Countdown to April 29 to PERMANENTLY close M. R. Reiter. Ask the board to see the 6 point plan.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Show Some Pride!

Be sure to check out these links

Morrisville Pride

Morrisville's Future

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Goodbye and Thanks For All the Fishes

It's 8:00 P.M. in the East, and the polls are now closed. For better or for worse, the votes are in and shortly we'll have nominees for four school board and four borough council positions, and the mayor's job.

Which direction did Morrisville move in? I don't know yet.

There's never a good time to say goodbye, but that time is here for me. After nineteen months of daily blogging on the political misadventures of tiny Morrisville Borough, Pennsylvania, it's time to hang up the digital quill pen. I'll probably post some responses and comments to this post, but this is the last post on Save The Morrisville School. The blog will remain for a time for research and reference.

Before anyone tries to tie my departure to the election results, stop. This decision was made long ago, before our deadbeat government was discovered, before the 2009 electoral silly season went into overdrive, and before the six point plan was exposed as a fraud and scam. It's just a good time to go, no matter who might win.

I remember when Gary Larson and Bill Watterson retired "The Far Side" and "Calvin and Hobbes" and how much I would miss them.

That was before I found how hard it is to keep writing going on a daily basis. Sometimes our friends on the "Stop the School" "Stay on Track" side would provide hours and hours of entertainment just by opening their mouth. Most times, they were silent, and I relied on posts and articles culled from a lot of internet time.

I hear the cheering coming from the secret meeting hideout where the Holy Morrisville Tell All Manuscript is locked away and decisions are made out of the public eye. The hot tub will have extra bubbles and champagne tonight, and the accounting emporium will gleefully declare an extra dividend. I understand that and I accept it. I also know a day will come when their electoral defeat and departure from the Morrisville political scene will be equally cheered. I hope that time starts tonight.

While I do not want this to be an Academy Award winning "thank you" speech, quite a number of people need to be thanked.

For those of you who have read this blog faithfully and contributed, both in agreement and disagreement, I thank you. Without you, this would have been just an exercise in expository writing. I do not have all the answers. You do not either. But together, WE can find the answers.

For those of you who were silent readers, I thank you too. Discounting people who stumbled onto this little slice of cyberspace and backed out, this site was visited by people in 47 countries outside of the USA. All fifty states are represented. Fourteen state departments of education read regularly as well as the federal DOE. I am humbled by the amount of time these distant friends spent here and the number of pages viewed.

Some friends in Greenland, Arkansas visited regularly. I truly wish them well on their journey through state takeover and rehabilitation. They have responded to their emergency with a communal pulling together to save their school system. If only Morrisville could somehow profit from their example.

I thank the Bucks County Courier Times, whose work I clearly credited, but liberally quoted. I suspect that they gained just as much from my frequent reposting of their articles as I did.

I thank Manasee Wagh, Kate Fratti, and the other BCCT reporters and columnists who stopped by to experience the Wednesday Night Follies on Palmer Avenue and then write about the frustrations they saw firsthand.

I thank the late Ed Frankenfield, who showed us all what a servant leader is. Well done, sir. Well done.

I thank the administration, teachers, and staff of the Morrisville School District. Without you, the future leaders of tomorrow could not be trained today. Time after time, you have found an empty pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and somehow wrung out one more "do more with less" moment. They may be our children, but you have proven time after time that they are your children too.

I mentioned Gary Larson and Bill Watterston earlier. Their original work is gone, but a host of works that were inspired by that original work live on today.

That's what I'm going to ask of you: It's time for you to get involved.

The shenanigans chronicled in these pages can only occur when you stand aside indifferently and let them occur. That's where you come in.

Find out what your school board does. Find out what your borough council does. They are the ones who set the town's priorities and direction, and your taxes. They're not unchallengeable gods just because they sit up there. They're just neighbors of yours. They take out the garbage, shop at Acme, and occasionally even pay their taxes.

Don't stop there. You have three Bucks County commissioners in Doylestown. You have a state representative, a state senator, and a governor in Harrisburg. The issues get larger and more complex here, but these are just more neighbors.

Don't stop there. You have one U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators in Washington, along with a skinny kid with a funny name in the White House.

They ALL work for YOU. It's not the other way around.

Stop and read that again, this time out loud: They work for ME, not the other way around.

Empowering, isn't it?

They are just like the plumber, carpenter, or painter that you hired to redo the house. If the job was not acceptable, you would complain, right?

Mark Twain said it best: “Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.”

Challenge them early and consistently. That also means that you need to learn about the issues as well. Politicians who rely on lies and misdirection also rely on a poorly informed or indifferent electorate. Make the effort to find out if they're lying or telling the truth. After a while you can spot the lies while the words are still forming on their lips.

Attend the council or board meetings. Maybe you can watch them on the cable channels to get an idea of what the hot button issues are before you actually go down to Union Street or Palmer Avenue.

Stand up and express your opinion. You don't have to be a Churchillian speaker. Just plain folks do pretty well too. Write out what you want to say beforehand and read it.

Call your elected official's office and tell them what you're thinking. Check their website and send them an email. With the internet, there's no reason for not keeping in touch with them.

Hold them to their promises. Just because you've always voted Republican or Democratic, that doesn't mean you need to continue to. If that official you gave your vote to last time disappointed you, you are not obliged to vote for them again. In fact, you're obliged to vote AGAINST them.

