St. Davids Golf Club Decision Reversed but, . . . Was There Full Disclosure, Transparency, Deal-Making?

I went to last night’s Board of Supervisors meeting convinced that the residents of this community had been heard by our elected officials. I was certain that the supervisors were listening to us when we spoke out at previous Board meetings, wrote passionate letters to the editor, emails to the supervisors and left thoughtful comments on this blog. Last night I entered Keene Hall confident that the energy from so many would pay off, that justice would prevail, and good government would be restored in Tredyffrin Township.

I had heard scuttlebutt about some ‘deal-making’ before the supervisors meeting began but I was not prepared for what was to come. Chairman Lamina read his very lengthy prepared St. Davids Golf Club motion. The motion started out well, stating that its passage would reverse the supervisors’ decision of January 25 and restore the St. Davids Golf Club escrow. That should have been the end of the motion. Was that not the intended purpose of the motion . . . was that not what the public had asked . . . to restore the escrow? But no, Lamina took a breath and launched in to the other part of the motion; this motion would additionally include the formation of a subcommittee to look at sidewalks and trails township-wide; this ‘sidewalk’ subcommittee would include members from the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission and STAP (Sidewalks, Trails and Paths); and there would be focus groups formed to discuss the location of sidewalks in the township, starting with the St. Davids area.

After Lamina completed his long-winded ‘motion’ and it was offered for discussion to audience members, I think we all struggled to ‘take in’ what we had heard. What kind of motion was this? . . . Was this just another way to protect St. Davids Golf Club from honoring their land development contract? . . . What about the rights of the Planning Commission who had consistently voted to enforce St. Davids land development commitment? . . .  What would this motion do for the precedent for developer/contractors not to comply with their contractual commitments? . . . Would this ‘sidewalk’ committee be part of the existing approved Comprehensive Plan?  Many, many questions, no answers offered.

Audience members spoke up, thanking the supervisors for reversing the escrow vote but many asked for Lamina’s motion to be split in to two motions. They suggested the first motion should be for the return of the St. Davids Golf Club escrow, followed by a second motion to create the ‘sidewalks’ subcommittee. The supervisors were not listening; their decision preordained. When several people asked Lamina ‘why’ not separate the motion in to two motions? His response was consistently no; that he wrote it that way. Period. Interesting to note that Kampf offered his commentary on government and making compromise. Perhaps what Kampf should have explained was that the compromise was a behind the closed-door agreement with the other supervisors, there certainly was no compromise with the citizenry. In advance of the vote, both supervisors Kichline and DiBuonaventuro offered that they would be supporting this motion. I guess that was supposed to make the residents ‘feel better’ since these two supervisors, along with Supervisor Donohue cast the 3 votes against the original motion on January 25.

A constant thread among the supervisors comments last night on St. Davids Golf Club was their desire to ‘move on’. The supervisors wanted this motion delivered, a vote taken and the ability to put St. Davids Golf Club behind them.  And a vote the supervisors took; it was unanimous, 7-0 to support Lamina’s motion.

Why did I leave the meeting with the feeling that we (the public) had been manipulated and that our government had let us down? I should have felt that justice was served and our government policy and procedure restored . . . after all, the motion did include the reversal of the St. Davids decision. But no, I went home, drank 3 glasses of Pinot Grigio and reviewed what had just happened. The St. Davids discussion and motion was completely orchestrated . . . an obvious deal made in advance. Where was the transparency of the supervisor’s actions? For me transparency in government means that the citizens must be able to “see through” its workings, and to fully understand what goes on when public officials transact public business.

Transparency is the new buzz word in American politics. You hear politicians say it all the time when referring to ways of providing constituents with access to more information and mobilizing people to get more involved in government processes. Transparency is a way of protecting fairness and ensuring common good. When we know what our government is up to, we have a better chance of ensuring that decisions treat everyone equally and protect the common conditions that are important to everyone’s welfare. It was obvious that the supervisors had already debated and settled the issue of a subcommittee, prior to the Board of Supervisors meeting, outside the view of constituents. Am I the only one who is concerned over possible violations of the state’s Sunshine Act? The open meeting law bars four or more of the Board’s seven supervisors from deliberating township business or taking official action behind closed doors, with few exceptions. Why do we have to fight to keep the door open? Is it that the supervisors want the appearance of unanimity, to aim for as little contention as possible in public? When you go behind a closed-door and make decisions, the perception can be as bad as the fact.

As far as they are concerned, the Board of Supervisors may feel that with their vote last night, that St. Davids Golf Club is now past history. But for me, the issue is far from over; no they just created a whole host of new problems with their latest decision.

I can hardly wait to see this new ‘sidewalks’ subcommittee . . . knowing what the desired outcome for St. Davids Golf Club must be, the supervisors will want to make sure that Paul Olson is their representative on the committee. From the STAP committee the supervisors need to make sure that Bruce Parkinson is included on the sidewalks subcommittee; as a member of St. Davids Golf Club he would be an invaluable choice. From the Planning Commission, I am not sure who would be the politically correct choice; are any of planning commissioners also members of St. Davids? If so, make sure and let the supervisors know as that is an important selection criteria. When the Board of Supervisors is forming the public focus group for St. Davids area, they need to make sure that no one from the Mt. Pleasant community is included. As we know, Christine Johnson and her non-country club Mt. Pleasant neighbors live where that proposed St. Davids sidewalk to nowhere would have ended.

Was last night about full disclosure, transparency, deal-making? . . . you be the judge.

