Pattye Benson

Community Matters


What’s the Policy on Political Campaign Signs in Tredyffrin Township Parks? And What About Nailing Signs to Township Trees?

We live across from the Swedesford Road Open Space Park. During the last 24 hours someone either used a ladder or climbed up a township park tree and nailed 3 political campaign signs into one of the trees. We have lived here for 26 years and there has never been signs nailed on these trees. If the trees were on private property and the individual had permission, I guess it would be OK. Although I still would question the damage it may do to the tree. But the point is the tree with the signs is on township open space property.

During the political campaign season, you may see signs along Swedesford Road, particularly on private property or along the sides of the road but never on the park property. I sent an email to the Board of Supervisors asking what the policy was concerning political campaign signs in our township parks but have not yet had a response. If over zealous campaign workers had planted the typical metal campaign signs, you could simply remove them if the signs were in an inappropriate place. But these signs are at least 10 ft. up the tree and would require a ladder for installation or removal.

I do not think political campaign signs should be nailed to trees in township parks. On my email to the supervisors from my husband and I, I copied the township manager, head of public works Steve Norcini and township solicitor Tom Hogan. I asked the policy and asked for the removal of the signs. I do not think the signs should be removed at taxpayers expense nor should it be the responsibility of the township’s public works staff to climb the tree and remove the signs . . . rather, I would hope that the political campaign responsible would remove the signs.

I have not taken a trip around to visit other township parks but I am hopeful there have been no other defacing of township property.

PA State Representative 157 Race . . . Candidate Question #2 and Response

This is the Candidate Question & Response Forum for the Pennsylvania State House 157 candidates. As previously stated, candidate Warren Kampf declined to participate in the question and response forum. Candidate Paul Drucker’s response follows the question. Each Monday for six weeks, a new question and response will be posted. The candidate forum will end the week before the election.

Question #2: How do you propose to encourage job growth in the Commonwealth and specifically in your district?

Paul Drucker’s Response:

The length and depth of this economic downturn is astounding. I think a great deal about my friends, neighbors and constituents who are unemployed or struggling to keep their businesses afloat—and I know that we have to do a better job of fostering a climate of economic growth in Pennsylvania.

While I am proud of some of the economic development projects I helped bring to the district, like the $1 million grant to the Paoli train station that will produce 5,000 construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs, I also know we need fundamental changes to Pennsylvania’s business climate.

First, we need to invest in a modern day infrastructure that includes new roads and bridges, better rail access and high-speed internet in rural areas. Next, we need to ensure Pennsylvania students have the best education in America. Finally, we need to help our small businesses grow and expand with a fair tax burden and access to low-interest grants and loans for new equipment and technology.

PA State House Representative 157 Race . . . Candidate Question #1 and Response

This is the Candidate Question & Response Forum for the State House 157 candidates. As previously stated, candidate Warren Kampf declined to participate in the question and response forum. Candidate Paul Drucker’s response follows the question. Each Monday for six weeks, a new question and response will be posted. The candidate forum will end the week before the election.

Question #1: How is the Commonwealth going to help the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District’s ballooning pension obligations?

Paul Drucker’s Response:

It is important to note that there is no silver bullet to fix the pension obligations of Tredyffrin-Easttown or any of the other school districts in the 157th district. The situation in which we currently find ourselves is a cumulative effort that has been in development over the past 11 years of irresponsible handling of the pension system, combined with the stock market collapse of 2008.

Eleven years ago the rules were changed concerning vesting, multiplier rates, lump sum payouts, actuarial analysis and other matters. As a result, the Commonwealth and the respective school districts find themselves with millions of dollars of unfunded liabilities and are facing a potential spike in the payments due in the immediate future in the billions of dollars.

There are some acts the legislature can take to begin fixing this problem. This session, the House passed a pension reform bill that relieves many of these problems. By reducing the multiplier used to calculate benefits, eliminating the lump-sum payout employees receive and raising the retirement age, we addressed this crisis in a responsible, bi-partisan manner. 194 members of the House voted in favor of the bill (although, surprisingly, my opponent has stated that he opposes it). While the Senate has not yet taken action, I strongly encourage them to do so.

