Last night’s Board of Supervisor meeting represented a victory for the people.
‘New Matters from Board members’ of the meeting kicked off with Supervisors Lamina, Kampf and Richter making apologies to the community in regards to the St. Davids Golf Club motion and vote to return escrow which occurred at the last Board of Supervisors meeting. They took responsibility for their actions, admitted that procedure had not been followed and stated that they would try to ‘do better’ in the future. Mention was made that everyone makes mistakes and that they had learned from theirs.
As I listened to the apologies, I thought to myself . . . OK, they made a mistake, admitted their mistake and now they will just ‘fix it’. But no, there was no offer of correction, no suggestion to ‘reverse the decision’, nothing. Were they thinking that the community would just accept their apology, move on and act like the ‘mistake’ never happened? I don’t think that they were prepared for what was to come next . . . it was the residents turn to speak.
I cannot remember the last time I was so proud of this community. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of democratic life. And one after another, residents took to the floor. People came from all over the township . . . Chesterbrook, Malvern, Berwyn, Strafford, Mt. Pleasant, Wayne. It did not matter if the speakers were Democrats, Republicans or Independents, there was no political party agenda. They were firefighters, lawyers, retired citizens, members of township boards, one after another, each passionately saying the same thing over and over. Separately, the residents spoke, but united their message. Each person in his or her own way sought justice from the Board of Supervisors, appealing for the ‘wrong’ to be made ‘right’.
The ‘sidewalk’ became a symbol for something much larger . . . it represented how four individuals (Lamina, Olson, Kampf, Richter) thought they could be allowed to just make the rules and break the rules, without consequence or intervention for their actions. What I heard loud and clear was the powerful voice in this community of intolerance to their actions; residents are standing together. Were the supervisors listening?
In the words of Martin Luther King, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” Speaking out, many in the audience eloquently spoke of their distrust in our elected officials. We elect these people because we believe that they will serve our best interests. We entrust them to govern according to the rules . . . to follow the policies and procedures as set forth by the Home Rule Charter. We rely on them to make the best decisions in our interests.
In the end, there was no resolution to ‘righting the wrong’ of the vote to return the escrow to St. Davids. Not last night, but I believe that this matter is far from over. I believe that between now and the next Board of Supervisors meeting, a way must be found to resolve this matter.
Trust in our elected officials must be restored.