Tredyffrin’s Police Union Fundraising . . . a sign of the times?

All residents and business owners in Tredyffrin Township received a letter in the last few days from the Tredyffrin Township Police Association, the union for the police officers in Tredyffrin’s police department.

The letter from Kevin Moore (president of the local police union) stated that this was the first annual letter drive and that contributions were needed by the police for ‘local community programs’ and to ‘support our employee assistance fund’.  Many thoughts went through my mind as I read the letter; I wondered about the authenticity of the letter and the fundraising effort by the police.  Just a few weeks ago, our local firefighters had warned residents to be aware of professional solicitors asking for donations while claiming that they were raising funds for our local firefighters.  Initially I wondered if this was a similar scam; the unsigned letter did not provide a contact telephone number or email address.  Although I have been unable to authenticate the letter, I am going to assume that it is legitimate.

Since receiving the police solicitation letter, I have received a number of emails and phone calls from residents with comments, questions and concerns about the solicitation by Tredyffrin’s police union.  In addition to wondering whether the letter from the police union was legitimate, I have been asked if this solicitation implies that the police force is not fully funded by our tax dollars. The letter stated the police would use the funds for community funds — what kind of programs and (if the programs are required) why are the programs not currently funded.  Another comment I received from a resident, was in regards to the timing of the fundraising and would this resident and business solicitation somehow affect the volunteer firefighters funding efforts.  

I am not exactly sure how I feel about the solicitation letter by our local police.  I have a few questions about this fundraising effort; specifically, I would appreciate further details on the use of our contributions. Do police departments in our neighboring municipalities fundraise?  Fundraising is a common practice by police departments in other areas of the country so maybe this is a sign of the times.   I’d be very interested how others feel on this topic.

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  1. I found this solicitation both disturbing and outrageous. You will not find any details on what they intend to do with “contributions” because the Tredyffrin Township Police Association is a public employee union. The TTPA exists explicitly and only for the benefit of its members, and their primary activity is advocating for its members against the representatives of people they are soliciting: the township’s taxpayers!

    Our country has a sad tradition of solicitation by police unions. I can only imagine this is tolerated because (1) it’s hard to say anything against police when they can point to some member killed in the line of duty, and/or (2) some people believe that the star they get in return for “contributions” will buy them some sympathy if they are ever pulled over for a traffic violation.

    Police already enjoy an unfair benefit since they are public employees who are allowed to unionize. In contrast, military personnel cannot unionize. If you want to donate money to support people who put their lives on the line to protect you and your way of life, donate to a military charity. You’ve already made your donation to the police union when you paid your taxes.

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  2. I received a letter. I found it interesting that the “donation” is not tax deductible and there was none of the solicitation language as required by state law.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    My understanding is that the police union is a non-profit organization but is not a 501(c) and therefore not tax-deductible by IRS regulation.

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    ANON Reply:

    Just to clarify – unlike the police union, the volunteer fire companies are registered nonprofit 501(c) organizations and therefore are tax deductible.

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  3. John,
    Let me get this straight, please tell me if I understand this correctly. As taxpayers we pay for police services. The police are in arbitration with the township over their contract so the taxpayers pay for the services of an independent arbitrator; the taxpayers pay for associated township legal fees; and then we make a contribution to the police union so that we can help with the legal fees of the police. Why???? This is nuts, as taxpayers we are really getting the shaft, layers of being taxed.

    Or would Kampf, Olson & Lamina simply say “no new taxes’ and then this stuff goes on behind closed doors in executive session!

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  4. I received this letter in the mail today from the police union. I’d like to really understand what’s going on with this solicitation but I don’t think we can get a straight answer.

    Like you Pattye, I wanted to call someone at the police department for futher information as to exactly how this money is being spent.but there was no contact information. Why??? If the problem is that the township is not properly funding our police, than I wish the letter would have said that. Is this ‘community program’ just bogus and the donations are for legal fees against the township, than I want to know that too.

    How do we get the straight answer???

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  5. Mr. Petersen, never pass up an opportunity to bring up your well known disdain for the supervisors. So I start reading some of your salient comments,then BOOM..

    I think you are better than that?
    Police UNION solicitations are a disgrace. It took us years to get the FOP to stop calling our house. I would just rather give to the police and fire departments during their annual drive. No question these guys are incredibly important, and deserve to be compensated fairly. But UNION activities are starting to get on everyone’s nerves. I hope the pendulum swings back, away from these corrupt, mafia like organizations. They have a bad rap, and they for the most part deserve it. Alot of gaul, I would say.

