Molly Duffy

Election Day 2011 is over . . . Looks like much will remain the same!

Election Day 2011 has now passed and the ‘unofficial’ results are in. The full results for all races can be found at the Chester County website, www.chesco.org. In reviewing the results, all incumbents prevailed in the supervisor and school board races. Other than Karen Cruickshank’s re-election as school board director, it was a clean sweep for the Republicans for the T/E School Board and Board of Supervisors.

SCHOOL DIRECTOR TREDYFFRIN EASTTOWN REGION I
VOTE NOT MORE THAN 2
JAMES D BRUCE (REP) . . . . . . . 1,443     25.33
TARA G LA FIURA (REP) . . . . . . 1,336     23.46
KAREN CRUICKSHANK (DEM) 1,635    28.70
JERRY HENIGE (DEM) . . . . . . . 1,280      22.47
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 2 .04

SCHOOL DIRECTOR TREDYFFRIN EASTTOWN REGION II
VOTE NOT MORE THAN 2
ELIZABETH A MERCOGLIANO (REP). . 2,416      25.71
KRIS GRAHAM (REP). . . . . . . .                2,428     25.84
JENNIFER LIGHTMAN WESSELS (DEM) . . .   2,322        24.71
SCOTT DORSEY (DEM) . . . . . . .                 2,229         23.72
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 1 .01

SCHOOL DIRECTOR TREDYFFRIN EASTTOWN REGION III
VOTE NOT MORE THAN 1
PETER MOTEL (REP). . . . . . . . 1,256     61.51
CRAIG A LEWIS (DEM) . . . . . . 785       38.44
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 1 .05

Karen Cruickshank (D, Jim Bruce (R) and Pete Motel (R) were re-elected for TESD Region 1 and Liz Mercogliano (R) and Kris Graham (R) were elected for TESD Region II. In Region III, incumbent Pete Motel won by a significant margin against his opponent. If you recall from the school board debate, the candidate who made personal attacks was Craig Lewis against Pete Motel. Maybe this win indicates that voters from Easttown did not appreciate Mr. Lewis tactics. Cruickshank is currently serving as president of the school board and her win reflects a vote of confidence from the voters on her performance.

Looking at Mercogliano’s win, I am reminded that neither she nor Tara LaFiura participated in the League of Women Voters debate. If I had been a betting person, I would have thought that would have harmed her chances of winning. But she was only 12 votes behind the winner Kris Graham who did participate in the debate.

Here are the unofficial results from the Tredyffrin supervisor races:

TOWNSHIP SUPERVISOR AT-LARGE TREDYFFRIN TOWNSHIP
VOTE NOT MORE THAN 2
MICHAEL C HEABERG (REP). . . . . . 4,020    27.09
KRISTEN KIRK MAYOCK (REP) . . . . 4,042    27.24
MOLLY DUFFY (DEM). . . . . . . .               3,636       24.50
F MICHAEL MURPH WYSOCKI (DEM). 3,137       21.14
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 4 .03

DISTRICT SUPERVISOR 1ST DISTRICT TREDYFFRIN 1ST DISTRICT
VOTE NOT MORE THAN 1
PAUL W OLSON (REP) . . . . . . . 1,331      50.21
VICTORIA SNYDER (DEM) . . . . . . 1,318      49.72
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 2 .08

DISTRICT SUPERVISOR 3RD DISTRICT TREDYFFRIN 3RD DISTRICT
VOTE NOT MORE THAN 1
JOHN JD DIBUONAVENTURO (REP) . . . . 1,616    98.54
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 24 1.46

Incumbent Mike Heaberg (R) was re-elected along with Kristen Mayock (R). Only 22 votes separated those two spots. Unopposed in the race, JD DiBuonavnturo (R) was re-elected for District 3. In District 1, Paul Olson (R) will retain his seat on the Board of Supervisors. Tory Snyder (D) gave Olson a real run and came within 13 votes of unseating him.

Based on these results, Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors will continue as an all-Republican board. Mayock’s election to the Board adds a third woman – it has been awhile since we had that dynamic. Personally I’m looking forward to that new element and what that will mean for the residents.

In an upset, Jeremy Blackburn (R) was unseated by Analisa Sondergaard (D) as District Judge. I was one of those who believed that our District Judge should be an attorney so I am very supportive of Sondergaard’s win in this election.

MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT JUDGE DISTRICT 15-4-01
VOTE NOT MORE THAN 1
JEREMY M BLACKBURN (REP) . . . . .   1,847   48.36
ANALISA SONDERGAARD (DEM) . . . . . 1,971    51.61
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 1 .03

In the Chester County District Attorney race, I am pleased that Tom Hogan (R) won this race and will serve the county as our new DA.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY
VOTE NOT MORE THAN 1
TOM HOGAN (REP) . . . . . . . .  45,036   60.07
SAMUEL C STRETTON (DEM). . . . . . 29,826   39.78
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 106 .14

In the County Commissioner race, the three incumbents, Ryan Costello (R), Terence Farrell (R) and Kathy Cozzone (D) were all re-elected to another term as Commissioners.

COUNTY COMMISSIONER
VOTE NOT MORE THAN 2
RYAN A COSTELLO (REP) . . . . . . 42,232      29.40
TERENCE FARRELL (REP) . . . . . . 40,629    28.29
KATHI COZZONE (DEM) . . . . . . .    31,933     22.23
SUSAN BAYNE (DEM). . . . . . . .  28,736      20.01
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 111 .08

To all the candidates, thank you for all the time and energy spent over these last few months with your campaigns.  To our newly elected officials, the community thanks you and remain hopeful that you will stand behind the campaign promises that you made to the residents.

