Archive for November, 2011

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Board

I can think of at least 4 reasons to be thrilled about Rattigan and Ryan winning the UM supervisor election.  For those silly people out there who might still be unhappy, time to get with the program and start being pleased about what to expect! Continue reading

Room With a Phew – Clarification Added

I am greatly comforted by these words from Milton Friedman:

I believe that in Upper Makefield’s case, the wrong people were in fact forced to do the right thing regarding taxes, at least this year, an election year.  It’s certainly not clear to me that the sitting board didn’t want to simply raise taxes, or wouldn’t have preferred to take all of the open space mils (and there’s no guarantee they won’t continue to do so.  In fact, even money says that going forward they will take as much as they can get.) Continue reading

County Stays Red, Township Goes Purple

Rat and Ryan pulled it off, so there are 2 Dems on the board of supervisors.  It wasn’t even all that close; results are here.  Larry Breeden is also in, but KC Christian got almost 45% of the votes and she’s not even running.

I feel a little like I did the morning after Obama won, because in a real sense he and all he stands for won again tonight in our township.

Well, we soldier on.  Not everyone wants to see our hard-earned tax money dripped and drabbed away.

But to those of you who voted for KC, I have an appeal: please, stay home on election day next November.  Elections are difficult enough without an army of stupid.

And for your viewing pleasure, a video I think is cool.  Politics aside, we’re lucky to live in a beautiful country.

You can read more about this project here.

Scorched Earth

Local elections in small townships can get pretty nasty, don’t you think?

Someone’s been spending money on a little research project from a dubious-sounding organization called the Delaware Valley Clean Government Council.  There’s a PO box, no street address, no phone, no website.  Not such a great marketing strategy for a non-profit!

Anyway, this “Clean Government Council” has provided info that Guy Polhemus was sued, along with some 39 other defendants, in May 2000.  All of the defendants counter-sued for malicious prosecution.  Here’s the link if you want to read about it.  Go to the end of the document; the case was dismissed.

Score: Incumbents 0, Polhemus 1

Bonus questions: who paid to mail this letter?  Was tax money used?  If the “Council” is real, they do this for money.  Who paid for that?  If the “Council” is bogus, who took the trip out to Wynnewood PA to set up the PO box?  Was the tax-paid administrative vehicle used?

Just wondering.

Emails have been flying around as well.  Here’s one from “Henry Orin”:

The Team attacks Mary Ryan and Dan Rattigan for not cutting enough from the budget even though they’ve pared away 9% in the last two years. When The Team finally produces its 2012 UMT budget proposal (see attached) it contains no cuts in spending. WE CAN’T AFFORDTHESE “REPUBLICAN ENDORSED CANDIDATES”. Their poorly conceived and ill-informed proposal is dead on arrival. Will they cut our police services, sell off our open space, and/or reduce township staff below critical levels? WE DON’T KNOW AND THEIR NOT TELLING.

VOTE FOR WHAT WE KNOW. DAN RATTIGAN AND MARY RYAN (13B and 12B) WILL CONTINUE THE HOLD THE LINE ON EXPENSES WHILE MAINTAINING UMT’s CHARACTER AND OUR WAY OFLIFE.

(Sic sic sic – as many sics as required).

This person lists concerns, but they don’t mention the half-million dollar deficit Ryan and Rattigan approved.  Poor arithmetic and spelling skills.

Bob North (any relation to Bob West?  Is there an East and a South?) sends this:

Ernie Sasso says he wants to save the Upper Makefield taxpayers money if he’s elected; however, his record says that’s not true.  Attorney Sasso sued UMT over his own obstruction of the township’s right of way at his property.  The attached file documents Mr. Sasso’s filing.  WE CAN’T AFFORD “SUE ‘EM ERNIE.”  His self-declared wish to monitor the township solicitor’s work and his record indicate that “Sue ’em Ernie” will have UMT involved in needless expensive litigation we can’t afford.

ON NOVEMBER 8th, VOTE FOR WHAT WE KNOW.  DAN RATTIGAN AND MARY RYAN (13B and 12B) WILL CONTINUE TO HOLD THE LINE ON EXPENSES WHILE
MAINTAINING UPPER MAKEFIELD’S CHARACTER AND OUR WAY OF LIFE.

“Sue-Em Ernie”?  Heh.  I did better with Cryin’ Ryan and RATtigan.  I wrote about this lawsuit issue earlier.  And again, “Bob North” is supremely unconcerned with the enormous deficit.  Not worth mentioning!

Well, Ryan and Rattigan are running as Democrats.  It’s no surprise they choose to take pages from Obama’s playbook, which is essentially “Don’t look at our records or the issues” because their records stink.

For my part, I know that anyone can be sued.  Might I want to know more?  Sure, but being sued isn’t an indicator of anything.  If you think otherwise, wake up and look around.  But I know you do know this, since you’re smart enough to read this blog!

Next, a letter from Captain William Glyndwr Martin (page 1 and page 2).  I like the letter, but I am doubtful that this is the writer’s real identity.  Clever idea though, I must say – make “mincemeat” out of them!  And the signatories of the “Red Star Group” letter are well-connected people; some of those names connect a grimace right to my face.  (And why didn’t I get that original Red Star letter; am I not worth the price of a stamp?  I’ve got a bone to pick with you Red Star groupies.)

Well, maybe there are 2 Upper Makefields.  And Ryan and Rattigan only know people from the one group, the group that doesn’t care if you raise their taxes 3 or 30 mils.

Lastly, I received this letter from the Breeden/Polhemus/Sasso team.  Note the bullet point near the end about the UM township manager earning more than the Bucks County COO.  I don’t know the latter’s salary, but I did hear Charles Martin make the statement that the COO earns less.  Heck, Teoli’s annual salary & bonus is nearly the price I paid for my house.  Didn’t she help preside over those daffy budgets and killer deficits?  Hmmm… exactly what are we paying her for?

Final note: it’s a small township.  Scorched earth tactics like the ones Ryan and Rattigan are willing to use can leave the ground smoldering for a long time to come.  Too bad they couldn’t have just been decent supervisors in the first place.

Open Space – Open for Business

There was a guest opinion in the October 28th edition of the Courier-Times about the Upper Makefield open space program.

I don’t have a problem with most of the article, until it nears then end, where it says:

While we accessed county and state preservation money whenever we could, it still became imperative that the township stretch its open space dollars. Given the inherent value of reserved building rights, one of the solutions was to allow a limited number of building envelopes while preserving the bulk of the property. A building envelope was never permitted in a manner that compromised the integrity and goals of the Open Space Program.

This takes the volunteer board from evaluating property for its value to the township as preserved land, to potentially making judgments about its market value.  To allow “building envelopes” automatically opens up questions about how such properties were chosen, how many “envelopes” were allowed, the value of the “envelopes”, etc.  No doubt it was seen as a clever way to obtain land when the referendum dollar amount was inadequate, but it is naive to believe that no one will raise their eyebrows or ask a question, especially if even one well-connected person benefits.

This was a volunteer board, not a group of elected officials.  Mr. Duffy and Ms. Hirst may be “disheartened” that their actions would ever be questioned, but I don’t think the original referendum anticipated township monies going into buying and selling real estate.  Simply saying that no deal involved favoritism may – surprise! – not be enough.

When volunteers, or elected people, go beyond their mandate, (especially when millions of dollars are involved), they run a risk, and it shouldn’t be unexpected when people look askance at those actions.  If they don’t like the questions, they should be clearer with the public about the different kinds of deals they want to make, and do so before the ink goes on.