Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hazleton this week

Where's the beef?

CV: In documents released last week, the plaintiffs challenging the immigration laws argue Hazleton has no factual basis to believe illegal immigrants adversely affect the quality of life in the city...Deposed from more than eight hours over two days, Mayor Lou Barletta conceded the city has no data on how many illegal immigrants use municipal services such as code enforcement, fire protection, garbage collection and road maintenance.

I really thought this nonsense would be dropped after the 2006 election. It was an obvious stunt to help Rick Santorum retain his Senate seat. Instead Mr. Small Town Defender seems to want to bankrupt his city defending an indefensible ordinance.

He may have awakened a sleeping electorate. Business owners Amilcar Arroyo and Luisa Sandoval as well as Anna Arias, a family outreach coordinator for Catholic Social Services in Hazleton, will join retired eye doctor Agapito Lopez in running for five open Hazleton Area School Board seats. Like most candidates, all will cross file as Democrats and Republics. Real estate company owner Rudy Espinal, a Democrat, officially declared his intention to run for one of two available Hazleton City Council seats.

Then a few questions were asked about Hazleton's contracting pratices by local government watchdog and mayoral candidate Dee Deakos:

Deakos said she “find(s) it hard to believe” that Barletta didn’t know if his brother was a manager for Triple K. She said she was concerned that awarding a contract to the company could be a conflict of interest for Barletta...“I find it interesting that such a new company would get such a major contract for one of (Barletta’s) pet projects, and now the company his brother works for gets a city contract as well.”

Triple K was incorporated in November.

Barletta's reaction to such criticism was over the top calling it a "witch hunt" and "dirty politics."
Her reaction:

“Every time I point out something wrong or questionable in his administration, he calls it a witch hunt,” she said. “Every time I ask a question, is it dirty politics? … All I pointed out was that a close member of his family who falls under ethics rules was employed there. What did I really do other than say I was concerned?”

And Judge Corey Stevens got into the act backing Barletta and the ordinance when ethics rules clearly prohibit a sitting Judge from commenting on a pending case. A Big Fat Slob tells us why this is not allowed.


Danny Bauder said...

I have the distinct pleasure of being from the Mountain City, and I can tell you I'm embarrassed by the current state of affairs and the reason for the national attention we've received in the last year. Unfortunately, there isn't a strong party mechanism in place in Hazleton to mount a serious challenge to Barletta in the general election. The two biggest Ds from the area are both from Butler Twp: Maryanne Petrilla and Todd Eachus. The Dems on city council support most of the mayor's agenda, so either of them running for mayor doesn't make much sense.

I wish the City Democrats could attract not only a strong candidate, but more members. The voter registration edge has flipped since the heyday of the Hazleton Dems. We're in the minority now, making up about 40% of the registration, and without strong leadership from within the city's organization, that number will decrease annually.

Anonymous said...

First, Hispanics are diverse culturally, linguistically, ethnically and certainly politically. Amilcar Arroyo and his gang of pro-illegal alien, anti-American Latinos in Hazleton do not speak for law-abiding citizens of Hispanic heritage. Those of us whose families respect the laws, rules, customs and norms of this country do not agree with illegal immigration nor support the unjustified demands by illegal aliens and their professional advocates like the ACLU/PRLDEF/MALDEF/LA RAZA/Catholic Charities, etc. The brazen false sense of entitlement espoused by illegal aliens and the profiteers of illegal immigration in the Latino community embarrassses us all.

Shame on them.