guess what? politicians can’t block constituents on social media. just ask joe gale.

Oh Joe Gale. Once I thought he showed promise. But it sadly has become apparent over time that he is nuttier than a fruitcake and so divisive. He seems hell bent on his personal agenda, which also seems as clear as mud some days, doesn’t it? And I find it fascinating that he does all this while living with his mommy, and what happens when he brings a girl home? For those wondering why I write about a Montgomery County Commissioner, it’s because I spent most of my life living in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County and when he was first running people I know and respect told me how wonderful he was blah, blah, blah and how he would be terrific for Montgomery County.

Wrong.

In Italy they call men like Joe Gale a mammone which literally translates to “mommy’s boy”. There have been a lot of articles written about mammoni (plural of mammone) and I find it all fascinating. Some of the articles ruminate about these guys having Peter Pan complexes. And CBS 60 Minutes even did a piece on mammoni years ago and maybe we should suggest Joe Gale for an updated piece?

Now I am not saying I have a problem with Joe because he’s young. One of our Chester County Commissioners, Josh Maxwell, is not much older than Joe Gale and somehow he manages to live on his own and is married and is an adult (and a heck of a nice guy too.) Josh became Mayor of Downingtown at 26. Sadly, Joe Gale is no Josh Maxwell.

Joe Gale doesn’t have emotional maturity, he seems instead somewhat stunted, and isn’t that sad?

Now I am not saying that the other two Montgomery County Commissioners are prizes, because oh hell to the no they are not. Montgomery County is a political swamp in need of a good draining and cleaning. And Montgomery County has surpassed the dysfunctional prizes once held by Delaware County ( see the chronicles of Delco Tom Paine before they disappear. Peter Porcupine is still a genius.)

Now if Joe Gale actually did anything for Montgomery County residents, well I probably would shut my mouth. But all he does is push his own somewhat clear as mud agenda from the comfort of mommy and daddy’s house. In June he released a very offensive statement concerning rioting, looting, and Black Lives Matter by any standards conservative or liberal in my humble opinion:

If you objected to his words, you were blocked on social media. He blocked me, which I realized on June 2, 2020 but I can’t say definitively it occured in June or before because I don’t follow him THAT closely. He’s not the first politician who has blocked me. I found myself blocked (for example) by our PA Lieutenant Governor, the Lurch-Like John Fetterman in July, 2019. Amusingly enough, I am still blocked. I just took this screenshot:

Now I don’t really care if John Fetterman blocks me. Or Joe Gale for that matter. But it is damn amusing that hater of everything non-Trumpian, Joe Gale would want to be like John Fetterman.

Anyway, constituents and others including my pal Caroline from Savvy Main Line took baby Joe to Federal Court and I applaud them:

It made for some interesting media and the Montgomery County Solicitor declined to defend Joe. Here are some of the articles I have read in the past few months:

WHYY/NPR: Hundreds rally in Montco to demand Commissioner Joe Gale’s resignation
By Zachariah Hughes June 4, 2020

Inquirer: A Montco Republican commissioner called Black Lives Matter a ‘hate group.’ Now he’s more isolated than ever.
by Allison Steele and Vinny Vella, Updated: June 18, 2020

Inquirer: Courts said President Trump can’t block constituents on Twitter. What about Montgomery County Commissioner Gale?
by Anna Orso, Posted: July 2, 2020

Pottstown Mercury: Montgomery County solicitor moves to not represent Commissioner Joe Gale in federal lawsuit
By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-centurymedia.com @MontcoCourtNews on Twitter Aug 19, 2020

Glenside Local: Opinion | Joe Gale finally gets the attention he deserved June 3rd, 2020 | By Kevin Tierney

More Than The Curve: Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale accuses fellow commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh of only social distancing for the camera May 20th, 2020 | By Kevin Tierney

More than the Curve: Opinion | Joe Gale finally gets the attention he deserved June 2nd, 2020 | By Kevin Tierney

