Why Must the Campaign Season be ‘Politics as Usual’ . . . Please, Can it be the Truth?

Truth allows you to live with integrity. Everything you do and say shows the world who you really are. Let it be the Truth. ~ Oprah Winfrey

Is it ‘all in the name of politics’ these days that candidates seeking public office can simply fabricate information and then claim it as a truth? Is that OK or just what we have come to expect during campaign season?

Depending on where you live, as a Tredyffrin Township resident, you may have a received a negative political mailer today from the Tredyffrin Township Republican school board candidates. This mailer immediately took me back to two years ago, when as a supervisor candidate and new to politics, my fellow supervisor candidates, Eamon Brazunas and Sean Moir and I were the target of a similar negative mailer.

I will never forget the feeling of distress at reading misleading and false information contained in that 2009 campaign mailer about myself. And it is for that reason that I must use this forum to speak out on today’s Republican school board candidate mailer.

The words on the mailer from the Tredyffrin Republicans state . . . “Tredyffrin’s Democrat School Board team wants to implement an income tax” and  “. . . the Democrat Team for School Board has begun the process of creating a new tax – an earned income tax”. These words are not only misleading, they simply are not accurate and hurtful.

Previously I have written about my disappointment at the yellow ‘No EIT’ Republican signs.  I believed that the school district’s tax study group should present their ‘pros and cons’ of an earned income tax at next week’s public meeting without premature judging from a political party.  OK, I get the idea behind the signs – they present an effective way to make it look like the Democrat candidates are ‘for’ an EIT without having to actually say it. Although we did hear all supervisor candidates state, at Monday’s League of Women Voters debate, they were opposed to an earned income tax (and that included the Democrat candidates).

So, as I read the words on the Republican school board candidate mailer, I ask where did any of them read or ever hear a Democratic school board candidate say that he or she wants to implement an earned income tax.  It is one thing to imply something cleverly on a political sign, but stating a falsehood as the truth is something different.  It is particularly disheartening that this is a mailer for the ‘school’ board election . . . don’t we want to set the right example for our children?

I support the value of giving voice to the community but not for those who choose to further divide us.  Shouldn’t we want better for our community? Tredyffrin Township and its residents deserve the truth. I know several of the Republican school board candidates personally — and I believe that they are better than this mailer represents.

Community Matters did not exist two years ago so I did not have many options to ‘balance the scale’ after I was the targeted with misleading and false information during the campaign.  Because of my experience, I am giving the four Democratic school board candidates – Karen Cruickshank, Jerry Henige, Scott Dorsey and Jenny Wessels an opportunity to respond to the Republican mailer on Community Matters.  If they choose to respond, I will post their comments.

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Campaign Mailer side 1

Campaign Mailer side 2

107 Comments

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  1. Wow! Reminds me of the BS mailers during the 2009 campaign as well. Unfortunately it is an effective tactic – it energizes the R base to get out and pull one lever, this has been the key to success for the TTRC for nearly a decade, maybe more. The precinct numbers repeatedly show that the R voters who vote the issues and/or the candidates rather than the “party” have repeatedly been favoring D candidates in TT.

    In 2009 the TTDems missed the opportunity to use the TTRC BS mailers at that time to engage “their” base voters to come out. Isn’t this a great opportunity to engage the TT D’s that their candidates are being misrepresented???

    This mailer, like the last, is a pathetic reflection on the entire TTRC and the integrity that the group lacks. It sure would be nice if any of the R’s seated or running, school board or supervisor, would come out and condemn this mailer…. anyone?? I doubt it…

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  2. What a disgrace. If there were any doubt as to qualifications of absentee Republican candidates this should resolve it. Surely there are some legal sanctions that prevent outright lies? Of course voters can implement the ultimate sanction, but the Ds have to get the word out.

    And lest anyone think that the current tax system is not anti-business, and that business doesn’t care about property taxes, consider the fact that Glaxo just won a $6.5 million settlement from Spring-Ford and has a similar deal with Lower Merion. Other companies are following. It’s a system that’s mired in the past, just like the Republicans.

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  3. The Republican mailer is a complete, utter, absolute, and total lie. The Democratic candidates did not take any position in favor of an EIT.

    The Republicans also lied by omission – conveniently not mentioning that the decision to appoint a Tax Study Commission was made by a bi-partisan school board with more Republicans than Democrats.

    Also the Republicans forgot to mention that the school board has no power to enact an EIT but could only place it on the ballot for approval or disapproval by the voters.

    Knowing the process like I do (School Board 1999-2007) I am sure this decision was discussed and vetted in the finance committee – which is chaired by a Republican.

    What citizens want and need is fair debate on the issues. This kind of dishonesty does not serve the students, taxpayers, and citizens of our community well. To the contrary, it erodes confidence in our public officials – who can trust anyone elected based upon such blatant lies? It may make the process more partisan, which is not good for anyone. The school board is supposed to be non-partisan.

    If the mailer was put out without the knowledge and consent of the Republican candidates, then let them publically repudiate it now!

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  4. In 2009 the TTDems missed the opportunity to use the TTRC BS mailers at that time to engage “their” base voters to come out. Isn’t this a great opportunity to engage the TT D’s

    ******

    In order to do this, the Dems would have to tell their base they support an EIT. They would have to take a public position that way. Of course, all the Dem Supervisor candidates just said they don’t…which isn’t very energizing to a base that seems to want a new tax.

    If you watched the debate, the Dems all sounded exactly like the R’s. They say fiscal discipline is the top issue and that basically promised to continue the R policies of fiscal discipline.

    There’s no reason for people to vote for the fake R’s (aka the Dem candidates in the debate) who have no proven record on fiscal discipline when they can just vote for the people who already done it.

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    Kevin Grewell Reply:

    You miss the point entirely. The Democrats do not have to endorse an EIT to respond to this lie. To take advantage of the Republican lie, the Democrats simply have to point out the facts –

    1) That the Tax Study group was appointed by a bi-partisam board composed of R’s and D’s

    2) That the Democratic candidates DID NOT take any position in favor of the EIT and so the TTRC LIED

    3) That the school board has no power to enact any EIT but could only place it on the ballot for the voters to decide in a future election

    4) That the whole reson this came up at allis because the state legislature has unleashed a tsunami of red ink on all school districts across the state via the underfunded, state created and state controled pension system

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    Andrea Reply:

    Kevin — you know well that #2, 3 and 4 are relevant. #1 is not relevant. The school board is not bi-partisan, it is NON partisan. We have to deliver that message. You were ultimately on the board as an endorsed Republican, but had run initially as a Democraft. The process was not in place for the D’s to vet candidates.

    We HAVE to drop this “party” nonsense and talk issues and candidates. From the West didn’t miss the point — the Rs are trying to “energize their base” by scaring people about a tax that people keep talking about, but have no power to enact. The ONLY place and EIT is real is in the Supervisor race, and since none of them endorse it, then voters are the only people who can enact it. All SB candidates should stand together and say they will take the TSG information and PUT IT TO THE VOTERS. You and I know from long experience that the voters will turn it down. Maybe something will change, but the anti-tax vote is pretty assured…which is why one party is trying to use it to elect candidates.

    Someone posted here that the mailer couldn’t be an outright lie…and does anyone know the root of the comments. Hey — there is NO attribution on the mailer. So the assumption that it cannot be completely false is the push here….is can be anything it wants to be. There are no rules. No one is quoted in or out of context.

    People — I’m on a rant I know — but VOTE FOR CANDIDATES. Do not vote for or against a party — you become a tool if you do. Watch the “debate” or talk to the candidates. Your school board taxes are WAY higher than your township or county taxes. Look at the websites of the candidates — that’s presumably where they should be telling you what they represent. If it sounds like platitudes, they are being safe too. So research their background — their credentials. Talk to them if you can.

    And vote YOUR choice….not a party choice, not an anti-party choice. The school board is NON partisan. I know Kevin agrees. Right Kevin :)

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    Kevin Grewell Reply:

    Andrea,

    You are correct that the board should be non-partisan, not bi-partisan. I should not have used “bi-parisan”. In the past it has to a remarkable degree operated on a non-partisan basis.

    But this kind of dishonest, blatantly partisan campaigning undermines the ability of the board to be non-partisan in the future, to the great detriment of us all.

    I agree with you about voting for the candidate, not the party – except that now, even if I was going to vote for the republican candidates, I could not because that would be rewarding unfair and dishonest behavior. Rewarding it will encourage more of the same. If it works – if it gets the republican candidates elected – we can expect to see more and more of the same in the future.

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    Well said.

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    Doesn't Add Up Reply:

    Andrea,

    I agree with what you are saying regarding voting for candidates, not for or against a political party – although in this case any R associated with TTRC, running or seated, supervisor or school board, that does not publicly repudiate this mailer lacks the integrity to hold the office. Plain and simple.

    PC Watcher Reply:

    Kevin says:
    “even if I was going to vote for the republican candidates, I could not because that would be rewarding unfair and dishonest behavior. Rewarding it will encourage more of the same. If it works – if it gets the republican candidates elected – we can expect to see more and more of the same in the future.”

    So — if a Republican wins, it’s because stupid people fell for it? This kind of thinking is what causes dirty tricks. Vote for the candidate that earns your support with credentials and experience and vision. Wow.

    Doesn't Add Up Reply:

    FTW says “In order to do this, the Dems would have to tell their base they support an EIT. They would have to take a public position that way.”

    NO, you missed the point. The Dems would be telling their base, and hopefully everyone else, to not let TTRC lies dictate the outcome of the race at the polls – again….

    Get out and vote, vote against the dishonesty of the TTRC, and vote against the implied endorsement of these tactics by it’s silent members.

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  5. Thank you for the opportunity to present my position.

    I am personally opposed to any new taxes.

    I am not aware of any candidate that is in favor of an Earned Income Tax. Further, there is no Earned Income Tax on this fall’s ballot. Nor is the school board even empowered to impose an Earned Income Tax.

    THE REPUBLICAN PARTY MAILER IS SIMPLY A LIE. Why did the Republican Party have to resort to Washington-style dirty politics? Have they given up on their candidates? Have they nothing to contribute on the issues? Why did two of the Republican candidates for School Board fail to show up for the debate?

    I also want to say that the Republican Party signs on the Earned Income Tax is another digraceful political tactic. The present bipartisan school board appointed a panel of our fellow citizens representing a wide range of viewpoints to openly and fairly study this issue and report the facts to both the board and the community. Those citizens have worked hard for the last two months and will report their findings next week.

    But the Republican Party has decided to dishonor and ignore their efforts in order to score cheap political points. I respect those who volunteer for our community. We should not play games with their time.