It's been more fun than not. I've enjoyed this journey with you.

Until we meet again, may the road rise to meet you. May the wind be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields and, until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

It's Up to YOU now!

Election Day is TODAY. The polls are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM

It doesn't work unless YOU get out, and VOTE!

Not sure how this works? has a "Voting 101" website.

Not sure how to use the machines? Check out the explanation and video from

Not sure who is running? Here's the Bucks County ballot. [See pages 35 and 36 for Morrisville]

Not sure where to vote? can show you the way. Enter your address, and one of the four Morrisville ward polling places will appear.

Morrisville 1st, Morrisville Senior Citizens Center, 31 E Cleveland Ave
Morrisville 2nd, Morrisville Library Building, 300 N Pennsylvania Ave
Morrisville 3rd, Capitol View Fire Company, 528 N Pennsylvania Ave
Morrisville 4th, Grandview Elementary School, Grandview Ave

What should I bring with me?
All voters who appear at a polling place for the first time must show proof of identification. Approved forms of photo identification include:

* Pennsylvania driver's license or PennDOT ID card
* ID issued by any Commonwealth agency
* ID issued by the U.S. Government
* U.S. Passport
* U.S. Armed Forces ID
* Student ID
* Employee ID

If you do not have a photo ID, you can use a non-photo identification that includes your name and address. Approved forms of non-photo identification include:

* Confirmation issued by the County Voter Registration Office
* Non-photo ID issued by the Commonwealth
* Non-photo ID issued by U.S. Government
* Firearm Permit
* Current utility bill
* Current bank statement
* Current paycheck
* Government check

If you do not bring your ID on Election Day, vote with a provisional ballot.

Don't leave without voting!

In addition to proper identification, you may choose to bring the following items with you to the polls:

* A list of the candidates on the ballot and who you plan to vote for

What NOT to Bring:

* Weapons or firearms
* Alcohol or drugs

Having problems?
Ghostbusters can't help, but here's where you can get assistance:

Bucks County Board of Elections
55 E. Court St.
Doylestown, PA 18901
Board of Elections - 215-348-6154

Lower Bucks County
7321 New Falls Road
Levittown, PA 19055
Phone: 215-949-5800

Now the only thing missing is you.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Borough Council Meeting Tonight

35 Union St, 7:30 P.M.

It should be a rather taxing meeting.

I'm told that a new oath will need to be taken by every council member before the meeting starts.

Uninviting image: Sending the wrong signals

From the BCCT.

Uninviting image: Sending the wrong signals

As a taxpayer advocate, Citizens for Equitable Taxation (CET) is supportive of finding ways to contain or reduce costs. Residential property owners in Morrisville are currently carrying a huge tax burden and relief is a broadly desired goal. Cost control, however, is not all there is to achieving affordable, quality public services, including a solid education for the borough’s children.

The bigger picture includes the generation of tax revenues from sources other than home owners. A healthy balance of these elements creates an economic picture that reflects the overall health of the community. Focusing solely on one element without considering its impact on the others can drastically distort the economic picture and bring about devastating results.

The Morrisville school board has made good on its promise to reduce property taxes — the only local district to do so. Arguments can be made endlessly by both sides as to whether the cuts are appropriate. The perception here, however, is that the school board’s promise to reduce taxes was going to be met regardless of the consequences. Throughout all of this there has been talk of closing schools, combining schools, relieving administrators, eliminating interscholastic sports, and busing students to a distant district — all of this creating great uncertainty and none of it helping to enhance the perception of Morrisville as a good place to live.

Coincidentally, on the revenue side, the borough council amazingly turned down a proposed office building in the business district which would not only have produced significant tax revenues, offsetting those now paid by residents, but would have put about 200 office workers on Bridge Street. All of them would have been potential customers for local businesses and a shot in the arm for meaningful revitalization.

This action was presumably taken to spare a small slice of unused green space between Bridge Street and Williamson Park. Some people were up in arms about this, but bottom line is that this space is not being utilized, nor is it the type of space that would be utilized for recreation. In addition, parking spaces provided by the building could have been utilized for park users during traditional recreational periods.

So now we have a picture of a local school district making drastic cuts and considering radical operating plans to meet campaign promises with apparent disregard for the educational lifestyle of the district’s children. Then we have a borough council sending out clear signals that investors in revitalization are not welcome here. Property owners save a hundred dollars or so in taxes and property values drop by tens of thousands.

Who in their right mind would buy a home or open a business in this political environment? Wake up Morrisville. We need leadership that can see the big picture.

Ted Fletcher, Morrisville Citizens for Equitable Taxation

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Baseball-Softball Congrats

Congratulations to the Baseball Bulldogs on their second straight BAL Constitution Division championship and the Lady Bulldogs on their Constitution Division championship.

Morrisville wins BAL division
By: Todd Thorpe
Bucks County Courier Times

Morrisville clinched the Bicentennial Athletic League Constitution Division for the second straight season, as it scored 18 runs on 16 hits to pound Lower Moreland, 18-8, in baseball action on Wednesday.

