Public Invitation Includes Speakers Gerlach, Toomey and Kampf . . . but Where’s Buckwalter?

A friend gave me a public invitation she received in today’s mail.  Here was a part of the invitation:

Come and Hear:

Congressman
Jim Gerlach

Tredyffrin Supervisor and State Representative candidate
Warren Kampf

Plus a Surprise Speaker!

Sponsored by Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee http://www.ttgop.com

 I am puzzled and confused by this invitation.  On February 20th,  both the Democrats and the Republicans held their nominating conventions and I wrote about both of the conventions.   For the State House Representative 157, incumbent Paul Drucker was endorsed by the Democrat Party.  However, at the Chester County Republican Convention neither Warren Kampf nor Ken Buckwalter were endorsed by the party.  After three rounds of voting (Round #3, Kampf 29 – Buckwalter 27)  the decision was to recommend, not endorse either candidate.  To receive the party’s endorsement would have required one of the candidates to receive 60% of the votes.  To read about the Chester County Republican Committee vote which I posted, click here.

So then I look at this invitation and wonder to myself if the TTGOP is sponsoring this public event in a public place (the event will be at the Strafford Library, April 12, 7-9 PM) a couple of things jumped out at me.  First thing, I wondered was where was Ken Buckwalter’s name?  Warren Kampf is recommended (just like Ken) and this is sponsored by the local Republican party, so shouldn’t both of their names appear on the invitation? Shouldn’t Ken have the same opportunity as Warren to speak at this public forum?  Was this a simple oversight . . . a miss-step . . . or what?   The opportunity to participate in this forum should be open to both candidates.  If Warren had been endorsed by the party, this would be a different matter but he was recommended, just as was Ken.  I think that Ken should be included and given the same opportunity to participate; level the playing field.

Then the next question I have about the invitation is re Jim Gerlach.  Is this invitation intended to imply that Gerlach has endorsed Warren Kampf?  That’s the way it reads to me but I don’t recall seeing a press release to that effect. Has Gerlach endorsed Kampf?  Did Gerlach OK this invitation?  Does Gerlach know that Ken Buckwalter was not included?  For the sake of party unity, I would think that Gerlach would want to treat both candidates fairly until the primary.

Now my third comment on this invitation, I was curious who the ‘surprise speaker’ was?  I did some checking around — and was able to track down the surprise speaker — Pat Toomey.  Very interesting . . . I wonder if Gerlach was told about the surprise speaker?  Interesting trio of speakers – Gerlach, Toomey and Kampf.  Comments anyone?  Do you agree that Ken Buckwalter should be asked to join this group on April 12 and given an opportunity to speak?

Main Line Suburban Life Weighs in on Board of Supervisors Meeting and St. Davids Golf Club Motion

Today’s Main Line Suburban Life newspaper offered the following article by Blair Meadowcroft concerning the recent Board of Supervisors Meeting and the St. Davids Golf Club Motion.  I decided to post this article because it quotes John Petersen as saying that he intends to move forward with the lawsuit against the township.  As of today, John has changed his mind and will not file the lawsuit.  Rather than people reading this article and misunderstanding, I thought it best to clarify the situation.  John has left on a business trip otherwise I would let him explain . . . perhaps he will offer an explanation for his decision once he gets to Austin. 

    Tredyffrin board votes to look at St. Davids Golf Club controversy

By Blair Meadowcroft

The St. Davids Golf Club issue, which has been a heated debate for weeks in Tredyffrin Township, has taken yet another turn.

First the Board of Supervisors voted 4-3 to approve a motion to release $25,000 from an escrow account to the golf club on Jan. 25. Then on Feb. 8 three of the four supervisors who approved the motion publicly apologized, saying their actions were not perfect. Two weeks later, after getting requests from numerous residents to reverse the vote, Chairman Bob Lamina offered a new motion that he hoped would serve as a “solution.”

Specifically the motion stated that the vote made on Jan. 25 “be reversed and rescinded.” While this on its own made residents happy, more conditions were added to the motion that quickly changed their opinion. According to the motion, the BOS, Planning Commission and Sidewalks, Trails and Paths Committee (STAP) will form a subcommittee to “begin a process to re-examine where the community wants and needs sidewalks.” Under this motion the committee will look at the “conditions upon which the Planning Commission may from time to time grant relief from our land-development ordinance” among other specific assessments including prioritization and funding sources.

According to Lamina the subcommittee will be initiated in March and the process of re-evaluating should be done by the end of the year.

“I hope this motion can get us back to where we should have been all along,” said Lamina. “We need to get back into a dialogue process for paths and sidewalks in the township. My hope is that we can move forward together and not look backward.”

