Radnor Township Sets the Example for Tredyffrin Township or Maybe it Is the Other Way Around

How about this headline coming out of Radnor Township, “Public Rights to Comment is Actively Under Assualt in Radnor Township”.  Have you been following the media coverage of Radnor Township’s elected officials?  Close on the heels of Dave Bashore (Remember Bashore is Radnor’s township manager that awarded more than $600K in bonuses to himself and other employees without the authorization of the Board of Commissioners) and his trial,  John Nagle won a commissioner seat in November and at the first board meeting of 2010 was elected president of Radnor Township’s Board of Commissioners.  In just a few meetings, Radnor Township commissioners have become their own version of reality TV.  President Nagle has quickly positioned himself against many members of the community with a determination to control and attempt to silence the commentary of the public at commissioner meetings.  As an example of Nagle’s distructive behavior and lack of civility, the public at a board meeting was greatly disturbed when he aggressively shouted profanity at a resident, who dared to disagree with him. 

Dan Sherry, an attorney from Radnor Township received a copy of a proposed Radnor Township resolution that is circulating which I found very apropos for Tredyffrin Township readers.  Although Mr. Sherry has not verified the resolutions’s authenticity, he believes it to be real. Please read proposed resolution here. Could this be a sign of what is to come for Tredyffrin residents?

In discussion of the proposed ordinance, attorney Sherry writes, “The proposed ordinance, plain and simple, is designed to restrict the public’s ability to engage the Radnor commissioners at official Board meetings, and to prevent the public from asking questions, receiving answers, or alerting the Board (and the public) of complicated matters of concern which can not possibly be expressed in three (3) minutes. . .

Moreover, the proposed ordinance is a shameless attempt to insulate the commissioners (and their corresponding actions) from public scrutiny, and to imbue the President of the Board (currently John Nagle) with unprecedented power and discretion (see, among other places Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4). Accordingly, if this proposed ordinance is adopted by the Board (which is currently comprised of four Democrats and three Republicans), any professed commitment by the commissioners to “accountability” “openness”, or “transparency” can be dismissed as demonstrably (and laughably) false. . . “

Mr. Sherry concludes his thoughts on this proposed legislation by saying,  ‘” . . . emphatically, an issue that the local press should examine, and that the identity (or identities) of the commissioner(s) responsible for drafting this document should be discovered and made public immediately.”

In response to Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors decision to return escrow to St. Davids Golf Club, I have received emails from residents of Lower Merion, Radnor, Easttown and Willistown Townships.  These neighboring residents have followed the decisions of Tredyffrin’s supervisors from the December supervisor meeting which included the BAWG report and with its alleged $50K offer from St. Davids Golf Club, to the $23,200 cardboard check presented to the fire companies and now to this latest supervisor decision (in opposition of ‘past practice’ of the township) to return escrow money without applicant request (or without the contracted work being completed). 

Do you see the grey cloud hanging over Tredyffrin Township . . . our neighbors are talking about us, wondering where is the accountability of our elected officials?  Wondering why a group of 4 individuals (Lamina, Kampf, Olson, Richter) is allowed total control of this community. Do we as residents of Tredyffrin Township care what our neighbors think of our government and the decisions of the officials that we elect?

I am really struggling to find a solution that could work to turn the clock back for Tredyffrin and its residents . . . to a time not long ago when elected officials of this community did what was right.  Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter need to reflect that it was the voters who elected you to serve them — that is, elected you to serve all the residents.  I fear that unless we move towards changing this picture that these four have created, this may be the legacy of those who serve on the Board of Supervisors.

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18 Responses

  1. Thank you Pattye for a well-written article. I completely support what you have to say — if Tredyffrin residents don’t demand better from their elected officials, we will be no better than Radnor!

  2. The proposed policy regarding public participation at meetings is standard fare for most school districts and is close in wording to Policy 903 from the PA School Board Association. See Policy 903 of Great Valley SD. http://www.psba.org/districts_policies/g/237/POLGRVL903.pdf

    It’s not the policy; it’s how the elected officials interpret the policy.

