west whiteland: development and crumbling history?

Along S. Whitford Road. I have photographed this before. It continues to deteriorate.

Meanwhile, turn the corner onto Creamery Way I think it is and you see:

It’s like in West Whiteland there is a race to develop every square inch into homogeneous Tyvec wrapped insanity…while history rots.

Surely Chester County deserves better?

“roundabout” we go in east whiteland and east goshen looking for answers…that don’t add up to eminent domain….

aerial

Roundabouts. That is PennDOT new speak for traffic circles.   I know, I know I have been writing about this a lot on this blog. Most recently at the beginning of this month (October, 2019) That is when East Whiteland and East Goshen released a letter they received from PennDOT September 30:

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At that time I said  September 30th was Monday, so why has it taken this long for the people to be notified and have they even notified the potentially affected residents? I marvel that PennDOT dated the letter September 23rd and it took until September 30th to be received? DO they not also send an electronic copy?

PennDOT needs to define “minor construction” and does that mean any eminent domain land takings?

PennDOT will do this project when exactly and how long will it take?

And if PennDOT was offering to meet with both townships, I suggested that when that occured the most directly affected homeowners should be present with whatever representation they so chose to be with them.

Well guess what? According to residents I know (directly affected in fact) the meeting DID take place. And East Whiteland Towsnhip verified this on October 15 when they said on their websiteOn September 30, East Whiteland and East Goshen Townships received a letter from PennDOT regarding its recommendations for the Route 352 and King Road intersection.

The Townships recently met with PennDOT to discuss those recommendations. No decisions as to road improvements have been made, but the Townships agreed to update traffic counts along the roads and expect to continue discussions with PennDOT when those studies are completed.

Please note who was missing at said meeting with PennDOT. Yup, you’ve got it, the potentially affected residents.

When they received the news these residents (my extended neighbors) replied to East Whiteland very politely but firmly:

Thanks for keeping us in the loop and for pushing back on PennDOT’s recommendations.

That said, while we appreciate that you may be hesitant to proceed with the only two options PennDOT is permitting (a roundabout or making the roads perpendicular), we still have much to talk about. Will you share why the townships are willing to pay for new traffic counts, what the townships think are the existing problems that must be fixed and what is your goal?

It is my understanding that the various justifications the township has presented have been adequately debunked. It started with cut through traffic, then law breaking cut through traffic, then rush hour delays, then unjustified future traffic predictions, and eventually it morphed to safety. Now, it seems like rush hour delays may be the leading reason again. Or, is this all just a means to mask future plans for over-development? Whatever the reason, it is concerning and very disappointing that the township hasn’t ruled out eminent domain given the community feedback as well as an overwhelming evidence contradicting those justifications.

If the township still feels adequate justification exists and cares about the affected residents, you will help us to understand those justifications. We don’t need to wait for new counts.

If people were dying in the intersection, bad accidents were above “normal” or traffic was backed up frequently enough that it was unpleasant for those of us who actually live here, we would understand (or move). However, these conditions absolutely do not exist. We live here because we want to. If you plan to take our land, destroy our properties, reduce our quality of life, eliminate our privacy and reduce our safety by making the traffic move faster and closer to our homes, we need to understand and accept your justifications or we will fight you to the bitter end.

Finally, can we audit the new counting process when it occurs? Or can we be involved in hiring the firm to perform the counts? Given the conflicts of interest identified with McMahon and the weakness of their presentation, the legitimacy of any further data they present will be called into question.

Subsequent email letters went to PennDOT (three times) from directly affected residents and as they can be obtained on a Right To Know Request, I am publishing them now.

Here is the first letter:

From: Tom Stuart
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 11:28 AM
To: ASHPATEL@pa.gov
Cc: Sue Drummond <sdrummond@eastwhiteland.org>; Rich Orlow <rorlow@eastwhiteland.org>; ‘slambert@eastwhiteland.org‘ <slambert@eastwhiteland.org>; 
Subject: Eminent Domain Taking @ King & 352

Dear Mr. Patel:

I read your September 23, 2019 response to East Whiteland and East Goshen Townships regarding the intersection of Sproul (S.R. 0352) and King Road (S.R. 2022).

In your first paragraph you cite an increase in traffic volumes as the justification for a solution requiring eminent domain taking.  A solution that “must be advanced for eventual implementation within a reasonable timeframe.”

Given your solution will destroy homes, privacy, safety and home values (for which payment alone will not cure), are you basing your recommendation on the two traffic reports prepared by McMahon & Assoc in 2005 and 2016?  Or, do you have some other traffic volume data that you can share?

