Sunday, January 29, 2006

While Chestnut Hill Was Sleeping or Otherwise Occupied.....

The hits keep on coming. The Lentz Policy at the Chestnut Hill Local gets changed with no board approval. It's a free for all, boys and girls, and the inmates are in charge of the asylum.

New Lentz Policy, Chestnut Hill Local, 26 January, 2006. (oddly, on page two, NOT "Forum on the Hill" on page 4).
I will copy it, as is, word for word:

Letters Policy
From here on, the amount space allocated to Letters to the Editor will be limited to afford more room for news events and stories about Chestnut Hill and its environs. In accordance with the policy of this newspaper, all letters will be printed on a space available basis.

Maybe this explains why all these people are doing these things. It was found on another webmag and we were struck by its relevance to our little community on the Hill. Self-esteem seems to play a big role in behaviour.

Barbara O'Brien at Mahablog has an exceptional post examining some of the psychological aspects of this cynical fear-mongering...

"Allegiance to charismatic leaders may be one particularly effective mode of terror management. In Escape from Freedom, Eric Fromm (1941) proposed that loyalty to charismatic leaders results from a defensive need to feel a part of a larger whole, and surrendering one?s freedom to a larger-than-life leader can serve as a source of self-worth and meaning in life. Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death, 1973) posited that when mainstream worldviews are not serving people's need for psychological security, concerns about mortality impel people to devote their psychological resources to following charismatic leaders who bolster their self worth by making them feel that they are valued participants in a great mission to heroically triumph over evil."

Foul.. Most Flagrant, Most Shameful

It is now apparent that the CHCA leadership and their disciples do not have the ability to feel shame for the flagrant violation of the civility that they whimper about when they feel offended. Nor do they have a sense of dignity or common sense; not when they whine when they feel slighted and then run roughshod over any and all rules of order. They seem to have forgoten that this is NOT their private clubhouse.

Below is an advisory presented in public. This is also a message for the Chestnut Hill community. The actions of this current board are being performed by your representatives in your name. Is this how you wish to be represented to the rest of the world?

The Chestnut Hill Hospital cannot say it had not been given a *heads-up.* Early Wednesday morning at a Rotary Club meeting, the CEO Rodney Reider, who was the guest speaker, was presented with both oral and written statement signed by seven Board members and two members of the CHCA. (It will be reproduced at the end of this piece.)

For reasons commercial or otherwise, the hospital upon which many of us are dependent may just shake it off - the hosting of a meeting in violation of the CHCA bylaws, the cost (and waste) of their gracious offering of refreshments, the inconvenience to their staff, the "police presence" and use of their own security personnel, the utter disregard of thirty or so non-Board members who had business to conduct with the Board including their own architect David Bynum and intended co-presenters on behalf of the hospital's plans for expansion.

All of the non-Board members had arrived before the scheduled time of 7:30 and were there in response to the itemized agenda posted in the Chestnut Hill Local of the same date, January 26, 2006.

Few were still around at 9:55 p.m. when the "meeting" was called to order. What happened in the meantime is a mystery since it has been reported that the Board members at the Executive Session have been sworn to secrecy. Word did leak out that two key players began "the slow clap" during the testimony of fellow Board member. If this Executive Session was indeed about civility, this profoundly insolent and contemptuous act must be grist for yet another Executive Session or perhaps an open Town Meeting.

There were many empty seats at the Board table when the CHCA January Board meeting was gaveled to order. One might guess that some had justifiable embarrassment in facing the public. Others had obviously come only for the Big Show and got home at a decent hour, self-satisfied that they had done God's Work in the interest of community.


The Statement

To: Chestnut Hill Hospital Health Care, Administration and Public Relations

Unbeknownst to you, the monthly board meeting of the Chestnut Hill Community Association you will be hosting on Thursday, January 26, 2006 is in violation of the bylaws of the Chestnut Hill Community Association. The bylaws state that public notice of all Association Meetings [including date, time, location and agenda] must be given 7 days in advance of all meetings.