Morrisville 18, Lower Moreland 8

Lower Moreland 001 25-8 7 1
Morrisville 103 4(10)-18 16 2

WP: Steve Driscoll (1-1); LP: Goodman

Doubles: LM- Leonard; MV- Anthony Reyes

Home runs: LM- Vega; MV- Marty Murray 2,Kyle Schnee, Chad Demi

RBIs: LM- Leonard 2, Licht 2, Maddick, Grimaldi, Vega; MV- Marty Murray 5, Kyle Schnee 4, Anthony Reyes 2, Chad Demi 2, Tyler Quill, Eugene Figueroa, Matt Evans Multiple Hits: LM-Leonard 2-for-3; MV-Matt Evans 3-for-4, Eugene Figueroa 2-for-4, Marty Murray 3-for-4, Kyle Schnee 2-for-3, Matt Cookson 2-for-3, Anthony Reyes 3-for-4 Records: Morrisville (9-6, 6-5 BAL).


'Softball Night' a big success
By: Rick Woelfel
Bucks County Courier Times

The second annual Lower Bucks Softball Night was an unqualified success. The doubleheader featuring Bristol against Morrisville and Pennsbury against Neshaminy drew quite a crowd and gave people who haven't seen much softball a chance to experience it firsthand.

For the players, performing in front of a large crowd was a unique experience.

"We never really get a crowd like this," Falcons first baseman Kirby Groves said. "Usually they're day games, and not a lot of people get to come to them. It was really nice in this atmosphere and to play a great team like Neshaminy."

The crowd included members of the Truman Tigers, who were originally set to play the opener against Bristol, but had to bow out because they had faced Abington on the road Tuesday in a SOL National makeup game.

Morrisville took the field in Harry S Truman's place just after beating Phil-Mont Christian to win the Bicentennial Athletic League's Constitution Division title.

Election Conflict of Interest

Two stories from the BCCT.

Residents complain about election officials


Two election officials this year are involved with the school board, prompting complaints from area residents.

Morrisville School Board member Marlys Mihok is working as judge of elections this year.

Elected to the position in 2005, Mihok will be in charge of setting up the polling station, assigning duties to other election officials, submitting paperwork and closing the polls.

According to election code, an individual cannot hold an elected office and serve as an election official at the same time.

However, the county suffers from “extreme difficulties” finding people who are interested in working for municipal elections, said Deena Dean, director of the Bucks County Board of Elections.

So unless someone expresses interest in replacing a current election official, the county will take whoever wants the job, Dean said. She’s not sure how commonly this conflict of interest occurs in Bucks.

Maria Buckman, the wife of incumbent school board candidate John Buckman, is also an election official this year. Though she’s a minority inspector, she is not running for office, so there is nothing to prevent her from working as an election official, Dean said.

The NAACP’s Bucks County President John Jordan called both examples a “disturbing” conflict of interest.



The NAACP plans to post representatives at every Morrisville polling station during Tuesday’s primary election.

John Jordan, the organization’s Bucks County president, said he wants to make sure people aren’t subjected to intimidation. In the week leading up to the election, Jordan said the local office of the NAACP received several phone calls complaining about voter intimidation. Jordan couldn’t provide details.

No police reports have been filed, according to the Morrisville Police Department.

BCCT: Unpaid but unbowed

From the BCCT.

They're against deadbeat government. You should be too.

Q: How many conflicts of interest can Morrisville contain?
A: No one knows. We haven't reached a limit yet where good people rise up and say "enough!"

Your chance to do that is Tuesday. Morrisville's registered Republicans and Democrats get to make the choice for the future.

Unpaid but unbowed
Bucks County Courier Times

Voters should think twice about candidates who can't keep up with their own tax bills.

People who flunked math shouldn't apply for accounting jobs. And people who don't pay their taxes shouldn't run for public office.

We have in mind two Morrisville Council members running in Tuesday's primary, one of them for mayor; and an incumbent Morrisville school board member, who formerly served on the town council. All three candidates owe a total of $9,600 in outstanding tax, sanitation, water and sewer bills.

The three candidates are incumbent Council members Eileen Dreisbach and Rita Lidge, who's running for mayor; and school board member Jack Buckman. Explaining why they're in arrears, the three candidates cited financial hardships brought on by family and health problems.

While we are not unsympathetic to people experiencing hard times, especially now, it's difficult to muster confidence in candidates for public office whose personal affairs are askew. After all, these are the folks who want to determine everybody else's tax bills, yet are unable to pay their own; who want to manage town and school district affairs, but can't effectively manage domestic affairs.

Letter writer Cynthia Dee Wilson perhaps captured the sentiments of a lot of folks with this sentence: "If their personal lives are so overwhelming at this point in time that they cannot keep their own house in order, why would they add the additional responsibility of running for public office? If they cannot keep their own houses in order, why would they expect the voters to believe they can keep + Morrisville Borough and the Morrisville School District in order?"

Good question.

Look, we're not knocking the candidates' records. They might have done a good job despite personal difficulties. Maybe that says a lot about character. In the end, voters will have to decide what it says to them.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Community Day Gossip: Deadbeats and WBCB

My, how nice it was to get out and spend some time with the neighbors at Williamson Park for Community Day. I hope you took advantage of the cool breezes.

The hot air was something else.

The big talk was about the deadbeat government we have here in Morrisville. It was applied equally to the borough council deadbeats and the school board deadbeats, as well as the borough officials who were accomplices as deadbeat enablers. More than one person called it that, so I cannot claim credit. I like the term anyway.

DEADBEAT: A non-payer who doesn't bother to say why.
DEADBEAT: 1. a lazy person or 2. a person who defaults on his debts
DEADBEAT: someone who fails to meet a financial obligation

Yep. Think that covers it. If you're happy with the way Morrisville has prospered in the last ten years, then "STAY ON TRACK" and vote the same old names back into the same old offices.

If you're not happy, then it's time for a change. Please. Morrisville's diaper is about as filled as it can get.

It's a great game. When they raise taxes, we have to pay them. They just ask to put it on their account.

The second item of gossip was the Emperor's scheduled softball interview with WBCB's Pat Wandling on "Speak Your Piece" Monday at noon.

I expect this to show how heroic our anger challenged Emperor is. Go ahead and try to call 215-949-3232 or toll free at 1-(888)WBCB-1490. Ask the Emperor the tough questions.

Pat Wandling herself is against secret meetings. Perhaps she'll ask the Emperor about the Worob coffee klatsch.

She's also a proven advocate for transparency in government. Perhaps she'll ask hard hitting questions about the secretly commissioned $1500.00 Hellmann Report or ask why they boasted of a six-point plan that doesn't exist. The state of Pennsylvania confirmed that.

Anyone want to predict the questions that really will be asked?

Morrisville Pride or Deadbeats? It's your choice for our future.

Perhaps the shortest answer on who to vote for Tuesday: The Morrisville Pride candidates, or the stay on track and do whatever Bill wants candidates. This is a comment from the BCCT story yesterday about our Morrisville candidates unable to pay their municipal bills for multiple years.

Anonymous Coward, 05-15-09, 5:16 pm | Rate: Flag 0 Flag | Flag Report
This is so typical politician and typical Morrisville. Deadbeats is what we used to call people like this and maybe we should still. I have NO sympathy for people who can't pay their water or sewer bills.

My major concern is their ability to govern. When a bill comes up before them to pay for something useful like municipal repairs or new equipment for the fire department, how are they going to think beyond their own wallets or purses? They can't. They'll hold the line and never spend a dime for the citizens in spite of how useful or intelligent the bill.

Do not elect anyone who can't pay their bills.

Morrisville has a choice - deadbeats or honest citizens. It's that clear cut.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Answers from John DeWilde.

Here's the second set of questions posed yesterday to school board candidate John DeWilde.

Next series of questions: Thank you for participating in this. Here is the first series of questions. This is a collection of six emails and comments so far

1. Why, as a candidate and resident, have you not seen the QSRE fliers that have your name on them? Why, as a candidate, do you not know the details of literature promoting your election to the school board?

2. Why do you believe it is acceptable to let proxies operate beyond your control and do the dirty work for you, and then claim ignorance on the details?

3. Who told you about the QSRE fliers? Did you distribute any of them yourself?

4. Are you currently employed as a Special Ed. teacher? If not, why not? When was the last time you were in front of a classroom with special ed students actively teaching the student(s)? Is your certification up to date and are you up to date with your continuing education? Because the special education field changes abruptly from year to year, do you feel you have the professional credentials to authoritatively comment on special education needs in 2009?

5. As a Board member, what is your view on student re-registration and will you be involved with the Board's initiatives to re-register students? Do you believe Morrisville schools are overrun with out of district students? Do you believe that the administration is not doing enough to address this issue?

6. Are you troubled by inaccurate statements and written comments by Marlys Mihok, QSRE, and others on your behalf? If so, what do you plan to do about it? If not, why?

A: Click here

Board member mines claims staked by previous board

From the BCCT.

Board member mines claims staked by previous board

Regarding Marlys Mihok’s May 11 Guest Opinion, “Raising scores, lowering costs”, I find many of Mihok’s comments misleading.

Mihok claims that “over the last 16 months the “Stop the School” board majority has kept the promise of increasing test scores.” Truth is a school board is not responsible for test score performance. The teachers, administration, staff and students are responsible for the results.

A school board is responsible to budget funds so that the district can provide teacher training and create programs that help the students perform better in class and on tests. The improved test scores that Mihok claims responsibility for were actually the result of the previous board’s budget. The current school year budget is the first one from the board on which Mihok serves and funds for budget lines that included teacher training were cut by this board.

PSSA tests were taken a couple of months ago but results have not been posted. The results of this board’s cut will be interesting to say the least.

Mihok leaves out information when stating, “We ... have, in fact, hired four more (para-educators or classroom aides).” The only aides hired by the school board have been state mandated one-on-one aides for children with special needs. There was no choice; the board had to hire them. Aides that provide classroom support have not been replaced as Mihok would like you to believe.

Mihok claims the school board has a plan. If so, it has never been discussed publicly or voted on. She touts their successes: installed smoke alarms, ventilators, new windows and boilers are scheduled to be installed and upgrades to the electrical system are also mentioned. It’s what she left out that the people of Morrisville should be worried about.

All of the upgrades Mihok mentions are for the high school only! No mention of any upgrades to Grandview or the future of M. R. Reiter that sits vacant after the furnace explosion last December. No mention of the modular units currently used by first- and second-graders and the plans for when the insurance money stops paying for them. And no mention of the high school housing the fourth through 12th grade starting next year.

