Pattye Benson

Community Matters

SEPTA Pulls $10 Million in Financial Assistance from Ardmore Train Station Project . . . what does this mean for Paoli Transportation Center?

SEPTA announced that due to insufficient funding from Washington they would be forced to cut $110 million from its capital budget starting July 1. Back in June, I compared the financing and future of the Ardmore Train Station redevelopment project and the Paoli Transportation project. (see Will Ardmore Transit’s Funding Issues Impact the Future of Paoli Transportation Center?) At that time, the developer Dranoff Properties and Lower Merion officials were concerned but optimistic that the money troubles would be resolved and that the project would continue to move forward.

However, it looks like the difficult economic times continue to rear its ugly head. This week, SEPTA announced their 2011 budget decision to remove $10 million in capital fund assistance from the Ardmore Train Station project. This latest negative news is leaving the future unknown for the Ardmore redevelopment project. As recently as this past August, Lower Merion received a $9 million RACP (Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project) grant from Gov. Rendell towards Ardmore’s $35.65 million project.

If you recall, Ardmore’s redevelopment project is much more than simply improvement to the train station. The project calls for the design of a new mini-main street, including new apartments, restaurants, township building, and large parking garage, in addition to a new train station. It appears that some Lower Merion officials are dragging their feet about continued support for the proposed plan as originally presented. In light of the difficult economic situation and SEPTA’s recent decision maybe the key to keeping the project going forward is a scaled-back version of the original plan, and a specific focus on the train station only? Just an idea, don’t know if that makes sense to the overall design.

Following on the heels of SEPTA’s depressing news, Carla from Save Ardmore Coalition has presented a positive, upbeat message of support for Ardmore and its business community. Taking a ‘lemon’ of a situation and making lemonade – is the “Discover More in Ardmore” campaign; and just in time for the holidays! I received the following message from Carla . . . one of hope and encouragement!

We believe in Ardmore….not the what ifs of maybe, eventually, possibly redevelopment plans, but the Ardmore of the present.

We love our shops and our residents and our little friendly Main Street.This week you may see our ad in Main Line Times in the gift guide, on Monday our shopping bags done in partnership with Ardmore Business Association are set to arrive at Suburban Office.

Our “Discover More in Ardmore” campaign also goes kind of “support Ardmore” viral today – we have purchased signs at train stations station and they are going up today. We have one sign at each of the following 5 train stations – Paoli, Wayne, Bryn Mawr, Ardmore and Narberth. We hope all get the message:

Discover More in Ardmore.

We believe.

I noted that Governor Rendell’s proposed additional $1 billion in bonded debt has been countered and reduced to $650 million by State Treasurer Rob McCord. This new debit was earmarked for Commonwealth projects already in progress or that the state had contractually agreed to complete. I don’t know if this money would directly impact the Ardmore redevelopment project.

This discussion of SEPTA’s cut to the Ardmore Train Station project does call in to question what the future holds for the Paoli Transportation Center. Has our transportation project been relegated permanently to the back burner of discussion? Wonder how the new administration in Harrisburg will look at these transportation project? With support . . . ?

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  1. From what I understand these transit-oriented, mixed-use high density projects (and sustainable development in general) are some sort of liberal conspiracy scheme akin to communism, the intention of which is to undermine our individual rights….
    Oh, and not to mention…Unconstitutional…

    So, do I think the new administration, will be supporting this kind of development? Not if they can help it.

    1. Communism???
      That attitude will certainly not encourage job growth and support local businesses. Disappointing and no vision for the future.

  2. Christine,
    You’ve made many thoughtful comments on this blog and provided valuable information on many occasions….


    …Your opinion that transit-oriented development – which encourages walkable communities and the use of public transportation instead of more sprawl and the need to use a car to go shopping or to work – is just plain wacky.

    Developing work and living spaces near public transportation “undermine your rights and is unconstitutional?” On what basis did you come to this conclusion?

    In my opinion, Paoli could be positively transformed
    by mixed use development around a well-designed transportation center. And interested developers are focused on profits, not communist ideology.

    What have you been reading, or smoking?

    1. Ray,

      Like you, I first assumed Christine’s comment was tongue in cheek.

      But I am aware that there is an active movement against sustainable development . It’s part of anti-globalist, anti- UN agenda (re Agenda 21) by the libertarian fringe stemming from paranoia that sustainable development is part of a global (communist) plot to undermine our personal freedom .

