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Mackenzie and Slattery Shirk Debate, Public Loses

Neither Ryan Mackenzie or Pat Slattery showed up to Tuesday night's debate. The winner by default is Dabrow, the loser is clearly the community.

Neither Ryan Mackenzie or Pat Slattery showed up at Tuesday night's debate.

In a way I understand Pat's decision. The debate was hosted by an organization whose president is now suing him. It's pretty easy to assume it's a very politically charged lawsuit. I do respect CEPTA as a grassroots organization that has been active in this community for over a decade, but I cannot give its president the benefit of the doubt here. The timing of this lawsuit announcement is just too convenient to see it any other way. So I do understand Slattery not wanting to attend this debate.

As for Mackenzie, I heard the last minute excuse was "other obligations" despite his RSVP commitment to attend to the event. It's clear either he or his handlers made the strategic decision not to show. Either that, or he clearly didn't care enough to honor a commitment with one of the community's most established grass roots organizations. Both excuses are unacceptable.

Twice I've tried to get Mackenzie's take on issues that I view as important. Specifically they include growth issues because I view them as critically important here in Upper and Lower Macungie and South Whitehall. One was the debate and the other was through the questionnaire sent out two weeks ago by the 'Friends LMT' organization. Mackenzie declined to answer.

As I outlined in a previous post I will be voting for Pat Slattery in the special election. His views do not line up 100 percent with mine, but no candidate's do. He is sincere and understands the 134th and our unique issues. I did not decide until last night who I am voting for in the Republican Primary.

Arlene Dabrow was the only candidate to show up last night. She gave earnest and honest answers to questions posed to her last night. She earned my vote.

For me it's Slattery in the Special Election and Dabrow in the Republican primary. To learn more about Dabrow visit her website here