Yesterday I visited several precincts and spoke to many people.  There was a constant theme in our discussions; I learned that many people in this community were deeply troubled by the campaign rhetoric of the political parties.  They spoke of the infamous yellow signs, the negative campaign mailers and of the robo-calls.  I actually had several people say that they almost stayed home in protest and knew that would not help with the message.  Regardless if you are the winning side or not, please know that the tactics during this campaign season was not what many in the community want.  I hope that in the aftermath of Election Day 2011, the local Republican and Democratic party will take the time to reflect on their campaign strategies for the future.

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Supervisor Candidates asked the most important issue facing Tredyffrin Township – Snyder, Wysocki & Duffy Respond

We know that local elections and the choices that voters will make on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8 are important. I sent a three-part question to Tredyffrin’s 3 Democratic supervisor candidates and the 4 Republican supervisor candidates.

Following the League of Women Voters debate on October 24, I received responses to the question from the Democratic candidates; however, the Republican candidates declined to participate.  Below is the question and the responses from Democratic candidates Tory Snyder, Murph Wysocki and Molly Duffy.  A similar question was posed to the Democratic and Republican school board candidates and those responses will be posted tomorrow.

Dear Supervisor Candidates:

Local elections are important. As a candidate for Tredyffrin Township’s Board of Supervisors in the upcoming election, I hope that you will participate in the following Q&A on Community Matters.

In 200 words or less, please respond to the following questions. Incorporate all three parts of the question into your response and please be specific in your answers.  Supervisor candidate responses will be posted on Community Matters in the order that they are received.

(1) In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing Tredyffrin Township?
(2) If you were elected, what would you do to help solve or improve this issue?
(3) Tredyffrin Township needs problem-solvers; what in your background or job experience qualifies you to help solve this important issue?

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VICTORIA ‘TORY’ SNYDER
Democratic District 1 Supervisor Candidate

The largest issue facing Tredyffrin is how to provide public services that our citizens expect given falling revenues. The basis of solving this problem has to lie in economic revitalization that strengthens our tax base. Only by ensuring highest and best use of our properties, can we maximize property values and stabilize our budget. Compared to other communities in our area, Tredyffrin is financially an easy place for businesses to locate — we have neither an earned income tax nor a business privilege tax.

If I were elected, I would make it even easier for businesses to locate or expand here.  Specifically, I would recommend updating our zoning code to remove, reviewing our fee structure and making sure our Township is properly staffed to provide prompt project reviews and permitting.

I have a Master of City Planning degree from Penn and have planned for County, local and private clients. I am also a ten year Tredyffrin Planning Commissioner. As a Planning Commissioner and active Township volunteer, I have seen and understand firsthand the barriers to redevelopment in Tredyffrin. I have the depth of education and experience to draw from in knowing how to remove them.

—————————————————————————————-
F. MICHAEL “MURPH” WYSOCKI
Democratic At-Large Supervisor Candidate

The most important issue facing Tredyffrin Township today is money, how to best manage revenues and expenditures for the benefit of Tredyffrin’s taxpayers.

As supervisor, I will explore public/private partnerships, grants, pooled purchasing, and other sources to tackle our funding challenges.  I will exercise sound fiscal management to ensure that Tredyffrin taxpayers receive best value township services for their tax dollars.

I will vigorously pursue economic revitalization.  Economic revitalization means a broader tax base, additional revenues, and tax stability for all Tredyffrin residents.  If elected, I will work tenaciously, with vision and leadership that we have not seen from Tredyffrin supervisors, to bring economic vitality to Paoli by moving forward on the stalled Paoli Transportation Center/Town Center project.  I will seek a new beginning for the Chesterbrook Village shopping center.

As a commercial real estate attorney with thirty-nine years of experience in supervising, structuring, negotiating, and closing large, complex financial transactions, I know how to get people to “yes.”  I understand project budgets and the coordination of complex financial arrangements.   If elected, I will work with Tredyffrin residents and my fellow supervisors to ensure Tredyffrin’s financial strength and economic vitality.

——————————————————————————————
MOLLY DUFFY
Democratic At-Large Supervisor Candidate

The biggest issue facing Tredyffrin is keeping our taxes low by growing the tax base, and managing our tax dollars in a responsible way.  To create more revenue, we need more taxpayers.  To attract more taxpayers we need to be constantly working to make Tredyffrin the kind of place businesses and families want to locate.  There are also ways in which our expenses could be better managed that are not being pursued by our current board.

If I were elected, I would work tirelessly on economic development and revitalization.  I would forcefully support the Paoli Transit Center and town revitalization as a catalyst to more private development in the area.  I would pursue more federal, state or private grant money to continue to provide more of the kinds of amenities that make Tredyffrin attractive to families and companies who want a great place for their employees to live.  I would pursue joint efforts with other municipalities to create development corridors, and consider purchasing pools to reduce costs.

I am an attorney with a focus on environmental, land use and transportation issues.  My work as the past chair of the Environmental Advisory Council and current vice-chair of the Sidewalks, Trails and Paths committee, advisor to the Paoli Professional and Business Association in its work to develop a business improvement district and member of the Paoli Rail Task Force  has shown that I am a leader and catalyst who can complete projects that benefit all Tredyffrin residents.

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League of Women Voters Forum for Tredyffrin Supervisor Candidates . . . A Debate or a ‘Love Fest’?

The League of Women Voters held the Tredyffrin Township supervisor debate last night.  Seven candidates are vying for four seats on the board, with incumbents JD DiBuonaventuro (R), Mike Heaberg (R) and Paul Olson (R) trying for another term.  Candidates stepping out for the first time include Kristen Mayock (R), Tory Snyder (D), Murph Wysock (D) and Molly Duffy (D). Incumbent DiBuonaventuro  is unchallenged in the township’s District 3 race.