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  6. Never miss any opportunity to bash the current governing body…that’s the continuing rant of this blog…what would you have them do? The attitude for the past 6 months on this blog and elsewhere is that it’s time to get real with the teachers’ union….especially in health care. So here we have JP speculating that arbitration is likely to be about health care….and then he takes his predictable whack at the supervisors who negotiate. You cannot rant about budget time and union tactics one day and then take a hit at the very people who have to manage the bottom line… They want health care benefits in an economy when the general claim is that health care benefits are too costly and need to be borne by the user in an effort to make them aware of benefits as compensation….
    So please explain why we would contribute to legal costs to try to negotiate more benefits?
    Oh wait — this entire premise is based on JP’s surmising that is the issue that is at the heart of it.

    You cannot have it all — you cannot demand it all — and you cannot need it all. WHAT are we willing to pay to live in this community??? What do we want to spend our taxes on? If we say yes to anything, they are going up….Lysander is spot on. It’s all so circular that it’s not navigable within a public debate…

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    John presents a well-written argument and I thank him for his thoughtful remarks. Whether you support or believe in John’s theories of ‘why’ we got to where we are today is your individual choice. However, it is clear that our local government needs to represent all the voices of this community . . . all the people regardless of their neighborhood, economics, enthnic background or political party affiliation.

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    TT resident Reply:

    Great comments John. Are you saying that the township and the police department union are currently in arbitration. And the reason for the arbitration is health benefits?

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    Chet Reply:

    Mr. Petersen, in response to the existing guys getting grandfathered in… this would be an excellent excuse for weening them out of the system. Unfortunately.

    Also, I hate that word “entitled”. Seems like there is too much of that going around, except I seem to be “entitled” to nothing.

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  7. Exasperated, YOU are right on. I suggest to the police union they get a better lobbyist in Washington, where “friends of the administration” have an open line to the largess handed out by one of the most corrupt administrations EVER. This administration has gotten NOTHING right so far, except getting elected. So why would they refuse doling out stimulus money to another union? Maybe the population will get it right next time and correct the humongous error of its ways,
    with the election of an American president.

    For now, don’t bother me with your oily solicitations. I am trying to make my PRIVATE payroll every week.

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    Union-supporting Kate Reply:

    Chet, while you are entitled to your small-minded opinions and petty remarks, I find your broad-brush Obama-bashing to be nothing more than right-wing blather. Anyone who reads real newspapers and watches reputable TV news knows that the Obama Administratin took some flak this past week for criticizing unions for their support of a progrssive senatorial candidate over Louisiana’s corporation-loving Blanche Lincoln. Likewise, The Obama administration also is pushing for education reforms that are strongly opposed by teachers’ unions.

    But just keep up those snarky, ill-informed comments . You are not alone in your knee-jerk union-bashing. I see Exasperated thinks police shouldn’t be allowed to unionize since they are public employees – and he points to the military. And we all know how well our military is treated when they come home with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD, and how long our veterans are waiting for services to which they are entitled.

    Unions play a valuable role in protecting working people from greedy, powerful, soulless corporations, and those who emulate them. Have there been corrupt union leaders? Is the sky blue? There is corruption everywhere advantage can be taken – at the expense of the less powerful.

    If the union-employer relationship has gotten out of balance as in the case of unfundable pension obligations or healthcare packages that don’t fairly share the cost, then it’s time to negotiate, not demonize unions.

    President Obama is faced with a confluence of serious problems no president should have to deal with. Personally, every time I think of what a mess things are, I am thankful beyond measure that the former administration is gone and can do no more harm. I appreciate beyond measure that McCain and Palin are reduced to sniping from the sidelines.

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    Chet Reply:

    looks like you recited right out of the union/Liberal playbook. Too snarky?
    Leave the personal attacks out.. pattye where are you on this? I have been censored for less than this…. But again, I am in foreign waters here. So much for civil discourse.

    Greedy, soulless corporations? Give me a break. You would be a great 11th grade social studies teacher

    And I know, poor President Obama. All Bushes fault… not Frank, Dodd, et. al.
    Specious.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    You are right Chet — personal attacks are unnecessary. My apologies to you for not catching the comment.
    Let’s try and stay away from National political party bashing. I don’t think it is valuable to the conversation and further, I think we would all agree that there is plenty for us to focus on locally.