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68 Responses

  1. Comment received last night:

    I just watched it -and I am appalled. JP — I hope you go forward with your lawsuit to the extent that this BOS has clearly violated the spirit and I am betting the letter of the Sunshine Law. This being one motion — and a refusal to back off that — explained by Mr. Kampf as “compromise” means that this group deliberated this motion in advance. When the woman in the audience asked why — explained that the board wasn’t trusted — and then when Mr. Kampf insulted the other woman who asked quietly why they could not be separated (why didn’t anyone answer this beyond a 3 year old’s answer: I wrote it this way….because) woman and suggested that this compromise was necessary — it means there was a DEAL. The deal is “we will back down on the St. Davids vote, but only if we are promised that we can throw open the question of sidewalks.” All that crap about revenue, and funding…this is a quiet effort to take back any control/input from the Planning Commission — just as Lamina threatened/promised when challenged about the SDGC vote. So why not admit that — or better yet — here’s a novel thought — why not DELIBERATE it — as opposed to having Ms. Kickline and Mr. DeB say they wanted to support it. They really have no choice. With this 4-3 voting bloc, the 3 on the outside are basically at the mercy of THE CHAIR….do what he says with a smile or find yourself picking up trash on 202 as your board job.

    I would sell my house tomorrow if I thought I could — this terrifies me how much crap this just exposed. Pattye — good job — your comment was good, but I think when you watch it, you will see you let him off the hook. You should have asked WHY they would not separate it — and not settled for “because I wrote it this way.” Next question: WHOSE VOTE will you lose if you separate it? Since Paul Olson told the newspapers you don’t need to treat eveyrone the same…..unbelievalbe CRAP.

    • Why did I leave the meeting with the feeling that we (the public) had been manipulated and that our government had let us down? “WHY” YOU ASK..Pattye.. BECAUSE the public has been manipulated. The Monarchy has spoken, along with his 3 Jesters. It doesn’t make me feel any better that the escrow has been restored – it just makes me angrier. All I can think of is Sunshine Law, Pre-ordained, Transparency – what a crock. For years, Lamina & Kampf have been running the show. Everyone else can surely see how they try to manipulate the other board members. Ms. Richter can prove that! Obviously, all of this went unrecognized when the Republican Committee backed Kampf instead of Judy. To me its just another example of a few people making decisions FOR the people, without asking the people what they really want. Though I am a Republican, I will back Drucker if my only other choice is Kampf. “WHY” you might ask…… BECAUSE I SAID SO…………….

    • what is y our definition of “backroom”? Are the supervisors not allowed to have private discussions? Maybe they would conspire to take over the township… whoops they did… and then the country….. oh no, already subverted by the masters of sunshine and integrity, that party of obama reid and pelosi…

      Well, I for one will just watch now, as cranky libs clutch and scratch and scream bluddy murder… what a crock.

      tennis anyone?

      • Unfortunately what you are failing to grasp is that this is not a Repub/Dem issue. Numerous people involved in the discussion on here have stated that they are registered Republicans, myself included.

        • Bill L, I am a Republican too. Never voted for a dem in my life, although I am appreciative of the work of an individual like Paul Drucker, notwithstanding his attempt to politicize the board at his first of second meeting… quickly disproved of his allegations.

          Democrats are unlikely to throw their own under the bus.. I think we should be careful of being too “fair”. Sounds cynical, I know, and I too question the integrity of LOK.

          But I am reluctant to join the chorus of the screeching, insipid democrats who want to jump jump jump..

          For the first time since I have been watching these meetings, I am concerned about the integrity of these three men. It seems though, that they are suffering too much aggravation than the job is worth.
          I think they made a mistake. These yuks, those who lost the election, and others, should move on.. Grow up.. or sue someone.

          • Chet – you say “Never voted for a dem in my life”

            You are exactly what is wrong with the system in general and the TTRC locally. To assert that the best candidate is always the one with the R next to their name is brainless. I guess you probably lack the aptitude to analyze the candidates on the merits.

            Let me guess, you probably support Warren over Buckwalter because Warren lives closer to you. If you are too lazy to truly understand the votes you cast we would all be better off if you stayed home.

            • Ouch. I am not active in the TTRC, and don’t have a clue as to who I would support for the district. I am not really brainless, in fact I have thought long and hard about all candidates I vote for. I almost voted for Mr. Drucker. I think he is a hard working man, honest and productive and has the good of his constituents in his heart. Then wonder why a man like him would be a Democrat. I do not believe in the tenants of the Democratic party, big government, high taxes, weak on national defense, and on and on. I do wonder why a smart man like Mr. Drucker believes in this stuff.. In fact, I just don’t get it. Guilty by association? You bet. Sorry. I am not sure what is wrong with the system, and I am not convinced you are even a Republican. You can be sure I will not stay home, and will not vote Democrat. Sorry Charlie.

  2. LOKR- I did vote for the St. David’s escrow before I voted against it.

    Olson apology? Silence speaks for itself.

    Let’s all be thankful that E.J. is not on the Fire Company Task Force.

  3. In my opinion, last night was just a continuation of the new ‘rule’ of our local government. What a damn joke. I sat at home watching the farce and wondering who the supervisors think that they are kidding? Most of us in this community are as smart as they are — difference is that most of us believe in honesty and truth. You were right last night Pattye when you said that we all WANT TO TRUST our elected officials, but unfortunately after last night do you really think that is possible?

  4. To the group of people who look at this website and love to find fault with everything and fuel the fire… you should be happy that you WON the St. David’s war… you do need to nitpick every single battle. Every now and then it would be nice to see a little praise for our elected officials… it is not easy to sit in that seat and last night was a big step… how about a THANK YOU to the BOS… and let’s all focus on moving forward.

