Sunday, October 23, 2011

Haverford Township's Day of Action

Bright and early on Saturday morning, the Haverford Township Democratic Committee held the kickoff for their part of the statewide Democratic Day of Action, organized by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Organizing for America, and the Democratic County Democratic Committee.  At 9 a.m. it was bright but a little chilly and people tended to huddle in the sunny spots in front of the Haverford Township Municipal Building.  A few small children alternated running around and sitting on the steps of the building looking at books.  The building is next to Darby Road and the traffic sometimes made it difficult to hear what all the candidates were saying.

I’ve typed up my notes from the event and supplemented them with information from the event press release and campaign websites.  Photos of the event have been posted online. As always, I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions.

Judith LaLonde, chair of the Haverford Township Democratic Committee started by emphasizing that the importance of municipal election in charting the future of Haverford Township. She announced that the League of Voters has scheduled a tentative date for the Candidate forum on Oct. 27th or 28th and the importance for a public discussion between opposing candidates on the issues in the township.  She then introduced State Rep. Greg Vitali from the 166th district, which includes Haverford, Marple, and Radnor Townships of Delaware County.  Rep. Vitali spoke about the quality of local candidates in this election.  He introduced candidates for township commissioner and district judge.

First up was Philip Lozano, candidate for district judge in wards 1, 2, 3, and 7.  Lozano talked about the importance of accountability in local government.  He said electing the same people over and over led to a lack of accountability.  As an example he mentioned that in the past three years three district judges in Delaware County have been convicted or pled guilty to criminal activity (the specifics are outlined on his website).  He also mentioned a $6 million lawsuit against Haverford Township over the property value of the former Swell Bubble factory currently being leased and developed by the YMCA for civil rights violations: Watson v. Haverford Township Police Department. [blogger's note:  see comments below for explanation of this change]

One of the township commissioner candidates, Jeff Miller running in ward 3 spoke next.  Miller is an architect, past president of the library board, and past secretary of the Haverford Township Civic Council.  He spoke about working on a township wide coordinated plan to upgrade existing public works facilities, public buildings and infrastructure.  Looking at his website bio this is fleshed out a bit.  He served on the Township Eagle Road Planning Task Force for Commercial Revitalization which looked at best practices of other area townships.   The group then prepared a draft plan and an urban planner was hired by the township commissioners.  The plan was adopted by the township but has not been implemented.    

The candidate for ward 5, Darin Hayton, who teaches the history of science at Haverford College, said he would like to be part of moving the township forward.

Patty Loomer is the candidate for ward 9.  She has an accounting degree.   There are currently no women on the township board of commissioners and she would like to see a woman elected.  Among the items she would like to work on are bike trails in the township.  She thinks health and exercise are important.  Haverford is an inner ring suburb and she would like to see township infrastructure maintained.  

The next speaker was Tom Shiffer, candidate for ward 1 who has been a pension administrator for 40 years.  Specific issues he is interested in are infrastructure, traffic calming, and support for small businesses.  

Larry Chrzan, candidate for ward 7, described the morning event as “Occupy Haverford Township.”  Chrzan is a technology consultant and industrial engineer.  He said the GOP machine has ruled the county for over 100 years and the township for decades.  Recently he re-launched the where he posts the campaign finance reports of all candidates.  Chrzan doesn’t take contributions from people who do business with the township.  

State Senator Daylin Leach introduced former Congressman Patrick Murphy, who has announced his candidacy for the 2012 state Attorney General race, who said boots on the ground win elections.  He also referenced the death of Muammar Qhaddafi, especially since a Pennsylvanian Betty Ann Johnson of Greensburg was killed in the Lockerbie bombing.
He also spoke at length about veterans courts.

The next candidate up was MichaelSchleigh, candidate for county Court of Common Pleas.  Schleigh is an Eagle Scout and in addition to a law degree has an LLM (masters of law in trial advocacy).  He shares Murphy’s interests in veteran’s courts.  With the troops returning home from Iraq is it especially important that Delaware County have a court program that specifically addresses veteran’s needs.  Another issue is foreclosure mediation.  Yesterday there was a sheriff’s sale and 150 homes were sold.  If Delaware County had adopted a proposal similar to that in other counties 60% of those families could have stayed in their homes.   Schleigh also talked about the need for an independent judiciary. 

Another of the Democratic candidates for Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, Sally-Ann Heckert-Bikin, spoke next.  She mentioned that a Democrat has not been elected to this position in the county’s history.  There is an equal number of Democrat and Republican registration.  The county needs candidates that have ethics, morality, integrity, fairness and equality for all.  Heckert-Bikin is a nurse as well as an attorney.    Like Schleigh she has an LLM (masters of law in trial advocacy) degree.  This is an additional year of study beyond law school.   Only two schools in the country offer it, one is Temple University.   None of the Republicans running for Court of Common Pleas have this degree. 

The third candidate for the Court of Common Pleas, Larry DeMarco was unable to attend.  He, too, has an LLM degree. 

One of the three Democratic candidates for county council, Keith Collins, spoke.  Collins served in the army as an infantryman and a paratrooper.  He is an adjunct instructor at Delaware County Community College, is an ordained minister, and a small business owner.  He wants to limit the number of government positions one person can hold in the county to reduce costs to the taxpayer.  Revitalization is another issue he is concerned about.  Marcus Hook has a waterfront.  There are a lot of opportunities along 291. 

Jayne Young was not able to attend. State Rep. Vitali spoke in her place.  Young has been the mayor of Lansdowne for 10 years.  She is also part of the FirstSuburbs project.  

Lin Axamethy Floyd, a third candidate for county council, was also not able to attend.  Like Young she is part of the First Suburbs project and on the board of Habitat for Humanity.  She was a 2010 Fellow at the Center for Progressive Leadership.  

District Attorney candidate Kendall Brown was not in attendance.  Sally-Ann Heckert-Bikin spoke on her behalf.  


Larry Chrzan said...

Hello AAJ,
Thanks for attending and blogging about the Haverford Township Democratic Day of Action. We did indeed Occupy Haverford Township after the speaker event, but it wasn't a sit-in. Dozens of volunteers went door-to-door to talk with hundreds of our Dem neighbors and energize them to get out and vote in this "off-year" election.

You mentioned that I recently relaunched the Haverford Blog (, where I published the campaign finance reports of local candidates and the local party committees. These reports describe the thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from people who do business with Haverford Township and outside PACs flowing into the Republican coffers. This information was previously buried in the files of the Delaware County Bureau of Elections. People I'm talking to are angry about these contributions. A little transparency goes a long way!

Philip Lozano said...

Thanks for blogging about our event. I just wanted to note that the case I was referring to was not the bubble gum factory, but another case in which the Township is being sued for civil rights violations: Watson v. Haverford Township Police Department. This case was brought by a woman who was arrested in her own home and wound up hospitalized. She lost consciousness while being arraigned in the District Court. The DA later dropped all charges against her.

AboveAvgJane said...


Campaign finance reports are indeed very illuminating.

AboveAvgJane said...


Thank you for the clarification. I couldn't hear some the speaker's remarks very clearly and so asked someone for clarification on what case you were referring to. I did not follow up with due diligence to verify via newspapers, etc. Sloppy work on my part. Apologies. I have updated the post.