meeting decorum of elected officials

Radnor Township is NOT in Chester County. But I am venturing there this morning because of behavior of a sitting elected official at a public meeting last night. It was wholly unacceptable. (If you have FiOs you can catch Radnor’s meetings on Channel 30 FYI.)

When an elected official goes from serving the public to being a consistent self-serving obstructionist, they really should resign.

I actually used to honestly respect this elected official. He was for many years a crusader for right.  But then it seems he began to believe his own press releases or something? His wife sits on the school board. That has also always given me pause when certain issues have come before the board, and isn’t that also understandable?

Someone on social media remarked last evening after the latest tirade/outburst that they were channeling their inner Yosemite Sam. That’s not who we want representing us in office even on the most local of levels anywhere. The behavior was bad enough last evening, that the board actually took a five minute recess so everyone could regain their composure.

One of the temper tantrum’s last night was over who the Public Information Officer reports to. Everyone knows that public information officer’s report to the township, and the Township manager. They don’t report to elected officials because they are neutral and all they must always fairly disseminate information to the public.

I’m also writing this post because Radnor Township after having a disastrous manager they fired was lucky to hire a man named Bob Zienkowski. He is one of the finest township managers I have ever seen. I actually think so highly of this gentleman that years ago before the current township secretary had her job, I interviewed for the job. The current township secretary actually got chosen over me as a candidate, and in retrospect life worked out just the way it was supposed to. She is also excellent at her job. And given the way Radnor Township has deteriorated and the crazy hours the meetings go to, I am VERY glad life chose differently for me in the end. I can’t sit through these meetings anymore… anywhere.

But last night I saw this one commissioner in particular be condescending, rude, and generally hateful and disrespectful to the Township Manager. With LOUD and SHOUTING OUTBURSTS.

If you watch the township meeting on YouTube you can see the meltdown beginning at the 14:59 minute mark. It goes to about 24:17. Mind you it’s not the first obstructionist disruption of the evening on the part of this commissioner. It’s not the first meeting this behavior has occurred, either. The Radnor meetings now have the reputation of being the most awful around again and with good reason.

I am sure this commissioner will have a problem with this post. But as a lover and defender of the First Amendment, surely he must realize I have a right to express my opinion, correct?

Commissioner Richard Booker, this post is for you. Suffice it to say, Radnor residents deserve better.  Hard working township staff deserves better. Your fellow commissioners deserve better.  At a minimum you should apologize publicly to all of the other commissioners and township staff. However, you also might wish to consider resigning or retiring as you seem to have lost your objectivity completely. Last night’s behavior shows you appear to be a really unhappy human being and why do you wish to project that upon residents, fellow commissioners, and Radnor Township staff? Is that really fair? Is that really the best use of public meeting time?

And yes, Commissioner Booker, the First Amendment does allow me my opinion. You are an elected official who among other things was hired to uphold the public trust and can you honestly say you are doing that at this point? And do you really work for Sunoco Logistics like it says on your LinkedIn page and elsewhere?

And my last word is elected officials everywhere demand proper decorum of residents at meetings.  Well shouldn’t residents be able to expect that of elected officials?

on the eve of 9/11

In two days it’s another anniversary of 9/11. It has been 18 years.

Above is a screenshot of a New York Times newsletter email I opened this morning.

I. Can’t. Even.

On the eve of 9/11, no less.

February, 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Let me tell you a true story…

I came out of the trade center during the first trade center bombing. February 26, 1993. I was working on Wall Street for a municipal bond trading firm and I had gone with a friend from work into the shopping concourse of the old trade center because this woman – her name was Deirdre – had wanted to visit the Hallmark Gold Crown store – her grandmother or someone collected their Christmas ornaments and they were on a clearance sale.

So we went there and we grabbed lunch, and as we were standing right outside the trade center staring at Century 21 Department Store and wondering if we had enough time to go in there as well, the ground started to shake. Like you would imagine an earthquake. And then we thought it was snowing because all the stuff was floating down in the sky. We of course later realized that was like soot and ashes and stuff and then one by one it was the strange cacophony of car alarms in the garage going off like weird church bells. Then the sirens of first responders started.

But at first, right after it happened, time stood still. The explosion underground which caused the sidewalks to move underneath our feet, followed by a hold your breath moment of complete silence. Then came the chaos.

We got back to our office which was at 44 Wall Street and people were all freaked out. It was at that point we learned what had actually happened and came to the realization of how lucky we were to get out.

Over the course of the next couple of hours we had “refugees” that we knew from the twin towers who had to go down hundreds of flights of steps in some cases and came to our offices to wash the soot off their faces and just chill.

I remember this girl name Katie who was a trading assistant along with me whose fiancé worked for Dean Witter at the time. He was one of those people that had to walk down lots and lots of stairs and showed up in our office looking like he was completely done in black face but it was soot. And he was shaking, just standing perfectly still in our reception area, shaking. I will never forget it.

So when 9/11 rolled around and the first report came over my car radio, tears started streaming down my face as I sat in my office parking garage. They came back was the only thing that went through my head. Then my cell phone rang and it was my late father who at the time was on a train to New York City to head into his office. He was reaching Metro Park and I told him to get off and turn around and come home and he didn’t listen to me because the Amtrak conductors told him it would be fine.

My late brother in law was working in NYC by this point and thankfully he was able to meet up with my father and they holed up in someone’s apartment for a couple of days until they were able to get out of the city. But it was scary when they were all cut off from us with no phone communication whatsoever. Because it was absolute insanity in New York when the towers came down.

