the forecast is continued cloudy in west vincent

I found an article this morning which leaves me slightly stunned.  West Vincent Township, that tiny hamlet in Chester County that seems to have an inordinate amount of issues and examples of bad government and municipal thugginess, is at it again.

Apparently, sunshine and transparency in government is for other people. The Daily Local is reporting the following:

By SARA MOSQUEDA-FERNANDEZ smfernandez@dailylocal.com

WEST VINCENT — The Board of Supervisors unanimously repealed its policy of publishing official documents to the township’s website, saying that the policy is “unnecessary” and has had adverse effects.

The decision came during the supervisors’ meeting on Monday, coupled with the announcement that the policy would be reduced to an informal guideline.

The policy to post certain township documents, including meeting agendas, minutes, announcements and policies, was “created as a courtesy to some residents,” said Supervisor Clare Quinn.

According to Quinn, the decision to repeal the policy stemmed from an overwhelming number of requests for additional documents….Brown said one of the issues with the policy was that there was difficulty posting documents on the website within a week of their original publication, and that reducing the policy to a guideline would help resolve the matter.

Well blow me over, someone get those poor people some Internet technology.  They can pay well enough to have moving photos and silliness on their municipal website but not information that would actually be helpful to the residents let alone show that West Vincent Township complies with sunshine and transparency laws in PA? Yowza people!

This is deeply, deeply troubling.  When municipalities go this far to say why they should not release what should be public information in a timely manner, does that mean they are hiding things???  Here is a link to their Right to Know Form . They deserve to be flooded.

Sigh…this municipality is so scary backwards.  So much beauty where it is located and such decay underneath…

And speaking of Clare Quinn, does she have a new business?  If so, are the taxpayers of West Vincent going to continue to be on the hook for her healthcare benefits?  Because correct me if I am wrong but if she is opening a small business she can at least get benefits for herself under the business, right? Self-employment is employment, right? It is easier to get benefits as a business versus an individual, right?

So anyway I have some gal pals who love tea rooms and they told me a place called the Coventry Tea Room was closing – so I looked up their website:

I was curious about Tacie’s so I dug around. So Tacie’s is owned by Coventry Enterprises LLC whose address tags back to Clare Quinn if that where she actually lives ? (And you have to put the corporate names into the forn and submit to see info – see screen shot photos at bottom of this post)   Well, if all true, good thing I do not travel to Pottstown much as I just can’t by a moral sense of right and wrong support a business whose owner once attempted eminent domain for private gain (Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds). And it is a shame because I love little local places like this.  But in this case, I can’t overlook ownership, and I am truly sorry….

Hope Clare doesn’t borrow any fabulous recipes without attribution, right?  But I bet Clare will have lots of yummy products from Birchrun Hills Farm, another business I unfortunately also choose not to patronize because of Ken Miller, who is as everyone knows also a supervisor in West Vincent who was in favor of eminent domain for private gain at Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show. (Farmer Ken has been remarkably quiet at meetings hasn’t he?)

And what is up with the Chicken Man is dead posters in Birchrunville Post Office?  And not just about Chicken Man.  Is this how they govern in West Vincent?  Fear and thuggery?  How come the developments in West Vincent are getting fresh paving and none of the older back roads?

The shame of West Vincent is that if they spent half the time doing positive things in this twisted hamlet versus what they actually do, this would be among the most desirable places to live, wouldn’t it?

chester county and development…not so perfect together?

Today when the news came that Brian O’Neill was continuing with Uptown Worthington’s next phase, I was not one of the ones cheering.  First I thought of my former township (Lower Merion) and the O’Neill projects in moth balls and sites looking shabby. Then I started to think about the development I have seen since I moved to Chester County, and I am concerned.

No one wants to turn their back on progress, but at what price comes progress?  For example, let us not forget Malvern Borough’s $60,000 mistake on East King Street. You know? Eli Kahn’s New Urbanism Fairy Tale?  In July, Kahn and his partners David Della Porta and Gary Toll did the old soft shoe and a rah-rah ground breaking.

With regard to Malvern, I will say again, You know what I think Eli Kahn and Jack Loew’s project is going to be like when it is done?  A super-sized Charleston Greene.  And over the years, how has Toll’s Charleston Greene worked for you ,Malvern?

A friend said to me a little while ago “You can’t spend other people’s money and
generate prosperity. ” 

There is food for thought.  Also to think about quite seriously is what Tredyffrin did last night other than not apologize for cyber-bullying the delightful and devoted and hard working community champion Pattye Benson.   They approved the C-1 Zoning Change. Now, basically, a LARGE death farm, excuse me, senior assisted living facility will grow on a rather SMALL site on Lancaster Avenue.  You know, where Jimmy Duffy’s Catering Company used to reside?

Interestingly enough, this new development is from a Tredyffrin resident who put the residents of Bala Cynwyd through the ringer for another awkward site senior assisted living facility around 2009. Main Line Media News said at the time:

Further township discussion of a controversial Bala Cynwyd development plan has been postponed until next month.

Developer Ed Morris of Traditional Properties LP had hoped to take his new plan for an assisted-living facility at 27-33 Old Lancaster Road to Lower Merion commissioners this week….Morris got zoning-hearing board approval in late July of a special exception to build a “home for the aged” on the parcels, which today are occupied by two single-family homes. The stone colonial houses would be demolished.

The plan was a switch from development plans approved by the township in 2006 for a four-story, 21-unit condominium building. Morris has said that marketing efforts to sell units in the proposed building were not successful as the housing market stalled….A number of residents in surrounding neighborhoods in Bala Cynwyd and Merion objected to the change in direction, saying that the assisted-living facility is a more commercial use, out of character with the area.

