Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Moving Forward in Middletown Township

I sat at the Middletown Municipal Center last night and watched our community at odds. As a resident, I was ashamed of and embarrassed by most of the behavior I witnessed. Rather than residents working together for the good of our community or simply communicating effectively, many resorted to screaming, bullying, heckling, and finger-pointing. How is it possible that people who all have the same goal (a safe community) cannot have a productive conversation?

Allow me to look backwards for a brief moment to state a fact. I’m not placing blame or pointing a finger – I am stating a fact. Members of the fire companies asked last night how they were dragged into politics. Republican flyers distributed as early as this past summer claimed the Democratic candidates ‘failure to support our volunteer fire and emergency services.’ As a resident and a candidate, this deeply offended me. Prior to this claim appearing in Republican literature, nobody ever asked me how I felt about emergency services so how is it possible that somebody could claim I failed to support them? For the record, I have the highest respect and regard for all emergency responders and I value the significant contributions, and personal sacrifices, they make to ensure that our community and our residents are safe. There are some administrative issues that need to be addressed in both the police and fire departments, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the service or performance of our police officers or our volunteer fire fighters. As an example (and this came from a volunteer firefighter in Middletown Township), each of the four fire companies that serve our township may need to purchase new hoses. When this occurs, each company purchases what they need. What a firefighter suggested was why not pool these purchases together and buy a total of, say, 800 feet of hose instead of each company purchasing 200 feet individually. Grouping purchases like this, and therefore using economies of scale to our advantage, is an example of the kind of administrative issues that need to be addressed. To ensure clarity, I am in no way trying to change how our police, fire fighters, or EMS respond to emergencies. They are experts in their respective fields and they do an outstanding job for our community. Listening to suggestions for improved administrative efficiencies directly from our emergency responders and then working with them to make these kinds of changes ensures that Middletown Township will continue to receive the best possible emergency services.

I have said to many people that I will talk to anyone with a concern about our township anytime, anywhere. However, that conversation must be reasonable, rational, and respectful. I will not engage in shouting matches, I will not be unprofessional in my communications (nor will I tolerate a lack of professionalism from others), and I will seek to solve problems, not place blame. This township must look forward and ensure we are prepared for whatever new challenges may be ahead. Everyone pointing fingers at everyone else only looks backwards, and looking backwards does not solve problems. I am not interested in looking backwards and I am not interested in figuring out who is to blame for a particular issue. I am interested in moving forward, solving problems for our community, and never again seeing what I saw last night.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Facts about a Debate in Middletown

“We find this outrageous that any sitting elected official would refuse to engage the citizens of our community so voters could better understand the positions of every candidate for office.”
(Source: Republican flyer to Villages of Flowers Mill residents)

"The true loser in this situation is the voters as they are being denied the ability to see all the candidates at the same time, ask questions and make a decision prior to Election Day.”

(Source: 10/14/09 Letter to the Editor of Bucks County Courier Times by Tom Gallagher)

"Instead of crediting Tom Gallagher with attempting to setup a debate, Ms Sauerbry-Smith's only contibution (sic) to this matter is the above letter attacking the one person who tried to do something."
(Source: Middletown Republican Committee Website)

With the Republican candidates making statements like these, one might assume that they are anxious to get a debate on the calendar. The reality is that nothing could be further from the truth.

I wrote a letter to the editor of the Bucks County Courier Times in response to the 10/14/09 letter written by Mr. Gallagher, and only a portion of the letter was printed in the newspaper this morning. The full version of the letter (which was under the newspaper’s 200-word limit) can be read

The reason there will likely not be a debate in Middletown Township this year is because of the “delay and duck” tactics employed by the Republican candidates. Here are the facts:

1. On August 25, the Bucks County League of Women Voters told Mr. Gallagher they would be unable to host a forum. He then waited until October 14 to write a letter to the newspaper saying any attempt at debate now would be ‘doomed to failure.’ With seven weeks to find an alternate host for a forum, he chose to do nothing. He also chose to not communicate this response to the Democratic candidates until we read it in the newspaper on October 14.

2. The Democratic candidates for supervisor coordinated with the Bucks County Courier Times to provide a moderator for a debate at the Middletown Municipal Complex, on live TV.

An e-mail was sent to the Republicans candidates on October 14, requesting to coordinate a date and time for this live debate.

