Meet the Real Tricia Mezzacappa

West Easton Borough Council member and blogger Matt Dees has published a post entitled “Meet the Real Tricia Mezzacappa.” It includes an email from her to him in which she concludes, “Have a nice day faggot! is that what your DD-214 says?”A “DD 214” is…

MDJ Race: Challenge to Nick Englesson’s Nomination Petition to Be Heard Today

Bethlehem Attorney Nick Englesson would like to be a Magisterial District Judge in the Pembroke Village area of Bethlehem and Freemansburg, along with part of the City’s south side. He filed a nomination petitions to get on the ballot as a Democrat and…

Terrence Miller Fights To Remain on Easton City Council Ballot

Terrence MillerTerrence Miller has been a grass roots activist since long before there was even grass. Articulate and involved, Miller has claimed that Easton is a “tale of  two cities.” There’s a thriving downtown with a food court and a farmer’s…

Exec John Brown: County’s Pension Up 7.9% in 2016

NorCo Exec John Brown reported to Council last night that the County’s pension finished 2016 with $357.9 million, a 7.9% increase in just one year. That pension is now 87% funded.  The County also has an OPEB fund, which is up 8.4% He also indicat…

Morganelli Continues to Professionalize DA’s Staff

NorCo DA John Morganelli is something of an enigma. When he first became DA, he had 13 part-time assistant DAs on his staff. Now these are political plums he could hand out to lawyers who could help him get elected to other offices. But instead of enga…

Judge Dally Has "The Look" Down

They must teach this in judge school. I remember Judge Craig Dally when he was still a Democrat. Even after he made the mistake of becoming a Republican and a State Rep, he was always a very easy going guy. He still has a good heart, as evidenced by hi…

NorCo’s Problem Solving Courts Gets an Administrator

Stephanie SpencerJudicial Law Clerk Stephanie Spencer was approved by Northampton County Council last night, in a 8-1 vote, to a new hybrid role as both a law clerk to Judge Craig Dally as well as the Problem Solving Courts Administrator. Though there …

Clear Sailing For Ann Marie Panella

Though Charles E Bellis III filed a nomination petition for Palmer Township Supervisor, he has chosen to allow a challenge (you can read it here) filed by prominent Easton Attorney Theresa Hogan to go unanswered.  He failed to appear for a he…

Sultana Asks Judge Dally, "Just Give Me a Chance."

Sultana (left) with Bethlehem City Council member Olga NegronThough Ryan Hall is the named Objector to Taiba Sultana’s nomination petition on Easton City Council, there’s no doubt that the driving force behind the complaint is her opponent, Sandra Vulc…

Nominations of Four NorCo and Three Allentown Candidates Under Siege

Taiba Sultana

The Morning Call has reported on several nomination petition challenges filed in Lehigh County,and I am going to tell you about four challenges filed in Northampton County, which are scheduled to be heard today. Before I get to that,  I thought it might be helpful to explain the process

If you’d like to serve in local office, the process starts with what is known as a nomination petition If you’d like to get on the GOP ballot for NorCo Council, you need signatures from 250 registered Republicans who live in the county. If you’re running for a nonpartisan office like school board or magisterial district judge, you will need registered Republicans to sign one petition and registered Democrats to sign another.

For smaller offices like a borough council slot, it’s relatively easy to get ten good signatures. But for County Council, getting 250 signatures can be tough. But for Philly City Council, you need 1,000 signatures, all of them gathered in the dead of Winter. To lighten the load, both parties have … well … parties at which everyone comes and signs for everyone else. In some larger counties, candidates will actually pay for valid signatures.

Last Tuesday (March 7) was the final date for municipal candidates to their file nomination petitions. They also have to dig into their own pockets and pay cash or write out a check to file. Even Executive John Brown was required to write out a $100 check payable to the county. I actually had to lend money to a candidate, and a Republican no less, who forgot to bring money.

All election officials will do is make sure you have the requisite number of signatures. They will also make sure that you filed your Statement of Financial Interests.

After that, it’s a one-week waiting game to see of anyone will challenge a nomination petition. Other candidates for the same position will scour through the signatures and look for problems. Objections to all nomination petition were on November 14, but that deadline was extended one day because of  Nor’Easter Stella.

Nomination challenges must be decided quickly so that the elections registrar can prepare a ballot. There is a strong judicial interest in favor of letting the voters decide. “The Election Code should be construed liberally ‘so as to not deprive an individual of his right to run for office, or the voters of their right to elect a candidate of their choice.’” Rick Orloski once said voters should decide elections, not judges. But our tribunals are downright anal about some things like the statement of financial interest. If that is filed in the wrong place or a day late, it is fatal to a campaign.

As of 4 pm yesterday, there were four challenges filed in Northampton County against the nomination petitions filed by Magisterial District Judge candidate Nick Englesson, Easton City council candidate Terrence Miller, Easton City Council candidate Taiba Sultana and Palmer Tp Supervisor candidate Charles Bellis III.

Magisterial District Judge candidate Nick Englesson. – This objection was filed by Allentown Attorney Ron Clever on behalf of Joe Garcia and Pat Romig-Passaro. According to this complaint, Nick signed off as circulator, but someone else did the actual signature gathering. Clever argues that Engesson should therefore be denied a spot on the ballot. (Jon Whittington is behind this, and he has a very difficult task.)

Easton City Council candidate Terrence Miller. – This objection was filed by Bethlehem Attorney Vic Scomillio on behalf of Richard Bader. According to Scomillio, over half of the signatures obtained by Hand are not registered voters, live outside the district or belong to another party. (Jim Edinger is behind this challenge, and the onus is on him).

Easton City Council candidate Taiba Sultana. – This objection was also filed by Bethlehem Attorney Vic Scomillio, this time on behalf of Ryan Hall. According to Easton’s Home Rule Charter, “Only those who are and have been for at least one (1) year registered voters of the City shall be eligible to hold the office of Council Member or Mayor.” Since Sultana only registered in Easton in February, she is therefore ineligible, claims Scomillio. She may be ineligible to “hold” the office, but she could argue she is certainly eligible to run. If elected, she would be unable to “hold” the seat until February 2018. There would be at most a 30-day vacancy. Sandra Vulcano, who really should call it quits after 10,000 years in office, needs that City Council job so she can sell pens and palm cards to other candidates who don’t need them.)

Palmer Tp Supervisor candidate Charles Bellis III.- This objection was filed by Easton Attorney Theresa Hogan on behalf of Ruthann Arras.Hogan’s chief objection appears to be Bellis’ use of the nickname “Zeke.” She does not really object to Bellis. This is the sole objection that seems innocuous.

Nomination challenges can backfire, even if you win. Ask Cindy Miller, who challenged Marc Grammes in the state house race last year. She looked like such a jerk that, even though she won the challenge, she lost the primary.

In the Lehigh County races, Nat Hyman’s fingerprints are all over the Republican Mayoral challenges. Hyman’s mouthpiece, Larry Otter, has already called Luiz Garcia, an Allentown police officer, a “knucklehead.” That prompted another challenged GOP Mayoral candidate to come to Garcia’s defense. “Quite frankly, even though I’m his opponent, I admire the guy for stepping up and going for it,” said Pez on Robert Trotner’s Facebook page.

Courtney Robinson, who considers himself a Dem operative and now wears suits and is a big boy, has challenged John Rosario. The Jenn Mann – Charlie Thiehl- Pete Schweyer- Schlossberg cabal want someone on City council to do their bidding.