Democrats Sweep Delaware County Row Offices in Historic Win

Brian Zidek won the Nov 8, 2017 election for a seat on Delaware County Council.  Brian Zidek and Kevin Madden are the first Democrats to win a Delaware County Council seat in decades.  As quoted in, "The Delaware County Democrats’ wins were bigger and probably more historic. They won the first two county council seats ever and elected a Democratic sheriff, controller and register of wills."

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Dems speak out against president's Charlottesville remarks

Delaware County Daily Times

As Democrats decried the all-GOP Delaware County Council on Friday for not specifically condemning President Donald Trump in its anti-hate resolution, Republicans called their charge divisive and disgraceful race-baiting.

On Friday, a statement issued by the Zidek/Madden campaign – Brian Zidek and Kevin Madden are Democratic candidates for county council against Republicans John Perfetti and incumbent Councilman Dave White – thanked county council for the resolution passed Wednesday condemning racism and Nazism in the wake of last weekend’s deadly confrontations in Charlottesville, Va. The resolution was sent to Trump and to Gov. Tom Wolf.

The Zidek/Madden statement also read, “(T)he failure of the council to specifically condemn the president for sympathizing with Nazis and white supremacists is inexcusable. The members of the Delaware County Council and the Delco Republican Party leadership, starting with Chairman Andy Reilly – who served as a presidential elector for Donald Trump – exercised their positions of power within our community last year to help get Donald Trump elected, and it is clear that they value their party loyalty more than their responsibility to express the values of the Delaware County voters they represent.”

It continued, “There can be no equivocation or ‘both sides do it’ statements when opposing Nazis, fascists or white supremacists. Donald Trump should be roundly denounced and the council failed to do so in their resolution.”

The statement also tied the issue to the fall election.

“Voters this fall will not forget that this souncil has decided that party loyalty and supporting Donald Trump is more important than what is right for Delaware County and our country,” it read.

White called the statement a divisive, calculated response.

“We have always run these campaigns on the issues of what’s good for Delaware County residents,” he said. “The first thing they do is try to mix this up with racism and that is not forgivable. We stand for all of our residents.”

He said the first item of the election that these Democratic candidates “is to try to divide Delaware County residents.”

There has never been an African-American member of Delaware County Council.

Reilly called the statement a disgrace.

“It’s disgraceful that Madden and Zidek, a New Yorker and a man who opened his company headquarters in New Jersey, are working to create more division in Delaware County,” he said. “Maybe this type of race-baiting works in Manhattan, but it doesn’t work in Delaware County.

“The Democrats are desperate to make this election about national issues,” he continued. “It’s not. This election is about Delaware County. Dave White, John Perfetti and the rest of the Republican ticket won’t rely on words to combat hate. They have a record of combatting hate with their 30 years of community involvement that demonstrate a commitment to diversity and equality.”

Original Article

Zidek raises questions at council meeting

Delaware County Daily Times

At Wednesday’s Delaware County Council meeting, a Democratic council candidate asked questions about contracts and providers.

Brian Zidek, a Nether Providence resident and president of Excess Reinsurance, began his questioning about item 10 on the agenda regarding the agreements, contracts and amendments with human service providers of service on the attached list.

“I don’t believe that the attached list was included in the agenda,” he said.

County Executive Director Marianne Grace said she would provide him with it if it wasn’t in his packet.

An agenda obtained on the pile provided for the public included the sheet listing Bethany Home Inc. as a provider for residential, group and shelter services from April 1 through June 30 with current and proposed agreement amounts not available.

County officials explained that’s because these services are on a per-diem basis.

Joseph Dougherty, the county’s director of human services, said the county places children into these services as Children and Youth Services notify them they are needed.

“The rate is determined by the state for these contracts,” he explained.

“How would I find out who the providers are and what the contractors are?” Zidek asked.

“We could do a list, a Right to Know, of all our providers,” Dougherty said.

Grace also said all of the human service providers contracts are made public in June or July and would be available at that time.

“The human services contracts are renewed, entered into on a fiscal year basis,” she said. “Annually, all of the contracts are reviewed for their compliance with the state and federal regulations.”

At times, such as Wednesday, there is a change to a contract or a new provider is added, she said.

Dougherty said the list reviewed and made public includes hundreds of contracts.

County Solicitor Michael Maddren added, “They’re per diem rates established for different levels of care and you don’t know how many people are going to use which level of care over the course of the contract ... Every single one of these rates is set at the state level.”

