Pattye Benson

Community Matters

State House 157

Beyond Campaign Rhetoric, Can Candidates Offer Solutions?

It does not matter whether it is Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, the Commonwealth or the entire country, aside from the overall economy, the discussion quickly turns to jobs . . . where are they . . . help in finding one, . . . and how to bring them to our community.

With barely 60 days until the November election, we are hearing much political rhetoric from candidates about the job situation. Regardless of party affiliation, all candidates understand that voters are desperate to find jobs. Beyond using the right buzzwords as they stump, how many of the politicians are citing specific job creation plans. Americans want to believe in the politician’s promises but we need reason to believe. Candidates need to offer the unemployed single mother of three some hope in finding a job. Candidates need to provide incentives for the struggling small business owner to keep his door open. Candidates need to explain how to rebuild the small town whose major employer went bankrupt. I want candidates that offer solutions.

This past week, Pennsylvania District 6th congressional candidate Manan Trivedi presented his personal formula for creating jobs. Trivedi’s job plan contained the following points — (1) tax incentives to small business owners; (2) investing in infrastructure; (3) government crackdown on companies who hire illegal immigrants; (4) elimination of tax breaks to companies that ship jobs to foreign countries; and (5) investment by government in clean energy that would stimulate job growth.

Do we believe that Trivedi’s plan can translate to creating and sustaining jobs? Does Jim Gerlach’s campaign offer a similar job plan? Most importantly, how will Tredyffrin Township directly benefit? Do our State House candidates Paul Drucker and Warren Kampf have a job creation plan to help us?

State Rep Paul Drucker Makes $1,000,000 Announcement Today!

Under the warm summer sun this morning, on the platform of the Paoli train station, those of us in the attendance waited in anticipation for the ‘big announcement’. With the channel 6 ABC news cameras rolling, State Representative Paul Drucker delivered the exciting news that state funding will provide $1,000,000 for the initial phase of the much-anticipated Paoli Transit Center.

Standing with Strategic Realty Investment president Peter Monaghan and House Appropriations Chairman Dwight Evans, D-Phila at his side, Rep Drucker explained to the audience that with this project comes economic growth to the community, including 5,000 construction jobs and over 2,000 permanent jobs.

Today’s announcement signifies a new beginning for Paoli and for the larger community . . . a day to celebrate!

Below is the complete press release for today’s announcement:

Paoli Rail Yard to receive $1 million in state funding

PAOLI, June 21 – State Rep. Paul Drucker, D-Chester/Montgomery, announced today that the Paoli Rail Yard will receive $1 million in state funding from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program for the construction of the Paoli Intermodal Transportation facility.

“The release of this funding facilitates the initial phase of the most significant public-private multi-modal transit project in the entire Delaware Valley region,” Drucker said. “The solar component of this initial phase, funded by these dollars, reflects the opportunity for our community to reclaim an otherwise unusable contaminated soil containment cell for use as a 400,000 watt solar power generation facility.”

Drucker said the proposed facility will ultimately supply power to AMTRAK/SEPTA rail operations.

“Today represents the initiation of the larger project that will ultimately create more than 5,000 construction jobs and more than 2,000 permanent jobs in Paoli,” Drucker said. “But most importantly, the building of this solar field will immediately produce 40 new, family-sustaining jobs and offer a boost to our local economy.”

Drucker, joined by House Appropriations Chairman Dwight Evans, D-Phila., Peter Monaghan from Strategic Realty, Tredyffrin District 3 Supervisor John DiBuonaventuro, Marie Thibault from the Paoli Business Association, and Tim Connor of the Chester County Economic Development Council announced the funding at a 10:30 a.m. news conference held at the Paoli Train Station.

The new Paoli Intermodal Transportation facility is planned to include a new station, passenger amenities, office buildings, and an on-site parking garage.

Funding from RACP is intended to create quality jobs and provide economic stimulus to the Pennsylvania economy.