    Chet Reply:

    Thank you Pattye.

    Chet Reply:

    Even Liberals eschew that term, Now they are progressives.

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    Chet Reply:

    “youfirst if you are going to issue this missive…

    After I figured you out, which was a while ago, I haven’t issued a personal attack on anyone. If you have evidence, as you so often ask for in your ruminations, then bring it forth. Playground stuff here, Mr. Petersen. Just another example why you can’t be taken seriously. You have too big an ax.

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  8. Exasperated – from my vantage point, I am simply interested in understanding (from the police union) specifically where the contributions from the public are headed — I want to know what community programs are they funding.

    As for people discussing teacher union contracts, etc. I think it is about individual’s personal economic situations. People are scared — the economy has tanked, people are losing their jobs — the stock market – what a ride that’s on lately ( I gave up any attempt to continue to day- trade about a year ago!)

    Bottom line . . . people see their money going out, but in many cases not coming back in.

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  9. Pattye, it would seem to me that the public contributions to the police union are headed to the police union?

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    I know that the public’s contributions are going to the police union — I just want to know what the needs are of the police department that require the union to solicit on their behalf. Since this is the first annual fundraiser for the local police union, I am curious as to what has changed from years past requiring the fundraising, and specifically, what ‘community programs’ is the union funding for the police with these contributions. The term ‘community programs’ is a tad vague — I simply would like specifics.

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  10. Pattye —

    I am with you…what are the dollars going to be used for — specifically?

    If they go to the union, which it seems they are, I know for sure that they are available for:

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  11. Sorry, hit the wrong key…

    I am with you about wanting to know specifically what the dollars are for.

    Because they are going to a union, we can surmise (as John likes to do) that they may be used for…

    – political activities (which means your donation may be used to support candidates you do not like)
    – lobbying activities (to support or oppose laws which the donor may disagree with)
    – communication activities in support of the union position (basically, electioneering for their contract negotiations)
    – support of union members in cases of economic trouble (hard to believe when there are so many guarantees in police contracts versus, for example, a trade union)

    No matter what, this is a union raising money for a union. Yes, they may use some of the money to donate to a worthy community project or two, but ultimately it is for union activities — not public service actions.

    I have no issue with the police union promoting itself and its issues. It should not, however, hide its real purpose and veil its appeal behind “helping the police.”

    At least the BOS fundraising drive (right or wrong) for the firefighters did exactly what it said — raised money for the fire companies (not a union, not a group, etc).

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  12. First off kate — it wasn’t me who talked about unionizing and military. I’m not at all opposed to unions, but find some very trying issues with JP’s analysis. It is forever easy to sit outside a room and take shots at what is going on inside of it. JP lost his footing with the GOP and now demonizes a party for all the economic ills of our present. The GOP is not the ruling party — it was the only party up until less than 10 years ago. There was no platform for anyone else to run — Dick Schulz won 87% of this congressional district 25 years ago (?) and it would be a trivia question to even try to remember the candidates on the democratic ticket over the past two decades…

    So — I would propose we stop the party-line crap and deal with the complexities of the issues we are facing. The USA is broken. We don’t make anything, we don’t have anything we make to sell, and we don’t bother to fix anything anymore. We outsource problem solving (engineering, technology, customer service). We either sell advice, or we hedge investments and currencies, play arbitrage games, or we litigate or contract and negotiate — that’s our private economy. Blue collar jobs include cleaning up, building, fixing… Public sector we teach, we protect, we defend, we “govern”.

