Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln knew adversity and the power of the Presidency. All but a few detractors agree that Lincoln had the experience, determination, fortitude, and compassion needed to make the right decisions in troubled times. Unfettered, in my opinion, by political loyalties, Lincoln literally put his life on the line to accomplish greater good by bold resolutions.

As it is with others on many different paths in life, those determined to to hold true to the precepts taught early in life on honesty, justice for all, and truthfulness, find their attitude and open agenda may collide with the status quo already developed and maintained within an organization.

I claim not a comparison with Lincoln, I only wish to humbly stand in his shadow, mindful of the legacy he leaves to those willing to learn how to serve our communties and our fellow man for the common good.

During my two terms on Council, many of my ideas were accepted and found to benefit Phoenixville such as the institution of Phoeniville Police Department's Bicycle program, the formation of a much needed Shade Tree Commission, and my detailed report calling on Council to reject an in-house trash removal plan. The bike patrol has produced many now routine successes in dealing with local problems, and I am extremely proud of our officers. The established Tree Commission is providing incredible assistance in replenishing trees in areas where time and age have diminished the beautiful bower of foliage which, in years past, graced almost all of the streets in our town. My call for my collegues to unanimously decline Borough trash removal seems almost prophetic in today's light.

Some of my ideas, however, were regarded misanthropically, and I was marginalized as a result. Stop signs at Second Avenue and Gay Street, traffic control devices in the area of our parks, and the traffic signal at Starr Street, Manavon, and Fifth Avenue are a few examples of my original ideas but Council turned a deaf ear. On a back burner for awhile, they now protect our citizens and benefit our community. If I am elected, no good idea, no matter the source, will ever be marginalized, again.

Organizing the public distress by the creation of a grass-roots petition drive to impel and compel Borough Council to cut red tape and aggressively work with Phoenixville Hospital to maintain their facility in our community, preventing Althouse Lane from becoming a one way street, resolving a drug trafficing problem in an area of town by bringing various community members and leaders together, and providing complete support to the family and friends for Borough recognition and official naming of C'Jon Saunders Park are examples of my previous work across this community.

When requested by the Department of Defense to participate in a 15 member board of review for a program to provide federal response to a chemical and/or biological incident in the United States, I answered the call to help my country. Even that duty was not without what I considered interference by a member of Council. Despite and in spite of the mechinations, my input and the perspective of the needs and concerns of a small town, Phoenixville, were represented and included as a part of this now nationally adopted federal response program.

I've stood some adversity.

It made me stronger.

I have also held public office.

It made me humble.

If I am elected to the East Ward Council seat, the "power" of that seat belongs to you.

Not me.

I would like to end with another of Lincoln's quotes to which I wholeheartedly subscribe.

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” Abraham Lincoln

So it is.


Anonymous said...

Reading this record of accomplishments and listing of foresight is striking and unmatched by anyone presently on council or formerly on council and now appointed to a role in local government. It stands to reason that Karen Johns is truly a needed voice in this community. East ward residents of all parties need to vote in a few weeks for her. Residents of other wards need to also cross party lines in their local election and assure that when we watch borough council meetings we see a group of men and women who are crowned by humility instead of a clear display of what is such an obvious false hood.

Karen said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for your comments.

Your support is deeply appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Uh, it's "C'Jon Saunders Park", not DeJon...and you played a marginal role in many of your listed items...the facts are out there.

Karen said...

Thank you, Anonymous. I corrected the spelling of C'Jon's name.

Insofar as your allegations regarding my involvement in my listed accomplishments, many others would ignore and not publish such an inaccurate and inflamatory statement. I, however, will meet you with a response on each item I posted.

Allow me to present the facts.

Beginning with the Phoenixville Police Department's Bicycle Program, I first complied an inch thick set of documents regarding bike patrols in other muncipalities, which I gave to our former Chief of Police, John Kalavick. After a review by both the Chief and former Mayor Chuck Ash, the documents were returned, and the program was not instituted.

When Mayor Leo Scoda was elected, I again resurected the documents and in his first term, Mayor Scoda quickly realized the potential of the bike patrol and the program was funded and instituted.

Phoenixville's original Shade Tree Commission was disbanded prior to my taking office. As is evident to anyone who has lived in Phoenixville for any number of years, our tree population has been decimated over time, and it was critical to begin a plan for reforestation. Over a period of several years, I attempted to convince Council for the need to create a similar authority. After much discussion, aggressive handling by me, and the formation of a citizen's group concerned with a tree program, Council finally established, by ordinance, a new Tree Commission.

Regards my report on in house trash removal vs a commercial hauler, the documents I complied were distributed to all seated Council members, and a copy given to the Borough Manager. The discussion was part of the minutes taken during the meeting and are public record of the Council meeting. They would be available at Borough Hall.

My request for a stop sign at Second Avenue and Gay Street was made to the Chief of Police during a meeting and was returned without approval as it was determined to not be needed.

Some time later, a resident of the area made a similar request and the stop sign was installed.

A child was killed in a car accident on Second Avenue over a half dozen years ago. Immediately, I requested a meeting with the Chief of Police and demanded traffic control devices. The matter was discussed, and at that time, was not lawful in this area.

Several years later, traffic control devices, the portable "humps" appeared on Second and Third Avenue at Reeves Park.

My family and I lived on Carson Street from 1973 to 1978. During that time, I became very familiar with the horrid situation in the intersection of Starr, Manvon, and Fifth Avenue. My repeated attempts to engage the support and help of our State Senator, John Stauffer, including chasing him down Fifth Avenue on foot after a Dogwood Parade resulted in NOTHING.

My repeated pleas for a traffic signal at the intersection continued while I was on Council, and with increasing frustration, I was told there was no money in the budget for the Borough's contribution for the project.

Several years after I left office, Council finally found the money and installed the traffic light which provides safety for our children on their walk to school, and our motorists in that once dangerous intersection.

Phoenixville Hospital representatives met with challenges from Borough Council during the initial process for expansion at their facility. As the situation deteriorated, several community leaders and I met with hospital officals and were told in no uncertain terms that the hospital would seek to build elsewhere if the Borough could not issue certain guarantees in a fixed period of time.

With that shocking news in hand, I approached several civic minded individuals and Save Phoenixville Hospital was organized.

With much hard work accomplished in short time, the outcome was the collection of over 4,000 signatures to keep Phoenixville Hospital in Phoenixville. With all parties satisfied we are now in the midst of new construction and the hospital WILL remain here, saving the lives of our community members and people from the surrounding areas.

I was approached by several residents of the Althouse Lane area after a suggestion was made to make it a one-way street. I was armed with enough information to convince Council it was not a beneficial move. Council nixed the idea.

C'Jon's family and friends appeared at a Council meeting requesting consideration to dedicate the park he frequented in his name. Immediately I understood his family's pain and need to work in a positive direction to foster healing and promote civic pride in this manner. As I stated previously, I wholeheartedly supported their movement, and to this day, I am proud of their accomplishment and continued care of the park.

The incident of a Council member involving himself in the DoD request for my participation in the national review panel was, in my opinion, an act of interference in my activities as citizen and was the subject of a written and oral report on Council floor. Also a part of the public record.

These are the facts.

Thank you, Anonymous, for allowing me to expand on the items I listed in my original post on this thread.