the company you keep: gossip and politics

I think I sometimes truly grow weary of the politics of politics and all it entails including gossip….locally. Sometimes I find people that are perfectly nice becoming collateral damage because they are judged quite literally by the company they keep, right or wrong.

Ahh yes, the old adage you are judged by the company you keep. I remember my own mother telling me that when I was a teenager, and I remember scoffing at the idea. Then I remember being in my mid 20s and figuring out exactly what she was talking about and it was one of those a-ha moments that sometimes your mother is right. A friend of mine and I were talking about it recently and they said their mother said to them “show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.”

(Please don’t tell my mother I said she was right about something LOL, I will never hear the end of it.)

Anyway, this friend came to me to talk about a tsunami of really unpleasant social media. She’s not someone I know real well but I have known for a few years. I met her when she lived elsewhere and I was first out here. She’s been living for the past few years in a place in Chester County where I have a lot of friends. Only I don’t know if her experience has been so friendly all of the time while living there.

This person is fast becoming what I can only describe as collateral damage in a power struggle that she should just be left out of. But it’s kind of hard when you live in a small community. My friend’s opinions are strong, which I respect because I have some pretty strong opinions at times.

My friend is a very loyal person, and she has formed friendships in this community that I would not personally choose for myself, but it’s her decision. And I dance around the subject of these people with her because I don’t think it’s fair for my perspective to influence or taint hers. But if I was going to be dead on honest I would have to say that I hope these people remain good and decent people towards her. I have to admit I don’t know if they are capable of it, but that’s just my opinion, and I hope I am wrong.

This power struggle which exists for very good reasons can be contentious enough at times that it is literally like a battle of the Hatfields and the McCoys. And sadly, the people this person has aligned herself with have indeed hurt other people I care about. They have also come for me on occasion because I have my own opinions on things. But because I don’t live in the middle of all of them, I can be more objective at times and say I just don’t like them.

But this person whom I know, is again, literally being judged by the company she keeps. And I understand why, but it’s Christmas and I just wish everybody would let up a bit.

Chester County is an amazing place to live. Her residents have amazing heart. However, when it comes to politics and local shenanigans, it gets ugly. I have seen it in municipality after municipality. I used to think nothing could get more upsetting than Main Line or Delaware county gossip and politics… Until I moved to Chester County. Local politics can be a bloodsport out here, but can we say one of the roots of the cause can be when folks deal out good old-fashioned shady assed behavior?

I’m no fool, and I have my battle scars from just a few years living here. I’m outspoken and I’m a blogger. I don’t think you’re supposed to be either in the minds of some people. You are simply supposed to be some form of a Stepford wife. Or a bobble head.

I have done my time over the years of being the subject of gossip for being outspoken and a blogger and this whole theory of knives and knitting needles. And I have been the target of behavior that is so incredibly malicious and hurtful directed at me mostly because I was different than they were, or even because I just did not like them.

I think adult social bullying is the worst, and I truly think that a lot of people don’t even realize they are doing it. Another friend of mine and I were discussing this recently. She lives down on the Main Line and she noted that a child who was sadly very bullying towards classmates in school had parents who exhibited the exact same behavioral patterns towards adults.

Suffice it to say, human beings can be so incredibly cruel to one and other.

I think 2018 will go down in the history books as a year where everyone was totally mean to each other. I think a lot of this has to do with the stage that has been set in Washington DC , truthfully. People are so angry from coast to coast, and here in our little corner of the world you see it as well.

It’s Christmas. And my wish for Christmas as far as this nonsense goes, is a hope it just at takes a cease-fire at a minimum. Just slow your roll and stop being so mean to one and other. And you know what? I’m taking myself to task here as well. I haven’t been as nice this year as I should have been.

Just because someone doesn’t share in your exact ideology and belief system it doesn’t make them a bad person. And yes, even if they are friends with people you can’t stand it doesn’t make them a bad person.

In this life, we are all judged by the company we keep. And we also need to pause and remember we can’t control the actions of others we can only control the actions of ourselves.

Peace on earth, good will towards men, remember?

