Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I don't think my eyes have ever been more crossed than at the machinations that I have seen in the last few days.  My husband decided that he wanted to enter the arena of local politics and I supported his decision.  He is new to the process so while he was careful to make sure that every signature was properly executed on his petition he did not turn in his financial papers to the borough and that was a fatal mistake for which he will now pay for.  However, what really made me sick to my stomach is that because of a personal vendetta his petition would have been challenged simply because of who he was.  Yes we know and have figured out who was going to try and make him pull out of the election and I can't say I am surprised.

But what really made me pause was the scrambling that everyone was doing to try and knock each other off the ballot.  You know that old saying those who live in glass houses should not throw stones?  Well it applies in spades to this process especially here in Downingtown.  First of all petitions are to be circulated by a person of your party.  It doesn't matter if your wife or husband is doing you a favor if they are not registered to the same party that you are and then you sign it saying that all is legal and above board you have hornswoggled those whom you wish to represent and you have committed a crime especially if you have the forms notarized.  I also learned that financial papers need to be time stamped when turned into the borough, so not having that done is an offense that could get your petition challenged, and no amount of covering by other people makes it better if you don't have that done.

Another powerful lesson we have learned is that people can be a nice person, but a rotten public servant or politician.  That makes it so hard to see the good in a person when they step off the podium/board/soap box.  It also seems to emphasize the worst possible traits in a person.  Those who are not overly arrogant and condescending in real life become domineering and patronizing when swinging a gavel, and those who appear to have an "aw shucks" attitude shed their outer skin and will smile while they throw you under the bus.

My husband is the type of person where what you see is what you get.  He is a vet so he has seen more than many of us would care to and has come out the other side, he is not duplicitous in any sense of the word, he has handled financial matters for large businesses and worked with people with less than perfect credit, his family is his life and he loves Downingtown.  Maybe 12 years of the same old same old and the above attributes is enough.


  1. Can he still run?

    1. The above question: “Can he still run?” is good and Elaine’s answers are great.

      Elaine said that because the proper paperwork had not been submitted to the Borough, Tony’s candidacy was challenged by another candidate. It’s considered a ‘fatal flaw’ and Tony’s name won’t be on the ballot unless residents write it in.

      OK. We can do that.

      My question is: Should the other candidates who managed to skirt the law be kicked off the ballot?

      If it’s true that the candidate is not allowed to have someone from the opposing party walk around collecting signatures, would it be considered a ‘fatal flaw’ …or ‘worse’?

      What if that candidate went ahead and notarized the petition?
      Is it a ‘fatal flaw’…or ‘worse’?

      Anyone have the answer?


    2. If a candidate did in fact have a petition circulated by an opposing party to have signed and did not do it himself, or herself and then had it notarized that THEY were the circulator of said petition, THAT IS WRONG !!!

      Not even touching the LEGAL aspects of this at all. The Ethical and Moral failure is CLEAR !! This candidate should pull their name from the race on MORAL FAILURE ALONE.

      If a person is willing to lie about something so small as a petition getting signed what else will they lie about??

      If they are on council now then it would stand to ask the question what have they already lied about?

      Tony is getting kicked from the ballot for not following procedure, admits it openly and decides to continue to run on a write in. I can 100% respect that, there is honesty and transparency in action.

      Pat if this is the case it needs to be reported immediately !!! Do we want a liar on council? I THINK NOT.


    3. Well, Downingtown, I think that it’s a shame that so many people, not just politicians, feel that ‘if you don’t get caught, it’s not a crime.’ Of course, it’s not a crime to scheme or plan to steal your neighbor’s new $2000 mountain bike; it IS a crime to actually go ahead and steal it.

      I agree that the candidate or candidates should quietly withdraw now BEFORE the deadline to withdraw passes. Right now, I believe nothing will happen if he/she/they withdraw.

      But to let that day pass and the candidate(s) does (do) NOT withdraw gracefully, I believe they have officially lied.

