oh look mom, it’s freedom to be a jackass day in exton

Moms Against Suffocating Kids. You just can’t make this stuff up.

How about Kids Against Suffocating Moms?

First of all, personally I am too damn old to protest in the rain. Secondly it’s SUNDAY, don’t they have anything else to do? Thirdly what do they think will happen because they stood in the rain outside a mall on Route 100 at Route 30? Literally no one blink their lights or beeped the horns in support. The people in the car next to us were laughing hysterically.

Also there is that whole thing about respecting our beautiful United States flag and not flying it in inclement weather? So Captain America, do you not respect our flag enough? The flag, our flag, should not be subject to weather damage. Maybe that is an all weather flag, but still? There are actually federal guidelines. How is this even a flag-bearing occasion?

Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. I would say they should volunteer on a pediatric ward for kids with COVID but who knows if they even have shots?

Shaking my head….just shaking my head….

township manager dearest, and west goshen meeting follies…oh my

West Goshen Township operates on it’s better days as a little bit Pennsyltucky on this planet. Every once in a while I think they can’t get any kookier….and then, they surprise us all.

The thing about West Goshen is every time something happens, you have to wonder why do they seem to target resident in a petty tit for tat reprisal fashion? And I also have to wonder will they come after me for asking questions as well?

Before we proceed, a history lesson on the laws which gover the USA:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

~ 4th Amendment Constitution of United States of America 1789 

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.

~1st Amendment Constitution of United States of America 1789

So now to the meat of the matter. A Facebook post made me stop and take notice. See this screenshot:

Wait? WHOA!!!! Whuuuuut? The Chair of West Goshen Supervisors Shaun Walsh was THAT rude? So I went to the meeting tape (which I have to ask if it will mysteriously disappear at some point I wonder?) and well go to around the 3 hour 7 minute mark and you tell me:

Now, full disclosure: the woman targeted at this meeting is a friend of mine. Her name is Margie Swart. She is a lovely human being. But she has a moral compass and strong sense of ethics, and asks questions, so <<<sigh>>> that can be a problem some places. I respect Margie immensely. We have gotten to know each other over the course of time, and have mutual friends.

I have to ask if Margie Swart is a target of West Goshen Township? As in a resident speaks up and there are cute reprisals? Yes West Goshen, I can indeed ask these questions.

So let’s back up a couple of years to something interesting I learned about just today. So…people can and do record public meetings, they aren’t just some municipality purview, correct? People do that to accurately preserve a record, especially on important topics. People also will record conversations with elected and public officials in public spaces. People like the media, for example. They aren’t doing anything nefarious, they want an accurate record and elected and appointed officials should be glad when citizens are conscientious, right? Maybe not?

So here is this now infamous recording from 2019 and why is it infamous? Oh I will get to that.

So there is that whole conversation of essentially, one cannot have a reasonable expectation of privacy for things put into a public space, right? Now if this conversation had been recorded in a bathroom in a public building for example, that would be different, wouldn’t it? But out there in the open in a public building? Next comes the reprisal, because since it is not illegal to record in a public space to try to file charges against a private citizen like that can be considered well, a reprisal, correct?

Yes, you aren’t seeing things, West Goshen Township tried to charge Margie Swart with WIRETAPPING and isn’t that welcome to West Goshen Watergate NUTS???

Next comes this curiosity in the West Goshen required reading, yes?

How can West Goshen Township Manager Casey LaLonde claim his phone conversation was recorded? Was he present? Do you hear his voice? I mean talk about d-r-a-maaaa right? I mean his grandma was actress Joan Crawford as in “Mommy Dearest” fame but REALLY? Township Manager Dearest much?

I have another question about this process and shameful debacle. Why should a resident and taxpayer have had to file a RTK or Right To Know Request on something a township publishes in a newspaper and which is also dually published in https://www.publicnoticepa.com/ ? I mean I could see them telling her to look for West Goshen Township notices on that website on X date and Y year, but a Right To Know Request? Wait??? Do we have a new show coming to a cable channel near you? It’s Always Cloudy in West Goshen Township? Lots of municipalities seem to struggle with sunshine laws and being sunshine friendly, but why is it a problem when residents ask questions in this township?

Margie is not the first Local Government Fiscal Watchdog and Transparency Advocate I have known. I have known many and I actually participated in a lack of sunshine protest years ago in Lower Merion Township – April 21, 2010 to be exact. It was a rather large protest and township officials were out taking photos of everyone too. Here’s a photo I took:

So how did the wiretapping thing end? Well there is a middle to it also isn’t there? How would you like to be a resident named as an “involved party in a wiretapping investigation”? And this thing occurred literally TWO years ago in September, 2019 and you find out about it TODAY in September, 2021?

Shall we talk about the final disposition of this? Is that an “Oh yes please?”

The Chester County District Attorney’s said NOPE, correct? So what was West Goshen playing at exactly?

Back to the recent meeting and I have to ask is it wrong to ask for government to be accountable as to their finances for example? And what’s with odd employee or manager practices? Are the taxpayer who pay these salaries not allowed to politely inquire? And Margie WAS polite. Listen to the recording. She is ALWAYS polite. I can tell you that at public meetings, I have not always been polite, but Margie? ALWAYS polite.

I don’t pretend to understand everything that happens in this municipality. I can’t pretend. But as a woman, I fear for my friend Margie Swart and can you blame me? Is she safe living there?

West Goshen Township, you need to find a better way of doing things and as an aside, so y’all are also hired who was the Borough Manager of Malvern as your Assistant Township Manager? Was all that vetted publicly or just announced?

West Goshen Township, you are entirely capable of avoiding thug mentality when dealing with residents. And yes I am entitled to the opinion that y’all behave badly. Residents who demand better aren’t bad people. And this is NOT a woman screaming and cursing and disrupting meetings with violent and angry behavior like we have seen this year at school board meetings. This is a woman who wants the best for her community and the person this seems to threaten the most is the Township Manager and why is that? It’s not his personal fiefdom is it? Or is it?

