welcome back my friends to the show that never ends…in tredyffrin

With sincere apologies to Emerson Lake & Palmer…it somehow seemed so oddly apropos…as another Main Line blogger said this evening:

Welcome to the People’s Republic of Tredyffrin

Tredyffrin Supervisor DiBuonaventuro goes after media and bloggers in letter posted to township website

Published: Friday, September 07, 2012

By Richard Ilgenfritz
rilgenfritz@mainlinemedianews.com

A member of the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors this week injected himself into the recent dust up over why police officers failed to show up for a court hearing in a public intoxication and disorderly conduct case involving a township zoning and hearing board member.

In a letter that was posted on Tredyffrin Township’s website Thursday morning and signed by board vice-chairman John DiBuonaventuro, he suggests that he has been defamed by the media and bloggers as a result of the story.

The letter was in response to an issue that was first brought to light two weeks ago on Main Line Media News’ website. The article sought to find out why the police failed to show up to a summary court hearing regarding the arrest of a member of the Tredyffrin Township Zoning and Hearing Board.

Suzanne Pratowski had been arrested in May 2012 on public intoxication and disorderly conduct charges. The hearing date was scheduled for Aug. 21. However, the police failed to show up for the hearing and as a result the charges were essentially tossed out.

In the letter signed by DiBuonaventuro, the Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors vice-chairman said that Main Line Media News suggested that he was the unnamed designated driver in the car when Pratowski was arrested.  DiBuonaventuro’s name was never mentioned in the article.

An undated file photo showing Pratowski and DiBuonaventuro, along with six other people, was posted along with the article. The photo was taken by Main Line Media News at a social event in October 2011. DiBuonaventuro stated in his letter that “the MLSL internet-based story accompanied by the picture left the reader with the obvious implication that the driver was me. It was not.”

In his letter,  DiBuonaventuro states that he had a relationship with Pratowski that lasted a little over a year and ended in November of 2011.

DiBuonaventuro also used the letter to suggest that a local blogger, Pattye Benson, has been trying to discredit the local government through her website, Community Matters. DiBuonaventuro said the site “[A]ppear[s] to be an on-going effort to discredit our government and its efforts to serve the citizens by creating and fostering an environment of conspiracy and mistrust among its limited readership,” the letter reads in part…..DiBuonaventuro went on to raise other questions about bloggers and what he calls “anonymous commentators.”

“I also question if they (bloggers) would have the fortitude and stamina to engage in a one-on-one campaign for elected office let along serve in a position with little or no pay, full responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens they serve, and with appears to offer nothing more than continuous ridicule in return,” according to the letter.

Township supervisors have control over local taxes, development and a host of other issues that have a direct effect on the lives of residents, businesses and visitors to a particular municipality.

DiBuonaventuro did not return e-mails seeking comment and clarification of the issues he raised in the letter.

A posting on Tredyffrin Township’s official FaceBook page seems to agree with the assertion that DiBuonaventuro has been defamed in some way. The posting was in response to a question raised by [Chester County] resident and blogger Carla Zambelli when she asked “is this letter attacking a private citizen and local media outlets currently posted on your site an official government sanctioned release?”

The response to her question was posted by Tredyffrin Township Manager Mimi Gleason.

“It is unusual to post a statement from an individual Supervisor, but given the inaccurate and derogatory statements and innuendo publicly made about John DiBuonaventuro, the Township Manager approved the posting of Mr. DiBuonaventuro’s letter on the Township website. In this case, he was the subject of baseless public speculation simply because he is a Tredyffrin Supervisor. The circumstances justified the use of the website to publicly defend him, carrying with it the implicit endorsement of the Township to the accuracy of his statements. The Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and the Township Solicitor agreed that it was appropriate for the letter to go on the website,” the posting reads…However, Police Supt. Anthony Giaimo and Board President Michelle H. Kichline have not returned phone calls or e-mails this week regarding the issue.

 

For more on The Peoples Republic of Tredyffrin read Pattye Benson’s blog Community Matters.  If you have FiOs and depending on where you live in Chester and Delaware counties, some of you may be able to watch Tredyffrin’s next Board of Supervisors meeting on Verizon Channel 24.  If you live in Tredyffrin, get thee to a meeting!