Oh my goodness!  Is this not an eerie sense of déjà vu?  Don’t I remember original plans for the Jimmy Duffy site being different, albeit equally unwelcome to neighboring Daylesford residents? (And Ed Morris like Brian O’Neill was featured in an article a few years ago in Main Line Today called Condo Mania)

How many developments do we need?  Does Chester County want to end up a congested mess with limited open space like much of the Main Line?

I noticed on Malvern Patch that a lot of people are excited by the idea of MORE mall at Uptown Worthington based upon the comments.  I, on the other hand, am concerned.

It wasn’t too long ago that this developer was embroiled in nasty, nasty litigation over this site.  And how will this phase of construction affect people? Remember the first phase? And look at the 100 year PennDOT 202 project right there right now. It really isn’t a 100 year project, but given how PennDOT does business it might as well be.

Then there is the thought of how many malls and mall like places do we need?   Exton is but minutes away with the Exton Square Mall, Main Street at Exton and the countless other smaller strip malls in and around it.  King of Prussia is also fairly close with the giant King of Prussia Mall and all the other various and assorted strip malls and sub-developments in the vicinity. (And don’t forget that charming casino because you know nothing says U.S. history like a slots parlor next to where George Washington literally slept.)

In addition to these larger malls and newer strip malls are all the other strip malls and often funky shopping centers on Route 30, Paoli Pike, Route 3, pick a road.

Really Chester County, how much development do you want? How much development do we need as residents?  Are we actually getting new stores or are businesses just hop-scotching between retail developments, moving every few years to whatever the next sweetest deal is? And do you want a steady stream of fill-in-the-name-big-box-retailers and chains?  What of the independent local business where they know their customer base and might be your neighbors?

I saw the development of Chester County in a most unusual way on my 9/11 hot-air balloon ride.  I saw the development from the air.  From high up in the sky it looked like miles and miles of Legos – developments all cookie cutter.

Chester County on a county level needs to get a real grip on the future.  The economy is not recovering, and still these developments proceed.  Developers will say they bring jobs, but once you get beyond retail shift work and minimum wage, what is there?  And you need more than that to fill up the condos, town homes perched on formerly rural highways, and the communities of McMansions. (Don’t forget about the fact they are trying to supersize Birchrunville in West Vincent. And then there is other potential residential development in the future, right?)

Once the open space is gone, it is not coming back. Once the charming cross-roads towns are gone and the farms are gone, they are also not coming back.  That’s all. Just think about it.

My wish for Chester County is a revolution of common sense.

more clucking cluck back clap trap in west vincent

Elected officials are the flora and fauna of local municipalities.  But sometimes they say stuff which, well, they should re-think.

One of those people is West Vincent Supervisor Clare Quinn – you know the one the West Vincent taxpeyers pay health benefits for? You know the one who in her public capacity voted for eminent domain for private gain, yet saw no conflict with her then private sector capacity at French and Pickering Conservation Trust?

She has a website, where her phobia of chickens is well in evidence.  She devotes a whole segment to bashing both whomever Chickenman is and a rather nice guy named Barry.  She calls it “Clare Clucks Back”  and, well if I was her publicist I wouldn’t have it out there that a female elected official clucked, but who am I but a mere mortal and a female?

So I guess a week ago give or take, a nice guy named Brian who is part pf a group concerned about Birchrunville sent Chickenwoman (well if Clare says she clucks, she must be a chicken, right? ) an e-mail.  He sent out her response so people could see he got one.  Someone sent it to me, so I hope he doesn’t mind me posting it?

The reason I am posting it is because even when she responds to someone in a purportedly professional capacity, she still kinda takes pot shots.  Gotta tell you if the taxpayers I was supposed to represent fairly were paying my health benefits, I so wouldn’t do that.  But hey, she’s just working her own version of Obamacare, right?  Can we call it Clarecare?

Clare, as an outsider looking in, I gotta tell you, you have an obligation to respond to your constituency.  In a perfect world, everyone signs their name, sometimes people forget.  And sometimes people are so tired of being harassed in their own community they are afraid to. It still doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to respond, or direct someone else to do so in a timely fashion.

So Clare, I don’t want a patronizing pat on the back for reading your e-mail.  Also as re: your comment about cell phones and supervisors, that doesn’t fly – I know several elected officials in several communities who pay for their own cell phones and unless they have a “burner” (reference the HBO show The Wire), most cell phone plans are fairly inclusive and if you are with a major company unless you have a gijillion family members on the same  plan you won’t use all your minutes assigned.

I also know plenty of elected officials in various municipalities who have fairly big deal job and businesses who manage to return all phone calls. And yes, some people don’t have voice mail, but most people have caller ID.

And if Supervisor Miller is being reimbursed for cell phone calls, that is something residents could get a hold of under a Right to Know Request, right?  As in bills submitted where itemized items being reimbursed can be clearly seen and then corresponding copies of township reimbursement checks? I mean if he is so worried about his bills, maybe someone could suggest a better plan?

And FYI Radnor Township puts their checkbook online, basically.  If you go to their website and check their meeting agendas you will find reports on a monthly basis showing monies in and out.  With great detail, I might add. Lower Merion does it too, though not as detailed or consistently current.

Also, there is nothing that outrages residents more than inadequate notice.

So Clare, if you have read this entire post, good for you Chickenwoman, and here is a virtual pat on the back and big juicy kisses. (eyes rolling)

Here is her e-mail:

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Clare Quinn <cquinn0919@comcast.net>

Date: Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 6:37 PM Subject: brian curry’s email

Dear All:

Many thanks to Brian for signing his email so someone could respond to it and many thanks also to the person who forwarded it to me.

