Having been involved in prior political campaigns in Nevada and Pennsylvania I’ve learned something since coming to Pennsauken. The world of Pennsauken politics is strange. It is a place where Democrats have been the sole ruling party for over 30-years and their successors appear to be handpicked and groomed. Outsiders (and Republicans) do not appear welcome. Board and important volunteer roles seem to be handed out as political favors. The more time you spend learning the more questions you have. The one constant is that Pennsauken Democrats believe they make the rules that everyone else needs to follow. Sometimes they seem to make up those rules as they go along. That brings us to Signgate.
On September 12, 2018 the Pennsauken Democratic Chair sent an email to the Pennsauken Republican Chair that reads in part;
“Many years ago the local parties agreed that signs had become too pervasive and “junking up” our community. We reached an agreement to put a limit on signs. Some of the agreement made its way into an ordinance…limits on size, etc. Some parts did not, particularly the length of time signs would be up before elections. Although not in the ordinance, this part of the agreement has traditionally been observed by both parties so that lawn signs have not been put out until three weeks prior to election day.”
This was an interesting claim since no one in the Pennsauken Republican Club had ever heard of this agreement. Going back as far as ten-years no Republican candidate in Pennsauken was ever approached about this agreement despite when they put their signs out. Local Republicans contacted prior Pennsauken Republican Club leadership to ask if this agreement ever existed. The answer was not to their knowledge.
The Pennsauken Republican Chair replied to the email that she and prior leadership were unaware of any agreement relating to signs, Republicans had already began distributing signs to those who have requested and approved signs being placed on their property and Republicans would continue forward as planned. She added that Republicans would monitor the signs, replace any that happen to deteriorate and that signs would be removed in a timely manner after the November election. The Pennsauken Republican Chair also said that Republicans are proud of the sign design and feel the patriotic colors of the sign add to the landscape of the town.
Issue resolved right? Remember this is Pennsauken politics!
The Pennsauken Democratic Chair apparently didn’t like that Republicans didn’t back down and abide by an agreement that no Republican had ever heard of (and were not approached about in prior elections) and responded;
“Your response is unfortunate. In your ten years of involvement you surely noticed that lawn signs have never gone up more than three weeks before the election. This voluntary restriction makes sense. I assure you that your sense of what is attractive about signs is not shared by the general population. It is really too bad that we could not have cooperated regarding this issue and that you felt the need to start your communication to me with a needless, self serving statement.”
Candidate Marco DiBattista was copied on the exchange and replied in part (I’m not sure if he realized he replied all and included the Republican Chair) “Thank you Dave for reaching out to them. I think we now have to move our date up a bit. First week in October would make the most sense. It shows arrogance if we don’t. Like we do t need to. Plus they will continue to post on potential houses for us. Just my thoughts”
Is that the point of this entire exchange? Do Pennsauken Democrats not have their signs ready and are panicking because Republican signs are going up first? Remember this is Pennsauken politics and Democrats act like they make the rules!
The fact of the matter is this year Pennsauken Republicans are giving Pennsauken Democrats a challenge for the first time in many years. The Republican candidates for Pennsauken Township Committee have laid out their platform (which continues to evolve as they speak to residents and hear resident concerns), are meeting with residents in their neighborhoods, are holding Meet the Candidates events and engaging with voters on social media. All we’ve seen from the Pennsauken Democrats is a few selfies on their Facebook page and a few posts talking about things that have happened in Pennsauken that they had nothing to do with. They have not discussed their platform or made any effort to engage with voters on social media. They act as if they do not have to work to earn the votes of Pennsauken residents. As I said a few days ago important Democrats in town have told me that Marco and Jessica will get elected simply because they are Democrats. This arrogant attitude might explain why the Democratic candidates are not working to earn your votes. Either way they are behind Republicans and appear to be trying to intimidate their way to catching up.
I almost forgot. The Democratic candidates did put out a horribly produced video yesterday. I guess it’s one step above a selfie. I had to laugh to myself thinking about how last year Township Committee candidate Vincent Squire had almost no budget yet put out higher quality videos then the Democrats and their war chest, but I digress.
Is this why Signgate is rearing its ugly head now? I believe as I stated that Pennsauken Democrats are in a panic. They’ve not had a serious challenge to their power in years. They were completely unprepared to engage with voters and earn their votes. They were completely unprepared to develop a platform. They were arrogant enough to think getting their candidates elected would be easy.
Let us not forget that voting rules have changed since the ordnance regarding campaign signs was written in 1978 and this supposed deal was made. Voters can now vote by mail up to 50-days before an election. If Democrats want to wait to campaign until after the mail in ballot period has begun that is their prerogative. Republicans are not waiting.
Signgate was over on September 14th when the last email was exchanged right? Remember this is Pennsauken politics!
Last night on the Positively Pennsauken Facebook page one of the Republican candidates shared the following post;
“It was brought to our attention today that one of our yard signs was placed on an abandoned property. We knew that we didn’t place the sign there since we have a detailed list of where our signs were placed, so we immediately looked into the situation and removed the sign. It turns out that the neighbor, who had requested a sign, placed it on the abandoned property next door. Because this person has been doing upkeep on the property over the past 7 years, he believed it was okay to place the sign there. We informed him that signs cannot be placed on properties without the owner’s permission (that includes abandoned properties). The situation has been corrected. We want to make clear that we will not place any signs on properties without permission from the owner. If you happen to notice that a sign has been moved or gone missing, please contact us immediately so we may fix it. Thank you!”
Shockingly (or maybe not so shockingly since more then one township official has acted in a politically biased manner on social media during this election cycle) a member of Pennsauken Township leadership responded to the post as follows;
“For over 30 years the Republicans and Democrats had a standing gentlemen’s agreement that political signs would not litter our community until the two weeks prior to Election Day. This was one of the few things the two parties agreed too over the years. This agreement was grossly violated last year by the one and only Mr. Bow tie. Unfortunately, it seems this agreement is not important anymore and the political signs will litter our community for 8 weeks instead of 2 weeks.”
Wait, what? I thought the Pennsauken Democratic Chair said 3-weeks? Can you guys regroup, get your story straight and come back to the residents with a consistent story?
Remember this is Pennsauken politics!
P.S. Marco and Jessica someone shared your post from September 17th talking about this website. Thank you for being fans and reading my blog!