what is going on in west goshen township these days?

 

Pennsylvania, 1933, Plate 017 West Goshen Township, West Chester, Ludwig's Corner, Green Hill Station, Chester County

West Goshen is one of those Chester County municipalities that seems to like to stay below the radar.  We heard a lot about them in recent years because of the Sunoco pipeline.  But you don’t hear about them very often overall, do you? I don’t think so, unless I am missing something?

However, West Goshen actually popped back into the news again recently over a pipeline meeting in West Chester.  There was also an interesting blip in Pensions and Investments about them in early August (article was titled West Goshen Township issues call for investment manager.) And something just yesterday about QVC laying folks off again recently (jerks – QVC not the township so we are clear.)

West Goshen also seems to outsiders and residents to not be so open and transparent a municipality, and maybe there is good reason for such opinions? The Board of Supervisors Meetings are neither televised nor videotaped for replaying later (even East Whiteland has joined modern times with that!) and their meeting minutes are not current and the most recent I could find was from July 2016, and they are draft minutes, not finalized (don’t they finalize at next subsequent meeting and post?).  Oh and this Sewer Authority Meeting Minutes from June makes interesting reading but nothing more current?

I found this letter in the Sewer Authority Meeting Minutes so interesting, I thought I would share with the class. This is something one would think the local papers would perhaps be clued into and report on? What the heck is going on???

I don’t have a clue but damn…. that is one scathing letter, isn’t it?

So I found this thing on the court records after someone said there was some kerfuffle at summer meetings.. West Goshen is embroiled in some new litigation…and it’s new, very new.

I sense a Nancy Drew Mystery….and I predict this is something to watch….

 

A resident is suing West Goshen Township. People do not take those actions lightly. And it is over a lack of “sunshine”. Yep. Open Records. (I have friends who did this and prevailed in Radnor Township some years ago now and this is not an easy thing.)

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE OF PETITION FOR REVIEW TO OVERTURN THEFINAL DETERMINATION OF THE OFFICE OF OPEN RECORDS (OOR) FINAL RULING AND TO COMPEL THE DEFTS TO PROVIDE ALL INFORMATION REQUESTED UPON”

Municipalities and sunshine and transparency do not necessarily go hand in hand do they?

I notice that West Goshen has TWO lawyers representing their interests versus one resident pro-se (representing himself) at this point.

So the two lawyers are Kristin S. Camp (Township Solicitor) and an associate from her law firm, Ryan Jennings.

kristin-camp

ryan-jennings

Hmm that Camp name was familiar, so I asked a friend who lives in Easttown Township and they said Kristin S. Camp was their solicitor didn’t I remember the articles about Devon Yard the hideous Eli Kahn/Wade McDevitt/Old Waterloo/Devon Horse Show/Devon Drama plan??  (Well who could forget about that looming monstrosity?) They sent me a link to a February 2016 article written by Main Line Media News Reporter Linda Stein titled  Easttown Township: More than 200 residents pack meeting about Devon Yard plans .

It always amazes me how many municipalities municipal lawyers have – Ms. Camp is no exception and she has a few. I don’t know if this list is completely 100% current and if not I apologize to the solicitor but I have: West Goshen, Easttown, West Nantmeal, Birmingham, and Pocopson all in Chester County? Wow, and she is a partner in her law firm? Busy busy busy.

But West Goshen is spending money on two lawyers to defend against one small resident? Are they nervous or something?

Now the Judge assigned, like most Chester County Judges means nothing.  Judge Jeffrey R. Sommer who apparently before ascending to the bench was in the same law firm that Solicitor Camp is with. His term runs from when he was elected in 2013 to 2023.  This Judge was in the news this summer over his excellent decision regarding that pool fence dispute.  Somehow I knew the Judge who wouldn’t get this case is the only one I know of related to someone serving on a West Goshen Board, Allison Bell-Royer. Her husband is a former West Chester Borough Councilman, Shannon Royer.  Mr. Royer, a senior lobbyist with a firm called Wanner, sits on West Goshen’s Zoning Hearing Board.