It is truly unfortunate that Brian felt intimidated and inconvenienced by the signage on his road last week, but I believe the fear he experienced was unwarranted. The sign Brian was referring to said Road Closed Ahead.  The section of the road where Brian lives was not closed and he would not have been ticketed for going by a Road Closed Ahead sign.

If township staff said it was okay to go around  a Road Closed sign, it meant there was to be no local police enforcement (of the new state law regarding road closed signs) for that sign so there was no danger that Brian or anyone else would have been ticketed.  It is a shame the new state law has caused Brian, and no doubt many others, such confusion.  It should be remembered, however, that it allows police to use discretion in enforcement.

With regard to notification of residents: In addition to the website notification on Friday for work to start on Monday, signs were posted on the road on Friday informing residents and all passersby that the road would be closed Monday through Thursday the following week. In the end, the road was closed fairly briefly on Monday, not at all on Tuesday, and from midday to end of work on Wednesday and all day Thursday till end of work.

With regard to Brian’s effort to reach Ken Miller: As some of you know, Birchrun Hills Farm is Ken Miller’s home. Ken Miller tried several times to return Brian’s call but Brian had no voicemail so he could not know Ken had tried to reach him.

No supervisor has a township cell phone. The Road Master is reimbursed for calls he makes on his personal cell phone to members of the road crew and staff pertaining to road issues.

Finally, the second number Brian posted for me is no longer my number.

If you have read through this entire thing, please give yourself a well-earned pat on the back!

Regards,

Clare Quinn

meanwhile, business as usual in west vincent?

 Wow West Vincent.

I mean REALLY?  Is this true? Did you think no one would say anything?  And truthfully, I have recently heard other West Vincent tales from people I have continued to meet socially who aren’t “active”. They are just ordinary people trying to live their lives.  Suffice it to say their tales lend even more credence to everything Chickenman and others say.

I do not understand why the state doesn’t have a corruption squad to come into West Vincent?  Silly me, I thought Corbett was a law and order kind of guy?

From Chickenman this evening:

Now, I wondered, why would that sign appear?

It seems there was a “private meeting” between township representatives and the Hilltop Road residents on August 14 about road ‘improvements’ estimated to cost over $100,000.

I discover that no surveying, engineering, or professional planning has been done.  It seems, judging by the sign, that the residents don’t actually want the road improvements. They don’t want the bottom part of Hilltop widened and  paved.

So I leave you, my dear reader, to ponder over the question over who might benefit from this road improvement scheme?  Could it be something to do with money and not to do with local benefits?  Could it just be that a local contractor needs the work and a certain local farmer might benefit indirectly?  Answers on a postcard please, and there are no prizes.

If you don’t agree your tax monies being spent in this way, please follow the sign, and go to the meeting.  Support your neighbors and follow the sign. YOU might be the next. It’s what happens in West Vincent.

Now a tiny little gripe.  I only just heard about this.  Please tell me earlier, I can often help.  I can’t do anything if I don’t know about it.

To see my previous mailings please click on http://tinyurl.com/westvincentinfos
As usual, if you want to be on or off my list, or have some comments or  suggestions, or know someone who would like to be on the list, please let me know.  Feel free to forward this email on to anyone you think might be interested.   Especially though, if you don’t want to continue to receive my mails, please tell me, it will be done.  Just hit reply to this email or write  to chestercountynews@gmail.com

Best wishes  Chickenman

Also don’t forget in addition to Chickenman there is also the group http://www.birchrunvillepeople.com/index.html – they point out how people might want to look at Second Class Township Codes to see how West Vincent follows the basics.

I found something interesting when reading about Second Class Townships:

Section 503. Removal for Failure to Perform Duties.-If any township officer fails to perform the duties of the office, the court of common pleas upon complaint in writing by five percent of the electors of the township may issue a rule upon the officer to show cause why the office should not be declared vacant. The officer shall respond to the rule within thirty days from its date of issue. Upon hearing, the court may declare the office vacant and require the vacancy to be filled under section 407.

Folks, it also wouldn’t hurt to remind Congressman Jim Gerlach the issues have issues in West Vincent.  Call his Chester County office or campaign office in Eagle. You also need to write letters to the Daily Local.  Go to meetings.

Again, I can write the occasional blog post but I do not live in your community.  Small minded petty politicos only have as much power as you allow them to have.

this chicken dinner will keep them coming back for more

Any vegans in the room need to turn away from the page now.  We’re talking chicken.  And I love chickens. I am also  a fan of Chickenman in West Vincent and am hoping he doesn’t get run over by the road master of West Vincent or the peace love and eminent domain lady and the lawyer of reinvention either.

But I digress. And besides, I bet Chickenman would love my home cooking as well as witty political repartee n’est–ce pas?

Back to cluck…so easy to wander down a rutty path towards politics when discussing chicken dinners.  After all chicken dinners are the staple of most politicians.

(If you were hoping for The Pioneer Woman or Barefoot Contessa , sorry, it’s just me)

And yes, as per above photo I do know where chickens come from.  No, I will not be doing my version of Little House on The Prairie and fetching a chicken and slaying it for dinner.  Mine came from the market.

It’s summer I don’t want to stuff anything except maybe the occasional tomato or deviled egg.  But today has been thunderstorm city  and who knows if it will keep on not raining or not, so oven it is.

I love roast chicken and this is the plan B roast chicken when you don’t feel like stuffing.

First I clean out my chicken and remove the gizzards (which I freeze for homemade stock another time.)

Then I June Cleaver it with my cleaver.  Oh ok: translation: I place my raw chicken breast side down on a non-wooden cutting board and cleave her open (see photos).  Then I place her breast side up and spread out on a little roasting rack in a pan I have lined with that half parchment half foil paper, foil side up (easier clean up – sorry – it is Friday and I don’t want to be slave to kitchen.)

