slapp

19 July, 2017

Hello Dear Readers,

I am  writing today to let you know that I am at present a victim of what is known as a SLAPP suit (Strategic  Litigation Against Public Participation.)

 

Earlier this year, I was hit with a Cease and Desist in the form of something known in legal circles as a Writ of Summons.  It was issued on behalf of developer Brian O’Neill and Constitution Drive Partners over the Bishop Tube Site in Malvern/Frazer in East Whiteland Township.  It was sent to me by the West Chester and Chester County law firm of Lamb McErlane.

 

This whole thing also involves Maya van Rossum, who is The Delaware Riverkeeper , her non-profit The Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and people thus far referrred to as “John Does 1 -10”

 

Yes I know Maya.  I used to live not too far away from her before I moved to Chester County.  She lives in Radnor Township and I once lived in Lower Merion Township. As I have previously stated, Maya van Rossum is one of the most ethical, dedicated, and smart women I have ever met.  I am honored to know her.

 

I actually had not seen Maya van Rossum in a few years in person before I turned around at that February 27, 2017 East Whiteland Zoning Hearing Board Meeting because I heard a familiar voice – hers.  Others (unknown as to precisely who) had contacted her about this site.  And I also think the folks from Trout Unlimited were there, and have also been at meetings (I never even knew what that non-profit was until all of this.)

 

Within a couple of days of that February 27 meeting, I injured my knee seriously enough to require surgery.  My injury was to my right knee which meant I did not drive  or even truly walk again until quite recently and even now the distances are brief.  As I sat on the sidelines (which included NOT attending public or other meetings), many more public meetings happened. The whole debate of the Bishop Tube site in East Whiteland raged on (and continues to do so seemingly.)  The DEP has been weighing in, along with State Representative Duane Milne, State Senator Andy Dinniman, even East Whiteland Township Supervisors.

 

The residents of General Warren Village also banded together and began to advocate for themselves as they live adjacent to this site.  People from neighboring areas seemed to have joined them based on replays of public meetings I have watched over the past few months.  And the Delaware Riverkeeper has persisted. (See this section on their website.)

 

This is democracy in action.  When people take an interest in where they live, it is a powerful force. It is not easy for the residents involved, and it does take great courage,  I applaud them.

 

As I have sat on the sidelines watching, this whole SLAPP thing has persisted.  At its most basic, things like this are an affront to our inalienable rights to protest and speak.  Our very rights are at risk, including that thing called the First Amendment:

 

First Amendment (As reprinted by the ACLU)

 

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.

 

I am not the only one experiencing this (even on this topic) but when you are faced with this it feels so very and truly personal.  Because in a way, it is.  It is a challenge to those aforementioned freedoms we as Americans (regardless of political and religious persuasion) hold dear and even at times…take for granted.

 

It is because of situations like this I believe municipalities need to do better by us as residents.  It is because of this that those we elect to the most basic of municipal levels, including the State House, State Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate need to do better by us.

 

As a perennial student of history, I have faith that the truth will indeed out.  And I do indeed have representation.  Mr. Samuel Stretton.  A gentleman whose career I have followed off and on for many years and now have the privilege of knowing.  Any questions may be directed to him.

 

I just thought it fair to let you my readers, neighbors, friends, and family know what was going on.

 

Thanks for stopping by

whose america are we living in?

When you see photos like this they just make you happy. Obviously in love, on their wedding day, their whole lives ahead of them. Until ICE (immigration) shows up like modern day Nazis at the Septa train station in Haverford and arrests the husband.

I used to live in Haverford.  I used to work near Haverford Train Station.  I grew up in Haverford.  I just can’t imagine the terror this man felt.  I learned about his plight when a friend posted on Facebook:

 

I thought this possibly couldn’t be true, then I remember conversations I have had with people even locally in Chester County about ICE going into schools, ICE raiding restaurants and other businesses country and city, ICE rounding people up off the streets and throwing them into vans, asking for papers at SEPTA stops in Philadelphia (a supposed “sanctuary city”), tales of immigrants with “go” bags packed by their front doors in case they have to run, and does this seem crazy that we are living in a country that allows this?

We are a nation formed of immigrants.  Give us your tired, your hungry, your poor.  I have friends who emigrated to this country.  I thank God that all of them are legal citizens.

Jonatan Palacios is his name.  His lovely wife Lillie Williams has a You Caring Page up. I don’t know them personally, but what is being done to them is a crazy horror show at the hands of the US Government.

