Sunday, November 6, 2011


      Integrity means- adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.  Unfortunately in the race for Downingtown Borough Council integrity seems to be in short supply.  When the candidates were announced for the three open seats on borough council this coming term I was excited to see such young, new faces wanting to help govern the town that I live in.  I thought that this would be an opportunity to bring a unique perspective and a fresh new attitude about politics as usual.  However, that changed on Saturday when a “letter” was mailed out to residents of the East End of town about each of the candidates which was if nothing else a desperate last minute attempt to sway voters (see below).  The letter shamefully puts more credence on degrees and endorsements than on service and character.  It states that one of the candidates is a Downingtown High School graduate, yet his children attend a private Charter School.  In one of the columns it is stated that two of the candidates care about D’town yet the other is funded by a political action committee.  How that has anything to do with how much a person cares about their community; I must have missed that memo.  I personally want a candidate that listens and is not waiting to answer the question I did not ask to hear their own voice.   The letter states that one candidate is the best one PAC can buy yet the others are endorsed by old school Downingtown who have run the town like it has always been run and has gotten us to the place that we are.  I don’t know about anyone else but I would like to see the “old boys” of Downingtown given the rest that they deserve and bring in new fresh blood that can help hold taxes at a minimum, balance a budget and create a more business friendly town.  Founding ad hoc groups that do little if anything and being members of homeowners associations don’t prepare anyone for office, but serving the community by volunteering your time on committees and commissions and taking the time to know who lives here and what their visions of Downingtown are is the way to influence voters in my book.

     The backroom politics that have emerged because of the desperation and fear leading up to the election on Tuesday has seriously disappointed me, angered me and made me ashamed to say that I live in Downingtown.  We should set ourselves apart when it comes to elections and maintaining the integrity of the town instead of getting down and dirty and displaying the kind of base backbiting politics that got many old time politicians elected and then indicted.

     I can’t tell you who to vote for, but I hope that you will take a look at the photo posted below and remember that if we want integrity in office it starts on the campaign trail.


  1. I am a registered Democrat. (I always have voted for Schroder, though)

    I will VOTE ONLY for Matt

  2. I guess it would be too much to ask to have a handout with each candidate stating thier own experience and letting the voters decide. What a novel idea that would have been. BUT no ...

    It is so obvious from the way this is written Cara was the ring leader in this with Alex going along for the ride.

    Resorting to the lowest denominator does not win my vote ... I was planning on voting for Matt and Cara ... Cara you just lost my vote girlfriend!!! I may just do what the poster above me suggested vote for one because I do not feel the other 2 are worthy of it.

    I am insulted they listed Matt as working for a tool company (like it is a negative) and listed themselves in big business as if that qualifies them for holding that position. I work at a factory that makes snack foods all day and have no degree, .. so I ask you Cara (i am sure you are going to read this) is that a negative?? If I was to run would that make me less qualified??

    Going through various websites I see Matt donating his time to this community on various projects and commissions. Thus, I am to conclude Matt has done more since 2008 then you have since 2001 ! I also conclude how much better he would do in the short time elected in a public office.

    Under political experience you listed "cares about downingtown and.... "

    It should have read "Cares about Downingtown when it suits my needs and will put residents first if it helps me get elected"

    See if your big MBA can help define these better then I can ... this factory worker, since I had to look them up.

    narcissist = a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish.

    insolence = contemptuously rude or impertinent behavior or speech.

    audacity = boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.

    other words you should become more familiar with

    Honesty .. Dignity ... Altruistic

    I left out the definitions for those words, because I believe it would do you some good to look them up.

    By pointing out the perceived flaws in others you made your own shortcommings even brighter. I have never wanted to vote against anyone more then i do now.

    signed ..
    A no degree having factory worker

  3. Prior to reading the letter I was going to vote for Cara and Matt. Cara is on the ballot as a Republican and Democrat which basically guarantees her a seat on council. The letter was clearly an attempt to help Alex and I am glad that it has costs Cara some votes instead. The mailing has made me lose respect for Cara and Alex.