    Unfortunately, these types of dirty political tactics work. At least until the voters decide that they have had enough. Have the Tredyffrin voters had enough dirty politics?

    This is a local election. Our focus should be on the candidates and real issues. We should get back to discussing what is important.

    Thank you,

    Jerry Henige
    Candidate for School Board, Region 1

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    Kevin Grewell Reply:

    Jerry,

    You and Karen have my vote this time around. But as you may know, I am not particularly partisan. I support people who I think are best for the job. Period.

    I have worked with people of both parties, and can honestly say that while both parties have their extremists, there are thoughtful, intelligent, ethical people in both parties. In this case, those kind of Republicans were betrayed by their own party.

    I’ll bet there are a lot of Tredyffrin Republicans who are not happy with this kind of tactic being done in their name. Most Republicans are much, much better people than that. I hope enough of them speak up to their party leadership and tell them that they do not support this kind of dishonest behavior.

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  6. I have had the opportunity to speak with most of the Democratic candidates for school board. They all are opposed to enacting an EIT.

    I guess the Republicans are running quite scared because they know that the voters in Tredyffrin are so impressed by the superior qualifications of the Democratic ticket. The fact that they have resorted to making bold faced lies of this nature. Makes me wonder what else they are lying about…

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  7. Greetings,

    I personally oppose the Earn Income Tax. It was the Republican majority School Board (6-3) that recommended and created this Tax Study Group in the first place. I am disappointed by the fact that Republicans have literally put the Tax Study Group under the bus, by coming out so strongly against an issue that cannot be decided until 2012 at the earliest. The Republican signs and mailers demonstrate their leadership have no respect for the truth or the citizens of our community. I have attended many of the meetings of the Tax Study Group. I did this to be fully informed. Is it a co-incidence that the same two Republican candidates that skipped the School Board debate have been no shows at many of these study meetings and School Board meetings? Were they too busy to be properly being informed on the issues? Do we want this kind of leadership to take care of the needs of our children?

    The Republican leadership has decided they can’t win this campaign on the truth and lying is their only way to victory. When I decided to run for School Board I made a commitment to my family and myself. I would not allow the political world to affect my morality, but I would try to influence the political contest to be truthful, honest and fully transparent. I will not lie to win a campaign. I ask my political opponents to demand ethical behavior from their leadership. You are better than these lies!

    Yours Truly,
    Rev. Scott C. Dorsey

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    Kevin Grewell Reply:

    Amen, Reverend!

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  8. There has to be some basis for what the republicans have put on this mailer. They know full well they cannot just put an outright lie on a piece of mail. They usually have a nugget of truth, then twist it, but there is still a nugget of truth. What is the nugget of truth here? Any republicans out there willing to say what it is?

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    Kevin Grewell Reply:

    There is ZERO nugget here. NADA, ZIP, NYET, BUPKIS. No excuse. A complete LIE. Indefensible!

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    From The West Reply:

    Not a Republican or a Democrat (yes, I lean more GOP) but I found this to be an interesting question so I looked at the mailer Pattye has posted with her comment.

    It says: “begun the process to implement”

    As far as I can tell, that is true: the TSG is beginning the process. The process, as I understand it (and it has been presented in previous posts) is:

    1 – convene the TSG
    2 – School board decides whether or not to put on ballot
    3 – goes on ballot (or not)

    By starting the TSG, that has “begun the process” has it not? Perhaps that is the “nugget” you reference?

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    Kevin Grewell Reply:

    You are parsing bits of the mailer out of context. It said “Tredyffrin’s Democratic team wants to implement an income tax.” It further specifically names both candidates (Jerry and Karen) and implies that they – AND THEY ALONE – have “begun the process to implement” the EIT.

    This is an outright lie. Specifically, the elements of this lie are:

    1) That the “Democratic team” “wants to implement an income tax” That is not true. They never said that. It is a pure and simple LIE.

    2) That the democratic candidates (and they are specifically named) have “begun the process to implement”. This is a lie because:

    a) It implies that ONLY the democratic school board members had anything to do with appointing the Tax Study group, when there are six – 6 – Republicans who participated in that decision, and

    b) It implies that the school board members (excuse me, ONLY the Democrats) have the power to enact an EIT when no such authority exists, and

    c) because it omits the fact that the EIT must go to a voter referendum.

    Where in any of this is there a nugget of truth?

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    kate Reply:

    FTW,

    You’re nothing if not predictable. Plant the seed. Continue the propagandizing. There must be a grain of truth…

    Except there isn’t.

    Kevin Mahoney, long-time Republican SB member and chair of the TESD’s Finance Committee introduced the topic of an EIT last year at a monthly meeting. He brought in several experts to explain the tax and who would be affected. The reaction from the residents attending that meeting was not only negative, it was downright hostile.

    Nevertheless the nine-member School Board which is 2/3 Republican, approved a Tax Study Group earlier this year to give the EIT further study .

    It’s absurd to imply that the three Democratic SB members secretly and separately met to begin “the process of creating a new tax – that we would be forced to pay along with our property taxes.” It’s even more ludicrous to suggest the Democratic SB candidates would have had any involvement in such a “process”.

    The charge is just an out-and-out, baseless lie that cynical, win-at-all-cost Republicans calculated would result in more votes from scared, uninformed voters.

    The Republicans have run this township for over 300 years, and they’ve come to think it is their birthright to remain in control. They are openly partisan. Proudly so. Democrats need not apply.

    But times change. The make-up of this community has changed. (R’s = 45%) Economic challenges have tested leadership skills. Going forward the status quo isn’t even possible for our school district and not desirable for a community that needs to grow its tax base to keep paying the bills.

    It’s time for a more diverse group of elected officials in Tredyffrin. The Democrats put forward a well-qualified group of candidates. They deserve serious consideration.

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    From The West Reply:

    Kate —

    1. Someone asked an interesting question, I gave a reply. I even said “as far as I can tell” — not exactly vehement partisan ranting. With that in mind, thank you for the over-reactionary attack on me, it truly makes me feel you want a civil discourse.

    2. You say that “Democrats need not apply” but it seems to me that there are a lot of democrats (and even independents) on the appointed boards and authorities in the Twp — even some who are candidates this year. Amazingly, the same Republicans who you claim are trying to shut the Democrats out are the people who appointed them to these positions. Obviously a very, very closed system where no Dems should apply.

    3. As for “Republicans have been in control for 300 years,” last I checked those in these seats are ELECTED and CHOSEN by the citizens. It’s not like they just go sit there and say, “we’re in charge.” Apparently more people continue to vote for them then the other guys.

    As for your comment about registration, it’s true. But I don’t see what that has to do with anything — the citizens vote the way they want and for whom they want regardless. The R’s just seem to keep winning.

    What diversity, by the way, are you claiming: two attorneys? Very diverse.

    Neighboring Friend Reply:

    Yes, let’s hear from Republicans, generally, and Republican school board candidates, specifically.

    And let’s also hear from Mike Broadhurst, chair of the Tredyffrin Township Republicans. The buck stops with him. These posts, Mr. Broadhurst–by Ms. Benson, fellow citizens, and Democrat school board candidates–lay severe charges at your feet. How do you account for taking the campaign in this unseemly direction?

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  9. I’m confused. The mailer states that the Democratic candidates support an EIT. Some say this is a “bold faced lie.”

    It’s true that Kevin Mahoney, a Republican, is among the chief supporters of an EIT. However, if you recall, he was officially endorsed by the Democrats as well as the Republicans when he ran for office. But the current Republican candidates have said they oppose an EIT– so presumably that means they wouldn’t vote to put it on the ballot for voter approval?

    Jerry Henige says in his comment above that: “I am personally opposed to any new taxes.” But what does that mean actually? If Jerry were on the board, would he vote to put an EIT on the ballot despite his personal disapproval?

    At several school board meetings, board members have indicated that they would vote to put an EIT on the ballot to “keep the options open”? As political cover, they note that the voters would have to pass the EIT. And they avoid publicly stating how they would vote because the “tax study commission” hasn’t given its presentation yet. Conveniently, the vote about putting the EIT on the ballot doesn’t happen until AFTER the election. So we don’t truly know how the incumbents: Bruce, Motel and Cruickshank would vote– although it seems from the mailer that Bruce would vote against the EIT being put on the ballot.

    So here’s what I’d like to know: are the Democratic candidates willing to go on record to state that they aren’t going to put an EIT on the ballot? If so, then I would call on the Republican candidates to repudiate the mailer. If the Democratic answer is that they’d put it on the ballot even though they don’t personally support a new tax, I think voters deserve to know that. And I think it would prove the mailer has some truth behind it.

    A vote for the Republican candidates is a vote against putting an EIT on the ballot. A vote for the Democrats just isn’t as clear because they haven’t gone on record to say whether they support putting the EIT on the ballot.

    It seems that both sides are playing political games. Let’s just tell the voters the truth. If the truth is that the Democratic candidates support putting the EIT on the ballot even though they personally oppose it, that’s important information for voters. If the Democrats don’t clearly define their positions, it isn’t unfair for voters to presume there is some truth behind the mailer or at least to speculate that a Republican vote is a safer vote if you oppose an EIT.

    Many on this blog support an EIT. And presumably they are hoping the Democratic candidates will support one too… or at least vote “to keep the options open.” I’d imagine that the Democrats haven’t clarified their positions because it would alienate their pro-EIT base.

    If I’m wrong on this, I’d hope that the Democratic candidates will use this forum to explain their positions in more detail.

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    Ray Clarke Reply:

    .”…. a Republican vote is a safer vote if you oppose an EIT…”

    The truth is out.

    In other words, if you think that an EIT would be approved by a majority of voters if given the chance to consider it on its merits (in next year’s election or (better) any later one), then vote for the Republicans and you have a chance of circumventing the will of the people.

    Amazing.

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    Confused Reply:

    Ray-

    At least the Republicans are willing to say the truth. You are all saying the mailer was a lie, but is it?

    The fact is: the Democrats have refused to say whether they would vote to put the EIT on the ballot.

    Many of the comments by Democratic candidates at public forums suggest that they believe the EIT should be put on the ballot for the voters to decide.

    So it comes down to this: if you vote to put an EIT on the ballot, aren’t you taking a step towards enacting that tax? Yes…you are. The voters might need to approve it, but your vote to place it on the ballot is an endorsement of the task. Now…you could claim that voting to put a new tax on the ballot is just keeping options open, but that’s disingenuous. If you vote to put the EIT on the ballot, you are endorsing it. If you believe the EIT is the wrong choice for TE, you would not vote to put it on the ballot.

