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September 6, 2005 Meeting Minutes
BETHLEHEM CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Tuesday, September 6, 2005 – 7:30 PM – Town Hall
2. PLEDGE TO THE FLAG
3. ROLL CALL
President J. Michael Schweder called the meeting to order.
Pastor Robert Bast of Emmanuel Evangelical Congregational
Church, offered the invocation which was followed by the pledge
to the flag. Present were Ismael Arcelay, Jean Belinski, Robert
J. Donchez, Joseph F. Leeson, Jr., Gordon B. Mowrer, Magdalena
F. Szabo, and J. Michael Schweder, 7.
4. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of August 16, 2005 were approved.
5. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR (for public comment on ordinances
and resolutions to be voted on by Council this evening)
6. OLD BUSINESS
Referendum and Initiative
Mr. Mowrer asked the difference between a non-binding referendum and a binding referendum, and between a referendum and initiative. In addition, Mr. Mowrer queried if that did happen, how would it happen.
Christopher Spadoni, City Council Solicitor, communicating he attempted to delineate those matters in his memorandum dated September 2, 2005, explained that under the Third Class City Code an initiative is a growing situation in which it is an initiative where 25% of the voters in the last election who voted for Mayor would be able to bring to City Council an initiative, such as a piece of legislation, that would be appropriate for that initiative. Attorney Spadoni further explained that a referendum, which would be considered on the “back end” and the opposite of initiative, would be some action or inaction by City Council so that there would be a referendum on what they did. He exemplified that if an Ordinance were passed, there could be a referendum to defeat it.
Mr. Mowrer inquired, if City Council voted against the Ordinance to prohibit gambling in the IR, IR-F, and HI zoning districts that he and Mr. Leeson have proposed, where does that leave the citizenry.
Attorney Spadoni, again referring to his memorandum, advised that would be an inappropriate topic for that type of procedure. However, Attorney Spadoni commented that could be tested and brought to an adjudicatory role such as a court. He added that, while it is not stated that one could not do so, it may be subject to attack depending on what it says and how it is presented.
A. Public Works Director – Reimbursement Agreement – Sidewalks on Linden Street and Eighth Avenue, and Removing Pedestrian Bridge on Eighth Avenue
The Clerk read a memorandum dated August 12, 2005 from Michael Alkhal, Director of Public Works, to which was attached a draft of a Resolution that is a standard requirement of PennDot authorizing the signing of the Reimbursement Agreement between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City for the demolition of the pedestrian bridge located on Eighth Avenue at Route 378 and replacing with new sidewalks and crosswalks, and construction of new curb and sidewalks on Linden Street between Elmhurst Avenue and Decatur Street, to be funded by a Safe Walking Routes to School Grant (TEA-21). The City has pursued the projects to improve and provide safe walking routes to several schools. The agreement provides reimbursement of all construction and construction inspection costs to the City. The City will perform the design and bid package preparation in-house.
President Schweder stated that authorizing Resolution 11 A is listed on the Agenda.
B. Street Vacation Request – Portion of East Raspberry Street
The Clerk read a letter dated August 12, 2005 from Attorney William Matz representing El Shaddai Bethlehem Ministries containing a petition to vacate a portion of East Raspberry Street between Dellwood Street, Hawthorne Road, Park Place and East Broad Street to end the current public street right-of-way for East Raspberry Street for the street’s full twelve foot width and length extending between the streets. El Shaddai Bethlehem Ministries represents the majority in number and interest of the owners of property abutting on the line of the proposed vacation of East Raspberry Street. The only other abutting parties in interest are Maria C. Ciaravino a/k/a Maria C. Santiago of 557-559 East Broad Street and Yolan Roseman of 541 East Broad Street who, to the best of Attorney Matz’s knowledge, do not oppose the petition and are aware of the request. El Shaddai Bethlehem Ministries will provide easements as necessary, and will keep the described portions of East Raspberry Street open in any direction necessary and as directed to all traffic, both public and private. The described portion of East Raspberry Street subject to the street vacation request will be merged into the campus plan for El Shaddai Bethlehem Ministries, the primary plan of which has been approved by the City. The petition is consistent with the campus plan.
President Schweder referred the request to the Planning Commission.
C. Intermunicipal Liquor License Transfer – Firehouse Bar and Grill
The Clerk read a letter dated August 25, 2005 from Attorney George Baurkot requesting the intermunicipal transfer of Liquor License Number R-18827 from K & R Burns, Inc., 658 Point Phillips Road, Bath, PA 18014, to Lehigh No. 1, Firehouse Bar and Grill, 217 Broadway, Bethlehem, PA 18015.
Mr. Donchez and Mrs. Belinski moved to schedule a Public Hearing on September 20, 2005 at 7:30 PM in Town Hall.
Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The motion passed.
D. Health Bureau Director – Highway Safety Program Grant
The Clerk read a letter dated August 25, 2005 from Judith Maloney, Health Bureau Director, advising that the City received contract documents for the PennDot Highway Safety Program Project Number CP 06 21 1 for funding of $53,950 to continue the initiative for one year. The program is focused on public awareness and education to address highway issues including occupant protection, DUI awareness, pedestrian, commercial vehicle and passenger safety, bicycle crashes, safe vehicle, driving and communities, and aggressive, youth and mature driving. Intervention strategies will be targeted at schools, community and family, health care, enforcement, industry and the workplace. A Resolution must be adopted for execution of the grant documents.
President Schweder stated that authorizing Resolution 11 C is listed on the Agenda.
E. Human Resources Director – Rules and Regulations Change – Engineers’ and Electricians’ Civil Service Board
The Clerk read a memorandum dated August 29, 2005 from Jean Zweifel, Director of Human Resources, requesting review of revisions to the Engineers’ and Electricians’ Civil Service Rules and Regulations, as recommended by the Engineers’ and Electricians’ Civil Service Board.
The request was referred to the Public Works Committee.
8 . REPORTS
A. President of Council
1. Councilmanic Appointment – George H. Yasso, Recreation Commission
Ms. Szabo and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 14,682 that appointed George H. Yasso to membership on the Recreation Commission effective until August 2010.
Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolution passed.