I remember when I went up to my office in between the first plane and the second plane and people were crowded around TVs and some broker’s office and I remember again I said “they came back.”

People looked at me and said you don’t know what you’re talking about it’s just a small plane that crashed into the side of the trade center. A horrible accident. Then the second plane hit. Then you had the news out of the other two planes.

I think all of our lives in some small way changed on 9/11. For years I kept running into people that knew people who died. People I knew from college died in the twin towers. They weren’t people I knew very well but a small school on a small campus they were people you recognized.

And our current President was going to meet with the Taliban at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 except it got cancelled?

WTF. Seriously, WTF????

How Trump’s Plan to Secretly Meet With the Taliban Came Together, and Fell Apart

New York Times

By Peter Baker, Mujib Mashal and Michael Crowley. Published Sept. 8, 2019
Updated Sept. 9, 2019, 8:35 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON — On the Friday before Labor Day, President Trump gathered top advisers in the Situation Room to consider what could be among the profound decisions of his presidency — a peace plan with the Taliban after 18 years of grinding, bloody war in Afghanistan.

The meeting brought to a head a bristling conflict dividing his foreign policy team for months, pitting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, in a battle for the competing instincts of a president who relishes tough talk but promised to wind down America’s endless wars…..In the days that followed, Mr. Trump came up with an even more remarkable idea — he would not only bring the Taliban to Washington, but to Camp David, the crown jewel of the American presidency. The leaders of a rugged militant organization deemed terrorists by the United States would be hosted in the mountain getaway used for presidents, prime ministers and kings just three days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that led to the Afghan war.

Thus began an extraordinary few days of ad hoc diplomatic wrangling that upended the talks in a weekend Twitter storm. On display were all of the characteristic traits of the Trump presidency — the yearning ambition for the grand prize, the endless quest to achieve what no other president has achieved, the willingness to defy convention, the volatile mood swings and the tribal infighting….And even after it fell apart, Mr. Trump took it upon himself to disclose the secret machinations in a string of Saturday night Twitter messages that surprised not only many national security officials across the government but even some of the few who were part of the deliberations.

No words. I just don’t get politics except for the overwhelming feeling on the eve of 9/11 that national politics just must be for dangerously selfish and narcissistic people.

Timing is everything and had this meeting happened it would have created more opportunistic divisiveness in this country.

Enough already. Some dates on the US calendar need to be respected. Stop already the national politics of self aggrandizing narcissistic behavior.

The timing of this just disgusts me.

9/11

social media: it’s enough to make one anti-social….

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Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.
~ Oprah Winfrey

So why don’t we do that? It’s a question I asked myself recently and am going to strive to do better in the future.

When social media first started it was “What a great idea and what fun!” Today? Today I often wonder.  It seems to be more and more the virtual play ground where the idiots you choose not to associate with in real life congregate.

As a blogger, I accept I am an acquired taste. I am fine with that.  As a human being off the screen in the real world I am also an acquired taste. But if we were all identical carbon copies of one and other the world would literally be overrun with Stepford Wives.

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As a blogger, I am not a compensated blogger.  When I write up a business I visited, or a restaurant I ate at, or a non-profit event I attended it is because I paid to do those things just like everyone else. Well maybe not like everyone else because there are bloggers and social media “influencers” who are…. well… compensated.  In other words their good opinion is paid for in some fashion.

When I write, it’s my own experience, good or bad. I bought the goods, ate in the restaurant, bought a ticket to the non-profit event, used the paid services of a company.  There are people out there who do not. They expect goods and services and even fees to write something up.  Sometimes businesses are afraid to NOT slide them stuff because of what they might write or say on social media.

There are even people who take money for supposedly all sorts of services but it is really just about getting free stuff and then moving on to the next business? I have a lot of friends with small businesses of all kinds, so that really bothers me. From a moral compass standpoint, it also bothers me. It’s like blackmail, isn’t it? How do you live with yourself? How do you take the proverbial food off of someone else’s table?

Now onto the more personal side of social media.  Why are the keyboard tigers allowed to roam freely and wreak havoc?

I am an admin of several Facebook groups.  I have strong opinions so I do not mind strong opinions. But I do mind people who harass, badger, curse a lot (so ugly to see in writing) or who are just mean spirited to be mean spirited.  Or love to be super passive aggressive while just simply trying to stir the pot.

Recently I just quietly deleted the comment of a man who was just being an ass.  To me. For no reason. I had never spoken with him or even interacted with him online.  The comment was essentially abusive.  I chose NOT to respond which would have started an online flame war.

What is a flame war? This is what a flame war is:

In online forums and other online discussion spaces, a flame war is a series of flame posts or messages in a thread that are considered derogatory in nature or are completely off-topic. Often these flames are posted for the sole purpose of offending or upsetting other users. The flame becomes a flame war when other users respond to the thread with their own flame message.

I chose to be an adult and admin for the greater good.  I never said anything, just removed the comment and took advantage of Facebook’s mute feature which is a handy tool if used properly to cool off a situation. Well, the person who commented then decided to start private messaging me.

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Note the use of your over you’re.  Up until this point I had not removed the person from the group.  Just muted them for flaming comments. Who they are is immaterial to the conversation.  They were a stranger with a case of keyboard cowboyism. After sitting on the interaction and pondering it with other admins, we decided they would be happier elsewhere.

One of the groups I admin is a gardening group.  It is large and popular and has grown from local to regional to national and international membership.  I wanted a place where people could come from all levels of expertise and even professionals.

