trouble brewing in borough of west chester

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Sometimes the doings of municipalities when trying to find a solution are slightly comical. It started with this which is floating across social media:

footloose

Could this ACTUALLY have some basis in truth? Well the short answer is unfortunately it does:

 

And apparently there is a power struggle going on in West Chester and there is the guy who runs that BID (Business Improvement District) who is most unfortunately playing law enforcement in this video:

So yikes it seems not just the temperatures as in the weather that are heating up in the scenic Borough of West Chester!

Apparently there is a public hearing on this and other things (including BYOB restaurants) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 from 6 pm to 9 pm at West Chester Borough Hall.

I am not familiar with this website PhilaNet.com and I found the above video in this post:

West Chester Business Improvement District Goes Neo-Nazi

WEST CHESTER, PA — The West Chester Business Improvement District (BID) executive director, Malcolm Johnstone, was observed in illegal activities at the corners of Gay and Church Streets in West Chester.

Malcolm was filmed approaching a street artist and forcing him to stop painting. He also implied he had the authority to stop a street musician from playing the guitar. All in all, it appeared Malcolm was committing hate crimes and civil rights violations.

 

Ok I am not an authority on civil rights violations, but I do question the authority of a civilian being able to just walk up and down the streets of West Chester and say to people what they can and can’t do. That is what borough personnel like police officers are for.

There is also this website http://kingarthur.com/ and another one http://justicedept.com/West-Chester-Crimes/

And on YouTube a bunch of videos:

 

So I don’t know what is going on, but maybe it’s time West Chester Borough talks about this? Or they won’t if it is pending litigation?  Is it because of this situation that there is now this proposed busking ordinance? Does that mean for street festivals in the borough where there is music or even just regular First Friday celebrations there will be extra permits and such that will have to be purchased even if performers were invited to come to the borough if this is passed?

I am not taking sides. But I can tell you as someone who worked to bring music to the streets of a community for many years by working on First Friday Main Line celebrations, it makes me sad if people are fighting over what should be a nice thing.

I have to be honest I was a little surprised by the West Chester BID guy Malcom Johnstone on the video. I say that as someone who is a fan generally speaking of all this BID (Business Improvement District) has accomplished over the years.  But I think he made a misstep by whatever he was trying to do that ended up on video. I am sure he was just trying to mediate a tough situation.

I will also say that music is expression, but West Chester is essentially a big small town. It is not Nashville or New Orleans or New York…and I do think that street performers in those locations need to have a permit.  Which leads me to my looming question: if West Chester passes this ordinance will that stop whatever this musicians versus whomever pissing match is all about?

NOTE TO BOTH SIDES: I am trying to be fair here, but I am struggling. I am struggling because to me music should not represent ugliness and fighting.

Maybe the Daily Local will take this on and hash out the issue.

west chester growers market at risk! help save the market!

marketAs shocking as it may sound, the Borough of West Chester might do something exceedingly dumb and horrible where the West Chester Growers Market is concerned.  The buzz around Chester County is that they are purportedly considering selling the lot that the market calls home!!!

How dumb is that?

I have been busy and was playing catch up with e-mail when I all but fell out of my chair last night.  I had received an e-mail from Melissa at Applied Climatology LLC – I buy plants from her at the West Chester Growers Market.  Here is what the e-mail said:

Hello Garden Club members!

We received some very concerning news last Friday.  If you are already on the West Chester Growers Market mailing list, then you may have already received this news via the market newsletter.

The borough of West Chester is entertaining offers for the sale of the parking lot where we hold our market each Saturday morning.

I’ve attached a copy of the official letter that the market vendors have composed for you, our valued customers.

Letter_to_the_Public

We hope you will consider writing to your local representatives to let them know what the market means to you. Even if you live outside of the borough, please consider writing these officials, as they need to hear from all of our loyal customers.  The borough website in the attached letter will provide you with both email addresses as well as a general mailing address.

If you are as concerned about the market’s longevity as we are, please contact the borough as soon as possible.

We are grateful for all of your support – past, present and future!

