Pattye Benson

Community Matters

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

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

Come and Hear:

Jim Gerlach

Tredyffrin Supervisor and State Representative candidate
Warren Kampf

Plus a Surprise Speaker!

Sponsored by Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee

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

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

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

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

Share or Like:


Add a Comment
  1. I received this invitation in the mail today. I knew that there was another person running fof the State House Rep & couldn’t figure out why Mr. Buckwalter’s name was left off? What’s up with this CT? Just because Mr. Buckwalter is from Phoenixville, doesn’t mean that we don’t want to hear him speak. If the party couldn’t decide between the two of them at the convention, doesn’t that mean that voters should have the right to decide ourselves?

  2. The Tredyffrin Republican party is free to do whatever it wants to do, I suppose. It’s their event, after all, and most of them support Kampf. And the event is in Tredyffrin, and Warren is a Tredyffrin supervisor. It’s not like Mr. Buckwalter won’t do a good job of ensuring Tredyffrin voters know about his candidacy.

    Those interested in meeting both the candidates, though, can attend a forum being held tomorrow in Phoenixville hosted by a local activist group called the Valley Forge Patriots. There are certainly more Phoenixville residents than Tredyffrin residents involved with this group, and it is being held in Phoenixville, but Warren is still invited, too!

    I guess their role is more an educational one than an advocacy one. For the regular Republican voter I think an event like that is probably more useful anyway.

    [Note: I am a Phoenixville committeeman, and I do support Ken. Full disclosure, blah blah blah.]

  3. This is interesting group of speakers —

    Gerlach: Moderate Conservative
    Toomey: Libertarian-Leaning Conservative

    Where does Kampf fit . . . ?

    I agree with Pattye, where is Ken Buckwalter? And now we see that there is an event in Phoenixville tomorrow that includes Kampt and Buckwalter. Why does there seem to be such an air of ‘entitlement’ surround Kampf? I’m a Republican in Tredyffrin that does not support Warren Kampf. All I have to do is think about fire company funding and St. Davids and know that this man can not be trusted in Tredyffrin, let along in Harrisburg. Once again, it may not be ‘illegal’ for the TTGOP to exclude Buckwalter from this public forum but the perception is that they do not support fair play. Shame on them.

  4. This is a party by invitation. Why does anyone care who is invited? This is a local showcase — by the local party. The Phoenixville event isn’t by the party from what Karlub says — so who besides the hosts should have to consider the program? Don’t you find it strange (if the invitation is quoted correctly) that it says “Come Hear”….and lists Warren with more than one title? Did it say candidate?
    Clumsy etiquette and nothing more.

  5. does the term “much ado about nothing” mean anything to anyone here?

    it’s a political party event from the guy’s hometown political party…no one got on P-Ville for supporting their guy. and it will mean nothing in the long run.

    aren’t there more important things to care about than conspiracy theories over non-events?

    i for one may go to the other event. i want to hear mr. buckwalter explain why he chose to cost taxpayers money with a lawsuit when elected officials tried to do the right thing.

    yes, his legal point was correct but common sense says he could have made his point AND worked to save money at the same time. instead he went for publicity.

    1. I am amused that you can make good points but always have to add a zinger to denigrate the poster. Fact is Ken was right and the Council was wrong. Sort of like decreeing that the Senate voted on an issue that it didn’t really vote on, but saying it happened is as good as it actually happening. (House of Representatives). Talk about inciting a whopper of a lawsuit. It is really frustrating that dishonesty and insanity and the pursuit of corrupting power pervades all levels of government. You have a knack for exposing this, and I applaud you for that. Now if you would stop the subtle and not so subtle digs at posters, you would get my vote. Unfortunately your cynicism always gets in the way.

    2. Nobody got on Phoenixville for supporting Ken, Janet, because Ken was the only candidate at the convention that had support from his hometown AND Tredyffrin and Schulkill.

      As for the wisdom of challenging the Borough on a Constitutional matter, Ken will be thrilled to explain to you eight ways ’till Sunday why this was important, and every single member of the Supreme Court agreed with him.

    3. Since I represented Mr. Buckwalter in his case against Phoenixville, I have a good knowledge of the history. Ken stated his objections to the ‘pay ordinance’ in the Council debate. The Borough Council was well aware of the concern about the ordinance’s constitutionality. The Council could have sought a different solution; it didn’t. Instead, Council passed the ordinance knowing full well that it might be challenged.

