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LNP article on Socialist Dems take over the county party

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Artvandolay

Lancaster Dems give former chair no options but to resign, as fault lines within the party are exposed

JoAnn Hentz was given a choice.

She was told by her fellow Democrats in the county party’s executive team she could resign as chairwoman, in the heat of a pivotal election year despite a track record in leadership with the party that includes Election Day victories in the suburbs in 2017 and 2019.

Or she could risk being the subject of a “public airing of grievances” by members of the county's minority political party, a move vice chair Ismail Smith-Wade-El said would expand the rift that has grown between factions of the local Democrats.

Hentz, 68, resigned.

In a decision that surprised some and angered others, the veteran of Democratic politics quit her post effective Jan. 15 and said she would no longer be involved in a party she helped push deeper into suburbs including Manheim and Lancaster townships since President Donald Trump's election.

“It came as a big shock to me as to what happened,” said Jean Bickmire, the district leader for the Conestoga Valley area committee. “My issue is that JoAnn did not resign. JoAnn was effectively removed from her office from a few people and not from the wholly elected members of the Democratic party.”

Hentz’s ouster comes as the state party seeks to regain control of the General Assembly and, thus, take a greater hand in redrawing congressional and legislative district boundaries as required by law after this year’s census.

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JoAnn Hentz, seen here during a Manheim Township School Board forum in May 2017, was elected chairwoman of the Lancaster County Democratic Committee on June 9, 2018.

CHRIS KNIGHT

All 203 seats in the state House and 25 seats in the state Senate are up for election in 2020. Republicans now control the Legislature, but Democrats are eyeing key races, including three in Lancaster County: the 97th (held by incumbent Republican Steven Mentzer) and 41st House  (held by incumbent Republican Brett Miller) districts and the 13th Senate district (held by incumbent Republican Scott Martin). 

Exposing a rift

The disturbance within the Democratic Party here illustrates a rift between more progressive members and a legacy faction, of sorts, made up of veterans who have worked in the trenches for decades and the elected officials who have held public office such as Rep. Mike Sturla and county Commissioner Craig Lehman.

"The party absolutely did and does want a new direction," Smith-Wade-El said in a phone interview Thursday. "The members of the committee and of the executive board who raised concerns and grievances were pretty clear in that ... there was a need for new leadership."

The problems with Hentz's leadership were not major issues, rather more like disagreements about how the party should attack the monumentally important election at hand and how Hentz handled internal and external relationships, Smith-Wade-El said. The issues were brought to Hentz on several occasions, and were from committee members, the executive team itself and past chairs.

"This was not a matter of five or six or seven or eight people who decided they had a petty complaint," Smith-Wade-El added. "These were issues that members of the executive board over a long period of time had heard."

Hentz saw her ouster in a different way: the executive team was working around her without her knowledge, that devolved down to party leaders ignoring her emails and calls. They gave her no option but to resign, she said.

“I didn’t just back down because of the lies and treachery,” Hentz said when reached by phone Sunday. “I backed down because people I have worked for for 20 years, worked alongside, walked with were willing to believe it. That’s the point in which there’s no point in going on.”

Several other Democratic district leaders reached Thursday said they had not lodged any complaints with the executive board about Hentz, and all were surprised by Hentz's resignation.

Hentz’s tenure in party leadership included major victories in Manheim Township -- once a Republican stronghold -- in taking control of the board of commissioners in 2019 and the school board in 2017, where she is still a member.

Hentz spent 34 years as an educator in Eastern Lancaster County School District, according to newspaper records. She became party chair in June 2018 after having served as vicechair since 2010, according to newspaper archives.

"I've known JoAnn for years… she and her husband have done so much for this party and have been very successful in Manheim Township," Bickmire said Thursday, reached by phone. She added she fears that the executive team made a unilateral decision to remove Hentz because they wanted someone else they agree with more to lead the party this year.

Diane Topakian, who was elected to succeed Hentz Wednesday night, was not present at the convention due to illness. Reached by phone Thursday, Topakian said she "for sure" more progressive than Hentz.

"Without a doubt I'm sure my politics are more progressive, but that doesn't mean anything," Topakian said. "All it means is that people with more progressive politics might feel more welcome now at the table and the way our process will work might be a little more transparent."

