Friday, May 10, 2013

A Good Debate!

L to R - Glen Reibman, John Callahan, and Lamont McClure
Last night the League of Women Voters presented a forum where the candidates for Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure, Glen Reibman, and John Callahan could debate some of the issues demanding County government attention, and they did not disappoint!

The first thing we noticed was that of the three, the only one who did not use notes was Lamont McClure. We observed that everything he addressed was off the top of his head, which generally speaking means he knows the issues.

Northampton County Gem - Gracedale
The first topic of discussion was, you guessed it...

All three candidates took a position that Gracedale should be kept in County hands.

Mr. Callahan mentioned that the reason he announced his intention to run for CE in front of Gracedale was: he wanted to show his determination to keep Gracedale under the county umbrella.  Mr. McClure highlighted that he was at the front of the charge to save Gracedale (during the Gracedale Initiative spearheaded by the Coalition of Alzheimer's Families), and together McClure, the COAF, and the employees; succeeded in their endeavor. Mr. McClure also pointed out that when COAF requested Mr. Callahan's support to keep the County owned nursing home in County hands, his response was negative. Clearly no one could dispute McClure's vigorous support for Gracedale. McClure wins this one for sure.
A heavy burden!
Another real issue facing any county is taxes. 

Mr. McClure was truly adamant about not raising taxes, at least not in his first term. While Mr. Callahan and Mr. Reibman refused to make that promise. Challenged by Callahan who said that promising to hold taxes was "irresponsible and pandering", McClure hammered back saying Callahan had raised taxes in Bethlehem by 35%, also noting that as Mayor of Bethlehem, Callahan had misused tax dollars. Callahan pointed out McClure's voting record on not voting to raise taxes, but still voting to preserve farmland, seemingly confounded by the ability to do both. McClure responded: "I found a way to pay for it, without raising taxes". McClure Wins this one too!

The Dreaded Swaption
The Swaption
An upside down financial mess!
This issue certainly hurt Mr. Reibman more than the other two candidates because as pointed out, Mr. Reibman initiated the Swaption during his administration. Reibman pointed out that when he left office the sawption was in good health, and turning a profit, and so he could not be held responsible for the current administration's (John Stoffa) failure to respond positively when the swaption took a sharp turn south. To Callahan's credit, he expressed that when he was presented with the confusion of a swaption, he decided against gambling with tax dollars. He also took a shot at McClure for not taking a leadership role in ending the swaption sooner, illuminating the 27.5 million dollar lost by the failure of the administration or County Council to act.

(Side Bar: This is where we feel Mr. Callahan demonstrated his lack of knowledge relating to county government - Mr. McClure is one of nine votes on Council, and if Mr. Callahan had attended as many Council meetings as we have, he would know that relating to the swaption, the strife was unbearable. As taxpayers we blame Mr. Reibman for getting us into it...but we blame the current County Executive John Stoffa more, for not getting us out of it when it was under nine million. And based on our observance of events as they unfolded, if Stoffa would have presented a proper plan to relieve us of that financial mess, he probably could run and win again.)

In closing, all three candidates handles themselves civilly, in fact, discussing civility, the former king of civil-unrest (Ron Angle) was mentioned, which brought some relief laughter.

We take our hats off to all three candidates for wanting to serve their community. We will however, continue to support Lamont McClure because our involvement in local government over the years tells us (without a doubt) that Mr. McClure is the best candidate at this point in time.


  1. excellent and balanced post.

    you've won the Gracedale Battle. keep your powder dry, and also win the war

  2. Reibman put everyone to sleep with his opening statement. McClure was strong..Callahan was right about buying, not leasing the Human Service building..Can't see McClure finishing better than second at best though..Well thank God for General campaigns. If callahan gets past this, he still has to beat Brown. We'll see. The Republicans have tons more money than Callahan will ever have. Ever!

  3. Remember guys, this is only the first phase of the war. If Lamont doesn't win the fight isn't over. Stoffa, Marcus, Kelly and Bernie need to be crushed and taken from their lofty posts. It can't come soon enough for me but it will come! They call Mario the fake rev. That is their worst mistake! They'll find out why soon enough..