      The costs incurred by Phoenixville were the result of the enactment of the ordinance, a deliberate action of the Council, and the Council’s later decisions in defending that enactment. In the end, our Supreme Court decided unanimously that the Borough’s ordinance violated the Pennsylvania Constitution.

      The public costs of this litigation are the responsibility of those who voted for what ultimately proved to be an unconstitutional act, no one else.

    1. They are running against each other for Republican Committee District W2. Kampf is currently the W2 committeeman and JD is running against him for that seat in the Primary.

      1. Pattye this is a huge story. why did you not post about it? this is bigger than a silly invitation from the ttrc. the ttrc can invite whoever they want to any event. they are not bound by the county party. but, JD running against kampf??? big story.

        if kampf loses to JD in a committeeperson race, his political career is O*V*E*R.

        then your friend ken buckwalter gets the nomination. will you campaign for him after the primary?

        there is also a rumor going around that there is something wrong with warren’s petitions that could get him thrown off the ballot.

        1. Hmm . . . interesting. Can you explain? I certainly don’t claim to be any political expert, but couldn’t Kampf lose the W2 committee seat in the Primary but still win the Republican Primary for the 157? As for Ken . . . yes, I am a fan but remember I am also good friends with Paul Drucker. Guess we will just see what happens in the Primary. But I am very curious about your last comment. What in the world could be wrong with Warren’s petitions that would cause him to be removed from the ballot? I haven’t heard that rumor, but then I’m no political insider.

        2. Huge Story? Two sitting Republican supervisors running for a position on a committee that nominates Republicans?

          Spend two hours at the ACME and play Leno’s Street Walking quiz — see how many have a CLUE who those two names even are. This blog and this issue are for political junkies and folks who spend time online….thanks for the blog, but we cannot create an issue any bigger than it is.

          1. moderate Rs against right wing Rs, yes, huge story, and an epic battle all across this country. it is not about two people.

        3. wrong again john.
          the petition i signed was not being circulated by a ttrc member, or by dempsey or lamina.

          1. whatever my identity, you are wrong.
            the question is, did you make an honest mistake, or are you a liar.
            im betting on the latter.

            1. The problem with these blogs is there is no credibility with any statements. JP makes a comment earlier that ‘all petitions were circulated by TTRC committee people’ when it was not true but backtracks with a simple ‘honest mistake’ comment. How many things has JP and others said that they are not called on the carpet for? JP – Do you have some vendetta against Kampf and other TTRC members?

        4. It is not just about the signatures.

          Supposedly there is a different occupation(s) written on Warren’s application than on his petitions.

  6. Congressman Gerlach got little or no support from the leadership of the TTRC during his bid for Governor. Mr. Alexander and Mr. Kampf were in prime position as ‘leaders’ of the TTRC to help a man who has helped Tredyffrin and them personally in many ways.

    Congressman Gerlach, unlike Mr. Alexander and Mr. Kampf, knows what loyalty is and if more Republicans were like him we would have better results when it comes to the many issues we face at the local and national level.

    And YES Mr. Buckwalter should be invited to this Republican event. If Phoenixville was doing an event, then Mr. Kampf should be invited.

  7. So does this mean every member of the TTRC endorses Warren? It would’ve been a sign of courtesy and party unity to have all the potential candidates discuss the plan to stop government growth and reduce spending.

  8. The Republican Party continues to back candidates that quite frankly do not represent their constituents but are more concerned with their own political careers. Kampf was wrong on the sidewalk issue and initially was arrogant and self serving in his dictatorial conduct on this subject. He lost a lot of ground with me purely because of his manner and “I know best” attitude.
    As to Gerlach — I like the guy, even if he has been guilty of “Earrmarks”. BUT I questioned why he would decide to run for Governor rather than for re-election in the US House – especially at a time when every Republican in DC is needed. Was his decision to run for Governor an EGO decision rather than one based on where he could do the most good for the folks in his District.
    I think we need more shoe repair, druggists, letter carriers (common working folks) in the House of Representatives rather than career politicians. Term limits are definitely needed.

