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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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12 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

    thank you Lamina, Olson, Kampf and Richter

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

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

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    Anonymous Reply:

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

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

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    kate Reply:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Berwyn Reader —

    I like this quote from your comment:

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

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    Berwyn Reader Reply:

    Thanks. We like it because it’s true. Keep up the good work!

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

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