Take-Away from Commissioner Candidates’ Forum, October 9, 2017
Every candidate, including Republican incumbents Mario Oliva (Ward 2) and Chris Connell (Ward 8) extolled the virtues of “bi-partisanship.”
Gerry Hart, Democratic challenger in Ward 8, pointed toward a future in which a truly bi-partisan commission regularly appoints members of BOTH parties to ALL boards and commissions.
Every candidate expressed sincere concern about the opioid epidemic in our township.
Sheryl Forste-Grupp, Democratic challenger in Ward 2, cut through all the rhetoric to remind us that our township cannot offer the long-term rehab programs her opponent seeks without robust health care funding from the PA legislature and Washington, D.C.
Every candidate spoke about the challenges of traffic management in the township.
Dan Siegel had to school the room (and his opponent) on the fact that our most congested streets are state roads. We cannot wave a magic local wand to fix the problems there. Persistent lobbying – and long-range planning are required.
Every candidate supported fiscal caution on taxes.
Larry Holmes pointed out that if township residents want a strong tax base AND want to limit taxes on their homes, they must be willing to support business expansion. Again, that takes serious, long-range planning.
NOT every candidate spoke in favor of a 21st-century Comprehensive Plan for the township.
Every Democrat named “comprehensive plan” as one of the 3 most important issues facing the township commission. Only one Republican mentioned the need for a new plan to replace the 1988 plan.
Forste-Grupp, in fact, listed ONLY the Comprehensive Plan as her top issue, arguing that long-range planning is the only way we can get serious grip on the other issues: taxes, traffic, business development, climate change, storm water management, open space, trails, community health, and our precious library.