much ado about daylin

My photo take June, 2006 in Ardmore, PA

I am going to wade into a fairly explosive political situation here.  You don’t have to agree with me, but I expect the discourse to be civil.  Yesterday on Twitter, someone was not particularly civil.  I will be coming back undoubtedly to update this post because I think this situation is going to continue to unfold.

I have known Daylin Leach a long time at this point.  Almost 20 years.  I was introduced to him as my then about to be new Pennsylvania State Representative by former (and now retired) State Senator Connie Williams, whom I had known years prior to that.

When Daylin and I first met, I wasn’t exactly user friendly to him. (When he tells the story, it’s much funnier!)  I was part of a group fighting eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore, PA and I kind of rolled up on him and was all “Hey what are YOU going to do about this?” (and was somewhat combative, truthfully, as this was very important to me that my friends not lose their small businesses and historic storefront buildings.)

As a State Representative, he was terrific and Connie Williams was a tough act to follow.  (All the years Connie was in politics, I was a Republican for Connie Williams.  I think she is awesome politically and personally.)  His office door was open to all, and he was there for you no matter what your political persuasion. (I was still a Republican at the time. I am now an Independent if it matters.)

When Connie Williams decided to retire as State Senator, Daylin decided to run for her seat.  That was a drama filled election starting with the primary races for it.  But Daylin prevailed with a wide margin against Lower Merion Commissioner Lance Rogers (whom I also know.)

I actually was invited to Daylin’s victory party.  It was held in Radnor Township at the Radnor Hotel.  So you had Delaware County Democrats and Montgomery County Democrats given how far the 17th PA Senatorial District Reaches.

When I first got there and went up to congratulate Daylin, there was then Radnor Commissioner Bill Spingler (yes, THAT Bill Spingler from the news) sucking up.  Spingler stops what he is saying, turns and stares at me as says (rather rudely) “What is SHE doing here? She’s a REPUBLICAN!”   Daylin said something funny and to the effect that he was allowed to have friends who were Republicans.  He completely relieved an unpleasant moment with humor.

Now if you know Daylin at all you know about the stand up comedian in him.  He actually used to blog a million years ago.  His opponents made a big, hairy deal out of it.  I read it and well, what am I going to say? I am a blogger.  People don’t like what I write every now and again, so not for me to judge.  But as I do recall, the Philadelphia Inquirer made much of it.  Now can that be said that was because well, Daylin Leach had been hyper-critical of the Philadelphia Inquirer? Hmmm so let’s do the math and take a trip down memory lane.

I found a website which memorialized a certain Philadelphia City Paper Article in 2005.

September 22-28, 2005

loose canon/ You Need Daylin Leach

So why is the Inquirer trying to get him thrown out of office? by Bruce Schimmel

Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.

Why did the Inquirer‘s Harrisburg reporter, a columnist and the paper’s editorial board collectively carpet bomb Daylin Leach out of a job that you need him in?

Leach is the Democractic state representative for the Main Line and Upper Merion. A year into his second term, this young progressive has often aligned himself with Center City state Rep. Babette Josephs on issues critical to the city. This friend from suburbia is a rare blessing.

But it wasn’t his politics that triggered the Inky’s attacks. The newspaper hates the state rep because he had the audacity to diss them — several times and wickedly well — in printed op-ed pieces and in political satire on his Web site.

Like most cutting satire, Leach’s stuff is outrageous, sometimes obscene. But political satire exposes a kind of truth that traditional media often don’t get — and which is why millions now watch satirists like Al Franken, Bill Maher or Jon Stewart, instead of reading newspapers…..Leach took issue with the Inky’s Harrisburg reporting with a serious — and civil — op-ed piece published in the Inquirer.

The article goes on and you can read it in it’s entirety here: You Need Daylin Leach 2005 Philadelphia City Paper as seen in My City Paper .

I have not ever been a donor to any of Daylin’s campaigns.  As a rule of thumb, I do not contribute to any political campaigns financially.  And let me tell you another little personal Daylin story.

