Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Trish Kreek leaves behind a legacy of public service and independent thought. We mourn her passing.

On Friday, October 25, our community lost a very special person. Losing her courageous battle against cancer, my dear friend Trish Kreek passed away. Her funeral is tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11 AM, St. Peter’s Church in the Great Valley.

The consummate public servant, Trish served on the Tredyffrin Township Planning Commission for 19 years (4 years as chair) and as township supervisor for 6 years. Until her passing, Trish served with me on the Board of Directors of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust. A board member since the Trust’s inception a decade ago, she inspired us with her outlook on life and living — we will miss her tremendously.

Spirited in her discussion of community issues, Trish was always the ‘lady’ in debate; respectful of others opinions. A Republican by voter registration, Trish supported candidates who best reflected her own values, regardless of party affiliation. Taking the high road by focusing on the issues, she was never one that resorted to disparaging individual members of the community.

However, Trish did want more people to pay attention to local politics and elections and was troubled by lack of voter turnout. In our discussions of local politics, she regularly lamented about the partisan divide, believing that the broader mission should be to address important issues that matter to all of us. Trish never supported the pointless battle between the local political parties and struggled to understand why ‘people’ and ‘issues’ were not the most important factors when voting.

I reflect on Trish’ decades of public service, her spirit and support of this community and our many political discussions. Election Day 2013 is barely a week away. In the perfect world, our local politics would be free of partisan interests and individuals elected to serve would do so for all the community. And the interests of the people would always trump the political party the elected official represents. Of course, as Trish would have agreed, there are no perfect political worlds and this community is no different from the rest.

Why are candidates for local office forced to play party politics? Politics has the ability to bring out either the good or the bad. As I read the political campaign literature from the school board and supervisor candidates, I can only hope that the partisanship will not destroy the fabric of our community. I lament for a future of local nonpartisan elections, where there will victoriously emerge individuals whose intelligence, integrity, intestinal fortitude, character and non-alliance with special interests are beyond question. I wish for a future where important issues and candidate differences can be fairly discussed and openly debated.

“Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.” ~ Mark Twain

On Election Day, Tuesday, November 5, we will elect whomever we think will do the best job — or at least that’s how we should cast our ballots. Do not wait until entering the voting booth to start thinking about how to vote. Do your homework – be knowledgeable about the candidates and informed on the issues. Informed voting requires study, thought and reflection in advance of casting your ballot. The people, the voters, get to decide who governs them. That will be the final word on partisan politics in local elections, and local government.


My dear friend Trish, you touched all that knew you — we will miss you.

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” ~ It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

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  1. Pattye
    Thank you for this wonderful tribute to Trish. She was spirited and a force in her time on the BOS. It is a good reminder to take time to understand the candidate, not the color of the sign, because once you are on a board, the parties don’t even exist. Ideaology is a substitute for judgment. Thank you for your efforts to remind us of the responsibility of the voter, not just the boards.

  2. Yes Pattye those anti tea party signs are really repugnant. It clouds my view of local politics and the democratic candidates. Sorry about the loss of Trish Creek and I applaud her intelligent service to tred.

    1. Between the 6 supervisor candidates and the 8 school board candidates, I wonder how much money is spent for Election Day 2013. If you added up the cost of signs, campaign literature, buttons, etc. I’d love to know the total dollars spent. Any idea?

      1. Well over $10,000 each side by now. Multiples of that by the time this is over is my guess. It is a matter of public record, available at Chester County Voter Services. Right now you could see what was spent through the primary, the final tally will not be available until after election day.

    2. Why are “No Tea Party” signs repugnant? A candidate’s political philosophy is highly relevant and of great interest to the voters. I do not believe the Republicans are eager to disclose this fact. See if the Tea Party credentials are highlighted in Republican campaign mailers . . . .

  3. I am sick of hearing tea party. Locally we have candidates who must articulate their views.. Tea party, tea bagger, all intended to muddy the waters and rile the electorate so that , well we end up locally with what we have nationally. Stick to the issues, not obnoxious slogans used to confuse, obfuscate (sp) and pillory. Name calling is best left to the first grade playground, where hopefull the adults can implement immediate corrective measures.

    The “progressive” movement, formally the “liberal” movement whose name was changed because the liberal brand needed changing has to do more than point fingers, scream and stamp their collective feet. Grow up! We need smart people, smart decisions in all levels of govt..

    1. Agree that we need smart people, that voters should evaluate candidates based upon their experience, skills, and vision for the future – what they plan to do, and so on – and vote for who is best regardless of party. But a candidates views are shaped by many factors including (to a large degree) political affiliation and philosophy. It is a relevant factor and should be honestly disclosed and on the table for consideration along with all the other factors.

