….and then like magic, the robo calls stopped

DSC_0014Election 2013, which was pretty much a local affair for us save some of the judicial retention that I never heard much about but was the flip side of yesterday’s ballot, is over.

The people have spoken.  And even the chairs of the respective political parties in Chester County should listen.

Let us start with Tredyffrin.  I am pleased to report the upset my friend Pattye Benson over at Community Matters is reporting this morning:

In a surprising upset, two Democratic at-large candidates Murph Wysocki and Mark Freed, beat incumbent Michelle Kichline (R) who currently serves as the chair of the Board of Supervisors and Trip Lukens (R), chair of the township’s Planning Commission.    In the middle District supervisor race, EJ Richter (R) beat Laurie Elliot (D).  Prior to this election, only 2 Democrats (Paul Drucker and Mark DiFeliciantonio) have ever served on Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors.  As of Election Day 2013, that number has now doubled.

I am leaving her tea party commentary out of this because that isn’t what the local election results are about.  The local results are about dissatisfaction and enough people from BOTH parties wanting people OUT of office.  I do not vote in Tredyffrin but if I had to guess as far as Kichline goes, her playing possum when Pattye was targeted by another supervisor had something to do with this vote and as far as Mr. Lukens it is a basic matter of development and what people want for their communities.  My hypothesis is simple: he did not listen well enough.

I volunteered at the polls for the first time yesterday in Chester County.  I enjoyed it and was fascinated by how different it was.  What I noticed yesterday as a newbie were the snap judgments I saw given out to people like me by some of the older volunteers because I am open with my opinion.  But if they had been targeted the way I was targeted as a new resident by a county party chair how would they feel about the way politics are done out here? And also what I discovered yesterday is to an extent political volunteers are to be seen and not heard and where are we in the political process without our individual opinions?  Are we all Stepford on this bus?

Part of yesterday I volunteered with some really nice union guys out of IBEW Local 654.  Apparently they were at many polls in Chester County volunteering for the Democratic Party of Chester County.  Honestly, these guys were nicer than a great deal of opposing party volunteers I have hung out with over the years.  They were so nice and made volunteer hours at a sleepy poll pass more quickly. These guys are Delaware County based for their union.

Here they are:

iew654 2

Malvern Borough had an upset yesterday and I am still waiting to hear what happened “officially”, but Malvern Patch shared some exciting news:

The county’s numbers have Democratic candidate for Mayor, Dave Burton, beating incumbent Gerard McGlone (R). Burton received 65 percent of the vote, 509 votes in all, nearly doubling the 266 votes received in favor of McGlone.

The three open seats on the Malvern Borough Council, however, are a little less cut-and-dry.

The three republican candidates, William Macaleer, Robert Coughlin and Zeyn Uzman all received about 210 votes, or 11 roughly 11 percent of the vote. The remaining 68 percent of the vote went to write-in candidates, 1,351 votes in all. This is no doubt due to the write-in campaigning done by candidates Todd Lexer, David Barmwell and Matt Radano

 

Now as far as I know this blog was the only one who actually reported on these three write in candidates before Election Day (please correct me if I am wrong but I kept looking and looking for coverage of what these ordinary residents were doing), and I hope they ALL prevail in the end when Chester County is finished certifying everything.

Why the Malvern write-in upset is so important is these are regular people who did this without the backing of the two main political parties.  Their actions are based on their desire to step up and be counted.  Their actions occurred because they want to save Malvern Borough from an ugly, overdeveloped future.  These three guys Todd Lexer ,Matt Radano  and David Bramwell decided that the residents of Malvern needed an equal voice in their own existence and future and they stood up to be counted.

I completely believe that the actions of the write-in candidates also swept the new mayor-elect into office.

What has happened in Malvern is really cool.  Instead of just complaining, these folks did something.  And truthfully, they proved local politics are truly local and neither political party can take credit.  They did this themselves.

Over in East Whiteland I expect there will be a recount.  I am told that  Vanguard employee Bill Holmes has retained his seat by NINE or TEN votes over my friend Maureen Martinez.

Maureen should be commended for running a clean and independent campaign.  Maureen didn’t run around with a sidewalk petition for a sidewalk to nowhere that probably will never happen and was just an election gimmick, nor did she have the multi-minute robo-calls bashing her opponent that you could not disconnect. She did her own door knocking and listened to what people had to say and answered questions.  I think she is a rising political star to watch.

With reluctant congratulations, I hope Bill Holmes gets the message that voters have sent him in East Whiteland.  The message is simple and clear and it is that  they want things done differently.  I listened to what people from both parties had to say yesterday at the polls and this is what I learned people want:

  • They want televised meetings and a website that is not 30 years behind the times. 
  • They want current and comprehensive meeting notes that are readily and easily available because I am told the majority of residents in East Whiteland don’t have a clue about a lot that happens.
  • They want abandoned houses and properties dealt with and some better historic preservation
  • They want the route 30 business corridor to not look so embarrassing.
  • They want all the sites with problematic environmental issues cleaned up and dealt with.
  • They want a say in development. East Whiteland might be more commercial than residential, but residents matter.
  • They want fewer conflicts.

Nine or ten votes is not a landslide victory even in a sleepy off-year election.  It’s a message.

In West Chester the upset on the school board is nothing save historic.  Congratulations to Joyce Chester and the rest of her slate. Here is the Daily Local on that race:

WEST CHESTER — The self-styled “better direction” slate of challengers for West Chester Area School Board defeated three incumbents and one other candidate in voting Tuesday.

Using the Democratic Party label, the four challengers defeated Republican Party candidates, including three incumbents.

Joyce Chester, Robin Kaliner, Chris McCune and Ricky Swalm are the four Democratic candidates who unseated incumbent board members Sean Carpenter, Ed Coyle and Maria Pimley and defeated newcomer Pam LaTorre.

 

In the Court of Common Pleas, the Daily Local is calling the race in favor   Republicans Patrick Carmody and Jeffrey Sommer.

Troubled Coatesville has two new school board members, too bad they couldn’t have tossed the entire old board out.

west vincentWest Vincent I reported on last night and congratulations to John Jacobs and the others!  These candidates had a tough road to get here and they worked hard.  Will next up be to retire Ken Miller?

Congratulations also to my favorite purveyor of local honey.  Carmen  Battavio was re-elected in East Goshen. Congrats also go out to a favorite local farmer.  Farmer Bob a/k/a Robert Lange was re-elected in Willistown. These two should teach other supervisors how it’s done.

Yesterday I was reminded again of how local politics should stay local.

I am happy that robo-call season is over and it is nice that life less political can resume!  Truthfully I do not have the stomach or tolerance for politics that I used to.

 

 

 

 

lush life

DSC_0001Lush life, indeed. More predictable and plentiful than spring daffodils, the Pinnacle Vodka bottles are back.  They are tossed on several lawns again on Route 352 between Paoli Pike and the intersection of King Road.

DSC_0004Too many bottles of the same thing being tossed to be coincidence.  Today they showed variety and an empty bottle of equally rot gut Smirnoff was tossed along with the two empty Pinnacle Vodka bottles.

Eventually whomever is doing this will get caught.  Apparently they want to pickle their liver(s), which is their business.  Just wish they would stop littering and drinking and driving (which one can assume they are doing).

DSC_0007

 

file under slow down

5There are always accidents on Route 352 (North Chester Road).  One of the most accident prone spots is where Forrest Lane meets Route 352 (North Chester). There was another one of those accidents this afternoon around 5 p.m.

Route 352 (North Chester Road) is a PENNDot Road.  I don’t know what can be done, but it might help if people slowed down and paid attention

1

 

 

long live national lampoon’s christmas vacation

photo1

There is a house on the corner of Brookmont Drive and North Chester Road in East Goshen that has SOOOO many lights it may be able to be seen from space.  And in true National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation fashion, there is also music piped outside. Long live the Griswolds! (Brookmont has lots of houses all sorts of lit up if you are looking for lights to check out.)

dear bottle chucking pinnacle vodka elf

p2Dear Pinnacle Vodka Elf,

It has been a year since you started chucking empty Pinnacle vodka bottles out of your vehicle along Route 352 between Paoli Pike and King Road.  You only chuck in one direction which is headed towards Route 30. Today alone I passed at least 10 bottles on various lawns and alongside the road smashed to bits.

The hypothesis formed is you either are a rep for this vomitorious rot-gut bar pour or you work for a country club/golf club or restaurant.  There have been too many bottles chucked out the window to be a bunch of kids getting rid of party evidence or a state store employee.

Sooner or later you will get caught.  If you want to pickle your liver, it’s your business. But kindly stop chucking the bottles onto the road and people’s lawns.

Merry Christmas.

chester county vatican?

Ok, I am sorry but it is a little freaky amusing to discover that Immaculata has its OWN zip code.

I used to joke about Hershey’s Mill being the retirement Vatican of Chester County because it is like its own city-state with its own roads, security (complete with sirens), personal entrance to the mall where the Giant is, etcetera.