      Read the article below. Also, google “sustainable development” and see the fringe ranting about the dangers of sustainable development. Apparently, plans to build walkable communities along the Main Line have triggered these fears in some….

      Chris Mann
      Monday, December 6, 2010

      We as a nation are facing an old danger, being repacked and re-sold as the only way to save the earth. This is the concept of Sustainable Development and the U.N’s Agenda 21. According to the 1996 President’s Council on Sustainable Development,

      “Sustainable Communities encourage people to work together to create healthy communities where natural resources and historic resources are preserved, jobs are available, sprawl is contained, neighborhoods are secure, education is lifelong, transportation and health care are accessible, and citizens have opportunities to improve the quality of their lives.” [1]

      Now this might sound all good and well to an individual on the face of it all, but the truth about Sustainable Development and the U.N’S Agenda 21 is that is calls for “changing the very infrastructure of the nation, away from private ownership and control of property to nothing short of central planning of the entire economy.”[2] This is were the problem lies for the American Public and the international community, the ideology of Sustainable Development threats the continued prosperity of human kind, the continued growth of the industrial nations of the world and the preservation of individual rights.

      We thought as Western nations that with the fall of the Soviet Union that the fall communism would follow as well, yet we are being lead down the same path that Karl Marx envisioned, a global community were individuals are working for the good of the common and were individual rights and private property are see as driving social inequality, yet this time its all in the name of saving the environment and creating a Sustainable Community. So were did this ideology of Sustainable Development come from? What about the issue with Agenda 21 that is nothing more than a conspiracy theory? How do we understand these issues and how do we address the problems of Sustainable Development and the implementation of Agenda 21 derived policies in the United States?

      Well let us first address this; Agenda 21 is very real and very dangerous. It was adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil on June of 1992. According to the authors, “Agenda 21 is not a static document. It’s a plan of action. It’s meant to be a hands-on instrument to guide the development of the Earth in a sustainable manner”[3]. The authors continue, “The transition to a global civilization in balance with nature will be exceedingly difficult task, but AGENDA 21 is the collective global alert that there is no alternative.” [4]These are not crazed dreams of conspiracy theorist; Agenda 21 is real and has permeated into every aspect of our lives with out a single word from legislators, theorist or the media.

      Before addressing the history behind the ideology of Sustainable Development, it is important to note that Pres. George Bush Sr. did sign the treaty that came out of the Rio conference which was called the Biodiversity Treaty. The Senate did not ratify the treaty because there was no vote on the Biodiversity Treaty. Yet this was not the end of Agenda 21 in American society; instead six months after his inauguration Pres. Bill Clinton, under executive Order # 12852 created the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. This council created the American version of Agenda 21 called “Sustainable America- a New Consensus”[5]. So were does the term Sustainable Development come from? Well the answer may unlock more insight to the true nature of this ideology and movement.

      The term Sustainable Development was created by the World Commission on Environment and Development. The report that came out of this commission is called Our Common Future. It must be noted that the chairman of this Commission was Gro Harlem Brundtland, who was the Vice President of the World Socialist Party.[6] The report states, “Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” [7]This is not the only voice for Sustainable Development and as we will see the effects of Sustainable Development is meant to redistribute the wealth of the industrialized nations, control and prevent the growth in human population and create a common communal society were through “education, institutional development, and law enforcement”[8], individuals in the real world will be persuaded to accept their common interest. So now that there is an outline of the history of Sustainable Development and the U.N’s Agenda 21, lets see why these are a major threat to all Americans and citizens world wide.

      According to its authors of Our Common Future the objectives of Sustainable Development is to integrate economic, social, and environmental policies in order to achieve reduced consumption, social equality, and the preservation and restoration of biodiversity”[9] The ideology of Sustainable development is focused around three main concepts, that can be best described as the three E’s, they are Social Equity, Economic Prosperity, and Ecological Integrity.[10] By grouping these three issue together advocates of Sustainable Development are able to address, what they perceive as a no-option situation, through the uses of social engineering, economic transition, and preservation / prevention of over use of natural resources. To better understand how each of the three E’s are designed to disproportionately affect American citizens lets look at each one individually. First let’s look at what is called Social Equity.