Tour for Members of Council
President Schweder announced that Members of Council will take a tour on September 15, 2005 at 8:00 AM of the Bethlehem Commerce Center, Riverport, Enterprise Zone, Stefko Boulevard Corridor Study, and steep slope areas of the City.
Scheduling Special City Council Meeting – September 19, 2005; Continued City Council Meeting – September 20, 2005
President Schweder stated that he would accept motion to suspend Rule 1 of the Rules of Council to hold the Special City Council Meeting of Monday, September 19, 2005 at 5:30 PM in Broughal Middle School Auditorium instead of Town Hall; to further suspend Rule 3 B to extend the Courtesy of the Floor for 5 minutes for each speaker instead of the current 12 minutes; to give the makers of the Amendments, Mr. Leeson and Mr. Mowrer, or anyone they designate, 15 minutes to address their proposal to amend the Zoning Ordinance to prohibit gambling in certain zoning districts; to give the property owners 15 minutes to speak; and to consider the regular City Council Meeting of September 20, 2005 as a continuation of the Special City Council Meeting of September 19.
Mr. Donchez and Mrs. Belinski so moved. Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The motion passed.
Announcing Meetings - Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance to prohibit slot machines and/or gambling casinos, and/or gambling of any kind or nature in the following Zoning Districts: HI Heavy Industrial District, IR Industrial Redevelopment District, and IR-F Industrial Redevelopment Flexible District
President Schweder announced that Bethlehem City Council will convene for a Special Meeting to conduct a Public Hearing on Monday, September 19, 2005 at 5:30 PM in Broughal Middle School Auditorium, 125 West Packer Avenue, Bethlehem PA 18015, to consider Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance to prohibit slot machines and/or gambling casinos, and/or gambling of any kind or nature in the following Zoning Districts: HI Heavy Industrial District, IR Industrial Redevelopment District, and IR-F Industrial Redevelopment Flexible District. The proposed Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments are scheduled for First Reading on Tuesday, September 20, 2005 at 7:30 PM and for Second Reading on Tuesday, October 4, 2005 at 7:30 PM in Town Hall, 10 East Church Street, Bethlehem PA 18018.
C. Community Development Committee
Ms. Szabo, Chairwoman of the Community Development Committee, presented an oral report of the Committee’s meeting held August 23, 2005, on the following subjects: Amending Article 1733 – Adoption of 2003 International Property Maintenance Code, Amending Article 1731 – Inspections, Enterprise Zone, Stefko Boulevard Corridor Study – Process, and Funding for Planning and Zoning Study.
9. ORDINANCES FOR FINAL PASSAGE
A. Bill No. 37 – 2005 – Amending General Fund Budget – Historic and Traffic Studies – Creek Road and South Mountain; Police Department – Bicycle Course; and Mechanical Maintenance - Gasoline
The Clerk read Bill No. 37 – 2005, Amending General Fund Budget – Historic and Traffic Studies – Creek Road and South Mountain; Police Department – Bicycle Course; and Mechanical Maintenance – Gasoline, on Final Reading.
Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. Bill No. 37 – 2005, hereafter to be known as Ordinance 4337, was declared adopted.
B. Bill No. 38 – 2005 – Amending PMRS Agreement – Part-Time Employees
The Clerk read Bill No. 38 – 2005, Amending PMRS Agreement – Part-Time Employees, on Final Reading.
Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. Bill No. 38 – 2005, hereafter to be known as Ordinance 4338, was declared adopted.
10. NEW ORDINANCES
A. Bill No. 39 – 2005 – Amending Article 1733 – Adoption of 2003 International Property Maintenance Code
The Clerk read Bill No. 39 – 2005, Amending Article 1733 – Adoption of 2003 International Property Maintenance Code, sponsored by Mr. Leeson and Ms. Szabo, and titled:
AN ORDINANCE ADOPTING THE 2003 ICC INTERNATIONAL
PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE. TOGETHER WITH
ADDITIONS, DELETIONS AND MODIFICATIONS AS NOTED;
PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS THEREOF;
REPEALING ALL ORDINANCES INCONSISTENT HEREWITH.
Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. Bill No. 39 – 2005 was declared passed on First Reading.
B. Bill No. 40 – 2005 – Amending Article 1731 - Inspections
The Clerk read Bill No. 40 – 2005, Amending Article 1731 - Inspections, sponsored by Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Donchez, and titled:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF BETHLEHEM,
COUNTIES OF LEHIGH AND NORTHAMPTON,
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, AMENDING
ARTICLE 1731 INSPECTIONS
President Schweder stated that revisions recommended by the Law Bureau can be considered on Final Reading of the Bill.
Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. Bill No. 40 – 2005 was declared passed on First Reading.
A. Authorizing Execution of Reimbursement Agreement - Sidewalks
on Linden Street and
Eighth Avenue, and Removing Pedestrian Bridge on Eighth Avenue
Ms. Szabo and Mr. Arcelay sponsored Resolution 14,683 authorizing the Mayor and Controller to execute the Reimbursement Agreement for the demolition of the pedestrian bridge on Eighth Avenue at State Route 378, the northbound ramp between West Union Boulevard and Eaton Avenue in Lehigh County and replace it with new sidewalks and crosswalks, and for the construction of new curb and sidewalks on Linden Street between Elmhurst Avenue and Decatur Street in Northampton County.
Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolution passed.
B. Authorizing Execution of Amendment No. 2 to Lease Agreement – Police Substation - Center Street
Ms. Szabo and Mr. Arcelay sponsored Resolution 14,684 authorizing the Mayor and Controller to execute Amendment No. 2 to the Lease Agreement between the City and Fred Achey for the Police Substation at 723 Center Street.
Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolution passed.
C. Authorizing Execution of Highway Safety Program Grant – PennDot
Ms. Szabo and Mr. Arcelay sponsored Resolution 14,685 authorizing the Mayor and Controller to execute the grant agreement documents provided by PennDot under the Highway Safety Program Project CP 06-21-1.
Considering Resolutions 11 D through 11 F as a Group
Mr. Donchez and Mrs. Belinski moved to consider Resolutions 11 D through 11 F as a group. Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The motion passed.
