No Winners Here? By Grant Saylor

“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

http://www.thecitizen.us/blog/no-winners-here

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.”

image

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. 

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11 Responses to “No Winners Here? By Grant Saylor”

  1. The point of her blog post was that the turnout was embarrassingly low and that is why Bellevue residents, including candidates, should be ashamed. I don’t interpret her statement as a knock against the winners, though I’m sure she’s not happy about the results.. I agree that the low turnout was an embarrassment and doesn’t reflect well on the voters especially since this was an election with such clear-cut choices. When 15% of the voters show up, there’s no “mandate” for anyone or anything.

    • That’s understandable until one considers that the number of voters was similar to the total voters in a similar ejection cycle four years ago. It doesn’t justify the low turn out, but it is par for the course in local elections these days.

      • Yes, and that’s a shame. I don’t understand how people can be so oblivious to what goes on around them and are willing to let a relatively small number of people decide who will lead their town.

  2. I don’t see the low turnout as an embarrassment by any means. This indicates to me that people that were informed about what’s going on and who CARE about what’s going on in the community got out, voted and began the process of changing boro and school board leadership. This low turnout obviously means many people either would not vote because they could not stomach the incumbents anymore or they don’t care what’s going on or don’t know and don’t care about what’s going on in the community. Either way it’s good that those people stayed home.

  3. Facts:
    2009 Primary
    0032 BELLEVUE WARD 1 DIST 1
    VOTES PERCENT

    REGISTERED VOTERS – TOTAL . . . . . . 992
    REGISTERED VOTERS – DEMOCRATIC . . . . 576 58.06
    REGISTERED VOTERS – REPUBLICAN . . . . 282 28.43
    BALLOTS CAST – TOTAL. . . . . . . . 133
    BALLOTS CAST – DEMOCRATIC . . . . . . 98 73.68
    BALLOTS CAST – REPUBLICAN . . . . . . 35 26.32
    VOTER TURNOUT – TOTAL . . . . . . . 13.41
    VOTER TURNOUT – DEMOCRATIC. . . . . . 17.01
    VOTER TURNOUT – REPUBLICAN. . . . . . 12.41

    0033 BELLEVUE WARD 1 DIST 2
    VOTES PERCENT

    REGISTERED VOTERS – TOTAL . . . . . . 1024
    REGISTERED VOTERS – DEMOCRATIC . . . . 619 60.45
    REGISTERED VOTERS – REPUBLICAN . . . . 243 23.73
    BALLOTS CAST – TOTAL. . . . . . . . 148
    BALLOTS CAST – DEMOCRATIC . . . . . . 97 65.54
    BALLOTS CAST – REPUBLICAN . . . . . . 51 34.46
    VOTER TURNOUT – TOTAL . . . . . . . 14.45
    VOTER TURNOUT – DEMOCRATIC. . . . . . 15.67
    VOTER TURNOUT – REPUBLICAN. . . . . . 20.99

    0034 BELLEVUE WARD 2 DIST 1
    VOTES PERCENT

    REGISTERED VOTERS – TOTAL . . . . . . 1114
    REGISTERED VOTERS – DEMOCRATIC . . . . 675 60.59
    REGISTERED VOTERS – REPUBLICAN . . . . 279 25.04
    BALLOTS CAST – TOTAL. . . . . . . . 128
    BALLOTS CAST – DEMOCRATIC . . . . . . 84 65.63
    BALLOTS CAST – REPUBLICAN . . . . . . 44 34.38
    VOTER TURNOUT – TOTAL . . . . . . . 11.49
    VOTER TURNOUT – DEMOCRATIC. . . . . . 12.44
    VOTER TURNOUT – REPUBLICAN. . . . . . 15.77

    Member of Council BELLEVUE WARD 2
    Vote for Not More Than 2
    James M. Viscusi . . . . . . . . . 60 93.75
    WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . . 4 6.25

    Member of Council BELLEVUE WARD 2
    Vote for Not More Than 2
    Nicholas T. Myers. . . . . . . . . 31 100.00
    WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . . 0

    0035 BELLEVUE WARD 2 DIST 2
    VOTES PERCENT

    REGISTERED VOTERS – TOTAL . . . . . . 961
    REGISTERED VOTERS – DEMOCRATIC . . . . 559 58.17
    REGISTERED VOTERS – REPUBLICAN . . . . 269 27.99
    BALLOTS CAST – TOTAL. . . . . . . . 137
    BALLOTS CAST – DEMOCRATIC . . . . . . 95 69.34
    BALLOTS CAST – REPUBLICAN . . . . . . 42 30.66
    VOTER TURNOUT – TOTAL . . . . . . . 14.26
    VOTER TURNOUT – DEMOCRATIC. . . . . . 16.99
    VOTER TURNOUT – REPUBLICAN. . . . . . 15.61