It is my understanding that both McMahon studies were performed for just (2) one-hour periods during peak traffic periods in 2005 and 2016, respectively.  Further, while I am not currently able to locate the 2005 report to confirm, I was informed by an EG township official that there was very little traffic volume increase measured at the intersection between 2005 and 2016.  If this is true, then what “increase in traffic volumes” are your referring to?  Is it based on only future predictions?  Please quantify.

My wife and I have lived at the intersection for over 20 years. (I purchased the home on December 31, 1996.) Our home literally faces the center of the intersection.  Based on my extensive experience, I vehemently disagree with the premise that there is a volume problem that must be resolved.  You may consider my opinion biased because the widening and tree/brush removal will eliminate all of the privacy I have spent 10s of thousands of dollars (and a couple decades) to build up, it will dramatically reduce my safety (I can provide more details), and moving me closer to the intersection will destroy my property value.

That said, don’t take it from me.  At the June 5, 2019 meeting at Immaculata, I surveyed an audience full of 100+ township residents by asking, “Who thinks delays are the primary problem at the intersection?” Exactly zero people raised their hands.  (https://bit.ly/2oueoGQ:  Time Stamp: 1:50:10)  

So, while your recommendations may be suitable if there were a traffic delay problem at the intersection, the township residents do not agree with the premise under which you have proposed a solution.

So, if PennDOT will not support a permanent, signal-only solution to help address the left turn issues from 352, does PennDOT support a “do nothing” approach?  It was not entirely clear whether you were recommending or requiring your “comprehensive” eminent domain taking solution.  This is an important detail.  Please clarify.

Best Regards,

Tom Stuart

Here is the second letter:

From: Tom Stuart
Sent: Thursday, October 3, 2019 3:37 PM
To: ASHPATEL@pa.gov
Cc: Sue Drummond <sdrummond@eastwhiteland.org>; Rich Orlow <rorlow@eastwhiteland.org>; ‘slambert@eastwhiteland.org’ <slambert@eastwhiteland.org>; ‘rsmith@eastgoshen.org’ <rsmith@eastgoshen.org>; John Nagel <jnagel@eastwhiteland.org>
Subject: RE: Eminent Domain Taking @ King & 352 – *** Major Safety Concern ***

Dear Mr. Patel,

I have a critical safety concern regarding your suggestion to enable King Rd traffic to drive head on through the 352 intersection at the same time (“in exchange” for split phasing on 352.)

First, do you have a sketch or diagram of the revised intersection layout you are proposing?

I have driven up and down King Rd through the intersection a few times since I read your letter—including in the pitch dark last night. I wanted to get a feel for and imagine the shifted sight lines you are proposing (if the township proceeds with a 2-phased approach.) I imagined it with the westbound King Rd lane being re-located southward by about 1 lane width.

Given that the westbound approach rises slightly to the intersection and the eastbound approach rises significantly, you are inviting a full-speed, head on collision by letting that traffic flow at the same time and at full speed with such limited visibility.

Even if your plan includes destroying a half dozen or so properties by removing all of our privacy and safety providing trees and shrubs, safe sight lines simply do not exist with the current (or the slightly modified) geometry.

As you may or may not be aware, the left turns from 352 are not a major safety hazard now. They are more of an inefficiency and annoyance. The resulting accidents from those turns tend to be low speed fender benders… not head on and certainly not at full speed. The worst symptoms are frustrated drivers honking and cursing.

For this reason, I believe that switching the split phasing from King Rd to 352 as you propose (in part 1 of your 2-phased approach) will make the intersection considerably less safe.

Incidentally, there is a similarly shaped intersection geometry where Paoli Pike meets route 30 in Paoli. The sight lines are MUCH better there because it’s more level. However, in the mid to late 1980s (before the lights were changed to include a protected left turn phase from 30) there was a head on collision that occurred with so much force the driver’s heart detached from all of her arteries. So, unless you and the township want to be directly responsible for introducing fatalities to the intersection, I suggest you withdraw or amend that portion of your recommendation.

If you have any feedback defending what you proposed, I’d be interested to hear it—especially because the townships will likely heed your input more than mine.

I urge the townships to respond to this concern as well.

