Today social media groups on the Main Line are all abuzz about a particular development plan. It is proposed for Bryn Mawr. I think it’s awful.
It is the same developer apparently as the “Berwyn Square” that Eastown just said no to. Which was truly remarkable because Eastown never says no to anything.
I didn’t just connect the dots to all these development plans, Savvy Main Line did it for us (CLICK HERE FOR SAVVY)
Too. Damn. Much. Development.
The Bryn Mawr plan is shocking. Having grown up on the Main Line, and especially because where I went to high school was Shipley which is in Bryn Mawr, I spent a lot of years in Bryn Mawr. And I can tell you a great deal of the wonderful “village” feel disappeared when Bryn Mawr Hospital supersized. But a plan like this? I think it would kill what is left of the small town Main Street kind of vibe.
Obviously I no longer live in Lower Merion so even though I sent the commissioner for the ward that contains Bryn Mawr an email, I know my opinion doesn’t matter, I just gave it anyway. I figure he owes it to me to listen since way back when he wanted to become a commissioner in the first place a group I was part of helped him get elected.
The other reality of this plan and if you look at the last screenshot in this post it shows a rendering of sorts, and it also totally doesn’t show you what that Lancaster Ave (Route 30) intersection in Bryn Mawr is really like. It is an extraordinarily busy and accident prone intersection. It’s where Morris Avenue ends and Bryn Mawr Ave. begins. It’s where Ludington library is, the main and original branch of Bryn Mawr Trust Company is there. It’s where the train station is and a block or so from where the hospital begins.
The above photo was taken in 2007. One of the many accidents at this intersection. This particular accident I believe resulted in the fatality of the driver in the car in front of the bus. I also had another friend who was hit pushing her babies across the street in a stroller on a pedestrian walk signal at this corner. At that time, there was an NBC10 report on that accident.
No one is going to say that the building currently on the corner where they are proposing to put this apartment development is attractive. It’s never been attractive. But every development that is proposed is overly dense no matter where you live and whichever township or county you call home.
The above photo is a development in progress in Downingtown. Another massive development. And none of these developments are particularly distinguishable from each other. Which is why I find great humor in the “brynmawr square“ and “Berwyn Square” development proposals
Above you see the development often discussed in East Whiteland. I don’t understand how the people who are paid to do the planning for these townships as well as elected officials have no vision.
At the end of the day this is why we desperately need to update the Municipalities Planning Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This amount of development is not sustainable. And I will never believe the emperor’s new clothes fairytale that it is.
It’s very sad that it has come to this, but pick the township, town, and county and there’s always a bad development plan or several bad development plans. We are the ones that live in these communities and it’s time for elected officials to start listening to us.
Wandering back to Lower Merion Township today. Yes, I do that on occasion, although these days it’s mostly virtually. I know some people who read my blog and visit the blog’s Facebook page are occasionally outraged when I don’t write about either Chester County or whatever they think I should be writing about. But life journeys are individual, and kind of like my writing journey, yes?
Growing up in Lower Merion, one of the things I loved most were the homes and the gardens. Stately, modest, actual estates, twins, cottages, mansions, and everything in between. Back in those days, the history of the area mattered. And the gardens were glorious whether large or small.
But then, October 1, 2009, Addison Mizner’s La Ronda was demolished. I was there with many others outside the gates. I documented it in photos. She was such a gorgeous structure. So historic. Part of the history of the area, yet even as a historic resource, she was torn down and exists only in memories and photographs.
When La Ronda was demolished, I knew deep down in my heart that Lower Merion was no longer the place for me. It had completely at that moment become about people and how much money they had, and not much else. When La Ronda came down I realized no property was safe or valued there. It was a sad realization.
Over the years I have continued to document notable properties. People have the right to sell to whomever they choose. People have the right to demolish homes great, large, wonderful, small, whatever. But I still lament the people who can’t see the value of the architectural history of an area, and the impact it has. Well another home popped up on a mental endangered list (as in my mind and opinion, I don’t know if it is on an actual list anywhere) because of a Historic Commission agenda in Lower Merion for February 22nd:
Sigh. 651 Black Rock Road. They say it’s Gladwyne, but it’s actually Bryn Mawr. I knew who lived there although they were not friends. Of course people wish to downsize and move on. But for this house to be facing the fate of the wrecking ball is just so tragic. This house is spectacular, with mature gardens and an amazing property and pool.
If you look at all the photos, ok the kitchen is a little dated, and perhaps the bathrooms to the taste of some, but this property and home are spectacular. Quite literally, they don’t build them like this anymore. And the gardener in me wonders about plants that may have been there since the house was built.
So according to Lower Merion’s website, this is in Commissioner Scott Zelov’s ward? He was a champion of saving Stoneleigh and once upon a time against eminent domain in Ardmore (it’s why he got elected originally and I know, I was there), will he have an opinion on this if it proceeds to demolition? But will it matter?
Nope. It won’t. People have the right to demolish. Sadly.
Historic preservation can’t just be a vague idea, it actually has to happen. It has to matter. And in Lower Merion, starting way before La Ronda got bulldozed, it ceased to matter. Lower Merion’s current manager was West Chester Borough’s Manager before ascending to the plum position of Lower Merion Township Manager. And although I have nothing against the man personally, he always appeared to me to be pro-development over other things. And the current Director of Building and Planning is someone I watched climb the ladder at Lower Merion. And I have always found him pro development over anything else. He won’t like me for mentioning this but I sat through YEARS of meeting watching him flip his hair like Farrah Fawcett and present developer’s plans like he worked for them, does anyone else remember?
