Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Press photo by Bernie O’HareNorthampton County Executive candidates Lamont McClure and John Brown shake hands before debate last week. Press photo by Bernie O’HareNorthampton County Executive candidates Lamont McClure and John Brown shake hands before debate last week.
Article By:  STATE Article By: STATE

BETHLEHEM PRESS VOTING GUIDE

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 by STATE in Local News

BETHLEHEM PRESS VOTING GUIDE

Referendums

Proposed Constitutional amendment - vote yes or no

Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to permit the General Assembly to enact legislation authorizing local taxing authorities to exclude from taxation up to 100 percent of the assessed value of each homestead property within a local taxing jurisdiction, rather than limit the exclusion to one-half of the median assessed value of all homestead property, which is the existing law?

Retention candidates for judicial seats - vote yes or no to retain these judges in their current position:

Pa. Supreme Court

Thomas G. Saylor

Debra Todd

Jacqueline O. Shogan

LEHIGH COUNTY

County Executive

4 yr term

Vote for one

(D) Phillips Armstrong

Issue: As Lehigh County executive, I will first develop open communications with the board and all departments. I will work hard on building a strong regional economy that attracts first-rate employers to our region. I will partner with our colleges, local municipalities, labor unions and school districts to provide a sensible and regional process to solving government problems. I will preserve our public services, including Cedarbrook Nursing Home, to keep a strong safety net for our citizens. I will work hard to preserve farmland and defend labor, while keeping taxes down and bond ratings high — as I have done in Whitehall.

(R) Brad Osborne

My first priority would be to develop a first-of-its-kind 5-year strategic plan and financial projection for Lehigh County. This can be accomplished by assembling a team of leaders to implement innovative change in government, ensuring excellence in service while reducing the tax burden on our working families and seniors. I will collaborate with other elected officials, department heads, employees, businesses and residents to make this everyone’s plan. Done well, this plan will identify and address our community’s most pressing needs and focus resources to have the greatest impact in these areas.

County Commissioners

Two candidates are seeking one spot as a Lehigh County commissioner in District 3, which includes Catasauqua and Fountain Hill boroughs, Hanover Township and portions of Bethlehem and Allentown.

4 yr term

Vote for one

(D) Amy Zanelli

Issue: Seniors are a growing segment of our society. They are often marginalized and overlooked. These are the men and women who paved our roads, built our buildings, given us all we hold dear - and deserve better.

I will be their voice and bridge to navigating government. I will continue to be their advocate in addressing outdated regulations that infringe upon quality of life like I’ve done with seniors at Cedar Brook and Lutheran Manor. It is imperative I do all I can to ensure they live out their golden years with the happiness, independence, and the dignity they deserve.

(R) Robert E. Smith Jr.

Issue: We need to keep Cederbrook going. It’s the only place where seniors can go when they have no money or family to help. Meals on Wheels needs to expand and I want to start an Adopt a Senior program where students and volunteers visit seniors. Senior citizens’ number one ailment is loneliness. Many of our seniors are left alone. We need to make their senior years happy and productive. I took care of my grandma for 10 years but, then we chose Cederbrook for the special care they give seniors. To conclude, our seniors need to be cherished, not forgotten.

Court of Common Pleas

Retention candidates for judicial seats - vote yes or no to retain these judges in their current position

10 yr term

(D/R) Melissa Pavlack

Magisterial Dist. 31-1-06

6 yr term

Vote for one

(D) Wayne Maura

(R)

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY

County Executive

4 year-term

Vote for one

Office Description: Chief executive officer and administrative official who executes and enforces all county ordinances and presents the financial plan and budget to County Council The term of office is four years, with an annual salary of $85,000.

(D) Lamont G. McClure

Facebook - McClure4Exec

Webpage - http://www.lamontmcclure.com/

Employment - Peter Angelos law offices

Gov’t experience - Appointed to NorCo Council in 2006, elected in 2007 and again in 2011. Served ten years.

Education - Wilkes University, B.A., 1992 and Duquesne University, J.D., 1995

Residence - Bethlehem Twp

Activities - Active as a baseball and basketball coach in youth sports

Most important issue: “By far the most important issue in this race is governing philosophy, I have a Green Agenda and Mr. Brown has a Gray one. Mr. Brown reduced the County’s commitment to the preservation of farmland, environmentally sensitive land and parks, 84% from Stoffa-era levels. One of the consequences of the Brown cuts is that they have exacerbated the negative affects of warehouse development and the increased truck traffic. To help compensate for these downsides I will immediately return our Green space budget to Stoffa-era level. However, Mr. Brown has a different Gray agenda in mind. Instead of preserving green space Mr. Brown want to build a monstrous 200 million dollar gray jail. The choice in this race is about whether we want a green or a gray future. That in my opinion is the paramount issue.”