PA State House 157 Candidates Drucker & Kampf . . . Campaign Finance Reporting

In the days leading up to the May Primary, comparison of expenditures between State House 157 Republican candidates Ken Buckwalter and Warren Kampf was discussed on Community Matters. At that time, some Community Matters readers criticized me for not discussing the expenditures of Democrat candidate State House Representative Paul Drucker. I explained that as an unopposed, endorsed candidate I thought it would be more appropriate to compare Drucker’s campaign expenses after the Primary (when we knew the identify of his Republican opponent). However, as a reader has recently commented, the Primary is over, Warren Kampf is the Republican candidate and the campaign finance reports are available.

Comparing the latest campaign finance reports of 5/3/10 of both Drucker and Kampf was an interesting exercise. (Campaign finance reports are public documents). Looking at the campaign finance reports shows you various things, including the level of funding received by candidates, listing of candidates expenditures and specific donations received by the candidates.

Here are the candidates totals as of 5/3/10:

  • Combining candidates contributions carried over from 2009 with funds raised during the first 4 months of 2010: Drucker $65,925.02; Kampf $58,448.49.
  • Total expenditures of candidates: Drucker $53,297.25; Kampf $33,896.18.
  • Ending available balance of candidates (after deducting expenditures and unpaid debts): Drucker $9,627.77; Kampf $14,907.31.

Looking at Schedule III of the campaign finance reports for Drucker and Kampf, it is interesting to look at how each candidate spent money. Below is a breakdown of the top expenses of each campaign:

  • Major Drucker Campaign Expenses: $33,716.98 consulting; Paoli office rental $1,000/mo plus utilities; Phoenixville office rental $450/mo; $1,025 computer software.
  • Major Kampf Campaign Expenses: $14,445 mailers; $6,535 consulting; $7,107 postage; $5,500 website; $1,982 signs

So where did the candidates receive their major campaign funding to date? The campaign finance report details the (1) Political Committee Contributions of $50.01 to $250 and over $250 and (2) All Other Contributions of $50.01 to $250 and over $250. Any contribution of $50 or less is not required to be reported.

Both candidates have received many donations from generous supporters. For the purposes of this discussion, I am only going to focus on the contributions that are $1,000 or greater.

In the category of Political Committee Contributions $1,000 or greater, the candidates received the following donations:

  • Drucker: Bricklayers Local 1 $1,000; Citizens Elect Dwight Evans for State Rep $2,500; International Electrical Workers $1,000; Iron Workers Local 401 $1,000; LawPac $1,000
  • Kampf: Aqua America Political Action Committee $1,000, White and Williams LLP PAC $2,000

In the category of All Other Contributions $1,000 or greater, the candidates received the following donations:

  • Drucker: Michael Barrett, Esq. $1,000; Larry Bendesky, Esq. $1,000; Stewart Eisenberg, Esq. $1,000; Ronald Kovlar, Esq. $1,000; Robert Mongeluzzi, Esq. $1,000; Deborah Willig, Esq. $1,000
  • Kampf: Paul Olson $2,500; John Piasecki $1,000; Robin Kohn $1,000; Edmund McGurk $1,000; James McErlane, Esq. $5,000

I remember hearing that the State House 157 race between Paul Drucker and Guy Ciarrocchi was the most expensive race in Pennsylvania’s 2008 election year. The amount of money spent on the 2008 race was shocking. How will the contributions in the Drucker and Kampf match up to the 2008 level of funding? Although the campaign contributions and expenditures indicated in the campaign finance report for Drucker and Kampf would seem high, I think it is safe to assume that raising money in today’s economic climate will be far more difficult than just a couple of years ago.

But then again, should it really need to cost $500K or more to win a Pennsylvania state representative seat? Personally, I would hate to think that Drucker and Kampf will expend anywhere near that kind of money between now and November’s general election. Much time can be spent by candidates “dialing for dollars” to a select few rather than talking with a wide range of voters about their beliefs, hopes and needs. It would seem that the endless competition for funds from special interest groups weakens the role of civic dialogue and can create ineffective governance.