Anyway, the house is still standing as of now, but this is on an agenda and according to Lower Merion there is a demolition permit. What will happen when all of the old and historic houses and their gardens are gone? In Lower Merion and elsewhere?
Historic preservation isn’t really going to matter until it matters to all of us consistently across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And I do not believe every old house can and should be saved, but when you see houses like this one you have to wonder because beautiful places like this is what drew people to the Main Line in the first place. Until then, why preserve when you can demolish?
Thanks for stopping by and stay safe, roads are icy.
Let’s talk shots. COVID-19 shots. Have you got one? If yes, lucky you.
I am still a cancer patient, so I am eligible. I registered with Chester County. I registered with the state. I registered with Chester County Hospital and therefore Penn Medicine. I signed up on some other websites. Nada. Nothing. Zippo.
It seems that finding COVID-19 shots in Chester County is the ultimate Where’s Waldo. And even Waldo is practising social distancing.
“The Chester County Health Department continues to receive a very limited amount of vaccine doses each week, and last week it received no doses of the vaccine.
To date, Chester County has received more than 182,000 pre-registrations with the Chester County Health Department to receive the vaccine. In contrast this week, the county received just 3,200 doses, which the state instructed to be used as second doses. County officials are trying obtain more doses for Phase 1A groups, especially for seniors and those with high-risk conditions.”
So yeah, other than pipelines and blocking constituents on social media if you wonder WHY, WHY, WHY I won’t vote for Pennsylvania Lurch, a/k/a John Fetterman for U.S. Senate, look no further than we can’t get COVID-19 shots and the mansplaining out of Harrisburg is clear as mud and twice as frustrating as a long PECO outage.
I know people who do NOT live in New Jersey or Delaware but somehow signed up for shots there. No residency questions or challenges so to me this seems unethical if not dishonest. Is it dishonest? Who knows?
All I DO know is I have played by the rules throughout COVID19, including going on voluntary self-quarantine before stay at home was enforced because I was at a horticultural event where literally one of the first COVID19 victims in Chester County was. They were (whomever they were) the 2nd confirmed victim.
I have stayed home, gardened, learned how to make bread, and more this past year. Yes it is almost a year. I wear masks. I wash my hands. I don’t see my elderly familial people.
Think it’s just me gretzing?
We are all playing COVID shot roulette. And it’s debilitating. I am perfectly willing to wait my turn, only it would be nice to have a realistic idea of what that looks like. And most of us do not. We go to site after site. Like Giant Food Markets only where are their pharmacies administering shots? And who decided the randomness of it all as to where the shots will go?
Every time I have a medical appointment I have to COVID19 pre-screen. I don’t mind pre-screening but how about a damn shot instead?
A preface: This post is a week old. WordPress has this oddity and flaw in its app of sometimes making you republish things although you already did. Such is the case here.
So former Chester County Commissioner and U.S. Congressman Ryan Costello blocked me on Twitter. I don’t really care but he behaved today in a manner so purely childish that I can’t believe he seriously wants people to take him seriously that he wants to run for Pat Toomey’s seat in the United States Senate.
I used to think he was a nice enough guy. I liked dealing with his congressional staff because he quite frankly inherited a lot of them from Jim Gerlach. I had dealt with them for years.
So today comes this Philadelphia Inquirer article on how he wants to run for U.S Senate. (And so does Lt. Gov. John Fetterman so please for the love of God, who else is running?)
So that is the article if you want to read it. Anyway the PA and Chesco Twitterverse started discussing this. One because of the shall we say haphazard way he decided not to run for re-election and then bailed on the Chester County GOP. Because truthfully he did. Not that I actually blamed him back then because they were rattlesnake material circa 2016 in my humble opinion. And 2016 was a Republican epiphany back then for many of us, myself included. The day Trump became the nominee was my last day as a Republican.
My initial comment when I saw the article was ummm no, we have already been to this movie.
📌Ryan Costello, a critic of President Trump who held the 6th District House seat before Houlahan, said “watching these protestors invade the Capitol reminded me of the left-wing protestors who would storm in and occupy my congressional office and harass my staff on a weekly basis. Politics has become an invitation for extremist behavior; to be rude, dangerous and disrespectful to our institutions and policy-makers.”📌
Ummm…leftist fringe? Some of these people are my friends.
I did say the following:
So Ryan Costello wants to run for US Senate? Here’s hoping he is out of his diapers before then, because this response out of him is better suited for sucking a binky and living on Parler.
Honestly, I am disappointed because I used to like him. And to color outside the lines in such a manner BEFORE he announces a legit run for office? He’s not exhibiting strength, he’s demonstrating immaturity at a minimum. There already are enough hate spewing windbags like this in Washington D.C.
They didn’t threaten anyone. They are hardworking people and he seemed to forget he worked for the people not the Chesco GOP or whatever. They did not feel they were being heard. And that is the worst feeling and one we as regular people feel all too often at the hands of our elected officials.
Not that Fetterman is a better choice for US Senate….I wouldn’t vote for him either at this point either and I have never liked Political Lurch.
