Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year, new possibilities

OK, let's start the new year off on the right foot.
We spent the past year complaining about everything under the proverbial sun, and don't get me wrong, we'll get back to that real soon. I just wanted to start off the year with a blog about new possibilities in the new year. I've been working with some really great folks behind the scenes to find a new home for the Montgomery County Cultural Center. We're even going to give it a new name, the Norristown Performing Arts Center. It's going to be a place where you can go see off-Broadway quality theater and musical acts that you can remember from days gone by. Did you know Greg Allman was booked for New Year's Eve at the Keswick?
We're going to start a new feature in paper and online about people in the are who do good deeds, just because. 'Faces' will debut the first week in February. We're going to launch a social networking site to accompany the profile pieces so everyone will have a place to share their stories.
Those are just a couple off the top of my head. How about you? What do you see possible in the new year?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stackless in West Norriton

Take a look up the next time you're driving down Main Street.
Make sure you're keeping one eye on the road, though, I don't want you to get into an accident.
When you do look up you'll notice that one of the Barbadoes Island smoke stacks is gone.
The other is going to come down soon, I hear.
There are a lot of eyes sores around the area, and while the smoke stacks were not as visible as most, they certainly didn't lend anything positive to the aesthetics of the area.
What other buildings or structures do you know about that need to be no more?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Postal mystery solved, ARC still coveted

Thank you, Mr. Rick Brown.
I thought I was going crazy last week when I saw the Eagleville post office had shut down, especially since my mailing address had recently been changed to Eagleville. Thanks, Rick, for letting everyone know it had simply moved. Unlike you, I don't live in Lower Providence. I live in West Norriton, but that's where I go to pick up my certified mail.

So, every one's tired of talking about the ARC, eh? I could talk about the hospital move, but there's nothing new going on right now.

How about a performing arts center in Norristown?
I'd love to talk about that. How many of you would be interested in helping out with bringing a little culture into the county seat? We already have the state on board to the tune of $500,000, the county on board for some significant funds, and the borough, I mean municipality, is ready to help out any way they can, but we're also going to need some every day folks willing to throw a shilling or two into the pot.
Shoot me an e-mail at if you think you want to get involved.

Friday, December 5, 2008

New heights in Lower Providence

Maybe this was in the paper and I missed it, but being a resident of West Norriton, which has the same zip code as Providence and East Norriton, I became one the new residents of Eagleville a few months back when the U.S. Post Office decided that's where we live now. To be honest, it really didn't bother me all that much. But, there's always a but, isn't there? Anyway, I went to Kmart the other day to buy a gift for a youngster in Norristown's preschool program and guess what I spied as I pulled into the parking lot. The Eagleville post office was closed down. I don't mean just for the day, the letters have been pulled off the front of the building.
So, stew on that one for a while and let me know what you think.
And if that's not enough to get your juices flowing what do you think about the latest with the ARC?
I thought that might work.
The National Parks Conservation Association has filed a federal suit to get the zoning overturned.
I'm beginning to think we might have another revolution before this thing gets built, no matter where it winds up getting built.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Here's the frightening part

I told you I would come back with some frightening numbers on where your tax dollars are spent.
Are you sitting down? You really should be.
Pennsylvania spent a whopping $108.3 billion in the 2005-06 fiscal year, according to the Commonwealth Foundation, and is expected to increase spending to $130 billion by the 2010-11 fiscal year. That's right. That's a billion with a 'b.'
Any time anyone starts talking in the billions I lose track. I can’t even imagine what a billion of anything looks like. So, thanks to the good folks at the Commonwealth Foundation, I’m going to break it down for you.
The state spent, in the 2005-06 fiscal year, $4,312 for every man, woman and child in the state. Really?
But it gets better. For the same year local governments spent an average of $4,378 for every man, woman and child in their respective municipalities. Seriously?
Unfortunately, I am serious. By the way, this amounts to an increase in government spending, on just the local and state level, by a little more than 98 percent since the 1991-92 fiscal year.
Governments have no reason to rein in their own spending. All they have to do if they need more money is increase taxes, and we all know how good they are at doing that.
I think it’s time to start a movement that requires a referendum on any local or state spending that goes beyond the rate of inflation.
Our federal government is a monstrosity. Did you know there are more than 14 million people working for our federal government?
Pennsylvania alone employs more than 80,000 people, according to our state’s own recruiting Web site.
That's right, the state government is so big it has its own recruiting Web site.
So, let's kick it up a notch, folks.
Government is simply getting out of hand, no matter what level you look at.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Where do our tax dollars go?