According to Township Manager Mimi Gleason, the idea of discussing and defining the greenworks network, which is a part of the Comprehensive Plan, had been considered, and such an assessment, if done, would hopefully gain resident input on what is wanted or needed in the township.

However, in response to Lamina’s motion, residents questioned why there wasn’t a simple reversal without added conditions. Many suggested the board divide the motion into two separate parts, and requested to see it in writing and be given time to consider it before taking a vote. The underlying feeling from those who spoke at the meeting was that the residents no longer trust the board and therefore question its actions.

“I wrote the motion with the idea that this was a comprehensive response to the discussions and comments that have been made, and that it would put us to where we were before,” said Lamina. “There is no deal, no reasoning behind the second part of the motion. This is just trying to move forward.”

According to Lamina, St. Davids officials confirmed their continued obligation to put in sidewalks, and that everyone he had spoken to regarding the proposed motion was on board.

As one of the supervisors who originally voted against the motion Jan. 25, John DiBuonaventuro stated that he supported the new motion on the table because “if anything less than a genuine evaluation comes out of this, I will speak up against it and so will you, and for now we have to get past this.”

After hearing varied comments from residents, most of whom were against the motion, as well as comments from board members in favor of it, Lamina held a vote. The board unanimously passed the motion.

As a result of the conditions placed on the motion, Tredyffrin resident and one-time supervisor John Petersen has decided to sue the township. Before the meeting Monday night, Petersen had written up a complaint against the township and specifically the four supervisors who originally voted in favor of the motion. His intention was to wait to see how the meeting played out and then decide whether or not to serve the township the papers.

“They did not do what I requested, which was to formally reverse, in pure form, what happened on Jan. 25,” said Petersen. “I asked for declaratory judgment stating that what happened was wrong, but Monday night there was no admission or recognition that what happened was against the Home Rule Charter, Paul Olson never apologized and the board didn’t simply reverse the vote; they added new conditions.”

According to Petersen, his plan is to review the lawsuit and make a few changes, and will go forward with this within the week.

“I am going to remove the individual names from the lawsuit because the focus of this now is about the township and the board as a collective whole and wanting them to do the right thing,” said Petersen. “With the unanimous action from the board, there is no reason to distinguish the members.”

He went on to say that no such lawsuit should have to be filed, and that his filing will be subject to the board “doing the right thing.”

“All I am asking is that the court declares what happened as illegal, and that the vote made last night was null and void,” said Petersen. “I want everything to go back to exactly the way it was before Jan. 25.”

Breaking News — Lawsuit Set to be Filed Against Tredyffrin Township and Supervisors Lamina, Olson, Kampf & Richter

Breaking News

The decision by Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter to return St. Davds Golf Club escrow is now headed down the legal road to the court of law. 

In regards to the St. Davids Golf Club escrow return, I am in receipt of a draft complaint naming John Petersen as the ‘Plaintiff’.  This complaint will be filed by noon tomorrow in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, West Chester. 

Listed as ‘Defendants’ in the complaint is Tredyffrin Township and Robert Lamina, Chairman Board of Supervisors, Paul Olson, Vice Chairman Board of Supervisors, Warren Kampf Member Board of Supervisors and Evelyn Richter, Member Board of Supervisors, Individually and as members of the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors.

The complaint seeks Declaratory Judgment and Equitable Relief for the following violations:

COUNT ONE – Sunshine Act

COUNT TWO – Home Rule Charter and Administrative Code

COUNT THREE –Arbitrary and Capricious Action

John provided me with a copy of the draft complaint and asked me to make his intention to file public on Community Matters.  The complaint seeks no monetary damages but seeks to turn the clock back to before the Board of Supervisors vote of January 25.  In other words, the basis of the complaint is to return the St. Davids Golf Club escrow to the township (as if the vote never took place). Once the complaint is filed at the court house, John has given me permission to make the document public on Community Matters. 

Like so many of us in this community, John was disappointed and frustrated by the actions of Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter with their January 25 decision to return escrow to St. Davids Golf Club.  When given the opportunity at the February 8 meeting to correct their mistake, these supervisors instead offered an apology and the suggestion that they would try to ‘do better’ in the future. Rather than continuing to hope that these elected officials would at some point ‘see the light’ and correct their mistake, John is taking the matter to the court of law with an official complaint.  I support John’s decision to take legal action and applaud his courage to take it to the next level! 

The next Board of Supervisors Meeting on Monday, February 22 just got more interesting!  This is an important meeting for all Tredyffrin residents to attend. 

Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors Meeting, 2-8-10 . . . YouTube Video Part IV: Residents Speak Out

Residents continue to offer their opinion on the St. Davids escrow return at the February 8 Board of Supervisors Meeting.  Please note that the community members who attended the meeting and offered their remarks where not ‘arranged’ in advance. 

If you recall, there was a small group of St. Davids neighbors contacted for the January 25 BOS meeting.  It was at that meeting that St. Davids Golf Club did not appear on the agenda, no public notification and yet some of Supervisor Olson’s constituents in the St. Davids area somehow knew to show up (some even had written comments) and support Olson’s motion.  Supervisor Olson was absent for the February 8 meeting.  Interestingly the small Olson support group also did not attend that meeting. 

At the February 8 meeting, one after another resident offered commentary and asked questions of the supervisors. For the most part, their questions were unanswered, citing legal reasons.  Chesterbrook Jim Bailey did not expect to speak but was so troubled by the treatment of Supervisors Lamina and Kampf towards resident John Petersen, Jim was compelled to speak.  He also offered that he was a Tredyffrin Republican committeeman; highlighting that the issues/concerns with certain elected officials was not about one political party vs. another. 

Please watch this video clip, Part IV:  Part IV: Residents Continue to Speak Out

Letter to the Editor . . . TTGOP Chair CT Alexander Takes on Retired Supervisor Bill DeHaven

Just when I think that we are ‘moving on’ as the title of a Letter to the Editor in this week’s Main Line Suburban Life would indicate, I am immediately taken back to that December meeting when the ‘cardboard check’ to the firefighters reared its’ ugly head. Below is a letter from TTGOP Chair CT Alexander to Bill DeHaven that was listed under the category of ‘Support of Berwyn Fire Company’ in the paper’s opinion index.  The letter from Mr. Alexander  which comments on Bill’s ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ cable TV show, and the suggestion that Bill & Co. is beating an old horse certainly caused me pause this morning.

All I can say is unbelievable to Mr. Alexander’s letter!

OK, let’s revisit the cardboard check of 2009 and where we stand with contributions to date.  How much of the $23,200 promised money has been delivered to date?  The last time that Supervisor Olson called me, the total turned over to the Berwyn Fire Company was $8,950 (that total was several weeks ago). When we last spoke, Supervisor Olson said that he would call me when he delivered the next contribution installment to the fire company.  I have not received any further calls, so should I think that there’s been no further contributions?  I think we need an update, don’t you?

As for Mr. Alexander, where does he stand with his $5K contribution in matching funds to the firefighters from the TTGOP?  Can I assume that since Mr. Alexander is calling Bill DeHaven out over this matter, that his organization has made their total contribution as they promised last month?  As follow-up I will email CT and let you know if I have an update on that front. I’m wondering if Bill or Dan (Bill’s sidekick as quoted from Mr. Alexander) have any response to this Letter to the Editor? Let me know if you have a comment; I’ll be glad to publish.

Since I’m on the topic of the firefighters and the Firefighters Holiday Drive, can I ask that Berwyn give us an accounting at Monday’s Board of Supervisor Meeting on the contributions to date.  From someone who has done a bit of fundraising, getting the commitment of the gift is one thing, . . .  it’s the collection that often times proves the most challenging.  I know many of our residents were confused and thought that the presentation of the cardboard check meant that the fundraisers had that money is hand already — folks, that was a promise check . . . there’s still collection required for that $23,200.

Here’s CT Alexander’s Letter to the Editor:

   It’s time to move on

To the Editor:

Watching TV Channel 2 the other night I observed Berwyn icon Bill DeHaven and his sidekick using valuable air time to excoriate a political mailer from an election that took place over a month ago, akin to “beating a dead horse.” From earlier shows I remember Bill’s encouragement to sign an Internet petition in favor of re-instatement of the Berwyn Fire Company’s budget cut from the [Tredyffrin] township’s 2010 budget. I signed that petition and added that I had a plan. Thereafter, through a timely and generous private-sector outpouring, that shortfall was eliminated and then some.

This is a great opportunity for Bill & Co. to turn his attention to asking those same petition-signers – all 500-plus – to write a check for $10 and send it to Berwyn Fire Company to show tangible evidence of your support – “put your money where you vote was.” In no time the fire company would realize a windfall of $5,000, doubling the matching grant of the private citizens that inspired the whole public solicitation in the first place, thus funding an innovated fund-raising mailer scheduled for January 2010 piggybacking township tax notices.

Bill, it’s time: stop beating a dead horse – start beating the drums of support for Berwyn Fire Company!