📌The Daily Local News should stop promoting former Congressman Ryan Costello’s false comparisons between our area and dangerous events on national news. The violent, seditious terrorists we witnessed at the nation’s Capitol bear absolutely no resemblance, whatsoever, to the peaceful demonstrators exercising their democratic rights outside his district offices in 2017 and 2018.
The former Representative should consult the Daily Local’s own accounts of what transpired before leveling dangerously false comparisons. Costello claims that protestors “stormed his office and harassed staff weekly,” but most of the constituent rallies took place outdoors and far away from Costello’s office and staff.
The one occasion constituents entered Costello’s district office to stage a sit-in, the Daily Local’s own account describes them as “unobtrusive” to the staffers. When asked to move to another room, they complied. They ate pizza and sang Christmas carols, then left. That was it. No guns, violence, broken windows, Confederate flags, Nazi flags, or threats of any kind.
Ultimately, Costello’s commentary once again proves himself disconnected from reality and from the community he was once elected to serve. There was nothing remotely similar between the peaceful gatherings at/near Costello’s office and the riotous mob in DC. Peaceful assembly and requesting redress are protected rights of our citizenry.
Responsible journalism would not treat Costello’s conflation of the two as fact. Clarity is critical at this moment for our body politic, and readers deserve to be informed about what relevance an opinion has to the truth. The Daily Local does a disservice to its readers by reporting such egregious claims without basis of truth.
Luke Bauerlein, Exton; Phil Dague, Downingtown; Jane Palmer, Wyomissing; Beth Sweet, West Chester and Claire Witzleben, Wayne📌
These folks have a right to be upset. I guess so does Ryan Costello that we were discussing it. And what happened next wasn’t very “senatorial.”
Ryan Costello started addressing me on Twitter. He told me I didn’t know what I was talking about and did I remember when he stuck up for me once upon a time. And I did remember that, and part of the topic was his wife had gotten upset when people startled her on their street. I believe she was a pretty young mom at this point and probably not used to the public eye. Politicians sign up for this life, and their families really have little choice in the matter. And I felt at the time and probably would still today that people could have been nicer to her and more understanding. I took a walloping on social media for my opinion, and he stood up for me and I will always appreciate that.
However, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to speak my truth about how I feel about certain things. And calling people I know some thing akin to domestic terrorists for staging a sit in with pizza it’s not some thing that sits right with me. And it is a gross miss characterization of what I believe happened.
We went back-and-forth a while and then he sent me a private message and basically said that he thought I was talking to him in good faith and then he saw the comment about calling him Baby Ryan. And then he blocked me. I guess he just wanted the last word.
He did however say in one Tweet he didn’t care if screenshots were taken and shown that he stands by what he said. So Ryan? I do think you are acting like a baby or a toddler. I was also however communicating in good faith. I wish you could see how you are hurting yourself. Pennsylvania is a much different political climate than when you pulled your exit with drama, stage right. You need to get to know people all over again and their issues then, and issues now.
Here are the screenshots. Hopefully in some semblance of order. 2021 is certainly quite the year so far:
Yesterday was not O.K. Yesterday was a study in horror. Yesterday we could have lost democracy and what makes America well….America. Every American regardless of creed, color, political affiliation, and so on should NOT be O.K. with January 6, 2021.
Watching the mob scene on Capitol Hill over the last several hours, I was numbed by the whiteness that blanketed the screen.
As I get older, and possibly wiser, I find myself increasingly thinking about whiteness and of the mind-boggling degree to which my life as a Black American man has been impacted by it lately. Some 400 years since my ancestors were forcibly brought to these shores, and more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed them and their immediate descendants from enslavement, whiteness has dominated their (and now my) imagination, dreams of their/my future, and alas, even their/my joy.
To be clear, when I refer to whiteness, I mean the privileges, expectations, and elevated humanity afforded those in American society whose skin happens to be white; who exist daily in varying degrees of proximity to white people; who actively seek the affirmation of and their raison d’être from white people—and/or those whose aspirations for themselves, their families, and their communities are modeled on some kind of reflection of whiteness.
Today, this theme struck me with massive force. Televised scenes showed thousands of Donald Trump–supporting rioters and criminals, largely white and typically mask-less, descending on the nation’s largely Black capital.
I know according to Trump I am just a lowly suburban housewife, but my thoughts?
This is not America. And the last time the Capitol was stormed by invaders? 1814. Yes, sit with that a while. The last time was 1814 during the War of 1812 when British forces set fire to the Capitol. (You know when Dolly Madison was trying to save things in the White House?) These folks muscled by law enforcement and I am fascinated by what I saw on TV including when officers moved barricades to let the marauders in. I don’t know if that was tactical because they were being overwhelmed but it begs the question of why there wasn’t more of a law enforcement presence from jump?
One of those at risk yesterday was my friends’ daughter. She is young, and a Senate Page. I can’t imagine what her parents were feeling as this unfolded. I know I kept wondering how my own Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan was. And friends who just live in Washington D.C.
A special note to the one on Facebook a lot of my friends and I know who thinks we didn’t see her post “1.6.21” as a standalone post on her timeline. We saw. And she can delete what she posted and try to back peddle with people, but it will not change the ugliness she has deliberately been projecting with her posting for quite a long time. I still wonder if her little plastic housing development will secede from the union? And this woman was full of fake indignation and moral outrage at anyone suggesting those who stormed the Capitol were Trump supporters. Yes, seriously. I think she even had her virtual smelling salts out.
And for another woman who posted it must have been Antifa dressed as Trump supporters? Then honey, I must be the tooth fairy, and that must have been a Trump impersonator with Rudy Giuliani.
I will also note I know people that I believe are true patriots and they don’t behave like what you saw yesterday. And it wasn’t just some small percentage who were at fault because they got into the Capitol building. As we saw it unfold live before our eyes on television screens, computers, and smart phones from coast to coast, and around the world, that was the intent of the entire crowd. And was that the actual intent of Trump who really isn’t fit to be president even if he only has what? Two weeks left?
Yesterday was a crap show and that was 100% orchestrated by Trump and he is responsible and knew exactly what he was doing, so I hope you all who have gone unmasked for him at all those events are proud, because that all played a part in events leading up to this. You all have a degree of culpability. I watched everything yesterday unfold I couldn’t believe I was once proud for decades to be a Republican.
Yesterday was not democracy in action. This is not the constitutional right to express yourself and protest. This was ugliness, suborning anarchy, and basically acting like domestic terrorists.
I thought Joe Biden was marvelous when he spoke yesterday. My Congresswoman, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan said in a release to her constituents:
“The attack on our Capitol yesterday was unconscionable, but it was not inevitable,” said Houlahan. “It was a direct product of four years of division and dissent that has emanated from the very highest office in this country and a horrifying culmination of months-long baseless and unsubstantiated attacks on the very heart of our democracy. Those who carried out this attack and those who inspired it, implicitly and explicitly, must be held accountable.
My colleagues and I owe a debt of gratitude to those who worked to secure the Capitol, allowing the business of the people to continue. I was unequivocal last night and remain steadfast today that the work of this body, the work of the American people, cannot nor will not be halted, no matter the attacks levied against it.
We gathered yesterday in the tradition of the joint session of Congress to count the results of the Electoral College and to certify the victory of President elect Joe Biden and Vice President elect Kamala Harris. And despite the efforts of insurrectionists, we carried out our oath-bound duty.
I’ve heard many references recently to the War of 1812 and the attack on the U.S. Capitol but, as a Pennsylvanian, I am reminded of a particular different piece of our community’s history.
Many Americans have visited Philadelphia and the historic sites that are the cradle of our nation. Fewer people make it out to my community, which is home to Valley Forge. Here, General George Washington led the Continental Army to winter quarters. The Revolutionary War had not been going well for our young soldiers, and the winter of 1777-1778 was harder still. It was bitterly cold, there were food shortages and a smallpox outbreak. Many brave patriots died.
We remember what happened there because it was a test of endurance, a demonstration of devotion to mission and to country over self. Coming out of that awful winter and experience, our troops emerged better trained, united and ultimately victorious. In harsh, dark times, they found their common ground and their fortitude. The success was not by chance, General Washington led by putting service above self.
Just like then, it is in these trying moments where we learn who our leaders are. They are the ones who don’t just ‘represent’ or give orders, or ready us for a fight. They are the ones who also educate. Who speak the truth. They inspire confidence and unity rather than sowing division and strife.
There is a striking parallel between what our nascent country endured then in Valley Forge and what we are enduring now. A hard winter of division, with illness running rampant. And an uncertain future after yesterday’s attack.
Our country’s resolve is being tested. I believe we will pass this test together and we will be made stronger.
We owe it to the people of this country to move forward from this election with a focus on healing the divisions that have been created and on ensuring our communities build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. We must be a government that works for all people, a body politic that stands on the side of truth and justice.
We must move forward with a servant heart and a common resolve to preserve this great experiment that is the United States of America.”
These people yesterday are the ones who have listened to Trump since the election. Since he lost the election. They listened to his his repeated lies of election fraud. (Guess they all missed the part where he disemboweled the United States Postal Service so no one could vote successfully by mail?) Trump has undermined this country’s confidence in itself, and ourselves as Americans. It has been unconscionable and yesterday it turned violent. And yesterday they vandalized our Capitol. OUR Capitol. As a lover of history, I just do not get it.
And what else don’t I get is the double standard of treatment. If yesterday had been a women’s march, or a Black Lives Matter march, or anything else than what it was, how would the response have been? Hell they arrested Jane Fonda now a senior citizen again in December, 2020 at a climate change demonstration. The response disparity of yesterday is truly quite remarkable.
I have said it before, and will say it again, protesting is an American right by our very United States Constitution. I have done it. But not like that display of yesterday. But yesterday? That was destruction. That was an attempt to overthrow the government. Elections are won and lost, we don’t need to die over it. If these patriots would kindly remember this is why our forefathers fought so hard for us to have our lives today, it would be helpful.
It’s time for Trump to go away. Is their a straightjacket somewhere in his size? He does not get to destroy this country any longer like he has destroyed his businesses over the years. The true “art of the deal” is knowing when to fold ’em and leave…and please take your lovely family along with you, Donnie.
We have had four years of a nightmare reality TV show come to life. Trump, you’re fired. Now run along.
Thank you Twitter and Facebook for giving him a mute.