Best Regards,
Tom Stuart

And here is the third letter:

Tom Stuart 
Thu, Oct 17, 8:21 PM (12 hours ago)
to ASHPATEL@pa.gov, Sue, Rich, slambert@eastwhiteland.org, rsmith@eastgoshen.org, John, Christie, benpoe4@juno.com, TINA, Timothy, Christine, Zeek747, me, Ted

Dear Mr. Patel,

I gather from your lack of response to my previous emails (and because the residents were not invited to recent closed-door meeting) that you do not intend to respond to me. The important part is that I have raised my safety concern, you saw it, the townships saw it and it’s now part of the public record.

I would like to draw your attention to a few more critical issues I have identified in your letter of Sept 23 to the townships:

Your suggestion (2e) indicates that signal upgrades could better detect traffic. Obviously, this means reducing delays without any negative impact on safety or otherwise. If PennDOT thinks traffic delays are a problem, why would this not be your recommended solution as a first and immediate phase? Why wasn’t this recommended and implemented years ago? You go on to state that this improvement would not be approved by PennDOT unless the township also agree to take land from local residents in “a reasonable timeframe”. This is outrageous and extremely upsetting. Is this how PennDOT operates– with a complete and total disregard for residents’ homes and properties not to mention a disregard for common sense and unnecessary expenditures?
One of your suggestions is to clear the vegetation through the intersection along King Rd to improve visibility (2c). When it comes to the goal of improving safety, this applies not only to the drivers but also to pedestrians and residents, I assume. As Senior Manager of Traffic Engineering and Safety Division, you must be aware that trees and shrubs create a safety barrier between the traffic and the residents when they must co-exist in close proximity. Tearing them down, as you propose, reduces safety for residents (and pedestrians).
You state that that safety is the department’s primary goal. Yet, you directly contradict this statement with your proposed solutions. If safety is the primary goal, a safety improvement like enhanced traffic detection and painted lines (as you suggest in 2f) could be implemented now. (Or, years ago.) In fact, if safety were the primary goal, a safety improvement such as signal phasing on 352 could be delivered even if it came at the expense of added delays. Your proposals not only fail to make safety the primary consideration, you go so far as to suggest that signal-only safety improvements to 352 traffic can only be delivered if the township agrees to reduce safety on King Rd by letting it drive head on, simultaneously. Local residents would likely agree with me that this could be a net reduction in safety. The reality is that the goal of your proposal appears to be: reduce delays and, if possible, improve safety and do so at the highest possible expense. I find it disappointing that neither you nor the townships ever acknowledge this glaring falsehood being perpetuated. This is not and has never been about improving safety.
Each time I read your proposal and consider what has transpired to date, I become more and more disappointed by what appears to be a complete lack of competence, integrity, honesty, transparency and common sense by all parties carrying some sort of responsibility here. If you disagree with anything I have said and do not wish to have a dialogue with me directly, I understand. I hope you will communicate your feedback to the townships so they can pass it along to me. Or, if the townships care about the affected residents, they can prove it.

Until I see common sense prevail, I will not go away.

Best Regards,

Tom Stuart

“….would not be approved by PennDOT unless the township also agree to take land from local residents in “a reasonable timeframe”.”

There you have it. EMINENT DOMAIN.  They always try to make it sound pretty. How was it one of the East Whiteland Supervisors referred to it? As “slivers” of land or something equally preposterous?

It’s eminent domain. It’s stealing someone’s property and for what? So PennDOT can have their Roundabout Reign Of Terror?

I noticed in September PennDOT was doing the old soft shoe PR on their pet project to ruin where we live. All. Across. The. State.

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Here, courtesy of Talk Erie News, is essentially PennDOT’s press release in September about this:

ERIE NEWS
PennDOT Data Shows Pennsylvania Roundabouts Reducing Fatalities, Injuries, and Crashes
By TalkErie News – September 16, 2019

roundabout

erie 1erie 2erie 3

Now whomever heads up PennDOT gets a plum pickings patronage job with taxpayer funded benefits of pure political pork, right? Well it is currently one of the original Wolf girls, Leslie Richards:

leslie

 

If you wonder why our roads are so bad, can it be said look no further than Ms. Richards?  Would you like to contact Leslie Richards? Try:

The Honorable Leslie S. Richards
Secretary, PA Dept. of Transportation
Keystone Building
400 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120
lsrichards@pa.gov

Leslie also has a Facebook page, but she allows no contact there. Just public adoration. She also has Twitter – Leslie S. Richards (@SecRichards) REALLY making her a Wolf girl.

Here (courtesy of Wikipedia) is the chronology of her ascent to the cushy land of political patronage jobs:

Richards was elected to the Whitemarsh Township Board of Supervisors in 2007, and became chairwoman of the board in 2008. 

