The January CEPTA meeting started off with a Pledge of Allegiance to a special American Flag provided by our first speaker Mr. Bob Kauffman. Mr. Kauffman is a very distinguished Emmaus resident and veteran of World War II. During his service Mr. Kauffman received two Purple Hearts for being wounded twice in battle, and a Bronze Star for serving our Country with valor. Mr. Kauffman gave a moving talk and showed an inspirational video which was filmed in the Memorial cemeteries and beaches of Normandy, France. Mr. Kauffman provided his account for the importance of remembering all soldiers, from all wars, that made the ultimate sacrifice for our Country. During one of Mr. Kauffman's trips back to Normandy to pay his respects to his fallen brothers, Mr. Kauffman was asked to participate in a solemn ritual called “The Lowering of the Colors”. After the ritual, Mr. Kauffman was presented with the American Flag that had flown over the graves of the more than 9,000 American soldiers who lost their lives and are buried there. We were honored to have Mr. Kauffman start our meeting with the “Pledge of Allegiance” utilizing this hallowed flag and are grateful to have had the opportunity to hear his account of the sacrifice made by these great men. To see the presentation made by Mr. Kauffman, please visit the following link: www.epcat.us
Our next topic was a discussion by Lehigh County Commissioners Mr. Scott Ott and Mr. Michael Schware about the topic "referendum vs. representative voting". Mr. Ott and Mr. Schware explained that with a referendum the taxpayers have a direct vote on a measure. In contrast, our current representative system of government allows our duly elected representative to cast the vote on our behalf. Points brought up included: 1) With a representative government, the minority has a stronger voice and is protected from being steam rolled by the majority; 2) Private enterprise has more money and time, will it be easier for them to influence a few public officials or run a marketing campaign to influence taxpayers in a referendum vote?; 3) If decisions are made via a referendum, how will citizens be able to fund an educational campaign to counter the corporations or developers looking for "free money" from government?; 4) Timing issues of when the referendum questions should happen, during the primary or general election? Typically primary elections have much lower voter turnout compared to the general election.
The two Commissioners not only answered questions relating to referendum vs. representative voting, but they also opened the floor to any questions about Lehigh County. Other topics discussed were; Tax Increment Financing (TIF) like the proposed “Hamilton Crossing Mall”; Neighborhood Improvement zones (NIZ) like the Allentown Hockey Arena; the Green Futures Fund; the Lehigh County budget deficit spending concerns and more. Mr. Schware and Mr. Ott also discussed how the County affects local government decisions. There was a lively discussion on all these topics with a lot of good information shared that will help the taxpayer formulate their opinions on their local and Lehigh County governments.
This program can be viewed on a host site www.epcat.us.
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