Pattye Benson

Community Matters

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, 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.

JAMES D BRUCE (REP) . . . . . . . 1,443 25.33
TARA G LA FIURA (REP) . . . . . . 1,336 23.46
JERRY HENIGE (DEM) . . . . . . . 1,280 22.47
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 2 .04

KRIS GRAHAM (REP). . . . . . . . 2,428 25.84
SCOTT DORSEY (DEM) . . . . . . . 2,229 23.72
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 1 .01

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:

MICHAEL C HEABERG (REP). . . . . . 4,020 27.09
KRISTEN KIRK MAYOCK (REP) . . . . 4,042 27.24
MOLLY DUFFY (DEM). . . . . . . . 3,636 24.50
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 4 .03

PAUL W OLSON (REP) . . . . . . . 1,331 50.21
VICTORIA SNYDER (DEM) . . . . . . 1,318 49.72
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 2 .08

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.

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.

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.

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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  1. What a close BOS race in the first district. The Rs again get just enough votes to win. (BTW: Is a margin of 13 close enough for a recount?)

    I thought that it was interesting that Olson got fewer votes than Heaberg in total (47 less, for his precincts) and in all precincts individually except for E5 (panhandle) – where he and Snyder actually tied. He also got fewer votes than Mayock in half his precincts and only 20 more in total. Is there a message in these numbers?

    Congratulations to Karen Cruickshank, who got more votes than all local Republicans in her precincts. It will be interesting to see how TR’s criterion of “no children in the school district” influences the performance of the two new school directors.

    1. Wasn’t Heaberg’s recount last spring based on a 30-to 40-vote difference? If so, a 13-vote difference is even more compelling. I sincerely hope Ms. Snyder goes for it.

      1. That wasn’t a recount per se.

        Recounts occur when either side chooses to ask for them and files the paperwork and money for them to happen.

        The Special was about the reports of problems at polling places with ballots not being counted.

        That count was Voter Services admitting their were problems and requesting both sides to take part in their efforts to address those problems; neither side had requested the count, filed the papers, paid the fee.

        Tory Snyder is free to undertake the recount process if she chooses to do so.

        1. Thanks for the clarification, FTW. I for one hope that a recount does happen: 13 votes is a very slim margin, leaving a great deal of room for error.

      2. Not a recount, but it was 4 votes. (maybe 2 votes?) but the triggering factor was the ballot counts did not match up with the voter counts.

    2. Ray
      Not sure of your point regarding Olson and Heaberg. In fact Snyder and Olson were basically tied in the East precincts — Olson led by 1 — and he won Middle 2 (the Baptist Church) by 12. Mayock was the overall vote winner and yet Olson beat her in the precincts where they ran together by 30+ votes. Sometimes it is about the reality that much of politics is very local. Mike Heaberg grew up on Timber Lane and Paul Olson lives on School House Lane…all Shand Tract. Mike’s count was over Olson’s at the two New Eagle precincts, which are also the precincts where Snyder outpolled Olson. I think that is likely to be age demographics and newer residents (comparatively)

      The major democratic failure was in West 5, where only 30% of voters turned out – Heaberg got 371, Mayock got 370 there. Duffy got 404, a margin of 33. In the May special election, Duffy had outpolled Heaberg at that same place by 45 votes on half the turnout (425 voters in May, 789 voters yesterday — out of a possible 2,622. ).

      Now that the school board has hired a “gun” for their negotiations (Jeffrey Sultanik), the negotiations will take a very different spin when it comes to people with kids on the board — though only Ms. Cruickshank and Dr. Motel –both incumbents — have kids in the system and were elected (I don’t believe Ms. Mercogliano or Ms. Graham have school aged children, but I may be wrong on that).

      The process is deeply flawed — and negative campaigning is such a distortion, but I give credit to the voters who I believe chose people for their ideas and experience, and not because they were afraid of their opponent’s positions.

      1. It appears that R voters prefer Heaberg to Olson, and in three precincts Mayock (from the West, even) to Olson. Maybe your “age demographics and newer residents” voters were looking for change? Almost but not quite.

        Who should be Chair of the BOS in 2012?

    3. To the first post by Mr. Clarke, about Mrs. Cruikshank getting more votes than all Rs in her precincts – actually, Mr. Heaberg got more votes than her in E-1 and both Mr. Heaberg and Mrs. Mayock got more votes than her in M-5 and M-6.

      1. Actually, I just totaled up the votes for all candidates – including Supervisor candidates – for the relevant precincts and came up with the following:
        Cruickshank: 1635
        Heaberg: 1566
        Mayock: 1517
        Bruce: 1443
        La Fiura: 1336
        For all precincts, not each precinct.

    1. I don’t beleve these results reflect any credibility to that notion. As I posted elsewhere, if you look at just Tredyffrin township results, Hogan outpolled Stretten 4344 to 3269, which represents 57% of the vote to Hogan. County wide he outpolled him with 60% of the vote. If we assume the Hogan supoprt is reflective of the Republican strength, since clearly the EIT topic was not relevant at the county level and he was the local Tredyffrin Solicitor, then the fact that Mayock and Heaberg got fewer votes than Hogan locally, and Duffy got more votes then Stretten reflects that people did look at the candidates.

      1. I am not looking at the numbers. I would think that in order to conclude that the negative mailers had a negative effect you would have to see a significant difference in the vote totals as you described. A small percentage difference would not really tell you that the negative campaigning was not effective. It would be difficult, I think to show that the mailers had an effect either way without really getting down and dirty – not only with the numbers but likely with polling of voters. Not that I expect you or anyone else to do that.