Go Green . . . With Tredyffrin’s 1st Eco-Garden Tour

Nine eco-gardeners in Tredyffrin Township will welcome the public in to their backyards this Saturday. The Tredyffrin Backyard Eco Tour will offer an opportunity to see how these community members are gardening in an environmentally friendly way. Living in a sustainable community nowadays is becoming more important as our water and non-renewable resources are becoming scarcer.

The eco-garden tour is Saturday, August 6, 11 AM – 4 PM, rain or shine; tickets are priced at $10. The starting point for the tour is the Tredyffrin Township Library parking lot at 582 Upper Gulph Road in Strafford. Arrive at the library parking lot between 10:45 AM – 3 PM to pick up your ticket and a garden tour map. Homeowners will be available at each of the tour stops to answer your questions. Eco-garden tour chairperson is Cheryl Bittner and is sponsored by the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee.

Why Does Tredyffrin’s 2011 Budget Discussion Have to be a Political Party Debate? Why Does Transparency and Open Government Need to be Criticized?

Wayne resident, Rob Betts wrote a letter to the editor which appears in this week’s Main Line Suburban, as a rebuttal to a written statement by Dariel Jamieson, chair of the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee, delivered at the June Board of Supervisors meeting – here is a copy of the TTDEMS 2011 Budget Proposal as presented.

Although Ms. Jamieson represented herself as chair of the TTDEMS at the June Board of Supervisors Meeting when presenting her statement, I wrote the following in a June 22 post on Community Matters:

” . . . The suggested TTDEMS 2011 budget process further includes a request that the budget discussion occur in an open and transparent manner with public involvement.

Although the proposed 2011 budget process was suggested by the local Democratic Committee, I do not believe their recommendations are politically polarizing. Rather, this suggested 2011 budget process encourages a thoughtful, systematic budget approach in difficult and challenging economic times; a process that many residents in the township would probably support (regardless of their political affiliation).”

I found Rob Betts op-ed article interesting on several levels. In reading the article, what first jumped out at me was a missing piece of information. Members of the community have been quick to criticize those that write political opinion articles and do not state their own political affiliations. Personally, I believe that if an individual is writing on a non-political topic, such as Ed Sweeney’s letter to the editor last week as a member of the Knights of Columbus, there should be no need to identify with a political party. However, if someone is writing on a political topic, I agree with critics that the writer should inform the reader of their political affiliation such as a committee person for either the local Democratic or Republican parties. For the record, Mr. Betts overlooked providing his political affiliation as the GOP committeeman for E-4 in his letter to the editor.

Reading Mr. Betts op-ed article, and of his membership on the BAWG committee (and participation in the subsequent BAWG report) brought back memories for me. I recall standing in front of the Board of Supervisors last fall and asking a series of questions regarding the BAWG report and the $50K St. Davids sidewalk offer contained in the report. If you recall, I provided the supervisors with questions in advance; one which included a question about whether any BAWG members were members of St. Davids Golf Club. If memory serves me correctly, Tom Coleman (as chair of the BAWG committee) was asked to answer my question and he reported that Mr. Betts was a St. Davids Golf Club member, but quickly added that Mr. Betts had recused himself for any votes related to St. Davids.

So in reading Mr. Betts letter, I had to ask myself why is he so seemingly concerned about the transparent budget process that Ms. Jamieson suggested in her proposal? But, when I recall the St. Davids Golf Club $50K sidewalk offer, and the attempt to cover-up the offer contained in the report, I guess I have my answer. We all remember the negative attention that our township and supervisors received over the St. Davids Golf Club offer!

Transparency from our elected officials is important to me and it saddens me to know that people can be criticized for wanting that kind of open and honest government. I believe that the suggestions that Ms. Jamieson posed in her 2011 Budget Proposal were ones that we could all support. I would take it a step further and suggest that rather than representing the TTDEMS with her proposal, I believe that the suggestions may have been better served if presented as a resident rather than a political party chair. However, I understand that as chair of the TTDEMS, Ms. Jamieson probably thought it best that her remarks be with full disclosure.

