To understand the present, look to the past. Then as residents become informed as to how to shape your future. Don’t ignore history, acknowledge and learn from it.
To understand the present, look to the past. Then as residents become informed as to how to shape your future. Don’t ignore history, acknowledge and learn from it.
So does anyone recognize that broad side of a barn or the logo on that tractor thing?
Well, apparently, if it’s something weird that will happen, it will happen in Willistown Township.
A friend has come to me asking if I recognized anything about this tractor like the logo and she knows it’s grainy because it’s from a security camera. Here is the tiny video. The video was taken May 3, 2023 at 9:50 AM. This video was taken on their property on Creek Road. They think that this vehicle came from Wildwood Drive.
The homeowners here were not home. They were out of town. They had not contracted with anyone for any sort of work on the property. And as far as they have been able to ascertain neither have their neighbors.
They went to the Willistown Police Department via phone because they were out of town when the security camera went off. They filed a police report right then, but right or wrong, recounted to me that they didn’t feel taken seriously, or the person taking the report didn’t understand how bad this could actually be.
Not only was their lawn completely turfed, and I have photos to post next, there is this smell emanating from where whoever this was dumped whatever it was and people need to know what the chemicals are! And yes the smell is still there! And it’s now days later!!
Now my friend does appreciate that Willistown sent an officer to check it out, however, this is something that is kind of a big deal potentially. Like many of us they are on a well. Like many of us, they have pets that could be potentially fatally sickened from whatever was tossed on their property. The officer who responded did not seem to get out of their vehicle?
This dumping event is SO not OK. Not only does this person not know what chemicals were dumped, but whoever the company is and employee totally ruined her lawn. She and her husband feel utterly VIOLATED and environmentally conscious Willistown Township needs to get on the stick here.
If you have any information, leave a comment, and or message any other kind of proof to this blog’s Facebook page. I will pass it along to the homeowner. If you saw the truck carrying this weird little tractor thing and Bubba in his big blue suit, also helpful information.
Illegal dumping is actually a crime. And this counts is illegal because they didn’t authorize any work or anything.
If you are media, and you would like to be connected to this person, you can similarly contact me and I will pass your information along to them.
We have enough environmental hazards on a daily basis without some thing that is intentionally bad news like this.
UPDATE – following screenshots sent by a Nancy Drew doing sleuthing- not me FYI:
To understand the present, look to the past. Then as residents become informed as to how to shape your future. Don’t ignore history, acknowledge and learn from it.
This is not a dig at Shipley. It’s a simple desire for part of the history to be told more honestly than it is being told.
There were loads of media articles back then about this topic, and they ALL told this story: the school under the direction of former headmaster wanted to tear down Beechwood. Alumni and neighbors (who were also alumni and parents of alumni and students) wanted to save Beechwood. All of these people (myself included) were made to feel like PARIAHS as a result for a good part of this and weren’t made to feel too terribly comfortable AFTER like me who had a reunion not too long after completion.
It was very hard to take a stand back then over this. So hard. But this was the pivotal event that made me personally realize standing up in your community and for community and for things like historic preservation are important.
Acceptance is important as well. This was not a pretty time, but the events happened, and they mattered. And in the end it was positive. So truly positive.
The Shipley I have seen under the current headmaster is honestly magical. It is so good it even brought me back to campus. I believe in and support my alma mater.
I wrote this post to correct the record. After all, history is important. This is not burning down the proverbial house.
Now for the post:
In 2020, I wrote a post about Beechwood House in Bryn Mawr, PA. It is a completely restored adaptive reuse. This architectural gem is located on Shipley’s lower school campus. And I was a member of the group led by Heather Hillman which saved it. You see, the former headmaster literally wanted to pave paradise and put up a parking lot…a pool…etc.
Our teachers at Shipley taught us not all of our history is convenient, that it’s the reality of what happened. They were also the ones that helped me write better and frame my arguments. My journalist mentors alway have said to write what I know. And I do know this I was there. It was a slog of a battle to save a beautiful home fallen on less than glorious times which had been designed by Addison Hutton. Yes, the same architect who designed Loch Aerie. But Beechwood was my first Addison Hutton love.