Richards was elected to the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners in 2011. Her election, along with that of fellow Democrat Josh Shapiro, marked the first time in over a century that Democrats controlled the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. Richards served as Montgomery County’s representative on the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.  Richards also serves on the board of SEPTA. 

Pennsylvania political operatives had mentioned Richards as a potential Congressional candidate in Pennsylvania’s 6th congressional district. Richards declined to run for the seat after incumbent Congressman Jim Gerlach retired in 2014. 

In 2015, following the election of Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, Richards was nominated to serve as Secretary of Transportation of Pennsylvania. She was subsequently confirmed by the Pennsylvania State Senate in May 2015. 

In 2017, Richards was appointed the first female chair of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission as well as the Public Private Partnership (P3) Board. 

But what does she actually DO? I will note I contacted Ms. Richards when this whole Roundabout Reign of Terror began.  Her response, even an acknowledgement, of the fact that I contacted her must have gotten lost in the mail.

So people always say when it comes to things like road projects to follow the money, right? So what happens when we follow the money to PennDOT with regard to things like Roundabout Reigns of Terror? Who is benefitting? Is it a long list? Is it a short list?

I sent an e-mail overnight to Senator Andy Dinniman since I feel the State Representatives have been quite invisible on this.

What is happening here is terrifying. He needs to act. He actually might have the power to help my neighbors and get the pause button pushed.

NO ONE HAS TRIED BASIC SIGNALIZATION CHANGES! Why the heavy PennDOT push for traffic circles or the more politically new speak term of “roundabouts” ? Whatever happened to trying something less expensive before taking people’s homes?

Again, if the money trail is followed all the way to Harrisburg where will it lead?

The basic intersection changes affected residents asked for would cost a whole lot LESS than a Circle. And it would not involve eminent domain.

But we, as residents and taxpayers, have been told that PennDOT doesn’t want that. Everything they want seems to involve  eminent domain doesn’t it?

Money, money, money. It’s only money and OPM or Other People’s Money at that.  Do you want your taxpayer dollars to go to stealing a neighbor’s home?

Why should my neighbors be forced to this? Why should they fear losing their homes? How would you feel if you were facing eminent domain?

None of us asked for this. And the origins of this current situation is somewhat mind boggling to me. That all came out when we did RTK requests a few months ago.

People have asked State Reps for help and to the best of my knowledge that has kind of gone nowhere.

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My neighbors need and deserve help. This affects residents in East Whiteland and East Goshen. Truthfully it affects anyone who travels through this intersection.  Have you watched people use roundabouts? And what about Immaculata and the buses that come through to them and the trucks, big trucks, which travel these roads?

Of course my personal thoughts include that wanton development is also a culprit here- another thing residents didn’t ask for.

I have seen what the threat of eminent domain does to communities as I have been to this movie before. I just didn’t expect it out here as a threat quite as often as I have seen it.

We have done rights to know.  In the spring we learned a lot.  Is that the only way we can ever get answers is to pay to be flooded with paper?

This summer I took photos while a passenger in a car. Of a roundabout no one knows how to drive on in Chester County.  On Route 52. Where it is still kind of rural and no one lost their homes, although undoubtedly someone lost some land as in open space/farm land.

The topography where that circle was placed is radically different from where PennDOT seems hell bent for leather to get one at King and 352.

Putting a traffic circle, roundabout, whatever you wish to new speak it as on King and 352 is like the proverbial square peg in the round hole, or is it round peg in the square hole? (Sorry, traffic circle humor)

Remember this issue when election day rolls around.

Soon it will be Halloween.  Then we will have Thanksgiving and Christmas and Channukah and so on, so what do these poor residents have to look forward to with the evil specter of eminent domain courtesy of PennDOT lurking around seemingly every corner?

Residents asking for traffic improvements on side streets somehow translated to a potential pork project and please stop the roundabout turntable, residents want to get off.

Can anyone help stop this? Does anyone give a crap about residents anymore? Or all we just expendable?

Other posts:

the dance around eminent domain and other tales from the king road/route 352 meeting

no eminent domain. no circle/roundabout. people before politics.

meeting on route 352 and king road set for june 5th at 7pm at immaculata university

east goshen responds to right to know request on 352 and king intersection improvements

dear east whiteland and east goshen: we need a little “sunshine” about shared intersection improvements at king and 352.

penndot responds on king and sproul/352

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the continued desecration of chester county

So Ship Road today. Pipeline Alley. It’s hideous and outrageous.

