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Tea Party Republicans to Challenge Incumbents

Three announced they are running for the BASD school board.

Three Tea Party Republicans announced their candidacies for Bethlehem Area School Board at a press conference Tuesday evening.

In front of about two dozen supporters and members of the press, Sam Mele, Kenneth Barreto and Randy Toman said they will be running on a fiscally conservative platform.

Taxes are too high, and there is little academic achievement to show for it, all three said.

“That's my main reason for running,” said Mele, a longtime local resident and owner of an independent sales business. “I can do a better job. There's no reason for taxes to be what they are.”

A graduate of the BASD, Mele said the district doesn't consider costs to the taxpayer.

“There is no reason for the Bethlehem Area School District to feel the taxpayer has to pay for everything,” he said.

Barreto, a recent military veteran and current corrections officer at Lehigh County Prison said he became concerned with the state of local government, particularly the school board when he returned from overseas.

“I would like to focus on...no new taxes,” he said, adding that he feels district employees need to do more and work harder. The level of bureaucracy needs to be reduced within the school district because it is not only wasteful, but confusing, he said.

“If the citizen can't understand it, I can't understand it,” Barreto said.

Absent due to illness, Toman represented his views with a letter he recently distributed, which outlined his views, similar to his running mates.

Also on hand were previously-announced Bethlehem City Council Tea Party Republican candidates Al Bernotas and Tom Carroll, who spoke briefly. Both echoed the same themes as the school district director candidates—that the current city council needs more fiscal conservatism, that taxes are too high and that the local government needs to be more transparent.

“It's fiscal mismanagement,” said Carroll. “The city council just rubberstamps.”

Bernotas was even more critical.

“They're going to tax people out of their homes, just like the Bethlehem Area School District, and we've got to stop it,” he said.

The third Bethlehem City Council Tea Party Republican candidate, Tony Simao, was attending the evening's city council meeting, running mates said.

 Websites have been set up for all three city council candidates and Baretto. Toman and Mele said they welcome being contacted at their respective email addresses.

Kenneth Barreto – www.kennethbarreto.com

Sam Mele – smele@stantonsales.com

Randy Toman – challenger.randy.toman.school.bd@gmail.com

Al Bernotas – www.bernotasforcouncil.com

Tom Carroll – www.tomcarrollforcouncil.com

Tony Simao - www.simaoforcouncil.com

Bethlehem Watchdog April 11, 2011 at 10:18 PM
Maybe we should ask him if he can balance a checkbook and/or use a calculator.
Bethlehem Watchdog April 11, 2011 at 10:38 PM
I'd still like to know how anyone can take your comments seriously on stories about Bethlehem when you live in NYC. Mr. Geeting, you keep making very obvious personal attacks on a man for blogging his views of Federal policy issues. These have nothing to do with how he will impact the BASD as a local government entity. The thing that truly matters is if any of the candidates mentioned in this story can come up with ways to cut the waste in the budget so that people aren't driven into foreclosure. While you continuously trumpet your belief that there is no inflation, I and others keep telling you that you're wrong. People are struggling, and you are the one muddying the waters with your dated political tactics of diversion and deflection from the true issue at hand. Nobody cares if President Obama (you can't even bring yourself to use his proper title from what I see) was born here or not. We the voters are worried about how we'll pay our next tax bill so that we don't loose our homes, all the while making certain to have enough money for gasoline to get to work. That is the issue everyone cares about. You have a blog, and that is your point of view of the world. I don't agree with your view of life and I don't agree with Randy Toman's either. But at least he's honest about his beliefs and doesn't attack anyone the way you do; he's trying to be part of the solution while you're doing nothing more than playing games of political division.
Jon Geeting April 12, 2011 at 12:18 AM
You obviously care about his birth certificate. Your first response was to ask whether I had personally inspected his birth certificate or not. Therefore, you clearly think there's at least some reason to doubt that Barack Obama is lying about being born in America. On the contrary, I think Mr. Toman's quasi- religious anti-tax views have plenty to do with how he would make decisions as a member of the BASD. Look, the Governor irresponsibly handed down state government debt to the BASD, equal to 20% of their budget. The right question for a school board member to be asking in this environment is "how do we maintain the same quality of educational outcomes for students?" not "how do I cut school taxes?" That would be extremely irresponsible, and yet that is what Mr. Toman says he wants to do. It's absurd to think you would cut taxes in response to a 20% budget shortfall. Once again, you are the one who is wrong about inflation. (http://on.wsj.com/gPJp5F) The recent rise in headline inflation is not the result of an overheating economy (http://econ.st/g1NOyn) The metric that matters to the Federal Reserve is core inflation. There are very good reasons to use core inflation. (http://econ.st/hbKKZO) The Fed should not raise interest rates until after a period of above-target inflation, around 3-4%, to soak up the idle capacity. The biggest problem is still idle capacity. Finally, if you think Randy Toman isn't a political bomb thrower, you haven't read his blog.
Bethlehem Watchdog April 12, 2011 at 11:34 AM
There you go calling names again. You know for a fact that you're wrong, that's why you keep trying to deflect to the "birther" issue. I also said you were an expert on the Fed and that you have proof that Chistianity was not the basis for this great country. Political bomb thrower? Seems like you would fit that description better than most.
Bob Bobbs April 21, 2011 at 12:49 AM
I wonder if Randy Toman is an actual home owner in bethlehem? His address in the property records doesnt come back to a property in his name, so does that make him a renter? Nothing against renters, but who the hell is a renter to sit there on his high horse and bitch about taxes when he appears not to be invested in the city?!?! I am as conservative as the next guy but you cant show up at the eleventh hour and lob in grenades without offering suggestions for change that isnt "kill all the teachers". Makes me sad to be a conservative when this moron of a governor takes on the schools first, forcing them to do his dirty work, without touching the rest of the states overdrawn economy.

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