Although you are most likely unaware of this, we feel that you should know that this has not been done. All of our meetings are public meetings, and it would seem to be in the interest of the Chestnut Hill Hospital as well as the CHCA, for appropriate notice to be given to the Chestnut Hill LOCAL. In this way, the public and members of the association would be able to plan to attend as well as to prevent confusion over a last minute change of location. Exception could be made as a courtesy to you, were it not for the fact that proper notification is so infrequent.

We do not wish the Hospital to be unaware of the situation, should people who wished to attend, could not because of the lack of notification. In addition, the recently received agenda includes an executive session as the first item which would require you, our hosts, and the public to leave the room. We feel that you have been put in a very awkward situation. Mary Anna Ross has agreed to speak with you at the Rotary Club meeting today. This information was written as an aid for her and for you, should you have any questions.

Janine Dwyer, Lou Aiello, Virginia Mallery [former officers, current Board members]
Ron Recko, Mary Anna Ross, Anne Spaeth, Lawrence Walsh [current Board members]
Ned Mittinger[former Community Manager]
Rujean Mittinger [former Board member]

Friday, January 27, 2006

It Shows and Shows Badly...

Editor's Note: This piece, by Jim Foster, calmly and clearly exposes the motivations and actions of those claiming to be running a professional association. The letter was sent in response to the secret meeting held by the CHCA Executive Committee on Jan. 26 in which Lawrence Walsh was removed from the board. Read the part about the "locked in a room with police protection" and ask yourself if these were the actions of a leadership that has a grip on reality.

Stewart Graham
Executive Committee CHCA
Past President

cc: John O'Connell
Philadelphia Newspapers
Main Line Times
PNI-Daily News

CHCA Meeting Last Night


Thank you for your intervention in allowing me to address the Board last night. However, by the time it happened a good many had left and maybe some of them were the ones that most needed to look in the mirror before they vote in the future. I have to go on the record that I, in my wildest imagination, could not have envisioned a worse example of how a community meeting could be run in a 50 year old organization with so-called professional membership.

How do you hold an off-site meeting, bring in senior level hospital officials with a structured presentation, city and state planners, interested parties and neighbors, and then keep them waiting for three hours while an internal vendetta is carried out under the banner of an essential executive session? ! ! ! ! If I tried that in Pomona-Cherokee, I would be removed from office at a special election the next day!

But I am not laying the entire blame for this on Maxine Dornemann, despite my differences with her on other recent issues. She could not have done this damage on her own, and that Board should have voted to handle the so-called sensitive issues, Lawrence Walsh et al, in another way at another time, and on their clock, not that of so many others. I could not think of a better way to lower ones credibility in a community than what I witnessed last night. The entire Board locked in a room with "police protection" ! What was that all about? Who in the 14th District authorized two Philadelphia patrol policemen to spend all that time there "protecting" Board Members from each other? If you need a sergeant-at-arms I will get you a retired drill instructor from my American Legion Post in Mt Airy who will work for a reasonable salary, but he should be paid by the CHCA, not the city taxpayers.

Furthermore, it would seem to me, without all the information, that removing a Board Member, for any reason should be a public forum as it was the public that voted for him in the first place. I am not privy to all the By-Laws on that issue, but it clearly should have been handled in another way from the outset.

I have to believe that more than a few hands were involved here, and it shows and shows badly.

Jim Foster

New member CHCA
Opinion writer Chestnut Hill Local "Off Center by Jim Foster"
Vice President - Pomona-Cherokee Civic Council (Germantown)
Member - West Mt. Airy Neighbors
Member - Central Germantown Council.
Member - Col Chas Young Post #682 - Mt. Airy

Throw Them All Out... They Are a Disgrace

After reading today's Chestnut Hill Local (January 25,2006), were I a board member, I would move at the Jan. 26th board meeting that the interim editor of the Local be ushered out of the Local's office immediately (and more quickly than she threw Shawn Hart out) for her hostile attitude toward residents of this community.