  9. Tredyffrin continue to elect the candidates that the TTRC endorses…except for one school board seat in the last election (and I don’t remember getting anything about him in the mail from the Republicans), every endorsed candidate was elected. As for Gerlach — I would say he ran because he thought he could win — before Corbett was a major factor — and he thought he had a head start. I’m guessing Corbett got more local support because of the Aichele for LtGov angle — Gerlach would not have needed a SE PA person and Aichele was raising money for Corbett.
    But all that aside — as long as voters let the parties pick their candidates and don’t bother to really consider the implications (i.e. voting against the opponent IS the same thing as voting for the candidate), we’ll end up with whoever the TTRC gives us…

    1. That is my point… did he think that he would not win re-election for his House seat and that the other party would whup him or that he had served his time as a lowly member of the House and there was no way he could run for Senator with Toomey in the wings… so why not Harrisburg. I would suggest that the next Governor will not get as much “Facetime” on TV as Rendell so why bother??
      I would agree that he thought he could win — but that is not my point. We need all from the Right that are in Congress now as well as throwing out as many from the Left in November.
      As to the School Board — the Republicans lost a seat (Kevin Grewell) to Karen Cruickshank. No loss there except for the fact that his brother-in-law Motel misses him. I am embarrassed by the folks that the party supports and in fact have voted for the other side in past School Board elections. Seems to make no difference since everything is passed by a unanimous vote. Strange no??

      1. When Kevin was first elected, it was a real grass roots effort by parents who were looking for smaller class size. That was his main platform. The GOP really did not provide support. Why take pot shots at the guy?

        PS One of Crucikshank’s main issues was getting ‘green’ cleaners used in the schools by the janitorial staff – now THAT is a real issue! Give me a break.

        1. LoriG – I will stand by my comment that Grewell will only be missed by his brother-in-law. Now we need to replace yet another bump on School Board log — Mr. Bruce.
          As to Karen – I did make my first Democrat vote when she ran. Hoping to get some objective discussion at Board meetings by not having all the members form the same party. However she has been a disappointment and has adopted the Board mentality. Kevin Buraks got my vote because he campaigned and showed an interest. I have no idea who the Republican candidate was. I spent about 20 minutes talking with Kevin about issues, including unanimous votes on all questions before the Board. I know he was an advocate for not electing to keep the cap at 2.9% and forced a new proposal – yet when the vote was cast — it was unanimous.
          We need more Board members that have business experience.

          1. Papadick58,

            I do agree with your assessment of both school board members being bumps on a log (Grewell and Kruickshank).

            Unfortunately, residents who run and serve on the board probably think they change things but in reality it is VERY difficult.

            I think party affiliation is not so consequential when talking about school board positions.

            1. I’ll risk adding my two cents (worth less than that)– if you want good people on a school board, please don’t use public anonymous forums to call them “bumps.” Kevin Grewell was a democrat who switched to the Republic Party for the endorsement — after his first well funded “Kids Count” campaign eliminated a sitting board member (Rick Zagol) who believed his service should not need signs and post cards to deserve election. Politics has absolutely ZERO to do with being on a school board. In my 11 years, I NEVER got marching orders or even suggestions from anyone on the TTRC. John Waldeyer came to meetings and was knowledgable, but the endorsement process (there was not democratic endorsement process) was to identify qualified people who would serve. Kevin Buraks defeated Steve Sheronas — who didn’t run much of a campaign but is a parent of kids at all 3 levels. Buraks is the parent of 3 kids under the age of 10 — so even in my discussions with him at my front door, I warned him that he cannot be on the board as their advocate — but doubt that he can overcome that personal “in my family” orientation.
              Anyway — party affiliation means nothing. If it does become something, welcome yourselves to Lower Merion and Radnor — where party infighting has resulted in instability, uncontrolled budgeting processes, and public bickering over non-issues and issues alike. Keep it about kids, not parties, and consider the taxpayers….and it’s all good.

  10. ”Note..he did not disclose the fact that he is a committeeman….for Schuylkill Township that is…”

    Thanks John. I love people who comment about Tredyffrin and have no clue what they are talking about. You know it’s sad when you need someone outside of Tredyffrin to say the fire companies have benefited from Kampf and Lamina…what a laugh.