    So pro-EIT voters can comfortably vote Democratic in this election. But if you do not support the EIT, you should vote for the only candidates brave enough to actually oppose the EIT while the other candidates try to have it both ways– simultaneously encouraging people who favor the tax while attempting to reassure them that voting Democratic isn’t voting for higher taxes despite decades of evidence demonstrating otherwise.

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    Tyler Brennan Reply:

    “…The voters might need to approve it, but your vote to place it on the ballot is an endorsement of the task…”

    I disagree. I think that it is the mark of a responsible leader to set aside personal beliefs in service of the community good. I would have great respect for someone who was in a position of power to silence the public voice and to see his own personal preferences enacted, but instead chooses to take the fairest course of action for all voters.

    “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” — words to live by. I would hope that on an important issue such as this our leaders would give us the right to determine our future. Voting for the ballot question, and against the actual measure as a private citizen.

    Allan Pennyfarthing Reply:

    I would like to thank “Karl Rove Jr.” here for this amazing chestnut of political posturing. Seriously, if there were a pulitzer prize for bulls**t I think we would have a new millionaire to tax (or not).

    “I am more against the EIT than you are” where did I hear that again… oh yes, I remember now, it was on the playground at New Eagle elementary school. From a 3rd grader.

    “Pro-EIT base” LOL. I don’t know who “confused” is, but apparently the finer points of this blog are not the only thing about which he/she is “confused.” Its as though he hasn’t really taken the time to meet or talk to any democrats, but instead is content to attack his caricature of them which appears to be a cross between Karl Marx’s economics and Harpo Marx’s oratory.

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  10. I’m Murph Wysocki, Democratic candidate for Supervisor at Large. As I stated at Monday night’s supervisors’ forum, I personally oppose the EIT.
    I also condemn the lies of the Republican Party in its mailer. The Republican Party mailer is one big lie. Here is the truth. No Democratic candidate is in favor of the EIT, no Democratic candidate wants to implement an EIT or any other income tax, and no Democratic candidate has begun the process of creating any new tax. .It is truly a shame that the Republican Party must resort to the divisive politics of falsehood that shows disrespect for the local political process and the residents of Tredyffrin. Is this what we want for Tredyffrin? I think not. I hope that the Republican and Democratic voters of Tredyffrin go to the polls on November 8 and resoundingly reject the Republican Party’s divisive politics of falsehood.
    I have one other observation. The Republican dominated school board appointed an EIT Study Group of hard working Tredyffrin resident volunteers to examine the pros and cons of the EIT. Its report will be issued on November 3. In misleading signs, mailers, and letters, the Republican Party has chosen to dismiss and dishonor the work of the volunteer EIT Study Group before its report is issued. This is another example of the Republican Party’s disrespect for the citizens of Tredyffrin Township, this time citizens selected by the Republican majority school board.

    Thank you,

    Murph Wysocki
    Democratic Candidate for Supervisor at Large

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    From The West Reply:

    Where were condeming the mailing your Party and running matesent out this spring using information to attack Mike Heaberg that the person who runs this post says wasn’t true?

    You never made an indignant rant then did you?

    This is all just political posturing on both sides!

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  11. PARTY POLITICS — don’t fall for them.

    I served 3 terms on the TE School Board. I too am disappointed in the tone of the campaigns, but I want to encourage all voters to focus on one thing: choose your CANDIDATE…do not choose your party. In the same way these mailers distort reality, it is equally dysfunctional to vote against someone because of the party process. Have we so quicly forgotten mailers attacking Republicans too? Maybe that’s why they are called “parties…” ….because all they do is organize the entertainment. Is there any question that it’s the party politics that are destroying DC? Let’s not let it reach to Tredyffrin and Easttown!

    EACH INDIVIDUAL is your representative. On the board, there is ZERO attention to politcal background. The Ds and the Rs do not confer in caucuses. There is ZERO direction from the respective parties that is any more weighty than public input. This is a HARD job. The TSG is doing a study to inform the public, not the board. Above a comment that a 6-3 board approved the TSG gives energy to the confusion….it is HARRISBURG and the convoluted approach to any revenue generation and any compensation negotiations that tie all our hands.

    Don’t vote against anyone. VOTE FOR SOMEONE. Don’t vote a party — vote a person. Make your determination about who understands the issues and who you believe will work to make the best decisions. It’s great for Mr. Henige to way in, but he says he is opposed to an EIT. Is that any less “throwing the TSG under the bus”? I see his reason and applaud him using this forum, but he doesn’t need to defend a position he hasn’t taken — which is why “messages” are dangerous when they come from an entity and not a person.

    A good candidate should not make claims about what you support and oppose absent information — because somehow, we have to pay the bills. The information is far more complicated than a simple sound bite — which is why there is a TSG. There will be revenue and it will come from taxpayers. HOW it comes in is yet to be determined. The debate is interesting, but will we condemn board members if they put it up for a vote? That’s a scary notion — punish someone for asking the question?
    VOTERS will determine how the school board raises revenues. We are one of 501 PA school districts, and we have rules to follow, laws to obey and contracts to ratify. We have thousands of students we are legally obligated to educate. We have taxpayers who vote, and employees who work for a living. This is not about ideas — this is about execution.

    As a board member, I used to say the only way to get people to attend meetings and pay attention was to move a bus stop — because THEN people would come to meetings. That’s when it interfered with their lives. Around here, we do somehow pay attention at election time. That’s a good thing. But please devote some effort to the attention. The Republican Party doesn’t control things around here — though they may be controlling the Republican message. They do not control the candidates. Likewise, I don’t believe the Democratic party controls their candidates. VOTE FOR THE CANDIDATE…..not for or against a party. Please. It’s an important decision. If you get a mailer paid for BY A CANDIDATE….authorized BY A CANDIDATE….then you can probably assume that is the position of that candidate. But with our changing political landscape, parties and “entities” create a message that is not only not binding, it’s not real. PAC, SuperPAC, Party….candidate. It’s the CANDIDATE that counts. Please.

    It’s only broken if we let it be. Rant over. Sigh.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    As a former supervisor candidate, I believe that the ‘buck stops with the candidate’. If a political mailer contains a candidate’s name and/or face — then they ‘own it’. If a candidate is opposed to something that is going out from the political party with their name attached — it’s simple refuse to participate. Some have suggested in other comments on Community Matters that this mailer went out without the Republican school board candidates seeing it. If that is the case, shame on the party, but it is up to the those candidate’s to publically state that for the record. Otherwise, how are the voters to know the truth? As a registered Indendent, I am in total support of issues and candidates who support my views . . . but in the case of this mailer, how does one separate the Republican school board candidates from the words on the mailer.

    As I stated in my post, I personally know (and respect) several of these school board candidates — I truly believe that they are better than this political mailer represents and hope that they will consider setting the record straight.

    [Reply]

    Confused Reply:

    Pattye- Since you say you know and respect some of those candidates, wouldn’t you say it’s possible that they believe the mailer to be true?

    Here’s what I believe the problem is:
    – Democrats support putting the EIT on the ballot and letting voters decide whether it passes.
    – Republicans oppose the EIT and are willing to vote against putting it on the ballot. In doing so, they will lose pro-EIT votes.
    -The Democrats get the benefit of pro-EIT votes, but they ALSO want to get anti-EIT votes. Rather than taking a clear stand, they want to play the issue both ways. As a result, they will not answer yes or no to the question “Would you vote to put an EIT on the ballot?”
    -I have yet to see a single Democratic candidate respond here to the question, “Would you vote to put an EIT on the ballot?” This is a different question from whether or not you personally oppose an EIT. The question is whether or not you would take steps as a school director that could lead to passing another new tax in T/E.
    -All of these comments about the tax study group and letting the voters decide are attempts to distract voters from the issue: whether a candidate will vote to put an EIT on the ballot, thereby bringing the township one step closer to having ANOTHER tax.
    -People who already pay an EIT or who are retired are more likely to vote for Democratic candidates who support an EIT. By sending this mailer, Republicans lost the pro-EIT vote. Say what you will about the mailer, but at least the Republican candidates respected the voters enough to tell them where they stand. The Democrats haven’t made a pledge either way, and they are whining now because the mailer might cause them to lose the anti-EIT vote and they don’t want to demotivate the pro-EIT voters from going to the polls on election day– especially knowing that elections in this township are decided by just a handful of votes.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    I repeat —

    I ask where did any of them read or ever hear a Democratic school board candidate say that he or she wants to implement an earned income tax.

    Yet the Republican school board mailer states that “Tredyffrin’s Democrat team wants to implement an income tax”.

    Kevin Grewell Reply:

    Confused – you have a point – to a point. But the problem is that the Republican mailer went way beyond stating or clarifying what Republican candidates would do with an EIT. It stated that the Democrats – and only the Democrats – were responsible for starting the process. It stated that the Democrats – and only the Democrats – “want to implement an income tax”.

    In fact it did not tell us what the Republicans will do. Actually we don’t really know what the Republicans will do with the Tax Study commission report. The mailer did not say the Republicans will not vote to even place the question on the ballot for the voters to decide. How could it? It did not explain the actual process.

    It implies no more than you say the Democratic position is – “I am personally opposed to an EIT” (Republican candidates oppose an EIT – which suffers from the same problems you cite with respect to the Democrat’s position)

    Frankly, as a former board member, given the HUGE budget problems handed to us by Harrisburg, I would never say what I was going to do until AFTER I heard the report of the Tax Study group and the public comment that followed. Whether to place the question on the ballot would depend upon the pros and cons – the imact to: 1) students 2) taxpayers 3) businesses 4) retirees 5) renters 6) homeowners 7) young working couples, to name just a few.

    Among other things, what if the EIT could take some pressure off of property taxes? While a reduction is not likely, it may reduce future increases. All of these things would have to be considered. What if Harrisburg does not step up to the plate and solve the pension crisis? What then?

    Personally, I am not a big fan of an EIT, but if I were still on the board, as a steward of the public trust, and as a representative of ALL OF THE STAKEHOLDERS mentioned above – I would have to keep an open mind unitl all the facts were in.

    Confused Reply:

    Karen has said at several public meetings that the district is “out of options” and will need additional revenue. She’s the sitting School Board President. The School Board moved to appoint a Tax Study Group. The School Board has said repeatedly that voting to put an EIT on the ballot would “keep options open.” Karen has said that.

    Granted…the sitting Republicans went along with all of this. But it isn’t unreasonable to think that the current School Board– including Karen– is pro-EIT.

