OPINION: Campana Created Slaughter, Beiter May Pay The Price

By: Todd Bartley, Managing Member, News Talk 104.1

Derek Slaughter may have the easiest path to victory in a contested election of any local elected official since the dawn of elections.

This theory is similar to the one former Republican Presidential candidate and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal formulated in his Wall Street Journal Opinion article published March 4, 2016.

Slaughter along with Eric Beiter, seek to become the next Mayor of the City of Williamsport.

One of them will follow the current Mayor Gabe Campana who in his infinite wisdom (ask him he will tell you he has it), has decided after losing in the primary, not for Mayor, but for Lycoming County Commissioner to run as a write-in for Mayor.

Campana has been the Mayor over the past twelve years.

He declared criminals and drug dealers would be done on day one of his administration; instead the drug epidemic has exploded and gun crimes are on the rise with a pair of shootings, the most recent in the City of Williamsport happening last week.

In fact, Mayor Campana has posed in photos with convicted felons and those known to be connected to the drug trade.

If that wasn’t enough of a legacy, he was the architect of outdoor hockey at Bowman Field with folks called Outlaws skipping town in the middle of the night having stiffed the city.

Part of that project was re-allocating $50,000 from the Channel 75 project towards building the outdoor hockey rink. That $50,000 would be the only funds the rink builder would receive and Channel 75 today sits as a blank screen no thanks to the Mayor’s self-appointed hire.

That same hire vetted my company to run Channel 75 while being a contractor for the City as well as deeply connected to the other party who submitted an unsuccessful proposal to operate Channel 75.

Could that be a conflict of interest?

The leadership of Campana spawned not one but two different commissions to explore the form of government in the City of Williamsport.

So two years ago the plan is hatched, if Slaughter could be elected to City Council knowing the baggage Campana carried the path was easy.

Slaughter garnered the most votes of any council candidate and cruised to victory.

Just as Trump breezed through 19 other primary challengers, he was the anti-Obama, Slaughter being the anti-Campana.

The local voters were also voicing their concerns with current leadership so the path for Slaughter and anyone not on the Republican Mayor ticket was easy.

With this theory playing out flawlessly I personally endorsed Derek Slaughter for Mayor earlier than anyone other than his own family.

Immediately I was reached out to by Eric Beiter saying (jokingly) “why didn’t you endorse me?”

At the time, I had no idea he was thinking of running for Mayor.

Then he announced his candidacy.

For me, it was a great premise, two amazing friends of mine are both running for Mayor and the conversations we had over the past year about where the City of Williamsport can go have been amazing! Eric had taken action photos at games for us at the radio stations over the years and of course getting to know Derek through covering games was also a bonus.

Both of them have distinct ideas of where the City of Williamsport and how their leadership can get us there.

So, we had always agreed to a future date of having a conversation with the voters with me moderating a debate.

That opportunity presented itself on Tuesday, October 15 from 7 – 9 p.m. at Lycoming College. It was to be followed a week later with the Commissioners Debate in the same time frame on October 22.

However, after committing to me personally Slaughter backed out and “his team” let everyone know why on Facebook.

Morgan Allyn (Lycoming County Democratic Chairperson) “Todd, before you get all overly righteous about your attempts to get candidates and local Parties to participate in your little debate, of course I asked for information on questions and topics. That’s pretty normal. I will always ask about questions and topics when someone proposes a debate for candidates that I have responsibilities too. That’s what Party Chairs do. I asked. I asked about topics. I asked you questions about your little radio station. We had friendly banter back and forth. I tried to get as much information out of you that I could. It would be naive to think you wouldn’t be asked. I would be sharing whatever info I got with our candidates. It’s called politics, Todd. It’s about trying to get information on behalf of my Party’s candidates. I did not realize that you were so, I don’t know, shocked by our 1st conversation.”

According to the Washington Times, Donna Brazile was fired by CNN for this exact behavior as a party chairperson.

Michael Orrico (Slaughter for Mayor Campaign Chairperson) “Slaughter declined after re checking with his Ad Agency I spoke to Carlos And told him reiterate our conversation to Todd we will not be doing this debate. We had just finished the one at Penn College. Conflicting with Mr Slaughters obligations we will not be participating in this debate. Also told Carlos and Todd to go through his Ad Agency for anything further. I or Dale have not had the common courtesy of a call or email from Mr Bartley re: anything. If anyone would like to debate these facts please fb me. Regards. Michael.”

After all those conversations with Slaughter over the past year, this Facebook message board post was the first time the name Michael Orrico came up. That is a conversation the candidate and “his team” need to have; not with me.

Rhetorically speaking, if Slaughter is elected Mayor and tough decisions have to be made, will he be checking and agreeing and then re checking with his Ad Agency before getting the approval of City Council?

There are so many questions I had prepared for the Mayoral candidates and now they will have to wait until the next election cycle since they will not be asked tonight anything tougher than, what is your favorite color?

Maybe candidate Slaughter is right, this election may be a ”mere formality.”

Which if you have been paying attention; I predicted more than a year ago thanks to Gabe Campana.

Happy Voting Everyone!