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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yes this is a rant.

Development should be a four letter word. Nothing has architectural style and human scale is non-existent.

Nothing being proposed on the Main Line or into Chester County and further out even complements the surrounding areas developers want to build in.

Everything is about maximizing density for developer profit.

The problem with that is there are a lot of moving parts and why is it residents can see the holes in the planning process and the zoning process and the development process and the political part of the process yet no one else seems to be willing to?

Everyone always thinks I am 100% against development. I’m actually not, but I cannot stand what is being shoved into our communities today.

The municipalities get all hot and bothered over the short term high of ratables but are incredibly short sighted as to the future. They don’t even look to protect the basics like stress on infrastructure, stress on first responders, stress on school districts which are all getting SO big.

It’s always QUANTITY instead of QUALITY.

And don’t forget the conditions of approval that they could ask for and sometimes they don’t even try. If these developers want to be in our communities then they can build the roads that will support their development. They can help pay for the schools that their future residents will put children into. They can finish the parks the townships don’t ever seem to have the money to either start or complete yet they have the land. And occasionally, these municipalities could learn to say “no give us a better plan.”

And in some municipalities you have to wonder for whom the township staff actually works? For whose benefit do the politicians work?

Years ago several members of the Pennsylvania legislature put forth an idea for a law. That law was simple it would’ve provided a short term moratorium on development. Just enough for Pennsylvania municipalities to hit the pause button to try to get better plans – like 90 or 120 days or something. The lobbyists for parties who objected to this being put forward killed this thing at least twice.

Also the Municipalities Planning Code of Pennsylvania? When was the last time that was comprehensively updated? Wasn’t it either the late 1960s or 1970s?

And here in Chester County why is it everyone thinks the Chester County Planning Commission’s Landscapes is so fabulous? All I see is a blueprint for over-development. We live in Chester County and we don’t live here so we can feel like we live in Bensalem or King of Prussia correct?

And while on the topic of our Chester County Planning Commission why is it our county level planning is being driven by an executive director who does not live in our county? To me that is just nuts and the worst kind of politics. That in my humble opinion is a person not truly invested in our communities and how can he be, he doesn’t live here does he?

We need change or we are going to continue to lose what makes where we live special. I don’t know about you but every time I look at a plan it is homogenous, boring, uninteresting and not community minded in the least for where ever it is proposed. It’s mall architecture. Bleck.

Once open space is gone it doesn’t come back. From Lower Merion in Montgomery County through to Caln in Chester County and everywhere in between, something has got to give.

And the history and historic preservation also doesn’t seem to matter. And it should.

I have never believed in “build it and they will come” as a reason to develop. And I’m not saying there aren’t areas that are in need of sprucing up. There are. Only the planning and vision that is realistic doesn’t seem to exist does it?

And the zoning? Why is everything high density? And all these special zoning overlay districts? Who benefits besides developers?

But everything is the same: ugly apartment buildings, cheap townhouse communities, fake carriage house communities. Density, density, and more density.

And in a lot of areas people are asking about low income and affordable housing. And we’re not talking section 8 here we’re talking about where do the single mothers go if they want to live in a safe community and raise their children? Where do our seniors go who can’t afford ritzy retirement communities? Where do regular people go who can’t afford McMansions?

And is there the economy to support this development? I was talking to somebody last week who remarked about not being able to work close to home. So are the jobs really here locally that will support the development? In my opinion, no.

Yes this is a RANT. And developers aren’t going to like this post, but none of you were being singled out. I am disgusted with all of it.

We deserve better. We need to demand better.

Development is an epidemic and we need a solution.

are traffic accidents a symptom of over-development?

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August 14, 2019 PM accident at Route 30 and 352/Sproul Rd in East Whiteland.

WARNING: RANT AHEAD. TURN AWAY NOW IF YOU AREN’T INTERESTED.

There was ANOTHER accident at Route 352/ Sproul Road and Route 30/Lancaster Avenue in East Whiteland Township again earlier this evening. Right after I came through the intersection basically.

There was an accident at a similar time LAST evening. Same location.

Are traffic accidents a symptom of over-development due to stressed overcrowded roadways?