    • Henry, on the one hand I agree: I’m a “let’s move forward” type of person. On the other hand, I’m stymied by our township leadership’s – and many constituent’s – giant steps backward on the sidewalk issue. SO 1950s. Do NONE of these NIMBY (“not in MY backyard!”) people walk anywhere? Or read anything about the resurgence and public benefit of walkable communities? Walkability ENHANCES property value, it’s documented. The STAP committee spent YEARS working on plans for Tredyffrin to be a pedestrian-friendly community. They didn’t pull that idea out of a hat! Multiple resident surveys showed 78% – yes 78% of us – want more sidewalks, paths and trails. Some of us would love to WALK to get a paper and a cup of coffee without taking our lives in our hands! This new “working committee” will be spending MORE time on issues that were already worked. We’re falling way behind our neighboring communities on this issue. C’mon people.

      • you said “Multiple resident surveys showed 78% – yes 78% of us – want more sidewalks, paths and trails”

        you forgot to mention that 99.9% are not willing to pay for it.
        anyone who owns property can have a sidewalk built on their property.
        If all these residents who live on Upper Gulph Road really want sidewalks, can’t they just hire a contractor themselves to have them built?

      • Kathie,

        There is really no conclusive evidence that “walkability” enhances property values. There are advocacy pieces on both sides, but I think it is a long way from a settled issue. I believe the survey you site about 78% wanting more sidewalks was the Parks committee survey. This was not conclusive as the vast majority of the residents did not respond or in fact even know about the survey. (I am not saying there was not a good response rate.) It is just that there was a push by sidewalk advocates to have the surveys returned but no similar push by those opposed.

        I don’t believe anyone knows how the majority of our residents feel. I think it would be great if we could get this on the ballot and find out if our community in fact wants more sidewalks, and if so, if they are willing to add a few mills to the tax rate to pay for it.

        Thanks for being one of the few that is not using nasty tones and is willing to have a constructive discussion.

      • Kathie,

        You interested me in doing a little research. Does Walkability enhance property values? The research seems to show that it does. But Walkability, as described in the research, is defined more by proximity to desirable locations (convenience stores, schools, libraries, etc.) than to sidewalks paths or trails. So, having a sidewalk, path or trail on your property does not enhance your property value, unless you are close to multiple desirable locations.

        It is this research that is driving developments like the one at Worthington Steel in East Whiteland. The Walkability is part of the plan, not something built after.

        I did some back of the envelope calculations on several areas of Tredyffrin Township using Google Maps, Zillow, and WalkScore. There are very few places in Tredyffrin with high Walkability scores. The Walkability of the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood is scored at 24 out of 100.

        I am not saying that a sidewalk should not be built at SDGC. I am just saying that the arguement that it will enhance the property values there is not a good one.

        I can provide links to the research I did if needed.

  5. Yep, you got it right —
    Paul Olson and Bruce Parkinson on the sidewalk committee. But I would also suggest that Lamina and Kampf need to be on the committee also. That way they can work on getting rid of all sidewalks, throw out the comprehensive plan and takeover the Planning Commission. Is that what ‘good government’ in Tredyffrin has become!

    Yeh, they would like to put this matter behind them. I thought Kampf recognized his appeal was fading when he didn’t get the 157 endorsement on Saturday. Guess he will just let the voters decide at the Primary. I am a Republican who is voting for Ken Bookwalter just to keep a vote from Kampf!

  6. As a TTRC member and a citizen who spoke out publicly against the republican lead board regarding the St. Davids vote, I am disheartened that this issue has now become a game of scoring political points. I guess I was naive to think we would all be happy when the BOS did the right thing and overturned their original vote. Believe me, if they didn’t know that the culture of politics has changed before the vote – they know now. Whether the decision was made in one motion or two, the net result is the same. Let’s give them credit for not digging in their heels and refusing to yield to their constituents. We all are now engaged, we aren’t going to leave the issue and there are enough watchdogs that I personally don’t worry about the outcome moving forward. I stepped out on a limb for the best interests of our community, Pattye, it would be nice to see you do it as well by not using this now as a political football.

    • The fact that the BOS choose to wrap the St. Davids escrow return around a ‘sidewalk’ committee does not give the same net result. Sorry, that decision has far-reaching effects — ask the developers engaged in land development projects in the township over the next 10 months. It is my opinion that every developer/builder in this township just got a ‘pass’ while this ‘sidewalk’ committee decides when (and if) sidewalks are required. You see, if the BOS had simply reversed the vote to pre-January 25 status, it would have made the St. Davids land development project ‘whole’. That way, the Planning Commission would still retain its authority to require sidewalks, curbing, etc. in projects before the PC. The way I see it, the oversight from the Planning Commissioners was just diminished with this vote. I don’t think that is a political football . . . I think that is the truth of the vote.

      • You’re right Pattye, and let’s extrapolate the potential effect of giving ANY developer a pass: today it’s sidewalks, tomorrow it’s a retention pond or replacing mature plantings that were razed. Where does it end?

      • Pattye,

        That is sort of the point. The Planning Commission never had this authority in the first place. None of the things that are to trigger a sidewalk under the code happened at St. Davids and numerous other places where they have required sidewalks. That is how we ended up here.

        In the case of SDGC the Planning Commission gave them two options – build a sidewalk which is not required or litigate for by-right approvals. It is not good public policy and it is about time this discussion was had. If it can happen to St. Davids it can happen to the rest of us.

        Does the Planning Commission have any objective people when it comes to sidewalks or are they just the flip side of Olson?

