leveling the playing field over lights.

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I am prefacing ALL comments with I have NOTHING against baseball or any local little league organizations. That is NOT what this is about. What this is about is LIGHT POLLUTION. And the right residents have to not have where they live lit up at night like noontime sun for extended periods of time.

In August, the Great Valley Little League was coming before East Whiteland Zoning for a variance:

****Appeal No. 2016-17 Application of Great Valley Little League for a variance from the 35-foot height limitation for all outdoor illumination fixtures for recreational and sports lighting, in order to construct and utilize four illumination fixtures (two poles at 70 feet in height, and two poles at 60 feet in height) in order to illuminate a little league baseball field on its property located at 1300 West King Road (UPI 42-6-40.1-E) in an R- 1 Residential Zoning District of the Township.*****

I will admit I found it distinctly ODD at the time that the neighbors around there said nothing.  And well they got their variance but under not institutional lighting, not residential lighting, but I was told under commercial lighting like they are on Route 30 or Rout 100 in a business district and NOT where they actually are….a residential area.

So, given the zoning hearing was in the dead of summer, and the notice was kind of posted last minute on the actual field, it doesn’t surprise me that the Zoning Hearing Board just approved the poles with not much of a thought to residents within the legal notice zone and those who are not but are still affected by BIG LIGHTS that cause that thing called LIGHT POLLUTION.

So the Little League strategy obviously was to go first to Zoning for the relief they sought and then to go to Planning for conditional approval, do I have that right? They thought no one would be bothered?

Some neighbors showed up at the East Whiteland September Planning Meeting and Planning delayed any action on the conditional use because they (GVLL/Great Valley Little League) apparently had not engaged the immediate neighbors.  It was reported to me that neighbors said they followed the advice of the Township? What does that mean and who advised them in particular? Zoning? Supervisor? Staff? Apparently, then the guy in charge of the GVLL (or whomever was at the meeting) stated that he can build lights in the parking lot by right or something to that affect. (Of course, he was granted a sweetheart variance, correct?)

Ok regardless of whether or not it is BY RIGHT or NOT, they have neighbors, including people RIGHT across King who also get inconvenienced by their storm water runoff at times, or I am told. And given the runoff I have driven through over there, I believe it.

Also notable: some East Whiteland ordinance I am told allows lights like this to be on 40 nights over 365 nights (1 year), which has people concerned that GVLL might try to say they are entitled to use the lights 40 Nights over their 90 Day Season, or essentially continually Memorial Day to Labor Day?? Ummm shouldn’t the interpretation be based upon a pro-rated or perhaps 9.86 nights? If they go for a broad interpretation is that FAIR to those of us who live within the light area that basically there will basically be a Northern Lights effect ALL summer long?

How can we trust the Great Valley Little League will buy lights with the best possible shielding and so on? The answer is you can’t. Who will babysit them for compliance in operating the lights and address the non-compliance? I can tell you from past experience municipalities push that off on residents (just ask the Radnor Township residents who deal with Villanova stadium and field lights.)

No one living near that field moved there so they could live next door to the little league version of Citizen’s Bank Park.

AGAIN, I am NOT anti-Little League. What I object to is residents NOT really being part of the process FAIRLY. We live here and like it or not, the Little League folks come and go. I doubt they would want bright lights shining in their windows at night. Acting in good faith is a big deal, kind of like good sportsmanship.

So that being said OCTOBER 19th at East Whiteland’s Township Building at 7 PM  located at 209 Conestoga Rd, Frazer, PA 19355 there will be a meeting with neighbors.  GVLL has apparently sent out a mass e-mail to their membership instructing parents to show up with kids in uniform.  It is their right, but they are trying to unduly influence East Whiteland and discourage neighbors from speaking up.

That is not right.  And this is not an issue of health of the young, this is a reasonable expectation of quiet enjoyment issue that is a tangible right of homeowners. And the issues caused by light pollution are real and well documented.