I'll tell you where I think it all goes. I think it all goes to our local, state and federal governments so they can tell us how we're supposed to be living. We spend as much money on people working in government than we do on programs that are supposed to be helping people.
When are we going to let them know we've had enough?
We work now until, what, April before we're actually finished paying our tax load?
Our state and federal governments are huge.
And locally, our school districts tell us how much money they're taking from us each year to give our children a quality education. How about we start telling them how much we're going to let them spend to give our children a quality education?
When did we let our governments get so big?
It wasn't just yesterday so you can't blame Bush, which a lot of people try to do for just about everything.
I think it's about time for some accountability.
Just where do our tax dollars go?
You tell me where you think they're going and then I'll come back with another blog with some absolutely frightening numbers.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Color blind

My candidate lost last night.
There will be time to reflect on that loss, but now it's time to reflect on the win.
The color barrier in this country has been shattered.
When I think about all of the times in my life when I've walked a little taller, they just don't seem to compare to what African Americans must be feeling this morning.
I'm working on a column for Monday's print edition and I'll be speaking with friends during the next few days to at least attempt to understand the magnitude of Barack Obama's march to the White House, forty years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s march on Washington.
Please, take a few moments to share your thoughts.
I know there must be an awful lot of pride out there right now. What other emotions are being felt as the reality of the first man of color being elected to the highest office in the land settles in?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The writing on the wall

There is a very real possibility this could be a landslide, at least electorally speaking.
This is awfully reminiscent of two years ago when dems were swept into office on the congressional level with Nancy Pelosi leading the charge, telling us how she was going to fix everything within her first 100 hours.
Obama has told us how he's going to fix everything, and I mean everything, if he's elected.
Well, he won't take office until January, but after that, let's make sure we're holding his feet to the proverbial fire.

Down to the wire

I'm not really sure if that's going to be the case, but I'm hoping we'll get to call it tonight before we put the paper to bed.
Turnout is heavy everywhere, though, so it's going to be tough.
I voted a little while ago and I was number 938 in a precinct that normally gets two or three hundred.
There's plenty of time left before the polls close, though so tell me what you're hearing out there.
I'll be here all night, so let's get the conversation started.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Time for the 2-minute offense

Is it just me or are you seeing a little change in the polling numbers, too?
McCain is making that last quarter drive that could just put him into the end zone first.
I'm not certain why it's happening, but a few thoughts would include that people are trying to figure out just how the Wizard of Obama can promise every American everything and then give them a tax cut to boot.
Some things just don't add up and a trillion dollars in new spending combined with a tax cut is one of them.
Here's the playbook that we need to be following.
Instead of giving health care to everyone we need to open up health care to competition by allowing people to buy across state lines. That's John McCain's playbook by the way, not mine.
Instead of rolling back the Bush tax cuts and then pretending to give tax cuts to everyone, how about we leave the tax cuts in place and cut government spending?
It's time for the 2-minute offense.
The game's on the line.
I'll be here throughout Election Day. Drop me a line and we'll chat about the numbers as they come in.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Where do you stand?

Election Day is almost here and I think there are historical numbers of people who have not made up their minds about who to vote for in this historical election.
So, for those of you still on the fence I would suggest it comes down to values. You can throw in some morals there too if you want, but I personally have a hard time throwing that stone.
So here's where I stand.
I don't want government getting any bigger than it is.
I don't think our government should pay for everyone's health insurance. I think people should work hard for what they get in life. And no, I'm not against health care for the poor...we already have it.
I don't think we should run from Iraq because I do believe that if we don't take the fight to them, they'll bring the fight right back here to us. Check out the movie Obsession.
I don't want a redistribution of wealth. That's called socialism. We have done just fine with our capitalist society. I don't think I should help out 'those behind me.' I think those behind me should work their tails off to catch up with me. Trust me, it really wouldn't take that long.
When I put it down on paper my choice for president becomes crystal clear. John McCain.
Where do you stand?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bs in the bailout plan