4. As of October 16, there was no response from the Republican candidates so the
Democratic candidates proposed a date and time.

5. On October 20, the Republican candidates
finally responded and said they were already committed to another event on the proposed date and time.

6. Also on October 20, Chuck Thompson (on behalf of the Democratic candidates)
requested that the Republican candidates select an alternate date and time for debate, saying "this educational opportunity for the voters of Middletown Township is too important to not reschedule any event we may have on the date you choose."

7. As of October 26, there has been no additional response from the Republican candidates.

We do not need elected officials who make statements like "the true losers in this situation are the voters" (Tom Gallagher, 10/14/09 letter in Bucks County Courier Times) and "anything else would be doomed to failure due to logistics" (10/14/09 letter in Bucks County Courier Times). The residents of Middletown Township deserve leaders who will put residents’ interest first, take quick action when quick action is needed, and actively work to promote a positive community spirit, not individuals who delay, make excuses, and only tell part of the story.

I encourage all residents who have any questions about Middletown Township or this election to email
Chuck, Harry, or me directly.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Middletown Candidate's False Claim of Ivy League MBA

News Release
For immediate Release

MIDDLETOWN - Candidate for Middletown Township Supervisor Andrew Kreiling may be confused about his alleged alma mater, or he may simply be misrepresenting it.

On several publications paid for by the Middletown Republican Committee and distributed by Kreiling himself, he lists his education as having earned an MBA from Columbia University. In addition, two Middletown Republican Web sites list the same credential, with one stating that Kreiling is a “Former union contractor with an MBA from Columbia University who understands job creation at every level.”

While Kreiling’s job-creation skills are unclear, his problem with telling the truth is long-documented. In a March, 2003 application for appointment to the Middletown Board of Supervisors, Kreiling submitted a résumé indicating that he was working to complete his “M.B.A.—Columbia University (Fall 2004).” However, an April, 2009 brochure lists “*MBA—Columbia University (2009 Spring)”. Columbia, like most universities, limits post-graduate programs of study to a five-year completion window. By Kreiling’s own statements, he has been in Columbia’s MBA program for nearly seven years.

Whatever Kreiling’s education, honesty and ethics must not have been part of the curriculum. On the business networking Web site Linked In, Kreiling’s profile lists Columbia Southern University under Education. On May 17th, his profile published by the League of Women Voters Web site listed; “Enrolled working on my MBA Columbia Southern (working),” which also calls into question the “2009 Spring” completion that he listed on his more recent brochure.

Columbia University is a world-renowned Ivy League institution that graduated four U.S. Presidents and eight Supreme Court Justices. Columbia Southern University is an unaccredited, online correspondence school in Alabama. Companies like Columbia Southern are commonly referred to as “degree mills,” where one can purchase a degree in just about any discipline. Andrew Kreiling’s repeated claims of an Ivy League education from Columbia University are an attempt to deceive the voters of Middletown Township into believing that he is something he is not – by a long-shot.

“It makes you wonder what else he is being dishonest about,” remarked incumbent Supervisor Chuck Thompson. “Is anything on his résumé true, or is the entire thing fabricated?” Thompson’s running-mate Harry Arnold found the revelation more dubious. “If someone will go so far as to lie to secure elected office, it kind of makes you wary of what he will do if he gets there.”

Kreiling and his running mates, Chuck Benhayon, Ray Chapman, Tom Gallagher, Pat Mallon and Kathleen Passaretti refer to themselves as The Team that Will Restore Integrity and Pride to Middletown. “They may want to re-think that slogan,” said Supervisor candidate Julie Sauerbry-Smith. “I think it’s kind of sad, really.”

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Great Community We Call Home

The Neshaminy High School Class of 64 held its 45th reunion at the Middletown Country Club this past weekend. As a member of the planning committee, I enjoy keeping in touch with my classmates and learning how their lives have gone over the years.

As we gathered together Saturday evening, many of the conversations brought to mind the words of my running mate, Julie Sauerbry-Smith, in her last post on this blog. Those who remained here in Middletown Township talked about what a great community it has been and continues to be to live in and raise a family. Those who moved away remarked on how happy they are to return for these gatherings and how Middletown still holds a special place in their memories.

I was one of those who moved away after graduating from Neshaminy – and ultimately spent more than 30 years in other communities. I never lived far, so I was back here visiting friends and family on a pretty regular basis. And, over the years, I realized that Middletown has never lost its luster as a premier community.

