Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Hair, Hemlines and Husbands...and Heels"

Those are the three things that conventional wisdom in politics tells female candidates they need to be worried about...that the issues, unfortunately for us ladies, take a backseat to those three things that the public seems to care about more when it comes to us. I don't agree that this should be the case, but it often is. I'd like to add one more...'heels'.

I recently was told that my name was being splattered all over the local newspaper's blog, and among all the other nonsensical things I was being accused of and blamed for, I saw posters taking shots at, of all things, my choices in footwear. Oh, there were some shots in there about my hair too, but there isn't much we ladies can do about that...we get what we get, curly or straight, blonde or brunette, and I learned long ago not to fight what I've got. I have better things to do with my time and my money.

No, there were actually people spending time writing about my propensity to wear high heels. Which, admittedly, is a choice. I don't have to, but I like to. I'm not quite sure but the tone from the posters (whom I suspect boil down to two or three people, as none of the given names are on our township's voters' lists) was that somehow, my shoes disqualify me to run for public office, speak at a public meeting, chair one of my zoning meetings, or attend the various political functions & meetings I do in an effort to stay up to speed on what's going on with our local government and local Republican committee. For the record, I do all those things in high heels.

All I need to qualify me for any of that is to be a resident, to be informed, and to have an interest and the time. And, if I can do what I did the last time I was a candidate - election day, primary 2008 - where I stood and greeted voters for all 13 hours the polls were open, plus before and after to put up and remove signs - in 4" heels no less... I can do anything.  

Heck, Sarah Palin, and three other ladies in local politics here - Colleen Eckman, Cathleen Rebar, and Marie Altieri - frequently wear high heels too, but I don't see anybody taking shots at them over that. I suppose that's the best my enemies can come up with.

My political friends and enemies know I can be a feisty gal when provoked. I come from an argumentative Irish family, so I am fine with the 'heat' of politics, and I'm comfortable with confrontation and debate when necessary.  To my political enemies: I'm staying in the heat of the political 'kitchen', high heels and all. As my kids are older, I'm not always needed at home. As a young widow, I am free to commit myself to my community instead of a marriage. Right now, that's my preference (along with my shoes).  Deal with it.

As Carrie Bradshaw once noted, “It's hard to walk in a single woman's shoes -- that's why sometimes we need really special ones”.  I think the same thing goes for women in politics. We need special shoes most of all...because of the 'heels' we sometimes have to deal with.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I couldn't have said it better myself - Trash Talk Part II

This letter to the editor appeared in today's Times Herald about the recently awarded trash bid in Lower Providence being reopened for review by 'special counsel' appointed on January 4, 2010 by the new Board of Supervisors.

The outgoing board felt that since Eckman and Thomas (via those involved in their campaign, esp. Chris DiPaolo) made the trash bid an issue in the 2009 supervisors' race, they would make the decision on whether and to whom the bid would go as one of their last official acts, rather than waiting & allowing the new board to do so. This 'special counsel' is the new board's attempt to spend money 'examining' something that they really can't do much about.

Also, the special counsel was appointed as the result of one of two resolutions voted on that evening that not all the sitting supervisors had heard of, seen or even discussed prior to the meeting, and while 'appointment of special counsel' was on the last-minute published agenda for that evening, the purpose of the appointment - challenging the Mascaro contract - was not - so that any residents with an interest could appear and question it.

What happened to the 'open, transparent government' promises by Eckman and Thomas during their campaign?

The link to the original article that appeared in the Times Herald appears here, written by Carl Rotenberg) (see link,

As the Times Herald doesn't have online links to their Letters to the Editor,  I am reposting the exact text of the letter, verbatim, with attribution to its author, Kevin Davis:


"I am writing this letter to express my disgust and disapproval of the decision by Mr. Brown, Mr. DiPaolo, and Mr. Thomas for the unnecessary expense of hiring a lawyer to review the trash contract. I am thankful that Ms. Altieri and Ms. Eckman voted against the unnecessary expense of a lawyer. I wish the board would consider the taxpayers' money instead of wasting it to hire a lawyer to review the trash contract that was awarded in December 2009. The trash contract was already reviewed once by your lawyers to make sure the bid was adequate. The original concern of the board was the cost of the contract.