      “The Sustaniablist system is based on the principle that individuals must give up selfish wants for the needs of the common good, or the ‘community’.”[11] One of the main arguments put forth by globalist, advocates of Sustainable Development, is that the citizens of the industrialized nations have created social inequality through there belief in individual property rights and that the only way to provided social equality is for the right of private property ownership to be taken out of the hands of the individual and put into the hands of the global community. According to Joel Kassiola author of The Death of Industrial Civilization the materially poor and citizens of nonindustrial societies are not able to fulfill their material need, due to the over consumption of the industrialized nations. To solve this problem of Social Inequality, due to the nature of industrial society and capitalism Kassiola suggest that wealthy societies must expect relative or absolute lose of material wealth.[12] “The lives of the residents of materially poor countries are presently endangered as will be the whole human species if the industrial value of limitless economic growth continues unchecked by the existential limits of the human condition.”[13] Kassiola concludes his argument for the transition from an unsustainable industrial society that faces what his call limits-to growth problems, with a comparison presented by a British Green Party member, outlining various differences between “politics of industrialism” and the “politics of ecology (Sustainable Devlopment)”. They include economic growth and GNP, in industrialism compared with Sustainability and quality of life, in ecology; High income differentials , in industrialism and Low income differentials , in ecology; employment as a means to an end, in industrialism and work as an end in itself, in ecology and finally sovereignty of nation-state, in industrialism and international and global solidarity, in ecology. [14]

      Second in the three E’s is economic prosperity. “Sustainable Development’s economic policy is based on one overriding premise: that the wealth of the world was made at the expense of the poor.”[15] This is exactly what Kassiola argued in his work and is prevalent in all other sustainability literature. According to the authors of Population, Technology, and Lifestyles one of the main problems also is the rate of population growth do to the economic structure of industrialism, they say

      “Reducing rates of population growth is an essential condition to achieve sustainability. This is as important, if not more so in industrial countries as it is in developing countries. Industrial countries over consume per capita, hence over pollute and they are responsible for by far the largest share of limits being reached.”[16]

      There is a clear consensus by those advocating for Sustainable Development that the continued path of economic prosperity and unlimited possibility for economic growth is unsustainable, and that the only solution is to transition away from an industrialized economy to one were according to Agenda 21 “ The second objective is to move towards the integration of social and environmental costs into all economic activities, so that prices will appropriately reflect the relative scarcity and total value of natural resources.”[17]

      One final aspect to Globalist goal of economic prosperity is the idea of Public/Private Partnerships (PPP). These PPP’s are design to give an advantage to large corporations that can lobby government agencies to implement regulations in order to prevent any competition. “As a result, Sustainable Development policy is redefining free trade to mean centralized global trade ‘freely’ crossing (or eliminating) national borders. Its real effect is to redistribute American manufacturing wealth and jobs out of our borders and to lock away American natural resources.”[18] Through these PPP’s; Multi-National Corporations’ (MNC) are gaining a disproportionate advantage over the common individual in the business sector. These MNC’s understand that they will have to sacrifice there own industries to move along Sustainable Development and the introduction of green industries. “To play ball in the PPP game means accepting the mantra of Sustainable Development and helping to implement it, even if it means going against your own products. That’s why Home Depot uses its commercials to oppose cutting down trees and British Petroleum advocates reducing the use of oil.” [19]

      The final E is for Ecological Integrity. The Biodiversity Treaty or Agenda 21, states

      “Nature has an integral set of different values (cultural, spiritual, and material) where humans are one strand in nature’s web and all living creatures are considered equal. Therefore the natural way is the right way and human activities should be molded along nature’s rhythms.”[20]

      Under this frame work individual rights would no longer be of importance, instead we must all scarifies for the betterment of the environment. According to Globalist the increases in human population has put to much of a strain on the earth and therefore reduction’s in population and population growth are of grave importance. “Thirteen nations already have achieved zero population growth, so it is not utopian to expect others to follow.”[21] Even American journalist are advocating population reduction, Adrew Revkin of the New York Times stated, “ probably the single most concrete and substantive thing an Americans, young Americans could do to lower our carbon footprint is not turning off the light or driving a Prius, it’s having fewer kids, having fewer children.” [22]As we can see Sustainable Development is about creating systems of control over free populations to promote balance between man and nature, but at the expense of human prosperity and free will. So were do we go from here, how is it that we prevent this transition to an authoritarian global system of Sustainable Development?

