Yesterday I wrote about the wrecking ball of doom hanging over a very beloved and well-recognized landmark, the Old Covered Wagon Inn of Strafford PA. Once it was a tale of two counties, and apparently at some point the structure got plunked 100% in Tredyffrin Township, Chester County. (Say, has anyone asked Radnor Township how they feel about this?? It is right on the border and they are always taking care of than intersection aren’t they?)
Today thanks to Pattye Benson I have these great photos to share with you. And a new post:
There has been questions about the exact date of the Covered Wagon Inn. According to Tredyffrin Township’s 2003 Historic Resource Survey, the construction date is attributed to circa 1780. A team of professionals from Preservation Design Partnership in Philadelphia conducted the municipal survey documentation project, which surveyed and documented over 350 historic resources in Tredyffrin Township.
Interestingly in 2004, the Historic Resource Survey was given the Government Award by Preservation Pennsylvania. The project was described as “providing a usable preservation planning tool for a suburban township currently under intense development and redevelopment (in the form of “tear-downs”) pressure.” The award description went on to say that, “Tredyffrin Township Historic Resources Survey represents a model for the use of technology to document and plan for the management, protection and preservation of historic buildings, sites and districts valued by a municipality.”
The township’s 2003 Historic Resource Survey was funded with taxpayer dollars and was intended to aid the municipal officials and staff in the protection of Tredyffrin Township’s resources. The preservation of historic buildings like the Covered Wagon Inn is a one-way street. There is no chance to reuse or save the building, once it’s gone. Preservation and restoration is the ultimate form of recycling. What is historic, and worth saving, varies with the beholder.
How horribly and sadly true. Not everyone sees the value in our old and historic structures.
Sure hope those realtors on both sides of this transaction are enjoying their historic blood money commission…and the pals of these Prudential Fox & Roach / Berkshire Hathaway realtors might not like that opinion but I am entitled to it.
I am not alone in my sentiments. People are horrified.
I understand that the new property owner has property rights, but it doesn’t make it right what is happening here. What is happening is just wrong.
As for Tredyffrin Township the local government? Wow what a bunch of hypocrites, right? Tredyffrin likes to proclaim how historic this township in Chester County is, but what do they actually DO to preserve anything?
You can’t save every old or historic house but to let something like this get turned to dust ?
UPDATE: A Realtor I know was finally able to come up with listing on the barn. It is on TREND (# 6161851). However, it is listed under “land type” as “One Building Lot” and under “structures?” the answer is “N”. So here y’all go (and as a non industry professional I still say this is all about as clear as mud, can’t you agree?):
Simple question: what defines market for sale? An MLS listing? A page on their website where everything else they have for sale is? How does one obtain information? Realtors have listings, developers have listings, so why is it Realtors I know can’t seem to find a listing let alone anyone else?
As a matter of fact someone I know sent me three interesting screen shots today. They wanted to see the listing on the barn. I don’t know why, it shouldn’t really matter since Bentley told those Easttown folks he would actively “market” the barn for sale a while longer, right?
Apparently Bentley’s website has that live chat/live assist capability. This person, looking for info on the barn and what it was listed for couldn’t find anything on the barn – just what appears to be the original listing on this property with Prudential.
Obviously it makes for easy Tyvec Kingdom building if a developer could just tear down a barn like this, only the barn is 200 years old and isn’t in bad shape….so in theory someone could buy it and live in it . But if people can’t easily find a listing, how can they buy the barn? My sources tell me there is interest in this barn, so perhaps something good could happen if info was out there for the world to find?
Maybe it would behoove Mr. Bentley to put a listing page conveniently on his spiffy website? Or should people just contact Easttown Township directly?
Here is what I was sent and please note the “Me” is not me literally, it is apparently how it comes up on the live assist/live chat function:
Yesterday was the 225th anniversary of the United States Constitution. Truly, the bible of our freedoms was signed on September 17, 1787. Yesterday a friend of mine had to defend her honor as a free woman of the United States of America.
Why is it Tredyffrin feels it is above the very principles upon which this country was founded? How ironic is that considering as a municipality they hold within their borders part of one of the most sacred sites of the American Revolution and of our history? You know, Valley Forge?
What truths do we really hold to be self-evident? In Tredyffrin, quite frankly, I shudder to think.