I am signing off with a note that everything I posted is public record. And I am allowed the opinions I have of West Goshen Township and sure am glad I don’t live there. I also can ask questions. I don’t understand a place where the elected officials kowtow to an appointed, salaried official because he works for them not the other way around, correct? Or have they all lost their moral and ethical compasses?

My final comment? It’s often hard to participate where you live, but we have to. It’s imperative. Elect people you can believe in, and when you can’t believe in them? Replace them.

the darkness of politics

Fear mongering and misinformation

Being a Democrat is NOT being Socialist, Marxist, or Communist. They are actually their own individual political belief systems and ideologies.

In this country, many (but not all) people characterize their political beliefs and identify with a particular political party. You know like mainly Republican or Democrat or Libertarian?

However, that being said, there is not complete overlap between political party and political ideology, they are NOT necessarily 100% the same. It tends to be as individualistic as each person doesn’t it?

People used to be able to move about freely in this world, identifying with their particular political persuasions yet remaining individualistic.

People used to be allowed to have their own political views, as well as saying they were part of a political party. Some were more conservative than others, some more liberal. Some were just Malcolm in the Middle, neither one extreme or the other.

And that was OK.

I used to be a Republican and I was in the middle. A moderate. I was for the most part socially liberal and fiscally conservative. That is also what they used to call a New England Democrat.

But then changes, and not for the better in my opinion, began to change the Republican Party. I was still the same person but the party I had considered myself part of since I was able to vote no longer really resonated with me because the rhetoric became so incredibly uncomfortable for lack of a better description.

I realized that what the Republican Party was becoming as soon as Trump became the nominee was not something I could identify with (or live with as an updated skewed ideology.) So I became an Independent. I didn’t feel that I was a true Democrat or what I thought a Democrat was.

But because I live in Pennsylvania, if I wasn’t in one main party or the other I couldn’t vote in a primary. I vote. And then I had friends running for office as Democrats, so I changed my party once again after a couple of years.

Yet still, I didn’t feel like I fit. I was still that person politically in the middle. But what I have learned is that at least the Democrats seem to be more accepting and welcoming of the fact of people are individualistic politically and don’t have to be all of the same. We don’t have to be Stepford Wives on this bus. So I’m still not super liberal, but at least I feel like it’s ok to be me.

But then we go back to the Republican Party as it exists today. This screenshot speaks volumes because this is what made me leave: if you aren’t exactly like them, you are against them. If you aren’t exactly like them you are literally bad and evil people to be destroyed. How is it Godly and Christian of them to just be so damn mean?

Truthfully it makes me sad. But it’s something more than that because it’s just so dark.

We have had enough darkness in this country.

It used to be we could be part of a political party and it didn’t become an all consuming, all identifying thing.

What happened to the theory of the worthy opponent?

I said a few years ago that the politics of extremism would ruin this country, and I believe it is. I think as Americans we have to put this bullshit aside and start to come together. Or the darkness will swallow everyone whole.

Be the peaceful change you want to see.

Just little baby steps within your own world.

Re-learn that just because somebody is a different political party they aren’t necessarily a bad person.

Re-learn being able to have actual political and social issue conversations isn’t a bad thing, it’s a conversation.

Re-learn that our history as a country isn’t all sweetness and light and if we try to change it, we are doomed to make the same awful mistakes over and over.

We all do not have to be the same. We can be different from one and other. That’s what our founding fathers fought for. And that has absolutely nothing to do with being asked to wear a mask sometimes in the short term as we try to ditch a global pandemic once and for all. A global pandemic and valid health risk concerns, including to the most vulnerable among us (kids) is not a “tyrannical government” and to restore balance we need to work together, but that is not what the current Republican playbook calls for. They want to tell us about our purported lost freedoms instead of trying for actual unity in this country, or even camaraderie between different groups (including races and religions) of people. The irony is they simply don’t *get* the damage they continue to do. And if we weren’t free, they wouldn’t be able to spew their anger and vitriol and political misinformation.

The politics of extremism and misinformation are killing all of us. Every. Damn. Day. When will enough be enough?

That’s it.

Angry rhetoric and misinformation disguised as “balance”

in downingtown area school district, someone needs to fact check margie miller and those backing her….facts matter…

The crazy train stopped at Downingtown Area School District last evening at what should have been a lovely back to school evening.

And innocent LOOKING kindergarten teacher (but not employed by DASD), Margie Miller is once again the Fibber McGee candidate for DASD. She’s backed by Republican PAC Keeping Kids in School, founded by Clarice Schillinger who used to work for State Rep. Todd Stephens (R., Montgomery).

…But this PAC doesn’t care about facts or coloring outside the lines as they also back the WCASD candidates like the QAnon gal, #AnonymousAda, Ada Nestor who was in Washington DC 1/6/21 but Keeping Kids in School PAC don’t seem to be bothered by this candidate’s actions and squirrelly politics.

This PAC claims to be non-partisan but I call bullsh🤬t on that. And they should just be who they are, not try to hide who they are. I don’t know what the end game is for this political action committee (PAC) except to get Republican candidates in office which wouldn’t be a problem for me if they were backing sane, rational candidates because in Chester County they are backing the super screwy. Even the Philadelphia Inquirer has asked lots of questions about the QAnon and anti masker candidates and more so really, what do they want? Sister Wives for School Board? The Handmaids Tale candidates for school board?

So I have to ask where Margie Miller and “Friends of Margie” gets data?

Margie teaches kindergarten at a school NOT in a public school district (in essence private) and she is running on a platform to not raise taxes, right? It’s interesting that the increase in taxes being discussed is for an all day Kindergarten program for Downingtown students? She hasn’t offered a way to generate this revenue to fund an all day Kindergarten program that I can find and would a public school all day Kindergarten be a threat to her current school or something?

I have no problem with someone saying they don’t want to raise taxes, but when they essentially accuse someone of being solely responsible for any taxes being raised in the DASD they should offer alternatives.