This pipelines aren’t benefiting us, they are benefiting people in Scotland making plastics and wherever the hell else they are shipping dangerous explosive things through pipelines. They are of course also benefiting corporate America. And I think select politicians.

Driving up Ship Road today it made me wonder if Terence Farrell has seen this? After all isn’t he the county commissioner who was overheard commenting negatively on the county litigation involving pipelines? That’s what people are saying so I have to ask does he expect us to vote for him in November ?

I haven’t asked him personally about this, but I know all these politicians read anything put out mentioning their name between now and election day so perhaps he’ll set the record straight and put out an official statement?

What is happening in Chester County and elsewhere is criminal. We live here. Where we call home is being destroyed and we are all being put at risk.

Our homes are our castles until pipeline comes through.

I don’t find that acceptable do you?

the continued desecration of chester county

So Ship Road today. Pipeline Alley. It’s hideous and outrageous.

This pipelines aren’t benefiting us, they are benefiting people in Scotland making plastics and wherever the hell else they are shipping dangerous explosive things through pipelines. They are of course also benefiting corporate America. And I think select politicians.

Driving up Ship Road today it made me wonder if Terence Farrell has seen this? After all isn’t he the county commissioner who was overheard commenting negatively on the county litigation involving pipelines? That’s what people are saying so I have to ask does he expect us to vote for him in November ?

I haven’t asked him personally about this, but I know all these politicians read anything put out mentioning their name between now and election day so perhaps he’ll set the record straight and put out an official statement?

What is happening in Chester County and elsewhere is criminal. We live here. Where we call home is being destroyed and we are all being put at risk.

Our homes are our castles until pipeline comes through.

I don’t find that acceptable do you?

who does pennsylvania governor tom wolf listen to when it comes to pipelines?


I am starting with P.K. Ditty’s video of today. It captures everything.  And everything includes the fact that in my opinion today was just a photo op for Governor Tom Wolf and some of his lady supporters in Harrisburg who ummm, shall we say aren’t so beloved by their Chester County and Delaware County constituents at present over pipelines? Come on now ladies, you know who you are and I even like two of you personally  (the third I do not respect at all) but I think all three of you (Democrats incidentally) are doing a crap job of representing residents on pipelines, alrighty?  Don’t be like Tom Wolf’s Political Andrews Sisters  (sorry not sorry, feeling politically sarcastic today.)

This was total BS what this event became. We all know it did not start that way correct?

Here is what went out August 22 from two local state reps which did NOT announce today, but I think sets a stage of political puffery:

BS

Translation? GIANT PUBLICITY STUNT.  I am hearing they are great at dodge ball with residents?  Because this is really about what? Perhaps it is really about Governor Tom Wolf getting them re-elected so they can support the fakakta thing called Restore PA, AKA another hall pass for pipelines at the expense of residents?

Fakakta means something silly or ridiculous and a a word used to describe something that is not working well or is really crap.  (It’s also a great description to apply to pipelines.)

State Senators Andy Dinniman and Daylin Leach listen to the residents on pipelines and they care. State Representatives Carolyn Committa and Kristine Howard showed up and I don’t quite no what else to say except I am massively disappointed in both of them over this. People are asking if Katie Muth actually showed up? And some other State Senator was there apparently.  His name is Tim Kearney. Daylin Leach was there so one would have thought State Senator Katie Muth would have at least shown up to say how awful he is or something? (She’s good at that, right?)

Today in my opinion was yet another GIANT PUBLICITY STUNT. (And I am not pointing fingers at the State Senators who were there, to be clear.)  Affected residents wanted to sit down and talk to our Governor.  OUR GOVERNOR. AS IN IS SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT PENNSYLVANIANS EQUALLY. BUT DOES HE? HA! THAT WILL BE THE DAY….

Residents didn’t ask to stand in the heat and basically do the whole Oliver Twist  “Please sir, I want some more” and beg for freaking gruel, did they?

 

With regard to the timing and planning of today’s political gymnastics or mini-circus, I found out this morning Wolf would be at the Giant parking lot on Boot Road in West Chester at 2 pm today.  I heard certain media were informed by the Governor personally at some other appearance in Horsham this morning. But other media weren’t told? How does that work exactly? Word of mouth? No real press release? Top secret public location? Spy vs. Spy? I had a LOT of friends there. Friends who are directly affected by Energy Transfer/SuNOco/Mariner East Pipelines every. damn. day.

