Sadly though, Allentown is a political wasteland. It's city council has not one, but multiple appointed members. When it had an open State House seat, not only was the seat unopposed in the fall, it was unopposed in the primary. Chances are, the new seat will be too. This would not happen in a major city anywhere in the country, but it does here. It's State Senate seat is actually represented by a Republican, making it the biggest city in the state to be so. All this in a city of so much political potential- they supplied President Obama with the votes to give him a larger margin in Lehigh County than Northampton County. I mean none of this to attack the people who actually do run and win (most of them are great), I'm saying this about the overall situation though- there's not enough civic engagement. The Republican Party doesn't exist anymore in this city, like many other, and yet the Democratic Party in the city isn't producing lots of candidates, or attempting to bring in enough new voters, as it should be.
I won't say this has lead to failed government, but I won't say it's helped either. My opinion on Mayor Pawlowski is mixed, with me taking a positive view of his getting the arena project off the ground, but taking a negative view of some of the troubles he had with it, and taking a really negative view of his handling of the Water Authority sale. I'll break with Jon Geeting and say that under these special circumstances, i'm for a referendum. In fact, i'm increasingly for it, and Allentown's a great test case. A non-representative government, selling off essential public services seems to be where the line gets drawn. Water is necessary for life, and seems to be one of the areas I'm not for letting the private market take over. This should be stopped.
I think Allentown's a great town. I just think it's politics stink right now.