My group is blessed to have not only regular people but gardening professionals and growers who freely share their knowledge and expertise.  A good portion of them are paid for their expertise handsomely so I think we are really lucky.  I am a rabid gardener but I don’t know everything so I like to learn and share information.

Sometimes even in a gardening group people get like the Sharks versus The Jets.  Yes, a theater reference. West Side Story — an award-winning decades old adaptation of the classic romantic tragedy, “Romeo and Juliet”. The feuding families become two warring New York City gangs. And that is what people get like on social media.

There was this thing happening in the gardening group that really was so ridiculous.  This divisiveness between organic based gardeners versus everyone else. Someone who was a professional posted about their own HOME garden with a helpful tip. A person I had had problems with before started challenging them.  The professional never lost their cool and answered all questions gracefully.

But the aggressor, who had demonstrated a similar pattern with others in the past, wouldn’t let it go. It turned from a conversation of opposing points of view to badgering.  It was unpleasant.  This person doing the haranguing hadn’t learned from the comments other admins had removed, so this time I muted them. And told them I was doing it and why.

They never said anything, but their supporters then started.  It was unfair and they should basically be allowed to turn a nice group into a place where many felt uncomfortable.  One of the champions of this person started messaging me.  They literally messaged me yesterday at 9:32 AM.  I did not see the message until 10:04 AM or maybe a few minutes later, because hello I was having an actual life. Do you live on the Internet? I don’t live on the Internet. I spend far too much time on it some days and I am making an effort to NOT be that way.  But when you are an admin of Facebook groups especially, people seem to have boundary issues.

So this person who messaged me was responded to.  But that wasn’t good enough.  They had to then try to start a passive aggressive situation of their own on the gardening group page. They wondered if they were “safe to post” like a pack of rabid dogs was suddenly going to appear on their doorstep and rip their keyboard, phone, or tablet from their hands.  As an admin that is a post that will escalate tensions that may exist.

I messaged the person and asked WHY they had to post that when I had actually taken the time to respond to them. My description of the timing was different she says. Ok she lives in my area is there a different time zone I am not aware of?

Then she says:

Not sure where the disconnect here is coming from, but blessed are the peacemakers.
Peace.

BTW, the word “ramblings” implies a kind of laid back, relaxed enjoyment of gardening. So, maybe chill out.

She goes on to say how she is just “speaking her truth” and she’s a “stream mom” and so on and so forth. And how I was wrong to mute the person who had been badgering people about…gardening.

No honey, I am not perfect and I get tired of being a babysitter. And with a couple of thousand people to manage virtually, some days it is exhausting. One gets tired of being a babysitter and a referee of adults who should all know better. But for some reason when it comes to social media they lose their manners and inhibitions….. social norms and acceptable public behavior flies out of the window. It is crazy. And face it, we have all seen people go off the rails.  Not naming names but look at a certain elected official on Twitter, right?

Having had enough of this back and forth, I blocked that person on messenger and removed them and the admins had to create a new rule so people got it:

New Group Rule as people seem confused: aggressive or passive aggressive comments towards gardeners for their decision to use biological (organic) or non-organic chemical controls in their garden will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be removed.

It’s a gardening group folks, not an environmental activist group. No one should be chastised for their gardening methods on their own property.

We all do not have to agree but just because someone chooses organic vs. non-organic or vice-versa does not make them a bad person.

Babysitting. Babysitting I do not get paid for and toddlers are better behaved at times.

It’s the love hate relationship with social media.

Then there are the people who capitulate to the whims of the social media haters and badgerers.

Years ago (as in 2013) I was part of a closed Facebook group still from where I used to live.  I was still new enough to Chester County that I wanted to keep up with where I had lived essentially most of my life. Moving to a place as an adult over 25 is very different than when you are young and starting out.  It is not as easy to meet and get to know people and although I had already fallen in love with Chester County, I sometimes still missed where I used to be because  I missed a lot of my friends.

I did not, however, miss the BS of the Main Line. And long before I moved west, back in the early days of Facebook I decided that some people I did not wish to interact with on social media because they were horrible to me in real life, even in public. You see, that was a drawback of being a blogger and a sort of social activist.

There were literally people who would eviscerate me in public and in letters to the editor of the local paper at the time as well as leave comments on local  and regional media website articles that were truly horrible.  They weren’t just being Internet trolls, they were bullying and harassing me.  They wanted to tear me down because at the end of the day I did not see things exactly the way they did and the way they told their minions to think.

It was a great sociological study.  It was taking the theory of bullying in the middle school lunch room to a whole new level.  And these were also the people who would holler like stuck pigs if kids were bullied in school or on the playground.  And I would just watch and wonder why they didn’t get where the kids were learning the unpleasant behaviors from?

So when I joined Facebook, I decided rather than risk further interaction with some fo these people, I would take the high road and just pretend they weren’t there and preemptively block them.  I wasn’t talking about them, I just wanted to limit their access to me personally. I am not a public official and wasn’t then either.  I was just a woman they didn’t like very much. I could live with that. Not seeing them around on Facebook was very peaceful.  Of course, that is why Facebook has privacy settings, right?

Lo and behold the admin of this community group from where I used to live messages me.  How she was going to have to remove me  from the group. Not for anything I had actually posted (which by 2013 was literally a couple of banal things like recommending a plumber), but because I had chosen to block these people who were miserable to me in the real world when I joined Facebook.

Say what??

I tried to explain to her that was to keep the peace, I wasn’t blocking her as an admin and group page owner. I was being responsible in an effort to avoid unnecessary online confrontations.  But oh no, her definition of community  was she chose to capitulate to literally adult mean girls and they had the right in community groups to see everyone.  I tried to explain I chose not to do that because I did not wish to have them have a window into my life.

