My Response to Commissioner Scarpello’s Statement

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.

Reader Comments

  1. David Eckert

    Hello Paul,
    I found this page through the Upper Dublin United Facebook page. While I was not at the meeting I find some of your comments to be indicative of why this country is so misaligned.

    You stated “I know that all this evidence is circumstantial, but I also know that this is not a court of law.”

    This is the M.O. of so many (typically on the Right) who use the tactic of “Let’s throw stuff out there and make the opponent prove something is not true.” Of course, knowing full well that you can’t prove a negative. Think, Benghazi.

    For a broader stroke, it’s been said that the Libertarian philosophy is not much more than anarchists with money. It subscribes to the theory that people (businesses) will do the right thing if just left alone. Again, think Boeing (and the 737 Max).

    Government is far from perfect and at times far from even being efficient. But try and think of one major law that was NOT enacted at any level because some person, business or entity did not in some way harm another either physically or financially.

    Want smaller government? Stop the need for it.

    This is exactly why I would never vote for a Libertarian. It sounds good on paper but in reality it would never work.

    • nicotera75

      Thanks for taking the time to respond. Let me address your comments one by one.

      First, this post is my initial reaction to what happened. As I am sure you are aware this is a very charged issue in our Township and reacting so close to the events that occurred may have been a small misstep on my part. I could have taken this post down or even changed it, but I always take responsibility for my actions and would rather admit that I make mistakes and work to improve than censor myself or hide my actions.

      Since I wrote this post I have had several conversations about it, both publicly and privately. From those conversations I have come to two realizations. One realization is that I tend to give people and organizations more credit than they probably deserve. I am reminded of a conversation I had with a leader in local Democratic Party politics regarding my thoughts on last year’s PFAS legislation defeat. His point was quite simply that most politicians could only hope to be as cunning and strategic as I like to accuse them of being. At the time of this writing that lesson escaped me.

      The second realization that has come from all those conversations is quite simply that Commissioner Scarpello mishandled the situation all on his own. Ultimately, just like I am responsible for my own actions, he is responsible for his, no matter what drove him to those decisions. His ultimate decision to flip flop on his vote lands squarely at his feet and he must take ownership of that and deal with the fallout, whatever that may be.

      Now let me add some nuance to your broad stroke assertions about libertarianism and the Libertarian Party. Mostly, these are two very different things. Small “l” libertarianism is a philosophy. A series of beliefs and ideals drawn from many places and built by a great number of political, economic and sociological minds. If you dig deeper than a simple surface view, you will find that the are many examples of libertarianism working quite well today around the world. May I suggest you read The Voluntary City from the scholars at The Independent Institute. There is a litany of other great source materials on how mutual aid societies and NGOs could be implemented to replace much of the bureaucracy and inefficiency of the government.

      The Libertarian Party is just that, a political party. Assigning anarchism to the Libertarian Party is no different than assigning socialism to the Democratic Party. It’s just not the case. Just like any political party, the philosophies of our members are as wide and varied as our members themselves. The difference I’ve found with the Libertarian Party is that we are accepting of those differences and welcome anyone who is interested in advancing the causes of freedom, no matter their beliefs.

      Your point about government is quite timely. I spent a few hours last night at an Institute for Justice event. I met and spoke at length to litigators who have argued cases at all levels of the courts up to and including the Supreme Court. They are fighting exactly what you are saying doesn’t exist. Laws that have no purpose and in no way come from someone being harmed or their rights being infringed upon. They spoke about things like civil asset forfeiture, marijuana law, immigration law, eminent domain, professional licensing and a myriad of other examples of government overreach. They have no real purpose except to allow the state to assert its perceived power or to economically protect special interests. I’d hate to break the news, but our current government and politicians from both major parties do very little to prevent harm to us and spend more energy protecting cronies, lobbyists and special interests.

      As a moderate Libertarian, I do see the need for small decentralized government to protect citizens and their rights. What I won’t do is profess that our government as it exists is any less than broken. Badly. Broken at the hands of those who want nothing more than to convince us that they have the solution, when they do little more than add to the problem.

      Today the Libertarian Party has boots on the ground doing exactly what you are talking about. Fighting to forge ways to take government out of our lives. While I appreciate your idea that we are just anarchists with money, it’s just not true. If you look at it honestly, one of the main struggles we have as a party is that we don’t have money. We struggle day in and day out to find and raise money to support our cause. All the funding for my campaign has come from me raising it. I wish the party had the money of the two major parties to back me. It would have made my run for office much easier.

      Never is such a strong word. One day you may find that a Libertarian is just the candidate you do want to vote for. You never know. People change, the world changes, philosophies change, and political parties change. Don’t limit your options.

      Thanks again for your comment. I hope I was able to clarify and address some of your concerns.


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