It ain’t over and I do not blame Pattye Benson one little bit. She is RIGHT, John DiBuonaventuro and those Tredyffrin Supervisors (who in my opinion are complacent and accepting of his unacceptable behavior by their silence and lack of action), need to be held accountable for what they did. It will be interesting to see what new mananger and Radnor ex-officio Bill Martin will do. It will interesting to see if he leads in the right direction on this, won’t it?
It has long been whispered that the political culture in Tredyffrin has not been healthy for decades. After what happened to Pattye, I don’t even want to patronize businesses in the township. I want to avoid the township. After all, I am a blogger, and who says they won’t try to intimidate more bloggers and residents? A Septa official I had contacted about my input on the Paoli Transit Project wanted me to go to the recent public meeting in Tredyffrin. I told them it was not possible and why.
The culture in Tredyffrin politically and governmentally has to change. I don’t view it as either safe or sustainable. And John DiBuonaventuro needs to realize it’s not the wild, wild west and he can’t just do as he pleases at the expense of others. He was elected to do a job, hold a position, not pick on residents, correct? I mean the First Amendment isn’t subjective is it? It is what it is, is it not? And since when should elected officials tell us how to think? Correct me if I am wrong, the plurality as a collective are their bosses, right?
It has been 8+ weeks, since Tredyffrin Township Supervisor John DiBuonaventuro wrote and posted his September 5, 2012 letter to the citizens on the township website. (click here to read the letter). Over the last 2 months, I continue to receive phone calls, emails and have had many discussions with residents that are troubled and concerned about DiBuonaventuro’s letter and use of government letterhead, government website and government resources for his personal attack of traditional news sources as well a private citizen, who dare to question our government. Subsequent to September 5th, we have learned that DiBuonaventuro’s personal letter and use of government resources, was apparently sanctioned and approved by former township manager Mimi Gleason, township solicitor Vince Donahue and the other six members of the Tredyffrin Township’s Board of Supervisors.
At the September 17, 2012 Board of Supervisors meeting, I read a personal statement (click here for Community Matters post and links to BOS meeting and statement) which addressed DiBuonaventuro’s letter and subsequent email and joint phone call from the township manager and police chief on this topic.
When the framers of our Constitution insisted on Freedom of Speech rights, one of their aims was so that all Americans – no matter their social class or position in our society – could vigorously examine and criticize our government. These rights have throughout our history nurtured our democracy and made us a beacon to the whole world. However, as history has played out, the battle for these rights has proven at times to be hard-won rights that we have to continually fight for and renew. First Amendment rights are a cornerstone to this nation’s government and citizens have a right to discuss issues that are of importance. The freedom is speech is in place for all of us – including the citizens of Tredyffrin Township. Further, freedom of speech includes ‘me’ as a citizen and Community Matters.
Brava Pattye! Brava! I know this must be incredibly hard to do. I suggest everyone take the time to read Pattye’s entire post. And next time any of these supervisors in Tredyffrin come up for re-election vote ’em out of office.
Pattye does a lot for Tredyffrin. She is also a business owner and resident who pays taxes. She is a thoughtful, intelligent, and caring woman. She is also a friend, and nothing cheeses me off more when good people are upset by idiots.
Tredyffrin has hired one of their hometown boys, Bill Martin, formerly of Radnor Township fame and the Bashore years. Not that Bill Martin was a particular fan of Bashore’s (I was told he wasn’t), he was just from that truly unfortunate era. An era which took the fortitude of some persistent residents, commissioners, and others who were on the up and up to correct. It was not, however, without blood shed.
Bill Martin went from assistant township manager (and vartious other positions) in Radnor to interim township manager in Radnor in early 2010 when Radnor was saved from the debacle of almost hiring problematic ex-Coatesville manager Paul G. Janssen Jr. as interim township manager. Martin, however, was ultimately passed over for the permanent manager position when Bob Zienkowski was bought in from Ohio.
I will tell you honestly I am of the Radnor Bob Zienkowski fan club and with good reason – he is amazing. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. That man walked in to a hot mess, rolled up his sleeves, and got busy.
As an aside, some timely news about Radnor as it relates to Chester County is Bob Zienkowski suggested at the October 15th, 2012 public meeting that Radnor consider studying to leave Delaware County and to join either Chester or Montgomery County. Yes, municipal secession (see Radnor meeting on You Tube for 10/15/12 and start listening just before 9 minutes 42 seconds to catch this.) The irony is I have always felt Radnor Township had more in common with Chester County versus Delaware County, but I digress.
Ok back to Bill Martin. After Radnor, he went to Bridgeport – a very tiny municipality in Montgomery County. He has been there about a year as per newspaper article I found. Of course, Bill Martin joins another mid level Radnor refugee of the Bashore era, Matt Baumann, who is Tredyffrin’s current Director of Planning and Zoning. Matt helped me when I got the historical marker for the Wayne Natatorium. He’s a heck of a nice guy.
Bill Martin is also a nice guy from what I have always heard told. But truthfully, Tredyfrrin as I see it is a municipality in need of serious remediation ASAP. And choosing a manager who may or may not be a politically connected local resident may not be the way to go here. I am actually going to disagree somewhat with my esteemed blogging colleague Pattye Benson ever so slightly.
Pattye comments that this is the first time a Tredyffrin Township Manager is a Tredyffrin resident and lives in the township. Now I agree with the residency part, and I think the departing and in the end disappointing Mimi Gleason is actually a West Chester area resident. What I do not agree with is choosing someone who lives in Tredyffrin now as a manager. I think the best thing that could have happened to Tredyffrin would have been a new Township Manager coming in from waaaay outside Tredyffrin and the area, truthfully.
I hope I am wrong, but I wonder if Bill Martin will have the chops in the end to take on what needs doing in Tredyffrin. Tredyffrin has historically been subject to whispers – people are afraid of retribution. And before you poo poo me here, look what happened to Pattye Benson when she spoke up? That still does not sit right with me, and I still believe that troll of a supervisor John P. DiBuonaventuro as well as Tredyffrin Township’s administration owes her an apology, don’t you? In true lettergate fashion, I say a written apology.
Insular politics and politics of one party rule without much balance is bad for a community – just look at the snarl of tangled politics that is Lower Merion Township.
So I will be looking for Bill Martin to be an independent voice, beholden to no one. I hope he can accomplish that. I hope after what he saw and experienced at Radnor Township during the Bashore years that he can bring a different tone to Tredyffrin.
Congratulations Bill Martin, but my oh my you have a large job ahead of you.
Community Matters and TE Patch Blogger Pattye Benson reports that Tredyffrin Township’s Board of Supervisors has appointed a new Township Manager to replace Mimi Gleason, who left the position in September 17 after ten years with Tredyffrin Township…..What sets him apart from Gleason and others who have served as Tredyffrin Township Manager is that Martin is a resident of the township.
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?