  11. Papadick (nice name), this is an accurate statement: the (local) Republican Party continues to back candidates that do not represent their constituents. Couple of exceptions: JD, Kichline, Donahue. Tho not sure they were fully backed by the party. Hmm, upon reflection, you may actually have a good point here.
    JP, Corbett has better statewide name recognition and led Gerlach in polling by a 42-13 percent margin. Beyond just #’s, he’s the right guy here on several levels. But trust me, I do not at all intend to defend Alexander & Kampf for what they do because they just keep screwing up.
    Someone who cares about Kampf should tell him to withdraw from running for the committee post so he is not humiliated when JD beats him. He can still keep his dignity by saying he need to concentrate on his primary race against Buckwalter. Who, must be loving this development. What say you karlub?

    1. In terms on the local T GOP ‘backing’ local candidates (supervisor or school board), I believe the party will back whoever is willing to run. I believe the same to be true for TTDEMS.

      It is hard to believe any rational township resident would want to run for supervisor or school board positions for the time and the grief.

      I don’t think many residents are chomping at the bit to get into these races.

      1. LoriG — From my relationships over the years with members, you are absolutely right. Even the Grewell campaign you talked about and Andria referenced — that was an effort to put a whole slate on the board — but only Grewell and Motel were elected — and KG defeated someone he did not intend to run off. Any true — why would anyone do it? The BOS each get paid $3000 a year — the school board zero.

        1. I need to set the record straight. I was on the school board from 1999 to 2007. In 1999 I ran a grass roots campaign based on class size reduction. I was a registered democrat campaigning as a parent with support from parents from both parties. My opponents in a 3 for 2 race were Andrea Felkins and Rick Zagol. Andrea happened to board president then. Andrea and I won seats. My brother-in-law ,Pete Motel ran and won an open seat in Easttown the same year, he had no involvement in the “class size” initiative. In 2001 a slate of candidates ran as “Kids Count”. I was not running that year as we serve 4 year terms on the school board. I had no affiliation with Kids Count. I ran again in 2003 as a registered republican and I believe party affiliation should not matter on the school board but campaigning is time consuming and costly and unlike now the democrats were doing very little to support their candidates. I won in 2003 and lost to Karen Cruickshank in 2007. Pappadick- you and I have disagreed on board issues in the past which perhaps explains your animus toward me. Move on, I am not on the board, admit your wife is a district teacher and you have an axe to grind. By the way my brother in law does not miss me, I saw him yesterday!

          1. Kevin, I am glad that you do not disappoint me. First, if you are going to refer to me PLEASE have the courtesy to spell my name correctly. To help you — there are on two P’s.
            I have no idea why you feel that I have an axe to grind. When I contacted the Board about the move to West Valley Road I received 2 separate and drastically different response. The Board President was professional and respectful of a residents comments. And the there was your response, which was spiteful, demeaning and elitist. You even suggested that I needed to attend a Board meeting to “apologize” for having an opinion different from yours and how dare that I question how the spending of 7 million dollars to buy yet another property was going to impact a third grade student. I am still waiting an answer to that question.
            So once again you go on the attack – a response taken by anyone that has no defense. I introduced your name here only in response to the post that said the R’s only lost one seat on the school board ever and that was in the last election. I was merely reminding people that follow this blog that you had also lost. And now you are accusing me of having an axe to grind.
            The only axe I have to grind is that as a retired home owner in the District I have difficulty with this school board spending other peoples money like there is no tomorrow. My children, grandchildren and my wife all have their own lives, opinions and careers – none of which impact my thoughts, views or opinions. In fact, much of the times they vehemently disagree.
            I find it to be sad – yet fully expected – that you have used such a tactic here. It only supports the feelings that the School Board past & present have difficulty with any one questioning them. But – if it is OK to have this attitude in DC then it must be OK in T/E.
            Leave my wife – my children – my grandchildren out of any discussions.

            1. Papadick,

              Since you asked me not to comment on your wife as a teacher I will respect that and say nothing more on that. I would ask in return that you leave my brother-in-law out of any further discussions with or about me.

              I never said I had any problem with your disagreement on issues such as spending money on the administrative building. My problem was that your e-mails contained nasty personal attacks – essentially you said there was no public process, this was a hasty decision, no one had or could articulate any reasons for the decision, etc.

              I pointed out that this had been discussed at numerous committee meetings for many hours at a time, since I joined the board in 1999 and even prior to that. It was discussed at public committee meetings and was anything but hasty. I articulated a number of reasons for the move – whether you disagree or not is OK – my point was that there were reasons and this was not a back-room deal as you implied.

              That is why I said you should apologize. I stand by that – I’m still waiting.

              1. Kevin
                You still do not disappoint me. Please go back and re-read my comments. I requested that you keep my wife, my children and my grandchildren out of any comments emanating from you. And you continue to do so — so once again do not comment on my wife AT ALL – as a teacher, as a woman, as a step-mother, as a grandmother, as a resident of the District or anything else you feel the need to associate her with.
                I have the original emails Kevin and I did not make any personal attacks in my initial comments on the West Valley site. No names were mentioned – I merely questioned the decision, as well as other questions, and asked for any of the Board to explain how this move was going to impact the quality of instruction in the District. To date – no one has attempted to answer that question.
                Also – please get over you obsession with you statement that i have “an axe to grind”. I have no axe merely hard nosed questions form a resident.

              2. You started the family stuff by talking about Pete Motel in comments about me on several occasions. If you are done with that, so am I.

                I have always been very supportive of our teachers and lots of them know it. Enough said on that.

                I did answer your questions way back when. Here is a summary from my recollection (I lost most of my old e-mails when my computer was hit by lightning some time ago)

                Skilled administrators are very important to the quality of a district’s programs at all levels.

                The public needs a place to meet and hear the board discuss issues.

                The ESC is very old and has numerous problems.

                Not ADA acessible, lead in the water, asbestos, air quality, maintenance issues, and any upgrades would mean lots of $$ to bring it up to current codes and standards.

                Putting the administration elsewhere keeps flexibility to use the ESC site for future EDUCATIONAL uses which you care so much about (a Kindergarten center was one possible use, a school site, or atheltic facilities, among other uses).

                That’s how the move benefitted the program.

              3. Kevin, I wanted to reply to your response but was having trouble finding the response button. Anyway I have cut the following form your response.

                “I did answer your questions way back when. Here is a summary from my recollection (I lost most of my old e-mails when my computer was hit by lightning some time ago)
                Skilled administrators are very important to the quality of a district’s programs at all levels.
                The public needs a place to meet and hear the board discuss issues.
                The ESC is very old and has numerous problems.
                Not ADA acessible, lead in the water, asbestos, air quality, maintenance issues, and any upgrades would mean lots of $$ to bring it up to current codes and standards.
                Putting the administration elsewhere keeps flexibility to use the ESC site for future EDUCATIONAL uses which you care so much about (a Kindergarten center was one possible use, a school site, or atheltic facilities, among other uses).
                That’s how the move benefitted the program.”:

                I still have no answer to my simple question but a rehashing of points that made no sense at the time and certainly make no sense today.
                I agree that skilled administrators are important to the district — and back then I acknowledged that these skilled folks had help produce a top ranked district from the ESC building. I was asking how would the move IMPROVE their contribution.
                The public needs a place to meet. Much was ballyhooed at the time that one reason for the move and the need for so much space was so that Board Meetings could be held there instead of the high school. Please help me understand how many Board meetings have been held there. And do not attempt to suggest that there is a parking and lighting issue at the West Valley site – those issues did not arise after the purchase of the buildings — they were always there and should have been considered PRIOR to the purchase.
                You then go on about the ESc building being “old” and having problems like asbestos issues etc. and therefore not suited for Administration and then go on to say that maybe it could be used for kindergarten children.
                And you ask why I have questions about any of this??
                And now the Board is having a 35,000 study conducted on how to demolish this prized asset.
                Sorry Kevin – you have done nothing to convince me that I made a bad decision to not vote for you.

              4. I do not see a “reply” button on papadick’s comment – the one just below, so I’ll reply here instead.

                I did not say the ESC building was usable for kindergarten students. I said the SITE could be used – the building itself would either have to be torn down and replaced or it would need millions in rennovations. We were on borrowed time having ANYBODY in that building.

                You apparently cannot see the big picture or think long-term. As I believe I explained in my orignal e-mails to you, another reason for the administrative move was to preserve the SITE (not the ESC building) for possible future needs – such as school site, or other education related facilities. If you kept the administration in the building (on on that site in the original ESC or in a new building) you LOCK IN the use of that site forever as an administrative site. With uncertain enrollment growth and very little land left available in our townships, the flexibility of keeping the options open for future use as a school site may eventually save the taxpayers millions.

                If you lock in that site as administrative, and then you need another school site, the taxpayer will pay what? five, ten million for land somewhere else. Assuming land is even available then, which is doubtful.

