LMT Commissioner Candidates Face Off

Voters heard candidates' views on farmland preservation, spending, transparency, development and more.

Voters in Lower Macungie Township will elect two commissioners on Nov. 8, and all three candidates for the two seats answered questions from the public Nov. 2 at a forum hosted by the Lehigh County League of Women Voters at the Hillside School.

Of the three candidates -- Douglas Brown, James Lancsek and Robert Sharpe -- Brown is the only incumbent. Sharpe is the only Democrat. Lancsek is the only one who has been a township employee for decades. He has been the zoning officer for 20 years and is retiring in December.

Brown and Sharpe also are professionals: Brown is a civil engineer, and Sharpe is a lawyer.

All three clearly care deeply about the township.

And that's where the pleasantries end.

Lancsek and Sharpe have teamed up to offer voters a new perspective. Several barbs flew in Brown's direction for having been one of the commissioners who adopted the zoning amendment, currently in litigation, that will allow the Jaindl Land Co. to build warehouses, commercial properties and hundreds of homes on more than 600 acres of farmland.

Sharpe also criticized Brown, the night's face of the board of commissioners, for the lack of transparency and accountability among the current administration.

If elected, Sharpe has said he will work for more openness between the BOC and the residents, for a regional planning commission that will allow the township to be a good neighbor to surrounding communities and for answer to the questions surrounding police protection.

Lancsek said he would try to focus the commissioners' efforts on the "core services" for which the township government is responsible: streets, sewers and water. Lancsek also will push for smarter township spending.

Brown takes pride in his work so far: the implementation of traffic impact fees, obtaining several grants for parks and the improvement of open spaces and the improvement of several detention basins that help minimize flooding throughout the township.

Brown drew on his body of work as a commissioner to return Sharpe's barbs. He called on his experience -- he has been a commissioner since the township acquired first-class status in 2007 -- as proof he knows what he's doing on the board. 

Robyn L. Oplinger November 03, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Of the current Board of Commissioners, 4 were endorsed by Citizens for Change. So, they are not happy that the Commissioners didn't follow in lockstep with the CfC mandates?
Ron Beitler November 03, 2011 at 09:40 PM
There is a difference in following the mandate of a community organization and following the mandate of the community at large. Your correct in that no candidate is under obligation to work in lock-step with any organization. Even if it was essential to getting him/her elected... But when overwhelmingly the community is against the Jaindl development and the way it was handled and supported by a County Judges decision ruling notification was improper... AND given the scope of this being the single largest development in township history (and one so heavily focused on wildly unpopular warehousing) is mind-boggling. And then when you STILL vote in favor of a developer and choose to fight the community who elected you even when given a "get out of jail free card" and a unique chance to hit the reset button and even if the result is the same you have a chance to erase any doubt of improper methodology in a township still reeling from unethical commissioners during the "old guard" and you don't? Can't understand that.
MS November 04, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Was thinking the same exact thing when I read the article, glad you posted that link
MS November 04, 2011 at 12:35 PM
We need to set up a location to celebrate when Brown is voted out!
Friends for Protection LMT November 04, 2011 at 12:42 PM
We second that Missy! But, there is still work to be done this weekend! Although the Jaindl issue is truly a "get out the vote issue" the supervoter numbers tilt to the extreme in LMT in favor of republicans. Lanscek is a shoe in due to his party affiliation. We MUST make sure ppl understand exp (R) voters that Lanscek and Sharpe is a Bi-partisan ticket and to vote for it, you can't vote straight R. You must "pull the lever" individually for (D) Sharpe and (R) Lanscek! A vote for both is a vote of no confidence in this current board!


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