Thank you very much for your time

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Seriously??  Could the Borough Council and Mayor of West Chester be such whores that they would render homeless one of the BEST things about the town of West Chester in fair weather months?  Would they really jettison the Grande Dame of local farmers markets? The market that inspired so many OTHER markets?

fresh veggies

With all the emphasis on eat local, buy local (you know that little thing called the localvore movement) why would West Chester Borough be so dumb?  Is all the borough wants to be known for something like that college party turned riot from last weekend?

The West Chester Growers Market has been a goodwill ambassador and champion of downtown West Chester since before there was a Business Improvement District isn’t that correct?  Speaking of the West Chester BID, what do they have to say? Are they ALSO that dumb that they would be behind a decision that if made would take feet off the street in a town they are supposed to promote and support businesses in?

jam

For Sale, Free, or Trade Chester County has posted a petition on Change.org.  Please consider signing it and sending it along to everyone you know.

This is what the petition letter says:

To: Carolyn Comitta, Mayor Holly Brown, West Chester Borough Council Member Cassandra Jones, West Chester Borough Council Member Charles Christy, West Chester Borough Council Member Jordan Norley, West Chester Borough Council Member Thomas Paxson, West Chester Borough Council Member Stephen Shinn, West Chester Borough Council Member John Manion, West Chester Borough Council Member Staff, Borough of West Chester

Keep The West Chester Grower’s Market at Church & Chestnut Street!
We, the residents in Chester County, would like to ask for your consideration in keeping the West Chester Grower’s Market at it’s current location.  The possible development no matter how high of a dollar figure can’t replace the community out reach that this market has created and sustained for 19 years.
Keep The West Chester Grower’s Market at Church & Chestnut Street!
We, the residents in Chester County, would like to ask for your consideration in keeping the West Chester Grower’s Market at it’s current location.  The possible development no matter how high of a dollar figure can’t replace the community out reach that this market has created and sustained for 19 years.
As residents and fellow business owners, we ask you to sincerely think about our community. The Grower’s Market brings not only families and locals to West Chester, but it brings residents from all over Chester County.  These residents then stroll the streets and patronize the local businesses around the Market.  Local West Chester neighbors have found a sense of community on that lot like no other.
We ask you to reconsider this decision.  When making the decision, think of how many businesses have not be able to sustain and have had to cave to the economy and close in West Chester over the past 19 years, and then think about what it takes to keep something going for 19 years in a town, the West Chester Grower’s Market has pulled it off!  Please do not stop them from Growing!

Sincerely, [Your name]

West Chester Does is also talking about this.  “Market Faces Possibility of Losing it’s Place in the Community” and they provide a link to West Chester Borough’s public officials contact information.  I like to go to the top so let’s start with the mayor:

Carolyn T. Comitta, Mayor

115 S. Brandywine Street
Tel: (610) 692-6521
ccomitta@west-chester.com
Term to expire 2014

I don’t feel like putting up every e-mail as I am a little pressed for time, but go to the web page where you get contact informationContact the borough council members and the Mayor. Sign the petition.  You can politely remind them that a fair number of them are up in 2014. To me it is never too early to start election issues if they are thinking about things as dumb as getting rid of the farmers market.

people

I have to ask is West Chester Borough really poor or something?  They can’t afford to keep this parking lot?  Or are they just that greedy and short-sighted?

I also would like to know what developer wants this lot.  They should be contacted too.  Is this a developer who has also bought up a lot of land in the borough or a new Johnny Jump Up?

Do you all know that some of this market’s vendors do good things like participate in the Pennsyvania Farmers Market Nutrition Program? This program, the  Pennsylvania Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) distributes checks to eligible seniors and Women, Infants & Children (WIC). These checks can be used at participating farm markets and roadside stands to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables which are grown (or are growable) in Pennsylvania.

This market is also about community, and no developer sucking up to a bunch of politicians can really create that except in the false, made for marketing material sense.

Please help save the market!  If you tweet try a hash tag like #SaveTheWCGrowersMkt

Together we can save this market.  It is a shame someone couldn’t buy the lot from the borough and give the market a 99 year lease or something, right?

The other alternative is if you own land this market could move to close to this lot with parking, please step forward.  The easiest and most properly right thing is for West Chester Borough to sit down and leave the farmers market and that parking lot  alone, but in case that doesn’t happen, it would be good to have alternatives that  could save this awesome market.

Thanks for stopping by. it’s a sin truly the way politics can potentially ruin a good thing and tradition like this…..

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