Truthfully, I did not care about her group and belonging at that point.  I really didn’t need it, I was fine in my new life and her actions made me realize that.  But it was the principle of the thing. How can you self-profess to be a good person by demanding they open themselves up to unpleasant people in a social media group? (But this is a person who wants everyone to love them and needs to feel as if they belong, so in a weird way it made sense, didn’t it?)

The rules of social media groups in general include you can’t block the admins and moderators. But you CAN block people you don’t get along with or who make you feel uncomfortable for whatever reason. It is WHY privacy settings exist.

A couple of years ago, I decided to quietly unfriend this person on Facebook. We really were never truly friends, maybe short term acquaintances. So I decided to let her and some others go. Lives change, people change right? I never commented on it, I just let go.

Then yesterday, someone asked me about the garden group this person had.  They lived down closer to where this person lived so I said sure, I will send them the link I used to belong to it.  Only I could not find the group. So I asked someone else and they sent me the link.  They also told me I was no longer in the group.

A real WTF moment because it is a gardening group.  Not politics, not activism. Gardening. As in what I spend a lot of time doing. And I hadn’t been in the group, had never really posted in it ever and truthfully had never used the group much to begin with because to be honest I never learned anything from it. It was too basic for my knowledge base, and well, my group was better. But for whatever reason this person removed me and blocked me.

Oh social media Groundhog Day.  So I will admit I did message her about my discovery and how I discovered it.  I also said I really didn’t care that she did it, but  the principles of hypocrisy is what bothered me.  So I said to be equally fair I was removing her from my gardening group.  Sorry not sorry, you don’t get to benefit from my hard work and the expertise of those who post there and not share.  Not being able to share when it comes to gardening is just one of those things I find wrong.

Much to my amusement, when I went to look at the message I sent I saw that she had blocked me.  I still have her home address, I should really send her a thank you note. I do not need people like that in my life on any level, even peripherally. Kind of like the woman who made a point of telling me that she couldn’t invite me to her Christmas party because other people wouldn’t come if I was there. Yes, that is true.  Crazy, but true. And I didn’t ask to be invited in the first place.

Also crazy but true? Legitimate cyber bullies and cyber stalkers.  Social media is a kaleidoscope of crazy at times.

And that is the thing about social media. So many people need it to feel good about themselves. Or feel popular.  Or even powerful. But it’s all virtual.  I have come to the conclusion that I will more and more narrow my focus.  I have my writing, activism , love of historic preservation and things like gardening and cooking and photography.  I also have my true friends and I don’t need a huge collection of faux friends to fawn all over me.  I don’t need or want the self-proclaimed power brokers of people online, and those who take advantage…do you? (Think about it.)

Another thing that is getting to me on social media are the essentially social media based networking organizations you have to pay for.  Women are especially drawn to them and I have had friends who have belonged to these groups.

Women don’t realize they don’t have to pay these groups to raise their own business profiles and make friends (which exist mostly on social media – I can’t truly define it as camaraderie in real life can you ?)  And no one I know ever grew their business out of these groups but instead remarked on the cliquishness and time wasting of it all…and that these groups are expensive. You pay to join a group, you get let into their Facebook pages, then you are expected to pay to attend events, right? And what do they do for you? Who is making the money here and aren’t the chapters of these things like, if not actual  franchises?

Social media is a weird, weird place getting weirder every year. And I say that having been in it and on things like Twitter practically since inception (I joined in 2008, Twitter launched in 2006).

I started blogging back in the dark ages.  I was once part of this amazing site called Philly Futures which started in 1999.  I joined it at some point after 2002, and was part of it for a few years.  It was lots of different bloggers and was activism-centric.  They used to do things I thought were cool like Missing Monday which focused on missing persons. Philly Futures was an early voice in the genre of “citizen journalism.” It wasn’t a mommy blog or a monetized blog, it was a lot of good writing and interesting topics.  I miss it.

Sometimes I think social media has morphed into the land of the shallow.  And everything has to be light, happy, and airy fairy where unicorns fart only pastel rainbows. What I liked about the early blogosphere in the dawn of social media is it was real, and you could be real without chronic online castigation.

Look around at Facebook, Instagram, whatever your poison.  How can all those people have those perfect lives, really?  What happens if we pull the curtain back? And the photos.  Do some not realize that occasionally their personal photos are well photos that are better off left offline? To be enjoyed privately?

I am a blogger, yes, but I am still a fairly private person.  I like enjoying my family and friends offline.  You can’t grow a garden online.  You can’t cook a meal online.  You can’t go barn picking online. We can’t spend all of our lives online. Maybe it’s time to liberate ourselves somewhat from social media.  We used to exist fine without it, after all.

Think about it, when is the last time you wrote an actual letter?  I am going to hang out in my garden and commune with nature and check out butterflies.  I will leave you after this rambling post with an online article about types of Facebook posters. It’s very funny.