      The nomination petition should not be ‘fudged’. The person going door to door must registered to vote; must be the same political party as the candidate; must be sure all signers have correct addresses; that each is a member of the same political party as the candidate, etc... and swear to it in front of a witness and notary. It’s official.

      The candidate too must sign the papers and swear to similar statements and more. The candidate’s affirming statements must also be in front of a notary. It is official.

      Hopefully, the person or people now realize the importance of following the rules, and quietly withdraw.


  2. Who my husband? He will have to run a write in campaign, but I feel if a person has that much determination and love for his town he deserves a second chance, so if you live in the West Ward (vote at St. Anthony's or Alert Fire Company) if you would be so kind as to write in

    Tony Babcock

    it would be a big help. Yes his name is Tony not Anthony. Both Democrats and Republicans can write his name in and Tony wants to serve the people not the party.

  3. Sorry I'm new all this political stuff. You can only vote if you live in the West Ward?

  4. No problem. You need to find out where you would vote. If you vote at St. James or the new voting place which used to be Minquas Fire Company then you are in the East Ward. If you vote at St. Anthony's or Alert Fire Company you are in the West Ward. This term there are two council seats up in the West Ward. The ones presently occupied by Chip Gazzerro and Brenda Brinton. Tony and I live in the West Ward so if you live over here you can write him in on the ballot in May no matter your party. The candidates are "D" Chip Gazzerro, Jeff Thomas, Patricia McGlone. Or "R" Brenda Brinton and Tony Babcock as a write in.

    On the East Ward there is one seat that is presently occupied by Ann Feldman. If you live over there you would not be able to write in Tony. The candidates in the East Ward are Ann Feldman and Phil Dague.

    I hope this helps explain it a bit better.

  5. THANK YOU TONY FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY, and for your willingness to give so generously again of your time and expertise.

    Elaine, I commend you for your support of your husbands endeavors to become more active in the community especially "politics." Additionally, for your volunteer efforts and steadfast commitment to the Downingtown Borough, Historic and Parks Commission.

    As for the threat of challenge regarding the time sensitive submission of the required "ethics" form... It is and has been a long standing criteria. IT IS A MATTER OF PRINCIPAL. Burden on the part of the candidate to meet the time sensitive deadline is the same for all. A candidates failure to do so, for what ever reason is the candidates responsibility. The right to challenge such a discrepancy is again equal. It has been exercised frequently and locally as recently as the last election. Ironically the challenge then was in opposition of candidate Betty Shingle, (perhaps you know her?) another Johnsontown resident/neighbor.

    The decision to pursue a political path at all is a challenge and can be a painful learning experience, even with the support of "party". Independantly and without the experienced advice or leadership of someone who has filed before it can be a real headache/heartache. In such a competative arena you have to play by the established rules, dot all your i's, cross all your t's and expect the "duplicitous" dog eat dog attitude and vendictive mentality. They have become acceptable terms of engagement in the political arena today. Recognise it for what it is, Then RISE ABOVE IT TO GIVE YOUR HONEST BEST. YOU DON'T HAVE TO JOIN THEM TO BEAT THEM. Just learn the rules of the game. Then play wisely and be fair in spite of the blatant "mechanation". (you reap what you sew) Sadly, the word defines today's "politics" quite accurately at any level.

    Several things raise my interest and concern with regard to your response to the challenge set before you.
    Those who threatened to challenge Tony's petition based on failure to submitt the required ethics form, Had every right. Just as you have every right to challenge theirs based on your asserted allogations, ie; person(s) circulating the petition not a member of the candidates party. Relative or not. Due process, there for a reason.

    You make a derogetory reference to the long standing representation of current members of council, of which there are two. Mr. Gazzerro and Ms. Brinton.
    You project further critisism referencing an individual that becomes "domineering and patronizing" when "swinging the gavel" One can surmise that to be Council President Gazzerro. Perhaps, you misinterpret Assertive Council Decorum, Authority and Proper conduct in overseeing and maintaining order in a public meeting.
    It is a task not easily undertaken.