So last night was a back to school event and Margie Miller’s pals blanketed all of the cars in a parking lot with their crap. And their crap is aimed at my friend, Rebecca Britton. And these people didn’t clean up the mess they left, which means school personnel had to, which means taxpayers paid for Margie’s Mess, correct? How is that saving money?

A back to school night should be about the kids, not Margie Miller’s selfish political motives. I mean my gosh one would think that Margie should have put as much effort into her campaign paperwork correct?

Yesssss….and is it true Margie Miller didn’t file her PAC paperwork on time so she was fined? So then is it true she not only filed the late paperwork but she only filed one page of the 17 page document? So yo’ Chester County Voter Services why did you accept incomplete paperwork? Chester County Voter Services when will a new letter of campaign violation be issued on bad paperwork?

This woman cannot even follow basic election laws, so does Downingtown Area School District really need this hot mess in office? IMHO that should be a resounding NO.

Margie I hope you are a better teacher than school board candidate but you have to wonder what you teach kids judging from your campaign actions? And who exactly is running you since you don’t ever seem to want to answer questions on your campaign Facebook page either but you (they?) delete any comment or question that makes you uncomfortable?

Dear Margie Miller oh gurrrllll, we’ve got your number. And my final comment is you would holler like a stuck pig if they blanketed your kindergarten parking lot with flyers from Rebecca’s campaign. Your behavior is disgraceful and if you were a kindergartner you would be in time out facing a wall wouldn’t you?

Folks don’t put DASD in time out, keep Rebecca Britton as a School Board Director in your Region 4.

after the storm: destruction in berwyn (easttown township)

Batholomew Rd.

Last night was a hell of a storm. And no one can say “Oh they are just 100 year storms” or whatever. We are getting these destructive storms out of Mother Nature more and more often. You can thank climate change, you know that thing that no one wants to acknowledge exists?

Personally, I did not get much sleep last night. The storm howled over, through, and around us. The sky was incredibly lit up by lightening and the roaring of thunder.

An Easttown Resident Video: Where is the Stormwater Management??

From my friend Michael:

Storm Water Management


I understand that not everything in life can be prevented. However, 3 Supervisor meetings ago myself and a neighbor specifically complained about storm water management on Bartholomew Rd. Yes, that is where I live. Please allow me to be provincial.


The irony is that the water surge was so strong last night that my neighbor who was with me at that meeting almost had an unspeakable tragedy. A huge tree fell through this house. His son was 3 feet away! The dust was so thick they could not see their way out!! By the grace of God, no one was hurt. The house looks a bomb hit it. I won’t post any photos out of respect for my friend. It looks like a war zone. It will be months before they will be able to live in a home on that land.


Water played a part in this. No more looks of anguish from certain Supervisors. No more “well the water has to go somewhere” comments. No more, “well, it is a 100 year storm”. It isn’t when it happens almost every year. I have no interest in debating why. It is time for action. There is simply too much water flowing down my street. I believe the construction on Waterloo has made it worse. It was a river last night. Yes, we still would have had flooding even with better management.


Let’s focus on preventing people from dying. This one was a close call. We need action on this issue.

Transparency!

I know personally what it is like to have a tree come down on your home. We experienced it during the ice storm of 2014. A tree literally came within inches of my husband’s head. We got through it, and that is what I am so diligent with tree work (a conversation for another day, but also important.)

Because I know what it is like for a tree to come down like that, every time there is one of these storms, right or wrong, I kind of hold my breath until they pass. Last year the Derecho wind storms wreaked havoc in Chester County including all around where we live.

Stormwater management is something I feel most municipalities pay lip service to. They are more interested in salivating over ratables. Easttown is just one of the local Chester County Municipalities playing fast and loose with the well being of residents by just approving development after development willy nilly.

Water during these storms has fewer and fewer places to go. That is just reality. Which means our municipalities NEED to pay attention to density and for what they are approving, the stormwater management needs to be substantial.

Richards Road Last Night. Berwyn Fire Company Photo.

Last night’s storm also produced at least one sinkhole. Berwyn and Midland Avenues. Adjacent to a utility pole no less:

Mother Nature will be Mother Nature, but as communities we can do our part to do better. Which is why municipalities also need to pay more than lip service to responsible development as well as stormwater managerment. Below are snippets of video also from Berwyn and a couple of photos. I guess I am kind of wondering why the construction site was seemingly unprepared to deal with runoff? I know this was a big storm but still…

Get well soon, Berwyn.

the dysfunctional states of america.

Storm clouds have arrived again on all of our horizons.

What is this world today in which we live? I actually ask myself that question because in spite of my friends and family, the world outside is ugly and out of control so much of the time.

At the bottom of this post is the UN-school board meeting in Great Valley from last evening. It was not the scheduled meeting of the Great Valley School District, these people stormed the meeting, disinformation in hand, were nasty and angry and took over a meeting of a large school board. The recording missed a lot of the angry and pejorative comments, and some even wrote to me how this was just a “community discussion.” Oh hell to the no. No business of the Great Valley School Board was conducted, just air time for the ill informed.

Among the ill informed, nurses. That blows my mind. One of the ill informed nurses is a Republican candidate for Great Valley School District, Sallie Campbell. She read a Psalm (Psalm 27) at a public school meeting. Separation of church and state much? She also tried to use that phrase “color blind”, and if she really understood what racism was, she wouldn’t use that phrase, would she? (See 1:12:36) She is a complete nut. She also doesn’t seem to understand she is running for political office and people can indeed comment on her demeanor as a candidate. She is mock worthy to a level that Saturday Night Live could make a skit about her.

Unionville Chaddsford School District also apparently had a similarly disruptive school board meeting. Other people elsewhere are reporting similar behavior at school board meetings everywhere. West Chester Area School District is also having issues.

This behavior is not acceptable and these adults are not misbehaving on behalf of the welfare of the children. This is all about them.

What happened last night was completely abhorrent and unacceptable. Given the angry and disrespectful people except I wondered why theycould not have had some of those people removed for being disruptive at a public meeting?

