download pdf of announcement with RSVP info here: SestakInvitationEvent12 6 13
By Kendal Gapinski, Daily Local News, 11/22/13
Even though it’s been 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, local residents vividly remember their connections to the beloved president and that dark November day in Dallas when he was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald.
Dan Wofford grew up with close ties to Kennedy. His father, former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford, helped found the Peace Corps while serving as an adviser to President Kennedy.
Wofford said his father worked on Kennedy’s 1960 campaign and also in the White House as a Civil Rights adviser. His father even wrote a book on the 1960s called “Of Kennedys and Kings.”
Wofford said that while most of his connections are through his father, he was in the presence of Kennedy twice. One time when he was 6, Wofford said he remembered Kennedy picking his father up in his convertible on his way to the Senate.
“He was running for president, but still driving himself,” said Wofford.
Since his father worked with Kennedy in founding the Peace Corps, Wofford said his family lived in Ethiopia from September 1962 to May 1964. It was while they were living there that the family received the news that Kennedy had been shot.
“It was late, about midnight, and my bedroom was near the phone,” Wofford said. “I hadn’t gotten to sleep yet when I heard the phone ring. My dad answered it, and I got out of bed and heard him groaning. I had never heard him react like that. I asked him what happened, and he said he just gotten news from the American embassy that Kennedy had been shot. I was 8, and I knew it was an awful, awful thing.”
Wofford said he remembers that in school the next day, the mood was somber.
“Ethiopia was just in mourning,” Wofford said. “Kennedy was a vibrant leader all over the world.”
West Chester Borough Councilman Bill Scott said he visited Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday to pay his respects to the former president. Scott said that as a teenager, he had traveled to hear Kennedy speak about a dozen times.
“It was like I was going out to see a sports hero or something,” Scott said.
Scott said he was in ROTC class when he received the news that the president had been shot. He said the atmosphere remained somber days after the assassination.
Scott had traveled to Washington to see Kennedy inaugurated — he also was there to see him laid to rest.
“The inauguration was such a happy event, it was really something,” Scott said. “It was just such a happy, exuberant crowd, with him leading the inaugural parade from the Capitol to the White House. And then, at the funeral, it was just very, very powerful to see him go back the other way in a casket.”
“It was unreal,” he added. “It was surreal.”
Scott’s daughter Rose visited Kennedy’s grave Thursday with her father. She said she felt that Kennedy’s death symbolized an entire generation.
“It’s a whole different generation’s question of ‘do you remember where you were when …’,” Rose said. “For my generation, that question is about Sept. 11. It makes me wonder if every generation can identify with a certain moment in time.” …
read more at Daily Local News
By Jeremy Gerrard, Daily Local News, 11/21/13
The borough of West Chester was represented Wednesday at the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony, where borough native Bayard Rustin was one of 16 individuals honored this year.
West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta was invited to be a guest at the ceremony in the East Room of the White House.
“It was really amazing and unbelievably remarkable on so many levels,” Comitta said.
According to White House officials, the Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor, “presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
White House officials said this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Executive Order signed by President John F. Kennedy establishing the medal. Since the inaugural class of 31 recipients, more than 500 individuals have been awarded the honor.
President Barack Obama read brief biographies of the recipients before any were awarded Wednesday. During this time, Comitta said the audience remained quiet to hear the bios, though some spontaneous applause erupted during the president’s remarks on Rustin.
“I thought that was very moving and touching,” Comitta said.
Other recipients of the honor were former president Bill Clinton; broadcaster Oprah Winfrey; former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee; former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar; women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem; baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks; Nobel Prize laureate Daniel Kahneman; country music singer Loretta Lynn; Nobel Prize laureate Maria Molina; jazz musician Arturo Sandoval; former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith; former U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge Patricia Wald; and civil rights leader and minister C.T. Vivian.
Former U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and astronaut Sally Ride were honored posthumously.
At the ceremony, Rustin was described as “a giant in the American Civil Rights movement. Openly gay at a time when many had to hide who they loved, his unwavering belief that we are all equal members of a single human family took him from his first freedom ride to the LGBT rights movement. Thanks to his unparalleled skills as an organizer, progress that once seemed impossible, appears in retrospect, to have been inevitable.”
Walter Nagle, Rustin’s partner, accepted the award on his behalf.
