perversion

From Radnor Democrats Public Facebook Page. It had as a caption “Radnor Democrats
June 11, 2016 at 4:41pm · We always say that the Radnor Democrats have a big, diverse tent and to “join the Party.” Well, today, at the Wayne Music Festival, the Radnor Democrats LITERALLY have a big tent!”

Where to begin? Let’s start at the bitter end of September when news broke that there had been a not-local (as in NOT Radnor PD) law enforcement raid had occurred in Radnor Township.  The target? Phil Ahr, newly minted as of this summer President of the Radnor Board of Commissioners. 

News has swirled when he missed the regular meeting shortly after the raid and  then and this past Monday, some commissioners had wanted Ahr to resign. But the Democrat commissioners (Nagle, Higgins, Schaeffer) blocked the efforts.  I will admit that while they were speaking the truth about guilty until proven innocent, BUT this is the second scandal to rock Radnor Democrats with a Board of Commissioners president given the fact that in June former Commissioner and Board of Commissioners President Bill Spingler was found guilty by a Delaware County jury  of “indecent assault on a person with a mental disability.” (His 100+ year old former mother-in-law.) Ironically, Mr. Spingler is to be sentenced or something tomorrow a lot of newscasters in Philadelphia were stating today after Phil Ahr turned himself in to police.

See NBC10 Philadelphia’s reporter Deanna Durante’s 6PM report on Mr. Ahr goes to court. Also see a pretty comprehensive article by the Philadelphia Inquirer and Main Line Media News.

It’s child porn and lots of it.  It’s horrible. Truly horrible. Almost inconceivable.

Earlier this evening, Radnor Township itself held a press conference.  I contacted the township and they provided me with what they had handed out except for the PDF of the court docket – I found that myself. Today was the preliminary arraignment. 

Anyway, here it is and I will warn you it is truly disturbing:

 

 

So back to the three commissioners in Radnor who blocked a motion to have Ahr resign. Earlier this evening, they fell back behind the cloak of the Home Rule Charter of Radnor Township.  So while they perhaps could not have made Ahr resign as of Monday, given the scandal their township and political party has endured in recent months, shouldn’t they have convinced him to resign?  Or how about perhaps they should have NOT played politics at all and lived up to their oaths of office and convinced him to resign because they are supposed to look out for the best interests of the residents?

Once again, deeply troubling times for a township where I have many close friends….including those with children.

I am going to say, however, that no matter what your opinion is here, please allow law enforcement and those in the legal system do their jobs here.  Please respect the terribly difficult jobs they have, especially with this case.  Also respect the residents of Radnor Township who have to deal with this, especially the residents of Ward 7, Garrett Hill. Garrett Hill is a tight knit community that is suffering greatly.  And pray for Phil Ahr’s family.  He has now given them a terrible burden they will carry always.

Here’s a question for all of you: should local elected officials have to submit to comprehensive background checks including criminal in order to hold elected office?

Thanks for stopping by.

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main line problems

DSC_3828Sometimes it is just so nice to be like a bird flying above the trees and fields.  You can watch and observe, and stay above the fray.

I called the Main Line home for most of my life.  It was a fun place to grow up, and well the Main Line of the past is certainly not the Main Line of today.  Ironically, a lot of people I grew up with and enjoyed as people now call Chester County home.

But yesterday was like fun x 2 = Main Line Problems.

And it makes me ever so grateful to not be there any longer.

First up let’s visit Radnor Township.  Radnor almost became a true victim of back room Delco politics until former Township Manager Dave Bashore got his and Radnor’s dirty laundry aired in public.  A lot of this public airing was because of a few brave individuals including a woman I respect a great deal named Christina Perrone.

When Bashore got fired as Radnor’s Township Manager a lot of things swirled into motion. Commissioners who were problematic ran away, Radnor’s solicitor at the time evaporated (and eventually resurfaced as innkeeper/owner of a bed and breakfast in the New York finger lakes district), a few supervisory and managerial types from the Bashore regime ended up as employees in some Chester County municipalities, and a few even ended up at other Chester County businesses.  It was like a political bubble burst and they scattered like raindrops. (Or ants leaving the picnic, whichever you prefer.)

However, not all of the politicians of this era disappeared.  There is one, who has been entrenched for easily 30 years.  He is like a cat with nine lives and then some.  His name is Bill Spingler, and he is the subject of the first ethics hearing in years on the Main Line this week in Radnor.

One would think Spingler would just retire. But people in Radnor say he is waiting for pet projects to go through.  You might think his ethics hearing had to do with is 2013 campaign shenanigans  ( see what got him into hot water here, here, here – all copied by Radnor employees on the taxpayer clock.)

