Blogs > Stan's Bold Blog

Talking about everything and anything that just doesn't sound right

Monday, January 26, 2015

Would you donate a dollar to save your town?

How much change do you have in your pocket or purse right now? Chances are, it’s close to a dollar, maybe two. If so, how much would it affect your ability to pay your bills this month if you were to send one dollar to a worthy cause? And what if you knew that dollar could make a difference? I mean a real difference. Norristown is on the brink of revitalization, but there are certain key pieces to the puzzle that also have to be in place for it to make a real come back. A town not only needs to be clean, and safe, and have a thriving business community, but it also needs to have a vibrant arts scene. Unfortunately, the arts community cannot be self-sustaining. It needs the help of the communities it serves to keep the creative juices flowing. To that end, the Centre Theater in Norristown is struggling and it needs your help. In this week's rant I explore the possibilities of what a dollar could actually do for the county seat of Norristown, Pennsylvania.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Norristown needs to resolve itself to revitalize

In my latest rant I go off about New Year's resolutions and how people pretty much dumped them after the first couple of weeks of January are in the books. I think people should resolve to do things when the moment strikes, not at the end of the year when they're thinking about all the things they should have done before the calendar came around for a change.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Calling Christopher Walken: Norristown needs more cow bell!

In my latest rant I talk about the good things in Norristown that are attracting people to downtown again, but, as I see it, there just aren't enough venues. We need more cowbell! Within the past couple of years we have seen new restaurants come along, including Banh Mi and Almaz Café, to join La Michoacana and August Moon, two established restaurants that anchor Main and Arch streets. The international flair is there, we just need to bring everyone together to talk about it, and more importantly to tell people who live outside Norristown about it. The addition of the new Five Saints Distillery, which is expected to debut sometime late this year, will add another dimension to Main Street. August Moon also hosts Second Saturday jazz nights every month drawing a crowd from far and wide to come into town to hear authentic jazz that might make you think you were sitting in a speak easy on Iberville St. in New Orleans. But the restaurants alone won’t keep the momentum going. We need specialty shops, and more eateries, to complement the two theaters we have in the county seat. The Centre Theater is holding ‘A Night of Wine and Roses’ with two live shows on, you guessed it, Valentine’s Day. Tickets can be purchased at thecentretheater.ticketleap.com. There are a lot of other events at the theater, which is currently undergoing a series of renovations throughout the building to attract a more diverse audience, including a space for music lessons and a small independent and second run movie theater. Theatre Horizon, celebrating its 10th anniversary, continues to produce stellar stage productions, and also holds acting classes, hosts an autism drama program as well as an after school drama club. These are the things that attract people to downtowns all across America. And we need more of them.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Journalism's future in 2015 and beyond

No, I'm not trying to channel Buzz Lightyear, I'm just thinking about the future of our newsrooms. In this week's rant I take a moment to reflect on the past year, but spend the majority of time talking about what the future of journalism holds. I think it's a bright future. You may not. No matter where you stand on the subject always remember the words of Thomas Jefferson: "Were it left to me to decide whether there should be government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter." Well said, Tom, well said.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What deserves our attention in 2015?

Last week's column caught me off guard, but I'm already gearing up for my first column of the New Year. What's the biggest issue facing us in 2015? Property taxes are still in my cross hairs, but is there something else that deserves more attention? Just in case you missed it, here's last week's rant. And, when you're sitting around the house this weekend, take a moment or two to think about what really gets you fired up. It might just be something we should all be a little ticked off about.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Trying to put a bow on 2014 just won't work

More people than I imagined actually showed up in this year’s mid-term election. I was predicting somewhere along the lines of our primary, which was dismal. Less than 19 percent of voters in the county level and less than 7 percent in the county seat decided it was worth their while to vote back in May. The general election was much healthier, with more than 40 percent turnout on the county level. But honestly, I can’t in good conscious put a bow on turnout until we get a little closer to the 70 and 80 percent turnout, and sometimes 90 percent, we see in third-world countries. When we do get there, or at least get close to those numbers, perhaps then we could take a look at the size of our government on the state and federal levels. For this week’s rant, though, let’s concentrate on state government. Did you know we have the second largest state legislature in the United States? Well, did you know our second largest state legislature actually costs twice as much as the largest, California’s, by about double? Let’s try putting a bow on this slippery little devil when 2015 rolls around, shall we? There have been several attempts in the past. A couple of years ago Speaker of the House Sam Smith offered up a bill to reduce the size of state government. The first time around it died in the Senate because of inaction. Surprise, surprise. The second time around, just last year, the speaker split his effort into two bills, one for the House and one for the Senate, but of course, members of both bodies decided to tack amendments on that, I’m speculating, they knew would probably table the proposals. There’s a lot going on in Harrisburg that even the most experienced bow tier would have trouble getting into one shiny box, but we simply cannot give up on the effort. Closer to home, we did pull off a major redesign of all of our newspapers in the Philadelphia area. And, we actually put some bows on them during Breast Cancer Awareness month. On a personal level, I joined the newly formed board of the Greater Norristown Society of the Arts and we’ve been working extremely hard this year to breathe new life into the Centre Theater. We’re nowhere near putting a bow on the theater, but we are making strides toward getting the society to a solvent level. We’re launching a new music school that we’re hoping will become all the rage. Think about it, a music school in Norristown. What’s next, a symphony orchestra? And, of course, it wouldn’t be a rant if I didn’t end this week’s column with the biggest missing bow of the year, property tax reform. We just don’t seem to be able to get that bowed tied, even a little bit. Just when you think we at least have a piece of ribbon wrapped around a portion of the problem someone comes along with a pair of scissors.

Monday, December 8, 2014

To be fair, state legislator pay should be frozen

As I look back on my columns for 2014 it seems like I’ve written one long column, I’m talking novel long, about the need for property tax reform in Pennsylvania. Along the way I complained about some of the things our state legislature deemed more important than providing relief to property owners, who are being held hostage in the name of public education, and while I know my words have not fallen on deaf ears, our elected officials have been successful in sidestepping the issue the entire legislative session. In their defense they have been busy, though. This past legislative session a total of 369 proposals were enacted, according to witf.org, a Harrisburg-based media outlet. House members introduced 3,160 proposals, and 1,091 resolutions, while their counterparts in the Senate introduce 1,981 proposals and more than 500 resolutions. Man, that’s a lot of paperwork. Somehow or another, our state legislature found a way to come together to pass 369 bills during this past legislative session. And yet not a single measure on property tax relief found its way to the governor’s desk. To be fair, though, neither did a measure on liquor privatization or pension reform. You know that guy in the office that always looks like he’s busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest, that’s our state legislature. While I’m not one to complain, as I tried to explain in my complete rant in this week's column, which you can find in its entirety right here, I’m suggesting we freeze the salaries of our state legislators right where they are.