  3. Boy, let’s hope that Bob Lamina doesn’t get any ideas after reading Radnor’s proposed resolution! He would love that kind of control of the residents.

  4. I think the term you are looking for is Prior Restraint – which is a governments attempt to censor the public. I would almost hope that Lamina would try to pass such a resolution. Personally, I don’t see Nagle’s resolution seeing the light of day. Guys like him tend to flame out. Once I heard that Radnor was considering hiring Paul Jannsen, I knew they were in bad shape.

    Ultimately, Lamina Olson Kampf, Richter will get crushed on the matter. It’s not a matter of if…but when….I wonder if Kampf realizes that his dream of the 157th is over…

    • why are people not outraged that St. Davids was being required to put in a sidewalk.

      do we really want to litter our neighborhoods wiht sidewalks to no where?

      worse do we want to allow the government to shakedown property owners for public amenities?

      thank you Lamina, Olson, Kampf and Richter

      • Anonymous – you do not completely understand the issue. St. Davids Golf Club’s land development contract with Tredyffrin Township required sidewalks. St. Davids has been in default for 18 months on their contractual agreement and instead of a penalty for failure to comply, the country club was awarded a ‘gift’ of $80K (estimated value of sidewalks). Due to the decision of Lamina, Olson, Kampf and Richter, Tredyffrin Twp and its taxpayers are now ‘open’ to lawsuits from contractors doing projects in Tredyffrin that likewise may not want to complete their jobs. Precedent has been set by the actions of these 4. You may thank them . . . but I for one prefer appropriate policy and procedure to be followed by our elected officials, not government as the ‘party of 4’ sees fit.

        • Maybe we should use the term “Gang of four”. I see some similarities in behaviour.

          The Gang of Four was the name given to a political faction composed of four Chinese Communist Party officials. They came to prominence during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) and were subsequently charged with a series of treasonous crimes. The Gang of Four effectively controlled the power organs of the Communist Party of China through the latter stages of the Cultural Revolution,

        • Anonymous asks, “Do we really want to litter our neighborhoods with sidewalks to nowhere?”

          A catchy talking point but based on backward thinking by people who just don’t see the bigger picture.

          To you, sidewalks may be litter, but to many in this township they represent an investment that provides increased safety and connectedness.

          Obviously you don’t value walking/biking from one place to another, nor do you see a value in developing a walkable community that connects neighborhoods and residential areas to commerical areas of the township.

          You and Supervisor Richter, who parroted Paul Olson’s “sidewalks to nowhere” talking point . She actually lives where sidewalks are in place – in Chesterbrook, – yet she didn’t think twice about eliminating that possiblility for the same amenity along Upper Gulph Rd, where residents walk, jog and bike daily under unsafe conditions.

          That sidewalk to nowhere could be a temporary situation if Tredyffrin is committed to connecting neighborhoods to Tredyffrin Library and to downtown Wayne.

          In my view, Tredyffrin had in hand a contractual obligation from St. David’s to build an $80.000 amenity, but four supervisors decided it had no value, and in fact might obligate them to build connecting sidewalks at some point down the road.

          It’s people like Paul Olson (and you?) who think walking is what people without cars do (read poor people), and Tredyffrin tax dollars certainly won’t subsidize them as long as he is a supervisor.

          I try keep on mind that the clock is ticking on Mr. Olson’s tenure, that it has but two years to go…..and that sidewalks in some parts of our township will definitely be part of our future – even if Bob Lamina manages to marginalize the Sidewalks and Trails Committee (or any board or commiission he doesn’t agree with over the next two years.)

          Killing a promise to build a sidewalk. Just one of the BOS’s many errors in judgment that make up the St. David’s debacle…..

      • Anon…

        Looks like you are in desperate need of education. Fortuantely for you, I am going to take the time to enlighten you……

        <<
        why are people not outraged that St. Davids was being required to put in a sidewalk.
        <>
        do we really want to litter our neighborhoods with sidewalks to no where?
        >>

        OK…this is nothing more than the same BS that Olson has been rambling on about. They are not sidewalks to nowhere. But then again, sidewalks are not the issue. The issue is what the club agreed to do. Look – if it was decided that the the $’s to be spent on the Upper Gulph Road sidewalks could be better spent somewhere else, fine. The deal is – St. David’s had to provide those $’s. Otherwise, the obligation falls to the taxpayers.

        <<
        worse do we want to allow the government to shakedown property owners for public amenities?
        <>thank you Lamina, Olson, Kampf and Richter

        For what – breaking the law? Is that the quality you want in an elected official? Essentially what you are saying is that these people and the TTRC stands for corruption and illegal deal making. Let’s be clear – Bob Lamina, Warren Kampf, Paul Olson and EJ Richter broke the law. And as for Kampf, he may very well have put his law license in jeopardy. And – he has likely destroyed any hope of a future political career.

        So…what are you thanking these 4 idiots for??? If that is the kind of government you want – then that is precisely what you have!!

        Be at the meeting on 2/8…we’ll just how thankful you are then…

  5. The Save Ardmore Coalition site does a nice job of archiving what goes on with the Radnor meetings. Usually, they have posted video. You can find the meeting in question here:

    http://saveardmorecoalition.org/node/4064

    It was interesting to see the exchange on the Ardrossan tract. I very much identify with Dan Sherry. And it does appear that Nagle is operating Radnor as his personal fifedom. Definitely a lot of similarities between Nagle and Lamina.

    The thing is, I don’t see what Lamina gets out of all of this. It seems to me that a lot of effort is being expended for Kampf’s benefit. It seems like everything is being orchistrated around the 157th. For example, there is a straw poll amongst the various GOP committees that have a say in the endorsement process. The three candidates: Kampf, DiFilippo and Buckwalter are going to speak. That process occurs on the 3rd. Perhaps this is another reason why this Monday’s meeting was pushed off?????

    For all of the political capital Lamina is expending, I wonder what he sees as the payback? Clearly, what we are seeing is not good public policy. Therefore, Lamina must see something in all of this for him. Other than the fact that Kampf and Olson Supported Lamina’s bid for chair, I don’t see any ohter meaningful quid pro quo that would be worth going thorough the hassle. Perhaps Lamina has not quite figured out just how much of a jam he is in right now. Perhaps when Kampf realizes that his political career is over, that will be a wake up call. I see this has a house of cards that will be collapsing very soon.

    I wonder if Jason Ercole factored any of this into the strategy…. ;)

    • Petersen and Sherry – separated at birth?

      • lol…Perhaps…

        Dan understands that you have to take the gloves off. When I saw the video, I figured the guy had to be a lawyer. Sure enough….

        We are in a bit of a fix here. I am not idealistic enough to believe that all of a sudden, Kampf, Lamina and Olson will have an epiphany. No matter were things go from here, last Monday will always be part of the record. It is something that cannot be taken back. All we can do, as a community, is apply the kind of pressure that heretofore, has never been applied. And sometimes, that requires going down roads that some may not seem comfortable with . To that, all I can say that as elected officials, they signed up for this. They cannot claim victim status. And no doubt, very soon, they will start to complain of unfair treatment. The deal is, what we as citizens are asking for is nothing more than what they promised when they took the oath of office.

        This may go down some very dark roads before we see daylight. I didn’t start this fight…but I will be more than happy to finish it…