This intersection in East Whiteland is much like a couple of problematic intersections in West Whiteland.  Take for example the West Whiteland intersection at Whitford Road from the train station side and Route 30/ Lancaster Ave/Lincoln Highway. Maybe there should be NO right turn on red and whatever else can happen to ensure better safety on the roads? I go through that particular West Whiteland intersection at least twice a week and people run that light there and just dive into the intersection.  This afternoon at a little past noon as a matter of fact, a BIG truck was what dove onto Route 30 West towards Downingtown from Whitford Road.  The light had changed. It was red for Whitford on all sides, but it didn’t matter people were diving left and right. 

But I digress, back to East Whiteland.

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From the people in Linden Hall  (which sits at 30 and 352) I have learned there are at least 25 kids in that development. Ages are infant though high school. Plus all of the adult residents.  Are there lives to spare, East Whiteland? I don’t think so.  (And don’t get me started on the sloppy ugly construction site left by Linden Hall as in the historic structure. Has anyone from East Whiteland bother to swing by to see the “parking lot”? Would you be happy as residents to see that site?)

Now BACK to the traffic at the intersection of Route 30/Lancaster Ave and Route 352/Sproul Road in East Whiteland. Can we talk about the people turning LEFT from Lancaster (westbound direction) onto Route 352/Sproul Road sit in CENTER of intersection even through signal changes effectively blocking ability of Linden Hall residents to safely exit their development— this development which East Whiteland approved and allowed to be built. And someone keeps denying them a left turn signal  they have requested of the township (or PennDOT?) so they can exit  more safely.  They are crammed in like lemmings in that development so why aren’t there enough people to justify it?

Can’t have it both ways. If East Whiteland Township (as well as neighboring townships) are going to cram every square inch with development they have a responsibility to ensure the safety of residents. For goodness sake, make these developers pay for sufficient road improvements and for installing township parks and stuff. It’s called conditions of plan approval, right????

But hey, we all know how traffic concerns in East Whiteland from Carol Lane and Summit residents got translated by certain East Whiteland supervisors the last time, remember?  All of a sudden, their traffic issues became the impetus for a traffic circle at Route 352/Sproul Road/North Chester Road and King, correct?

So…once again Carol Lane and Summit Road neighbors are attempting to have a meaningful conversation with East Whiteland to get what they feel are much needed traffic corrections to Summit, Carol, and those streets in THAT neighborhood.

WHAT THE RESIDENTS ARE TRYING TO MAKE EAST WHITELAND TOWNSHIP UNDERSTAND IS THAT THEY WANT IS TRAFFIC CALMING ON SUMMIT AND CAROL, PART OF SUMMIT FROM CAROL TO MADELINE AND SUMMIT BETWEEN CAROL AND WOODCREST.

I have born witness to the speeding on Carol and Summit myself as recently I drove through there to just see if I could get the idea of what goes on. What goes on is people cut through and speed. I had someone on my tail and for a couple of moments I actually thought they might pass me for doing speed limit. My friends over there tell me they have had cut through speeders pass them for going the speed limit.

This neighborhood has at least 20 children on Summit from Carol to 352, 10 on Carol, 8 or 9 on another connecting street and dog walkers, walkers, and joggers. Are there lives to spare here at this location, East Whiteland?

People living in East Whiteland and neighboring townships are really struggling to co-exist with the insane amount of development. Residents should matter more than the ratables and ill-advised development saturated comprehensive plans on a local or county level. But do residents matter?

After all residents in East Whiteland have expressed concern about the number of living units for what they call “Frazer Lanes Redevelopment“. Everyone agrees the site could stand to be improved BUT what will life be like when 227 units in 4 stories on 5 acres is built with 330 total parking spaces across from the Wawa at the corner of 30 and Planebrook?

What will life be like as you go west on 30 and hit the intersection of Ship Road if that development gets built?

Inquirer: Another Wawa may be coming to Chester County after town officials change zoning rules
by Katie Park, Updated: May 23, 2019

A Wawa may soon be built next to a centuries-old chapel and tavern in Chester County after officials approved a zoning change that cleared the way for the convenience-store giant.