        Also Pattye, please stop saying this sidewalk would have ended at the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. You know that is not true. It ends at Fletcher Road and will not connect with the sidewalk to the west until the township extends it across neighboring properties. Again, it is becoming clear that this is really about politics.

        • Anonymous —

          The Planning Commission never had this authority in the first place.

          Your statement above is incorrect. In Tredyffrin Township, the Planning Commission has final say over land development projects. The following is from the Tredyffrin Township website, http://www.tredyffrin.org . I hope this clears up any misunderstanding.

          The Board of Supervisors has authorized the Planning Commission to prepare, update and oversee implementation of the Comprehensive Plan, Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance and Zoning Ordinance and to review land development and subdivision applications. Land development decisions by the Planning Commission are final, while the Board of Supervisors has final approval authority on all subdivision applications.

          • Pattye,

            With all due respect, your statement is incorrect. While it is true that the Planning Commission has final land development authority it still must follow the code. They can only require sidewalks under situations set forth in Section M for pedestrian amenities and sidewalks. None of those existed at SDGC.

            • St. Davids Golf Club signed the land development agreement, which included sidewalks.

              • Got it. You are ok with the non-elected Planning Commission showing disregard for the code and extorting sidewalk improvements from a non-profit. (Which by the way the Twp mislead SDGC on the cost.) But you are not ok with the elected BOS trying rather clumsily to fix it. I think I understand it now. This is about nothing more than politics. This probably explains why such a large percentage of those who spoke were affiliated with the Democratic Party.

                • First of all, the Planning Commission is
                  appointed by the BOS and it’s members
                  are approved in open session.

                  Everything the planning commission does
                  requires approval by the BOS.

                  Don’t forget they “serve at the pleasure of the board”.

                  If there was any disregard for the code,
                  you would have thought that SDGC would
                  have made a FORMAL request to have it
                  addressed sometime between the time
                  the permit process started and today.
                  Especially if they fell like they were “mis-led”
                  during the process. Since they signed off on
                  the sidewalk requirement, I would think the
                  burden would be on them to have it
                  corrected.

                  Lets not forget that SDGC still has yet to
                  make a written request to have the escrow
                  released.

                  The only thing we’ve had out of
                  them is that 60% of their membership is
                  made up of Tredyffrin residents. Their lone
                  spokesman successfully outed themselves
                  instead of taking the opportunity to say
                  something more meaningful and relevant.

                  The problem with this entire process is that
                  from day one it’s been political. Why else
                  would this have come out of the blue?
                  If all of this had been done through the right
                  channels, and SDGC had presented
                  themselves appropriately, I wouldn’t have a
                  problem with their issue.

                  Instead, someone decided over “lunch at
                  the club” to try and get this through the
                  backdoor now that the BOS is all Republican.

                  You comment smells of the same
                  disrespect we’ve heard from Mr. Olsen when
                  he forgot to turn off his microphone.

                  Typical Republican spin for sure, it’s very
                  “Bush-like”. Considering the board has been
                  in Republican control for over 300 years,
                  who else is going to be the opposing view
                  in the township? Men from Mars? No.

                  Of course they’re Democrats, that’s how it
                  works, so get over it.

    • Jim,
      If you are going to beome a member of that freak show that attends the BOS meetings only to get their 15 minutes of bi-monthy fame and notariety, please wear black. It makes you look thinner.

      • Tre D. Friend. Thanks for the fashion tips, I’ll take that into consideration. Also, thank you for your valuable contribution to the issue at hand. It’s democrats like you that make the party so strong in T/E!

    • It’s not exactly the same Jim. In the motion, a new condition was added to the St. David’s development plan. Where before, the only condition was when the BOS decided to enforce the plan (the power that is inherent in the BOS) – a new condition precedent was effectively added that stated that the club does not need to build the sidewalks until:

      1 – The township builds sidewalks in the area or,
      2 – The recommendations of the subcommittee.

      Note, 1 is dependent on 2. If you want to kill and idea, refer it to committee. It is a rather crafty move on the part of KLO. You know Olson got what he wanted when he seconded the motion. As for Kampf, he gets some political over with the GOP because he is now not seen as “caving in” on the issue. The same goes for Olson.

      Your best proof of that was Bruce Parkinson’s comments. When he said that 60% of the membership lives in the township and that the BOS should remember that – that was about as overt of a political threat and an assertion of political power there is. Bruce by the way, was chair of the St. David’s building committee in 2005 and is a current member of the local GOP committee and the county GOP executive committee. Ironically, he is also a member of the STAP.

      For the first time, formalized in public, you saw the nexus between St. David’s, Paul Olson, the BOS and how we got to where we are today….I thank Bruce for being misguided enough to say what he said last night. It was one of the missing ingredients I was looking for.

      I saw no reason last night to not proceed with the law suit.

      Maybe a judge would disagree and find that the BOS acted properly. I cannot worry about that. If that is what happens, then so be it. Somehow…I don’t see that happening.

      As for political footballs – Paul Olson, Bob Lamina and Warren Kampf, through their actions – made this a game of political football. This should’nt be about politics – but they have made it so.

      • paranoid, so sue sue sue…. sue osama.. sue the taliban… sue the bos… coward

      • what is Paul olsen’s connection to St Davis club? In other words, what was his motivation to start all this?

        Also, if all commissions serve at the pleasure of the BOS, then the BOS has the final word, no matter how hard, long and honestly the planning commission works? Does the BOS usually rubber stamp the findings of the Planning Commission? thanks
        Ram

        • The planning commission has been delegated authority for land development by township code. Therefore, final authority rests in the PC, not the BOS. This is a very simplified explanation. If the BOS wants to change that (as Bob has said they might), they need to change it via change in the code (proposal, notice, etc.).