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I will add to the e-mails on this flyer, the Chair of the Supervisors Bill Holmes bholmes@eastwhiteland.org and the Township Manager John Nagel jnagel@eastwhiteland.org .

The issues with the little league where the lights are concerned include:

  • The number of nights per week that games can be played (currently not limited)
  • The hours of operation (Currently 10 pm weeknights and 11 pm weekends)
  • The use of the PA system including the VOLUME level and how late into the evening it can be used (currently 8 pm)
  • Light spillage
  • The future need to light the parking lot
  • Extended season, tournament play, increased traffic and non-league use of playing fields (OR RENTING OUT THE FIELDS TO WHOMEVER FOR WHATEVER)

This October 19th meeting is really important so if you can show up to support the neighbors that would be awesome.

NO ONE IS ANTI-CHILD SPORTS or ANTI-LITTLE LEAGUE.  These neighbors got dealt a poor hand and no one is sticking up for them and they have rights TOO.  These people leave the little league fields on King Road and go home. They won’t be having stadium lights shining in their windows at night.   Truthfully, they do not care. They just want their lights.

Interestingly I was told but can’t prove the numbers are down on little league membership with Great Valley Little League? If this is true, is this a wise financial decision?

Now as the GVLL/Great Valley Little League is asking for things, how will they address pre-existing issues? These issues include:

  • Traffic.  The way people pull in and out of that field can be a problem, so why is it they do not have police being paid to direct traffic, or are out there safely directing people in and out? It is King Road, it’s BUSY.
  • Storm water runoff. Even a small cloud burst causes GIANT puddles. A normal rain event causes flooding on King Road in front of their fields.  When it is a heavy rain event, the water accumulation can be significant.

Anyway, that is the scoop.  Not anti-baseball. Not anti-kids. Not anti-little league.  But what on earth did Great Valley Little League think was going to happen if they tried to sneak/shove this through? These people are supposed to be teaching kids good sportsmanship and fair play among other things, right?

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life and politics

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It is now about 24 hours since I found myself ensnared in the last minute politics of haste and vitriol in Chester County. If you are playing blog catch-up see the post prior to this.

As a new resident I find myself the unwitting target of the woman who calls herself chief cook and bottle washer of the Chester County Democratic Party.

The great irony of course in all of this is until yesterday I never knew she existed on the face of this earth. We have never met or spoken.

According to her I am some sort of dragonslayer of Democrats or truth, justice, and the American way. (It gets a little confusing.)

All because I met a woman door knocking over the summer who is running for supervisor in East Whiteland named Maureen Martinez.

And yes that is exactly how and when Maureen and I met. I thought she was nice and as someone who wants to represent people and serve in public office, I liked what she had to say.

I have gotten to know Maureen since then slowly. There is no plan or plot. I am not some paid shill of another political party. We discovered shared interests over the past few months as people becoming acquainted do.

But as this person whom I don’t know tells it, I have known Maureen Martinez for years and years and this is some big plot, and better yet, this is why I moved to Chester County. Nevermind the fact that I fell in love with a man who was once a boy I was friends with in high school. After all. and sadly, often when it comes to politics, the truth doesn’t matter.

But at the end of the day, I have survived harder things, namely breast cancer. I thank all of you who have sent me nice messages of support from both political parties. It heartens me to the goodness of people in the face of fibs and nastiness.

My grandmother always said you should make at least one new friend a year. And Maureen Martinez is someone I am proud to call friend. And I think she will make a terrific supervisor. And she is not running for office so she can use that office to run for yet other offices. To me that is always an important distinction.

Have a great Saturday! It is so beautiful a day!

not my tea party

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Greetings Chester County voters. It’s me, your friendly neighborhood blogger. Maybe the Bill Holmes campaign in East Whiteland isn’t going so well?

