Editor's Note: This article is the fourth in a four-part series covering the Emmaus Borough Council and East Penn School Board races, which will be decided through the Nov. 8 general election.
“We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately.’’ -- Benjamin Franklin.
Those seeking election on the Emmaus Borough Council or the East Penn School Board on Nov. 8 must find solace in Franklin’s words. It isn’t enough to be a Democrat, Republican or independent this year.
Candidates have chosen to be in CEPTA (Concerned East Penn Taxpayer Association, created in the 1980s); be backed by the new Citizens for Strong Community, or formed their own team of five school board incumbents or hopefuls.
Concerned East Penn Taxpayer Association
The team for CEPTA includes John Donches and his wife, Lynn, who are running for Emmaus Borough Council and East Penn School Board, respectively.
Giovanni Landi and Julian Stolz, both of Emmaus, are running for borough council and school board, respectively.
Stolz, born in 1987, is the youngest, but the only incumbent in CEPTA, whose president is John Donches,
“I’m just glad the voters were able to overlook my youth and give me the opportunity to serve,” Stolz said.
John Douches and Landi, through the primary, are each listed as Democrats and Republicans. Stolz and Lynn Donches are Republicans.
Citizens for Strong Community
Another team for borough council is made up of council president Lee Ann Gilbert, Nathan Brown and Brian Holtzhafer -- all incumbents-- and newcomer Jeff Shubzda. While Gilbert and Brown are cross filed as Democrat and Republican, Holtzhafter is a Democrat and Shubzda independent.
“I teamed up with this group,” said Brown. “I believe we have the best team for this moment; and it’s the time to to seek unity in Emmaus.
“I might not always agree with Brian Holtzhafer. I’m a Republican, he’s a Democrat. It shows we can work together and not be malicious about it."
East Penn School Board
The third team is made up of school board candidates, including incumbent Charles Ballard of Upper Macungie, Samuel “Sandy” Rhodes of Upper Milford, Kenneth Bacher of Lower Macungie Township, Waldemar “Wally” Vinovskis of Macungie and Brian Higgins of Lower Macungie.
Three are listed as Rebublican/Democrats, and two in the Democratic ledger.
The most maliciousness so far in the election has involved council candidate and CEPTA president Donches, who was accused of stealing property and assault on a Web site by Citizens for Strong Communities and paid for by Lower Macungie Democrat Patrick Slattery.
“No, I did not steal any borough property,’’ Donches said.
There are no court records of any theft, but Donches admitted he had a disorderly conduct charge in 2004 and was found not guilty. Court records confirm his explanation.
As far as being connected with former councilman Otto Slozer, he said “We are independent thinkers. Mr. Slozer was never an officer of CEPTA in any capacity."
Slattery describes Citizens for Strong Communities as a local non-partisan group "dedicated to encouraging the best and brightest people to run for elected office.
"The creation of www.ottosback.com grew from increasing concern that Otto Slozer might again have a powerful hand in Emmaus and East Penn School District governance," Slattery said. "Mr. Slozer has inserted himself into the public domain for many year and the Web site shares some important information about Slozer, the candidates behavior and their positions.
"Constant costly lawsuits for the taxpayers, crumbling infrastructure and endless controversy is in the past and folks in Emmaus and East Penn want to keep it that way," he said.