          A way to understand this would be the theory known as “Dillon’s Rule.” Essentially, power exists at the state level and is delegated up to the federal government and down to the local government. At the local level, power can be further delegated but only as allowed by the state. The state allows for land development authority to be delegated to a planning commission. Tredyffrin has done this and thus the power is in the hands of the planning commission. The BOS cannot take it back on a whim, they have to do it by changing their ordinances.

          • thanks Roger, but one question begets another. Why then does the BOS vote on issues decided by the planning commission? I believe over the years I have seen this happen. thanks

            • I would imagine there are certain items which may not have been delegated to the PC? I guess I’d have to know exactly what the items were but I believe I remember a few instances as well. Most likely there are issues which require preliminary approval by the PC and then move to the BOS for final approval. However, approval of land development plans (which must be distinguished from subdivision plans where power is retained by the BOS) rests squarely with the PC.

              However, an issue like release of a performance guarantee (which is obviously related to the land development plan) is done by the BOS pursuant to their code. This must, of course, be done according to the defined process.

              I think the right way to make these decisions would be: (1) Who has the authority to make the decision; (2) What processes are in place that are required to be followed; (3) Act according to the answers to (1) and (2). It’s a matter of delegated authority and procedure.

  7. So, we should thank a Board that did what they should of done in the first place?

    Come on…open your eyes! The only reason this went the way it did was due to a threat of litigation and community outcry on both sides of the aisle. Hearing the word ‘compromise’ from Warren Kampf is funny since this was an issue that clearly violated the HRC and the A Code. You don’t call it a compromise when you broke the rules in the first place.

    I am thankful to the COMMUNITY that made enough noise to make this thing right Democrat and Republican. 2012 is coming fast Mr. Olson.

  8. After a “false start”, the BOS did the right thing with St. David’s, largely thanks to the efforts of the citizenry – well done. However, there are a number of people on this site and/or that speak at the Supervisors’ meetings that will find fault with whatever LOK do – even when LOK do what you want, they do it wrong, apparently. Your personal animus toward LOK gets in the way of any objective judgment, which diminishes your credibility.

    I don’t have any strong feeling about the one motion or two issue, quite frankly. But, after the discussion of the new sub-committee and the later comments on the Trail I have a couple of observations:

    – While I’m certainly not an apologist for Mr. Olsen, on at least two occasions last night, he argued for fully funding the Fire Depts. and Police as a first priority, before considering spending money on sidewalks. No love for Mr. Olsen from those that attacked him just two months ago?

    – There were comments from some which suggest that we should proceed with trails and sidewalks, as long as the county, state or Feds will provide the money. Quite frankly, this attitude nauseates me. Many of our country’s fiscal problems are a result of exactly this type of thinking via earmarks – “we’ll get ours, as long as we don’t have to pay for it”. Remember John Murtha? Would our healthcare system be such a disaster if more people actually thought about their care and what it costs? In fact, we should evaluate these projects and their value as if we have to pay for every penny.

    • Mike in Berwyn–

      “– While I’m certainly not an apologist for Mr. Olsen, on at least two occasions last night, he argued for fully funding the Fire Depts. and Police as a first priority, before considering spending money on sidewalks. No love for Mr. Olsen from those that attacked him just two months ago?”

      He did absolutely nothing except use the fire companies and police as a convenient excuse to further his own agenda. If you are truly naive enough to believe those words were nothing more than empty grandstanding gestures then you need to study politics, and Olson in particular, a little closer.

      • Bill L.:

        Again, whatever LOK does is wrong in your eyes. Whether Olsen supports the firefighters with his words or LOK raise $23k in additional private contributions, it’s an “empty grandstanding gesture” to you and yours.

        • Mike,

          Pretty much correct, in my opinion. Actions speak louder than words.

          And their actions say a ton. First, they cut monies to the fire companies. And they refuse to do anything about it until caving into public pressure. What did they do? They solicited monies (possibly illegaly from some of the discussions being had about it) from businesses outside of our own township, and possibly taking from one hand to put in another (taking from the regular fund drives to fund their own oversight). So many issues with that, even ones I didn’t touch on. Then the whole SDGC fiasco. His words were empty gestures of deflection. Oh, and you say “in additional private contributions”. First, the word additional should be stricken from that statement as they did STILL CUT FUNDING to the fire companies. Second, private donations to supplement the shortfall in budgetary provisions for a PUBLIC SERVICE THAT THE TOWNSHIP IS RESPONSIBLE FOR.

          You are correct on one thing though. Pretty much anything those 3 Supervisors do will be wrong in my eyes. Or I will at least be wondering what the endgame is. Not just because of these 2 issues, but these 2 issues are the ones that finally got everybody tired of it all.

  9. Pattye, it was nice sharing the ride with you but I’m afraid that it’s time for me to exit the train as we have come to my stop. Keep up the “good” work.

  10. Your voice is getting old and you are acting like a child that got their pudding but no sprinkles ~ you have gotten what you want no it is time to move on… big as big a person as the BOS was last night.

  11. “I support our community and its residents. I will focus on important township issues and strive to present in a nonpartisan manner.”

    This is your statement Pat… might be nice if your represented all views except just yours and the minority… since the big issue was resolved move on and focus on important township issues… and if you are sincere about being non-partisan you should act like it as it is obvious what color you bleed!

  12. Henry, your comments are certainly useful. What minority are you representing? I suggest that you might want to move on.

  13. I think we are becoming like Radnor. Judy Difilipo is missed. She had a calming effect, and a rational and measured instinct for the political fires.