Pennsylvania is one of only five states that have no contribution limits and no public financing of elections. As a state representative in Pennsylvania, with a 2-year term, you no sooner are elected than you are soliciting funds for the next campaign – almost as if fundraising becomes a second profession. The lax laws mean a candidate can spend an enormous amount of money on a campaign. This puts pressure on incumbents to keep their coffers filled in case of a well-financed challenge.

The rules on funding campaigns in Pennsylvania need to change. There are good proposals out there; lawmakers just need courage to vote on them.

A Weekend of Celebration . . . medical school graduation!

Apologies in advance for a bit of personal indulgence . . .

This was a weekend of celebration in Cleveland for my husband and I. Our only child, Lyndsey graduated from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner School of Medicine. With the distinction as the youngest in her class at 25, Lyndsey was 1 of 27 in her med school graduation class receiving her MD. This week she is off to Chicago with her attorney husband (of 2 weeks!) to find an apartment and prepare to start OB/GYN – fertility surgery residency in mid-June at the University of Chicago Medical Hospital.

Returning from Cleveland last night, my husband and I were overwhelmed with pride of Lyndsey’s accomplishment; it is so hard for us to believe that we are now parents of a Doctor! And the realization that after 23 years of private school tuition, the Benson bank will now finally close with yesterday’s medical school graduation!

Now on to the Primary Election tomorrow — I have read various reports that are forecasting a low turnout tomorrow. Let’s see if Tredyffrin can ride the tide of higher than expected voters. The polls open at 7 AM and stay open until 8 PM. Don’t let a few rain drops keep you away . . . don’t sit on the sidelines . . . make a difference by voting!

Polls Open in Less than 48 Hours, Final Push is on for Kampf and Buckwalter

The Sunday edition of the Daily Local is leading with a candidate overview of the PA State House 157 race for the Republican nomination between Ken Buckwalter and Warren Kampf. Although for the most part, Dan Kristie’s article does not provide new ideology distinctions between the two candidates, we do read that both candidates support charter school and gun rights.

Kristie’s article primarily focuses on an Kampf’s campaign mailers against Buckwalter and Buckwalter’s responses, we do see a small difference when it comes to same-sex marriage. Although both candidates are on record not supporting same-sex couple to marry, Buckwalter does support limited civil unions between same-sex couples, while Kamps said is would reserve comment until presented with a specific civil union proposal.

Polls open in less than 48 hours, the 11th hour push is on for the candidates. The following article provides a good summary of the candidates . . . if you are still on the fence, it may provide you with some needed information.

Buckwalter, Kampf face off in 157th

By DAN KRISTIE, Staff Writer

Kendrick Buckwalter, a small-business owner and Phoenixville borough councilman, and Warren Kampf, an attorney and Tredyffrin supervisor, are vying for the Republican nomination to run against incumbent Democratic state Rep. Paul Drucker in the 157th District.

The Chester County Republican Committee has recommended both Republicans, as neither was able to get enough votes at this year’s GOP nominating convention to secure the party’s endorsement. Drucker, of Tredyffrin, an attorney and former Tredyffrin supervisor, is running opposed in the Democratic primary. He was first elected in 2008, and this November’s election will prove whether a Democrat can maintain power in the traditionally Republican 157th District. Buckwalter and Kampf have focused their campaigns on electability and past behavior. They have not sought to draw sharp ideological distinctions.

Buckwalter, who owns a framing shop in Malvern, said he is popular with Phoenixville’s Democratic voters. As evidence, he points to the fact that even though Phoenixville has a high concentration of Democratic voters, he has held onto his council seat since 2002.

Local political observers speculate that Phoenixville Democrats helped put Drucker in office — Drucker beat Republican Guy Ciarrocchi by just 2 percent in 2008. Longtime Republican 157th District state Rep. Carole Rubley retired in 2008, making the seat competitive for the first time in recent memory.

Kampf, however, enjoys a geographic advantage that could propel him to victory in the primary. He is from Tredyffrin, the largest township in the 157th District and the place where most of the district’s Republican voters live.

