Opinion: Opportunity Missed to Debate Township Issues

The following was submitted to Haverford Patch by Gerry Hart, candidate for Eighth Ward Commissioner.

The following was submitted to Haverford Patch by Gerry Hart, candidate for Eighth Ward Commissioner. 

I was quite surprised and disappointed Tuesday night to learn upon my arrival at the township commissioner candidate's debate that my opponent chose not to attend. The League of Woman Voters had contacted all the candidates in September to arrange a mutually agreeable time to hold this forum. All of the candidates agreed to holding the debate on October 22, and seven of the eight commissioner candidates attended. Only Mr. Connell failed to attend.

I believe his failure to contact me beforehand shows a certain lack of respect for me, but much more importantly I believe it shows disrespect to the voter and the democratic process. This was the only opportunity for all the candidates to debate the issues in front of the voters. It was our only opportunity to answer important questions in an open forum concerning our stands on library renovations, township improvements, taxes, traffic, bike trails and our goals as commissioners.

The only explanation offered Tuesday night was that Mr. Connell was in Harrisburg for his job with Delaware County.   Regardless of his inability to return to Havertown in the evening for the debate, he made no offer to participate via web-based technology, by phone or to debate at another time.  In contrast, the six other candidates and I were in Havertown tending to the issues of the Township which is where I believe our Township Commissioners need to be.

It is said that "90% of life involves showing up". In this case Mr. Connell gets a failing grade!  It appears that Chris Connell is more occupied with business in Delaware County and Harrisburg than here in Havertown.

With so much at stake, the police station, our library and our township building, our aging infrastructure, it is time debate about the real issues facing Haverford Township. It is time for a change in leadership in the 8th ward. 


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