In a recent exchange on the Positively Pennsauken Facebook page Pennsauken Deputy Mayor Betsy McBride apparently took offense to my reference to the Democratic Pennsauken Township Committee Candidates as the “hand picked successors”. She also attempted to refute my claim that Democrats in Pennsauken have been in power for over 30-years (an undeniable fact. The Democrats, their hand picked successors and the few people they appear to share power with have been running this town for over 30-years. See two prior posts on this blog “Is Pennsauken our town or their town” and ” The question remains: Is Pennsauken our town or their town“). Deputy Mayor McBride ended the exchange with “Signing off. I don’t live in social media world.”
Perhaps the lack of engagement between township leadership and the over 35,000 residents in Pennsauken is part of the problem. While I’m sure donors and those with a connection to the small number of people who hold power in this town have access the average Pennsauken resident has little access to township leadership and few avenues to discuss their concerns. Since most residents do not attend Pennsauken Township Committee meetings (the meetings begin at 5:30 – an inconvenient time for most working residents) to bring their concerns to leadership they are left frustrated. Their outlet appears to be the various Pennsauken focused social media channels. Unfortunately township officials rarely engage with residents online.
Allow me to share some statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. These are population estimates from 2017;
Population estimate in Pennsauken: 35,934
Percentage of those over 65: 14.5%
Percentage of those ages 19 to 64: 57.9%
According to a Pew Research Study;
66% of those over the age of 65 are on the Internet
87% of those ages 50 to 64 are on the Internet
97% of those 30 to 49 are on the Internet
98% of those 18 to 29 are on the Internet
So while I assume that Deputy Mayor McBride attempted to insult me by saying “I don’t live in social media world” perhaps she and other township officials should consider spending more time engaging with residents in “social media world”. If Pennsauken Township leadership cared about the thoughts and concerns of residents they would make it easy for residents to engage. Why not start a monthly online town hall where residents can engage with township leadership? I’m happy to provide time on the Positively Pennsauken Facebook page for Pennsauken Township officials to engage with residents (they came to our Facebook page for Q&A sessions during the election last year but rarely have we heard from them since).
Deputy Mayor McBride, rather than trying to insult residents with “I don’t live in social media world” perhaps you should consider engaging residents on social media. The over 35,000 residents of Pennsauken who are not part of township leadership, hand picked successors or the few who have been chosen to share power deserve a voice in our town. We are #TheOther35000