Letters to the Editor

Swarthmore21 on the ballot

To the Editor:

On behalf of Swarthmore21, we are happy to report that our February-March signature campaign was successful. As a result, Swarthmoreans will once again have the opportunity to decide, via referendum during the municipal primary election on May 16, whether to allow two additional businesses to sell beer, wine, and spirits as part of their offering.

First off, thanks to the 1,316 registered voters who signed the petition, to those who “signed” the Swarthmore21 site, and to those who made financial donations to help defray campaign expenses. You have helped us take the first step toward removing one of the obstacles to economic and social progress in our Ville.

Kudos also to the 20+ merchants that similarly demonstrated their support by “signing” our site and displaying signs in their stores. You made it clear that you want the Ville to become a more vibrant and enticing place for residents and visitors to shop, dine, and spend time. We appreciate your support of our community.

Lastly, thanks to the core group of approximately 25 volunteer residents who spent hundreds of hours collecting signatures, arranging signing events, and offering advice. You opened your doors for meetings, helped spread the word to the borough, stood in the bitter cold, engaged fellow Swarthmoreans in dialogue, acted professionally and with courtesy in all encounters, and made all of us in Swarthmore21 proud to be a member of just such a group.

With primary election day less than two months away, it’s time now to get back to work. We encourage anyone who signed the petition and/or who cares about the future of Swarthmore to become informed on the issue and to vote. Regardless of your ultimate position, please get out and vote. If you won’t be here on May 16, we suggest that you apply for an absentee ballot as soon as possible — but not later than the May 9 deadline.

Donning our very, very orange hats, Swarthmore21 volunteers will be out and about in town in April and May to answer your questions. You can also refer to Swarthmore21.com to understand the facts along with relevant and important information. You can also join the Swarthmore21 group on Facebook for updates and discussion. Regardless of venue, we ask that all residents continue the constructive and respectful dialogue we’ve experienced thus far.

It’s game time! Don’t stay on the sidelines. Have a say in your town’s future. Be a Swarthmorean.

Vince Barrett and Patrick Francher
Members of Swarthmore21

What is ‘desirable?’

To the Editor:

Linda Hauck’s letter, No Quick Fix for the Ville (March 17), using metrics obtained from ESRI Tapestry Lifemodes, describes Swarthmore as “Affluent Estates and Upscale Avenues.” Surely the fabric of Swarthmore is more than this. It is not just a real estate market where “desirable” upscale chocolate experiences are valued over “undesirable” tattoo parlors. It is also a place of vibrant intellectual thought and political activism.

Swarthmore could do with a little more edginess however, and a tattoo and piercing parlor and perhaps a sex shop could push the often stuffy borough in a more exciting direction. Many of my students in classes at Penn have tattoos and piercings and I do not see them as undesirable in the least. Swarthmore needs to promote much greater diversity in terms of race and LGBTQ expression and visibility, and in the kinds of retail establishments lining the streets. Then we might have a town that is truly alive.

Allan Irving

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