Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Letter to the Editor . . . TTGOP Chair CT Alexander Takes on Retired Supervisor Bill DeHaven

Just when I think that we are ‘moving on’ as the title of a Letter to the Editor in this week’s Main Line Suburban Life would indicate, I am immediately taken back to that December meeting when the ‘cardboard check’ to the firefighters reared its’ ugly head. Below is a letter from TTGOP Chair CT Alexander to Bill DeHaven that was listed under the category of ‘Support of Berwyn Fire Company’ in the paper’s opinion index. The letter from Mr. Alexander which comments on Bill’s ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ cable TV show, and the suggestion that Bill & Co. is beating an old horse certainly caused me pause this morning.

All I can say is unbelievable to Mr. Alexander’s letter!

OK, let’s revisit the cardboard check of 2009 and where we stand with contributions to date. How much of the $23,200 promised money has been delivered to date? The last time that Supervisor Olson called me, the total turned over to the Berwyn Fire Company was $8,950 (that total was several weeks ago). When we last spoke, Supervisor Olson said that he would call me when he delivered the next contribution installment to the fire company. I have not received any further calls, so should I think that there’s been no further contributions? I think we need an update, don’t you?

As for Mr. Alexander, where does he stand with his $5K contribution in matching funds to the firefighters from the TTGOP? Can I assume that since Mr. Alexander is calling Bill DeHaven out over this matter, that his organization has made their total contribution as they promised last month? As follow-up I will email CT and let you know if I have an update on that front. I’m wondering if Bill or Dan (Bill’s sidekick as quoted from Mr. Alexander) have any response to this Letter to the Editor? Let me know if you have a comment; I’ll be glad to publish.

Since I’m on the topic of the firefighters and the Firefighters Holiday Drive, can I ask that Berwyn give us an accounting at Monday’s Board of Supervisor Meeting on the contributions to date. From someone who has done a bit of fundraising, getting the commitment of the gift is one thing, . . . it’s the collection that often times proves the most challenging. I know many of our residents were confused and thought that the presentation of the cardboard check meant that the fundraisers had that money is hand already — folks, that was a promise check . . . there’s still collection required for that $23,200.

Here’s CT Alexander’s Letter to the Editor:

It’s time to move on

To the Editor:

Watching TV Channel 2 the other night I observed Berwyn icon Bill DeHaven and his sidekick using valuable air time to excoriate a political mailer from an election that took place over a month ago, akin to “beating a dead horse.” From earlier shows I remember Bill’s encouragement to sign an Internet petition in favor of re-instatement of the Berwyn Fire Company’s budget cut from the [Tredyffrin] township’s 2010 budget. I signed that petition and added that I had a plan. Thereafter, through a timely and generous private-sector outpouring, that shortfall was eliminated and then some.

This is a great opportunity for Bill & Co. to turn his attention to asking those same petition-signers – all 500-plus – to write a check for $10 and send it to Berwyn Fire Company to show tangible evidence of your support – “put your money where you vote was.” In no time the fire company would realize a windfall of $5,000, doubling the matching grant of the private citizens that inspired the whole public solicitation in the first place, thus funding an innovated fund-raising mailer scheduled for January 2010 piggybacking township tax notices.

Bill, it’s time: stop beating a dead horse – start beating the drums of support for Berwyn Fire Company!

John C.T. Alexander, Strafford

P.S. It’s tax-deductible!

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  1. Three thoughts on Mr. Alexander’s letter:
    1. He absolutely should have included his TTRC affiliation and position in his signature at the bottom of the letter.

    2. Sometimes it’s best to “let it rest”. This is probably one of those times.

    3.. That said, I agree with his point that those who signed the petition, can help by writing checks. Talk is cheap.

    As for your questions to Mr. Olsen, Pattye, you seem to infer that Mr. Olsen is not upholding his part of your agreement with him. Your posts would indicate that you last spoke to him on January 6 – only 8 days ago. Realistically, I think you should expect an update every 2 to 4 weeks. As of 1/6 they had collected almost 40% and the deadline is the end of March, so it appears the campaign is on track.

    1. Pattye, rereading my post again, maybe I should have said you are expressing a bit of impatience with Mr. Olsen’s updates.

  2. A few more comments on the “gift that keeps on giving”:

    First, C.T suggests that Mr. DeHaven took up “valuable air time” in his defense of the firefighters?

    What the !!!!!!#%???

    Is there a bigger blowhard in Tredyffrin than Mr. Alexander – whose every utterance has a political purpose? Who spoke at great length as the Channel 3 camera rolled on Dec. 21. Pontificating. Promoting. Taking up valuable air time…

    As a recently retired supervisor and long-time police officer in our township, Bill’s standing to advocate on behalf of his fellow public servants should not be questioned.

    And is Mr. Alexander truly so tone-deaf that he continues to defend private charity as a legitimate means of funding fire and ambulance services in this town?

    C.T. repeats his request that all 500+ petition signers put $10 in the mail (“It’s tax deductible” – as if we needed his help in recognizing that fact). Of course he knows that those who signed the petition are by and large already contributors and will give again in 2010. We don’t have to do it on his terms and his schedule…

    But private donations do not change the fact that it is the supervisors’ responsibility to provide for this township’s safety and to allocate our tax dollars accordingly.

    Somehow, the man still thinks he will get some political points for focusing on “his” donors vs. “our” donors…….

    For all you loyal Republicans – please take notice. The chair of the TTRC is now going after one of his own because Mr. DeHaven dared take a position in favor of the community’s best interests at the expense of the local party platform – no new taxes, no matter what – until after the November 2010 election.