As a completely unrelated aside, Judge Royer has an amazing Pennsylvania political pedigree. Her grandfather was legendary State Senator Clarence D. Bell, who I think still holds the record in the Keystone State for being the longest serving public official in Pennsylvania – almost 50 years! (48 to be precise).  Judge Royer’s dad was no slouch either.  If you wonder what propels people towards public service, look no further than the examples Judge Royer had growing up.  When Judge Royer was running I was new to Chester County, so I did a little research to decide if she was someone I wanted to vote for since women on the bench is still not an every day occurrence and I think it should be (but I digress).

So back to this case.  What does it all mean? I don’t know.  Hopefully reporters will dig into it.

Seems there is a lot going on behind the scenes in somewhat normally sleepy West Goshen doesn’t there? I don’t have much of an opinion about West Goshen at this point, but I do find this somewhat intriguing, don’t you?

File under inquiring minds want to know?

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good-bye tom

tom hickeyI found out the evening before last from a mutual friend, that  Tom Hickey had died.  Knowing him a little bit for eight years was a good thing. He was kind and loved animals. Now he and PSPCA’s George Bengal are fighting the good fight from heaven. Homeless pets have another guardian angel watching over them.

But darn it, I am sad.

I liked Tom a lot and before his first stroke we would speak every now and then. My cell phone would ring  and  I would get “Hey it’s Tom. Got a minute?” and then he would launch into whatever he was thinking. Or he would text me similarly and ask me to call.

2786939954_34c1902e98_oI first met Tom on August 21, 2008.  I met him through Bill Smith at Main Line Animal Rescue.  It was when Bryan Lentz and others were presenting the PA Dog Law Puppy Mill stuff in Radnor Township. Tom Hickey was with the PA Dog law Advisory Board,and at the time Jessie Smith was with Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.

From then on, I would keep in touch with him.  He was funny, nice, an animal lover, and adored his family.

He could get controversial and would go to the mat for homeless pets.  Animal Rescue is a tough business and he was one of the ones who gave it their all.

In 2010 it was because of him that the people selling puppy mill puppies inside Zern’s were punished for cruelty.  They had puppies, little puppies in unventilated fish tanks inside the non-air conditioned Zern’s. Such a horrible horrible thing.  

zerns

If you did not know him or knew that happened, you would never know he was the quiet force behind that. But he was.

In 2013 when Chester County was gripped with the horror of two family dogs being shot in West Vincent, in what became the movement called Justice for Argus and Fiona, Tom stepped up and rolled up his sleeves, and was a big part of justice actually happening in that situation.  I was also as my readers know part of getting justice for the family in that case, and it was a pleasure to work with him on that. He was always positive and encouraging and said the right thing would happen, and it did.

He was also a former member of the board of the Chester County SPCA now known as the Brandywine Valley SPCA, and always, always was a champion of homeless pets. Tom was a board member during tumultuous times at the Brandywine Valley SPCA, but he should be remembered there for his contributions.  He was passionate, and incredibly  dedidicated. He was also just one heck of a good guy.

Tom was one of a kind.  I enjoyed knowing him even a little bit for a few years. To his family I send prayers and hugs and condolences.  He was one of a kind and a lot of use will miss him, but I know how much you loved him, and he you.

Good-bye Tom.  You were way too young to go. Sigh. Now you and Sharon are together again.

 In the end, it’s still that amazing love story between he and his wife. Good-bye Tom.

This is how Tom should be remembered- with his dogs. Hickey family photo

This is how Tom should be remembered- with his dogs. Hickey family photo

Here is Mari Schaefer’s article on Philly.com – read the whole thing, I have only featured an excerpt:

Updated: JULY 18, 2016 — 3:22 PM EDT

Thomas Hickey Sr., 61, a passionate advocate for animals and the underserved, died of a stroke on Sunday at Jefferson Hospital.

 Hickey, who had recently moved to Center City from Chester County, is best known for his work on legislation to improve conditions in Pennsylvania puppy mills.