The cost of renovations have been conveniently capped at $7 million, which equals $4 million left from the bond for the new school and $3 million from the capital reserve that leaves nothing left for future repairs or renovations.

The figure of $48 million for a new K-12 school was mentioned at a school board meeting by a gentleman from Vitetta Architects during a presentation on the planned renovations. Board President William Hellmann asked the gentleman, as he was taking his seat, how much the new school would cost. The gentleman had no plans in front of him, no materials lists, no information at all. The $48 million dollar amount was pulled from out of the air and Mihok wants you to believe it is the based on facts.

This year’s proposed budget has been trimmed so much that there is no “wiggle room” for any unforeseen costs. Mihok mentions the “board majority will propose another reduction,” which will only mean cuts into educational and extra-curricular programs, including sports, the same programs Mihok mentioned earlier in her letter that “we have not cut.” The question: Have these programs been cut? The answer: No, not YET!

The most misleading statement made by Mihok is that two of candidates running against those Mihok endorses want to build a new school. The truth is that a new school cannot be built without a voter referendum. That means you, the voter, not the school board, have the final word.

Why doesn’t Mihok mention this in her letter? Why doesn’t she want you to know the law? If she can’t be trusted to inform the public of their rights, how can she be trusted with the statement of “$1,500 a year every year tax increases”?

Morrisville needs to get off this “track” or we will be heading for a “train wreck” in a very short time.

Gayle Haug, Morrisville, is an officer of the Morrisville Opportunity Education Foundation and treasurer of the Morrisville Pride Political Action Committee.

Unpaid Taxes: Buckman, Ledger, Dreisbach, DeWilde

From the BCCT.

A big two thumbs down to Jack Buckman who voted in March to deny tax relief on penalties and interest to a Morrisville citizen who wanted to pay ONE DAY LATE. This is what being a member of Hellmann and Co means: Just do as I tell you and ignore what I do.

VOTE WOROB, BUCKMAN, STOUT, DEWILDE to STAY ON THIS TRACK. We need more accountability like this in our elected officials.

Try this on for size: Perhaps the struggling Buckman district should be taken over by one of its better off rental-property and hot-tub possessing friends? Wouldn't that be the neighborly thing to do?

Yeah. I don't see a line forming just yet.

This is why renters rent. They do not have the money to sustain the expenses for a house. Maybe they made bad financial decisions. Maybe they were silent victims of Wall Street exuberance. Or maybe they just flat out have bad financial skills.

When someone buys or leases a big fancy Escalade and cannot not pay for it, how long before Robbie Repo-Man makes a visit?

Big thumbs down to DeWilde, Dreisbach, and Ledger as well.

Review: Candidates late on taxes
Bucks County Courier Times

Two Democratic Morrisville councilwomen running in this year's election each have more than $2,000 in unpaid 2008 borough, school and county taxes, not to mention money owed for other late bills, a newspaper review of public records indicates.

An incumbent Republican Morrisville school board member, who formerly held a seat on borough council, owes more than $3,600 combined for sanitation, water and sewer.

In all, the three candidates owe more than $9,600, according to county and municipal records dated Tuesday and Wednesday.

The candidates cited financial, health and family hardships for the backlogged bills after word of their debt circulated through town and on Web blogs within the last week. Democrat council President Nancy Sherlock started the talk May 8 after requesting public records on delinquent bills.

"I got copies of the entire borough because I think that anybody who has outstanding balances should be addressed," Sherlock said.

According to the Bucks County Tax Claim Bureau, Councilwoman Rita Ledger, a Democrat running for mayor, owes $2,368 for her 2008 taxes. Ledger also was late in paying her 2004 and 2007 taxes, county records show. She is also late on $158 in water and sewer payments, the water authority's customer arrears list states. She says she'll pay the water and sewer bill today.

Democratic Councilwoman Eileen Dreisbach, who's up for re-election, owes $2,676 in taxes and $785 in sanitation fees as of Wednesday, according to the county and borough records. She also was delinquent in paying her 2004, 2006 and 2007 taxes. Dreisbach was at borough hall Thursday afternoon putting $400 towards the garbage bill.

Both councilwomen earn an annual $2,500 for their roles on borough council.

School board member Jack Buckman, a Republican and former borough councilman, owes $2,546 in water and sewer bills and $1,108 for sanitation, the records show.

Republican school board candidate John DeWilde also owes money for water and sewer. But his late balance is just $8.56.

Buckman said he's in debt because of financial problems stemming from stints of unemployment or underemployment.

A microfilm technician with the county, Buckman said he also works part time as mall security to help pay his bills. He said he has agreements with the borough and the Morrisville Municipal Authority to pay his overdue bills.

"I've done a real good job as a councilman and I've done a real good job as a school board member," Buckman said. "I'm paying these bills."

Ledger, who said she fell behind because of financial and health problems, said her political opponents are using the delinquent bills as an attack because they can't attack her record on council.

"Just because I'm a councilwoman doesn't immune me from the economic hardship that everyone else is feeling as well," said Ledger. "I certainly feel that this doesn't define who I am. I'm like everybody else, I'm experiencing the economic times, unfortunately."

Dreisbach says she fell behind on the bills while paying her mortgage and that of her late mother's home, where her 94-year-old uncle still lives.

