Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Day After (No...not a reference to the nuclear holocaust movie of the same name)

Posted by: Dennis Lieb

I'd like to thank every single person who gave up their time yesterday to stand out in the crisp November air and man the polls for me in my quest for city council. I'd also like to thank every voter who turned out to vote for their local representative.

You are members of an elite group: either a small majority or large minority (depending on the official count) of voters who took time to actually vote for the office that has the most direct effect on your local well being.

Some thoughts on the day and it's outcome...I got to the Temple Covenant of Peace at 15th and Northampton, where I vote, right at opening time and was the first person to register a vote...A first for me! I was both enthused and empowered yesterday morning when I was met coming out of the polls by a woman I had never met, who pulled my flyer out of her pocket on the way in and said she was voting for me. At that point I was leading in my ward 2-0. Yippee!

I was impressed all day with the willingness of voters to listen to my write-in spiel, to have no fear of the process and actually look forward to trying something new. Obviously, there were problems with execution in some cases. ( I was hoping for more than one lousy vote for Superior Court Judge but I guess you take what you can get right?)

I'm already emotionally beyond the election results. I'm glad I tried and would do the same thing again tomorrow. I am not disappointed because I followed my heart and followed through. Disappointment would have been not trying it. I'm now looking enthusiatically towards what other ways I can affect positive change in the neighborhood, outside of public office.

There was an obvious testy undertone all day from the Fleck camp that they were not at all happy to be forced back into Easton for the day to actually have to campaign for the vote. This was more than just my perception, as helpers at other voting sites observed the same thing. One polling official at St. Anthony's (a member of Easton's Democratic Committee) responded to a question from a poll watcher about the final count by saying that "Dennis had his chance in the primary and he lost." What does that have to do with questioning the results of this election? Is that an appropriate comment for a "neutral election official" to be making?

Maybe there are hard feelings and maybe not. I have none. I don't feel I have anything to be ashamed of either. I worked within the election rules of Pennsylvania. This wasn't about Mr. Fleck or me or whoever is in this particular seat at any particular point.

For me, this election was always about a process more than it was about an event.

The message sent by you 100 or so people that wrote my name in is crystal clear:

The West Ward will no longer be the pushover doormat neighborhood that politicians can disregard with impunity. Just as the recent urban ecology canton program has shown, there is a building momentum in this neighborhood - still in it's infancy but palpably present - that sends the following message to anyone holding office: If you want to represent this neighborhood you will have to earn it...the hard way.

There are probably better ways to spend the time, money and energy - my own or my volunteers - than to run a nearly impossible write-in campaign at the eleventh hour. It was necessary...Necessary to provide a choice that non-existent Republican, Libertarian, Green or Independent candidates could not provide. Necessary to set a tone...that no one walks in here unopposed and claims title.

From now on in the West Ward this is the credo:

Work for the right to represent us or go some place else.



noel jones said...

Thanks for running, Dennis! Even if it was last-minute, I was so glad that the neighborhood had a choice--that is not a negative reflection on Mike Fleck--I would have been disappointed if anyone were running unopposed, because as we try to develop political will in our neighborhood, key to that engagement is that people get involved in making a choice, and in an unopposed run, there is no choice.

It was disappointing to see Mike run without even ordering signs, so I'm glad that you jumped in the race soon enough to make the Flecks go door-to-door and work for the neighborhood's vote, instead of treating it like a cake-walk.

But I'm thankful to both of you for running in the first place, as that's an important part of it all--not just sitting back passively and waiting for someone else to run, but either running, or encouraging a good candidate to run each time, so that the neighborhood has a choice in which to exercise their vote.

David, Larry and I are convinced that there were way more than 100 people that voted with the intention of writing you in, as so many people stopped to learn about the write-in process on the way in, or showed up with the intent to vote for you already. This is reflected in the high count of undervotes at each of the four polling stations. I even got confused and had to ask one of the poll workers to explain what I was doing wrong--and I was one of the people handing out the cards! I think that a lot of people considered the red "cast vote" button to be the "enter" button mentioned on the instruction card. Also, we still have over 80 votes missing from St. Anthony's Ward 6, because the machine malfunctioned after 17 votes, so while Mike won a clear victory, there is no official vote count yet.

Mike Fleck, I'm sure, privately, knows the likelihood that a large number of the undervotes were attempts to vote for you, so hopefully he will be respectful of the number of active voters in the neighborhood he will now be representing who want change, and engaged representation. After all, you did pull 46% of the vote in the primary, and even the Republicans came out to support you, so he should be respectful of that and truly open to listening to everyone who comes to him with concerns about the neighborhood.

(By the way, I tried to insert the torn-page feature on this post for you, but it threw the side-bars to the bottom, so it has to stay up full-length--sorry)

Thanks again for running, Dennis! I hope you'll consider running for an at-large seat for City Council in the future...

Tim Pickel said...

Thanks for running Dennis. I believe we should work hard and keep Fleck accountable. If the past is any indication, he will attempt to pay little attention to our causes. We must keep him on task to do what a true representative of the West Ward should be doing.

Alan Raisman said...

