Pattye Benson

Community Matters

The Clock Ticks Down to Election Day – Soon it will be up to ‘Us’, the voter!

In less than 36 hours, the polls will open on Tuesday at 7 AM, Election Day. Soon it will be up to us, the voters.

Although I encourage everyone to take their voice to the polls on Tuesday, I admit that this political campaign season has disappointed. Some would suggest that negative campaigning is the way to mobilize the partisan base. Perhaps, but where does that leave the independent and swing voters? Emotion-packed or personal attacks on campaign mailers play a different role than policy-based attacks.

The political rhetoric in this country has become too vitriolic . . . we are losing the ability to discuss things with civility. The poisonous rhetoric is everywhere; turn on CNN or read the New York Times . . . ‘our national discourse’ has tumbled to new lows. Regrettably, it is not limited to the national campaigns but it is right here; in our own backyard.

Certainly some of the campaign mailers and political signs have made good points, but it is the way they are presented. The politicos are not trying to reach us intellectually; they want to draw on our emotions – make us afraid, angry, anxious.

We all understand that a natural part of any political campaign is opposition research. After all, a candidate has to make a case to the voter that they are the more experienced, the better prepared, and the best ‘choice’. Therefore, we should not be surprised that the next step is for the campaign camps to feel pressure to let voters know “the truth” about their opponent, especially if that person has already gone negative. The pressure builds between the opposing sides. One side attacks and then the other side feels they have little choice but to respond in kind. Yes, that is the name of the game . . . politics.

Often times during this campaign season, I watched with sadness as members of this community lobbied attacks against each other. It is such a shame, because for every minute a candidate spends attacking his opponent that is one less minute that could be spent talking about legitimate differences on policy issues that actually affect the voters. Speaking of differences between the sides – at times it has appeared the candidates were more similar than different.

Where does all this leave us for Election Day; what is a voter to do? There are no campaign enforcement police making sure everyone is telling the truth. My hope for all of you who hold the privilege to vote is to think for yourself. Do a little research and use that developed human brain of yours. Please try not to be influenced by the negative campaign ads. Your vote is worth more than a nay saying ad or a half-truth campaign mailer.

Think for yourself, beyond what your neighbor, your friend or co-worker favors. Know the candidates and support those who have shown principled behavior. Exercise your right to vote in a sane, thoughtful manner and make your vote count this Tuesday!

It is now up to ‘us’ . . . the voters.

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  1. I must say I am dissapointed in both of Tredyffrin’s political parties. The EIT issue has become the only issue discussed in this election. It is an important topic that deserves public attention. Unfortunately the way it has been handled by the parties in this campaign has not produced a thoughtful, factual discussion of the pros and cons of an EIT. It has not helped educate the public on the realities of school finance, budget deficits, or the potential solutions, including a possible consideration of an EIT. The taxpayers and school children in our community have not been well served by our political parties.

    I begin by stating that I blame the Republicans for starting this race to the gutter with an untruthful campaign. Briefly, the problem is that the Republican campaign stated “Tredyffrin’s Democrat School Board Team wants to implement an income tax” and accused that the “Democratic Team for School Board has begun the process of creating a new tax – an income tax. ” This statement was false and misleading in the following ways:

    1) The decision to appoint a tax study group was made by the full board consisting of 6 Republicans and three Democrats
    2) The tax study group originated in the Finance Committee chaired by Republican Kevin Mahoney (again, I am not critcal of this decision – it is the right thing to do under the circumstances)
    3) Republican incumbent and Region 1 candidate Jim Bruce is on the Finance Committee
    4) The EIT is not on the ballot in this election
    5) The school board has no power to implement an EIT, but could only place it on the ballot in a future election for voter approval or disapproval

    Yet the Republican campaign flatly alleges that the Democrats – and ONLY the Democrats – “Want” to impose an income tax and “has begun the process”. The forgoing facts establish the complete dishonesty of the Republican campaign.

    The Democrats, of course, had to respond, and rightly so. However, I am also dissapointed in their response, which essentially throws the tax study group “under the bus.” Apparently NO ONE ever had anything to do with appointing the tax study group. The public is left wondering how, and why it was created if nobody – including the board president – ever had, and never will have, any intention of supporting an income tax no matter what facts the tax study group develops.

    This is not open, thoughful, factual discussion on an important issue. The school disctrict faces huge budget deficits – through no fault of its own – and all possible solutions need to be fully evaluated so the public can make an informed decision on how to address the problem. Sadly, this process has been destroyed by the politics of lies and fear before it ever had a chance to see the light of day. Personally, I blame the Republicans 90%, and the Democratic response as well for the remainder.