    SO — the way we have learned to do business is to have negotiated contracts that were affordable without being generous, maintain a balance of power, and let majority rule. To suggest that OLK and company have anything to do with the problems of our economy is more than a stretch — similar to the notion that Obama is the worst ever. The problems are so systemic, the solutions so complex, and the opinions and sources of information so divergent that it’s not about majority rule — it’s about who holds the conch. We have something akin to a Lord of the Flies society — no one does the “right thing” anymore because no one can agree on what the right thing is.
    Arbitration is not something you can mock if you believe in collective bargaining. Of course people deserve some health care, but since it’s all complete supposition, you cannot complain that the BOS is not yielding to union demands 1)without knowing what they are and 2) without accepting that the key to getting elected in today’s demographics is to promise to spend less. Because like Chet, we are all protecting what is our own. Unions do it with more power than the average capitalist….so people that in another time were comfortable now find themselves out of money, sometimes out of a job, and certainly not party to lucrative health care plans. The hit on Obama is only true in that he is willing to go even deeper into debt to do what is “right” than his out of control predecessor. The BOS has not shown a willingness to borrow ad nauseum…though the school board’s quiet little bond issue borrowed their budget problems into another line on the balance sheet. (I don’t disagree with that, by the way — but let’s not pretend they solved anything — they just changed the character of the problem).
    The BOS has worked to maintain fiscal discipline — some would call it short-sighted. But it has gotten them back in their safe little elected seats forever….the HRC started in the 70s….and with the economy functioning well, they have taken their 1% (only Coatesville has that same rate in this area) transfer tax (Easttown and the school district get 1/2%) and kept the cash flowing without any major bumps.
    Indeed the township taxes are such a small fraction of the school taxes it’s scary why all the attention is there, but that’s because the teacher’s union is state-wide and far superior in their lobbying activities (and in the right to strike!) so the school budget truly receives very little meaningful scrutiny. The township budget seems personal — and certainly the attacks on the BOS are.
    There is a concept called Collaborative Problem Solving — which anticipates problems and works towards avoiding them. Government (and because of day trading, most businesses) are no longer strategic. they get up in the morning and deal with today’s to-do list. Long term research doesn’t matter — R&D doesn’t matter…and the details behind a request for arbitration doesn’t really matter either. What matters is WHAT IS MY TAX RATE?
    Until the average (any?) voter wants to get into the details, and we understand and ACCEPT that in a Republic, the rights of the majority are preserved, the rights of the minority are protected, and the elected people use their own judgment, not referendum, in making decisions….we are all going to be the frustrated bloggers and citizen journalists who put a great deal of effort into debates like these, but will ultimately only be rabble-rousing lemmings, falling for the sound bites that come in campaign literature. John P might think this all through, but it doesn’t matter what he thinks because he cannot get elected….so we need to develop candidates who can work together to get problems addressed….because until/unless we address the issues (pensions, benefits, tax rates….) we cannot get anything solved.

    Sigh.
    Like the world cup today, it’s always going to be a tie….is that as good as a win?

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    Anon2010 Reply:

    Mr. Petersen comments on individual comments — that’s the flaw in this blog process. Don’t let folks reply — just let them add their opinion NEXT….continually challenging each post is wearing…

    Likewise Mr. Petersen — the GOP is not the ruling party…it is the majority party in what is an apparently largely disinterested electorate according to your conclusions. These people that are making what you consider poor decisions/negotiations are with one exception people that were RE-ELEcTED.

    Happy to have the debate you claim….you are only happy when you are dominating the discussion. Please go back to your own blog to overwhelm us with your opinions. That way we can stay on topic without having to be constantly interrupted by your “I’m only stating the truth” conclusions….by your own standards.

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  13. Exasperated… thank you for articulating a reasonable rebuttal to Union Kate.
    You are right.. we don’t make anything, just juggle the numbers like 3 card monte. Keeping this discussion LOCAL, I am in favor of fiscal responsibility, and I agree the BOS is very keen on keeping our spending under control.

    Your definitions of the republic.. rights of majority are preserved, those of the minority protected and the elected people use their own judgment is exactly what differentiates us from most other countries. it is a brilliant concept. But now, these concepts are threatened… when there is egregious patronage, favoritism and pay to play, we become Hugo Chavez’s venezuela. Maybe YOU should be the 11th grade social studies teacher.?

    Reflected in the BOS mo is the notion that we don’t live in a nanny state, where the government takes care of you from cradle to grave. This is where we are headed… entitlements, whatever, and my hope is that in November and beyond these cancerous ideas are repudiated wholeheartedly.

    I don’t want to, and I was asked by Pattye to keep it local and I respect her request, but just one thing… after 18 months of this regime, things are not getting better, and many are losing hope. The policies are wrong, there is uncertainty in the private sector and our government grows. No matter how inept Mr Petersen thinks the BOS is, I applaud them for trying to hold the line on the local level.

    Always nice to read what you have to say. Maybe because to me it makes sense.
    Chet

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    Anon2010 Reply:

    Will the Saint Davids decision ever be in the past for you — we all are quite familiar with it. You are becoming the gnat Mr. Lamina referenced in his own self-promoting article.