  4. . Elaine, please make sure to copy the whole brochure where it states that the brochures was paid for by Cara. This was not paid for or endorsed by Alex Rakoff. Alex Rakoff is a good candidate for Borough Council. He has Downingtown's interest at heart. He is honest, dedicated to his commitment to the borough, and lives up to his responsibilities. I agree with your statement “When the candidates were announced for the three open seats on borough council this coming term I was excited to see such young, new faces wanting to help govern the town that I live in. I thought that this would be an opportunity to bring a unique perspective and a fresh new attitude about politics as usual.” I myself am very excited to see new young, energetic adults, wanting to take over the helm and move the borough into a new forward thinking direction while preserving the beauty and history we are all so proud of. What does bother me about your blog is that you yourself turned it into an endorsement for Matt. But then again, I guess it is your blog and it is your opinion… so with that I myself would like to state my opinion (not intended to be a battle of words) What does it matter what school a candidates child attend? What does that have to do with living in the borough and being a good active citizen? My husband was on Borough Council for 12 years and my children went to Catholic School. He went to Church every Sunday and coached many of their sports, but that had nothing to do with the dedication and hours he put into his position on council. Ad HOC groups are all around us, you yourself are involved in many as is Nick Winkler who has done a lot for the community and will be a good representative for the borough. Why is it now a problem to be a member of a homeowners association or any other civic minded groups? What is wrong with the “Old Boys” of Downingtown? They are the ones that have supported the younger generation into getting involved; they have stepped aside to give way to progress. They also have built this town, some literally brick by brick, stone by stone to what is currently today, a “Place where everyone wants to live”. The brochure was not a good idea, and probably will cost Cara a few votes tomorrow, but I myself wish them all well and look forward to what is ahead.

    I am not going Anonymous with this one!
    Caryn Menna

  5. P.S. I am not the greatest speller in the world, so forgive my punctuation and spelling, it is the thought that counts :) Thank you!

  6. I am a registered republican. I have lived in the Borough of Downingtown for 9 years. I frequent these blogs because I like to hear what is happening in and around town. When I read this blog this morning, I was very disheartened. Firstly because the author of this blog chose to involved children when writing this article. As a mother, I find that inappropriate. As a voter, I find it unimportant. Secondly, this mailer clearly states at the bottom that it was paid for by Cara DeStefano's campaign. A fact that was not clearly stated in the blog entry.
    As I stated, I am registered republican so my vote will be what it will be, but this "journalism" seems just as biased as the mailer it is complaining about.

  7. I posted the picture that I received Caryn. When a candidate makes certain things an issue for their candidacy then they really need to stand on that ground don't you think? If Alex Rakoff wants to post a retraction or an apology or whatever for what was put out there this weekend then I will gladly post that for all to see. I gave each of the candidates a chance back during the primaries to have their voice heard and then I stayed silent until recently when Matt was made out to be an also ran. I personally got an email from IDEAL which if I still had it I would post that spoke highly of both Cara and Alex and Matt was mentioned at the very end, no picture, no credentials. So at the end of October after the Daily Local article, I posted a blog that highlighted Matt's capabilities and ablilities, yet you had no problem with that. Josh has endorsed Alex and other groups have endorsed Cara, Nick is running unopposed here on the west end and yet I am called to task over my blog about Matt because it appears that I am endorsing him? I fail to see the bad part about that? Then you say that I have the right to my opinion because it is my blog and then go on to say that you are going to state your opinion, but won't get in a battle of words? A bit disingenuous don't you think? As for old school Downingtown you made my point. We have gotten where we are on old school Downingtown, which is on the brink of a tax hike, having to float a bond for monies that were promised that the borough cannot come up with now and various other things and it is time for new blood. Addressing the Ad Hoc groups, yes there are many around us and that is a great thing, but it does not make one more qualified than the next for a position on council and that was blatantly stated in the article in the Daily Local. You are welcome to your opinion Caryn as am I.