Tredyffrin’s Republican committeepeople tend to favor candidates from their own township. Earlier this year, they endorsed Kampf, and their endorsement could prompt the township’s Republican voters to favor him on primary day. Buckwalter, however, has the endorsement of Rubley, who is well-liked by both the district’s Republicans and Democrats. But it is uncertain how much her endorsement will sway the vote.

Kampf has aggressively campaigned against Buckwalter, criticizing him for, among other things, proposing a tax on alcoholic beverages and suing his own borough council.Buckwalter suggested in 2008 that Phoenixville look into assessing a tax on all alcoholic beverages the borough’s liquor licensees serve. The revenues, Buckwalter said, could be used to support continued revitalization of the borough’s downtown. But Kampf said Buckwalter’s drink tax proposal indicates he is not fully committed to lowering taxes and helping small businesses. Kampf also criticized Buckwalter for filing a lawsuit against Phoenixville’s borough council. Council voted in 2006 to immediately eliminate the stipends council members receive.

But Buckwalter opposed the measure on the grounds that the Pennsylvania constitution prohibits legislators from changing the salary they receive for the term during which they are currently serving. This provision, Buckwalter argued, prohibits legislators from raising and lowering their own pay. Buckwalter took the suit all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The Supreme Court voted 7-0 in Buckwalter’s favor.

Kampf said that Buckwalter’s lawsuit unnecessarily cost Phoenixville taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. “While he was technically correct, there may have been a way for him to make his point,” Kampf said. Buckwalter said it was council that cost Phoenixville taxpayers that money. “I was not the one who cost those taxpayer dollars,” Buckwalter said. “It was the borough council members who chose to defend their position, which was found by Supreme Court to be the wrong position.”

During an interview about issues that face the state, Buckwalter put emphasis on turning to the Pennsylvania constitution for answers. Kampf’s answers centered around the theme of upholding and better enforcing laws that are already on the books. Both Buckwalter and Kampf said they support reducing the state tax burden on businesses and corporations. And both said they support gun rights. Both candidates also said they support charter schools. Kampf said that he supports school vouchers in districts that have sub-par schools, but Buckwalter said he would need to further study vouchers before deciding where he stands.

Both candidates said that they do not support allowing same-sex couples to marry. Buckwalter said that he supports limited civil unions between same-sex couples, while Kampf said he is cautious about allowing civil unions. He said he would reserve comment until a specific civil union proposal came before him.

Contested Republican Primary for PA State House 157 . . . Does Campaign Finance Report Indicate Kampf & Buckwalter as Fiscally Responsible? You be the judge –

We are in the countdown for the Pennsylvania Primary Election, Tuesday, May 18. Locally, there is a contested Republican race for the PA State House 157, currently held by incumbent Democrat Paul Drucker. Ken Buckwalter and Warren Kampf were both recommended by the Chester County Republican Party in March and will appear on Tuesday’s ballot. The outcome of the Primary will determine whether Buckwalter or Kampf is on the General Election ballot in November and opposing Drucker.

There’s been much said and written about small business owner and Phoenixville Borough councilman Buckwalter vs. attorney and Tredyffrin Township supervisor Kampf. Each of the candidates has sent several targeted campaign mailers to registered Republicans in the 157 district. Yesterday, Republican residents received a Kampf campaign mailer which focused on Buckwalter’s voting record on the ‘pour tax’ and also the sewer tax.

Did you know that Pennsylvania is only of only 11 states that do not protect their citizens, elections and government from the destructive impact of unlimited campaign contributions? In fact, in March of this year, Senator Jane Earll (R-49) and Senator Jay Costa (D-43) introduced Senate Bill 1269 which would amend the Pennsylvania Election Code to set campaign contribution limits per election, including in-kind contributions. The finance reform legislation would place limits on campaign contributions and prohibit the use of campaign funds for personal uses. There are important reasons that voters value fiscal responsibility in their elected officials. Managing public money is a matter of public trust, and a charge that should not be taken lightly.

