Chris Pastore

Upper Dublin, PA

The politics of politics

We are getting close to election day, and I suppose it was inevitable that some negative campaigning would begin.  This week’s Ambler Gazette contained several Letters to the Editor that were focused on the Upper Dublin Township Commissioner’s race.  One from a sitting Commissioner, and three letters from residents, one in each of the contested races.  All four are supportive of the incumbents.  I suppose it could be entirely coincidental, but it appeared to me to represent the machinations of an organized campaign trying to appear like it was spontaneous.

That’s fine – each candidate wants to win their election and will try different methods to get there.  However the letter from the incumbent just reinforced for me the need for balance, and mostly respect for the residents of Upper Dublin.

Reading things like “Mr. Gordon, Mr. Mele and Mr. Pastore don’t have a clue what it takes to run a first-class township,” seems to me to be inappropriate, rude, and incorrect. There is no basis for the statement other than the claim that none of us has attended one of his budget meetings.

Then we get exposed to a logical fallacy regarding taxes.  In order to lower the taxes burden on the citizenry it is necessary to either reduce expenses or increase earnings elsewhere.  Mr. Pesavento presents 5 different ways that he considered to lower taxes, each of them eliminating services that many people support.  The fallacy is the that he presents this as though there are only 5 possible ways to lower expenses.  I’m sure that he is aware the budget is much more complicated than that!  I truly believe he has some grasp on the complexity of budget planning.  But having control of the discussion (no opportunity for dialogue in a printed letter) allows him to be sarcastic and condescending.

Unfortunately I have seen this sarcasm and condescending behavior show up in the Board of Commissioners meetings on a regular basis.

The Citizens of Upper Dublin deserve respect.  They should not be patronized or dismissed, or be addressed as “Hey, Lady!”

Clearly the decisions that must be made by the Board will not always be in accord with each and every resident.  This is a difficult job.  But the basis for decision making can be made clear to the public, and every effort must be made to ensure that the residents do not feel alienated in the process.

Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009!

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