In between 10th and 11th grade I had a summer job on the Lower School campus of Shipley. I worked for the day camp there. When the little monsters, err darlings, were having naps I would explore non-renovated Beechwood which was part of the space used. It was fascinating to me back then because it had been almost crudely adapted to classroom space but you could see the bones of the original house when you did things like peeked in closets and behind shelves. It was the ultimate if these walls could talk.
We all have that one building or place that makes us look at the world differently. That one inspiration that makes us realize we can’t just sit idly by as our history disappears building by building, acre by acre.
For me, it was Beechwood House in Bryn Mawr. This was my first foray into community activism when I heard in the late 1990s that Shipley wanted to tear her down. It was because of this house that I spoke in front of people at a township meeting for the very first time all those years ago. Seriously, I had never even been to a meeting at my township building or spoken in front of everyone in a crowded room. But this place mattered to me and I joined Friends to Save Beechwood in their early days.
They wanted to tear Beechwood House down. It spread like wildfire back then. It was instantly polarizing in the community at large. Alumni of Shipley were in an uproar as well. This required professional mediation. Eventually Shipley said they would keep Beechwood if money was raised to save it by a certain deadline in 2001. To this day, I still think the school thought it would never happen. But it did.
Heather Hillman was the main driving force along with Jean Wolf (Wolf Historic Preservation) a preservationist who has done amazing things. (The saving of Beechwood was kind of a big to do at the time. There were many articles about it in multiple publications.)
As mentioned, I had never gone to a township meeting or spoken out in public. It got easier with time, but at first I was terrified. And in awe of these fierce women who did literally so much with a smile on their face and I don’t recall them raising their voices. I raised my voice, I was somewhat appalled by my alma mater when this started, and even when it was over – kind of like when they basked in the glory of the end result which was a successful restoration and adaptive reuse of a building we had to fight them to save because they didn’t think it was worth saving. (You can also read about Beechwood here.)
In 2006 when we had our 25th class reunion, we were able to get Beechwood House for our reunion. A lot of my classmates had contributed to the fundraising and along with me were listed up on the brass plaque inside the building. The headmaster at the time was making the reunion party rounds and was talking about the restoration of Beechwood with my class. He got heckled by one of my classmates because he didn’t mention me but mentioned almost everyone else on the Friends to Save Beechwood committee. But it was sadly a penultimate example of we might not as well have been there.
But we were, and saving that structure still brings me joy every time we go by. Shipley has the glory of a beautiful and useful structure. And loving Beechwood introduced me to Addison Hutton. But while Shipley does have the glory of the structure being saved and we raised all the money for it at the time, they need to be accurate in the retelling of the story. Not revisionist history. How we got there is important. So Shipley’s historians need a wee bit of grace here I think.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, we are taught by our teachers that not all history is convenient, and history can be uncomfortable. If you went to Shipley or live around it, the school thing with Beechwood is a little uncomfortable for some people. But sadly that is exactly why it should be discussed more honestly. Talking about it helps and it’s the right thing to do.
In 2021 when my class had their 40th reunion it was life in COVID. So our reunion was canceled. We had an online zoom reunion which was actually pretty fun and there were also online events offered for alumni who were interested. One was a history of Shipley. The lecture was given by the alumnus who re-wrote the history of Shipley, originally written by another alumnus and teacher of ours. I actually have both books.
Anyway, when the part of the school’s history reached the saving of Beechwood House, there was some coloring outside of the lines. At that time I politely asked for the historical record to be corrected to reflect what actually happened. Well when I attended some of the Shipley reunion activities last weekend I attended an in person lecture of the history of Shipley given by this same alumnus who was also I think having her 50th reunion. Once again, she colored outside the lines with the lecture. This time she actually credited the former headmaster who wanted to tear down Beechwood with saving her. Sorry it was a bridge too far for me, so here I am again. He did a lot of positive things for the school, but saving Beechwood wasn’t one of them. We saved it for him, for Shipley, and for Shipley’s history…and that’s an important distinction.