When introducing his campaign reform bill, Senator Costa commented that “It is vitally important that Pennsylvania renew the process of reforming our campaign finance laws by placing reasonable restrictions on political contributions and expenditures that are overwhelmingly supported by the public.” An important campaign component for State House 157 Republican candidates Buckwalter and Kampf is their promise of fiscal responsibility and discipline in Harrisburg. With a contested primary, I thought it would be interesting to look at how each of these candidates has fiscally managed their campaigns leading up to Tuesday’s Primary. Campaign finance reporting is public information and I have copies of the latest reports for Buckwalter and Kampf. Each of the candidates filings are ‘as of May 5, 2010′; Buckwalter electronically filed online and Kampf’s paper-filed.

Comparing the campaign finance report indicates that total expenditures, debts and obligations as of May 5 for Kampf ($43,541.18) vs. Buckwalter ($10,458.69). These numbers indicate that Kampf is outspending Buckwalter approximately 4-1. I then looked at how much money each candidate had raised. As of May 5, total campaign contributions for Kampf ($58,448.49) vs. Buckwalter ($13,202.72).

I next compared the candidate’s contributorsdid either Kampf or Buckwalter receive $1,000 or more from individuals or companies? Buckwalter – no; actually Buckwalter received no individual contribution greater than $500. Those contributing $1,000 or more to Kampf’s campaign include Paul Olson ($3,500); C.T. Alexander ($1,000); James McErlane, Lamb McErlane Law Firm ($5,000); White & Williams Law Firm ($2,000); Aqua America ($1,000) among others.

How did these 2 candidates spend their money? Statement of expenditures, Schedule III of the Campaign Finance Report indicates the expenses for Kampf and Buckwalter. Excluding campaign mailers, printing and postage, I looked at all individual campaign expenses of over $500 for each candidate. The only individual expenses by Buckwalter over $500 was $1,500 on consulting services on two different dates, total of $3,000. Kampf’s individual expenses exceeding $500 included computer ($630.66); consulting ($3,700); website ($5,550); photocopier ($530); catering ($1,000).

I think that this is an interesting statistical analysis which indicates fundraising and spending patterns of both Republican candidates seeking the PA State Representative position. It is important that our elected officials are fiscally responsible; have these candidates succeeded in that mission during Primary season? If you are a Republican, you be the judge and cast your vote on Tuesday accordingly.

Lamina Can Play in his Sandbox by Himself

Since Lamina’s letter was published in this week’s paper I have received many phone calls and emails from residents, and also some from neighboring townships. I think Lamina might be surprised to learn that many in this community do not share his ‘bully tactics from his bully pulpit’ partisan style of governing. (And to think that I initially offered excuses for Lamina’s behavior and missteps.)

Friends and family members have come to my defense against Lamina’s personal attacks and have wondered why I have not been more outraged. Simply put, Lamina isn’t worth it! I have always been a big believer in the mantra, what goes around, comes around, and I think eventually Lamina will get his due. In my world, everyone eventually pays a price for their bad deeds. If an elected official is determined to be a bully, misrepresent the facts and cover-up their actions . . . there’s no point in getting upset.

Lamina might be sadly mistaken if he thinks his words at the Board of Supervisors meeting or his outrageous diatribe in the paper have somehow improved his standing in the community. No, I would suggest just the opposite. An elected official who degrades its residents and refers to those who disagree as ‘gnats’ cannot be respected. A wise friend once told me (when I was upset about something a stranger said about me) – – – isn’t it more important what those closest to you think about you than a complete stranger? I think this friend was right, . . . Lamina can play in his sandbox by himself.

Here is a new response to Lamina’s letter, which appears in the Main Line Suburban Life, which I found interesting:

diamondgrl wrote on May 6, 2010 5:38 PM:

” In MR. Lamina’s world, black is white and citizens’ questions about the appearance of pay-to-play politics have only ONE motivation – partisan mudslinging.

Also Mr Lamina seems to adhere to the same thinking as a former president who insisted, “You’re either with us or you’re against us.” According to Lamina, those of us who don’t accept his storybook version of unprecedented generosity from township businesses and individuals – including $5000 from a single supervisor, are a danger to the community and had better “put politics aside for the good of the community” – that is, keep our mouths shut.