I am astounded at the Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors President Michelle Kichline. She danced around the subject of Vice President of the Board of Supervisors John P. DiBuonaventuro turning Tredyffrin’s taxpayer-funded website into TMZ.com. And I am still somewhat astounded that exiting Tredyffrin Township Manager Mimi Gleason went along with this whole enchilada, including a personal attack by an elected official on Pattye Benson who gives so much to her community. And as a blogger, I have been in Pattye’s position. I have been threatened, as have other bloggers I know. And time and again I ask for what? Having an opinion that runs contrary to the party line of some petty local government or selective government officials? Was People’s Republic of Tredyffrin Supervisor DiBuonaventuro channelling his inner Corbett? (Remember when Corbett went after bloggers before becoming governor? I wrote about that topic in *shock and horrors* Main Line Media News and it is reprinted below.)
I was thinking today about my balloon ride on 9/11, and how I was moved to tears by not only what the day represents (and it has extra meaning to me as someone who by happenstance walked out of the shopping concourse in the World Trade Center in 1993 just as the garage blew up), but moved by the beautiful green field dotted with a couple hundred first responders from all over Chester County who came together on 9/11. Then I thought about what my friend Pattye had to bravely do last night. She stood up and disclosed to all (see YouTube) that because of Lettergate she received a very odd phone call last week – from the departing Township Manager and Chief of Police. What was the point of that? Intimidation? I can’t help but wonder if I will also become a target because I have blogged about this? (This is not my first rodeo, and when horrible things like this happen it seems again that ordinary citizens have hit upon subjects government doesn’t want aired in public, right?)
When you think of what our founding fathers fought and died for, and what all those people (including first responders) died for on 9/11, I am so truly and deeply saddened and angered that Tredyffrin Township seems to think this is all o.k. and don’t you feel the same?
It’s not. Today, we as bloggers in the South Eastern PA blogosphere applaud Pattye Benson for rising above and speaking her piece in a dignified and forthright manner. She behaved far better than any in government (either elected official or township employee) deserve. Tredyffrin owes her, Main Line Media News, and anyone who exercises their First Amendment Rights an apology.
And as a municipality which is Republican dominated,
they are not exactly forwarding the cause of their party or their party’s political belief system. (As a Republican I am ashamed and embarrassed for them) I am so over bullying by government. (IMHO it doesn’t just happen in Tredyffrin either) I mean think about it people! Pattye Benson was in fact cyber-bullied by government officials and township officials. Cyber-bullied, the thing they worry about in schools and here it is adults in power not exactly practicing what they preach, right?
….The regular Board of Supervisor’s meeting ended with supervisor and citizen new matters. Chairman Michelle Kichline read a statement from the Board of Supervisors concerning the use of the township website for John DiBuonaventuro’s letter to the citizens. Although a personal attack on a private citizen, Kichline stood by the decision to post his letter on township letterhead on the website. She did say that the board will look into developing a policy for the use of the website going forward. As the private citizen who was the target of DiBuonaventuro’s venomous attack, Kichline and the Board of Supervisors response was far from satisfactory.
Following Kichline’s statement on the Suzy Pratowski matter and the use of the township website for a supervisor’s personal letter, Andrea Felkins, a former School Board director and longtime resident , presented a lengthy statement in opposition. Felkins was absolute in her conviction against DiBuonaventuro’s use of the township website for his personal attack on me and of Community Matters…Below is the transcript of my statement from last night’s September 17 Board of Supervisors meeting:
Pattye Benson Personal Statement September 17, 2012
Members of the Board of Supervisors and citizens of Tredyffrin Township – I had not intended to speak tonight, preferring to listen to other’s voices. But something happened this past Friday, that has shaken me to my very core. At approximately 9:40 AM on Friday, September 14, I received a joint phone call from township manager Mimi Gleason and Police Superintendent Tony Giaimo that has forever changed who I am. In life’s journey, this is my watershed moment and a feeling that I will never forget.
Unable to shake how I was feeling, after 24 hours, I wrote the following email to Mimi Gleason and copied Michelle Kichline, chair of the Board of Supervisors.
Let me share that September 15 email with you.
Dear Ms. Gleason,
There are two reasons that I am writing this email (1) to state that as a citizen of Tredyffrin Township, I now feel threatened and harassed by our government and (2) to request that you never contact me again, unless it is with a written apology for your actions.
I have thought of little else since receiving your phone call yesterday, Friday, September 14. As a township resident, to be blindsided with a conference call from the township manager and the police superintendent was more than a little intimidating; I have to wonder how often you have taken a similar approach with other citizens in this community. The telephone conversation left me wondering exactly what was the purpose of the call and why did you involve Tony Giaimo except as a witness or possibly to record the phone conversation. Although there was no mention made of the call being recorded, Tony did state he was in his police vehicle, so am I to assume that the telephone conversation was recorded without my knowledge.