    Question: Does the BOS want to take over the role of the Planning Commission? If the Planning commission has final authority on an issue before it, why does the BOS have to vote on it? I understand the planning commission isn’t elected. Seems though, like a recipe for trouble.

    If the board was all Democrat, would the democrats, and that joker who asked for Lamina’s resignation be at the mike? I wonder…..Of course, there would be no shananigans with Dems… just like our Federal gov’t. Yuk..

  14. Jim,
    Sorry to see you go. As a fellow committeeperson, I have enjoyed reading your comments and wondering what motivated some of them. You spoke out against the way St. David’s was handled. Admirably so. Seems like you may be caving to party pressure to tow the line or else….Too bad…

    Regarding the critical comments peppering the blog today, I think those who don’t see a difference between one motion or two are either willing to give LORK the benefit of the doubt, OR they support the underlying agenda of doing away with plans for sidewalks in all areas not directly around the schools.

    Neither seems smart or reflective of the community’s best interests.

    But even if the proposed sidewalk subcommittee is planted with Paul Olson’s backward-looking cronies, the community will be watching. The funny thing about making backroom deals is that people imagine all kinds of wrongdoing.

    If sunshine prevailed, life would get a lot easier for the BOS. We elected them to work in our behalf. There may be differences of opinion on how taxpayer dollars should be spent, but it is possible to reach a consensus in an open, democratic way.

    The problem is that for years our township has done much of its business “among friends” and in the back room, so opening up the process is foreign and scary (to some).

    But given the upsurge in attendance and viewership of the BOS meetings, and the fact that three of the seven supervisors have shown signs that they are listening to the community, there is reason to hope for change.

    That is, if the other four are even interested in public participation and opinion.

    And Paul “No-lson” is up for re-election in 2011, not 2012.

    • Sometimes concensus in unattainable. (See washington, dc.)

      Hope for change? Now I really want to throw up (see washington, dc.

      The party out of power always wants “consensus” and “hope for change”.

    • Katie, Dont worry. I’m leaving the issue -not the blog. As far as caving to party pressure, it’s obvious you don’t know me. I’m a maverick! Lol I had a problem with the process in regard to St Davids and …….. now I don’t. Agree or disagree, but this straight talk expresser is moving on!!!!

  15. Mike from Berwyn “– While I’m certainly not an apologist for Mr. Olsen, on at least two occasions last night, he argued for fully funding the Fire Depts. and Police as a first priority, before considering spending money on sidewalks. No love for Mr. Olsen from those that attacked him just two months ago?”

    Paul Olson has made statements like this for how many years now? We heard it twice last night. For some reason he always comes up short when it counts. Fire Dept. $ was cut in ’10 and Olson helped facilitate that. We will see what ’11 brings. I will bet a lot of $ John DiB (sp??) will remember what he said come budget time this year.

    All the Board did last night was advance a plan that is still in progress (re: Patriots Path). Mr. Olson didn’t do anyone any favors. The way he talked about the matter, it sounded like we were getting ready to fund the whole project this year. At least EJ and company stepped up and voted to keep things moving.

    Next topic please.

    • To those who want to “keep things moving”, one question I did not hear an answer to:

      How much will the various plans and engineering studies cost?

      • For the 1.7 mile sidewalk project near TEMS and Conestoga the PLANNING and PERMITTING is $642,983 – that’s before any construction. The Patriots Path proposes two trails, each 1.8 miles in length, including a pedestrian bridge over Swedesford Road – can we agree that planning, engineering, etc. for this project could easily cost several hundred thousand dollars over the next several years? Would these dollars be better used to increase police and fire funding, have a contigency in the budget, hold the line on taxes, or is Patriots Path planning the best use of Tredyffrin taxpayer’s money?

        By the way, with the sidewalk construction cost of $2,181,252.25, the total is 2,824,235.25 – a bargain at $314/foot of sidewalk!

  16. We already have a Planning Commission.
    We already have a STAP Committee.
    We already have a Comprehensive Plan.

    Why do we need ANOTHER subcommittee to look into any of this? What a waste of time and energy that could be better spent doing more important things like WORKING ON NEXT YEARS BUDGET!

  17. Pattye, Are you implying that I’m not country club material? Just teasing … actually, I do prefer beer & skeet shooting to cocktails & golf…

    As for last night, I’m afraid that it was all a big charade. Different words but the same meaning. What Lamina, Olson and Kampf did was wrong, but I suppose they can’t admit it because then we’d have to demand their resignation. Do you suppose they used the sidewalk issue to distract us from the real problem?

  18. The comments of many that are not satisfied are exactly what I was trying to get at with my question yesterday of The Process. If your argument had been that the problem was that The Process was not followed, your argument is now mute.

    To build on Mike’s comments

    1. Paul did publicly indicate indicate that he would rather spend money of fire and police. That is a good thing.

    2. When considering moving forward with sidewalks, paths and trail, it’s great that we might find grants and federal funding. Just because it gets built for “free”, does not mean that it does not cost us anything. We still have to pay maintain it.

    Kathie – “78% of us – want more sidewalks, paths and trails” . I’m surprised it is not 100%, right up until you ask those 78% to pay for it or have it go through their yard. Compare the comments of the first commentator and Mrs. Johnson – same neigborhood, different views.

    Finally,

    Mr. Lamina handled himself much better than I expected. You have to give him credit for the manner he ran the meeting in light of the abuse he took the last several weeks.

    Mr. Olson was himself – hates to spend money on anything.

    Mr. Kampf – didn’t help himself or the rest of the Board in my eyes.