  6. I’m not quite a global as John about motive and law breaking, and I have NEVER understood Bob Lamina and his mean streak, but I cannot at all relate to the notion that sidewalks would “litter” our township. Even Pleasantville has sidewalks. Clearly there was no need for sidewalks a generation ago (when Paul Olson was raising kids) when kids walked on lawns and streets that had half the traffic we have nowadays. At 6 years old, I rode my bike from my house in Devon to the convenience store on Old Eagle at Upper Gulph…the traffic wasn’t an issue so the roads were safe for little kids to travel. When the tennis courts at the now library site opened, we rode our bikes there too — again at the ages of 6 and 7. Our boundaries were defined by permission, not by danger.
    Well — that’s not the world our kids live in — and with such a limited view of how communities evolve, it’s not a world our kids will ever know. Walking? Look at the area around Conestoga High School — how many kids parking on area roads have never even considered using their feet because they weren’t allowed on those dangerous roads — and NOW they drive them at 16. I don’t know if sidewalks on Upper Gulph are sidewalks to nowhere — because I’m not on the planning commission and admit to not attending Sidewalks and Trails meetings. But then again, I have lived in true communities where sidewalks were part of the development — where we walked to the grocery store — where kids walked to school — where we walked to the polls at voting time, pushing a stroller. I believe that’s part of the Chesterbrook planned community style.
    Certainly the requirement that a private entity build a sidewalk as part of a land development plan is completely legitimate — in other parts of the country, developers put in roads, sidewalks, lights and more as part of land development rights. But if the township (read: Paul Olson?) doesn’t want sidewalks, and won’t participate in their construction, then of course the ones that planning commission are able to get as part of a “deal” will fall by the wayside. It’s only a sidewalk to nowhere because the township doesn’t build them anyplace else.

    • Berwyn Reader —

      I like this quote from your comment:

      “It’s only a sidewalk to nowhere because the township doesn’t build them anyplace else.”

    • >>
      I have NEVER understood Bob Lamina and his mean streak,
      >>

      The mark of a conflicted person. This is the same guy who says he is honored to serve. At the same time, he is the same one to find it morally and ethically defensible to cut fire funding on one hand, but on the other, keep fireworks in the budget. This is also the same guy who uses library capital campaign donations as campaign and political fodder. In that effort, Lamina is the same person, who along with Kampf, storm trooped a Library Foundation meeting, telling them all that they “serve at the pleasure of the BOS.”

      If people dig hard enough, I think they will find that the Library Capital Campaign is at the root of what we are seeing today.

      This is also the same guy who stated that Judy DiFilippo “taught” him how to be a supervisor.

      In a nutshell, Bob Lamina is a walking contradiction.

      Here’s a question – can anybody point to a single positive initiative that Lamina championed on behalf of the township?

      Being a walking contradiction, one has to wonder whether Lamina has any core beliefs or values.

      Perhaps that is where the mean streak comes from.

  7. I think Bob Lamina and Paul Olson harken back to the olden days when boards were strewn with lawyers doing their civic duty and billing it as pro-bono time…for the advancement of their careers. They probably long for the time when politics was a private fiefdom — everyone was nice in public and did all their dealings in private. Bob Lamina seems completely ungrounded — I don’t know him at all — but I have never seen anything positive come out of him EVER — he’s angry and bitter about most every “initiative”.
    But this is all too personal and it solves nothing to psychoanalyze these people. I would love for the tone to remain civil — it’s too easy for them to marginalize people if they come under attack — and as we have seen from Jim in his defense of EJ — when the attack is personal, there is a tendency to defend someone even if you cannot defend or justify their votes/decisions.
    Dan Sherry is Judy Sherry’s son — she is a former school director in Radnor who had the right to know lawsuit (filed by her son) against the school district because the SB would not hand over a PSBA report on administrative compensation? She won about the same time that the RTK law came into being and the Suburban got the info she had sued for. So Dan Sherry is pretty revved up about injustice and power. If you work from a script John, go for it. If you put on your evil and anger hat, spare us all. We don’t need bludgeoning….we need representation.

    • >>
      If you put on your evil and anger hat, spare us all. We don’t need bludgeoning….we need representation.
      >>

      While I tend to get passionate about things, I promise you that the questions posed will be thoughtful, specific and relevant. The goal is to hold these folks accountable and the shed light on the process. Anything else shows the same lack of respect Kampf, Lamina, Olson and Richter have for the process.

      In terms of being personal, it is all personal. We are people after all. I am not some emotionally detached person. Probably one reason I don’t practice law anymore. When I see a group of 4 jamming it to the citizens, I take it personally. I see nothing wrong with that.

      We need a little more anger from people and a little less on the passive side.

      All that said, I appreciate your comments!

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