D. Certificate of Appropriateness – 128-136 Graham Place
Mr. Arcelay and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 14,686 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to build a 30 inch high brick wall along the parking lot at 128-136 Graham Place.
E. Certificate of Appropriateness – 310 East Third Street
Mr. Arcelay and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 14,687 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to construct a wooden gazebo in the rear parking lot at 310 East Third Street.
F. Certificate of Appropriateness – 102 West Fourth Street
Mr. Arcelay and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 14,688 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to install a projecting sign at 102 West Fourth Street.
Voting AYE on Resolutions 11 D through 11 F: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolutions passed.
12. NEW BUSINESS
Community Policing Task Force
Mr. Leeson asked for an update from the time that the Citizens Advisory Committee recommendations were last discussed in conjunction with the Community Policing Task Force.
Francis Donchez, Police Commissioner replied that he and the Administration are still working on that proposal and it is not complete at this time. In further response to Mr. Leeson, Police Commissioner Donchez stated he does not have a definite answer on a time frame.
Mr. Leeson, noting that the Citizens Advisory Committee did recommend it and recalling that at the Public Safety Committee meeting Police Commissioner Donchez did consent to it, recounted he had asked if the Police Commissioner could come up with a proposal for City Council to look at. Mr. Leeson asked if Police Commissioner Donchez could try to have something for Council to review in possibly two weeks.
Police Commissioner Donchez stated he will discuss the matter with the Mayor.
Review of City Zoning Ordinance
President Schweder, referring to past discussions about review of the total zoning of the City, inquired whether funding has been able to be determined for that endeavor.
Tony Hanna, Director of Community and Economic Development,
noting the matter was mentioned at the Community Development
Committee meeting, advised that a funding source has been
identified. Mr. Hanna stated that the City received approximately
$80,000 in funding from the Redevelopment Authority as program
income for the Community Development Block Grant Program.
Mr. Hanna continued on to say the Administration will be asking
City Council to reprogram those funds and direct them towards
the match for planning funds for which the Department has
applied to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Mr. Hanna noted
there would be a total of approximately $160,000 that the
Administration would like to use quickly to initiate at least
an update to the Comprehensive Plan and then ultimately afterwards
an update of the City’s Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Hanna
added that he and Chairwoman Szabo conversed about discussing
the matter at a future Community Development Committee meeting.
In further response to President Schweder, Mr. Hanna noted
a memorandum regarding the matter was referred to the Finance
Committee. Mr. Hanna, commenting that the Administration will
be identifying the process, communicated that Council’s
involvement will be insisted upon. President Schweder affirmed
that City Council will be involved throughout the process.
13. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR
Dana Grubb, 2420 Henderson Place, noting that at the last City Council Meeting he addressed the issue of fuel conservation with the City’s vehicle fleet, commented it is unfortunate that his prediction of a possible $3 per gallon gasoline cost has occurred as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Observing that both President Bush and Governor Rendell have urged everybody to undertake conservation measures, Mr. Grubb queried what steps are being implemented by the City Administration to address the issue so that the budget is not overextended.
Mayor Callahan, confirming the issue was discussed at the staff meeting, advised that all the Department Heads are discussing it with their individual Departments so that everything that can be is done to conserve fuel. Mayor Callahan, noting that obviously the increase in fuel cost was not anticipated in this fiscal year, affirmed that the budget process for next year is beginning and communicated the difficulty in determining gasoline prices for next year. Mayor Callahan affirmed the City is making every effort for financial reasons to conserve fuel, as well as the fact that with the events that occurred in the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina it is a national crisis and all citizens should do their best to conserve fuel as best they can.
Mr. Grubb wondered what policies have been implemented.
Mayor Callahan restated the City will do everything it can, the individual Department Heads will discuss it, and exemplified that staff vehicles instead of Fire trucks would be used for travel back and forth to City Hall.
Mr. Grubb said he thinks the taxpayers should understand what the steps are. Mr. Grubb expressed his belief that City officials who deliver recyclables to the Recycling Center using City vehicles, City officials who pick up their children at elementary school using City vehicles, and many other activities of those kinds should be reigned in. Mr. Grubb, remarking that the taxpayers certainly do not have those options with somebody else’s vehicle, thought that City government should not be abusing that privilege. Mr. Grubb observed that, given the cost of fuel, many families have been drastically affected and have to organize their activities to conserve gasoline. Mr. Grubb added that, as taxpayers, “we deserve explanations.”
Proposed Casino in Bethlehem
Robert Pfenning, 2830 Linden Street, recalled that at a past City Council Meeting he had said he reworked Bill Thompson’s economic model concerning casino gambling. Mr. Pfenning further said, in reworking the model, he had included property taxes. He stated that, after the last Planning Commission meeting, someone pointed out he was wrong since even though the casino will be paying property taxes they are TIF taxes and would not go into the General Fund. Consequently, Mr. Pfenning noted he has removed them from his model. Mr. Pfenning commented that, even with that change and the two times social costs versus Mr. Thompson’s one, he is still at a $21 million gain for the City of Bethlehem for that activity. Mr. Pfenning communicated he wants to rebut some of the things that have been said. Mr. Pfenning, referring to a Chamber of Commerce breakfast, noted that Mr. Weidner from the Las Vegas Sands made a remark about 30,000 people a day coming to the proposed casino. Mr. Pfenning felt that was unrealistic, as well as the generation of 800 buses and 10,000 cars a day. Mr. Pfenning, turning to an article in the Atlantic City Press last year, noted that City receives on average 750 buses a day spread over the ten casinos, and added that number has been historically declining for the past few years. Mr. Pfenning, focusing on a letter to the Editor of the Morning Call about the goal of casino workers to swindle others out of their money, and that nothing is produced or sold, expressed his belief that people are going to casinos to play slot machines for the purpose of being entertained, and if they go for any other reason that becomes part of their problem. Mr. Pfenning felt people should go with the knowledge that they are playing negative expectation games which is how the business pays for the entertainment expenses. Under Act 71, Mr. Pfenning pointed out the house edge on machines bottoms at 85%. Mr. Pfenning expected that, to meet competitive pressures, the payback percentage would run around 91%-93%, and customers would receive meals and beverages as part of the entertainment. Focusing on addiction, Mr. Pfenning noted he has seen a placard stating there would be 10% gaming addiction with the presence of a casino versus 0% without a casino, and expressed his opinion that both numbers are incorrect. He said the National Coalition Against Legalized Gaming indicates a 5% addiction rate of the population of Nevada, and using Bill Thompson’s figures multiplied by 2 for the proximity issue it is about 3%-3.6%. While stating he is acutely aware on a personal basis of the impacts of addictive behavior, Mr. Pfenning expressed his concern is whether the proposed Zoning amendment to prohibit gambling in the IR, IR-F, and HI districts represents good public policy in dealing with the issue of addiction. His guesstimate was that about 60% of the population of Bethlehem will never enter the casino, and 35% would gamble and not be addicted. Mr. Pfenning, stating that alcoholism is a much worse addiction, said statistics indicate it is perhaps 5 or 6 times as bad as gambling addiction. Communicating that the proposed Zoning amendment basically says to 35% of the population that a roadblock will be put in front of them to gamble to protect the 5% who will be addicted, Mr. Pfenning wondered whether that is a change in public policy and said he would like to hear a rationale for that change. Mr. Pfenning felt the City could end up with no casino, no salvaged former Bethlehem Steel buildings, no increase in tax base, but there will still be addiction because the City has it now. In addition, Mr. Pfenning thought the City probably will be within 50 miles of a casino if it is not developed in Bethlehem and within 10 miles if it is developed in Allentown at the former Agere site, there will still be addiction, no local funds to help fight it, and everybody loses. Mr. Pfenning added that he hopes the public behavior improves at the next public meeting.