Have you noticed a recurring theme in all of the speeches being made by Congress concerning the bailout?
Every time someone gets behind a microphone they talk about how much we need this plan. Every congressman and congresswoman is concerned about our welfare. We're in a crisis, they say and we're going to pass this bailout plan because if we don't all working class Americans will feel the pain in their pensions, their 401Ks, their IRAs and their savings accounts. They keep saying 'they' because members of congress aren't worried about their retirement. They're not worried about their retirement because their retirement is government funded. They're not worried about Social Security because they don't pay into the system that every hard working American pays in to because they set up their own pension plan. We can worry all we want about race for the White House, but we better start paying closer attention to Congress. We need a grassroots effort to change the way our elected officials in Washington earn their keep.
Did you know earmarks have also been added to the bailout plan?
That's right, more bs in the bailout plan.
Exactly who are we bailing out again?

Friday, September 26, 2008

I've got your bailout

Are you kidding me with this $700 billion bailout plan?
This is the best they can come up with?
Are we seriously thinking about giving the former head of Goldman Sachs complete control over the money?
That's just insane. One of the sticking points is about compensation for the heads of all of the failing companies. Again, are you kidding me? How about none. That's a good amount for the heads of companies that are causing a nationwide financial crisis. I've got an idea. The rebuilding money we're sending to Iraq stops today. I'm not talking about troop support, I'm talking about the rebuilding money. Didn't we just hear that Iraq has a phenomenal budget surplus? Why are we still sending them money? I've got another idea. Instead of bailing out all of the companies why don't we bail out the hard working people who are losing their homes. I'm not talking about the people who should never have bought the McMansions in the first place, I'm talking about the people who were suckered into a mortgage with a 4 percent arm that ballooned when they weren't looking.
I've got another idea. Every pork barrel projects gets thrown into the slop bucket today. That has to be a few billion right there. This is ridiculous, folks. If this goes through our grandchildren are going to be paying for this one.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Money for nothing

Or should I say nothing for your money. Times are tough folks, you don't need me to tell you that. So why is it that local governments feel it is OK to spend your money on things you might not want. I'll just give you a couple of quick examples and you can chime in with your own. Let's see how many municipalities we can include here in the wasteful spending department. We'll move on to state and federal government later.

Lower Providence; they're having more meetings on the proposed American Revolution Center than the Senate holds to confirm a Supreme Court justice. How much money has been spent by the township on attorney fees? And, how much more do the residents want to spend on attorney fees?

Norristown; they've hired a pr firm to come up with "Where you belong" to the tune of $60,000. I don't know about you, but I don 't really need anyone telling me where I belong, especially for that kind of money.

Let me hear from Lower Providence and Norristown residents on the above two, and anyone else who thinks their township is wasting money. I'll be at my desk here in the wasteful spending department.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin's grand slam home run

How far out of the park did she hit the ball? I'm thinking Barry Bonds couldn't have hit one that far.
Let's get past the fact that she's a woman, folks. If she was a man no one would be saying anything about whether she should be running for office. Let's get past the fact that she's still a little on the young side, at least compared to me. She's older than Kennedy was when he was elected, and she's running for vice president, not president.
In my last blog I told you I didn't know enough about her to pass judgement, so I asked you what you thought of her. Now I'm going to tell you what I think of her. She's sharp. She has a lot on her plate and she's handling it all. She's honest. She put it all on the table in her acceptance speech. She told America her family has problems just like every other family. But perhaps the most important point she made and other speakers at the convention made for her is that she has more executive experience than Barack Obama and Joe Biden combined. Running a state, no matter the size, has given Palin the experience she needs to sit at the right hand of the president, certainly more so than Biden, and more to actually sit in the Oval office than Obama. Style over substance, that's what you get from the Democrats. Personally, I prefer substance.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Woman of the hour