    Bruce Parkinson – wow! didn’t help himself, the SDGC or the community. The club should step up and be a good neighbor and community member. I would expect no less from “A private golf club considered to be one of the premier clubs on the Main Line ” (from http://www.stdavidsgc.com/).

  19. I watched it on TV and am left to wonder about the dynamics of the audience in attendance. I am ignorant about party politics — so I don’t know the affiliations of those asking the questions. I learned more today about those making statements. The BOS were asked to break the motion into two motions by people of the “other party” — so I don’t think they ever heard a word. They did rescind the escrow. Clearly Kampf’s reference to compromise means that at least some of the members would only vote to rescind if it was partnered with the long motion. I too would like to have asked Mr. Lamina why he resisted the suggestion — and since I’m not a Democrat or someone with a history of coming to the meetings, maybe I could have pressed for an answer. That is not to my credit. But I suggest that we do need to lower the volume — and if Olsen really does run for re-election next year, I can tell you as a Republican that I will work for anyone I believe is qualified to run against him — as I think he clearly has reached the point of diminishing skills and benefits. He is a 1950s renaissance man…and while Mike in B. rightly points out that he was fiscally attentive last night, I believe that Mr. Olsen wants to fund the police and fire BEFORE he funds sidewalks, but he frankly has no interest in doing any of the above….so when ranking his priorities, he simply indicates which thing he won’t fund first…obliterating any possible support for what follows.
    Mrs. Richter — could you possibly STUDY the fire reports instead of asking them to modify them so you could give them a “quick glance.?”

  20. I thought long and hard about the motion last night and the aftermath. I am not in the business of offering praise for righting a wrong – that is ridiculous. I will tip my hat to the BOS who at the very least showed that they are aware of the public sentiment. Also, to some extent I do agree with the comments regarding the need to move on.

    And now, on to the substance. I sincerely believe that this was a combination of a positive gesture coupled with some political chess. It is plain and simple, a straight correction of this error would have resulted in a reversal of the 1/25 motion. Case closed.

    However, this motion essentially reversed the 1/25 motion and then sort of reversed the first part of the motion. Really, pay attention to the wording of the motion – it is a motion which almost reverses itself. The letter of credit for the sidewalks is restored BUT if the newly formed subcommittee determines that SDGC does not have to honor its land development plan then we are back to 1/26. An interesting and slick move.

    When Warren mentioned the importance of compromise, I began to think. He cannot be talking about compromise between the public and BOS. The BOS violated a provision of their administrative code – there is no leverage there. Simply put, they had an obligation to correct the wrong. So who are the compromising parties? I would venture to say it involves one or more of the supervisors and at least one individual who spoke last night. I will leave it at that.

    It is important to take something out of this – trust in LOK is minimal, at best from all sides of the political spectrum. Also, Warren’s demeanor and comments last night said one thing – he is a defeated man who blew a golden opportunity to ride off into the 157th sunset. It’s going to be Drucker v. Buckwalter. Warren vis done, you can take that to the bank.

    I have to say, though, that it is refreshing that people like Jim Baily spoke up and put their political neck on the line to try and get this thing righted. There is a glimmer of hope that power can be wrestled away by competent, fair and trustworthy individuals. I also agree, don’t complain unless you are going to take action (although it is certainly your right to complain). I am personally in the process of moving districts and will look forward to getting involved as a committee person and beyond when that time comes.

    • Roger, Thank you for the kind words. I thought it was great to see the community come together and put party politics aside. I am not sure of your political persuasion but please remember the local GOP is truly a big tent. As a new committeman, I am learning as I go. What ever party you choose, if you have any questions regarding roles and responsibilities of being a committee person please let me know if I can help. (You can reach me through Pattye) I find it awesome that more of us that have been spectators for too long are now becoming part of the political process.

  21. I have to say that it seems like there is more anger posted now after the reversal than when the escrow was released? The first amendment in action with all its glory.
    With all the wrangling back and fourth one thing is clear. Our form of government is the best on the planet. Government officials did something the residents didn’t like and the “people” spoke up and the government responded. END OF STORY.
    Time to move on
    Giovanni D’Amato

    • You are 100% right about our form of government being the best on the planet! Great point and something that shouldn’t be forgotten…..some people would have their knees broken (or worse) for this back and forth in a different country. I’m trying to keep my knees so I’ll take the good with the bad here.

    • Gio..

      I have to agree with you and Jim. The remedy was not perfect. I do feel that this site, public comment and perhaps my suit were BIG factors in pushing the BOS to do what it did. The escrow was restored and hopefully, the STAP aspect of the comp plan will get the proper due diligence it deserves. I spoke with a few folks yesterday and most likely, energies are better spent making sure that subcommittee does not suffer the same fate as the BAWG.

      As for members of the BOS:

      – The public sees Olson for the bad person he is. His actions re: St. Davids are proof of that as is his vote on the STAP – which was inconsistent with his St. David’s vote and his rush to second Lamina’s motion.

      – Kampf is done. His 157th. bid is an exercise in futility. Even if he manages to get out of the primary, his fate is certain in November.

      – Richter pretty much showed on Monday just how unprepared she is for the job. The comments re: the fire reports were pathetic.

      – Lamina was forced to do something he didn’t want to do.

      – Bruce Parkinson, local and county GOP member, St. Davids Member provided the nexus between Olson, certain members of the GOP, and the club. Parkinson and those like him like CT, Kampf, Marrose, etc represent the bad faction of the GOP and provides the bright line to differentiate from the good Republicans like Gio and Jim.