(R) John Brown (inc.)

Facebook - John Brown and John Brown, NorCo Executive

Webpage - Could only locate his webpage for state auditor general, http://www.johnbrownforpa.com/

Employment - county executive

Gov’t experience - Bangor Mayor (2009-2013); NorCo Exec (2014-present)

Education - Notre Dame

Residence - Bangor

Activities - Unknown

Most important issue - ""The most important issue is protecting taxpayers and seniors by continuing to eliminating waste in county government while improving the the services we provide."

County Council

Northampton County Council is the legislative branch of county government. It is a check and balance on executive power, and has the authority to approve or replace the Executive’s spending plan. It is a nine-member body, each receiving a $9,500 annual salary. Members may participate in the pension plan, but receive no medical benefits. The five seats up for grabs this year are “at-large” seats, meaning they are county-wide instead of restricted to a portion of the county. Northampton County Council has a 7-2 GOP majority.

4 year term

Vote for five

(D) Ron Heckman

Facebook - Ron Heckman

Webpage - None

Employment - Retired.

Gov’t experience - NorCo Council, NorCo Director of Human Services,

Veteran - Unknown

Education - East Stroudsburg University B.A., M.Ed.

Residence - Bethlehem

Activities - Volunteers with United Way’s Alliance for Aging, Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority, music, reading.

Most important issue - “The issue that stands out for me is the ability of the county to deliver necessary county services while at the same time balancing those needs with fiscal responsibility. The county must manage capital projects and services while holding real estate taxes in check.”

(D) Lori Vargo Heffner

Facebook - Lori Vargo Heffner

Webpage - None

Employment - Psychotherapist at Affiliates in Clinical Services

Gov’t experience - None

Veteran - No

Education - Temple University, Kutztown University, Moravian College (two master’s degrees)

Residence - L. Saucon Twp.

Activities - Unknown

Most important issue - “The most important issue in this race is to select a candidate who will best serve the county’s needs in a transparent, effective and efficient manner. Farmland preservation and open space protection, filling gaps in health and human services with quality candidates and accessing funding sources other than taxpayer dollars are key issues that I plan to address as a council member.”

(D) Bill McGee

Facebook - Bill McGee for Northampton County Council

Webpage - McGee for Northampton

Employment - Heat and Frost Insulators (29 yrs)

Gov’t experience - None

Veteran - Yes. US Navy (1982-1986)

Education - Liberty HS (1982); National Labor College

Residence - Northampton.

Activities - Bike riding on rails to trails. Swimming in the summertime. Golfing and from time to time shooting clay disks.

Most important issue - “I believe our number one focus should be overall Quality of Life consisting of family supporting jobs, protecting your tax dollars and providing quality Human Services in Northampton County”

(D) Peter Melan

Facebook - Peter Melan

Webpage - https://www.petermelan.com/

Employment - Vera Track, President (verifies employment histories)

Gov’t experience - Easton City Council (Jan 2016)

Veteran - No

Education - Moravian College

Residence - Easton

Activities - Golf

Most important issue - “The controversy surrounding the jail facilities is superficial, meaning the real issue is recidivism and incarcerating individuals with mental illness and substance abuse. County leaders need to engage with the Courts in an effort to provide the appropriate sentences; in many cases medical treatment and social counseling.”

(D) Tara Zrinski

Facebook - Tara Zrinski for Northampton County Council - At Large

Webpage - http://friendsoftarazrinski.com/

Employment - Sales Manager at Solar City, author and illustrator of children’s book “All Ducks Are Birds (But, Not All Birds Are Ducks),” adjunct professor at community colleges, freelance writer

Gov’t experience - None

Veteran - No

Education - Moravian Theological Seminary, MATS, MAPC (theological studies, pastoral counseling)

Activities - I have been a local coordinator for Food and Water Watch in the Lehigh Valley. I have served on Boards and committees through my work with the UUCLV from 2005-2009. I am a member of the Bethlehem Co-op, Asa Packer PTA and am a Book Fairy for Freemansburg Elementary Schhol. Although my activities do include environmental activism,I am a mother of three boys and I also play on a women’s soccer team-Pioneers.

Most important issue -

“Creating a more sustainable future should be our number one priority in Northampton County. We do this by keeping taxes stable, enacting responsible county budgets, addressing opioid addiction, and embracing renewable energy policies.”