Comitta and Borough Council commemorated Rustin’s legacy and his posthumous reception of the medal in August. …
keep reading at Daily Local News
email from Mayor Comitta, 11/18/13
I am honored to have been invited by President and Mrs. Obama to the White House for the Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony and Reception on November 20th.
West Chester’s own Bayard Rustin is one of the recipients of the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor bestowed in our country. When the announcement was made in August, we held a celebration at Borough Hall on August 21st. Please see the Mayor’s citation from that event below (click to enlarge). The citation includes some background information about Bayard Rustin, his important civil and human rights work, and some information about his roots in West Chester.
Bayard Rustin’s vision and tireless work toward equality and justice for all is critical work each of us must continue today and always in West Chester and across our country and the world.
Carolyn T. Comitta
Mayor of West Chester
by Jeremy Gerrard, Daily Local News, 10/31/13
WEST CHESTER — Getting a jump on the primary, three gubernatorial Democratic candidates seeking nomination in the spring debated the issues at West Chester University Wednesday evening.
The candidates were unified in their distaste for current Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, but with diverse backgrounds, brought different proposed styles of governance and campaign focus.
Candidates John Hanger, Jo Ellen Litz and Max Myers accepted invitations to attend the debate.
So far, eight Democrats have declared themselves as candidates for governor in the upcoming 2014 election.
All declared candidates, including Corbett, were invited to attend.
Moderated by Peter Loedel, chairman of the university’s political science department, the candidates opened up to an intimate crowd of students and residents in an open debate at Philips Autograph Library in the Philips Memorial Hall. …
read more at Daily Local News
2,219 ballots were cast in the borough, according to the county.
Check out the unofficial numbers from Chester County below. Numbers are expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.
|1||ROSE STANCATO (R)||209||37||BILL SCOTT (D)||350||63|
|3||MATT HOLLIDAY (R)||175||48||E. BRIAN ABBOTT (D)||192||52|
|5||CARL WENRICH, JR. (R)||99||44||DON BRACELAND (D)||127||56|
|7||MICKEY BROLES-HALL (R)||162||34||ELLEN KOOPMAN (D)||313||66|
|SEAN CARPENTER (R)||8,036||11.47|
|ED COYLE (R)||8,038||11.47|
|PAM LATORRE (R)||7,932||11.32|
|MARIA ARMANDI PIMLEY (R)||7,678||10.95|
|JOYCE CHESTER (D)||9,702||13.84|
|ROBIN KALINER (D)||9,586||13.68|
|CHRIS MCCUNE (D)||9,677||13.81|
|RICKY L SWALM (D||9,389||13.40|
From: The West Chester Democratic Committee
Credits: Nathaniel Smith and Jim Salvas
A DEMOCRATIC COUNCIL IS GOOD FOR WEST CHESTER…
West Chester has undergone a renaissance in the thirteen years Democrats have held the majority on Borough Council, including the four years to date in office of the incumbent Democratic Mayor.
The Borough fell into the doldrums by the 1990s. History was torn down to make way for parking lots (e.g., Warner Theater, Mansion House), and the County moved many of its administrative offices to West Goshen.
Beginning in 2000, Council worked closely with businesses, protected downtown, oversaw the County courthouse’s move to the Justice Center, built three new downtown garages to accommodate growth, and tightened zoning regulations to protect our streetscapes and quality of life.
Council now listens to citizens, does its best to make decisions in the public interest, balances the public desire for services against the need to hold down taxes, empowers citizen boards and commissions, and encourages participation at public meetings.
This Democratic Council saw us through the prosperous years and were good stewards during the recent recession. West Chester has been revitalized under Democratic leadership.
Hi Friends -
I am writing to ask you to vote this coming Tuesday Nov 5th for Chester, Kaliner, McCune and Swalm for WCASD school board.
The incumbent slate (appearing as Republicans on the ballot) is funded by an organization led by Colin Hanna, an ex Chester County Commissioner who has been called “The New Norquist.” Hanna is a national political power broker who recently fought to keep the government shut down, who wants to push a social agenda in public schools, who speaks for the radical Tea Party on national news shows, and who wants to funnel taxpayer money intended for public schools into private schools – which effectively defunds public education. Please ask yourself: Why are Carpenter, Coyle, Latorre and Pimley taking money from Colin Hanna’s political group?