Karl Fluck, 312 Summit Street, related that he grew up in Bethlehem, was graduated from Liberty High School, served in Viet Nam as a Navy Corpsman, went to school in Florida where he started consulting and teaching lawyers about the medicine involved in medically related litigation. He was on the trial teams of the President of the Trial Lawyers (ATLA) Association of America, the head of the products liability section of the ATLA, the author and creator of the Florida Trial Lawyer's Handbook, the President of the Florida Bar, and consulted various deputy and assistant attorneys general of several states. He was a consultant to the former Minority counsel to the House Banking Committee, a former Federal prosecutor for Medicare fraud and abuse, and the former chief of legislative affairs to the Vice President of the United States. He moved back to Bethlehem in 1994 from Washington, D.C. with his wife and daughter, Meghan, to give her a chance to grow up in a nice town and increase their quality of life. He restarted his medical legal practice, which is confined to federal court, and has consulted some local attorneys. Mr. Fluck continued on to say he served on the South Side Task Force for five years, and currently serves as the judge of elections of the second ward. Mr. Fluck advised that, at his own time and expense, he conducted an investigation into various reported events. Mr. Fluck informed the assembly that, as a direct result of those findings, and effective tonight, he is running a write-in campaign for Mayor. Referring to minutes of past Council meetings, Mr. Fluck noted there is some consensus that the City is facing over $300 million in long term debt, but with no consensus as to how to soothe the financial problems. Mr. Fluck remarked he finds “this failure to honestly and adequately address this City's financial shortcomings [that] has some public officials grasping for the gambling straw” offensive. Moreover, restating that his move back to Bethlehem was an investment in his daughter's future, Mr. Fluck expressed his belief that investment is being squandered by actions of public officials over the past several years for no other reason than what he said could be best described as political expediency apparently due solely to the lack of political will. Describing the voting results in the City that he described as “abysmal,” Mr. Fluck stressed he is tired of being dragged down into an abyss of mediocrity and indifference by people who do not seem to care that this is costing the City money. He further expressed his annoyance with public officials at all levels who rely on voter apathy, when their continued re-election enables them to “confiscate my property and the value of my home…to subsidize their personal political ambitions, and to correct…their financial mismanagement…and mischief.” Mr. Fluck asserted that “nothing is more important than our mutual pledge to one another, to monitor our government, and exercise our franchise in order to protect our money and our homes from self-serving public officials who could be corrupted by the promise of the easy money of gambling.” Mr. Fluck stated “I am emphatically and categorically opposed to gambling and I would proffer the following argument in support of the amendment to the Ordinance to ban gambling. Negotiations for the Bethlehem Steel Property originated between BethWorks Now and ISG sometime between February and March of 2004, when most of the City thought that there was a contract pending between ISG and the Delaware Valley Real Estate Trust, which had a previous agreement with the Bethlehem Steel Corporation before it went bankrupt. We know… according to the records of the Secretary of State of the Commonwealth [that] BethWorks Now was registered in March of 2004. It was not reported until April of 2004, however, that no agreement actually existed between ISG and Delaware Valley, and therefore ISG struck an agreement of sale with Mr. Perrucci, et al, in the newly constituted BethWorks Now entity, and subsequently that agreement was consummated in November of 2004. It should be noted also in 2004 that a new and second entity, BethWorks Now, that apparently included the Sands Hotel…was constituted. Who owns what percentage of either BethWorks Now, or BethWorks Now II, and the Bethlehem Steel property is unknown as the contracts and agreements obviously are privileged…There are two time periods that are of importance to us. The first time period is March of 2004 and July of 2004, and then the time period July of 2004, and June of 2005. I would respectfully submit that the reason they were important to this discussion goes to the heart of the matter for the consideration of the approval of the zoning ordinance. From March of 2004 until July, pursuant to the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes at Title 18, 55, Section 5513, gambling was unlawful in this Commonwealth. Additionally, according to the Ordinances of the City of Bethlehem at Article 305, Article 307, and Article 713, this City specifically prohibited gambling at any place and in any form whatsoever. Therefore… with the passage of the Act and Section 1903, all of our gambling ordinances were repealed. The reason I point this out is that the sales agreement for the Steel property between BethWorks Now and ISG was made during the time period that gambling was unlawful; ergo, it was neither necessary nor possible to prohibit or even consider gambling as a use when this body politic enacted legislation to rezone the Steel property to facilitate and accelerate its sale to any qualified buyer by the owner. Sometime, subsequent to the passage of the Act between July 5, 2004 and November of 2004, BethWorks Now initiated and engaged in negotiations with the Sands Hotel, and ultimately concluded an agreement and contract, presumably during the time when both entities were aware that a challenge to the Act, Section 1506, for local land use pre-emption, was pending before this Commonwealth's Supreme Court. I would submit…that we owe these owners nothing. Any suggestion that we have any financial responsibility to them because they changed their mind about developing a piece of property because we don't change our zoning laws to suit their current needs is fatally defective because the land they agreed to purchase and develop didn't have gambling as use when they bought it, and it does not have gambling as a use as it lays there today. They are the ones who changed their minds, Mr. President, not us.”
