West Goshen Township operates on it’s better days as a little bit Pennsyltucky on this planet. Every once in a while I think they can’t get any kookier….and then, they surprise us all.
The thing about West Goshen is every time something happens, you have to wonder why do they seem to target resident in a petty tit for tat reprisal fashion? And I also have to wonder will they come after me for asking questions as well?
Before we proceed, a history lesson on the laws which gover the USA:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.“~ 4th Amendment Constitution of United States of America 1789
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.“~1st Amendment Constitution of United States of America 1789
So now to the meat of the matter. A Facebook post made me stop and take notice. See this screenshot:
Wait? WHOA!!!! Whuuuuut? The Chair of West Goshen Supervisors Shaun Walsh was THAT rude? So I went to the meeting tape (which I have to ask if it will mysteriously disappear at some point I wonder?) and well go to around the 3 hour 7 minute mark and you tell me:
Now, full disclosure: the woman targeted at this meeting is a friend of mine. Her name is Margie Swart. She is a lovely human being. But she has a moral compass and strong sense of ethics, and asks questions, so <<<sigh>>> that can be a problem some places. I respect Margie immensely. We have gotten to know each other over the course of time, and have mutual friends.
I have to ask if Margie Swart is a target of West Goshen Township? As in a resident speaks up and there are cute reprisals? Yes West Goshen, I can indeed ask these questions.
So let’s back up a couple of years to something interesting I learned about just today. So…people can and do record public meetings, they aren’t just some municipality purview, correct? People do that to accurately preserve a record, especially on important topics. People also will record conversations with elected and public officials in public spaces. People like the media, for example. They aren’t doing anything nefarious, they want an accurate record and elected and appointed officials should be glad when citizens are conscientious, right? Maybe not?
So here is this now infamous recording from 2019 and why is it infamous? Oh I will get to that.
So there is that whole conversation of essentially, one cannot have a reasonable expectation of privacy for things put into a public space, right? Now if this conversation had been recorded in a bathroom in a public building for example, that would be different, wouldn’t it? But out there in the open in a public building? Next comes the reprisal, because since it is not illegal to record in a public space to try to file charges against a private citizen like that can be considered well, a reprisal, correct?
Yes, you aren’t seeing things, West Goshen Township tried to charge Margie Swart with WIRETAPPING and isn’t that welcome to West Goshen Watergate NUTS???
Next comes this curiosity in the West Goshen required reading, yes?
How can West Goshen Township Manager Casey LaLonde claim his phone conversation was recorded? Was he present? Do you hear his voice? I mean talk about d-r-a-maaaa right? I mean his grandma was actress Joan Crawford as in “Mommy Dearest” fame but REALLY? Township Manager Dearest much?
I have another question about this process and shameful debacle. Why should a resident and taxpayer have had to file a RTK or Right To Know Request on something a township publishes in a newspaper and which is also dually published in https://www.publicnoticepa.com/ ? I mean I could see them telling her to look for West Goshen Township notices on that website on X date and Y year, but a Right To Know Request? Wait??? Do we have a new show coming to a cable channel near you? It’s Always Cloudy in West Goshen Township? Lots of municipalities seem to struggle with sunshine laws and being sunshine friendly, but why is it a problem when residents ask questions in this township?
Margie is not the first Local Government Fiscal Watchdog and Transparency Advocate I have known. I have known many and I actually participated in a lack of sunshine protest years ago in Lower Merion Township – April 21, 2010 to be exact. It was a rather large protest and township officials were out taking photos of everyone too. Here’s a photo I took:
So how did the wiretapping thing end? Well there is a middle to it also isn’t there? How would you like to be a resident named as an “involved party in a wiretapping investigation”? And this thing occurred literally TWO years ago in September, 2019 and you find out about it TODAY in September, 2021?
Shall we talk about the final disposition of this? Is that an “Oh yes please?”
The Chester County District Attorney’s said NOPE, correct? So what was West Goshen playing at exactly?
Back to the recent meeting and I have to ask is it wrong to ask for government to be accountable as to their finances for example? And what’s with odd employee or manager practices? Are the taxpayer who pay these salaries not allowed to politely inquire? And Margie WAS polite. Listen to the recording. She is ALWAYS polite. I can tell you that at public meetings, I have not always been polite, but Margie? ALWAYS polite.
I don’t pretend to understand everything that happens in this municipality. I can’t pretend. But as a woman, I fear for my friend Margie Swart and can you blame me? Is she safe living there?
West Goshen Township, you need to find a better way of doing things and as an aside, so y’all are also hired who was the Borough Manager of Malvern as your Assistant Township Manager? Was all that vetted publicly or just announced?
West Goshen Township, you are entirely capable of avoiding thug mentality when dealing with residents. And yes I am entitled to the opinion that y’all behave badly. Residents who demand better aren’t bad people. And this is NOT a woman screaming and cursing and disrupting meetings with violent and angry behavior like we have seen this year at school board meetings. This is a woman who wants the best for her community and the person this seems to threaten the most is the Township Manager and why is that? It’s not his personal fiefdom is it? Or is it?
I am signing off with a note that everything I posted is public record. And I am allowed the opinions I have of West Goshen Township and sure am glad I don’t live there. I also can ask questions. I don’t understand a place where the elected officials kowtow to an appointed, salaried official because he works for them not the other way around, correct? Or have they all lost their moral and ethical compasses?
My final comment? It’s often hard to participate where you live, but we have to. It’s imperative. Elect people you can believe in, and when you can’t believe in them? Replace them.
I would also point out that this was not the first time he tried to have this watchdog arrested. She was also targeted when LaLonde called police when Margie payed for copies with change stating to police that there was a strange substance on the coins.
This manager also called police on me in 2015 when Sunoco reps were chased off my property for trespassing. They called LaLonde to have police escort them back to survey illegally. When I asked him why he did that he denied the accusation and said Sunoco called police. Unfortunately for that lier the police report clearly states it was LaLonde who made the call and report.