      Well first and foremost we as Americans must understand one thing; this is not a left or right issue. Pres. Bush Sr. signed the Biodiversity Treaty in Rio and Pres. Clinton implemented the American form of Agenda 21. This is an issue of free liberty, free rights and human will versus the desires of Globalist and communal minded technocrats. One of the first things that must be addressed is the need for private property rights for individuals of third world nations; this is contrary to the belief of Globalist that third world development will be deadly to the world. This means readdressing the policies of international development banks such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which promote and control the prevention of property rights to the third world.

      Secondly and even more vital is the need to expose the fraud that is man made global warming. “The scientist in the email exchange manipulated evidence in IPCC and WMO reports with the effect of misleading readers, including policymakers”[23] Through what has been termed Climategate, we have learned that many scientist did not believe there own data about man made Global Warming and as stated in the quote above often manipulated the evidence to promote the rising threat of Co2. There must be an understanding by the American public that if we allow our government to continue with “green” initiatives that we will allow for the implementation of Sustainable Development policies, which will result in the reduction of the standard of living; through policies such as cap and trade, and the abolition of individual property rights and individual privacy rights all in the name of fraudulent science and scare tactics. Congressmen Ron Paul stated, “Over 30,000 scientists signed a petition recently directly disputing the claims on which this policy (cap and trade) is based.”[24] The Club of Rome, an international think-tank clearly states that it is scare tactics not science that is needed to reform society, “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill…. The real enemy then is humanity itself.”[25] We can not allow are selves to be scared into giving up our god given rights that are protected under the constitution, by environmental scare tactics and in turn receiving an totalitarian global regime change. We can not allow freedom to be replaced with servitude, capitalism can not give way to socialism, and property rights must not fall to the way side and be replaced by Sustainable Development.

      Finally we must understand that Agenda 21 is being implemented on the local level more than on the federal level. This is being done through the work of an organization called the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and yes there are working in 544 U.S cities to implement Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development policy through the mayor and local officials. ICLEI is a non-profit, private foundation and its mission is to push local communities to regulate the environment. “ICLEI and others are dedicated to controlling your locally elected public officials to quietly implement an all encompassing tyranny over every community in the nation.”[26]

      Tom DeWeese the President of the American Policy Center has outlined 4 easy things every American must do to prevent the continued influence of ICLEI. First we must go to city council meetings and listen to see if they are discussing land use, water control, and development control. Is there language being used that would indicate Sustainable Development? Second, we must ask questions. This seems to be a lost art of the American people, but if we do not start to ask questions of our elected officials we will see our republic being taken right out from underneath us. If your commission is discussing development control ask were the policy is coming from, ask if your community is paying dues or is involved with ICLEI. Third, we must understand that opposing sustainable development or Agenda 21 is not the opposition of environmental protection. Instead it is the opposition against the replacement of locally-elected officials with non-elected boards, councils and regional governments. Finally we must demand that are locally represented official remove ICLEI from any aspect of policy making.[27] These are not hard steps for every American to take, but they are vital and the reality is the time has run out for discussion. We have already seen state cap and trade bills being implemented in California and Texas and many other states have resolutions to do the same. Along with the federal cap and trade bill that is still very much alive.

      Sustainable development and Agenda 21 are not freedom, they do not promote democracy for the betterment of individual rights, they are the totalitarian socialist policies and communal ideologies of the Communist Manifesto, “think global, act locally”, and Mussolini-type fascism, Private/Public Partnerships. America is the leader of the free world and if we are to continue to see the realization of true democracy for citizens of the entire global, then the U.S must stop the train that that is Sustainable Development, Agenda 21, and globalization before George Orwell’s 1984 is no longer fiction, but reality and sad one at that.

      Chris Mann is a senior International Relations and Political Sciences student at the University of Tennessee.

      [1] (DeWeese, All the Details needed to sound the Alarm aginst Sustainable Develpment 2006

      [2] (DeWeese, Sustainable Development: The Road of all our problems 2009)

      [3] (Development 1994)

      [4] (Development 1994)

      [5] (Mckee 2010)

      [6] (DeWeese, Dawn of the Era of Common-ism 2007)

      [7] (World Commission on Enviroment and Development 1987)

      [8] (World Commission on Enviroment and Development 1987)

      [9] (DeWeese, Sustainable Development: The Road of all our problems 2009)

      [10] (DeWeese, Sustainable Development: The Road of all our problems 2009)

      [11] (DeWeese, Sustainable Development: The Road of all our problems 2009)

      [12] (Kassiola 1990)

      [13] (Kassiola 1990)

