Candidate Night At Shiloh Manor Tuesday April 18, 2023

Sponsored by South Side Civic Association

Last night, I was invited to speak at a Candidate Night sponsored by the South Side Civic Association.  In full transparency, I would like to include my speech as written for the public to view and learn more about my platform.

Good evening, everyone.  My name is Peter Melan, and I am running for Mayor of Easton PA.  I currently serve on city council as an at large representative since being elected in 2015.  I formerly chaired public safety and now chair the administration committee.

In my term on council, I have brought a wealth of knowledge to our city.  One of my initiatives was to integrate a public notification system called Nixle which has now been retired and replaced with what I believe to be nothing since I am not aware of anyone receiving communications from our city officials unless it’s on Facebook or Instagram.

I have also offered a different way to think as a government official.  I wouldn’t’ have thought a master’s degree in public administration meant something but to me, it helped me understand local government and how it functions.  My degree also brought a deeper knowledge into budgeting, transparency, and the ability to resolve conflicts with other representatives.  Unfortunately, some of us are unable to set aside our differences and we are forced to behave inappropriately when confronted with difficult questions or awkward encounters.

But I’d like to focus on my platform and outline some of my priorities in front of you today.  As you may know, our downtown thrives with restaurants, retail stores, and new housing.  Our neighborhoods want the same thing.  As I walk around the neighborhood, I hear residents ask why the south side can’t have a food festival or why can’t we have nicer facilities for children who participate in youth sports.  Just the other day I saw a post on social media about why all the attention was given to an athletic facility and now that the ice maker broke, there is no money to fix it.  A commercial ice maker I found cost less than $3k yet a call for action to my opponent and his administration asking for help was left unanswered. 

One of my other priorities is to really engage in neighborhood equality.  I’ve been hearing all this talk about increasing affordable housing and that the city has increased its supply with a recently launched project on West Lincoln Street.  What’s sad about this project is that I had a resident reach out to me with a letter showing her rent increased from $340 to $1,618.  I have a copy of the letter here if anyone wants to see it with the tenant’s name redacted for privacy purposes.  Speaking words of affordable housing are empty without action.  Neighborhood equality with an emphasis on increasing affordable housing requires a concerted effort from all of us, and not just a bunch of suits who throw the words around for political points with constituents.

We also need to focus on promoting economic development in all areas of the city.  I remember sitting here and listening to everyone offer suggestions on how to keep a bank located on the south side.  A bank is vital to our residents but what about educating residents on how to use mobile banking or classes on personal financing at the neighborhood center?  It is important to come up with creative approaches to the incoming challenges in a future where people in suits who are in faraway offices make decisions that cause negative impacts on our great city.

As mayor, I will be able to change the status quo and change the static thinking that is leaving us unprepared for the challenges ahead. The time for change is now.  Thank you for your time this evening.