Election Day 2015

Still undecided on TE School Board & Tredyffrin Twp candidates? ‘Meet & Greet’ at St. Davids Golf Club on Wednesday, Oct. 28

meet-the-candidates

Still undecided?  Here’s another opportunity to meet the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisor and TE School Board candidates before Election Day on Tuesday, November 3.  The Panhandle Civic Association is sponsoring a “meet & greet” on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 7-8:30 PM.  See information below:

CANDIDATES MEET AND GREET

OCTOBER 28, 2015

The Panhandle Civic Association is sponsoring a Candidates Meet and Greet on Wednesday, October 28, 2015.  The gathering will be held at the St. Davids Golf Club, 845 Radnor Street Road, Radnor, from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.  This will be an informal affair providing you the opportunity to speak one on one with the candidates of both parties, to ask questions and to share thoughts and concerns.  Please come prepared to ask our candidates where they stand on issues that matter to you.

Candidates for Region 1 School Board and attending the Meet and Greet:

Neal Colligan (R)

Roberta Hotinski (D)

Todd Kantorczyk (D)

Neill Kling (R)

Candidates for District 1 Board of Supervisors and attending the Meet and Greet:

Paul Olson (R)

Tory Snyder (D)

Candidates for At Large Board of Supervisors and attending the Meet and Greet:

Elva Bankins (D)

Lou Horvath (D)

Trip Lukens (R)

Sean Moir (R)

Although not required for attendance, we would like to have reasonable sense of how many people will be coming to this meeting.  Please let your Block Captain know if you plan to be at the event, or send an email to: j.k.lindberg@att.net.  Please indicate if you are a resident of the Panhandle.

There is no charge for anyone to attend this gathering.  Light appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages will be available from the Club.  If non-Panhandle residents want to take advantage of this service, they will be charged $10.00.

For questions about this event, please email Christine Wright at wright502@verizon.net.

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Improving Public Communication and Transparency, School Fencing, Real Estate Development, Tax Increases — All Important Issues to Tredyffrin Voters

Candidates for the TE School Board and the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors participated in a ‘Meet the Candidate’ forum sponsored by Chester County League of Women Voters on Saturday.  As an audience member, it was clear that as voters we are lucky as most of the candidates had done their homework. The candidates were prepared, understood the important issues and were able to present their views effectively. The township and the school district are fortunate to have qualified community members willing to take on the challenges of elected office.

Improving public communication and transparency, fencing at Valley Forge Middle School, yearly tax increase, real estate development and pension reform remain important issues with residents. The candidates addressed resident questions regarding these issues and others on Saturday.

If you were unable to attend the candidate forum, you can find a rebroadcast on the township website as follows.

Click here to view the Chester County League of Women Voters ‘Meet the TE School Board Candidates.

Click here to view the Chester County League of Women Voters ‘Meet the Tredyffrin Township Candidates’

Election Day is a week from tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3.  Before casting your vote, know the candidates!

On Thursday, October 29 at the Tredyffrin Township building, the Chesterbrook Civic Association is sponsoring a ‘Meet the Candidates’ event.  Open to the public, this will be a good opportunity to ask specific questions of the supervisor and school board candidates.  Please plan to attend.

Meet the Candidates 2015
Township Building, 7:00 – 8:30pm
Thursday Oct. 29

Board of Supervisor candidates in attendance:
Democrats
Elva Bankins, Lou Horvath, and Yolanda VanderKrol
Republicans
Trip Lukens and Heather Greenberg

School Board candidates in attendance:
Republicans
Ed Sweeney and Kris Graham
Democrats
Michele Burger and Alan Yockey

Come and ask the tough questions about tax increases, development, student safety, fencing at VFMS, and funding for the fire and ambulance company. Be an informed voter: this election matters.

                   Sponsored by the Chesterbrook Civic Association

Like many community residents, Chesterbrook resident Doug Anestad has voiced concerns related to the fencing plans at Valley Forge Middle School. Doug sent the following email on October 10 to each TE School Board candidate. He received responses from all school board candidates except for two — Doug did not have a valid email address for Fran Reardon (D) and incumbent Kris Graham (R) elected not to respond.

Dear T/E School Board Candidate,

I would like to get your official position regarding some questions concerning the Valley Forge Middle School proposed fences. Your reply by end of the day Saturday, October 17 would be most appreciated.  1) Where do you stand on the Valley Forge Middle School fence issue?

2) Do you think it is a good use of taxpayer money to spend $15,500 to hire a safety consultant to review the VFMS site?

3) Would you support installing additional fencing at VFMS if the safety consultant recommends it? If you would support additional fencing, how would you reconcile this with the public’s right to use the walkways?

Thank you for your time in addressing these questions.

Regards,

Doug Anestad

If you want to know where the school board candidates stand on the fencing issue you can read their full responses to Doug’s questions —  click here.

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Tredyffrin Township District 1 East supervisor candidates Paul Olson and Tory Snyder respond

Supervisor Candidates for Tredyffrin Township, District 1 – East
Paul Olson (R) Incumbent
Tory Snyder (D)

The Tredyffrin Township Supervisor candidates were asked to answer the following question in 500 words or less.

Please identify a specific character trait that makes you an effective leader. Give an example(s) of how you have utilized that personal characteristic in previous leadership position and, if elected, how residents will benefit from that particular trait.  Be specific.

The two candidate responses follow below in alphabetical order according to last name. If your question and/or comment is for a specific candidate, please refer to that individual by name so as not to confuse the reader. Voters will select one of these candidates on November 3 for the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors.

Tredyffrin Township Supervisor Candidate Paul Olson (R) Incumbent
District 1 – East

Persistence

My name is Paul Olson and I am running for re-election as Supervisor in the Eastern District of Tredyffrin Township.  My wife, Andrea, and I have lived here since 1969 and we raised our family here.

The character trait that has served me well is persistence.  “Persistence is omnipotent” and through it we are able to achieve many worthwhile goals in life.  This is my firm belief.

In my thirty-seven plus years of service to the citizens of Tredyffrin as a Township Supervisor, I have overseen significant changes in this community and I have always been determined to provide quality services at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer.

Through the years, I have always been a dedicated worker.  Now, as an employer in a small family-owned company, I have come to understand and appreciate the importance of the following values:

  1. Team involvement (There is no “I” in team);
  2. A ‘Stick-to-It’ attitude; and,
  3. A ‘Never give up’ approach.

All three are critical, not only in the work-a-day world that most of us experience, but in the Public sector as well.

As one of the co-chairs of the Tredyffrin Library Capital Campaign which supported the expansion of the Strafford Library, I helped to raise more than four million dollars in private money for that project. Persistence and perseverance helped us to achieve that success.  I have worked to bring people together on numerous issues and I have always cared deeply about doing what is best for the community.

Since 2007 I have been a member of the Surrey Services Board of Directors.  I am fortunate to be able to work with this wonderful organization which provides such important services to our older citizens.  Our community is blessed with individuals who give of their time, talent, and treasure for volunteer organizations and volunteerism helps make America the great country that it is!

If re-elected, I will continue to be persistent and steadfast in my efforts to make Tredyffrin an even better place to live and work and play.

Tredyffrin Township Supervisor Candidate Tory Snyder (D)
District 1 – East

Forward-looking Leadership

“In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

While it is difficult to identify one single trait that has made me an effective leader, I would say that one of my strongest traits, and one that distinguishes me from my opponent, is that I am forward looking in my decision making.

I grew up in the western end of Tredyffrin Township and attended T/E schools. I saw the development of Chesterbrook Shopping Center as the new exciting place to shop in the late 1970s and witnessed its vacancies 30 some years later. I saw the old Wilson farm become Wilson Farm Park and watched Berwyn Paoli Little League create the field of dreams complex.  I have chosen Tredyffrin as my home as I became an adult and parent because I know where we have come from and I can see where we can go as a community. I am invested in Tredyffrin Township and I will contribute to its long term strength and success.

This perspective is essential to taking actions that make sense for Township residents today without burdening Township residents in the future. I believe that this lack of forward thinking among some of our elected officials has resulted in the Township’s moving too slowly and missing out on a number of opportunities to broaden our tax base and provide more amenities for Tredyffrin residents.

Many of my actions first as a member, and then as Chair of the Planning Commission, reflect this philosophy. I always ask what will be the future implications of a decision.  One specific example that I can point to recently is when the developers of the new assisted living facility in Paoli came to the Township with their proposal. While the project had broad political support as proposed, many of the neighbors voiced valid concerns with the project. I shared many of their concerns. As a Planning Commissioner, I was able to add limitations to the Township Code so that this project and any future projects would be presented to the Township in a more appropriate form.

While not all of the provisions that I suggested were adopted, including a greater amount of open space and a better density standard, I believe that it was my specific leadership and direction that resulted in a better project which met a number of resident concerns and set better standards for future projects.

As a Tredyffrin Township Supervisor (1st District, East) I will be one of the seven people who set policy for our Township, who are elected to govern and to address the needs of all residents in the community.  I would like to serve the people of Tredyffrin as a member of this Board, bringing my forward looking leadership and perspective to keep our community strong in the future.

