Friday, October 25, 2013

Our Choices - And Why...

After much consideration the following candidates receive COAF's endorsement:
County  Executive:
John Callahan

County Council:
Ron Heckman - D
Gerry Seyfried - D
Deb Hunter - D
Peg Ferraro - R
Seth Vaughn - R

Our deliberations over these candidates were extensive. The number one item of concern for us of course was Gracedale. However, we did consider each candidate on the basis of their character and integrity.

We feel consistency in these matters is vital. And while we did not support John Callahan in the primary, we explained during a meeting with him that Lamont McClure deserved our loyalty because he was instrumental in the effort to save Gracedale. Had Mr. McClure not thrown his hat into the ring, perhaps we would have supported Callahan early on. That's the past however, this is now. We collectively decided on Mayor Callahan over Mayor Brown because during our meeting with Mr. Brown, while he seemed competent and qualified, he also seemed reluctant to sign a pledge that he would not consider selling Gracedale. As the entire county is aware, Gracedale is our mission. We harbor no ill feelings for Mr. Brown. We respect his position, however, we require the assurance that Gracedale will not be set up for failure again! We received that assurance from John Callahan.

Our county Council choices were somewhat more involved. However, because we are engaged and informed it was not difficult. We first looked at the ten candidates to identify who actually supported Gracedale during the battle to keep her in our hands. Of the five selected, only one did not - Seth Vaughn. So why would we endorse him? Simple, he met with us prior to the primary seeking our support. This young hopeful said something that we have rarely heard from any sitting servant. He said "I'm sorry I did not support Gracedale during my first run for Council." And then he said something even more meaningful. "I didn't know enough about Gracedale." To us, this young man demonstrated humility on a level not often seen in our local government. He realized he made a mistake, he owned it, and he pledged to work as hard as necessary to keep Gracedale right where she is because now he understands how important Gracedale is to the county residents she serves. And, how equally important Gracedale is to the taxpayers who foot the bill, as well as the electors who hire and fire our public officials through the power of their vote.

On the Democratic side, we extend best wishes to Christen Borso and Tom O'Donnell. They both pledged to do right by Gracedale too. Unfortunately there are only five seats available. If you don't make it this time around, don't hang your heads - persevere.

On the Republican side, we can't say much about Hayden Phillips, Glenn Geissinger, or Mathew Benol because none of them considered us worthy of a meeting. Geissinger did schedule a meeting with us, however, he did not attend. We will certainly wish them all well, but that's it! If we're not worthy of thier consideration now, logic tells us we won't be later. And if we're not worthy of their time now, they're not worthy of our support or vote.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Who Do We Pick?

As we near the 2013 general election, we have to carefully evaluate the candidates for County Executive, as well as for County Council.

As a bipartisan activist group seeking the well being of a very necessary core function in our local government "Gracedale", the Coalition of Alzheimer's Families desires and seeks to balance the political scale in a manner which fulfills the needs of ALL taxpayers, electors and residents of Northampton County...that we all may have a voice in office.

Sadly, in America today the task of selecting honest and trustworthy statesmen is difficult to say the least. Why so? Because the political waters are murky with deception. Also, like sharks, there are more politicians than statesmen in the waters these days. And yes, there is a difference in the two. Horribly, the difference between the two usually leads to corruption. 

For example, we recently experienced corruption in Nor-Co with the "Ross Marcus and Alan Jennings scandal". Mr. Jennings, quoted by the Express Times on October 23, 2013 says: " I think it's important that we all remain vigilant to make sure that our business is done with honesty and integrity". Yet, he openly acknowledged that he intentionally violated the rules to hire county employee Ross Marcus, who granted Jennings organization (CACLV) at least seven contracts amounting to the sum of $889,000.00. Clearly this is a conflict of interest. So, a good question for Mr. Jennings is: where exactly is the honesty and integrity in your unethical behavior? There is no doubt that CACLV is a worthy organization doing wonderful acts of kindness for the community. However, doing so does not grant them the right to break the rules.

We then have to ask: why did County Executive John Stoffa allow the breach to take place? Well, consider that Mr. Stoffa decided to veto an amendment co-sponsored by Lamont McClure and Ken Kraft, designed specifically to prevent such conflicts of interest from occurring again in the future. What does that tell you? It tells us...he is at the head of the corruption. And in our opinion, you really can't call it anything else. When the servants decide to benefit themselves instead of those they have sworn to serve, you can only call it corruption.

COAF has been carefully considering the candidates. Hence, one of the reasons for our recent silence. No, we're not perfect, and most importantly, we don't pretend to be. What we are is engaged and informed. we are working hard to change the culture of corruption which does exist today in Nor-Co. We can only do so through the power of our votes. So please get out and VOTE.

We will announce our choices tomorrow. Our selections will hopefully bear the county good fruit, as we continue on our journey forward. If for any reason you don't appreciate our choices, then make your own decision. Just please make sure you get out and vote... 

...Be part of the solution!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Poor Performance...

...County Executive John Stoffa is on his way out, for many of us, not soon enough. 

Why would we make such a statement you ask? Because Stoffa turned out to be a big disappointment to the elector's of the county. He decided not to run for re-election when he realized We The People had exposed him to be a self-serving liar. And as such, a snowball would stand a better chance in a furnace than Stoffa has at the polls.

Four out of five County Council members whose seats are up for grab this coming November, also did not serve the county well. John Cusick and Tom Dietrich for example, lost their appeal to their party when they orchestrated the coup that overthrew the renegade Ron Angle. For that we thank them. However, they performed poorly there after, especially dealing with the recent Ross Marcus "conflict of interest" scandal. And so did Bruce Gilbert and Barbara Thierry, who performed poorly their entire terms.

Excluding Peg Ferraro (at one point or another), they all stood with Ron Angle and John Stoffa in their movement to sell Gracedale. They all failed in that endeavor. Excluding Peg Farraro, they must all go!

The Ross Marcus issue sadly highlighted the incompetence of the sitting Council. From our prospective, an honest council would have stood up as our representatives and clearly stated that what Stoffa and Marcus decided to do is simply WRONG! Instead, the majority praised him on his way out, even as he continued to violated the County Constitution (AKA The Home Rule Charter).

Recently, there was a question regarding County Controller Stephen Barron relating to part-time employment. While we support Mr. Barron, we would be the first to say: if he is doing something wrong, it must be corrected. Needless to say, Mr. Baron corrected the matter by resigning his part-time employment. In so doing, he better serves the county. 

John Cusick went on record (according to the express times)  and suggested that: Baron's second job warrants a close examination". Also suggesting (according to ET) that "the potential violation could warrant a forfeiture hearing, a county process similar to impeachment". The question is: why didn't Mr. Cusick say the same thing about John Stoffa and Ross Marcus? Mr. Baron made a correction, while Mr. Marcus did not. And Mr. Marcus was allowed to violate the HRC, while Mr. Baron was not. We advocate following the rules, and that means everyone!

Council needs to do something to correct this misguided direction, which in effect will set a precedence for future corruption. 

This sitting Council still has time to demonstrate (by their actions), that perhaps we're wrong about them. To make no correction is in this matter however, simply confirms our opinion.