Thanks for stopping by.

playing politics with the deliberately uninformed

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Until the last U.S. Presidential Election I was a life-long registered Republican.  I even took my corporate vacation during the RNC 2000 in Philadelphia so I could be a media relations volunteer the entire duration of the convention. I loved that experience. I met so many interesting people, and even lent a Congressman who was a platform speaker of some level cab fare so he could get to the Philadelphia Convention Center when he came to Philadelphia on Amtrak but forgot his wallet.

But the Republican party changed.  And maybe I have changed too, but if I am honest with myself and you my readers, the majority of my life I have always been a ticket-splitter.

You see, I do not subscribe to the quackery that if a candidate is of a particular party they are a bad candidate and I can’t vote for them.  I look at the candidates themselves NOT the political party to make my decision.  I have no misplaced sense of obligation to either political party, which is probably WHY I became an Independent.

But politics, including in Chester County, has continued to disintegrate since he who shall not be named took the Oval. Sorry, not sorry, it is the unfortunate truth.  And my opinion. This country is now like a daily episode of the now defunct ABC series Scandal.

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No longer does political civility exist.  Republicans think Democrats are evil and Democrats think Republicans are evil.  It is the theatre of the absurd. You can’t discuss the merits or lack thereof of ANY candidate.

And heaven forbid you not act like a perfect little political Stepford wife and share an article you find interesting. Like this one:

Philly-Area Media Chain Tells Readers: Don’t Vote for a Single Republican
“There are some Republicans that do a good job and should be taken seriously,” says the editor. “But they are sort of sacrificial lambs, unfortunately.”

by VICTOR FIORILLO· 10/31/2018, 9:12 a.m.

With the most contentious midterm elections in memory coming up in a matter of days, news publications across the country are publishing their endorsements of their chosen candidates. But one group of media outlets outside of Philadelphia has taken a much different approach.

West Chester–based Brandywine New Media, which owns the Times of Chester County, the Unionville Times, the Kennett Times, the Coatesville Times, and the Downingtown Times, has run a staff editorial telling readers that they should “not vote for any Republican candidate on the ballot.”

Here is the Times of Chester County original editorial:

Editorial: An electoral shock to the system needed to save GOP
Oct 28th, 2018

As has been the case since the earliest days of The Times, we had planned to make endorsements in all of the 2018 elections….

But 2018 is a unique time in the history of American politics.

While some would try to paint a false equivalency that both of our major parties are bad, lacking ethics and are slaves to electoral expediency, we find ourselves unable to agree.

One party has been gripped by a mania, a cancer, and seems unwilling or unable to return to its roots, and instead panders to fear, anger and the worst instincts of a minority of its members: the Republican Party…..America needs two functioning parties to provide political balance and steady leadership. America needs a healthy Republican Party, as a counter balance to the occasional excesses of the Democratic Party — something sorely lacking now. If the current path continues unabated, we will see the end of the Republican Party as we know it.

….we suggest that you do not vote for any Republican candidate on the ballot. We know this is a difficult ask for many, but these times and our democracy cry out for a reset and only staggering losses will get the attention of elected officials and the party’s voter base in a meaningful way.

I have provided but an excerpt of BOTH the article and  editorial, but I strongly suggest no matter what your political persuasion you should take the time to read BOTH pieces in FULL.

I wasn’t going to write a pre-midterm election post, but when I shared the Philadelphia Magazine article by Victor Fiorello on Facebook a woman piped up and said because I shared the article and suggested it was an interesting read that I was making a political endorsement.  Allow me to quote her directly:  ““Well worth taking the time to read” is a political endorsement. Your message is not sharing information but suggesting endorsement of a political view that many in Chester County find reprehensible.”

Can I say WTF now? I mean WTF?  I am NOT suggesting endorsement. IF I was suggesting endorsement of candidates, I would say so. Suggesting an article about the current state of politics is an interesting read or a good read is NOT an endorsement of anything other than the actual article!

I actually would like to say thank you to Victor Fiorello for writing about an editorial I saw but did not take the time to read until he pointed it out. And I would like to say thank you to Publisher and Editor of Brandywine News Media Mike McGann. Mr. McGann that editorial is nothing short of honest and spot on.  And a little bit sad.