Or maybe it would be the eternal question of where this guy really lives? After all the deeds don’t lie and this guy has purchased a new pad in Tredyffrin at Paoli Pointe, right? So that is a neat trick if he can be a Radnor commissioner by day and commute home whenever to Chester County, right?

But no, apparently it is his “work” at Villanova basketball games and something about pay to play at little league games.  And once again, it is brave Christina Perrone who has stepped forward to do the right thing. Truly, you can’t make this stuff up:

Ethics complaint against Radnor Commissioner Spingler amended again; Hearing set for Thursday

By Linda Stein Main Line Media News
lstein@mainlinemedianews.com Published: Monday, April 21, 2014

An ethics complaint filed against Radnor Township Commissioner John Spingler over his work at Villanova’s home basketball games has been amended again prior to a hearing set for April 24.

….“These admissions by Commissioner Spingler cannot be construed as anything other than business transactions,” Perrone wrote in her amended complaint. These “statements demonstrate that Commissioner Spingler is even more conflicted on Villanova University issues, including the CICD, than previously believed, due to the applicability of Radnor Code Section 39-5[A].”

That section states: “No elected or appointed official of the township…shall solicit or accept directly or indirectly any gift, favor, service, commission or other consideration that might reasonably tend to influence that official or employee in the discharge of the duties of office.”…

Of course where this gets even more interesting is now people have learned that the current township solicitor, John Rice, will be representing this politician? How is it the township solicitor is working for other than the good of the residents of Radnor? Does the solicitor in fact not work for the people, but just for the politicians? Doesn’t Commissioner Spingler know any more lawyers? (Asking a quasi- redundant question.)

And oh yes, this open meeting scheduled for April 24th at 6 pm (this Thursday) is now possibly going to be held as a secret, non-public meeting?  I know the lawyer representing Christina Perrone.  His name is Dan Sherry and he is very bright.

If this old politician had any style left he would simply resign and retire. but then again if the ethics charges stick, it could keep him from then retiring and moving onto Chester County politics, right? But the thing is this: is the whole system in Radnor rigged in a nice Main Line way?

And now for the news that really makes me glad I am off the Main Line: two graduates of The Haverford School for boys have been arrested for masterminding a drug ring that can only be described as “Breaking Bad” meets “Weeds”.  One guy was living on Barrett Avenue in Haverford. That is a lovely street with lots of children.  He is like 25 or 26.  The other ringleader is just 18 years old and lives with his parents in Villanova.  How do you put your family at risk like that?

These guys had a network and had minions working for them at Haverford School, Haverford College, Harriton High School, Lower Merion High School, Conestoga High School, Radnor High School, Lafayette College and I think even Gettysburg.

It even made the national network news and Wall Street Journal this morning:

Wall Street Journal: US News: Eleven Charged in Drug Ring on Philadelphia’s Main Line

By SCOTT CALVERT
April 21, 2014 7:29 p.m. ET

Prosecutors said Monday they had broken up a marijuana and cocaine trafficking ring allegedly run by two graduates of a suburban Philadelphia prep school and centered on the affluent area known as the Main Line.

Authorities announced charges against nine adults and two juveniles as part of an investigation that resulted in the seizure of drugs and three guns.

The two alleged leaders referred to the distribution ring as the “Main Line take over project,” according to court records, which quoted text messages in which they discussed plans to dominate marijuana sales at schools in the Philadelphia suburbs.

“They tried to infiltrate our schools, not for educational purposes, but to make money and to drag others into the downward spiral that their lives had become,” Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman said in a statement. The seizure of guns and a variety of drugs showed that the operation posed a “significant danger” to the community, she said.

The two alleged leaders—25-year-old Neil Scott of Haverford, Pa., and 18-year-old Timothy Brooks of Villanova—are graduates of the private Haverford School, where both played lacrosse, according to an affidavit of probable cause. This year’s upper school tuition is $34,800.

“We’re appalled and shocked and horrified,” said Haverford School Headmaster John Nagl, adding that the all-boys school was “determined to learn from this and build a better school and a better community that understands the risks to boys and helps them make better choices.”

I have to feel sorry for the headmaster quoted above.  John Nagl is the new headmaster and these guys arrested came up through this elite private school under the former headmaster Joseph Cox.

To be honest, I have not much positive to say about the Haverford School of today.  I lived for years in one of the neighborhoods that had the misfortune to call this school a neighbor.  They treated their neighbors poorly and it was a top down approach starting with the now former headmaster.  I found him to be a huge jerk.

Throughout the years I have had many friends who graduated from Haverford School.  As did their fathers and uncles and brothers.  They weren’t this kind of graduate.  I also know people who have kids in lower school, middle school, upper school, and those who have graduated. A lot of these people basically indenture themselves so their boys can have the advantages of going to a school like that.  It’s just crazy.