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  14. By the way, exasperated, why do we outsouce everything? Because of a combination of our costs being so high, and the outsourcing being so cheap. So, our choices are to lower our standard of living, (reducing wages, benefits, etc) or trying to promote healthy economies and democracies, yes democracies around the world. Henry Ford paid his workers wages that would allow them to buy the product they made…It is imperative that the US, as the leader of the free world, work to enhance the conditions of workers in poor nations, raise their standard of living thereby making US more competitive with them.. You know, I wonder if some in our government want to dumb us down to the lowest denominator,. maybe because it is easier.. Lets all go back to the stone ages. I am convinced there are good reasons why we need to promote our way of life, to defend those who want a better way for themselves (Iran election revolt) and this even extends to our military. Our military, NOT imperialistic but strong and flexible has indeed kept a reasonable peace around the world due to our presence alone. If we shirk from those responsibilities, there will be trouble, more than we have at the best of times.

    By the way, what;’s the deal with police health care? I thought Obamacare would render all this stuff moot? Aren’t we all going to be covered by big daddy?

    Pattye, please excuse my national discussion. I hope you print this.
    Thanks Chet

    [Reply]

  15. Exasperated, my apology.. The union- military comparison was made by Lysander.

    Pattye, no need to apologize for my remarks. They were mine, and in my opinion, mild in tone and content, compared to some of the mudslinging I’ve read (and slung) on this blog.

    If you don’t welcome a response to some of your bloggers’ tiresome Obama bashing while allowing a steady stream of OLK bashing, j I have to ask why. It strikes me as inconsistent, but it’s your blog.

    Keeping your content local without considering what’s going on in Harrisburg and Washington is unrealistic, in my view.

    I see Chet continues to trash our President. and his “cancerous ideas” – apparently with your approval. My natural inclination is to defend Mr. Obama and remind readers again what a catastrophic mess he inherited.

    Chet’s right about something though. We have not seen the country’s problems magically solved in eighteen months. Approximately half the citizens of this country understand it takes more than a year and a half to deal effectively with monumental problems, and are willing to give our President more time. While they may be disgusted with the absence of bi-partisan problem-solving and the degree of partisan rancor, many find the election of know-nothing extremists even less appealing.

    I trust most voters to see beyond the sound bites and make sense of complex problems before they cast their votes in November. The rest – low information voters – undoubtedly will be influenced by sound bites, campaign ads paid for by special-interest organizations and by political pundits and entertainers, Many of them will vote against their own self-interest .

    Ditto for our state-level candidates. In both cases, it is difficult to gather the facts and make informed decisions. But hopefully, more voters will take the time to listen to what individual candidates have to say. and examine their records.

    To Exasperated’s recommendation that we avoid party line crap, I say that very little goes on- even in our community – that is without political dimension. That our elected officials make decisions in the best interest of ALL their constituents without regard to party affiliation or ideology is well, not happening.

    [Reply]

    Chet Reply:

    Sure enough, Kate, President Obama will have at least another year in a half to fix this terrible mess he “inherited”. No need to comment about whether he has made it batter or worse, lets give him the rest of his term, hopefully his first and last, and then we can evaluate. . I look forward to that.

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    Chet Reply:

    By the way, Kate, I really am rooting for our country to improve. As an enlightened Republican, I will be the first to say congratulations to our leaders as my concern and interests lie way beyond partisan politics. I am rooting for our success. As a private business owner, I am privy to the nuances of the private economy and I am deeply worried that even if we agree that Mr Obama inherited a falling knife, I am concerned that his remedies are not getting the job done. Maybe we are impatient, but tomorrow is another day, and I see no clear picture of where we will be in 18 more months, There is just too much uncertainty, and what has been certified so far in this administration has been unfriendly to the private sector. That is just the way it is. I won’t go into my deeper opinions of our President… let’s not raise your blood pressure.
    So be it. Chet

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  16. I am very disappointed in the way these blogs so easily veer off-topic and result in a constant rant against the Board of Supervisors instead of proving a forum for us to discuss the topic at hand. Ms. Benson, I think you should take a much more active role as moderator and keep your site from becoming the “John Peterson Blog”.

    For the record, I agree with the criticism of Mr, Kampf, Lamina and Olson – I do not support their imperialistic mode of governing and hope they will be voted off the BOS ASAP. However, several contributors to this website seem unable to stick to the topic , and turn every post into one long, insulting personal attack on the Supervisors.

    Instead of co-opting what should be a vehicle for concerned TE citizens to discuss ALL of the issues we face – and a vehicle to ask questions and receive factual information – I think Mr. Peterson should create his own blog specifically oriented toward the BOS.

    As to your initial posting and questions about the police union solicitation – I threw away the mailing when I saw that there was no return address, no contact information and no disclosure as to their organization and its charter. They may be legitimate and deserving of help- I don’t know – but their approach to fundraising is unprofessional and indicative of a poorly managed operation to me.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Just a thought — I agree with you. I have asked again and again for the comments to remain on topic. You suggest that I take a more active role as moderator. I’m sure that you did not intend that as a criticism, but do you have any idea the amount of time I spend writing articles and ‘moderating’ already. Probably not — as I will tell you it is already far too much.

    What most people don’t realize is that there are comments that I have not posted (due to content, language, etc) or that I have received personal emails from some of these individuals claiming that I am censoring. Somehow I can’t seem to win with this blog. I want the focus of Community Matters to remain focused on the topic, so . . . what do I do when it spins off somewhere else . . . moderate by not posting the comment? What would you do? (serious question)

    As for the reason of this post, like you, I was sure that many other people thought the police union solicitation mailing may have been trash and did not read it. I find many different topics of interest, and the operation of the police union and this fundraising letter was one of them — I was just curious about the police union, its timing with the letter and what exactly was the purpose of their fundraising, was community projects were they funding? I can assure that my intention was not to turn the discussion in to a political debate of current and past US presidents. I’m just not sure what to do . . . suggestions welcomed.

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    TT resident Reply:

    Well said Pattye.
    Thank you for all that you do – I say your conscience has guided you well with Community Matters.
    – a fan

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    Just a thought Reply:

    Pattye, I do understand the significant time involved in maintaining your website and appreciate your effort – I really did not mean to criticize you – I am just concerned that it is becoming one man’s personal soapbox.

    As to suggestions on how to better manage this process , perhaps limiting the number of words in each response and/or the number of responses in a particular thread is a place to start. If we have constraints then we may all be more likely to self-edit and stick to the topic.

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    Anon2010 Reply:

    Please explain what value you are adding Mr. Petersen when you say ” It is also clear that many up here do not understand the social contract and protocols that go along with social media.”

    What’s clear to me is that your need to be heard and to dominate means you are defining the social contract. I am using the reply function every time you write so that you can see the dysfunctional approach — not everyone wants your response. People like to express themselves, ask questions, and get answers. They (or should I say on my own, I) do not want YOU to answer every post….

    I am guilty of the same problem because I am now following your approach. I enjoy this blog, but I really find your responses too wearing. Politics do have lots to do with how things are solved, but they do not have to be at the root of every local discussion. Cooperative Problem Solving….that allows us to ponder issues and not pretend we have the answers…

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    Just a thought Reply:

    Mr. Petersen, your condescending tone and sarcasm are overwhelming! You seem to spend an inordinate amount of time parsing each word in each post and then attacking. For example:

    You classified my comments as a “rant”???

    Don’t put words in my mouth – I did not say that “there are bad people on the BOS” – there are simply people whose opinions and behaviors I disagree with.

    I don’t use my name for one simple reason – my husband works with the BOS and township officials and should not be professionally impacted by my opinions. However, given the vitriol with which you respond to people, I don’t think I would WANT you to know my name!

    Telling me “please do not opine as to how to operate a blog…etc” is arrogant. FYI – I have been a project director in the environmental/IT field for decades and have built and operated quite a few blogs. Content management is always a significant aspect of the design and maintenance of blogs.

    I agree with Anon2010 – it is all very wearying. Please start your own blog and leave Community Matters to the rest of us who are interested in civil discussions – not preaching and bullying.

    [Reply]

  17. Ms. Benson — you are doing a good job and I would encourage you to try to do more of the same. I would echo the request that you ask Mr. Petersen to stop redirecting every discussion to the BOS, and every comment about anything to someone on the BOS. I think Exasperated above tried to talk about issues to some extent and Mr. Petersen turned the discussion to Ms. Richter.
    Mr. Petersen — you DID have a blog did you not? Why did you wander away from that where you controlled the discussion and attempt to co-opt this site? I am truly tired of watching your one-trick pony. What little I know of you, you ran for the BOS and lost after sitting in the seat for a brief time. Your analysis is fine — it’s your need to debate and win each point — thereby shutting down debate — that is so tiresome.