  3. Bill DeHaven has ALWAYS supported the fire company! Not just when its convenient to score a political point. Stop the attempts of distraction, and enough of the poor damage control.

  4. I assume the confused and poorly dressed man at the political show in December is the same John Alexander who wrote this letter to the editor? If we could get leaders from both parties to admit when they are wrong we would ALL be better served. In this case, the local Republican’s botched this one badly and should just stay quiet. I find it funny to read that the new Tredyffrin Board Chair is now honored to serve, but just a few weeks ago we saw him bashing community volunteers and missing critical budget meetings.

  5. Politics are just the show — pay attention to who you vote for — and while I have some issues with the OLK crowd (maybe we need a group called FOLK and you can say the F is friends of….)we need to start paying attention to and respecting the process, because why would ANYONE want to serve in these positions??? There are new people on the BOS and already people are questioning their motives and what they will do. Read about the Great Valley school board elections and you’ll understand why that’s where the people there are paying attention. Same thing here but in reverse. The elections were “competitive” and the scrutiny now of the BOS is quite organized. I think this blog was started last spring as a campaign introduction? So we all need to admit to some kind of personal bias/or at least perspective and keep up the conversation.

    1. I find your comment interesting. March, 2009 I created a website after making the decision to become a BOS candidate; the website was static, without comments.

      As a lifelong independent I thought it was very important to bring ‘community’ to the Board of Supervisors and that was my primary motivation in running. My involvement in many community groups (Boards of DuPortail House, Paoli Business & Professional Association, Paoli Blues Fest, Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust) and activities (including co-chairing Tredyffrin 300 and serving as executive producer for the township’s historic documentary) has extended over the 25 years that I have been a resident of Tredyffrin Township. Following the November election, I came to realize that my love for this community and its residents and involvement with many people and organizations, was not going to stop with the election results. I decided to take the website and roll it over in to a blog and do what I had intended to do if I had won the election — which was give voice to the community. I am a person who believes in people and issues, not party politics. I said it over and over during the campaign. I am about as nonpartisan a person that I know — I look at issues and hold people accountable on what I truly believe. (I made the comment on many occassions that I did not know the ‘party affiliation’ of most of my friends before the campaign; it simply was not important to me.

      Community Matters and the topics that I bring up are what I think are important and relevant to this community. If that is your idea of ‘personal bias’ so be it. Just as an FYI, when I moved the website over to create this blog following the election, I could have dropped all the old articles that I wrote. But I spent a lot of time on those articles such as historic preservation, small business challenges, etc. and I decided that they served a purpose. Just to clear things up — I have no axe to grind with one political ‘party’ over another. In fact, I challenge myself to always look at both sides of the issue, based on the elements of the issue (not on the political party of one side or the other).

      1. I don’t know why you even bothered to respond to Sarah’s comments. Talk about personal bias — it looks to me that she is the one with the bias!

      2. “I have no axe to grind with one political ‘party’ over another. In fact, I challenge myself to always look at both sides of the issue, based on the elements of the issue (not on the political party of one side or the other).”

        is that why you were/are listed on the TTDems website as a candidate for their party? why dont you run next time as an independent?

  6. John
    The folks at the library are starting to worry about me sitting here — but you all keep adding comments and I’m compelled to respond. We changed ISP’s recently so I’m learning about the downside of “saving money” at the expense of services…” and am glad for library access.

    Activity buses — they went away NOT because services were degraded, but because of lawsuits in other jurisdictions that forced districts to provide for private schools whatever they provided for public ones. The mid-day kindergarten bus disappeared at the same time (actually the two-way disappeared, because we added pm kindergarten and could only provide start of day and end of day bussing) — because if we brought our own kids home at any time other than “end of day”, we have to do it for the umpteen other schools we bus to/from daily. There was a wonderful man Mr. Campbell who made compelling cases (buses and the cut of drivers ed from curriculum as well) who certainly was on point as to taking away services people needed. The cost of bringing kids home from private and parochial schools at the end of their “activity” (and bringing kids home from local preschools that offered half-day kindergarten) was simply not affordable. So I promise that it wasn’t to degrade services.
    I do stand behind decisions — and would be happy to share more background if you have any questions. I’m not trying to defend current boards — I’m only saying that the information and background is often far more complex. School boards tend to be a bit “secretive” — I’ve certainly seen that since my own departure, as even initiatives I was part of result in a “I cannot discuss that with you” responses nowadays.

    As to the comment about the future economic implications during a negotiation — the PSEA is formidable. I’m glad you added the school strike link as it’s really a critical piece of the whole puzzle that we cannot disregard. My own negotiating experience was not with the PSEA — as our local leaders dismissed them from our sessions for the most part and we dealt directly with the TEEA, who shared a local vision and appreciation for our community. (The president of TEEA in my time is now president of the Phoenixville School Board).
    The talk is good. Thanks for your thoughts.

  7. Never have i beaten any horse, alive or dead. Can’t see the connection between the cardboard check and the stupid republican mail piece. The
    show on which we discussed that was taped in November. Didn’t mention the
    petition on the GB&U but did send an e-mail to all local addresses including
    Mr. Alexander with the petition address asking recipients to please read and sign.

    Local Fire Companies should be funded by tax dollars when necessary. Firefighters should not have to raise money. This is a volunteer position that
    requires significant training and 24hr. coverage.

  8. As part of the above: Mr. Alexander was contacted before this post. He will
    continue to assist B.F.C. raise money and stands by his comments.

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