Christine Johnson

Tredyffrin Resident Christine Johnson Says NO to SB 1 . . . Making your Voice Count!

There has been much discussed about the proposed school voucher bill, SB 1. But  Tredyffrin resident Christine Johnson is doing more than just talking . . . she’s taking her voice and saying NO to SB 1.  Christine adopted her ‘Resolution Opposing Senate Bill 1’ (below) and sent it to Senator Andy Dinniman and State Rep Warren Kampf.  According to Christine,  ” . . . they need our support in order to say ‘NO’ . . . “

Creating change starts with one person –I am proud of Christine and applaud her effort to show all that your voice can count!  If you are interested in following Christine’s example, here are email addresses:

State Rep Warren Kampf: wkampf@pahousegop.com
State Sen Andy Dinniman: andy@pasenate.com

RESOLUTION OPPOSING SENATE BILL 1

By Christine E. Johnson
986 Mt. Pleasant Avenue
Wayne, PA 19087

WHEREAS, school districts in the Commonwealth have continued to make steady gains in academic achievement and create innovative and effective
programs and curricula for all public school students and Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation to have increased academic achievement in every subject, at all tested grade levels and for all ethnic, racial and
economic subgroups of students from 2002 through 2008; and

WHEREAS, the implementation of a tuition voucher program, over-expansion of any existing tax credit program or incentivizing a student’s transfer out of the public education system in any way takes financial resources away from traditional public schools and diminishes the great strides that have been made in those schools and increases the burden on property taxpayers and their resident school districts working toward greater academic successes; and

WHEREAS, unlike nonpublic and private schools, public school districts in the Commonwealth accept and educate children regardless of race,
ethnicity, gender, religion or academic talents, as opposed to those institutions that are able to reject applicants based on low academic performance, discipline issues or any number of other factors; and

WHEREAS, unlike nonpublic and private schools, public schools in the Commonwealth are held to strict accountability standards in an effort to
measure student achievement and academic progress, unlike private and parochial schools which are not required to give state assessments or
publish student achievement data; and

WHEREAS, there is no consistent evidence to demonstrate that students who utilize vouchers make any better academic progress in nonpublic or private schools than they did prior to transferring; and

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Christine E. Johnson opposes Senate Bill 1 and any other legislation or any effort by the General Assembly to implement a tuition voucher program in the Commonwealth or any other program that would have an effect similar to that of a tuition voucher program, and encourages its elected officials to oppose the same.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Christine E. Johnson directs her legislators to take immediate action about the need to oppose Senate Bill 1 and the negative consequences on the school district and the public education system at large and to provide a copy of this resolution to them.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Christine E. Johnson will encourage others, including parents, students and district taxpayers, to contact the
Pennsylvania General Assembly to convey the importance of supporting public education in the Commonwealth.

Adopted this 31st day of March 2011.

Signed,

Christine E. Johnson

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Are Fair Housing Rules being Broken in the Mt. Pleasant Community of Tredyffrin? How Can we Help these Residents?

If you have been following the St. Davids Golf Club and the ongoing sidewalk saga, you have probably seen Christine Johnson, who has attended and spoke out at recent Board of Supervisors meetings.  A passionate Mt. Pleasant resident, Christine has been very vocal in her support of sidewalks and of her Panhandle community.  I have written several posts concerning the struggles of Christine and her neighbors re college housing and associated planning and zoning issues; and police enforcement (primarily noise and speeding concerns in the community). 

Back in the fall at a Board of Supervisors meeting there was agreement to conduct meetings between Mt. Pleasant neighbood members and township representatives including the police, zoning officer, township engineer and supervisors.  Informal discussions were held and a town hall meeting was planned with the residents in mid-December.  Unfortunately, that meeting was cancelled due to snow.  Another town hall meeting date was chosen for early 2010 but again that meeting needed to be cancelled due to snow. 

