New Leadership

The following letter appeared in a “Guest Submission” on the OPINION page, page A12, of the Bucks County Courier Times on Thursday, September 10, 2009. It is reproduced here with the permission of its author Mr Edward Farling of Holland PA, a concerned citizen.
EdFarling_May5_2008SM(The letter is reprinted word for word; the only changes made here are reduction in the size of paragraphs to make reading it easier on a web page.)

New Leadership: Last thing we need is more of the same

Winning elections has a way of throwing cold water on even the hottest rhetoric. President Obama, for example, has found some of his loonier campaign promises impossible to keep once faced with the realities of governing. He has reversed himself to meet the responsibilities of his office.

By contrast, right here in Northampton, Supervisor Rothermel has had no such awakening.

Mr. Rothermel has so far ruled as he ran. In his campaign, he misrepresented both the problems and his ability to solve them. He alleged corruption that nobody, not a team of outside experts, and not Frank Rothermel himself, has found after years of looking.

He seems to revel in the circus atmosphere at township meetings; occasionally stepping into the crowd to confront citizens – once, bringing the meeting to the edge of violence.

For all the bluster about changing the way the Township does business, his and fellow Democrat Jim Cunningham’s proposals have been limited to: voting against an important ballot referendum, opposing the hiring of enough police officers, charging residents to use the free library, shutting the senior center, and installing speed cameras on Township roads.

Since Mr. Rothermel’s election, there has been only one meaningful change in the West-end sewer situation. The hard work of Supervisors Komelasky, Deon, the late John Long and Friedman, with help from Scott Petri and Tommy Tomlinson, helped secure millions in outside funding for the affected residents.

Mr. Rothermel’s history is important because Supervisor candidates Dobbins and Gold are repeating it.

Like Mr. Rothermel, Linda Dobbins and Marvin Gold are practicing attorneys.

Like Mr. Rothermel, they have mastered the art of making a scene, and the occasional campaign speech, at public meetings.

And like Mr. Rothermel, they can spot a problem a mile away, but offer precious few solutions beyond “change”.

Dobbins and Gold, with the help of Supervisor Rothermel, are getting a lot of press recently with complaints about Township legal bills.

If the biggest mistake George Komelasky made in his time in office, and I assume his political opposition would focus on his biggest mistakes, was paying a little extra for a good lawyer, he has performed exceptionally well indeed.

If keeping the library free and the senior center open also means keeping the current law firm, I’ll take that bargain any day.

The attention on the legal bills also distracts form the role Dobbins, Gold, and Rothermel played in creating those bills.

Mr. Gold’s sideshow antics at Township meetings contributed to the imposition of the three-minute time limit on public comment, which he then sued to overturn. Mr. Rothermel vastly complicated the lawsuit, and engaged in a clear conflict of interest, by joining Mr. Gold in suing the Township he was elected to represent.

Mr. Rothermel is a practicing attorney, a former fraud prosecutor, and Treasurer of the Board of supervisors. He is arguably both the best qualified and in the best position to judge the propriety of legal bills.

Mr. Rothermel has voted to approve every legal bill presented during his nineteen months in office. Either he was derelict in his duties then or he is grandstanding now.

We will not hear which law firm(s) the trio recommends, because the public would have the chance to scrutinize them; and their history of campaign contributions. We will only hear that the current firm is too “cozy” with the incumbents.

We did not hear a rate structure the three lawyers would find fair until this newspaper published the rates paid by other local municipalities. We only heard that the current bills are too high.

More generally, we will not hear a positive vision of the future from Dobbins and Gold, because all they have is complaints about the past.

We have seen how the reckless and confrontational campaign style of one candidate translated into his actions as a Supervisor. The weight of the office will not pull Dobbins and Gold out of the political grandstands any more than it has Frank Rothermel.

The last thing we need is more of what Dobbins, Gold and Rothermel already bring to public meetings.

We need the leadership, vision, and experience of George Komelasky.

Edward Farling
Northampton, PA

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