Between the historic house tour, the Paoli Blues Fest and personal health issues, I do not have the time or energy for your directives, missives or whatever else was the intention of your phone call or of your email dated September 7. On September 7, I emailed you the following simple question:
“Who is responsible for Mr. DiBuonaventuro’s letter on the township website? Was placing the letter on the website sanctioned by you, the township manager?”
The only response that my question required was a simple, yes or no, with the possible addition that the chair of the Board of Supervisors and the township solicitor had OK’d the letter for the township website. However, no, you decided on a different response, one that was not required, not needed and not necessary. Frankly, as a citizen and taxpayer in this township, your response was one that I believe you should never have sent. When I received your email, I made no response.
Your call yesterday revisited the opinion you stated in your September 7 email to me; again complaining that Community Matters contained misinformation and incorrect facts, specifically the assisted living project. However, never once in the conversation did you cite specifics as to what was incorrect. As a response to your complaints about the Suzy Pratowski matter, I stated that the Main Line Media News, TE Patch, Daily Local and the Philadelphia Inquirer had all written articles on the subject. I further stated that there was at least a week after the news articles appeared for the police department, the township or the Board of Supervisors to make a statement before I wrote anything on Community Matters. Residents were asking questions and no one seemed to be providing answers.
As a result of the situation, I did my own mini-investigation, speaking with District Attorney Tom Hogan, District Judge Tom Tartaglio, BOS Chair Michelle Kichline and Police Supt. Giaimo. After a thorough analysis, I presented my own summary statement on Community Matters. I clarified that John DiBuonaventuro was not the unidentified driver with Ms. Pratowski in the May 28 incident, as a photo in the newspapers may have implied. In my summary, I stated that DiBuonaventuro was interviewed by the police and that the police were satisfied that he was not in any way involved with the two police officers not appearing for the August 21 court date. I wrapped the summary up and tied a ribbon on it, stating that the two police officers missing the hearing was a human error, a mistake. I also thanked those involved (Hogan, Tartaglio, Kichline and Giaimo) for their help and used the words that I was ‘closing the chapter’. Little did I know, what was to happen … DiBuonaventuro’s letter, your involvement with the letter on the website, your September 7 email and most recently, your telephone call of September 14.
Feeling threatened by your phone call, I remarked at one point during the conversation that I should have an attorney on the call. I stated to you and Giaimo that as a resident of this township, I have rights, and as a citizen of the United States, I have rights, including 1st Amendment rights. I believe that our government does not have the right to harass and intimidate those citizens it serves to protect. I am not an attorney but I cannot imagine that your actions of yesterday (or your email) would be viewed favorably by the courts. Further, I cannot imagine that you would have considered making a similar phone call to Main Line Media News, TE Patch or the Philadelphia Inquirer nor would you have dare taken this approach with an attorney who might understand the legal implications of your actions far better than me.
Supt. Giaimo asked what I would like to see happen going forward – my response was a denouncement from the Board of Supervisors for the letter going on the website and an apology from the township manager. It should be noted that I quickly also stated that I did not expect either of those two things to happen.
It saddens me greatly that you were compelled to bring Tony into this matter. He and I have enjoyed a good working relationship over the last several years, including the blues festival and the house tour. Was your motive to damage my relationship with him, or was it to record the conversation? It is entirely unclear why you involved the police superintendent, except to further intimidate me.
In case you are not aware, your phone call was so upsetting, that I immediately called Michelle Kichline, chair of the Board of Supervisors to report the conversation. You suggested that I was ‘mistaken’ when I suggested that Ms. Kichline had not seen Mr. DiBuonaventuro’s letter before it was posted on the website. For the record, Ms. Kichline again confirmed that she had not seen the actual letter before it went on the website; I guess you are the one who is mistaken.
In closing, your intimidating actions have contributed to my feeling harassed and threatened by some in our local government. I ask that you not contact me again, unless it is with a written apology. For the record, I believe that John Petersen is also owed an apology from you, for the words, “so-called legal expert has no expertise …” contained in your Sept 7 email to me.
Sincerely, Pattye Benson
This is the end of my email to Ms. Gleason but I have a few closing remarks.