As far as I know, a third date has not been chosen for the town hall meeting. This ongoing situation is frustrating for Christine and her Mt. Pleasant neighbors . . . as the problems with college rentals and zoning issues remains unsolved. I am committed to providing updates and to continue to shine light on Mt. Pleasant’s challenges until we can reach a resolution on their problems.

Christine in her quest to research and better understand her rights as a resident of Mt. Pleasant community has reached out to the Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia.  Based on the information that Christine is providing below, there has been some stretching of the fair housing laws by some of the landlords in the advertising of college housing in Mt. Pleasant. 

I know that Tredyffrin Township does not have specific zoning regulations that deal with college rentals as do some of the neighboring municipalities.  As a first step, I think we need to get the town hall meeting back on the schedule and then start working on helping the Mt. Pleasant folks.  I think Supervisors DiBuonaventuro and Kichline are onboard to represent the Board of Supervisors; can I appeal to help find a new date for the town hall meeting?

     Violating Fair Housing Laws

According the the Fair Housing Act,  you cannot discriminate against families.  Shouldn’t famillies have the chance to  live in Mt. Pleasant?  I’m sick of seeing our houses advertised as “Rental – Student Approved”  “Student Approved House” “Villanova Student Rental” “College Rental” “Great for College Students” etc, etc, etc.

When describing your rental, please be aware the misuse of a phrase can, however innocently used, be in violation of federal fair housing laws. The list below is fromHousing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) www.homeny.org:

The following list of words and phrases are considered to be in violation of the federal fair housing laws when used in advertising of the sale or rental of housing because they may indicate a preference, limitation or discrimination to the ordinary reader. This list is not all-inclusive but should be used as a guide and example of unacceptable language.

  1. Max 2 people, 3rd extra charge
  2. Great for one
  3. 1 Person pref.
  4. ideal for couple
  5. ideal for working couple
  6. ideal for adults
  7. Suitable for couple
  8. In quiet adult community
  9. perfect for working single
  10. adults pref.
  11. ideal for 2 adults
  12. professional & students only
  13. looking for professional
  14. mature adults
  15. professional couple pref.
  16. 1 person pref.
  17. employed couple or single
  18. ideal for a single
  19. employed male/student
  20. ideal for students
  21. ideal for single person /couple
  22. perfect for students
  23. suits 1-2 employed adult/student
  24. Ideal for male/female
  25. great for students
  26. no pets or children
  27. max 2 people
  28. ideal for single female
  29. working single
  30. male/female suitable for one
  31. 2 bedroom maximum/2 person occupancy
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Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors Meeting, 2-8-10 . . . YouTube Video Part II: Christine Johnson

One of the most moving moments of the Board of Supervisors Meeting was when Mt. Pleasant resident Christine Johnson took her turn to speak.  Christine eloquently spoke of her community, Mt. Pleasant as not being a sidewalk to nowhere as is often referred to by Supervisor Olson.  Christine is a research librarian and she put hours in to research, providing copies of minutes from Board Meetings, Planning Commission meetings, STAP meetings, etc. Please watch Christine’s passionate delivery of information . . . and please watch as virtually no response is offered from Chairman Lamina. 

Please watch this video clip:  YouTube Video Part II: Christine Johnson

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We are Standing With the Volunteer Firefighters, Can We Show Support for the Mt. Pleasant Community?

In much the same way that many of our community members have supported our volunteer firefighters in recent weeks, there is another township issue that needs our attention and focus — Mt. Pleasant.  For those that do not know, Mt. Pleasant is located in the Panhandle section, off of Upper Gulph Road, in the shadows of the St. Davids Golf Club.  Back on November 19, I wrote of the many issues plaguing Mt. Pleasant and their residents, student housing and rental issues, excessive late night noise, drinking, etc. 

There seemed to be movement from the township in helping this neighborhood and I was pleased to report that there had been a meeting between residents and Supervisors DiFilippo and DiBuonaventuro.  It was agreed that the situation required further discussion and a town hall meeting was scheduled by the Mt. Pleasant Action Group for Saturday, December 19 at the First Baptist Church in Wayne.  The meeting was to include Tredyffrin Township representatives including members of the Board of Supervisors, Police, and Zoning Enforcement.  However, if you recall our December blizzard hit that weekend and the meeting was cancelled.