 

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I don’t need to do a complete recitation of the problems with this pipeline, they are well known and well documented at this point, aren’t they?  As human beings, we are at RISK. Our families are at RISK. Our wells are at RISK. Our properties are at RISK.  Our elected officials and public officials and agencies know this and yet….MOST DO NOTHING, correct?

 

 

Today was a scripted appearance.  Is it true that even media were restricted on questions or they weren’t supposed to ask questions? Were babies kissed? Did Lot’s wife turn into a pillar of salt? Oy vey so many questions I have and my political sarcasm cup runneth over today….but I digress.

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My friend Ginny Kerslake, a pipeline affected resident speaking with Governor Wolf

I spoke with my friend Ginny after and this is what she said:

“Several residents had the chance to tell their stories of how Mariner East construction has impacted them and their neighbors and share their concerns for the safety of their families and communities, asking Governor Wolf to halt Mariner East.”

I also touched base with my friend Tom Casey who had this to say about this afternoon:

“I expected nothing less than what happened today. The Governor listened to impacted residents, but didn’t hear them. I have also never met a politician where you literally have to negotiate the terms of a handshake.”

I wonder what that certain East Goshen Supervisor was doing there? He is certainly not halting the march of Adelphia Gateway is he? BUT he sure do love his sound bytes right? Dude, if you wish to be a man of the people then you have to actually be a man of the people, ok?

And speaking of East Goshen what is with the two mass mailing a couple of days apart of  Dear Occupant letters coming from SuNOco but says it is from East Goshen? It has to do with the 24 hour continual drilling and they will apparently pay for people to leave their homes while they do it? Sounds like quite the offer so what happens when no residents are around to bear witness?

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I find today’s event to be a study in confusion and contradiction. So was it just supposed to be a lovey dovey photo op that went bad?

The first media article I am sharing is by Bill Rettew from The Daily Local with Pete Bannan photos. (And yes, I do pay for online subscriptions to the Daily Local, Philadelphia Inquirer, and The New York Times.)

Daily Local:  Wolf visits pipeline construction site
BILL RETTEW 1 hr ago

The governor was a changed man.

Gov. Tom Wolf smiled often during a recent walking tour of West Chester Borough. On that tour he told pipeline foes that he would soon tour the pipeline construction site.

Wolf kept to his word, Thursday, and met about 100 residents and fellow elected officials within feet of the Sunoco/Energy Transfer Mariner East pipeline route.

The governor received some applause when he stopped to listen and talk. He was surrounded five deep and sometimes talked in little more than a whisper.

That trademark smile was gone. The governor did not give those impacted by pipelines much to smile about either when he definitively said several times that he would not halt construction.

The press and media were not notified about the event.

Ginny Kerslake, of West Whiteland Township, nailed the governor down about the visit. She had personally asked him three times to come and see for himself….

Wolf asked Kerslake how he could change. She said living near a pipeline was like playing Russian roulette.

Kerslake said after the visit that Wolf “finally” showed up.

The governor said he agrees with several pipeline bills, but they would not impact the Mariner East.

“This is not what we were asking for,” Kerslake said. “We want to talk about what’s going to happen to this pipeline.”

The second article is from Jon Hurdle at State Impact PA:

State Impact PA AUGUST 22, 2019 | 6:04 PM
Wolf tells pipeline activists he won’t shut down Mariner East
Governor defers to Public Utility Commission on pipeline safety
by Jon Hurdle

Gov. Tom Wolf told anti-pipeline activists on Thursday that he is not going to stop construction or operation of Sunoco’s Mariner East pipelines.

At a rare face-to-face meeting with opponents at a pipeline construction site in East Goshen Township, Chester County, Wolf was repeatedly urged to shut down the pipeline until public safety can be assured.

But he disappointed activists by stating clearly that he would not do so.

Eve Miari, an organizer of the event, said Wolf’s statement was the first time he had gone on the record saying clearly that he would not shut down the line because of safety concerns…..Six people who live near the cross-state pipeline, plus a supervisor for East Goshen Township, took turns pressing that case to Wolf….“My question to you now, Governor Wolf, is will you halt Mariner East now?” Kerslake said. “We do not have a credible and practical plan to protect us in the event of a leak.”….Rosemary Fuller, a resident of nearby Middletown Township, said her private well has been contaminated with fecal coliform and e-coli as a result of the recent horizontal directional drilling near her house.