Dixie Dugan White, 529 Ontario Street, noted she grew up in Pembroke and Marvine Villages, was graduated from Liberty High School, moved back to the area after graduate school, and worked with coalitions of churches and community organizations. Ms. White recounted that she worked with a group of citizens who kept a company out of the Clearfield neighborhood off Pembroke Road because of environmental issues. Ms. White explained that she moved back to Bethlehem in 1990, has always been a citizen activist, and added that she graduated from the City’s Citizen Police Academy. Ms. White said she watched the drug deals in front of her house almost every day, hears gun shots, and pointed out there is gang activity in Bethlehem. Remarking the Police force is spread thin already, Ms. White asserted it will have to be increased radically in order to deal with what gambling would bring. Ms. White, advising she is a member of the Pennsylvania Social Services Union, informed the assembly that not all Union members support bringing slots to Bethlehem. Notifying the Members she is works in the drug and alcohol field, Ms. White affirmed that she deals with addictions on an every day basis. She said after searching the Internet, she found one out patient program and one in patient program in the greater Philadelphia area, and there is one gamblers anonymous meeting a week. The next nearest are in the Bucks County and Stroudsburg areas. Referring to the June 18, 2005 issue of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly, Ms. White noted people who live within 10 miles of a casino have a 90% increase in their odds of being a problem gambler, and the key characteristic is not location but individual pre-disposition. She further recited statistics that problem drinkers are 23 times more likely to have a gambling problem, 10% of those who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods are problem gamblers compared to 1% who live in the least disadvantaged neighborhoods. Ms. White remarked “the prognosis here for our community is not real great.” Further adding that gambling is similar to chemical dependency, Ms. White said slots are more quickly and heavily addictive than many other forms of gambling. Advising she is on the Board of the Greater Bethlehem Area Council of Churches, Ms. White said she was at their recent meeting when there was a unanimous vote to oppose bringing slot machines to Bethlehem.
Stephen Antalics, 737 Ridge Street, communicated he has been trying to get a sense of what are the fundamental issues concerning the proposal of Mr. Mowrer and Mr. Leeson to amend the Zoning Ordinance to prohibit gambling in the IR, IR-F, and HI Districts; e.g., morality, addiction. Mr. Antalics, saying he would like to get a sense of what Council would define as Bethlehem being the Christmas City, communicated that Bethlehem as the Christmas City was intended as a unifying factor in a divided City, that is, the South Side and the City of Bethlehem, and added that the Christmas lighting scheme was developed to unite the City. Mr. Antalics stated that today at Christmas time one may get a different impression because once a bus crosses the Hill to Hill Bridge or the Fahy Bridge one leaves the Christmas City and goes to a different community. Mr. Antalics felt there has been a distortion or perversion of the idea of the Christmas City which was a unifying factor to become a dividing factor. Referring to recent maps issued by Historic Bethlehem, Mr. Antalics pointed out that, while point of interest number 14 is the Fahy Bridge connecting Bethlehem to Third Street, the 13 others are historic portions North of the Lehigh River. Mr. Antalics, expressing that bothers him, said the people of the South Side who have a vested interest in it feel very strongly about the gambling issue while on the other side it is a contrary opinion, and commented he does not know who is right. Quoting from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Mr. Antalics said he would amend it to read “the reverend doth protest too much.” Mr. Antalics, communicating he is searching for a common denominator as to why citizens are so vehemently for or against the issue of a casino on the South Side at the former Bethlehem Steel Corporation site, expressed one gets at the issue by a question such as whether the Christmas City founded by a Protestant sect whose descendants built a tourist business by touting that heritage would be transformed and possibly overwhelmed by a multi-national corporation, and commented that the issue is economics. Pointing out the highest concentration of buses coming to Bethlehem is during the Christmas season, Mr. Antalics communicated his thought that the Christmas City idea has lost its original purpose and has now become an economic and tourism issue. Mr. Antalics, questioning whether people who protest are concerned with image or economics, recalled that a well connected, long time resident of the South Side told him what people are afraid of is that the South Side might rise from the ashes. He recounted that a long time ago the South Side became prominent with the steel industry, and Bethlehem was lost to the South Side and steel.
