the dance around eminent domain and other tales from the king road/route 352 meeting

The residents of East Whiteland, East Goshen, and elsewhere should be proud. You guys showed up for your communities and neighbors.

In spite of other committee meetings at East Whiteland and East Goshen (zoning and planning I think? Not sure which meeting where), Immaculata’s Great Hall was literally bursting at the seams for the King Rd and Route 352 meeting last night. (Thank you to Immaculata by the way, what an awesome space!)

It was a contentious meeting at times. East Whiteland Supervisors Chair Sue Drummond set the tone by her opening remarks and attitude. Dear readers, she might not like my opinion because she knows I do not care for her but it happens to be the truth. She opened the meeting with snippy acerbic comments about what residents were going to be allowed to say and not say do and not do and that’s kind of the Cliff Notes version but she was well...obnoxious. She seems to have forgotten for whom she works…the residents! And oh by the way? Me thinks the lady supervisor doth protesteth too much. (Just sayin’)  Also at ends of meeting shouldn’t a politician make sure no offending residents are left within ear shot? I was standing there with another resident and “the PennDOT guy.”

I know the video is not the best quality and the township also recorded it, but I felt it was important, very important to get it out there.  State level elected officials sent representatives although they did not stay for the entire meeting. This YouTube is a recording of the 3 hours we Facebooked live last night. I will try to get the rest of it loaded. Some media was present as well.

I am completely against a traffic circle, roundabout, or whatever clever marketing term you prefer.  It will mean eminent domain.  Eminent domain is ugly and your home is your castle in this country until some government entity wants to take your land. ANY ELECTED OFFICIAL WHO CHOSES EMINENT DOMAIN NEEDS TO BE PUT OUT OF OFFICE WHENVER THEIR TERM OF OFFICE IS UP.

Last night residents asked over and over again for elected officials to say NO to the use of eminent domain.  East Goshen remained eerily silent but East Whiteland politicians sort of danced a dance.  So did the gentleman from McMahon associates who go quite the grilling from potentially affected residents. He got very defensive at times.

Listening to resident after resident it became abundantly clear that the consensus is NO EMINENT DOMAIN.  And for THREE hours those leading the meeting would do anything other that say the words EMINENT DOMAIN.  They referred to “slivers”, you know like they were sneak slicing bits of pound cake or a pie or something? If you can’t say the words “EMINENT DOMAIN” then obviously on some level it bothers you so East Whiteland and East Goshen Supervisors why not just take a pledge to NOT use eminent domain?

[Follow this link (as in click on it) for everything residents have obtained via Right to Know requests thus far.]

Things I find perplexing from the meeting includes how for 95% of the meeting East Whiteland Supervisor Chair Sue Drummond kept announcing how while she was not sure of East Goshen’s timeline, the East Whiteland Supervisors would decide next week —the East Whiteland Board of Supervisors meets NEXT Wednesday, June 12 at 7 PM and if you are concerned about this project you need to attend this meeting as well.  Public comment still belongs to the residents.

OK that is cray cray right? Except for those of us who have been dogging this topic, how many people knew about this? And to send residents a letter within the last two weeks which one would presume mentions slivers…err eminent domain as a potential, what the hell is up with that?

By the end of the meeting East Whiteland Supervisor Sue Drummond was saying she had conferred with her colleagues and well maybe they would wait for the July to vote?

Again what the hell is up with that? Does July mean when people are on vacation? After all doesn’t everyone know that a favorite trick of government and traffic counters is to do what they do at weird times of the year and/or holidays?

They have been tossing this idea around of at least intersection improvements for years, so what is a few more months of study with residents fully and openly engaged? And how can they use traffic issues on Carol Lane and Summit as justification for the potential of a traffic circle? How do they NOT understand that would cause MORE cut through traffic over there?

And if the politicians  say they don’t really want a traffic circle then why didn’t they say last night “there we showed you a circle, but we aren’t going to do that”? The cannot be a little bit pregnant here. They need to be definitive, which of course some politicians have a difficult time with because it affects talking out of both sides of their mouths, right?

And the presentation was flawed. Residents pointed out things on what was presented like how some wouldn’t literally be able to get out of their driveways.  Some people speaking were heartbreaking.  All they wanted to know is why these supervisors hadn’t let them know in some cases sooner this was a possibility and what would happen to their homes they worked so hard for?

I will note again that East Goshen was oddly silent through a lot of the meeting.  I will also note that residents pointed out how the land taking would basically occur in East Whiteland if it occurred.

As they spoke of traffic counts and studies last night, I could once again hear the wise words of one of my favorite Commissioners once upon a time in Lower Merion Township.  He quipped in comments at one meeting where some members of township staff and certain commissioners were trying to justify the results of a traffic study that was done either around a holiday or in the dog days of August before school started “When it comes to traffic studies, you get what you pay for.”

He wasn’t saying that in a flattering way.

East Whiteland wants to hurry up and slam this through and my honest opinion is affected residents might wish to consider legal counsel to make sure their interests are properly protected.  Or they should at least consult with legal counsel.

Our homes are our castles.  And these are our neighbors and friends.  I thank everyone who came out last night and hope they keep on showing up. And remember the unintended consequences of all the freaking development in Chester County are truly to blame here. Or at least in my humble opinion.

These thoughts were bought to you in part by the First Amendment.

 

 

we have to be the change we want

MCcA 2

(WHY I won’t be voting Republican in the PA6 Congressional race this fall.)