The great irony is that today is this country’s Constitution Day. Two hundred and twenty five years ago, on September 17, 1787, forty-two of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention held their final meeting. Only one item of business occupied the agenda that day, to sign the Constitution of the United States of America. Our founding fathers fought and died for our freedom, and I am left wondering if what is going on in this township is what they would have intended.
In closing, I am but one person, but I believe that I represent a far greater community.
Can we question our government?
Do we dare to have an opinion?
I believe that ALL our voices matter.
There is nothing subjective about the First Amendment and any of our other inalienable rights.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
Will Pennsylvanians soon be looking forward to a new slogan for the Commonwealth? How will “Welcome to the People’s Republic of Pennsylvania” roll off the tongue? I don’t think it will dance as nicely as “You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania” somehow. Nor should it.
What has my wanton blogging soul all a-twitter (pardon the pun)? News which went viral across Pennsylvania as well as the country: Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett, upholder of truth, justice and the American way in Pennsylvania as attorney general, issued a grand-jury subpoena to Twitter to unmask a couple of anonymous bloggers who weren’t part of his fan club.
Yes, that’s what I said, “Huh?” Apparently these two bloggers are known on Twitter by the handles of @bfbarbie and @CasaBlancaPA and they have been criticizing Mr. Corbett. OK, well, it’s 140 characters or less, right? He’s a tough-guy politician, right? So why the thin skin? Surely Mr. Corbett has faced tougher criticism from opposing candidate Dan Onorato? In today’s world, who hasn’t criticized a politician? Over dinner, in the editorial page, at the grocery store, in a public meeting, on a blog, on some other form of social media? It’s an American tradition as old as this great nation for goodness’ sake!
This is so confoundingly perplexing on so many levels that this issue has even prompted a comment from Paul Alan Levy, a litigator with the Public Citizen Litigation Group. Mr. Levy commented in part on Mr. Corbett’s decision to sue the federal government to try to block the new health-care bill as being too invasive in citizens’ lives. Like Mr. Levy, I have to wonder: what is so different about this?
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution was written to protect things like free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press. It says literally:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
So how does this work with politicians again? Are we as human beings supposed to blindly follow where all lead? Are we only supposed to agree with politicians, never disagree? I’m sorry; did I fall asleep and wake up down the rabbit hole with Alice in Wonderland or something?
Is Tom Corbett the new Henry VIII of Pennsylvania? “Off with their heads” and all that? Instead of priest holes, will we all soon have blogger holes in our houses and an underground railroad to move bloggers from safe house to safe house to avoid the AG’s guards?
Are bloggers all now criminals and outlaws for expressing our opinions about elected officials and those seeking not only local but higher state and even federal-level office? If some of the most famous founding fathers were alive today would they be in jeopardy as well for scribbling broadsheets under pseudonyms? You know, like Benjamin Franklin or John Adams or Thomas Paine?
Seriously, what century are we living in? What’s next? Resurrection of the Scarlet Letter? Only this time it is a “B” for Blogger? Stocks? Pillories? Being paraded through the proverbial town square in chains?
This is a man who wants us to consider him for governor, right? So how many people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania blog or use some form of social media to express themselves? And should elected officials use their office as a bully pulpit to squash all critics like bugs? What is it about politicians? You can write about them as long as it’s good news or they can control the content? That is what their publicists are for, I thought.
If the First Amendment rights of these bloggers were or are in peril, can it be considered that so could be the First Amendment rights of every American from coast to coast?
Given the now undeniable symbiotic relationship between the media and bloggers, one would hope the media would pay close attention to this story as it unfolds and at its conclusion. After all, the media get a lot of information from blogs and bloggers (“citizen journalists”), they can’t deny it, and so in theory if the First Amendment rights of bloggers are challenged thusly, the press is next.
Media reports indicate that by Friday, May 21, 2010, Mr. Corbett was just having a bad day and is pulling his subpoena. It is a good thing that Mr. Corbett has done the right thing, but it still gives all of us pause for thought, doesn’t it?
Pennsylvanians of all political persuasions indeed have a lot to think of come November 2010.
I guess in November 2012 and every election going forward until Tredyffrin residents have more fairly representative government people will have something to think about, huh? They can try to quell our voices, but like our votes, they are our own, are they not?
A member of the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors this week injected himself into the recent dust up over why police officers failed to show up for a court hearing in a public intoxication and disorderly conduct case involving a township zoning and hearing board member.
The letter was in response to an issue that was first brought to light two weeks ago on Main Line Media News’ website. The article sought to find out why the police failed to show up to a summary court hearing regarding the arrest of a member of the Tredyffrin Township Zoning and Hearing Board.
