Pennsylvania Voter Registration Deadline Approaching

The deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania’s upcoming primary election is a month away. Individuals must register with the state by April 19 to be allowed to vote in the election, which will be held on May 18. In order to vote in a primary election in Pennsylvania, voters must be registered with a political party, and can only vote in the primary for that party. All registered electors are allowed to vote on ballot questions and on special elections held simultaneously with the primaries. For information and forms to register to vote or to change your party affiliation, click here.

Public Invitation Includes Speakers Gerlach, Toomey and Kampf . . . but Where’s Buckwalter?

A friend gave me a public invitation she received in today’s mail.  Here was a part of the invitation:

Come and Hear:

Congressman
Jim Gerlach

Tredyffrin Supervisor and State Representative candidate
Warren Kampf

Plus a Surprise Speaker!

Sponsored by Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee http://www.ttgop.com

 I am puzzled and confused by this invitation.  On February 20th,  both the Democrats and the Republicans held their nominating conventions and I wrote about both of the conventions.   For the State House Representative 157, incumbent Paul Drucker was endorsed by the Democrat Party.  However, at the Chester County Republican Convention neither Warren Kampf nor Ken Buckwalter were endorsed by the party.  After three rounds of voting (Round #3, Kampf 29 – Buckwalter 27)  the decision was to recommend, not endorse either candidate.  To receive the party’s endorsement would have required one of the candidates to receive 60% of the votes.  To read about the Chester County Republican Committee vote which I posted, click here.

So then I look at this invitation and wonder to myself if the TTGOP is sponsoring this public event in a public place (the event will be at the Strafford Library, April 12, 7-9 PM) a couple of things jumped out at me.  First thing, I wondered was where was Ken Buckwalter’s name?  Warren Kampf is recommended (just like Ken) and this is sponsored by the local Republican party, so shouldn’t both of their names appear on the invitation? Shouldn’t Ken have the same opportunity as Warren to speak at this public forum?  Was this a simple oversight . . . a miss-step . . . or what?   The opportunity to participate in this forum should be open to both candidates.  If Warren had been endorsed by the party, this would be a different matter but he was recommended, just as was Ken.  I think that Ken should be included and given the same opportunity to participate; level the playing field.

Then the next question I have about the invitation is re Jim Gerlach.  Is this invitation intended to imply that Gerlach has endorsed Warren Kampf?  That’s the way it reads to me but I don’t recall seeing a press release to that effect. Has Gerlach endorsed Kampf?  Did Gerlach OK this invitation?  Does Gerlach know that Ken Buckwalter was not included?  For the sake of party unity, I would think that Gerlach would want to treat both candidates fairly until the primary.

Now my third comment on this invitation, I was curious who the ‘surprise speaker’ was?  I did some checking around — and was able to track down the surprise speaker — Pat Toomey.  Very interesting . . . I wonder if Gerlach was told about the surprise speaker?  Interesting trio of speakers – Gerlach, Toomey and Kampf.  Comments anyone?  Do you agree that Ken Buckwalter should be asked to join this group on April 12 and given an opportunity to speak?

A Couple of Political Points of Interest . . .

I found a couple of interesting political notes in the last couple of days . . .

On the Republican side:  Phoenixville Councilman Ken Buckwalter (R) who is running in the Pennsylvania State House 157 primary race, has received an endorsement from longtime friend Ed Shanaughy.  You may not know Ed personally but I bet that you know his restaurant – Our Deli in Paoli (with the large steer out front).  Ed served as president of Paoli Fire Company for 35 years, recently stepping down (John Beatty is now president) to become the fire company’s Chairman of the Board.  As a Director of Paoli Business and Professional Association, Ed serves with me on the Board as Director Emeritus.  

Both Ken and Ed are local small business owners and have known each other for 30 years; in fact Ken attributes some of his early success with Buckwalter Framing to Ed’s support.  Ken Buckwalter stated in his press release,

To have his [Ed Shanaughy] endorsement is gratifying.  I had stated at the candidate interviews in early February that I live in one major end of the district and have done business for many years in the other.  I am well-known throughout, and my public service is largely without controversy.”

On the Democrat side:  I found this next political tidbit an interesting sidebar on the local Pennsylvania Senate primary race,  Senator Arlen Specter (D) vs. Congressman Joe Sestak (D).  Yesterday in a press release, Specter claimed that Sestak does not pay all his campaign staffers a living wage, or even the minimum wage, unless they are a member of his family.  Specter’s report shows Sestak employees receiving what appears to be far less than the minimum wage.  The response from Sestak’s camp is that those are all part-time employees who split their time; people who work 10 percent of their time for the campaign. 

