supporting free speech and true good government is not “nonsense”

First of all, when I write an editorial, I sign my name to it.  And that includes in Journal Register publications of which The Daily Local is part of.

I am wondering today about  whomever wrote the editorial on West Vincent Township.  They did not sign their name so Santa Claus with a bad hangover could have scribbled it. And while entitled to their opinion as I am mine, I think they are being misguided and are also perhaps being misled.

The long and short of it is, one would *think* that a newspaper would be supportive of initiatives that preserved freedom of speech and good government, yes?  Well I am thinking this writer today prefers Pravda.  It is tempting to ask them why it is they always seem to go on the offensive with the people in West Vincent who seem to want to get better government and better government best practices in place.

For them to sort of kind of imply that West Vincent’s attempt to not regulate, but in fact, limit the public voice is perhaps not so bad is worrisome indeed.  Because that is what David Brown and the Supervisors of West Vincent want to do.  David Brown in his own words during his campaign said that he wanted more participation, that more people should come to meetings and in essence speak up.  Well they are starting to attend meetings and they are starting to comment, only West Vincent doesn’t like it because it runs contra to the township party line.  The people of West Vincent are trying to take back where they live and have a say in things.

I think a lot of people were happy to go along just to get along until West Vincent attempted eminent domain for private gain on Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show around Christmas.  That woke people up to their government.  Something like eminent domain generally does.

I find it incredulous that The Daily Local would put forth an opinion that the people of West Vincent are in essence wrong for wanting a say in where they live.  And they are criticizing some of the people who have in fact bought stories to them that sell their papers.  And how dumb are they that they can’t see what David Brown refers to as “outshouters” are in fact not.  Why is it o.k. for a female supervisor to be heard cussing at a public meeting and calling a resident a foul name, yet when the public is frustrated by the very government process that is wrong?

The Daily Local in their royal we should be looking at what is upsetting people, not supporting efforts to render them mute or close to it at public meetings.

Just my opinion as an outsider looking in, but I feel *very* strongly about public process, open government, good government and public participation.  The government in West Vincent doesn’t seem like they can follow their rules and structure that they have now, they can’t even manage to not “lose” meeting tapes according to residents can they?   So now they want to give the rules rules so everyone can follow them?  Am I following that correctly?  And *none* of this has anything to do with a small town government that is somewhat out of its depth in a modern world and really just at the end of the day might not want to work so hard?  Lordy if that is what some officials believe, step down, it seems there are more than enough people interested in rolling up their sleeves and doing a good job for the home team, right?

And if I can sign my name to what I write for newspapers, and so can some of the editors I have written under, I think so can the editorial staff of The Daily Local.

Here is the editorial:

We are going to assume that Tom Helwig, a resident of West Vincent and a representative of that township’s Republican Party, was speaking hyperbolically recently when he compared the township’s board of supervisors’ attempt to reasonably regulate the manner in which the public is given the opportunity to speak to the remnants of the failed communist system in Russia.

Helwig accused the supervisors of attempting to hinder the comments of those with opposing viewpoints….“Our purpose is to create a structure within which all West Vincent residents can speak freely at public meetings, rather than to continue permitting a few individuals to outtalk and outshout everyone else,” said newly elected Supervisor David Brown. “Those outshouters complain that our intent is to limit public participation. Nonsense.”

Supporting free speech and true good government is not nonsense.   Making light  of people concerned with true good government in my opinion is also not right.  Enough said, except this is my opinion and I am entitled to it.

too much sunshine in west vincent for vampires?

I am on pins and needles waiting for the update of last evening’s Board of Supervisors Meeting in West Vincent where they were discussing controlling the public voice as far as public participation. Or was he there and just really, really tiny wearing his Super Politician Cloak of Invisibility?

What I heard thus far is King of all Goats Supervisor Ken Miller was a no-show?  Now some of my farmer friends are starting to see their mama goats drop new kids on the block, so was he playing midwife?  Or merely playing possum?

And was the Township Manager James Wendelgass really out sick?  Does he need chicken soup from Chickenman? I seem to recall reading/hearing about absences like this when eminent domain was heating up to try to be the Christmas gift that keeps on giving?  So is this a small government tactic to make sure there are no quorums, etc when decisions have to be made?

My largest amusement factor of meeting tidbits thus far is Supervisor David Brown having an apparent case of selective male Alzheimer’s and having zero recall on how meetings, etc go in Lower Merion Township? Where he spent many years, as in decades before becoming a reinvented country gent? REALLY?

Ok so if he can’t remember, wow, if I were him I would worry about being effective as a West Vincent Supervisor.  Here are some choice activities from his own political resume posted on his own website (one will asume the website will stay up of course?) He posted this info, to show you the good people of West Vincent his qualifications.  So pardon me if I do not believe he doesn’t know anything about “how Lower Merion does things, and that’s where I’m from”.   See (partial posting):


  • Gladwyne Fire Company Director 1982 – 2005 Member Executive Committee 1990 – 2005 Solicitor 1980 – present
  • Gladwyne Civic Association Former Director


  • Republican Committee of Lower Merion & Narberth Committeeman 1976 – 1990
  • Counsel to Committee 1990 – 2004
  • Member Executive Committee 1990 – 2004
  • Former Solicitor to Montgomery County Controller

Mr. Brown, with all due respect to your many years of service in Lower Merion, but in my humble opinion, you know exactly how things are done now and were done then in Lower Merion.

As an outsider looking in, I do not get any of this.  Why so many issues that skirt transparency and sunshine let alone public participation in the government residents are paying for?  They want public participation, but only if they control it? Welcome to Pravda or what? How is West Vincent supposed to know and listen to its citizens if it muzzles them?

Is it true when it got around to this public participation on the agenda that Supervisor Brown said there was nothing to the issue other than to tell people that it was “still being worked on”?  Magna Carta anyone?

Maybe as a helpful outsider I can remind Mr. Brown of his own words from when he was a candidate?

Thus far West Vincent has left me alone.  I do feel, however, that they need to be reminded of freedom of speech and opinion….and that political satire is as old as dirt.