The format of the evening was a 2-minute self-introduction by the seven candidates, followed by answers submitted by audience members and ending with closing remarks by. Each candidate was asked the same question, with the initial question rotating through the candidates.  The debate was taped but there will be approximately a 24-hr. delay before residents can watch it at home.

So . . . what was my opinion?  How did the candidates perform?  Was there a theme of the evening?

Buzz phrases of the debate . . .

  • Protection of public safety
  • Hold the line on taxes
  • Economic redevelopment
  • Reinvestment in community
  • Fiscal responsibility
  • Avoid unnecessary spending

If I did not know the party affiliation of the supervisor candidates, there were times during the debate that their responses and choice of words were so similar it was hard to differentiate between the Republicans and the Democrats.  Is that an indicator that the politics of Tredyffrin Township fall somewhere in the middle, in the ‘moderate’ range or . . . is it an indicator that the candidates are politically savvy and have figured out what sells to this community?  The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle.

How were their responses similar? On the topic of Earned Income Tax, every candidate was opposed to adding another tax – an opinion offered equally by both Republican and Democratic candidates.  What was unclear re EIT . . . were the candidates opposed to the EIT for the school district and the township?  Or where they only opposed to the EIT for the township?  I submitted a question to the League of Women Voters that was not chosen that might have clarified the candidate’s positions.  My question, “If the school district (in the next year or two) were to place an EIT on the ballot, what would be your position on taking the 50% to which the township is entitled by state law?”  Would the candidates still be opposed to the EIT under these conditions?  Don’t know.

Although all candidates stated they opposed an EIT, Democratic candidate Tory Snyder indirectly referenced the ‘no EIT’ Republican campaign signs.  Snyder who has served on the township Planning Commission for the last 10 years and served as chair of the Sidewalk Subcommittee understands the value of volunteer’s time who serves on township boards, committees, etc.  So although personally opposed to an EIT, Snyder made a point of the stating her respect for community volunteers serving on the school district’s tax study group, their work and upcoming presentation on the EIT.

All seven candidates repeatedly stated the need for township budget support for police, fire and emergency services. If you recall the 2010 township budget included reduced funding to the fire companies.  However, after hearing the very loud public outcry to replace the reduced fire funding in the budget, three supervisors (Warren Kampf, Bob Lamina and Paul Olson) took their appeal to local businesses and residents and was able to recover the funding for the fire companies.  If last night was any indication, the local fire companies have nothing to worry about when it comes to township funding support. All supervisor candidates listed public safety as a priority and its funding a necessity.

Several candidates spoke of community engagement in order to best represent the desires of their constituents.  Economic revitalization and redevelopment were repeatedly discussed as one question very specifically asked about Chesterbrook and what would the candidates do to improve it.  As current township supervisors, DiBuonaventuro and Heaberg both said that it has been difficult to get to the new owner of the Chesterbrook shopping center. (Australian company Centro Properties sold the shopping center to the Blackstone Group earlier this year).

Candidate Molly Duffy offered that the Chester Valley Trail and Patriot’s Trail would be coming through Chesterbrook.  Duffy explained that the new sidewalk at Penn Medicine would eventually connect through Chesterbrook offering new revitalization opportunities. As an attorney working in real estate and a current member of the township’s Zoning Board, Republican candidate Kristen Mayock offered that she would be able to help potential developers through the system.  Mayock would like to see the township business development process more stream lined and easier to use.

Heaberg discussed the Economic Development Committee that was approved back in April and of his work with the large leasing companies, small business owners and corporate representatives.  Heaberg, with supervisors Phil Donahue and Michelle Kichline are interviewing prospective members for the Economic Development Committee with the idea that the committee will be able to offer assistance in township business development and redevelopment.

It was interesting to note that Democratic candidates Murph Wysocki, real estate attorney,  Tory Snyder, planning professional and Molly Duffy, attorney and small business owner have all applied to serve on the Economic Development Committee.

From my vantage point, probably the most important question asked during the debate was (1) what the candidates viewed were the priorities for the township and (2) how would they fund these priorities.

Candidate Wysocki responded that money and the township budget was a priority. Wysocki suggested the need to prioritize necessary services to taxpayers but at the same time offering the taxpayers better value.  He suggested creatively using grants and pooling purchases as ways to fund the priorities and stated that economic revitalization will broaden the tax base.

DiBuonaventuro stated that there are two priorities facing the township — (1) managing the township budget and (2) reinvestment in the community and township.  Duffy listed economic development as her priority and used Paoli and Chesterbrook as examples of areas that need redevelopment. She stated that the Chester Valley Trail will be a way to increase property values and suggested that vision for the future.

Heaberg stated that ‘my priorities are your priorities’, indicating that he believes in following the priority needs of the residents.  He stated that residents have indicated public safety and infrastructure needs (sewer, paving roads, snow removal, libraries, maintanence of the 13 township parks) as important priorities.  Heaberg believes in addressing priorities in a fiscally responsible way.

Mayock’s list of priorities for the township is two fold; holding the line on taxes and the encouragement of redevelopment.  She supports continuing to keep pressure on the Paoli Transportation Center project; offering that she had contacts that can help move this project.   Olson stated the health, safety and welfare of residents are his priority plus continuing to support the library.  He offered that the township has a $17 million reserve and that was achieved by being fiscally responsible.

Snyder offered that her priority for the township is (1) the management of the $30 million taxpayer’s dollars in the township budget and (2) to bring value to residents for services.  However, beyond that, Snyder wants to bring ‘vision’ to the Board of Supervisors — enthusiastically stating that is what planners ‘do’!  Snyder cited the township’s comprehensive plan that she worked on and of the plan’s specific steps for implementation.  Synder pointed to using qualified professionals who live in the township, as volunteers to help implement the plan, summing up that we “need people that recognize vision”.