I'm still thinking, give me a minute.
While you're waiting let me know what you think of McCain's choice of Sarah Palin, current governor of Alaska, for a running mate.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Combustible Conshohocken

The flames have been fanned, so to speak.
We need a lot of answers to what we're now calling simply, the Conshohocken fire.
Why were steel posts being removed from the building?
I'm also hearing there were not any firewalls in the attics. How could that be? I live in a 20-year-old townhouse and I have firewalls in my attic. There was a lot of federal money allocated for the project. Hopefully, if there weren't any firewalls in the attics, that's okay with the feds.
As we say in the business, this story has legs. What are you hearing?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

ARC around the clock

To keep everyone informed and to keep the conversation constructive we have posted all ARC related stories on Scroll down the right hand side and click on the American Revolution Center button.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The return of the ARC

The ARC issue isn't going away any time soon, so I thought I would do a little unscientific polling. Are you for the ARC being built in Lower Providence Township just off Pawlings Road or would you rather see it built next to the Valley Forge National Historical Park visitors center? Also, tell me why.

Stale or just simmering

It has been a while folks, but I really wanted to get a good idea of what you think about the immigration issue.
I thought it was a hotter topic. I've been wrong before.
How about offshore drilling? That's going to be one of the biggest issues leading into the election, unless of course Congress gets off its collective backside and does something about it.
McCain's for it, Obama's against it.
Where do you stand and why?

Friday, July 18, 2008

The cost of illegal immigration

For those of you who only read me here I thought I would let you know that I sometimes use the blog to stoke the creative fires for my column, which as I'm hoping most of you know, appears every Monday in The Times Herald.
I'm not sure how to approach a future column I've been kicking around so let me know what you think. Maybe your comments will give me a little direction. We read a lot about the outlandish amount of money this country is spending on the war in Iraq. In fact, we had state Rep. Daylin Leach on Behind The Headlines a few months back and he was talking about all of the good we could do right here at home with the money we spend in Iraq. I didn't tell him then, but Daylin, that's exactly what scares me about Democrats, if you think there's some extra money out there you'll find a way to spend it. But that's not where I'm going today. We spend roughly $10 billion a month in Iraq. That's a huge chunk of change. But, just to provide a little perspective, do you have any idea how much we spend dealing with illegal immigration each month? No? I didn't either, but apparently it's more than three times that much. About a year ago I made another analogy to the war with the number of people who are killed on our city streets. I'm still waiting for the outrage. Look, I don't think anyone will argue that war is a good thing. It is, however, a necessary evil and we need to support our troops in every possible way. But we need to start paying a little more attention to what is going on right here at home. Where is the outrage against illegal immigration?
I'm telling you right now it is destroying our country. But that's just my opinion, what's yours?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New site not the same as the old site

It might look like it, but trust me, it's a heck of a lot better than it was.
Thank you very much for your patience. I know I've had to say that several times during the past year when it comes to our ever-evolving Web site, but we're getting closer to a site that is going to be fun for all.
The search option that everyone has been asking about is back, well, almost. We're in the process of bringing all of the stories posted from the past year over to the new site. We've also brought back one of my personal favorites, the online poll. You can also comment on a story, which I think provides critical feedback and encourages public discourse. Do me a favor. Take a quick look around the site and come back here and let me know what you think. Go ahead, I can wait. Thanks, I do appreciate the feedback. It's the best way to make the site better.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Calling out Bobby Flay

Well, actually it's almost 'Showdown' time. The Times Herald's Great Pork Sandwich Showdown is right around the corner. This may sound like a bit of shameless self promotion but I have an ulterior motive in mind. We have 10 restaurants bringing their best to the Holy Saviour Club Wednesday, June 25. The competition will be fierce, and we're expecting a big turnout based on the number of people who have called asking for tickets. There have been plenty of ads in the paper and a brief running every so often, but here comes the ulterior motive for the blog part. I would love to take credit for this idea, but that goes to Joe Tarantino. We were talking about the contest over lunch Friday when he suggested that I try to get Bobby Flay to come to town for a throw down against the winner of the contest. What a great idea. The day after the contest I'm going to do my best to get in touch with his people to see if we can get him down here. I'm guessing Bobby Flay can't throw down on an Italian pork sandwich as well as any of the restaurants competing. What do you think?