America the Beautiful? Let’s get back to that shall we? Thanks for stopping by and oh my oh my how many COVID19 cases will result in yesterday?.
I can’t take credit for that funny cartoon above as it is circling the Internet. But it is too perfect to ignore and just sums up this strange year we’ve survived.
Yes I thought about a week ago I had written my last post for 2020 and then things happened. I learned those who claim to be Christian and pious aren’t always pleasant on social media. And while I really appreciate the pastoral leadership at Covenant Presbyterian Churchsending me an email to acknowledge my concerns, well, some of us discovered that we got word for word as in yes verbatim the same email. That made me a little disappointed in them, but it also made me realize that they just don’t get it (or don’t want to.) I still hope they abandon the fakakta idea for a 12 foot high LED sign in front of a historically charming church on Lancaster Avenue in Frazer. (And isn’t fakata just the most perfect word to describe so many things in 2020?)
And if we’re going to talk about giant electronics signs that look like movie screens and giant TVs come to life, it is worth remarking that West Whiteland has a planning commission meeting next week where yet another one of these giant digital billboards is being proposed. Yes, January 5th. And I predict much like East Whiteland and their “settlement agreement” which will face East Whiteland with a Sophie’s choice of where to put signs residents don’t want. And then there is Upper Merion Township. They have their own giant digital billboards issues. Same billboard company and same solicitor as East Whiteland. There is still a petition circling for them if you agree with all of the residents who don’t want zoning changed in parks to accommodate billboards. And in West Whiteland what is with the other billboard related LLC very close by to the one being discussed January 5th?
Other things on the hit parade of 2020 include another year of unending issues with the pipelines. Energy Transfer, Sunoco Logistics, pick a name they spent another year making a mess, putting residents at risk. One of my late fall favorites? Was seeing photos on social media of workers’ trucks parked in fire lanes at local shopping centers like they were big important people that couldn’t park in a spot, and what’s up with that FU to the community?
As we head into 2021 there is a story out of Lower Merion that no one’s talking about. It’s about that property adjacent to Stonleigh that Lower Merion School District “acquired” for playing fields after they bought the property on Montgomery Avenue (what once was the Clothier Estate) for the new school. OK so everybody knew that the County Line Road property was going to become playing fields. That’s not news at this point. But what bears pondering is exactly how many hundreds of trees is the Lower Merion School District going to take down in the end for these fields? This is a sizable property and it has heritage trees doesn’t it? It’s over 10 acres isn’t it? So that is a big chunk of property to deforest isn’t it?
Now I’ve heard neighbors over there in both Lower Merion and Radnor Township are very concerned about the trees of it all because this road straddles both municipalities in spots. Lower Merion School District’s Superintendent should give a rat’s fanny about the environment as involves the future of his students, right? One thing I have always wondered about this set of projects both for the school and the playing field is how is this going to affect skinny hilly windy County Line Road and some of the surrounding small streets near these projects? And aren’t first responders a little far away from both of these new education locations? So what does that mean in the future? Once again I reiterate how glad I am no longer on the Main Line and feel for my many friends who are still there.
Other things I won’t miss in 2020 is the conflicting ways people treat each other online in the same communities. Maybe it was because so many people were home and they spent way too much time on social media, but I think people have spent a lot of 2020 being miserable to each other in as much as others also have tried to lift each other up. I can tell you personally I am closing out 2020 feeling completely less patient with people. It is something I am going to work on for 2021, but I’m telling you right now it might be a struggle at times.
So how about the mask of it all? I am not going to get into the argument that has been almost the totality of the year of what stays open and what closes due to COVID-19 (including schools), but I am going to comment about what crap it is I think the people complain they have to wear a mask. I live an immunocompromised life. Elderly relatives live immunocompromised lives. I know so many people at this point personally and indirectly from all over the place (as in just not this area) who have gotten COVID-19 in 2020. And these were all people who were careful and wore masks.
I also think it’s crap with regard to the people who can’t keep their kids at home who then turn into super-spreaders of coronavirus at all ages and stages of life. No one has liked feeling as confined as we all have during the year 2020. No one has liked how it has affected our economy, our personal psychology, our sense of freedom. It has been a difficult year emotionally for everyone. Some people feel so isolated and alone. Even those of us who live with our families can have different times during the year where they could pinpoint feelings of loneliness and isolation.
We close the year with vaccines….finally. That will start up all the anti-vaxxers I’m sure, but I would remind them gently that this is no ordinary virus. And we have already seen in the past few years what an uptick of measles and other childhood diseases has done across the country. All I’m saying is, people please try to keep it together so we can get out of these various stages of quarantine and get back to life. It won’t be life as we once knew it as we are forever changed by 2020, but hopefully we can get there.
Another thing I will be glad to see in the rearview mirror is the ugliness of politics in the United States of America during the calendar year 2020. We have a new president to look forward to and that serial narcissistic sociopath who’s been living in the White House the past few years? I guess he’s going to be Florida’s problem isn’t he? He has continued throughout the holidays (including today) to try to make his case for anarchy and civil war while he discusses his imaginary voter fraud and “rigged elections”. Dude doesn’t get it that he was FIRED by the American people. FIRED. Here’s hoping that America’s political parties get their crap together so we don’t come this close to a dictator ever again, especially the Republican Party because they ALLOWED this to happen.