Suzanne Pratowski had been arrested in May 2012 on public intoxication and disorderly conduct charges. The hearing date was scheduled for Aug. 21. However, the police failed to show up for the hearing and as a result the charges were essentially tossed out.
In the letter signed by DiBuonaventuro, the Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors vice-chairman said that Main Line Media News suggested that he was the unnamed designated driver in the car when Pratowski was arrested. DiBuonaventuro’s name was never mentioned in the article.
An undated file photo showing Pratowski and DiBuonaventuro, along with six other people, was posted along with the article. The photo was taken by Main Line Media News at a social event in October 2011. DiBuonaventuro stated in his letter that “the MLSL internet-based story accompanied by the picture left the reader with the obvious implication that the driver was me. It was not.”
In his letter, DiBuonaventuro states that he had a relationship with Pratowski that lasted a little over a year and ended in November of 2011.
DiBuonaventuro also used the letter to suggest that a local blogger, Pattye Benson, has been trying to discredit the local government through her website, Community Matters. DiBuonaventuro said the site “[A]ppear[s] to be an on-going effort to discredit our government and its efforts to serve the citizens by creating and fostering an environment of conspiracy and mistrust among its limited readership,” the letter reads in part…..DiBuonaventuro went on to raise other questions about bloggers and what he calls “anonymous commentators.”
“I also question if they (bloggers) would have the fortitude and stamina to engage in a one-on-one campaign for elected office let along serve in a position with little or no pay, full responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens they serve, and with appears to offer nothing more than continuous ridicule in return,” according to the letter.
Township supervisors have control over local taxes, development and a host of other issues that have a direct effect on the lives of residents, businesses and visitors to a particular municipality.
DiBuonaventuro did not return e-mails seeking comment and clarification of the issues he raised in the letter.
A posting on Tredyffrin Township’s official FaceBook page seems to agree with the assertion that DiBuonaventuro has been defamed in some way. The posting was in response to a question raised by [Chester County] resident and blogger Carla Zambelli when she asked “is this letter attacking a private citizen and local media outlets currently posted on your site an official government sanctioned release?”
The response to her question was posted by Tredyffrin Township Manager Mimi Gleason.
“It is unusual to post a statement from an individual Supervisor, but given the inaccurate and derogatory statements and innuendo publicly made about John DiBuonaventuro, the Township Manager approved the posting of Mr. DiBuonaventuro’s letter on the Township website. In this case, he was the subject of baseless public speculation simply because he is a Tredyffrin Supervisor. The circumstances justified the use of the website to publicly defend him, carrying with it the implicit endorsement of the Township to the accuracy of his statements. The Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and the Township Solicitor agreed that it was appropriate for the letter to go on the website,” the posting reads…However, Police Supt. Anthony Giaimo and Board President Michelle H. Kichline have not returned phone calls or e-mails this week regarding the issue.
For more on The Peoples Republic of Tredyffrin read Pattye Benson’s blog Community Matters. If you have FiOs and depending on where you live in Chester and Delaware counties, some of you may be able to watch Tredyffrin’s next Board of Supervisors meeting on Verizon Channel 24. If you live in Tredyffrin, get thee to a meeting!
The next Board of Supervisors Meeting as per Tredyffrin’s website appears to be Monday, September 17 in something called Keene Hall in Tredyffrin Township at 7:30 p.m. Show up and speak out for Pattye and for yourselves. If you are very good and very lucky, maybe they will post another letter on how horrible residents are?
Local governments like this only have the power you allow them to have. It is time for Tredyffrin to change. And your Board of Supervisors President Michelle H. Kichline has some explaining to do, does she not? And is her surly vice chair just supposed to keep on bullying residents and potentially anyone who disagrees with him?
Like many local municipalities, Tredyffrin has an official Facebook page. I have no idea who is responsible for its content.
I posed a polite but rather simple question to the page, because I figure as a non-taxpayer and non-resident, it might be the most expedient way to get a response. Well, I got one. I thought nothing further could shock me about Tredyffrin Township, but well, it’s lettergate in full flower now I suppose.
I am posting the response. Really I had to suppress the urge to ask how Tredyffrin feels about the First Amendment. But should I bother given the response? Is it self-evident?
What happens the next time residents are on the other side of an issue from an elected official? I will note *again*, I have no idea who responds for Tredyffrin “officially” on their Facebook page as they do not identify themselves or their position within the Township.