        That there was – in my view – no clear cut indication that the mailers had a negative effect and the outcome for the Republicans was positive lead me to conclude that we’ll see more of the same in the future. And vice versa – I think without a clear rejection of negative campaigning I think the Democrats will also see that as an indicator of value.

        I do not wish to diminish what you wrote – I think your point is valid and it could be that most/many people focused more on candidates. I just think that it also supports more future negative campaigning.

    2. Over in Easttown, if you look at Craig Lewis’ vote total, then there is a case to be made that it didn’t work. He had what has to be the most vile mailing ever for a school board election. It didn’t even make any sense.

      The rest of the Dem candidates were running around screaming that they are fiscal conservatives.

  2. The repubs cleaned house due to 4 things:
    1) Their EIT myth . They started signs 6 weeks ago. It was a compelling factor to get out and vote , even though it was a lie.
    2) The average age of those that showed had to be 60 . They don’t care so much about schools. They just don’t want an EIT.
    3) The negative mailers put out by the repubs. They do work.
    4) The repubs are much better funded. The 4 counties surrounding Philadelphia are funded at the national level by the republican party. The R’s spent over $200k . Those mailers are not cheap. No idea what the dems spent but it can’t be over $50k . I heard JD gave his entire $40k budget to Mayock since he ran unopposed.

    1. Dont know about point No. 2.

      When I voted at about 6:30 last night, there were about 25 people at the poll. I am in my early 50s, and noticed that I was I think the oldest voter present. Saw many who were in their 30s and 40s by my guess and a few in their 20s. Maybe it depends what time you take your sample . . . . or where you vote?

    2. The R’s spent over $200k . Those mailers are not cheap. No idea what the dems spent but it can’t be over $50k . I heard JD gave his entire $40k budget to Mayock since he ran unopposed.


      This is the second time the $200k charge has been made and the first about JD.

      Instead of “I heard” or just stating things as facts, why don’t we wait for the finance reports? Then we will have the truth and — when the R’s didn’t spend $200k and JD didn’t give all his money to Mayock, will all those who put forth these junk excuses admit they were baseless?

      Plus, let’s find out how much the Dems really spent — not just the Dem Party but the multiple PACs set up to support them.

      On this front, at least the GOP is honest about their money…they paid for it and it will be on their reports.


      3) The negative mailers put out by the repubs. They do work.


      And apparently the negative mailings put out by the Democrats didn’t….they came close in the Special when Molly and the Dems were the ONLY ones to go negative and did it first this year. The simple fact is the Republicans had a better message, worked hard and won. If the Dems can’t accept that at this point, it’s sour grapes.

      1. As I recall, the special election campaign quoted Heaberg about the Paoli Transportation Center. You can say it was negative, but factual. And the PTC was a campaign issue. You can say it was lifted from this blog, but it also came from people who heard him say it at meetings.
        You’re right, it’s all hearsay. Let’s wait for the reports.

    3. The reality is we have an electorate in Tredyffrin that is ignorant. The fact that nearly 70% of the people in our town don’t vote is a joke. Once again there were several candidates with years of involvement on commissions and boards for the township that got passed over. How Ms. Snyder doesn’t get elected is disgusting.

      The EIT lie drove the Republicans to victory. The smoke and mirrors and the ability to confuse the elderly voters in Tredyffrin is scary. Kudos to the Republicans for this effective strategy.

      Pattye…yes you are right much will remain the same. A group of 7 people from one party is not good here or in any other township.

    4. Anonymous

      Not sure about your point 2.

      An EIT favors the retired seniors. The school system can continue to improve (with potential increases in property values) and they don’t pay the EIT. So educated seniors would probably prefer an EIT.

      If the majority of seniors voted R out of fear of an EIT – then the misinformation and scare tactics used in the R mailers and signs worked. (I believe it worked among the younger set who don’t bother to learn the facts.)

      Interesting to note that the vast majority of people getting educated about the EIT at the TSG presentations were seniors. (At both meetings.) Given all the noise about the EIT, I was really disturbed by how light the turnout was for these presentations. The vast majority of people had their minds made up and were not interested in learning the facts. (I’m okay with someone who understands TESD’s situation and the EIT and then decides either for or against an EIT.)

      Overall, I believe that most of the residents don’t know the issues and most vote along party lines, for someone they know or out of fear.

      Mad Anthony — historically, the share of seniors voting is higher than that of the younger set. Not sure of the demographics or trends locally. Seniors tend to vote during the day and leave early morning and evenings for those rushing to and from work – so at 6:30 I would expect to see the younger set. Many seniors were at my poll during the day.

      1. A lot of people may watch it on TV – I did. No way to know how many. I hope there are a lot more watching it than attended the meetings. I beleive it is on every night at 9:00PM through Nov. 14.

  3. Does anyone really think there was “more” negative campaigning.

    We all live here and see/receive negative communications for EVERY level of office — President, US Senate, Congress, State Legislature, County, etc.

    Maybe the difference is that many of us know one or more of the candidates personally so it hits us differently. It’s really the same amount (or even less) negative campaigning but it seems worse because of this.

    I don’t think there is really “more” though.

