To say I was confused by what happened Tuesday evening at the Board of Commissioners meeting is an understatement. I was awe struck. I was there in March when the vote was taken. I listened to the Commissioners. I listened to the public comments and heard Commissioner Scarpello’s constituents address him directly at times. While his vote against the library move was a surprise, it made sense to me at the time. Had I been in his position, knowing that many of my constituents were against the move, I would have voted the same way. I had spoken to Commissioner Scarpello a couple of weeks prior to the March meeting and while at that time he stood in support of the move, he had expressed some of the same concerns then that he brought up when he voted no.
Over the days following the vote I heard theories for why he may have changed his mind. Some comical, some horrible, some were even plausible. However, none had any evidence to back them up. So, I moved on. I didn’t feel a need to question why. By April, I figured we had all moved on. So, as you can imagine, I was taken completely by surprise when I heard his statement for the record on Tuesday. My presumptive opponent in the upcoming election had just publicly stated that he believed he should have voted against the concerns of his constituents.
By the next day new theories had started to formulate. This time I didn’t find any of them comical. I wished that they weren’t plausible, but as more evidence came to light, they not only seemed plausible, they started to feel possible.
Since Tuesday, I was reminded that Commissioner Scarpello had written a letter to his constituents after the vote. In it he expressed his support of his constituents’ concerns. This only added to my questions about why he would make a public statement disavowing his vote. I was also forwarded a letter from the UD Democratic Committee to its members. It expressed the Committee’s explicit support of the library move. It encouraged them to be present at the March meeting and to contact their Commissioners. Could Commissioner Scarpello have been compelled by his party leaders to disavow his vote? If he was, how can we as residents of this Township stand for that?
I know that all this evidence is circumstantial, but I also know that this is not a court of law. We as voters must look at everything that is laid out before us and make a choice. We must ask, do we want to continue to support a Commissioner who would publicly disavow his vote in support of his constituents’ concerns? In the worst case, do we want to continue to support a Party Committee that has shown that it will lord its power over one of their own elected officials, if they do not stay in lock step with the party line?
These are questions that you will have to answer for yourselves over the coming months, but I for one hope that you will join me in challenging those who would ignore your voices. Speak loudly. Support candidates who will listen to their constituents and challenge the status quo.