10+ Types of Facebook Posters

RobinB Creative
Humorous Caricatures of Social Media Users
Social media has existed since the earliest times.
Imagine, if you will:
An early, nomadic hominid, scratching an image onto the wall of her cave-shelter. Picture her wonder, joy, and surprise when she returns, a season later, to find an image left by an unknown “other”.
There, on the cave wall, is an “answering image” — with splashes of colour. She has no idea who “commented on her wall post”, but she knows she’s not alone. There has been a response to her unintended friend request. She is experiencing shared humanity and kinship, beyond the immediate circle of her tribe.
Over the years, they may have gone on to share information. I imagine them sharing hunting stories, food storage ideas, and even recipes. I see them inspiring each other to greater creativity by means of their developing art. Maybe, they even shared some personal details.
Did other people, passing through, add to the story on “her wall”?
Basically, humanity has been obsessed with “social media” ever since.
As cultures and technology developed over millennia, so did long-range social interaction. Passed messages, and formal mail services replaced cave paintings. Books spread thoughts and information to larger numbers. Telegraph, telephone, newspapers, and radio, further widened global information sharing.
….Social media, of various kinds — for good or bad — has become integral to our society. For people in my age-group (50s — plus or minus), that usually means Facebook.
I’ve isolated ten different caricatures of Facebook posters — although the first does have four sub-types. [CLICK HERE TO READ FURTHER AND YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID]

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how MANY freaking bad development plans are going on in easttown?

Who doesn’t love Handel’s in Berwyn? It’s an old fashioned ice cream place like you only normally see at the beach. This time of year people can always be seen all lined up for a scoop of ice cream. It’s a great tradition.

But apparently Easttown Township is pondering the supersizing of this location? As in Handel’s will still be there BUT also 120 apartments potentially? Four stories tall, if the zoning board in Easttown approves?

SERIOUSLY?? What in the Sam Hell is wrong with Easttown Township? First of all the township is like the supersecret people with no meeting recordings that I can find and every time you turn around there’s another development plan between Devon and the end of Berwyn, isn’t there?

Sure Easttown “discloses” development plans via public notices but do they really want a spotlight on the crazy development plans there ?

I am down near this particular stretch of Berwyn a fair amount and I can tell you Lancaster Avenue is already infreakingsane with what’s there, so what happens when you add more insanity?

A source tells me one zoning hearing was held already. The next one appears to be August 5 — except I haven’t found a public notice yet. If I understood correctly what was said at the recent zoning meeting, the Easttown Township Planning Commission has already approved this crap?

WTF Easttown? It’s bad enough you are allowing historic Berwyn to get destroyed, but now you want to West Goshen/East Whiteland/West Whiteland Lancaster Avenue through Berwyn and Easttown in general???

(I will also note the Easttown like many other municipalities who don’t like to video record meetings are also kind of behind in their minutes they post aren’t they? And when the minutes are posted don’t they seem so sanitized?)

Traffic is already a nightmare around here. And the thing about Easttown is they like to approve these development plans but it’s like they’re approving plans that are off on their own planet with no relationship to basic things like existing residents, small businesses, and existing infrastructure.

Where Anthropologie and Terrain were built is a favorite nightmare traffic example. Trying to reach these businesses off of Lancaster Avenue if you’re headed west on Route 30 is craziness. And it’s also difficult if you want to go to Handel’s coming from either direction. And they are proposing apartments?

It’s like we keep getting driven further and further west but all these developers up and down Route 30 act like all these municipalities aren’t interconnected! No matter where we go the traffic is heavy and insane and full of impatient drivers and roads that can’t handle the current capacity in all of these municipalities all the way up Route 30 into Coatesville and beyond and they all want are more developments!

I don’t know why they call any of this good planning or smart growth because it just seems well greedy to me. And those of us who live here in Chester County, we don’t matter. Existing small businesses, they don’t matter. Nothing matters except getting these plans built and pick a stretch of Route 30 and how many apartments and townhouses and fake “carriage homes” do we need???

And Easttown sports a lot of ugly density already.

Enough already, Easttown.

And again, another reason why we need a less development happy county planning commission in Chester County. And an executive director of said planning commission who actually resides in Chester County. I mean is it just me or has anyone else noticed how even as you proceed further and further west in Chester County along Route 30 it’s so totally looking like the eastern end of Lower Merion Township, King of Prussia, or DeKalb Pike?

Stop the madness. Attend your local municipality’s meetings wherever you live. Pack the meetings. Elect officials who represent YOUR voices.

#PreserveChesterCounty

lieutenant governor john fetterman blocked moi on twitter

blocked by john

Oh my! Should I wear it as a badge of honor? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman of the Commonwealth of PA has blocked moi on Twitter. My first ever gubernatorial blockage!!!

Yes, really.  And honestly? I tweet at Donald Trump and Real Housewives significantly more than him which isn’t saying much because I don’t tweet at any of those folks or Trump much.  Mostly where Big Orange is concerned, I try to pretend he isn’t on Twitter. (Keeps the blood pressure down.)

But even Big Orange hasn’t blocked me on Twitter.  But John Fetterman has apparently. It’s like he wants me to write a blog post about it. Especially amusing since there seems to be some legal precedent stating elected officials cannot block constituents on social media, especially if they use social media to inform constituents? And Lt. Gov. Lurch might not like my Tweets, but I am a constituent, yes? Something about that pesky thing known as the First Amendment, perhaps?

I do not know precisely when I was blocked (I discovered it today) because I don’t include him in tweets very often. I think he is like an empty paper bag with even less substance. I never even wrote a blog post about before about our Lieutenant Governor because he has always seemed a little creepy to me.

I have no problem with ink but his date and numeric tattoos are utterly creepy to look at.  And I am fascinated and always slightly puzzled how the man can never get a shirt that fits properly at the collar.  Or how a politician can look so uncomfortable in a suit, or even  as a politician.

I remember when he first came onto the political scene that I took note of him.  It was that 2016 U.S. Senate attempt.  Then I promptly forgot about him until Tom Wolf starting trotting him out for his last election.

Wolf is a true Rendell Democrat and we’ll leave it at that.

