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Cedarbrook battle: do some county commissioners candidates want to sell?

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 16 2011 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 17 2011 04:42:25 PM CDT

Is Lehigh County looking to unload a nursing home?
Depends who you ask.

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. -

Is Lehigh County looking to unload a nursing home?
Depends who you ask.
Democrats running for county commissioner say Republicans want to sell Cedarbrook nursing home.
But Republicans say not true!
The Democratic candidates held a news conference here at Cedarbrook Monday afternoon to talk about the Republican plan.
Republican candidates say what plan?
“We are not running as a slate, but on this one issue we are united in our reasons for wanting to maintain Cedarbrook operating as it is currently," said Democratic Commissioner candidate Tim Waitkus.
Democrats say the public needs to know what Republicans want to do with Cedarbrook Nursing home in South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County.
“A number of the Republican candidates have made it clear that either they intend to sell Cedarbrook or they would seriously look at selling Cedarbrook if they are elected," said Lehigh County Democratic Committee chairman Rick Daugherty.
Republicans say that is not the case.
Back during the primary election candidates were asked about a private company running the nursing home.
Republicans Scott Ott, Vic Mazziotti and Lisa Scheller answered yes.
"As a general principal the private sector does a better job of running things better than the public sector does, but that wasn't saying we wish to sell it," said Republican Commissioner candidate Scott Ott.
Ott says he thinks that this is just politics with just three weeks to the general election.
Democrats say they feel this will be fact, if the Republican candidates are elected.
"Why would you want to put it in somebody's hands, who are out of the area, they don't know the culture, it just doesn't make sense,” said Democratic incumbent Gloria Hamm.
"Well if you had five hundred people say that it wouldn't make any difference," said Ott. "You can't evaluate truth based on the number of people who assert it. Especially if all five of those people happen to have an interest in seeing us defeated in the election."
Both sides agree that the nursing home is adding more than $1 million to the county budget.