I presented each of the candidates (excluding Heather Bruno as I could not get in touch with her by any means so far) with the opportunity to answer three questions that would give the voters a better idea of where they stood, what they hoped to accomplish and what skills they possessed that would help Borough Council if they were elected. As of this morning there were only two candidates left that I had not heard from. Both of them happen to be the women, one from each end of town, I had figured like most women they just had trouble deciding "which dress to wear to the party" so I sent a gentle reminder and even wished them both luck if they declined. What I did not expect is what one candidate did and that was hijack the questions that I had sent her, put them on her website where it said, "This person stated they would only edit my response for size. I chose to anaswer the questions on my website so that they would not be edited in anyway. I want everyone I will be representing to be able to read what my representation means to them."(taken verbatim from the website) What I had told Ms. Shingle and all the other candidates that I would edit for space not content, because as we all know politicians tend to be a little long winded at times. Her response was that she answered the questions, but chose to put them on her website and I could link to them there.
Betty is running as Elizabeth Shingle, and I am not sure why as almost everyone who knows her, knows her as Betty. Her friends, neighbors and acquaintances also know that Betty only recently became a Democrat. She switched parties on or about March 3, 2011 approximately four days before the petitions for candidacy had to be turned in completed. I have known Betty to be a lifelong Republican and conservative as well. That should give one pause to begin with as to why a person would suddenly switch their party to run for something that she had previously shown no interest in.
Ms. Shingle also states plainly, "I believe that the parks we currently have need to be protected from development. If there is a way to continue the growth but protect our existing parks I am all for it." That is a noble cause as there are quite a few parks here in Downingtown. However, what Ms. Shingle doesn't tell you is that she is well acquainted with the ad hoc group IDEAL which in the past has gone head to head with Friends of Kardon Park on the issue of whether the area west of the Ponds should be developed. I fail to see how that translates to being in favor of protecting our parks.
As for the KOZ, I will give Ms. Shingle credit as to knowing about landlord and property upkeep issues. However, not only does Ms. Shingle live in the KOZ, but she has several properties that are within this zone, so of course she wants it extended. The KOZ was originally intended to bring business into the Johnsontwon area specifically to spruce up the rail yard which now sits in disrepair and to help the homeowners by giving them tax money to put back into the home for repairs and upkeep to present a more inviting atmosphere to this area. While most of the homeowners and landlords appear to be keeping to the letter of the KOZ I do not see many businesses clamoring to build in Johnsontown. In fact there have been new businesses built around J'town, but not in it.
Betty has every right to run for any office that she deems herself qualified for, but I ask you, the voting residents, this....do you really want a council member that is only occupying a seat that will, when it suits her take what is given in good faith and use it only to her benefit? Yes, they were only questions, but what else is Ms. Shingle willing to hijack at your cost?