Sunday, November 6, 2011

Notes from the campaign trail

You might have noticed I haven't posted anything in about six weeks, and there's a good reason for that. Running for elected office of any kind is, if done correctly, time consuming. Let me just say that my home needs a thorough cleaning, the laundry pile needs tackling, and my grocery list is approaching the size of the federal tax code, so you know I have been focused on the race!

One thing my running mate, Jill Zimmerman and I did was sit for interviews with the Times Herald. While I was misquoted and/or quoted out of context in a couple places, overall I was happy with how it went. I believe the print version is available today.

Just knocking on hundreds of doors to introduce yourself to voters and ask for their support takes every spare hour you have, but it's so important. How else do you have any idea what is on people's minds? Jill and I have spent the last 8 weeks or so traversing the ten voting districts that comprise Lower Providence. We believe that elected officials should listen to, not dictate to, its residents.

My understanding is that during the primary, one of our opponents, Jason Sorgini considered this a 'waste of time' and that he 'doesn't see the value in it'. Even though he claims he’s knocking, not one home out of the hundreds we've visited has ever mentioned that he had been by, which is unheard of in a contested race. We've not seen so much as one of his door cards. We have actually crossed paths with the other candidate, Kelbin Carolina, however and seen evidence that HE’S been hitting the pavement. I have to wonder why Sorgini doesn't want to hear what issues are of concern to ALL our residents, not just those he surrounds himself with.

Anyway, some miscellaneous observations from the campaign trail:
  • If I and Jill are elected, it will be the first time in Lower Providence’s 200+ year history that we’ve had a three women to two men majority on the Board. Not that this is a reason to vote for us, but I have a funny feeling that we ladies can get a lot more positive things done than the guys have.

  • I’m aware of emails going around to voters from sitting supervisor Rick Brown, encouraging voters to support his candidate by bullet voting for him and claiming that I have ‘duped voters once again’. Rick, if anyone is duping voters, it’s you with your never-heard-from-before-2011 candidate trying to dupe voters into thinking he’s ‘dedicated’ and ‘committed’ (yes this is the same guy who’s so dedicated and committed he can’t manage to find time to attend township meetings or knock on doors). Heck, half of what comes out of his mouth came off my campaign literature or website. Why buy the copy when you can have the original?

  • Several contested races have generated a ton of mail, and this one is no exception. If the stakes weren't so high, some of it would be laughable. Sorgini attempted to frame legal opinions rendered after hearings he did not attend & has no personal knowledge of as somehow faulty, and it's clear to me he has no idea what he's talking about. Perhaps he needs to add one more degree to the three he already has – a law degree.
For example, one case he referenced in his latest mailer hinged on several legal issues, one of which was the legal definition of abandonment. Even though he attended none of the public hearings and heard no testimony upon which to arrive at a conclusion, he attempts to blame me alone for a decision arrived at by a board of five after hours of painstaking hearings, mountains of evidence and oral argument, and exhaustive review of applicable case law. Mr. Baird and his buddy Rick, at taxpayer expense, appealed this decision twice; it was denied twice and is now on appellate review that is substantially narrower in scope on only one of the several issues initially raised.

 Try asking Sorgini what any of the other complex legal issues raised in this particular case were. I bet he can't name one without first getting it, and regurgitating it, from someone else.

 In another case regarding billboards, it’s important to note that state law prohibits a municipality from legislating against specific uses such as billboards, adult entertainment, cell towers or mobile home parks. Bottom line, our zoning must accommodate these things.

The case we were presented with raised the issue that our ordinance was defective because it constructively did not provide for billboards at all. We had to cure the ordinance and rule on the application. We elected to allow them on the outskirts of the township along 422 where the least number of our residents would be subjected to them, rather than adding more along Egypt road, where a larger number of our residents WOULD have to look at them.

We have a duty on our boards and commissions to be fair to the applicant property owner and surrounding residents, and, in the instance of the Zoning Hearing Board, can only render decisions that comply with state and municipal law and case law, based on what's entered onto the record, or we risk being overturned on appeal. The resident who was on the losing end of this particular decision, Ted Baird, has (besides sour grapes) a powerful friend – Rick Brown – who’s arguably backing Mr. Sorgini for his own political survival – and Baird and Brown are undoubtedly where this version came from, since Sorgini himself was never there. No decision I was a part of rendering was ever overturned.

Sorgini’s arguments about the rest of the cases he mentioned – including the sewer lawsuit – is similarly defective. Yes LP was sued by the regional sewer authority, but it sued the sewer authority first. The regional sewer authority countersued.

  • Some may wonder why my running mate and I declined to attend the candidate forum held on Oct. 24. From my perspective, any event sponsored by a group started in the early 80's by supervisor Rick Brown, (who has come out publicly in support of Sorgini), and which is a group populated by Mr. Brown's cronies (some of whom were on the losing end of the above-referenced case, among others), cannot possibly be UNbiased.
Instead of asking the League of Women Voters to sponsor such an event, this group clearly only held the event to turn it into the Jason Sorgini show, and when you also consider:
    • it was held on township property (when the township has historically been apolitical)
    •  that long-standing policy against political broadcasts was thrown out the window to allow for rebroadcast of the forum on our cable channel
    •  AND that it was all paid for using taxpayer funds

               it was definitely something we did not want any part of.

Anyway, win or lose, it’s been an adventure that’s been both rewarding and trying at times. There are other aspects I’ll write about after Tuesday. Either way the best part for me has been getting to know our residents and our community better, and I’ve made some terrific new friends as a result.

Whoever you support, wherever you are, whichever party you identify with, come out and vote on Tuesday.


Anonymous said...

Someone is getting desperate, running a blog post so full of lies its embarrassing. I see you're willing to win no matter what, even if it burns countless bridges.

Why don't you just wait and hope Bruce wins, so you can run off to the county with him. Any voter with half a brain knows you're using this race as a springboard for further positions.

Janice Kearney said...

Yes, I've been asked about my interest in other posts, and always replied the same way: my interest is only here in my hometown. But it's nice that people who've taken the time to work with me and get to know me well think of me for other things...everywhere but LP. They wonder what's in the water here :)