Subscribe to new Community Matters Location: www.pattyebenson.org

For all of you who have subscriptions to Community Matters — you need to visit its new location at www.pattyebenson.org and sign up for a new subscription.  Subscriptions will not automatically transfer, you must sign up again if you want to follow Community Matters.  Go to www.pattyebenson.org and see the subscription button on the upper right-side of the home page.  There remains some tweeking but I think that we are about 95% complete with the new independently hosted Community Matters.  Community Matters now joins the ‘big guys’ with all the horns & whistles . . . most of which I do not understand and am not quite sure what to do with . . . but it is exciting!

Thank you all for your support . . . I look forward to receiving comments and suggestions of important issues in our community.

Email Address:  TredyffrinCommunityMatters@gmail.com

Community Matters Blog Address: www.pattyebenson.org

 

Community Matters Has Moved — Do Not Post Comments Here

There have been 3 comments that will not be posted to this site . . . Please go to Community Matters at www.pattyebenson.org for new posts and to leave your comments.  Community Matters has been transferred to its new home at www.pattyebenson.org .

Update: This is the last Community Matters post on pattyebenson.wordpress.com

This is the last Community Matters post on http://pattyebenson.wordpress.com .  Although this website will remain up for another week, there will be no new posts and I will not upload comments to this site. 

You are now directed to visit Community Matters at www.pattyebenson.org. Basically, the Community Matters wordpress blog has been duplicated and will be independently hosted going forward.  There is now a save/share button which will allow Community Matters to have a wider audience.  There are a few quirks that we are still working on — one sticking point is the ‘Sign-Up to Follow Community Matters’.  I will not be able to transfer those of you who follow Community Matters with automatic notices via email.  I can not take your email sign-ups and simply transfer them.  Unfortunately, you will have to re-enter your email addresses on the new site.  We are working to add the ‘Sign-Up’ capability as quickly as possible but as of now, it has not been activated.  I would suggest that you visit Community Matters daily at www.pattyebenson.org and look for the link . . . it will be located in the upper right corner once configured.  Sorry for the inconvenience but there does not seem anyway around it — we hope to have the subscriber link up and running in the next day or so.

Thanks for your patience and understanding as we complete the transition.

Pennsylvania Voter Registration Deadline Approaching

The deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania’s upcoming primary election is a month away. Individuals must register with the state by April 19 to be allowed to vote in the election, which will be held on May 18. In order to vote in a primary election in Pennsylvania, voters must be registered with a political party, and can only vote in the primary for that party. All registered electors are allowed to vote on ballot questions and on special elections held simultaneously with the primaries. For information and forms to register to vote or to change your party affiliation, click here.

Community Matters . . . Important Update, Please Read

Community Matters is currently a WordPress hosted blog but it will be moving to a new independent hosting service over the next few days.  I know that many of you are currently coming to Community Matters using this URL:  www.pattyebenson.org

While the system is going through the changeover, you will need to use:  http://pattyebenson.wordpress.com/ .   Once the changeover occurs and the site is independently hosted, you will once again be able to use www.pattyebenson.org .

Having Community Matters independently hosted will apparently allow me to add to its current list of horns and whistles. Fortunately for me, I have a computer expert as a close personal friend who is helping with the transition. I am told that this is going to work and that all Community Matters formatting, posts and comments are going to seamlessly transition.  Here’s hoping that he’s right! 

Once again, use http://pattyebenson.wordpress.com during the interim.

Thank you all.

Raising the Fine on Sunshine Law Violation to $1,000 for First Offense

An interesting piece of proposed change to the Sunshine Law surfaced this week in Harrisburg.  The change was passed by the House and, if passed by the Senate, would effect Tredyffrin Township and our Board of Supervisors. The State House of Representatives amended the state’s Sunshine Law by upping the fines for a first violation of the government openness law from $100 to $1,000 and to $2,000 for each subsequent violation.

The measure passed 172 to 24 and now moves to the State Senate.

Opponents of the measure said the fine is too steep for small borough and township governments and claimed the state newspaper trade association was opposed to the measure. The bill’s prime sponsor, State Rep. Babette Josephs (D-Philadelphia) said the newspaper association felt the fines should be higher.

The Sunshine Law is aimed at opening the deliberations of state and local government bodies to public scrutiny. There are some exceptions, such as personnel and security discussions that can be held outside public view. Most activities have to be conducted in public, and private meetings of government bodies that constitute a quorum are forbidden by the law. Tom Murray, editor of the Main Line Life Suburban wrote his weekly editorial on Let There Always be ‘Sunshine’ which speaks to the need to keep government open and public.  Click here for Tom’s the article.