  4. Why don’t you take all the mailers put out by Heaberg/Mayock, against all the mailers put out by Wysocki/Duffy. I believe the Dem mailers pointed out that Heaberg flip flopped on the train station (he did) . I think the only thing they said on Kristen was that the republicans chose Mike over her by a 4:1 margin. Take a look at the republican mailers. Wysocki/Duffy were ‘All Talk’. A second mailer said they had ‘No record’ and that Heaberg/Mayock had a ‘Huge record’. At least the Dems based their mailers on fact and not innuendo. And don’t tell me that the EIT wasn’t a lie, intended to scare voters who don’t know any better. It worked, very well indeed.

    And I can dig up proof on the average age of voters. I would bet anyone it’s not lower than 56 and probably closer to 62.

    You have a huge deficit staring at you in the face. You can’t cut costs at the school any more. So I’m curious what rabbit Heaberg, Mayock, JD and grandpa Olsen are going to pull out of the hat in the next 4 years. I already hear the TTRepubs plan on helping pass the EIT in 2012 by referendum. Many of them already pay it . And they are going to convince seniors that an EIT will hurt them less than a big bump in property taxes . And when it passes, they will again blame the Dems for pushing what is their idea.

    Hats off to our ‘fiscal tightwods’. If Tredyffrin were a stock, I would be shorting it with reckless abandon. Complacent voters and a desire to not invest is the mother of urban decay. Really, a candidate fails the bar and doesn’t show up for debates, and wins by a comfortable margin. Seniors showed up at the polls asking where do they check off ‘NO EIT’ on the ballot.
    You have JD running un-opposed because he had the dems fooled he was on their side. But in his district you have Chesterbrook Shopping center looking like a ghost town, and route 30 is lined with empty buildings. Great job JD. You have 4 more years of doing nothing .

    1. Anon
      Your conclusion about Democratic mailers “at least the Dems based their mailers on fact and not innuendo” — you are just using a different lense. This is like religion. It’s not what you know == it’s what you believe. The mailer with Pinocchio on the front and asking why people are liars? The EXTREME LIES email. The Who will care for our kids email? That was fact based?

      I cannot understand why the average age of the voter is such a concern. It only goes to demonstrate that the people who get out and vote and care about the community may just like it the way it is. The concerns about needing a walkable community and that people don’t want to be here without these changes certainly wasn’t enough to generate support for those candidates.

      Your suggestion about TT Republicans passing a tax in 2012…just one day after an election is sort of strange, don’t you think? It’s like you don’t like the results, so you are sure that the people making the decisions (to vote) are clueless, and that the old people voted and will ultimately like an EIT. Why don’t you run? Or short Tredyffrin and move?

      I think the phrase sour grapes comes from the fable about the fox and the grapes — where the fox convinces himself that the grapes — which he cannot have — must indeed be sour and why would he want them. Cognitive Dissonance is the modern phrase.

      Do you know what you WANTED to happen in this election?

  5. Dear Patty,

    I want to thank you personally for providing a service to our community. I may not always agree with what is written on this site, but I have a great respect for your transparency, honesty and independence.

    I congratulate Kris Graham and Elizabeth Mercogliano in their victory. I wish them success as the new school directors for region 2.

    We must work to collaborate with each other beyond political philosophy to generate non- partisan solutions to the crisis we face in our community.

    This is the best place to live in Pennsylvania with a school district that has helped my children be very successful. The greatest thing about this past Election day was my daughter voted for the first time as a new voter at eighteen years old. My family and I look forward to helping our political leaders succeed in investing in our children’s success in a difficult economy.

    I ask you and your readers to work with me to continue to push for integrity, transparency and honesty in our political environment. I have hope for even a greater future in our terrific community. Let us not focus on the negative, but concentrate on how great we can be. ” The best is yet to come.”

    Sincerely yours,

    Rev. Scott Dorsey

    1. “The best is yet to come.” — well said Rev. Dorsey. Thank you for serving as a school board candidate – BTW, I enjoyed meeting your uncle yesterday at W2 precinct. I am hopeful that once the dust settles on Election Day 2011, we can look forward to moving forward together as a community.

    2. Rev. Dorsey, how I wish you lived in my district so I could have voted for you! Thank you for running. It takes guts to take on the Republican machine.

      1. I agree.. While I don’t always agree with you, you have demonstrated that you are a gentleman and a role model for our younger set. Stay involved in the community!

  6. Republican victory? Far from complete – a strange victory when the massive false and negative EIT campaign could not knock off the Democrat school board president. Must be quite an embarrasment, and an indication that the lies and negtivity did not work.

    Look at the total vote count in Tredyffrin Region 1 – Karen beat the pants off them.

    1. Kevin — the incumbents won. The negative EIT did not succeed in “knocking off” anyone. Karen’s’ “running mate” came in last — which means people that voted for her also voted for one of the two Rs if they voted for two. Not exactly “beating the pants” off of anyone. It also means that being the current SB president and having a high profile did not hurt her. So not sure where you got the idea that anyone is claiming it is a Republican victory….except the two seats OPEN for school board went to Republicans over two well-qualified Democrats. And one of the new members skipped the debate….

      1. I was just reacting to all of the comments above which claim this was a Republican sweep and was likely based upon the success of the negative campaign. Maybe wishful thinking on my part, since I hope that the negative and untruthful campaign was not the reason for the success. Sure It was overall a Republican victory, they won the open seats, but I just wanted to point out that they were not able to accomplish one of their major goals – defeat the Democratic board president. Also, her vote totals were so high, I think it does indicate to some degree a failure of the negative campaign. If the negative campaign had been truly effective, don’t you think the charges would have stuck to Karen?

