Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Congrats to Matt and Diane (And A Reprimand)

In Lower Makefield Township, Bucks County yesterday, Matt Maloney was elected to the Board of Supervisors while incumbent Republican Pete Stainthorpe also won another term. Grace Godshalk, the other incumbent Republican on the board, finished third, and Deb Wachspress finished fourth in close voting (I saw a reference to some problems with the Danaher touch screen voting machines approved by Martin and Cawley, pictured with Sandra Miller – gee, what a surprise – so I don’t know about formal concessions here, and I’ll try to find out more information).

Had Steve Santarsiero been elected as a Bucks County Commissioner, Grace would have been retained to fill Steve’s vacancy. However, Diane Marseglia will replace Sandra Miller now as the sole Democrat on the board of commissioners.

And with that in mind, I want to say a word about Jay Russell, the third-party candidate in the commissioner’s race who I pretty much ignored previously (more information is here).

Simply put, I want to say “thanks” to Russell for doing his part to preserve the highly imperfect status quo among our commissioners.

As this report in the Courier Times tells us, Russell captured 5,759 votes, and Steve finished fourth behind Charley (“I Have A Semi-Open Mind”) Martin by about 1,500 votes with all but three districts reporting by this morning (and you can do the math there as well as I can).

So let’s take a bit of a closer look at Russell then, shall we (I’m not going to say he was the only factor in the outcome, but it’s silly to pretend that he wasn’t a factor at all).

As reporter Jenna Portnoy’s article tells us, Russell has been running for office of one type or another for 15 years under a variety of parties (Republican, Libertarian, Reformist - ?? – and in the prior election, he ran under the Constitution Party, claiming an affiliation with Ron Paul). He also counts among his friends Bill (“I-Hate-Government-But-Vote-For-Me-When-I-Run-For-Office-Every-Two-Years”) O’Neill, which tells me that, like O’Neill, seeking employment in the public sector is nothing more than an exercise in vanity for him.

Russell has an admirable background, serving our country and running working for his family’s retail and wholesale garden center. But if he’s been running for 15 years and hasn’t managed to secure any elected office whatsoever, I think it’s high time he realized that the voters of Bucks County are sending him a message.

I also want to point out Russell’s supposed rationale for entering the county commissioner’s race…

“It doesn't take a rocket scientist to [run for office],” he said. “That's what I'm here showing people. If I can do it, anyone can.
I think we just identified the problem here.

Yes, I know I’ve said in the past that county commissioners are good at bureaucratic exercises like shuffling paper, running meetings, and attending various kinds of ceremonial functions. However, I’ve never said that some basic managerial experience in the private or (preferably) public sector wasn’t required to serve in that kind of a job. And this is something that Russell clearly doesn’t have (apparently relishing that fact for some strange reason).

I’ll be honest; I have a grudge against third-party candidates ever since the tragic events of November 2000. Maybe that’s not the right attitude, but I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re a third-party candidate and you’re running in an election, you’d better have a damn good reason for being there as opposed to serving merely as a voice of protest. And Russell clearly falls into the latter category.

So thanks, Jay, for helping to ensure four more years of closed government with Cawley and Martin, Repug patronage galore, the continued existence of the unreliable Danaher touch screen voting machines, the likely $80-$120 million boondoggle of the Doylestown county courthouse (Russell opposed it like the Dem candidates, and Cawley and Martin say now that they’ll scale that back, but let’s wait and see, OK?), bond issues into infinity to preserve open space, and legitimate voices of reform such as Steve Santarsiero relegated to stand on the sidelines in Lower Makefield as we’re all left to wonder what might have been.

Update 1: Oh, and by the way, speaking of Ron Paul... (if he's going to raise big-time dough, then he should be held up to big-time scrutiny).

Update 2 1/18/08: The Courier Times took Martin to task here for his remark about skateboarding being a "fad" in response to a request for a skate park in Bristol Township; Diane supports it, and it would be a hell of a lot cheaper than the golf course (another one??!!) Martin supports (and supporting the skate park means that there'd even be funds left over for the Red Cross Homeless Shelter).


Anonymous said...

Jay Russell does NOT run the family Garden Company, his brother does. Jay appears to be well meaning, though clearly a gadfly ... and one "used" by the Republicans.

It is a shame when someone who wants to make a contribution may have cost real and needed change in Bucks County.

The Intel certainly devoted enough space to Russell in their poorly reasoned editorial endorsement.

Votes for Russell were desperately needed...and just might have hurt this County and also kept the "fatally flawed" and costly voting machines in use for 2008 Presidential election. Machines secretly programmed and with absolutely BO WAY to ever prove that reported results match voters actual entry.

If we can't prove our vote...have we had an election? Or a secret selection...all thanks to Martin & Cawley.
Isn't it interesting that there is no way to do a legitimate recount of voters actual selection?

doomsy said...

I just updated the post; thanks for the information. And I'll admit that I was a bit late to see the danger with Russell's run also, but the "Intel," which is otherwise a good paper, dropped the ball also if they didn't know this (I don't recall the C-T saying much about Russell either, which definitely worked out for C&M, as you said).

Anonymous said...

Another side to your great analysis of the spoiler role that Russell may have played in the Commissioner race just as Nader did in Florida. While you,the Intell and I may not have been ahead of the game in perceiving how this could happen, the Republicans, Commissioner Cawley in particular, may have been ahead of all of us.

I attended the LWV/Chamber of Commerce Commissioner debate at Bucks Community College. There was a lot of joshing between Cawley and Russell.Russell said that Cawley told him that repetition was key in a successful campaign . There was some comment from Russell about being with Cawley the other night, if I heard correctly. I just wonder if Cawley met with and coached Russell to encourage his participation in the race as a spoiler who would keep the R's in power.

doomsy said...

How very interesting that such an "independent voice" needed so much assistance from a Repug - yep, looks like Cawley foxed us, but how dumb must Russell be to act as his pawn and get nothing out of the deal, at least as far as we know?

Thanks for that information.