You Need Tough Skin as a Politician

Politicians often take criticism for how they are doing -- or not doing -- their jobs.

They are elected as our representatives. They are given a position of power to represent the residents of a town or district, state or country.

They are put in place to make decisions that should be in the best interests of the constituents.

And they also have to take shots of criticism, sometimes sucking up their pride and not responding or reacting.

Go to any municipal meeting in Palmer and Forks townships and wait for the public comment portion of the meeting.

Often, township officials will face the ire of frustrated residents who are unhappy with their lot in life, what their neighbors might be doing or what the township is not doing for them.

Sometimes officials are caught completely off guard by comments and they try to settle a disagreement to resolve a problem.

But there are times when officials just take a beating.

That was evident at Thursday night's Forks Township Board of Supervisors meeting.

The board took a wallop from a few residents, one a former Forks Township supervisor herself.

Another came from an 80-year-old woman who wasn't shy about expressing her opinion over how she believed Forks Township has gone downhill.

"Forks Township is the laughing stock of the Lehigh Valley," the woman said.

"I don't even tell people I live here. I tell them I live in College Hill," the woman concluded.

The woman had followed commentary from Bonnie Nicholas, a Hill Road resident and former township supervisor.

Nicholas blasted the board over how the township was not handling how her neighbor was putting up a wall that she believed was violating township zoning codes.

She gave a tongue-lashing to officials about how they have approved signs throughout the township that also do not meet zoning codes.

Township officials tried to respond, stating that they were putting a work stop order on the wall work and also asking for specifics regarding any illegal signs.

Then when it came to a township decision to give up township rights to a portion of Waverly Street to an estate, Nicholas was back for more comments.

"Why are we giving away our land?" she wondered.

But her final attack came when township officials were debating shoddy work on its amphitheater. Township officials were going to ask the builder to make some fixes on the canopy, now covered with patches.

"This work should be guaranteed. Why not tell them to replace it?" Nicholas said. "Why would we ever hesitate? We should tell them to replace the canopy, end of discussion."

Then came the parting shot.

"Can't we get some moxie?" Nicholas stated, "because we really need it."


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