(R) Ron Angle

Facebook - None

Webpage - None

Employment - Entrepreneur, farmer

Gov’t experience - NorCo Council (2000-2012), Bangor Area School Board, Upper Mt. Bethel Supervisor, Portland Boro Council

Veteran: Yes. USMC

Education - Bangor HS

Residence - Upper Mount Bethel Twp

Activities - Antique lover, cigar aficionado, gourmand and cook, story teller

Most Important Issue - “Bad government. No matter who is elected executive, I will be a check and balance on him, and will keep your government accountable.”

(R) Peg Ferraro (inc.)

Facebook - Peg Ferraro

Webpage - None

Employment - Retired teacher

Gov’t experience - NorCo Council (1990-1997, 2001-present), Upper Nazareth Supervisor, ZHB, Planning Comm’n and Treasurer (1972-1987)

Veteran - No.

Education - Kutztown University, B.S.; Lehigh University

Residence - Bushkill Twp

Activities - Rravel

2014-6 attendance (Council and Committee) - 81%

Most important issue - “The biggest issue in this race is who will best continue the success, both the financial and the strategic planning, of the last four years. Gracedale is in the black, thirty three bridges are to be completed in the next four years, and for the first time in several years the budget is balanced without dipping into cash reserves.”

(R) Glenn Geissinger (inc.)

Facebook - Glenn Geissinger

Webpage - None

Employment - Alliance Media Group (advertising firm he co-owns with his wife)

Gov’t experience - NorCo Council since 2013

Veteran - Yes. U.S. Army.

Education - Lehigh University, Moravian College (master’s in accounting)

Residence - Plainfield Twp

Activities - Religion

2014-6 attendance (Council and Committee) - 74%

Most important issue - “Continuing to have a high quality of life for our citizens. This means providing the needed services and oversight expected of the county government. Keeping Gracedale a quality care facility, maintaining open spaces and farmland, repairing infrastructure, and ensuring fiscal responsibility while performing these needed governmental functions.”

(R) Hayden Phillips (inc.)

Facebook - Hayden Phillips

Webpage - none

Employment - retired from Hewlett-Packard

Gov’t Experience - Northampton County Council since 2013

Veteran - Yes. USMC (retired Colonel)

Education - Mansfield University (BS), Lehigh University (MBA)

Residence - Moore Tp

Activities - unknown

2014-6 attendance (Council and Committee) - 83%

Most important issue: PA is unstable, with a history of missed budgets, deficit spending and threats to reduce casino revenue. This puts state funded county services in doubt. Northampton County needs to be a financial rock to backstop, as best as possible, the failing of the state to fund these basic services.

(R) Seth Vaughn (inc.)

Facebook - Seth Vaughn

Webpage - none

Employment - Physician’s Assistant, St.Luke’s Emergency Medicine

Gov’t Experience - NorCo Council (since 2013)

Veteran - Yes. USMC, SGT (Civil Affairs)

Education - Penn State University (BS), DeSales University (MS)

Residence - Bethlehem or Bethlehem Tp. (Lives in Bethlehem Tp, but votes in Bethlehem).

Activities - unknown

2014-6 attendance (Council and Committee) - 67%

Most important issue: “The most important issues for me on council are maintaining the quality of care and financial health at Gracedale nursing home. Also supporting our human services departments fight against the opioid epidemic as its effect crosses multiple departments scope and function.”

Magisterial District Judge:

District 03-2-11

6 year term - Vote for one

(D) Nick Englessen

(R) Jon B. Whittington

(IND) Todd Nickischer

BETHLEHEM

Mayor

4 yr term

Vote for one

(D) Robert Donchez

(R)

Artie Curatola (write-in)

Bio: A 69-year-old resident, Curatola said he has no wife or children and is not rich, but comfortable.

“Elected officials are taking money from the people. We need to be giving less money to politicians, taxes and ordnances. Officials shouldn’t be paid. I don’t need to take from the taxpayers. It’s definitely to the people’s advantage for me to be elected. With me the people will be saving at least $100,000 a year. Maybe some other politicians will see that and think it’s a good idea.”

City Controller

4 yr term

Vote for one

(D) George Yasso

(R)

City Council

4 yr term

Vote for not more than four

(D) Olga Negron

Bio: Councilwoman Olga Negrón has been a member of several organizations in the Lehigh Valley and throughout Pennsylvania. Some of her involvements include: Member of Community Revitalization and Crime Prevention Advisory Committee-Appointed by former Governor Rendell, Member of Pennsylvania Statewide Latino Coalition, Member of Bethlehem Rotary, Co-Chair of the Bethlehem Planning Commission-Appointed by former Mayor Callahan, former Vice President for Bethlehem Area Public Library-Appointed by Bethlehem City Council, Member of Southside Vision 2020, former President for Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley Board, Member of Hispanic Chambers Board, Member of Mayor’s Southside Task Force, Member of Lehigh University Southside Initiative and the first Latino female elected to Bethlehem City Council. Among her work history, Olga worked as a community organizer, executive director of non-profit organizations and as the Legislative Assistant for Representative Steve Samuelson. She is now the Community Liaison for HGSK Law Firm. Olga Negrón moved to Southside Bethlehem in June 1996 where she still owns her home, where she raised her three daughters, Corazón (now a Resident at UPENN Hosp.), Isis (graduated from her Juris Doctor from UCONN School of Law and PA Barred) and Paloma (graduated from Trinity College). Councilwoman Negrón Chairs the Public Works Committee and is a member of Public Safety Committee and Human Services and Environment Committee and currently serves the Bethlehem Area Public Library board as council liaison.

Issue: Bethlehem has always been the shining star of the Lehigh Valley. I admire the renaissance that has taken place since the Bethlehem Steel closed down, especially the redevelopment of the former plant. But, like in many cases, if there is not a good plan everything doesn’t fall into place naturally. Deep pocketed developers seem to be calling the shots in Bethlehem, not the residents, small business owners, and small developers. I receive so many emails from residents who are complaining about absentee landlords not taking care of their rental properties. The process of enforcement in these cases can be slow moving. On the other hand I hear from many homeowners who like many of us are struggling to keep their homes code compliant, taxes paid, and are living from pay check to pay check. They don’t seem to be able to ever catch a break from City Hall. I feel that helping those who need it the most, our residents, works and is the best way to build a sense of community. I’ve seen it happen as a community organizer and as a single parent raising my three daughters in Bethlehem. I’ve taken the time to help educate those who need guidance the most, and I’ve told them that holding our elected officials accountable and reminding them that they have been elected to represent the people of Bethlehem is important. In our roles on City Council, I am committed to our citizens, and far less so to those deep pocketed developers who try to influence public officials with their large campaign contributions. I have not and will not accept that kind of support. This weighed so heavily on me that it became the impetus for my proposing and submitting to City Council a comprehensive ethics ordinance. Some elected officials compromise their decision-making by accepting that kind of campaign support. I don’t believe it is necessary, and that is what my candidacy for re-election to City Council is all about. We need to act as a true “check and balance” to counter the influence of money and remember that our residents must come first.

(D) Bryan Callahan

(D) Eric Evans

(D) Adam R. Waldron

(R)

Dr. Paige Van Wirt (write-in)

Bio: Paige Van Wirt

I’m running as a write-in candidate for Bethlehem City Council to give the citizens of Bethlehem a Choice. I decided to run when I became frustrated with way important decisions were made in City Council, mostly behind closed doors and without engaging the citizens. I am a person of action, I have a government background, and I feel I can make a difference.

Bio: B.A. in Government from Cornell, Masters in Urban Planning from NYU. Georgetown University for medical school and residency. Before medical school, I worked as an urban planner in Boston and NYC, and at Moody’s as a municipal bond analyst. 5 years ago, another physician and I started a medical practice that takes care of patients in area nursing homes. Our team of 18 employees now takes care of over 2000 patients in 17 nursing homes. We have changed the way medical care is delivered in nursing homes.

Issue: I want to increase transparency in city decision-making; I want to enact the Comprehensive Ethics Ordinance; and I want to focus on a return to quality basic city services, to improve walkability and aging-in-place. I want every decision to answer this one primary question: is this decision in the best interests of the citizens and city of Bethlehem?

14-2 Inspector of Election

4 yr term Vote for 1

(D) Mary Ann Siter

(R) Alayne Emrey

14-6 Inspector of Election

4 yr term Vote for 1

(D) Diane K. Snyder

(R) Charmayne C. Stauffer

Bethlehem Area School District

Director At Large

4 yr term

Vote for 3

(D/R) Michael E. Faccinetto

Bio: “I have been a member of the BASD board for 8 years having first been elected in 2009. I have served as president since 2011. I have also been a member of the PA School Boards Assn (PSBA) governing board for three years and am serving as the 2017-2018 President. I am a life long resident of the BASD. I am currently enrolled in a Masters program at Lehigh University pursuing a future in Elementary Education and Educational Leadership.

Issue: The most important issue we face is the uncertainty of funding at the state and federal level. We work diligently to plan and balance our budget with minimal impact to our local taxpayers. However, with the mandated costs of charters and PSERS contributions it is nearly impossible to not raise taxes year after year. Poor financial management and shortsighted decisions in Harrisburg continue to pass the burden down to the local school boards and eventually homeowners while our State Legislators celebrate tax free budgets.”

(D/R) Shannon L. Patrick

Bio: I have been on the BASD board for 6 years and have owned my business ( The Puppy Palace Doggie Day Care ) for almost 12 years. I live in Hanover Township with my husband and daughter.

Issue: I feel that federal and state funding handcuff local school boards. We are unable to hold charter schools accountable because of the laws written in Harrisburg. Local school districts are forced to administer test after test that generate data that is not able to be used because we get the results months after the fact. We are trying to educate each child regardless of income, race, religion, or sexual orientation. It is about equity.

(D/R) Angela T. Sinkler

Bio: I am a resident of Fountain Hill since age 4, graduate of Bethlehem Catholic HS 1984, graduate of University of Delaware 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a 30 year employee of Lehigh Valley Health Network. I’ve been married to my husband Edward, a teacher at Southern Lehigh HS for 26 years. We have one daughter Madeline who attended Fountain Hill ES, Broughal MS, and graduated from Liberty HS in 2016. She is currently in her second year at Lehigh University enrolled in the College of Business.

Issue: Educating and raising our children to become responsible, well rounded, productive young adults with character: As a School Director my job and goal is to ensure that all Bethlehem Area SD children continue to be provided with excellent educational opportunities. This will occur by continuing to work with the BASD administrative team to support evolving initiatives in our schools- Reading by 3rd Grade, Career Pathways, Project Lead the Way to name a few. We focus on supporting our students on the path to becoming well rounded, young adults ready to succeed in 2 and 4 year colleges or technical schools while remaining invested in the community they grew up in.

(R) John F. Gallagher

Bio: Notre Dame High School, 1985; Eastern University, BA Pol. Sci., 1989; JD, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 1996. Attorney, licensed in PA; currently enrolled Lehigh University, M. Ed. Teacher Cert. Program.

Issue: I think the major issue in education right now is fiscal responsibility and school choice. I will vote no on tax increases and do my best to promote more choices for people in where and how to educate children, including directing their own tax dollars to the schools that best meet their children’s needs, This also ties into the importance of a curriculum that fosters critical thinking and creativity. I would advocate for the reduced use of standard to measure student progress.///

BETHLEHEM TWP.

Commissioner Ward 4

(D) Phillip Greieshaber

(R) John Merhotten

Treasurer

4 yr term

Vote for one

(D)

(R) Thomas G. Rutherford

FOUNTAIN HILL

Mayor

4 yr term

Vote for one

(D/R) Carolee Gifford

Council

4 yr term

Vote for no more than four

(D) Helen Halleman

(D) Lawrence Rapp

(D) Leo Atkinson

(R) Philip Trabel

FREEMANSBURG

Mayor

4 yr term

Vote for one

(D) Donald Lasso

(R) Gerald C. Yob

Bio: An Army veteran of the Korean War, Yob and his wife bought a house in Freemansburg following his overseas deployment and has lived in the borough ever since. He has been mayor since 1981, and represents Freemansburg on a number of committees, associations, and authorities, including the Northampton County Gaming commission.

“As mayor, I have always had an open-door policy and look forward to the opportunity to answer your questions, address your concerns, or just have some conversation. I recently implemented out Coffee with a Cop program, which is a casual meet-and-greet over a cup of coffee and snacks between our police officers and residents. You will see again this year working the grill at out 4th annual National Night Out Against Crime in the municipal park.

TAX COLLECTOR

4 yr term

Vote for one

(D) Davina K. Gallich

(R)

Council

4 yr term

Vote for no more than three

(D) Charles Derr

(R) Gerald C. Yob

Issues: Our police are all updated with their training and going over the 2018 budget it Looks like no tax increase. I think they were two issues that were being discussed in the borough.

HANOVER TWP.

Supervisor

6 yr term

Vote for no more than two

(D) Susan A. Lawless

(R) John D. Nagle

HELLERTOWN

Mayor

4 yr term

Vote for one

(D/R) David J. Heintzelman

Council

4 yr term

Vote for no more than four

(D) Thomas J. Rieger

(D) James W. Hill

(D) Kevin Lott

(D) Gilbert Stauffer

(R) Thomas J. Rieger

(R) Kevin Lott

L. SAUCON TWP.

Council

4 yr term

Vote for 1

(D) Ryan Stauffer

(R) Ron Horiszny, Glenn Kern

Inspector of Election-Wassergas 6

4 yr term

Vote for 1

(D) Renee Hillman(

R) Jennifer Keifer