                When you look at that in conjunction with the cost of correcting the problems with the old building, I think we made a good decision to move the administration. You may disagree with the reasoning, and again that is fine. But you continue to say there was no process, no reasoning, that you never got an answer to your question, etc. I take exception to that. You did not like the answer and so you say you never got an answer. Rather childish.

                By the way, lots of public meetings take place in the new administrative building. And no, we really don’t have the facilities to do all of that at the high school. We also do not have the office space for the administration at the high school. Had we added an administrative wing tot he high school during the expansion and renovation, I’m sure we would have spent the $7 million there instead.

          2. Kevin – Welcome. I’m sorry for the flawed chronology in my comments — and I hope you noted that I began by suggesting there is little purpose or benefit to calling out people for what they consider to be inadequate service. Heck – JP linked to my linked in profile where part of my history is that I negotiated contracts. You can sit in the stands and heckle or get in the game and play. The bottom line in all of this is that partisan politics has no place on a school board — and probably isn’t all that helpful in local government. I certainly appreciated your service during my time on the board and after — and appreciate your reference to transparency — which at its core presumes that those being governed actually come to meetings to hear what is being said.

            1. By the way — what way? Not as critical of GOP then? Excuse me? Where do you read I am ever critical of the GOP? I think any partisanship in school matters (and yes, local) is dysfunctional. Federal and State parties have purpose because there is a Chief Executive and a “party in power.” School Boards have no use for that — and TESD has always had non-partisan deliberations and discussions. LMSD and RTSD have struggled with the changing power structures — and there is much less holding them together from my observations. I stated that the TTRC did not give us marching orders nor was it any part of our deliberations. I went before them one time in 1990 when there was not an open seat for the experience (which subsequently opened when a sitting board member had a family health issue). Don Macbeth called me late one night to ask me if I was willing to be the endorsed candidate — two years before I would ever have considered it based on the ages of my kids. I had read an informational article in the Suburban inviting applicants to come before the committee if you were ever interested in running for election. It was the only place to go I might add. I typed up a resume and went to the library where I was asked and answered a series of questions about my background (MBA and MS in Real Estate/Regional Analysis – with a dozen years in construction, expensive control and real estate development – in a $500M company) . My parents had moved to this area in the 50s, so I was welcomed by several familiar names. It was a very civil and informational exchange. I doubt, however, that there were many others (if any) who were looking for the endorsement.
              And yes John –I’d like to think it is a bit of a mutual ADmiration society — because while some sit back and take shots and express disappointment in decisions made, people like Kevin and I endured campaigns (generall at our own expense), went to all those low attendance meetings, we sat through all those highly charged overflow meetings, we read all those letters, we attended seminars offered by the state and other local organizations, we gave talks to League of Women Voters, we took hits in the press — and over our 8 /11 years, we gave up hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours annually to work on behalf of the kids in this district. Oh — and rarely on behalf of your own kids — because they took some heat from teachers and peers with such visibility in their family. There are issues that I would decide differently than the current board, but I share my opinions with them and ultimately choose to trust their judgment to do what they consider to be the right thing. It’s a HARD job. And while you enjoy taking your shots at my negotiating and any other skills of board members that you have yet to demonstrate on this board, I give great credit to people who attend the meetings, give thoughtful consideration and feedback, and maintain a civil air on this board. I hope my response has at least mimicked civililty — because in responding to your rants, it’s really quite tough.

            2. Andrea,

              Thanks for your comments – I think you have added a lot of excellent background and analysis to these discussions. I am sure that many readers of this blog appreciate your service and that of the other board members. Thanks for helping give these discussions some factual basis – you help those who really seek to understand and keep others who have an axe to grind honest.

              Warm Regards,


              1. We do appeciate all that both of you have done. I certainly wouldn’t want to deal with all the negativity you must encounter. It seems like no decision is good enough, you can’t win and yet you do it for free. Maybe Mr. Peterson would like to voluteer his time to head up a study on how to be more efficient with tesd mailings? He could handle the bulk mail accounts, which do exist and are used, I’ve actually seen them! Or maybe he could do a study of all the families in T/e that don’t have internet…but as the gap closes, maybe he could help with the emailing of the pioneer preview, which I’ve heard is happening soon. I doubt he’d have the time with all the blogging;-) Thanks again for stepping up and doing something Kevin and Andrea.

