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Friday, April 24, 2009

Should Municipal Candidates Attend Meetings?

Northampton County Council candidate Jane Mellert has started a campaign blog. In it, she includes her announcement, municipal government experience and Lehigh Valley Voter Guide responses. One of the Voter Guide questions asks candidates if they attend council meetings.

Is that impotant? Most candidates never attend council meetings unless they are actually elected. They'll argue it's a waste of time that could be better spent knocking on doors.

Jane has a different view. "I attended council meetings for four months before I considered running. I wanted to make an informed decision, keep up on the issues facing county council and learn how council functions. I have been volunteering in the Easton area over the past three years and it has helped give me insight into the social service end of county government." Council candidates like Bill Wallace, Walt Garvin and Barb Thiery have also begun to attend meetings.

Would you be more likely to support a candidate who regularly attends meetings? Is it that big of a deal?

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, more likely; not a deal-breaker, however.

Anonymous said...

Definitely, attending council meetings before running for office is extremely important, it gives one a heads up on the issues, attitudes of present members, etc., if one really cares about the office and its functioning, candidates should be attending meetings

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ Anon 753am, knowledge of issues as well as what's "going on" are both important.

As to candidates who think it's a "...waste of time that could be better spent knocking on doors," my response is to do both.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Queen Ann McHale attends meetings, and she still isn't getting my vote!

O_o

Anonymous said...

JS: Has he ever made you a birdhouse?

BGS: No, he hasn’t.

JS: If he did, what do you think it would look like?

BGS: I’m sure it would be extravagant, expensive, and colorful.
(Quote from first lady of Northampton County on Stoffa's blog). This is exactly what Stoffa would do with your money.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Agreed. Instead of spending it on "extravagant, expensive, and colorful" projects urged bt Council, Stoffa has done nothing.

lighthouse said...

If one is running because they actually care about the level of government they wish to serve, and not just fulfill their own ego or partisan purposes, then YES they should be attending at least some of the meetings to a get sense of the issues, and dynamics, of the council or board. There is a lot that can only be gained from actually being present that is never reported in the press.

That said, candidates should not be abusing the courtesy of the floor as a forum to campaign from if they never spoke as Joe Citizen before they became Joe Candidate. Observe and learn. Most impressive would be the "loser" who still comes to the meetings because they actually care about their community , county, or school.

Tom Foolery said...

If you ar a candidate you are much better off going door to door. I went to a meeting or two before i ran for office and it was a waste of my time. I went door to door and won. Nuff said. I then spent many years going to alot of meetings. However had I not gone door to door on meeting nights I might not have won. Then what??

Tom Foolery said...

By the way, if Dertinger finishes in the top three in Novemeber I'll let you know where to deliver my pizza. Just in case you forgot..

Tom Foolery said...

Believe me, I can spell November, I just can't type..lol

lighthouse said...

Bernie,
don't know how else to follow-up on an earlier (4/1) post other than to go partly off-topic, so I apologize.

Just went through the mail, and got a Michael Koury flier. What I find most interesting is that there are three prominent quotes from the MCall and Express, ALL dated from 2001. Two of three have yellow highlighting over his "refus(al) to take campaign contributions from local attorneys."

These jump out because it clearly avoids the 2003 campaign, and any others since 2001. The last minute campaign tactics of that year were covered in your last post on him. My question is, in ANY of his runs for either Common Pleas or Magistrate has he ever accepted any campaign contributions from lawyers? You seem more in the loop to find that stuff out. If he has, then his flier with the three 2001 quotes is purposely misleading.

If you'd rather address this in a separate post, fine, but I would like to know the Yes or No answer.

Alan Earnshaw said...

I attended a couple of East Penn board meetings before deciding to run and almost all of them after that. It was immensely helpful in understanding the current issues, the style of interaction between board members, the "big issues" for each of the board members, and the public processes the board followed. Since then, I've attended about 150 board meetings (yikes!), but those first few months were really helpful in getting me ready to serve.

Anonymous said...