"We're a growing organization and organizations do experience growing pains," Topakian added.

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grieker
8 hours ago, Artvandolay said:

Lancaster Dems give former chair no options but to resign, as fault lines within the party are exposed

JoAnn Hentz was given a choice.

She was told by her fellow Democrats in the county party’s executive team she could resign as chairwoman, in the heat of a pivotal election year despite a track record in leadership with the party that includes Election Day victories in the suburbs in 2017 and 2019.

Or she could risk being the subject of a “public airing of grievances” by members of the county's minority political party, a move vice chair Ismail Smith-Wade-El said would expand the rift that has grown between factions of the local Democrats.

Hentz, 68, resigned.

In a decision that surprised some and angered others, the veteran of Democratic politics quit her post effective Jan. 15 and said she would no longer be involved in a party she helped push deeper into suburbs including Manheim and Lancaster townships since President Donald Trump's election.

“It came as a big shock to me as to what happened,” said Jean Bickmire, the district leader for the Conestoga Valley area committee. “My issue is that JoAnn did not resign. JoAnn was effectively removed from her office from a few people and not from the wholly elected members of the Democratic party.”

Hentz’s ouster comes as the state party seeks to regain control of the General Assembly and, thus, take a greater hand in redrawing congressional and legislative district boundaries as required by law after this year’s census.

Buy Now

JoAnn Hentz, seen here during a Manheim Township School Board forum in May 2017, was elected chairwoman of the Lancaster County Democratic Committee on June 9, 2018.

CHRIS KNIGHT

All 203 seats in the state House and 25 seats in the state Senate are up for election in 2020. Republicans now control the Legislature, but Democrats are eyeing key races, including three in Lancaster County: the 97th (held by incumbent Republican Steven Mentzer) and 41st House  (held by incumbent Republican Brett Miller) districts and the 13th Senate district (held by incumbent Republican Scott Martin). 

Exposing a rift

The disturbance within the Democratic Party here illustrates a rift between more progressive members and a legacy faction, of sorts, made up of veterans who have worked in the trenches for decades and the elected officials who have held public office such as Rep. Mike Sturla and county Commissioner Craig Lehman.

"The party absolutely did and does want a new direction," Smith-Wade-El said in a phone interview Thursday. "The members of the committee and of the executive board who raised concerns and grievances were pretty clear in that ... there was a need for new leadership."

The problems with Hentz's leadership were not major issues, rather more like disagreements about how the party should attack the monumentally important election at hand and how Hentz handled internal and external relationships, Smith-Wade-El said. The issues were brought to Hentz on several occasions, and were from committee members, the executive team itself and past chairs.

"This was not a matter of five or six or seven or eight people who decided they had a petty complaint," Smith-Wade-El added. "These were issues that members of the executive board over a long period of time had heard."

Hentz saw her ouster in a different way: the executive team was working around her without her knowledge, that devolved down to party leaders ignoring her emails and calls. They gave her no option but to resign, she said.

“I didn’t just back down because of the lies and treachery,” Hentz said when reached by phone Sunday. “I backed down because people I have worked for for 20 years, worked alongside, walked with were willing to believe it. That’s the point in which there’s no point in going on.”

Several other Democratic district leaders reached Thursday said they had not lodged any complaints with the executive board about Hentz, and all were surprised by Hentz's resignation.

Hentz’s tenure in party leadership included major victories in Manheim Township -- once a Republican stronghold -- in taking control of the board of commissioners in 2019 and the school board in 2017, where she is still a member.

Hentz spent 34 years as an educator in Eastern Lancaster County School District, according to newspaper records. She became party chair in June 2018 after having served as vicechair since 2010, according to newspaper archives.

"I've known JoAnn for years… she and her husband have done so much for this party and have been very successful in Manheim Township," Bickmire said Thursday, reached by phone. She added she fears that the executive team made a unilateral decision to remove Hentz because they wanted someone else they agree with more to lead the party this year.

Diane Topakian, who was elected to succeed Hentz Wednesday night, was not present at the convention due to illness. Reached by phone Thursday, Topakian said she "for sure" more progressive than Hentz.

"Without a doubt I'm sure my politics are more progressive, but that doesn't mean anything," Topakian said. "All it means is that people with more progressive politics might feel more welcome now at the table and the way our process will work might be a little more transparent."