Then I look for two little skin pockets that I help along with a little paring knife (see photo) and I stuff 4 cloves of garlic sliced under the skin (evenly on each side) along with the herbs I have handy and fresh outside – oregano, mint, thyme, rosemary, 2 bay leaves.

Then I channel my inner Julia Child but not to the point of Paula Deen and I rub the chicken with a pat of butter (ok so maybe it is like a tablespoon plus a smidgen.)

Then I rub on the skin  salt, pepper, a little garlic powder, oregano, basil, smoked paprika, regular paprika, tarragon, cumin, and dried Valencia orange peel.  Look, I don’t go THAT overboard, a dash or this and a dash of that until it smells good going in the oven.  Omit what you don’t like.

Into a pre-heated 350 degree oven it goes.  I have seen recipes that say different things with regard to the internal temperature and doneness, but I just let my meat thermometer do the thinking and when it says done for poultry I haul it out of the oven and rest the cluck for at least 15 minutes with foil on top.  Tonight’s bird is 6.74 lbs. so it will cook about 2 to 2 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.

A note is halfway through I always sour a roast, whether it is chicken, turkey, pork, beef, etc.  I sour it with whatever wine is open.  I don’t drown it, just refresh it.

Tonight I have fresh corn and a salad to accompany my cluck. 

I will post a roasted completion photo later.

Happy cooking!

daily salvo: eye on west vincent….again

This is just excellent!  Feel free to share and to “LIKE”  Daily Salvo on Facebook (and comment there if you like!).  Daily Salvo is on 1180 WFYL.com every day somewhere around 8 a.m. and they have a website too.  Smile West Vincent Township, tales of your escapades are spreading….just as bad news is wont to do….

Daily Salvo has also touched on West Vincent’s issues in two other pieces of commentary:

 

 

chester county at risk: historic birchrunville

I love being in Chester County.  Before I was a resident, anytime anyone wanted to take a leisurely drive and explore, I was all for it.

Birchrunville was one of those places.  Quiet and charming, consisting of small country roads.  Farms. Horses, as you can actually still ride your horse on the road which you won’t be doing if this development happens. Great old country architecture and some incredible old houses.  The real deal of charm.

It is NOT a place where developers should come in with their Emperor’s New Clothes grand plans for supersizing a small hamlet.  The residents should not allow it, and quite frankly, any elected or appointed official who likes a plan like this should be voted out as soon as possible.

We are, after all, talking about West Vincent Township.  And for West Vincent Township to go from needing/wanting eminent domain for private gain at Christmastime 2011 to this plan now, well it is so very Lower Merion Township that I can’t stand it.  And I can tell you how the story turns out: it doesn’t.

Once upon a time Lower Merion made a bid for eminent domain for private gain.  Then they put people through the pain of grand redevelopment plans.  All people wanted was a train station.  What they got was heartache, headaches, and nothing. Well nothing except a lot of money spent on plans, plans, and more plans.  A lot of the money spent was part of $6 million dollars that your Congressman Jim Gerlach got so Ardmore could have a new train station/transit center.  So much of that money has been squandered that I just don’t get why Jim Gerlach hasn’t pulled the money back yet.  But maybe he will and it will serve Lower Merion right.

And don’t let Supervisor David Brown tell you he had no idea of what went on in Lower Merion.  He was too entrenched in the politics for too many years not to know.  Via his own online political resume you can see: Republican Committee of Lower Merion & Narberth Committeeman 1976 – 1990, Counsel to Committee 1990 – 2004, Member Executive Committee 1990 – 2004, Former Solicitor to Montgomery County Controller,Gladwyne Civic Association, Former Director, Former Vice President.

See this synopsis from The Castle Coalition in Washington DC where I will highlight some dates in particular (although I encourage you to read it all):

….a letter in February 2004 informing him that Lower Merion Township had targeted his property and those of his neighbors for eminent domain acquisitions, he was devastated and uncertain about how to proceed….

In September 2004, the Township hired an independent consulting firm to study Ardmore and assess the extent to which economic redevelopment really required condemning their properties, as local officials contended. The Urban Land Institute, an outside organization that specializes in land use and has no financial connection to the business owners or the Township, conducted a comprehensive study of the downtown business district slated for demolition, and strongly urged against the plans proposed by the Planning Commission. Instead, the Institute submitted a number of alternative approaches to the Township, all of which protect property rights and promise the same benefits the municipality sought without condemning the Ardmore properties.[3]

“We kept coming up with alternative plans, but the Township kept ignoring us,” Mahan said.

In December 2004, the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners overwhelmingly approved the most destructive redevelopment option of all the plans submitted for its consideration. The proposal submitted by Hillier Architects called for the demolition of Ardmore’s entire historic district—even though Hillier simultaneously concluded that all of the buildings were in restorable condition…….the Save Ardmore Coalition continued fighting, attending all civic meetings, speaking against the proposal and especially against the abuse of eminent domain, and pursuing practically every grassroots avenue available.

“We’d march to the meetings, carrying signs and making statements. We’d have 300 people on our side, and 100 of them spoke out against the Hillier plan,” he said. “We just kept gaining momentum and the SAC kept growing and growing.”

 

These plans fermented for years prior to 2004 being the year eminent domain came full out in the public eye.  And during that time there were commissioners on the board in favor of this, including one Ken Davis and there is no way David Brown did not know him. Ken Davis represented parts of Gladwyne and was a fellow Republican and member of Gladwyne Civic.  Trust me, not that big of a sphere.