If cost was a concern, then how does one justify spending taxpayer dollars on a lawyer (again)?

Hiring a lawyer to review the JP Mascaro & Sons contract seems to be more of a personal vendetta gainst JP Mascaro & Sons that the residents should not be required to fund. It is also a conflict of interest for the three of you to question the contract, as there is a lawsuit pending against you for defamation against JP Mascaro & Sons. If you want a lawyer to review the contract, then the cost should be paid out of your own pocket, and not the pockets of the township residents. Residents do not pay taxes to fund your personal battles.

It is appalling that this board is wasting my money in a time of economic crisis while other townships are cutting programs and laying off staff and police officers due to lack of money.

Your lack of ethics is evident in the way this entire situation was handled. You need to ask yourselves what end result you are hoping for, and who will benefit, as this board clearly does not have the interests of the taxpayers in mind.

I hope the board doesn't continue to waste the taxpayers' money on frivolous expenses through the rest of their term. Maybe the residents should hire a lawyer to examine the legality of your actions.

Kevin Davis - Lower Providence"

When Mascaro's attorney raised the issue of whether DiPaolo, Eckman and Thomas should have recused themselves from voting on anything relating to the trash contract, Mr. DiPaolo responded that he'd received an opinion from the Board of Supervisor's prior counsel, David Onorato, that he was 'not conflicted' and therefore felt it was appropriate for him to vote on it. Mr. DiPaolo apparently so valued this counsel's opinion on this (and apparently other issues)  that he effectively fired him when he voted to appoint the new solicitor, Mike Sheridan, as their new counsel. If you don't value the advice you were getting, why are you taking it?

Either that, or the former solicitor, the firm of Kerns Pearlstine Onorato, et al (yes, the same Bob Kerns who is the chair of the Montgomery County Republican Committee) was let go because of the perception that they were associates of the former BOS, rather than the quality of their counsel. Either way, something stinks, and it's not the trash.

Partners or Pirates?

Did you know that Lower Providence Township residents apparently had the distinction of coining a new dirty word in recent years?  Imagine that...there's one nasty word that George Carlin missed in his famous dissertation on the same subject. Who knew? 

Cover your children's ears, people, this Irish girl is about to go curse a blue streak. 

The offensive word? "Developer". 

Now, I know that developers have been given a bad rap in the press. Donald Trump alone is enough to turn you off to them. And we've all heard sob stories of friends or family who bought a home, only to find the builder did shoddy work and moved on, never to be heard from again, leaving unhappy customers behind to work out open issues with their municipality, or in court (see the Times Herald's reporting on THP in Skippack, for example). I get where the negative stereotype comes from, I really do.

However, as with anything else, a few bad apples rot the entire basket. Here's a novel concept...they're not all evil, souless, heartless thieves.

I think there are two types of developers...those who are what I described above, and then there are the types that we should want and welcome. What we want, and more often than not, what we have here in Lower Providence, are developers who partner with the community. What's the difference?

Developers who partner with the community stay. Their executives live in or near Lower Providence. Sometimes, they put their corporate headquarters here, bringing jobs and tax revenue. So, they have a vested interest in being good neighbors, in giving back to the community, in doing - or making - things right, because people will know where to find them if they don't. And they recognize that not taking care of their community and their customers is just plain bad for business.

These are the companies who generously donate time, materials and money to various nonprofits and athletic organizations based here. Those things don't seem to make the headlines somehow.

I think Lower Providence has more than a few of these developers building, working and living in our community, and is better off for it. They, together with our local businesses, invest in the community. We should be working together with them, not telling them to take their jobs, their tax payments, and their infrastructure contributions, somewhere else...especially in this economy.

Developers who partner with the community...and developers who take what they want, don't honor their promises, stick LP with problems they don't fix, and are never heard from again. Which would you rather have? What's your opinion?