I wanted to meet Michelle Obama when her husband was first running for President. On March 13, 2008 I had that opportunity and did.  It was a small venue and I was one of like 50 women.  Daylin Leach gave me the ticket to the event.  He could have given it to someone who could have done something for him politically, of his own political party.  But he did not.  He gave me that ticket and it was a once in a lifetime very cool kind of thing I shall remember always. I got to meet a future First Lady.

Anyway, my point is (right or wrong), Daylin and the Inquirer have had a seriously rocky relationship. And no, not everyone likes Daylin.  He’s a politician.  And he’s a politician who walks to the beat of his own drummer.  Even his own political party isn’t necessarily enamored of him in my humble opinion.

But is Daylin Leach worthy of the ire of the #metoo movement? I don’t think so.

Yesterday I said so the Philadelphia Inquirer and political foes are trying to “Al Franken”  Daylin Leach. Where are Dan Muroff for Congress ‘s paws in all of this? There are few politicians who I would defend, but Daylin is one of them.  And seriously where are they in all of this? And might I add, Governor Tom Wolf has been lickity split quick to jump on the let’s-burn-Daylin-at-the-stake hit parade, hasn’t he?

Of course Governor Wolf is saying this….he’s up for re-election and will say anything to keep himself in the Governor’s office, right?

I have to ask about how it is Governor Wolf is saying this? Are we now all guilty until proven innocent? Himself included? Is Wolf the living embodiment of let he who is without sin cast the first stone?

I wasn’t voting for Wolf already because of the whole Sunoco Pipeline issue, so this is just yet another reason to look at other candidates, but I digress.

Oh and because I as a woman do not believe this whole thing, yes I was briefly vilified on Twitter. Isn’t it interesting that as a woman I am only apparently allowed to share the same opinion as every other woman, and not allowed to have my own individual opinion? So much for “you’ve come a long way baby”, right?

Things need to be done the right way. And to persecute people for every dumb ass off-color remark or what someone perceives to be an incorrect glance is not a way women should want to rule the world.

Where I have a problem with a lot of the stuff is it minimizes what actual victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and domestic violence go through. It all can’t be lumped together. It can’t.

This is just more of the politics of ugliness that is running rampant across this country.

Is Daylin a perfect person? No, but are any of us? He’s a guy who overcame great odds to get where he is.  But he is also a man with a beautiful wife and children who are also being punished by this political witch hunt.  And to me, right or wrong, this is a political with hunt.  When a sitting governor up for re-election and not exactly well liked in many quarters hops on board this train SO fast, sorry doesn’t it make you a little suspicious?

Some of the comments I have seen written by women who have no dog in this race, and don’t know Daylin have said:

I’m trying to find the middle ground…where a man is just a stupid ass as opposed to a pedophile or a rapist.

And….

We are losing nuance. No one should get fired over dumbass jokes. Save the big guns for serious, intentional harassment and crimes. Goes for Franken too, imho.

There is a quote in the Inquirer article that says:

Aubrey Montgomery, a former finance director for Leach’s first campaign for Senate in 2008, said Leach has consistently supported policies that help women.

“But,” she said, “as great as his legislative record is for women globally, he can be awful to women individually.”

I have to ask is she thinks Daylin Leach is THAT awful, why is she Facebook friends with him and why does she share fond memories from her time with him? Oh wait….she is kind of part of opponent Dan Muroff’s team as per the Inquirer, right? Here is the other quote:

Montgomery said she continued to support Leach because she backed his policy positions. In recent years, however, she has done compliance work for, and donated money to, Dan Muroff, who is running against Leach in the Democratic primary for Congress.

Can’t have it both ways, my dear, or can you because it’s Pennsylvania politics after all?

And then the quotes concerning political conventions. Have you ever been to a national political convention? I have.  I volunteered at The RNC 2000.  I loved it, but suffice it to say you are all squished in everywhere like lemmings. And I saw things that would seriously raise eyebrows, not what was described in the Inquirer article.

