Tag Archives: Willistown

Adam’s last message

Our lamented friend Adam’s last message to the Willistown-Malvern Democrats shows his eternal enthusiasm, dedication, leadership, sense of both breadth and detail, and vision for the future. Any one of those qualities is a great gift!

Subject: The Results
From: Willistown-Malvern Democrats
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 2017

A Great Day for Dems!

Dear Democrats,

You did it.  

Yesterday’s turnout was high. Yesterday we saw dedicated volunteers working like crazy. Yesterday’s results were amazing. If you knocked on doors or stuffed envelopes or made a donation or made phone calls or worked at the polls or VOTED, you were a part of our victories!!! 

Turnout countywide was 32%. That is is 5% higher than 2015 and 10% higher than 2013 (similar elections). We can tell that this was a surge in Democratic Voters because in those elections, Republicans had about a 7,000 vote advantage in straight party ticket voting. Yesterday, we received 2,000 more Democratic straight party votes, despite still dealing with a GOP registration advantage.  

The most surprising outcome of the night was our blowout sweep of the County Row Offices. No Democrat has EVER held a County Row Office. Next year, we’ll have four of them – Margaret Reif as County Controller, Patricia Maisano as Treasurer, Yolanda Van De Krol as Clerk of Courts and Christina Vandepol as Coroner. Each race was won by between 6,000 and 10,000 votes.

In Malvern Borough, we had another sweep of Democratic Women. Amy Finkbiner was re-elected to Council, while Julie Raynor and Marty Laney took Republican seats, establishing a first Democatic Majority on Council 5-2. Mayor Dave Burton was also re-elected unopposed.

For Great Valley School Board, Bryan Paluch won his race for a seat in Region 3, which is Willistown. He ousted an incumbent and will now serve with another Democrat elected yesterday in Region 1. The current board has no Democrats.

Barbara Handelin became the first Democrat ever elected Willistown Supervisor in the most exciting race of the night. Unofficial results show her winning by 4 votes out of over 3000 cast. We are monitoring whether any adjustments are made before the election is certified, such as because any provisional ballots are allowed and counted. These adjustments are rare, but they could happen. After that, there will be a period where the defeated incumbent can ask for a recount. We will have to wait and see if he does. That would also be unlikely to change the outcome, but we will monitor the situation. Barbara will be joined by Page Allinson, who was elected as a Township Auditor.

These kinds of results were repeated everywhere. We won supervisors races in Republican strongholds like East Goshen and East Marlborough, while taking control of townships for the first time like West Whiteland, West Goshen and Uwchlan. Democrats made similar historic gains in Delco and Bucks, while continuing our dominance in Montco.  

Statewide, we won 4 of the 7 judicial races. Partisan control stayed the same on the PA Supreme Court (5-2 Dem) and Commonwealth Court (7-2 Republican). We gained ground on the Superior Court and now trail only 8-7 on that bench.

I would like to pass along my sincere thanks, as well as the thanks of all our Democratic Committeepeople and Candidates, to everyone who helped and everyone who voted. Our Party was right last year when we said we were Stronger Together. We proved it at the polls.

Of course, this is only step 1 in the process to put our county, our state and our nation back on the right track. We need to keep this momentum going when we have the opportunity to make real gains that fix Harrisburg and handcuff Donald Trump in Washington by electing Democrats to the State Legislature, Congress and the US Senate. I hope that you all are all ready to keep fighting and keep WINNING in 2018.

Thanks again,

Adam Swope
Zone Leader, Willistown-Malvern Democrats

PS. You can see countywide results here, and precinct-by-precinct totals here.

Help us collect our signs! If you see Democratic signs, please grab them. Let us know if you have any and we will pick them up. Since all of our candidates won, they may need them again to run for re-election!