But there are many in Tredyffrin who believe adequate dedicated funding for fire/EMT services is essential going forward and should be paid for by all who benefit – that is, all residents and businesses located in the township. Funding should never again be dependent on “holiday firefighter fund drives” solicited by public/private officials, or the whims of tax-averse supervisors, one of whom is running for election on a platform of no new taxes.

As for Mr. Lamina’s laughable attempts to politic on behalf of his friend Warren Kampf and throw darts at individuals and groups who have opposed their votes and conduct – even suggesting we are “gnats” nipping at their heels -well, he is nothing more than a buffoon and a bully. He has lost the respect of many former supporters, and should seriously consider taking his own advice : put politics aside “for the sake of the community” and stop putting in jeopardy one of our township’s… ACTUAL cherished qualities… -our strong sense of community – REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL AFFILIATION. “

Former Township Supervisor Trish Kreek Disappointed in Supervisors Behavior

Former township supervisor Trish Kreek speaks out about the behavior of some of our supervisors in the following Letter to the Editor which appears in this week’s Main Line Suburban Life newspaper. In her narrative on good government, Trish suggests remedial training for those supervisors that do not understand their responsibilities and duties. Thank you Mrs. Kreek for your words!

Ex-supervisor disappointed in some board members

To the Editor:

The manner in which government conducts its business tells you something about its attitude toward its citizens. Tredyffrin Township has always prided itself on its professionalism in the handling of its affairs, particularly its public face. I feel compelled to express my deep disappointment with the behavior of some board members, particularly as it pertains to their interaction with members of the public during public meetings.

Supervisors run for office under party banners. When elected they take an oath of office to serve all the citizens of their township, not just members of their own political persuasion. The board has a Public Comment period to allow citizens to bring their thoughts and concerns to the board’s attention. They expect the boards to respectfully listen and be treated with courtesy during their comments, whether you agree with their remarks or not. Comments concerning the speaker’s political party or motives are inappropriate. The supervisors work for the citizens, not the other way around.

Government has rules and regulations concerning the conduct of official business. Many of these procedures are formally adopted and voted into law. As such they are not arbitrary and board members cannot accept or reject them at will (sidewalk issue, Jan. 25, 2010). Board members have recently given the impression that they have the power and authority to change these laws and procedures to suite their desired outcomes at will. Not so!

Tredyffrin’s board needs to recapture the professionalism that once defined our local government. If this board does not understand its responsibilities and duties, may I suggest remedial training is available? The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) offers classes in supervisor duties and demeanor.

Trish G. Kreek
Former Supervisor
Tredyffrin Township
Wayne

Tredyffrin Officials Inconsistent in Ethics Decisions . . . Today’s Op-Ed in the Daily Local!

Tredyffrin officials inconsistent in ethics decisions . . . yes, doesn’t that newspaper headline say it all? The editorial appearing in today’s Daily Local newspaper offers its reader their ‘take’ on Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors meeting. For the newspaper to have reviewed the Pitcairn vs supervisors solicitation situation, and then to state, ” . . . after a review of both situations, we think she’s [Benson] right. . . ” — was just the vindication I need! Thank you Daily Local for this editorial and for really getting ‘it’! Below is the complete editorial:

Daily Local Opinion

Tredyffrin officials inconsistent in ethics decisions

Published: Monday, April 26, 2010

Do township supervisors’ fundraising efforts in Tredyffrin constitute an unethical conflict of interest for the township — and more to the point, do they do so in the same way that those supervisors decided, some time ago, an “in-kind” gift worth $50,000 would have for the Historic Preservation Trust?

Pattye Benson, the president of the trust, thinks that if the donation offered to her nonprofit organization was unethical, donations for firefighters — especially from companies and individuals that do business with the township — were too.

And after a review of both situations, we think she’s right. If it would indeed have been unethical for the trust to accept the gift, it was unethical for the supervisors to solicit donations — at the very least, donations from businesses, which they did.