      For some, a Tea Party affiliation is a plus, for many it is a deal breaker. I think it is fair game to look at a candidate’s background, views, affiliations, writings (if any), public statements, and so on – but it should all be thoughtfully evaluated in the context of the person’s total character with respect to the question of whether or not that person would make a good school board member.

      Since the ability to work well with others – to be reasonable and be able to compromise to get things done – is essential on the school board, and in light of recent events in Washington, I think it is a fair question to ask whether someone with such a philosophy is right for the school board.

  4. “such a philosophy”… can you tell us what you think that is?
    Would love to see how you present it.. By the way I affiliate with some of their ideas.

    PS the tea party is NOT a party.. they are a diverse group of Americans, spread out across the land from all walks of life who are trying to get a handle on the whats causing the demise of our nation and contribute to its resurrection. Sure there are strident folks there, but unlike OWS they clean up after themselves.

    I would prefer to leave this discussion and go forward with candidate discussions. I can learn more about them all.

    1. I recognize that the Tea “Party” is a movement, and that like any movement there is a certain amount of diversity – and while (as you graciously acknowledge) they have their share of extremists, they also have many thoughtful, principled, and able people as well. Having said that, every movement has a core set of beliefs and values in common. Core values, shared beliefs, will often inform a person’s actions once in office.

      If I have to articulate the core (which gives rise to the concern) I would say in general there is a belief that the government us too big, that it has exceeded it’s constitutional mandate and authority, and as a result has infringed on fundamental rights primarily through exercise of jurisdiction in areas not contemplated by the founders and through excessive spending, taxation, and regulation.

      All of these are legitimate concerns and I welcome spirited but principled debate on these issues. But I think the view of the constitution is very narrow, and the desire to constrain government to it’s “original constitutional parameters” may predispose one towards a tendency to adopt some very unrealistic agendas. In general, Tea Party folks tend to be far more conservative than most of us, but that is not my concern here. My concern is whether someone with this political philosophy can be realistic, can compromise, can express his or her values in an intellectually honest and principled way while at the same time recognizing the need for balance and honoring the fact that he or she is elected to represent all constituencies. I submit that the recent debacle in Washington may be legitimate reason for pause. For one thing, it was wildly unrealistic. You cannot force repeal (or un-fund) legislation when you control only the House. For another, given the risk of damage inherent in a US default, it seems irresponsible to pursue such brinksmanship when one has ZERO chance of prevailing. Applying this to the school board, the question us whether the candidates in question are willing and capable of supporting the continued excellence of the educational program, or will they see their mission as one of trying to force deep cuts? After all, the Valley Forge Patriots (of which Rich Brake is a member) defines Tea as “taxed enough already”.

      While it is one thing to try and provide a quality program as efficiently as possible, it us quite another to try to lower taxes at the expense of the kids and the program. Most residents want the high quality maintained. This is a real concern. At a recent joint meeting of the tredyffrin and easttown Republican committees, Dr. Brake made a statement that if he were in charge he could run the program for half as much. The last time the budget was $50 million was the mid 1990’s. Question: what kind of program cuts would be necessary to enact that kind of reduction?

      1. I am posting this comment but I think this important discussion of candidate qualifications should appropriately go to a new post. Please hold any further comments until the new post goes up. Selecting new school board members or re-electing current members is an important issue.

      2. If Dr. Brake can do that, I would like to see how. It is bold. Maybe he is on to something but I would like to hear his ideas.

        Your ideas are fair. My idea is that the pendulum has swung too far to the left, dare I say. You may be indicating that you believe in a living malleable original document. I believe that malleablility is via amendments. And unfortunately through activist courts. But I do appreciate your insights.

        The role of the minority is to be heard, yes to create havoc and stir the pot with ideas and procedures that at minimum get attention. I don’t think they would ever default. And they didn’t. But as the worm turns we now hear echoes of that rogue Ted Cruz, echoes manisfested in the voices of Democrat legislators many up for election saying exactly what Cruz said… or close.. delay this boondoggle. The feds are giving us NO reason to have faith in them. So yes, stripping them to the barest of their enumerated powers sounds attractive to many.

        1. You do make good points. Was it Regan who said: “that government governs best which governs least?” maybe that was quoting Jefferson or somebody, I don’t remember. I think we agree that it would be better if the government would get realistic and simplify some things. How about a flat tax or at least a system where everyone pays something so at least they have some skin in the game?

  5. you must have deleted my comment but I didn’t think I incorporated discussion of candidates which for some reason you don’t want at least until new post goes up. I though I evaded that issue as you requested. Im surprised at you. Trying to be open and polite and cut off. Boo. and later

    1. Nope, didn’t delete your comment, just sidetracked with the day. The discussion is good and I appreciate your comments. The new post is going up shortly and I look forward to your continued contribution. Which school board candidate will you be supporting on Tuesday, and why?

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