Yeah, ok, maybe I shouldn’t have, but when she asked if there were questions or comments at the end I raised my hand and politely reminded her that in 2021 I had asked her to amend the historical record as she recounts it on Beechwood House. She really didn’t like that and she said it was correct in the book. Well actually I beg to differ it is not completely correct in her book. It’s kind of fluffed over in my humble opinion. Technically, she included most facts, but she kind of glossed over the issue. I don’t think it should be glossed over, it should be discussed honestly. Don’t be a revisionist history practitioner.
In addition, to say that the lower campus project was “complicated“ by neighbors’ opposition is a little snotty to those neighbors, some of whom were either alumni or parents of alumni and students. You can’t blame neighbors for not wanting institutional, commercial, or residential infill development to drown their neighborhood and dwarf it out of human scale. And I have to be honest, since I still lived on the Main Line at this time, and not too far from Shipley, I can tell you the expansion conversations were always contentious. A lot of the meetings were ugly. And not just concerning Beechwood. At times, I barely recognized my alma mater during those years. It was hard, and if you were an alumnus it left you torn. It left me torn.
Beechwood House taught me about getting involved in your community. It reminded me of what some Shipley teachers had taught me long before about the importance of fighting for what you believe in and taking a stand.
Not every academic institution has 100% bright moments, and as much as I love Shipley, I have not always liked Shipley. And when they wanted to tear down Beechwood I definitely didn’t like Shipley very much. But part of our education there was teaching us right from wrong, and what is right is to set the record straight here and be honest. It does not hurt the school to admit that originally they were not correct and this was a place worth saving. But they also have to admit they didn’t actually do the saving, a small group of determined alumni and neighbors with a fearless leader did.
When I have tried to explain this before, even people at Shipley haven’t really understood. Some because they weren’t here then, and others because it makes them uncomfortable. Like the author of the updated Shipley history, for example. I know part of it is that she doesn’t care for me as a person and I’m fine with that, but I think the other part of it is she’s not comfortable with the whole truth of what happened. And while I get that, it’s not the worst thing in the world and it doesn’t tarnish the reputation of the school, it is merely one story of the thousands of stories dating back to 1894. It’s all part of the motto we learn as soon as we enter the school: Courage for the Deed; Grace for the Doing. (Fortiter in Re; Leniter in Modo)
Beechwood House also shows you what is possible with historic preservation. It’s a shame but if there hadn’t been such a swirl of BS around Oakwell in Villanova, maybe Oakwell and her property could have become a preserved gem. But sadly we’re talking about Lower Merion School District, and they will never have an iota of what makes Shipley so special. Oakwell will not have the preservation happy ending because not only doesn’t Lower Merion School District NOT give a damn about preservation, but people interested in preserving Oakwell couldn’t ever really become a cohesive unit of a unified vision. And well the guy who set Oakwell all into motion originally ? Well never mind about him.
Learn from the Beechwood Houses and the Oakwells of this area.
Thanks for stopping by.
The view from my window. I love the view but people, this virus completely sucks. I feel like hell.
Another fever overnight. The kind where your joints hurt and your eyelids feel hot.
Oh and the cough. My ribs hurt at this point and for COVID it’s not too bad in the cough department. I also don’t dig the congestion. I am so congested that if I bend over so my head goes lower than my shoulders, it is the worst feeling of just pressure you can imagine.
And I wake up every couple of hours during the night, I know that my COVID is relatively mild since I have all shots available, but wow this is so not fun.
My husband is thankfully fine, but he gets to do lockdown too.
I pretty much figured out where I came in contact with someone with COVID. It was high school reunion that for the non denominational private schools around here this past weekend. My own reunion year a couple of years ago didn’t happen because of COVID, and I knew people who were coming back this year, so I wanted to see people. I mean don’t you just miss seeing people?
So yes I believe I picked up COVID at the Shipley reunion weekend Friday events because I literally have not been in other crowd situations even if not so crowded. And I wasn’t anywhere leading up to this event. Has anyone else ‘fessed up getting COVID last weekend? Or am I the only one who was honest? I get the COVID is everywhere, but given that I have pretty much been an immunocompromised homebody since COVID started, that is the logical point of origin.
