girl-scout-red-flag-sash-scouting1921 Honoring one’s social obligations is not always convenient but as my mother used to say, “Good manners is what separates us from lesser creatures”.  (My mother was one-of-a-kind)

Tonight, despite lots of work and a pressing deadline, such an obligation required my attendance, so I washed off the writer’s grime of the past few days, covered the sleep-deprived circles under my eyes with makeup, and went off to the Girl Scout “Take The Lead” dinner at Lehigh Country Club.

The evening began with a reception that included the usual sponsor thank you remarks, followed by a group of really cute little Girl Scouts singing a song. The entire time all this was going on, Allentown’s Mayor Ed Pawlowski sat in the middle of the room, not in the back or off to the side, reading his Blackberry…other than when his and his wife’s name were called, he never looked up once.

Call me old fashioned but I think when you’re in the room, you should also be in the moment…we’re only talking about a span of 15 minutes.

Once seated for dinner, the color guard marched to the stage, presented the flags, and everyone rose to say the Pledge of Allegiance and to sing God Bless America. It was right at about “Land that I love” that Mr. & Mrs. Mayor got up and walked out. Yes, you read this correctly. They couldn’t wait two minutes till the song ended. They got up from their table in the center front of the room and walked out.

When the emcee began to acknowledge the politicos who were in attendance, and the Mayor was no where to be found, the woman said, “Oh someone just told me he had to go to a city council meeting”. She looked perplexed when some people started laughing.

It’s a shame my mother is not here; She could make a lot of money as a consultant to politicians who obviously have no concept of “good manners”…or good politics either.    

10 thoughts on “A Quick Observation From The Peanut Gallery”

  1. “Pat”

    I was actually surprised myself. I’m no fan of Ed Pawlowski’s but this level of insensitivity and tone-deafness did come as a surprise; for it’s lack of political savvy if for no other reason. Several hundred people watched him leave in the middle of a patriotic song. You’ve got to be really self-absorbed to not realize how that is going to look.

  2. Thank you for having the courage to comment on this shameful display by an elected public official.

    What a wonderful example our dear Mayor sets, with so many things.

    You will now be chopped to bits, but you knew that when you posted this.

  3. Rolf,

    I walk a fine line on this blog between being a citizen and being a journalist.
    As a citizen I thought about whether to post this, however as a writer I felt this was an insightful look at the mindset of an elected official, and in the end, the responsibility to “inform” far outweighs any personal considerations.

    And besides, I used to be involved in politics which taught me that being “chopped to bits” by the minions of the opposition confirms I’ve hit a nerve.

  4. pam
    big deal!! this is the new millenium. everything is rush rush do 5 things at once. That is the way life is. Wishing it were not,is showing your age. I am NO fan of MR ED ,but this is knit picking. I also get that MR ED dosen’t attend city council meetings (which is totally wrong) but if the charter dosen’t require it ,it needs to be changed.

    1. Observer,

      I would expect someone with your background to take a broader view on the importance “the press” plays, with that term being loosely defined in this era of new media, in the character analysis of our public officials. The observations I posted are certainly not “news”, nor will they affect public policy, but they remain valid as insight into the character and modus operandi of someone who hold elected office.

      As for the mayor’s well-known aversion to city council meetings, that comment has nothing to do with the law and everything to do with using something that is so blatantly false as an excuse. He would have been better served if the emcee had announced he had to leave for a child’s piano recital.

  5. Pam-

    Unfortunately, everything that you described from his detachment from the proceedings (Blackberry use) to leaving at an inappropriately early point (during the Pledge) is part and parcel to the overall decline of public civility in this society. We have fallen so far and so fast since our parent’s day it is frightening. The Mayor is just one step above the lout who carries on a loud cell phone conversation in public places, annoying all around him and the dolt who talks or makes incessent noise in a movie theater. And here’s the kicker – he’s the Mayor of PA’s third largest city! From the “perception is reality” viewpoint, no wonder Allentown appears broken.


  6. Mark,

    Thank you for the well written and well thought out comment. One need only look at what is being offered to the American public on television to realize how far we’ve fallen. Civility, respect, good manners, are no longer considered the hallmark of someone who is qualified to lead. My husband refuses to go a movie theater because of the behavior you’re sure to encounter. People refuse to turn off their cell phones, even in church. It’s reassuring to know at least one other person out there has made the same observations.

  7. Pam-

    Here’s what today’s young people have before them, in public as possible role models – Elliot Spitzer (the prostitute using governor/lawman), Barry Bonds and Alez Rodriguez (the steroid cheating, lying) baseball players, presidents who lie to get us involved in wars or who lie when confronted about misdeeds (W. Bush, Clinton), financial experts like Bernard Madoff,the Enron group, bankers who talk people with $35,000 annual salaries into $450,000 mortgages, the beauties at Goldman Sachs, and Tiger Woods. Is it any wonder that our local headlines read “Local church treasurer accused of embezzlement”, “Local kennel operator accused of abuse and neglect”, “Local lawyer accused of swindling his brother’s estate” and so on?

    Charles Barkley once tried to explain his bad behavior by saying that “I’m not paid to be no role model”. It’s obvious that we cannot depend on Mr. Barkley but with as many single parent families in our midst, we can no longer assume that parents are role models.

    God help us.


  8. Well if anyone knows The Mayor, one knows this is not uncommon behavior. Overall it seems to be his exaggerated sense of self importance. Kind of like a legend in his own mind.

    Many of his cronies do the same thing. They are there, but they are not there, which may explain why the city is in the state it is. More importantly it reinforces whose agenda is more important.

    We are told it is the city and the people of Allentown but it really is not. It is the Mayors personal political agenda that is most important.

    The good folks of The City of Allentown voted him in. It is what it is.

    But much more frightening is, if someone says something contentious about the mayor, a proverbial witch hunt ensues. Again a common practice of his cronies as well and another example of his total lack of respect for the people of Allentown.

    You either are on the his side or on what he perceives being the dark side. AKA as political paranoia that can only be staved off by constant attention to a flood of emails coming through the Blackberry supporting the illusion of control.

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