The women who say Daylin is prone to inappropriate touching have me puzzled. Does he have political Tourette’s or something?  Seriously, I have to ask, because I have never found him to be that guy, and there are plenty of them out there. And no, I am not “victim blaming”, I am expressing how I feel as a woman about all of this.

Here are Daylin’s own words on this:

Yes, politics is a sad, ugly business.  And in this country today since the onset of the current administration in Washington, DC it has grown angrier and more divisive.

I am sorry on one hand that I know the women who believe they are victims in this particular case are going to be unhappy that I as a woman am not siding with them.  But I can’t, because sadly (right or wrong), I do not believe them.

Daylin Leach may be many things, which at times might be considered arrogant (which I have always thought was a defense mechanism from the days when he was that foster kid struggling to survive), but do I believe he is some evil dude  out to take advantage of young staffers or women in general?  Hell no.  If anything, he is one of the most consistent champions of the right that we as women should not have to work so hard to maintain.

The problem people have always had with Daylin is he has always been himself. Right or wrong, good or bad. And the other thing is if he thinks he has been wrong, he apologizes, doesn’t he?

But we as women cannot persecute every guy for every stupid dumb ass remark or perceived slight.  Maybe sometimes things are in poor taste by some perceptions and interpretations, but that doesn’t make something necessarily illegal.

And for people to lay the cesspool that is Harrisburg at the feet of one guy is among other things, ludicrousAnd that is an opinion I am entitled to.  It seems to me if they do, there are a lot more hypocrites running around in Pennsylvania’s unfortunate state capitol that I originally imagined.

My press sources say Daylin is not talking to anyone. Heck, can you blame him?  This is all happening during the holidays too, which I find additionally nasty. But, when someone is too great of a threat, politics happens, doesn’t it?

People are going to say, “Why does she care?”  She’s just some middle aged woman.  Well I wasn’t always.  And I remember dealing with what were things that were actually unpleasant and true sexual harassment and inappropriate touching and more.  This, which is being reported? Sorry, in my opinion, it doesn’t even come close.  Women can’t cry wolf here, and neither should Governor Wolf.

Here are the articles:

PennLive: Pa. lawmaker accused of inappropriate touching, sex talk: report

Updated Dec 17, 12:37 PM; Posted Dec 17, 7:57 AM

PennLive: Gov. Tom Wolf calls for resignation of Sen. Daylin Leach following allegations of inappropriate behavior

Updated Dec 17, 10:05 PM; Posted Dec 17, 4:36 PM

Philadelphia Inquirer: News — State
Ex-staffers: Sen. Daylin Leach crossed line with sex talk, inappropriate touching
Updated: DECEMBER 17, 2017 — 6:06 AM EST

by David Gambacorta & Angela Couloumbis – Staff Writers

bishop tube in front of east whiteland march 8

Bishop Tube, August 2015

Tomorrow March 8th is the Board of Supervisors Meeting in East Whiteland. And Bishop Tube is on the agenda.

Bishop Tube. I know, I know I write about it a lot. I can’t help it. The site terrifies me. I wrote about it last week after the Zoning Hearing Board meeting in East Whiteland. The zoning hearing was continued to March 15th .

Also last week there was an Environmental Action Committee meeting. Bishop Tube was a big topic of conversation.  Here are notes that someone (not me, I was not there) took:

–The soil will be cleaned up by the developer in order to build, but it will be years before there will be an attempt at cleaning up the ground water. Sad but true that it may never be able to be cleaned up. This water is NOT going into our water table or any of the streams around us.

–The 20k that the developer said they would put in escrow to help with the cost of the upkeep, testing and maintenance on the vapor mitigation system is not enough. We all know that but apparently the developer thinks it will be enough. John Buzan (ran the meeting and maybe he’s the head of the EAC I don’t’ know) agreed that 20k wasn’t going to cover it.

–The developer isn’t involved, nor has to deal with the plans for ground water cleanup…I’m pretty sure this is what I understood.

–The township has asked DEP to oversee the vapor mitigation system and ground removal but they have not agreed to this as of yet. They are responsible to oversee the water run off though.