I am truly sorry that so many lack intellectual curiosity about the political times in which we live, or are afraid to check things out lest they turn into a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife (Genesis 19).

I am so sorry so many choose to be deliberately uniformed. It seems to me life is more interesting when you don’t behave like a veritable ostrich and bury your head in the sand, but what do I know, right?

I also realize some love to hate me because I speak my mind and am a blogger and am just different from them, but lordy. I fully accept although I find it fantastical at times some people (even other women) cannot handle women who do not conform to some pre-conceived set of notions that remind me of 1950’s housewives wearing kitchen aprons. These people should keep their own side of the street clean and do not presume to tell me or anyone else what to do. Because in fact, THAT is what is reprehensible here.

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Being American means freedom of choice when you vote. It means being your own man or woman and voting your conscience.  Being American also means you have the freedom to read a couple of local articles without fear of being put in the stocks like some renegade 17th century New England Puritan. (calling Hester Prynne and all that)

Grow up and remember your collective pride in what it is to be an American and to enjoy the freedoms our forefathers fought and bled and died for.  We have the right, actually a duty to question the political status quo as Americans.  Right now the status quo has some major suckitude going on.  The political process is at present so incredibly contorted that our country is to be succinct, MESSED UP.

And to other women out there:  it took until 1920 and when 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, stating, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Oh and another fun fact? Women in the state of Georgia could not vote until 1970.

Read up and vote next week people.  Vote for who you choose, not who some political party bobblehead from either party tells you to vote for.

Thanks for allowing the rant and Happy Halloween.

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not sure what to do with this?

Being a blogger is sometimes a strange business.  The document I am sharing pertaining to development in East Whiteland and purported number of students that some developments old and new add to the Great Valley School District. It was left in my mailbox a couple of days ago. No note, no envelope.

The letter is written by David C. Babbitt & Associates (CLICK HERE FOR SCAN of what I have called frazer lanes)

frazer lanes 1

Frazer Lanes 2

Frazer Lanes 3

Now when it comes to experts and consultants, the voice of one of my favorite former Lower Merion Commissioners named Lew Gould comes to mind. He said one time when it came to a particular traffic study at the time that those who commission the studies gets what they pay for.

I will also note that this letter ONLY ADDRESSES APARTMENTS. Not other kinds of developments. Not townhouses, not “carriage homes”, not single family homes. I think the numbers might creep up significantly?

So I do not know what to think of this thing that was left for me. But I do not feel I am sharing anything privileged or illegal.  As a matter of fact this is the type of information which would be shared with a municipality during a planning process. I belive this was left for me because I have been critical of the affect of new development on the school districts in Chester County, in this case this study pertains to Great Valley.

Where I find this puzzling is it kind of runs contrary to some of what I have heard pertaining to the elementary schools in Great Valley School District and how crowded they are becoming.  I have also heard the high school is incredibly crowded.  My days with kids in any school district is done, and our son went to a charter school.

I figure this letter is another good place to start a conversation.

Thoughts?

american on american terrorism is NOT o.k.!

Today the news broke that someone in this country that someone is mailing pipe bombs to people like the Clintons, Obama, George Soros, and others.

That is truly a WTF moment.

These actions are not what the USA is about. These are not the actions of loyal Americans, but acts of domestic terrorism.

These actions are horrible. I don’t care what your politics are or what political party you belong to, no one should be mailing anyone pipe bombs.

I posted the New York Times article they published a couple of hours ago on my blog’s Facebook page with the sole comment of WTF. Sorry not sorry, it’s how I felt.

After I posted the article, the comments started. The one person who liked the article as in liked it because it was a good thing someone was mailing pipe bomb things to high ranking Democrats, took me to task because apparently I hadn’t posted articles when some Republicans were mailed envelopes with suspicious content.

Excuse the hell out of me, I didn’t know it was a domestic terrorism contest between political parties. I also had been blissfully unaware of that news report.

I used to be a total news junkie. I don’t watch the news very much anymore. Ever since this administration came to Washington our country has devolved into an angry hateful nation.

That is not my America. To me that is not being an American.

Truthfully, I am kind of sick of both political parties at this point.