    The school board by law is supposed to be non-partisan. In the past, the board has always been able to work respectfully together in a non-partisan way. It has not been controled or unduly influenced by any political party. This kind of dishonest campaigning undermines public trust and confidence in the school board and will make it impossible for the board to work in a collaborative non-partisan way in the future – to the great detriment of us all.

    For partisans, politics is the equivalent of war, and in war, the first casualty is the truth. We need the truth! I urge all readers to confront your own party leadership and demand that this kind of dishonest behavior never happens again.

      1. Thanks for hosting – there was one thing I needed to add – I don’t think Jim Bruce had anything to do with the misleading Republican mailers. I know him and that is not like him at all. I said that already in another thread on your blog, but I wanted to add it here for the record.

        1. Kevin – Same page with you on this discussion until now. That is garbage that Bruce doesn’t support the tactics and/or the mailer. You called them all out yourself. I am sure that ALL of the R candidates will claim in private that they had nothing to do with the mailers and didn’t support them- just like they did in 2009. Trouble is none were so upset that felt the need to come forward and reject the mailer or the author. Based upon your statements here and your actions when you were on the SB I think you would’ve spoken up in their shoes, am i wrong?

          Their silence is either the affirmation of their support; a total lack of integrity; or the complete lack of character. No matter which, not a quality that will serve the community very well in elected office.

    1. I am not sure you can call Kevin Mahoney a Republican since he ran as an endorsed Democrat and endorsed the other Democrat over his supposed GOP running mate.

    2. Don’t forget the Rs put out the EIT signs prior to the TSG meetings, and didn’t wait for the Nov. 3rd Pros and Cons presentation. Did they, the Rs, want to take the focus away from more important issues facing the voters? Of course the Ds had to respond. Then it became a political football. My mailbox overflows and the robo calls started. No wonder everyone is fed up with politics and Washington.

      As I stated before, hopefully the voters will realize what a sham this is and really look at the candidates and where they stand on critical issues and not be one issue voters.

      So no, Pattye, you and Kevin are not the only ones.

      1. Libby
        There are no important issues facing voters. That’s the problem — there was nothing to run on, so there was an effort to obfuscate. Sadly, the D’s took the bait and jumped into the gutter with the initial EIT stuff.

        MD — you can claim whatever you want about Jim Bruce, but in fact he was one of only 3 people on the board who opposed even doing the tax study, as he all along has said the community would never support an EIT. (Brake and Bookstaber opposed it in principal as well, but there was never a vote to undertake the study). In June 2011, only Brake and Bookstaber voted against the budget because they opposed adding the “exception” mills to the tax base.

        I agree with Kevin — and had I been on the board, I would have suggested that the only way to do the study was to agree to put the question on the ballot — and let the study inform the public. I don’t support an EIT, but I believe the more than $3M that leaves the district for EIT in other jurisdictions deserves a public vote to see if those people already paying it can create a support base for it. I doubt it could happen — but using it hypothetically as a campaign issue is just a farce.
        Again Libby — this is an important election, but there simply isn’t enough to distinguish the candidates from each other, which is why a non-partisan board is the only thing that works. Cross filing is designed to prevent this charade of us vs. them….no one is prepared for this job — so temperment is an important part of how well you will succeed. Running from any association with the TSC to me is an indictment of character — because you cannot lead from behind.

        1. Sorry — not MD — but instead “Doesn’t Add Up” made the statement attributing motive to Jim Bruce…didn’t mean to reference the wrong post.

    3. I begin by stating that I blame the Republicans for starting this race to the gutter with an untruthful campaign.


      Apparently, KG forgets the Special Election in which Molly and the Dems are the first people who did a negative mailer, one that even Pattye says used info that was incorrect. If there is a race to the gutter, it started then.

    4. Sorry — forgot one thing: in the Special, Molly and the Dems were the only people who went negative. Heaberg stayed positive.

      1. Heaberg and Mayock stayed positive throughout…and it clearly paid off. Mercogliano was a no-show for the debate and got only 12 votes less than her running mate.

        For the record, if you look at the Tredyffrin precincts only, Tom Hogan got 4,344 votes and Stretten got 3,269 votes. On the same “at large” platform, Mayock got 4,042, Heaberg got 4,020, Duffy got 3,636 and Wysocki got 3,137. Countywide, Hogan got 60% of the voters vs. 57% in Tredyffrin….

        My conclusion is that voters DID pay attention to the candidates and not the sample ballots. THoughts?

  2. I received some lit in the mail for a Dem school board candidate (Easttown) who claimed to be a fiscal conservative and then skewered his opponent for buying 5 houses and knocking them down.

    What that has to do with a school board seat, I’ll never know.