January TBD – Swearing in Ceremony for our Democratic County Row Office Candidates

January TBD – Swearing in for our new Democratic Members Amy Finkbiner, Julie Raynor and Marty Laney, and organizational meeting of Malvern Borough Council

January TBD – Swearing in for Bryan Paluch, and organizational meeting of Great Valley School Board

January TBD – Swearing in for Barbara Handelin, and organizational meeting of the Willistown Board of Supervisors


November 29th – Fundraiser for Chester County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone’s campaign for Lt. Governor in 2018, Franklin Commons, 400 Franklin Ave., Phoenixville, 6-8pm

December 12th – Kickoff Fundraiser for Tanner Rouse, candidate for State Senate in 2018, at the home of Sandi Richards, 35 Old Covered Bridge Rd., Newtown Square


Our mailing address is:

Willistown-Malvern Democrats
PO Box 1307
Malvern, PA 19355

Scratching the Surface of Willistown Politics (and washing my hands afterwards)

by Chris Smith, Malvern Patch, 11/8/12

…More recently, I learned of the passing of a longtime member of Willistown’s Zoning Hearing Board and that another member had at about the same time moved outside of Willistown. The Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) is comprised of three members and an alternate so this left the ZHB with just one member and an alternate. With my desire to serve my community and my background in real estate law and real estate, I felt compelled to offer my services and applied to fill one of the vacant ZHB positions. I could find no information on Willistown’s website about the vacancies or application procedures so I sent a letter on July 27, 2012, to the Township Manager, submitting my name for consideration. I enclosed my resume with the letter. A week later, when I hadn’t been contacted about my letter, I sent an e-mail to the Township Manager asking if he’d received it. He replied that he had and had given it to the Supervisors. I’ve attached all of these correspondences to this blog.

I have received no further communications from the Supervisors, Township Manager or anyone affiliated with the township. I didn’t even receive a “thank-you” for applying for this volunteer position. I received no instructions as to the process for appointing new members to the ZHB. They didn’t even have the courtesy to tell me that they would be nominating and voting on new members to fill the vacancies during their regular Board of Supervisors meeting on August 20, 2012, more than three weeks after they’d received my letter applying for one of the vacancies. In fact, the agenda they posted on the Willistown Township website for that meeting merely stated as one of the agenda items “Appointments to Boards and Commissions.” Typical of the communications shortcomings of our township governance and the underhanded manner in which some business is conducted, the agenda gave no details as to which boards and commissions would have appointments made to them that night. As it turned out, only the ZHB vacancies were filled on August 20th according to the posted minutes on the Willistown Township website. And that alternate position? Either hasn’t been filled or no longer exists according the the website. It’s not much, but I’d take it.

Very important decisions are made by the ZHB and yet, no public notice was made of the vacancies and it appears most of Willistown’s 11,000+ residents had no idea the vacancies even existed. Shouldn’t we make sure those that sit on our ZHB are the best qualified to make zoning decisions for us? As I see it, I’m not the only Willistown taxpayer that has been treated discourteously by our Supervisors. By not conducting a proper search within our township for qualified persons to sit on the ZHB we have all been treated discourteously and, worse, undemocratically. I wasn’t even asked to interview for one of the positions so I’ve a very strong hunch that the treatment I received is attributable to my political affiliation. It’s one thing to be given a fair shot and fail, but there’s no justification for completely ignoring the legitimate offer to volunteer of a tax paying resident of our township. Leave the ugly politics in Washington and keep it out of Willistown. We’re all better off if civility is exercised.

I’ll now make my last point about this unfortunate experience. The two men who were appointed to fill the vacancies on the ZHB are Republican Committee Persons in Willistown. The already sitting member on the ZHB, another man, is a Republican Committee Person in Willistown. All three current members, therefore, of the ZHB are Republican Committee Persons. It would seem that the path to a seat on the ZHB is through membership on Willistown’s Republican Committee, which Norm McQueen happens to chair. Are you smelling an oligarchy? There’s a very strong odor of oligarchy now and, frankly, I’d rather be locked inside of a Radnor Hunt horse stall on a hot July day that hasn’t been cleaned in a week than see what is happening to the governance of our township. Apparently, Republicans not interested in a Committee seat, Democrats and Independents need not apply for important township volunteer positions, that is, if you even are aware of the vacancies. Governing powerin Willistown is being concentrated and controlled by a very small group of people. This cannot be good.

read the whole post at Malvern Patch