Charlie Dertinger attended many Council meetings and it is one of the reasons why he is one of the most effective council members serving. He has a weakness for rolling around in the mud with Rong Angle, but years from now people will walk through Wayne Grube Park and say that Dertinger made this happen despite Stoffa and Angle.

lighthouse said...

9:33

"Charlie"??

I thought it was "CHARLES!"

At least that is what he goes by with his recycled presumptuous signs.

sweet said...

Anon 10:10, 10:14.
You are a Jackass!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"By the way, if Dertinger finishes in the top three in Novemeber I'll let you know where to deliver my pizza. Just in case you forgot.."I have not forgotten, Tom. Once the primary is over, expect to see a spotlight cast on the "faithless politician."

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lighthouse, First, let me thank you for your many thoughtful comments here. Second, I think I know the answer to your Koury question but will do a little more research and post something early next week. I think what happened is that Koury did not accept contributionsdirectly from lawyers, but did so indirectly. I don't have all the details yet and will work on getting that together.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Alan, I know nothing about your political philosophy but would support you in a heartbeat if I were in Emmaus. You really care about what you do.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Charlie Dertinger attended many Council meetings and it is one of the reasons why he is one of the most effective council members serving."Dertinger did attend a few council meetings before he was elected. I remember that myself. Although I think he is probably the worst member on council, I give him credit for taking the time before he was elected to scope out the job.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sweet,

I deleted Anon 10:10 & 10:14. Somebody is hitting the sauce on a Friday night, I guess.

Anonymous said...

God Bless Charles!

Anonymous said...

How can you say Charlie is the worst member of County Council. As Open Space Chairman, he has done more than any one ever in Northampton County history to preserve open space and farmland. He has an unmatched record of accomplishment in this regard. He also has been a very serious player behind the scenes in helping the County secure major concessions from Keystone Cement so that the Nor-Bath trail could actually completely connect Northampton and Bath.

Anonymous said...

Charles Dertinger is also widely respected by the county employees. He is far more admired by the employees than John Stoffa or Ann McHale. He is also very much appreciated by the open space and farmland preservation community as well as Labor Unions that represent working men and women. Your focus on Charles will mean nothing. The only question in November is will he get more votes than Peg. I'm betting he will.

lighthouse said...

Geez, based on several of these posts I think the white smoke has been seen leaving the Council Basilica for St. "Charles!"

lighthouse said...

Before Sainthood, though, any discussion about decisions being publicly aired and debated rather than phone calls lining up the votes before the meetings??

lighthouse said...

Sorry, white smoke for Council Pope Charles....sainthood will come later.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"How can you say Charlie is the worst member of County Council."Since your asking, here's a few reasons:

1) He spent his first year on council - the first time he was ever elected to anything - running for Congress. The MC correctly called him a "faithless politician."

2) He is dishonest. he often makes absurd claims later proved false. For example, he made a big stink about the terrible job the county did in November's historic election. Turns out he wasn't even in the county that day and voted by absentee ballot.

3) He is lazy. he has the worst attendance record for council committees of all members.

4) He is partisan. He hates Stoffa bc Stoffa always wants to do the right thing while Dertinger always wants fellow Dems rewarded. He detests the notion of appointing Rs to cabinet positions.

5) He is divisive. Stoffa is one of the easiest guys in the world with which to have a relationship, but Dertinger has continually made that impossible.

6) He believes Council has no obligation listen to voters except for those who own real estate.

7) He is known to participate in disgusting shouting matches during council meetings.

Shall I continue?

Anonymous said...

God help Charles as he works to rid us of the Stoffa curse.

Anonymous said...

Beenie
Your hatred of Charlie is showing again on that historic election day he was working for Obama helping make it a historic day everyone who had a job like Charlie did voted absentee that day to make sure their vote was counted.
I'll just bet the rest of your claims are as easily dis-proven

Bernie O'Hare said...

Carlie voted by absentee ballot bc he was not in the county. He was not in the county about which he was complaining. He was in York or Lancaster for some goofy conference put on by his boss.