–There will be a third party hired to continuously test the soil and air and water surrounding the site for contaminates as the construction is done. This company will report to the township but will be paid for, but not picked, by the developer.

–If ever a sewer, or something like that has to be dug up; the people doing this will have to wear protective gear in order to be sure there are no contaminants that they would breathe or come in contact with.

–The developer has contacted the railroad (sorry can’t remember name of company – it is not the R5 but a freight train that runs through there) to talk of re-doing that under pass as it is in very poor condition. No answer yet.

 

Also today I received a response to questions I had asked, advice I had sought from a professional not connected to this whole scenario regarding Bishop Tube.  The response was illuminating, and on the eve of yet another meeting where Bishop Tube is discussed, I feel obliged to share:

  1. Developer should be able to offer some kind of proof via testing that the site is cleaned up and meets DEP standards.

  2. Apparently, TCE is a non-aqueous (will not dissolve in water) liquid that is more dense than water and will sink through the soils and water and continue to penetrate further into the ground. Remediation of it requires more work than something simple like a gasoline spill. I would assume that means that means that even going 12 feet down may not be an acceptable fix given the length of time that the spills have been there.

  3. Given the fact that this is a hillside community there is a significant concern of offsite contamination since this stuff travels downhill.

  4. If developer is serious about cleaning up contamination properly then he ought to have no problems issuing a bond that would be utilized to clean up any contamination later found in the community after he has sold and moved on. Hope this helps.

 

Sigh.  Every horrible thought I have had is true? This TCE laden site is as horrible as everyone says it is? And what about the 4th big contamination point Keith Hartman keeps trying to get people to pay attention to? Cesspools, mineral salts leeching into the creek?

I have grave concerns given what the developer said they are doing at the Zoning Hearing Board Meeting.  Remember the exchange I noted between the Delaware Riverkeeper and a developer witness, whom I believe was an engineer?

Here:

I was taking notes like crazy and this one exchange was so interesting – I did my best to be accurate but again I do not take dictation and I am not a court reporter, although there was one there:

Maya: “I would have you speak to what in fact what is left for DEP to to review and decide upon and what process is still left?

Two – There also seems to be this suggestion that anytime additional contaminants are found that they are going to be cleaned up, and so this site is going to be cleaned up…and so  I would like you to speak to this issue of whether or not in fact when you are done at this site that all of the TCE and toxic contaminants will be removed, so people don’t have to be concerned about it, or in fact is that not true and you have specifically and carefully with all your  communications with DEP actually limited the scope of your remediation including not going to uhhh saturated soils for example, 12 feet below ground surface, etc?”

 

Witness for developer: “That’s absolutely correct.”

 

Maya cuts back in “You are not? You are limiting, you are capping how much work you will do and you will intentionally leave contaminants on the site and people need to know that.”

 

Witness “That is correct.  Allow me to explain in a way that is no way nefarious…”

 

He (witness)  goes on to explain liability and  an old consent order (??is that right???)  with DEP and state version of hazardous clean up – PRPs – potentially responsible parties.  He goes on into known contamination beyond the scope of their legal responsibility – about how they will clean up so much and then it seems it will be up to DEP to enforce clean up by PRP potentially responsible parties that I guess are former manufacturing occupiers of site?

 

Witness acknowledges issues, discusses how developer will be doing more beyond satisfying their part of old (?) consent order (?) and will excavate three known soil contamination issues of the site above water table, excavate, clean up according to most stringent PA standard, residential statewide heath standard…acknowledges caused contamination of groundwater on site that migrates off site, affects tributaries of Little Valley Creek.  They believe their  soil excavations will have a beneficial effect towards clean up.

 

(Deep breath) Look at what was sent to me today with regard to suggestions, and put it side by side with what the developer is doing…it’s NOT enough what they are suggesting, is it?   And I am sorry I do NOT buy that super sized density is the ONLY way to get this cleaned up, do you? I accept the site will be developed, I have for years. But not without the proper clean up and remediation and is this place ever going to be truly safe for people to ever live there?  Maybe a NON-residential use would still be the best solution? And the other day I heard homeless hang out there?

