….and then like magic, the robo calls stopped

DSC_0014Election 2013, which was pretty much a local affair for us save some of the judicial retention that I never heard much about but was the flip side of yesterday’s ballot, is over.

The people have spoken.  And even the chairs of the respective political parties in Chester County should listen.

Let us start with Tredyffrin.  I am pleased to report the upset my friend Pattye Benson over at Community Matters is reporting this morning:

In a surprising upset, two Democratic at-large candidates Murph Wysocki and Mark Freed, beat incumbent Michelle Kichline (R) who currently serves as the chair of the Board of Supervisors and Trip Lukens (R), chair of the township’s Planning Commission.    In the middle District supervisor race, EJ Richter (R) beat Laurie Elliot (D).  Prior to this election, only 2 Democrats (Paul Drucker and Mark DiFeliciantonio) have ever served on Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors.  As of Election Day 2013, that number has now doubled.

I am leaving her tea party commentary out of this because that isn’t what the local election results are about.  The local results are about dissatisfaction and enough people from BOTH parties wanting people OUT of office.  I do not vote in Tredyffrin but if I had to guess as far as Kichline goes, her playing possum when Pattye was targeted by another supervisor had something to do with this vote and as far as Mr. Lukens it is a basic matter of development and what people want for their communities.  My hypothesis is simple: he did not listen well enough.

I volunteered at the polls for the first time yesterday in Chester County.  I enjoyed it and was fascinated by how different it was.  What I noticed yesterday as a newbie were the snap judgments I saw given out to people like me by some of the older volunteers because I am open with my opinion.  But if they had been targeted the way I was targeted as a new resident by a county party chair how would they feel about the way politics are done out here? And also what I discovered yesterday is to an extent political volunteers are to be seen and not heard and where are we in the political process without our individual opinions?  Are we all Stepford on this bus?

Part of yesterday I volunteered with some really nice union guys out of IBEW Local 654.  Apparently they were at many polls in Chester County volunteering for the Democratic Party of Chester County.  Honestly, these guys were nicer than a great deal of opposing party volunteers I have hung out with over the years.  They were so nice and made volunteer hours at a sleepy poll pass more quickly. These guys are Delaware County based for their union.

Here they are:

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Malvern Borough had an upset yesterday and I am still waiting to hear what happened “officially”, but Malvern Patch shared some exciting news:

The county’s numbers have Democratic candidate for Mayor, Dave Burton, beating incumbent Gerard McGlone (R). Burton received 65 percent of the vote, 509 votes in all, nearly doubling the 266 votes received in favor of McGlone.

The three open seats on the Malvern Borough Council, however, are a little less cut-and-dry.

The three republican candidates, William Macaleer, Robert Coughlin and Zeyn Uzman all received about 210 votes, or 11 roughly 11 percent of the vote. The remaining 68 percent of the vote went to write-in candidates, 1,351 votes in all. This is no doubt due to the write-in campaigning done by candidates Todd Lexer, David Barmwell and Matt Radano

 

Now as far as I know this blog was the only one who actually reported on these three write in candidates before Election Day (please correct me if I am wrong but I kept looking and looking for coverage of what these ordinary residents were doing), and I hope they ALL prevail in the end when Chester County is finished certifying everything.

Why the Malvern write-in upset is so important is these are regular people who did this without the backing of the two main political parties.  Their actions are based on their desire to step up and be counted.  Their actions occurred because they want to save Malvern Borough from an ugly, overdeveloped future.  These three guys Todd Lexer ,Matt Radano  and David Bramwell decided that the residents of Malvern needed an equal voice in their own existence and future and they stood up to be counted.

I completely believe that the actions of the write-in candidates also swept the new mayor-elect into office.

What has happened in Malvern is really cool.  Instead of just complaining, these folks did something.  And truthfully, they proved local politics are truly local and neither political party can take credit.  They did this themselves.

Over in East Whiteland I expect there will be a recount.  I am told that  Vanguard employee Bill Holmes has retained his seat by NINE or TEN votes over my friend Maureen Martinez.

Maureen should be commended for running a clean and independent campaign.  Maureen didn’t run around with a sidewalk petition for a sidewalk to nowhere that probably will never happen and was just an election gimmick, nor did she have the multi-minute robo-calls bashing her opponent that you could not disconnect. She did her own door knocking and listened to what people had to say and answered questions.  I think she is a rising political star to watch.

With reluctant congratulations, I hope Bill Holmes gets the message that voters have sent him in East Whiteland.  The message is simple and clear and it is that  they want things done differently.  I listened to what people from both parties had to say yesterday at the polls and this is what I learned people want:

  • They want televised meetings and a website that is not 30 years behind the times. 
  • They want current and comprehensive meeting notes that are readily and easily available because I am told the majority of residents in East Whiteland don’t have a clue about a lot that happens.
  • They want abandoned houses and properties dealt with and some better historic preservation
  • They want the route 30 business corridor to not look so embarrassing.
  • They want all the sites with problematic environmental issues cleaned up and dealt with.
  • They want a say in development. East Whiteland might be more commercial than residential, but residents matter.
  • They want fewer conflicts.