I am thinking so because it has come to my attention that either the Democratic Party of Chester County or the Democratic Party of East Whiteland seem to have an awful lot to say about this blog and blogger.  Seriously, there is this woman whom I don’t know and have never met and who I am told is not just a Democrat in charge in East Whiteland but head of the party in ALL of Chester County and who is all in a swivet over me and isn’t that just kooky?

They and she don’t know me from Adam’s house cat, yet VOILA! they are making rather amusing pronouncements. They are putting it out there that I am (among other things)…wait for it… a TEA PARTIER!!!

Me? For real? Do my opinions make them that nervous?

Lordy… ask most Republicans and they will tell you I am an inconvenient Republican at best. Truthfully I am a lot of the time almost a New England Democrat as I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

Not that any of this matters because I know what I am and who I am and am quite comfortable in my own skin. Which is more than you can say about idle political gossip mongers.

I am an equal opportunity offender when it comes to politics, and feel free to express my opinion when the mood strikes me. Truthfully I would become an Independent if it did not mean losing my right to vote in primary elections.

As for the Tea Party, I am definitely not one of their chosen people because my opinion of that movement is they are quite frankly ruining the Republican Party.

So this is indeed a fine how de do to politics in Chester County and I very amused and also saddened that a bunch of Democrats would have a problem with any woman exercising her right to choose….politically.

And (big sigh) at the end of the day what this is really and truly about is these political titans are threatened by my friend Maureen Martinez who is running for Supervisor in East Whiteland.

I mean gosh oh golly, why else would they do all the silly things they have been doing? So when they can’t do anything productive all of a sudden because we are two women with opinions we are Tea Partiers? Me-OW! That is as Simple Simon as saying any woman who exercises a strong opinion about anything is a bitch.

What saddens me here in addition,  is it is difficult  for any woman anywhere to get any traction in politics. So here is this head of a political party who happens to be female running around doing this stuff which is so childish. Democrat or Republican, actions like these set women back, plain and simple. And I am not some huge bra burning women’s libber saying that, it just happens to be the truth.

The irony is of course I have no political aspirations, I am merely one woman exercising my freedom of speech. This is hardly all I write about. Truthfully it is a very small component of it.

I guess this whole issue is an interesting testament to the power of the written word? But is it really good politics to try to sully the name of a breast cancer survivor she’s never even met during Breast Cancer Awareness Month? I guess this issue is also testament to the nature of women which is so disappointing at times isn’t it? Women should be kinder to each other and for me personally, this is a takeaway lesson.

Geez Chesco Dems you are being silly , silly, silly….it’s like high school all over again. But if you wanted to find a tea party here, you won’t.

Maybe y’all should spend a little more time on your candidates and educating them on real issues that matter to people versus this kind of whisper down the lane nonsense that demeans you and your candidates equally.

Happy Friday all!

crumbling colonial next to clews and strawbridge in frazer

next to clews and strawbridge

Look at it crumble. Astounding.  Soon the vines that twist and cover will own what I believe to be an 18th century house next to Clews & Strawbridge on Route 30 in Frazer, PA.  Does anyone know anything about this? And is this the ultimate historic preservation in what I assume is East Whiteland? Structures just molder until they completely rot away? So if I am say, “Getting on Board With Bill”, is this what I am signing up for? Should things like this that rot (Loch Aerie, Linden House, Ebenezer AME just to name a few in East Whiteland) be considered accomplishments during his tenure? I am a realist, and I know that not every old house can be saved, nor every truly historic structure, but wow, it just seems like East Whiteland Supervisors need to kick it up a notch, don’t they?  Why can’t they ask all these deep pocketed developers in the Township to assist?

Where is historic preservation in East Whiteland? I mean other than what Immaculata has accomplished for Duffy’s Cut that is?

door knocking and candidate frequent flyer miles

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Door knocking season is upon us. This evening did not bring a candidate, but a volunteer on behalf of a candidate . The candidate is Bill Holmes, running for East Whiteland Supervisor. Apparently he is an incumbent of sorts.

