Straw Poll Tomorrow in Harrisburg Begins the Short-List Process for Tredyffrin Resident Carol Aichele

Chester County Commissioner and Tredyffrin Township resident Carol Aichele is on the candidate list of Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor hopefuls. She is on a list that includes as many as a dozen Republican candidates who have expressed an interest in Pennsylvania’s second-in-command position.  How does a candidate try to position his or herself as a frontrunner as the candidates start to look ahead to the May primary. . . ?

The GOP is holding six non-binding straw polls throughout the commonwealth starting tomorrow in Harrisburg. All meetings will take place before the February 13 state Republican Party Committee when historically an endorsed candidate is announced along with a US Senate and gubernatorial candidate.

 There is some talk that with such a long list of candidates the solution could be an open primary on May 18.  However, tomorrow the non-binding straw poll will begin to help the State GOP sort out their favorites among the large pool of hopefuls, all jockeying for frontrunner positioning.

Here is the latest list of the top 10 GOP Lieutenant Governor candidates.  State Rep Tom Killion of Delaware County was on the Republican candidate list for Lieutenant Governor but dropped out of the race today. 

Carol Aichele, Chester County Commissioner
Chet Beiler, Lancaster County
Jim Cawley, Bucks County
Russ Diamond, Lebanon County, reform activist
Nick DiFranceso,  Dauphin County Commissioner
Steve Johnson, York; founder/CEO of Homecheck, Inc.
John Kennedy, Cumberland County
Jean Craige Pepper, Erie County
Rick Schenker, Erie County executive
Joe Watkins, Philadelphia political commentator

Mr. Blue Suede Shoes Would have Turned 75 Today!

Maybe it’s because I live across the road from Chubby Checkers and have a love of ‘most’ kinds of music (mainly jazz) but I could not let today pass without a mention what many claim was the true ‘king of rock & roll’ Elvis Presley. Today would have been Elvis Presley’s 75th Birthday. A little walk down memory lane for those of you old enough to remember the ‘King’.

I was trying to figure out the tie-in of Elvis’ birthday with Community Matters and Tredyffrin Township but a friend reminded me of the obvious reason.  Each year the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust has held a spring fundraiser In the Mood.  The first year it was In the Mood. . . Jazz on the Porch & Dancin’ in the Barn and featured jazz musicians.  Last year, the theme was In the Mood . . . Bluegrass, Blue Jeans & Bar-B-Que and featured a real bluegrass band.  The decision for 2010’s In the Mood theme is Fabulous Fifties with music from the 50’s — get out your poodle skirts and dust off those blue suede shoes.  

Speaking of the Trust’s In the Mood fundraiser, it will be held in June (specific date not yet decided).  Judy DiFilippo and I will once again co-chair the event.  For all of you faithful volunteers, you will be contacted shortly and for all my new friends who would like to join this fun group, please send me an email,  Each year the great evening has been held in a barn.  So the next question, are there any barn owners out there who would like to help us this year?  Again, contact me and I will give you the details.

What better way to honor Elvis than to announce the Trust’s In the Mood . . . Fabulous Fifties spring fundraiser on his birthday!

Tredyffrin Township Neighbor Raising Taxes for the First Time in 30 Years . . . to Help with Open Land and Historic Preservation Protection

I read an interesting article in yesterday’s Daily Local about one of our neighbors, West Pikeland Township.  If you are not sure where West Pikeland is located — this is the location of Chester Springs and historic Yellow Springs in the Rt. 113 area.   This is a township that is very protective of open space (West Pikeland Land Trust) and historic preservation (historic Yellow Springs on Art School Road). 

West Pikeland Township has increased its land ownership significantly over the last 10 years.  The township made a lot of modifications/improvements in the township to satisfy the residents and help the local non-profits, particularly historic preservation.  Due to increased open land purchases, a lot of revenue was lost.  The township does not have large developments and therefore does not have developers helping with parks and services and no homeowner fees to maintain the parks, etc.  This is interesting information because back in November when West Pikeland Township’s Board of Supervisors were discussing the 2010 budget, the community’s residents not only applauded their approval of a motion to increase the property’s taxes but also encouraged the supervisors to raise them higher!

This week the West Pikeland Board of Supervisors voted to reopen the township’s budget in order to increase taxes once again.  The board will increase taxes for the first time in approximately 30 years when it moved from 0.125 up to 0.2 mills.  But the plan now is to move the tax rate to 0.5 mills, quadrupling the 2009 tax rate.  The motion to reopen the budget and increase taxes will be used specifically for maintenance and infrastructure in the township.  Although the supervisors recognized that these are difficult times, it was also recognized by supervisors that taxes have not been increased in 30 years.  The community residents openly supports continued open land purchases and contributions to preserving historic resources but it is understood that there is also a cost to maintain the township’s infrastructure.  Residents currently pay between $30 and $40 per year in property taxes in West Pikeland on the average. Now they will pay between $120 and $160.  I know, I know, their property taxes are very low but I am still fascinated that because West Pikeland Board of Supervisors and residents hold open land purchase and historic preservation protection in such high regard, that they will applaud a tax increase that will essentially quadruple the 2009 rate.  As an aside, the township cuts its expenses by 10% in the initial budget process.

I offer this as interesting local information on a neighboring municipality. Historic Yellow Springs and the surrounding West Pikeland area offers some of the most beautiful Chester County vistas.