Dem’s LEAD in Pa. House race grows — to 26 votes for W.C. Mayor Carolyn Comitta

by Michaelle Bond, STAFF WRITER @MichaelleBond

West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta said Friday her lead in the race for a Chester County state House seat has increased — from 18, to 26 votes.

Obeying a county judge’s order, the county’s Department of Voter Services unsealed and counted 14 contested provisional ballots. Eleven were for Comitta, a Democrat, and three went to incumbent Republican state Rep. Dan Truitt, she said.

Comitta had argued every eligible vote should count and appealed to Chester County Court to force Voter Services to count 15 provisional ballots the department said were ineligible.

County officials said that 14 of the voter-registration applications had arrived too late. Another voter was registered in another county. Judge Jacqueline Cody concurred on the 15th voter, but not the others.

It was not known whether Truitt would ask for a recount as he had previously said he would. The three-term legislator has not responded to requests for comment.

More than 36,000 votes were cast in the race in the November election.

President Obama delivers final State of the Union

“Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”

That was President Obama speaking to Congress about the urgent need for climate action during his final State of the Union address.

VIDEO: Watch the State of the Union Video here
READ: The Full Text of the State of the Union here

Vice Chairman’s Take on Vietnam 50 Years Ago Today

A few of my close buddies leaning over the ship rail. I flew back thirteen months later, but some of these guys did not.

A few of my close buddies leaning over the ship rail. I flew back thirteen months later, but some of these guys did not.

Fifty years ago today, I shipped from Jacksonville aboard the USS Boxer with others from the 1st Air Cavalry Division, bound for Vietnam via the Suez Canal. We were the first full division sent to the war.

Please hold off on what has become the obligatory “thank you for your service” comment. As I look back on this anniversary with mixed feelings, I would like you to thank me another way.

As with many of our wars before and since, we fought in Vietnam for the wrong reasons and wasted lives, treasure and some of our claim to honor as a country. We were lied to. We were misled. If we learned something from that waste, I’d be prouder to have served. As it is, we repeated and magnified our mistakes and we now find ourselves in an endless war of attrition, again because of the lies of our leaders.

As Pete Seeger sang, we’re still “waist deep in the big muddy and the big fool says to push on.”

So, yes, you can thank us for our service, but not with a few perfunctory words. Do it by holding our leaders more accountable. Make them prove the effort is worth the sacrifice. And demand to throw them in jail when you find out they lied again. Don’t just “support the troops.” DEFEND the troops!

Anyway, the photo is one I took the day we sailed. It shows a few of my close buddies leaning over the ship rail. I flew back thirteen months later, but some of these guys did not. Not many smiles then or now, I’m afraid.

Jim Salvas

Community Bill of Rights

Borough of West Chester Community Rights Alliance. Please, Sign Our Petition.

The West Chester Community Rights Alliance (WCCRA), a growing group of West Chester Borough citizens, wants to add a “Community Bill of Rights” to the Borough’s Home Rule Charter. Our Community Bill of Rights reclaims our “natural” rights to clean air, clean water, community self-government, a sustainable energy future, and peaceful enjoyment of our homes. We ask registered Borough voters to sign our petition to place this question on the November ballot.

What is a Community Bill of Rights? A Community Bill of Rights acknowledges that we have an inalienable right to local self-governance.

Why Do We Need It? More than 100 PA communities have passed Community Bills of Rights to secure their rights to self-government, protect citizens from harmful corporate activities, and move toward sustainability. In many cases, communities are protecting themselves from exploitation by natural gas companies. In fact, gas companies are aggressively pushing pipeline construction all around us, disregarding our interests while claiming exemption from local zoning ordinances and environmental protections. We don’t need to look far to see the threats. It’s happening in West Goshen, and it happened in State College, where a Community Bill of Rights passed with a 72% majority and helped stop a pipeline from going right through town.

What Does the Petition Do? By signing, you are not passing the Community Bill of Rights. You are saying you want this question on the ballot in November, so We The People (not We The Corporations) can decide our own future. We need 500 signatures before August 4, 2015.

What Happens When We Get the 500 Signatures? WCCRA will initiate a campaign to inform Borough residents, so you’ll understand fully before you vote. Representatives from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund ( will visit the Borough to support us and answer questions. Everyone will have a chance to weigh in.

Our system of local self-governance will work if we think it will. It won’t work if we don’t.

Will YOU help?

Photo Credit: Jim Salvas

Photo Credit: Jim Salvas

Natural rights are innately part of being human. The self-evident rights of the Declaration of Independence—life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness—are inalienable natural rights. Legal rights are those acknowledged and protected by a government.

The Founders understood that powerful interests often prevent individuals from exercising their natural rights, and this is why they deemed them to be inalienable, or unable to be taken away.

Today, we are prevented from protecting our right to clean air, clean water, and a sustainable energy future because powerful

and single-minded corporate interests manipulate legal rights with money and lobbying, by directly writing laws, and by claiming exemption from local protections.

Reclaim our natural rights. Now is the time.

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To carry a WC Community Rights Alliance petition, email — we will bring a petition to you!

You’ll see, the petition text is somewhat microscopic. If you want to read every word comfortably, download it in larger print here: WCCRA petition text.