I am going to let HER words tell THEIR story.  Lillie pardon me for copying and pasting your message, but your words have power:

The Story

My name is Lillie Williams and early yesterday morning, on May 11th, immigration ripped me away from my husband. 

We are working with a lawyer to get him out and get him back home to me as soon as possible, but we need help covering all of the expenses, fees, and loss of income as we work to do everything I can to get Jonatan out and back to his home and family.

Why did we get caught in this mess? Because we were going through proper legal motions. We submitted an I-130 spousal petition for him in October. We were working with the system to correct his legal status from his case when he entered as an unaccompanied minor at the age of 16. 

Jonatan is my best friend and soulmate. I appreciate any help and support that you can provide to help us through this difficult time. 

Background:

Jonatan and I had went on our first date the summer before my Junior year at Bryn Mawr College, on May 24th, 2010.

My roommate at the time had been dating Jonatan’s older brother for about a year before we started dating. Always thinking herself the matchmaker, she had made several attempts at getting Jonatan and I together before it finally happened. The final straw that brought the two of us together was a mishap one night, where my roommate had accidentally locked me out of the apartment in my pajamas when she was late to a date with Jonatan’s brother. I called my forgetful Italian friend to please turn around and let me back in, but instead she sent Jonatan to my rescue. He then had my number and asked if he could keep it.We started dating only a few months later and it was as if there was a magnetic force that brought us together. We were inseparable. Then, several hard events in my life happened which brought us even closer together. We both became each other’s home.

We were legally married at one one of our favorite restaurants in Philadelphia, Amada on October 11th, 2014 and a year later we had our religious wedding ceremony with friends and family at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens on October 15th, 2015. 

The pastor from Jonatan’s church officiated with the service in Spanish and translated into English so that everyone there would understand. It was one of the happiest evenings of our lives.

When we were getting ready to get married, I learned about Jonatan’s case. I thought that it was something that we would be able to resolve with marriage– since I am a born United States Citizen and my ancestry goes back in the United States to colonial days I thought it would be a simple case of petitioning for him once we were married. I found out after that the case was a lot more complicated than either of us had thought.

It turns out that people don’t become citizens simply through marriage to a US Citizen Spouse. It is a long and difficult process and sometimes, if you are unlucky, things can go wrong with your case. 

More About the Issue:

If you would like to know more about the overall issue, there is a whole organization of families like mine that have gone through or are going through similar issues, American Families United. You can learn more by going to http://www.americanfamiliesunited.org/.

 

This is so unreal.  Their crime was being naïve and thinking they could trust the United States of America. They filed what they thought was the correct paperwork and instead of help, he gets arrested at the Septa station in Haverford with assistance by Lower Merion Police Department.  Ok, so let’s be fair, I am guessing Lower Merion Police Department did not have much choice in the matter when the Federal Government comes calling, but can you imagine the abject terror he must have felt along with anyone else who was around there on May 11th?

Ok so those of you who are die hard conservatives are getting ready to sharpen your keyboards and read me the riot act for this post, but please.

Don’t.

Stop and think about this for a moment.  This young couple were trying to right a wrong. They were not trying to be deceitful.  Now this guy is sitting in some jail facility in York, PA and do we even know if he has been able to see his wife? Or other family?  They were not hiding and they were punished anyway.

For every one of these stories I hear, the mental image of World War II come to mind.  The stories of Holocaust survivors and immigrants of another century telling the stories of Nazis demanding papers during World War II era Europe.  Tell me, how is this different? Because it is happening under the banner of the United States of America?

What is it that is carved on Lady Liberty? What is the exact figure of immigrants who came through Ellis Island and passed the Statue of Liberty between 1820 and 1920? 34 Million? This is the poem Lady Liberty wears:

“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“”Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!”” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

There is a vigil planned for Jonatan Palacios on June 8th.  There is a Facebook event set up

If you care to contribute to the young couple’s legal expenses (immigration lawyers are not cheap), please visit You Caring Help Jonatan Palacios be reunited with his wife and family!

I am the descendant of immigrants.  I am descended from three nationalities which were once discriminated against and disparaged against – Irish, German, Italian.  I grew up with many tales including “Irish need not apply” and WOP jokes and disparaging German comments . I fear for my legal US citizen friends who emigrated here because some still have the lingering traces of the countries they were born in.  What could be done to them in error because they don’t have your typical American accent?