              2. Thanks Kevin. You and I both know that board members would love meaningful feedback from the community — and my old line about moving a bus stop to fill the room was sincere. We’d have less than 10 people at budget hearings. We all have to learn about these issues and pay attention and contribute when and where we can. EIT/PIT/cutting services — all of it is on the table each and every time we discuss money. Reality is — from back in the early 90s when we had an informational hearing about the possibliity of any kind of tax relating to income (which even then we considered was fair as approx. 70% of wage earners had kids in school but only 20-30% of property owners did) we filled the CHS auditorium with people in some cases screaming about it — “don’t reach in my pocket for my money.” Except for the tax study commission, which was after my tenure, I had never had anyone come to a meeting and suggest that any kind of tax on income was any kind of good idea — even from people who would clearly have benefited from property tax relief. We may call it a regressive tax, but school taxes are on property in a school district — and are based on the assessed value of the property, which is clearly related to the quality of the schools. The problem in this community is ironically NOT about rising school costs up to now — it’s about once fast-rising and now not rising property values. The CLR as I have posted before is .53 in Chester County — that means if your property value is not almost twice your assessment, you are over assessed. With that kind of obvious multiplier, more people are having their assessments appealed which in Council Rock (for example??) means 3% tax increase exception for lost income. But another dimension of that same issue is that the cost of the housing was bid up by people who want the comfortable homes and the wonderful education — and they paid more and more and had more and more expectations — and those mortgages were instead of tuition bills as were referenced elsewhere. Haverford School is about $25K a year now — so families moving here were putting money into their homes and getting quite a bargain on their education. One house was being torn down and subdivided with four houses in its place — and with those four houses came 8 kids instead of the 3 who had grown and moved out of the original house. So the tax base grew, but taxes are about 1% of house value, and it takes about 20-30 years per child per house to pay for your education. Meanwhile, people who have lived their whole lives here are living in paid-off homes that would sell for many multiples of what they paid for it — but they were living in homes they could not have bought in this economy — so the taxes — while reasonable by new buyer standards — were completely getting out of reach of current residents, many of whom had raised their kids and were part of this community as the current schools were built. And the state of PA does not constitutionally permit differentiated property tax rates. All the homestead issues over the past decade have been aimed at fixing that. The problem is — you cannot fix anything related to property taxes when you have escalating property values that fuel buyer appetites for more services — and attract people to high priced homes where the taxes at less than 1% of value are “reasonable.”
                So — lecture over. There is no easy answer to any question when it comes to money. I defer to Kevin on all the Act 1 and subsequent issues because 1) he’s an attorney and 2)he was the legislative liaison and very good at it. I stayed on the board long enough to get the contracts approved to renovate and expand Conestoga despite significant community differences on whether Lower Merion’s community input would result in a better outcome (they aren’t done their renovations yet — I left the board in 2002) or whether we were shortchanging our younger families by not building a second high school…(still not sure where that would have gone — but I’m pretty sure it would still be tied up in the PC) For the record — since this board is so often about the BOS — I think TESD paid the township about $400K in permit fees when we renovated Conestoga….think the process has changed a bit now. And TESD paid for the sidewalks along private property (the nursery). Paid for road improvements on township and state roads to get township residents to state mandated schools….

                I commend Pattye for her efforts with this blog — as I do think the exchanges — while somewhat hard to follow at times with the replies getting inserted between older posts–are really worthwhile. Welcome to Kevin — and thanks to those of you who understand that we tried hard to do our best.

              3. Andrea, you are right on as usual. Thanks and keep up the good work educating the public.

  12. Thanks to those who told us about the forum last night. I went. It was long, but informative. For those who like Buckwalter more than Kampf, the bad news is that he didn’t do very well last night at all. Kampf seemed to know the issues better and gave a much better presentation. Like him or not, he knows what he is talking about.

  13. actually, his response was first to recite the amendment…something very few people could do. that shows he understood it.

    second, he said the supreme court has cut into it…which is true. and he said he supports states’ rights. i guess you don’t.

    from what i have read though, John, it is typical for you to sling arrows. i guess no one told you about the multiple applause moments he had when discussing his record — a record you repeatedly denigrate.

  14. “i guess no one told you about the multiple applause moments he had when discussing his record — a record you repeatedly denigrate.”

    Janet…for those of us who couldn’t attend, please enlighten us with these moments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Community Matters © 2024 Frontier Theme