The Democrats in Chester County evicted two teenage girls from the “Sunrise Movement” an event recently because they didn’t want them asking Governor Wolf environmental or pipeline questions at an event. They bought event tickets fair and square. So wrong. Of course one of the young ladies was already essentially ridiculed this summer by Wolf’s golf spike shoe wearing opponent Scott Wagner.

The younger voters might not have all the life experience of an older person, but they are the ones who will be inheriting the hot mess this country is becoming. Don’t discourage involvement. People are growing apathetic enough, myself included if I am honest.

The anger and rage coursing through this great nation is utterly terrifying. It has to stop.

We need to get back to civility within our political system.

In my humble opinion that also means we need to start systematically electing different kinds of politicians. We need to have representatives in elected office who actually represent us, not special interest groups, big donors, political party bigwigs.

Since the founding of this great nation people have fought and died for our freedoms. People need to remember what it is to be an American, and part of that is the ability to embrace differences in others. We are all not supposed to be identical. We are a nation founded by immigrants, and those people risked their lives to come here to escape political persecution, religious persecution, etc.

We need to stop the anger.

We need to stop the violence.

We need to just hit the pause button even in our own individual lives to be appreciative for the gifts we have been given by God.

Do something nice for a change. Turn off the political vitriol.

adelphia gateway is coming…is here…so how will they be received, chester county?

I have written twice about my concerns over Adelphia Gateway. Once HERE, and then HERE.

A small group of my friends and I met with Adelphia the other day. We had a small parlor meeting. The meeting with Adelphia was not unpleasant I am happy to report. Many questions still, but a nice opening conversation. Hopefully with the help of folks like the Pipeline Safety Coalition and other groups East Whiteland will be part of the larger community conversations.

I have been concerned because there is not much information available (as one example) to residents in East Whiteland to date.

There is a lot to be learned about pipelines. There’s a lot to be learned about the safety aspect. And I learned that there are a lot of things unanswered with regard to this and other pipelines when it comes to safety. This pipeline is in East Pikeland, Phoenixville, Charlestown, Westtown, and East Goshen unless I am looking at the map incorrectly.

Some residents in seem better informed to date depending upon the municipality. Sadly, East Whiteland residents are in the dark in my opinion, and East Whiteland Township has the distinction of NOT filing an intervenor status with FERC and Adelphia’s application, which I have to ask why not? What does it lose to be better informed for your residents? What does it hurt to be a better advocate for said aforementioned residents?

Things that are also concerning is the system that is supposed to tell you how deep certain pipes are isn’t necessarily accurate – which is why some water mains have gotten hit.

Some unanswered questions include whether or not Adelphia will need more land from people down the road and if it’s just gas or if it will be “other hydrocarbons”. And what the “other hydrocarbons” could be. I understand that no one has a crystal ball and can’t see into the future, but there has to be some idea somewhere of what “other hydrocarbons” might be and isn’t that reasonable?

Adelphia has PUC status indirectly through Interstate from whom they are buying the pipeline but they do not have their own PUC status pending the outcome with FERC. Land agents are around so you all need to know that. FERC *may* give approval as early as the fall for Adelphia but it’s not a done deal. And if approvals are conditional from FERC it could be a lot longer – see Penn East pipeline as an example (conditional approval like 4 years so far?)

That being said residents should also be aware that land agents working for these companies are not regulated with in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Hinging on THAT is do not sign anything if these land agents are coming through at this point because Adelphia does not have its own stand-alone PUC status.

Do not sign your rights away and if they give you anything, give it to an attorney.

The sections of pipeline are 12 inch, 18 inch, and 20 inch. This pipeline was put in circa 1970s don’t have an exact date.

Adelphia is planning on re-purposing 50 miles of pipeline. This particular pipeline is a total of 84 miles from Lower Mt. Bethel through to Marcus Hook in Delco.

50 miles that concern us start south (not a directional genius so I hope that is right?) of Bucks County and have not been used for anything since 2014. This line is currently a petroleum line they wish to convert to gas and “other hydrocarbons”.

No one knows at this point if they will just stick to this pipeline or if they will become more like Mariner II. In other words, will it be more complicated with more construction and problems like we have seen in East Goshen, West Goshen, West Whiteland, etc etc.