As I said in my Community Matters post of June 22, ” . . . this suggested 2011 budget process encourages a thoughtful, systematic budget approach in difficult and challenging economic times; a process that many residents in the township would probably support (regardless of their political affiliation).”

Below is Rob Betts letter to the editor . . . you make your own judgement.

Openness plea a Dem power play

To the Editor:

I was left shaking my head at the demand from Dariel Jamieson that the Tredyffrin Township supervisors open up the budget process to more public scrutiny. I believe the request is nothing more than an attempt by Democrats to discredit the budget once it is adopted by claiming it wasn’t “open.”

The Democrats’ goal is to increase the scope of government at all levels, which requires an increase in revenue, and unlike Washington, our supervisors can’t print money. An Earned Income Tax is their ultimate goal, but without any Democrats on the Board of Supervisors, the best they can do is complain about the process. The request for openness is just their way of saying the 2011 supervisor election has begun.

As a member of the Budget Advisory Working Group last year, I can assure you that the township budget is lean. Much of the township’s budget is fixed due to debt service and collectively bargained contracts. The supervisors refinanced a significant portion of the township’s long-term debt this year (a BAWG recommendation), leaving union contracts and their benefit cost as issues to be addressed.

The current contracts with the township’s unions run through 2013 so those costs are fixed for the current budget cycle. Long-term, the defined-benefit system and free retiree health care for uniformed employees must be changed, for all levels of government, not just Tredyffrin Township. Our supervisors should be applauded for forcing arbitration with the police union on the health-care issue and maintaining the township’s AAA credit rating during the recent bond refinancing.

The Democrats are ready to start the next supervisor election. Look for lawn signs in December.

Rob Betts, Wayne

Tredyffrin Democrats Submit 2011 Budget Proposal Suggestions to Republican Board of Supervisors

During the ‘New Matters – Citizens’ section of last night’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the chair of Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee Dariel Jamieson presented a suggested 2011 budget proposal on behalf of the Executive Board of the township’s Democratic Committee. Dariel provided a copy of the statement to BOS chair Lamina and offered that a copy would be emailed to all members of the Board of Supervisors. Here is a copy of the TTDEMS statement.

The township’s budget discussion has historically occurred late in the calendar year which adds a heightened level of stress to an already stressful situation. With that in mind, the TTDEMS have suggestions to address the 2011 budget process. Their recommendations included:

  • Complete review of BAWG’s 2010 budget recommendations
  • Public presentation of all options for increasing revenue & decreasing expenses
  • October timeline for reaching budget consensus

The suggested TTDEMS 2011 budget process further includes a request that the budget discussion occur in an open and transparent manner with public involvement.

Although the proposed 2011 budget process was suggested by the local Democratic Committee, I do not believe their recommendations are politically polarizing. Rather, this suggested 2011 budget process encourages a thoughtful, systematic budget approach in difficult and challenging economic times; a process that many residents in the township would probably support (regardless of their political affiliation).

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.

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.

YouTube Moments from Tredyffrin’s BOS Meeting of 4/19

I have received many emails and calls regarding Monday night’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Like many of you, I too am dismayed by the attitude and behavior of some of our elected officials. Contrary to Mr. Lamina’s remarks on Monday night, I believe that when you are elected to serve a community, . . . you are elected to serve all the people, not just those that are of your own party affiliation. Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent or a member of the party of ‘purple’ — your job as an elected official is to serve all of us. It is unfortunate that does not seem to be the case with some of those currently elected to serve this township. As I stated on Monday night and here on Community Matters, I sent 2 emails to the Board of Supervisors last week inquiring about an official update on the fire company funding and received no response. Had there been the courtesy of a response to my questions by Chairman Lamina, it would not have been necessary to publically repeat the questions that I detailed in the email.