Joe Sestak Walks Across Chester County on his way to Ohio!

Admiral Joe Sestak comes to Chester County!

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“You may have heard by now that I have officially kicked off my campaign for the U.S. Senate by beginning my 422-mile walk across Pennsylvania, from New Jersey to the Ohio border. I’m doing this because I believe, as Scout recalls in To Kill a Mockingbird, You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.

Today (March 9) and tomorrow, Admiral Sestak will walk through Chester County, while also stopping for two events. First, at 10:00am today, Sestak will be hosting an event on women’s issues:

Crosslands Community Center
1660 E Street Rd
Kennett Square, PA 19348

Then, Sestak will walk 11 miles from Exton Square Mall in Exton, PA, to Gateway Park in Coatesville, PA, walking along Pottstown Pike and Business Route 30.

2015_0308Sestak422MileWalkAcrossPATomorrow at 10:00am (March 10), Sestak will be speaking in Coatesville:

Gateway Park
Corner of U.S. Routes 30 & 82
Coatesville, PA 19320

Sestak will then resume his journey walking along US Route 30 until he reaches Paradise Township in Lancaster County.

Admiral Sestak wants us to join him in his walk! Attend one of these events, then join Joe as he walks in our shoes over the next two days.

Chester County Democratic Committee
37 South High Street
West Chester, PA 19382

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Walk across the state with Joe Sestak


You may have heard by now that I have officially kicked off my campaign for the U.S. Senate by beginning my 422-mile walk across Pennsylvania, from New Jersey to the Ohio border. I’m doing this because I believe, as Scout recalls in To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.”

Sunday, March 8, I traveled by foot through Delaware County in my walk to earn the people’s trust. Our event focused on seniors’ issues. If you can’t walk alongside me in person, please consider pledging $1 for each mile of this leg of the journey — please see the map below for a view of the route walked.


I’ll see you “on the road!”


Joe Sestak

2014 in Review • What’s he done?

2015_0301Obama2014YearInReviewWatch this slideshow about these ongoing issues to learn President Obama’s 2014 progress…

More Jobs
Better Health Care
Strengthening Community
Cutting Carbon Pollution
Reforming Immigration
Acting for Net Neutrality
Leading the Charge
President Obama Codes
A 3D-Printed President
Sitting Between Two Ferns
Man About Town
Preventing Violence
More Graduates
Raises for Americans
Unlocking Phones
Q&A with Tumblr
Combating Veteran Homelessness
Wins for Women

Appointment of Michelle Kichline to Board of Commissioners

Statement from Chairman McGinnis on Appointment of
Michelle Kichline to Board of Commissioners

December 11, 2014

“The appointment of Michelle Kichline to the Chester County Board of Commissioners signals a clear double standard that exists among the judges of the Court of Common Pleas,” said Brian McGinnis, Chair of the Chester County Democratic Committee. “In 2006, Senator Andy Dinniman’s vacated seat was filled by Pat O’Donnell. Instead of respecting the explicit recommendation from the county Democratic Committee that the court appoint Virginia McMichael, who intended to run for the seat in 2007, the judges’ stated reasoning at the time was a desire to appoint a replacement who would not be a candidate for the office in 2007, so the primary process could play out without an incumbent in the race. But in 2010, the Court anointed the choice of the county Republicans in Ryan Costello, who ran for reelection and won.

“This week, the Court filled Costello’s vacancy with Kichline, who is the Vice Chair of the Republican County Committee and has already indicated her intention to run for election to a full term. In fact, the Court chose her unanimously, with no reasoning given to back up the appointment. This clearly points to a backroom deal brokered between the Court and county Republicans, who of course originally financed the judges’ campaigns to get them on the bench. Jurists should not be in the business of creating political careers. Incumbency, and its electoral advantages, should be earned by candidates at the ballot box, not in closed-door meetings in the courthouse.

“I call on Michelle Kichline to serve out the remainder of Costello’s term as a caretaker commissioner and then step aside, to allow the voters of Chester County to choose a candidate in an open electoral process.

“If Kichline does decide to go along with the double standard of the Court and run for election as an incumbent Commissioner, she should not expect an easy path to victory. In 2013, Kichline, as an incumbent Tredyffrin Supervisor, was rejected by the voters, who instead elected her Democratic opponents.”

Brian J McGinnis
Chairman, Chester County Democratic Committee

New 3-Region Voting Plan Passed by WC Area School Board

Chester County School BusDespite some conservative opposition, a new 3-region voting plan passed tonight by the West Chester Area School Board (WCASB). With one director absent, the final vote is 6-2 in favor of the map below.

The Borough of West Chester (purple) is in the new Region 1, along with most of West Goshen. If approved by our courts, our local voters will have greater input in selecting board directors who represent us.

No longer will just a few municipalities —or one party— control school board elections. More importantly, communication between board directors and their constituents becomes closer and directors become more responsive to residents.

Although not a Democratic Party initiative, we think this is a progressive step by our current board directors. Join us in giving them our thanks by contacting the Board.

New West Chester Area School District Regional Map (click map to enlarge)

New West Chester Area School District Regional Map (click map to enlarge)