Now what had I tweeted and how often at John Fetterman? The answer is not much and it was mostly pipeline related.  Those pipelines are ruining where I call home and in my humble opinion are too problematic and too damn dangerous.  And for what all this risk to residents? So people a few miles up the road can get sinkholes, the people in East Goshen suffer from inadvertent returns on Boot Road, other people can get their water wells ruined, miles and miles of countryside get raped and pillaged and for what? So a company that should not have PUC utility status can ship gas and “other hydrocarbons” overseas to make plastics in places like Scotland? And don’t forget exploding refineries that then immediately go out of business, right? Or property values that go down due to pipeline syndrome, right?

Compared to a lot of what I see on Twitter, I barely nipped at Big John’s ankles.  I pulled as many  tweets as I could find, and like I said, there weren’t many.  I have screen shots so you can see:

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John Fetterman did kind of make campaign promises about pipelines to people in Chester County and elsewhere.  Once he got elected, what has he done?  Here are some pipeline and Fetterman things I found on Facebook:

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Here is what the ACLU had to say in January of this year:

Court Rules Public Officials Can’t Block Critics on Facebook

By Vera Eidelman, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project
JANUARY 9, 2019 | 12:00 PM

One of the core purposes of the First Amendment is to allow people, regardless of their views, to hold the government accountable through expression. So, if your elected representative has an official Facebook page where she invites comments, can she block you from commenting because you criticize her work?

According to a federal appeals court, the answer is a resounding no.

On Monday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the interactive portion of a public official’s Facebook page is a “public forum,” so an official cannot block people from it because of the opinions they hold.

And then this happened today ironically:

Wall Street Journal: President Trump Can’t Block Twitter Users, Federal Appeals Court Rules
Practice of blocking users violates free-speech protections, judges say
By Corinne Ramey
Updated July 9, 2019 4:03 pm ET

A federal appeals court in New York ruled President Trump’s practice of blocking some users on Twitter violates the free-speech protections of the First Amendment.

Tuesday’s ruling stems from a 2017 lawsuit filed by Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute on behalf of seven people who had been blocked by the president’s @realDonaldTrump account.

Here is a report also from NPR:

NPR: U.S. Appeals Court Rules Trump Violated First Amendment By Blocking Twitter Followers
July 9, 20193:38 PM ET
VANESSA ROMO

A federal appeals court in Manhattan says President Trump cannot block critics from his Twitter account, calling it “unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.”

In a 29-page ruling on Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a lower court’s decision that found that Trump violated the First Amendment when he blocked certain Twitter users, because he uses his Twitter account “to conduct official business and to interact with the public.” By preventing critics from accessing his feed, the president is barring them from participating in what the judges deemed a public forum.

“[The] First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees,” the judges wrote.

So I guess Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is more special than the sitting President? (However, I can’t say either would honestly win any popularity contests, can you?)

Now mind you, the reaction from some Twitter-vomitors was amusing.  One guy said to me he would block me too and I was a “conservative big oil hater.” Oh how that made me giggle.  I am an independent and a moderate but  I’m not anti-oil, I’m anti-pipeline in Pennsylvania, there’s a difference. Above all else I am an independent thinker and I’m proud of that. But to the intellectually limited who haunt Twitter I am either that or an  evil Liberal or a former RINO (Republican in Name Only).

Seriously, Twitter is the last bastion for total freaking craziness.  That is why over the years I have been active then not active on Twitter.  Twitter is like a weird free for all where grown men seem to think it’s OK to call women a Facist C-U- Next-Tuesdays. Yes, someone did actually do that.

Do I really, really care if John Fetterman blocked me on Twitter?

No.  Because in the stratosphere of politics in PA, he’s temporarily trendy at best.  He’s like that dress you know you shouldn’t have bothered buying that will be out of fashion before you even get to wear it enough.

But there is the principle of the thing here.  The First Amendment allows freedom of speech and the ability to address your government. It’s not selective or subjective.

First Amendment: 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.

At the end of the day I know I did not do anything so terribly awful or profanity laced that I deserved to be blocked.  I am a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, therefore one of his constituents whether he likes it or not. And whether I like him or not, which I really do not on principle. He’s a phony baloney. And he sucks up to that Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing so often people probably actually do throw up a little every time they see him fawning.

And am I so powerful he decided to block me? Oh hell no. I actually just think it’s because he doesn’t like to be reminded of things he said he would do and hasn’t, and he must hate being reminded about his pandering to Chester County residents devastated by the pipelines just so they would vote Wolf-Fetterman last election, right? besides, I am a blogger which is always an easy target for politicians because everyone knows bloggers are really Cyborgs, right?

So John Fetterman, I am not so politically naiive and honey have I got your proverbial number.  You keep on going on your “listening tours” with your selective politically male hearing.  We’ll remember the truth come the next time you want to run for something. 

Meanwhile, I will continue to look at the little plastic troll dolls many friend got at a tag sale and marvel how they all sort of resemble John Fetterman.  

This post was brought to all of you courtesy of the First Amendment and to all a good night.

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another apocalyptic spring

I remember when my husband and I were dating and I would make the trek from the Main Line to Chester County on weekends. Sometimes I would come out Route 3 and turn onto Route 352.

Once I hit 352 it would start to get green and lush as I made my way out. I traveled part of that same route today and it is a war zone.

This is what the pipelines give us. There is not anything positive or good about them. They rape the land, scar the landscape and ship out gas and “other hydrocarbons” to places like Scotland to make plastics.

We the residents of Chester County and all of the other counties get to assume all sorts of risk. But these pipeline companies are like an invading army and they just keep marching. It’s all about the money, honey, and we simply don’t matter.

