“There are people who will declare themselves winners after Tuesday’s primary election. They shouldn’t. They should be ashamed.“ -Connie Rankin, Editor and Publisher of The Citizen
I read the aforementioned blog post the other day and was absolutely blown away. I can’t seem to get my head around the fact that the people who had victories in the local primary election on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 should be ashamed of themselves.
All candidates were given equal opportunity to present their beliefs and ideas to the public through several venues. Coincidentally, those candidates who lost their bid for either council or mayor are the same ones who chose not to participate in those venues. They chose only to share their information in the newspaper that now blames the voters for them losing their bid.
Liberty in Bellevue (LiB) sent registered letters to all mayoral, council and school board candidates requesting biographical information to post on their website. Most candidates submitted their bios to LiB in order to give the community an opportunity review their credentials; however, Jane and Mike Braunlich, Jim and Sue Viscusi, and Lynn Tennant-Heffley chose not to participate.
Not too long after that, on May 8, 2013 the League of Women Voters hosted a town hall open forum to give the public an opportunity to ask questions of the mayoral, council and school board candidates. Again: Jane, Mike, Jim, Sue, Lynn chose not participate in the event. There were others who did not participate for various reasons, but I find it quite coincidental that the “endorsed” Democrats (with the exception of Mr. Henry Lenard) decided not to participate in the event.
Did the “endorsed” candidates feel that they didn’t need to make themselves available to the residents? Did the “endorsed” ones feel as though they had it “in the bag”?
Apparently the public thought otherwise, and took notice of the “endorsed” candidates’ lack of participation.
In this election, everyone had equal opportunity to present their case to the voting public. Some did, some didn’t. A few of those who chose not to be visible and transparent now find themselves on the outside looking in. Contrary to the above link to The Citizen blog, the result of the election is, in fact, a mandate from the people. It just isn’t a mandate from the people who the “endorsed” ones had hoped would flock to the polls.
Ah, the polls – that takes me to my next subject; my disappointment with the conduct displayed by a few candidates at the polling locations. My wife, Lisa Saylor, was running for school board along with Amy Joy Robinson and Brad Hazelwood. We arrived early at the polls to connect with voters and to hand out literature with school board candidates’ bio information for voters who were still on-the-fence.
It came to our attention mid-afternoon that someone had been handed a flyer by Jane Braunlich. As they were handed the flyer, it was flipped over to reveal “NO Brad Amy Lisa” handwritten by Jane herself. Nobody was able to verify the validity of this claim, so it was left alone. Lisa and I then went to a few other polling places to hand out literature and connect with the voters. After school was done for the day, our 15-year-old daughter and Amy’s 15-year-old daughter decided to help by handing out our information at Bellevue Christian Church while we went on to another location. When we returned, we were told by my daughter that Jim Viscusi was telling voters at the polling station “don’t vote for them – they are new.” Although I did not hear it for myself, I have no reason to think that my daughter would make up something like that.
At 7:00pm, I returned to the Bellevue Fire House to wrap up the evening only to find Jane and another person engaged in a verbal altercation. I got out of my car and asked what was going on. I was told that Jane had been handing out the flyers with “NO Brad, Amy, Lisa” again, and this time there was proof. I questioned Jane as to whether she was handing them out, and her response was a very sarcastic “yep!” as she turned flyers over in her hand and showed me more that she was holding. When I asked Jane what Brad, Amy and Lisa had to do with her running for Mayor, her response was that “it is our school district and they are going to turn it into a city public school.”
I found this to be completely unacceptable, and commented as such to Jane. I decided to find Linda Woshner—President of Bellevue Council—to discuss it with her. I caught up with Linda at a polling place in Ward 1, along with Mike Braunlich. As I explained to Linda the exchange between Jane, the other person and me, Mike jumped into the conversation and told me that there was “no way” that this was true.
There were many others present during this exchange, and I have one of these flyers in my possession.
I think that if you go back and take a look at all of the facts, you will find that the public did make a choice—and from what I have seen, the choice they made during the Primary is the result of more people becoming educated about the state of affairs in our borough and our schools.
You see, there is a clear winner in all of this. The “winner” isn’t an endorsed candidate, and it isn’t a new-comer: it’s the future of our community. When the voters speak for the betterment of our community, we’re all winners.