In her editorial of December 29, 2005, she was clearly hostile to community members who "were not on her team." Since when does a credible editor, whose main journalistic skill is to be impartial, expect to have a team on his or her side. And since when does an editor worth his or her salt, write an editorial portraying herself or himself a victim. As if that, and the continual lobbying in her public position (unethical) to become permanent editor of the Local, weren't enough, in this week's Local she calls the letters, etc. that are sent her way "JUNK". How dare she!!!

Second, I'd demand that the president step down. After reading the dreadful results of the Holiday House Tour-ALWAYS a financial winner- the community can not afford another second of this leadership. Our Senior Center, Teen Center, Meals on Wheels, etc. are all being hurt. They may end up losing employees.

Besides dismal finances, the real estate sign belonging to the company of the physical division vice president stands in front of the CHCA owned 8434 Germantown Avenue. The issue of the ethics of board members "working" for their own nonprofit has been brought to the attention of the president and board at recent board meetings. The president who is proud to claim that she knows all about nonprofits because she has worked for nonprofits seems to have missed out on the standards of nonprofit behavior or she’d know this is wrong. Or else she just doesn’t care that she puts at risk the 501 c 3 status of the Community Fund. Even if the vice president isn’t being paid, a nonprofit already questioned about improprieties should certainly avoid even the suspicion of wrong doing which equates to bad press and lack of confidence in the organization.

And, what is their excuse for the unrented property. In fact, the CHCA has a building oversight committee whose responsibility it is to review such situations and make recommendations to the board. According to a member of this committee, they have not been contacted by the president to do this job. Another failure of leadership.

The next president of the CHCA will have one hell of a mess to clean up as it is. Three more months and if the past predicts the future, the CHCA’s finances and credibility will continue its downhill slide.

It’s critical that board members who understand the chaos, drama, and failure brought on by an organization that is controlled by a select few and hold onto its power by shifting the blame, demand that this madness stop now. Removal of the president is based on facts not personality problems as the "blamers" will quickly jump in to say.

Thank you Ron for your letters to the Local. They point out much of the problem that has led the CHCA to this dismal place. Believe me I can back you up on the concerns you voice and list many more. These concerns have not only been destructive to the reputation of the CHCA (including Local and Fund), but have been extremely hurtful to many individuals in our community.

Having been a board member and employee, I know how much bad press radiates from the abuse of employees and others who try to participate but aren't towing the corporate line, thus not welcome.

I believe the Second Opinion Caucus can and will move the CHCA back to its stated purpose. Though painted as an angry few, they are actually a group who understands how to play by the rules and has invested much time in seeking a way to bring the CHCA back to a place of respect.

Marie Lachat

CHCA Creates Alternate Reality; Tosses Walsh

The mark of the beast is on this decision by the CHCA Board of Directors. Lawrence Walsh was removed from the board for alleged "sabotage." This group must be living in an alternate reality. To call Walsh a liar in the face of Mishak's letter is the true unspeakable lie. In a post received this morning, the two staffers who left give their story; a direct contradiction of the board's claim that Lawrence Walsh "sabotaged" the paper. Sabotage --pretty strong accusations. I wonder if they can defend it in court; civil or chancery. This action is pathetic; a chilling warning to anyone who crosses this board's path. 'We will get you,' they are telling us. What a mess they have made.

The report follows.

From the Board
Although associate editor Mishak was given full support and editorial control for the transition period following Jim's resignation, he nevertheless also resigned on Oct. 28, throwing the Local into even more turmoil.

It is the right of any board member to question the policies of the board. But to work to convince a young man to quit a job and forego a paycheck he needs to make a political point for someone else is heartless on its face. To try to convince him that he will be fired by those in charge is, in this case certainly, an unspeakable lie. And for a board member with fiduciary responsibility for the health of the paper to urge its staffers to abandon it in crisis is not principled dissent. It is sabotage."