    I know Mr. Gazzerro personally. I had the pleasure to serve with him for several years. Don't always agree with him, but respect his intellect, honesty, integrity and selfless representation on behalf of Downingtown and the best interest of the taxpayers without question. I know him to be respectful and fair. He has done a tremendous lot and immeasureable good for Downingtown, most aren't even aware of.

    As a lifelong resident of the Good Neighbor Community, and constituent I would be interested in the candidates position.

    Having been a "public servant" for many years, I leave you with these words to consider: Think long and hard before you put yourself in the realm of public service. It can be as thankless as it is rewarding, You will be the one under the microscope, being publicly scrutinized and critisized, even when you've done your utmost best.
    If you are so easily offended at the gate of the race, perhaps you should rethink your reasoning, desire, stamina and willingness to run. Your opponents haven't even brought out the crops and whips yet....

    Heather Pierce

    1. This might be the first time in 15 years I agree with Heather. No one knows or plays the game better than she did.
      It is definitely a dog eat dog world out there.
      Might I suggest that if you are doing a write in campaign for "Tony Babcock" you somehow make sure (and I am not sure of how it is done...) that all sudo names associated with Tony are also counted as votes for him. When Chippy, Chip, Anthony Gazzerro, Gazero, Cazzero Cazzerro Gazzero (I think you are getting my point! haha) first ran on a write in, it was a nightmare for him getting his votes counted. I was judge of elections that year and it was a nightmare.

      Best of Luck!
      Caryn Menna

  6. Heather thank you for the compliment on the dedication that you see I have for H&P, but there are several points that I think you missed while reading what I wrote. My husband takes full responsibility for not filing the "ethics form" that is required of each candidate and understands completely that it is part of the process of the local political machine. If that had not been the case then he would have let those who were looking to challenge the petition based on that to go ahead and incur court costs and waste man hours just to have the petition thrown out anyway. As he did not then I feel while you have a right to your opinion unless you know the parties involved and the history behind it then you know nothing. Those particular individuals would have filed a challenge if my husband had smiled incorrectly and it would have had nothing to do with the process, but everything to do with who he is. As for Ms. Shingle there was no vendetta assigned to the challenge to the petition. I was approached to represent the Republican Party and another individual was approached represent the Democratic party when it was found that she had dated the material herself which as you know having filed said petition yourself is not allowed. I was working to help elect an individual and had everything been in order there would have been no issue. If you will remember Ms. Shingle then ran a write in campaign as my husband will attempt to do, no harm no foul. I find it ironic that you take umbrage at my "allegations" that others were not so "ethical" in the process yet point out that every i must be dotted and every t must be crossed. You then assert that we must rise above such political workings. If my husband had not risen above such he would have scrambled to challenge said petitions, but he did not and maybe those seeking office who do not "cross every t and dot every i" will think again the next elected go around.

    Heather, as I have said you have every right to your opinion and as I said there are people that are great individuals outside of the political realm who make rotten legislators. I have seen Mr. Gazzerro in his role as a council member AND as council President....have you? I have yet to see you in the council room since his appointment to the position of president. Mr. Gazzerro, no doubt, has a dedication to Downingtown and at times I completely agree with his assessment of the situation, but on more occasions than not, he speaks to his peers in a tone that is less than "leader like" and could make the most jaded person squirm in their seats.

    I am quite aware of the "crops and whips" that can be brought to bear and while I am well acquainted with my penchant to be opinionated, and to many times speak what others are thinking with little filtering. I am also cognizant of the fact that I am not disingenuous with my thoughts, but will protect that which is mine. If you think that I am easily offended then while you know what I write here you don't know me. Am I annoyed at the playground antics of some? Yes, but I like you have raised children and nothing in this world surprises me anymore when it comes to human behavior.

  7. Yes it does explain for me. Thank you.

  8. Blah Blah Blabcock

    1. To the poster above me ... Thank you for providing the readers of this blog with a text book example of ig·no·rance
      noun: ignorance1. lack of knowledge or information.
      "he acted in ignorance of basic procedures"
      synonyms: incomprehension of, unawareness of, unconsciousness of, unfamiliarity with, inexperience with, lack of knowledge about, lack of information