up the public.
But in Northampton the video recording of the sewage board meetings will be stopped because the incoming administration won’t support it. Lights Out at the Sewage Board, Northampton unless more people speak out against it.
The Richboro school house was built facing Second Street Pike. It was abandoned by the Council Rock School District and bought by speculators who sold it for a million dollars extra. It was eventually abandoned again, moved to the rear of the lot and sat for several years as the township worked to sell the property.
In 2013 a Jewish congregation submitted a $470,000 bid. The bid was proper, I’s dotted and T’s crossed. It was not rejected. None of the parties involved alleged the bid was insufficient or that is did not meet the RFP. But, and this is the crux of the problem, the time to bid was extended by some unknown people in Northampton Government allegedly at the request of the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority.
At the very end of the extended bid period another bid was received from a different bidder for $400,000 along with the request for a $100,000.00 loan from Northampton Township which would have cost Northampton no money since the property is completely owned by Northampton, having been received free of charge and the township does not pay taxes on it’s properties. It was sort of not accepted and another bid was made, this time for $450,000 with a load request of $150,000. The initial bid for $475,000 cash at settlement was still active.
The building has been vacant for about a long time. The value for tax purposes was probably very low because the building is a shell meaning it has no basement; no sewer connection; no water connection; no rooms and no heat. It was placed by the township manager on the Dec 11th, 2013 Supervisor’s agenda for the Northampton township Board of Supervisors meeting but was removed before the meeting even though the information was in the meeting information prepared by the manager for the meeting.
December 11th was the last Board of Supervisor’s meeting for Frank Rothermel and Jim Cunningham. I was there and witnessed about twenty Jewish citizens, about six of whom spoke at the microphone and urged them to approve the sale. Frank Rothermel outlined the history of the issue and moved that the sale be voted on by the Supervisors. In a break from procedure another board member made yet another motion inside Frank Rothermel’s motion. The second motion was improperly made. It was to table the discussion. No one explained why the motion to table was made. It passed 3 to 2, Rothermel and Cunningham voting against. The issue was tabled, Rothermel’s motion is still on the record.
The back story, not discussed in public, is religious groups are tax exempt. Is that the reason the time for bidding was extended? Does that explain the Motion to table? Do you smell rotting fish?
It’s a book: Keystone Corruption: A Pennsylvania Insider’s View of a State Gone Wrong. Surprisingly it doesn’t include Northampton Township.
It’s a report of things done wrong, not an expose of any new scandals. Still, it’s useful to get a better understanding of some of the illegal ways tax money is sent to the politicians.
POLITICIAN’S DEFINITION OF AN HONEST POLITICIAN: An Honest Politician is one who stays bought after he’s paid.