2020 was also the time of no longer tolerating racial injustice in this country and great sadness and anger as a result from coast to coast. People came together in the midst of a global pandemic over it. We should all offer up a prayer for a peaceful 2021 and meaningful resolution to some of these weighty issues. We the people as in all the people deserve as much.
2020 was a year of personal sadness for me. I said goodbye to people I really didn’t want to say goodbye to. And they didn’t lose their lives to COVID-19, but because of COVID-19 you couldn’t see anyone to say goodbye to those who were dying.
Other friends of mine faced heath crises that had to have been extra stressful every time they had to go in and out of a hospital setting. I know the two skin cancer procedures I dealt with had me holding my breath in and out and through the COVID tests before each procedure.
Now 2020 wasn’t all bad. I got to garden a lot and work on restoring my old quilts and that makes me happy. Fortunately for me I am more of a homebody than not so I have gotten through not seeing a ton of anyone at all but I do miss my friends and my family. FaceTime and Zoom just isn’t the same, but I will say I am grateful for the technology because being able to see someone when you’re catching up is a wonderful thing.
In 2020 we saw extremes all year long. Exhausting extremes at times. But hey, you know what? We are still standing. And that’s a good thing. We can do this. We can survive and get past this. We can see 2021.
For most this year, it will be a quiet New Year’s Eve. For us, pretty normal as we generally stay in. I keep seeing reality TV stars like Sonja Morgan flitting across Twitter and Instagram asking what we’re wearing for New Year’s at home. Not sequins. But I live in Chester County so I don’t think it would be sequins ever…haven’t really seen any live sequins since I moved here.
In my final reflection of 2020, I will freely admit that if we are honest with ourselves, 2020 taught us all things about ourselves and others. Some good things, some unflattering things. It’s all about human nature.
As we bid adieu to 2020 for sure it won’t be a fond, lingering goodbye. It will be an enough already move along nothing more to see here kind of goodbye.
Pope Francis said something this afternoon which has stayed with me: “We thank Good for the good things that have taken place during the pandemic, for the many people who, without making noise, have tried to make the weight of this trial more bearable.”
A friend commented today that whomever thought all this new construction was a good idea has hopefully made buckets of money ruining the area.
Among other things I blame the Chester County Planning Commission as well as the various municipalities.
Now these aren’t thoughts I wouldn’t expect from this person but are they wrong? So much construction and so many unfortunate, truthfully ugly apartment buildings. It’s just too much.
Start in Easttown and move west. From fakakta apartments they want to build essentially in the shadow of traditional and lovely Devon Horse Show neighborhoods via rezoning, to the supersizing of Berwyn Village.
Move onto East Whiteland. Apartments everywhere in various stages of development. Ugly, architecturally unfortunate buildings utterly devoid of charm.
And West Whiteland. Oh we can’t forget West Whiteland. A sea of apartments and wait until they develop at Ship Road and Lancaster Avenue which will create the urban canyon corridor from hell.
Here we are at King of Prussia west. And it literally sucks.
The tale of two cities errr ….Chester County.
Here we are in one of the most beautiful counties in Pennsylvania. But due to greed and urban sprawl, how soon before Chester County is referred to as formerly one of the most beautiful counties in Pennsylvania?
We are getting towards the end of 2020 and even in this brutal year of the global pandemic known at COVID19 the development has continued it’s relentless march across Chester County.
I have to ask when will it stop? Single family, multi family, fake carriage homes, apartments, town houses whatever it is ALL TOO MUCH.
Now I had heard billboards wanted to come to Upper Merion (township in Montgomery County adjacent to places like Lower Merion and Radnor Township in spots best known for the King of Prussia sprawl of malls) as in those giant things they call “monuments” that are on 202 in Chester County, Quakertown, attempted on Route 100 with a “farmer’s market”, and disposition unknown in East Whiteland on Route 30, and other places.
What I didn’t know in the Upper Merion situation until this morning when somebody pointed it out is that these billboards put a park at risk. Bob White Park to be precise. Who knew?
Apparently no one reads the papers because there was an article in Main Line Media News a while back:
📌📝UPPER MERION — Some call them signs, some call them digital billboards.
Catalyst Experiential, the company that creates mergers of “art, architecture and advertising” calls them monuments that integrate “visual communication technology with local landmarks, infrastructure, and community experience, which encompasses the display as well as the ambient light sensor and other technology.”📌📝
Whether or not Upper Merion Township will welcome the monuments in parks and underutilized parcels will not be decided until Nov. 12 when Upper Merion supervisors will again consider the concept after tabling the matter at Tuesday’s meeting….📝📌
The company was proposing installations at four locations, including Bob White Park, Betzwood Bridge, 795 W. DeKalb Pike and 216 Allendale Road.📌🎂
The proposed amendment to zoning ordinances to amend the Township’s Zoning Ordinance would permit and “encourage the innovative commercial use of certain lands within the Township” while establishing a township-wide communication platform.📝📌
The monument lease agreements would allow, among other things, a “proposed 30-year lease agreement with Croton Road Upper Merion Land Holdings, LLC for the lease of a portion of the property known as Bob White Park for the exclusive right to construct and maintain an off-premises advertising display subject to the terms and conditions outlined in said lease.”📝📌
Following a detailed presentation by Thaddeus Bartkowski, CEO of Catalyst Experiential, several residents voiced their concern about not having been informed about the hearing.📌📝
“All of these changes at Bob White Park are being made without any input from the residents,” said one resident. “None of us really knew until tonight what was going on. There’s lots of places to let us know … there’s social media. You could have shared the presentations with us. The workshop meetings used to be televised but they are no longer.📌📝
Interesting name cropped up if you click on article link and read the whole thing. Upper Merion has the same solicitor as East Whiteland Township, Chester County—Joe McGrory.
