Setting the record straight on blame for the pipeline

Editor’s Note: Corrected the source of the mailers, which is Conservation Voters of PA

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

A popular trope on the Internet is “vote blue, no matter who.” As we’ve seen with the likes of Tulsi Gabbard (not to mention so many GOP examples it is impossible to list them all), blind party loyalty is a massive disservice to our country — and how too many elected officials and candidates avoid accountability.

A case in point: maybe you’ve seen the mailers from Democrat-leaning group blaming County Commissioners Terence Farrell and Michelle Kichline for the pipeline (I’ll note a similar underground strategy played out to cost Democratic Commissioner Kathi Cozzone her renomination), a piece that avoids the inconvenient truth that a number of Democrats from Gov. Tom Wolf on down are far more complicit in the pipeline, the stonewalling and general weasel behavior around the project than county Republicans.

While county officials have a very limited scope in what they can and cannot do in terms of a state pipeline project, Gov. Wolf and his Department of Environmental Protection have aggressively protected the misbegotten project for nearly five years — to the extent that the DEP paid for the legal defense of a pair of state constables who are alleged to have acted like mob thugs with local residents and media members.

Wolf and the Democrats have had the power to stop — or at least better manage — the pipeline for the entire time since taking office in 2015. Beyond state Sen. Andy Dinniman, I’m at a loss to find a Democratic elected official who vocally opposed the project (yes, I’m aware of subsequent elections and “deathbed” conversions) before 2019.

It is true too, that union powers have pushed cash and influence — including the currently under indictment John Dougherty — to quell Democratic opposition to the pipeline, with Building Trades Council money funneled to now former party officials. (As an aside, you know that the GOP is struggling locally when they fail to make the argument: Corrupt Philly Machine pols are trying to take over our well-run county government.)

So, if anything, Democrats (and their allies — in this case, Conservation Voters of PA) are more responsible — not less — for the pipeline. Sending out disingenuous (and poorly designed) mailers to blame Farrell and Kichline for their own handiwork is something that has to be pointed out.

To be sure, Republicans share the blame: the project was green-lit and strongly supported by former Gov. Tom Corbett and continues to have strong industry group support. But they haven’t had control for nearly five years, Democrats have.

Democrats need to be called to account for this — both their conduct in protecting the pipeline and this deceptive attempt to place the blame elsewhere.

While I am and remain generally sympathetic to Democrats, I cannot and will not abide this level of dishonesty.

How can a party fight the corruption and dishonesty of the Trump Administration when it condones the same behavior within its own ranks?


This used to be the time of year where the staff of The Times would bat around endorsements, via email, phone or over coffee, with a wide-range of opinions (I’ll allow, as the boss, my vote counted a bit more, but I could be persuaded, as noted by the numerous GOP candidates we endorsed over the years).

As the media landscape changed — and as needed, The Times evolved to a user-submission model for content, we no longer have the staff around to argue endorsements. So, as a publication, we don’t make them any more.

But, as an individual (and granted, one as full of crap as the next guy, so your mileage may vary), I can share my own preferences — how I plan to vote on Nov. 5 in our county elections.

First off, I can’t at this time support any of the Republican candidates. None — none — have called out the criminal behavior of President Donald Trump (granted very few elected GOP officials beyond Mitt Romney seem to have done so), a sign of a total lack of moral courage (and short-sighted political vision).

If Republicans lack the courage to stand up for what they know is right, how can we trust them moving forward to have the courage to battle special interests or the powerful on behalf of the people of Chester County? The answer, obviously, is that we cannot.

For the most part, I feel somewhat confident voting for much of the Democratic ticket — but as noted above, I’m deeply troubled by the mail ads Conservation Voters of PA, a long-time ally of the state Democratic Party has sent out on behalf of Commissioner candidates Marian Moskowitz and Josh Maxwell. Suggesting that Republicans are to blame for the pipeline is deeply disingenuous — Democrats from Gov. Tom Wolf to some local party members are at least equally to blame for the pipeline fiasco, and should be held to account.

