path and price of freedom

I sit and reminisce once in a while.  What a long, strange trip it has been. This life we live has highs and lows, ups and downs, triumphs and sorrows.

We all lead ordinary lives and eventually something hits us and just doesn’t sit right. Then you become active where you live.  It is somewhat of a NIMBY prospect (Not in My Backyard) because you often do not realize how wrong something is until it is happening in your own backyard.

Trust me; it is far easier to just be a sheeple in your community accepting at face value verbatim whatever local politicians and power brokers tell us must be so. (You know the theory of they say it is so , so it must be so?)

Some assert that it is far easier to just vote the way you are “told” — and yes, volunteering in local elections many moons ago I literally heard someone say that as they walked an elderly person into a polling place say “Now you just vote the way we told you to.”  That very memory is one of the things that always makes me tell people to vote in all elections, including local .

You don’t realize that our vote is such a powerful voice.  Check out the candidates…and also whenever able check out who supports them financially as that always tells an interesting tale.

If you are in a group trying to enact change, never, ever back a candidate for political office when they come calling.  Ask them to take YOUR position, i.e. what are they willing to do for you? Don’t be used by politicians. They are public servants, they work for us.  That also means that anyone at any time should be able to speak to an elected official.  If they as politicians, do not have time for everyone, replace them with those who do have time. Keep replacing until you get the ones you want representing you.

I have never had the desire to run for elected office.  I don’t have the long-term stomach for the games and the inevitable deal making.  Politics however will always fascinate me and repulse me. It makes for interesting people watching, that is for sure.

I have, however, had the privilege to know some amazing elected officials in my life from the most local of levels to Harrisburg to Washington D.C.  Like me, like you, they are just people.   I have no hero worship, just appreciation for some of them because they do care and they do work darn hard to make a difference.

We live in a dangerous and somewhat crazy political climate right now.  As Americans, we have watched in horror as people have shot up schools, Congressmen on ball fields, random people in malls and movie theaters.  A week ago today we all awoke to the news that Las Vegas was the scene of a massacre engineered by a mad man.  All those poor people were doing was listening to music at a concert.

Yeah, we need to have a conversation about gun control, but NO ONE can do that CALMLY in this country.  All people and officials on both sides of the issue do is SCREAM at each other.

We live in a crazy political climate and most of what we hear out of a sitting United States President appears on Twitter.  In my opinion , as an American citizen,  I not only find the behavior embarrassing that we even have a Tweeter in Chief, but somewhat removed from everyday reality.

Along with friends I have fought eminent domain for private gain.  It was a whirlwind and we fought all the way down to Washington, D.C. alongside folks like ordinary people from Long Branch, NJ , Cramer Hill Camden NJ, Coatesville Pa (Saha Farm), and Suzette Kelo of New London, CT (as in the U.S. Supreme Court Case.)

Another time, other friends and I found ourselves the recipients of a congressional commendation for a specific volunteerism campaign we had initiated and completed.

I have done what I have done because I believe in community and a sense of greater good; because it was the right thing to do.

Along the way I have grown less idealistic and naïve.  Sadly, I can be jaded now.  But as you age and watch how bloody cruel and duplicitous human beings can be to one and other, you change.  But you have to remember the good in people, as hard as that is at times.

I am just a person.  I was not born with other than an immigrant pedigree.  Italian, Irish, and Pennsylvania German.   To me that makes me a quintessential Pennsylvanian.

I believe in our Constitution and the freedoms our founding fathers fought and bled and died for.  Yes, the same values and freedoms that subsequent generations of Americans have fought and marched and bled and died for. It seems as Americans that we have been perpetually fighting for our rights and freedoms.  But is that not the very nature of preserving and enhancing freedom?

As an American born in the birthplace of American rights and freedoms, I believe in the First Amendment.

Be independent-minded in life.   You will be glad of it.

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how patch responds to criticism: the delete button?

9:48 p.m. UPDATE- the new regional editor referenced below at end of post actually responded to me. Yes given the way contacting Patch before was like a black hole of nothingness it was a surprise. Anyway, he said he was sure it was a “mistake.” As of a few minutes ago or so it seems like my account is back, but I am not sure if all my comments and/or posts are. I will let you know. I am pleased this new guy seems responsible as a Regional.

I went to sign into my Patch today because a lady I comment back and forth with responded to me on a Malvern Patch post where I had commented the other day. Ironically, I had even been complimentary to the editor Nate Adams because it is one the first real news posts I have seen out of him on Malvern Patch. But when I went to log into Malvern Patch, I got this:

10331056035_183a40bba2_b

Yes, my account was deleted. Mind you I have had a Patch account for years. As a matter of fact, I used to be a freelance photographer for Ardmore Patch on occasion between 2010 and 2012! I even contributed to Radnor Patch.

I thought, wow, this couldn’t be possible, surely this is a mistake. So I cleared out my browser and tried logging into other Patch sites like Ardmore and Radnor. Nope. Same message.

The only thing I can deduce is because of my criticism of West Chester and Malvern Patch editor Nate Adams that he took it upon himself to delete me?

It has to be that. And here’s the rub: there was no reply to my e-mail I sent him on September 29th asking how coverage was determined these days and expressing my concerns that local news wasn’t being covered for West Chester or Malvern. Mind you there were other Patch people on that e-mail and none of them responded either.

So I posted the e-mail openly on Patch. It had a LOT of comments from Patch readers who felt pretty much exactly the SAME way as I did.

But now, that post and every comment I have made on ANY Patch site over a few years along with my original Patch account have been deleted.

There was no e-mail sent to me telling me to simmer down or I would be deleted. No e-mail sent saying ANY comments were being removed because I violated some terms of service. Nothing. I was simply erased.

And while that is their right because it is their site, is that what a true editor does? Is that what a media outlet does? Lordy, look at the comments left on major metropolitan media outlets – print, radio, and television.

But no, because I criticized Patch and the current editor rather than dealing with it, I was simply deleted. That is not journalism.

So I wrote to the new regional editor who has apparently replaced the former regional editor. His name is Tim. I told him how I felt about it flat-out.

I re-registered with Patch. I fully expect Nate Adams to delete that account too. I guess I am somewhat stunned at the lack of professionalism. However, to that end, I have been told by many that I shouldn’t worry about Patch as a local media resource and hyper local news outlet because they are all faltering THAT badly. As in it is only a matter of time.

Time will tell. In the mean time, consider this a cautionary tale: Patch editors don’t respond to criticism like real media professionals. And to those who will say that bloggers do that with comments, yes we do, but our blogs are our own. I am not owned by AOL Time Warner. I am not owned by a large corporate entity who pays me to be an editor of a hyper local news site. These Patch editors are compensated media professionals and should be able to handle themselves better as well as actually do the job they are paid to do.

Sign me amused. I love the smell of the First Amendment on a cloudy fall day.

well john dibuonaventuro & tredyffrin, guess that other shoe just dropped, huh?

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?

So Pattye has apparently retained Sam StrettonSam Stretton is probably one of the few lawyers in Chester County not afraid on some level of bully governments.

Sam wrote a letter:

Here is Pattye in her own words:

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.

 

welcome back my friends to the show that never ends…in tredyffrin

With sincere apologies to Emerson Lake & Palmer…it somehow seemed so oddly apropos…as another Main Line blogger said this evening:

Welcome to the People’s Republic of Tredyffrin

Tredyffrin Supervisor DiBuonaventuro goes after media and bloggers in letter posted to township website

Published: Friday, September 07, 2012

By Richard Ilgenfritz
rilgenfritz@mainlinemedianews.com

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.

In a letter that was posted on Tredyffrin Township’s website Thursday morning and signed by board vice-chairman John DiBuonaventuro, he suggests that he has been defamed by the media and bloggers as a result of the story.

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?

Tredyffrin, how do you want your community governed?  It is up to you.  These people work for you.  I noticed that Michele Kichline is on  http://ttgop.org/  (they list her non-Tredyffrin e-mail as 2m2a@comcast.net ) and is a committee woman for Tredyffrin Republicans or something?

Anyway, I am a Republican as I have said before, so I was curious as to what Tredyffrin GOP listed as core values.  Check out what practically leaped off the page:

Our Values.  As Republicans, we believe:

~ That limited government must be fiscally responsible and always accountable;

~ That our nation must protect the dignity of every individual and guarantee the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;

 

So Tredyffrin residents, how are those values working out?  Do you think your government is living up to these values?