The behavior, expletives, and pejorative comments directed at the school board were a bit much (“pussies” “little bitches” whatever all grossly inappropriate.) As were the comments directed at those attending from the public who were wearing masks, some of whom were friends of mine. Some yelled at these people saying they were “retarded” (yes that word was used) and were wearing “face diapers”. Also other comments that had unpleasant racist connotations. None of that is OK.

I am not naïve and I have seen many a heated school board meeting but none where in essence people operating with disinformation in hand exhibiting mob mentality literally took over a school board meeting and had a non-sanctioned meeting. Some described it as a “community conversation” or other such drivel. It was not. And it prevented the business of a large school district from progressing. As a taxpayer, I object to that. If they want to have a “community conversation” they can go rent a hall or meeting space.

Do I like wearing a mask? Honestly no, but it is a small inconvenience in the bigger picture.

And the bigger picture is simple: if we suffer from large enough COVID resurgences, the reality is we go back to lock-down, and kids are deprived of the normalcy of everyday school they were deprived of in 2020.

The ugliness in this country as a whole right now again, is staggering. The behavior of some, simply appalling. Its like social mores no longer exist. I realized that even after lockdowns lifted I personally started going out less and less because I don’t wish to deal with the anger and vitriol that permeates everyday life. And I have to ask, how do our kids view all of this?

Today I feel world weary. And sad. And I am not a depressant. It’s watching how human beings are treating each other. I mean I am a realist and don’t expect world peace by the end of the summer, but I really wish for less ugliness in our communities. Next week the anti maskers anti vaxxers are taking their road show to a Tredyffrin Eattown School Board meeting and is any of this about the kids or just the egos of the parents?

And I am tired, so tired of the politics of political bullshit. Yes I cursed, but it is beyond ridiculous. I realized the other day I never hear anymore from some I used to speak with quite frequently. And I think it is because politically we have moved apart, and I am not exactly super liberal. But I don’t subscribe to the cult of fake news and 45 was Jesus with a bad rug. And it breaks my heart that intelligent people literally take fake news as the Gospel. (And I have to ask is it wrong to feel slightly gleeful that nasty Texas Governor Greg Abbott has tested positive for COVID? Asking for a friend.)

Also I have something for you all to read:

Philadelphia Magazine: The Return of COVID Restrictions Proves That Unvaccinated Lives Matter. Those complaining about personal freedom being suppressed by new COVID rules are ignoring one thing: These very restrictions they loathe are here to keep them alive. By ERNEST OWENS· 8/12/2021

At 57 I find myself yearning for simpler days, or maybe some of the innocence of childhood where we didn’t notice the ugliness of the overall world permeating our day to day existence. But I guess that isn’t possible and I will just keep on keeping on… and gardening. Yes gardening. It’s a happy thing devoid of craziness except what is found in nature.

Yes I know we can only control our own behavior, but it is hard to swallow some days how the behavior of others affects us. Common sense and most aspects of a sense of decorum no longer exists at all.

Be safe and be peaceful out there. And garden more.

west chester borough this looks like dr. suess construction doesn’t it?

Of all the photos I took yesterday this is the one getting the most attention. I knew it was S. Walnut St. but I could not remember where until one of my readers wrote in that it was Walnut and Lacey.

This looks like Dr. Suess built it, doesn’t it?

So West Chester Borough: tag you are it. People seem super concerned about this construction project at S. Walnut and Lacey and are you all concerned as the borough?

I mean this SHOULD have gone to planning or something right?

Is this something that has gone through planning? And possibly zoning? Because doesn’t it look like an extra room is being added on?

I am not an engineer, I don’t pretend play an engineer or architect, but if you look at the building, is everything the way it should be?

Is this student housing? Because if it is don’t you want those kids to be safe?

Tag you are it, West Chester Borough.

next stop eminent domain town east goshen?

I am seriously bummed that my instincts were correct. I wrote a post about East Goshen Township in June 13th. I said the agenda read like an eminent domain saga waiting to explode over the Paoli Pike Trail.

Oh why couldn’t my instincts have been wrong? The poor Hicks family.

Last night East Goshen voted 3-2 for eminent domain takings of the Hicks farm land. May God damn them all to hell, quite frankly. There are few things I abhor more than eminent domain.

When I first moved out here from Lower Merion to be with my now husband, we lived in East Goshen. I used to think the world of East Goshen township. No longer. No more.

I will be honest and say I was part of the group (Save Ardmore Coalition) in Lower Merion Township years ago which successfully defeated eminent domain in Ardmore. It was a brutal, often disheartening, community divisive issue. At the same time we were fighting eminent domain, the Sahas were fighting to save their farm from Coatesville taking their farm via eminent domain for a golf course. It was eventually classified as eminent domain for private gain, not sure if it started that way.

The Sahas won their case in Coatesville, as we did in Ardmore. The Sahas became friends through this process as we were all involved with The Institute for Justice. I feel so lucky that I can still visit their farm now Mt. Airy Lavender. The Saha family still owns and runs their farm in it’s new business. If Dick Saha was still alive, you would have seen him at that meeting last night. He would have rounded up his farmer friends and gone to East Goshen. That is the kind of guy he was.

So. I watched the meeting.

Twice.

It was appalling both times.

Let’s start with the fact that the pro trail supervisors essentially disregarded Supervisor Michelle Truitt. Michelle offered an alternative plan. A plan that actually would work and the farmland and the Hicks Family would be spared. But the magic eminent domain trio are essentially behaving like misogynistic jerks in my opinion (which I am allowed to have), so that went nowhere fast.

So the documents you see above will be on East Goshen’s website tomorrow. I submitted a FOIA Right to Know and asked for these documents because although they SHOULD HAVE BEEN in the public meeting packet, they weren’t were they? They referred to meeting in executive session over “legal matters” and I am sure this was part of it only I have to ask if the eminent domain trio (“ED Trio”) didn’t want this out before the meeting? And in my humble opinion it should have been because well ED Trio, you are claiming eminent domain for public purpose which means…ummm…things should be public, right?

