West Chester Trustees Lack Command of Issues
We Need New Leadership!
Guest Article, Author: Randy Simmons
On Oct 15th, the Tea Party sponsored “Meet the Candidates” night at the Lakota Freshman School; for the first time, West Chester got a chance to ask questions of both Trustee incumbents Lee Wong and Katherine Stoker and their two challengers Mark Welch and Matt King. It was very interesting to note that on nearly every question raised by those in attendance, both Mr. Wong and Ms. Stoker had a prepared written response that they read as if a script – it was sad to see them flipping back and forth from page to page searching for their responses to the questions. In contrast, both challengers Mark Welch & Matt King were well prepared and had a firm understanding of the issues and could simply stand and deliver their vision, views and concerns. Why did Lee & Katherine have to read from a script? It’s appears that they lack a command of the issues and the ability to speak candidly about them. This would suggest that they haven’t internalized key issues to the extent that they can simply stand and deliver a response with conviction – In other words, they haven’t taken ownership of many of the issues that affect our community.
All the candidates were asked to provide their views and answers on many questions including:
- Questions about the zoning committee’s punitive nature and need to foster a more business friendly environment to attract new business.
- Questions about fiscal transparency and responsibility – specifically asking why Wong & Stoker voted our elected Fiscal Officer responsible for oversight of tax payer dollar spending out of executive sessions where business and tax dollar spending is discussed.
- Questions about why they approved an energy aggregation program that was set up and opted every home owner into the very program that West Chester Twp. themselves opted out of.
- Questions related to $500,000 spending on unreported township legal fees.
- Questions related to approval of excessive salaries and overtime expense
- Questions regarding views on projects such as uncontrolled cross walks and bike paths that carry exorbitant price tags and get low relative use, when greater community needs such as police cruiser cams, road and sidewalk repairs and street lights that directly impact the safety of our community go unfulfilled.
- And many more.
It was apparent that both Mark Welch and Matt King strongly advocated fostering a more business friendly environment, will reinstate our elected fiscal officer into executive sessions to provide greater transparency on tax dollar spending, will look for ways to reduce cost in all departments and both have a vision and plan for renewal and growth.
In contrast, both Lee Wong and Katherine Stokers read responses talked about how great business development is in West Chester, yet they failed to speak about the many empty buildings undeveloped land and struggling businesses throughout all of West Chester’s business districts – which by most accounts, is symptomatic of a failing in zoning and our economic development plan.
By the end of the evening, it was very apparent that Mr. Wong and Ms. Stoker are on an unchanging path and are satisfied with their performance and direction – it is also clear that they do not possess the leadership skills to take us to the next level. So were does West Chester go from here?