In a second press release today, Specter called for Sestak to clarify the reports, or turn himself into the authorities for violating minimum wage law requirements. Sestak’s email response to Specter’s latest pronouncement,

“It’s a shame with the enormous challenges facing our country that Senator Specter is spending his time working on this, rather than focusing on getting our economy in shape or reforming our healthcare system. This kind of petty diversion and focus on personal attacks is why so many people hate Washington-style politics.”

St. Davids Golf Club Decision Reversed but, . . . Was There Full Disclosure, Transparency, Deal-Making?

I went to last night’s Board of Supervisors meeting convinced that the residents of this community had been heard by our elected officials. I was certain that the supervisors were listening to us when we spoke out at previous Board meetings, wrote passionate letters to the editor, emails to the supervisors and left thoughtful comments on this blog. Last night I entered Keene Hall confident that the energy from so many would pay off, that justice would prevail, and good government would be restored in Tredyffrin Township.

I had heard scuttlebutt about some ‘deal-making’ before the supervisors meeting began but I was not prepared for what was to come. Chairman Lamina read his very lengthy prepared St. Davids Golf Club motion. The motion started out well, stating that its passage would reverse the supervisors’ decision of January 25 and restore the St. Davids Golf Club escrow. That should have been the end of the motion. Was that not the intended purpose of the motion . . . was that not what the public had asked . . . to restore the escrow? But no, Lamina took a breath and launched in to the other part of the motion; this motion would additionally include the formation of a subcommittee to look at sidewalks and trails township-wide; this ‘sidewalk’ subcommittee would include members from the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission and STAP (Sidewalks, Trails and Paths); and there would be focus groups formed to discuss the location of sidewalks in the township, starting with the St. Davids area.

After Lamina completed his long-winded ‘motion’ and it was offered for discussion to audience members, I think we all struggled to ‘take in’ what we had heard. What kind of motion was this? . . . Was this just another way to protect St. Davids Golf Club from honoring their land development contract? . . . What about the rights of the Planning Commission who had consistently voted to enforce St. Davids land development commitment? . . .  What would this motion do for the precedent for developer/contractors not to comply with their contractual commitments? . . . Would this ‘sidewalk’ committee be part of the existing approved Comprehensive Plan?  Many, many questions, no answers offered.

Audience members spoke up, thanking the supervisors for reversing the escrow vote but many asked for Lamina’s motion to be split in to two motions. They suggested the first motion should be for the return of the St. Davids Golf Club escrow, followed by a second motion to create the ‘sidewalks’ subcommittee. The supervisors were not listening; their decision preordained. When several people asked Lamina ‘why’ not separate the motion in to two motions? His response was consistently no; that he wrote it that way. Period. Interesting to note that Kampf offered his commentary on government and making compromise. Perhaps what Kampf should have explained was that the compromise was a behind the closed-door agreement with the other supervisors, there certainly was no compromise with the citizenry. In advance of the vote, both supervisors Kichline and DiBuonaventuro offered that they would be supporting this motion. I guess that was supposed to make the residents ‘feel better’ since these two supervisors, along with Supervisor Donohue cast the 3 votes against the original motion on January 25.

A constant thread among the supervisors comments last night on St. Davids Golf Club was their desire to ‘move on’. The supervisors wanted this motion delivered, a vote taken and the ability to put St. Davids Golf Club behind them.  And a vote the supervisors took; it was unanimous, 7-0 to support Lamina’s motion.

Why did I leave the meeting with the feeling that we (the public) had been manipulated and that our government had let us down? I should have felt that justice was served and our government policy and procedure restored . . . after all, the motion did include the reversal of the St. Davids decision. But no, I went home, drank 3 glasses of Pinot Grigio and reviewed what had just happened. The St. Davids discussion and motion was completely orchestrated . . . an obvious deal made in advance. Where was the transparency of the supervisor’s actions? For me transparency in government means that the citizens must be able to “see through” its workings, and to fully understand what goes on when public officials transact public business.

Transparency is the new buzz word in American politics. You hear politicians say it all the time when referring to ways of providing constituents with access to more information and mobilizing people to get more involved in government processes. Transparency is a way of protecting fairness and ensuring common good. When we know what our government is up to, we have a better chance of ensuring that decisions treat everyone equally and protect the common conditions that are important to everyone’s welfare. It was obvious that the supervisors had already debated and settled the issue of a subcommittee, prior to the Board of Supervisors meeting, outside the view of constituents. Am I the only one who is concerned over possible violations of the state’s Sunshine Act? The open meeting law bars four or more of the Board’s seven supervisors from deliberating township business or taking official action behind closed doors, with few exceptions. Why do we have to fight to keep the door open? Is it that the supervisors want the appearance of unanimity, to aim for as little contention as possible in public? When you go behind a closed-door and make decisions, the perception can be as bad as the fact.

