Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Election Day 2011

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is EIT the answer for T/E School District — Tax Study Group Presents their Pros & Cons

Election Day is Tuesday and based on campaign mailers, signs and general rhetoric that we were voting on the Earned Income Tax. The EIT is not an issue for us on Election Day, at least not this election.

Much of this campaign discussion on the EIT stems from T/E School Board decision to form a Tax Study Group as part of their budget development process. The goal of the committee of eight volunteers, including Michael Abele, Michael Benning, Rita Borzillo, Marie Falcone, William Mullin, Terri Smith, Andrew Snyder and Edward Stevens, was to study the effect that an EIT would have on the residents and the school district and provide the pros and cons.

The Tax Study Group held 5 public workshop meetings and presented their findings yesterday at two public meetings. Based on the Tax Study Group’s findings, the school board will make a decision whether to include the EIT question on the April 2012 ballot. If the EIT question is placed on the primary election ballot in April, community members will hopefully be able to make an informed decision.

Although I was not able to attend the EIT meeting due to a prior commitment, it is my understanding that both were well attended. I am on record as saying that I believe the process for a fair and open discussion of the Earned Income Tax has been tainted by the last few weeks of campaign politics from school board candidates. Serious economic issues are going to continue to affect our school district and cause many challenges to the school board facing the 2012-13 budget and teacher negotiations.

If you were unable to attend either of yesterday’s public meetings by the Tax Study Group, the EIT presentation will be aired on TETV, Comcast Channel 14 and Verizon Channel 20 at 9 PM daily from November 4 through November 14.

Ray Clarke attended yesterday’s Tax Study Group and offers his candid remarks from the presentation:

The Tax Study Group matinee played to a packed house – probably a hundred or more residents in attendance. I whole-heartedly encourage anyone interested in the fiscal and educational future of T/E to attend the evening performance. Of the 30 slides, two thirds are devoted to background – really important to place the discussion in its proper context. The pros and cons of the EIT were fairly presented, although not weighted nor compared directly to alternatives (it was not the TSG mandate to do that). The audience seemed engaged throughout, and the questions at the end added much to the discussion.

The elephant in the room: what will be the attitude of the Townships? Will they take 50% of any money the voters may want to apply to their children’s education? Easttown and Tredyffrin may be very different, and I think we all need to have a very long memory about campaign promises made by Tredyffrin Supervisors. (The $30 million TESD fund balance did not go unremarked as a short-term support).

A lot of hard work and thought went into the research and analysis, and in developing a communication that is accessible to everyone. Shows how important the process was and what a travesty it is to try to short-change it. Hopefully many voters will be able to see the evening performance or the video and draw their own conclusions.

Supervisor Candidates asked the most important issue facing Tredyffrin Township – Snyder, Wysocki & Duffy Respond

We know that local elections and the choices that voters will make on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8 are important. I sent a three-part question to Tredyffrin’s 3 Democratic supervisor candidates and the 4 Republican supervisor candidates.

Following the League of Women Voters debate on October 24, I received responses to the question from the Democratic candidates; however, the Republican candidates declined to participate. Below is the question and the responses from Democratic candidates Tory Snyder, Murph Wysocki and Molly Duffy. A similar question was posed to the Democratic and Republican school board candidates and those responses will be posted tomorrow.

Dear Supervisor Candidates:

Local elections are important. As a candidate for Tredyffrin Township’s Board of Supervisors in the upcoming election, I hope that you will participate in the following Q&A on Community Matters.

In 200 words or less, please respond to the following questions. Incorporate all three parts of the question into your response and please be specific in your answers. Supervisor candidate responses will be posted on Community Matters in the order that they are received.

(1) In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing Tredyffrin Township?
(2) If you were elected, what would you do to help solve or improve this issue?
(3) Tredyffrin Township needs problem-solvers; what in your background or job experience qualifies you to help solve this important issue?

Democratic District 1 Supervisor Candidate

The largest issue facing Tredyffrin is how to provide public services that our citizens expect given falling revenues. The basis of solving this problem has to lie in economic revitalization that strengthens our tax base. Only by ensuring highest and best use of our properties, can we maximize property values and stabilize our budget. Compared to other communities in our area, Tredyffrin is financially an easy place for businesses to locate — we have neither an earned income tax nor a business privilege tax.

If I were elected, I would make it even easier for businesses to locate or expand here. Specifically, I would recommend updating our zoning code to remove, reviewing our fee structure and making sure our Township is properly staffed to provide prompt project reviews and permitting.

I have a Master of City Planning degree from Penn and have planned for County, local and private clients. I am also a ten year Tredyffrin Planning Commissioner. As a Planning Commissioner and active Township volunteer, I have seen and understand firsthand the barriers to redevelopment in Tredyffrin. I have the depth of education and experience to draw from in knowing how to remove them.

Democratic At-Large Supervisor Candidate

The most important issue facing Tredyffrin Township today is money, how to best manage revenues and expenditures for the benefit of Tredyffrin’s taxpayers.

As supervisor, I will explore public/private partnerships, grants, pooled purchasing, and other sources to tackle our funding challenges. I will exercise sound fiscal management to ensure that Tredyffrin taxpayers receive best value township services for their tax dollars.

I will vigorously pursue economic revitalization. Economic revitalization means a broader tax base, additional revenues, and tax stability for all Tredyffrin residents. If elected, I will work tenaciously, with vision and leadership that we have not seen from Tredyffrin supervisors, to bring economic vitality to Paoli by moving forward on the stalled Paoli Transportation Center/Town Center project. I will seek a new beginning for the Chesterbrook Village shopping center.

As a commercial real estate attorney with thirty-nine years of experience in supervising, structuring, negotiating, and closing large, complex financial transactions, I know how to get people to “yes.” I understand project budgets and the coordination of complex financial arrangements. If elected, I will work with Tredyffrin residents and my fellow supervisors to ensure Tredyffrin’s financial strength and economic vitality.

Democratic At-Large Supervisor Candidate

The biggest issue facing Tredyffrin is keeping our taxes low by growing the tax base, and managing our tax dollars in a responsible way. To create more revenue, we need more taxpayers. To attract more taxpayers we need to be constantly working to make Tredyffrin the kind of place businesses and families want to locate. There are also ways in which our expenses could be better managed that are not being pursued by our current board.

If I were elected, I would work tirelessly on economic development and revitalization. I would forcefully support the Paoli Transit Center and town revitalization as a catalyst to more private development in the area. I would pursue more federal, state or private grant money to continue to provide more of the kinds of amenities that make Tredyffrin attractive to families and companies who want a great place for their employees to live. I would pursue joint efforts with other municipalities to create development corridors, and consider purchasing pools to reduce costs.

I am an attorney with a focus on environmental, land use and transportation issues. My work as the past chair of the Environmental Advisory Council and current vice-chair of the Sidewalks, Trails and Paths committee, advisor to the Paoli Professional and Business Association in its work to develop a business improvement district and member of the Paoli Rail Task Force has shown that I am a leader and catalyst who can complete projects that benefit all Tredyffrin residents.


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