    As for the remark about bringing in children.....really? I did not mention childrens names nor did I specify anything about them so that argument is moot. The journalism remark....well that is what it is since this is a blog. I am not sure about anyone else, but when I read a blog it rarely follows the who, what, where, and when that is necessary at the very beginning of a newpaper or magazine article and blogs very definitely speak to opinions.

    Candidates need to have their feet held to the fire no matter who they are and no matter what they got caught up in. Each candidates is responsible for the information that is put out there about themselves. If this is all Cara's doing then let Alex speak for himself, but the lies and the backbiting need to stop.

  8. Your blog your opinion! See you at this weeks Ad Hoc meeting! ;) Wish I had more time for this! I am not as good as you are with postings! I had no problem with you posting a positive remark about Matt, why would I?

  9. Fact is, All the candidates are qualified for the job, any resident is. God bless them for wanting to do it...especially now.

    Caryn said it well...opinions.

    This mail out doesn't sway my opinion one way or the other. I know who's right and who's wrong and so will the voters.

  10. Caryn please !!!

    This is not the Wall Street Journal it is a local blog … Elaine can endorse anyone she wants, just like you are allowed to voice your opinion. Even papers and TV stations endorse candidates. Why the disappointment Caryn??

    She copied the whole letter and you can see how small it is written in the corner paid by Cara. That alone speaks volumes; Cara opened the door by putting out the letter downgrading Matt. Cara took Alex with her for the ride. So I ask you are we to selectively ignore only certain parts of this mailing based on a fine print footnote “paid for by Cara” ??? Wake up Caryn most people are not going to even see that on the bottom or look for it. So the mailing is open for debate in all aspects. This whole thing stinks!!! Sad part of it all, Cara showed her true selfish colors and burned Alex in the process.

    Alex maybe a good guy I certainly would rather he fill the slot along with Matt. The thought of having Cara on council just made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. With that said it is appalling that Cara would throw Alex to the wolves like she did. Even if Cara wins the seat she is still a looser.

  11. Gee, isn't there a lot of blue collar residents in Downingtown? Can you say alienation

  12. Elaine, I'm so glad I found your article and blog. When I read the mailer, my wife and I voiced EXACTLY the points you made. In addition to the suggested divisions of class (based on where the candidates went to school or where they work), there's also this underlying xenophobia I've picked up on during my 6+ years living in Downingtown - and being a resident of Main Street Village none the less. Apparently, if you weren't born in Downingtown or attended school here, your opinion doesn't mean a thing. Along those lines, I've always gotten the "good ole boys" vibe especially after attending a couple IDEAL events.

    It's clear things will never change here as long as people in power still believe that building houses to generate property tax revenue is a good strategy. In case no one noticed, the housing market has imploded / is imploding. And Daniels Way is a striking example of the 'success' of revitalization in Downingtown. Prosperity only comes through creating jobs, and nothing we do in this borough creates jobs - unless you want to be a waitress. And should I believe the rumors I've heard that our new businesses aren't paying any taxes via some twisting of the Keystone Opportunity Zone program? Also, I'm sure having a John Deere dealership in the borough (across from Wawa on Boot) makes sense. How many John Deere tractors do we see in the borough? Booming business! Who makes these genius development decisions!?

    So I assume we can expect business as usual as our town plunges further into debt due to mismanagement and probably corruption at some level. I just wonder how much time we have left before we become Coatesville.

  13. I could not have said it better if I tried !!! damn fine post.

  14. John Deere is in E. Caln Township..not the boro

  15. what about johntown town residents and other residents of downingtown pertaining to flood waters?

  16. Downingtown,
    There is life after and it is a hell of a lot cheaper living far away from this corrupt little political gossip sucking town.
    Go ahead a stay there with buildings on top of one another and a school system that sucks out every last dollar out your pockets.
    Go ahead and live on top of one another an quarrel and argue about crap that doesn't matter.