So I read a blip on Malvern Patch about Immaculata and their acceptance letter tweets and went to check out their twitter page. It says:

Immaculata, PA? HUH?  It might be Malvern, some call it Frazer, but is Immaculata in fact Chester County’s true Vatican? In Chester County do all institutions get their own zip codes? Wow Cabrini College and Eastern University, which are in Radnor and St. David’s PA respectively are going to get jealous and make demands on Delaware County!   Do we think Cabrini, PA and Eastern, PA have nice rings to it?

Immaculata lists their legal mailing address as: Immaculata University | 1145 King Road, Immaculata, PA. 19345

So does that mean that people who live in the residential neighborhoods along King Road adjacent to the school don’t live in Malvern, PA (zip code 19355) they live in Immaculata, PA (zip code 19345)? So does Immaculata have their own post office and police force and fire departments and all the other services that create a city-state, borough, township?  Where is their town hall?  When do they have supervisor meetings?

Is this because Cheyney has their own zip code too?

I find this all VERY confusing.  Hope the schools have paid for this privilege as opposed to taxpayer dollars funding their independent zip code. With the U.S. Postal service in such a shambles is this in fact just a way for them to generate revenue? But again, what about those people near Immaculata, on the same road and in the same area as Immaculata who think they live in Malvern, PA East Whiteland Township?

Are they in fact living in Immaculata, PA?

But hey, maybe if they are handing out zip codes I can apply for one and we can all live in chestercountyramblings, PA?  It might be fun and there would be lots of great recipes and photos of barns!!

Are we to assume vanity zip codes are the new vanity plate?

Happy Friday people!

is east goshen getting rid of police force?

Life gets busy, and I missed something I should have posted a couple of days ago, and I am truly sorry.  And I am torn how to present this, because no matter what is said, this is a very difficult subject. (So if you have a comment or clarification to what I am posting, PLEASE post a comment.)

When I was at East Goshen Day this summer, a friend of mine told me there was a rumor that East Goshen was dissolving their police force. Based on a letter a friend from outside Chester County forwarded to me, I would say it wasn’t just a rumor.

I am going to say that the only criticism I had with East Goshen prior to this was the fact that they neither stream their meetings on their website nor put them on Public Access TV. After getting this letter forwarded to me, I can see there might be a real need for meetings to be televised and/or streamed on their website.

Now as for the whole get rid of the local police department of it all, I find that distressing and this all  appears  at first look to have roots in some sort of labor dispute. Communities need their police force in addition to other first responders. This police force at present is like a twinned parish – it is shared with a neighboring municipality – Westtown. (Hence their name Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department.)

Having a community without a police department in my humble opinion is like trying to walk without legs. Maybe that is overly simplistic, but police aren’t an optional accessory in a community, they are a necessity. They know their residents, the roads, local ordinances, etc.

Additionally, I am always leery of paid consultants who come into a community to tell the community about where they live. My experience is, having seen millions of tax dollars flitter away in consultants’ pockets where I used to live, is ask the residents FIRST.  About EVERYTHING.

East Goshen, please do the right thing here. In this economy, spending $65,000 on an outside consultant doesn’t strike me as the best use of taxpayer dollars.  Please. It is as much as anything else, a question of public safety. I hope my post isn’t coming after some decision was made.  (and hopefully the idea of a pricey outside consultant was tabled for now?)  Of course (again), this is why, it would be helpful to stream meetings on the website or utilize public access television and broadcast the meetings.

I am posting what I currently see on East Goshen’s website, and my concern is it won’t reach everyone who lives in the township, so how else is it being distributed? See East Goshen Website:

Latest Township News & Events

The Board of Supervisors will be holding “Police Services Options  Workshops” at 7:00 pm on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month.  These workshops will be devoted solely to the review and discussion of  the police service options available to East Goshen Township. All  residents are invited to attend and encouraged to participate in the  discussions. Regular Township business will not be conducted at these  workshops.  By way of background, East Goshen and Westtown Townships  jointly created the Westtown East Goshen Regional Police Department  (WEGO) in 1981. WEGO is one of 35 regional police departments in  Pennsylvania and it provides police service to Thornbury Township on a  contract basis.  As the current labor agreement with the Police  Association is set to expire on December 31, 2013, it is incumbent on  the Board of Supervisors to explore all available options moving  forward. While WEGO has provided excellent service for over 30 years,  the substantial and ever-increasing cost of this service presents a  serious challenge for current and future residents of the Township as  the financial requirements of the current labor agreement are not  sustainable.  More information available here

Below my final comments is the letter I received. Please read it. Please let East Goshen know how you feel about this.  I find the trend of discussing getting rid of local police forces truly alarming. This is being tossed about in Malvern Borough too.  I found online an article Malvern Patch where it was reported August 20th with regard to East Goshen that :

East Whiteland Police Chief Eugene Dooley might soon be spending more time in East Goshen, according to a report in the Daily Local News….