I am just shocked. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I am. How is any of this not an abuse of power and/or an abuse of a taxpayer-funded official government website? So am I to understand that they are publicly flogging a resident for blogging and asking questions? Is the Township website in Tredyffrin just a political bully pulpit? Do they care or even have a clue as to how this makes the entire township look? To residents? To people considering moving into the township? To businesses?
This lettergate is certainly shaping up to be a First Amendment conundrum among other things like a public relations nightmare.
I am now going to let my friend Pattye Benson speak for herself. Unbeknownst to me until a few moments ago, she wrote about exactly what I am writing about. I am cross-poting her most recent post. I will admit I am a bit surprised by Township Manager Mimi Gleason’s response. But she is retiring, right? I wouldn’t want this to follow me out the door, would you? That whole thing is confusing since Ray Hoffman wrote an article August 30th that is titled “Mimi Gleason to remain Tredyffrin manager for now” isn’t it?
Should I make a Note to Self? Along the lines of don’t ask anymore questions about Tredyffrin, it is not safe? Wonder what esteemed folks like Paul Alan Levy would think? I will tell you what, this baptism by fire into all things Tredyffrin makes posting recipes even more appealing. Recipes don’t attack.
“The dominant purpose of the First Amendment was to prohibit the widespread practice of government suppression of embarrassing information.” ~ William Orville Douglas, US Supreme Court Justice
According to John DiBuonaventuro’s letter to the citizens, Community Matters posts are an “ongoing effort to discredit our government and its efforts to serve the citizens by creating and fostering an environment of conspiracy among its limited readership.” I received many emails and phone calls in regards to the inappropriateness of the letter but more importantly, the inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars to post the letter on township letterhead on the township website. The letter contains a personal attack on me, Community Matters and on those citizens who date to have an opinion. For some reason, DiBuonaventuro also feels compelled to mention my failed election in 2009 as a Board of Supervisors candidate … I guess that was contained in the letter, as a ‘just because’, he could … and he did.
I was hopeful that Michelle Kichline as the chair of the Board of Supervisors, the township solicitor Vince Donohue or the township manger Mimi Gleason would recognize the inappropriateness of DiBuronaventuro’s letter on our public website and that the letter would be removed quickly before any further damage was done to me or the other citizens of Tredyffrin Township.
I sent the following email this morning to Mimi Gleason, our township manager:
Who is responsible for Mr. DiBuonaventuro’s letter on the township website? Was placing the letter on the website sanctioned by you, the township manager?
I await your response.
I was extremely surprised by her immediate response below. Ms. Gleason states that she OK’d the letter on the website with approval from the chair of the Board of Supervisors, Michelle Kichline and township solicitor Vince Donohue. Folks, as a short-timer whose last day as township manager is Monday, September 17, 2012, Gleason has decided to make her true feelings known about me, Community Matters and for all those who dare to express an opinion. As sad as I was about the DiBuonaventuro letter, I wanted to believe in our government and the people we elected to serve. Bob Byrne, editor of TE Patch received a similar response from Gleason to his inquiry about the township website and DiBuonaventuro’s letter.
If the Board of Supervisors had been more forthcoming about the situation when the story first broke in the Main Line Media News, the outcome of the situation would have been very different. If the public had received any assurance from the Board of Supervisors that they were reviewing the internal investigation report of the Police Department, or if the public had known that the District Attorney’s office had reviewed the report, if, if, if, … no one said anything, there was no communication or explanation. Were it not that I went from the District Attorney, to the District Judge and then to the Police Chief, we would still have questions and no answers. The summary information I provided on Community Matters was not secret, the residents could have had, and should have had it.
So what is the bottom line? Gleason’s email says to me that to hold our government and its elected officials accountable by the citizenry is not acceptable in Tredyffrin Township. You read her response and be the judge.
I think it is interesting that you seek information from me now, but not before starting a storyline full of inaccuracies and innuendos that had the potential to harm people’s reputations. Correcting falsehoods well after the fact does not undo the damage from your original posts. You feed cynicism and assumptions of impropriety when there is absolutely no basis for it.
You have done the same thing with the assisted living facility. So much of what you have written on that topic is factually incorrect. Why don’t you make an effort to get accurate information before you write articles and leave impressions with your readers? You have to know that your so-called legal expert has no expertise, and therefore I can only conclude that you share his agenda to make the Township and the Board of Supervisors look bad, without any regard for the truth or ethics. That has been a disappointing conclusion to arrive at.
