Blogs > Daily Local Dan

A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

An open letter to my congressman

Dear Congressman Sestak:

It turns out that the first economic stimulus check did not stimulate as much of the economy as expected. Could you please ask the government to send another?


Dan Kristie

But seriously - Come on Americans! You were supposed to spend those economic stimulus checks on quality, American-made goods. Turns out no one did, or they did and it didn't work too well. A report came out today saying that the GDP rose only 1.9 percent between April and June despite those checks (which I knew wouldn't work).

Well, I did my part. I dropped a whole bunch of money on an American-made Fender Stratocaster. In addition, I booked a trip, on U.S. Airways, to Costa Rica. Yep - spent way more than the $600 the government gave me. That's why I need another check.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Don't think aloud in cyberspace

John Petersen, of the blog Tredyffrin Township Political Notebook, did a little searching and somehow got his hands on a blog post that I wrote but ultimately decided not to publish.

I have no idea why he went the trouble. I do know we recently had a skirmish over a post I wrote commenting on his letter calling for Tredyffrin Supervisor Bill DeHaven not to seek reelection.

When I read Peterson's second response to this post (which was a bit more intense than his first response), I felt like I had to say something. While I was trying to decide what to say (trying, in this case, meant drafting a few versions of a blog post), I decided it would be better to say nothing at all.

Looks like I wasn't given that option. Against my will, my thoughts flew out into cyberspace.

Well, whatever. John, let's move on.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What to do about dangerous dogs

Pit Bulls have their defenders. The other day I saw a Pit Bull bumper sticker that read, "Dog fighting: punish the breed, not the deed." But weren't Pit Bulls bred specifically for dog fighting?

In Devon last month, two Pit Bulls somehow got loose. They approached a man who was walking his dog and immediately attacked the dog. When the man tried to defend it, they attacked him. The dog died later that night of a spinal cord injury.

Since then, authorities in Tredyffrin have been trying to come up with a response. But it seems they don't have the power to order that the dogs be euthanized or removed from the neighborhood.

The pit bulls' owner, Joel Harden, has been repeatedly fined for the trouble his dogs have caused. But the punishment seems not to have gone beyond this.

While I don't think the government should say, "You cannot own Pit Bulls," it wouldn't be a bad idea to give local authorities more power quarantine or euthanize dangerous dogs.

In Palm Beach, Fla., authorities apparently have the power to give owners of dangerous dogs the option of removing their dog from the community or having it euthanized. A former Chesco resident sent me this article about a recent case in Palm Beach.

I have absolutely no sympathy for dangerous dogs or their owners. What's to prevent those dogs from attacking and killing small children? Unlike some of the animal rights extremists I've met, I think a human life is infinitely more important than the life of an animal.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Who's the reformiest candidate?

Both candidates for the 157th District House Seat have come up with competing lists of reforms.

Paul Drucker, the Democrat, unveiled his last week during the "PennCPR" press conference, an event intended to deflect fallout from Attorney General Tom Corbitt's recent investigation into corruption in Democratic legislative offices.

In response, Ciarrocchi unveiled his own list of reforms.

Rather than summerizing these in an article (which would have essentially been an exercise in paraphrase instead of reporting) I am providing a link to the original proposals. That way, should you care to, you can give them the scrutiny they deserve.

Drucker's "PennCPR" reforms

Ciarrocchi's "common sense, non-partisan" reforms

Do check out the article I filed yesterday on recent conflicts in the 157th district race.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Whoa Buddy!

John Petersen, Chester County's most prolific political blogger, has written an open letter calling for Tredyffrin Supervisor Bill DeHaven not to seek the Republican endorsement in 2009.

DeHaven's offenses:
- He thought it'd be nice to put an ice rink in Wilson Farm Park
- He thinks kids should walk to school
- He does not think the Covered Bridge of Valley Forge should be Tredyffrin's logo
- He said at Monday night's Board of Supervisors meeting that he would not tolerate the dissent of those who oppose Tredyffrin's plan to build more sidewalks.

What's wrong with these positions? Well, for one, they promote exercise. 

But what they really promote is community. During the two years I've covered Tredyffrin, I've watched DeHaven fight for two things: emergency services and community (to DeHaven, a community is not "a nice-looking place place where property values are high and low income people won't bother us").

DeHaven, a lifelong Tredyffrin/Easttown resident, is nostalgic for the Berwyn of his childhood and parenting years. He describes it as a community where people still ran into each other on walks to the store, still knew each other well enough to help each other in times of need, still allowed their kids to play together on the street, and, of course, still supported the local fire company by going to its fundraising fairs. These things still happen, but not as much (I'm told) as they used to.  

Now, regarding DeHaven's strong words at Monday's meeting: yes, he shouldn't have said he won't tolerate those who oppose the township's sidewalk plan. But it's important to understand the context of his statement.

During a discussion about Tredyffrin's long-term vision for sidewalks, Supervisor Paul Olson argued that residents who do not want sidewalks along their properties should have the option to reject them. He argued against "sidewalks to nowhere" (the ones the township is about to build are near schools) and said that sidewalks could disrupt the integrity of private property, add to homeowners' expenses, and lead to the taking down of trees.

At this, DeHaven, who has put a lot of energy into the sidewalk planning process, became visibly irritated. If I had to guess, I'd say that his "no tolerance" statement was directed more at Olson than at the straw man in the audience (no one had shown up to complain about sidewalks, although the TV cameras were running).

So, that's my defense. Be advised that DeHaven is a bit of a media darling. He's outspoken, gives good quotes, and puts personal conviction way above the party line. We reporters like that.

Why doesn't Petersen like him? Who knows. 

Ever since Petersen left the Republican Party and became an independent blogger, he has been attacking notables from both parties. Perhaps he thinks that's the only way to prove his independence?

P.S. DeHaven's dislike of the covered bridge logo ties into his feeling about community. He told me a few months ago that he doesn't like the logo because it calls to mind the Tredyffrin of 300 years ago, not the Tredyffrin he knows and, despite his complaints, apparently loves.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

First attack ad of the 6th District campaign

Here's the first attack ad of the 6th District congressional campaign. Paid for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, it's airing on KYW News Radio, Oldies 98, and B101. You can tell the DCCC isn't going after young voters.

Here's the link: