election season cowards in west vincent


Vandalism? Really?

Come on now all you fine folks of West Vincent Township Chester County, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t lather and fluff up the fighting feathers at me demanding I stop blogging about the sordid underbelly of West Vincent Township when you as adults vandalize private property and send out harassing emails from  johnsmith@yahoo.com like they can’t be traced and you can’t be found.


You can be found, West Vincent isn’t such a big place. What will you all do when you are unveiled? How will you explain it to the people you have been shoving phony baloney horse manure at for years?

I know the twisted psychology and reasoning and it doesn’t wash. Vandalism and harassing emails are against the law.

To the other residents of West Vincent: this is why you need to retire Supervisor Roadmaster Farmer KenOcrat Miller. Any individuals who would do THIS to keep some lower level life form of the lowest tier local yokel politician in office is yet another  valid reason why the tyranny and dictatorship need to come to an end. This isn’t medieval Europe, it is the 21st century. We live in Chester County, Pennsylvania and wow isn’t this why Quakers and others settled here in the first place? To escape mob mentality and behavior such as this?

It should not be acceptable  to anyone that your friends, fellow residents, and neighbors should  be subjected to cowardly acts of petty vandalism and other harassment.

Vote to end this behavior.

 Vote Miller OUT of office. 

Retire him, and you remove their power. It’s that simple.

You know it wouldn’t take much to visit every hardware or home improvement store in the area asking who had bought spray paint recently. Most of the stores keep track of who buys spray paint because of vandalism. 


political complacency


Tammany Hall’s Boss Tweed ruled 19th Century New York City with an iron political fist.  He is fascinating to read about, but eventually got caught up in his own web and died in prison. He wielded crazy political power and corruption. He had many minions to do his bidding.

It took courage in 19th century New York City to bring down Boss Tweed. People feared him. He was a petty tyrant and for a while New York City was his dictatorship.

Boss Tweeds have existed throughout history. Different countries, centuries, same M.O. Boss Tweeds operate on a fear based system.  They still exist today. They exist because we are politically complacent and allow them to exist. 

 Election season is about a month away. Throughout Pennsylvania there will be local and county elections.

The result depends on the voters. There is plenty of whining and whispering behind hands but do all of you have the courage to put some career politicans out to pasture?

The full court press of political fairy tales begins now. In local politics, it’s not fancy commercials, their little legions of volunteers will fan out and visit the locals. Over and over they will tell you their Boss Tweed is a paragon of virtue and has slayed more dragons than St. George.  You know, The Tall Tales of Election Season.

But have they? Or is it all a big illusion and they have instead profited from the naïveté of their constituents ? 

Who really loses when Boss Tweeds are voted out of office? The answer is no one but those who profited in some way from their association with the particular Boss.

Now is when you will hear how new faces are “bad” and you need to hold the course. Hold the course for whom exactly? Ah yes, the particular Boss Tweed and their friends. 

You are ok as long as you vote “how you are told”. Why? Because there is no place for individuality with pack mentality, is there?

And the pack can make your life a living hell, can’t they? But the thing is this: you can take away their power. How? Vote their Boss Tweed out of office.

So now is the time wherever you live. Step out of the shadows of political complacency and vote Boss Tweeds out of office. If you don’t you do lose one thing: your right to complain. 

In each of you is the power to enact change to better your community. You just have to vote. 

Thanks for stopping by.


rotting in downingtown

  These photos were sent to me by a reader named Kathy. They came with this message:

“This eyesore in Downingtown at Boot Rd & 322 lingers on. Will it ever be cleaned up and developed or is it forever stuck in the cycle of red tape and paperwork? I thought the bicycle trail was supposed to continue on through this area but who knows if it will happen. All of the first floor windows and doors of these homes have been boarded up and an endless number of No Trespassing/Danger signs have been posted.”

So when we last spoke of the Borough of Downingtown, the rather young mayor was all gung ho over a giant development project where an RFP was put out for a garage on borough owned land, correct? Does he not see these rotting houses? And developer Eli Kahn bought HOW many acres in Downingtown from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia?

  So, I have to ask: if they did not let homes like pictured in this post rot, maybe a lot of country towns would have housing that more fit the history and flavor of the area?

  This is yet another reason why people in Chester County need to hold local governments and state level elected officials accountable for all the crazy development carving up communities one land parcel at a time.


bird in a twisted, gilded cage.

millbrook lane

When we were growing up, she was one of my sister’s friends. She lived over on Millbrook Lane (number 773 if memory serves) on the Haverford College and Delaware County side of Haverford. In 1973 her father committed suicide.