As far as they are concerned, the Board of Supervisors may feel that with their vote last night, that St. Davids Golf Club is now past history. But for me, the issue is far from over; no they just created a whole host of new problems with their latest decision.

I can hardly wait to see this new ‘sidewalks’ subcommittee . . . knowing what the desired outcome for St. Davids Golf Club must be, the supervisors will want to make sure that Paul Olson is their representative on the committee. From the STAP committee the supervisors need to make sure that Bruce Parkinson is included on the sidewalks subcommittee; as a member of St. Davids Golf Club he would be an invaluable choice. From the Planning Commission, I am not sure who would be the politically correct choice; are any of planning commissioners also members of St. Davids? If so, make sure and let the supervisors know as that is an important selection criteria. When the Board of Supervisors is forming the public focus group for St. Davids area, they need to make sure that no one from the Mt. Pleasant community is included. As we know, Christine Johnson and her non-country club Mt. Pleasant neighbors live where that proposed St. Davids sidewalk to nowhere would have ended.

Was last night about full disclosure, transparency, deal-making? . . . you be the judge.

Chester County Democrat Committee Nominating Convention Endorses Paul Drucker in his Reelection Bid for the 157th Legislative District

I spoke with Paul Drucker last evening and extended my congratulations on his 157th Legislative District endorsement at the Chester County Democrat Committee Nominating Convention held yesterday in West Chester. 

From what I understand from those in attendance, Paul delivered a rousing speech to the audience; a speech filled with passion and enthusiasm for the work that he is currently doing in Harrisburg and a desire to continue to represent our community.  A longtime Paoli resident and a former member of Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors, as our current State Representative, Paul understands first hand the challenges and concerns of our community. The best of luck to Paul in his reelection campaign.

Chester County Democrat and Republican Nominating Conventions Being Held Today . . . Who Will Face Paul Drucker in the State House Race?

The Chester County Democrat Committee Nominating Convention is being held today in West Chester, 10 AM – 1 PM.  Petitions will be signed for senate, congressional, gubernatorial and legislative candidates. 

Also today is the endorsement process for the Chester County Republican Committee. The outcome of today’s vote will determine if there is a primary for the Republicans in the State House 157 race.  The was a straw poll held a couple of weeks ago between Warren Kampf, Judy DiFilippo and Ken Buckwalter.  As a result of the straw poll, Judy made the decision to leave the race, leaving committee people today to make a choice between Kampf and Buckwalter.  Although the outcome of the straw poll has historically given good indication of who will get the GOP endorsement, the results are unofficial and nonbinding. It will be curious to see if Kampf, the frontrunner after the straw poll receives the GOP endorsement or if Phoenixville resident Buckwalter receives it.  If a 60-40 margin is not reached among committee people, there will be no endorsement.  The next question will be whether the committee people decide to recommend one (or both) of the candidates.  If one of the candidates doesn’t receive an endorsement or recommendation, it would appear unlikely that the candidate would remain in the race.

Paul Drucker (D), the incumbent State House 157 Representative kicked off his reelection campaign this week with the opening of his Paoli Campaign office. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of this community over the past year, and I am proud of my work on issues important to residents here, from our successful efforts to increase education funding to progress on job creation and transportation, as well as the urgent need for reform in Harrisburg,” Drucker said. “While we have done some very good things together, there is much more to be done to make Harrisburg reflect the priorities of the people, and that is why I will ask the voters to give me the opportunity to continue to serve them.”

The Chester County Democrat and Republican committee process is important today for Tredyffrin residents.  By the end of the day we will know the opponent(s) for Paul Drucker in the State House 157 legislative race.  Just so everyone understands, the 157th legislative district encompasses Tredyffrin. Schuylkill, Phoenixville, and in Montgomery County – 4 precincts in Lower Providence and 1 precinct in West Norriton

Will the May Primary have both Warren Kampf and Ken Buckwalter on the ballot?  Will one of them be endorsed by the Republican Committee?  Look for an announcement later today; as soon as I know something, I will post.