The West Whiteland Township Board of Supervisors voted 2-1 on Wednesday to allow Wawa to move into a yet-to-be-built 5,600-square-foot building — complete with eight gas pumps — at 690 E. Lincoln Highway, once home to an Entenmann’s pastry factory and outlet store….As a result of the supervisors’ decision, developer Eli Kahn, the owner of eight acres at 690 E. Lincoln Highway, said he would likely not go forward with his original plans to build 130 apartments and a three-story office building there in favor of about 80 townhouses, the building he plans to lease to Wawa, and two other retail buildings that he could also rent out.

NVR Homes, which teamed up with Kahn, has also indicated it would not build more than 400 apartments and townhouses on 52 acres at 500 E. Lincoln Highway — the former home of the Laborers’ Training Facility — and instead opt for about 90 single-family homes and 65 townhouses, West Whiteland officials said.

Is it just me or is the Ship Road Couplet and development insanity…well, crazy?

Here is where you click to see most of what West Whiteland has going on development-wise: Spring 2019 Present & Proposed Developments Map

Here is where you click to see most of what East Whiteland has going on development-wise: Subdivision and Land Development Plans.

And we can’t leave East Goshen out of the equation given the Paoli Pike debacle can we? You see, the East Goshen Board of Supervisors will meet to discuss the proposal from The Hankin Group on further development of 1351 Paoli Pike on Tuesday, August 29, 2019 at 7:00 pm.

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And don’t get me started on West Goshen and that hideous development at Greystone (I tell you what I sure wouldn’t be a bride paying for a pricey wedding at the Greystone Hall venue now.)

And there is what? Another elementary school being built over there? (But hey now development doesn’t add to the burdens of a school district, right? )

Back to East Whiteland (and anyone else in Great Valley School District).  I still think in my humble opinion it is not a question of IF but WHEN the Great Valley School District will be dealing with a Great Valley East and Great Valley West situation.  Whose land will they take to deal will the growing population and a need for larger if not additional schools?

Back to what inspired this post: stressed out infrastructure. In this case roads and intersections ill-equipped to effectively handle traffic. And it’s only getting worse.  In East Whiteland every which way you turn there is yet another development.  Much like West Whiteland. But the roads? The roads are essentially the same and how can they be?

Can I say planning in these townships and at the county level just sucks? It does. It just sucks.  Chester County Planning Commission has a NON-resident as it’s Executive Director and it shows. That guy is not invested in our communities. He is a non-resident carpetbagger the taxpayers are paying for.  Landscapes is a joke as well. The “vision” message is clear: development, development, development. Seriously. LOOK at the interactive development map.

Zoning in townships like East Whiteland and West Whiteland should benefit the residents. But can it be said zoning benefits special interests and developers mostly?

Oh I know, I know.  This is indeed a full-on rant but something has got to give.  And I say a side effect of development are accidents since I feel traffic accidents a symptom of over-development due to stressed and overcrowded roadways.

We as residents deserve better. We also need better representation in local government.  As residents, we need to take our power back collectively. After all did any of us move to Chester County so we could live in King of Prussia-lite or Bensalem-lite?

NOPE.

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August 13, 2019 PM accident at Route 30 and 352/Sproul Rd in East Whiteland.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then she says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s the love hate relationship with social media.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Say what??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10+ Types of Facebook Posters

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

Image result for social media power brokers

things self-respecting, intelligent  women should never be includes…

THE STEPFORD WIVES, Toni Reid, Carole Mallory, Tina Louise, Katherine Ross, Paula Prentiss, BarbaraThings that self-respecting, intelligent women should never be includes….being a Trump apologist.

There I said it.  I don’t wander into national politics much because well, this country has dissolved into a hateful nation where you can’t have political discussions or random conversations about politics without threats and lots and lots of four letter words and harassment.

By writing this post I know I will be harassed on social media at a minimum.  I also know that too many woman I actually know and respect will try to reach out to me to change my mind.

Sorry ladies. Not. Drinking. That. Kool-Aid.

Today the GOP battle cry went out with one of the Junior Trump wives for the Political Stepford Wives to unite…in King of Prussia…at a Casino.  Does anyone else see the irony of launching at a casino which as a business model is something Trump crashed and burned at, correct? And King of Prussia during a heat advisory? Forgeddaboutit.