    Now the only Republican running for re-election and the other Republican candidates have pledged not to vote for an EIT. But, on this issue, Karen and the Democratic school board candidates are surprisingly quiet. Why not just answer the questions I outlined above? The reason is because they are either planning to vote to put the EIT on the ballot or because they haven’t decided. If they knew they opposed the EIT, they would be able to clearly state that position.

    So nobody’s falling for all of the excuses and denials here…clearly the Democrats are more pro-EIT than the Republicans. That’s just obvious.

    Allan Pennyfarthing Reply:

    I agree that voting for a candidate who will do the best job is important. I would be just as likely to vote for a reasonable, and honest Republican like JD as I would for a knowledgable and engaged Democrat like Molly Duffy. I think, however, that it is disingenuous for “Andrea” to simply spout this line as if it were a response to this situation. Here is the problem: VOTERS ARE BEING DECEIVED. Their perceptions of candidates are being skewed by a political party for a political purpose. This is business as usual for the Republicans, and I don’t think its fair to say that Democrats are every bit as guilty of this infraction. The facts just don’t support that claim. It would have been nice if things could be civilized here, but the Republicans have eaten the forbidden fruit, and now we have fallen from paradise.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Allan PF
    If you have read this blog for a long time, then you know that I am not “spouting this line” in response to this situation. I never pay attention to party politics in any election….I am registered to vote Republican because up until the past 5 years, that was the only party that had a primary around here.

    Here’s my view — and it’s why I resigned from the school board in 2001. It’s not exactly political suicide, but it’s what I believe: blame it on Karl Rove or whoever you want, but eligible voters are often quite lazy. They let other people make their decisions, and they dont’ pay much attention to anything that doesn’t raise the decibels. Please don’t tell me that this is the first poorly crafted and intentionally misleading mailing you have ever seen. Do we need to go back to the primary when there was a mailer that quoted “Mike in Berwyn” …..I used to save the mailers I got and use them as a way to remind myself that if I didn’t vote, I was handing my rights over to people who actually get their information from soundbites, blogs and mailers.

    So decide what you want — but I will disagree aggressively with Kevin in his statement that supporting a Republican would be rewarding poor behavior. Supporpting anyone you don’t personally support — don’t know about — is what is wrong. Supporting any candidate because you want to send a message to the opposing party is lazy. It’s opportunistic for people to step up here and reminds me of the scene in Casablanca == “Gambling….I’m shocked”.
    Lazy voters have given the parties the idea that all they need to do is pick who will run and the voting lemmings will just do it. I don’t know what position Confused is taking, but I read a great deal of cynicism and accuracy in his/her analysis. This is all a game, and whether it is pro-EIT or anti-EIT, everyone wants a piece of it. And yet Confused is right — plenty of people on this blog are very much PRO EIT.

    IF I was still on the school board under the laws as it now stand, I would have tried to put the EIT initiative on the ballot — period – and let the TSC go on to inform the public in their vote. It’s the damn state process that requires people to pretend they support or oppose it whether or not they can enact it. So we all get to wonder if they will put it on the ballot? What kind of litmus test is that????

    And exactly what is the forum for the Dems to say whether they will put it on the ballot, and what is the forum for Reps to say they repudiate the mailer?

    We said this during the last federal election — apparently the only goal of any election is to WIN. So what’s the strategy to do that? WIn at all costs? If voters didn’t read/listen to this stupid sound bites/mailers, they wouldn’t send them out.

    Thanks to Pattye for this forum — but I believe it has gone beyond blogs when we are allowing something that is NOT paid for or authorized by a candidate to win the day. I have no dog in this fight == but I do live here and I do care how things turn out. The best candidate is not a platitude — it’s a reality. Pick one.

    [Reply]

    Allan Pennyfarthing Reply:

    Andrea,

    I respect what you have to say, and I think that it is a very thoughtful analysis of this issue, however I don’t think that it is an especially constructive solution to the real problems we face to blame the boogeyman of “party politics” and be done with it.

    This is an allegation which, unfairly (in my opinion), indicts both parties equally. To this point, the Democratic mailers and signs have not lied like this. Although I would like to see the Democrats throw a bit of fire back the Republican’s way (true fire, however.) It also easily lets the Republican candidates off the hook for the actions of their party. The simple fact is, if you can lie about your opponent and not take a hit for it, people will do it.

    I would love nothing more than to see the average voter become more informed. I would love nothing more than to see the average person become more informed. The problem is that THIS SPECIFIC INCIDENT, not all parties, not all politics, this, right here, right now, is destroying that possibility. No, this is not the first questionable political tactic I have ever seen, but I also was vocally opposed the push poll alleging that McCain had fostered an illegitimate black child in the run up to the 2000 presidential campaign.

    Instead of having a thoughtful discussion on the merits of an EIT, informed by the findings of the citizen study group, the Republicans of Tredyffrin have created for themselves the illusion of a Frankenstein monster for the townspeople to go attack. They have set up a straw man to knock down, and have precluded any reasonable discussion on the topic.

    This is the problem with letting completely untrue drivel go unanswered is that if you repeat the lie enough people will begin to believe it, especially since Democrats have been unfairly branded as loving taxation more than they love gay abortion.

    Here is how I view this issue: each voter should properly inform themselves of the relevant issues, and pick the candidate who will do the best job. Period. End of story. Right?

    Wrong. What happens when one candidate, or group of candidates decide to intentionally deceive the voter and impede their ability to make an informed decision. THIS IS UNDEMOCRATIC. I am not referring to the Democratic party, I mean that this situation strips the voters of their ability to cast a meaningful vote. I compare this situation to John Locke’s writings on tolerance. Locke suggests that we must tolerate (almost) everyone except those who are intolerant. I think that when a group of people set out to deliberately distort the political process it is not only our right, but our DUTY as citizens of this country to take punitive action with our ballots.

    Andrea Reply:

    Allan PF
    Thanks for your reply at 8:59 pm (there are so many posts I’m not sure where they line up anymore).

    I am on board with the problems with this mailer, and I had already contacted my own Committee person in regards to the yellow NO EIT signs. I disagree that this goes beyond the boogieman of party politics — and I believe each candidate can and should deal with this on their own. For the most part, they have websites and can communicate. If the candidates feel burdened by this mailer, they can respond. But you yourself earlier today posted an anecdote that you have spoken with most of the Democratic candidates and they oppose an EIT. Isn’t that their message to deliver? Having the Republican party act as a surrogate for candidates can only happen when others of us assume that non-candidates can speak on behalf of candidates. You didn’t quote anyone or claim to have their proxy — so what’s the point of anyone representing what a candidate believes.

    And you say you hope the Dems throw some fire back….what does that accomplish? It makes ugliness strategic — and that’s what we don’t want to do. Right? Negative campaigning works — so if we want it to stop, we need to stop reading postcards and feeling we have learned anything. The candidates can step up and do what they want. That’s THEIR decision. If the parties act as surrogates, and we listen, then we get what we deserve.

    I’m more cynical than most. I am more offended by platitudes and feigned civility in these campaigns. Tell me what you stand for == not what you believe. Tell me what you will do — not what you think is bad about the other guy. I did this job, and I can tell you that lawyers clogged up the system. Does that mean I think lawyers are bad candidates? Not if they are more aligned with my views than their opponent! I vote for the person that I trust.

    As a former school board member, I can tell you that I am gun shy about voting for people serving with kids in schools. They are spending my money on their kids. In these next few years, it scares me how platitudes can hide the dealings behind the curtain. No one pays any attention unless something dramatic catches their attention. I certainly would never have supported a multi-million dollar football stadium with home and away refreshment stands, fancy locker room facilities and more. Didn’t anyone ask how that happened? Was everyone asleep?

    When I was on the board I had kids in schools — and I know the difficult times my kids had when teachers indirectly communicated with me through them. Mr. or Mrs. Candidate — give me information on why I should choose you. If you don’t tell me what you believe, someone else will fill that void. IN this case, it appears that a postcard is alleging things that are not true — but I don’t see any pledges to the contrary on candidate websites. TELL voters what you plan to do.

    Allan Pennyfarthing Reply:

    1. I would rather know how a candidate feels about an issue than have an empty campaign promise.

    2. I don’t have a problem with negative campaigning. I think it is an important part of the political process. I have a problem with negative campaigning that is NOT TRUE. I think that it is just as important for voters to know what is good about one candidate as it is for them to know what is bad about another.

    3. I don’t see any pledges on the Republican candidates’ web sites promising not to sell our children into slavery to make up the budget gap, but I think you will agree with me that I would be in any way justified in sending a mailer alleging that fact.

    4. The Democrats are too nice. They are being responsible, and not throwing the citizen study group under the bus. The Republicans are employing a logical fallacy known as “false choice” both on the streets and in comments on this forum. They say either you are vocally against the EIT going on the ballot at all, or you are for the EIT. As I said, this is a logical fallacy because the argument is just FALSE. There are many shades of grey.

    5. The Democrats oppose the EIT for a few very specific reasons. No responsible policy maker EVER makes absolute statements in advance of receiving all the facts. What we are hearing from Republicans is nothing more than ideological rhetoric. What we are hearing from Democrats is a willingness to be FULLY INFORMED about this issue before making an important decision.

  12. To From the West – why would the Democrats have to say they favor an EIT to bring out their base? The Democratic base doesn’t like tax increases any more than Republicans – there are retired Democrats, out of work Democrats, less than affluent Democrats too.

    There are better solutions to keeping our schools great that don’t involve raising taxes. The Republican answer of “just keep cutting” is a recipe for destroying our schools and our property values. I attended the School Board debate – unlike two of the Republican candidates for School Board – and the Democratic candidates presented many new ideas about what can be done, none of which required an EIT.

    [Reply]

  13. Perhaps they pre-printed and pre-paid postage on the mailers in anticipation of the Dems supporting the EIT at the debate.

    After the debate, it would have been too expensive to dump the mailers in the trash, so they put them in the mail. After all, isn’t that fiscally responsible?

    [Reply]

    Anon Reply:

    You prompt me to think of a good line of inquiry: what could possibly be driving the normally pro job creator Rs to take such an aggressive approach against even debating the merits and timing of a strategy that arguably favors businesses? (See GSK, SEI, Vanguard TSG testimony, etc.)

    1. They want power at all costs, and will deal with the consequences (operating deficits) later.
    Probably the leading theory. Assumes they have no regard for the intelligence of the electorate.

    2. Decisions are being made/funded by a set of high income individuals (Tredyffrin’s 1%), with income far in excess of the proportionate value of their property.
    Can’t be ignored, and fits with national trends.

    3. (Non-exclusive to the above) They just don’t care about the majority opinion.
    Past performance (eg ignoring the sidewalks and BAWG surveys, conceding to SDGC) suggests that this is true.

    4. They are idiots unable to analyze the pros and cons of a business case, however it may turn out.
    Maybe?

    Other theories?

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    ANON, I guess you are not in the 1% here in Tredyffrin, I hope you are some day. I say this because maybe one thing you didn’t mention is that they are just against another pot of gold (tax) and would prefer to look at other ways of working the budget. I will tell you that from the tenor of these democratic nominees, and even without hearing from Republicans here on this board(no surprise) it seems that IF any democrats get a seat on the board it will be seen as starting off rocky by virtue of this issue.

    Makes one think maybe one party rule might be better,

    OK,, have at it!

    [Reply]

  14. It would be nice to know whose idea this republican message was, who created it and all those who approved it. If they won’t stand up and take credit for the mailer that speaks volumes.

    [Reply]

  15. any candidate who maintains they are against an EIT, but then states they would put it on the ballot, is, indeed, underestimating the intelligence of tredyffrin voters. that is ridiculous and I do not believe that is what the democrat candidates stand for – or what any candidate would stand for! if there is a candidate taking this ridiculous stance, republican or democrat, they certainly should not be elected. in fact, if it is the case, that all four democrat candidates say they are against something before they are going to be for it, they should state that loud and clear. so, could the candidates please do that? are you against the EIT, and are you against putting it on the ballot?

    [Reply]

  16. I am a Democratic candidate for school board in Tredyffrin, Region 2. I am writing to express my unqualified opposition to an Earned Income Tax in Tredyffrin Township. If elected I will oppose any move to enact an EIT. Republican assertions that “Democrats appear to support” the EIT are without basis as is evidenced by the fact that I submitted a letter to the editor of the Suburban titled “Candidate against EIT in Tredyffrin.” That letter which was printed today was sent days ago — before the false Republican literature was mailed to our community members.

    [Reply]

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    So now let’s look at what this mailer has brought us to.

    All candidates are now compelled to “express my unqualified opposition to an Earned Income Tax in Tredyffrin Township” and to “oppose any move to enact an EIT”.

    Regardless of when the revenue would be required (say 2013/14)?

    Regardless of the impact on property taxes?

    Regardless of the educational programs that will have to be cut?

    Regardless of any insights provided by the TSG?

    Regardless of the $3.4 million given to other municipalities by TE residents?

    Perhaps it’s just too easy for local politicians to blame Harrisburg, when in fact PSERS costs are responsible for only $1 million of next year’s projected $5.5 million deficit. Rather it is the district’s reliance on a single taxation base, vulnerable to boom and now completely bust, assumed to be able to effortlessly fund a four increase in the salary matrix of 20% (40% with longevity), all in the heart of a recession.

    It’s a shame that we can’t have a rational discussion about the options.

    [Reply]

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    Cold comfort, maybe, but here’s a quote from the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, chair of Eurozone meetings, regarding the Greek debt crisis:

    “When it becomes serious, you have to lie”

    But then, he is trying to prevent a continental (or global) financial meltdown based on a $400 billion Greek default, not educate 6,000 students with a $30 million Fund Balance.

    [Reply]

    RosiesDad Reply:

    Wise words, Ray. At the end of the day, if the township or the school district runs out of money, there are two options: Cut spending (on something) or increase the revenue stream (from somewhere).

    At the end of the day, we have to be willing to have a rational discussion about how to deal with the impending problems. It is almost a given that any discussion about increasing any taxes is an anathema to Republicans. That it is becoming so for Democrats too is not cause for optimism.

    [Reply]

    From The West Reply:

    That letter which was printed today was sent days ago — before the false Republican literature was mailed to our community members.
    **************

    According to this logic, the people sending the political mailer — which was delivered to people’s homes before your letter was published and available to the public — should have somehow magically known you were sending such a letter?

    Regardless of every other argument on here, that doesn’t make a bit of sense.

    [Reply]

  17. Many thanks for providing the opportunity to comment on the Republican mailer. I’d like to state that the contents of the mailer are absolutely untrue.

    I said at the School Board debate on Tuesday evening that the primary cause of our fiscal issues is the result of state run pension obligations. Back in 2001 legislators voted themselves in a huge raise in pension payouts for themselves, state employees, and public school employees. Local school boards and the public were never asked to vote on these raises, but we are now expected locally to pick up the result of a pension program that is terribly underfunded. To be fair, the only group that has paid in faithfully to this pension has been the teachers at 7.5% annually. Between 2011 and 2014 the T/E School District’s payments into the pension program will increase from approximately $2.4 million to $6 million (an increase of 150%) which is a staggering amount for any local school district. I believe that we should not have to use local dollars to solve a problem created by the state.

    I’d also like to stress that the citizen Tax Study Group which was put in place by the T/E School Board will not be making a recommendation on an EIT to the School Board. They will provide the pros and cons of an EIT. This group has worked exceptionally hard, and I hope that many citizens will turn out to hear their report. Two reporting sessions will be held, the first on Thursday, November 3 at 1 PM at the T/E administrative offices on West Valley Road and the second at 7 PM at Valley Forge Middle School. Further, it is important to keep in mind that local school boards can not enact an EIT. It must be a referendum question placed on the ballot and be approved by the citizens. There is absolutely no such referendum question on the November, 2011 ballot.

    [Reply]

    Confused Reply:

    Karen- You failed to answer the question. You say you are opposed to an EIT, but are you going to vote to put the question on the ballot?

    The Republican candidates will not be voting to put the EIT on the ballot. If the Democratic candidates plan to vote to put the EIT on the ballot, then there is some truth to the mailer.

    Yes, a Republican (Kevin Mahoney) is among the chief supporters of the EIT, and he has been leading the effort to get it enacted. However, Kevin was endorsed by the Democrats as well as the Republicans when he ran for School Board. And he is not currently a Republican candidate. As a Republican, I doubt the committee would have endorsed him again for the office based on how strongly he’s supported the EIT over the past few years.

    So let’s not try to confuse voters. Are the Democrats “against” the EIT now (in order to get elected) even though they will be “for” the EIT later (when it’s time to put it on the ballot)? You, Jenny, Scott and Jerry have ALL commented on this blog, but you’ve all refused to state whether or not you plan to put the question on the ballot during your term.

    In all fairness, you might not know. You might be waiting to hear additional information. BUT voters deserve to know that. If a voter opposes the EIT, that voter has the right to make a decision based on that opposition. And a voter, who does not want an EIT, likely will not want to vote for someone who will put the EIT on the ballot. Saying that the voters have to pass it is just a silly excuse for advancing the EIT that gives the Democrats political cover.

    The fact is that MANY people on this blog are pro-EIT, and those people really want you to vote to put the EIT on the ballot. By saying that you won’t vote to put the EIT on the ballot, you’ll potentially lose those pro-EIT votes or discourage the pro-EIT voters from going to the polls. So you are trying to have it both ways– you’re against the EIT but you refuse to say you won’t put it on the ballot. And that’s just not honest. If you’re upset with the Republican mailer, it’s partly because it exposed the double-game the Democratic candidates were playing that enabled them to be pro-EIT and anti-EIT all at the same time.

    Give voters some credit. They aren’t stupid. And they don’t believe you when you say you’re against an EIT while you simultaneously refuse to say you’d vote against putting it on the ballot.

    [Reply]

  18. I am a Baptist preacher who likes to make things very clear. I echo my running-mate Jenny Wessel sentiments. I twitted on October 21, 2011 the following “I will not support a local earn income tax. We need to have revenue that goes directly to our students in our classrooms”. I hope my Republican opponents and friends will be as forthcoming and speak on their own behalf. I expect those who wrote the lies to one day apologize.

    If you have any other questions on any issue, please contact me at scott@scottdorsey.com

    [Reply]

  19. I am thinking how suppressive the Harrisburg government is with respect to the perdiciment(s) it has put school districts in. They are the head of the snake, and should be dealt with. What a farce.

    [Reply]

  20. The lies come right from Mike Broadhurst, and all republicans should call for his resignation immediately. The mailers on Tory, Murph and Duffy were also a low blow and completely untrue. Olsen, Mayock and Heaburg should apologize as well if they have any class at all.
    The gloves are off. Stay tuned.

    [Reply]

    Neighboring Friend Reply:

    Exactly right. All Republican candidates should disavow the party’s tactics and take the high road; otherwise their silence speaks agreement.

    [Reply]

  21. I met the ghost of an Independent School Board candidate while it was checking out Teamer Field for a Halloween rental. It offered the following manifesto:

    TE and all other school districts face a really serious funding problem over the next five years. Costs, particularly pension liabilities, will increase sharply, while the tax base is declining.

    Fortunately, TE is in a strong position to figure out the best way to deal with this while still delivering the quality education its residents expect. Over the next two years I will have no increases in taxes of any kind, and use the fund balance to fund any deficits, while doing the following:

    1. Holding the annual increase in total compensation for all new union and staff contracts to no more than 2%. I will take a strike if necessary.

    2. Subjecting every outside supplier expenditure greater than $25,000 a year to review for targeted 10% saving

    3. Working tirelessly for two years to have Harrisburg increase funding for the PSERS liability. Although there is currently no sign they will do so, there will be increasing pressure for a state-funded solution.

    4. Considering all options to balance the budget, if at the end of that time it’s clear that increased local funding is required.

    5. Drawing extensively on the analysis of the citizen TSG regarding an EIT, because I know that it will have insights on the pros and cons that I will not have thought of.

    6. Requiring the Administration to continue the comprehensive review of all education and support expenditures to allow prioritization of possible cuts.

    7. Preparing a set of pros and cons of all options, given all the above.

    Unfortunately the ghost was then struck through the heart by a wooden stake attached to a big yellow sign, blown in by the wind.

    [Reply]

  22. I am mystified no Democrat candidate will simply come out and say they will not put the EIT on the ballot! Why can’t they just say it, if they keep maintaining they are against it? I haven’t seen more dancing since the last time I watched Dancing With The Stars!

    [Reply]

    John Reply:

    And what else in life mystifies you? Are you mystified that your mailbox keeps filling with various pieces of mail each day? How does it get there? Are you mystified that the lights go on when you flip the light switch?

    My apologies for being flippant. But you would do yourself a favor if you actually read some responses as I see a number of Democratic candidates posting exactly what you seek.

    I am not mystified you chose to be “anonymous”.

    [Reply]

    Confused Reply:

    John —

    Actually, they’ve done nothing of the sort. They claim to oppose the EIT, but none of them have said they wouldn’t put the issue on the ballot.

    So there’s a LOT of dancing around the issue.