Anon 8:34, If Charles voted by absentee ballott and was still working for Obama here in the county as you claim, he violated the law. You cannot vote absentee unless you are out of the county or have some illness or disability. You can't vote absentee just to be sure your vote counts.

Anonymous said...

B O"Hair, you're wrong again. Charles has to be out of his precinct, not the county to be able to vote absentee. Now we know why you are a disgruntled blogger and disbarred attorney. they are synonomous.

Anonymous said...

Boonie, your hatred of Charles ! is palpable. I know he can be annoying, but really you shouldn't make stuff up about him. Instead, you should tell true stories about yourself and you devastated that family of the dead crane operator.

Anonymous said...

To answer the question, it doesn't make a difference and it NOW seems she only attended the meetings to use as a campaign advertising. That's pathetic. She just lost my vote. People will see that for what it is.

Angle isn't even good enough for Charles to use as toilet paper. What about that Angle blow hard? The elephant in the room people!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"B O"Hair, you're wrong again. Charles has to be out of his precinct, not the county to be able to vote absentee."If a person's business takes him out of his municipality on election day, and it takes him out during the entire time the ballots are open (7AM to 8PM), he may vote by absentee ballot.

What I originally said is that Charles was not even in the county on election day and voted by absentee ballot. This is what his brother told people at the polls, claiming Charles had a conference in either York or Lancaster.

Now I have no reason to disbelieve that, but it puts the lie to all of Dertinger's claims about how the elections were running on election day. He would be in a poor position to make claims about specific precints that he himself did not even see, but implied he was there. I actually did visit a large number of precints and never saw him.

Now we are being told Charles was inside the county all the time. If that is so, then he should have voted here and his absentee ballot is a sham.

He can't have it both ways.

Folks angry about this observation have very quickly attacked me, Angle and Mellert for noting his voting by absentee ballot.

Anonymous said...

Wow !!! Now I'm wondering how you became a lawyer at all " this is what Charles' brother was telling people" that's not even hearsay. It has been well documented that Dertinger was working for Obama he was also involved in election protection since he was the chairman of the election commision in the past and obviously knows more about election law than a dis barred attorney
Now you are lying about voting law which is most dangerous the current law allows anyone to vote absentee if they will be out of their voting district during the times the polls are open. Dertinger did the right thing and should be an example to voters but you have an irrational hatred of him so you will continue to lie about him, voting law, what his brother may or may have not been overheard saying to someone and me for trying to correct this ridiculous story
David

Bernie O'Hare said...

"David,"

1) What Charles' brother said is hearsay, buit this is no courtroom.

2) Current law does allow an absentee ballot for a person whose business takes him out of his municipal residence on election day and it muast be during the entire time the precints are open. At first it is stated that Dertinger voted absentee to make sure his vote counted. When I point out thaty is an election law violation, the argument is made that he was woerking for Obama elsewhere and could not vote. When i poiny out this is inconsistent with what his brother said, I am attacked. There are now 3 different stories about where Dertinger was on election day. Which one is the truth?

Anonymous said...

You are the only one offering different stories about Dertinger. The best thing would be to ask Charles as I have done rather than offer lame stories. But I understand you a d be don't get along... Maybe because you tell so many lies about him. Just my opinion.
David

Bernie O'Hare said...

"David,"

The three differerent versions do not cvome from me, but from Dertinger's brother and Anons.

Version #1: (Dertinger's brother): Dertinmger voted absentee bc he was in York or Lancaster for an all day seminar sponsored byu his boss.

Version #2: (Anon 8:34) "everyone who had a job like Charlie did voted absentee that day to make sure their vote was counted." (If true, this is illegal. You can't vote by absentee ballot just t make sure your vote counts. As the former Elections Comm'n chair, Charles knows this)

Version #3: ("David" version): Dertinger was working for Obama the entire day and was outside his precint between 7 AM and 8 PM but was amazingly still inside the county. This is just plain nuts.

An Exorcist said...

Monty,

I'll choose what's behind door #4!



::Alex

Anonymous said...

CHARLES!! Number one vote getter. O'Hare and angry priest, no votes!