I haven’t written a pipeline post a long time. But today seeing another apocalyptic spring thanks to Energy Transfer or Sunoco Logistic or Sunoco or whatever they may call themselves, the words have come tumbling out.

There is always some problem with the pipelines and residents hold their breath and pray their wells will survive, sinkholes won’t open up, and that nothing will blow up.

Pipeline company told to repair, restore all damaged streams, wetlands

By Paul J. Gough

Reporter, Pittsburgh Business Times

May 15, 2019, 7:35am EDT

A subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners is being ordered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to restore or repair dozens of streams and wetlands that it said were either eliminated or altered by the construction of the Revolution Pipeline.

DEP said ETC Northeast Pipeline LLC violated Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Laws, Dam Safety and Encroachments Acts, the Oil & Gas Act of 2012 and regulations over erosion, sediment control, dam safety and waterway management. The order came out of its probe into Sept. 10, 2018, explosion in Center Township, Beaver County.

MAY 21, 2019 | 8:30 AM

Federal pipeline safety regulators issue warning on floods and subsidence

The PHMSA advisory bulletin says pipeline incidents caused by erosion have increased in the eastern U.S.

Susan Phillips

Citing a number of recent incidents, including one in Pennsylvania, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, sent a warningto natural gas and hazardous liquids pipeline operators earlier this month detailing the dangers of flooding and heavy rain events.

The advisory points to “land movement, severe flooding, river scour, and river channel migration” as causes of the type of damage that can lead to leaks and explosions. It outlines current regulations, and details requirements for insuring safe pipeline construction and continued monitoring once a pipeline is in operation.

APRIL 29, 2019 | 4:33 PM

UPDATED: APRIL 30, 2019 | 11:48 AM

Sunoco buys two homes at Chester County site of Mariner East 2-related sinkhole

State and county documents show company paid $400,000 each for properties

Jon Hurdle

Sunoco Pipeline bought two homes on Lisa Drive, the Chester County development and pipeline construction site where residents have been tormented by sinkholes since late 2017, according to state and county documents obtained on Monday.

The documents said Sunoco agreed to buy the homes and land of John Mattia and his next-door neighbors, T.J. Allen and Carol Ann Allen, for $400,000 each in transactions dated April 18.

A Realty Transfer Tax Statement of Value filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue records a “total consideration” of $400,000 for each of the properties.

The home sold by the Allens is estimated with a market value of about $300,000-$330,000, according to listings by Zillow and Realtor.com. The value of the former Mattia home is estimated at about $340,000, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage….Two of the Lisa Drive residents, Russell and Mary March, and another nearby homeowner sued Sunoco in March 2018, claiming the company had negligently drilled through porous rock near their homes without recognizing that sinkholes would likely result, and ignoring the results of a geotechnical investigation there. The suit was settled but the terms were not disclosed.

The company’s activities at Lisa Drive have been shut down twice by regulators on the grounds that public safety is endangered by construction of two new pipelines – Mariner East 2 and 2X – plus the operation of an existing natural gas liquids pipeline – Mariner East 1 – on a geologically unstable site.

State Impact PA does a LOT of coverage of the pipeline horror show and you can CLICK HERE to read some of the coverage.

Look at what pipelines has already destroyed and you understand why we don’t want anymore pipeline companies coming to town. This is why we are so uneasy about Adelphia, for example, and can’t figure out why municipalities where Adelphia will be in Chester County don’t appear to be particularly proactive on behalf of their residents.

Yesterday my friend Ginny Kerslake did not prevail in her bid to be a candidate for Chester County Commissioner in the fall. The Democrat party chose to endorse others over her. That is our great loss.

Ginny is a true warrior in this pipeline hell. A courageous, educated and ethical voice. In the fall, the woman the Democrat party decided to back will ask for your vote and tell everyone she is as dedicated as Ginny. She is not. Political opportunism is not community caring. Fortunately Josh Maxwell prevailed and he will get one of my county commissioner votes.

I know I got off on a pipeline/political segue there for a minute, and I am sorry, but it was also on my mind because the pipelines in Pennsylvania have indeed become a political hot button topic. And I think any politician that wants our vote has to prove they support residents a.k.a. people over pipelines. You know, like State Senator Andy Dinniman.

I was so sad traveling part of the pipeline path today. I feel like I am 100 million years old because I can remember where a certain tree one stood or where I used to watch a man mow his lawn when I drove by.

Energy Transfer/Sunoco has bought pain and sorrow and a path of destruction. As Pennsylvanians we deserve better. Our homes are our proverbial castles and all these pipeline companies do is destroy.

People over pipelines. Pass it on.

never wear a partridge in a pear tree on your head and other millinery mistakes

BirdHat_3

Actress Christie MacDonald flaunting a flock of family of artificial birds on her hat,                         circa 1902. Photo from Popsci.com

So it’s December, and people are talking about Christmas. And decorating and throwing Christmas parties and singing Christmas carols.  You know like The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Image result for partridge in a pear tree lyrics

And while a partridge in a pear tree is a lovely song lyric, would you go around wearing one on your head? I wouldn’t. And  if I saw someone doing it I would probably blog about it.  And file under millinery mistakes.

Yes…I am about to be my own ghost of Christmas past…..the scene is about to be set…..

Now way back in the fashion mistakes of 2012 were the women who went to Ladies Hat Day at Devon who wore loads of more fall appropriate taxidermy (but why did the taxidermy have to come off of the wall again?)   They also tried to cover up tattoos with concealer make-up but it was so warm that spring day at Devon, that the make-up ran, but I digress.

