more thoughts on malvern borough

malvernWho has the most to gain from development in Malvern Borough? Who will get the most out of TOD or Transit Oriented Development? Some have suggested that I narrow my question scope to what will Woody Van Sciver, Malvern Borough Council President gain from all this proposed development in Malvern Borough? (And I was reminded that Woody is a developer too at some place called Monument Management Corp.)  I think after some thought, the answer to this question in as far as who will GAIN from cram plan developments is not the residents or neighbors of Malvern Borough, but Borough officials and developers, and can’t you agree?

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When I wrote about Malvern’s growing pains last week it unleashed a flurry of comments. I was accused of writing a post with racist undertones and all sorts of stuff.  I had people say I was being hysterical, which most easily translated is women shouldn’t have strong opinions on anything and should leave all the big decisions to the men folk. Well I am not exactly a women’s libber but I feel passionately about local governments who give away communities and their ingrained character and history and charm for the nearest buck.  I find it to be like a political lap dance.

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I will keep writing about Malvern Borough’s foolishness.  Because it is foolishness.  I believe small town politicians are corruptible and forget who and why they serve.  In this case they see the Emperor’s New Clothes and can’t see the forest for the trees on what the intrinsic value and charm is of Malvern remaining a small town.  These elected and appointed officials driving the development bus to nowhere don’t even *get* that developers all over the country try to recreate small towns like Malvern Borough.

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Henry Briggs has written another column on this.  I am  looking forward to his column next week, too.  That one is about why Malvern residents are NOT being heard about their own future.

8457330900_c69d4fa589_cLook, please don’t waste your breath leaving me comments that I should basically have no opinion here.  With all due respect, I have a brain and I am not afraid to use it. I am not against growth.  What I am against are these giant one size fits all plans that are the proverbial square peg in the round hole.  This is a small town, emphasis on small.  And Malvern is often quite precarious financially, and the current economy in which we find ourselves in all across this country should cause local governments to exercise caution, not throw caution to the wind.

If Malvern Borough wants to grow, do it responsibly. Allowing developers to shove in developments on small parcels and in a small area so everyone is crammed in like lemmings is IRRESPONSIBLE.  Planning needs to be a partnership between community and government, not government and developers.

Enjoy Henry’s column.

Henry Briggs: Say hello to Malvern Transit Oriented Development

Main Line Suburban Life > Opinion

Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013

Malvern, Pa., once a storybook small town like many around the country, is being beefed up like cows in a holding pen by three different special interests: developers, business people, and governments.

It started at a breakfast in 2008 hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce where Barry Seymore of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission was holding forth.

Woody Van Sciver, Borough Council president, really liked what he was hearing. The subject: TOD – Transit Oriented Development – adding density to areas within half a mile of transit hubs….Around the same time, Eli Kahn, a developer in West Chester, started courting The Malvern Business Association….Kahn’s plan for the biggest development Malvern had ever seen was like free beer at a frat party….Van Sciver, a developer himself, had headed the Malvern Planning Commission  before joining the council and had been heavily involved in drafting Malvern’s Comprehensive Plan, a multi-year effort to define where and how future building and development was to occur…..Because of this background, and the fact that he was Council President, the council decided Van Sciver should lead the negotiations with Kahn.

One developer negotiating with another.

…Malvern is now home to a four story, 45-foot-high behemoth of 190 apartments and a number of stores and restaurants. It stretches nearly a fifth of a mile along the eastern approach to Malvern. When you walk by it, you feel like you’re in Philadelphia…..One recommendation from a recent market study financed by the borough and TOD interests calls for a 12-story, 600 “dwelling unit” high-rise near the SEPTA station….The council has approved plans of another developer for five big houses on a one-acre lot. Still other developers are working on “infill projects,” cramming large, money-making houses and townhouses into whatever bits of land they can find.

Malvern, once a Norman Rockwell small town, has lost it’s magic, irrevocably, at the hands of its own business community, its own government, and developers.

 

 

a very cool lunch bunch

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I discovered this great thing today: Latino Luncheon which  began 12 years ago in West Chester with just a handful of people. What a remarkable and nice bunch of people.

They are this Latino based networking/community group with their finger on the pulse of Chester County. It is not just Latinos, but it is also truly multi-cultural.  Latino Luncheon is as per one member “open to all Latinos and those who love them.”

I have had many Latino friends over the years and met some fabulous Latina community activists when part of Save Ardmore Coalition and we were fighting eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore and elsewhere. Mary Cortes of Cramer Hill Camden and the late Rosemary Cubas of Philadelphia come to mind in particular. (I also have a Cuban Uncle, although I do not recall ever seeing much of his Latino side save for his fondness for Café Bustelo.)

