Saturday, January 26, 2013

County Commissioner Percy Dougherty gets a Republican primary challenger once again

  For at least the third time in twelve years, Dr. Percy Dougherty is going to get a Primary Challenger from his own Republican Party. In 2005, he barely beat off a challenge from current Upper Macungie Township employee and Lower Macungie resident Jim Lancsek, winning the primary with 1802 votes to Lancsek's 1578.
   That's what happens when you try to govern for the good of all the people in your district, at least if you are a Republican.

    Then in 2009, Percy fended off a challenge from a less formidable candidate, Mark Prinzinger, defeating him 1842 to 1329. Prinzinger had served with a flawed East Penn School board, and it could be argued that he suffered because of it. (also, Prinzinge lacked the finances to pull it off.)  But this time is different.

    In 2012/2013, Dr. Dougherty has had the cojones to stand for responsible governing, and stood up to the ill named "REFORM TEAM" in his own party. So Republican Chair Wayne Woodman has recruited Scott Aquila, a failed East Penn School board candidate in 2011, to run against Dr. Dougherty.

    Now you might think there won't be a problem, that the good doctor would likely survive. But the problem this time is that Wayne Woodman is bound and determined to get a Commissioners board that gets in line with him and his right arm, Scott Ott. Sources tell me Mr. Woodman is determined to spend whatever it takes to defeat Dr. Dougherty, doing to Percy what he did to Dean Browning in 2011.

   In 2011, Woodman mobilized the base of true believer Republicans against Browning ousting him.
   There is no reason to doubt that he could not do it again. To that end, I turn to my old friend "The Numbers" who we all know don't lie.

   In the newly redrawn Commissioner district #2, there are approximately 21,916 registered Republicans.

   If you look at voter turnout in 2005 and 2009, you can easily see that less than 15% of the registered R's turned out. It is easy to see how Wayne Woodman could spend $20k and get the 2000 votes needed to boot Percy Dougherty.

  No one thought it would happen to Dean Browning in 2011, but it did.

   And Democrats should be worried. As of November 2012 there are 20,396 registered D's in the district as it is now drawn.  The R's only have a registration advantage of of 1520 voters, or less than 3.1 5 of actual registered voters in the district. A good turnout machine could even this up real quick.
    The turnout in those precincts by registered D's in 2009 in the GENERAL election was in the vicinity of 15 to 18%, while R turnout was almost 30% on the average across the 24 precincts. Throw in that in 2009,of the 11% of the 7,777 (Yes that number is correct, a very odd anomaly) registered Indy/other party voters who participated went almost 3 to 1 for the R candidate, it appears the R candidate that wins the Primary has a cakewalk in November. (Note:Presently there appears to be somewhere between 7800 and 8200 Indy/3rd party registrants, depending on which source you look at.)

   Are the Dems going to sit back and surrender the seat?

   I live in the 2nd district, and I can tell you that I will do whatever it takes to keep that from happening. The three reformers have already pursuaded a possible R Primary challenger to Tom Creighton not to run in District #1, and they have a solid 4 seats. Sitting back and not contesting seat # 2 is tantamount to all out surrender. That would give them the 5 seats needed, along with possible the County Executive, to govern without question on the local level.

   Isn't it Ironic and a bit hypocritical that the same folks who complain about the Democratic Party hold on Allentown would plan a County dictatorship of their own?

   We get the government we vote for, and we get what we deserve if we don't put up a fight. If Democrats don't put up a fight, we are going to be allowing the Republican Party as a whole to make the decisions for all County wide.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Scott Ott is fooling himself

  .........and unfortunately for far too many Lehigh County voters, he is fooling them too.

      Let us get something straight here. It is true that Scott Ott ONLY lost to Don Cunningham by 862 votes in 2009.  But ESPN has a TV show called "NUMBERS DON'T LIE", and a closer look at voter turnout in 2009 compared to the turnout in 2005 tells a different Story.

   In 2005, Don Cunningham received 33,263 votes to Jane Ervin's 20,721. At that time, there were 200,739 registered voters in Lehigh County. According to Lehigh County's own data, 57,638 citizens cast votes that November, for a turnout of 28.7% The undervote was 3,634, or 1.8%

  In 2009, Don Cunningham received 21,063 votes to Scott Ott's 20,201. In 2009 there were 222,980 registered voters in Lehigh County, with 44,637 participating in Democracy for a turnout of 20.02%
   The undervote of voters who participated but didn't cast ballots in the Executive race was 3433, or just about 1.4%

      A couple of big points to be made here. First, in 2005 Don Cunningham was running against a Republican who had pushed through a 70% property tax increase. This issue motivated voters to the polls. Second, in 2009, nobody gave Ott a chance exactly because Cunningham had done a good job, and people thought his reelection was easily  assured.

     Third, I would like to point out that Scott Ott received 520 fewer votes than Jane Ervin did. If we stay with his logic, then people like him less than Jane Ervin.
    Another thing to remember is that voters were burned out in 2009, after a raucous 2008 year of electioneering, In 2013, I believe the mood of the Country, and yes that belleweather place we call home, the Lehigh Valley, is shifting. Voters are tired of political games being played with every little article just to obstruct one side or the other.

   Mr Ott and his allies on the County Commissioners seem to have decided to forget that the purpose of serving in elected office is to take care of the people's business, and see to the welfare of the entire Community. Their idea of REFORM is to protect the interests of the wealthiest few at the expense of the rest of us. I agree that we have to be fiscally aware and watch our pennies. I agree that we should look at everything to see where we can save money, and I agree that there is always room to improve how government functions.

    But government can't function by unilaterally proposing $5 million dollar cuts without specifics.  A society is only as strong as its' weakest links, and we can't abandon our obligations because some feel that a few recipients don't deserve assistance or might be abusing the program. I will touch on this more in a future post, but most of the human resources money is state and federal pass through cash, and shouldn't be traeted with disdain as the reform crew has shown.

    When one is elected, I believe the person has a responsibility to weigh the best interests of all. Our Government is supposed to be "For the People" not "For the IDEOLOGY" of any political Party.

   We need people in the elected positions of Government who can work to build consensus and find common solutions, not ideologically blind theocrats whose mantra is "Our way or no way."

    Scott Ott is not the leader that Lehigh County needs in the next 4 years. Unfortunately, so far no one has stepped forward to offer an alternative. We won't know for sure until March 12th when the nominating petitions are filed what the answer to that question might be.