Some 12 years ago, my wife and I returned here to take care of my ailing father. We now own the home I grew up in, and what I find both interesting and telling is that two neighbors on my block also own the homes they grew up in. Another fellow graduate in Quincy Hollow bought his childhood home and a number of others bought homes nearby.

Children returning home to live and raise families after college is a sign of a community’s vitality. Julie, Harry Arnold and I have pledged to work with our residents to maintain this quality of life and insure that future generations can enjoy this great community we are privileged to call home.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Why do you want to be a supervisor?

The most common question I am asked when people find out I am running for the Middletown Township Board of Supervisors is “why do you want to be a supervisor?” I begin answering the question by saying that it is a very personal reason and it has to do with family and role models.

I am a lifelong resident of Middletown Township. I grew up in the Highland Park section of Levittown before moving to Langhorne when I was fourteen years old. My grandfather was very community-minded – he served as President of the United Way in Bucks County for ten years, was a charter member of the Kiwanis Club of Lincoln Highway, donated space to the Penndel-Middletown Emergency Squad when they first organized, and supported virtually every local cause that he came across. He came to Bucks County from Iowa at a young age, borrowed money to buy Greenwood Dairies with only his 4H ribbons as collateral, and spent the next fifty years building it into a highly successful restaurant that many people in this area have a fond memory of. This was a family business so I spent a lot of time there growing up, learning how to manage a business, effectively manage people, and handle adversity. One of the best lessons I learned was how to treat everyone – no matter what their position – with respect. I also learned that people will allow you to lead them when they trust that you are willing to work alongside them to get the job done. Not when you speak loudly, speak just to hear yourself speak, issue orders, or belittle their efforts but when they trust that you are willing to work alongside them to get the job done. It’s been over twenty years since Greenwood Dairies closed, but all of the lessons learned there are life-long.

After college, I chose to return to Middletown Township and after getting married, my husband and I chose to call Middletown Township home. We have lived here for thirteen years and have been Middletown homeowners for eleven years. When our first child was born last year, I began thinking about all of the lessons learned from my parents and grandparents, and I saw them from a very different perspective – that of a parent. The questions I ask myself every day are “what example am I setting for my child today” and “what lessons am I helping her learn today.” When the opportunity to run for Supervisor presented itself earlier this year, I realized that not only could I set a good example and provide an opportunity for her to learn important lessons, I could also work to have a direct impact in the community that I love and in which I have chosen to raise my daughter. I grew up in this wonderful community, getting to know great people, participating in community celebrations, and feeling tremendous pride in where I lived; this is what I want for my daughter and I will do my part to ensure that Middletown Township affords her the same experiences it has given me.

I am running for Supervisor to maintain the positive quality of life that I love about Middletown Township and I am willing to work alongside every resident to do the right things for our community.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Revisiting the "Outpost of Freedom"

You gotta love the internet. Kids off to college can instantly communicate with their mothers and fathers – and, of course, boy friends and girl friends. Facebook keeps us current on the activities of friends and relatives. And even Twitter has some advantages, although I am not totally sure what they are.

I just discovered that I can even rekindle relationships I developed during my tour of duty in Berlin 40 years ago. I was a member of the Army Security Agency, which was under the jurisdiction of the National Security Agency rather than the Pentagon. In Berlin, I was a voice intercept operator, listening in on the conversations of East Germans in the Central Committee, the ruling agency in East Germany.

Since we weren’t supposed to discuss our activities with anyone and since we spent all our duty time cooped up in a small room with banks of tape recorders, we necessarily became close friends.

I’ve often mentioned to my wife, Chris, that I wonder what became of my best friend over there, Brock Garland. The other day when I mentioned it again, she said why not try to find him on Facebook or by searching on the internet. I wasn’t able to find him on Facebook, but searching on the internet I did find – and joined – a Yahoo Group for Field Station Berlin veterans. In the introduction, the moderator points out that “We Field Station Berlin veterans have lots to discuss that we were not allowed to talk about back then.”

I’ve already begun reminiscing with some of the guys who were there during my time but in different units. So who knows, I may ultimately find Brock or another friend and character, Gene “P. Rap” Brown (he was in charge of packing and wrapping material we sent back to NSA and not really related to the infamous H. Rap Brown). And maybe someday I will finally write that book about our experiences in the “Outpost of Freedom.”