In addition to the taxidermy that year was someone else  who describes herself as a milliner who wore…wait for it…an upside down plastic or lucite salad bowl and called it a hat. It was very Carmen Miranda of her.

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You all will remember a post on this blog mocking that creation and others over six years ago…in 2012.  It was right here, you know who wrote it, I did not hide my opinion.  That year it was such a carnival side-show at Devon’s Ladies’ Hat Day many others had a lot to say, including some other bloggers whom I never knew that I haven’t actually seen blog for years at this point. Blogs and bloggers come and go, and I am always amused people think I wrote every single one of them. LOL how would I sleep?

Apparently I am also solely responsible for all of the mocking which occurred that day. Over six years ago.  Dayummm, I must have super powers, right?

That was the Ladies Hat Day where I decided I was done with an event I used to very much enjoy….when it was mimosas, tea sandwiches, lovely summer dresses, and beautiful seasonally appropriate millinery. That day I (like make others) decided our social and charitable event money would be better spent elsewhere.

That 2012 Devon Horse Show is when we saw what that event was evolving into. No thanks. Cattle calls of ridiculousness. Bleck. I do not understand why people do not get that a lovely tradition at a horse show should have remained a lovely, civilized tradition.

Flash forward to this year.  Haven’t thought about that post or that “milliner” in forever. Why would I? She’s not in my social circles and I know a couple of actual milliners, one of whom who has trained in the U.K. and Europe.  And the milliners I know, know I don’t really wear a lot of hats.  Once in a while, but it’s not my jam. You see, when you talk with your hands, you tend to knock them off your own head and then they become flying weapons and additional drama…..

chicken12daysNow a funny story. When my husband and I were married, a milliner made me amazing white silk poinsettias to wear in my hair because I did not want a hat or a veil.  I designed what I wanted to wear in my hair and the milliner brought my design to life. The detail was fabulous. They were ethereal and beautiful – perfect for a holiday season wedding. Immediately after photos of the flowers in my hair surfaced, others who fashion themselves milliners and loving hands at home hat makers tried to copy them.  But they failed and looked quite cartoonish because they did not have the mad skills of the woman who made them for me.

But most of these modern “milliners” are so different from their predecessors. Or their European counterparts.  In most places in the United States, Europe and the U.K.  as has been the case as long as millinery has been part of ladies’ fashion, you know who the best are, but they don’t compete in hat contests wearing lucite salad bowls upside down on their heads, do they?

Anyway, why I am I talking again about buffet station pieces at “Glamour Don’ts”? Let me explain. Mrs. Lucite Salad Bowl 2012 felt the need to surface on photos a friend took at a private Christmas party. Friends and family celebrating the season.  It wasn’t an event for charity or public media coverage, it was a lovely and beautiful party where those in my world who are dear to me could get together and celebrate the joy of the Christmas season.

On one set of photos up pops Mrs. Lucite Salad Bowl 2012.  How I am a horrible person who (in her words since she desperately needs to be heard apparently)  “she never even met me, never knew me, never interviewed me and meanwhile made vicious assumptions and judgments.”

Oh and then she blamed ME personally for every other thing on the Internet back then (in 2012)  mocking that “hat”. From 2012 and you have had nothing else to talk about since? No joys or happiness? Truly, I am so sorry.

So Mrs. Lucite Salad Bowl 2012, allow me to be clear:

I have blog under my real first name and yes I did indeed mock your “hat” in 2012 because it was absurd – and I said so under my own name. I will say it again now and add I find most of your creations are absurd. Not fun, not edgy, not sophisticated, not beautiful—- absurd. And I am allowed that opinion. Ironically, I do not fashion myself the Fashion Police, just calling it how I feel about it.

A blog is someone’s opinion and MY opinion on that cheap piece of upside down lucite way back in the fashion mistakes of 2012 was shared by MANY that year.  I can’t tell you what they said, only what I said. And yes, I mocked it.  It wasn’t even clever.

Saying your “hat” in 2012 was absurd is not making “vicious assumptions and judgements” it was stating my OPINION. Is your ego so grand that you think I was supposed to interview you about that at the time? Or swap you a creation for a fake positive write-up like a compensated blogger which I am not? Are you high society somewhere and I missed the memo? Are we supposed to kiss the hem of your proverbial garmets?

You do not have to like me or my opinions, but the way you chose to vent a very old spleen from 2012 was well, tacky  (you do however get an 8 out of 10 for combining those particular degrees of difficulty.)  Do you see me or anyone else commenting on your family gatherings or family for that matter? Nope because you just don’t do that.

Mind you some of my friends had the following to say about people who are Christmas trolls:

Geez it is a salad bowl- fact- I had one like it years ago- pitched it because it was ugly even as a salad bowl.

And…

That hat, like any good salad, should be tossed. Reminds me of the Dead Kennedys album “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables”. Like opening the refrigerator drawer and finding a bag full of brown slime at the bottom after six years that insists it was fashionable but was really past its best before it was even put on display. A fashion disaster worthy of the Titanic – “Iceberg (lettuce) dead ahead.”

And my favorite:

Don’t get me going… When the hat made its debut not a shred of good taste romained. The fashion police should have caesar.

So do you feel better now? If you are going to have cat scratch fever, at least get your facts straight and try not to look so silly next time.  You see dear, I don’t care that you didn’t like my opinion in 2012, I found it in extremely poor taste that you would choose to deliver your opinion on Christmas party photos of a mutual friend.  You don’t have to like me, but do you really think so little of them?

Merry Christmas and Bless your heart.

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