What are your thoughts on the Special Election and Republican Primary?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ann Marie Slavick April 19, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Slattery turned down every debate first. Everyone knew, and the paper announced it that he wouldn't be there. He refuses to debate Mackenzie. I wonder why. You do not need to debate your opponent on issues at all, you don't even need to talk about issues, when you have the backing of a large, powerful union. They can do all the work for you.
Ron Beitler April 19, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Update - Since writing Mackenzie did respond to the Emmaus Patch's Farmland Preservation question. Farmland preservation is a well-debated issue in the 134th House District, particularly in Lower Macungie but also other municipalities. How would you balance the needs of the region to grow jobs and build business with local taxpayers’ concerns about preserving farmland and open space? Ryan MacKenzie: I support preserving our farmland and open space because this actually helps attract and retain job creators since it helps provide for a better quality of life for their employees. In the past, local government has taken the initiatives at preservation through local bond issues. At the state level, programs such as Growing Greener and Growing Greener II have been very successful at open space preservation as well. As State Representative, I will continue to support local governments and organizations who work toward open space and farmland preservation.
Ron Beitler April 19, 2012 at 03:58 PM
And Slattery Patrick Slattery: I am deeply concerned about the balance of economic progress and farmland preservation and through my work on the Lower Macungie Township Environmental Advisory Council, chairing Citizens for Strong Communities and subsequently supporting the Friends for The Protection of Lower Macungie I have worked to strike that balance. Balance first begins with a clear and transparent process whereby citizens, municipal leaders, farmers and developers engage in an open process. Second, detailed cost benefit analyses must be conducted weighing economic and environmental consequences. Third, calculation of impact on taxpayers must be completed prior to approval. Often in massive residential developments, the financial impact on the local taxpayer is not properly considered resulting in property tax increases that can outweigh other benefits.
Ron Beitler April 19, 2012 at 03:59 PM
This is all I (personally) and the friends group (per the steering committee) want. Answers to these CRITICAL questions about farmland preservation. This is an issue that has supermajority support for continued preservation efforts. Almost universally does the community want to see our farmland protected and preserved.
truth seeker April 20, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Mr. Beitler just so I understand: He refused this questionaire initially because you came out for Slattery but changed his mind later? Did he mention why the change? Seems odd.
Ron Beitler April 20, 2012 at 03:14 PM
TS - In my personal blog, I wrote that I support Pat Slattery in the SPECIAL election. This was prob two weeks ago. My rationale being Slattery is vested in the community vs. Mackenzie who I see (personal opinion) as using the 134th as a stepping stone. I made no comment at the time about the Republican PRIMARY Dabrow vs. Mackenzie. Mackenzie responded by questioning the fairness/non-biased approach of the 'Friends LMT www.facebook.com/friendslmt' questionnaire because of my post. I am currently the chair of the org. I definitely dispute this and was disappointed by this assumption by Mackenzie since all decisions and the formation of these questions was done by the steering committee which consists of larger group. Ironically some of which openly support Ryan and some of which openly support Pat. There was certainly NO bias in the questions and no bias in the distribution of responses.
LoMac Res April 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Remember to take your photo ID to the polls on Tuesday, April 24th. PA Republican legislature and Corbett passed a voter-suppression bill, aka voter ID bill, to address a problem that doesn't exist. Current driver's license or passport is best, but they are still debating other forms that will be allowable. By the way, if you see delays or someone being denied the right to vote, take note.
truth seeker April 22, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Don't forget the state also has plenty of money to pay for this new 6-10 million dollar legislation. Thanks Gov.
ted.dobracki April 22, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Well spent. Getting valid ID in the hands of more people who need it will help them navigate many other venues besides voting. The benefits will far exceed the cost.
Interested Observer April 23, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Why would Mackenzie take part in anything that Ron Beitler is a part of? It is clear that Mr. Beitler is completely behind Slattery in this race, which makes him not exactly a fair moderator of anything. I contacted Mackenzie's campaign and they sent me an email exchange with Mr. Beitler which said Mackenzie would not answer because of Beitler's advocacy for Mr. Slattery in the campaign AND showed that Mr. Beitler agreed to post Mr. Mackenzie's response in full. Of course, Mr. Beitler has not done that and, even worse, has tried to spin this the other way. Mr. Beitler is a liar in this situation and no one should believe him. Feel free to call the Mackenzie campaign and they will send you the emails, too. I am actually surprised the Patch hasn't followed up on this as I was told by the campaign they too were provided this email exchange.
Ron Beitler April 23, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Anonymous poster 'interested observer' - You are incorrect. Have you looked for the response? It's right there posted most recently for a 2nd time on April 19th. Notes section, very first post. Mackenzie's response is right there on the Friends FB page as was promised. Additionally it's mentioned (With link to the page) in every single avenue the group used to disseminate the candidate responses. (groups distribution list, FB, press release, blogs ect) www.facebook.com/friendslmt It was the groups intention to simply get these important questions answered about farmland preservation and growth issues. I believe we accomplished that. I also attended the CEPTA debate to raise these issues as well. Of course Mr. Mackenzie didn't attend. Arlene Dabrow did, and answered my question about farmland easements. Further, to correct you. I personally support Arlene Dabrow in the Republican Primary vs. Mackenzie. I support Slattery in the Special. (These are my personal opinions not the groups) No decision in 'Friends' is made unilaterally but by the steering committee. Ironically a cpl members publicly SUPPORT Mackenzie, he is aware of this. The patch as well as morning call were looped in on all communication.
Ron Beitler April 23, 2012 at 01:36 PM
I agree with Ted. I've never understood why we've allowed people to vote without an ID in the past. I've always found it astonishing that I needed to show no photo ID at the polls. I'm sorry but the "disenfranchising of voters" talking point is way overblown and is nothing more then the left's push to bring a little class warfare to the table, something the far left seems always willing to do. Most opinion polls I've seen show 70 to 80 percent of Americans are in favor of voter ID laws. This is common sense.
Ron Beitler April 23, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I'm good with an apology also. Of course you don't have to, because you post anonymously on the internet, so you have that shield allowing you to effectively slander people from the comfort of your computer. It's good I don't take the same tact as the folks suing Slattery's bi-partisan community organization. (They sued an internet 'handle' on a message board from what I understand) But I don't believe in frivolous lawsuits. You just posted not one but multiple incorrect items in your comment. I try my best to blog about important issues that affect the township and advocate for issues I believe in. Thats all. Lived here my whole life and have put my roots down here. My motivation is to help make my town a better place. I guess when you put yourself out there with your name on a by-line your gonna get this kinda stuff. Comes with the turf I suppose. And thats all I'm gonna say about that. As policy I typically only respond to people who put their real name out there and avoid engaging internet trolls.
Mark Spengler April 23, 2012 at 07:21 PM
As a member of the friends group I'm very sorry to see that we are being attacked because Ron decided to author a blog in favor of Pat Slattery. The questionaire was not slanted one way or the other. I think Mr. Mackenzie and his campaign would have noticed that upon reading it. The questions reflected our concerns about farmland preservation smart growth etc. I will say that I was pleased that Mr. Mackenzie did submit the questionaire. Better late than never. Our goal is to get all parties including Republicans, Democrats and Independents to pay attention to these important issues. If anybody thinks that the questions were unfair or biased please read them and judge for yourself. Like Ron mentioned, we have people in our group who will support Mackenzie and others who will support Slattery. We are a bipartisan team.
Ron Beitler April 23, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Also using the Mackenzie campaigns very own logic, the CEPTA debate could not possibly have been un-biased. Afterall the groups chair is John Donches who is suing Slattery, I'd venture to guess he isnt supporting Pat. Of course this logic is stupid. It's stupid with myself and friends and stupid with CEPTA. CEPTA, just like friends is ran by a board and decisions are not made unilaterally by one individual. Why didnt Mackenzie question the CEPTA chair's integrity? (as they did with me) Personally I think the CEPTA debate would have been a fair and unbiased event.

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