Friday, June 6, 2008

And then there were two

We could wait until the dust settles and Barack Obama officially says no thanks to Hillary Clinton, but let's go ahead and get this party started. Do any of you really think Obama has a chance against John McCain? If so, please, without being nasty, self righteous or condescending, tell me why. I guess there are really two questions here. Do you think Obama will choose Clinton as a running mate, and do you think Obama, who is much more popular, should be president instead of the seasoned veteran, McCain? Did you notice I didn't bring race into the issue? Good, because I don't want you to either. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream is alive and well. Let's judge these two men on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. This is now a race to determine who will run our country for the next four years. Let's start peeling away the layers and looking at what each candidate stands for, not what each candidate looks like.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Code Enforcement Collapse

Norristown's code enforcement department is about to have a bomb dropped on it, and of course, I mean figuratively.
Charlie Sweeney has his job back.
Sweeney, who, when I was a cop reporter, was the borough's fire marshal, was fired after a debacle unfolded at the 4 Bakers building on Airy Street.
He took the borough to court, who by the way hired the very pricey firm of Cozen-O'Connor out of Philadelphia, and won.
He's been re-instated with full back pay.
I'll have more as the story unfolds.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Let the sun shine in

The state's Sunshine Law is not the greatest effort at transparency in government that I've ever seen, but it's better than nothing.
Local governments and local school boards are supposed to abide by the law, but I'm not so sure everyone out there is playing by the rules.
Officials in the Methacton School District have apparently been telling a resident of the district that he may come into the administration building only during a two hour window to see documents.
That's just wrong.
I checked with the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association's resident expert on the Sunshine Law and she told me the district has to make public documents available during their regular operating hours.
I really don't think violating the state's Sunshine Law is in the best interest of the residents of the district, even if there are one or two residents who are a little more demanding than others.
While we're on the subject. What the heck are Norristown officials thinking with this new proposal to destroy public documents? Space is always at a premium, but some of these documents are not all that old.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Open...or shut

Have you ever tried to go to your local municipal building and pick up what you thought should be a public document? How about your school district? If you have and you've been shut down, let me know. Or, if the door was wide open I'd like to know about your experience, too.
Gov. Rendell (I was a big fan until he simply dropped the ball on property tax reform, created a monster with the gambling board and has all but ignored the shenanigans at the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, but I digress), has come up big this time with the appointment of a director of the Office of Open Records.
All too often I hear unbelievable tales from people about how they were denied a public document. We did our own audit here a few years ago and a local district justice actually told the person we sent in to the courtroom that they couldn't have a criminal complaint because the detective on the case said so!
That's my most outrageous story, what's yours?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Vote with your mind, not your heart

It's your turn now. I've said all I have to say. You know where I stand and now it's time for you to let everyone know where you stand. Did you vote for Obama or Clinton? Are you ready for 'change'? People need to vote with their minds, not their hearts. All of the change Obama is talking about and all of the rhetoric Clinton is spewing is aimed at your emotions, not your mind. McCain is talking common sense approaches to our nation's problems. So, no matter what you did today, think about what you're going to do come November. The Democratic primary has been entertaining to say the least, but when the general election rolls around it will be time to get serious. We're talking about the leader of the free world. Personally, I don't want a rock star in the White House, and I don't want a woman who learned from her husband.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Primary numbers

No matter how you add it up, John McCain wins the Republican primary Tuesday.
I know what you're thinking, way to state the obvious, but the reason I'm bringing it up is this renewed vigor from Ron Paul. What is this guy thinking?
While I really won't have much to watch on the Republican side Tuesday night I will be paying close attention to the Democratic side. It's getting down right entertaining.
Hillary is lying about being under sniper fire for some unknown reason and Obama is now being endorsed by nearly every entertainer interested in politics.
No matter how you add it up, it just doesn't matter.
McCain beats Obama or Hillary come November.

Just a little reminder folks. You can only vote for the party you're registered under, and there are a lot of people running for committee seats so keep your eyes wide open, these are the people who sit in the backrooms brokering the deals.

Monday, April 7, 2008

"County turns blue" and so am I

Don't get excited, I'm blue as in depressed, not Democratic.
What else can I say? How about, I told you, I told you, I told you.
The Republican Party in Montgomery County has been so splintered for the past few years that the surge in Democrats registering to vote should be of little surprise to anyone, especially Republicans.
I did notice something in Saturday's story about the registration coup. Did you catch it?
Republican stalwart and county Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. was doing the talking for the party.
I don't know about you, but I would certainly hitch my Republican wagon to Castor.
Now, if we can only get Bob Kerns sitting in the county GOP Chairman's seat we might just stand a chance of taking back the majority.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Nepotism in Norristown?

I'm not sure if nepotism is the right word to use here because the home rule charter Norristown is now under doesn't really say an elected official is not allowed to get a borough job for two of his children. It does have several entries about employees of the borough not being allowed to hiring family members, especially if that person would be supervising said family member. And it has another entry about nepotism after the fact, describing an instance where someone already employed might be in violation if a relative is elected or appointed to a position.
Why I find this so astonishing and why I'm going into such detail is that I can't believe there isn't a clause in the new home rule charter that states something along the lines of 'relatives of elected officials are not to be hired by any department head within the municipality.'
Here's the deal. Two of Councilman David Hodo's children have been hired by the borough. Now I know David. I've spoken with him on a number of occasions and he seems like a fine gentleman to me, but certainly we can all see where there is at the very least an appearance of a conflict of interest.
What is an employee to do if an elected official, one who could very well hold said employee's livelihood in the palm of his hand, comes to the employee and asks them to hire their son or daughter?
Now what happens if said children find themselves in a bit of a pickle with the local police department?
There are just too many 'what ifs.'
Nepotism or favoritism. No matter how you slice it, it just doesn't seem right.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vote switching in America

If you're a Republican what are you going to be doing April 22?
I know what I won't be doing. I won't be switching my party registration so I can vote for Hillary to hurt Barack.
What ever happened to may the best man (or woman) win?
I think McCain has it sewn up anyway, and here's why.
Hillary's supporters hate Barack so much that if he gets the nomination all of her followers will migrate over to McCain. And the same goes for Barack's supporters.
So I'll be sitting in the newsroom watching the returns.
What will you be doing?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Let's keep the conversation moving

We made a couple of mistakes with the Jim Van Horn story in last Friday's edition. I haven't seen the reporter since then, but trust me when I tell you I'll let him know exactly where he was when he went to District Justice Augustine's office. There also was a problem with the charge, which, apparently was harassment, not disorderly conduct, which leads me to the topic of discussion.
Should Van Horn resign from the school board?
If you think he should let me know why, and if you think he shouldn't let me know why as well.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Will the real anonymous please stand up?

What's with all the anonymous comments? Do you really believe someone is going to hunt you down if you put your real name on a comment? How about this, if you don't want to put your full name, how about just your first name? I put my name up here, why don't you? There's one anonymous who keeps on and on about how I'm connected to Mark Marino and I'm afraid to post his comments because....I'm not afraid, I'm just tired of reading the same blather over and over again. I posted it the first time you said it, but I'm not going to keep posting the same comment. Come up with something original for Pete's sake. Or, better yet, try to further the conversation just a bit. And when you do, please, put your first name, at least, on the post. There are a couple of people who have been using their real names on posts and I think it just lends credibility. The idea of this blog is to further public discourse, not provide a bully pulpit for someone who wants to post derogatory comments about other people. So, will the real anonymous please stand up?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Montco GOP's future

Where do we go from here? And when do we go from here? Look, I'm not in the backroom, as I've told you before, but it's no secret the Montgomery County Republican Party is splintering faster than an old Christmas tree in a shredder. What I want to know, and what everyone I've talked to wants to know, is, will Ken Davis try to retain control of the GOP? I say no. What do you say? I say Bob Kerns should finally get his shot at running the party. What do you say?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Covenant of the ARC

I'm sure you're all aware that an appeal has been filed to stop the American Revolution Center from being built at Valley Forge National Historical Park. The piece of land they want to build on, while it is within the boundaries of the park, is not actually owned by the park. So, in reality, anything could be built there, zoning permitted.