    Then again…if we’re to interpret the posting by the candidates on this blog as a pledge not to put the EIT on the ballot, we’re going to hold them to it. So let’s all take our screenshots of the blog now — of these Democratic promises not to support an EIT by voting to put it on the ballot. Then…if the voters elect them only to find that they were against the EIT before they were for the EIT, we’ll have written proof that the Democrats misled the voters by making false campaign promises.

    If that day were ever to come, I’m sure they’d point out that they never explicitly said they wouldn’t put an EIT on the ballot for a vote. They’d say, “I never said I wouldn’t put the EIT on the ballot. I said that I personally opposed it, but I wanted to let the voters decide.” Well…if that’s what they’re going to claim, then it’s not unfair for the Republicans to point out EXACTLY what they are doing.

    [Reply]

  23. Pattye,

    What a wonderful discussion! As a registered R who is an Indepedent, I have been appalled by the tactics of the TTRC especially during this fall campaign.

    After the TSG has given their “PROS & CONS report” next week, the Non-partisan SB must make a decision (late November?) whether or not to put the EIT referendum on the primary ballot.

    Although we all have our ideas on this issue, would it be advisable for the SB to put the issue on the ballot and let the residents vote it up or down?

    The other issue is the Tredyffrin BoS. Although ALL the candidates oppose instituting an EIT, they can do so without voter approval.

    It will be very interesting to see what happens after the TSG report next Thursday (Nov 3rd).

    [Reply]

  24. Hallucinating, I think most of the points you made were made by Democratic candidates at the debate.

    As to anonymous – I am mystified why two Republican School Board candidates couldn’t even show up at the debate to voice their ideas. You can read their reasons on TE.Patch and they are lame. And I have not seen a Republican candidate position on this blog. Who would hand control of our schools to people who won’t even go through the motions. Is this the Republican strategy – nominate candidates they are too embarrassed to have participate in a public debate and then expect them to be elected on the basis of mass mailings full of outright lies? Where will that leave our schools?

    [Reply]

  25. Dear “John” please show me the exact quotes where a Democrat candidate has expressly stated on here that they do not support putting the EIT on the ballot.

    With regard to your flippant comments, you shouldn’t insult someone’s intelligence. I find people who do that are the ones with the least confidence in their own.

    [Reply]

  26. A school board candidate, once the EIT is on the ballot, is worth nothing more than one vote. The worth of a school board member is keeping the EIT off the ballot. That’s what voters need to know about. So, Democrat candidates, why will you not state whether or not you support or do not support putting the EIT on the ballot? It is very simple. Yes or no?

    [Reply]

  27. Friends — if we think this is tough times, wait until the bravado about “taking a strike” comes into play. This is a difficult situation for tthe candidates — and it’s a test of character as to how they respond. We can all make up reasons for why people decline to debate, decline to refuse to say what they will (or won’t do), and they can send surrogates into the papers for themselves to tell their story. But the bottom line is this is NOTHING compared to what will happen in the next PSEA negotiation. So we can consider this what it is — a TEST of the candidate. And you can assess how they respond as part of their credentials. If you believe their posts are double-speak, where they won’t tell you what they are thinking but are covering their thoughts — that’s on you. If you think their silence speaks volumes — maybe it does.

    But the bottom line is this issue is a CANDIDATE issue. Above, Ms. Wessels offers us her “unqualified opposition to an Earned Income Tax in Tredyffrin Township” — and Rev. Dorsey claims he “twitted I will not support a local earn income tax. We need to have revenue that goes directly to our students in our classrooms”.

    On her website, Karen C. has a link for her “experience” where she lists first and foremost :
    •Along with the entire board, provide an exceptional educational program that meets the needs of all resident students.
    •Ensure that the School District is in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations.
    •Secure adequate financial resources for the School District.
    •Served as Chair of Education Committee.
    •Served as board liaison to all legislative issues.

    To highlight her experience, she outlines her one year as Pres of the PTO at New Eagle in the following way:
    President, Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), New Eagle Elementary School. 2006 – 2007.
    •Acted as Chief Executive Officer of the New Eagle PTO Corporation.
    •Coordinatedd the work of the Officers and 50 Committee Chairs to perform the objectives of the Corporation.
    •Ensure that the PTO provides programs and services that support the educational mission of New Eagle Elementary.
    •Worked closely with New Eagle principal, teachers, guidance staff, parents and students.
    •Appointed committees as needed and serve as ex-officio member of all committees.
    •Presided at all meetings of the Board of Directors and general members.
    •Responsible for the implementation of all policies adopted by the PTO Board of Directors.
    She also adds that she was elected “unanimously” as School Board President…..maybe Kevin Grewell can tell us if he is aware that any SB President’s election has ever been anything except unanimous…and if it was “her turn:”….(I am not aware of any SB President being in office more than two years….or ever returning to the role….)

    SO — if you think that postcards from a committee don’t tell the truth, you should ignore them. I think if you believe voters are smart, you should know they will. I think you can examine the message from the candidates for some sense of the truth. Platitudes….generalities….surrogate email drivel to the local papers ….it’s all a piece of the information we get to consider.

    This truly is a character and tactical test going on. The PSEA will be ruthless if we think there will be a strike — taxpayers and kids will be in the path of getting to the board to get what they want. YOu will get all sorts of mixed messages. Let’s see how the candidates deal with this….because it may inform us how they will survive ON OUR BEHALF when they are in office. MOre than half of these candidates are lawyers….I truly think we might be being played.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Grewell Reply:

    Regarding election to the presdidency of the school board: it does not go by “turns”. So election is a vote of confidence, it would not happen unless the rest of the board felt that person is well qualified to lead.

    [Reply]

  28. Just picked up today’s mail: Oh My ==
    “WHILE DEEP CUTS ARE BEING MADE TO OUR SCHOOLS, WHO’S LOOKING OUT FOR OUR KIDS?

    Now there is meaningful campaign rhetoric….”paid for by T/E Friends of Good Schools.” Cannot find any reference to such a group on any website…..surrogates perhaps?

    THe answer to that scary question — who will look after our kids: KAREN CRUICKSHANK AND JERRY HENIGE WILL KEEP WORLD CLASS SCHOOLS IN TREDYFFRIN? Exactly what is so useful about a claim that Cruickshank and Henige will “keep world class schools in Tredyffrin”…. Does that mean they won’t move them to Easttown? They won’t close them? They will keep them world class…..BUT HOW WILL THEY PAY FOR IT???????

    How does a technology/computer science person who did “field support” take the claim of offering business skills and financial knowledge? Not disputing the man is educated, but even his resume fails to produce any hint of “30+ years of business skills and financial knowledge.” The school district has lawyers and business managers and accountants — we want a board with OVERSIGHT and JUDGMENT and at least some understanding of the demographic issues that are creating this budget problem…

    WHY does anyone spend so much money to get people elected to a non-paying job….if they took the money these mailers cost and made a donation to FLITE or T+E Care, we’d all be better off.
    I’ve seen this before: People who will so recklessly spend money to get elected — how will they spend OUR money? Which of these candidates have kids in the schools — and therefore will spend taxpayer money on THEIR OWN KIDS education? WHich of these candidates has any knowledge of the PA constitution and the rules of school board governance?

    What will tomorrow’s mail bring? The FIRST robocall I get will be the first person I do not support. WASTE MONEY. Do our kids need someone to “LOOK OUT FOR THEM?” Isn’t that our job?

    What will be in tomorrow’s mail? Tomorrow’s weather is supposed to include snow…..hope there is money in our dwindling budget to be sure we can shovel it. Heaven knows we are being asked to shovel lots of other stuff.

    Come on people — TELL US YOUR IDEAS…not your goals and dreams. HOW do you protect the finances? Confused is right — they want it both ways. Looking out for our kids while deep cuts are being made….so how are they going to reverse that problem except with a NEW revenue source….

    And WHO IS T/E Friends of Good Schools? …………….. a platitude in an organizational name. Awesome.

    [Reply]

  29. I am aware of several people who teach in TESD that told me that TEEA has officially given Karen Cruickshank their endorsement…..so why don’t we let the candidates speak for themselves.

    WHY would it be a malicious lie that Karen Cruickshank took a contribution from the teachers? If it’s true, or not, it’s not even malicious….she clearly is pro-teacher — her post says that only the poor teachers have made their retirement contributions. So as a voter — is that guaranteed to turn me off?

    I think not. Karen is a big girl. She can speak for herself — and surrogates don’t need to keep stepping up for her. And the lie cannot be easily “disproved” because unless the PSEA or the TEEA made a contribution, we would never know. Today’s Mailer came from T/E Friends of Good Schools. DO you know for CERTAIN that is not the teacher’s union? Sleaze goes both ways. YOu can make any claim you want to dry to expand the sleaze. Let’s just let the candidates talk. They won’t ask your opinion once they are on the board == that’s for sure. Every decison they make will be made in executive session — and the campaign platitudes will echo through their public meetings.

    [Reply]

  30. PLUS in the last few days, in response to the question, “Are you comfortable with the lies in the Republican SB mailer?”, Liz Mercogliano, the Region 2 SB candidate told her neighbor: “So, let them put out their own mailers.”

    Also I spoke to a woman from the Panhandle section of Tredyffrin who reported that at a Republlcan coffee this week, guests were informed that Karen Cruickshank should not be trusted because she has taken contributions from the teachers’ union.

    THIS IS NO DIFFERENT THAN THE TTRC Mailer. Zero. Zilch. Nada. “She told her neighbor”……and now your own neighbor told you. Give it a rest. You are sounding too desperate — and clearly are tryinig yourself to “do anything to win.”

    [Reply]

  31. Ah…rumors and speculation. You claim the mailer is a lie– even though the truth is that the Democratic candidates refuse to say that they will not put an EIT on the ballot- but then you make a claim that Liz said something to a neighbor. Really? Should we just start making up things now? Should I claim that my friend’s friend heard that Jerry or Scott said something? This is just getting ridiculous…

    Regarding union contributions, trace the money before you call it a lie. Karen may not have directly taken money from unions, but her campaign has been assisted by the Democratic party. And where did that money come from?

    It’s a fact that the PSEA gives overwhelmingly to Democratic candidates. Unions in just about every state in the nation give overwhelmingly to Democratic candidates. There’s a reason for this. Democrats have refused to take on the teachers unions. In PA, they’ve blocked moves that would prohibit teacher strikes and that would enable school districts to reduce staff for economic reasons. And the PSEA has an interest in seeing a Democratic school board elected and in seeing a school board elected that will help advance an EIT, which will give the unions just one more source of taxpayer money.