North Penn Now: Local Elected Officials Sign Statement Condemning ‘Racist Remarks’ Made By Commissioner Joe Gale Keith Heffintrayer•Tue, Jun 09, 2020, 9:01 AM

WHYY/NPR: Montco commissioner faces federal lawsuit for blocking constituents on social media
By Zachariah Hughes June 30, 2020

Inquirer: In federal court settlement, Montgomery County commissioner agrees to unblock constituents on social media
by Vinny Vella, Posted: September 1, 2020

Oh one thing from 2019:

This Is Lower Merion And Narberth: Joe Gale Is Given 72 Hours To Retract And Apologize
October 13, 2019 by Gerry

Here is the court order (renamed by moi for brevity and wit):

Yes I got into PACER. First Amendment victories thrill me.

So hey this is what Joe Gale thinks of all of us:

My gosh Joe Gale, isn’t the First Amendment marvelous? I mean I know you think it should be subjective and all that but it gives you the right to literally call a divine Main Line lady, Caroline O’Halloran and the rest of us who simply do not agree with you the “Marxist Mob”. My gosh my golly I have not been referred to as anything so delightful since a white sneaker wearing tea partier spat in my face and called me a Socialist years ago (while I was a card carrying Republican, no less.)

So Joe Gale started out like a true Alex P. Keaton at 20 running for Plymouth Township Council I think it was. He lost. Ran for something again there in 2013 and withdrew. He ran for Montgomery County Commissioner in 2015. He has more political experience if you want to call it that, than actual work and life experience. He worked for about a year at a clerk position at Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds. He then had job for three years at some developer. Briefly in 2018 he ran for Lieutenant Governor. So the job he has held the longest is Montgomery County Commissioner, but what has he actually done?

Back when he first wanted to be a Montgomery County Commissioner I found his Alex P. Keaton-ish self meh but palatable. After all considering the legions of skunks who had been Montgomery County Commissioners how bad he could be?

Well….

Let’s look at how he has approached COVID-19? Is it just me or does he act like it’s not real? And look at all the photos he poses for, including with old people which makes you wonder is he doing contact tracing? Or is anyone doing contact tracing on him?

Joe Gale’s website is a marvel of spin and oh the giggles. However, he marches all over social media angrier than Trump and that is saying something. Do they tweet to each other from the potty? Oh and his Twitter account @VoteJoeGalePA says “Joe Gale’s Personal Twitter Account. This is Not a Public Platform or Official Government Page.” Oh alrighty Joe and I have a bridge you can buy in Brooklyn….but I digress….

A First Amendment victory against petty political tyrants like Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale is to be celebrated. However, I have zero sympathy for anyone in Montgomery County if you let this mammone get re-elected.

This post is brought to you by my First Amendment rights. If you live in Montgomery County, do yourself a favor and DON’T vote Joe Gale whenever he’s up again or for whatever he tries to run for next. Mail him some new binkies and call it a day. Or demand he gets recalled. There has to be a process for that somewhere right?

And all you loverly politicians out there who like to block constituents in Chester County? This ruling against Joe Gale is a very much more local not so distant legal precedent.

Peace out.

west goshen, west goshen, west goshen….

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A few weeks ago I wrote about the curious goings on in West Goshen Township. My curiosity grows.  Is there a reason for example that this is yet another story the Daily Local isn’t covering? Is it too much of a political hot potato for them?

Why?

Well, there is news. But before we get to news are West Goshen Township officials going to post law enforcement at every meeting to protect them from the public?  Are they going to pass their anti-free speech ordinance having to do with recording PUBLIC meetings even as they are discussing the recording of meetings by the township? How will that work exactly?

Oh, and about that right to know case pending, since they seem a-feared  of sunshine:

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Hmmmm Sam Stretton is representing the resident’s interests.

This is getting interesting….someone might have to give up some fitness classes at ACAC to deal with this, hmmm?

Pull up a chair at upcoming West Goshen meetings and bring the popcorn…..

in case you thought things couldn’t get more strange in tredyffrin….

So in the end will we discover that John DiBuonaventuro had the approval of all his fellow supervisors regarding his infamous September letter in Tredyffrin?  Will he write a personal note back to Sam Stretton who is representing Pattye and sent Tredyffrin a letter ?

Before I get to the crux of this post, as far as background check out  article by Rich Ilgenfritz of Main Line Media News on November 5, 2012, and post by Pattye on November 2nd.  Also check out post by Pattye on November 4th.

So Tredyffrin has as their mouthpiece it seems the solicitor Vincent Donohue, who paints such a rosy picture of Tredyffrin and how the residents are treated that many can’t help but wonder has he actually been there? I also wonder why we have not heard from Tredyffrin resident/Radnor Township ex-pat/Tredyffrin Manager Bill Martin?  Where is he on all of this or is he somewhere in the Tredyffrin Township Building hiding under his desk? (Don’t laugh, I heard a story once of someone in Tredyffrin hiding under their desk and why couldn’t it happen?)

Anyway, my eyes are popping because of this article I just finished reading in Main Line Media News:

Majority of Tredyffrin supervisors may not have approved DiBuonaventuro letter posted to website

Published: Thursday, November 08, 2012

By Richard Ilgenfritz
rilgenfritz@mainlinemedianews.com

It might appear that a majority of the Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors did not see or approve a controversial letter that a Tredyffrin Township supervisor posted on the municipal website in September, according to an open records request made by a local media outlet.

In September, a letter to Tredyffrin residents was posted on the township’s website criticizing media and bloggers in what one blogger described as a personal attack on the First Amendment by a government official.

Because the letter was written by a Tredyffrin Township supervisor and posted on the township letterhead and posted on the township’s website, Main Line Media News filed an open records request under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s open records law to find out more details about who authorized placing the letter on the township’s website. Among the documents sought were any e-mails or messages about the placing of the letter on the website.

But despite the efforts, it would appear that few such documents exist.

Under Pennsylvania’s open records law, the township had five days to respond to the request that was filed Sept. 10. On Friday, Sept. 14 a representative from the Tredyffrin solicitor’s office responded and invoked the 30-day extension in order to gather and review the material to determine what was public and what was not public under the law.

When the solicitor’s office responded Oct. 15 it was determined that any letters to or from the solicitor’s office was considered private attorney/client privilege and would not be released but any other material would be made public under the law.

However, when the information was reviewed by Main Line Media News, only one e-mail was produced. The one item produced by the township was e-mail from John DiBuonaventuro, the author of the letter, to Patricia Hoffman, executive assistant, and dated Sept. 6, 2012 at 7:18 a.m.

The subject line read, “Letter to Citizens.”

The one paragraph letter read, “Pat, this is a confidential email. This letter has been approved by Michelle and Vince. Please put it on the township letterhead and make three copies for Kristen, Michelle and I to review when we get in this morning. We will give you distribution directions once a final review is done. Thanks and see you around 8 or when you get in. JD.”

There is no indication that other members of the Board of Supervisors read the letter and approved it to be placed on the township’s website. Neither were any letters or messages from residents making comments to any township officials on the letter.

Crikey!  They aren’t riding the train to a new station in Paoli, these people seem to be riding the un-sunshine friendly crazy train don’t they?

So what does that mean if this was not in fact approved by a legal quorum/majority of supervisors?  What are any additional implications involving the former Tredyffrin Township Manager ?

How does John DiBuonaventuro get away with something like this?

Sign me confused.

Here is Pattye’s post on the topic.  She continues to be a lady about this.  I bet Tredyffrin wishes this would go away, but what is that phrase? Truth will out?

Re Personal Letter on Government Website — Did Tredyffrin Supervisor DiBuonaventuro receive approval from his fellow supervisors?

Posted on November 8th, 2012   5:32 PM  by Pattye Benson

Did John DiBuonaventuro actually have approval from fellow supervisors before using government resources and government letterhead to post his personal letter of September 5 on the government’s website?  The answer to that question is not entirely clear, and the answer also depends on whom you ask.

As the resident targeted in DiBuonaventuro’s diatribe to the citizens of Tredyffrin Township, I was very interested to read the Main Line Media News article, “Majority of Supervisors may not have approved DiBuonaventuro letter posted to website”.  In the article, Rich Ilgenfritz explains that the newspaper filed an open records request with Tredyffrin Township asking for all information pertaining to DiBuonaventuro’s letter on the township website.  However, it is interesting that MLMN only received one record; an email from DiBuonaventuro to Patricia Hoffman, executive secretary for Tredyffrin Township….

One of several troubling unanswered questions in regards to DiBuonaventuro’s personal use of the township website, is did he act alone?  Or, … was there discussion (approval) from the other members of the Board of Supervisors.  In her response to my question on this matter, Gleason stated the following in her email dated September 7:

“ … 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.”

Gleason’s email states that the use of the government’s website by DiBuonaventuro carried with it the “implicit endorsement of the Township”.  She further states that the Chairman [Kichline] and the Township Solicitor [Vince Donohue] agreed the letter was appropriate for the website.  But did Kichline really see the actual letter?…Subsequent to DiBuonaventuro’s letter going on the website, there has been no public statement from the other 6 supervisors on this matter, except by Kichline who said that the Board would work on a website policy.  Why the silence from the other supervisors?  Privately, some of the supervisors have told citizens that they never saw the letter and some have stated that they would not have approved of the letter on the government’s website.  Why don’t the supervisors own these opinions in public?….Another interesting thing to note on this email is that there was a private meeting of 3 supervisors – DiBuonaventuro, Kristen Mayock and Kichline.  Why was Mayock involved but none of the other supervisors?  As chair of the BOS, I understand the rationale behind Kichline attending the meeting but it is unclear if she actually attended or not.  Mayock and Kichline are the two attorneys on the Board – was that the reason behind their request to attend this meeting?  And it should also be noted that DiBuonaventuro states in this email, that he has approval from the solicitor Vince Donohue for the letter on the website. Everyone seems to be in agreement that Donohue saw and approved the letter – DiBuonaventuro, Kichline and Gleason all state that Donohue approved the letter.  Interesting that this short email is all that is contained in the files in regards to DiBuonaventuro’s letter.  Just interesting…..Supervisor Mike Heaberg read a statement in regards to the website policy which suggested that there would be a policy presented at the November 19 Board of Supervisors meeting.  It was unclear whether or not the public would be permitted input into the website policy.  Public input could prove important when you read the response from the township solicitor Vince Donohue to my attorney Sam Stretton… (click here to read all of Pattye’s post)

This whole scenario still smells rotten.  What else can you say except are the residents of Tredyffrin REALLY being served? Seems to me this twisted Chester County Kingdom needs an overhaul, doesn’t it?  Darn good thing that Tredyffrin and West Vincent aren’t next to each other, right? (But if Tredyffrin was it would just be more opportunity for certain people to accuse more people of being “Chickenman”, right? After all, as I here told you aren’t anyone until you are accused of being Chickenman, huh?)

Pattye, keep on keeping on.  Truth will out. Truth will out.

lettergate in tredyffrin continues…

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?

I asked:

Is the letter attacking a private citizen and local media outlets currently posted on your site an official government sanctioned release?  Also, you might want to read this editorial on the topic in Tredyffrin Patch. http://te.patch.com/articles/tredyffrin-website-used-for-political-attack

They responded:

 

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.

1st Amendment Rights in Tredyffrin Township

“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:

Mimi,

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.

Pattye Benson

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.

Pattye,

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.

Mimi