So Lara Trump the plastic bobble-head married to Eric and who has been described as a “a Marie Antoinette for 2019 America” is in King of Prussia to launch “Women for Trump”. And the crowds of the great uniformed rolled in, just like a massive army of Stepford Wives.

JULY 16, 2019 Lara Trump launches ‘Women for Trump’ coalition in King of Prussia
 BY VIRGINIA STREVA
PhillyVoice Staff

Lara Trump will be in King of Prussia on Tuesday to launch a coalition dedicated to recruiting women to support President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

Lara Trump, the president’s daughter in-law, will be appearing on behalf of the National Women’s Coalition for Trump. The coalition’s rollout takes place Tuesday at the Valley Forge Casino Resort….While Republican women are mostly in support of the president, the majority of women voted for Democrats in the 2018 midterm election. According to Pew Research, 59% of women voted for Democratic candidates last November. 

We as women, can’t just sit idly by no matter what our political persuasion and say nothing. And until they repeal the First Amendment I will be speaking my truth.

Already for saying this verkakte plan is embarrassing to women everywhere, I have Trump supporters vomiting on my social media pages.  Including women I call friends.  News Flash: First Amendment says I still have the right to speak my mind. And I think this is the worst president in my lifetime and I remember watching Nixon get impeached and the impeachment hearings on Clinton and his indiscretions.

gross1

And this “launch” of a vomitorious Political Stepford Convention  at a tack ass casino no less, comes on the heels of what appears to be blatant and thus far unapologetic racism out of the White House which has ricocheted around Washington DC as well as the entire country.

And according to NBC News this afternoon:

The House on Tuesday will vote on a resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s “racist comments” directed at four congresswomen of color who he said should “go back” where “they came” from.

How can so many intelligent, thinking women turn into Political Stepford Wives and Trump Apologists?

I don’t get it.  Just how I don’t get how people think this country is improving.  Are we better off than we were four years ago? No I do not think so, sadly.

And again, the First Amendment says I can have my opinion. If you don’t like my opinion, scroll on by.

I do not find comments like “Leftist tolerance on full display” helpful. Keep them to yourself. And for the record, I was a Republican until May, 2016.  I am now a registered Independent. Not that it is anyone’s business, truthfully.  But I get tired of being called a socialist, communist, and C**t liberal.  I also get tired of people emailing and calling me to change my mind. Is my one opinion such a threat?

I am a moderate and an independent thinker. I am not telling any of you how to think or feel on this topic, I am expressing HOW I FEEL.  And how I feel as a woman is betrayed.

The major political parties in this country are betraying Americans on both sides of the aisle.  Why do I say that? Simple: political extremism is dividing this great country.  United we stand, divide we fall.  I would love a return to moderation.

USA TODAY OPINION
If Republicans can’t condemn Trump’s racist tweets, they are as racist as he is
Elvia Díaz, Arizona Republic Published 12:58 p.m. ET July 15, 2019 | Updated 1:21 p.m. ET July 16, 2019

President Donald Trump didn’t invent bigotry. It’s always been there, just beneath the surface where America’s collective conscience could pretend it didn’t exist.

Immigrants like me know it because we’ve endured the incessant “go back” drumbeat from the moment we set foot on American soil. Every generation of immigrants has endured it, from the Africans, the Irish, the Chinese to the Mexican…

I am a descendant of immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants.  This country was founded by immigrants. As Americans, we have to find our way back to who we really are and what we are descended from.

As Americans we have to stop fueling hate with angry vitriol. Please America, take off the blinders as see Lady Liberty weeping for all of us collectively.

Image result for stepford wives 1970s

 

why no one should shop at sears…EVER

IMG_9575

Meet our giant white paperweight.  Sears delivered a BRAND NEW BROKEN, yes BROKEN refrigerator.  They refused to come back and pick it up even though we called within MINUTES of the truck leaving our driveway.

Today was just a day.

From hell.

Our pretty Samsung refrigerator went on life support and repairs would have been easily more than half of a new refrigerator so we opted to replace it.

We have always done the bulk of our appliance shopping over the past few years from the Sears Outlet online.  My husband liked dealing with them…I had no issues until today, either.