Roy Gruver, 415 North New Street, said he supports the Mowrer-Leeson proposal to exclude gambling from the former Bethlehem Steel Corporation property for a number of reasons, and noted he delivered those comments to City Council previously. Mr. Gruver, focusing on preservation of the former Bethlehem Steel Corporation buildings and possible establishment of an industrial history museum that he thought may be influencing City Council’s interest in permitting a casino, reminded the assembly that at a public meeting last February a representative from BethWorks Now explained that his project would accomplish all that he stated including preservation with or without a casino. Mr. Gruver, advising that the representative noted it would take longer without a casino, said the representative was personally committed to doing the job even if it took years longer. Mr. Gruver stressed that presently, in the shadow of the proposal to ban gambling, citizens are now being told the representatives no longer feel that preservation can be possible without a casino. Mr. Gruver hoped Council would see this as a contradiction and would accept this proposition with overriding suspicion. Mr. Gruver continued on to say, “in order to sell this to you, you need to be convinced that this project can perpetuate the glory of Bethlehem Steel and that a casino is the only way to do that.” Mr. Gruver questioned what evidence, other than words and a few drawings, does Council have that any preservation will occur and whether Council knows what that means. He further questioned the scale of the preservation, what Council would like to see, if there is a guarantee that Council’s ideal will be met, if there is anything other than a promise for preservation, the budget for preservation, details, and what happens if preservation does not occur. Mr. Gruver suspected that the people of the City will be the only losers. Mr. Gruver, focusing on the closing of the Bethlehem Steel, recounted with it went the loss of jobs, of business in North and South Bethlehem and across the Lehigh Valley, of taxes, and of a commitment to a community that shared its destiny. Mr. Gruver questioned “can we afford to put all our eggs in one basket again.” Mr. Gruver recalled the Mayor commented in April 2005 at a gathering at Lehigh University of Lehigh Valley college and local government officials that one must be worried of a dominant enterprise. Mr. Gruver noted the Mayor said “with Bethlehem Steel we were a one trick pony…I hope the City is never as reliant on one industry as it was then.” Mr. Gruver said it seems to him that the City is headed that way again, and questioned “is that what we really want, and can we afford that.” Mr. Gruver stated the real question before Council now is not just what will be preserved or the preservation strategy but rather what will preservation cost the residents of the City. Mr. Gruver communicated that for those in his family who worked at Bethlehem Steel “we don’t agree with the developers that a gambling facility is an appropriate monument to my family’s combined service of almost 100 years.” Mr. Gruver did not think that low wage earners at the casino are appropriate replacement for the steelworkers who helped to build this City and the country. Mr. Gruver stressed that Council should start thinking about what is a fitting way to preserve and honor the past, and how Council will be ensured that it occurs. Mr. Gruver said “please don’t trade your vote for a promise of preservation.” Mr. Gruver expressed his belief that an activity that will bring social ills that are feared and will degrade the quality of life for people in the City is the wrong way to do it, and asked that Council not get caught thinking it is the only way. Mr. Gruver said he cannot imagine how the City “will endure an 800 pound gorilla like the casino.”
Proposed Casino in Bethlehem; Crime; and Other Matters
Eddie Rodriquez, 436 Pawnee Street, referring to a newspaper article about residents who were terrorized by armed men while sleeping in their home, expressed his concern and pointed out it is what he has been saying all along. Mr. Rodriquez said John Morganelli, Northampton County District Attorney, is right when he says there is a problem with gangs and people who are destroying neighborhoods, and they will be dealt with. Mr. Rodriquez stressed he will not end what he has been saying until people realize what is happening in the City, and there is an understanding that there is an ever-increasing problem with violence, crime, negative and corruptive influences in neighborhoods, and “we’re not going to get rid of it any time soon.” Mr. Rodriquez asserted that gambling will increase it by a 150% and more. Mr. Rodriquez stated the City has a gang problem that presently exists nearby as close as Allentown, Easton, and as close as the Five Points area. Mr. Rodriquez stressed if the crime and violence committed by these individuals is not dealt with they will keep mingling around the neighborhoods day and night while committing their acts, and will form a path of corruption and destructive behavior that will overcome the City. Noting that the City’s Police force will have their hands full because of these activities, Mr. Rodriquez highlighted the fact that recently robberies and murder were committed by individuals, and added they also engage in prostitution, random shooting, domestic violence, thefts, inter-state drug traffic, and turf wars. Referring to a Morning Call newspaper article, Mr. Rodriquez pointed out that investigation has shown that most of the illegal drugs going into Schuylkill County are from Allentown and Reading, Philadelphia, and New York City, and added that many illegal drugs are now at large in Bethlehem and have been here for a long time. Mr. Rodriquez, pointing out that Bethlehem, as well as other communities, has enough to deal with, said “let’s not be arrogant and…satisfied with our accomplishments. If we insist on accepting that money will solve our problems through gambling…then we…have to…think of the possible consequences of allowing gambling or its corrupt ways to invade our neighborhoods which include our…City of Bethlehem.” Mr. Rodriquez felt the drug problem and thugs must be dealt with now, and the perpetrators must never be allowed to ruin neighborhoods and lives with corrupt behavior. Mr. Rodriquez, commending the Police force, asked the community at large to assist the Police when they see negative behavior, and encouraged the Police to involve themselves directly with the community residents. Mr. Rodriquez, focusing on incidents in the 600 block of Broadway, noted the life of an individual who he knew was taken and who was minding his own business.
Mr. Rodriquez said the reporting of garbage, litter, and furniture has been drastically reduced on the South Side, and noted all it takes is a call to notify City officials. Mr. Rodriquez commended the Mayor’s office, and Charles Brown, Director of Parks and Public Property, and his staff, as well as other Departments in the City. He added it has to be a continuing effort.
Proposed Casino in Bethlehem
Dave Sanders, 69 East Goepp Street, pointing out that gambling was passed in Pennsylvania, asserted it is going to come. He remarked if it were to come to Freemansburg or Hellertown, for example, Bethlehem will not have a say and it will be in the City’s backyard. Mr. Sanders thought the question is “do we want it in our backyard.” Mr. Sanders recounted that years ago when Musikfest started in Bethlehem some people did not want it and thought it would ruin the City but now it has become the number two attraction in the Lehigh Valley and demonstrates the quality that is in the City. Mr. Sanders, informing the assembly that many of his relatives worked at Bethlehem Steel, communicated the strain it put on the City such as bar fights, dirt, and parking difficulties. Expressing he thinks the casino wants to come to Bethlehem for one reason because of what Bethlehem has to offer, Mr. Sanders added “and they’re offering us something.” Mr. Sanders, commenting he has heard every excuse he can imagine such as it will ruin every student at Lehigh University, pointed out their parents have no questions about spending money. Mr. Sanders stressed the Bethlehem Police Department “is next to none”, and enumerated the education of the Officers and type of systems in operation. Mr. Sanders, acknowledging the City has violence, pointed out every City has violence. Mr. Sanders related that on a recent vacation to Olean, New York he saw many license plates from Pennsylvania in the casino parking lot at the Indian reservation. Mr. Sanders advised that 13-1/2 years ago there was no casino there, and he has not noticed any deterioration of the town since the casino was built. Mr. Sanders, referring to comments about conditions in Atlantic City within two blocks from the casino, pointed out there is nothing within two blocks of where the casino would be built in South Bethlehem “so if nothing changes we’re going to be in good shape.” Mr. Sanders stated there is more than just gambling as part of the project, since that would be just one end of the development that will occur on the South Side. Mr. Sanders, focusing on the type of jobs that would be available at the casino, remarked that people such as his father who worked at the blast furnace at Bethlehem Steel did not have the best jobs, but they were good jobs. Mr. Sanders, affirming that Bethlehem Steel and Durkee’s spice plant is gone, said “we’re moving forward. The City of Bethlehem needs some change, and this is a good, positive change.” Mr. Sanders pointed out there will be 12 more casino sites in Pennsylvania, some that will be an hour away from Bethlehem, such as Philadelphia and the Poconos. Mr. Sanders expressed that the City will move forward, the quality of life will not change, there is a chance to make a difference, and the Police Department is ready. Mr. Sanders stressed that the casino development is coming with money up front. Reiterating the good quality of life in the City, Mr. Sanders restated that the casino will not change the quality of life but will make it better, will develop the South Side, and will give people jobs. Mr. Sanders further stated that the City will make sure the change is in the right direction.
