October 21, 2015
For the past 2 ½ years Save the Valley has worked to preserve open space in our community. The upcoming Board of Supervisor elections in Concord Township are crucial to the fight to stem the tide of unwanted development. This election cycle, Save the Valley is taking the step to inform voters by providing a candid assessment of each candidate, and making recommendations for voters as to which candidates are most qualified for and committed to this fight.
The election in Concord matches two incumbents versus two challengers. We have made known our concerns over the past several years about the proposed destruction of Beaver Valley, overdevelopment, traffic and the lack of transparency in how decisions are made in Concord Township. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that these concerns are reflected in our candidate assessments. However, our candidate reviews also take into account positive efforts in the fight to preserve open space.
We are sorry if we offend anyone with our analysis. Concord needs change, but it is not going to happen by succumbing to partisan political behavior. Use the guide below to help you with your voting decision. Use it too as a wakeup call, for a more sophisticated and open process to decide Concord’s future.
It is our position that the issue of open space transcends political parties. Successfully addressing the issue of overdevelopment, as well as all the consequences that come from it, can be done by Republicans and Democrats alike. Voting for someone at the local level because of political ties only, while ignoring the urgency of the development issue, is a prescription for failure.
It is our conclusion that three candidates are worthy of your consideration. We encourage voters of Concord Township to decide among John Wellington, Dan Foster and Kevin O’Donoghue. We do not support Gail Ryan.
John is a not a politician and is a fresh face in Concord politics. He lives directly adjacent to the threatened land in Beaver Valley and is running on a platform advocating for open space in Concord. He would provide much needed representation on the Board of Supervisors for residents living west of Route 202. He is willing to debate the issues with his opponents and engage in an open dialogue about the important issues facing the Township. As a challenger, he does not have a voting record to assess. However, there is no question as to where John stands on open space.
Dan has been active in Concord politics as a previous candidate for office and as the head of the Concord-Bethel Democratic Party. He attempts to bring transparency to Concord by filming and posting important township meetings. As a challenger, he does not have a voting record to assess. However, he has identified open space as an important campaign issue and one was one of a group of Concord residents to propose specific enhancements to the Township code almost 18 months ago.
UPDATED: Although Kevin recently voted against the development of Beaver Valley, his full record on open space is not good. Since 2004 he has cast many votes allowing for rezoning and high density development. Kevin is part of the Township process that defines open space to include a cemetery, a golf course, restricted grounds around a prison, the right-of-way land directly under high voltage lines, lawns surrounding high density development and the grounds of a sewage treatment plant. He did not act on common sense recommendations to upgrade the Township’s ordinances. As head of the Concord Township Republican party, he is responsible for accepting a large number of contributions from developers and mailing flyers that contain misrepresentations about open space issues in Concord.
Gail was appointed by the Board of Supervisors this past summer to replace Dominic Cappelli. She moved to Concord Township 5 years ago. She works on land development issues through her employment in public works and building and planning departments of Lower Merion.
Gail has shown no evidence of seeing the need to preserve open space in Concord. She does not even mention open space as an issue in the campaign. We have been unable to communicate with Gail as her Township email address bounces, there is no public listing of contact information, nor has she engaged us. The last person appointed by the Board of Supervisors, Libby Salvucci, ended up siding with those who appointed her by voting to develop Beaver Valley. Concord Township does not need another rubber stamp for development.
Regardless of the outcome of this election, we call for a post-election forum to discuss the issues that we, and you, are so concerned about. Currently, most citizen input in Concord is cut off by a gavel at a meeting, and almost always ignored anyway. The incumbents rejected an election debate that we proposed, even though it would have been moderated by 3 members of the media. Concord deserves better, and we urge the candidates to participate in a forum once the election is concluded.
Save the Valley’s mission is to preserve the unprotected acres of Beaver Valley in Pennsylvania and Delaware by facilitating public awareness, public education, mobilization, and action regarding the protection of Beaver Valley. We are a group of local, action-oriented citizens who share a common love for Beaver Valley and aim to preserve it for future generations.
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