Bishop Tube is a KNOWN problem child and has been known since the plant was still open. I have heard from reliable sources that former union guys there who are still alive are VERY concerned about this getting cleaned up. And comments from General Warren Village residents are the same.  Referring to it as a “cancer belt” back there, listing neighbors who were also in a lot of cases former Bishop Tube workers who died horrible deaths from scary cancers, respiratory issues.

Things are thankfully different today, and given the current temperature in Washington DC we have to stay on top of elected officials to make sure we all stay protected. But given how different things are today I find it difficult to comprehend that the Pennsylvania DEP hasn’t done more on this site, hasn’t been more proactive on clean-up.

After all, it has been years and years.

Queue Daily Local 2007 article (again):

…..Hartman, 51, started working at Bishop Tube in 1973 and worked alongside his father, who worked at the plant for 42 years. Both were millwrights and worked in maintenance.

Worst, 53, started in 1972 and worked in a variety of jobs and was president of Local 7566 of the AFL-CIO United Steel Workers of America in 1988 and 1989. He left Bishop Tube in 1989.

In an interview in February, Worst recalled what it was like working at the plant.

“There were large clouds of trichlor fumes that floated through the plant every day. I distinctly remember how it smelled,” he said.

Keith Hartman and Lester Hartman used to work in what was known as the trichlor pit surrounding the vapor degreaser area in building No. 8, the area of the heaviest TCE contamination on the site…..

“There would be two people down in the pit and a spotter above. We’d be down there for hours. When you came out, you felt dizzy, drunk, and there was a tingling sensation in your hands,” Hartman recalled.

“One guy they used to have to carry out. Afterwards, we’d go to the lunch room to wait until the effect wore off. I always wondered why the supervisors never bothered us when we were up in the lunchroom,” he said.

Hartman recalled another Bishop Tube employee, Charles McDonough, who also worked in the pit. He died of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Another employee who worked in the pit is Calvin Chandler, 84. Chandler has emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Worst and Hartman said their colleagues Jack Laidley, William Reidfern, Eddie Blain and Paul Blain all had died of cancer. Reidfern also had heart disease.

Three fellow workers suffered from cancerous neck tumors. Bill Hines of West Goshen had a malignant cancer on his neck and died. Irvin Whistler has a cancerous tumor on his neck but has survived. Raymond Buckwalter, another resident of General Warren Village, has a tumor on his neck that turned malignant and now suffers from lung cancer….In 2005, Brian O’Neill of O’Neill Property Group purchased the site for $700,000 through his affiliate, Constitution Drive Partners, and signed an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to jointly clean it up. The plan is to keep the buildings and convert it for light industrial use.

 

There are all these EPA Acts now:

Summary of the Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act 

Summary of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund) (CERCLA)

The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA)

Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Laws and Regulations

Manufacturing concerns operate under the above today.  Their employees have to have training and I believe annual re-certification under these Federal Laws.

Creating as little as slightly over 2 pounds of hazardous waste today brings a facility  under RCRA rules, for example.  If Bishop Tube was a site generator today they would be registered with the EPA and have a special site identifier number.

Now, here is something: if you research the EPA and these laws I believe you will see that the EPA clearly lists wastes that are hazardous if improperly disposed of – 400 substances known to be harmful to human health AND the environment. These things can be ignitable, corrosive, toxic or reactive.  They could be solids, liquids, or gases – things like TCE, battery acid, mercury, spent solvents right?

Penalties for violations of improper disposal can be up to $1 MILLION dollars and jail time of 15 years, so can someone please explain why the PA DEP is dicking around with Bishop Tube? Sorry to be vulgar, but my God, they KNOW it’s bad, right? remember the 2008 report by the US Department of health and Human Services?

BEFORE anything gets zoning variances or final plan approvals, CLEAN UP.

And I know for a fact that residents in General Warren have been in contact with PA DEP.