As I was leaving the debate, someone commented that it was like a ‘love fest’ among all the candidates.  I knew exactly what this person meant.  It was refreshing . . .  there was no arguing or partisan wrangling; all the candidates (4 Republicans and 3 Democrats) conducted themselves with civility and respect for their fellow candidates.

To all the voters in Tredyffrin Township – let me say, all of these candidates are qualified to serve as your elected officials.  Attorneys, planning professional, small business owners, financial experts, community volunteers . . . yes, it was obvious they all have the experience, background and the credentials to serve.

Your supervisor selection is a very personal choice — I encourage you to watch the entire debate and decide for yourself.  Personally, I think that one candidate excelled last night and one candidate fell a bit short but it should not be about Pattye Benson’s opinion . . . talk to the candidates and ask them your own questions, watch the debate and then take your decision to the polls on November 8.

Your voice does matter and your vote counts!

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6 Weeks Until the General Election, Did Chester County Voter Services ‘Fix’ their Malfunctioning Voting Machines?

In 6 weeks, the voters of Chester County will go to the polls for the General Election.  Looking back to the Primary Election on May 17, do we have assurance from the Chester County Voter Services that there will be no repeat performance of malfunctioning voting machines?

Chester County Voter Services found irregularities in vote counts in over 100 precincts in Chester County due to equipment malfunctions.  But here in Tredyffrin Township, the outcome of the Special Election was dramatically affected by the malfunctioning machines.  If you recall, on election night, the results posted on the Chester County Voter Services website indicated that Molly Duffy (D) had a 44-vote lead over Mike Heaberg (R).  However, as irregularities in the Tredyffrin precinct counts emerged, a full manual recount was required.  It was discovered that 62 ballots were not counted by the voting machines. Adding to the mystery, was the discovery that all 62 uncounted ballots were Republican ballots.  In the final hand count, Heaberg emerged as the winner by a 2-vote margin.  Duffy and Heaberg, along with legal representation attended the manual recount and agreed to the reconciliation results.

But ‘why’ did the voting machines malfunction in the first place?  Do we as voters have an assurance that the problem has been corrected?  Is their confidence that our vote really will count on Election Day?

A follow-up report from Chester County Voter Services was published Friday, September 23 on their website.  However, it is interesting to note that the report is dated two months earlier — July 14, 2011.  Since the report is ‘To the Public’, wonder why it took so long for it to be ‘public’.

Chester County Voter Services conducted extensive testing. According to their findings, “It was discovered through our testing of those printed Republican Ballots that a dark blue “color bar” was printed outside the specified area on those ballots. Samples of these ballots were eventually sent to Election Systems & Software, Inc. in Birmingham, Alabama to review the specifications of the ballots printed by Dayton Legal Blank. ES&S was able to determine that the color bar printed on the Republican Ballots was printed outside the specified area on the ballot for any ES&S M-100 tabulator to properly function”.

The report further states “. . . the printed dark blue color bar printed on the Republican Ballots was the sole cause for the M-1000 to not read these invalidly printed Republican Ballots.”

In their closing remarks, the report from Chester County Voter Services states, “we will ensure that we maintain our electronic equipment on a routine yearly schedule and we will ensure our Primary Election ballots are printed in conformance with the ES&S ‘Color Stripe Specification’ ”

So we officially know ‘why’ the voting machines malfunctioned for the Primary Election – an alignment printing issue.

Voter Services promises that they will maintain the equipment on a yearly schedule.  I would feel more confident in the system if there was a degree of responsibility; plus assurance that they will run ‘test ballots’ through the voting machines prior to November’s General Election.

Elections are important and all votes count!  The ‘every vote counts’ importance was brought home to Tredyffrin voters in the Special Election race between Molly Duffy and Mike Heaberg where the winner was decided by 2 votes!

Mark your calendars for November 8 and plan on having your voice heard through your vote in the General Election.

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Paoli Transportation Center Project Takes Big Steps Forward – A Letter-of-Interest Request Issued by Tredyffrin Township and Request-for-Proposal Issued by SEPTA!

Plans Afoot For Troubled Paoli Rail Yard, Can It Become A Transportation Center With Buses And Better Parking?”

This Philadelphia Inquirer headline above was not written this week, this month, this year — no, the article is seventeen years old, dating from September 14, 1994!

This years-old Inquirer article focused on the possibility of turning the “problematic Paoli rail yard into a sophisticated intermodal transportation center” which would accommodate “a transportation center, complete with buses and improved parking.” Can it be that the dream, this vision for the future may still be possible?  Maybe so.

At the last Board of Supervisors Meeting, I was disappointed that the supervisors did not update on the process of the Paoli Transportation Center.  There had been previous discussion about an upcoming issuance of a Request-for-Proposal (RFP) on the N. Valley/Central Avenue road and bridge improvement project (part of the Paoli Transportation Center project) and I was seeking an update — specifically was an RFP issued?  If so, what was the status, how many bidders, due date, etc.

Many of us have followed the saga of the train station for years, and remain interested in the progress (if any) on the project.  My intention in asking for an official public update was certainly not to step on the toes of either the township staff or our elected officials, but just to seek information.  What’s the old adage, “Ask and ye shall receive”? I was asking the questions, but I guess I wasn’t asking the right way or to the right people.

Although not listed on the township website, I discovered with some Internet research that the Tredyffrin Township Engineering Department has issued a ‘Letter of Interest’ for the “Paoli Road Improvement Project – Feasibility Study and Public Involvement Program”. According to the township’s Letter of Interest request, all phases of the Feasibility Study will be 100% state funded and that the township is encouraging responses from small firms and firms that have not previously done work for the township.