I also asked for a copy of the letter(or letters?) announcing this crap that were sent to the poor Hicks family and was told by the new township manager Derek Davis that he needed a legal opinion. Well East Goshen shares a solicitor with West Goshen and this person used to be with Easttown’s Planning Commission and is solicitor for East Brandywine and West Chester Borough and not sure where else will undoubtedly say “no”, right? So Hicks family if you decide you want to share the letters, please feel free. Those also should be part of the public record of this very public disgrace.

Oh and genuinely nice Derek Davis used to be the Assistant Manager at West Goshen, so with all these professional relationships between East Goshen and West Goshen, why is it it seems all fuzzy about the West Goshen part of this trail plan? And let’s talk about that: why is it if East Goshen doesn’t seem to have the West Goshen part of the puzzle worked out yet, why are they so gung-ho on eminent domain NOW? Greedy much?

And my hypothesis as to why now is simple: I think this trail has been a pet project of a retiring supervisor, right? So maybe as opposed to true public purpose this eminent domain issue is wound up in someone who wants a certain legacy? Well dude, 411 is eminent domain is now your legacy. Any good you did will flutter away into nothingness and THIS is what people will remember about you. This supervisor is Marty or Martin Shane. His term ends at the end of 2021. So East Goshen resident y’all better get your ducks in a row and get a candidate who will tip the scales against crap like this. Do it Ardmore style: make this an election issue. Whomever saunters up as a candidate should sign an anti-eminent domain pledge. If they won’t do that, find another person.

I also found it verrrry interesting that East Goshen went 100% in person for this meeting and did not offer zoom as well. And they could have since we are all newly emerged from the COVID world. That’s a little too cute, kind of like West Goshen’s technical difficulties for their YouTube or whatever stream of their meeting last night. Kind of Britney Spears oops I did it again, but I digress.

May be an image of map and outdoors
Is the point of the eminent domain to connect East Goshen Park with the YMCA?
And this aerial shot shows you they could leave the Hicks’ Farm alone if they wanted to.

Now let’s get into the meeting. Watch the video. My heart breaks for this family. Eminent domain is legal stealing, it’s bullying, and abusive. Kind of the way a couple of those East Goshen Supervisors were behaving.

The worst behaved of the East Goshen Supervisors was probably Chair David Shuey. He loves the sound of his own voice for sure and he knows everything. The king of “don’t interrupt me” and he’ll have people removed. Behaved like a total douche. Oh yes I am allowed to have that opinion of an elected official. Watch the meeting.

Shuey tried to proclaim how community positive he was and how he was against eminent domain for the pipeline and the whole traffic circle of it all that almost happened. I was at that traffic circle meeting, and he wasn’t user friendly there and I believe with the proposed eminent domain for the traffic circle and the pipelines it was more politically expedient to say he was against THAT eminent domain. For the Paoli Pike trail to nowhere, it’s more politically expedient to say eminent domain is the way to go.

Oh and of course Shuey tries to compare this Paoli Pike trail to the Radnor Trail. Apples and oranges dude, and no farms lost land for it. Do you think when that trail was built if it had been slated to go through Ardrossan’s cow field it would have gone through? Oh hell to the no and East Goshen will never be Main Line, and shouldn’t want to be. And then Shuey said something to the effect that East Goshen needs to be more competitive and say what? East Goshen was a gem, now it’s crown as a great Chester County community if forever tarnished and it’s sad, he can’t see the forest for the trees on this. He has a huge ego and he was combative and dismissive of residents. And I don’t know that he actually took all of the public comment. I know dude is a Democrat but last night he was very Trump-like in demeanor. Very unattractive public servant behavior in my humble opinion.

One of the speakers who resonated with me from the public in addition to the Hicks family and horse owners involved on their farm was former State Representative Dan Truitt. I have always liked Dan Truitt. He is quite simply a good man with a strong moral compass and sense of ethics. He made a heartfelt appeal to the supervisors to stop this process before it starts.

If I understand this convoluted trail mess correctly it’s like $5 Million Bucks a Mile and they don’t know if they will have all of the land in the end? So why eminent domain now? And it’s not like they will give it back if this goes kerflooey right?

Some folks out there in public opinion land are of the mind that this shouldn’t be such a big deal and the family sliced off pieces of land in the past. What they owned at one time in total is hardly the point. In fact, it’s not the point at all. What is the point are also the other potential impacts if East Goshen takes the land. They run an equine-based business and farm. HUGE amount of liability insurance they must pay for. Putting a trail for people as in strangers there all of the time puts the liability in a very bad spot, potentially a bad enough spot that they could possibly NOT have coverage and detrimentally affect their business, their livelihood . It’s not as simple or as offensive as saying “well they sold land before.”

Eminent Domain is legal stealing and it’s wrong.

Someone said to me “it’s just a sidewalk”. It’s not just a sidewalk. And it’s a trail part that may very well never be completed. And we’re also talking about a working farm. Again, you can’t just put sidewalks through working farms. It affects their liability which affects their ability to do their business on their own damn land. And the most important thing is the Hicks family said no. This is no better than when Coatesville tried to take my friends the Sahas’ farm years ago for a golf course.

Eminent Domain is legal stealing and it’s wrong.

A couple of comments from local community pages that have stood out to me:

(1) “Unfortunately (the way I understand this is going down) the walking path will disrupt a small business that currently uses the property in question as a private riding stable. People (and their dogs) are not always respectful of “do not pat or feed the horses” signs and this opens a huge liability issue up for the business owner. Horses can be unpredictable and spook easily creating potential harm and injury to both themselves and those around them. I think utilizing the property that they already have access to across the street makes more sense.