“The canines of Pennsylvania have every reason to be sad today,” said former Gov. Ed Rendell, who appointed Hickey to the state’s Dog Law Advisory Board in 2006. “They lost a great, great champion.”

…Sharon Hickey, who died in January at age 59 of cancer, shared her husband’s love of animals, said Kimberly Cary, their daughter.

“We always rescued our dogs,” said Cary.

Her parents, who both went to Holy Cross Elementary School in Springfield, Delaware County, and then Cardinal O’Hara High School, met as teenagers, Cary said.

“They were together ever since,” Cary said.

Hickey helped start a rescue called Dogshome and also founded DOGPAC, a political action committee focused on promoting laws to protect animals….

Visitation is planned for Thursday at 9 a.m. followed by a service at 11 a.m. at the D’Anjolell Memorial Home, on 2811 West Chester Pike in Broomall.

Donations can be made to the Saved Me Animal Rescue, 860-862 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123.

sense and sensabilities?

So I wrote a post yesterday on how I feel about some of the politics in this country. Wow, the brew ha ha which has ensued one would have thought I was chicken little and the sky was falling in.

It actually made me ask a question:

So if you don’t like tea partiers and question them and other political extremists, does that make you a bad Republican? Or a bad Democrat for that matter? If we can’t question politics are we truly free?

Well?

Why can’t I question what makes me uncomfortable along with what I do not understand?  Why does that suddenly make me a political undesirable? As a woman am I supposed to walk ten steps behing, be barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen and MUTE?

Let’s review something – I blog for me first and foremost.  I share my opinions because it is what I feel like writing about in that moment.  It is not always going to be  placid and necessarily comfortable for all.  It’s not always going to be a pretty photo, or a fantastic recipe to share. Sometimes it will be topics like politics, from a local stage to a national level. It depends where the inspiration comes from at that moment.

I feel that the basic framework on which this country was founded is exactly why we should question things now.  I feel that in an odd way certain groups in this country are trying to suppress some of the very freedoms and philosophies on which this nation was founded and grew.

That, dear readers, doesn’t make me a bad female Republican. It means I think about things.

I was a volunteer, a media relations volunteer at RNC2000.  Twelve years ago I felt strongly enough about being a part of that to seek out friends in Washington who could help me get a better volunteer position.  Truthfully, I was one of the few volunteering in my capacity that did not come out of politically connected PR and advertising shops.

I approached it all with an open mind and as a result, met some truly remarkable people.  And I lent a Congressman at the time  named Chip Pickering cab fare when he got off a train without his wallet and no one else believed he was who he was.  (And yes he paid me back and my reward were invitations to some pretty awesome A list parties.)  But what I noticed was at that time the Republican party worked really hard to extremists on the fringe so everyone felt honestly welcome within the party.  Not so any longer.  The extremists are being embraced at the expense of ordinary Americans in the middle. That is an act of desperation that I feel quite strongly will bite them in the rear.

Both political parties are guilty of the dumbing down of America and that bothers me. Washington is full of politicians spending our tax dollars to prove each side right and wrong.  These politicians aren’t worried so much about the constituencies they represent, but seem to be constantly running for re-election.  I think that is crap.

Truthfully, I have been reading up on things in Washington, and I think Democrats and their assorted pals are nervous about the upcoming election.  I believe people should start paying attention to who is leaving what and taking what new job.  Because face it, with a new administration a lot of people could find themselves on the outside looking in.

One example I see recently and locally to an extent is the latest headmaster appointed at The Haverford School.  John A. Nagl.  His experience and current responsibilities are truly remarkable.  But a change of course to headmaster of the Haverford School?  To me that might be commentary on the current political climate and fear of things to come. (of course what a lot of people are also asking is why Haverford is choosing yet another ex military to run a non-military school?)

Ok, so back to the topic at hand: questioning politics.

If we can’t question and discuss politics, let alone express our feelings as to what is bothering us, we are no longer truly free.

You can’t just drink the kool-aid in either political party and it would behoove more people to look at who they are voting for a little more closely. It would also behoove more to be of an independent mind.