Nine or ten votes is not a landslide victory even in a sleepy off-year election.  It’s a message.

In West Chester the upset on the school board is nothing save historic.  Congratulations to Joyce Chester and the rest of her slate. Here is the Daily Local on that race:

WEST CHESTER — The self-styled “better direction” slate of challengers for West Chester Area School Board defeated three incumbents and one other candidate in voting Tuesday.

Using the Democratic Party label, the four challengers defeated Republican Party candidates, including three incumbents.

Joyce Chester, Robin Kaliner, Chris McCune and Ricky Swalm are the four Democratic candidates who unseated incumbent board members Sean Carpenter, Ed Coyle and Maria Pimley and defeated newcomer Pam LaTorre.

 

In the Court of Common Pleas, the Daily Local is calling the race in favor   Republicans Patrick Carmody and Jeffrey Sommer.

Troubled Coatesville has two new school board members, too bad they couldn’t have tossed the entire old board out.

west vincentWest Vincent I reported on last night and congratulations to John Jacobs and the others!  These candidates had a tough road to get here and they worked hard.  Will next up be to retire Ken Miller?

Congratulations also to my favorite purveyor of local honey.  Carmen  Battavio was re-elected in East Goshen. Congrats also go out to a favorite local farmer.  Farmer Bob a/k/a Robert Lange was re-elected in Willistown. These two should teach other supervisors how it’s done.

Yesterday I was reminded again of how local politics should stay local.

I am happy that robo-call season is over and it is nice that life less political can resume!  Truthfully I do not have the stomach or tolerance for politics that I used to.

 

 

 

 

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a very cool lunch bunch

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I discovered this great thing today: Latino Luncheon which  began 12 years ago in West Chester with just a handful of people. What a remarkable and nice bunch of people.

They are this Latino based networking/community group with their finger on the pulse of Chester County. It is not just Latinos, but it is also truly multi-cultural.  Latino Luncheon is as per one member “open to all Latinos and those who love them.”

I have had many Latino friends over the years and met some fabulous Latina community activists when part of Save Ardmore Coalition and we were fighting eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore and elsewhere. Mary Cortes of Cramer Hill Camden and the late Rosemary Cubas of Philadelphia come to mind in particular. (I also have a Cuban Uncle, although I do not recall ever seeing much of his Latino side save for his fondness for Café Bustelo.)

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Anyway, this collective holds a monthly luncheon at Iron Hill in West Chester and you can sign up via their Meet Up page. They raise awareness for issues affecting the community and even give out  some scholarships – in other words they do good deeds and enjoy each other’s company. I can’t tell you how nice it was to be in a room of positive people who celebrate each other.

IMG_3561State Representative Duane Milne and State Senator Andy Dinniman attended along with a lot of lawyers and school board and judicial candidates.  (Well it is election season, after all.)

I was introduced to the group by Maureen Martinez. Maureen is on the Planning Commission in East Whiteland and running for Supervisor.  Maureen’s IMG_3570husband is Cuban, so she is very keen on the issues facing Latinos in Chester County and elsewhere.

Andy Dinniman presented a proclamation and remarked that the Latino community is becoming a force to be reckoned with in Chester County.

Dinniman also discussed a version of American Dream Act is coming to PA and both political parties support it. Bi-Partisan – anyone graduating from a PA high school will be eligible for in state tuition costs.

IMG_3588Everyone went around table introducing themselves. We heard from amazing men and women, and even found out that one of the Main Line Today Power Women of 2013 was a founding member of this group – Nelly Jiménez-Arévalo.

And they presented a scholarship check to an amazing young woman named Elenie Gonzalez.

Chester County OIC is a non-profit organization with offices in West Chester and Phoenixville dedicated to providing FREE adult basic literacy education and life skills programs that prepare individuals for employment leading to economic self-sufficiency. In operation since 1979, CCOIC helps over 800 adult learners per year.
Joyce is part of the slate of candidates running for West Chester Area School Board called Better Direction for West Chester. I totally enjoyed meeting her and well, West Chester Area School Board would be lucky to get someone like her.  Any school board would, so here is hoping voters check her out.

I had never met PA State Representative Duane Milne before and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I always enjoy seeing PA State Senator Andy Dinniman and we chatted Chester County SPCA and other things.

But I have to tell you I was nervous going to a luncheon where I only knew a couple of people and now I look forward to going to another one.  It has been a very long time since I met such a caring and welcoming bunch of people who  had some amazing careers and were completely without pretense or artifice.  They care because it is simply the right thing to do. We could all take a page out of their book.

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For more information on Latino Luncheon, check out their Meet Up, Facebook Latino Luncheon – Chester County PA , and Twitter

Next time I will bring a grown-up camera to get some really great shots for these nice people!

Also a shout out is in order to Iron Hill Brewery – I love that they host these community endeavors so graciously and nicely!