Let’s back up to we ordered the new refrigerator.  Nothing fancy, a Kenmore side by side with ice and water on the door.  We figured we would go with something we thought could get repaired in case of an issue.

Up until a few years ago, when you got a new appliance, they took the old appliance away. Not anymore.  So we had to hire our favorite movers (Lite Movers of Wayne, PA and they are awesome) to come move the dying fridge out of the house pending pick up from PECO who does appliance recycling (it has to run when it is plugged in still, which the old one does.)

Fast forward until today.  They came to deliver the Sears refrigerator.  What they will do now is unbox it and move it into place, the rest is on the customer. It was quite the ordeal to get everything moved and prepped and ready as ours is an older home.

The delivery guys couldn’t have been nicer.  They unboxed it and pointed out a scratch in the white door.  That was no biggie as it was nothing a little appliance touch up paint couldn’t cover.

The delivery guys plugged it in and were on their way.  Then I went to open the refrigerator door.  It would not open.  The freezer door opened fine, but the refrigerator side? BROKEN.  Son of a bitch we just paid to have a dying appliance replaced with a broken appliance.  Yes, I am cursing, it has been a very special day.

Immediately we are on the phone to Sears. Only you CANNOT get a person in the US on the phone. All people in offshore call centers reading from scripts that tell you that they “completely understand” how you are feeling.  Uhh no, you couldn’t possibly understand. Trust me.

After four frustrating calls where all I get is the Philippines and they can’t help and they want me to talk to the outlet store in Norristown, PA.  Norristown isn’t going to help me, I ordered ONLINE. Oh and they keep mispronouncing my name. Which is incredibly offensive after the 6th mispronounce in one conversation.

These helpful offshore call center employees of Sears may be fluent in English to a point, but they are not native speakers.  English is a second language and they just aren’t comprehending what is being said, and can’t go off script.  They also can’t (or maybe it’s won’t?) transfer your call BACK to the U.S. Every other cheap American company which utilizes offshore labor has the ability to transfer you BACK to a U.S. call center if that is what you want, even Comcast, which I think has some of the absolute worst customer service ever.

I go to trusty Google and Google the corporate offices of Sears. Aha! An actual address and phone number with a recognizable U.S. area code.

But no.  You dial and you get…the Philippines. So I keep dialing.  ONE time out of about two dozen calls I get someone in Illinois.  I think they were related to the Seinfeld Soup Nazi of days gone by they were so rude.  “You listen to me,” the operator says. “I am going to talk and then you can speak. You are going to listen to ME. I am not listening to you.”

(SAY WHAAAATTT?)

I try to explain to the operator I would like to speak with someone in the Executive Offices specifically having to do with serious customer service issues.  The operator told me that essentially those people would not speak with me. I can’t remember the exact phraseology but it was probably the rudest switchboard operator since they first were handling one ringy dingy. They were so bad I wished I had recorded the conversation. I ended the call and tried calling back to get someone, anyone to help me.

Yeah…. so….. no…. just more  Phillipines. (And you know why these call centers are in off shore and third world countries, right? It is so they can pay employees super duper low wages and get away with it.  Cheap labor.

So I started looking around for other people to speak with.  They say Eddie Lampert is the CEO or President or Chairman of the Board.   Only you can’t speak with him or anyone in his office, all you get is a voicemail in Illinois that never calls anyone back.  I have to wonder if anyone listens to it. There is also this chick, Leena Munjal
Senior Vice President, Customer Experience and Integrated Retail.  She is unable to come to the phone as well. Very busy important people. Me the peon should just know better, right?

who to call

So I kept Googling.  Apparently Mr. Fast Eddie Lampert is just a hedge fund guy. Yep, just another hedge fund guy picking the carcass of a business clean for their own profits, right?

Here, I looked up Eddie Lampert and found this:

 

 

New York Times : Sears and Its Hedge Fund Owner, in Slow Decline Together By James B. Stewart
March 30, 2017

Hedge funds have been failing over the last year at the fastest rate since the financial crisis in 2008. Some crashed and burned after sudden reversals. Others quietly liquidated.

Then there’s Edward S. Lampert’s ESL Investments. It hasn’t failed, but may be setting a benchmark for slow, painful declines thanks to its outsize, long-term bet on two venerable retailers, Sears and Kmart.

