Paperwork Prevents People From Seeking Public Office
Every so often we read a letter to the editor which strikes our fancy. Today was such a day when we read Democratic Kingston Council candidate Curt Piazza's letter to the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader.
Piazza ran unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination to face incumbent Mayor Jim Haggerty (pictured to the left) in November. Piazza was defeated by Stephen Radzinski 494 to 402 in the May 19th primary.
Piazza wrote a letter to the editor, which appeared today in the Times Leader. He wrote it in response to the Times Leader's assertion that Piazza secured his council nomination the "easy way." The Times Leader was referring to the fact that Piazza was only one of two candidates on the ballot for four open council seats. Incumbents Republican council members Mike Jacobs and Sandy Kase won write-in nods on the Democratic side as well as winning Republican nominations.
Piazza took issue with this. He wrote:
"First there’s the paperwork: You have to follow the directions to the letter to fill out your nominating petitions. Then you have to trek out into the bitter cold to ask your fellow citizens and party members to sign your petitions. (This requires exactness too). Sometimes you have to put up with disgruntled residents slamming the door in your face.
Then you have to get your paperwork notarized and pay those fees. Then you submit your paperwork to the Election Bureau, hoping it will be approved. Then you have to submit a copy of the Statement of Financial Interests to your municipality.
All this takes a lot of time, patience and legwork; it’s not for the faint-hearted."
There are some interesting points to Piazza's writing. Piazza's biggest hurdle seems to be the "paperwork." In any borough in Pennsylvania such as Kingston, in order to appear on the primary ballot, one must get ten signatures from registered voters in his or her political party (actually nine, because you can sign your own petition.)
We are also curious why Piazza would have to "trek out into the bitter cold," since according to voter registration records, Piazza is residence is in a public housing building which encompasses at least fifty units. Records also show that many more than nine registered Democrats reside in that same building.
Be that as it may, if you have trouble finding nine registered voters of your party to sign a nomination petition (Jeddo Borough may be the exception,) you probably shouldn't be running for office.
Piazza's second bone of contention is the "statement of financial interest." The statement is a one page form which must be submitted by all candidates with your nomination petition. The form requires one to list their name, address, the office sought, occupation, real estate interests, direct sources of income, creditors, and interests in any business entities. The dollar amounts are not required.
Hardly a arduous task, ... or is it. Maybe Piazza has a point.
Piazza's opponent, and Democratic nominee Radzinski for mayor seemed to have a little trouble with this simple requirement. In a mistake which could have taken him off the ballot, if timely challenged by a Kingston Democrat such as Piazza , Radzinski filed his Statement of Financial Interest one week after the deadline. This is a fatal error which requires removal from the primary ballot. No such challenge was filed against Radzinski.
Being mayor of a town of 13,000 residents requires the preparation, reviewing, and filing of a lot of "paperwork." We wonder how overwhelmed Piazza would have been if he had won in May and then in the Fall. We also hope that candidate Radzinski is a little more careful and attentive if he ever becomes Mayor Radzinski.