These dealers are young.  They have tanked their lives, and to what end? A misplaced sense of entitlement and easy cash?  And the effect their selfish actions will have on all of their families is another sad thing to comprehend.  After all, it’s the Main Line so people might stop talking to your face about what your kid did, but the whispers will never go away.

I keep thinking how bright these young men must be and how different their lives could have been if they just worked for things legitimately. It is a sad commentary on the culture of the Main Line today.  The whole culture of misplaced sense of entitlement.

I sound like an old fart, and I don’t mean to.  This just is blowing the mind of everyone I know who not only grew up on the Main Line but who went to one of these schools. Not that drugs and the Main Line have never been uttered in the same sentence.  As one friend of mine said : “Both public and private schools are involved in this. And it’s not like this situation is new, it’s been happening in these schools for decades. Choose your decade, choose your drug of choice.”

This however, is pretty big.  And it is scary. We can educate our children and try to steer them to make the right choices, yet things can go wrong, majorly wrong.

Makes me glad I am not on the Main Line any longer. These problems are everywhere, don’t misunderstand me, its just that this is the situation which will destroy lives and families.  And for what? Being able to keep up with the Main Line Jones more easily? Sad.

Main Line Media News/Pottstown Mercury: Prep school drug ring busted; 11 arrested (photos)

By Richard Ilgenfritz, rilgenfritz@21st-centurymedia.com
POSTED: 04/21/14, 12:45 PM EDT | UPDATED: 10 HRS AGO

Prosecutors say two former Main Line students at the Haverford School set up an elaborate drug ring in an attempt to take over the Main Line drug trade at several area schools and colleges. The schools included some of the most privileged public and private schools in the region.

Authorities announced Monday the arrests of Neil K. Scott, 25, of Barrett Avenue in Haverford and Timothy Brooks, 18, of Cedar Lane in Villanova as the main suppliers.

Daniel McGrath, 18, of Glenolden; John Rosemann, 20, of Weston, Conn.; Christian Euler, 23, of Villanova; Garrett Johnson, 18, of New York; Reid Cohen, 18, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey; Willow Lynn Ore, 22, of Philadelphia; Domenic Curcio, 29 of Philadelphia and the two juveniles have been identified as the sub-dealers.

…..So far eight adults have been taken into custody while another adult is being sought for arrest. Two juveniles, one a student at Lower Merion and the other a student at Radnor, have also been charged….Information from the Main Line Times, www.mainlinemedianews.com

Note to the Main Line of today: you reap what you so and how sad is that?  You see it’s not all grand houses, fancy cars, and designer clothes.  With affluence (or an affluent society) there should come a sense of greater good and doing the right thing.  But unfortunately, that was the Main Line of years ago, wasn’t it?

be glad you live a little off the main line…

…I know I am.  

Sure, every area has issues.  No local government is perfect, and yes, there is always something to complain  about, but seriously?  I moved out of a township that prided itself on being “first class”, yet it in essence required an act of Congress to accomplish something as basic as filling a pothole.

Yes, Lower Merion Township.  The Magic Kingdom as it is known (sarcastically) in some circles, isn’t what she used to be.  You have a political majority that believes they know better than everyone, and as a resident you feel as if you work to support the township.

Where do a lot of these negative feelings stem from?  A lot of them have to do with all the crazy infill development plans and the fact that it has been over 30 years since Lower Merion had a completed Comprehensive Plan update.  Some land planner told me once that as per the Municipalities Planning Code in PA municipalities are supposed to do this every couple of years.

When I used to wake up in Lower Merion, although a high rent district, the cacophony of sound that assaulted my senses on a daily basis was quite urban.  Construction and other noises often way too early.   Here when I wake up, I hear birds.  You have NO idea how marvelous a sound that is unless you have experienced the other.

Development plans in Lower Merion, suit the developers, not the residents.  For example, the development begun in my old neighborhood by a wannabe developer, architect Tom Hall, and then turned over to Cornell builders was shoe-horning in thirteen townhouses in barely over an acre.  But the houses are “green” and you can spit at The Haverford School, which was perhaps the most uncaring neighbor in my neighborhood.   You have no idea what it is like to live with an institution as a neighbor in close quarters.  We existed to be their overflow parking lot and speed thru cell phone mommy/nanny zone.  The nicest thing about that school are some of my friends’ sons.

In Ardmore, the neighboring town, mostly in Lower Merion, for years not so long ago, small business owners had to fight eminent domain for private gain.  Ardmore residents and business owners are still suffering because although no one can spend money like Lower Merion Township, they still can’t get the Ardmore Redevelopment Plan off the ground.  Of course, many feel, that those on township staff who put forth the infamous plans A & B that contained eminent domain for private gain for years should have just been removed from their jobs.  But they stayed and the six million dollars  that a couple of commissioners went to Washington DC many years ago to get has basically been frittered away, and while places like Malvern and Wayne have a new train station, all Lower Merion has are plans.