So, I’ll be voting for all but two of the Democratic candidates.

While I have no issue with supporting Marian Moskowitz, at the end of the day, I just can’t punch the ticket for Josh Maxwell.

I like Josh personally — I’ve known him for more than a decade. While I’m a little troubled by some of the issues in his past, I’m more bothered, frankly, by his lack of managerial experience. As Mayor of Downingtown, he’s had a very limited portfolio under his direct management (mayors have very limited powers under Pennsylvania’s borough structure). I’d feel a lot more comfortable supporting him for one of the Row Office seats, as a more logical step forward.

Additionally, for reasons beyond me, the Democratic voters of the county set aside their most capable and experienced candidate: Commissioner Kathi Cozzone.

I am aware that there is now an organized write-in campaign for Cozzone and I will be supporting it. Kathi is ethical, honest and experienced — and by far the best option to continue as a County Commissioner.

The other race I will be using a write in is Register of Wills.

I can’t support Michele Vaughn, for a plethora of reasons based on both personal and professional experience, some of which are listed above. I honestly feel that anyone railing about corruption in the Trump Administration yet still supporting this candidate is a hypocrite — her history and financial entanglements (documented, mind you, look it up) with the likes of Rob McCord and John Dougherty should give anyone pause.

As a result, I will be writing myself in — I originally sought the position for one reason: to help people. I don’t need a job, I don’t need to fill the gaping emptiness of my life with electoral office — I thought I could run the office effectively, honestly and do some good. I withdrew from the race when it became deeply evident I would need to run a divisive, nasty race that would cause long term damage to local Democratic Party. Despite that, it’s become evident that divide happened anyway, sadly.

Should you decide to support me, I’d be honored. I have no expectation beyond single-digit number support (there’s no organized effort on my behalf) but I offer myself as an option for voters of conscience.

Now, I expect blow back, especially the argument that such voting will hand the race to the Republicans.

To be honest, I don’t feel like the Democrats are going to win, regardless of my vote.

There are atmospheric reasons: GOP turnout will be off the charts as many Republicans feel threatened by the ongoing impeachment process, while I suspect Democrats are already distracted by the 2020 Presidential primary and some remain angry about the pipeline issue (not to mention the split in the county party that reemerged this summer).

Additionally, from here it looks like the GOP has done a better job in terms of communication and marketing, especially on the digital front. As someone who lives and works on the Internet, the Republicans have a much stronger presence there. Also, the mailer ads the Democrats sent out – from the notoriously bad shops the Pennsylvania State Democratic Party uses — are very weak, and only serve to remind voters of both parties shared weaknesses on special interest money and the pipeline (on the latter, Democrats have a much bigger exposure on that issue in Chester County, as noted above).

Again, just my two cents – whether you agree or disagree, make sure you vote Nov. 5.

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One Comment

  1. On Josh Maxwell,
    I don’t know the other one but I believe Terrance Farrell only talks to people with net worths > $10 M.

    He’s a black houseboy not capable of communicating with ordinary people. Communicating with ordinary people is what counts for a county commissioner not conversing with the wealthy.


    Terrance Farrell tried to stop Lincoln University students voting for Barack Obama. If Democrats stay home Election Day Farrell will continue as Chester County Commissioner

    I got interested in politics before Eisenhower became president. Back then what I knew of politics in Coatesville PA was Democrats are steelworkers. Republicans are doctors or mobsters.

    Chester County politics have changed a little. Republicans are still doctors or mobsters but anti-government white nationalists were added to the pot.

    Since the guy who lived up the Avenue from me Santi Piscogliio ran high quality booze to Chester County Republican Judges & Chester County aristocrats during Prohibition Chester County government has been mob connected. The mob isn’t so big anymore but motorcycle clubs like the Roadrunners (See Norcini Auto Salvage Yard in Coatesville) a Pagan subgroup are. SEE:
    Tuesday, September 28, 2010
    Ms. Gladys Flamer addressing the Coatesville City Council Monday September 27, 2010

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