    If you believe that the township and county Democratic parties have not received any union contributions, prove it. I don’t think you can though because we can visit the voter services office in West Chester just as easily as you can. And previous elections have shown the connection between local Democrats and union money.

    Again…if the mailer truly was a lie, where’s the Democratic statement that the candidates will not vote to put the EIT on the ballot? Ah…you see there is no statement because they won’t make that promise. Instead, they hide behind their claims that they personally oppose an EIT while they whine about the mailer. Calling the mailer a lie doesn’t make it a lie, and the Dems silence on the issue of the ballot question is telling.

    [Reply]

  32. Hilarious: a comment decrying lies and untruths populated by hearsay and the unverifiable.

    This political, partisan ranting by both sides is getting ridiculous.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    This political, partisan ranting by both sides is getting ridiculous.

    AMEN! The partisan rantings of some of these comments is NOT the reason that I wrote yesterday’s post. Respectful discourse please.

    [Reply]

  33. Sooo, the T/E Republicans don’t want the voters to decide for themselves how they are taxed. Interesting. Since the R’s don’t support an EIT perhaps a flyer should go out stating that in lieu of an EIT the Republicans are obviously in favor of:
    — increasing our property taxes by another 20%+ to cover the expected TESD deficits in the next few years (on top of the 45%+ increase since 2000)
    — forgoing the $3.35 M which T/E residents currently pay in EIT to other townships (which could be returned to T/E)
    — reducing the quality of our schools by significantly slashing our educational and extracurricular programs (and our property values)
    — teacher strikes (which are likely if no funds are available to provide salary/benefit increases)

    I haven’t heard the Republican candidates make their true positions known on the above – so obviously they want it both ways? The mailer suggests that the R’s want to spend ‘what we have wisely’ and more money is not the answer. I can only assume that that means significant cuts in school programs which the few R candidates who attended the debate clearly did not support. The R’s have supported the property tax increases in the past but, according to the mailer, they won’t support future tax increases? So who is lying?

    Seriously, the scare tactics utilized in the Republican mailer are despicable and any Republican candidate with integrity should immediately and publicly disassociate themselves from the mailer.

    Okay, enough games. TESD is in a difficult position given PSERS and declining revenue due to reduced property assessments. The residents need to become educated about the options and make their own decisions on how to address the expected deficits. The issues are complex and cutting off true education and discussion for political (or personal?) gain is disgusting.

    Here’s a novel idea: Perhaps we should be discussing the options of what we can do to improve the TESD situation instead of bashing each other. Anyone interested?

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    “Perhaps we should be discussing the options of what we can do to improve the TESD situation instead of bashing each other.” — thank you Independent Woman!

    [Reply]

    Confused Reply:

    Independent Woman-

    Thanks for repeating all of the pro-EIT talking points. The fact that you repeated them while also supporting the Democratic candidates is EXACTLY why people suspect the Democrats will impose an EIT.

    At a minimum, your comments demonstrate that the pro-EIT crowd leans Democratic. And that may be why the Democratic candidates keep avoiding the question about whether they’ll advance an EIT by putting it on the ballot. If they say they’ll put it on the ballot, they lose the anti-EIT vote. If they say they won’t put it on the ballot, they’ll anger people like you who make up their base.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Grewell Reply:

    Confused –

    You miss the point entirely with your pure partisan comments.

    The school board acted exactly as it is supposed to – NON PARTISAN – when it decided to study the EIT question. Republicans were involved in that decision – indeed Republicans were central – and did not oppose it. Now, in the context of a political campaign, the TTRC and Republican candidates conceal Republican involvement in appointing the tax study group and imply that it was exclusively a Democratic decision by claiming that the Democrats – and only the Democrats – “want” to impose an EIT and have “begun the process” to do so. This is a PURE LIE which obscures, conceals and omits the background story. It is clearly dishonest and shows a lack of moral character and ethical integrity on the part of the TTRC and its candidates. The point is to distort and conceal the truth to win the election at any cost – even by being blatantly dishonest. How can the public trust any candidates elected on the basis of such lies?

    You keep forgetting to address that central point here – it cannot be ignored. The problem with the mailer has nothing to do with who is more or less likely to supoort an EIT if and when it gets ont he ballot – and that would consist only of lobbying the public at that point – it has to do with gross lies and omissions surrounding the truth of the porcess and how it was initiated to begin with, and how it plays out.

    Political spin is one thing – it is expected in a campaign. The voters – like juries in our court system – are trusted to evaluate competing claims using their common sense and everday life experisnce. It is a system that has served us well. But the system breaks down when candidates resort to outright lies. Instead of a thoughtful debate on the real issues, we get decisions based upon lies and appeals to fear. This dos not serve our community well. Lies are poison.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Thank you Kevin. Political posturing and typical campaign tactics is one thing but the mailer from the Republican school board candidates contained a lie about the Democratic school board candidates. The ‘lie’ contained in the mailer was the reason that I wrote the post but somehow through the partisan bickering, that central point keeps getting lost!

  34. Wow! It’s amazing how seeding the political clouds with an egregious mailer has generated a howling tornado of b—s—!

    In an attempt to get grounded, I did finally get some time to look through the school board candidate debate, thanks to the link posted here. I do encourage everyone to look at that and form their own opinions of the candidates. The statements may not always be accurate, but at least they are their own words! I think that you can get a good sense of their values, skills, character and pre-dispositions.

    Those certainly don’t break down along party lines. R ex-teacher Kris Graham seems much more pro-teacher than D Jenny Wessels, who states she is endorsed by the teachers’ union. And D Karen Cruickshank seems to be trying to draw a line in the contract sand at no wage increases at all.

    All candidates were way too ready to put the problem and solution at Harrisburg’s door. There was no acknowledgment that the state already pays 50% of the PSERS expense. And of course, increasing Harrisburg’s liability would just transfer some of the expense from individuals to corporations – it still needs to get paid. (And that 7.5% teacher contribution funds about a quarter of the liability, by my very simple calculation).

    Much complaining about the Act 1 Index constraint by all debaters, but no acknowledgment that the alternative is local school boards increasing property taxes at will!

    Interesting that Jim Bruce and the IU are trying to negotiate an “early bird” contract with the IU teachers to “set an example” for the districts. That will be a useful early data point, one way or another. He also takes the position that the state will be REQUIRED to act on PSERS, because of the financial position of most school districts. What I’ve heard from Rep Kampf leaves me less optimistic – but the universally shared candidate idea to step up the pressure must be followed through.

    Bottom line, endorsing a point from TR, I think we should be looking for candidates to distinguish themselves as individuals. That will not stop the mailers from both parties and their supporters with untruths, mistruths and ridiculous over-simplifications. But, I think this election will be close enough that voters at the margin will reward candidates that recognize their intelligence by dissecting the complexity and by offering tangible plans.

    [Reply]

    From The West Reply:

    Ray —

    I keep reading about all the money TESD will get back if we implement an EIT.

    As I understand it, NO money paid to Philadelphia can come back to us even if an EIT is implemented.

    As you seem to know the numbers better than anyone, can you tell me what that means…for example: Tred residents pay approx. $X in EIT to other areas, but XX% of that is to Philly, which means we get only $X back?

    I understand we might be leaving some “money on the table” but would be curious how much the real amount that might be.

    This is something no one seems to be recognizing in the EIT argument….especially when (I imagine) we have a LOT of people paying to Philly.

    [Reply]

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    The TSG should have the authoritative analysis of this next week, but here’s what I think I know:

    – The tax paid to Philadelphia by non-residents is authorized under the Sterling Act. It is equal to 4.3% of income.
    – If TE residents voted for an EIT under Act 511, Philadelphia workers would continue to pay the Sterling Act tax and not the TE EIT. A portion of the Sterling Act tax could return to TE in the form of reduced property taxes when the state gaming fund reaches a limit set by the state legislature. I do not know where the fund is relative to this limit.
    – If TE residents voted for an Act 511 EIT, TE could collect the tax on the pro-rated income of residents that worked from home for Philadelphia-based businesses.
    – I do not know the numbers of TE residents that pay a Sterling Act tax, the amount of the taxes they pay, nor the percentage that are currently working from home for a portion of their week and avoiding the 4.3% tax.
    – I have seen data showing that about 30% of TE’s residents already pay an Act 511 EIT, and that the amount of that tax paid in 2009 was $3.35 million. It is these residents, in addition to Philadelphia employees, that would pay no additional tax under an EIT, and it is this amount that would come back to TE (assuming a 1% rate, I think).

    Hope that helps.

    [Reply]

    From The West Reply:

    Thanks, Ray!

    Confused Reply:

    Ray-

    Did you say that Democratic candidate Jenny Wessels was endorsed by the union? Who was endorsed by the union?

    And why would the union rather have Democrats on the school board? Could it be because the Democrats are more union-friendly and more likely to take steps to pass an EIT, which would give the district enough money to pay for union salary hikes?

    Someone else on this discussion board said it was a vicious lie to say Karen took $ from unions…but if Democrats are receiving union endorsements, isn’t that similar?

    Can we get some explanation of the endorsements here?

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    It is unclear to me which candidates have been endorsed by the teachers union. However, there was a letter to the editor in today’s Main Line Media News by TTRC Chair Mike Broadhurst that references a Republican candidate was endorsed but he did not name which one.

    [Reply]

    Environmentalist Reply:

    Chris Graham, a 40 year teacher was endorsed by the TEEA, as was a Dem incumbent Karen C. and her running mate. J. Wessels said in the debate that she was endorsed as well.

    What happened to the post from the woman whose friend in the Panhandle made the claim that the coffee said Karen C was not to be trusted? I know there were comments made by her and then she told us that she heard the LIz M. candidate had said something else. I don’t think anyone can delete what was posted, and since some of the posts answered that post, what happened to it?

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    I am the only one that can delete comments from Community Matters. At the request of the author of that comment, it was removed.

  35. Ray
    I so appreciate your clarity on this topic. And I encourage everyone to follow Ray’s suggestion and read the candidates websites and watch the video. This IS an election about WHO you trust to do a good job. That is not to say that you do not need ti distrust their oppponent — but the earnest pleas of people who may or may not have any clue what they are facing is unsettling.
    Because Ray is right about something else — and has been steadfast in this — TE and the rest of the state cannot continue business as any kiind of usual. That said, given the cut and run response to the mere suggestion that the Dems would enact an EIT validates my opinion that there is no chance that voters would ever vote to enact an EIT….so the TSG is working hard but I’m not sure in the end enough people will listen.
    But if you want a stake in how your tax burdens will look over the next 4 yeras, as well as the value of your home will rise or fall — then watch the video and do your homework. Find out who has children in the schools — becuase I can assure you those people will feel daily pressure when contract time comes up. When your child comes home with a message from a teacher, it’s a very uncomfortable time in the house. And this is about OUR own TESD teachers….this is about union tactics. It’s not a fun time fo rour teachers either, but it’s not a coincidence that the past two leaders of the TEEA have resigned the position (Ciamacca and dePiano). It’s stressful..

