Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In Pursuit of Special Interest

I love my town!  We have so much history, great people and wonderful activities.  There are so many opportunities to volunteer and we have awesome committees and commissions in the borough.  The restaurants and businesses, that are here and thriving, are some of the best around.    Our fire departments and police departments are simply fantastic and help serve in the community along with their regular duties, but there comes a time when we stretch these entities too thin with too many obligations.  Public works becomes an around the clock job and commerce is interrupted for an activity that is not necessary nor is it an established event in which the above mentioned are prepared for in advance.

For instance it is rumored around town that there is to be a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.  Now while that might sound like a lot of fun and bring citizens together on a holiday, but the added pressure it will place on our police force is not something that any group that is given the responsibility to protect and serve a community should have to deal with.   The trot would take place on a Thursday morning which means that officers that are on night shift Wednesday night will complete their 7pm to 7am shift and then be held over till 11am.  Once the trot is over with they will be allowed to return home for 8 hours to eat a bit of turkey, sleep maybe 5 hours, shower and report for duty at 7pm again Thursday night.  It is true that every job has sacrifices and that we all have to make them, but I am not sure that I want someone who is carrying a gun to be forced to work under those conditions because a special interest group  decides that we need yet another activity on a holiday. .  Public Works will also have to work overtime to place barriers and remove them along with trash cleanup instead of spending time with their families and friends on this special day.   Yes, Downingtown has wonderful holiday celebrations such as the Christmas Parade, Ghost Walk, Good Neighbor Day and the like, but these things are in the schedule way beyond and past what some of us can even remember.  The police are ready to serve on those days and rarely is it like the above scenario.  The Ghost Walk does not even need police presence and very little from Public Works.  Good Neighbor Day is synonymous with Downingtown and the 4th of July and the Christmas Parade benefits each business on Lancaster Ave that choses to stay open that day.  But what benefit do we gain from forcing officers to work less than reasonable hours?

There is a race scheduled for the last Saturday in October that sounds like a great idea until one realizes that it possibly will close down streets where commerce is present and will cause money to be lost to those employees and the borough.  Normally most of the businesses are closed on holidays so parades and activities don’t interfere with the buying and selling of goods.  However, to have a 5K race on a non-holiday weekend which is the end of the month a time when a lot of businesses close their books for that month, there is no benefit other than to the race promoters and to whom the money will go.  I’m wondering if the registration fee will go to pay the money that will be lost to employees of any of the major (and minor) businesses while the race is going on.

I guess that my peeve is that while activities and events can be fun, entertaining and a draw for the future what good does it do when in the end it costs us, the taxpayers, so much more.


  1. Even as a regular citizen of Downingtown I never realized or thought anything about the toll it would take on our police department !!! Shame on me for not knowing even paying attention to this. Thank you for bringing it up for the average townie.

    Since the Mayor of Downingtown is in charge of the police department, I am very surprised that he would allow this to take place. I understand a charity run for a good cause, but at what “cost” is this going to take on the people protecting us? Should not the organizers of the run cover the cost for the police??? Better still, why not have a Zombie costume contest in a parking lot of event sponsors, where it will not impact so much commerce, and hurt our police department. You could probably raise more money and have a smaller fee to enter with age categories etc ….

    Shame on the Mayor for doing this without thinking of the impact on others in this community.


  2. Downingtown is also going to impact the Public Works Dept. too. They will have to pull overtime for both events.

  3. Dear Downingtown Resident or anyone else who cares,....ask who is in charge of the 'special interest groups' who put the demands on the Boro employees and compromises businesses for their personal financial gains? You will be surprised at how little he and they do without thinking of the impact on others both in this community and those who serve it. But then again, he is in charge and the rest have to follow his orders.

  4. Personal financial gains? This is for the benefit of Downingtown West Cross Country AND children with cancer. If you had a child suffering with cancer, perhaps you would understand that they are not, as you so callously call them, a "special interest" or be worried that participants are "interfering with the buying and selling of goods." Not only does the money go toward these children with cancer, but the kids who participate in this event learn what it means to help others.

    Hats off to the selfless people doing this for the benefit of sick children and those who love them. Thank you.

  5. As a cancer survivor it does bother me if officers are forced to work hours that no person carrying a gun should have to work. It would bother me if my child had cancer and officers were being forced to work additional hours on a holiday, especially when that holiday is one of the biggest bar times and domestic incidents are at their peak. Please don't insult the residents intelligence and try and make it out like self agrandizement is a selfless charity act, especially when they rules are being bent and or broken.

    As for the race in October I see nowhere that the money being raised is for charity. Tell us where that money is going?