Slight pity party of one here. It’s my birthday week and no herb sale Thursday in Historic Yellow Springs Village and no art show plus the things we were invited to this coming weekend.
I think part of the problem with this virus is the stigma one feels when you contract it and have to tell people you were around to get tested and then there are the people who don’t tell you they were exposed or who go out sick. And then there are the people who could get vaccinated and just didn’t. They didn’t want their rights violated during a pandemic, a public health emergency but it was OK if they made others sick. And I am unapologetic about my perspective.
Yes I wear the scarlet C for COVID this week. I know some people think it’s funny, but it’s really not. I don’t wish this on anyone.
I still have almost no speaking voice. That was the first thing that happened incidentally that made me wonder if I had COVID. I never lose my voice. I am still just so tired. Fever at night and I should buy stock in paper companies that make tissues and more.
And I keep reminding myself I have a relatively mild case of COVID compared to others I know. I am also glad my mother is visiting my sister on Mother’s Day because I would not be able to see her.
I may never know who actually gave me COVID, but whomever they are I wish they had stayed the hell home last week.
Well I am making tea with fresh mint and ginger and then I’m going back to sleep.
Be well and enjoy the beautiful day.
Well, it finally got me. I have been careful since Covid appeared on our scene and this weekend I was exposed to someone with it. I have no idea if it was someone who was unvaccinated and carrying it or just dumb luck.
I have had to tell everybody I know that I was around.
I did four things this weekend, and literally I have not done that since 2019. I have been absurdly careful, almost paranoid at times.
I woke up early this morning finding it hard to breathe like I had a cold. My voice is pretty much gone and when I have it, it sounds like Kermit the frog lives in my body.
Now I am achy. And my eyelids feel kid sick hot. Everything in my life now grinds to a halt. No herb sale at Yellow Springs on Thursday or Art Show. Also no gathering Friday or Saturday and I actually had plans. And Mother’s Day is Sunday, but my sister has mommy custody. Thank goodness.
I do have my sense of taste, however.
I made it this long so that’s a pretty good lucky streak. Look for those of you out there who think this virus doesn’t exist or it won’t strike you, it got me and again I have been extra careful for three years because I am a cancer survivor and patient.
I feel like crap but mostly I feel kids sick. I don’t know how else to explain it other than it’s reminiscent of how you felt when you got sick and your mom took care of you when you were little.
I have had to tell so many people because I saw so many people over the past few days. And right or wrong I feel like some people are mad at me for telling them. Like I did it on purpose.
God damn it. Sign me pissed.
I am struck once again by how much people live life on social media. They live too much life on social media. Social media may help keep us all connected, but it’s not the real world.
And while social media keeps us connected, it’s not a justification for bad manners and lack of boundaries. And it’s the lack of boundaries that in part bothers me.
This week I had an extremely unpleasant experience with someone who is an employee of a service provider. They crossed professional boundaries that leaves me disturbed.
When I realized who they were and their comments were even leaving me uncomfortable, I quietly removed them from my page. I was actually trying to do them a favor. Not all employers like controversy. Especially in today’s hyper charged social media world. They started messaging. I quietly blocked that. Then they made the ultimate presumption and started messaging my private messenger rather combatively. That is a boundary that should not be crossed because then it is a professional breach of conduct since they work for a service provider I have a relationship with. I blocked them again but now I am left with a very bad taste in my mouth. They didn’t get that there are things in life that are just not appropriate.
Then we leap to the politics of it all. Should politicians respond to questions? Yes. But sometimes it is all about how you ask. One of the problems with social media is the lack of conversation. It can’t always be whomever gets all of the toys wins. And people seem to forget that all of their issues and things they champion personally, or not necessarily going to be yours. Or that you, as an individual might support them, but not so fervently for lack of a better description and that doesn’t make people bad, it just makes them different and we do have to allow for differences. Isn’t that what we fight for for real?
The lack of boundaries and decorum is something I feel is very much lacking in today’s world. And it has a place.