      [14] (Kassiola 1990)

      [15] (DeWeese, Sustainable Development: The Road of all our problems 2009)

      [16] (Goodland 1992)

      [17] (Development 1994)

      [18] (DeWeese, Sustainable Development: The Road of all our problems 2009)

      [19] (DeWeese, The Four-Part Process Leading to Sustainable Development 2009)

      [20] (DeWeese, Sustainable Development: The Road of all our problems 2009)

      [21] (Goodland 1992)

      [22] (Investor’s Bussines Daily 2009)

      [23] (Mckitrick 20010)

      [24] (Paul 2009)

      [25] (O’Neil 2009)

      [26] (DeWeese, Sustainable Development: The Road of all our problems 2009)

      [27] (DeWeese, Sustainable Development: The Road of all our problems 2009)

      Works Cited

      Development, United Nations Confrence on Environment and. Agenda 21: The Earth Summit Strategy to Save our Planet. U.N , Boulder: Earth Press, 1994.

      DeWeese, Tom, interview by “The Post and Email”. All the Details needed to sound the Alarm aginst Sustainable Develpment (2006).

      DeWeese, Tom. Dawn of the Era of Common-ism. Warrenton: The DeWeese Report, 2007.

      DeWeese, Tom. Sustainable Development: The Road of all our problems. Warrenton: American Policy Center, 2009.

      —. “The Four-Part Process Leading to Sustainable Development.” Campaign for Liberty Web site. 09 25, 2009. (accessed 2010).

      Goodland, Robert. “The Case that the World has Reached Limits.” In Population, Technology, and Lifestyle: The transition to Sustainability, by Robert Goodland, Herman E Daly and Salah El Serafy, 3-23. Washington: Island Press, 1992.

      Investor’s Bussines Daily. Cap-and-Trade for Babies. Commentary and Essay, Haymarket: Science and Public Policy Insttiute, 2009.

      Kassiola, Joel Jay. The Death of Industrial Civilization. Albany: State of University of New York Press, 1990.

      Mckee, Debbie. “Campaign for Liberty.” Agenda 21- Sustainable Development-Connecting the Dot. Oct 18, 2010. (accessed 2010).

      Mckitrick, Ross Ph.D. Understanding the Climategate Inquiries. Science and Public Pollicy Institue, 20010.

      O’Neil, Jim. Agenda 21: The Death Knell of Liberty. Oct 12, 2009. (accessed 2010).

      Paul, Ron. “Cap and Trade will lead to Capital flight.” Campaign for Liberty. 06 26, 2009. (accessed 2010).

      World Commission on Enviroment and Development. Our Common Future. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1987.

  3. Pattye – thanks for putting in a photo of our signs – we have a coordinating ad in the MLT in the gift guide and on Monday some fun red shopping bags which coordinate with the signs will be delivered to Suburban Office Equipment to be distributed to shops on Lancaster – we did the bags in partnership with the Ardmore Business Association to give to member businesses to give out to customers.

    Needless to say, it would be nice if we felt the township appreciated our people power grass roots efforts. But they are still too busy chasing condos and monster garages that the public will have very few spaces in…

    1. I hear you! Take some satisfaction in knowing that you have impressed me! Many of us know that you are making a difference . . . and remember, if you run out of projects in your neck of the woods, you can always ‘go west’! (We could use your enthusiasm and passion in Tredyffrin!)

  4. After this last election, it looks like every project is either cancelled, scaled-back or put on indefinite hold. For the future of Pennsylvania and this country, we need to ‘move forward’ with some of these plans. Status-quo is not going to inspire any of us. For the record, I have lived in Paoli for 25+ years, and I would like to see the train station built in my lifetime.

  5. Kate… Sorry you took that the wrong way… My comment came from all the Tea Party stuff I’ve been reading…I’m all for sustainable development. AND mixed-use, MIXED-INCOME, transit oriented development… walkable communties…etc…

    Ray… Yep.

  6. Christine,
    I’m happy to be wrong on this! I had a hard time believing the same person who supports Lower Merion’s recent vote to protect the LBGT community from discrimination was opposed to sustainable development….

    But I know a few libertarians who are socially progressive on some issues but hold very conservative views on others. I thought you might be one of them…

    I should have known better…..

    Ray, correct as usual.

  7. Interesting article in weekend WSj about the costs/overruns and less than expected revenue that comes in for light rail lines..

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