As kids you are sort of aware and sort of oblivious at the same time to the tragedies of other kids. It was before the age of the Internet and adults still spoke in hushed tones of “certain things”. Her name was Amy Whittlesey, and perhaps the subtitle of this post should be Defending Amy (once a newspaper headline read Judging Amy and it never sat well with me.)

I remember her as a teenager only a little because there were three years between my sister and I ….and once you hit high school, that’s an ocean. I remember her as soft spoken with an almost shy smile. I remembered at the time that her mother was a politician. I wasn’t even sure what that really entailed at the time and well, it was someone unimportant to a teenage girl. When I first met her we were all at Shipley.

Her mother was indeed quite the politician. A State Representative, Delaware County Council, and she ran in the Late 1970s for Lieutenant Governor (but lost). Then Ronald Reagan became president, and her mother, Faith Ryan Whittlesey, became Ambassador to Switzerland.

Her mother, Ambassador Whittlesey, is more than a little bit terrifying on paper. Like a modern Catherine de’ Medici sort of, if I can say that out loud without a case of “off with her head” , that is?  I can’t recall ever meeting her, I just remember Amy. Her mother is perhaps in some senses more driven and disciplined than Hillary Clinton ever will be.  Hillary truthfully could take a page or two out of Ambassador Whittlesey’s  book.  She has always to me represented the ultimate female politician and political survivor meets public saint. So yes, scary. She came up in a political climate of more subterfuge and in many senses, more brutal because women just weren’t doing much of  politics, then. So it was an era of politics that were rather medieval. And it was Delaware County where she got her start. Very tough. Crazily so.


PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 3— For Faith Ryan Whittlesey, who is often described here as the most powerful woman in Pennsylvania politics, life has become a little more hectic than usual since her nomination early last month as Ambassador to Switzerland.

There was, of course, her swearing-in last Wednesday at the State Department in Washington, but that was only one of the many details to be handled by the new Ambassador, a widow with three children, who has a law office to close, a local political career to pack away in mothballs, a household to move and shopping to do….Mrs. Whittlesey, who has been a supporter of President Reagan since 1976, was co-chairman of his defense and foreign policy committee in 1980 and presented the defense plank at the Republican National Convention.

Two of Mrs. Wittlesey’s children, Amy, 14, and William, 8, will accompany her to Switzerland, but her eldest son, Henry, 15, will continue at St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H.

But you have to wonder about those saints, right?

When her mom became ambassador, Amy appeared to be thrust into this whirlwind jet set glamorous kind of life. But was it? As an adult, in retrospect, maybe not so much. I kind of think she was like a bird in a gilded cage…a twisted, gilded cage. In retrospect, she lived a Victorian girl’s life in a modern world. It was modern all around her, but she wasn’t really ever free. Ever.

In 1989 on a Sunday in the New York Times there was a wedding announcement:


I remember it because at that point in time I had a few friends who had married and I thought they were nuts because everyone was so young, and she was like at least 3 years younger than I. And I also remembered wondering because her husband was so old was she like some sacrificial virgin married off in some Elizabethan drama? How many goats, horses, casks of wine,  and estates was she worth?

Then she faded from many of our memories as she went on living her married life.  If you did not swim in those social oceans, and it was quite the stratosphere with rarified air, well, you are young, people fade from memory and life goes on.

Then BAM! It’s the millennium and in January 2000 this shocking article appears in Vanity Fair by writer Lisa DePaulo hits the newsstands.  It’s called Irreconcilable Rockefellers .  I re-read it again recently and it is still quite the stunning tale of how rotten a fairy tale can get. It was quite the talk of the Main Line and beyond when it was published and all those pretending it was so awful a series of events to be aired in public, were pouring through the many pages of the article in private.

And that is the thing of it, isn’t it? We sit here with our ordinary lives sometimes envying what appears to be a rather fancy life of someone we know or have known. You wonder what would it be like? Would we do fabulous things, meet fabulous people, and would life sparkle more? Well after reading about the life of someone who was a contemporary of my younger sister and seeing it splashed across media outlets in one headline after the other, wow, be grateful for the magic of more ordinary days.

When I would read the articles, and even today as I re-read them again I am still struck with the same thought: why the hell did her mother sacrifice her? Power? Politics? Social ambition? Money? Mothers can be ambitious for their daughters, yes, but wow, right?