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Anyway, this collective holds a monthly luncheon at Iron Hill in West Chester and you can sign up via their Meet Up page. They raise awareness for issues affecting the community and even give out  some scholarships – in other words they do good deeds and enjoy each other’s company. I can’t tell you how nice it was to be in a room of positive people who celebrate each other.

IMG_3561State Representative Duane Milne and State Senator Andy Dinniman attended along with a lot of lawyers and school board and judicial candidates.  (Well it is election season, after all.)

I was introduced to the group by Maureen Martinez. Maureen is on the Planning Commission in East Whiteland and running for Supervisor.  Maureen’s IMG_3570husband is Cuban, so she is very keen on the issues facing Latinos in Chester County and elsewhere.

Andy Dinniman presented a proclamation and remarked that the Latino community is becoming a force to be reckoned with in Chester County.

Dinniman also discussed a version of American Dream Act is coming to PA and both political parties support it. Bi-Partisan – anyone graduating from a PA high school will be eligible for in state tuition costs.

IMG_3588Everyone went around table introducing themselves. We heard from amazing men and women, and even found out that one of the Main Line Today Power Women of 2013 was a founding member of this group – Nelly Jiménez-Arévalo.

And they presented a scholarship check to an amazing young woman named Elenie Gonzalez.

Chester County OIC is a non-profit organization with offices in West Chester and Phoenixville dedicated to providing FREE adult basic literacy education and life skills programs that prepare individuals for employment leading to economic self-sufficiency. In operation since 1979, CCOIC helps over 800 adult learners per year.
Joyce is part of the slate of candidates running for West Chester Area School Board called Better Direction for West Chester. I totally enjoyed meeting her and well, West Chester Area School Board would be lucky to get someone like her.  Any school board would, so here is hoping voters check her out.

I had never met PA State Representative Duane Milne before and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I always enjoy seeing PA State Senator Andy Dinniman and we chatted Chester County SPCA and other things.

But I have to tell you I was nervous going to a luncheon where I only knew a couple of people and now I look forward to going to another one.  It has been a very long time since I met such a caring and welcoming bunch of people who  had some amazing careers and were completely without pretense or artifice.  They care because it is simply the right thing to do. We could all take a page out of their book.

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For more information on Latino Luncheon, check out their Meet Up, Facebook Latino Luncheon – Chester County PA , and Twitter

Next time I will bring a grown-up camera to get some really great shots for these nice people!

Also a shout out is in order to Iron Hill Brewery – I love that they host these community endeavors so graciously and nicely!

being discussed in chester county: pennsylvania and politics of the uterus

I am going to wade into uncomfortable waters in conservative Chester County.  I found a post on the Phoenixville Patch that is worth discussing.  It is by a woman name Lisa Longo.  Apparently Politics of the Uterus is the key to 2012 politics in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Here is an excerpt:

Blog: What is the GOP Thinking? And Why Are They in My Uterus?

I have to say, I never expected the GOP to so totally torpedo itself.

How could they have mishandled everything to this extent? First they unleash their extreme caucus, also known as the “tea” “party,” which leads to the birth of the Occupy Movement. Then they decide to take the party right off the cliff by picking a fight with women, and not just any one woman, they made ALL of us angry over the non-issue (to women) on their issue of contraception in health care.

And now some State Legislators are attempting to pass heinous, invasive and unconstitutional bills that will insist a woman be given a mandatory ultrasound prior to abortion. It is beyond offensive….

Which brings me to another interesting movement born recently, the call for a nationwide day of protest in state capitals. Karen Teegarden had an idea, to bring women together and raise our voices and let legislators know we have had enough. What started as the We are Women march has now become the United Against the War on Women March, and it is going to be one amazing day of nationwide protests. More info at: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/UniteWomen?sk=wall

This day of national protest will be our message to the GOP: stop assaulting my rights! And to tell you the truth, I feel constantly assaulted by the GOP. Starting with my arrest at the first Tar Sands, and the constant fight to get the FRAC Act passed, the repeated fight to stop the Keystone XL, the cuts to education, health and welfare, and now this, the final insult, they want to take away my right to control my own body…..The bill in PA is scheduled for a March 12 vote. Between now and then we need a fast, and furious, campaign, to make sure the GOP is put on notice: vote yes on this bill and we will do everything we can to make sure you are not re-elected. It is time to explain to legislators in no uncertain terms that the GOP has no business in my uterus.

