Friday, May 17, 2013

Don't Hate The Player, Hate the Game

If you choose not to play in a particular game, is it unfair when someone else who does, wins?

That is the twisted political logic on display in a recent Lower Providence Patch article (here) from local far-left Democrat, Joe “The Nerd” Ferraro.  You may have seen Mr. Ferraro on cable TV attending a local meeting on occasion. He has a talent for getting the local press to publish his sound bites, and is a frequent contributor to Huffington Post (and Patch). He and I have butted heads on occasion in the past and he’s often tried to label me as one thing or another.
Joe cries foul and plays the victim because, as he claims, the LP Republican Party is ‘gaming the system’ in that their candidate for the Board of Supervisors, attorney Patrick Duffy, is allegedly running a write-in campaign on the Democrat ballot. This is not illegal; in fact it’s standard practice for school board and judicial candidates in Pennsylvania to file nominating petitions to run on both tickets.
I think it’s disingenuous for Joe to throw a flag on the play. The Democrat party in LP either is so disorganized that they can’t get their act together to get someone to step up and run, OR actively chose not to recruit and run candidates for township supervisor. Then, when there is an attempt at a
write-in campaign on their (empty) ballot, they get all indignant, as if somehow the GOP is disrespecting the position that they couldn't even be bothered to fill in the first place --- for TWO ELECTION CYCLES RUNNING!!!

In addition, they only have one candidate running for the 4 open spots on the Methacton School Board. Something tells me the LP Dems may not even have had anything to do with that; most likely, that candidate is a lone ranger.
They are also not running anyone for auditor. The only position they really do have a candidate for is tax collector. Incumbent Kirsten Deal – who withdrew from her seat as a Democrat committeeperson several years ago when she became frustrated with their leadership -  is up for another term this  year, so it’s not like the Dems had to go find their candidate for this slot.  She was already in the gate.
For all intents and purposes, LP Dems have almost totally avoided wading into the LP political pool of late. Given that, why on earth wouldn’t any smart candidate try to wrap up a 9-month election cycle in the primary if he or she can? If your party abandons its voters and offers up no candidate for them to rally around, who can blame the only participant in the race for going after them and presenting them with a candidate to evaluate on his/her merits, rather than by whether their name is followed by an R or a D? What have you got to lose at that point?
As I can personally attest, running for any elected office these days can cost a decent chunk of change and, if you do it right and actually knock on hundreds of doors to meet voters personally, can consume a huge amount of time and shoe leather. If your opposition gives you a freebie, you’d be stupid not to take it so that you can win on both ballots in the primary and be done with it. Don’t doubt for a second that if the shoe were on the other foot, the Democrats wouldn’t do the same.
When I ran for township supervisor in 2011, I elected to try this strategy and ran a Dem write-in campaign, as did the other two Republican candidates. As Joe alludes, the Democrats got wind of it when all the mail started hitting and, incensed that the Republican candidates were supposedly ‘hijacking’ their party, sprang into action 72 hours before the election, beginning their own write-in campaign on the Sunday evening before the Tuesday primary. Well, I submit that you can’t hijack something that has been abandoned, and make no mistake, the Dems abandoned the supervisor’s races in 2011 and 2013.
He also expressed outrage at this supposed violation of the ‘rules’.  Rules? Maybe the Dems should try  playing by the rules per the PA election code and running a real campaign the way serious candidates do.  Playing by the rules means filing nominating petitions full of voters’ signatures to get your candidate on the ballot, filing campaign formation documents and appointing officers so your candidate can fundraise and have transparency as to what he spends his money on, and running an issues-based campaign around whatever his positions are. It is most certainly not throwing a Hail Mary pass two days before an election and running an unvetted Johnny-come-lately who couldn’t be bothered to follow the process or spend any time visiting or educating voters on what he believes, his position on the issues, and what he would do if elected. It is the political equivalent of a drive-by shooting.
And, not for nothing, but the whining about how Duffy is supposedly sneakily using the color ‘blue’ in his yard signs to lull Democrats into voting for him is ludicrous.  Did I miss something? When did the Democrat party trademark the color blue and reserve it for their exclusive use? If everybody had the same thought process Joe does, shouldn’t Duffy’s use of blue work against him with his own party of red-loving Republicans?
I have to hand it to the Dems. In recent years all they managed to do was run the same retreads for the same offices over and over, but in the last few years it appears they completely threw in the towel and are running no one, so Joe’s righteous indignation rings hollow.  If you only start looking for candidates at the time nominating petitions are being circulated, you're already behind the 8-ball....what, you have no bench??

To quote the PA lottery groundhog, “You can’t win if you don’t play”.  






Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Scenes from Methacton 2013 Post Prom

This year's theme was '2013 World Tour: The Journey Begins Tonight", and the decorations and mood of this year's post prom celebration didn't disappoint. For those who couldn't make the walk-through, I thought I'd give you a peek at what you missed; for those who did, perhaps I got a shot of something you didn't.

Venetian gondola

The event is free to all Methacton juniors and seniors and their dates; approximately 900 kids attend each year and are thus  not on the streets after the prom (this year's prom was held at Presidential Caterers in East Norriton), potentially drinking and driving (or being subjected to those who do). Free (and awesome!) food is available all evening, and activities ranging from trike races, inflatables of every type, cash cab contest, a casino, dodgeball and volleyball tournaments, Wii games, a hypnotist, coffee house, fortune tellers, massage therapists, etc.

As I wrote this time last year, this event at Methacton, now in its 14th year, would be impossible to pull off without hundreds of volunteers (putting in countless hours), and the many generous individual and corporate sponsors in the community who donate food, materials, prizes, labor and cash. According to the post-prom sponsor book, the cost to pull off this event each year runs approximately $40,000!

Because it's hard to get volunteers to help out overnight (and I'm a night owl) I volunteered to help man the 2 am to 6 am shift and was assigned to help provide security. The worst that happened was a couple of girls engaged in a fight, which was quickly broken up and parents called to pick up the students involved.

When the kids and their parents register for the event, they commit to staying all night or they can indicate ahead of time that students  may leave, but the school will call the parents and advise them of same. The kids get punchy around 5, 5:30 am and even though an area is provided for those who want to take a nap, some kids try to leave (which defeats the purpose) so the evening is structured so that the door prizes are announced between 5 and 6  am  and you must be there to win - to encourage kids to stay put.  My son and his date, both seniors, both won prizes (Phillies tickets and a $100 gift certificate, respectively) but other prizes included iPads, iPods, DVD players, digital cameras, laptops, flat screen TVs, and video game systems.

As a grateful parent, I give my personal thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors over the course of each year who work so hard to keep our kids safe on what should be one of the most enjoyable evenings of their lives. 


Inflatables in the gym

Tiki bathroom

Arctic bathroom

New York City was represented, down to the sewer grates!


Teatime in the UK


Trike races!