The township’s public Letter of Interest advertisement gives the full solicitation details on the Paoli Road Improvement Project and includes the following:

Tredyffrin Township Letter of Interest Request:

Paoli Road Improvement Project – Feasibility Study and Public Improvement Program

Tredyffrin Township will retain a PADOT qualified engineering and public involvement consultant team to provide a feasibility study and public involvement and outreach program to assess the traffic, roadway, infrastructure and community stakeholder needs, and identify potential alternatives for the existing local and PADOT roadway network located in Paoli, in the vicinity of S.R. 0030 (Lancaster Avenue), E./W. Central Avenues, Paoli Pike/ Greenwood Avenue, Darby Road, Plank Avenue and N./S. Valley Roads. The Township seeks a feasibility study that provides cost effective alternatives to allow for traffic calming, streetscape, intersection modification, and signal timing adjustments to address existing congestion and public safety concerns while providing for the needs of motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, rail users and the overall vision for a multi-modal Paoli.

Alternatives included in the feasibility study should emphasize solutions that meet current PADOT design and safety standards, and the local stakeholder and Township vision for the Paoli Transportation and Town Center Districts. In addition to the Feasibility Study, an intensive coordinated public outreach and stakeholder involvement process must parallel the identified Feasibility Study phases to ensure final recommendations have been thoroughly discussed, stakeholder input received while ultimately working toward a consensus on roadway improvements for consideration and prioritization for future design and construction phases of the project.

The township’s Letter of Interest words, “. . .  intensive coordinated public outreach and stakeholder involvement process . . .” aligns with my request that the public remain ‘in the loop’ and informed on the process of this important community project.

The list of companies already registered to submit a Letter of Interest to the township on the Paoli transportation project is impressive!  To date, 50+ companies have registered, including local companies from Wayne, Malvern, West Chester, Collegeville, Exton and Kimberton and several companies from Lancaster, Gettysburg, New Jersey and Delaware.  Source Management Onvia of Seattle, Washington has also registered to bid the project!  Letters of interest are due by bidders to the township by 2 PM on September 15, 2011. It is my understanding that registration does not necessarily imply that all registered companies will submit a Letter of Interest.

According to the Letter of Interest advertisement by the township, the evaluation and selection process by Tredyffrin Twp is:

For the purposes of negotiating a contract, the ranking of a minimum of three (3) firms will be done directly from the Letters of Interest. Technical proposals will not be required prior to the ranking. Only the top three (3) firms will be requested to prepare technical proposals. The top three (3) firms will then be ranked based off the Technical Proposal and the top firm will be requested to submit a cost proposal.

In another big step for the Paoli Transportation Center project, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has issued a Request-for-Proposal, Proposal Number 11-091-DMH for qualified “Consultants for Architectural/Engineering Services for Paoli Intermodal Transportation Center”.

SEPTA’s A&E Paoli Intermodal Transportation Center RFP description states:

Consultant services include, but are not limited: the development of construction documents (plans and specifications) for the construction of the Paoli Intermodal Transportation Center in accordance with the scope of work of this RFP and in full compliance ADA and other governing authorities.   The deadline for proposals is September 7, 2011.

The issuance of a Letter of Interest by Tredyffrin Twp and a Request-for-Proposal from SEPTA is positive and encouraging news for the community on the Paoli Transportation Center project and marks real progress in this long journey.

As Henry Ford said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

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Paoli Transportation Center and economic redevelopment – Important community issues or simply political campaign fodder

Unfortunately, in between primary and general election campaign season, the [Paoli] train station is once again relegated to the backstage, waiting for its starring role on the next glossy campaign flyer. Does the transportation project only exist as a political campaign talking point? 

Following-up on my last Community Matters post, I was looking forward to the Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday night.  I had emailed the Board of Supervisors requesting two items for the meeting agenda – (1) official public update on the Paoli Transportation Center project and (2) an update on the Economic Development Committee.  Assured via email from the township manager that, “Both items will be addressed during the meeting.  If they don’t come up earlier, Bob will raise them during BOS comments” , I looked forward the public status report. Although neither item was listed on the agenda, I was confident that these important topics would be discussed during the meeting.  Further, Mimi copied the seven supervisors on her email to me, so everyone was seemingly on the same page.

The meeting progressed with no mention made of either topic.  There was approval for a community initiative grant for zoning ordinance update but no discussion of the Economic Development Committee that was approved back on April 4.  Look around at the empty storefronts, the vacant box stores and leasing agent signs on many corporate buildings . . . Tredyffrin Township is no longer exempt from the economic woes of every other community in the country.  But where is the importance and priority from our elected officials?

The Paoli Transportation Center . . . there was no update, no discussion, not a mention.  Does the transportation project exist simply as a political campaign talking point?  Do our community leaders only discuss the transportation center and place an importance on the project during campaign season? Where is the advocacy and enthusiasm for the train station project and economic redevelopment from our elected officials?

How many local candidates over the last two decades have used the train station project in their campaign promises to voters?  The answer . . . many! The Paoli Transportation Center project deserves more attention than use as campaign fodder. And remember, what is most significant is what you do with those campaign promises, once elected! 

The last substantial movement on the Paoli Transportation Center project was June 21, 2010 with then State Rep. Paul Drucker’s announcement of $1 million in state funding for the project. On Community Matters that day, I wrote . . . “Today’s announcement signifies a new beginning for Paoli and for the larger community . . . a day to celebrate!”  After fourteen months, shouldn’t the public expect a progress report?