"For the record … the truth," Chestnut Hill Local, Jan. 12, 2006

Messages frrom Mishak (first) and Sturdivant

Let's set the record straight:

I am not a liar. I stand by my account of events as stated in my resignation letter, which makes clear to anyone who cared to read it that both the Local management and the CHCA leadership found me to be untrustworthy in the wake of Jim Sturdivant's resignation and managing editor Nancy Berger's impending leave, putting an "editorial consultant" on the paper's payroll to prevent any further criticism in the public square.

I was explicitly told by Local business manager Kari Ghezarian (whose role in the newspaper's operation at this point had ballooned to unchecked levels), "It's an issue of trust," and that the powers-that-be did not trust me to run their newspaper.

I was just a lowly English major in college, but getting my own personal minder plus a vote of no confidence by what was essentially the publisher did not equal "full support and editorial control" in my book. Upon review, it still doesn't. Deeply insulted, I made my decision to resign in the early morning hours of Oct. 28. I had sought advice from a number of individuals, ranging from family members and friends to colleagues and CHCA board members, but in the end, my decision was my own. It is one that I do not regret. (Philadelphia City Paper and Philadelphia Style, among others, have been quite pleased with my departure from the Local.)

To be sure, by mid-October, leaving the Local was hardly an abstract thought in need of some coaxing. It was, in fact, on my mind since that August, when the CHCA publisher's committee – the body charged with all things Local – proved itself to be little more than a hollow cabinet of political appointees, most of whom were apparently rewarded by the administration for their dogged criticism of the newspaper and outright threats. (Just one member, Lawrence Walsh, had previous experience in the fields of publishing and journalism.)

L. George Parry, the committee chairman, told the editor that "trouble [was] brewing" as a result of his editorial direction. "You may be picking a fight you can't win," Parry said. There was even talk of Sturdivant's ouster, with a few anonymous CHCA board members leading the charge. I expressed my concern that night that most Local staffers, nearly the entire editorial staff and certainly the entire production department, felt as if they were working without the support of their publisher, the CHCA. I followed up the next day with a memo to the committee, elaborating on the issues that I felt needed to be addressed before the Local could move forward with any sort of comprehensive plan. It was dead-on-arrival. Besides a few inane e-mails from one committee member, the detailed analysis was virtually ignored. Then, a week later, came chairman Parry's call for the CHCA to sell its troublemaking newspaper.

There was never any real dialogue. The discussion was over before it began. In the Local offices, already-low morale sunk even further. The era of restructuring was abruptly announced with the firing of the newspaper's veteran advertising manager. Without the benefit of a contingency plan, anxious staffers were told to pick up the pieces and soldier through. Soon, without any staff consultation, a new administrative position was created, one that would carry veto power on editorial content, or so employees were told. Within weeks, Sturdivant was dubbed "senior editor," demoted in the masthead and issued his first order to kill content. The message was clear: There was a new boss in town (or were there three?).

Understandably, Sturdivant gave his notice, leaving the CHCA a month to find a suitable, qualified replacement. A day later, he was relieved of his duties as editor and given just a few hours to clean out his desk and clear the building. (A longtime CHCA board member and officer, who could hardly be considered a dissident, told me later that while he thought the set of circumstances surrounding Sturdivant's resignation did not meet the legal definition of a constructive firing, "it was certainly the moral equivalent.")

Again, the publisher had no Plan B. Slack-jawed staffers were left to their own devices as a deadline loomed and my request for a staff meeting was denied. "Onward and upward," managing editor Berger told me. Employees, hysterical and in fear for their jobs, were left to simmer for a week before management made any attempt to explain the whirlwind it set into motion. Most Local readers learned of the shakeup by way of a note in the editorial box, drafted by the managing editor and signed by the CHCA president, that raised more questions than it answered.