    I’m not a regular poster, but I find the open exchange refreshing. Perhaps you should take the “reply” portion out of the blog tools – -just let people post in order….so we don’t “interrupt” with these responses….
    Otherwise, keep up your work Ms. Benson. I can only imagine the effort it takes. Don’t worry about censoring or approving — just post away….

    [Reply]

    Anon2010 Reply:

    Because it’s based on observation, not conclusion….

    Go back to law school and do moot court — or get a job back in law. You simply enjoy the debate more than the facts.

    [Reply]

  18. Let’s move on — I don’t have time for the in-fighting. Offering your opinions on specific post topics needs to be the focus – there is no value in personal snipping between those that post.

    Debate the issues . . . and support your opinion with facts. Re-read your comment before you hit the submit button . . . is it adding value to the conversation? If it isn’t, than please, please don’t make the comment.

    Thank you all for your understanding.

    [Reply]

  19. Pattye
    I have to join a few colleagues here in declaring that Mr. Petersen’s need to respond to everyone…a bit like interrupting a conversation when he hits the reply button

    [Reply]

  20. I wasn’t sure if this letter was legitimate.
    Wasn’t it at the last BOS meeting that someone mentioned residents receiving fraudelent phone calls and letters from organizations pretending to represent fire fighters?

    I also wondered how I could find out what these “neighborhood programs” and “employee asstance funds” were? After reading Pattye’s original post, I figured I would call the TTPA and ask but I couldn’t find a phone number. Other than the PO Box on the return envelope, a mention in the minutes of a 2004 BOS Meeting approving a new labor agreement, and two political endorsements in the Main Line Suburban, I couldn’t find any other information.

    The letter also statest that the TTPA does not solicit by telephone, “nor does it benefit from any other solicitation. ” What does this mean? This is the first annual letter drive. Where have donations come from in the past? Just curious.

    I thought maybe because the solicitation letter identifies the organization as a non-profit, it would be listed among the 501(c)(4) or (c)(5) tax-exempt organizations on the irs.gov website. It wasn’t.

    I did locate some information on the BBB website that tells consumers what questions to ask when asked to donate to a Police or Firefighter Charity.

    Step One: Know How to Spot Problem Appeals

    Some solicitations are questionable.

    Step Two: Ask the Right Questions

    Groups offering substantial help to your police and firefighters will welcome your questions — and have the answers for you.

    Ask About Money
    How much of your money will actually go to police or firefighter programs?

    Ask About the Programs
    What programs will the money you donate support? Get the specifics.

    Ask Exactly Who Will Benefit
    How many police or firefighter members does this organization have? Where do they come from? Are these local members? National? Caution: The words “police” or “firefighter” in an organization’s name does not always mean that people in your local police force or fire department are members. Will any of your money go to a separate charitable organization? If so, which one? How much will it get?

    Ask If You Can Deduct Your Contribution

    Step Three: Find Out About the Organization

    Ask the police or firefighter group for printed information — a brochure describing programs, a list of their board members, their latest financial statements.

    Step Four: Make Your Decision

    Maybe next year, the Tredyffrin Township Police Association could provide us with a little more background information on the organization and it’s activities.

    Oh, and I’m a little leary of that whole decal business.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Christine, you make some great points. And great questions — however, unfortunately the police union was vague in their fundraising letters, did not offer contact information, no background except to tell us this is their ‘first’ annual drive which leads up to believe that there will be one next year. I started this post because I wanted some answers about the police union’s fundraising letter — for instance, the community projects that our donations will fund. I want to know what the projects are and without contact information I’m not sure how we track that information down. And to set the record straght, an organization can be a not-for-profit but not be a registered 501c3 — the police union does not have a 501c3 standing and contributions are not tax-deductible. On the other hands, the fire department is a registered 501c3 and donations are tax-deductible. Police departments may endorse political candidates and under the IRS rules of 501c3, I do not believe that political endorsements are permitted.

    Thanks for caring about the subject and helping with the background research!

    [Reply]

    Chet Reply:

    Stay away from these guys, and the FOP as well. Donate directly to our guys during their fund drives..