Situation 1: In 2008, Pitcairn, a company in a final review of negotiations with the township for a land-development deal, offered the trust an in-kind gift (that is, a donation of goods or services rather than cash).

Benson didn’t know a thing about the deal. But Judy DiFilippo, a board member on the trust, did: she was also a township supervisor. The township, concerned that it would look like Pitcairn was getting the development deal in return for the gift, told Benson she had to turn it down, which she did.

Situation 2: The supervisors were not able to find the funds to budget the normal contribution to the fire companies that serve the township. To attempt to cover the costs, Supervisors Bob Lamina, Warren Kampf and Paul Olson personally solicited cash donations — including from Comcast, which is currently negotiating a contract with the township. They collected $23,200 total.

These are the facts available, and the situations are parallel. Were the donations themselves, both offered and collected, in fact unethical, creating a pay-to-play situation? We’re not sure. Any gift could create that appearance; should, then, businesses never donate to locally beneficial causes?

This seems absurd, suggesting that the potential conflicts of interest should be transparently discussed, but not that they should be universally turned down. And in fact, in this instance, the active solicitation by the supervisors creates much more of a “pay-to-play” aura than the offer which originated with Pitcairn.

The supervisors have claimed that they were acting as private citizens. But in that guise, why didn’t DiFilippo count as a private citizen when Pitcairn offered its donation? And more to the point, are the supervisors seriously suggesting that the companies that do business with the township somehow, on some level, forgot who the supervisors were — something they’re at great pains to establish firmly during elections?

We’re not suggesting it’s bad to collect money for fire companies. We think the donations in question might not be unethical, in both cases. We are pointing out that it is, in fact, inconsistent for the township supervisors to act out of concern for appearances in one instance, while actively creating that appearance in another. The large size of the gift offered by Pitcairn and the fact that fire companies are, for most people, more emotionally charged organizations than historic trusts do not make the situations different at base.

We also think it added insult to injury when Chairman Bob Lamina told Benson, “I’m disappointed in you, Pattye. This was a win-win for the fire companies that one individual here today tried to diminish,” and questioned her motives for challenging the fundraiser. Yes, she might very well be personally miffed. But that doesn’t make her wrong — and in that situation, we might be miffed too.

Long Week Since Monday Night’s Board of Supervisors Meeting . . . Where do we stand?

Since the Board of Supervisors Meeting on Monday, many of you have weighed in with your views and thoughts . . .

  • Over 100 comments have been added to Community Matters during the last 3 days;
  • YouTube moments created from supervisors meeting;
  • Front page coverage of “Tensions Mount in Tredyffrin” in Main Line Suburban Life;
  • Ethics violation lawsuit against supervisors Kampf, Lamina and Olson discussed; any method of Home Rule Charter removal of elected officials for ethics violation would be deemed unconstitutional by State of Pennsylvania

In the review of the 100+ comments, I offer the following quotes from readers on the subject of Monday night’s Board of Supervisors Meeting:

From Mt. Pleasant Supporter, ” . . . Shame on you Lamina/Kampf/Olson. You are a disgrace to the position of Supervisor. You have crossed the line once again. I am not a fan of lawsuits, but I hope you all get removed. . . “

From John Peteresen, ” . . . The donation form makes clear that when started, the fund raising campaign was an officially sanctioned Township effort – much like Tredyffrin 300.The second smoking gun is Comcast. Comcast is actively negotiating its Tredyffrin cable franchise. There is no question that an air of pay to play is present here. . . “

From Neighboring Friend, ” . . . Little men with something to hide respond to polite, fact-based comments and questions with anger, defensiveness, and personal attacks. You should be ashamed of yourselves. . . “

From Papadick58, ” . . . As a life long Republican and a right-wing conservative I am ashamed of the actions and comments by the BOS to Pattye’s statement, but not at all surprised by their tactics. . . “

From Tredyffrin Voter, ” . . . Everyone in the room and everyone who watched on TV heard Mr. Kampf give these facts in a very civil manner, including Ms. Benson who was at the meeting.

