Northampton County Dem Chair Joe Long, who calls himself Boss Long, likes things the way they are. He's a machine politician used to smoke-filled back rooms. That's the way he ran meetings at the Bethlehem Housing Authority, until member Larry Kisslinger blew the whistle. Long was miraculously "reelected" as party chair before committeemen were even certified. And he clearly has an inside connection to the local elections office. First, his daughter worked there. She was hired by former county exec Reibman as a part-time employee in April 2002, and stayed on board until July 26, 2006. Second, when Congressman Dent called with some information about HAVA, the elections office actually referred Dent to Long! Third, the goofy lawyer used by voter registrar HRH DePaul as "a buffer" from "the falsehoods and basic lies," was actually recommended by Long. Fourth, he uses strongarm tactics against elections office critics. That may work in totalitarian regimes, but has little place in a democracy.
Boss Long has responded to the citizens' panel with a snotty letter. I pulled it out of a garbage can. Really! I thought I'd share Joe's thoughts with you.
At the last "Citizens meeting", it was discussed to do the surveys, but, they would not be anonymous, they would be signed. It should be in any minutes, if they in fact were recorded. [Minutes were taken and are posted on this blog. There was no agreement to require that the surveys be signed.] Why does it state that "The results of this survey will be made public during a meeting of the Northampton County Citizens Advisory Committee? If comments on the survey are mentioned, they will be used anonymously. There is no need to sign the survey." Please don't accept unanimous [I think he means anonymous] responses to the survey you sent out. People should be accountable just as you wish the voter registration office to be.
As I stated before, this is nothing but a witch hunt. If there are personnel issues to be addressed, they should be done privately and only with those it affects, not in a public venue. John Stoffa stated he was upset because the results were not ready sooner, and they were not correct. I told him the law takes precedent over what he is upset with. He stated he didn't care what the law said in our meeting with Larry Otter and Bill White, March 15th. I guess he thinks he is above the law. I have attached the election calendar for 2007 and if you check, results are unofficial thru May 22nd, and then they start the count of absentee ballots. June 4th is the last day to file with the State the returns from the primary election. The time frame is the same for the General Election in November and has been the same for a number of years.
I have been involved in the election process for over forty years, and understand that all counts are unofficial and in most cases over those same years, inaccurate. Official results are not required until 3 weeks after the election. This gives the election board time to certify the election properly. This is why I didn't have a problem with the registration office, as I understand the election laws and knew the "official results" took some effort. Perhaps those that are complaining should study the laws before they start their witch hunts.
I did not and do not have a problem with the voter registration office, because as a County Chair, it is my responsibility to be in that office more than the average citizen, in order to get absentee ballot requests, voter files, street lists, voter registration cards, verify addresses for polling places and any other need I would have for the election process.
I don't know what the opposing party chair does as far as his responsibilities are concerned. Perhaps if he spent some time in that office, he would know instead of get second hand information as to how that office functions.
I have attached the election calendar for 2007, perhaps some of us should study it and they would not have to form committees to do the job that they are responsible for.
Joe Long, Chair
Northeast Caucus, PA Democratic Party
Northampton County Democratic Party