        The other SB races were close enough that if I were on the TTRC, I would be pushing for a very different approach to the next campaign. But then, if I were on the TTRC before the election, I would not be around to push for that after the election, since I would have resigned in protest over the disingenuous campaign.

        1. “reacting to all of the comments above which claim this was a Republican sweep and was likely based upon the success of the negative campaign”

          The only people saying it was a Republican sweep based on the negative stuff are people who clearly wanted the Democrats to win….I don’t see any sweep anywhere, though the two SB seats in Region 2 are a bit surprising to me…from who the candidates are to why they won.

          I think that most of the voters who bothered to vote supported their candidates, not just their party. The hard part to accept is how many people do not vote.

          I worked as a striker at one of the polls — there were 900 eligible voters, about split between Ds and Rs. At 3:00 when I stopped recording, there had been 240 voters. Those breakdowns were 150 Rs, 80 Ds and 10 I’s. Why? The primaries tell us which party voted — the elections require a bit more scrutiny, so my anecdotal observation is hardly scientific, but I found these elections to be very competitive — especially for Supervisor — and I had a hard time understanding why so few Ds had voted comapred to Rs. I think the negative EIT followed by the “nyah, nyah, nyah” signs turned people off. No change …..

  7. I’m really sad about the election results. I was rooting for Tory Snyder. Her opponent needed to go. Our township is a morass right now. There is no sense of community. No energy. The commissioners are like a smug Republican club, sitting there agreeing with each other and rubber-stamping things that benefit only the most affluent residents.

    Nothing can get done to benefit anyone lower on the socioeconomic scale than Waynesborough and St. Davids club members. Above all, this do-nothing Republican regime hurts our kids. Does anyone realize how few recreational opportunities we have in this township for children? Compare our recreation offerings to Radnor’s. I think the Democratic candidates needed to point out the inertia a bit more.

    The only slim hope I have is that Kristen Kirk Mayock will perhaps do something. She’s a working mother and maybe she’ll see how little gets done in this township. Maybe she’ll want sidewalks so her kids can walk places, and open gyms on Saturdays in winter so kids can gather somewhere to play ball, and a full day summer camp like Radnor has.

    1. I echo flyersfan below. This community has many recreational activities throughout the seasons. They are just not “sponsored” by the state. (Not to be confused with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)

      There are football, baseball, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey leagues. The UMLY has many programs for children and adults. There are also CYO sports programs in addition to the many programs run by the fine churches in the area.

      Most of the programs have financial aid for families that are in need. Do not always look to the government to solve your problems. The answer to most problems is much closer to home.

      1. Have you looked at the prices the UMLY charges? And thank you, but I do NOT look to the government to solve my problems. Your attitude is typical of many in this area. I have worked hard all my life. I have never been unemployed. Unlike most of the women in this township–served by the all-Republican board of supervisors–I actually have to earn a paycheck. For most women in this township, going to Pilates/yoga and then to the salon to get their hair/nails done is a “tough day.”

        Radnor Township has an all-day day camp that is affordable for working families. They have reasonably priced sports leagues, unlike some of the expensive private ones in Tredyffrin township. This township still operates like it is the 1950s. Probably because it IS in that kind of time warp. I don’t see many women working around here.

        1. Wow — that is bitter sounding commentary. Where do you live that “most women in this township” are going to yoga and salons. That is really uncalled for.

          Not that you want facts, but the taxes in Radnor are incredibly higher than the taxes in Tredyffrin. If you lived there, you might have more, but you would be paying for it — as would all your neighbors whether or not they needed it. Someone above said they dont’ expect to subsidize the quality of life, and I think that’s the whole philosophy of taxation.


          Township Millages

          Radnor: 3.6411 Tredyffrin 2.23 (64% higher than T)
          Delaware County: 5.184 Chester County 3.965 (31% )
          Schools – Radnor 20.4085 TE 18.647 ( 9.4% higher)

          The total, therefore, from Radnor vs. TE is:
          Radnor: 29.2366 and Tredyffrin is : 24.842 — almost 18 percent higher than TE.

          On our hypothetical house assessed at $400,000, that translates to $1,750 more in taxes paid in Radnor than in Tredyffrin. How much does those classes at UMLY cost?

          Radnor also has commercial taxes (Mercantile tax and business privilege tax). So this really is not apples and oranges….

        2. Amy, I know you are not responding to me directly as I didnt make ascerbic comments towards you, but your anger shows, resentment too?
          There used to be a winter rec program years ago,. I remember taking my kids to VFES on Saturday mornings and there was no charge. It was awhile ago and maybe they did away with the program. If so that is a tough break but we also belong to the UMLY and i think the prices are reasonable. Good luck!

        3. PS Amy, whats wrong with the 50’s? Perhaps that was a good time for America. THink it was a poor analogy. Some of my wealthiest friends here in TE are DEMOCRATS! can you beat that?

  8. I’m back, albeit briefly:

    Thank you to all of the people of Tredyffrin. I personally appreciate the warmth and respect you showed me as I went door-to-door all over the Township, since March. The chance to meet so many residents on their doorsteps, and hear their priorities and concerns, will inform my decisions as a Supervisor–at-large.

    Further, thank you to all who came to the polls yesterday to have your voices heard. The 37% turnout was impressive and the energy was palpable, on a beautiful fall day. I commend all of the candidates for their hard work in the campaign and their interest in serving our great community.