Whether you know this couple or not, if you can peacefully or peaceably help, help.  Attend the vigil, write elected officials (including all 14 commissioners in Lower Merion Township to ask WTF??,  essentially.)

Whose America is this? Whose America are we living in?  I am not sure  and I am so sad at this latest turn of events.

anna maciejewska is still missing

I was asked by a friend who lives in Charlestown to post about Anna Maciejewska , who is still missing.  

According  to media and local reports she has not been seen since like April 2nd or April 10th (I have seen both dates in media reports and on social media, so I don’t know which one is correct. All I know is she has been missing for weeks at this point.)

I am guessing last person who saw her is her husband because well she is married and has a little boy named Andrew (do I have his name right?) who I think is like 4 or 5.  He must miss his mommy something fierce, so I figured I would put a post up in the hopes like all the media reports that someone somewhere has seen something.

Has anyone seen Anna Bronislawa Maciejewska?  The PA State Police want to hear from anyone who may have seen her. Call 911 or Embreeville barracks at 610-486-6280


Media reports continue to go out and the AP has picked up the story. 

It would be great if a national law and justice show like Nancy Grace could tell her story so please, if you are in the media or know media, pay it forward so Anna’s son  Andrew (?) doesn’t lose his mom.  Anna is Polish and I am also told that family in Poland is frantic.

Anna Maciejewska went missing from the Charlestown section of Malvern.  She was driving a blue Audi A4 she is 43 years old and 5′ 4″ and 150 pounds 
There is a Facebook page up for FINDING Anna Maciejewska.

She’s a mom. She’s not going to leave a little child like that. Please, if you have seen Anna Maciejewska, call the police.

delaware riverkeeper to pa dep: can you hear us now about bishop tube?

Bishop Tube 2017 photographer unknown

The Delaware Riverkeeper is keeping up the pressure on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  Hot off the presses find these two letters:

Bishop Tube is a crazy tale that just keeps getting more interesting, doesn’t it? Trichloroethylene (TCE) is so damn toxic. Yet you have to wonder why is seems the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) seems to play dodge ball on it at Bishop Tube, right? (Here is something the EPA put out around 2015 *I think* and something else from Arizona  and how NASA deals with TCE.)

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the agency that is supposed to protect residents from toxic hazards, yet who is supposed to protect residents from them? I hear State Senator Dinniman’s office is starting to feel the pinch of Bishop Tube phone calls but what is he actually doing? (keep calling Phone: 610.692.2112 Fax: 610.436.1721 for West Chester PA and Phone: 717.787.5709 • Fax: 717.787.4384 for Harrisburg )

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has some fun facts to share about TCE :

Hey Erin Brocavitch can we interest you in a little good old PA TCE????

crebilly meeting reminder and a school district takes a stand against wanton development 


So a reminder that the next Crebilly meeting is Wednesday, March 29th, 6-10PM Rustin High School and it will be the second Conditional Use hearing. Here is the link to a printable flyer my pal Mindy Rhodes made with additional dates we all encourage you to share with others:

 https://crebillyfarmfriends.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/crebilly-march.pdf

But what is really and truly exciting to me is something I have wished a school district out here in Chester County would do – take a stand on wanton development,  and that is exactly what West Chester Area School District has done. Here is hoping more districts follow suit because it gets a bit much when taxpayers watch school districts behave like ostriches with their heads in the sand. Chief ostrich in my opinion is Great Valley School District, but I digress.

Anyway, Mindy Rhodes wrote to all of us this morning not only about the meeting tomorrow but also about this:

Party Status will be determined for a number of groups and then testimony continues. I had a dream last night only five people came to the hearing and the auditorium was empty with the exception of a full stage that included the BOS and Toll Brothers. There are 850 seats in Rustin Auditorium. Please do what you can to attend any part of the hearing. Every bit helps… and don’t forget to bring water:)

Last evening, Dr. Scanlon, Superintendent of the West Chester Area School District, issued a letter to the community that included a resolution from WCASD and the impact the Crebilly development by Toll will have on the schools in the district:  