And if you want to discuss with me what I am thinking about, that is fine, but don’t just tell me I am across the board wrong.  I know I am not.  Maybe I make some of you uncomfortable with my pondering, and I am sorry.  But you have to think.  You can’t just act like a Stepford wife or Moonie and pull the lever for any candidate.  You need to ponder. You have to ponder. You have as a resident of the United States of America an obligation to carefully ponder as far as I am concerned.

Here are a couple of notes I received from people I know with regard to my blog post yesterday:

 I LONG for moderate Republicans to take back their party from the crazies. Leave women’s bodies alone and focus on the types of spending reform for which the party is supposed to stand.

What makes me crazy is how many have signed a PLEDGE that makes them beholden to a LOBBYIST. They sold out their ability to compromise and act in the best interest of our country because Grover Norquist made them do it. To me, that is treason. When a leader like Mitch McConnell says that Congress’ goal for two years should be to unseat the President in the next election, ergo not pass any legislation that would seem like a “win” for the D side, regardless of how much it would benefit people and businesses that are hurting, where are we?

Stop worrying about who people are schtupping. Stop worrying about women who take a pill so that they have two children instead of 20, and pass the existing legislation that lowers corporate tax rates, invests in retraining for people in hard-hit areas that have been laid off. Stop blindly protecting the defense budget and question why we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars building up bases in the Caribbean to combat drugs.

Someone…please…take back the reins. When Reagan’s key tax policy advisor has said that the GOP has gone off the rails and is hurting the country, there’s a problem. I think we need a more-than-two-party system. But, at the very least, we need TWO functional parties that welcome debate and dissent, can compromise, and don’t accuse anyone who disagrees with them as being “un-American.”

Another one (ironically from a friend in DC who reads Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Karen Heller):

And please be sure to read the sentence where Smith says to put yourself in the father’s position. Yeah, the father’s position is MUCH more difficult to be in than the poor girl who got raped and pregnant.

Karen Heller: Another GOP moment: Smith comparing daughter’s unintended pregnancy to rape  August 29, 2012|By Karen Heller, Inquirer Columnist

“Maybe Tom Smith just wanted us to remember his name.  Or realize he’s the Pennsylvania Republican running for the U.S. Senate.

Or perhaps he’s jealous of headline-hogging Todd Akin, that Missouri master of creative obstetrics, and wanted his own moment in the sun and on this paper’s front page.

In any event, Smith finally made news Monday by comparing unintended pregnancy to rape.

Specifically, his daughter’s unintended pregnancy to rape, after a Harrisburg press luncheon in front of a group of reporters….

Smith answered, “I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But fortunately for me, I didn’t have to. . . . She chose the way I thought. Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t rape.”

Scolforo: “Similar how?”

Smith: “Having a baby out of wedlock.

Scolforo: “That is similar to rape?”

Smith: “No, no, no. Well, put yourself in a father’s position. Yes, I mean it is similar.” “

The last comment is from someone who was a life long Republican until not so long ago:

I have been enjoying newsroom all along – despite the nasty reviews from the “pros.”
I also found Sunday night’s show to be spot on.
So who owns the term rino these days? I sure as heck can’t say. That we are even asking that question is just plain sad.
For me, long ago my personal experiences informed my decision to leave a party that so deliberately and decidedly was extremely comfortable with treating women as second class citizens. But the fact that the Republican party is now, in 2012, hell-bent on controlling women’s bodies in ways I really never dreamed could happen in my lifetime makes it impossible for me to contemplate ever returning. And please, how is it that creationism is even a topic we have to contemplate – let alone discuss in the public discourse?
But these are only the most obvious of issues. what is deeply, deeply disturbing to me is the lack of caring and compassion for those in need. Not every person is a lazy worthless free loader living off/on the public dole, and the insanity – to say nothing of the fundamental selfishness – which seems to be at the center of policies that so callously and inappropriately ignore those less fortunate, I just can not understand or grasp such perspectives.
So there – I joined you on the soap box…..thanks for listening.
Remember what Thomas Jefferson said – “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”