I don’t have any big problems with Ed Pawlowski’s tenure as Allentown Mayor, and think most of Allentown’s problems stem from deindustrialization, the suburbanization of Lehigh County, and previous Mayor Roy Afflerbach’s complete failure to negotiate on behalf of the taxpayers with the police union.
Ed Pawlowski’s got the right pro-growth attitude a Mayor should have, even though in my opinion he’s been a little too focused on mega-projects and fancy restaurants and has been a bit uncreative in leveraging some of Allentown’s unique strengths. The Neighborhood Improvement Zone tax district is a master stroke and will likely prove to be a powerful construction magnet in the years to come, but only now is the first round of downtown buildings starting to take form.
That’s exciting, and I suspect this will come to be seen as a real success story for state public policy, and politicking between state and local elected leaders, but it is a success story you run for Governor on in 2018 or 2024 when the NIZ district has fully blossomed, – not 2014 when all you’ve got are some cranes and scaffolding to point at.
At this time I see very little in the way of substantive accomplishments for Mayor Pawlowski to run for Governor on. What makes me so angry that he might get in the race is that at this point more candidates just pollute the Democratic field.
I love a competitive primary, but after you’ve got 4 or 5 candidates in, adding more doesn’t make things more competitive, it just makes it more likely that a weak candidate like Pawlowski sneaks through. I don’t want our nominee to win with 15 or 20% of the vote, I want a big statewide mandate of 40% or more of the Democratic voters behind our nominee heading into the general election. That’s unrealistic with 5 strong candidates already announced, so we certainly don’t need any more getting in now.
Have your fun this fall, Jack Wagner and Ed Pawlowski, but anybody not polling higher than 10% in January seriously needs to drop out.