The person who came out and met with us is with Bravo Group PR. I understand she has or had Mariner II as a client as well. Her name is Ivana Wolfe. She is actually connected to a lot of Republicans I know or know of. Went to Villanova. Very bright, very nice. I really like her even if I do not trust her client.

We may have lived with these pipelines underground for decades but there is a big difference in using them for petroleum versus gas and other things.

My head is swimming with terms like shut off valves and blow downs. I also learned more about PHMSA through the department of transportation — Pipeline Hazardous Materials Administration (I think I got it straight!)Blowdowns if I have the definition right are systems that do a complete venting of the natural gas within a compressor or pipeline to the atmosphere, to reduce pressure and empty the system. These typically either occur during an emergency shutdown or during routine station maintenance. (Read more here, kind of concerning in my opinion.)

With regard to blowdowns, I heard yesterday elsewhere that one will go in East Goshen? Is it really planned to go next-door to East Goshen’s park? Or is that just a rumor? How will that impact mother nature, the people who use the park, and the people who live around the park if true?

Are East Goshen’s newish Supervisors really on top of their game here when it comes to pipelines? I ask because I have heard mixed reviews and I wonder if they are listening to the environmental and pipeline safety group formed by residents (East Goshen Safety and Environmental Advocates) who have been doing a lot of research?

To be fair to East Goshen, I heard the following which is good news:

Other recent news courtesy of East Goshen Safety and Environmental Advocates:

I am concerned with pipelines in general in East Whiteland in part because if you look at the interactive maps found on the Chester County Planning Commission website you see that in East Whiteland (for example), it looks like once again pipelines are near elementary schools?

And will the Adelphia/Interstate pipeline run right down the center of that new cul de sac development planned for the farmette that was sold on Morstein?

Also learned about the Pipeline Safety Coalition and how the group’s founder became like many of us, an accidental activist.

The bottom line is we aren’t little islands in the pipeline storm no matter where we live, we are part of a bigger community. The better our communities share with one and other the better we all are for it. That is why these community groups keeps springing up with regard to pipelines. If our local governments aren’t going to act on their own, they need encouragement from the public. Sometimes they need a lot of encouragement, depending upon the municipality.

I will still be honest and say I am still anti-pipeline based on what I have seen thus far. I am always willing to listen and learn but at my core I think we’re getting the short end of the stick in Pennsylvania and Chester County.

I will note I found the following on Adelphia and it has to do with this pipeline they wish to repurpose around Chester County, etc:

Saucon Sorce: Letter to the Editor: Adelphia Pipeline Project is Dangerous, UnnecessaryBy: JOSH POPICHAK | February 13, 2018

The Intellegencer: West Rockhill files motion to intervene on pipeline projectJuly 3, 2018West Rockhill residents again air concerns about proposed pipeline compressor building

Township to invite Adelphia Gateway to meetingBy Bob Keeler bkeeler@21st-centurymedia.com @bybobkeeler on Twitter Jul 24, 2018

So yeah people, Adelphia is here with the pipeline party and land agents are around. If your municipality is not being particularly proactive, and where you live falls along this pipeline, time to contact your supervisors, commissioners, borough council people – whomever represents you. Especially in townships like East Whiteland which are quite frankly in my opinion behind the eight ball when it comes to pipelines.

No one knows if any of these pipelines when they come to town are just repurposing forever, if the repurposing will work, if the pipelines are in perfect shape, or what the impact is really when you lay it all out petroleum versus gas and “other hydrocarbons” .

There are also so many safety questions that it makes your head spin. Petroleum is not as volatile as gas. Period. So even a simple, or what is presented as a simple pipeline repurposing, is not necessarily easy-peasy simple no worries. There are worries.

We are all connected in this pipeline mess in Chester County.It’s our county, we live here. Our homes are our castles and our own little slice of heaven.

We need to quite simply, defend what we love. We have to also think and act responsibly.

#defendwhatyoulove

pennsylvania contrasts

In Pennsylvania we have bucolic rural beauty and we also have the savage pipelines raping the land.

We are a Commonwealth of Contrasts; the juxtaposition between heaven and hell.

Remember images like this when you go to vote.

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.