The next Board of Supervisors Meeting as per Tredyffrin’s website appears to be Monday, September 17 in something called Keene Hall in Tredyffrin Township at 7:30 p.m.  Show up and speak out for Pattye and for yourselves.   If you are very good and very lucky, maybe they will post another letter on how horrible residents are?

Local governments like this only have the power you allow them to have.   It is time for Tredyffrin to change.   And your Board of Supervisors President Michelle H. Kichline has some explaining to do, does she not? And is her surly vice chair just supposed to keep on bullying residents and potentially anyone who disagrees with him?

Tredyffrin, how do you want your community governed?  It is up to you.  These people work for you.  I noticed that Michele Kichline is on  http://ttgop.org/  (they list her non-Tredyffrin e-mail as 2m2a@comcast.net ) and is a committee woman for Tredyffrin Republicans or something?

Anyway, I am a Republican as I have said before, so I was curious as to what Tredyffrin GOP listed as core values.  Check out what practically leaped off the page:

Our Values.  As Republicans, we believe:

~ That limited government must be fiscally responsible and always accountable;

~ That our nation must protect the dignity of every individual and guarantee the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;

 

So Tredyffrin residents, how are those values working out?  Do you think your government is living up to these values?

 

 

 

be glad you live a little off the main line…

…I know I am.  

Sure, every area has issues.  No local government is perfect, and yes, there is always something to complain  about, but seriously?  I moved out of a township that prided itself on being “first class”, yet it in essence required an act of Congress to accomplish something as basic as filling a pothole.

Yes, Lower Merion Township.  The Magic Kingdom as it is known (sarcastically) in some circles, isn’t what she used to be.  You have a political majority that believes they know better than everyone, and as a resident you feel as if you work to support the township.

Where do a lot of these negative feelings stem from?  A lot of them have to do with all the crazy infill development plans and the fact that it has been over 30 years since Lower Merion had a completed Comprehensive Plan update.  Some land planner told me once that as per the Municipalities Planning Code in PA municipalities are supposed to do this every couple of years.

When I used to wake up in Lower Merion, although a high rent district, the cacophony of sound that assaulted my senses on a daily basis was quite urban.  Construction and other noises often way too early.   Here when I wake up, I hear birds.  You have NO idea how marvelous a sound that is unless you have experienced the other.

Development plans in Lower Merion, suit the developers, not the residents.  For example, the development begun in my old neighborhood by a wannabe developer, architect Tom Hall, and then turned over to Cornell builders was shoe-horning in thirteen townhouses in barely over an acre.  But the houses are “green” and you can spit at The Haverford School, which was perhaps the most uncaring neighbor in my neighborhood.   You have no idea what it is like to live with an institution as a neighbor in close quarters.  We existed to be their overflow parking lot and speed thru cell phone mommy/nanny zone.  The nicest thing about that school are some of my friends’ sons.

In Ardmore, the neighboring town, mostly in Lower Merion, for years not so long ago, small business owners had to fight eminent domain for private gain.  Ardmore residents and business owners are still suffering because although no one can spend money like Lower Merion Township, they still can’t get the Ardmore Redevelopment Plan off the ground.  Of course, many feel, that those on township staff who put forth the infamous plans A & B that contained eminent domain for private gain for years should have just been removed from their jobs.  But they stayed and the six million dollars  that a couple of commissioners went to Washington DC many years ago to get has basically been frittered away, and while places like Malvern and Wayne have a new train station, all Lower Merion has are plans.

Read here about Ardmore’s and other Lower Merion development woes in this week’s Main Line Media News.

Also in Lower Merion, there is crazy zoning being planned for around City Avenue.  So if you think it’s fun now when you get caught in traffic around there, just wait.

Lower Merion loves infill development plans.  The more congested the better.  When I was a child growing up there, like I do now here in Chester County, then I also heard birds and nature as my waking sounds.  It is so much less stressful to hear birds versus construction.