Bruce Haines, 65 West Market Street, advised he wants to talk about two disturbing items that occurred at the Planning Commission meeting at which the proposed Zoning amendment to prohibit gambling in certain zoning districts was reviewed, either one of which should nullify any recommendation to City Council. Mr. Haines said from his perspective it is all about a radical change to a wonderful City, and to assume that bringing 20,000-30,000 people a day to Bethlehem is not going to change the quality of life is extremely naïve. Mr. Haines notified the assembly he attended the meeting at which the president of the Las Vegas Sands specifically stated he would be bringing 20,000-30,000 people a day to his casino in Bethlehem. Mr. Haines pointed out there was a change in position the day before the Planning Commission meeting when all of a sudden the development and preservation of the Bethlehem Steel property could not happen without a casino. Mr. Haines advised that Mr. Gosin, a partner and the developer of many great properties in New York, on June 30, 2005 said the site on the South Side was one of the best sites in the United States for development and would be his legacy with or without a casino. Mr. Haines continued on to highlight the fact that about 90 days later, the day before the Planning Commission meeting, Mr. Perrucci, a project partner, said he cannot develop the Bethlehem Steel property and preserve it without a casino. Turning to the Planning Commission meeting, Mr. Haines explained at the beginning of the meeting the Fire Marshall appropriately escorted several people out of the crowded meeting room and prevented many hundreds of others from coming into the room to express their thoughts regarding the proposal to prohibit gambling in the IR, IR-F, and HI zoning districts. Mr. Haines said he is not sure that does not violate open meeting laws in that Bethlehem residents were not permitted to be heard. Mr. Haines advised there were many people at the meeting with signs who were not Bethlehem residents, brought there by BethWorks Now, and who sat in the first six rows of seats that were saved for them. Mr. Haines noted towards the end of the Planning Commission meeting the Solicitor explained that to not provide a location for gaming in the City would be construed as exclusionary zoning. Mr. Haines thought that comment by the Solicitor had a major impact on three of the Planning Commissioners who were seriously considering supporting the proposal to prohibit gambling in the IR, IR-F, and HI zoning districts. Mr. Haines said it is not clear in his mind that was proper guidance, and remarked the fact that every city in Pennsylvania would have to provide a place for gaming “quite frankly seems absurd.” Mr. Haines expressed the hope that the proper direction is provided to City Council.
Marilyn Hartman, 931 High Street, said she wants to voice her support for the proposed Zoning amendment. Ms. Hartman, expressing her belief that each Member of Council has the best interests of the City in mind, communicated that “for most of you this is an economic issue.” She stressed that “for some of us it’s very hard to put aside the fact that it’s a moral issue.” Ms. Hartman commented that sometimes the Members of Council have to put their personal agendas to the side and decide what is the best economic interest of the City. Ms. Hartman said she would “beseech you to look…at the past and the present of the cities that have chosen casino gambling as a means or a tool of economic development and empowerment and note that, unfortunately, it has been a failed experiment.” Asserting that, ultimately, “you need to look at the history,…the statistics,…the facts,” Ms. Hartman said “and if you look at the facts I cannot find any statistics,…any fact out there, and I have searched, that tells me that bringing casino gambling into the City of Bethlehem is a sound economic decision. Sure, for the first three to five years there’s going to be an economic boom, but that’s until all the resources that gamblers have are exhausted. And, after that, bankruptcy rates go up, foreclosure rates go up, the social costs go up…” . Ms. Hartman stressed that the City will suffer the consequences of that decision. Imploring Council to look at the issue from that perspective, and decide based on the facts and statistics if it is really a good decision for the City, Ms. Hartman said “I don’t think it is.”