    Funny, how some ignore the mud slung by Dems and try to blame the R’s for everything. I am sorrry Pattye. I know you try to deny it but this blog is clearly , clearly biased.

    1. Craig Lewis, Easttown’s TESD candidate was probably referring to the houses next to the middle school on Old Lancaster that the school district purchased and took down.

      You are welcome to your opinion re Community Matters. I have been honest in my disappointment in both political parties this campaign cycle. Both parties decided to make EIT a campaign issue when it isn’t even on the ballot. The undermining of the TESD tax study group by school board candidates is shared by the Republicans and Democrats.

      I have learned that I cannot please everyone — there will always be some Ds that think that Community Matters leans towards the Rs & some Rs say that Community Matters leans towards the Ds. Can’t win! I know that I am issue-driven and just want to see progressive ideas from problem-solvers serving this community. I don’t care what party that elected official represents — Republican, Democratic or party of purple.

    2. MD, I can’t agree that Community Matters is biased – by its nature, it is simply a collection of opinions from all of its subscribers.

      We are free to post anything we like, and most of us stick to the rules (stay on-topic and no personal remarks or name calling). The political beliefs here range from far-far left to far-far right, and everything in between.

      I think Pattye does an excellent job of initially presenting an issue – while it is usually easy to discern her personal thoughts on the topic (she’s entitled), she always presents the facts without bias and poses a few provocative questions for us to consider.

      I love this blog – it is about the only place where I can read ideas from people who think differently from me and try to learn & understand their positions and thought processes, without all of the rhetoric and bashing that I find on single-party sites.

      Overall, I think we Tredyffrin citizens are a thoughtful, truth-seeking – yet diverse – group!

    3. MD – Actually Pattye does have a bias. She is biased towards honesty, integrity, and good effective government. It might just feel D biased because of the awful display repeatedly perpetrated by the TTRC and local elected R’s. This is a great forum and she does an excellent job as moderator.

  3. “Speaking of differences between the sides – at times it has appeared the candidates were more similar than different.”

    You are so right, now if both parties would see that, we just might be able to solve some of these VERY tough issues.

  4. I am a registered Republican but I am not sure how to vote tomorrow. I hate the EIT signs of the Republicans and I hate the Lower Property Values signs by the Democrats. I am tired of all the mailers and now today I have received all these robo-calls. I am married to a Democrat so we get all the campaign stuff and all the phone calls. I don’t want to be scared or feel threatened that I should vote a certain way and it makes me want to stay home tomorrow. I have voted in every election for the last 45 years but this time when I vote it will be me deciding on the lesser of the evils. None of them have been honest with the public!

    1. You vote for the candidate you think is best qualified – not along straight party lines if you believe someone from the opposite party is more qualified. You are an independent thinker. Don’t forget how you vote is no one’s business – it is a secret ballot, afterall.

      1. I agree with Just a Thought who wrote:

        “I love this blog – it is about the only place where I can read ideas from people who think differently from me and try to learn & understand their positions and thought processes, without all of the rhetoric and bashing that I find on single-party sites.”

        I love the posts on the S.B. because it clarifies some of the history which I have a tendancy to forget (I guess it has to do with aging).

        And I love it when Pattye throws something out here and everyone throws in their two cents.

  5. If you can’t decide who to vote for, perhaps the next time around people will make more of an effort to solicit STRONG candidates to take on these challenges, instead of letting local party pols ask people to help them out and run. I’ll throw in one more time — this time around there will be serious negotiating required with the union. People with children in schools are vulnerable, but if you believe they have the temperment to handle it, so be it. We don’t need people coming to solve problems we don’t have — but we do need people who understand these are public schools providing a free and appropriate public education, which means a program the community can support and AFFORD, not more, more more…..and aren’t afraid of straight talk about options regardless of the public backlash.

  6. What can we do to eliminate party lines for School Board positions?

    No more Republican and Democrat, just candidates.

  7. Now that the results are in, let’s dispel the idea that any of the ideology had any influence. The incumbents won — and locally Republicans underperformed county Republican races. The only message I see in the results locally is that sidewalks and redevelopment did not get a ringing endorsement. But kudos to the crowd — only 37% turnout, but that beats expectations. FYI — East 1 (OLA) had only 23% turnout, Middle 7 (Glenhardie) had only 27% turnout, and West 5 (the township building, the largest polling place) had only 30% turnout out of 2,622 registered voters there…. Winning turnout goes to East 3, one of the New Eagle precincts — which had almost 49% turnout (345 voters)

    So some people cared — and the weather was perfect….no excuses.

    ALL RESULTS UNOFFICIAL. Final polling in our area came in at 11:36 pm.

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