The temporary assignment would come amid broader changes within Westtown-East Goshen Police Department. Thornbury Township has indicated it will not renew its contract with the regional force when it expires at the end of 2012.

Twitter user Leo Sinclair pondered the possible implications of Dooley’s temporary assignment, asking “First indication that East Goshen Twp plans to merge with East Whiteland Twp Police?”

So what is going on? Will our police be merging with yet another municipality as a cost saving measure? Or will East Goshen be served by State Police? Or a professional for hire don’t know what else to call it except rent a cops?

I doubt anything will happen quickly, but I definitely think a pause button is in order.

To be fair, my final comment is to the police force: if this situation has a basis in a contract/labor dispute I have not read up on, but I bet a lot has to do with benefits, as that seems to be a common theme today, where is a middle ground?  I mean no disrespect, but we live in a different world than our parents did and probably even different from when we grew up.   I am one of the millions of people who is self-pay on healthcare benefits.  It just is what it is – after all in the private sector not all companies provide benefits, and it is also the sole option in most cases for the self-employed.  My point is I manage.  And I managed even with breast cancer.

So as I am posting the letter below, I am going to make a plea to both sides to find a palatable middle point.  Because in this kind of tug of war, the ultimate losers are the residents. I hope both sides can resolve this and  save the police force.

Again, here is the letter:

September 4, 2012

Dear East Goshen Resident,

As you may know, members of the East Goshen Township Board of Supervisors have rejected a number of proposals to extend the contract for local police service provided by the Westtown – East Goshen Regional Police Department. Now, it appears that the Township is intent on dissolving our local police department. In fact, at tonight’s East Goshen Township Supervisors meeting, supervisors appear prepared to vote to recommend that the township pay a consultant $65,000 in taxpayer funds to study the township’s options with respect to future police services.

This action comes on the heels of a number of local residents speaking out in opposition to the Township’s proposal to eliminate our current regional police force. But our Township Supervisors appear unwilling to listen to the views or wishes of local residents. In fact, last week, supervisors said that the cost of surveying local residents for their opinion on whether to retain our current police force was “too expensive.”


In reality, sending a mailing to every household in the district with a response card would cost less than $6,500. That is less than 10 percent of the $65,000 that supervisors are on the verge of recommending be spent at tonight’s meeting to hire a consultant. Wouldn’t it make sense to determine whether residents support dissolving our police force before spending $65,000 on a consultant to tell them how to do it? Not only is this action fiscally irresponsible, it also seems to indicate that our elected officials do not care what “we the people” who they are elected to represent have to say.


In addition, the Westtown – East Goshen Regional Police Department is not aware of any Request for Proposals or public bidding process for the professional services that this consultant would provide. Failure to solicit proposals from multiple sources – who could potentially provide better value and expertise –raises serious ethical questions and would appear to violate government procurement policies due to the large size of the contract.


Please contact the township and supervisors prior to tonight’s meeting to tell them this $65,000 contract should be rejected until after local residents have been surveyed and the consulting services have been competitively procured through a public procurement process. I would also encourage you to share your concerns publicly at tonight’s meeting at 7 p.m. at the Township Building to help prevent this vote from occurring. They represent us and need to hear from us, so please pass this on to your friends and neighbors as well.


The township’s phone number is 610 692-7171 and the supervisors’ emails are also provided below.


Senya D. Isayeff, Chairman – sisayeff@eastgoshen.org

Thom Clapper, Ph.D., Vice Chairman – tclapper@eastgoshen.org

Carmen R. Battavio – cbattavio@eastgoshen.org

Charles W. Proctor, III, J.D., C.L.T.P. – cproctor@eastgoshen.org E.  

Martin Shane – mshane@eastgoshen.org

Tom Haws – thaws@westtown.org

Carol DeWolf- cdewolf@westtown.org

Charles Barber- cbarber@westtown.org


This push to approve a $65,000 consultant contract to examine options for doing away with our police department – which is not supported by local residents –and with no known public procurement process raises serious concerns about our Township’s supervisors commitment to transparency, fiscal responsibility, and a representative government.
Thank you for your ongoing support, and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.


Sincerely,


Anthony Ruggieri

President

Westtown-East Goshen Police Association