Lucy Lennon, 24 East Third Street, asked the Mayor how did the project come about with the Venetian as opposed to another enterprise. Mayor Callahan responded that was a decision made by BethWorks Now, the current owners of the property. Noting that Mr. Perrucci has spoken to business owners, he and his friends have been going around the South Side putting out pamphlets and inviting people to breakfasts, Ms. Lennon said she wondered why Mr. Perrucci is not “a big player”. She continued on to say Mr. Perrucci stands in front of the church groups, lives in the Lehigh Valley, went to Moravian College, and “is sort of everybody’s guy.” Ms. Lennon advised she looked into the Venetian and it is owned by Sheldon Edelson who owns, with his wife, Dr. Miriam, 87.9% of the Venetian. Ms. Lennon continued on to say “if you put in Edelson’s name…words come up, cantankerous, illegal funding, political scandal, and mostly anti-union. I hear a lot about the jobs that will be coming…and these are wonderful jobs, and I saw the beautiful pamphlet that they put out today. Everyone’s going to have great jobs, and they’re going to put their kids through college. Do you know, and I called the culinary union, which is the largest union in Las Vegas,…Friday, and to this day Sheldon Edelson still will not let, does not belong, does not run union. Matter of fact in the year 2000…because Mr. Edelson did not like the city democratic council what he did is he poured two million dollars into a local republican party to oust the incumbent democrats who refused to side against the unions. What he wanted was the ability to buy the sidewalks in front of his casino so that the unions couldn’t picket…The only good thing was he only got one person on who was defeated after one term because of an ethics scandal, and was later indicted in a federal corruption case. So, he…sort of has this attitude. He squabbled over parking, he didn’t create enough of it at his last project. He’s worth $15 billion, last year his personal bonus was $63 million, and yet he’s still fighting with the contractors over paying the bills for the last place he built. So, I just wonder why out of all the people, like you said earlier, we have nothing in writing. So far, he’s told us we have allocation of space, we are going to preserve some buildings but we’re not quite sure because, like they said, 90 days before this was a dream come true for this other gentleman. But now…if Mr. Edelson’s not involved, I’m sorry we just can’t preserve these buildings. Well, from what I read about Mr. Edelson, we can’t trust a word he says, anyways. And, all these jobs you’re talking about, non-union, and I think isn’t that what your City was built on. It was Bethlehem Steel and the unions. And the jobs that you’re talking about in the pamphlet that you got in the newspaper today, were they not union jobs. I actually heard a Member of Council…say the other day there’s…young men on the South Side that stand around and they do drugs. And if we give those gentlemen jobs, they’ll be off drugs. That’s one of the many fallacies…I think before anybody says yes, no, maybe,…I don’t care about the morals…, if you’re an addict you’re going to be an addict, but maybe you should start doing a little research on the people who are making you the promises. Not the Mr. Perruccis who are coming as spokespeople, but he disappeared for a while, and one of the reasons why was maybe he couldn’t keep up with those promises…So maybe we should get something in writing before we allow anybody to come into our town, anybody who’s worth $15 billion…He was one of four American citizens that was named for illegal political contributions overseas…[F]rom what I read he’s not a very nice man. So, I find it very hard to believe that City Council, the Mayor, economic development, would open their arms and their hearts to this gentleman and say we trust you…”.
Mary Pongracz, 321 West Fourth Street, said she does not consider the South Side a disadvantaged neighborhood. She pointed out that “in the heyday of Bethlehem Steel they had more than 30,000 people coming to work…”. Ms. Pongracz further stated “character assassination and a kangaroo court is decidedly un-American.” Ms. Pongracz, referring to Mr. Mowrer’s question about referendum, recounted that before City Hall was built there was a referendum and the citizens of Bethlehem defeated the referendum to place City Hall in its present location. Mayor Gordon Payrow vetoed that referendum and City Hall was built. Ms. Pongracz continued on to say the irony is that the City Hall plaza has been renamed Payrow Plaza after a Mayor who vetoed the legislation. Ms. Pongracz said “I am for ten million dollars to keep this City afloat. I am for ten thousand jobs, no matter if they’re little or big because you can’t eat without money…I’m for the Smithsonian building a national museum dedicated to the steel industry. I am for a year-round convention center. I am for a new, modern, up-to-date PBS station…So anybody sitting at that table who says to me I cannot vote for this…You are elected to take care of the citizens of this City. That means ten million dollars goes into the coffers of the City, that means ten thousand people get jobs, that means we go up in our status because we will have a Smithsonian Institution here. And…if you read Preservation magazine, Bethlehem Steel brownfields are on the endangered list, and I would hate…to see that the Bethlehem Steel site is not preserved for posterity. The birthplace of the industrial revolution in America, and you don’t care about it.” Turning to the Planning Commission meeting, Ms. Pongracz said she would like to know how many who spoke came from Bethlehem. Ms. Pongracz continued on to say any parent who has a child who is addicted and loses two cars, etc., “where was the parent.” Ms. Pongracz exclaimed “I am for the casino which is the fuel engine for the development.”
William Scheirer, 1890 Eaton Avenue, said he “would like to thank Las Vegas Sands for bolstering the argument against the casino. Everybody who got a paper today found one of these inside. It’s very slick, very expensive. It’s a precursor of the future.” Mr. Scheirer explained his main concern about a casino is that Las Vegas Sands will take over the City, and it will be very sad that Bethlehem was not able to take care of its own business in between. Mr. Scheirer recalled at the Planning Commission meeting he suggested in order to clarify the issue that the BethWorks owners voluntarily accept an easement that would limit them to one casino of a specified size, and incorporate historic preservation. Mr. Scheirer continued on to say after the meeting he spoke with Mr. Perrucci who said he was comfortable with that and would talk to his partners about it and get back to Mr. Scheirer but has not. Mr. Scheirer commented he does not think Mr. Perrucci is “calling the shots any more”, and did not expect the total owners of BethWorks are going to agree to such an easement. Mr. Scheirer remarked if the slots casino is successful, then poker, black jack, and roulette will be added, and the owners will want a second casino. Mr. Scheirer added “they’ll spend some of the money in Harrisburg. They’ll get their way,” and maybe there will be a third, and fourth casino. Mr. Scheirer, relating he received a telephone call this past Monday from a woman who asked him what he thought about the BethWorks project, explained he said “do you mean the casino. And she said yes, lots of jobs, and tons of money. That’s a quote. [I] said are you calling for the Las Vegas Sands, and she said yes, and so I told her what I thought, and she thanked me for my honesty. I have heard that other phone calls are being made…asking if Councilmen Leeson and Mowrer can be defeated…[I]t was somebody from Las Vegas Sands who said Bethlehem had the potential of Las Vegas. If they get in the door with one casino this is going to become a gambling town.”
Crime – 100 Block of East Broad Street
Carol Ann Krasley, Center Street, referring to today’s article in the Morning Call, stated the 100 block of East Broad Street once again has been the focus of illegal activity. She continued on to point out that at the end of the newspaper article it was reported that the homeowner who was attacked was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital with multiple injuries. Advising she does not know if this was a random attack, Ms. Krasley said she would think it was planned. Ms. Krasley related that recently there was a situation at 12 East Broad Street where the Police were called for a stand-off situation. Ms. Krasley highlighted the fact that the attack that occurred in the 100 block of East Broad Street is “a stone’s throw from her house [and] from the unit business block of East Broad Street.” Ms. Krasley, communicating that the violence makes her uncomfortable, noted that the Community Police Officers cannot be there early in the morning and highlighted the fact that the attack occurred in the early morning hours. Ms. Krasley, pointing out this is her neighborhood, stressed “this does not rest easily with me.”
The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.