Friday, September 4, 2009

Theresa Thornton-Johnson withdraws from Phoenixville Area School District candidate race

In August, I received many questions and comments on Theresa's withdrawal from the school board race. Every single person, including me, was dismayed over the news because Theresa presented herself as a very qualified, very discerning and compassionate candidate.

However, I believe we can all understand her reasons for the withdrawal.

We all wish her much success in all her future endeavors.

Wendy Kelly is an excellent candidate along with Jan Potts, Betsy Ruch, and Dan Cushing.

Josh Gould, the PASD liason with the local library and among the top 5 vote has generated a groundswell of opposition due to his persistant support and single-minded lobbying for the controversial library expansion plan.

Fed up with the local politics and the apparently thinly veiled pandering to special interests, in November's election our community's voters must demand representation for the residents of the Phoenixville area.

Look for a welcome upset and a new replacement for Josh Gould.


Candidate withdraws from Phoenixville schools race

Friday, September 4, 2009

By Dennis J. Wright,

PHOENIXVILLE — Theresa Thornton-Johnson has withdrawn her name from the Phoenixville Area School Board race.

Thornton-Johnson, along with Josh Gould, Jan Potts, Betsy Ruch and Dan Cushing, were the top five vote-getters in May's primary and were on the ballot for November.

Thornton-Johnson said that she felt that two meetings per month would be enough time to make important decisions regarding the district.

"When I decided to run for the school board, I was under the impression there were two meetings a month to attend: the workshop and the board meeting," Thornton-Johnson said. "Making decisions as important as those affecting our district, I would feel inadequate voting on issues based on the summary information given in the minutes.

"In order to be well educated on each and every issue, I personally would need to attend the committee meetings as well. Not to mention the executive meetings for both the entire board and the committees, which are not open to the public. This leaves about 15 or so meetings for me to attend a month," she said.

Thornton-Johnson said that the recent actions involving former high school basketball coaches Bill Detweiler and Ken Winston bothered her.

"The majority of the decisions made during the release of the high school basketball coaches were discussed and decided behind the scenes," she said. "During the school board meeting, when this issue was presented, one member was quoted as saying, 'I did not attend any meetings prior to this one.' And yet the member felt comfortable voting on such an important issue. Neither that philosophy, nor action would be acceptable to me if I was a school board member."

Thornton-Johnson said she sat down one evening, and after weighing everything, she made her decision.

"I was torn for a very long time, trying to juggle with family and work, to see if I can accommodate it," she said. "Everyone has a different opinion with what has been going on, and I wanted to be there with my opinion. I sat down and thought about this, and made my decision. It is disappointing. I don't like starting something and not finishing it. I like challenges and it would've been a challenge."

Phoenixville Democratic Committee Chairman Larry Tillotson said the announcement came "totally out of the blue."

"This came the Friday before you can make replacement candidates, and we were hoping we wouldn't have to make any replacements, " Tillotson said. "We received word from the Chester County Voter Services that she had withdrawn her name. After hearing from them, I confirmed with her on the following Monday."

Noting that they didn't have a lot of time left, Tillotson said they went back over the election results and named Thornton-Johnson's replacement.

"We looked at the election votes and we decided to ask Wendy Kelly if she would be Theresa's replacement," he said. "When she accepted, we got Wendy's paperwork in line and she will show up as a Democratic candidate for school board."

Tillotson said that while he is sad to see Thornton-Johnson withdraw, he's excited about Kelly's chances.

"I think Theresa would've been an outstanding candidate," he said. "She would've been an asset to the school board. Some people have to stop and take stock into how much time it takes to put into a role such as this. I have to respect that of her.

"I think Wendy will be a good candidate as well. She has some strong views and that's what I look for into a candidate. She is very passionate about what has been going on in the district," he said.

Kelly said that she's both pleased and honored with the selection.

"I'm pleased that we have a school board election, that there will be more options," Kelly said. "I'm honored that the Democratic Committee selected me to replace Theresa. I hope that I can do the children and the teachers justice. I want to bring it all back to where it once was, and that is academics first."

Thornton-Johnson said that she appreciates all of the support she received during her campaign time.

"I want to thank everyone who voted for me back in May for your love and support," she said. "Please don't be discouraged, and stay involved with what is going on. Not one or two people can change everything."


