A Letter from Joan Hagan
To Media Democrats: Media is a great place to live. Even though all of us have reasons for loving our community, we also think about matters in which we would like to see some improvement. Media Borough Council has heard residents say that “it’s not everybody’s hometown” and “I can’t afford to live here”. These are sentiments expressed by every generation. Residents spoke those words to me in the 80’s and 90’s as I campaigned for election to Council. Those concerns cannot be dismissed or trivialized. As I knocked on doors, neighbors throughout the Borough also told me that Media is a great place to live and that we all have reasons for loving our hometown. Each generation of Borough residents elects leadership to define the framework and guide the direction of our hometown’s future. For several years, our voters have elected a Borough Council which has heard your concerns and has shepherded growth and change. I am concerned that in campaigning for the upcoming Primary Election, the “New Vision Democrats” have set forth goals toward which Borough Council has, for years, used its legal authority to develop plans and seek to achieve the goals desired by our community. Those expressing a “New Vision” have not shared with us any plan for achieving their stated goals. The failure of those with “new visions” for our Borough to tell us their realistic plans is of major concern to me. It is easy for the New Vision slate to point out what they think is wrong. Complaining, however, does not give us voters any idea of the steps and actions they propose as real solutions. If they are running to make changes for us, then they should discuss with us their plan for achieving the goal.
We all want racial and economic diversity in Media. Media Residents and Council have, for years, been seeking ways to have more affordable housing in the Borough. New Vision’s talk of enacting a rent control ordinance, however, is not a legal option in Pennsylvania. Talk is cheap but cheap talk is not effective leadership. Nor is the New Vision plan to impose deed restrictions requiring a maximum on the sale price of residential property a legal reality. And, while it may sound as though such a requirement would enable greater diversity, such a “plan” is not a solution to diminishing economic diversity. Yes, the Borough must work toward greater diversity, but there has been no discussion of how such restrictive suggestions, proposed as newly visionary, are helpful to Borough residents and taxpayers. For many reasons our historically volunteer fire company has seen fewer active volunteers. New Vision Democrats have proposed that Media become part of a regional fire company. A solution to the number of fire fighters for the Borough will certainly not be easy. Such a multi municipal discussion has been ongoing for several years. Those elected to serve the Borough have been working to resolve the Fire Company issue . . . including letting those they serve know the tax rate consequences, the impact on our residents of keeping the equipment up to date, and the effect such regional service could have on the safety provided to our residents. Those asserting that they have new visions for us have not shown us any proposals that take these into consideration. Finally, open recreational space and a green Media are not just about borrowing the funds that would enable the Borough to buy any or all properties on the market. Borough Council is about governing. Governing in Media is about public safety, zoning, development, infrastructure maintenance and other various public works. Keeping Media green is about responsible zoning, occupancy ratios and parking. It’s about a vibrant and innovative recycling and tree management program. Have those with the new visionary plan to reduce the cost of housing considered the decreased assessment value of some residential properties in their desire to financially diversify our population and the effect such decreases will have on Borough funding and real estate taxes going forward? I am also concerned about the fund-raising arm of the New Vision Democrats. They constantly have their hands out looking for money including challenge grants from unknown givers. It is never clear from where the funds come since New Vision finance reports show donors from all over the country.
Terry Rumsey has always been a community activist, raising awareness, raising funds, and seeking to motivate the masses. I think that is the role he should continue to play. The role he has been playing is very different from governing; his role should be as policy influencer. Governance is about funding all of the above. Governance is about quality of life and it’s about balance. Borough Council is comprised of our fellow residents who have found that wishing and hoping won’t make it so. The Media Democratic Committee was one of the earliest Democratic groups in the County to start turning Delaware County Blue. It was done by setting a realistic agenda and attacking needs with foresight and legal, workable plans for the challenges that lay ahead. I am writing to you, my fellow Democrats, to ask that you trust that history, that you see what that foresight has done to continue Media as a thriving community, that you trust the common sense shown by your Council, that you select the Endorsed Media Democrats slate to be elected and that you continue to ask Council to use the options in their small toolbox together with the limited authority granted in State law to resolve very challenging issues as they arise. Please consider voting in this Primary Election on May 16 for the Endorsed Media Democratic slate of Tray Herman, Lisa Gelman, and Paul Robinson.
- Joan Hagan, former Media Borough Council President
Joan Hagan served on Media Borough Council for 24 years, from 1982-2006, nearly all of them as Council President. She was the first woman to serve in that position. Joan still proudly calls Media her home. During her time on Council, Joan helped transform Media from a town on the brink of failure into the vibrant community we know and love today. She helped to save Media Elementary School from closing, faced down pressure to convert State Street into an office strip and moved the Streetscape project forward. Joan would like to address Democrats in Media about the upcoming Primary Election on May 16.