a very cool lunch bunch


I discovered this great thing today: Latino Luncheon which  began 12 years ago in West Chester with just a handful of people. What a remarkable and nice bunch of people.

They are this Latino based networking/community group with their finger on the pulse of Chester County. It is not just Latinos, but it is also truly multi-cultural.  Latino Luncheon is as per one member “open to all Latinos and those who love them.”

I have had many Latino friends over the years and met some fabulous Latina community activists when part of Save Ardmore Coalition and we were fighting eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore and elsewhere. Mary Cortes of Cramer Hill Camden and the late Rosemary Cubas of Philadelphia come to mind in particular. (I also have a Cuban Uncle, although I do not recall ever seeing much of his Latino side save for his fondness for Café Bustelo.)


Anyway, this collective holds a monthly luncheon at Iron Hill in West Chester and you can sign up via their Meet Up page. They raise awareness for issues affecting the community and even give out  some scholarships – in other words they do good deeds and enjoy each other’s company. I can’t tell you how nice it was to be in a room of positive people who celebrate each other.

IMG_3561State Representative Duane Milne and State Senator Andy Dinniman attended along with a lot of lawyers and school board and judicial candidates.  (Well it is election season, after all.)

I was introduced to the group by Maureen Martinez. Maureen is on the Planning Commission in East Whiteland and running for Supervisor.  Maureen’s IMG_3570husband is Cuban, so she is very keen on the issues facing Latinos in Chester County and elsewhere.

Andy Dinniman presented a proclamation and remarked that the Latino community is becoming a force to be reckoned with in Chester County.

Dinniman also discussed a version of American Dream Act is coming to PA and both political parties support it. Bi-Partisan – anyone graduating from a PA high school will be eligible for in state tuition costs.

IMG_3588Everyone went around table introducing themselves. We heard from amazing men and women, and even found out that one of the Main Line Today Power Women of 2013 was a founding member of this group – Nelly Jiménez-Arévalo.

And they presented a scholarship check to an amazing young woman named Elenie Gonzalez.

Chester County OIC is a non-profit organization with offices in West Chester and Phoenixville dedicated to providing FREE adult basic literacy education and life skills programs that prepare individuals for employment leading to economic self-sufficiency. In operation since 1979, CCOIC helps over 800 adult learners per year.
Joyce is part of the slate of candidates running for West Chester Area School Board called Better Direction for West Chester. I totally enjoyed meeting her and well, West Chester Area School Board would be lucky to get someone like her.  Any school board would, so here is hoping voters check her out.

I had never met PA State Representative Duane Milne before and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I always enjoy seeing PA State Senator Andy Dinniman and we chatted Chester County SPCA and other things.

But I have to tell you I was nervous going to a luncheon where I only knew a couple of people and now I look forward to going to another one.  It has been a very long time since I met such a caring and welcoming bunch of people who  had some amazing careers and were completely without pretense or artifice.  They care because it is simply the right thing to do. We could all take a page out of their book.


For more information on Latino Luncheon, check out their Meet Up, Facebook Latino Luncheon – Chester County PA , and Twitter

Next time I will bring a grown-up camera to get some really great shots for these nice people!

Also a shout out is in order to Iron Hill Brewery – I love that they host these community endeavors so graciously and nicely!

door knocking and candidate frequent flyer miles


Door knocking season is upon us. This evening did not bring a candidate, but a volunteer on behalf of a candidate . The candidate is Bill Holmes, running for East Whiteland Supervisor. Apparently he is an incumbent of sorts.

His volunteer credited him with Uptown Worthington and Wegman’s. Would love to get Brian O’Neill’s opinion on this wouldn’t you? Mr. O’Neill likes to have top billing, generally speaking doesn’t he? But anything is possible since his honorary campaign chair is East Whiteland Supervisor Virginia McMichael (D).

Now Virginia McMichael seems interesting and is obviously really bright. Malvern Patch on Nov. 4, 2011 reported that McMichael was a former Rendell Common Pleas judge nominee that got “stalled” in the PA State Senate, and that her hubby Larry McMichael is one of developer O’Neill’s lawyers? Holy recusal city Batman, right?

But back to Bill Holmes who is employed in IT or something at Vanguard. So wow….what happens if Vanguard ends up coming to East Whiteland like his campaign website infers ? (His website states “Vanguard expansion forthcoming” ) You have him having to recuse (and he should be already if it comes up for discussion, right?) on Vanguard and McMichael on O’Neill issues so that leaves what? Only one supervisor free of conflicts or appearance of conflicts over major issues having to do with big companies? (Do I have that right? And if I have this wrong, please correct me.)

Anyway….Let us start with his literature “Come Fly With Bill”. Oh sorry, that is not quite right, it is actually worse: “Get On Board With Bill”. (Can’t you just hear the train whistle?) Am I to infer there is something wrong with me if I am not immediately on board with someone who means absolutely nothing to me in the first place?

Also according to the Chester County Democrat Committee he is some sort of endorsed Democrat candidate (they use the phrase “supported candidates”) so why is it on his door knocking palm cards it does not give party affiliation anywhere? Is he ashamed to be a Democrat? Why can’t I seem to locate his party affiliation on his candidate website ? Is it there and I simply don’t see it?

Another thing I noticed on his accomplishments section of his website and campaign literature it is as if he personally takes credit for Moody’s rating East Whiteland aa2?

Let us not forget that Moody’s Investor Services operates under an issuer paid model. One could say that you get what you pay for as an issuer of debt, yes? East Whiteland issues debt, yes? And given the role Moody’s and S&P seemed to have in market/economy meltdowns circa 2008, well……sigh, maybe not something so much to brag about?

Look, I am sure he must be an affable fellow even if he doesn’t seem to be able to go door knocking on his own, but unfortunately for him there is a better candidate running for supervisor in East Whiteland. Her name is Maureen Martinez. She seems to manage door knocking personally and she works, has kids, is on the planning commission, has time for non-profit work and so on.

Maureen Martinez is not afraid to tell you she is an endorsed Republican candidate, and you can see her affiliation on her literature.

I am not endorsing her, but I am telling you she is far more appealing than the candidate who can’t do his own door knocking, can’t disclose party affiliation on literature he has other people tote around, brags about a business expansion that would mean he would have a potential conflict gives me pause, and how is that wrong ?

I am new to Chester County politics but have long been a student of politics. I go with my instincts. And my instincts say candidates who appear to brag and who can’t come around and hand out their own literature are not my cup of tea. They might be affable, they might be lots of things, just not necessarily the right person right now. They may have indeed provided years of service but sometimes change is good, right?

What moves me is not party affiliation either. I am and always have been a ticket splitter. What moves me are candidates who take the time to try to talk to all residents. And face it, East Whiteland has more non-voting business residents than actual voting and living in the township residents. So if I were running even as an incumbent I would get my feet on the street personally.

I mean Mr. Holmes no disrespect but you only get one chance as a political candidate to make a good impression and the one who had done that is Maureen Martinez. And frankly sometimes it just takes a good woman to get the job done.

Sources for this post include:




Malvern Patch November 4, 2011 “East Whiteland Supervisor Race: McMichael and Matty” by Pete Kennedy

East Whiteland Republican Committee Facebook page