So the media dies off as Amy gets divorced and once again people go about their lives. In 2012 her mother makes local papers about her biography (she moved years ago and I assume still lives in Florida) . (Reference Main Line Media News October, 2012)

Keeping Faith: Former Haverford politician is the focus of new biography

From the time the former Haverford resident entered the political arena as state representative for the 166th District in 1973 until she entered the West Wing of the White House as President Ronald Reagan’s public liaison in 1983, the “Kennedy Democrat”-turned-Republican made headlines in her old hometown.

Along the way, the mother of three suffered the loss of her husband to an apparent suicide, became Delaware County’s first female county council chairman, was appointed ambassador to Switzerland and survived a congressional investigation into her management of the embassy and its link to the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages deal supervised by fired National Security Council aide Oliver North.

I became reconnected to Amy via social media and have been enjoying getting to know the adult I only knew in the most peripheral of ways as a kid.  (Face it our lives are all filled with people who are friends of other people, that touch our lives in different stages, and then the scene shifts and there are other people.)

mother and son

Amy as an adult is amazingly creative and writes this achingly beautiful poetry. She lost her beloved brother Henry in 2012 and wrote about him so lovingly and eloquently. She is incredibly kind and sensitive.

She loves her kids, she lives for her kids. Her youngest child, a boy whom she had post-divorce drama, is with her in Cambridge MA. Or should I say was because as I write this post, he has been removed from her quite literally.

And yes, I told Amy I was writing this post. I felt almost compelled to because since I have come to be a small part of her circle I have not been able to escape the horrible thought that this woman, this nice gracious and gentle woman is still a pawn in the chess games of life of others.

You don’t reach the age of 50 and beyond without hearing the horror stories of divorce and child custody…and the explosions when those related to the affluent and powerful step away from the shadows of control and into the light on their own. And I am sorry, but Grace Metalious and her fictitious Peyton Place have nothing on things rooted in the Philadelphia area. It’s no wonder Agnes Nixon had decades of things to write about , right?

I think Amy deserves to be free and happy. She is a good woman. The rest can be told in these screen shots I am posting. They are public, and again, I told her I was writing this.  My heart breaks for her right now.  People we love can often be quite cruel. It is a lesson you wish on no one.

Amy, stay strong. People care.















john boehner is quitting


So news broke today that John Boehner, Republican House Speaker is calling it quits, pretty much effective immediately. Even he who has survived the cesspool of politics in Washington DC since 1990, has had enough.

And who can blame him? Look at the trickledown effect as we feel it on the most local of levels. American Politics is in a shambles of lying, cheating, stealing, back-stabbing extremism. Our country is living the fallout of extremism in politics. It’s embarrassing. (Even that fool Ted Cruz managed to embarrass the US during the Papal visit which is happening now. But Cruz is a curious fool who notices the preciousness of human life when it is about a woman’s right to choose, but very amusingly not so much when it comes to the death penalty. And he has made an ass out of himself ever since Pope Francis, mentioned his objections to the death penalty when he addressed Congress.)


Anyway, I have actually met and spoken to the tan man from Ohio. August 12, 2010 I was invited to a high rollers reception for then Congressman Jim Gerlach in Conshohocken at the Marriott (interesting to note that somehow KenOCrat Miller was not there, guess he really wasn’t so important even back then, but I digress.)

So anyway, I was taking a few photos and had gone outside for some air.  High Roller political events are all about a select set jockeying for position and favor with the politicians there.  It’s exhausting to be around these people seeking to curry political favor with a large check. Outside was John Boehner with his security detail and staff. He also had needed air.  It was me, the car park guy, Boehner, his staff, and security detail.

Boehner asked me not to take his photo while outside. You see, much like many others in the courtyard he was enjoying a  glass of wine…and a cigarette.

If I had taken his photo holding a glass of red wine and a cigarette it probably would not have been the best thing. So I said sure and we had a couple minute conversation.  Not about politics. About how he was enjoying his visit and where he lived in Ohio. I was struck at that point of time how he essentially was a small town Midwestern guy from the state of small towns. He was a truthfully very pleasant person to speak to. I have met enough politicians who play on the national stage. (Some of my friends and I also spent the afternoon with James Sensenbrenner when he met with myself and others in Ardmore PA in February 2006 after he had proposed H.B. 4128 in Washington, DC to protect private property rights against eminent domain. I was also a media relations volunteer during the RNC2000 which was an amazing experience.)

But nice Midwestern guy or not, John Boehner is a seasoned politician and if he is calling it quits that says something indeed about the American political process.

NBC/MSNBC House Speaker Boehner on His Resignation: ‘This Isn’t About Me’

Washington Post: What John Boehner told me the night before he said he was quitting The Debrief: An occasional series offering a reporter’s insights

Philadelphia Inquirer: Why Boehner is quitting