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School fencing is important school safety issue to TE School Board — Why not same level of safety concern for 5th grader?

stopped school bus

 During one of the two comment periods of the TE School Board meeting on September 21, District residents Mr. and Mrs. John Alexander asked the school board directors for assistance with a busing situation pertaining to their son Jackson. The Alexander’s, who live on Valley Forge Mountain, had previously attempted resolution through email and phone calls to the District but were unsuccessful. After their passionate appeal at the school board meeting, the District’s business manager Art McDonnell intervened to say that this was a bus schedule matter and any school bus policy changes need to go to the Policy Committee the following month. The Board concurred with no further discussion.

Although I may not have fully known the specifics of the situation, it was obvious that McDonnell understood the Alexander’s request.  A couple of days after the school board meeting, John Alexander called me.  After speaking with him, I asked that he provide me with a summary of the situation for Community Matters —

Our son, Jackson, is taking a school district shuttle bus from VFMS to VFES to ride the elementary school bus home two days a week, so that he can participate in 5th grade band and chorus as after school extracurricular activities since both my wife and I work outside of the home. The problem is that even though the elementary school bus passes right by our house twice on its route, the school district’s procedure is to only stop at the closest current elementary school stops. This means that Jackson has to get off almost a half a mile away at the nearest established elementary school stop and walk back to our house which unnecessarily increases his risk of being hurt or otherwise harmed, especially since there are no sidewalks on Valley Forge Mountain.

We had hoped that a simple phone call and/or e-mail requesting the bus to let him off at his old elementary school bus stop from last year would settle the issue and be a Win-Win situation since there would be less risk of danger to our son and the School District wins because there is less risk of an incident for which they would be liable while not impacting other students & families in any material way.

Our bottom line – It seems like the school district is more concerned with minimizing disruptions in their bureaucratic process & procedures rather than taking simple & reasonable steps to increase the safety of a child in returning to their home from school. Shouldn’t student safety be paramount and outweigh bureaucratic processes when reasonable alternatives exist? Now, we are faced with waiting for the Policy Committee to review this in the middle of next month with no guarantee of a favorable decision/ruling.

John Alexander

Over the last couple of years, the school board has focused much attention on school safety, including trying to convince residents that ‘fencing schools’ is the answer to keeping our children safe.  Yet, here we have a 10 year old boy walking ½ mile from the school bus on Valley Forge Mountain to his home, after the bus passes his house twice on the route.

The District is endangering a child and risking liability to allow this child to walk this distance and on roads without sidewalks! This makes no ‘safety sense’ whatsoever! The Alexander’s have been told that to change the bus route for them could mean that other families may want similar changes. However, when Alexander pressed McDonnell on how many ‘other’ families have ever had a bus schedule situation which required a change, he was given no response. The bus route included a stop at the Alexander’s house for the 2014-15 school year. As Alexander states, “Shouldn’t student safety be paramount and outweigh bureaucratic processes when reasonable alternatives exist?”

Beyond the obvious safety aspects of this situation, where is the open communication between the Board and this TE School District family.  Jackson is the youngest of the Alexander’s four children, so the parents fully understand how the school district works and are not seeking preferential treatment.  According to John Alexander, he had previously inquired about the existing “bus policy” cited by Art McDonnell; however, it was not provided. Rather than showing leadership and finding a reasonable solution, the school board accepted the business manager’s approach to “kick the can” to the Policy Committee meeting next month.

The Alexander’s have to wait a month to take their reasonable request (and simple solution) to the Policy Committee. To be clear, the Policy Committee can only hear the policy request and make recommendations. At best, the Alexander’s will have to wait until the next school board meeting for full board discussion. However, most policy changes, take more than one Policy Committee for recommendations so who knows how long this “simple family request” will take for resolution?

I do not understand “why” all school district roads seem to lead to Art McDonnell, the business manager. Beyond the expected business/financial related aspects of his job description, McDonnell is the keeper of the gate for the District’s communications and the Board’s emails from residents, the Public Information officer and the Right-to-Know request recipient. We learned at the last school board meeting that McDonnell ‘hand-picked’ the school safety consultant (without issuing an RFP) and now we find that apparently he is in charge of the District’s bus schedule!

I have sat through many regular and committee meetings of the District and have witnessed an alarming trend…many of the Board’s discussions/decisions seem to defer to Art McDonnell!  In my opinion, the decision making powers of Art McDonnell seems to extend well beyond the normal and expected business manager boundaries.  As of July 1, the District hired a new Superintendent; so where’s Dr. Gusick’s voice on these issues?

As residents, we didn’t elect Art McDonnell to govern the District – we elected the School Board. Plan to support those school board candidates in the upcoming election on November 3rd who will do their homework and govern with independent thought! We need effective leadership!

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