So again, I think the billboards are hideous and most locations in Upper Merion being proposed are locations already kind of hideous, but this whole plan for Bob White Park? Why has it gotten this far? Have Upper Merion officials lost their tiny minds?
So if I have this straight, billboard company wants to lease a portion of this park to erect a “monument” in a heavily wooded portion of park that faces the expressway? As in the Schyulkill Expressway? So maybe houses near the park wouldn’t have full on sign blast of light, merely an unhealthy glow potentially but that is not the real problem with this location is it? Isn’t the real horror of this location the potential RE-ZONING of park land to COMMERCIAL?
So OMG let me understand this: if Upper Merion re-zoned a public park to commercial land zoning wouldn’t that mean a park might not have legal protection if Jim Bob Shiny Bright Developer showed up down the road and tried to do something? Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ that is a dumb ass plan isn’t it?.
And apparently in return Upper Merion would get “park improvements”? Talk about sell your souls to the devil right?
So look, not my county, not my people, not my township. But fascinating in its proposed vulgarity, none the less. Upper Merion residents, I feel for you. No one likes these billboards, well except for the company who likes to build them.
Well here we are on Thursday, November 5th, 2020. In the year from hell. It feels we on the brink of hell given the anger and vitriol that is spewing continually from the White House. Oh no, all my Republican friends won’t like that comment but it is the truth. Trump wants a country filled with chaos and violence and anarchy NOT because there is actual widespread “corruption” on the part of the Democrats, but because if he loses his house of cards comes tumbling down, including on how he has profited from being President. The devoted are fools to think he does ANY of this for the American people or for the benefit of this great nation. Every thing he does is for his own personal gain. That has never changed about this man throughout time….which is why I have never liked him.
The more the results come in, the more wound up he gets and the more he tries to wind us all up. As Americans we have a choice and I think the choice should be everyone needs to take a damn breath. We are not red states or blue states, we are the United States of America. If you let anarchy and chaos win, we all lose.
Does anyone care how the world is perceiving us in this moment in our history? I daresay over the pond in the UK they are wondering what it was we fought for 200+ years ago (vis a vis the madness of King George vs. the current situation) given headlines like:
Intelligent women I know who are rooting for Trump are posting fake news that would take your breath away. And these are all intelligent women. Acting like Plastic Barbie Stepford Wives. I know some who even took place in those blockade “parades” that took place on the roads. Others now have to tell us about the firearms they own and I have to wonder if most of them could literally hit the broadside of the barn? And further and to the point, guns are a responsibility, not some damn party favor to be given out on social media. That’s just stupid. And no, I am not saying I don’t believe in the right to bear arms what I am saying is I don’t care for people who are stupid about it.
Someone said to me yesterday something about Democrats stealing the election with mail in ballots. So I asked them if as an active cancer patient who chose a mail in ballot because living an immunocompromised life that meant my vote should not count or be counted? My doctors said they could not keep me from voting in person, but said they recommended my staying away from crowds like at election polls. So I voted by mail. And my ballot was received and recorded. I got my confirmation email.
Another person was all about the whole conspiracy that campaigns tried to take advantage of their ailing parent. These are total strangers. They don’t live in your house or know your parent’s medical conditions. All they know is your parent is still registered to vote, not that they are incapacitated to the point that they cannot. That was YOUR job to tell them and you did. Matter closed.
Lots of people I know Republican and Democrat voted by mail. So should all those votes NOT count? Is that the message here? We don’t count as Americans because we chose to vote by mail in a year when COVID-19, a global pandemic is still surging, and surging to the point that several countries have gone, once again, into lock-down?
And the counting of the votes? It’s no conspiracy. It’s hard working individuals from BOTH parties working side by side to get the job done. They aren’t throwing ballots away or manufacturing additional ones. These are your neighbors, and even friends who take their civic duty seriously. So why are you creating a living hell by talking smack about them?
And the riots and protests. I am over all of them because NO ONE ON EITHER SIDE CAN DO IT PEACEFULLY. People from outside whatever area is protesting coming in and ramping up the protests and encouraging violence and looting are a threat to our democracy. And it’s getting old. It’s Wednesday, there must be protests. It’s Thursday, there must be protests. And I am counting the pro-Trump rallies in this equation. This is not just something we lay at the feet of one political persuasion or party.
And I am really tired of the whole Democrats = Socialism conversation. Especially given who is currently throwing an Executive Temper Tantrum is acting and has been acting like a dictator.
Everyone is so damn busy fighting everyone else. We need to get back to being a country. A friend of mine who is still a Republican wisely said yesterday:
“Potentially premature – but I am a realist. All legal and timely votes should of course be counted! I will root for our next President’s success. And root for our Country !! Elections have consequences. And our Nation has fully weighed in on this one ! Greatest number of Voters ever! Huzzah for that !! And I do cheer that fully. We have voted – in vast numbers – as a country! But those who expected a “Blue Wave” or a “Red Wave” should realize that is not where the country is…Divided Government will continue to be the norm.“
My friend is right. Come on people! At what point do we lay down the verbal pitchforks and come together? How many more United We Stand, Divided We Fall conversations do we have to have?