(2) “In late 2019 the supervisors were using this bike/walking trail to justify changing the zoning along Paoli Pike from Boot Rd to 352 to allow three story apartment buildings with shops underneath. Also wanted zoning to allow townhouses at Boot and Paoli Pike and 352 and Paoli Pike. The plan was for Goshenville to be a town center. They were saying people will use the trail to bike and walk to this town center. People were very opposed to the change in zoning and I’m not sure if this plan is still in play. They had maps and renderings of the Town Center on their website. The building of the trail seemed to have a lot to do with this vision of Goshenville.

Photo of the Hicks Farm where they would steal the land via eminent domain
with horses grazing at around 6:30 PM 6/15/21

I also think this debacle was a horrible final thing for retiring manager Rick Smith. This is what people will remember with him as well and that makes me sad. East Goshen can proclaim all the Rick Smith Days they want, what people will remember is the meeting last night and a particular exchange between he and one of the Hicks family members where he was quoted as saying “the train is coming” I guess in reference to eminent domain. It’s on the public meeting tape, and I did not misquote.

So another fun avenue to consider is this gem on Axley Attorneys website someone sent me. When is a sidewalk a trail?

When Is a Sidewalk a Trail?

MAY 31, 2011 by Buck Sweeney
csweeney@axley.com
608.283.6743

In a recent case from the Court of Appeals, Hildebrand v. Town of Menasha, the appeal court upheld Judge Scott Woldt’s opinion in a Winnebago County assessment case. In this particular case, the Town of Menasha specially assessed a vacant commercial property owner for the cost of placing a trail through the property. The Hildebrands were assessed $33,205.60 in construction costs for the installation of a 10’ asphalt trail abutting their commercial property. In response, the Hildebrands filed a notice of appeal to the circuit court raising numerous issues.

The question for the trial court, which was upheld by the Court of Appeals, was whether the Hildebrands’ property was:

*Specially benefitted by the trail segment for which the assessments were imposed.
*Whether the trail segment for which assessments were imposed constitutes a local improvement.
*Whether the trail segment for which assessments were imposed constitutes a general improvement for the community at large and therefore not a proper subject for imposition of the special assessments.


The evidence at trial made it very clear that this particular trail was clearly not a sidewalk, but was in fact a bike trail to help connect a regional multi-community recreational trail linking Oshkosh to Hortonville. The trail in question was asphalt and 10’ wide, unlike most typical sidewalks.

After the Town realized that they were losing, they tried to transform the trail into a sidewalk. Too late, according to the Court of Appeals.

If municipalities want to make sure they have a correct legal special assessment, the assessment must be local. Although incidentally beneficial to the public at large, its primary means for the accommodation and convenience of inhabitants in a particular locality and confers special benefits to the property.

Remember, if you do not want your sidewalk to be specially assessed, consider asking your municipality to place a 10’ asphalt trail through your yard.

Photo of the Hicks Farm where they would steal the land via
eminent domain at around 6:30 PM 6/15/21

My head is spinning. I thought I was done with hating eminent domain but it just keeps trying to happen.

The Hicks Family said NO. East Goshen is WRONG.

Oh and procedurally I found other issues with the meeting other than the eminent domain resolutions were omitted from the public meeting packets. Like they should have done a ROLL CALL vote on this and they DID NOT. So do you want to know who voted YES for eminent domain? Marty Shane, David Shuey, and Mike Lynch. Shane is gone at the end of 2021 and Shuey and Lynch are done in 2023. East Goshen residents need to get on the stick now. And not let up one minute until these people are out of office. They are not so much public servants as they are self-serving. They are the Eminent Domain Trio forevermore.

As a human being, I stand with the Hicks family. Their land, their decision. They said no. Residents of East Goshen and Chester County residents and farmers, please stand with this family. This is crap. Pure and simple.

#HandsOffTheHicksFarm pass it on. Post it. Share it. Stand with this family. Trust me, you think eminent domain couldn’t happen to you…until it does. Remember Stonleigh and Natural Lands?

Eminent domain is an ugly business. It is defined as the right of a government to take private property for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of the sovereign power over all lands within its jurisdiction.

It’s morally and ethically reprehensible.

#HandsOffTheHicksFarm

really east goshen? you are going to play the eminent domain game?

I read local municipality agendas. It’s a very easy way to learn what’s going on around you. and when I read the most recent one for East Goshen Township warning bells went off in my head.

https://eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-15_Board-of-Supervisors-Agenda.pdf

So….let’s get to it. Has anyone looked at East Goshen Township’s upcoming BOS Agenda? There is some special and interestingly worded language about a potential “right of way land acquisition” for the Paoli Pike Trail and the Hicks Farm. (Item 11 “New Business”)

When you read that after reading item 5B which refers to “Executive session” and “legal matter pertaining to the Paoli Pike trail”, if you have ever followed eminent domain cases it makes you wonder what East Goshen Township is up to precisely doesn’t it?

East Goshen are you playing at eminent domain???

https://eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-15_Board-of-Supervisors-Agenda.pdf

Read the agenda and ask those supervisors some questions….at the meeting.

At what cost do trails get built? And is this where they were talking development a while back?

Eminent Domain is something I despise. I helped find it successfully many years ago in Ardmore thanks to our groups help from the Institute for Justice in Washington DC. I learned about both kinds of eminent domain, private gain and public purpose. And municipalities love to say public purpose is for the public good but is it always for the public good?

Since I saw these items on the agenda I have been asking around. And I was told that indeed residents did receive an eminent domain letter from East Goshen Township. And then I saw this:

I went through the public meeting packet for East Goshen Township for their upcoming meeting. And there is nothing like taking letter included in the packet and that should be publicly posted. Because if they’re doing it for the public good, don’t hide it in executive session agenda items which I have to ask is that what they’re trying to do?

Here is this Op-Ed I saw in Patch and Delaware Valley Journal:

📌‼️Chester County’s Eminent Problem
Posted to Politics June 11, 2021 by Stephen Wahrhaftig

Imagine a knock on your door, and somebody announces that they intend to purchase your home, and that you will need to vacate it shortly. Imagine, also, that you are told that the value of your home will be established by the purchaser, and that you must accept the offer without objection. Sounds like a nightmare scenario.