"We are currently trying to find him a home because we are no longer able to pay the mortgage on her house and my own," she said. "I do owe last year's taxes as I was trying to keep up with both mortgages. I will be paying my taxes this year as I normally do as soon as I can.

"It is a shame when some people need to sling mud when election time rolls around. I myself don't understand that. You should be able to be elected on your own merits and accomplishments," Dreisbach said.

Democratic mayoral candidate Patricia Schell said the candidates' delinquent bills affect "every single taxpayer. If they're a political candidate or they're not, they have an obligation to pay their bills."

Mayoral candidate Graeme Thomson, a Democrat, said the political system doesn't demand that candidates pay all of their late bills before being elected, but it wouldn't be a bad idea.

"I would hope that they would pay their outstanding bills," Thomson said.

The newspaper was unsuccessful in reaching DeWilde for comment Thursday.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Questions for John DeWilde

Dear John,

Someone alleging to be you has commented on the post "BCCT Voters Guide: School Board"

Please either contact me or in another comment providing some sort of authentication that you are who you say you are and I can approve the comment.

I posted a comment from someone that was supposedly Graeme Thomson and apparently was not.

Update: John DeWilde has provided authentication and his comment will be posted. He has also agreed to answer some questions from the audience.

He even notes that passions are running high. After all, this is about our kids. Do not get between me and my kids. I promised I would keep things as cool as possible, so please pose your questions in the form of a question, like Jeopardy, but with fewer lit matches attached to the gallons of gasoline included in the question. Send them to or post as a comment and I'll pass them along.


First question: Thank you very much for responding so quickly. I will post your response. Will you hold yourself open to having reasonable conversation with other commenters and posters here? I know some of us can go over the top and I will try to keep it issue oriented.

The first question I would ask is why do you allow the QSRE type of anonymous literature to go out? Do you approve of the "$3300.00 dollar tax increase prediction by Bill Hellmann, CPA" and "Jermaine doesn't pay taxes" fliers or can you back them up somehow?

JD: Yes I would be happy to have open and honest and reasonable conversations with other posters. I'll ignore anything inflammatory. Passions are running high right now.

I haven't seen any QSRE fliers, and that isn't a dodge. I have been told about them, but I don't know the details. I am going to ask Bill about his numbers though. I can't say yay or nay to his statement, but the bottom line is that if the school is built taxes will go up signifigantly.

My opinion is that if the facts aren't correct then don't print them. I saw the blog about the flier and I'd like to know how being a renter is relevant. Who hasn't rented before? He isn't paying home property taxes, but he is still paying taxes.

Someone posted on the blog that I have moving violations "so is this the type of person you want on the schoolboard"? Again what is the relevance.

Flame suit on....

STS: We've already noted this: The new school is dead. Claiming that a new school will be built if the Morrisville Pride candidates are elected is bogus at best, and is more properly an outright falsification.

Anyone else?


Next series of questions: Thank you for participating in this. Here is the first series of questions. This is a collection of six emails and comments so far

1. Why, as a candidate and resident, have you not seen the QSRE fliers that have your name on them? Why, as a candidate, do you not know the details of literature promoting your election to the school board?

2. Why do you believe it is acceptable to let proxies operate beyond your control and do the dirty work for you, and then claim ignorance on the details?

3. Who told you about the QSRE fliers? Did you distribute any of them yourself?

4. Are you currently employed as a Special Ed. teacher? If not, why not? When was the last time you were in front of a classroom with special ed students actively teaching the student(s)? Is your certification up to date and are you up to date with your continuing education? Because the special education field changes abruptly from year to year, do you feel you have the professional credentials to authoritatively comment on special education needs in 2009?

5. As a Board member, what is your view on student re-registration and will you be involved with the Board's initiatives to re-register students? Do you believe Morrisville schools are overrun with out of district students? Do you believe that the administration is not doing enough to address this issue?

6. Are you troubled by inaccurate statements and written comments by Marlys Mihok, QSRE, and others on your behalf? If so, what do you plan to do about it? If not, why?

BCCT Voters Guide: School Board

From the BCCT.

Morrisville School Board
4 seats 4 years

1. Would you try to push the Legislature to merge your school district with a neighboring district like Pennsbury?
2. If Reiter Elementary is closed, how would you proceed with arranging students in the remaining district schools?
3. The district’s PSSA scores improved last year. How would you continue to ensure that PSSA scores keep improving?

Jermaine Jenkins (Crossfiled)
Party: Democratic Age: N/A Education: Some college, Essex County College, Newark, N.J.
Job: Train conductor, New Jersey Transit Rail Ops
1. It’s my duty to do whatever is in the best interest of the borough’s residents as a whole. That being said, it’s not my intent to push the Legislature to merge Morrisville with a neighboring district. I believe that Morrisville can provide a quality learning atmosphere for its students.
2. If Reiter is closed the very first element that I would explore would be safety. Being a parent first, I want to be assured that my children are in a safe atmosphere conducive to learning. Any decisions from me would be clearly based on safety.
3. Support of the staff and programs geared towards education is key. Listening to the very experts, whose ideas guided our students to improved PSSA scores, will continue to be beneficial for the students of Morrisville.