And if David Brown is for this development of Brichrunville, then he should go as soon as his term is up, but if Ken Miller and Clare Quinn are up first, vote them out.  If you do not change the face of who governs you in West Vincent, you will not achieve what you need to achieve.  I know because because I was part of a group who did it.   We flipped five of the seven commissioner seats up in elections, and the people who came in had adopted our group’s mission to defeat eminent domain for private gain.  You see, we endorsed no one.  We had a position: no eminent domain.

But after we defeated eminent domain and the fractured community came together once again, we were faced with re-development plans.  We should have said no.

And if you don’t believe how the land can be raped and pillaged by development that is not truly necessary, take a ride down King and check out the mega mess in Malvern.  They got sold a New Urbanism Fairy Tale and they will rue the day when all is said and done is my prediction.  I am not anti-progress, but I am anti-supersizing it on the theory of build it and they will come because it is not true.  All this hoo ha over transit oriented development.  It’s suburbia, people will always drive, always have cars. Duh.

Malvern got themselves a nice new train station, and if this current development being built was much smaller and in a scale actually in keeping with a very small town?  Well we might be having a different conversation.  Instead, West Vincent, you are being presented with cautionary tales.

But residents, I and others can talk about it, offer opinions from the sidelines and write articles, but you have to pull a real We The People and rise up with pitch forks if necessary.  You have to not just talk about it but actually fight.  Accept it will get nasty and dirty tricks will abound.  To me, it should all be important enough to preserve your way of life. As well as your property values.  (C’mon you think you are going to find it easy to sell a property if West Vincent keeps up indefinately with the West Vincent of it all?)

Rise up, support folks like BirchrunvillePeople who are trying to do good.  And if you feel your government is not quite right and not quite ethical, hello it is a MAJOR election year.  Your congressman needs more than checks from fat cats to survive, he needs votes.  Get him to come around an you show him what you are trying to preserve.   Go to the state.  Surely the Attorney General’s office and ethics board are there for a reason?

But you have to do it for yourselves.    This video like the one up top is awesome.  Kudos to whomever did that.  It literally shows people what you are talking about.

None of this will be easy, but you defeated eminent domain for the time being, so keep on keeping on and save Birchrunville too.  After all, you may or may not realize that developers as much as they love to destroy small towns, also love to recreate them.  You have the real deal.  Preserve your way of life.

And don’t be swayed by “oh but look we can improve our roads.”  Beg to differ.  If your roadmaster actually took the proper care of the roads you would be fine.  But what will happen with road improvements if development occurs?  It will look good for a while because it is new and then it will be back to mainteance business as usual so what is the difference?

This historic school house could be easily sold and preserved from what the video says.  It is YOUR community.  Make that happen.  YOU are the taxpayers.  YOU are the voters.

Once a way of life is destroyed, it is gone.

Lecture over.

 

 

as the west vincent turns: this little piggy and other tales of the politically ridiculous

Is throwing a private party using any public monies whatsoever feeding from the public trough?  (Of course any municipality is free to throw a party, but do they use taxpayer funding of any level to throw private parties? If so, is this a wider conversation which needs to occur?)

Or, is it just in West Vincent that this is different?  (I am asking because I do not know.)

Is it just to be chalked up as no worries, it’s only money?

I figure I would throw this out there and ask.  West Vincent is a Township that has a Republican majority so pardon me if I don’t quite grasp how it is fiscally responsible to use any taxpayer funds in this sort of economy to throw a private party.  Times are tight, times are different.  Is what happened 30 years ago, ok now?

I understand that the funds were spent so they could honor Zoe Perkins, a former supervisor and member of the township’s planning commission.  However, that being stated and given the continued issues over there in this little slice of Chester County, wasn’t that just a bad idea? As in dumb de dumb dumb dumb?

I mean is it not true that Farmer in The Dell, Supervisor Ken Killer uses some township owned land as part of the land he farms on? (And what is “Project Moo” I unearthed about this?)  And Chester County’s Queen of Eminent Domain, former Executive Director of French and Pickering Creek Conservation Trust, Clare QuinnWho is receiving taxpayer funded health benefits?

So they wanted to throw this Zoe a party to honor her?  It should have been an open reception of some sort if they were using any township monies.  Why?  Because don’t those monies stem from residents/taxpayers?

And OH.MY.GOD the utter neurosis of these West Vincent officials when it comes to whomever “Chickenman” is?  Why does it matter?  If Chickenman sends out missives based upon publlicly available information, well couldn’t anyone do this?  Given the fact they are seemingly so obsessed with Chickenman, I have to ask if a right to know request was submitted on West Vincent that asked for costs involved in any and all surveillance of private citizens at any time or occasion, what would be the end result?

It just seems to me that isn’t it reasonable to assume that if they are so obsessed still with a Chicken who has been around a few years that they might be spending taxpayer money in all sorts of ways that no one knows about?  Mind you I am just asking a fair question, as it just seems like every time West Vincent is in the news or gets an unpleasant light shined on them, they resort to the furtive and paranoid Chickenman references, and pardon me but is Chickenman the only one who notices things sometimes aren’t quite what they seem? Gosh it was like this in Delaware County a few years ago with a secret blogger named Delco Tom Paine, and I thought it was ridiculous then in that situation.

Why is it they think the public and the local reporters who cover them are stupid?  If they are adding 2 + 2 = 5, duh-oh aren’t people going to ask where the extra 1 came from?

West Vincent, it is not so much you threw someone a party or how much money you spent, it is that you seem to be unable to resist the urge to feed from the public trough, only the public wasn’t invited, were they? If they had a public ceremony open to whomever wanted to come, let’s get real?  How many people would have come? Probably no more than who went to the private affair.  BUT it would have been a public thing.