Fast forward and we need to get back on track to help this community.  Beyond the student housing issues, there has also been subdivision and special exception requests to the Planning Commission for Mt. Pleasant.  A subdivision request for an Upper Gulph Rd. property was denied by the Planning Commission in November, suggesting that the Planning Commissioners are now understanding some of the ongoing problems with residential properties converting to student housing.  The Planning Commissioners recent ruling to deny the Upper Gulph Road subdivision application was applauded by the residents. 

However, there now appears to be a serious environmental situation  in the Black Bottom area of Mt. Pleasant.  I wrote that Mazie Hall’s house was part of this redevelopment area; apparently scheduled for 9 new homes built by F & H Mainline (This project requires the teardown of houses, including Mazie Hall’s home).  As part of the preparation of the site, I have just learned bulldozers arrived on Sunday, December 29 for immediate stabilization of steep slopes that have been wrongfully cleared of vegetation.  The developers were told to leave specimen trees in the clearing of the property, however that was ignored and the trees were removed.  In their places, trenches were dug to help correct the situation!

Christine Johnson, Mt. Pleasant resident and community activist extraordinaire has been leading this battle (along with other neighborhood issues)  for the community.  Christine graphically details the environmental situation on her Mt. Pleasant Action Group website and includes photos of the razing of Mazie Hall’s home and the problems now being created by the developers. Christine has been in contact with township engineer Steve Burgo and he agrees that the developer’s on site tree service did go beyond the limit of disturbance, is in violation and will be cited.  In regards to the latest development problem, Christine writes, “Is it worth destroying the environment as well as people’s spirits?”  Wow . . . can we please help this community? 

Township supervisors are you listening?  Christine and her neighbors are struggling, they can not fight the battle on all fronts. 

Can we re-schedule that cancelled Mt. Pleasant Town Hall meeting as soon as possible?  This community needs the attention of the township.  Can we show these residents that we care about them and want to help . . . ?

On December 29, Christine wrote the following entry on her website:

Main Entry: gen·tri·fi·ca·tion
Pronunciation: \ˌjen-trə-fə-ˈkâ-shən\
Function: noun
Date: 1964

gentrification: the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents

or a more appropriate definition:

“gentrification: the process by which higher income households displace lower income residents of a neighborhood, changing the essential character and flavor of that neighborhood”

“Gentrification isn’t just obnoxious yuppies bouncing from cocktail lounges to sushi bars. It also involves the systematic removal of working-class people from their homes.”

The issue of gentrification has historically included a strong racial component—lower income African-American residents are replaced by higher income white residents.

Residential segregation occurs with the tacit support of public and private sector institutions and traditions. As a result, an influx of higher income households inevitably will put pressure primarily on historically minority communities.

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Town Hall Meeting for Mt. Pleasant Residents

I am pleased to report that the Mt. Pleasant community (Panhandle area of the township) is going to have its Town Hall meeting with township representatives.  This Saturday, residents will have an opportunity to voice their concerns and seek answers from members of Tredyffrin’s police, public works, code enforcement and Board of Supervisors. Zoning and land development issues in addition to college student rentals have been a source of ongoing concern for the Mt. Pleasant residents.  Students may have a right to live in Mt. Pleasant (assuming no zoning ordinances are being broken) but the residents also have rights.  The quality of life of the residents also needs to be protected.

Township Supervisors Judy DiFilippo and John DiBuonaventuro have met with some of the residents and this upcoming forum will allow for greater participation.  The Mt. Pleasant Action Committee Group has helped to organize the meeting and I have been invited to attend.  I am looking forward to the meeting and to hope to share favorable updates.  Last month I had several postings about the Mt. Pleasant community and their struggles, to read further, click here.

If you are unsure of where Mt. Pleasant is located, it is in the shadow of the St. Davids Golf Club.

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