Balya Web Site Targets Political Foes

Article excerpt

Westmoreland County Commissioner Tom Balya has some thoughts about other candidates running against him this year.

In an article posted this week on his campaign Web site, Balya accused Democrat Mike O'Barto of reneging on a friendship, took Republican Kim Ward to task for not being involved in running Hempfield Township, and accused GOP candidate Mike Reese of being "a right-wing ideologue who can't find the forks in a buffet line."

His assessments were followed by a plea to refrain from negative campaigning.

"While running county government is a very serious, challenging job, the election process is like a year-long competition, and though it is a tremendous amount of work, it should be fun, too. We watched one of the most mean-spirited races for the state Senate in our county a few years ago, and I hope this election doesn't end up in the gutter like that one did," Balya wrote.

Balya, online, gave short critiques of all of the challengers, only excluding Democratic Commissioner Tom Ceraso from evaluation. The assessments ranged from brief, general acknowledgments about some candidates to outright criticisms of others.

He said O'Barto is a former friend who four years ago hosted a campaign event for him and Ceraso.

"I guess the old adage is true that there is nothing like an election to find out who your friends are," Balya wrote.

Of Ward, Balya said: "Are you sure you want this job? It isn't part time, and there's no manager to do your work."

Republicans Wayne McGrew and Penn Township Commissioner George Dunbar generated little reaction from Balya, while he described having a friendly relationship with Delmont Councilman Jim Bortz, the fifth GOP candidate in the race. …