John C.T. Alexander, Strafford

P.S. It’s tax-deductible!

Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors – Some are Political Party Committee Members – is this OK? Radnor Township Says No for their Commissioners

Tredyffrin Township is governed by Home Rule Charter, and you can find a copy on the township website, www.tredyffrin.org.    With a new year, and 3 new supervisors on Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors, I was curious about something.  When someone is a committee person for a political party and is elected to serve their community, I wondered how this subject was handled under Home Rule Charter (or was it even addressed).  From my vantage point, supervisors are elected to serve all the residents, and by remaining a committee person for a particular party, I would think that there is an appearance that a political committee person would ‘lean’ in the direction of their party.  Of the 7 members of Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors, we now have 3 supervisors who are also Tredyffrin Township GOP committee members (Kampf, Kichline, Richter).  I think that Supervisor Kampf is also a PA State GOP committee member – but I’m not 100%.

I checked Tredyffrin Township’s Home Rule Charter and this subject is not addressed.  So I looked to our neighbor, Radnor Township who also uses Home Rule Charter for their local government.  I guess the residents of Radnor Township share my concern with political party committee people serving in elected positions, as they are very clear in their Home Rule Charter. Radnor Commissioners are prohibited from holding an elected or appointed political office.  The information below is cut and pasted directly from Radnor’s Home Rule Charter.  Reviewing Radnor’s regulations on elected officials holding political party office, I was also interested in their ‘Conflict of Interest’ section (also included below).  Reading this,  I am wondering if Radnor Township’s Commissioners would have been permitted (under their ‘Home Rule Charter’) to solicit to businesses on behalf of Radnor Fire Company?  Interesting question, don’t you think?

From Radnor Township’s Home Rule Charter

§ 21.9-904. Prohibitions.

 A. The activities which follow shall be prohibited in the operation of the Township government.

   1. Discrimination. No person shall, in his employment by the Township in any capacity, appointment to any Board, Commission, or Authority, or removal therefrom, be favored or discriminated against because of age, race, national origin, sex, handicap, or political or religious opinions or affiliations in violation of applicable Federal or State laws. No person shall be accorded favored treatment in employment or appointment because of family relationship.

   2. Improper Gifts. No person who seeks appointment on any Township Board, Commission, or Authority, or employment by the Township in any capacity shall, directly or indirectly, give or pay any money, service, or other consideration to any person in connection with such appointment or employment. In addition, no elected or appointed Township official or employee shall receive any money, service or other consideration in connection with such appointment or employment.

   3. Political Party Office. No Township official elected under this Charter, no appointed official, and no full-time Township employee shall hold any elected or appointed political party office.

   4. Improper Political Influence. No elected or appointed Township official and no employee of the Township shall request any Township employee to make a political contribution or engage in political activity.

   5. Other Government Service. No Township official elected or appointed to an elective office under this Charter and no full-time Township employee shall hold any other Township employment or any other elective or appointive Township position. No Township official elected or appointed to an elective office under this Charter and no full-time Township employee shall hold any full-time employment, or any other elective position, with Delaware County or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This provision shall not apply to employees of School Districts or of other educational institutions.

 B. Violation of any provision of this Section shall constitute grounds for forfeiture of office, termination of appointment, or dismissal.

§ 21.9-905. Conflict of Interest.

 A. No elected or appointed official of the Township and no Township employee, shall engage in any activity which follows.

   l. Take any action as a result of information acquired as a Township official from which action the Township official or employee or any other person or entity in whose welfare the official is interested, shall realize a gain or advantage. Such action shall not, however, be construed to be prohibited if the gain or advantage were realized generally by a group or class of citizens as the purposeful result of such action.

   2. Solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, favor, service commission, or other consideration that might reasonably tend to influence that official or employee in the discharge of the duties of office.

   3. Seek to influence, directly or indirectly, the awarding of any contract where such Township official or employee, or other person or entity in whose welfare the official or employee is interested would benefit directly or indirectly, financially or otherwise, from said contract.

 B. Disqualification from Action. Any elected or appointed official and any employee of the Township, having a direct or indirect financial interest with any person or business entity proposing to contract with the Township for the purchase or sale of land, materials, supplies, or services of any kind, or seeking formal action of the Board or any petition application, request, or appeal, whether that interest be as an employee, a party, a partner, or a stockholder, shall disclose fully said interest and except where stock holdings in a public corporation shall be minimal, shall not participate in the discussion or formal action relating thereto. Violation of the provisions of this Section shall render the contract of such actions voidable by the Township.