Immediately following the Monday’s supervisors meeting, I asked Mimi for an explanation as to ‘why’ there was no update on the train station (and the Economic Development Committee) when she had previously said there would be — her response, “I guess Bob forgot”. 

How does one forget these important issues?  The other supervisors — did they likewise ‘forget’, was theirs a calculated political decision or worse yet, do they simply not care?

Unfortunately, in between the primary and general election campaign season, the train station is once again relegated to the backstage, waiting for its starring role on the next glossy campaign flyer.

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The update on the proposed sidewalk ordinance and sidewalks at St. Davids Golf Club from Monday’s Public Hearing to follow.

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Political Shortcuts Around Tredyffrin . . .

We learned this week from the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee (TTDEMS) there would be some changes on the November ballot.  At-large Democratic supervisor candidate Ernie Falcone’s name appeared on the May primary ballot.  However, according to a press release from Dariel Jamieson, chair of the TTDEMS, Falcone has withdrawn from the race, stating ‘personal reasons’.  Replacing Falcone as a Democratic at-large supervisor candidate is Murph Wysocki, currently serving as vice chair of the TTDEMS.  Wysocki joins Molly Duffy as at-large Democratic candidates.  Opposing Wysock and Duffy in November for the 2 at-large supervisor seats will be Republicans Kristen Mayock and Mike Heaberg.  At last month’s special election, Heaberg won the special election by 2 votes and now occupies the vacated seat of Warren Kampf.  You need a scorecard to keep track of the candidates and the races.

Due to the at-large supervisor candidate switch, I assume that the TTDEMS have to provide the required number of signatures for Wysocki by the August deadline.  Falcone must file to officially remove his name from the general election and the TTDEMS will file the necessary paperwork for Wysocki.  Also noted in Jamieson’s press release was the announcement that John Cameron, a Democratic committee person from W1 received 979 write-in ballots in the May primary and will run as a candidate for Township Auditor.  Cameron will oppose incumbent Bryan Humbarger (R) for the position.

In addition to the two at-large supervisor races, there are two other Tredyffrin supervisor races . . . in the eastern district, incumbent Paul Olson (R) will be challenged by Tory Snyder (D).  This is going to be a very interesting race in the township for several reasons.  Olson has served on the Board of Supervisors fir 30 years with only a 2-year leave a few years back.  Snyder is a first-time supervisor candidate but has served on the township’s Planning Commission for several years and recently chaired the sidewalk subcommittee.   If the township supervisors do not resolve the St. Davids sidewalk issue by election time, that issue is apt to play an important role in the Olson-Snyder race . . . Snyder supports the Green Routes network and the township’s plan for sidewalks whereas Olson opposes the sidewalks at St. Davids. 

In Tredyffrin’s western region, District 3 has a supervisor position also on the November ballot.  Incumbent supervisor John DiBuonaventuro (R) currently holds the seat and has no Democratic opposition.  The District 3 supervisor race is the only unopposed Tredyffrin race for the general election.  However, there is 5 weeks for that scenario to change!  The deadline for a third-party ‘Independent’ candidate to register for the November general election is August 1. 

To understand the process and the registration requirements for an Independent candidate, I called Chester County Voter Services.  First off, to register as an Independent candidate for November’s general election, you must already be a registered third-party Independent voter (And I believe that you needed to be registered by April 10 as an Independent). Assuming that you meet the initial registration criteria, an Independent candidate must file a ‘Nomination Form’ with required signatures by August 1.  How many signatures are required by the Independent candidate?  An Independent candidate is required to obtain signatures equal to 2% of the highest vote getter in the last election (November 2010) in the district for which the candidate will register. 

According to Michael at voter services, in the 2010 general election District 3, Gerlach received the highest number of votes – 2,538. Calculating 2% of that vote total, and a prospective Independent supervisor will need to obtain 51 signatures for the Nomination Form.  Required signatures can come from Republicans, Democrats or Independents as long as the person is a registered voter and is in one of the 4 precincts of District 3.  Here’s an interesting aside . . . In doing the precinct calculations for me, Michael discovered an interesting fact . . .  in the 2010 State House 157 race, the vote count in District 3 for Warren Kampf and Paul Drucker was exactly the same – 2,239 votes for each.

Back to District 3 discussion, how many registered Independents live in District 3? Assuming that my arithmetic is accurate, the combined total of registered Independents from the 4 precincts in District 3 of the township is 1,240. That means there are 1,240 voters who could collect the required 51 signatures to register as an Independent supervisor candidate and appear on the general election ballot.  If you believe that there should be choice in November and you are a registered Independent in District 3, perhaps you will consider challenging JD for his supervisor seat.  However, the clock is ticking . . . only 5 weeks for registered Independents in District 3 to make up their mind.

A few more political notes . . . This week I attended the Chester County Preservation Network dinner and reception.  An annual event, it highlights the preservation work of the HARBS and Historical Commissions throughout Chester County.  I had the pleasure of meeting the newly appointed County Commission Ryan Costello (R).  A supporter of historic preservation, Costello was charming and quite personable . . . I could really see him continuing to climb the political ladder. I also received a press release that our former State Rep Paul Drucker (D) will be starting a new job with Kunkle & Sennett, a West Chester law firm specializing in worker’s compensation and employment law. 

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Every Vote Does Count . . . Duffy Concedes Special Election to Heaberg

“You have to admit we showed even one vote can make a difference.”
    ~ Molly Duffy

Although questions remain surrounding the malfunctioning voting machines and how 61  ballots were not originally counted, the special election ballots have been satisfactorily reconciled and as of tonight, Molly Duffy (D) has conceded the race to Mike Heaberg (R).  As a result of the special election, Heaberg will complete the vacated term of Warren Kampf, until January 2012.  