This nightmare has played out time and again here in Chester County. It occurs when a local government decides that they want to take someone’s property for public use that is deemed more important than the rights of the property owner. It does not matter how long the property may have been owned, or how the owner feels about being forced to give up their land. If the locality wants it, they can take it at a price they feel they should pay. The process is called Eminent Domain, a somewhat gray area of law that has been in constant dispute for decades.

In the recent past, there have been examples of localities using Eminent Domain to seize private property for values that owners have felt unjust, and for reasons the community has sometimes found inappropriate….The latest threat of Eminent Domain use is happening in East Goshen Township. The victim in this case is Goshen View Farm, owned by the Hicks family. The ancestors of this family settled in Chester County back in 1769. According to a family member, this farm was purchased by William Huey Hicks in 1909. William was interested in the land because of the new system of electrification along Paoli Pike. Hicks bought the farm from the Sharpless family the old-fashioned way, by offering the owner a fair price and having the seller agree to the transaction in a free and agreeable sale….You may ask what the critical need is for taking a strip of land from a farm along Paoli Pike? Is there a hospital being built? Perhaps some emergency access is needed for a fire department? In fact, this property is being seized for a possible walking trail no more than two miles long, according to some local residents.

Sometimes referred to as “The Trail to Nowhere,” this strip of property is supposed to meet up with other township trails that may or may not ever exist, or even meet with this section of the trail. Perhaps the prospect of millions in government grant money is affecting the decision to invoke Eminent Domain. By some estimates, the township is spending about $5 million per mile to build the trail, $10 million in total.

The family that owns the property is not only unhappy with the threat of Eminent Domain but is also concerned about how visitors may impact their valuable horse stabling business, and about liabilities that may ensue when bikers and hikers cross the vehicle traffic on the farm lane exiting to Paoli Pike.‼️📌

Ok East Goshen there is building a walkable community and then there is bullsheit. This,East Goshen, is bullsheit .

I am all for walking trails. And I love the trails that East Goshen has in their park down the road. But this this is crap. I mean what are they going to do connect their trail with West Chester Borough? I mean do they want to connect their trail to 202 or something?

I have not seen the eminent domain taking letter, only told by a few sources that it exists. If the owners want to make it public I am happy to publish it because Imms always going to have a problem with eminent domain. And I don’t think this has anything to do with public purpose I think this has to do with legacy building on the part of some of these supervisors and that is WRONG.

And when I saw this editorial, it did make me realize that Chester county does have an eminent domain problem from time to time and this is one of those times.

East Goshen should learn from the mistakes of others. We will start with Coatesville when they tried to take the Sahas’ Farm for a golf course. Then will move right along to West Vincent Township when they tried to take the Ludwigs Corner Horse Show via eminent domain. In both cases this ended quite badly for these municipalities and at quite an expense.

And East Goshen? Time to be public about this. And stop the madness. Why is it farms especially farms with horses have to be subjected to eminent domain takings? Aren’t enough things like overdevelopment threatening the equine and agricultural history and traditions of this county as it is???

Other things East Goshen is NOT considering is the impact this would have on a working farm or how this not might but would affect their liability and liability coverage.

Trails are like a shiny new bauble for municipalities but they have to be done and created for the right reasons. If East Goshen wants to use eminent domain it’s the wrong reason.

Farmers and equestrians I am asking you to stand with concerned East Goshen residents and the Hicks family Tuesday , June 15th at this IN PERSON meeting at EAST GOSHEN TOWNSHIP located at 1580 Paoli Pike West Chester, PA 19380. The meeting starts at 7 PM. If my friend the late Dick Saha was still on this earthly plane I know for sure he would be there with his farmer friends.

Also, I encourage people and media to FLOOD East Goshen with emails and calls:

Eeast Goshen Township Building
East Goshen Township
1580 Paoli Pike
West Chester, PA 19380-6199
Phone: (610) 692-7171
Fax: (610) 692-8950
Office hours 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Please note that you must wear a mask when entering the building.

dshuey@eastgoshen.org

mlynch@eastgoshen.org

jhertzog@eastgoshen.org

mshane@eastgoshen.org

mtruitt@eastgoshen.org

Interim Township Manager: ddavis@eastgoshen.org

Outgoing Township Manager: rsmith@eastgoshen.org

Giddy up folks. This farm needs our support. And East Goshen? While I respect a lot of what you do, I don’t respect this and I am entitled to my opinion.

Thanks for stopping by.

#PACKTHEMEETING

more devon drama: much ado about devon

Yes, I put up this comment. Because that is how I feel. The drama around Devon is seemingly endless…and the intrigue. And to me it does feel (right or wrong) like a Main Line Watergate.

And maybe some of y’all don’t like me saying that, and truly I don’t care.

Do any of you have ANY idea how many contact me about Devon? And how many of those people are contacting me for me to contact media on their behalf with whatever it is they are telling me? And then there is the telling me not to tell them who they are?

No, I won’t discuss who is contacting me, I have honor and a sense of right and wrong. But I can’t tell the story for all of you. When I try to explain that, and explain I can’t just pass what they tell me along unsourced from anonymous sources, I am accused of being hostile.

That’s not hostility, I am being honest and blunt. This is not my story. I pretty much stopped going to Devon consistently in 2012 because I didn’t like what even I was seeing.

In my opinion, the cracks have been showing for years but I actually think now the event and event week is in serious trouble. What happens when one of these events isn’t held for a certain number of consecutive years?

Maybe some don’t like my opinion but it has always been my opinion that if Devon Horse Show failed it would just be a big development site.

This is the corporate board:

This is the foundation board, etc:

I will be honest and say that I don’t understand the cross-pollination between the boards. I also am of the opinion the boards should NOT have the same chairman. I am also of the opinion (and I am allowed to think it) that a lot of the issues surrounding the Devon horse show involve the chairman, correct??

And the chairman (yes, I am using a lowercase C because I don’t think he deserves the upper-case C), seems to wield such power? Why is he the all powerful Oz? Do we not remember about the wizard behind the curtain ending up exposed and not being what they thought he was? Or the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes?