And of course zoning is at issue in the appeal. But the appeal is not the covenant I want to talk about.

Just what is the covenant that provides for an American Revolution Center?

Tom Daley apparently has a collection of artifacts from the Revolution. Sounds like a covenant to me, but does that give him the right to the ARC?

Now the Schuylkill Alliance Chamber of Commerce wants to build the ARC.

Sounds like they have a plan that would bypass all of the zoning issues currently facing the ARC. Al Paschall, the head of the chamber is working on a deal that would put the ARC at the vistor's center. Sounds like a perfect place for the ARC to me, but without the covenant can he get it done?

The holder of the covenant of the ARC might just hold the upper hand here, but the greater good would be served if the ARC was brought back to the park, where it all began.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Perfect seasons

No, I'm not talking about the New England Patriots. Doesn't it seem like they're in the Super Bowl every other year? I know they're not, but it sure seems like it some times.
Anyway, I'm talking about the Norristown Area High School boys basketball team and the Methacton High School girls basketball teams.
These two schools are on a roll to say the least.
The streaks started me thinking about all of the great athletes to come out of our area.
I can name a few, but I was hoping for a little help.
Let's get off politics for a couple of minutes and talk sports.
Who do you think is the greatest athlete to come out of Montgomery County?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Caught in a different Trappe

Two wrongs don't make a right. I thought it was wrong for former councilman Mark Carrig to stay on after he had moved out of town and he eventually did the right thing and resigned.
Now council has appointed solicitor Bob Brant to the zoning hearing board, if my source is correct, and not the planning commission. Either one doesn't really matter for the point I'm trying to make. First, I don't know Mr. Brant. I'm sure he's a fine person, but he also happens to represent a real estate investment company that proposed an 88-townhouse project to council.
I could be wrong, but it certainly sounds like a conflict of interest to me. And you know what they say about the appearance of a conflict.
If there's some kind of 90-day probationary period for commissioner members I would suggest council reconsider the appointment.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The truth certainly didn't set us free

The truth of the matter is we don't know what possessed Jim Matthews to sidle up to Joe Hoeffel. Jim knows exactly why he did it and maybe some day he'll let the rest of us in on it. We know he wanted to appoint his own solicitor. He got his wish. But other than that, is being chairman really that much more prestigious than vice chair, which is what he would have been had he stayed true to Bruce Castor? And, if he would have allowed Bruce to pick his own solicitor he would have been chairman.
I asked you guys to send me a note or two on what's going on with appointments in your townships. I basically heard from Whitemarsh and Lower Providence.
Some people, read Republicans, in Whitemarsh is a little upset that Sean Kilkenney was appointed solicitor out there. Personally, I don't know Kilkenney, but I have seen his name pop up as solicitor in a few other municipalities and I'm wondering how many he can take on before he's spreading himself too thin. You'd think he'd have his hands full with Norristown alone.
Speaking of solicitors, Lower Providence is on the verge of changing theirs as well. Folks out there are upset with a new appointment to the zoning hearing board, and now they're getting a new solicitor.
The year's starting off with quite a bang. Stay tuned folks.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The moment of truth

The moment of truth is almost upon us. Montgomery County commissioners will reorganize next week and as we've reported in The Times Herald, Republican Jim Matthews has formed an alliance with Democrat Joe Hoeffel to wrest control of the county from incoming commissioner, and Matthews running mate, Bruce Castor.
Unless there's a last minute deal the Matthews/Hoefell duo will be running the county and Castor will most likely be spending more time at his law firm.
To those of you who donated to the Matthews/Castor campaign, if it were me, I'd be asking for my money back.
Look, this isn't really about some unholy alliance. There's a chance that Matthews/Hoeffel will do just fine running the county, but that's not the point. This is about all of the people who thought they were voting for a team only to find out one member of the team jumped ship right after pulling into the harbor.
There will be reorganization meetings all over the county next week. Drop me a line and let me know how you think things shook out in your town. Not that I'm implying that there's any kind of shakedown going on here, but, boy, won't it be interesting to see who the next county solicitor is?