Chester County Voter Services has updated their website and are now indicating their results as official and certified.  Steve Shapiro, Judge of Elections for Tredyffrin’s W2 precinct has compiled the results of the election precinct by precinct into spreadsheets and kindly offers them to Community Matters readers. 

  • For comparison of unofficial to certified results by candidate, click here. 
  • For comparison of unofficial to certified results by party, click here.

Duffy and Heaberg will be on the ballot in the general election, along with Kristen Mayock (R) and Ernie Falcone (D). In November voters will choose 2 at-large supervisors between Heaberg, Duffy, Mayock and Falcone.

Dariel Jamieson, chair of the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee, provided the following press release on the Tredyffrin Township’s special election results.

Duffy Looks Long Term for Supervisor

Wayne, PA, June 13, 2011— Certification of the Special Election vote for Tredyffrin Supervisor should be announced this week after a complete manual count of ballots and full reconciliation by Chester County’s Voter Services. While there has still been no plausible explanation of how 61 ballots could have gone uncounted on Election Day, Democratic candidate Molly Duffy’s 40-vote lead on election night has fallen to a two vote deficit, out of over 4500 ballots cast. 

Molly Duffy said this about the race and result: “I want to thank all those who supported me and voted for me, especially my family.  Statistically the result of our campaign’s hard work feels like a ‘virtual tie.’ But it only takes one vote to win. We put forth a tremendous effort and showed that running a campaign based on qualifications and issues resonated with voters. Everyone should be heartened, not heart-broken, over the photo finish in the special election.

I know I’m looking forward to the November election for a full four-year term as Supervisor.  I’ll keep stressing the important issues facing our township:  We need to revitalize our business corridors, improve traffic management, and provide safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists.  It is vital that we maintain the quality of township services expected in Tredyffrin, including police and fire protection, while holding the line on taxes.

Our campaign noted my work with municipalities—including other municipalities, in addition to Tredyffrin. I’ve worked on business improvement and transportation plans, including for Paoli. I’m running for Supervisor because I believe in finding and implementing solutions.

It takes Supervisors with a bent toward action and some far-sightedness to help realize the community’s vision.  We’re fortunate to be living in a wonderful community.  I want to help preserve its virtues and enrich it as a great place to live.

Thanks again to everyone who came out to vote and made May an exciting election. I hope you will remember my experience and my vision, and bring some friends along to vote for me on November 8.

You have to admit we showed even one vote can make a difference.”

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TTDEMS Chair Dariel Jamieson Offers Comment on Special Election Ballot Hand-Counting

Dariel Jamieson, chair of the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee, provided a comment to Community Matters. Jamieson’s remarks speak directly to the hand count by Chester County Department of Voter Services on Monday of the Special Election ballots. Her remarks provide us with further details of the recounting process and I thought it important to provide them in this post (see below).

In her remarks, Jamieson brings up an interesting point – it certainly would have helped if Voter Services had run the ballots through a voting machine prior to the hand count. I would think that if Voter Services could duplicate the machine malfunction error, there would be a greater probability of correcting the problem! Echoing a question that another CM reader posed, what were the candidates told by Voter Services as the ‘reason’ for the 61 uncounted votes.

[Subsequent to this post, Dariel Jamieson has provided an official press release from the TTDEMS, click here to read.  According to Jamieson’s information, over 100 of the 223 precincts in Chester County have not reported voting irregularities.  In my opinion, there should be a complete internal examination of systems and procedures at the Department of Voter Services.]

In reading between-the-lines of Jamieson’s remarks, is there a sense that the end of the story may not yet be told?

Comment from Dariel Jamieson, Chair, Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee

I have been told by our witnesses that there was NOT a machine count of the Tredyffrin votes prior to the full manual recount. We believe Voter Services acted with good intentions, thinking it would be helpful to speed resolution of the special election by going right to a manual count. While this did speed things up, I personally believe that a machine count first might have shed some light on how and why the machines might have been malfunctioning.

Voter Services also told our witnesses that there was no way to know for sure that all the uncounted ballots were Republican, although seeing the outcome of counting them Makes it look like they were. We were told that all the ballots that were accepted into the machines end up in the same compartment, so it could not definitively be said which ones were counted and which were not. If something was wrong with only Republican ballots, why did they not all reject?

A reconciliation of the number of ballots that were counted in the manual count has not yet been reconciled to the number of signatures in the sign in sheets and names in the poll books. Voter Services has said that those kinds of reconciliations will be done after all the precincts in the County have gone through the official count process. If those numbers all match, then one could conclude that the number of physical ballots that were manually counted was the correct number of ballots. If they should not match, one would have to ask where the additional ballots came from.

Speculation that putting the ballots in face up, face down, backward, or with poor tears of the perforation could all be possible, but that seems incompatible with the idea that all the unread ballots were Republican.

And adding 61 ballots to the mix will almost certainly change the totals in the other races, bur probably not enough to change any primary election vote outcomes.

We, too, are waiting for answers.

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Steve Shapiro, Judge of Elections for Tredyffrin’s W-2 Precinct, Offers Step-by-Step Guide to Voting Procedures

To help us better understand our voting procedure, Steve Shapiro, the Judge of Elections for the W-2 precinct, has graciously provided us detailed notes below.  Steve’s explanation offers us the step-by-step guide to the voting procedure and to the close out at the end of an election day.  As I read his notes, it is clear that Steve takes extra steps to protect the voting system process and to insure the quality and accuracy of election results.  I know that all that read Community Matters, join me in thanking Steve for his thorough explanation . . . a great community service.  Thanks Steve!

