Candidates waging write-in campaigns

October 29, 2003|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - At least three write-in campaigns for municipal offices have been announced heading into the Nov. 4 general election, one in which an incumbent is attempting to retain his seat after losing in the May primary.

"After the primary, I had a lot of support and I'm not ready to step down yet," said Kerry Bumbaugh, 39, of 7888 Anthony Highway, Waynesboro, Pa. The two-term township supervisor lost the Republican nomination for Quincy Township supervisor to Wilbur "Wib" Sanders in the primary.

Sanders, 57, of 5741 Manheim Road, Waynesboro, also had enough write-in votes to earn the Democratic nomination in the primary.

"I think with my qualifications I can help the township move into the future," said Sanders, who works for an excavating contractor and as a self-employed construction consultant. He said he has experience in roads, bridges, and water and sewer systems.


"These are things, that from a management standpoint, I can help with," Sanders said. He said managing growth will be the biggest challenge for the township over the next several years.

"We don't want rapid growth, but you still need growth to survive," Sanders said.

Bumbaugh, who owns Henicle's Markets, agreed that managing growth will be important in upcoming years. The township has a new $11.5 million sewer system that is expected to promote development.

"I want to assure the residents they'll get the most for their money without raising taxes and I think I've proved that in the past 12 years," said Bumbaugh, who also works as the township's road master at an hourly rate of $12.

The supervisor position pays $2,500 a year.

The major issue in St. Thomas Township in recent months has been a proposed quarry operation west of the village of St. Thomas. Supervisor David C. Ramer is running for a second six-year term, having won both the Republican and Democratic nominations in the primary, but quarry opponent Frank Stearn is running a write-in campaign in an attempt to unseat the incumbent.

An up-or-down vote on the preliminary site plan for the quarry could come at a Wednesday, Nov. 5, work meeting of the board of supervisors, one day after the election.

"We've got to get a little better control on housing developments as far as the size of lots," said Ramer, 58, of 3135 Jacks Mill Road. "It's the developments that are taking up the farmland."

He said an ordinance requiring developers to put in self-contained sewer systems for housing developments would be one way to limit lot sizes. Controlling growth is also important because the more developments there are, the more it costs the township to maintain the new roads, said Ramer, who serves as a part-time road master for the township at $14.50 an hour.

"A township truly is the first stage of the process for a citizen to defend their property, their land, their health, safety and well-being," said Stearn, 58, of 3870 Ricklyn Drive. He said the present board has not exercised its power to regulate based on those issues.

"You heard a common refrain ... It is not within the capability of our office to regulate the quarry or its operations," said Stearn, a partner in Sunrise Computers and Electronics in Chambersburg.

"People do look to local elected officials to solve some of their problems," he said.

Ramer, who won both the Republican and Democratic primaries in May, said the board has hired an environmental attorney and a geologist to examine the proposal for the quarry, which would include concrete and asphalt plants. "We've got a few issues we're going to be bringing out," he said.

If elected, Stearn said he would like to see the board expanded to five members in order to be more representative, something he said could be accomplished by referendum.

In Mercersburg, Pa., Jo-Ellen Schaub, 51, of 210 Beech Lane is running unopposed to fill a two-year seat on the borough council. The seat was vacated recently when former Councilwoman Jeanne Rader, who moved out of town.

If her write-in campaign is successful, Schaub, a Democrat, would serve on the council with her husband, Michael, a Republican.

Write-ins likely will decide a number of other races around the county, because neither party fielded any candidates in the primary.

In the borough of Mont Alto, Pa., for example, there is no candidate on the ballot for an open council seat. In Orrstown, Pa., three council seats are up for election, but there are only two candidates.

Scores of other offices, particularly for municipal constables, assessors and auditors, also have no candidates listed.

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