And I am sorry but yes, saying good bye to a public official might be a genteel thing to do, but if all you were serving was a sip or two of soda, it could have been paid for differently.   And lordy, doesn’t everyone have enough extra glasses and plates and table linens that they did not need to be rented?

You can’t keep wearing the “I’m With Stupid” shirts, West Vincent.  You can’t keep using a lone chicken as your scape goat.  Times have changed, even in West Vincent, and people want accountability from their officials.  And above all else, you can’t say you are a Republican majority run municipality if you are using taxpayer funds on anything other than their immediate benefit.

And people of West Vincent, if you are going to keep voting these people back into office year after year, you do in fact, deserve each other.  Sorry for the tough love, but it’s time to man and woman up: you want change, vote for it this coming November and every season after that until you feel you have a better degree of municipal representation.  These politicians and municipal folks work for the taxpayers and residents, not the other way around.

Posted: 07/22/12 12:09 am

WEST VINCENT — Using a combination of donations and township funds in May, township supervisors hosted a private appreciation party for a former supervisor.

The party was held to thank Zoe Perkins, a former supervisor and member of the township’s planning commission. It was attended by invitation only and held in the township building, which is adjacent to West Vincent Township Park.

 According to Supervisor Jim Wendlegass, the party was kept small primarily due to cost restrictions and occupancy limitations of the building’s room.

 Supervisor Clare Quinn, who worked with Perkins, said township funds are occasionally used to pay for refreshments, and this is not considered an extraordinary expense or activity.

The township party was first publicized in a recent posting on a website about West Vincent affairs written by “Chickenman.” The website, chickenman.medianewsonline.com, states that the focus of the articles posted there is an effort to fight “corruption in West Vincent.”

  The exact identity or identities of “chickenman” are subject to speculation. “Chickenman” and the newsletter comments have been the topic of public comment at township meetings….“(Perkins) served for 18 years, and gave all her money back to the township that she served,” said Quinn. “Every now and then we think it’s OK for the citizens of the township to thank somebody with a little bit of soda.”…It’s not like we rented a country club and had an exorbitant affair,” said Wendlegass, who estimated the total cost paid for by taxpayer money, including the sundial, was about $600. “We are very sensitive to the taxpayers and we try and do things as cheaply as we can.”

west vincent on the peoples’ radar again: rising up about birchrunville

I haven’t had much to say lately about West Vincent.  First of all, nothing is changing, just more of the same old same old….including everyone but the cows at Ken Miller’s farm are being told they are the fine feathered friend Chickenman.  That gets old, who cares,  and besides they gave up burning witches at the stake centuries ago, right?

What doesn’t get old in West Vincent, apparently, are mysterious acts of retribution. Yeah, everyone knows it goes on and they are not paranoid delusions of residents. Stuff like that happens every day, and not just in West Vincent.

But West Vincent hasn’t been Mayberry Sleepy…. and there still seems to be stuff going on “on the down low”.

Chickenman’s e-mail the other day made me wonder if it was time for an update.  He wanted people to read an article in The Daily Local about proposed development of the old township building property, which is apparently a historic school house.

Here we go again.

By SARA MOSQUEDA-FERNANDEZ smfernandez@dailylocal.com

WEST VINCENT — Residents are concerned about office buildings proposed in Birchrunville, and they want township supervisors to reject the plans as inappropriate for their historic village center.

The applicant for the Birch Run Village plan seeks to construct three two-story office buildings, each of about 2,500 square feet, on a total of 2.5 acres.

 The property is at the corner of Flowering Springs Road and School House Lane. The school house on the adjoining parcel was built in 1833 and was formerly used as the township’s administrative building.

 According to Supervisor Clare Quinn, the zoning for the area is mixed use, which allows small commercial development.

Suzanne M. Roth, who sits on the township’s Environmental Advisory Committee, hopes more residents realize what the proposal means.

“We just really want to make sure that people understand the amount of development that’s being proposed for this property, the impact that it’s going to have on all of our lives,” said Roth. “This keeps changing, but at the moment it looks like there will be (three) two-story buildings.”

According to Township Manager Jim Wendlegass, Birch Run Village Leasing LLC originally submitted a land-development application in late 2004. That was denied, he said, and a new plan was submitted last year.

The township’s Planning Commission advised supervisors to reject waivers sought by the developers for the project….“This is an historic village with roads to match,” said Roth. “If the property is developed as planned for each parking space allotted, there will be eight car trips anticipated to travel our roads.”

That would mean about 256 to 270 more cars passing her house  daily or turning around somewhere in the village to enter the office complex, Roth said.

“Township police cannot enforce the 15 mph speed limit on the lower portion of School House Lane now,” she said.

 Ethan Schofield, whose property also neighbors the site, hopes that more residents will become aware about the issues at hand…Kenny Carroll, a resident of the township since 1973, said he was specifically concerned with impacts on the environment. “The Birchrun Creek, an exceptional value creek, will be seriously impacted by this development,” said Carroll…According to Carroll, another issue is the development’s impact on the schoolhouse building. “This building is an historical building,” said Carroll.

….Roth and other residents have put together a website, http://www.birchrunvillepeople.com/, with more information about their concerns on the project, hoping to inform the township and community members about these and other issues.

Clare Quinn?  How can anyone believe a thing that comes out of her mouth?  Isn’t she Chester County’s reigning queen of eminent domain is a good thing?  And well, don’t all the residents pay her health insurance via tax dollars, making her right up there with sucking off the proverbial public teat, yes?

In general, where is the need for this development?  Did residents request it?  Are there businesses lined up with signed leases waiting to move in?  How does this work? This isn’t just a suburb, it’s the country, and one of the largest problems with Chester County as beautiful as it is, are these odd business developments that never look exactly full.  Who decided there was an actual need, or is this a build it and they will come scenario? I don’t understand.