Damon Miller (Cross-filed)
Party: Democratic Age: 43 Education: BS, communications, SUNY Frenonia
Job: Freelance videographer
1. I would first ask the Morrisville community if a merge is desired. If so, I would push for one. Unfortunately the reality is that Pennsbury is not receptive and any legislation forcing a merge is years away. Morrisville cannot hang their hopes on a dream that may never come true.
2. The modular units currently used should only be a temporary fix. I would work with the administration and the community to explore all options to house the students in a permanent structure conducive for learning. The students and the taxpayers deserve permanent solutions for our facilities, not Band-aids.
3. The teachers and the administration have done an outstanding job improving test scores. We need to keep building on that by continually identifying where any problems may be and give the teachers the tools to make improvements in those areas while building on the successes of the past.

Ronald Stout (Cross-filed)
Party: Democratic Age: 68 Education: High School
Job: Retired
1. Yes. I would push for our community to make a decision on this. We want our students to have the same opportunities that other districts offer.
2. The superintendent has said that grades K-3 will be at Grandview Elementary School and grades 4-12 will be in the high school. Renovations this summer will completely separate the elementary classes from the middle school and high school students for upgraded and safer schools.
3. Renovation costs for Grandview Elementary and Morrisville Intermediate/Junior/Senior High School are less than estimated, leaving more money for better educational programs.

Jack Beck (Cross-filed)
Party: Republican Age: 41 Education: Graduate, Council Rock High School
Job: Production manager, Minuteman Press
1. This has been tried. The Pennsbury board, with the seeming majority of its residents, don’t wish to merge the school districts. Perhaps, in this time of economic strife facing many school districts, we may have an open dialogue to consider future consolidation. We must first take care of our own.
2. We need to work together, as a collective body, to implement a permanent long-term solution that will be economically feasible. This present arrangement can only be temporary. It will be impossible to maintain an effective teaching and learning atmosphere under the existing facility conditions. We must plan for the future.
3. We must make certain that our teachers and staff have the necessary tools to build on the successes thus far. We should continue to teach the core subjects as full year curriculum and ensure the teachers and students have an atmosphere conducive to teaching and learning.

John “Jack” Buckman (I) (Cross-filed)
Party: Republican Age: 63 Education: Neshaminy High School; continuing education, Bucks County Technical School
Job: Microfilm technician in Bucks County; security officer, Oxford Valley Mall
1. Yes, at this time with shrinking enrollment and rising cost it is the most logical answer.
2. Due to size and financial constraints, Grandview should be K-3 and the Morrisville Middle/High School building should contain the rest: grades 5-8 in an intermediate school and 9-12 in a high school.
3. Through the savings of renovations vs. building, we should invest in better educational material. That in conjunction with our very capable staff will accomplish the goal of good PSSA scores.
John DeWilde (Cross-filed)
Party: Republican Age: 44 Education: BS, education Job: Network systems administrator
1. I do support merging with other school districts if it will benefit the residents and students of Morrisville. I believe a merger has the potential to offer more resources to our students, and offer more services to the families of Morrisville.
2. Rearrange the grouping of classes to create a K-3 elementary school, grades 4-8 intermediate school, and grades 9-12 high school. This is the plan according to the current school board, and will be put into effect in September.
3. I think the best course of action would be to understand what the teachers have been doing, and identify what other resources they consider necessary. The savings that has been realized by renovating the existing buildings and not building a new school will provide funding for additional resources.

David Stoneburner (Cross-filed)
Party: Republican
Age: 50
Education: Two years college, business administration major
Job: Tractor trailer driver, Federal Express National LTL
1. Morrisville must have an economical educational system, and control of it. Regionalism has many benefits, but we would have no controllability. As a parent of a child in the Morrisville school system, I would do what is in the best interest of education. We, together as a community, must decide.
2. Safety for all students is my first concern. If we have only two schools, we must compartmentalize the high school to better separate the large age group that would necessarily be there. We may need to add structure to replace the temporary trailers. Those children need real classrooms.
3. Support continuing education for teacher development. There is an opportunity for community involvement and support through mentoring, tutoring, and educational programs to further prepare our students for this and future critical tests. We have made a good start, but we can do more, with the community’s involvement.

Brenda J. Worob (I) (Cross-filed)
Party: Republican Age: 48 Education: Graduate, Morrisville High School; graduate, Philadelphia Paralegal Institute
Job: Legislative assistant, Pennsylvania Senate
1. Absolutely, in fact, I recently proposed that the school board send a letter of support to Gov. Rendell for his proposal for school district mergers. The board is working on a resolution to do that. I believe in giving students all the tools and every opportunity they need to succeed.
2. My first objective would be to hear the public’s input through public meetings. Also, I will rely heavily on the recommendations of our administrators. If Reiter does close permanently, we will do what’s in the best interest of our students.
3. First of all I would keep doing what we have been doing. Eventually, I would like to see independent standardized tests administered at the beginning and end of the school year to measure the progress that our students had made under their teachers.

BCCT Voters Guide: Borough

From the BCCT.


1. How can Morrisville attract more businesses to the borough, which relies heavily on residents’ tax dollars to pay for essential services?
2. What can the borough do to ensure children’s safety on borough roads near schools?
3. What would you do to alleviate speeding and traffic in the borough?