      The block of 4 has been broken – and that was a goal. We have a primary for the 157th – which puts the fate of that race in the hands of the voters. The St. David’s escrow was restored. The only thing we have to make sure of is that the sub committee operates properly.

      In short, the public won this round. Time to move on.

  22. Roger’s take on last night’s motion is the essential take-away.

    The joke is on us.

    Lamina’s motion’s was deliberately long-winded and confusing in order to mask its intent – to neutralize the reversal.

    It is clear that Lamina and Company could not have separated the motion into two distinct parts and still achieved their intended purpose – to make sure St. David’s was off the hook..

    Why do you think that crafty old man was smiling all night?

    The only change – it now lets others off the hook too.

    Not only is St. David’s no longer in breach of contract, but the club will no doubt be released from their obligation one way or the other – either by subcommittee recommendation or by the Township’s decision not to build publicly funded sidewalks on either side of the St. David’s property.

    Problems solved. Special favor accomplished. The Planning Commission’s independent advisory role cut down to size.

    And the power of LORK remains intact. In essence, we have a “1950’s Renaissance Man” and three devotees of limited government running this township – with the better part of two years left in their reign.

    And sidewalks? Remember Lamina and Olson’s comment to the Daily Local reporter? Only Democrats care about sidewalks.

    In the absence of a sustained bi-partisan effort to hold LORK accountable, nothing has a prayer of changing…

  23. Pattye, having put a lot of thought and concern into her commentary, asked some important questions. It might be helpful to focus the discussion on the questions she asked.

    Before we begin, here are the exact 210 words of Mr. Lamina’s motion:
    “I hereby move that the Board’s motion of January 25 regarding St. David’s be reversed and rescinded, and do hereby further resolve that the Board of Supervisors form a subcommittee with the Planning Commission and the STAP (Sidewalks, Trails and Paths) to begin a process to re-examine where the community wants and needs sidewalks, with the goal that this Board may adopt more formal policies and procedures to provide additional guidelines relative to design, development and construction of the sidewalks and paths in the township at large.
    At a minimum, this reassessment should address both the timing, prioritization, funding sources, and the conditions upon which the Planning Commission may from time to time grant relief from our land development ordinance and recommend any new changes which this prospective policy might require.
    While the subcommittee process takes place, neither the Board nor the Township will be formally moving to compel St. David’s to build the path until the new policies are adopted or the Township has put in place the designs or funding for sidewalks or paths that would connect to the proposed St. David’s pathway.
    The subcommittee, in carrying out its reassessment, will seek input from the public and committees involved, which will necessarily include the Planning Commission and STAP.”

    Pattye: What kind of motion was this?

    Confusing, clever, obtuse,… you can pick your words, but even the careful listeners in the audience that evening were saying “huh?” It was sad, with all this talk of transparency in government, that citizens were forced to the microphone to BEG the chairman to please at least re-read the whole motion before it was voted. Which he did not do.

    Was there only one copy of the motion among 7 supervisors?

    Why do we have an elaborate audiovisual system sitting idle when the text could easily have been available to the community? (Contrast with the professionalism of the later Great Valley Assn. survey report where a summary was projected for all to see.)

    In my mind, the motion was artful bait and switch.

    Pattye: Was this just another way to protect St. Davids Golf Club from honoring their land development contract?

    Without a doubt. The “subcommittee” process is supposed to wrap up within the year. Meanwhile, the township will not be “formally moving to compel St. David’s to build the path until the new policies are adopted….”

    Pattye: What about the rights of the Planning Commission who had consistently voted to enforce St. Davids land development commitment?

    Those rights are clearly under siege. They are being “re-examined” and “reassessed.”

    Pattye: What would this motion do for the precedent for developer/contractors not to comply with their contractual commitments?

    I think this is an interesting question for attorneys, and may likely depend on the financial resources available to a developer/contractor.

    My guess it that “Joe’s Hogie Shop” will likely have to put in his planned sidewalk.

    But if you are a bigger developer with the legal wherewithal, it would seem the field has opened up for you. Why not take on the township? Or just be like St. Davids and simply not comply.

    Pattye: Would this ‘sidewalk’ committee be part of the existing approved Comprehensive Plan?

    To quote the chairman, the Comprehensive Plan was a “visionary document.” It was just a beautiful balloon which we will slowly deflate. Our township now has some Patrons with their own vision of a more conscripted future for our community.

    What is the point of creating a new “sub-committee,” cherry-picked from members of existing committees? I call that a “meeting.” Which is a meeting I presume has already taken place behind closed doors.

  24. John,

    I think you hit it perfectly – “… energies are better spent making sure that subcommittee does not suffer the same fate as the BAWG.”

    You also are right about Ms. Richter – not understanding the difference between BLS and ALS and not knowing all the providers of service – where has she been the last several years?

  25. Who identified Ms. Richter and how did she get elected? Asking if the fire companies could change their report formats so she could understand them at a “glance” — could she have just asked them privately to explain the report? I don’t want supervisors to “glance” — especially considering the gravity of the whole fire funding issues. I’d like her to study them.

    • Township Reader,
      Ms. Richter is a Tredyffrin Republican committee woman — guess you could say she came up through the ranks to become a supervisor.

      Other than ‘time on her hands’ (her words during the debate) I’m not sure what this person is bringing to the table. You would think that she would have that ‘time’ to thoroughly read those fire company reports, rather than asking the fire companies to format them differently so she could understand them at a ‘glance’. How embarassing! In the case of Ms. Richter, I think her learning curve might require more than a ‘glance’ at anything township-related!

      I know Ms. Richter has her supporters out there — but I’m one Republican who winces every time Ms. Richter opens her mouth.

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