Thank you Dennis for allowing there to be a choice for those in that district. I hope that this election, and every election after as long as the Home Rule Charter is in place, causes a greater turnout at City Council meetings. Does anyone know the date of the first City Council meeting of the new Council? While two of the three seats will not be changing, the three individuals will become our representatives in our respective districts. I encourage everyone to try and attend that first City Council meeting, to let our representatives know that we are here for them to talk to.

Anonymous said...

There was still no congradulations from Dennis, which is ok and expected. I will always be accountable and you can call me anytime. I think it is funny to say "our issues." I am wondering if Tim means street cleaning, which he voted against several times while I was pushing it on council or other issues.

Anyway, back to the rason I came here before I saw another of the Dennis Leib hit jobs. I wanted to let everyone know that I am a City council member for all whether you supported me or not.

I also wanted to say thank you to dennis for running and wish him the best of luck. I don't know why he has to be bitter and negative during the campaign but I do wish him luck on the planning commission and his other endeavors.

I want to hold a public forum to share ideas and develop a planning strategy for West Ward priorities before the end of the year. I will let everyone know when and where. I wish everyone was as pleasant as Noel. Supportive of her candidate but not negative about others and that is greatly appreciated. thanks to all who voted on Tuesday.

Mike Fleck

Tim Pickel said...

Time will tell Mike. I hope you do hold the forum. I hope you continue to hold them through your term. I have nothing against you personally, we have always gotten along. I just question your devotion to the job. I would be more than happy if you have grown from your past experience and are now ready to tackle the job head on.

Street cleaning is an issue I think is important but was not in favor of when I was on council because of how it was being done. Noel and I got a whiff of what they are up to with the "new plan" and you are going to have to watch them that they do it right. I doubt if they will.

I would be glad to discuss issues when I get home. I would like it if several of us get together on a regular basis and keep the West Ward in the picture in Easton politics.

Good luck to you. Do a good job.

Dennis R. Lieb said...


Bitter? Negative? Hit jobs? Have you been reading your own comments?

I've been biting my lip for a long time and now I'm going to say this loud and clear so you better get it through your thick skull.

You are not trusted by a great many people in this city. I've seen the reasons for that mistrust myself over the past ten years. I've endured your grandstanding at council. I've been personally insulted by you at those meetings when I was there for the legitimate goal of getting you and your colleagues off your collective asses to pass the Rental Licensing Ordinance, which -by the way - had sat on your desks for nine months after we spent three years putting it together.

For our trouble we were told that the West Ward was fine, that we were the problem and that the city would be better off if we moved out. You had no problem piling on that night and, if you rememeber, I sat there and took it because you clowns controlled the microphones.

This is the kind of crap that the press doesn't bother to put in the paper that would reveal how disaffected council has been to the West Ward's problems over the time I've been involved here.

The single biggest factor that pushed me over the edge to run against you in the spring and again in the fall were the calls from many citizens I respect - including more than a few who haved served or are serving in elected positions right now - who did not want you back in office in any capacity.

We don't have to be friends to both want the city to move forward. I don't have to like you to help achieve goals we both have in common.

After the primary you came on this blog and claimed that I had done some awful things in the past and then failed to mention what they were. That is called slander. I can go back and pull the quotes if you want me to. At the time I did not respond to your comments. You also claimed on this blog that I somehow rigged the exit poll at our last candidate forum simply because a large majority voted for me. I also let you slide on that comment despite the fact that it was not only a stupid thing to say but totally irrelevent since you had already won the primary.

I heard about the comments that you made to my poll worker Tuesday, insinuating that I had ties to racists. This is perhaps the most aggregious breach of election ethics I can think of but I wouldn't have made an issue of it if you could manage to just shut up once in a while.

Running for office was a means to an end for me. I had specific legislation I wanted to achieve. That is the difference between me and you...for you, running for office is the essence of life. My life isn't going to be miserable if I don't get to spend the next four years immersed in the political arena.

I am not the reason that there is so much venom directed towards you from the public and on the various blog sites. Your past is catching up with you. Being a sore winner is one of your problems and the reason you won't be getting any congratulatory calls from me.

You are young enough to learn from mistakes. Start taking notes.

I'll be spending my time from now on looking for interesting planning and development stories to relate on this blog...housing, rail service, streetscaping. Democratic processes are another interest I'll try to get into - but not politics for politics sake. Your the expert on that.

I don't wish return to this topic again. Don't make me have to.


noel jones said...

Dennis Lieb is not bitter; rather, he is one of the most determined optimists in Easton, otherwise he wouldn't bother to keep trying to make it a better place--see my latest post "Declaring War on Positivity"

noel jones said...

Alan, the first City Council meeting with our new rep sitting on it will be January 13th, 2010.

Anonymous said...


I have been nice to you plenty. You are one of the most negative and bitter people I have ever met. You have no understanding of proccess and instead of movinf things forward you often destroy groups you are part of if you don't get your way. What is funny is we agree on many issues. Alson at 80 percent of the vote I don't think that many people are as upset with me as you say. Bernie is an idiot and lies like crazy. Dennis, I have not had respect for you since you tried to push at 80 year old woman. Up until then I thought you were great. This is the last comment I will make about you because I know I will never win you will just loose control and say wilder and wilder things.