People voted in record numbers. That is a good thing. But the anger and vitriol and misinformation and political posturing is a bad thing.
We need to accept that no matter what the outcome, Trump will not be for peaceful anything. We need to tune that out. Those are his issues, and should not be ours. People we are Americans. In all our messy glory. And we have bigger fish to fry in this country than catering to the whims of any political candidates truth be told.
Folks, we need to chill. We are not some 3rd world nation where marauders stuff ballot boxes and steal elections. We are a democracy. We have a process. Turn off the news and the political rhetoric and remember even in the midst of strife and troubles we do have blessings. Please try.
One good thing. Just remember one good and non-political thing today. Please.
Oh Joe Gale. Once I thought he showed promise. But it sadly has become apparent over time that he is nuttier than a fruitcake and so divisive. He seems hell bent on his personal agenda, which also seems as clear as mud some days, doesn’t it? And I find it fascinating that he does all this while living with his mommy, and what happens when he brings a girl home? For those wondering why I write about a Montgomery County Commissioner, it’s because I spent most of my life living in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County and when he was first running people I know and respect told me how wonderful he was blah, blah, blah and how he would be terrific for Montgomery County.
In Italy they call men like Joe Gale a mammone which literally translates to “mommy’s boy”. There have been a lot of articles written about mammoni (plural of mammone) and I find it all fascinating. Some of the articles ruminate about these guys having Peter Pan complexes. And CBS 60 Minutes even did a piece on mammoni years ago and maybe we should suggest Joe Gale for an updated piece?
Now I am not saying I have a problem with Joe because he’s young. One of our Chester County Commissioners, Josh Maxwell, is not much older than Joe Gale and somehow he manages to live on his own and is married and is an adult (and a heck of a nice guy too.) Josh became Mayor of Downingtown at 26. Sadly, Joe Gale is no Josh Maxwell.
Joe Gale doesn’t have emotional maturity, he seems instead somewhat stunted, and isn’t that sad?
Now I am not saying that the other two Montgomery County Commissioners are prizes, because oh hell to the no they are not. Montgomery County is a political swamp in need of a good draining and cleaning. And Montgomery County has surpassed the dysfunctional prizes once held by Delaware County ( see the chronicles of Delco Tom Paine before they disappear. Peter Porcupine is still a genius.)
Now if Joe Gale actually did anything for Montgomery County residents, well I probably would shut my mouth. But all he does is push his own somewhat clear as mud agenda from the comfort of mommy and daddy’s house. In June he released a very offensive statement concerning rioting, looting, and Black Lives Matter by any standards conservative or liberal in my humble opinion:
Yes I got into PACER. First Amendment victories thrill me.
So hey this is what Joe Gale thinks of all of us:
My gosh Joe Gale, isn’t the First Amendment marvelous? I mean I know you think it should be subjective and all that but it gives you the right to literally call a divine Main Line lady,Caroline O’Halloran and the rest of us who simply do not agree with you the “Marxist Mob”. My gosh my golly I have not been referred to as anything so delightful since a white sneaker wearing tea partier spat in my face and called me a Socialist years ago (while I was a card carrying Republican, no less.)
So Joe Gale started out like a true Alex P. Keaton at 20 running for Plymouth Township Council I think it was. He lost. Ran for something again there in 2013 and withdrew. He ran for Montgomery County Commissioner in 2015. He has more political experience if you want to call it that, than actual work and life experience. He worked for about a year at a clerk position at Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds. He then had job for three years at some developer. Briefly in 2018 he ran for Lieutenant Governor. So the job he has held the longest is Montgomery County Commissioner, but what has he actually done?
Back when he first wanted to be a Montgomery County Commissioner I found his Alex P. Keaton-ish self meh but palatable. After all considering the legions of skunks who had been Montgomery County Commissioners how bad he could be?
Let’s look at how he has approached COVID-19? Is it just me or does he act like it’s not real? And look at all the photos he poses for, including with old people which makes you wonder is he doing contact tracing? Or is anyone doing contact tracing on him?
Joe Gale’s website is a marvel of spin and oh the giggles. However, he marches all over social media angrier than Trump and that is saying something. Do they tweet to each other from the potty? Oh and his Twitter account @VoteJoeGalePA says “Joe Gale’s Personal Twitter Account. This is Not a Public Platform or Official Government Page.” Oh alrighty Joe and I have a bridge you can buy in Brooklyn….but I digress….
A First Amendment victory against petty political tyrants like Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale is to be celebrated. However, I have zero sympathy for anyone in Montgomery County if you let this mammone get re-elected.
This post is brought to you by my First Amendment rights. If you live in Montgomery County, do yourself a favor and DON’T vote Joe Gale whenever he’s up again or for whatever he tries to run for next. Mail him some new binkies and call it a day. Or demand he gets recalled. There has to be a process for that somewhere right?
And all you loverly politicians out there who like to block constituents in Chester County? This ruling against Joe Gale is a very much more local not so distant legal precedent.