Radnor is not so problematic since they got a new Township Manager and some new commissioners.  Of course, their current president, Bill Spingler is more like old school Delco politics and we’ll leave it at that….hopefully he won’t be president too long.  But Radnor’s new manager,  Bob Zienkowski, as opposed to the old one who made headlines and got relieved of his duties (Dave Bashore), is an accessible advocate for his residents.  It makes a huge difference.  Which is why I am hopeful that Radnor residents will be heard fairly as Villanova attempts to supersize the university (read about Villanova’s expansion plans here ).  It won’t be easy since one commissioner has had to recuse herself, and given Bill Spingler’s cozy personal relationship with the attorney on this project, should this in fact be the commissioner who recuses? After all sometimes isn’t it hard to feel secure around a career politician like Spingler, who offered once upon a time to write a reccomendation letter for the manager the township fired (Dave Bashore)?

One thing that bears watching in Radnor are residents taking up their proverbial pitch forks against storm water issues in North Wayne. (Check out this YouTube from a recent meeting.) What cracks me up here is the woman with dark hair and pony tail.  She wants to sue, sue, sue and all the storm water issues stem from AT&T in Wayne and so on.  While the storm water issues are indeed large and increasingly problematic, truthfully they don’t even realize how people have been working for years on this.  She isn’t breaking new ground so to speak.

In February of 2009, a situation created by the railroad in North Wayne bugged me enough that I wrote an editorial for Main Line Media News about it. The end result was, a Septa engineer high on the food chain contacted me, and without even having to deal with Radnor’s old regime, they actually built some storm water management into the station makeover in Wayne.

It’s not perfect, but better than it used to be.

And this woman who did the presentation at the Radnor commissioners’ meeting (Channel 30 on FiOs FYI)  and a neighbor who says she lives next to a field and the Gulph Creek (wonder if she’s the one who built an addition to a carriage house where the outside door in the rear basically looks like if you open it the creek can just come on in?) who are in this meeting tape, well I get why they are upset, as I have seen first hand the flooding in North Wayne, but as they rant and rail against Radnor, they also need to consider a neighboring municipality.

Ahhh, there is some Chester County of it all in this post, isn’t there?

I am talking about Tredyffrin.  Tredyffrin is upstream on the Gulph Creek from this flood zone in Radnor.   Now Tredyffrin is also in the paper this week talking about some focus group and needing storm water solutions. Fabulous!  However, while the article talks about the need to make sure the storm water stuff is tough enough when it comes to Joe Duckworth’s plans for the Richter tract, nowhere have I seen Tredyffrin talk about the trickle down effect of their prior poor planning in neighboring municipalities.  I am talking in part about Church of the Savior in Tredyffrin.    A lot of issues occur UPstream.  Just check out this document I found from 2000 about storm water.

I guess from the Church of the Savior’s perspective and Tredyffrin’s it is holier to flood your neighbors?  Now granted, I find Church of the Savior to be in the category of religiously creepy, so some could say I have a bias, but Tredyffrin to me always seems a little kooky on the development front and in some other areas.  And if they can’t see it from the township building windows in Tredyffrin, more the better.  Just look at how long it took Tredyffrin to deal with things like off campus student housing.  After all, they couldn’t see historic Mt. Pleasant from the Township Building, could they?

I guess what I am saying is, I have seen and lived what poor development and land planning causes communities (along with the politcs of political favoritism and one party rule run amok), so maybe once in a while, I might point them out.  After all, would you rather listen to birds or bulldozers? Wouldn’t you rather hear about politicians and officials that care about their communities and not just during election cycles?

If you are a person interested in issues Tredyffrin, please check out my pal Pattye Benson’s blog Community Matters.  She also happens to be innkeeper at The Great Valley House of Valley Forge.  She wrote about the recent stormwater meeting that includes discussion of the latest New Urbanism Disneyland Joe Duckworth might do.  If you are interested in the Richter Tract plans put Richter in the search box on her blog. A post she wrote on conflict of interest is well worth your time in addition to other posts.

Above all else, take an interest in where you live.  It’s a good thing.