I wonder if Tredyffrin Township has ever been fined for breaking the Sunshine Law?  Do any of you know the answer?  And who would file the suit . . . an individual?  With a fine of only $100, no one probably ever filed a suit; but at $1,000 for first offense, and $2,000 for subsequent offenses that could change.  Personally, I support the newspaper association’s claim that the fine is not high enough . . . it needs to be a level that would make an impact.  My guess is that a borough or municipality would be fined once and it would never happen again.

This is an nteresting topic . . . what do you think the penalty should be for breaking the Sunshine Law?  Or should there be a penalty? 

Our Fire Companies Should Not be Political Pawns

Working together, the volunteer firefighters of Berwyn, Paoli and Radnor fire companies serve  Tredyffrin Township.  Many of our residents and their families are involved in the volunteer firefighting effort and proudly serve our community.  Firefighting is demanding. There are hours of training involved, requirements to be met, standards to uphold, and volunteer firefighters are not compensated in the traditional way. There is no big paycheck or large monetary bonus to work harder.

John DiBuonaventuro has served as a volunteer firefigher for the Paoli Fire Company for many years and is passionate in his support.  In his position as a member of the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor DiBuonaventuro also serves as the fire company liaison.  As an audience member in this week’s Board of Supervisors meeting,  I witnessed an uncomfortable exchange between Supervisors DiBuonaventuro and Warren Kampf in regards to the fire companies and their funding.  Understanding DiBuonaventuro’s long-standing support of the  fire companies vs. Kampf’s vote against full-funding of the fire companies in the township’s 2010 budget . . . one might question Supervisor Kampf’s sudden interest in our local fire companies and their funding. 

Our volunteer firefighters deserve our community’s support . . .  but I think we would all agree they should not be used as pawns in a political campaign. Today’s Main Line Suburban newspaper includes the following As I See It opinion article, The continual politicization of our fire services, which speaks directly to this topic.

    As I See It: The continual politicization of our fire services

By John V. Petersen

As if the big cardboard-check moment during the Dec. 12, 2009 Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors meeting wasn’t enough, we had another play at Monday night’s BOS meeting involving the fire service as a political football. As we all know, Warren Kampf, current Tredyffrin BOS member and previous chairman, is seeking to challenge Rep. Paul Drucker for the State Representative seat for the 157th Legislative District. At Monday night’s BOS meeting, Mr. Kampf stated that he met with members of the Berwyn Fire Company and the topic of a stable long-term firefighter-funding source was discussed. What Mr. Kampf failed to tell the public was his visit to Berwyn was in connection with his 157th candidacy, not in his capacity as a Tredyffrin supervisor. For the record Supervisor and Paoli firefighter John “J.D.” DiBuonaventuro serves as the fire liaison.

 In that capacity, Supervisor DiBuonaventuro has had such meetings concerning the fire task force and funding with Berwyn and Paoli FDs and updates on that progress have been shared with the public, most recently at the March 1, 2010 meeting. On that same day Mr. Kampf sought the Montgomery County endorsement for the 157th and therefore did not attend the March 1 meeting and clearly was not aware that the matter was already discussed during the previous meeting.

What I find disingenuous is Mr. Kampf on one hand stating the importance of finding a stable long-term funding source for the fire companies and on the other hand, most previously in his role as BOS Chairman, supporting cuts to the fire service and at the same time retaining funding for the annual July 4 fireworks display. These two viewpoints are completely irreconcilable. It should also be noted that earlier in his tenure on the BOS, Mr. Kampf served on fire task force. Accordingly Mr. Kampf has already had an opportunity to address the issues that are currently being addressed by Supervisor DiBuonaventuro. It is clear that the only motivation here is Mr. Kampf’s pursuit of higher political office. And to that end he is seeking to use the fire service as a pawn in his political chess game. Between the big cardboard-check event and last night’s meeting, it is clear Mr. Kampf is using a public forum dedicated to township business for his own political purposes. In a word it is inappropriate.

When the firefighters and EMTs perform their heroic work, they don’t ask about party registration. To be used as a political football of sorts is to denigrate that heroic work. Ultimately Mr. Kampf is free to run his campaign as he sees fit. As citizens we have forums like this to hold candidates and office-holders accountable. All I would ask is that Mr. Kampf campaign on his own time, not during the time when the business of Tredyffrin Township is to be addressed. Further, I would ask that all candidates leave the fire service out of their political calculus. There are plenty of other matters ripe for politics. The fire service is not one of them.

John V. Petersen lives in Paoli.

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