Until the last Presidential Election, I was a life-long Republican.  I had always been an inveterate ticket splitter, but I remained a Republican…until this last presidential race.

But I couldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t pretend this was the political party that once made me believe.  When I was a Media Relations Volunteer at the RNC2000, I never, ever would have thought they would boil down to this hot party mess they have devolved to.

But they have.

I know I am not a true Democrat, anymore than I am a current-style Republican.  So I went Independent. Yes, I lost my primary voting rights because it’s Pennsylvania, but I felt I had taken something back for myself by freeing myself from political rhetoric I could not get behind.

I have never voted Democrat in the PA 6th Congressional District. And I have been in this district seemingly forever.  First in Lower Merion Township, and now even after a couple rounds of redistricting, here in Chester County.  I voted gladly for Jim Gerlach every time he ran, and I also voted for Ryan Costello.

I did not really know who I would vote for until September 1st.  There seemed to be mass confusion for a while, namely with regard to Costello bailing out and the redistricting and the redistricting court battles. Like many, I wasn’t actually sure for a while who would be running.

If we had somehow magically gotten redistricted to the PA 7th Congressional District which now has kind of sort of become the new PA 5th Congressional District, I would have chosen Pearl Kim.  (I do not even know who is running in the now PA 7th at this point.)

To an extent, I am so turned off by American politics and the nouveau Republican party, I kind of just literally closed my ears for months and months.  No easy feat for a political junkie.

I had heard about Greg McCauley and would have actually considered him because of his Philadelphia area familial and legal profession lineage. Until that September 1st tweet. I realize it was probably some campaign minion, but it doesn’t matter.  As a candidate he let it go forward, right?

Chester County needs Republicans they can count on, not #TrumpLite . This is why Chester County continues to veer away from it’s Republican roots and history and will soon be another county in PA with a Democratic majority.

houl

I found this position VERY interesting. 

Chrissy Houlahan has served her country proudly in the US Armed Forces and deserves what the Brits call worthy opposition. A Republican man demeaning his female opposition is not someone voters today will find worthy.  

This kind of behavior in PA 6 is nothing new, but it IS old and used.

Today as a candidate (in my humble opinion), you  need to run a campaign based on what YOU would bring to the table not tired sexist rhetoric that the “party” wants. We don’t want in PA.  Jim Gerlach was always his own man. McCauley needed to be THAT guy for his own sake as well as voters.

IMG_9458

My Democratic door knocker said to tell all of you he was tall and dashingly handsome. He made me laugh and was super pleasant to deal with.

Today, a little while ago, a very nice man came knocking on my door.  Wanting to speak to my husband.  Poor man he got me.

He was a door knocker for the Democrats.  ( I will admit I handed him back his Tom Wolf palm card and told him why : PIPELINES AND BROKEN PROMISES FROM THE LAST CAMPAIGN. But I digress….)

h2

Chrissy and her campaign like to tell you what she believes in. She doesn’t waste the voters’ time just slamming and denigrating her opponent, does she?

These days Republicans seem to take a lot of us voters in Chester County for granted.  I have not seen anyone from the Republicans door knock in a couple of years, and even then it was merely committee people, not actual candidates.

So this afternoon this Democratic door knocker told me a little bit more about Chrissy Houlahan, and I in turn told him about what made me look at her again the other day. And decide.

Yes, all it took was one sexist, rude, misogynistic tweet.

He also told me about Kristine Howard who is running against Duane Milne in the PA 167th legislative district. Kristine Howard (according to her Facebook political page biography ):

“is known in suburban Philadelphia as a political activist who spent most of the last decade working for progressive Democratic candidates and serving diligently as a member of the Chester County Democratic Committee from Malvern while balancing the responsibilities of work and single-mother parenting…. After law school she planned to pursue a career in public interest law but her career plans took a detour after getting married and having two babies while in law school. After law school, she spent five years in New Mexico, where she ran a small legal and social services organization while her family grew. When she came back to Pennsylvania, she devoted the next many years focused on raising her three boys and four girls. It was not easy to combine a “real” career with raising a large family but she always found something to do to stay engaged in her civic interests and social activism. She worked for Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and was a child advocate for children in foster care in Philadelphia. Her keen interest in children and child welfare opened the door to her current position, working for the County investigating child abuse cases. As a caseworker, she has come to see a darker side of the wealthy and beautiful Chester County communities where she has raised her family. Her experiences as a social worker, mother and political activist have come together in her decision…”

Honestly, I never heard of her. But that is a lot of the problem about Chester County politics. You do not hear about some candidates at all. Especially, I am learning, if you are an Independent.

But this post is not about THAT race.  This post is about the 6th Congressional District Race.

And something has got to give.

So I am thinking this indeed might be the election that flips the 6th.  John Micek from PennLive.com has been saying so for months.

It’s a relatively simple concept that has more to do with us as Pennsylvanians than anything else.  We need someone with a spine. A backbone. A strong moral compass.  This race, it seems more and more that Chrissie Houlahan is the woman for the job.

Check out this September 2nd piece in the New York Times.

Please note these are only my opinions and I was not asked to write this nor compensated in any way to write this.  I am writing this post because it’s time to say something.  We have to be the change we want. 

I want change. Not more tired rhetoric. It’s time for more women in Congress and I would like to start with my very own district. If that makes me a potential “enemy of the state” by some of my Republican friends, I am sorry you feel that way. I think Chrissy is the best choice for me at this time in my life. If Chrissy Houlahan came knocking on my door personally, I would be very please to chat with her. As a woman, I like what I hear.  Now more than ever, that matters to me.