And in general people think we all should available to them 24/7/365. I am not. I have a life of my own and it’s off of social media. People don’t seem to realize that all of us have things to do and things going on in our lives. And that’s not necessarily bad or hysterically busy things, it’s just our life. And I find a lot, that sadly this isn’t respected by people because they expect you to respond to them immediately. A lot of people also simply don’t want to interact on social media.
It’s a big wide world out there and it really takes place off of Facebook and whichever social media platform you favor.
Go outside. Enjoy the world in real time interact with people face-to-face have an actual conversation. Live life in your own moments. Real moments. Not ones engineered with social media prompts.
Am I Miss Manners? No. But I think we all could use reminders now and again.
He is a nice boy. He is nonviolent, but because he has slight challenges, he might be extra wary of strangers BUT he likes to talk about dogs and animals .
He goes by Jon or Jonathan.
He has been missing since May 3 when he POSSIBLY went for a walk and didn’t come home. I say possibly because no one really is sure what happened.
Please keep your eyes peeled and if you see him call 911.
Keep this boy and his family in your prayers. We want him to come home soon so please share.
Politics is a dirty business at times. Not for the faint of heart. And politicians of the Democrat persuasion all over the area are all atwitter over the bombshell Philadelphia Inquirer article yesterday. It makes you wonder a very simple thing: guilty conscience?
ELECTIONS: Democrats have controlled Montco for a decade. The primary will test their political machine and pay-to-play culture.
The influence of the machine — and politically connected lawyers — is evident in several examples in this year’s Democratic primary races for Montgomery County commissioner and other row offices.
by Andrew Seidman
Updated on May 1, 2023
The fundraising invitation featured a who’s who of prominent Montgomery County Democrats.
Soliciting contributions ranging from $50 to $10,000, the March 29 event at Sunnybrook Golf Club in Plymouth Meeting offered a chance to mingle with the state House majority leader, two state senators, a county commissioner, and a former party chairman.
But one of the most influential players on the host committee doesn’t hold elected office or even live in the county — Michael P. Clarke, managing partner of municipal law firm Rudolph Clarke.
Clarke and his firm helped Kimberly Koch — the fundraiser’s beneficiary — and her fellow Democrats take over the Whitpain Township Board of Supervisors in the 2019 elections. The new board then hired Rudolph Clarke as the town’s lawyers. Now, Clarke and his allies are supporting her campaign for county commissioner.
“I’m a good Democrat. … We try to make sure that Democrats get elected because all you gotta do is look around this country and look at how out of touch the Republican Party is,” Clarke said in an interview. “So, who should elected Democrats turn to when they get elected? Why wouldn’t they turn to good Democrats? Why wouldn’t they turn to people who they trust?”
The May 16 Democratic primary for two commissioner seats will be a test of a political machine that has developed since the party flipped the three-member governing board from red to blue in 2011 — and established a model that Democrats have followed in Philadelphia’s other collar counties.
Democrats have cast themselves as reformers as they’ve gained more power in the suburbs, particularly after the election of former President Donald Trump. But emails, financial records, and campaign finance data reviewed by The Inquirer — as well as interviews with almost two dozen people involved in local politics — reveal a pay-to-play culture in which the line between business and politics is often blurred.
In February, the hundreds of rank-and-file members who make up the Montgomery County Democratic Committee rebuked leadership by declining to endorse its full slate of preferred candidates, citing heavy-handed leadership and an opaque process.
….The influence of the machine — and politically connected lawyers — is evident in several examples in this year’s primary races…..Tensions have ratcheted up in the months leading up to the primary, with one party official facing possible removal from the committee amid allegations that she violated bylaws by supporting multiple non-endorsed candidates in Facebook posts. Some rank-and-file Democrats say the investigation seems aimed at stifling dissent; one committee member invoked the Soviet-era KGB during an April 20 party Zoom meeting, according to people familiar with the matter….This year’s commissioners’ race comes as the county — the third biggest in the state — faces a leadership shake-up. Commissioner Val Arkoosh resigned from the three-member board in January to join Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration, and fellow Democrat Ken Lawrence Jr. decided not to seek reelection.