From Jim Albright, ” . . . Warren Kampf has the audacity to justify the clearly political and self-serving cardboard check moment as (and I’m paraphrasing) the sort of feel-good moment that might take place during a New England town meeting. He must think we’re really stupid. . . “

From Roger, ” . . . Bob [Lamina] is using his position as a bully pulpit. His behavior hurts the image of those Republicans, me being one, who engage in civilized discourse with all parties. I always fail to understand how these individuals think they can treat people like this. Quite frankly it’s disgusting. . . “

From Disgruntled TTRC Member, ” . . . At some point, the insanity has to stop. The overriding issues have centered on loyalty to Tredyffrin’s “favorite son”. The issues have been brewing for some time. I for one will not be working for Warren on primary day. . . “

From Confused, ” . . . I watched the meeting on television ‘live’ and feel that the comments on this blog are way off base. I saw no disrespect by any of the supervisor’s of any of the residents in their comments. . . “

From the West, ” . . . my biggest question remains: why don’t the fire companies do this themselves? why don’t they hire a professional fundraiser instead of trying to do it themselves? . . .”

From Disillusioned in Tredyffrin, ” . . . It really bothers me that there are residents in the township who feel it is the Fire Departments job to Fund Raise (which btw, they do fund raise). Personally, & in my opinion I think it ludicrous that they are expected to fund raise at all. . . “

From A Friend of Pattye’s, ” . . . Appalling though it was, after watching the meeting I was even more discouraged about the prospects for fair and open government than ever. If anyone thinks this board of supervisors gives a hoot about anything beside their own party- driven agenda, you’re kidding yourself. . . “

From Sarah, ” . . . If you want to do business, you join the Chamber of Commerce, you join the Paoli Business associations….all those things are to promote your business. It’s the fact, however, when an elected official is associated with the request for the money — it’s all bad….regardless of the outcome. . . “

From Township Reader, ” . . . HOW does Bob Lamina asking Comcast, Saul Ewing, Lamb McErlane (or whatever firm Mr. Hogan serves) not only SMACK of pay to play, it validates it. WHY is the judgment of the supervisors so dysfunctional? Why are the moral compasses not working? It is always going to be “because we said so” as the reason for about everything they do that is challenged by the public? . . .

One of the comments that represents how many of us are feeling based on Monday’s Board of Supervisors Meeting was provided by CJ of the Main Line. I support CJ’s position that the Tredyffrin Township Supervisors Holiday Firefighters Fund Drive should not be a party line issue. ‘It is an ethics issue. It is a personal agenda issue. It is a priorities issue’. Here is his/her comment in its entirety:

From CJ of the Main Line, What does any of this banter back and forth about who supports who and what party line is involved?

The bottom line here is nothing short of this:
The Supervisors decided to cut money from the fire companies that they expected. The fire companies were not happy. At the same meeting, the supervisors voted to keep the fire works. The dollar value was about the same. Fire Company & Residents put pressure on the supervisors with a very compelling show of support and petition.

Backed up to the wall, three supervisors took it upon themselves to go out and directly solicit money to cover the difference. They did it without telling other supervisors or the fire companies. In a brave showing, Warren Kampf made a surprise public display of a check representing the dollar value of anticipated pledges to support this band-aid cause.

The solicitations were done on paper that had supervisors names, the township managers name, township logo and the township’s address on it. This is not how the fire companies run their fund drives. It is not an ordinary process and was done virtually publically, with public statements and all… by the supervisors… after the big check was presented.

This was wrong for a multitude of reasons:
1) Fairly clear break of the home rule charter.
2) Placed the Fire Companies in a fairly itchy position collecting money they did not solicit and were being told how to distribute against their normal process.
3) Some supervisors used this effort to try to boost a public image of the supervisors (at least one) at the sacrifice of others.
4) Went against a very vocal, large outcry from their residents to utilize the fireworks money for their safety, not recreation.

I am displeased to say the least that there are some who want to turn this issue into a party line issue.
It is an ethics issue. It is a personal agenda issue. It is a priorities issue.

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