Personally, I view this as a clear and troubling conflict of interest. Our public school board members are supposed to be advocates for public education. They are supposed to be wise managers of the money we pay in to public schools. They are supposed be stewards of our children’s future, not mouthpieces for a crazy political movement. They are supposed to ensure that radical social agendas – from either end of the spectrum – do not make their way into our schools. They are supposed to adhere to the National School Board Association’s code of ethics, which states that school board members must “refuse to surrender judgment to individuals or special interest groups” and “avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest.”
Joyce Chester, Robin Kaliner, Chris McCune and Ricky Swalm are moderate candidates who believe in the benefits that a quality public education offers our children. They understand that a quality school district is the cornerstone of a prosperous community, no matter where you may send your own kids to school. Three of these candidates are registered Republicans, even though they will appear as Democrats on your ballot. For what it’s worth, I know these candidates personally and, although I don’t always agree with them, I respect their integrity, their independence, and their strong commitment to our schools.
Please join me and your many other concerned neighbors, and kick politics out of education.
Vote for CHESTER, KALINER, MCCUNE and SWALM this coming Tuesday November 5th.
Please forward this on to your friends and neighbors.
This is an excerpt from the PTOC (Parent Teacher Organization Council) questionnaire as filled out by West Chester borough resident Joyce Chester, one of the 4 candidates of the bipartisan A Better Direction team.
The purpose of public education is to enable equal access to education for each and every child in a community – education that introduces information to teach and transform their individual potential, encouraging them to grow into successful adulthood. Having traveled to second and third world countries where public education does not exist, I can clearly see the awesome value of using this mechanism to ensure that education is not only made available but is required. This is so important, ensuring the availability of a competitive workforce, not only regionally but nationally and indeed internationally.
Education is a leveling force and making it accessible to the public helps to reinforce our strength as a country not only for today but for our future as well.
I believe that public education should be considered an investment into our communities. To fund and sustain our public school system we need to pay taxes as individuals and corporations. This not to say we should pay more or less than we’re currently paying. We should as taxpayers, however, be mindful and vocal about what our current tax dollars support. More prisons make much less sense than more educational facilities. Educational concerns that do not produce appropriate outcomes make less sense than supporting those that do. Not supporting our public education system is a safety hazard to any community.
Those who cannot afford to pay for private or parochial education depend on this system for increased knowledge, awareness, productiveness, etc. Where knowledge reigns, hopelessness and helplessness is displaced. This should be our focus for every community in this country….
For the rest of Joyce’s thoughts, see the interview here. See the other 7 interviews here. The other 3 Better Direction candidates are Kaliner, McCune, and Swalm.
Excerpt from Robin Kaliner’s statement
My first priority as a WCASD School Board Director is to return transparency and open dialogue to board meetings. A public school board should welcome input from its stakeholders, not try to limit and discourage it. Board and committee meetings should be exchanges of ideas and information, not procedural events where members simply go through the motions in order to fulfill their legal duties. I believe that respectful disagreement and the exchange of dichotomous ideas often results in a better solution. Sitting board members have stated that the current homogeneous nature of the board is an asset, but there is a reason that a board is comprised of 9 individuals and if all members have the same ideology you are doing a disservice to your diverse student body and community.
Excerpt from Chris McCune’s statement
…Public education is a collective community effort where we all benefit either directly or indirectly (property values). There are more constituents that benefit indirectly from the public school district in any given year. There are two keys to maintaining healthy relations with all constituents. Those keys are proactive communications with regular feedback opportunities and simply being a good listener when issues arise.
Excerpt from Ricky Swalm’s statement
…One of the major differences between America and the rest of the world is our education system. While the press loves to demonize our world rankings, they fail to compare apples to apples. In America, everyone is entitled to an education regardless of socioeconomic status or ability to pay. Public education is the great equalizer. If children and families want to escape poverty and improve one’s lot in life, public education is the ticket. I am living proof of that. I grew up in a trailer in my grandmother’s back yard with two sisters and a mother (no father) who worked piece-meal in a sewing factory. She believed in her children going to school and doing well in school and while she wasn’t much help when it came to knowing our school work, she encouraged us and challenged us to be better than she. I now have my Ph.D. and believe I have escaped the poverty we lived in all because of public education.
Download (much higher visual clarity) pdf here: Dinniman endorsement