Last week, Sears Holdings, the parent company, said what was becoming increasingly obvious to most investors, not to mention anyone who’s been in a Sears store lately: “Substantial doubt exists related to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”….Mr. Lampert was a Wall Street wunderkind, a Goldman Sachs intern whose intellect, ingratiating personality and prodigious work ethic attracted the patronage of some of America’s most prominent and successful investors…founded ESL in 1988 with $28 million in seed money … 

Sears’ reclusive CEO explains why he rarely visits the office — and instead lives at his sprawling $38 million estate that’s 1,400 miles away
Business Insider Hayley Peterson Mar. 27, 2018, 10:55 AM

“THEY COULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENT DECISION”: INSIDE THE STRANGE ODYSSEY OF HEDGE-FUND KING EDDIE LAMPERT
In 2003, many were skeptical when Lampert married Sears to Kmart. Now, with hundreds of stores closed and thousands thrown out of work, Lampert defends his strategies in his first in-depth interview in 15 years. The author also tracks down the man who kidnapped Lampert before the Kmart deal went through.

bloomberg

VANITY FAIR BY WILLIAM D. COHAN
APRIL 2018

Aug 20, 2018, 03:23pm
Fortune: Eddie Lampert Just Can’t Stop Picking At Sears’ Carcass
Steve Dennis

There are many, many articles. I am not posting more. They are all variations of the same theme.

So I also decided to call up the ESL hedge fund so I looked them up on Bloomberg.

Yes really, I called.  So what?

Did I expect to get anyone to speak with me? No, but it has been the day from hell with Sears so what did I have to lose? I was kind of curious as to what they would say.

Years ago, I worked for a couple of years for a now-defunct hedge fund. So I knew whomever answered the phone would be snotty pants the receptionist.  She did not disappoint. She was superior to little old me in every way…on the phone.

 

Whatevs.  I admit I was unpleasant and irritating.  But in my own defense, I have a dying refrigerator outside pending pick up for disposal, and a giant white albatross paperweight of a broken yet new refrigerator in my kitchen, which I now have to pay to have moved out of my kitchen so Sears can retrieve it.  I cook, I like a neat house and everything looks like hell in a hand basket.

Apparently it is too much to ask to have a WORKING REFRIGERATOR DELIVERED BY SEARS!!!

I now know no more Sears for anything. I understand why so many Sears and Kmart stores have closed.  I understand why people said to me we should have called Queen, or D & K, or Gerhard’s  or another local appliance store…or even Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Sears sucks. I hope the hedge fund prince of an owner enjoys his lovely estates. I hope someone involves them and Sears in a giant class action lawsuit some day.  For the crappy customer service alone and the inability to talk to anyone pleasant in the U.S. they deserve no less.

Don’t buy a paperclip from Sears.

Sign me disgusted by yet another U.S. business that is being killed by a hedge fund.

cheap construction

A friend sent me some of the photos and some are mine. This is a brand new townhouse development. And it’s horrible looking.

Whatever happened to true quality of design and construction?

And people wonder why I have issue with a lot of this development? Look at it.

Linden Hall in East Whiteland- they call it Malvern but it’s Frazer. Surely the developer could have spent a minute more on them? Front end loaded lack of architecture and rickety rears is all they could accomplish?

This is the crap the developers are telling our townships we need. Shall we start the bets now on when they will fall apart? Look at the decks. So cheap.

Be sure to check out the “driveways”. If you noodle around in the development when people are home, you may notice what we did: they seem a little shallow don’t they? Would you want to have your car hanging out into the road when you were trying to park in your driveway? That is so urban back alley.

Even the downspouts seem short, but hey what’s a little water in your foundation over time?

The irony is these townhouses look cheap but they’re not cheap. They are not top-of-the-line expensive, but they’re not inexpensive, either. And they add how many to the school district?

And as I wondered what would happen when they were proposed, everyone is crammed in like lemmings. So you better like all of your neighbors because they are practically sitting in your lap.

Can all emergency vehicles truly navigate this development from all sides and angles?

Welcome to the modern tenement. And here we are in beautiful Chester County and there is also barely a blade or two of grass.

Ugh.