    It has been my honor serving as a Supervisor since February. 2011 has been a year when I have learned more and met more nice people than in any year I can remember. I look forward to continuing to work hard on behalf of the people of Tredyffrin Township.

    Mike Heaberg

    1. Mike, congratulations on your victory. I look forward to having you serve the residents of the township for the next four years.

    2. 37% is not palpable or impressive. That is 63% of the voting community who remain silent. There is a tall order facing the ‘new’ Board in the next two years and the to do list is growing. It is time to take action and get things done. 22 months of sidewalk debate is an example of what we can’t afford as taxpayers.

      1. Different Anon. 37% for an off year election is historically high. Probably much higher than the surrounding townships.

  9. saddened, if you want all that, and it is a desirable set of goals., maybe there can be a fee for open gyms on Saturday and if you want your kids to participate, you can pay the fee. (as an example). I have no interest in subsidizing it, though.

    1. I second that, flyersfan. As a parent, it is my responsibility to seek out and pay for my kids’ recreational activities – not the township’s responsibility.

  10. Won’t there be a recount with Olson’s narrow 13-count victory – especially after what happened in the last election?

    I really hope the BOS elects John D as it’s chair – he would change the way the BOS operates for the better. It’s time for the BOS to remember that almost half of the township is registered Democrats – not enough voters to overtake the Republican candidates, but enough voters who matter and who should be respected as much as Republican citizens. Sadly, the current chair hasn’t always demonstrated his acknowledgement of that fact.

    1. Paul Olson is the current Vice Chairman of the BOS. Although the supervisors take a vote for Chair and Vice Chair, I think traditionally the person who has served as Vice Chair gets the necessary votes to be Chair. With Chairman Bob Lamina leaving the board, it would seem that if tradition prevails . . . Paul Olson will be chosen Chair by his fellow supervisors.

      As for a recount in the Olson-Snyder race, I wondered that myself. With a margin of only 13 votes, is it possible that the Democrats will call for a recount? I was told by a friend that an automatic recall is done on the state level but not on the local municipal level. Can anyone verify that information?

      1. I hope Olson will not be BoS Chairman. Those meetings will be pure torture. In my opinion, he didn’t do well in the debate always appeared to be a step behind, so I wouldn’t expect him to make an efficient chm this time around, as witnessed by the last month’s BoS meeting.

        As far as the numbers go, where is John Peterson when we need him for analysis. I’m sure he has some insight on the subject. Did anyone note Kristen outpolled Mike?

        Speaking of numbers, take a look at the number of straight party ballots cast in each precinct. That should tell you something; more or less than in past elections?

        1. I agree with you.. it would be awful. Let’s hope the BOS read this Web site. Otherwise there’s going to be a lot of buyer’s remorse about not voting for Tory Snyder. BTW why doesn’t she demand a recount?

          Regarding ages at the polls, there were so many over-70s I couldn’t believe it. I am middle aged and I was one of the youngest people voting. One woman ahead of me was 95!

      2. JD for chairmen! After the last year, Olsen has shown he is not ready, nor is he trusted to lead the group. Although I am sad to see him re-elected, I will enjoy seeing him squirm in his seat now that he has no side-kick left. He is going to be on his own now, and will hopefully regret running again.

        1. Just for the record — we can use this forum to bash Paul Olson, but not sure what you expect to accomplish? He has served this community and has stepped up to support causes and events he believes in. He may share conservative values iwth Lamina, but he has not always agreed with him, and he certainly is not his sidekick. In fact, when Lamina proposed a contract for the police, he got 4 votes in support — not Olson’s. Paul Olson doesn’t believe in wasting money, and he uses his value system to assess what is waste and what is worthy. If we insist on tying some nefarious motive to his stance, it’s to our own discredit. I think he’s just a very stubborn man, not an evil one. He ran and won. That’s how our system works.

        2. Several years ago Olson reported on who donated to the library capital campaign. He used his position to publicize donor information and donation amounts. That was wrong.

  11. I am disappointed that Tory did not win. She would have been a breath of fresh air on the BOS. I cant believe that the voters re-elected Olson! What were they thinking – thats the problem the werent thinking. I am going to give the other supervisors credit not to vote this man in as chairman. The residents deserve better.

  12. Several voters approached me yesterday confused about why the EIT referendum was “missing” from their ballots. I had to explain that there was no such referendum. All of this talk about the EIT clearly confused some voters.

    Steve Shapiro
    Judge of Elections, Tredyffrin W-2

  13. pattye I forgot to mention that while I am the elephant in the room around here sometimes I thought it was incredibly cool that you posted the election results here. I may be ashamed to admit i was rooting around the internet for results and wasn’t able to get them, late on election night.

    So thanks.

    1. Election results can be found on the county website.

      They have made it easier for residents (those not politically involved). After you click on Election Results you can click on precincts In or Out to see what happened in your precinct or you can click on “cumulative” then scroll through every county race to pull Tredyffrin or Easttown results. And they won’t be listed together. They’re listed by position (commissioner, court of common pleas, etc.).

      This cycle, results were available early. In the past, results sometime didn’t come in until after midnight.

  14. Pattye,

    Just thought I’d bring this up. There is no mention in your post that Tredyffrin’s Detective John Bailey won the DJj race in East & West Whiteland and will resign from the P.D. We’ll miss him. This makes 2 Tredyffrin officers who are now DJs, the other is Tom Tartaglio..