    Member of Council BELLEVUE WARD 2
    Vote for Not More Than 2
    James M. Viscusi . . . . . . . . . 71 81.61
    WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . . 16 18.39

    Member of Council BELLEVUE WARD 2
    Vote for Not More Than 2
    Nicholas T. Myers. . . . . . . . . 30 93.75
    WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . . 2 6.25

    0036 BELLEVUE WARD 3 DIST 1
    VOTES PERCENT

    REGISTERED VOTERS – TOTAL . . . . . . 1018
    REGISTERED VOTERS – DEMOCRATIC . . . . 587 57.66
    REGISTERED VOTERS – REPUBLICAN . . . . 279 27.41
    BALLOTS CAST – TOTAL. . . . . . . . 171
    BALLOTS CAST – DEMOCRATIC . . . . . . 119 69.59
    BALLOTS CAST – REPUBLICAN . . . . . . 52 30.41
    VOTER TURNOUT – TOTAL . . . . . . . 16.80
    VOTER TURNOUT – DEMOCRATIC. . . . . . 20.27
    VOTER TURNOUT – REPUBLICAN. . . . . . 18.64

    0037 BELLEVUE WARD 3 DIST 2
    VOTES PERCENT

    REGISTERED VOTERS – TOTAL . . . . . . 944
    REGISTERED VOTERS – DEMOCRATIC . . . . 543 57.52
    REGISTERED VOTERS – REPUBLICAN . . . . 305 32.31
    BALLOTS CAST – TOTAL. . . . . . . . 129
    BALLOTS CAST – DEMOCRATIC . . . . . . 87 67.44
    BALLOTS CAST – REPUBLICAN . . . . . . 42 32.56
    VOTER TURNOUT – TOTAL . . . . . . . 13.67
    VOTER TURNOUT – DEMOCRATIC. . . . . . 16.02
    VOTER TURNOUT – REPUBLICAN. . . . . . 13.77

    No fillers just 100% organic stats

  4. The idea that low voter turnout favors challengers is a myth. It can be assumed that with higher voter turnout that incumbents would win – but that assumption comes from the idea that higher voter turnout gives the benefit to name recognition. However, the same assumption says that elections with low voter turnout favors challengers because those who actually show to vote are more engaged than average voters.

    Turnout is a meaningless statistic. Those who value their right to vote make time to exercise that right. PA is a ‘motor voter’ state that makes voter registration virtually lacking of any investment by making it a simple questionnaire topic with drivers licence registration. Closed primary voting is essentially government underwriting the parties’ candidate selection process and solidifies the stranglehold of the two dominant parties in this state. This is coming from a ‘super voter’ registered to a major party.

    What has changed since the last election? Voters came more engaged – possibly from this site. Possibly from events of the last 12 months that led them to choose candidates beyond name recognition or party affiliation. It was well documented by some in the ‘Truth Squad’ that many Bellevue voters switched party affiliation simply to vote for a challenger. That speaks volumes to the quality of the incumbent or ‘endorsed’ candidates running in this election.

  5. scott well written. should make all very happy with the outcome of the election. immediate resignations are in order.. stop hurting our community. bye bye

  6. The article in Connie Rankin’s paper didn’t surprise me since she was involved in Braunlich’s campaign. Braunlich’s behavior also didn’t surprise me. Just normal behavior pattern of someone that thinks like they are still in high school. We need forward thinking adults to move B’vue into the future. Let’s do it!

  7. So as per Vencent’s post, i did some math for the 2009 primary to simplify those stats a little bit…
    I added up ONLY the registered Democrats and Republicans, because any other registered party is not allowed to vote in a primary in PA. So my numbers will be slightly different than the numbers above, the percentage of voter turn out above is based on ALL registered voters including Independents, Green Party, Libertarian, etc…and since their voice doesn’t resonate in PA primaries, i omitted them for that reason (not sure why they don’t omit them for the above stats as well, it makes no sense to include them for statistics).
    So it breaks down as follows for 2009:

    Total registered Dems & Reps in Bellevue Borough: 5,216
    Total ballots cast in the Borough: 846
    Percentage of voter turn-out: 16.2%

    Can anyone tell me where to get the same stats for the 2013 primary? I would love to stack the numbers against each other!

    • Thanks Brian!
      I’m putting together some statistics based on the numbers from the website that you gave – will likely just release the info in the form of a blog.
      Thanks so much! I think you all will be very surprised at the results!

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