"We're a growing organization and organizations do experience growing pains," Topakian added.

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It, like a cancer or Radical Islam , spreads unchecked.

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skeptic2mod

Because I am no longer there, I had little or nothing to do with this.

I also read the Philly article by Maria Panaritis.

Bottom line is that the party replaced Doug from Hempfield with Izzy as a good will gesture to Bernie people. Now Izzy says the party doesn't work closely enough with local progressive groups.

Ignoring the party's success in places like Lancaster Twp and Manheim Twp., he wants to standardize messaging and he wants to go to places like E-town and Ephrata with a message that focuses on the working class. He thinks he can reach out to socially conservative voters with an economic message.

I'm skeptical, and would suggest that he be very careful trying to sugar cut socialism and forget about free college with theses voters.

His optimism will help but not be enough...

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Artvandolay
18 hours ago, skeptic2mod said:

Because I am no longer there, I had little or nothing to do with this.

I also read the Philly article by Maria Panaritis.

Bottom line is that the party replaced Doug from Hempfield with Izzy as a good will gesture to Bernie people. Now Izzy says the party doesn't work closely enough with local progressive groups.

Ignoring the party's success in places like Lancaster Twp and Manheim Twp., he wants to standardize messaging and he wants to go to places like E-town and Ephrata with a message that focuses on the working class. He thinks he can reach out to socially conservative voters with an economic message.

I'm skeptical, and would suggest that he be very careful trying to sugar cut socialism and forget about free college with theses voters.

His optimism will help but not be enough...

I agree with you on the outlying townships...even MT might wonder what the local Dems are up to. It really points to the almost militant aspect of the new Democrat party in many local communities.

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Artvandolay
1 hour ago, Artvandolay said:

I agree with you on the outlying townships...even MT might wonder what the local Dems are up to. It really points to the almost militant aspect of the new Democrat party in many local communities.

There have been a couple of letter to LNP about the coup...but the senders soft pedal, you have to read between the lines to get what they are getting at.

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Artvandolay

From today's LNP interview with the new County Democrat chair...She's tired of talking about the ouster of the former Chair...and she is tired of talking about the ouster???? This is the first time she's been interviewed since the takeover.

 

A recent column in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the Lancaster Dems questioned the timing of former chair JoAnn Hentz's ouster and also said it might be a gift to Trump in 2020 . Do you have any response to that?

I think that's ridiculous, a gift to Trump. I think the ousting -- And I'm really tired of talking about this -- was a question of style and of leadership and culture. It wasn't generational, it really wasn't. And it wasn't ideological either. And so to say that, I mean I'm 66 years old and people elected me because they know my experience and what I did as an organizer and have met me and feel like I can lead the organization forward. It's not a gift to Trump. Ridiculous.

https://lancasteronline.com/news/politics/q-a-with-lancaster-dems-new-chair-following-divisive-exit/article_9c0d899e-51d7-11ea-a5cb-db51781aed87.html

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skeptic2mod

For Councilman Smith-Wade-el..

 

You walked into the party
Like you were walking on a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf, it was apricot
You had one eye on the mirror
And watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they'd be your partner
They'd be your partner, and
You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain,
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you?
Don't you?
Oh, you had me several years ago
When I was still naive
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me
I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and
You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain, you're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you?
Don't you?
Well I hear you went to Saratoga
And your horse, naturally, won
Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
Well, you're where you should be all the time
And when you're not, you're with some underworld spy
Or the wife of a close friend,
Wife of a close friend, and
You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain, you're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you?
Don't you?

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skeptic2mod

Seriously, in the middle of the primary season, he engineers this probably pointless coup and Joanne is surprised because she trusted Izzy. Then he says it's about getting more votes in the most conservative parts of the county, not about trying to change the outcome of the primary. Topakian wasn't there to shove the knife in and still hasn't really explained why it was necessary. 

And if things don't go as planned, will they share the blame?

I keep muttering to myself that Joann should have told them all to fuck off because it's right up their alley to play the victim, and they probably would have been OK playing that card.

But seriously, if she thinks Maria Panaritis wrote an uneven piece, c'mon GET REAL! Who has asked her so many times, who?

OK, I'm done..

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