Malvern is already learning how their development that will be super-sized and traffic clogging will impact the borough economically.  Suffice it to say, it will not be the cash cow officials thought it would be.  And lordy it has taken David Della Porta long enough to get one of his New Urbanism Fantasy Plans through.  He’s a nice man, I have met him, but I have heard him chirp this all before – it’s just with the Borough of Malvern he finally found his perfect rubes.  He said at a ground breaking after the fact:

“What I mean by that is, the first urban-esque, mixed-use, transit-oriented development,” he said. “There’s really nothing in Philadelphia suburbs like this, where you have retail-residential involved in a great existing place that already has a beautiful little town, the services and the train station within walking distance.”

Urban-esque?  Hello, why do people move to the suburbs?  Why do people move to the country?  Is it so they can eventually feel the urban of it all they moved away from?  Call me crazy, but I don’t think so.

So West Vincent residents, lovers of Birchrunville, what say you?  Is this what you want?  It seems to me that a lot of different voices are saying “no”, aren’t there?

The problem is, this dopey plan will go through unless fought tooth and nail.  And I hope people get political.  Let your Congressman up for re-election know how you feel too.  Hasn’t he received a tidy sum of donations from power brokers and decision makers in West Vincent?  Donations are nice, but votes get an elected official where they need to go, so always let them know how you feel about local issues even if they are not directly involved.  Especially during a big election year.

Now, let’s also use this as a reminder as to why West Vincent needs term limits and new supervisors.

And here is the new website Birchrunville People: Preserving the Village of Birchrunville:

Check out the TRAFFIC TAB:

4-Way Stop Sign is Being Planned for the Intersection of Flowing Springs Rd. and School House Lane!

See the photo below of the new notice marking at the intersection, and scroll down to see the Caruolo Associates’ Traffic Report which “strongly disagrees” with the creation of the 4-way stop at this intersection! This will be an extremely hazardous intersection for vehicles driving up and down Flowing Springs, especially in the the winter! 

Why should the People of Birchrunville be put in danger for the sake of one corporation’s financial interest?

Check out the History Tab and The Actions Tab:

What Can You Do?

    1. Attend the West Vincent Township meetings (see Calendar).  Share your thoughts with the township Board of Supervisors and the Planning Committee.  Keep your comments and questions civil and respectful– these township officials are our neighbors and friends and they are committed to serving the township and upholding its laws.
    2. Stay informed.  We will try to keep this website up-to-date with the latest developments.
    3. Write letters.  Put your concerns and questions in writing and send them to:
      West Vincent Township Board of Supervisors: 729 St. Matthews Road Chester Springs, PA 19425           Pennsylvania State Senator: Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman One North Church Street West Chester, PA 19380
      Chester County Historical Preservation Network: http://www.cchpn.org/contact.htm
      PennDOT (PA Dept. of Transportation): Francis J Hanney Traffic control services manager fhanney@state.pa.gov
      Fire Safety:

Birchrunville’s first responder: Kimberton Fire Company P.O. Box 99 Kimberton, Pennsylvania 19442 Phone: 610 935-1388 Fax: 610-935-3956

Others Serving West Vincent: Ridge Fire Company #1 480 Ridge Road Spring City, PA 19475-9678 Phone: (610) 495-6063 Fax: (610) 495-5106 RidgeFH@RidgeFireCompany.com
Ludwig’s Corner Fire Company 1325 North Pottstown Pike Glenmoore PA 19343 Station #73 Phone: (610) 458-8479 Fax: (610) 458-2562
Check this page regularly for more opportunities to get involved and make a difference!

There is also a forum with comments worth reading

Good for these residents for stepping up and having a say!   But it is West Vincent, so who knows how it will end up. All I know is little country roads are just that: little.  And you only get so many chances to keep water sources clean and once an environment is gone, etc., it’s gone.

It’s a damn shame that the politicians in West Vincent and the taxpayer-funded staff do not really get the value of the charm of this area that will disappear once they turn it into Little Eagle.  I can’t wait for the CVS with fake Victorian gables.

Sigh.  More dumbness.

 

.

when a community needs to get back to basics. and save itself.

When West Vincent Supervisor Ken Miller’s wife, Sue of Birchrun Hills Farm got up at a recent meeting to speak her peace in West Vincent, I watched it as an outsider and counted my lucky stars I did not live in West Vincent Township.  Which truthfully, I hate to say because it is a wonderful community and has a lot of beauty….or it will until the developers all have their way, but I digress.

I received something from Chickenman that has given me pause for thought (you can read it HERE.) As did a letter that was directed towards West Vincent in March.

So this letter from March seems to have something to do with some property that West Vincent used to own?  That has now a commercial use with few or no restrictions?  If this is true and they are so big on preservation, why didn’t they at least sell this land with some sort of conservation stuff to go with? Something about an old township building and whether it is in or out of compliance with use, as in was it too long ago and should prior uses be considered abandoned? And why does anyone need another “office park”?  (I hate that phrase “office park”.) Is there enough business to sustain this?  And something about waivers?  (Maybe it is just me, but as I have watched development in 3 counties in PA I always love when developers come in asking for waivers when sometimes it seems the hardship is not on them, but the community left questioning their own property rights when it comes to saying no to development.)

So back to Sue Miller, the Farmer-Supervisor’s wife.  She spoke up at this meeting, which is cool, don’t have a problem with that, it’s just the bully pulpit of it all and the irony of her words that continue to stick in people’s craw.