I have heard all the stories, so has most of the local media. Yet nothing changes at Devon and every time something is written about Devon it’s less and less positive isn’t it? The last negativity was the show being canceled again. I wrote about this as well as quite a few media sources and equestrian blogs.

Then recently, Savvy Main Line dished Devon again:

📌With so many accusations and dark theories floating around, Devon Horse Show and Country Fair felt the need to issue not one, but two statements explaining its decision to cancel the show for the second straight year……..Others suspect the show, twice cancelled, might never return. Hadn’t it outgrown its tight quarters? Legacy shows are a dying breed and the demise of Devon was inevitable, wasn’t it? Might the board vote to keep the country fair in Devon, move the horse show elsewhere and sell the horse grounds to developers and should we proactively seek an easement to prevent development of the land? Isn’t there a USEF rule that nixes horse shows that are cancelled two years in a row? COVID was an act of God, but still…📌

There is all this back-and-forth and somewhere in there lies the truth. And the people who want the show to go on are contacting bloggers like me and local media like Savvy and similar people. We are all being told the same thing. But we are also all being told that we can’t disclose their names and can we pass it on to other media but still we can’t disclose names. It doesn’t work like that.

I have spent the better part of the past few days feeling like deep throat out of Watergate. Yes, a 1972 reference to the informant who shared with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein all the Watergate stuff. Woodward and Bernstein were reporters for the Washington Post.

I can’t tell this complete story. Savvy and other local media can’t tell this complete story. The people who know the story have to step forward out of the shadows and into the light and tell the story. They have to stand behind the story they want everyone else to take the risk to tell.

I’m not trying to be mean, but these people whom I actually believe to be in the know, have to decide if they wish to hang onto moldering boxes for a dying event, or if they want to come forward for the greater good to save and preserve this tradition for future generations?

Now before everyone gets all up in arms over that statement I know everyone can’t come forward. But I do know that some people can come forward. And at this point the kind of have to. If people don’t come forward and everything is anonymous tip, nothing will change.

Does the chairman actually have power over these people or do they just allow him to have perceived power over them? What happens if people come forward and tell the truth and shame the devil?

I get harassed by someone every time I write about this topic or refer to something someone else has written. As a matter of fact I get harassed about more than I tell my readers about. I am kind of getting tired of miserable people. Today I had someone tell me I was being hostile because I refused to carry their water over Devon.

And then there was the person who had to give me hell because I described the rotting colonial era farmhouse that is part of the Clews & Strawbridge property which sells boats in Frazer as being “demolition by neglect“ when that’s exactly what it is and I’m entitled to that opinion. “Who told you to say that?” they said. I mean do they have eyes in their head? Can they not see what that house looks like? And they were going to “report me”; and then got mad because I asked if they were going to report me to the opinion police because what I stated it was in fact, my opinion.

Also today? The crack pots who think people are being racist and putting forward social injustices by using the word thug with regard to invasive plants. Thug plants is something commonly said with regard to invasive plants. It’s all about the context of how a word is used. In this context the word thug is being used to describe aggressive, invasive plants. Said plants don’t get hurt feelings, don’t feel racism. People feel and experience racism, but not in the context of plants. Therefore I personally must be racist and intolerant because I think their argument over the term plant thugs is utterly ridiculous.

There is an abundance of keyboard warriors since the onset of COVID. Basically they want to tell everybody how to think, how to act, how to feel, and when to do all of the above. But they don’t want to get involved. They can’t just bitch at me and actual media sources all of the time. Sometimes we can tell your story, or part of your story, but ultimately it’s not our tale to tell. It’s yours,

Some things around Devon horse show I think that might be worth talking about is doing something like maybe create a community trust to buy the land and run Devon Horse Show in perpetuity. This isn’t my idea, this is a friend of mine‘s idea who pointed out that the football team the Green Bay Packers are owned by this type of trust. They also made the salient point that there’s more than enough money in this area to do that. And if they could raise $900,000 or whatever the amount was to try to put the horse show on this year in like 12 hours, why couldn’t they do something like this?

I do think in the short term the people who know board members need to start working those board members. There needs to be a separation of church and state immediately of the corporate board and the foundation board. And these boards shouldn’t have the same chairman. And more of both boards needs to be able to think and act independently of the chairman, correct?

Devon needs another palace coup or in my opinion this downward spiral might not stop. But the “insiders” need to step forward to do this if they really want change. Bloggers and the most local of media can’t do this for y’all. You need to step forward and tell your story.

Here is some of the Devon crap of the past few years:

Inquirer: Devon Horse Show chairman resigns amid development debate by By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
Published Mar 2, 2014

Racked Philadelphia: Controversy Puts Urban Outfitters’ New Lifestyle Center on Pause By Julie Davis Mar 4, 2014, 10:29am EST

Anonymous letter spurs questions over Devon Horse Show, proposed Devon Yard, Urban Outfitters By Linda Stein Oct 7, 2014 Updated Nov 9, 2018

SARAH COXE LANGE IS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE DEVON HORSE SHOW

UPDATE: Devon Horse Show board ousts president, chairman
By Linda Stein Dec 22, 2014 Updated Nov 9, 2018

Inquirer: Ousted Devon Horse Show president calls change a ‘hostile takeover’ by By Justine McDaniel, Inquirer Staff Writer
Published Dec 23, 2014

Ousted Devon Horse Show box holders demand reinstatement
By Linda Stein May 21, 2015

Devon Horse Show chairman pleads guilty to disorderly conduct citation. Devon Horse Show chairman pleads guilty to disorderly conduct citation. By Richard Ilgenfritz
rilgenfritz@21st-centurymedia.com
@rpilgenfritz on Twitter Jul 22, 2016 Updated Oct 3, 2016

Devon Horse Show chief says he was ‘boisterous,’ not drunk By Grace Toohey, STAFF WRITER Published Jul 21, 2016