  15. What “false” EIT campaign? I don’t understand why so many on this board are so offended by the Republican campaign tactics. That was not negative campaigning.

    The fact remains that the Democrats refused to answer whether they would put an EIT on the ballot. Republicans had every right to interpret that as support for an EIT, and had every right to use it as a campaign strategy.

    Here is another fact: Radnor and Lower Merion taxes are sky high. Their real estate values can generally allow for it, because it is generally a more desirable location. Tredyffrin is still considered by many to be not as desirable. Higher taxes would kill our property values. No, we do not have full day summer camps. But we do live in close enough proximity that our children can participate in Radnor’s full day camp as non-residents. I’ll take that over higher property taxes any day.

    At the end of the day, the people of Tredyffrin have spoken, and they have spoken against higher taxes. Until Democrats can effectively articulate a position that will define them to voters, voters will pick the party of no taxes every time. Tredyffrin is a nice place to live – however our Republican leadership does a fine job of covering up the dirty little secrets. Democrats need to do a better job of educating Tredyffrin residents about the ways their Republican leadership is letting them down.

    1. As to the falsity of the campaign, see my reply to “From the West” below.

      As for property values being lowered by higher property taxes, you should be aware that defeating an EIT does not insure that property taxes will not rise. In fact, an EIT might take some of the pressure off of property taxes and reduce the need to increase them to some degree. If you are concerned about maintaining the quality and desirability of the community (and hence property values) you should be for maintaining the high quality of the schools. With looming budget deficits, the board (6 R’s and 3 D’s) decided to study the EIT. That was a reasonable and prudent thing to do under the circumstances. It would still have to go to the voters in a ballot referendum.

      But the TTRC has killed (or almost killed) the EIT before it can even get a fair discussion and before all of the facts are known. What is their solution? Are they OK with deep cuts in the educational program and all that results form that, including but not limited to lower property values?

      All I heard was some vauge stuff like “focus dollars on the classroom” and so on. Apparently the TTRC is not aware of the fact that TE already is run very efficiently, and there is not much more to cut that does not affect the kids. I have spelled it out many times in other posts, but here are a few highlights:

      TE is 467 out of 501 school districts, where #1 has the highest property taxes and #501 the lowest. That’s 34 districts in the state that are lower than TE, yet TE is #3 in PSSAs in the state, 132 out of over 18,000 public high schools nation wide in US news and World Report Best Math and Science Schools (2011), #1 in the state in National Merit Scholars, etc. Our per student spending is $15, 992, Great Valley is $18,008, Rdnor is $20,137, and Lower Merion is $28,184 (I updated these for 2010-11). TE’s debt is about $58 million (out of a borrowing limit of $219 million), Radnor and Great Valley have between $90 and 100 million and Lower Merion is about $320 million.

      I am not saying I am for an EIT, but I want to know all the facts before I decide, and the Republican campaign has done nothing to support a thoughtful and factual discussion of the issues – quite the contrary, to the detriment of us all.

      1. Kevin do you think it is fair to be against the EIT because some feel it will just be another way to extract taxes from the community. We would be arguing about raising the eit AND real estate taxes. Plus, hasn’t there been some discussion about the timing of enacting an EIT vis a vis contract negotiations with the teachers.. trying to harken back to previous discussions about this.

        1. Sure it is OK to be against an EIT. But that’s not what the Republican mailers said. If they simply laid out the position of the R canidates and left it at that, I would not have a problem. But that is not what they did – they talked about other people’s alleged positions and the way they did it was misleading and unthruthful. Now, it is OK for a citizen to be against the EIT at any point in time. But I agree with CJ (below) that an elected public official should await the outcome of the Tax Study before taking any position.

      2. Kevin
        The TTRC might have lobbed the missile at the EIT, but Karen Cruickshank backing away from a good decision to study it is what killed it. That’s why I said character would play a bigger piece in this election — she had a chance to stand up and say that the board collectively agreed to study it. Instead, she wrote this blog and elsewhere that she was opposed to it. The D’s took the bait and it’s not something any of us should be impressed by. It was her failureto explain that detonated the process. That might be unfortunate, but that’s what leadership requires.

        1. You make a good point. But I am already on record with the same complaint. You may recall my comments on another thread in the blog (see “The Clock Ticks Down to Election Day”) where I made the very same complaint regarding the Democratic response to the Republican campaign

  16. RE: the EIT.

    I am tired and confused by the people beating up the Republicans for “confusing” voters about an EIT being on the ballot.

    The Republican mailers — regardless of what you thought of them — all said “begun the process to put an EIT on the ballot.” This alone shows they knew it wasn’t on the ballot.

    The one mailer even used quotes from The Patch showing that Dems thought it should be there — but it wasn’t yet.

    And the GOP Chairman’s letter said: it’s not on the ballot, but this is an opportunity for the community to elect leaders who do or don’t believe it should be.

    From all these things, it’s pretty clear there was no intent to mislead…only to point forth the point that the R team opposed the idea even being on the ballot and the Dem team didn’t.

    Anything other than that is political posturing so people can yell “negative campaign” or some other excuse for their failure to take a strong position, take it early and stand by it.

