ShareThis Page

Absentee-ballot results push Eccles to win in O'Hara

Tawnya Panizzi
| Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Cassandra Eccles
Jan Pakler 111213
Cassandra Eccles Jan Pakler 111213

Political newcomer Cassie Eccles went to bed on election night thinking she had lost her bid for O'Hara Council by just two votes.

It wasn't until halfway through the next morning that the Democrat and Falconhurst resident, 52, learned she beat Republican incumbent Alan Templin and won a four-year term to represent Ward 5.

“I called my mom, and she said ‘Congratulations!” Eccles said. “I was confused. I thought I had lost, and now, the results had me winning.”

According to unofficial results from the Allegheny County Department of Elections, Eccles earned 173 votes over Templin's 166.

Overnight, the absentee ballots cast earlier were added to her total and bumped Eccles to a narrow seven-vote victory.

“It was so, so close,” said Eccles, who said she felt it was her time to give back to the community she has called home for 20 years. “My emotions were going up and down.”

Templin did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Other races for O'Hara Council were uncontested.

The winners were Chuck Vogel in Ward 1, Mark Rothert in Ward 2, Scott Frankowski in Ward 3 and Allison Garcia in Ward 4.

Eccles, who earned a bachelor's degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, works as a stagehand for Pittsburgh cultural events. Her daughter attends O'Hara Elementary School.

“I don't really have any complaints about the township,” she said. “I just wanted to see if I can make a difference.”

There are at least two issues on her mind, however, that she'll bring to council's attention in her first few months on board.

Her residential development off Powers Run Road only has one entrance/exit.

Council previously considered acquiring land at the rear of the complex and creating a cut into the adjoining property in RIDC Park, but that plan never materialized.

“I've been here when a tree has come down at the beginning of our plan, and there's no other way out,” she said.

Eccles also plans to push for stricter enforcement speed limits in the housing development and plans to ask council to consider the idea of installing speed bumps throughout.

“I want this to be a safe place for kids and for senior citizens,” said Eccles, adding that she supports the proposed $7 million community center that will be built just a short distance from her home.

“That is our gem,” she said. “I was sad that the library went away because it was so close, also. The community center can't go away, too.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, or at

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.