Fuller tearfully told Wolf that the contaminated water creates more problems for her husband, who has cancer, and her son, who has a compromised immune system.

Pennsylvania Politics is in full flower again.  At the expense of residents. Bottom line? ANY politician that supports pipelines over people needs to GO and that includes the ones who never answer directly, don’t really return phone calls and play possum, and who act all supportive when it is most self-serving.

Of course Tom Wolf won’t shut down the pipelines. 

Yes I am disgusted.  Today at the end of the day was COMPLETE B.S.

Rant over. (for now)

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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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the eve of july 4th: we hold these truths to be self evident

When is the last time any of you read the Declaration of Independence?

When is the last time you read the United States Constitution and brushed up on the First Amendment and the other ideals on which this country was founded contained within?

Why is it to be a good American or a good person these days you can’t express your opinion safely without fear of retribution, retaliation, verbal abuse, or more?

When did we as a nation become so ugly and regress a couple of centuries?

When did it become a crime to see something you find heinous and say so?

Sorry not sorry but on the eve of our nation’s birth do we all need reminding of what our forefathers fought, bled, and died for?

Want to see the ugliness in mankind? Share a major media outlet post about what amounts to inhumane human warehousing in border detention centers.

They did it in World War II as well – to Italian Americans and Japanese Americans.

It wasn’t OK then and it isn’t OK now.

You can read about it in the Smithsonian but I bet some of you will view our very inconvenient history as “fake news” too.

During World War II, the U.S. Saw Italian-Americans as a Threat to Homeland Security

The executive order that forced Japanese-Americans from their homes also put immigrants from Italy under the watchful eye of the government.

Smithsonian Magazine

By David A. Taylor

smithsonian.com

📌“The incarceration of Japanese-Americans is the best-known effect of Executive Order 9066, the rule signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. And for good reason. The suffering and punishment placed upon innocent Japanese-Americans was a dark chapter in American history. But the full extent of the government order is largely unknown.

In addition to forcibly evacuating 120,000 Americans of Japanese background from their homes on the West Coast to barbed-wire-encircled camps, EO 9066 called for the compulsory relocation of more than 10,000 Italian-Americans and restricted the movements of more than 600,000 Italian-Americans nationwide. Now, the order has resurfaced in the public conversation about immigration.”📌

This issue of detaining immigrants shouldn’t be about Democrat versus Republican, and I am shocked at how limited and ugly a lot of you are. This is an actual humanitarian crisis in my opinion and I am entitled to it.

I’m not saying that I think people should be in this country illegally, but sometimes there are extenuating circumstances and it has been proven that some of the people that are in these detention centers don’t actually belong there.

We are a nation of immigrants. We are also at one of the ugliest times in our history at present.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Yeah. Those words. Remember them?

The latest report on the state of border detection centers as I saw it on NBC News turned my stomach. Human warehousing and the images yes I did say reminded me of images of concentration camp victims behind barbed wire. That is my opinion because of how graphic the images were, and right or wrong, how they struck me.

It was my opinion. Not an assault on Jewish people or the Jewish religion. Mankind is capable of great atrocities.

One of my readers on my blog’s Facebook page went absolutely cuckoo for Coca Puffs.

I was stupid. I didn’t know what concentration camps were. I was uneducated. I was a bad person.

I bet they don’t know the complete history of those camps either. Like I bet they don’t know the multitudes of people other than Jews who were killed. Gays, gypsies, and those who could not sign onto their polices and ideologies. My grandmother who was Pennsylvania German of German descent talked about this when I was very little. Apparently there were family cousins of her family’s who were persecuted. I never got all of the details and when I was little and truth be told I did not know if I should believe her because no one talked about that. Then when I was older, I learned more in history classes. I learned what she had said all those years ago was true.

And this person did not stop. They actually started posting black and white photos of bodies stacked up in concentration camps in World War II.

On and on and on.

It went from having their say to being and feeling verbally abused and accosted. My opinion = ignorance (their exact words). That I was ignorant because I deleted the photos of dead bodies they kept posting. That I was stupid and ignorant and didn’t have the decency to blog under my complete name and “create a false sense of authority with my page title.” That I should “crawl” back under my rock because I was stupid and had no “clue” of reality. Again, their words.

It was a barrage of ugliness…from someone who actually knows who I am and who was fine with me when I defended their business because I felt someone had been unfair once upon a time. Someone I used to respect from what little I knew of them.

So I decided since they weren’t stopping, I had to make a decision. I removed their comments and them as well from the page. I didn’t want to, I don’t like to do that, but sometimes I have to.

