Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What Questions Would You Ask NorCo Council Candidates?

Below are some of the questions I have for Northampton County Council candidates. Before sending these out, what questions would you like asked?  I'll put this together and give candidates some time to mull over their answers.

1. Lehigh County Commissioners and Bethlehem City council have both toyed with the idea of rejecting pass through grants based on objections to the federal deficit, money owed to China and antipathy to charter schools. Would you reject pass through grants?

2. Most of Council's work is done at its busy Personnel and Finance Committees, at which every member of Council is encouraged to attend. How do you feel about participation at Council Committee meetings? Will you attend?

3. One candidate has rejected the concept of regionalism as one big mess that is harder to manage than a group of smaller messes. Do you support or oppose regionalism, and what regional projects would you endorse on Council?

4. During the Executive primary, one candidate made a no-tax hike pledge. Do you think it is responsible to make no tax-hike pledges? If so, are you willing to make one?

5. In a 2011 plebiscite, voters told Council not to sell Gracedale for 5 years.The annual County contribution is currently in the $5-7 million range, so voters effectively voted for that contribution. But what if it grows? Is there a red line at which you would agree it is necessary to sell Gracedale?

6. In 2007, County Council voted to set aside 1/2 mill of real estate tax (about $3.5 million) for a pay-as-you go open space plan for preserving farmland, environmentally sensitive land and municipal parks. On Council, will you vote to continue funding open space? Do you consider this a core county function?

7.  There are 11 unions county-wide. What efforts would you make, as a member of council, to encourage unions to consolidate and reduce the amount of time administrators must spend in contract negotiations?

8. What is your position on laying off County workers? Would you support layoffs to balance the budget, or vote to increase taxes to provide the same level of services?

9. Northampton County, like Lehigh, has privatized the management of Gracedale. But there are those who would like to return administration to the County. Where do you stand on this issue?

10. Some Council members would like to amend the Home Rule Charter to return to elected row officers. How do you feel about this proposal?

11. Would you support a ban on guns by people using any County facilities, regardless whether it is on the courthouse campus?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds more like a "do you love Stoffa" and "hate Mezzacappa" poll.

Lets get serious.

Yes by all means keep the Stoffa open space tax and let county facilities rot. Great plan.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the open space monies where voted by the PEOPLE and they wanted it. What does that have to do with Stoffa? 3.5 million a year and that is where it is going

Anonymous said...

Maybe we need a new vote, as the people didn't know the money was in lieu of keeping county buildings maintained.

Anonymous said...

12. Why can't we provide limousine rides for non-emergency services at Gracedale, since money is no object and council is ignoring the recommendation of the firm they hired to save Gracedale?

Anonymous said...

Don't use plebiscite. They will have to look it up.

Anonymous said...

Are you a "teabagger?"

Anonymous said...

Are you an occupy type fleabagger or do you bathe regularly and hold steady employment?

Anonymous said...

7. There are 11 unions county-wide. What efforts would you make, as a member of council, to encourage unions to consolidate and reduce the amount of time administrators must spend in contract negotiations?

This is futile.

11. Would you support a ban on guns by people using any County facilities, regardless whether it is on the courthouse campus?

This is already the county policy.

Anonymous said...

Will you support or reject a County Property Tax Reassesment?

Anonymous said...

Would you support Jerry Seigfried's proposition that the Prothonotary, Clerk of Criminal Court, Clerk of Orphans Court and Register of Wills should be transferred under the Administration of the Courts instead of the County Executive (through the Director of Court Services) much like the higher courts currently administer its own clerks?

Anonymous said...

Would you try to reverse the ruinous Stoffa legacy that has left us with a gutted Human Services Department but a new building and neglected buildings and bridges, as well as services?

What in the world is a "fleabagger"? Who calls themselves that?

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:51 Great question!

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:41, Another great question.

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:38, Whys is it futile to suggest union consolidation? They want to do it, too. You are correct about the county property.

Anonymous said...

I am a proud Tea Bagger.

Anonymous said...

Do you support gay marriage?