St. Davids Golf Club on Agenda for Board of Supervisors Meeting . . . Lawsuit on Hold Pending Outcome of Meeting

Late yesterday, the township posted the agenda for Monday night’s Board of Supervisors Meeting, which includes St. Davids Golf Club.  Or, rather under Township Business, the agenda item actually reads, ‘St. Davids path’.  I think that this is a good first step and shows a degree of willingness on the part of the supervisors to continue the dialogue with the residents. Although I am pleased that our supervisors have agreed to add St. Davids to the agenda, for me the true test will come Monday night.  I am hopeful that the voices of this community have been heard and that the supervisors will make the right decision about St. Davids.

Along the same lines, John Petersen’s complaint against the township and Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter is now on hold; it will not be filed today.  With the addition of  St. Davids to the agenda for the Board of Supervisors meeting, John has decided to hold off filing the lawsuit until after Monday night’s meeting.  Right now we are all in the ‘wait and see’ mode until Monday night; but depending on the outcome of the Supervisors Meeting maybe a lawsuit will no longer be needed.

Community does Matter. I am excited that our voices are being heard . . . Come Monday night we will see if the supervisors are listening.  This will be an important meeting and I encourage you to attend or watch the meeting from home.

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Post Update:

Since this morning’s post, John Petersen has done an interview with Blair Meadowcroft of Main Line Suburban Life.   John reiterates his decision to put the lawsuit ‘on hold’ pending the outcome of Monday’s Board of Supervisors Meeting. To read the article, here is a link.

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We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone . . . and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.

– Sandra Day O’Connor

Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors Meeting, 2-8-10 . . . YouTube Video Part 1: The Apology of Lamina, Kampf & Richter

The Board of Supervisors Meeting on February 8 was important for many reasons. I wrote about the meeting in my post, United in their Resolve, Residents Speak Out.  Many residents attended that Board of Supervisors meeting and I know that many watched at home.  But I thought it was important to capture some of the important commentary of that evening, so my husband Jeff has kindly put together sections of the supervisors and citizens comments from that meeting and is in the process of uploading them to YouTube.  As they are uploaded I will post them on Community Matters.  I added a new page to the front-page of Community Matters,  If you look across the top, you will see a tab for YouTube Videos.  Going forward, you will be able to locate all relative videos by clicking on that tab.  Hopefully, this will make it easier for residents to review.

YouTube Part 1: Tredyffrin Township Supervisors Apologize . . . Lamina, Kampf & Richter   Supervisors Lamina, Kampf and Richter make their apologies for the vote of January 25.  Their apology is followed by citizen comment.  First to speak is Dariel Jamieson, newly elected chair of the Tredyffrin Township Democrats.  Ms. Jamieson speaks to the issue of Supervisors Olson and Lamina speaking disparagingly of Democrats in the newspaper, in emails and also at the January 25 board meeting.  Supervisor Lamina had little response for Ms. Jamieson in regards to his actions.

Tredyffrin Twp Board of Supervisors Meeting Tonight . . . St. Davids Sidewalk Issue, a Photo Essay

Tonight’s Board of Supervisors meeting is shaping up to be one for the history books.  It would appear that some of our elected officials have become entangled in quite the spider’s web.  The actions taken at the January 25 Board of Supervisors meeting, the resulting vote to return St. Davids escrow, the newspaper articles, Letters to the Editor, discussion on Community Matters, etc. have left many residents pondering the state of our local government.   

I have remained consistent in saying that the sidewalks are not the issue; however, I believe that many people probably do not understand the bigger picture and the ramifications of the Board’s actions to our township and its residents.  Having said that, I think it would be helpful for people to look at this photo essay.  Thank you to the local TTDEMs for helping the community better understand through photos and description this section of the township, which Supervisor Olson consistently refers to as ‘sidewalks to nowhere’.  A special thank you to Sean Moir for his mapping skills, which clearly show the section of the St. Davids sidewalk.

Here is the Board of Supervisors agenda for tonight’s meeting.

Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors – Some are Political Party Committee Members – is this OK? Radnor Township Says No for their Commissioners

Tredyffrin Township is governed by Home Rule Charter, and you can find a copy on the township website, www.tredyffrin.org.    With a new year, and 3 new supervisors on Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors, I was curious about something.  When someone is a committee person for a political party and is elected to serve their community, I wondered how this subject was handled under Home Rule Charter (or was it even addressed).  From my vantage point, supervisors are elected to serve all the residents, and by remaining a committee person for a particular party, I would think that there is an appearance that a political committee person would ‘lean’ in the direction of their party.  Of the 7 members of Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors, we now have 3 supervisors who are also Tredyffrin Township GOP committee members (Kampf, Kichline, Richter).  I think that Supervisor Kampf is also a PA State GOP committee member – but I’m not 100%.