    1. The yellow signs “NO EIT VOTE REPUBICAN” gave the impression that it was on the ballot.

      That was misleading, and the mailers were too – as I have pointed out many times they do much more than simply state what the R candidates would do (in fact the three I got do not say anything about the R’s pledging not to put it on the ballot – in fact, I don’t think they say anything about the R’s position at all other than by inference, in that the mailers allege that the Dems “want” to impose an income tax) the mailers are false because they say that the whole idea originated with the Dems and only the Dems when it was a board decision in which Repbulicans also participated. It would have been fine if the R campaign just stuck to the pledge or position of the R’s but it did not.

      I don’t understand how anyone can defend that campaign.

  17. Why would the Republicans be so afraid to have the EIT on the ballot? Surely they believe it would fail. What is so wrong with letting the voters be the ones to decide what taxes they want to accept?

    But when a Republican on the school board (Kevin Mahoney) proposed the EIT be studied, and the 6 Republican to only 3 Democrats on the School Board voted to let the study proceed – that makes it a lie to say the Democrats were “starting the process.” Maybe this was all a Republican plot to begin with – Kevin Mahoney proposes this whole scheme, which conveniently reports out three days before the election. The Republicans have their issue to roll over Democratic candidates with much higher turnout because so many people came out to vote against an income tax. Expect Mahoney to run for supervisor in two years? they owe him big time.

  18. Love how when the result of the vote isnt what someone prefers, its because the electorate is stupid or lazy or doesnt care. That demeans the entire process. The people get to speak, and they do speak, through elections. And what they say is by definition right, even if its not what I or you might prefer.

    But dont harangue your neighbors if they didnt vote your way. Thats not civil. And its antidemocratic.
    Their voice is no less important than mine or yours.


  19. FTW — I am tired of the response to the EIT claims, but I believe the NO EIT signs by the Rs were meant to confuse voters. The mailer that said the Dems on the SB had begun the process were simply not true. The SB itself had begun the process — to evaluate the options. I’ve said it here before and will say it again — if I were on the board, I would have tied the study (if possible) to a commitment to putting it on the ballot. The $3.5 that leave this township for an EIT elsewhere (if that’s a true number) are entitled to an opportunity to make the case to recapture that money. The voters should not be encouraged to pre-empt the discusison by making the decision a premature one — i.e., removing the possibliity that voters might actually implement it. I believe there is NO chance that voters would implement it, but until that hand is played out, it’s all just about obfuscation.
    SO — the elections are over and incumbents won for the most part. But if people want to be sure there is no EIT, they should deal with the candidates and their representatives, not with some phantom threat of a referendum. There are hard choices coming, and this fake issue basically forced a decision behind the curtain that should be made in the sunshine. The R team didn’t oppose it being on the ballot — the TTRC opposed it, and the R team went along for the ride. Doesn’t favor anyone in this situation….and we only killed the idea of an EIT….when we start having tough times looking for school revenue, there is no background to say “we tried that”.

  20. I agree that the EIT signs were
    A) in poor taste
    B) the wrong timing
    C) confusing to voters, especially less then informed voters
    D) demeaning to the Tax Study Group

    Any politician who publicly stated they were for or against the school EIT question before the results of the Study Group was done should be removed from office. We elect officials to make informed decision and represent ALL of their community. Accepting a party line decision, especially before the facts were on the table, shows in no way is the elected official making decisions for their entire community.

    1. CJ — Your remarks are right on the mark!! Why didnt these candidate stand up against their party bosses? I heard lots of murmurings that the candidates didnt agree with the direction of the campaign re EIT, so why didnt they speak out?!

      1. Because once the process is underway, it’s human nature to want to win….which is why character is a trait that rarely holds up in the process. Once on the board, the parties mean nothing…so let’s see how things move forward.

    2. Very well stated, CJ.

      Given the great work of the Tax Study Group, I think it would be well for the School Board to put the issue before the citizenry.

      I am not promoting the EIT, just the process of letting the citizenry address the question. That would lead to a whole flurry of information pro and con and voter education (which you can get already by reading the report of the tax study group).

      Dont want an EIT? vote no.

      I happen to pay an EIT where I work outside of Tredyffrin so for me would be cost neutral so long as i work there. I understand other persons are not similarly situated, but its a community decision in my view. Let the people speak.


  21. I still believe the issue of the EIT should be left to the voters of both townships. By that time voters should have read the TSG’s Pros and Cons (it’s public) and come to an intelligent decision based on facts (ie not listening to the political rhetoric). That means voters shouldn’t be led down the garden path just because of what a political party wants.

    If, and I say IF and when the S.B. makes their decision next week whether or not to put the ssue of an EIT on the ballot, I was thinking next spring is a Presidential primary and there will be a larger than normal voter turnout. Maybe that will be a good thing. We’ll have, or should have, more than the normal 15% to 20% primary turnout and we’ll have a more representative number of who favors or opposes the EIT.

    BTW, seniors/elderly and unemployed normally vote “off hours” (8:30-noon and 2-4). Those who work and “hard core golfers” usually vote first thing in the morning, on their way home or during their lunch hour.

    1. I don’t see any way the SB can put the question on a ballot…not based on the comments made by the candidates. No credibility.

  22. so if it is on the ballot, and easttown votes it down and tredyffrin votes it in, what happens? Can this indeed happen?

      1. As I understand it, the school district is viewed as one entity, and the majority vote of all residents would govern. However, the Supervisors of each Township may make a different decision about taking up to 50% of any tax approved for the school district by the voters. That would be a very interesting discussion I would think, but precedent strongly favors the townships taking half.