Steve Shapiro
Judge of Elections
W-2 Precinct, Tredyffrin Township

Here is an overview of the voting process and the end-of-night procedures:

Before we open the polls, we set up the paper ballot scanner (the M-100) and the electronic machine (the iVotronic). We print out a tape from each showing that no votes have been cast on either machine.

During voting hours, we look up each voter in the Poll Books. If we find them, we have them sign the Poll Book. We also record their name in a different book, called the “Numbered List of Voters Book,” which contains a separate numbered line for each voter. The Numbered List of Voters Book allows us to easily determine, at the end of the day, how many voters signed-in and received a ballot (either paper or electronic). If a voter chooses to vote on a paper ballot, we record the number of the ballot next to his or her name in both the Poll Book and the Numbered List of Voters Book. If the voter chooses to vote electronically, we so indicate in both books. Here a sample of the Numbered List of Voters Book from our poll worker manual, click here.

After a paper ballot voter makes his or her selections, he or she takes the completed ballot to the M-100. An election worker removes the strip at the bottom of the ballot that contains the ballot number, and gives it to the voter as receipt. Now that the ballot number has been removed, the ballot becomes anonymous (it cannot be traced back to the voter) and the voter places the ballot into the machine.

If there are no problems with the ballot, the M-100 processes it and drops the ballot into a locked compartment for safe-keeping. If there are any errors on the ballot that prevent the scanner from reading it, the M-100 displays an error message and returns the ballot (at least, that’s what it’s supposed to do). If there are any over-votes on the ballot (for instance, a voter votes for 3 candidates in a race where he only may vote for 2), the M-100 will display an error message and ask the voter whether he wants to either accept the ballot as-is (thereby invalidating the vote in the race in which he over-voted) or take the ballot back and correct it. Here is the summary of the possible M-100 scanner errors from the poll worker manual – click here.

If a paper ballot voter makes a mistake and needs to correct his or her ballot, we issue a new ballot, change the ballot number for that voter in both the Poll Book and the Numbered List of Voters Book, and keep the spoiled ballot so we can account for it when we close the polls.

An electronic voter makes his selections on the iVotronic’s touchscreen and presses the “Vote” button when he or she is done. The iVotronic will not let a voter over-vote or otherwise mess up his ballot, so we never have to deal with spoiled electronic ballots.

At the end of the night, the first thing we do it process the absentee ballots. The County delivers absentee ballots to us in sealed envelopes with the voter’s signature on the outside of the envelope. We first check the Poll Books to make sure that the voter did not vote in person and that the signature on the envelope matches the signature in the Poll Book. If everything checks out, we open the outer envelope, and remove the sealed inner envelope that contains the ballot. We then mix up the sealed inner envelopes to anonymise them before opening them, removing the ballots and scanning them into the M-100.

Next, we close the voting machines. For the iVotronic, all that entails is a few presses on the touchscreen to lock down the voting function on the machine. We then print off a closing tape that shows the total ballots cast and the number of votes each candidate received. The tape shows only totals — it does not show how each voter voted. We also remove the data card on which the votes are electronically recorded.

The M-100 requires more effort. First, we print out a tape that shows the total ballots cast and the number of votes each candidate received. Then we remove the data card on which the votes are electronically recorded. Next, we open the machine and remove the ballots. The M-100 deposits any ballots with write-in votes into a different compartment. We review those ballots and hand-write the write-in votes onto a tally sheet. We then add the ballots with write-in votes to the rest of the ballots and count all of them by hand to see how many ballots we have (in a primary we have the added step of separating the ballots by party before we count them).

Once the hand count is completed, we fill in a “General Returns of Votes Cast” form. Here is a link to a sample General Return from the poll worker manual:

The form is basically a worksheet that allows us to ascertain whether we have accounted for all of the paper ballots. We add up the number of paper ballots cast, the number of spoiled ballots and the number of left-over ballots. That sum should equal the number the ballots the County delivered to us at the beginning of the day. We also add the number of paper ballots cast to the number of electronic ballots cast to come up with the total number of ballots cast. If, during this process, the numbers do not add up, you are supposed to flag that for Voter Services by writing a note in the “Remarks” box on the General Return.

At this point, it is my practice to check the total number of ballots cast on the General Return against the following to make sure they jive: (1) the number of voters listed in the Numbered List of Voters Book; and (2) the number of ballots cast as reported on the machine tapes. That is how we discovered the problem last week — the number of ballots cast on the General Return did not match the number of ballots cast on the tapes. I concede that neither the General Return nor the poll worker instructions direct us to make that comparison (maybe it should), but it seems like common sense to me. In addition, all poll workers take an oath before we open the polls, and I believe that checking all of the numbers for discrepancies is consistent with the part of the oath in which I swear to faithfully perform my duties to the best of my judgment and ability. A copy of the oath from the poll worker manual is here.

After we discovered the problem last Tuesday, we made a note in the remarks box on the General Return. I also emailed Voter Services and copied a representative of each party (that is not required, but it seemed like good practice).

As for the poll workers’ signatures, even if the numbers on the General Return do not add up and we leave a note for Voter Services, we still have to sign the General Return. So we are not certifying that the numbers are correct; rather we are saying that the reported numbers are what we counted. Likewise, although we have to sign the tapes from the machines, we are are not certifying that the numbers on the tape are accurate. We could not possibly know, for instance, whether the M-100 scanned the votes properly. Rather, by signing the tapes we are saying that these are the tapes we printed from the machines.

Finally, we place the General Return and the data cards into a small pouch, which we seal with a security tab. We place the paper ballots into a large pouch, which we also seal with a security tab. We then drive both pouches, along with all of the other election supplies, to Voter Services in West Chester. The unofficial results you see on election night are taken, I think, from the data cards (the tapes are just a print out of the information on the data cards).

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