Dear Community Members,
The West Chester Area School District has passed a resolution at its March 27 board meeting to allow the Superintendent to request an annual impact fee of $645,000 from Toll Brothers developers for the added expenses the district will incur from the proposed Crebilly Farms housing development.
Crebilly Resolution.docx – REVISED 3-21-17.pdf 
Currently Toll Brothers is seeking approval from Westtown Township to build more than 300 homes on the Crebilly Farms tract of land at the corner of Routes 202 and 926. Working with an experienced demographer, we have determined that this development will generate at least 172 students who would attend our school district. (This estimate already excludes the number of students we believe would attend private schools, based on our previous experience.)
It is common practice for school districts to request impact fees from developers when a large development is proposed. Simply put, a public school district cannot fairly shoulder the entire cost of a huge surge of students at one time. We will need to find additional space in our schools with modular units or additions, we will need to hire additional teachers and other staff, and we will need to provide additional transportation. (In addition, we are bound by law to also provide transportation for any students who choose private schools located within 10 miles of our borders.). We anticipate approximately 56 private and/or parochial school students from this proposed development.
Final approval of this development rests with Westtown Township. We consider it our duty to keep you informed as this matter relates to our school district. Public hearings are continuing, and we welcome your voice in this matter.
Sincerely,
Dr. Jim Scanlon, Superintendent

I am so thrilled by this letter and resolution. I have often been impressed with Dr. Scanlon’s writings in the past; in my opinion, a thoughtful and very sensible voice of reason. This creates yet another hurdle for Toll Brothers to comply with. It is my hope others in similar positions will stand up to this company and hold this developer accountable in every way possible.
If not you, then who?

Thank you,

Mindy

http://www.CrebillyFarmFriends.com

I have been critical of the WCASD school district in the past, but today I admire them. I admire their chutzpah in being real and saying to a developer “Hey this is not OK.”

Municipalities and School Districts are separate entities they are autonomous of one another, so basically neither consults the other ever about anything that in the end affects taxpayers and residents….and kids in a school district. Development looks really great on paper to politicians. They can say they brought in ratables end it helps them build the legacy to themselves that they all seem to crave. And no, I am not saying that is the case here with Westtown, it’s just what I think about a lot of municipalities.  

Municipalities tend to look at new development like a fresh and shiny toy, but sometimes they need to have more thought as to what that toy will cost taxpayers and residents and members of school districts down the road.

Finally, a school district in Chester County is standing up and saying not no to developers per se, but who is going to pay for the side effects of development after developments are built. This school district is being responsible to residents, children, the taxpayers. And might I add this is something the Chester County Planning Commission should be doing with every development proposed in Chester County? As well as State Senator Andy Dinniman? After all it is not just about land and historic preservation, it’s about the other long term impacts of development, isn’t it? Why do residents always seem to have to do the heavy lifting ?

Here is what WCASD said:



the tale of the bishop tube documents

Bishop Tube 2017 – Photographer Unknown – found on East Whiteland Township Community Huddle Page

Bishop Tube…yes…more, more, more on Bishop Tube. I  do not seek information out, it finds it’s way to me.  Today’s offerings are a slew of documents from the Pennsylvania DEP and other places going back into the 1990s and stopping a few years ago. People have been hanging onto stuff to save for a rainy day.

Someone said to me these few documents tell a story – and can you imagine all the documents we will probably NEVER see on Bishop Tube?

Anyway, after wading through these documents the story being told to me is someone should have cleaned this place up already, and why isn’t this on the EPA’s radar?

Since someone dropped a little “sunshine” in my lap, I am paying it forward and putting them out there.  Just for the record I am not trying to be another Erin Brocavitch. This stuff just found it’s way to me…..

1st Amendment to Consent Order and Agreement PA DEP 1.22.2007

Administrative Record Docket Bishop Tube Site Events from 1998 to 2006

Bishop Tube 1999 Ground Water Sampling Done for DEP

Bishop Tube Cost Recovery 2006

Bishop Tube old media clippings

DEP 1

DEP Analysis of Alternatives Bishop Tube 12.14.2006

DEP and CDP Consent Order and Agreement 3.17.2005

DEP Little Valley Creek Surface Water and Spring Monitoring 8.27.2003

DEP Scope of Work Air Sparging Hot Spot Response 1.26.2006

HSCA Response Justification Document Bishop Tube 3.13.2000

Notice of Prompt Interim Response 3.14.2000

Old Bishop Tube Company History Pamphlet

Prelimnary Remedial Action Work Plan for Soil Remediation at Bishop Tube 3.11.2005

Surface Water Investigation Bishop Tube 2005

And always interesting? Old invoices  Old Bishop Tube and Related Invoices