The Democratic Party committee tasked with recommending Arkoosh’s replacement interviewed more than 20 candidates and initially tapped Danielle Duckett, the Lower Gwynedd Township supervisor and policy director for State Rep. Chris Rabb, to serve the remainder of Arkoosh’s term.
But the party ultimately rescinded the offer. It wasn’t entirely clear why, but party officials asked Duckett about her bankruptcy filing 20 years ago when she’d been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Duckett also faced questions about the appointment of solicitor in her town, and whether she was a “team player.”
Documents obtained by The Inquirer through records requests help shed light on how the solicitor appointment unfolded.
After Democrats won control of the Lower Gwynedd Board of Supervisors in 2021, Clarke and another attorney got lunch with Duckett and her fellow supervisors.
“I said, ‘So if it’s all right with you, I’d like to make my pitch. And I made my pitch about how we’re good Democrats,” Clarke recalled.
Clarke told the supervisors about the firm’s experience advising municipalities on matters such as antidiscrimination ordinances and contracting rules favored by labor unions.
A few days later, Clarke sent an email thanking the supervisors for “indulging me as I ‘made my pitch’ a few times during our lunch.”
But Duckett and her fellow Democrats broke from local tradition — they reappointed solicitor Neil Stein, who had been hired in 2020 under the previous Republican majority in a bipartisan vote.
Stein offered a low rate, lived in the town, and is unaffiliated with either party….
In February, the county party voted to endorse Winder’s candidacy. But committee members opposed party leadership’s recommendation to endorse veteran State Rep. Tim Briggs — who works for Kilkenny’s firm — for a second commissioner seat, opting instead to hold an “open primary” in which no candidate has official party support.
After Briggs dropped out of the race, four other candidates remained in addition to Winder……During that time, Clarke and his firm gave money and legal services to a political action committee affiliated with local Democrats, including Koch. Kilkenny and Obermayer also donated.
A few months into office, the Democratic-led board voted to hire Rudolph Clarke as solicitor after the supervisors issued a request for proposals. The township later hired Obermayer as labor attorney and the zoning board appointed by the supervisors hired Kilkenny Law as its solicitor.
Obermayer’s chairman, Nasatir, said public entities account for a “very small slice” of the firm’s work and that he’s developed a reputation as a trusted attorney. Kilkenny isn’t endorsing a candidate for the second commissioner seat and said he donates to Democrats “across the board” and not based on business interests.
Whitpain is among at least nine towns and school boards in Montgomery County that have flipped to Democrats since 2017 and later hired Rudolph Clarke, Kilkenny, or both….
The contested primaries have shaken the party.
Salus has been investigating whether Joyce Keller, an elected party official, violated bylaws regarding support for non-endorsed candidates. A complaint seeking her removal alleges Keller signed petitions for multiple candidates and promoted their campaigns on Facebook.
She says she’s supporting Winder and one other candidate, and that she shared Facebook posts in an effort to educate voters.
No final decision has been made.
Salus’ actions have already had a “chilling effect on getting out the vote,” committee member Joyce Pickles said during an April 20 party Zoom meeting, according to people familiar with the matter.
Welcome to politics and is this the subordination of public interests to private goals or just politics as usual?
Now I know they are all abuzz in Montgomery County. This has been building for years. It has been building since before I moved to Chester County, truthfully.
This is how it all starts: Democrats achieve victory over Republicans. Then they become the problem they fought to eradicate. Happens in reverse as well. Time in memoriam.
It’s pretty goddamn simple people. As a country we are designed as a TWO PARTY SYSTEM. You know, for fairness and balance, two words seldom heard in politics? That is the history of how we came to be as a country. Fairness and balance were supposed to do away with petty despots, dictators, a monarchy and courtiers. Nice idea. But here in modern politics, neither party ever wants to pay attention to HISTORY. And what happens kids when we ignore history? We are doomed to Eternal Groundhog Day AKA repeating the mistakes of the past.
What we have can indeed be distilled down to a simple lack of balance. Each political party plays a game of political chicken or whomever gets all of the toys wins. They even do that within their own party’s political hierarchy.