There are plenty of people who post opinions contrary to mine. But they’re not abusive about it. When people get abusive I remove them. And it’s not when they are just abusive to me whose page it is. It’s when they are abusive to others on the page or just abusive in general. Or when they post things that are truly fake news. I removed someone else for that on this same topic.

All of this vitriol and ugliness for expressing my opinion. Many people have many different opinions on this topic of immigrant detention and the detention centers. But they discuss it without dripping hatred from every word.

I am a descendent of immigrants like the rest of us. I am descended from Germans, Italians, and the Irish. All three nationalities that have been discriminated against in this country at one period of time or another. And yes, my ancestors did come here legally. They came here for a better life. And I think they would be deeply saddened to see how this country has regressed.

When I was little I remember my Irish grandfather telling me of the signs in Philadelphia shop windows when he was a little boy that said “Irish need not apply.”

When I was little I remember tales of my Italian grandfather and his brothers having to change the name of their business during World War II to sound more “American.”

This was the same grandfather who got stuck with his mother in Italy during World War I as a small child. They had sailed back to the “old country” so that my great grandmother could introduce her relatives to her American born son. When he came back with his mother after the war, he was treated differently by even the kids in his neighborhood. They viewed him as non-American. He was born an American citizen.

I’m not talking about giving illegal immigrants health insurance cards and sending them on their way. I am talking about basic humane treatment pending the outcome of their cases. I am not talking about ignoring the poverty of Americans and problems that we already face in every nook and cranny of this country. I’m talking about what I feel is an actual humanitarian crisis. And I think in this country today we are faced with more than one humanitarian crisis.

Then someone else took me to task because they said this immigration debacle was happening under the prior administration at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Was it? I don’t know. And that’s not the point. I was talking about something that I find morally reprehensible that if it did occur in the past as in three or four years ago I still would’ve found it morally reprehensible.

And then there was the guy who said if I had a page for my blog, I should take the abuse. That I am overreacting. That I am a “coward” for not taking the verbal accosting. That I have a poor character and that I should be neither judge or jury.

Essentially I should shut my mouth like a good little woman and take the abuse and allow the vitriol to pollute yet another social media page.

Whether or not I am overreacting is NOT their decision. It’s my decision and not so unusual. I don’t have to tough it out or suck it up, I can choose to stop feeling harassed and harangued. I can choose to have others not feel harassed and harangued. I can choose to erase some of the ugliness.

This whole thing about detention centers and other ugly things going on in this country is something that is not (or should not be) about political parties. To me it’s about right and wrong. It’s about we did something similar as a country during World War II and why are we doing this now? It’s about how our soldiers have gone to war for centuries over similar behaviors to fight for our rights and the rights of others. It’s also about these family separation policies where little babies are literally ripped from their parents’ arms and how is that OK? Why are adults punishing the children who are not responsible for what their parents chose to do? And what about the people who have proper paperwork and green cards and/or are new citizens of this country who live in terror of ICE raids?

Again, I remind people we are a nation of immigrants, founded by immigrants.

When did we become so ugly a country? Do you hear yourselves? Do you think it’s OK to attack every person you know or may not know because their opinion is not a cookie-cutter samey-same opinion you share?

Do you seriously think law enforcement is not tracking these vitriol loaded comments?

Why are we are losing ourselves and what makes us Americans? Why are we allowing this? We can’t even have conversations anymore where people are on different sides of an issue no matter what the issue is.

You don’t have to like my opinion but I am entitled to it until they repeal the First Amendment.

A friend of mine said something I will close with:

The ugliness of history comes back to us in this form because we’ve never actually acknowledged that ugliness. And we all know that saying that says “if we don’t learn from the past, we are bound to repeat it.”

Well here we are repeating the ugliness of American history and the saddest part is that this is only one part of the ugliness. Many a trifling uglies are happening right now in the US because of history. And it’s all as sad and disturbing as separating kids from their parents and putting them in cages without the basic necessities And it hurts. It hurts to know that America elected people who would allow it. We are in…distress and no one can save us but us. US.

Happy Independence Day!

We can do better and be better Americans. All of this divisiveness has never done our country any good. Look at our very history. Look at the ugliness of things like the American Civil War.

I don’t know what it will take for us to come together as a country and unite. But maybe on this Independence Day we can as individuals reflect on how and why this country was founded.

United we stand, divided we fall. And right now this country is pretty damn divided and it just breaks your heart.