1 seat 4 years

Rita Ledger
Party: Democratic
Age: 48
Education: Morrisville High School
Job: Educational services; councilwoman
1. Morrisville can attract businesses by identifying types of business that would work here. Need to work with current business property owners to enhance properties to add to the curb appeal. Compare the benefits of businesses being in Morrisville. Marketing and promotion of Morrisville; we started this with the Landmark Towns.
2. To ensure children’s safety on borough roads near schools would be to install a road around the schools to get the traffic off the street and increase the signs around the schools. To have the police department along with teachers, children and parents follow public safety practices.
3. What I would do to alleviate speeding and traffic in the borough is to work with the police department to make the public aware of how fast they’re going and to follow up with issuing tickets. To encourage the use of state police programs with speeding on state highways.

Patricia A. Schell
Party: Democratic
Age: 59
Education: Morrisville High School
Job: Manager, Morrisville Senior Center
1. Attracting business to Morrisville is difficult when our tax rate is so high. We need to be friendly to businesses willing to come our way. With the present economy, there’s very little development. We should be ready with programs and look for grants to aid new businesses to benefit everyone.
2. The safety of school children should be the number one priority of the parents of the children. The parents must obey the law to keep the children safe. The borough must enforce the parking and keep traffic, as much as possible, away from the schools during drop-off and pickup times.
3. Police enforcement is the best way to handle speeding. Since we are a threshold to Trenton, rush hour traffic will always be problematic. Hopefully, current bridge improvements will only improve traffic flow. We must stay tuned in with surrounding townships’ planning, since this could have a negative effect on our residents.

Graeme Thomson
Party: Democratic
Age: 37
Education: Trenton State College
Job: Independent consultant, computer technician
1. Attracting businesses has always been underanalyzed. You will never attract or keep businesses by reducing taxes. After working many years in New York in advertising and PR, I know many ways to attract businesses. I know how to talk to business leaders, and show them Morrisville is a great opportunity.
2. We have a problem with traffic when all the parents are dropping off children at the same time. Getting the schools to stagger start and end times for different grades will help. This would require expanded after- and before-school programs, but it would be worth it.
3. Digital traffic cameras, like those used in Philly, could be erected in school zones and mobile ones could be set up in residential areas. Warning letters sent out to speeders reminding them to keep speed down, most people would slow down or use the main roads instead of chancing tickets.

Ward One (North)
2 seats 4 years
Eileen Dreisbach (I)
Party: Democratic
Roxy Rookstool
Party: Democratic
John Baranauskas
Party: Republican
Todd R. Sanford
Party: Republican

Ward 2 (West)
1 seat 2 years
Rhonda Davis
Party: Democratic
Edward A. Bailey
Party: Republican

Ward 3 (West)
1 seat 4 years
Fred Kerner
Party: Democratic
Jane Burger (I)
Party: Republican

Ward 4 (South)
1 seat 4 years
Victor A. Cicero
Party: Democratic Age: 75 Education: BS, criminal justice; master’s degree, public administration, University of New York Job: Retired, former Morrisville police chief, former Morrisville borough manager Answers 1. Develop a business friendly strategy from advertising mediums; present a plan offering incentives to business and light industry for commercial areas. Make the hard decisions to benefit the entire borough and all residents. Sacrifices must be made; Morrisville has missed economic development opportunities and we are paying for it now.
2. Partner with school district to install cameras monitoring areas around schools, especially during arrival and dismissal. Police deployment is expensive and episodic. We must resort to technological methods to augment this labor intensive activity. Police cannot be there at all times. However, we should occasionally target school areas for safety.
3. Speed traps on main roads can be increased. But this is expensive and not always productive. Many residents complain about traffic on insular roadways where speed traps aren’t feasible. We should exhort our elected officials to pass legislation enabling police to use radar in areas where speed traps aren’t possible.

James Jack
Party: Democratic Age: 22 Education: BA, sociology, Pennsylvania State University
Job: Research assistant, nationwide Type 2 diabetes health study coordinated by George Washington University and facilitated locally through Temple University
1. Morrisville needs to provide a vision to developers and businesses through a master redevelopment plan and the adoption of a form-based zoning code. Enrolling Morrisville into the Main Street program to have a state resource to assist with development. Our appearance needs revitalization through a borough-wide beautification initiative.
2. Call on police, teachers and school employees to assist with directing the high volume of children and cars. Designated drop-off and pickup zones that prevent children from having to cross the street. Educating the students and parents on safety measures and calling on the parents to be accountable. 3. Extending the corner of our sidewalks, raising crosswalks, installing median barriers, and slight changes to traffic patterns can reduce vehicle speed and provide a more controlled flow of traffic. Also, an increased police presence patrolling our streets and using cameras on our various traffic lights will deter hazardous driving.

Stephen Worob (I)
Party: Republican
Uncontested candidates were not asked questions.

1 seat 4 years
No one filed to run

1 seat 6 years
No one filed to run

Ward 1 (North)
1 seat 6 years
John Cronon (I)
Party: Democratic
Ward 2 (East)
1 seat 6 years
No one filed to run
Ward 3 (West)
1 seat 6 years
Michael R. Cooper (I)
Party: Democratic
Ward 4 (South)
1 seat 6 years
David R. May (I)
Party: Democratic

1 seat 2 years No one filed to run
1 seat 4 years No one filed to run

Tax collector
1 seat 4 years
Marlene Burns
Party: Democratic