I checked Tredyffrin Township’s Home Rule Charter and this subject is not addressed.  So I looked to our neighbor, Radnor Township who also uses Home Rule Charter for their local government.  I guess the residents of Radnor Township share my concern with political party committee people serving in elected positions, as they are very clear in their Home Rule Charter. Radnor Commissioners are prohibited from holding an elected or appointed political office.  The information below is cut and pasted directly from Radnor’s Home Rule Charter.  Reviewing Radnor’s regulations on elected officials holding political party office, I was also interested in their ‘Conflict of Interest’ section (also included below).  Reading this,  I am wondering if Radnor Township’s Commissioners would have been permitted (under their ‘Home Rule Charter’) to solicit to businesses on behalf of Radnor Fire Company?  Interesting question, don’t you think?

From Radnor Township’s Home Rule Charter

§ 21.9-904. Prohibitions.

 A. The activities which follow shall be prohibited in the operation of the Township government.

   1. Discrimination. No person shall, in his employment by the Township in any capacity, appointment to any Board, Commission, or Authority, or removal therefrom, be favored or discriminated against because of age, race, national origin, sex, handicap, or political or religious opinions or affiliations in violation of applicable Federal or State laws. No person shall be accorded favored treatment in employment or appointment because of family relationship.

   2. Improper Gifts. No person who seeks appointment on any Township Board, Commission, or Authority, or employment by the Township in any capacity shall, directly or indirectly, give or pay any money, service, or other consideration to any person in connection with such appointment or employment. In addition, no elected or appointed Township official or employee shall receive any money, service or other consideration in connection with such appointment or employment.

   3. Political Party Office. No Township official elected under this Charter, no appointed official, and no full-time Township employee shall hold any elected or appointed political party office.

   4. Improper Political Influence. No elected or appointed Township official and no employee of the Township shall request any Township employee to make a political contribution or engage in political activity.

   5. Other Government Service. No Township official elected or appointed to an elective office under this Charter and no full-time Township employee shall hold any other Township employment or any other elective or appointive Township position. No Township official elected or appointed to an elective office under this Charter and no full-time Township employee shall hold any full-time employment, or any other elective position, with Delaware County or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This provision shall not apply to employees of School Districts or of other educational institutions.

 B. Violation of any provision of this Section shall constitute grounds for forfeiture of office, termination of appointment, or dismissal.

§ 21.9-905. Conflict of Interest.

 A. No elected or appointed official of the Township and no Township employee, shall engage in any activity which follows.

   l. Take any action as a result of information acquired as a Township official from which action the Township official or employee or any other person or entity in whose welfare the official is interested, shall realize a gain or advantage. Such action shall not, however, be construed to be prohibited if the gain or advantage were realized generally by a group or class of citizens as the purposeful result of such action.

   2. Solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, favor, service commission, or other consideration that might reasonably tend to influence that official or employee in the discharge of the duties of office.

   3. Seek to influence, directly or indirectly, the awarding of any contract where such Township official or employee, or other person or entity in whose welfare the official or employee is interested would benefit directly or indirectly, financially or otherwise, from said contract.

 B. Disqualification from Action. Any elected or appointed official and any employee of the Township, having a direct or indirect financial interest with any person or business entity proposing to contract with the Township for the purchase or sale of land, materials, supplies, or services of any kind, or seeking formal action of the Board or any petition application, request, or appeal, whether that interest be as an employee, a party, a partner, or a stockholder, shall disclose fully said interest and except where stock holdings in a public corporation shall be minimal, shall not participate in the discussion or formal action relating thereto. Violation of the provisions of this Section shall render the contract of such actions voidable by the Township.

Lifelong Independent to run for At-Large Board of Supervisor Seat

As a lifelong Independent, who truly believes that people should vote for the best person not the party, I am also a realist.

Tredyffrin Township has long been governed by the local GOP with two noteable exceptions, Paul Drucker and Mark DiFeliciantonio. Having won the highly contested State House 157 election in 2008, Paul took office this past January. Mark has decided not to seek re-election for his At-Large Board of Supervisor seat. With Paul serving at the State House level and Mark not seeking re-election, there will once again be only one party in place in Tredyffrin Township. This brings us up to the present and my decision.

I believe that all voices of this community need to be heard. For the local government to represent the community, we need more than one political party voice. Recognizing that the Tredyffrin Democrats share my vision for a new beginning in Tredyffrin Township, I have enthusiastically agreed to represent them in this campaign.