    [Reply]

  21. No infighting intended. I will stop posting. I feel like I am dealing with an angry 14 year old….who MUST have the last word — even to the point of saying it is the last word. Bye all.

    [Reply]

  22. Anon2010,

    I think you and Exasperated are a bit over the top here. If you don’t don’t like what JP says, then ignore him. Seriously, for all the bandwidth you two, along with Just a Thought have used up in telling Pattye how to run this blog and in chastising JP, you three have probably done more to extend the off-topic matter than anybody else, including JP. I find his comments to be just another facet of what makes this place interesting and informative.

    Last word, your 14 year old comment is out of line. You say you want things to be on topic and not personal. Then, just like that, you have to take a shot like that. I hope JP does not flame you back. Clearly, you disagree with him. From my chair, you three have spent more time commenting on his style and quantity of posts as opposed to the central points.

    ENOUGH ALREADY!

    [Reply]

  23. Clarification on a few things:
    The Police Union IS legit. They are not-for-profit, but are NOT 501c(3). 501c(3) organizations may not back, endorse or support political candidates or organizations. Because the Police Union does this, they can not take 501c(3) status. Therefore they are not tax-deductible qualifying organization.

    The fire companies are 501c(3), non-profit organizations, this is why they are tax-deductible donations. The Fire companies can not give official endorcements to candidates as an organization, nor can they provide any financial assistance to a candidate or party.

    I to think the police letter was vague and poorly done. However, if you want more information, the Police station is located on Duportail rd in Chesterbrook. Kevin Moore is a Police Officer, and I am sure he can be reached. If you want to know more, I don’t think it would be that hard to get it.

    Personally, I am not going to donate to this cause. In 2010, the budgeted amount of taxpayer dollars toward the Tredyffrin Twp Police Department is $7.1 Million Dollars. The Budgeted amount to the 3 Fire Departments that service the township is $900,000 (including almost $500,000 of flow-through state money that isn’t taxpayer $, and a large sum of money to Aqua for annual hydrant service) so therefore, my donation money will be going to the fire companies as the overall need is far higher there. I think the $7.1 Million dollars can work towards the operation need of the police. Perhaps when the Libraries & Parks do not exceed the needs of our Fire Companies I will be more willing to look into the union needs of the police.

    [Reply]

  24. I tried to read all the text of each post to see if my comment was already addressed, but did not find a mention. My apologies if this is a repeat. Many of you have written about the vague statement regarding the purpose of the funds being solicited, but never wrote the whole sentence. It reads:

    “We are respectfully requesting that you make a contribution to the Police Association, which will assist us in our goal of becoming involved in local community programs, and to support our employee assistance fund.”

    My emphasis is on “employee assistance fund.” I’d classify an EAP as a critical health benefit for first responders. The question in my mind was, “Why does it need help?” Sorry to throw more chum in the water.

    I wrote a check.

    [Reply]

  25. Doug,
    It needs help because over the last decade, the township has nickle and dimed the police department at very single contract negotiation. Every time that happens, something takes a hit. Pensions, EAP, benefits are prime targets.

    It’s sickening. The amount of money spent on arbitration alone by both sides would probably equate to millions of dollars down the road if that money was put into retirement accounts today.

    Unfortunately, prioritization by the township puts Police/Fire/EMS below things like Parks & Libraries. Demand a change in funding allocation to your politicians and this problem & the Fire funding controversy — goes away.

    [Reply]

  26. I agree with CJ that township residents have to stand together and voice their opinions about spending priorities in this township.

    We need consensus on what constitute essential services, e.g. police, fire and road maintenance, and at what level. And beyond that, what are we willing to pay for, e.g. parks and libraries.etc.?

    Then we can have discussions about how much these services will cost and how we will pay for them. The funding and allocation process should be as open and welcoming to community input as the school budgeting process was this year. And the opposite of the secretive BAWG “intervention” last year.

    It should be gearing up now – with the public invited.

    This year we reject LOK-picked committees required to sign confidentialty agreements. We reject a behind -closed- doors process in favor of complete transparency.

    This is our township. Our supervisors were elected to serve us and not their own agendas. What is stopping us from insisting on this level of participation?

    [Reply]

  27. Nothing is stopping us unless we are deprived of our right to vote. Maybe we need local “czars” , unelected of course to make and implement policy. Sound familiar?

    [Reply]

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