        I’m on record as being strongly in favor of an EIT as a revenue source – it keeps TE taxes in TE, diversifies the revenue stream and does not fall on the unemployed. However, I do feel equally strongly that we have not yet reached the point where it should be put to the voters. The Fund Balance (taxpayer money!) must be spent down a little first, and then you have a real choice: program cuts, property tax increase, EIT. And of course, there is the chance that Harrisburg will do something.

        In the meantime, the new Board will have to show its colors with the 2012 budget. Will they just keep ratcheting up the property taxes by the maximum they can (an increase maximized to 6 significant figures last year!), or will they recognize that voters should have a choice? The one reliable advocate of voter choice has been Rich Brake – will his influence grow?

        And please can someone get a TTRC official to explain their aversion to an EIT?? A ploy to win elections? Pandering to high income fund raisers who prefer property tax hikes? Favor program cuts rather than increase any taxes at all? What’s the real story?

        1. Ray — my opinion is that the anti-tax sentiment is so strong amongst those that do not pay it that they do not want to risk a change. I’ve said here before — I don’t think any circumstance would result in adopting an EIT through a referendum because people know that they believe….and giving the “government” one more pocket to dig into is not appealing. I think people prefer property tax hikes because they can calculate them….many people live in homes that are far more “modest” than their income. It’s only the newer homes in this community that are so high priced.

        2. Approx Numbers:

          In Tredyffrin the median house is assessed at ~$250,000. The median household income is ~$100,000.

          A ~17% increase in property taxes (~3.5 mils) would raise the same amount of money for TESD as a 1% EIT.

          The median property tax increase would be $900 and the median household EIT would be $1000. Those numbers are close to make little difference within the margin of error of my simplifying estimates, but maybe lend a little support to TR’s theory.

          (Or whatever their own particular number is.)

          (Note that in 2012/13 TESD does not need $15 million from anywhere).

          Of course looking at the median ignores the tails of the distribution. I suspect that it’s the long high income tail that is attempting to stifle the discussion. Those that on every topic (education, healthcare, climate, etc. as well as income distribution) think that things are fine just as they are? (See the Oct 24 New Yorker cover for a depiction.)

          It seems pretty easy to calculate 1% of earned income. And if your income fluctuates, then so does your tax and also your ability to pay that tax.

          Why is it that TE residents are averse to giving the schools an extra income source (“pocket to dig into”), but the majority of other school district residents in the state are not?

  23. township I tend to agree with you as I have stated above. And I am one who does not want the government, r’s and d’s to have another “pocket to pick” as you so colorfully put it. I have no confidence an eit will supplant increases in real estate taxes. Perhaps I am cynical but we live in cynical times.

    1. Ray
      I believe the EIT TSC data indicated that 79% of the EIT would be paid by people making over $150,000 — 26.5% of returns, and an additional 9% of the EIT would come from 10% of returns for people making $100-$150K. So while claim is that the “median” income is $100,000, only 36.5% of returns would be over $100,000, but it would generate 88% of the revenue. It’s pretty obvious why a referendum would have a tough time == though I dont’ know for sure that 88% of property taxes comes from 37% of property owners, it doesn’t seem like the EIT is fairer.
      Right now, 26% of residents are paying the EIT….
      And a critical “issue” with your numbers is that there is ZERO chance that the townships would not take their 1/2%. ZERO chance.

      1. A couple of interesting discussions points here:

        1. The townships taking 50%. Certainly, as I have noted, the precedent is that townships do take half of a voter-approved residential EIT. It would however, be quite an interesting spectacle to watch the Tredyffrin BOS, who have campaigned on no EIT, who have the power to impose or not impose any EIT they want, vote to take away $7.5 million from our children.

        2. Why a referendum would have a tough time. Leave aside for the moment that the question for each individual household is the ratio of the assessed value of their house to their earned income. Just take the point that 88% of TE’s EIT revenue would come from 37% or the returns, and that therefore the referendum would have a tough time.

        The implication: high income (turned into mis-information?) trumps the majority.

        3. The distribution of property values. I don’t have the data for Easttown, but for Tredyffrin but here’s what I have:
        16% of all properties make up 50% of the total assessed value. (Related: the Vanguard contribution to TE’s budget reported to the TSC)
        34% of properties under $2 million (proxy for residential) make up 50% of the assessed value of that sub-set.

        Conclusion: The property tax falls most heavily on businesses.

        Note: The median Tredyffrin household [annual] income or 2005-2009 reported to the TSC was $97,284.

        1. The issue with the townships taking their half is really because there are TWO townships — and one is in desperate need of an EIT but hasn’t the political courage to asssess it. Tredyffrin isn’t going to ignore the fact that 1/2% of Tredyffrin earned income would be helping to “subsidize” Easttown kids. That sounds wrong, but Tredyffrin already believes that Easttown contributes little and gains much (no sports fields, no real parks etc.) Fact is Easttown has no commercial base. If we really were trying to look at costs, we would consider merging the two townships — one manager, one police force etc….but that’s a study that won’t ever happen. Just like merging school districts — people campaign against it, so TE has a superintendent, GV has a superintendent, LM has a superintendent…x 500 in the state of PA. And the applicant pool isn’t too large.

          The component of property tax paid by commercial entities in Tredyffrin is a hard one to assess — the business pays that tax, but their employees do not. So if you flip it and tax the employees, does the company expect property tax relief? Would the employees put pressure to relocate or do we presume they live in places that already assess it?
          The state needs to get real and fund schools — because the state already has an income tax.

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