In answer to your question, it is unusual to post a statement from an individual Supervisor, but given the inaccurate and derogatory statements and innuendo publicly made about John DiBuonaventuro, I decided to approve the posting of the letter on the Township website. In this case, he was the subject of baseless public speculation simply because he is a Tredyffrin Supervisor. The circumstances justified the use of the website to publicly defend him, carrying with it the implicit endorsement of the Township to the accuracy of his statements. The Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and the Township Solicitor agreed that it was appropriate for the letter to go on the website.
This was much more fun than being packed in like sardines over at the Helicopter Museum to be sandwiched between foaming at the mouth tea partiers and equally foaming at the mouth Obama lovers to listen to V.P. candidate Paul Ryan blather.
At Waterloo, we are gearing up for April weather – with a forecast of 20′s and 30′s at night, ther are just certain plant material that is not ready to ship. Planting during 70 degree weather is great but now we are back to reality with temps. in the 50″s and cold nights again. We aim to ensure planting success and receive material when it is timely. Thanks for the insight though. We really value your opinion and take comments quite seriously. Take care, Tracy Smith
It still kept looking not quite right every time I drove past the Devon store. I kept hearing stories from people around that they were in dire straits. Then in June came news they were indeed closing Devon.
Today comes the news they are filing for bankruptcy protection. You know, everyone is ballyboohoohooing this calling the Devon property “a landmark property” and sorry, that just makes my eyes roll. It is 6 1/2 acres or thereabouts, but it is not landmark anything. It is just commercial.
Patch is reporting rumors of a Terrain being built there, another nursing home (nursing homes along Route 30 in Chester County are the new nail salon, apparently), or a car dealership. They quoted Bobby LeBoutillier as he being the one to recount the rumors.
Look it is a major bummer to many that Waterloo is closing. However, they still have Exton and quite frankly people should take a drive to Malvern to check out a smaller, family owned nursery Woodlawn Landscaping and Nursery. Or Somerset Nursery in Glenmore. They have or can get anything a gardener would want and yeah I bet they can help you plant too.
Waterloo over-extended themselves. They should have just stuck to what they know and kept it in Devon and Exton. But they did not and they are paying the piper doubly bad due to the economy.
They told me today via Facebook that gift cards would be honored at the Exton store.
I have a friend from high school who owns a nursery in another state, her name is Tina Bemis. Here is what she had to say today:
I happen to own a garden center in another state, and know that are garden centers are struggling right now. We WANT to have the cool, different stuff, but as less and less people are real gardeners and more “plant decorators” it’s hard to carry cool stuff that just sits there, when the majority of people just want big flowers.
Also, we don’t WANT to be more expensive, but the big box stores often use our products to lure you into the store so they can then sell you other stuff.
You see those prices, and think we are expensive. But they NEVER carry the cool, unusual stuff that you seek, and we are keeping those plants watered every day for when you come in. And when you only choose to come in on the after Christmas sale, what are we supposed to do the rest of the year?
We MUST go for the plants with the biggest profit dollars (not necessarily margins). That’s what businesses do. They must, actually, or someone else will do it better, and they will go out of business. Believe me, most garden centers are just barely staying alive right now. There are so few of you real gardeners left, and our businesses got big with the baby boomer demographic.
As the older folks downsize, move to retirement homes, or pass on, the next generation is a) much smaller in numbers and 2) even further removed from the land. In order to justify our own existence, we must also downsize, and that is probably exactly what Waterloo did. I would love to carry only what I call “geek plants.” But they won’t put food on my table. I appreciate your thoughtful comments.
Mind you, Tina and her nursery in my opinion is probably more like a slightly larger Woodlawn Landscaping and Nursery in Malvern or like a Somerset Nursery. And I have known Tina since I was a teenager (we were Shipley Sprouts together only she was MUCH MUCH better!) so I know she has a care with her clients. Most of us ceased to get that care or feeling of caring in Devon years ago. I do find that however, at the two nurseries I have mentioned in this post.
People can still visit them in Exton, which truthfully has been the best of their stores for years. I stopped going to Devon years ago not only because of the prices, but because (as alluded to none too smoothly above) there existed in the Devon store an attitude that quite simply put, was not worth the money. Devon as someone said to me to day was a glorified gift shop. Certainly not the Waterloo of years ago.
So dry your eyes. You might have to drive a little farther out but you still have one Waterloo if you must Waterloo. And it is the best of the Waterloos, always has been. And if you are open to trying new things, it’s a big world out there with additional choices.