Sue Miller has issue with Chickenman, claims the fearless fowl is trying to put her and her hubby out of business.  Seems to me, all he is asking for is for a level playing field and honesty.   That Clare Quinn who used to work for The French and Pickering Conservation Trust while she voted for eminent domain for private gain (because nothing says conservation/preservation like eminent domain) doesn’t like Chickenman, either?  (Clare seems to live off the fat of the community in so many ways, doesn’t she?)

But why is it that any resident or other who speaks up a liar?  There seems to be a lot of residents speaking up, which generally speaking could be a divining rod to major issues, yes?

I am going to have to agree with Chickenman when he said in his e-mail June 6th that like it or not, Ken Miller is not just a private citizen but an elected official.  And as such, indeed subject to the same public scrutiny as a public official, elected or appointed.

The irony of Mrs. Miller claiming all the good people are trying to put her out of business in her township doesn’t escape me.  Since I started to pay attention to this area (they did it themselves with eminent domain), all I hear about is what is done dirty to residents, so what is she talking about?   And she speaks of Chickenman and Chickenman “Posse” (have you heard anything so stupid and paranoid?) retaliating?  Who is actually retaliating?

Mrs. Miller stood on her soapbox for quite a while, and then there were comments from the peanut gallery and this guy in the meeting who seemed like he was threatening another resident in the meeting and no one did anything? This same person also used profanity, and nothing was done?

No I don’t understand.  But I do know that there is too much nastiness in this bucolic community.

What is community?  Defined it is:

noun, plural com·mu·ni·ties.

1.a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
2.a locality inhabited by such a group.
3.a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually preceded by the ): the business community; the community of scholars.
4.a group of associated nations sharing common interests or a common heritage: the community of Western Europe.
5.Ecclesiastical . a group of men or women leading a common life according to a rule.

Some people would describe West Vincent as merely rural.  The more I read, the more meeting tapes I see and hear about, I think it is positively feudal.

Ahhh yess, feudalism:

Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for structuring society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.

Although derived from the Latin word feodum or feudum (fief),[1] then in use, the term feudalism and the system it describes were not conceived of as a formal political system by the people living in the medieval period. In its classic definition, by François-Louis Ganshof (1944),[2]feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals, and fiefs.[2]

There is also a broader definition, as described by Marc Bloch (1939), that includes not only warrior nobility but all three estates of the realm: the nobility, the clerics, and the peasantry bonds of manorialism; this is sometimes referred to as a “feudal society“.

West Vincent residents, you need to be involved where you live.  Even you the McMansion dwellers.  I  can’t believe you aren’t bothered (for example) when the agendas for the meeting aren’t posted or easily found and it is the Friday before a meeting.  I mean LOOK at the website.  Agendas are public documents to be provided in a timely manner prior to a meeting.  When is the last time they posted an agenda and since I don’t live there I can’t say it was timely, but it appears by their own website to have been 4/23/2012:

04/23/12 7:30 PM:  Board of Supervisor Meeting

Written by Tammy Swavely. Posted in Event Dates – Township Meetings

05/14/12 7:30 PM:  Board of Supervisor Meeting

Written by Tammy Swavely. Posted in Event Dates – Township Meetings

Board of Supervisor Meeting at the Township Building

05/29/12 7:30 PM:  Board of Supervisor Meeting

Written by Tammy Swavely. Posted in Event Dates – Township Meetings

Board of Supervisor Meeting at the Township Building

06/04/12 Special Board of Supervisor Meeting

Written by Tammy Swavely. Posted in Event Dates – Township Meetings

06/04/12 Special Board of Supervisor Meeting

One of the oldest dumbing down tricks in the book: don’t post things in a timely fashion and keep taxpayers and residents ignorant and in the dark.  But does that violate Sunshine Laws in PA?  Or will I open a discussion on the letter of the law versus the spirit?  (If you think I do not like eminent domain, I dislike sunshine slayers as well.)

Did you know Pennsylvania has an Open Records website?  With the Right to Know Law and a handy Citizen’s Guide and FAQs?

I also can’t believe you think it’s ok when anyone threatens or bullies a resident in public at a meeting.

None of this is o.k.

It’s not my community, people, I am but a observor.  I am grateful for the community I call home (even if there has been a bit of a reach at me from there to here for my opinions), glad I got out of a community that was a political cesspool on a much larger stage that West Vincent.  (So I have indeed been there and I do get it.)

I would think you all wanted better for yourselves.  I understand how many of you are fearful or intimidation and retaliation, but the truth is these yokels only have as much power as you allow them.  Go above them on a state and federal level if you have to.

Who is your Congressman? Is it Jim Gerlach?  Show up at his town hall meetings or his freaking campaign office and ask for equal time in the community.  No incumbent is completely immune to elections, no outcome is guaranteed.  Gerlach used to be my Congressman, and I found him very easy and fair to deal with.  From a practical standpoint, his elections have also been squeakers.  He was redistricted again, so that might help, but you never know.  Those who write his campaign donation checks are not the only people an elected official will listen to in an election cycle, trust me.  And I say that as someone who does not as a matter of choice, donate to political campaigns.

Who is your state rep?  Your state senator? Get busy with them.

Community is what you make of it.  I can’t do this for you, nor can others.  A community must rally to save itself.  And it is a lot of hard work.  I know it can be frustrating, but if you are not happy with the way things are, you need to change it.

I have said it before,  and I will say it again: you live in a beautiful area.  Please fight to save it, and change the faces of who govern you.  Shine a little sunshine.  Do supervisors have term limits?  Maybe West Vincent is an example of why they should.

And to the person on the meeting tape who referred to Facebook?  I am sorry, will there be a blog burning and banning of Facebook in West Vincent?  Kindly remember what this country is founded on – you know, that little thing called the First Amendment? Just saying.