Anonymous said...

School board members may average 20 to 30 hours per week. Very tough, volunteer job

Anonymous said...

Karen. Wendy makes interesting comments during the school board's public sessions. You should talk to her to confirm these, but I saw them on tv.

She called the school board racists.

She publicly accused them of sunshine law violations. When they stopped her and said it's inappropriate, she sends a letter to the Phoenix that they're impolite to the taxpayer.

Wendy has quite an agenda and the school board is very leery of her. I think the public should know some of her stances.

She represents the bottom 90% of the student population which is admirable. However, she shouldn't assume the school board is conspiring to only help the top 10% to spite the bottom 90.

Anonymous said...

What's her stance on the library?

Anonymous said...

For Gosh sakes quit it about the library. It's going to be years before any expansion is started, if it is started at all. By the time it is, it's likely that all of those neighbors opposed to the idea will have moved on in life, due to any number of reasons, and hopefully the new residents are made aware of the possible expansion and know what they are buying into. This would solve all the complaining about the expansion. Thank you, have a great day.

Karen said...

Anonymous 4:13 p.m., waiting for the neighbors to die from a heart attack or a stroke due to stress caused by the neighborhood destructive library proposal does not suddenly make the serious risks and other concerns about the project disappear.

Thankfully, we live in a community which values the welfare and lives of their children as well as the issues which affect our homes and those of our neigbhors.

If a plan is so outrageous, so flawed, so incredibly risky, and arrogant to the community, residents MUST unite and fight the special interests which would forever destroy the safety, peace, and quality of life.

I've heard it said that if anyone in opposition to the plan keels over or moves, ten others will take up the banner.

You are right about one thing.

The current library proposal won't be started at all.

You have a great day, too!

Anonymous said...

I too would like to know her position on the current library expansion onto Second Avenue.

Anonymous said...

Does she prefer Maryann or Ginger??

Anonymous said...

Karen, if you agree that the library proposal won't be started at all, why do you keep complaining? You also keep bringing up the issue of safety, but as far as I know, no child has ever been killed on 3rd avenue, but there has been 1 killed on 2nd Avenue by a car. What about the safety there? You continuously talk about the schools and such on 3rd avenue, but those children are watched by teachers who are paid to watch them. Extra measures are taken to assure their safety when crossing the street, playing on the playground, etc. More traffic on the street won't increase the dangers to them because the playgrounds of the schools are fenced in and kids can't just go running into the street.

Karen said...

Why, Anonymous 9:37 a.m., do I keep "complaining"? So that others, like you, understand the insanity of the current library proposal.

Safety issues in an affected neighborhood should be the number one concern by both developers and local government.

The Mayor, police chief, and fire chief have serious concers which are identical to those which have been identified in the past.

Changes in traffic patterns will place additional risk of accidents on Third Avenue due to the increased volume of traffic. One need not be an actuarial to state that point. Our officials agree the change would have a disastrous impact.

In addition to the above, Reeves Park and the playground, Holy Family playground, and Barkley School playground are open 24-7. There are no teachers or aides in any of the playgrounds around the clock.

Emergency response vehicles will be delayed perhaps by several minutes due to the closure of Second Avenue at Main Street. Would you accept that fact and do nothing? When someone suffers a heart attack, stroke, or stops breathing, minutes count.

If both sides of Second Avenue are completely filled, where and how could a ladder truck make it's turns into the street or Park Alley? Won't happen. More risk to the neighborhood.

These are but a few of the concerns regarding the current proposal.

Please try to think logically about the impact such a monstrous development would have on the neighborhoods surrounding the library.

The facility has outgrown it's building.

It's time to think outside the box the library board has placed themselves in.

Anonymous said...

If I may use a fashion analogy, this proposed building is like trying to fit a size 10 foot into a size 8 shoe. It is just too big for the available space.

Anonymous said...

Need a new thread

Karen said...

I know, I know, Anonymous 3:36 p.m.

I've just been so busy lately.

How about an open thread while I get caught up? :)

Anonymous said...

"She called the school board racists".....I understand that Ms. Kelly thinks everyone but her are racists when in fact she comes across as one most of the time. Not a good choice for the Board.