For everyone I hope to have a great meeting within the next month to discuss long term ideas for the West Ward. I look forward to working with all of you.

Mike Fleck

Alan Raisman said...

I will be on winter break until January 22, but I will be at the City Council meeting on January 27.

celticwarrior said...

amen to you Dennis. I couldnt say it any better. Time will tell mike.

Mrs.TMiller said...

Dennis, thank you for running and for giving us a choice in the General Election. I think a bit more advance work would have led to a different outcome, but I'm proud to see the electoral process working in the West Ward!

Mike, congratulations to you as well. I'll look forward to the forum and hope that you remain engaged with West Wardians of all stripes.

hopeunseen said...

Dennis, you fought the good fight. Thank you! I agree with Theresa, given the process the outcome may have been different. Nevertheless, you have a growing constituency and in at least West Ward residents are beginning to find a voice beyond the status quo. That’s good news moving forward.

Mike, if this is any indication of how you’re going to legislate and represent the West Ward, I'm already disappointed. At best it is childish for a newly elected official to stoop so low to begin his tenure by insulting a resident.

May I suggest humility is critical to sound leadership? You have a lot to prove and I'm withholding any further comments until you've earned my respect and have taken the time to cultivate trust. That's what Dennis did.

It hasn't helped that since the primary you have been scarcely seen and took it for granted you deserved the blue ribbon because you won the primary.

Don't tell, show the residents that you’re just not another tax and spend politician who sidelines residents to promote a personal agenda. We already have plenty of those. And don’t use us as a stepping stone to fulfill political ambitions.

Many of us over the next two years will be working hard at creating a strategy to build political will in this Ward and the rest of the city.

If you want this hard working, over-taxed, voter's support, then earn it. And I'll give you 110%.

Terrence Miller

Dennis R. Lieb said...


If by "no understanding of process" you mean working within the political status quo that ran Easton into the ground over the past thirty years - yes, I refuse to follow that model.

I often destroy groups if I don't get my way, sooo...

In the past decade:

I was one of many who reformed Weed and Seed in Easton and replaced political cronies with citizen weren't there.

I was one of many who stopped the improper redevelopment of the Social Security building, including taking the developer to county weren't there.

I was one of eight regular citizens that unilaterally began the three year ordeal of zoning reform that led to Easton's Traditional Neighborhood Development model, which allows for the new projects Easton is planning weren't there.

I was one of many who fought to stop a $30 million boondoggle called Riverwalk, which is now allowing us to reconsider the Third Street site for mass transit and mixed use...something that would have never happened had Riverwalk been built...again, you weren't there.

So, 80% voted for you. You seem quite enamored with your margin of victory. If you like playing with statistics you can make almost anything sound positive. Hell, 100 percent of my supporters voted for me. Unfortunately, these statistical "truths" ignore the overiding lesson of the election:



Attention: Mike Fleck Wins West Ward Council Seat With 80%(!!!) of Vote

Congratulations and Good Luck

I'll be busy pushing around 80 year old women and hanging out with racists while you are saving Easton from the likes of me.

Two Suggestions...

1)It would be best if you and I avoided contact with each other for the forseeable future.

2) Learn some sentence structure if you are going to be responding to the blog.


celticwarrior said...

hay Mike can u name names of those RACIST.I would like to know if im one.I would love to debate u one on one and show u what a two face phony u r.Just because we all are not a politically coorect KISS ASS politician like u.what views others have does not mean Dennis sees it the same way. Dennis is a stand up guy so dont play that race crap.But then u r a Democrat.

noel jones said...

I would really appreciate it if EVERYONE would refrain from personal insults on this blog, whether or not you think you are in the right. This is not a forum for personal insult. Mike, YOU are a public official again now, and you have to be willing to take criticism from voters without degenerating into personal attacks.

Mayor Panto, for instance, takes a lot of heat on this blog from time to time, but answers with class, whether people agree with his answers or not. You might want to follow his model of behavior on the blog, or you will slip into political quagmire in no time.

And you might want to think, not about the number of technical votes that Dennis got, but the high percentage of undervotes that came with those write-in votes, and realize that when you insult him in this forum, that this forum is widely read by those who did vote (or try to vote) for him, so to begin before you've even taken office by offending his supporters can easily come across as a disrespectful and cavalier attitude about residents in the neighborhood where you've just been elected.

I think having a "summit" as you've suggested, to hear voters concerns, is a great idea, but it should not be held at your house, as the venue would have to be bigger to welcome everyone, and voters who didn't vote for you would likely feel uncomfortable coming to your house and voicing their opinions. If you do not want to appear disingenuous and really do want to extend an olive branch to the big chunk of the neighborhood that voted for Dennis in the primary and general elections, a venue like the Easton Area Community Center, the Salvation Army, or the Boys & Girls Teen Center would be more appropriate for the size and neutrality needed for a successful first meeting with residents from both camps.