Mostly (trying to be fair) can it be said they get patted on the head and told that they are working towards choosing a remedy for the site?

And why is it a year ago residents reported construction activity on the Bishop Tube site complete with giant debris clouds wafting into nearby neighborhoods?  O’Neill has significant brownfields experience BUT can the same be said of Benson?

People in General Warren are terrified.  Old timers, multi-generational residents, new residents. It doesn’t matter.  They want to be safe, they want people who may or may not live or use the Bishop Tube site in the future to be safe and again why so long to clean things up there?  Back when the PA DEP was starting to pay attention to Bishop Tube, why didn’t they start to remediate THEN? You know when there was more money for remediation? Remember their press release circa 2007?

HERE:

MALVERN, Pa., May 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During a visit to the
 former Bishop Tube site in Chester County, Environmental Protection
 Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty talked about the importance of a program that
 helps the state respond to environmental emergencies, clean contaminated
 sites, protect the public's health and promote economic growth....
Bishop Tube was founded in 1842 for the manufacture of gold and
 platinum alloys for technical and industrial uses. It was also used as a
 metal fabrication facility in the 1950s. However, after a number of
 different owners, operations stopped in 1999, leaving behind a legacy of
 contamination that included TCE, nitric acid, hydrofluoric acid and heavy
 metals, including nickel and chromium. TCE is the primary contaminant of
 concern.
     Through HSCA, DEP has worked to investigate and assess the
 contamination at the site, maintain a safe water supply for an affected
 nearby resident, develop remediation alternatives, and facilitate public
 participation in selecting a remedial plan. Currently, the fund is helping
 to install a system that addresses shallow groundwater contamination at the
 site.
     Additionally, the site's new owner -- Constitution Drive Partners LP --
 has entered into an unprecedented cost sharing partnership with DEP whereby
 Constitution addresses the contaminated soil and DEP addresses the
 contaminated, shallow groundwater. Soil remediation is expected to take 2-3
 years to complete, but groundwater remediation will take much longer.
     To date, DEP's investigation of the contamination has cost more than $1
 million and it is expected that an additional $700,000 is needed to
 complete the onsite shallow groundwater remediation. All DEP work has been
 made possible through the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act.

General Warren residents and other concerned residents? Please take the time for meeting tomorrow.  I know these meetings aren’t fun, I have done my time at them over the years BUT you need to advocate for yourself and your fellow neighbors.  You can’t depend on elected and appointed officials to be clairvoyant.  Packed boardrooms send a message. If you can entice media to cover you, even better. Sunshine makes the world go round, right?

Here is the list of media that residents can contact to ask them to give coverage to Bishop Tube:

1) Daily Local News:

610-696-1775

2) Philadelphia Inquirer:

(215)854-4500

3) CBS 3:

philadelphia.cbslocal.com/about-us/contact-us/

4) ABC 6:

215-878-9700

6abc.com/contact

5) NBC 10:

610-668-5510

nbcphiladelphia.com/send-feedback

6) Fox 29:

888-369-4762

comments@foxnewsinsider.com

Here is DEP info – Residents can and should contact them directly with questions and concerns. As is the case with elected officials, township employees, and media, just try your best to be polite.

Division of Hazardous Waste
Bureau of Waste Management
PA Department of Environmental Protection
14th Floor Rachel Carson State Office Building
PO Box 69170
Harrisburg PA 17106-9170
717-787-6239
E-Mail: ra-hazwaste@pa.gov

Tom Mellott — Division Chief, Hazardous Waste Management
Melissa Gross — Chief, Compliance and Information Management
Glenn Mitzel — Chief, Permitting and Technical Support

DEP REGIONAL OFFICE CONTACTS
SOUTHEAST REGION,
Norristown
484-250-5902

SOUTHEAST REGIONAL OFFICE
DEP Southeast Regional Office
2 E. Main Street Norristown, PA 19401-4915.
Phone: 484 250-5900 (24 hours/day)

Acting Regional Director: Anderson Hartzell

Counties served: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia.