Lack of privacy at polls criticized
Citizens came to tell the Lehigh County Commissioners that they were not happy with how the election was conducted.
“No privacy,” was the chief complaint. Mark Spengler of Lower Macungie Township also questioned the restriction on having cell phones in the voting area.
In many cases as local polling places, voters were directed to an open table to fill out their paper ballot. There was no screened-off area to ensure privacy. Once a ballot was ready to be scanned by the newly purchased voting machines in some cases a machine operator took the ballot and put it in the scanner, thus giving rise to another complaint of “no privacy.”
Omar Ray, a judge of election from Upper Saucon Township, said he, “wanted people to put in their own ballot.”
Mathew Schutter, another judge of election, thought that having a cell phone in the voting area was “a right.” Schutter was a candidate for county commissioner in the recent election.
In other business, commissioners approved the appointments of the Revs. Gus Al-Khal and Holly Gonzales to the Aging and Adult Services Advisory Council.
Commissioners also approved appointments of Alisa Baratta, Mary L. Tirrell, and Rocco Zegallia to the Lehigh Valley Homeless Veterans Fund Committee.
Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority Executive Director Tom Stoudt presented his annual report to the Lehigh County Commissioners.
“This our 90th anniversary,” said Stoudt in opening remarks to the commissioners. He said the airport started in April 1929 and that Amelia Earhart has visited the following November. He said John F. Kennedy had also visited at the airport in 1960.
He said Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority (A-B-E for Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton) is the fourth largest airport in Pennsylvania. Other high lights include, it has four passenger airlines with operations at the airport: Allegiant, United, American and Delta. Between them they offer 14 non-stop destinations.
Stoudt said 792,794 passengers flew into or out of the airport last year, a 14.57-percent increase over the previous year. Its air cargo operations handled 206 million pounds of freight last year. “It was about 20 million pounds 10 years ago,” said Stout in response to a question.
He said Allegiant starting Feb. 13 next year will offer the airport’s 14th non-stop flight to Sarasota, Florida. Other potential destination for future flights are Boston, Dallas, Pittsburg, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. into Dulles Airport.
Stoudt said the airport has had 24 consecutive months of passenger growth through Sept. 2019 represent 16.64 percent increase from the previous year.
After Oct. 1, 2020, all air passengers must have the new Real ID driver’s license in order to travel on airliners. Stoudt reminded commissioners to get their identification updated.
The airport director also discussed potential non-aviation income possibilities from real estate development of 297 acres near Airport Road. He said a hotel and re-tail properties could be coming to the site.
In other business, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission led by Executive Director Becky A. Bradley attended the Commissioner’s meeting.
The Commissioners had a first reading of the Lehigh Planning Commissioner’s “Future LV: The Regional Plan.” A vote of approval will be held at the next regular meeting Nov. 26.
Some “key initiatives” that the planners introduced include: an integrated water resources management plan, a regional housing plan update, a redesign of the MacArthur Road “multimodal corridor,” an electric vehicle plan, an autonomous vehicle plan, and many others.