    SO — who in the group is likely to handle the stress of a negotiation AND who is likely to be candid with voters about what’s going on. Who will respond with “we know what’s best” attitudes….and who is likely to be able to work behind the scenes and in public to share the process and inform the public?

    I’ve read it here and elsewhere, and I wonder why TESD hasn’t pursued it — a student activity fee of a substantive enough amount to reduce the problems associated with compensation and programs. That puts the cost where it belongs. A $1,000 student activity fee would generate $6M …and I agree with Ray that the PSERS issue should absolutely be paid by the fund balance…it’s a spike and Jim Bruce is likely very right — Harrisburg has to address it or districts all over the state, less prepared for a “rainy day” will go into receivership.

    So let’s not be focused on what any mailer says — let’s see how the candidates deal with this. Thanks Ray for trying to calm the EIT fears….

    [Reply]

  36. Township reader says, “I agree with Ray that the PSERS issue should absolutely be paid by the fund balance…it’s a spike and Jim Bruce is likely very right — Harrisburg has to address it or districts all over the state, less prepared for a “rainy day” will go into receivership. “
    .
    No. The PSERS issue is not a spike. The projected contribution rates stay high for two decades and slowly decline from there. The fund balance cannot begin to cover the increased PSERS contributions.
    .
    I’ve spoken with my representative and there is no Harrisburg fix in the works. The state would either have to raise taxes or reduce benefits. By law, the promised benefits cannot be reduced. Does anyone really think the state legislators will raise taxes in this economic environment? There is a small chance that the proceeds from privatizing the liquor business would be used to fund PSERS and SERS, but privatization is a low priority, there are other needs for those funds and the projected $1B from the sale is small compared to the $20B unfunded liability. This state legislators created the problem in the early ’90s and were crafty in shifting the solution/burden to the local level where it will remain.
    .
    Did one of the candidates really say they would use the fund balance and wait for a Harrisburg solution?

    [Reply]

  37. As a follow-up –
    .
    The state has given local districts a solution to the PSERS rate increases – the PSERS exemption to the Act 1 Index. TE has an easy solution to the PSERS funding; they can raise taxes above the Act 1 Index to EXACTLY cover the needed additional PSERS contributions without a referendum.
    .
    TE’s financial difficulties do not stem from PSERS; they are caused by the disastrous union contract signed 4 years ago. What TE can’t do is raise taxes above the Act 1 Index to cover the 6% salary increases without a referendum (either an Act 1 referendum or an EIT referendum).
    .
    Some may point to the fund balance as a source of solace. Don’t be fooled. The fund balance only delays the inevitable for one or two years at which time the solution will be more painful.

    [Reply]

  38. My understanding of the use of fund balance is to handle the PSERS problem until the state addresses it…not forever. If you go to the PDE website, you will see that TE’s spike is peanuts for the next few years BECAUSE there is fund balance to handle it. Other districts don’t have the tax base to pay the bill. Without some Harrisburg fix, there will be some major Chester-esque failures around the state…..wait until after Nov and see what Gov. Corbett and his gang offer…

    [Reply]

  39. I may have missed it on here, but can someone explain to me what the yellow signs mean that say “Lower Home Values…Vote Republican”. They have popped up in Chesterbrook and along Rt. 252.

    Why would I want my home value lowered? Is this the local Republicans, county, or someone else? Is this supposed to motivate the Republican base? Lower home values???

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    No, these are NOT Republican signs — they are Democratic signs! Apparently, these new yellow signs are the TTDEMS counter to the yellow TTRC ‘No EIT’ signs! I do not know why the Democrats would think that this is effective — yellow signs?? But maybe like you, there will be people who assume that they are Republican signs and that the Republicans are somehow suggesting that lowering your home value is a good idea??? I would love to know who in the Democrat organization thought that this message on yellow signs was a good campaign strategy. Maybe it is and that I’m missing the point?? I wonder if the Democratic candidates were asked their opinion?

    [Reply]

    From The West Reply:

    My guess would be the Dems are thinking:

    No EIT could mean worse schools which could hurt property values.

    Of course, that is kind of esoteric for a sign and I don’t think anyone will understand it…which means the Dems just paid for a bunch of signs that say “Vote Republican”

    All I can say is that the Republicans must really have hit a nerve with the public on the EIT b/c the Democrats seem to be doing everything they can to counteract it except take a position on whether or not they would put it on the ballot.

    And, if they do finally say that, that helps the Republicans who got there first and forced them to say it.

    More silliness…

    [Reply]

    Township Reader Reply:

    THIS is the danger of PACS and other issues….I can have signs printed today that say whatever I want — COMMUNITY MATTERS SAYS DON’T VOTE…..and all we could do is wonder who printed them! The card that said “WHO IS LOOKING OUT FOR KIDS” was paid for by “TE Friends of Good Schools” —- what does that mean? Was that the teacher’s union?

    People — somewhere at the head of this parade is a guy playing a flute…and we are all going to follow him over the cliff if we don’t stop it. Don’t contribute to parties or any PAC. Write a check to a candidate if you must — but without money, they would have to just write on their website and come to meetings. Read about the candidate. Let PEOPLE run for office — not mystery organizations.

    [Reply]

    Doesn't Add Up Reply:

    Good points, great advice.

    [Reply]

  40. Regarding those new democratic yellow signs…

    visit: http://www.philly.com/homeprices

    Tredyffrin home values have increased 4% while most everybody else’s have dropped.

    Kind of funny the Dems go on this attack when the Inquirer is reporting the opposite.

    Talk about untruth in political advertising.

    [Reply]

    Doesn't Add Up Reply:

    FTW – The Dems yellow signs probably intended as forward looking. No more disingenuous what they have done than the crap that the TTRC is putting out!

    It is truly a shame that so far not one of the sitting supervisors, school board members, or any of the candidates for either have denounced their own party’s misinformation and tactics….

    We are all screwed with this bunch.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Grewell Reply:

    The argument is that if the schools are left without a reliable funding source, then deep cuts will need to be made to the educational program, which will eventually degrade the quality of the schools, which in turn will decrease the desirability of the community, which in turn will undermine home values.

    The 4% increase reflects the quality of the schools to date, but that can change in the future. This is a real possibility if current trends continue, and frankly I do not believe Harrisburg will solve the problem.

    Given the current situation, it seems to me to be prudent to withold final judgment on the EIT until all the facts are developed – i.e., after the report of the tax study group. I think the Democratic sign is pointing out that the Republican’s have chosen not to do that.

    It is fair political comment so far as it goes, in response to the Republican campaign which alleged (untruthfully) that the EIT study was entirely a Democratic initiative.

    [Reply]

    From The West Reply:

    I guess my issue with everyone fighting for “school funding” and a “reliable revenue stream” is that they only talk about the revenue side of the books. How about the expense side?

    Yes, schools cost money. But do they really have to cost as much as they do?

    For example, the teachers’ union contracts: automatic step increases, increases for achieving higher degrees (paid for by the taxpayers), etc. are all relics of a by-gone era. They also have nothing to do with the efficacy of a teacher…good, bad or indifferent get in the system and you get the automatic increases.

    Or, how about letting professional business people and others from the outside world into the teaching system? That can’t happen now no matter how qualified someone may be unless they hold a teachers cert. I know of at least 3 retired, competent and successful individuals willing to give their time to our schools who cannot because their college degrees and life’s experience don’t include “teaching courses.”

    There are other issues — pensions, health benefits, etc — that can be addressed as well.

    Teaching is no longer the highly underpaid position it was 40 years ago, but we continue to act as if it was 40 years ago. There need to be changes to bring things in-line with today’s world.

    Please understand, I value teachers and what they contribute. I know that far too often, parents are the irresponsible parties in the education relationship. And quite often it is the unions, not the teachers themselves, who drive many of the things people don’t like. But, things have changed and we need to change with them.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Grewell Reply:

    I agree with much of what you said. The school board can and should achieve some concessions in the next round of contract negotiations. However, as has been pointed out many times elsewhere on this blog, there are inequalities in bargaining power which arise from state law and will require help from Harrisburg. Also, some of the reforms you mention would require action by the state legislature. We can get some of the needed “give” from the teachers, but it is not realistic that we can get all we need, without serious help from Harrisburg – which, in my opinion is not likely to be forthcoming.

    In my view, there is no excuse for allowing the decline of our schools and we should do everything we can to prevent that. If I were still ont he board or a candidate, I would say the responsible thing would be to withold judgment on an EIT untill all of the facts were developed.

    We did look at the expenditure side – we evaluated and re-negotiated contracts with vendors of goods and services, re-financed and retired much of our bond debt, tightened up our budget process, enhanced efficiencies in our operations, etc. That effort continues to this day, but we are now getting to the point where further cuts must come from the educational program.

    Given the fact that we have some of the lowest school property taxes in the state, there is no excuse for allowing the quality of our schools to decline to the detriment of our community and our students.

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    Agree mostly with the replies above, especially about the forward looking point of the signs.

    Note that from the Inquirer source, Easttown values are down 12% 2005-11, so TESD historical performance can not be exclusively responsible for house price trends. Also, neighbors Wilistown +9%, East Whiteland +12% ….

    [Reply]

  41. So — the lesson I hope everyone learns — DO NOT CONTRIBUTE TO PARTIES OR CANDIDATES. Let’s starve the beast(s). Let ideas and shoe leather — door to door in a very small community — serve as the way they communicate with and connect with voters. All this stuff on signs, in the mail, and in robo calls takes money. Let’s not spend it and see what kind of effort a candidate will produce. I don’t want them spending my money this way.

    [Reply]

  42. Well since the Citizens United decision – it won’t matter whether any individual gives as much. If all individuals stopped giving the corporations will still give. The money will be there. And it will buy influence.

    [Reply]

  43. Such a positive viewpoint — but I’ll say that if only corporations donate, then we will all know the signs were bought and paid for — and we can stop pretending they reflect anything but money. Then again — exactly what influence do you think people are buying around here?

    Maybe having all these real estate lawyers running for Supervisor is a caution sign? JD and Heaberg are the only non-lawyers, right? I’m asking? You don’t always have to look at who donated….maybe who benefits is just as meaningful.

    Constituents / clients? What’s the difference?

    [Reply]

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