“I think the Exton store, out of the two, has a much better layout,” said longtime President Bobby LeBoutiliier of the announcement. “There is more room for cars to park, more coverage space for annuals shopping, and if it’s time to consolidate, out of the two, this is the one we want.”
Management had originally planned to keep the Devon location open through the end of the year, and possibly into spring of 2013. The store is now scheduled to close July 15.
The garden center, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in April, opened two new locations in 2007 – one in Wilmington, Del. And one in Warminster, Pa. The Warminster location closed in 2008. The Wilmington location closed in December of 2011.
Chapter 11 Voluntary Petition. Fee Amount $1046 Filed by Waterloo Gardens, Inc.. Government Proof of Claim Deadline: 12/23/2012. Statement of Corporate Ownership due 07/10/2012. Corporate Resolution due 07/10/2012. Matrix List of Creditors due 07/3/2012. (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Receipt of Voluntary Petition (Chapter 11)(12-16080) [misc,volp11a] (1046.00) Filing Fee. Receipt number 12089552. Fee Amount $1046.00. (U.S. Treasury) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Expedited Motion to Use Cash Collateral Motion of the Debtor and Debtor-in-Possession for Order Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §363 to (I) use Cash Collateral and Provide Adequate Protection to Parties with Interest in Cash Collateral, (II) Pay Prepetition Wages and requests (III) an Expedited Hearing, Reduced Notice Period and Limited Notice Pursuant to Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9006(c)(1) And E.D. Pa. L.B.R. 5070(f) Filed by Waterloo Gardens, Inc. Represented by ALBERT A. CIARDI III(Counsel). (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A# 2 Proposed Order (Expedited)) (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Application to Employ Ciardi Ciardi & Astin as Counsel to the Debtor Filed by Waterloo Gardens, Inc. Represented by ALBERT A. CIARDI III(Counsel). (Attachments: # 1 Declaration# 2 Proposed Order # 3 Service List # 4 Notice) (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Amended Document Amended Declaration in Support of Debtor’s Application to Employ Ciardi Ciardi & Astin Filed by ALBERT A. CIARDI III on behalf of Waterloo Gardens, Inc. (related document(s)8). (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Posted on July 17th, 2012 5:00 PM by Pattye Benson
For those of us who attended last night’s Board of Supervisors meeting, it went very late, until 11:30 PM. Now I have to wonder if the 4-hour marathon meeting had any bearing on this morning’s decision by our township manager.
Mimi Gleason has been Tredyffrin’s Township Manager for the last 7 years. Prior to becoming township manager in 2005, Mimi served under Joe Janasik as assistant Township Manager for 3 years. There was no indication at last night’s meeting of Mimi’s impending announcement this morning; and the news has taken many of us by surprise.
Rather than speculating on the reason behind Mimi’s decision to resign, I spoke at length with her this afternoon. She assured me that the decision to leave was completely her own rather than anyone pushing her in that direction. Mimi told the township supervisors and her staff this morning of her decision to resign; her last day will be September 17.
I asked Mimi why she was resigning – was it another job? No, she is not leaving Tredyffrin for another job. In fact, her explanation for the resignation was actually quite simple … “A job is not a life”. She went on to explain that she is uncertain about what she wants to do, but knows that she wants to do something different and to work less
Incidentally, I totally get the whole a-job-is-not-a-life. Post breast cancer I decided my then job was no longer for me. I had changed, had to acknowledge said change and move on. My doctors had wanted me to reduce my stress levels for my health and recovery, but seriously? Making the decision to do all this was very stressful in and of itself. I know nothing of Tredyffrin’s township manager other than she really is a woman in a man’s world (how many female municipal managers do you meet?), and you know she could not have made the decision lightly.
The next article is one quite timely, and it is something being felt in various forms in many other municipalities:
Posted on July 16th, 2012 7:56 AM by Pattye Benson
What price economic growth …
What is the price tag for economic development in Tredyffrin Township?
Is it OK to green light a land development project even when it doesn’t meet current zoning regulations?
Is it right for a developer and his attorney to create a zoning ordinance amendment to Tredyffrin Zoning Code to suit their needs for a particular project?
As a community, do we want zoning amendment changes in Tredyffrin Township without restrictions, requirements or conditional uses?
If you are a developer considering a project in Tredyffrin but cannot find suitable zoning, that may not be an obstacle to your plans. All you need to do is write a new ordinance, call it economic development and then watch as the plan moves forward.
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.
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.
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 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?