What a woman chooses to do with her own body is a personal matter and neither legislators, or men in clerical (methinks the Catholic Church needs to deal with it’s out of control and pedophile priests before they open their mouths further) or judicial robes should decide what is best for her.  My choices as a woman are not necessarily the ones another woman would take, and while among female friends we might discuss what we do, that is not to say we presume to tell other women what to do with their bodies.

And yes, I am Catholic and I am a registered Republican.  My views are my business, but I do not feel any of us have the right to tell other women what to do unless they are abusing a privilege.

Perhaps I would not have a feeling on this if I were not a breast cancer survivor. But I am.  And as a survivor of not yet a year I can tell you sometimes it bugs me when non-medical professionals who are not of my inner circle or family presume too far in telling me what to do.  It’s a walk a mile in my bra kind of thing. Don’t play politics of the uterus – which incidentally did not work so well for monster charity Susan G. Komen recently, did it?

As a woman, it is hard to get the medical treatment you want at times, even with health insurance.  I think that politically driven legislation like HB 1077 in the PA House is dangerous to women’s health initiatives overall.  Already there is enough we can’t get coverage for on a regular basis as a woman.

Not all women are meant to be mothers.  Not all women can afford to be mothers.  Life and medical issues precluded me from being able to bear children.  Yet I do not feel as a woman I have the right to judge other women in this area.  Unless of course they treat their kids like litters of stray kittens dumped in a box on the side of the road.  Then I might have something to say just because as someone unable to have their own children I am astounded when women do not recognize how lucky they were to be able to choose to become a parent.

Anyway, the furor over HB 1077 grows.  Bills like this reduce all women to being mindless brood mares.  It is also because of legislation like this that yes, movements like Unite Against The War on Women and We Are Women March- PA (and other states) are growing.  Much like the protests of the 1960s and 1970s, I feel these protests are going to be monsters.  And are they all wrong?

Any discussion, here?  I am irked that as someone who needs routine ultrasounds of all kinds that I have to jump through AMAZING hoops for approvals  and proper codes with health insurance, yet a politically driven bill like this means that women who might not CHOOSE to have an ultrasound will get one whether they want one or not!

The primary sponsor of this bill is ironically a woman.  Kathy L. Rapp.

Here are the rest of the sponsors:

INTRODUCED BY RAPP, KULA, TURZAI, STERN, DENLINGER, CUTLER,

ADOLPH, AUMENT, BAKER, BARBIN, BARRAR, BEAR, BENNINGHOFF,

BLOOM, BOBACK, BOYD, BROOKS, R. BROWN, CALTAGIRONE, CAUSER,

CHRISTIANA, CLYMER, COX, CREIGHTON, DAY, DiGIROLAMO, DUNBAR,

ELLIS, EMRICK, EVANKOVICH, J. EVANS, EVERETT, FLECK, GABLER,

GEIST, GIBBONS, GILLEN, GILLESPIE, GINGRICH, GODSHALL, GRELL,

GROVE, HACKETT, HAHN, HARHART, HARKINS, HARRIS, HEFFLEY,

HELM, HENNESSEY, HESS, HICKERNELL, HORNAMAN, HUTCHINSON,

KAUFFMAN, KAVULICH, F. KELLER, KILLION, KNOWLES, KOTIK,

KRIEGER, LAWRENCE, LONGIETTI, MAHONEY, MAJOR, MALONEY,

MARSHALL, MARSICO, MASSER, METCALFE, METZGAR, MICCARELLI,

MICOZZIE, MILLARD, MOUL, MURT, MUSTIO, OBERLANDER, PAYNE,

PEIFER, PERRY, PICKETT, PYLE, QUIGLEY, READSHAW, REED, REESE,

REICHLEY, ROAE, ROCK, SACCONE, SANTONI, SAYLOR, SCAVELLO,

CULVER, SCHRODER, SIMMONS, K. SMITH, S. H. SMITH, SONNEY,

STEVENSON, SWANGER, TALLMAN, TAYLOR, THOMAS, TOBASH, TOEPEL,

TOOHIL, TRUITT, VEREB, VULAKOVICH AND WATSON

Adolph is Delaware County and serves part of Radnor Township.  Truitt is Chester County. Lawrence is Chester County.  Schroder is Chester County. Hennessy is Chester County.  Barrar is Chester County. Kllion is Chester County.

Dan Truitt has two websites I found.  One for campaign and one for “state-related” matters.  John Lawrences also has two websites.  The campaign website where he tells you how he will fight for affordable healthcare and his state spot. Check out the rest of the Chesco kids on this helpful page called Chester County PA Legislators.

I found a website called Chester County Politics which may have some politician info on it – haven’t delved into it, did not know it existed until today.