BALANCE. Politics lacks balance, so today there is no art to the art form that is politics.
We have social media, so you would think there was greater accountability in politics, right? Nope only a greater desire to literally bury the truth and even the first amendment.
Today in Chester County she who is kind of politically toothless and should be at least silent at this point reared her head with this gem:
I mean REALLY? If there wasn’t “pay to play” as she termed it, would she have even achieved her political office as a Democrat supervisor in West Whiteland? Seems to me this lame duck on the Chester County Wheel of Fortune might want to buy a clue here? Maybe she should start her own apology tour, but I digress. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you, right?
Chester County Democrats do need to sit up because are they any better than the Montgomery County Democrats currently in the hot seat? And is there or is there not crossover? I have been concerned for some time that Chester County Democrats were in danger of becoming a mirror image of whom they replaced.
Speaking of whom they replaced. A history lesson:
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Inquirer Staff Writer
Published Mar 6, 2008
Rankled by pay-to-play politics, a “rambunctious bunch” of renegade Republicans revved into action in 1970, ultimately prompting reforms that would alter Chester County history.
Decades after the upstarts challenged the entrenched GOP’s balance of power, a former organizer has written a book chronicling the David and Goliath-style uprising.
Author Lawrence E. Wood, who retired from the Chester County Court bench in October 2006, said for years he and the late State Sen. Robert J. Thompson had discussed writing about their 10-year struggle to break the stranglehold of party boss Theodore S.A. Rubino, who was eventually jailed for extortion.
Wood said Thompson’s death in January 2006 kicked him into high gear. Less than two years later, Wood’s self-published
The Independent Years, which he dedicated to Thompson, is being sold online.
Written in a conversational style, the book juxtaposes Wood’s narrative with news clips and recollections from other “independent Republicans,” including Wood’s wife, Rennie; Irene Brooks, Chester County’s first female commissioner; Mickie Deery, whose late husband, Stu, bucked the party and won election as county treasurer; and Rep. Joe Pitts, a long-serving state representative who is now a member of Congress.
Central to the group’s discontent was the fact that Rubino, a Malvern contractor who owned the Knickerbocker Landfill in East Whiteland Township, was the party chair as well as the head of the county commissioners.
Republicans have controlled the county’s three-member governing body since the Civil War and Rubino’s power was virtually unbounded, a situation he encouraged.
“Ted ran the county party with a strong hand, and enforced party discipline when he thought people were stepping out of line,” Wood writes, recalling that he was reamed out by Rubino in 1967 for supporting a non-endorsed candidate.
Rubino’s subsequent refusal to allow open primaries and secret ballots – procedures that could have eroded his control – led the insurgents to run their own candidates, including Wood and Stu Deery….
He makes it clear that Rubino-bashing is not his goal. In fact, he credits the GOP titan, who died in 1989, with creating numerous social-service agencies, including the county Health Department.
“Unfortunately, our story makes sense only when considered against the background of his story,” Wood writes.
The bulk of the text focuses on the ragtag efforts of the disenchanted Republicans to get elected, a process Wood relates with suspense, awe and self-deprecating humor. Ultimately, the group made inroads, securing many of the reforms they had sought so passionately….”If you let people get too comfortable, you wind up with bad organizations and bad candidates,” he said.
Political scandal is nothing new. It happens. And keeps happening because no one pays attention to political history…or common sense. I mean people how do you think we ended up with Trump and things like Klanned Karenhood? Ignoring history. Always thinking they were the smartest people in the rooms.
Politics is an old profession, perhaps only second oldest to what? Prostitution? Gosh did I say that out loud? I think I did. (Twenty lashes with a wet noodle.)
Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, and Philadelphia county all have lots of political scandal to learn from. Bucks County too, only they operate more like a secret society over there.
Throughout this post are articles involving political scandals. All around the area. Learn from the past. I mean regular people might as well educate themselves because it seems the political parties do not. Yes, Chester County Democrats I am indeed speaking to you as well as Chester County Republicans. Y’all didn’t invent this political wheel, you are all just the latest hamsters on it.