Grace said all contracts are public information and directed those interested to file a Right to Know request with county Chief Clerk Anne Coogan. She said the request needs to be specific so that the county has a record and is able to produce the correct documents.

She said most requests are given a five-day fulfillment but ones that are voluminous are responded with a need for extension letter within 30 days of the request.

Zidek said his presence was both political and civic. He is running as a Democrat along Jennifer Leith in the county council race and will face Republican incumbent Dave White and newcomer John Perfetti in the fall. The seat is a four-year term and the salary is $49,875 annually.

“Both as a concerned citizen and as a candidate,” he said. “It doesn’t seem to me that there is a great deal of information about who the vendors are for various county contracts, how the contracts are awarded and that information is difficult to find.”

Zidek said he wants something different.

“It seems to me that the citizens of Delaware County deserve more transparency in the way the contracts are granted and who the vendors of those contracts are,’ he said.

Zidek said that would be among his items of business if elected to county council in November.

“When elected, yeah, I plan to lay it all out,” he said. “Let everybody see every contract, how it’s awarded and who gets it and how much it’s for.”

Dougherty said that information is available.

“I could answer anybody’s questions but we have a whole list of contracts that goes on council probably early June and are effective July 1,” he said.

Original Article


Zidek speaks out at protest marking 100 days for new president

Delaware County Daily Times

About three dozen people gathered outside the Delaware County Courthouse Saturday afternoon to decry the first 100 days of President Donald Trump while touting the efforts of those resisting his policies.

“Every day, I think I am taking my country back a little more than yesterday,” Newtown Square resident Abu Rahman said. Rahman has been involved in the Indivisible Main Line South group, and joined many in the crowds as being a part of an Indivisible group.

These groups sprouted up shortly after the November election and simulated methods of the Tea Party in creating a strategy aimed at immobilizing Trump’s agenda.

Carrying signs of “We Deserve Better” and “It’s time to go after 100 days of failure,” the audience chanted, “He’s orange. He’s gross. He lost the popular vote.” among others.

At one point during the rally, a person yelled out, “Trump!” from a vehicle passing by.

Will Kampfman began the action.

“Today’s event is meant to highlight all of the great work that has been done during the first 100 days of the Trump presidency,” he said to loud boo’s and heckles.

“Not on the administration side,” he quickly retorted, “but on the resistance side. Our work, right?”

That statement was met with cheers.

Rahman took issue with Kampfman when he said there were 1,300 days left.

“Another 1,300?” he asked. “100 days seems like 100 years to me.”

He shared what his group, which he said has 400 volunteers, has been doing the last three months.

“We made thousands and thousands of phone calls,” Rahman said. “We wrote hundreds and hundreds of letters.”

He said they participated in approximately three dozen marches in Washington, Philadelphia and locally and they’ve visited the offices of U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-7, of Chadds Ford and U.S. Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa.

“Everything works,” he said. “(And) it’s not just us. Millions and millions of people across the country are doing what we are doing. That’s called democracy.”

Having been a resident for the last 40 years, Rahman said he’s concerned about what’s happening to the United States.

“I thought that we made the right move when I came in 1974,” he said. “And now, I worry for my children, my grandchildren.”

Brian Zidek had similar sentiments.

Although the Nether Providence resident is unopposed in the primary, he will face Republican contenders John Perfetti and County Councilman Dave White in the fall.

Referring to his bald head, he joked, “A lot of you don’t know me but 100 days ago, I had a full head of hair. This is what happened to me.”

Then, Zidek shared what propelled him to run for office.

He spoke of the early morning hours as the presidential election results were unveiling.

“I watched my wife crying,” Zidek said, choking up, “and I said to myself, ‘I can’t stand by. I can’t just let this happen and not fight.’ That’s why I decided to run.”

And, he said despite a majority of registered voters, Democrats have been unable to get any county elected position for decades because they don’t get the support of the electorate.

“If you want to change what goes on in Washington, if you want to change what goes on in Harrisburg, we need to change what goes on right here in Delaware County,” he said.

Colleen Guiney, chair of the Swarthmore Democrats, agreed as she spoke to the attendants.

“We need all hands on deck,” she said. “There are a lot of people who are frustrated but they have not necessarily decided to convert their frustration into voting. I want people to remember that even in an off-year, things matter. There are contested races across the county.”

Guiney said she wanted more people to do their civic duty.

“I just want to increase turnout,” she said. “I just want more people to vote than last time. It does make a difference.”

Original Article