In review of the meeting on Monday night and Lamina’s claim of disappointment in me . . . I think, no Mr. Lamina, I am disappointed in you. At one point you reference being on the ‘bully pulpit’. On that we would agree. I know now what it is like to be at the hands of a bully. I was your target, as was Carol Clarke. As the chairman of the supervisors, does being a bully make you feel good, . . . are you are a better person for it, . . . is this your idea of leadership? Maybe disappointed is not the right word, maybe I should just say that I feel sorry for you. I’m sorry that you can not allow other people to have opinions, to offer solutions or ideas unless they are in agreement with you.

For those of you who did not see the Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday night, my husband Jeff kindly created video clips for YouTube.

BOS Meeting 4/19/10 Part I: Pattye Benson\’s Statement

BOS Meeting 4/19/10 Part II: Response to Pattye Benson\’s Statement from Lamina, Kampf, & Olson

BOS Meeting 4/20/10 Part III: Carol Clarke\’s remarks w/response from Bob Lamina

BOS Meeting 4/19/10 Party IV: Dariel Jamieson

As an amusing aside, I was just notified that Jeff’s YouTube video selections from Monday’s BOS meeting have now been picked up by Reality TV on Twitter — guess these local government moments will be shared throughout cyberspace. This is probably meaningless to those like Mr. Lamina who diminish the merits of ‘Benson’s Blog’ as he calls it. I say Community does Matter — here’s hoping that there’s enough of us in this community that agree.

Countdown to May 18 Primary . . . Can we escape negative campaigning?

Days are beginning to countdown to the Pennsylvania Primary on May 18 and then on to Election Day on November 2. As the campaign season prepares to get in to full swing, I want to publically state my strong opposition to negative campaigning. Recalling my own experience in last year’s campaign cycle, I know all too well the personal effect of negative campaigning.

On a local level, based on past performance the potential exists for negative campaigning in the Pennsylvania State House 157 race. The Primary has Ken Buckwalter and Warren Kampf seeking the Republican nomination; and incumbent Paul Drucker as the endorsed Democrat candidate. I have had a conversation with two of the three candidates to express my concern that this campaign season not take us down the negative path.

I think that negative campaigning can backfire in local political elections. Poll after poll has shown that voters severely dislike negative campaigning. Ask almost anyone and they will agree: one of the most distasteful things about political campaigns is when a candidate decides to “go negative’ on an opponent. Often times it seems that the definition of “negative campaigning” really depends on which candidate you’re supporting. Many consultants and campaign managers like to call negative campaigning “comparing” or “contrasting” candidates by showing the voters the clear differences between their choices. If your candidate starts “comparing” himself with his opponent, then you’re more likely to look at it as completely acceptable. If, on the other hand, the opponent does the same with your candidate, then it becomes “negative campaigning.”

In our local election, where many of us may know the candidates personally, going strongly negative and personal in the campaign can end up costing you our respect, and ultimately our vote. Sending out a negative mailer about a candidate who everyone knows and thinks is a fairly nice guy probably isn’t going to make us change our opinion of him. It’s much more likely to get us angry at you, instead. I look at this way: if a candidate is severely flawed, then odds are that other people know plenty about his shortcomings. If, on the other hand, the candidate is a generally well-liked person with a clean record, then trying to convince his neighbors otherwise with a negative campaign is a losing battle. Let’s stick to the candidate’s actual voting record and history on issues. An opponent may claim to support a tax cut, for example, but his voting record may show a number of previous votes in favor of tax hikes . . . that would be fair game in a campaign. But personal attacks on an opponent’s private life, name-calling and mudslinging are unnecessary and not OK, and will likely not be favorably rewarded on Community Matters.

If you’re a candidate in a local election who is thinking about “going negative” on your opponent at some point during the campaign, I hope that you will reconsider. The stuff that really wins elections is called Hard Work . . . and if you’re really putting the necessary effort into running a great campaign, you won’t have time to waste on spreading rumors about your opponent, anyway.

Here is a preview of Ken Buckwalter’s campaign mailer for the State House 157, which is going out next week. Ken is taking the ‘high road’ with his campaign strategy, here’s hoping that the other two will follow suit.

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