His volunteer credited him with Uptown Worthington and Wegman’s. Would love to get Brian O’Neill’s opinion on this wouldn’t you? Mr. O’Neill likes to have top billing, generally speaking doesn’t he? But anything is possible since his honorary campaign chair is East Whiteland Supervisor Virginia McMichael (D).

Now Virginia McMichael seems interesting and is obviously really bright. Malvern Patch on Nov. 4, 2011 reported that McMichael was a former Rendell Common Pleas judge nominee that got “stalled” in the PA State Senate, and that her hubby Larry McMichael is one of developer O’Neill’s lawyers? Holy recusal city Batman, right?

But back to Bill Holmes who is employed in IT or something at Vanguard. So wow….what happens if Vanguard ends up coming to East Whiteland like his campaign website infers ? (His website states “Vanguard expansion forthcoming” ) You have him having to recuse (and he should be already if it comes up for discussion, right?) on Vanguard and McMichael on O’Neill issues so that leaves what? Only one supervisor free of conflicts or appearance of conflicts over major issues having to do with big companies? (Do I have that right? And if I have this wrong, please correct me.)

Anyway….Let us start with his literature “Come Fly With Bill”. Oh sorry, that is not quite right, it is actually worse: “Get On Board With Bill”. (Can’t you just hear the train whistle?) Am I to infer there is something wrong with me if I am not immediately on board with someone who means absolutely nothing to me in the first place?

Also according to the Chester County Democrat Committee he is some sort of endorsed Democrat candidate (they use the phrase “supported candidates”) so why is it on his door knocking palm cards it does not give party affiliation anywhere? Is he ashamed to be a Democrat? Why can’t I seem to locate his party affiliation on his candidate website ? Is it there and I simply don’t see it?

Another thing I noticed on his accomplishments section of his website and campaign literature it is as if he personally takes credit for Moody’s rating East Whiteland aa2?

Let us not forget that Moody’s Investor Services operates under an issuer paid model. One could say that you get what you pay for as an issuer of debt, yes? East Whiteland issues debt, yes? And given the role Moody’s and S&P seemed to have in market/economy meltdowns circa 2008, well……sigh, maybe not something so much to brag about?

Look, I am sure he must be an affable fellow even if he doesn’t seem to be able to go door knocking on his own, but unfortunately for him there is a better candidate running for supervisor in East Whiteland. Her name is Maureen Martinez. She seems to manage door knocking personally and she works, has kids, is on the planning commission, has time for non-profit work and so on.

Maureen Martinez is not afraid to tell you she is an endorsed Republican candidate, and you can see her affiliation on her literature.

I am not endorsing her, but I am telling you she is far more appealing than the candidate who can’t do his own door knocking, can’t disclose party affiliation on literature he has other people tote around, brags about a business expansion that would mean he would have a potential conflict gives me pause, and how is that wrong ?

I am new to Chester County politics but have long been a student of politics. I go with my instincts. And my instincts say candidates who appear to brag and who can’t come around and hand out their own literature are not my cup of tea. They might be affable, they might be lots of things, just not necessarily the right person right now. They may have indeed provided years of service but sometimes change is good, right?

What moves me is not party affiliation either. I am and always have been a ticket splitter. What moves me are candidates who take the time to try to talk to all residents. And face it, East Whiteland has more non-voting business residents than actual voting and living in the township residents. So if I were running even as an incumbent I would get my feet on the street personally.

I mean Mr. Holmes no disrespect but you only get one chance as a political candidate to make a good impression and the one who had done that is Maureen Martinez. And frankly sometimes it just takes a good woman to get the job done.

Sources for this post include:

http://www.MM4EW.com

http://www.BillHolmesforEW.org

http://www.chescodems.org

Malvern Patch November 4, 2011 “East Whiteland Supervisor Race: McMichael and Matty” by Pete Kennedy

East Whiteland Republican Committee Facebook page

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