Read here about Ardmore’s and other Lower Merion development woes in this week’s Main Line Media News.

Also in Lower Merion, there is crazy zoning being planned for around City Avenue.  So if you think it’s fun now when you get caught in traffic around there, just wait.

Lower Merion loves infill development plans.  The more congested the better.  When I was a child growing up there, like I do now here in Chester County, then I also heard birds and nature as my waking sounds.  It is so much less stressful to hear birds versus construction.

Radnor is not so problematic since they got a new Township Manager and some new commissioners.  Of course, their current president, Bill Spingler is more like old school Delco politics and we’ll leave it at that….hopefully he won’t be president too long.  But Radnor’s new manager,  Bob Zienkowski, as opposed to the old one who made headlines and got relieved of his duties (Dave Bashore), is an accessible advocate for his residents.  It makes a huge difference.  Which is why I am hopeful that Radnor residents will be heard fairly as Villanova attempts to supersize the university (read about Villanova’s expansion plans here ).  It won’t be easy since one commissioner has had to recuse herself, and given Bill Spingler’s cozy personal relationship with the attorney on this project, should this in fact be the commissioner who recuses? After all sometimes isn’t it hard to feel secure around a career politician like Spingler, who offered once upon a time to write a reccomendation letter for the manager the township fired (Dave Bashore)?

One thing that bears watching in Radnor are residents taking up their proverbial pitch forks against storm water issues in North Wayne. (Check out this YouTube from a recent meeting.) What cracks me up here is the woman with dark hair and pony tail.  She wants to sue, sue, sue and all the storm water issues stem from AT&T in Wayne and so on.  While the storm water issues are indeed large and increasingly problematic, truthfully they don’t even realize how people have been working for years on this.  She isn’t breaking new ground so to speak.

In February of 2009, a situation created by the railroad in North Wayne bugged me enough that I wrote an editorial for Main Line Media News about it. The end result was, a Septa engineer high on the food chain contacted me, and without even having to deal with Radnor’s old regime, they actually built some storm water management into the station makeover in Wayne.

It’s not perfect, but better than it used to be.

And this woman who did the presentation at the Radnor commissioners’ meeting (Channel 30 on FiOs FYI)  and a neighbor who says she lives next to a field and the Gulph Creek (wonder if she’s the one who built an addition to a carriage house where the outside door in the rear basically looks like if you open it the creek can just come on in?) who are in this meeting tape, well I get why they are upset, as I have seen first hand the flooding in North Wayne, but as they rant and rail against Radnor, they also need to consider a neighboring municipality.

Ahhh, there is some Chester County of it all in this post, isn’t there?

I am talking about Tredyffrin.  Tredyffrin is upstream on the Gulph Creek from this flood zone in Radnor.   Now Tredyffrin is also in the paper this week talking about some focus group and needing storm water solutions. Fabulous!  However, while the article talks about the need to make sure the storm water stuff is tough enough when it comes to Joe Duckworth’s plans for the Richter tract, nowhere have I seen Tredyffrin talk about the trickle down effect of their prior poor planning in neighboring municipalities.  I am talking in part about Church of the Savior in Tredyffrin.    A lot of issues occur UPstream.  Just check out this document I found from 2000 about storm water.

I guess from the Church of the Savior’s perspective and Tredyffrin’s it is holier to flood your neighbors?  Now granted, I find Church of the Savior to be in the category of religiously creepy, so some could say I have a bias, but Tredyffrin to me always seems a little kooky on the development front and in some other areas.  And if they can’t see it from the township building windows in Tredyffrin, more the better.  Just look at how long it took Tredyffrin to deal with things like off campus student housing.  After all, they couldn’t see historic Mt. Pleasant from the Township Building, could they?

I guess what I am saying is, I have seen and lived what poor development and land planning causes communities (along with the politcs of political favoritism and one party rule run amok), so maybe once in a while, I might point them out.  After all, would you rather listen to birds or bulldozers? Wouldn’t you rather hear about politicians and officials that care about their communities and not just during election cycles?

If you are a person interested in issues Tredyffrin, please check out my pal Pattye Benson’s blog Community Matters.  She also happens to be innkeeper at The Great Valley House of Valley Forge.  She wrote about the recent stormwater meeting that includes discussion of the latest New Urbanism Disneyland Joe Duckworth might do.  If you are interested in the Richter Tract plans put Richter in the search box on her blog. A post she wrote on conflict of interest is well worth your time in addition to other posts.

Above all else, take an interest in where you live.  It’s a good thing.