To top it all off, I arrived at work my final Wednesday to the scene of a crime. Someone had jimmied the lock on my office door. The knob itself came off in my hand. Given the gross instability at the Local in recent weeks, the sight of forced entry was devastating. I reported the break-in at the staff meeting that day, only to be treated to faux shock and empty talk of security cameras for 8434 Germantown Ave. It was also learned at that time that someone had tampered with files on a production computer. After more than three hours, the meeting broke, leaving crucial questions unanswered and a staff with no clear direction. "Who is the editor," one production staffer asked. There was no reply.

By the next day, the talk of changing the "outdated" Lentz Policy was stronger than ever, with managing editor Berger feverishly pushing the cause. "You don't criticize your boss," she said, backing it all up with stacks of what she called "homework," policy statements from corporate publishing behemoths like Knight Ridder, a far cry from the unique beast that is the Local. She told me to "go easy" and to "play it straight" while she was away for a week caring for her new grandchild. Then came the push for a guarantee of silence regarding the CHCA. Barring that, I was getting a babysitter. End of story.

I (and I predict that I'm not alone) walk away from the front page "correction" of Jan. 12 with the impression that the blame for the collapse of a community institution rests squarely at the feet of two hysterical ex-staffers and a few community dissidents. Again, for the record, by the time of my resignation, the writing was on the wall. The outcome would have been the same regardless of the advice I sought out and received from numerous parties. Employment at the Local was hardly secure. The place was an emotional war zone, the epitome of a hostile workplace. Ex-staffers shouldn't be repeatedly blamed for "abandoning" the Local because the publisher had already done that months before, creating an environment that stifled the very practice of traditional journalism and an independent free press. The only unspeakable lie is what the CHCA powerbrokers tried to pass off as "the truth." The only sabotage is that of the administration itself, stacking the deck and then pointing fingers when principled men don't play along.

To the CHCA leadership: Come on, grow up. Stop the smear campaign and start accepting responsibility for the crisis that you strategically forced. The fallout is on your hands alone. The lesson: From the White House to Town Hall, placing politics ahead of competence always ends in disaster.

I smell fear. The piece stinks of it. Finally, after months of drivel in the Local, we're treated to something that hardly approaches "the truth," a shameful piece of revisionism that would make some spin doctors in Washington proud. (You can use that last bit for the dust jacket if you ever decide to publish your "truth" in book form.) As the CHCA approaches another election, it appears that the ruling party is doing little more than observing the most basic rule of politics: The best defense is a good offense.

As a reporter who has covered his fair share of campaigns, I can confidently say, unfortunately for the community-at-large, the incumbents are also engaging in another exercise prized by many a successful politician: LYING.

Michael J. Mishak

Statement for the CHCA board of directors 1/26/05

Any suggestion that Lawrence Walsh engaged in pre-publication review, assumed some sort of behind-the-scenes oversight of editorial operations of the Chestnut Hill Local or attempted in any way to influence the decisions I made as editor regarding the content of, or positions taken within, the newspaper is false. Such accusations are rooted not in fact but in a campaign to discredit Walsh because of his strenuous, and admittedly sometimes strident, criticisms of the board leadership. His opinions reflect the opinion and feelings of a segment of the Chestnut Hill community and should be tolerated – indeed, under the proper circumstances, welcomed -- by this board. Any move to kick Walsh off the board of directors will be perceived by the community as one of the most blatant among recent attempts to squelch dissent in this purportedly democratic organization.

I have always respected Walsh for his journalistic experience, abilities and scruples and appreciated his advice and opinion on matters related to the ongoing battle to preserve the integrity of the Local, but I never solicited from him, and he never provided, any dictates on how to run a community newspaper. In my capacity as editor, I treated Walsh as I treated other board members, running an opinion piece written by him about the Hiram Lodge proposal (which, for the record, I edited down significantly), printing his candidate’s statement during board elections in April (Walsh ran, and was reelected on, a position that laid out clearly his criticisms of some leadership initiatives and desire to protect the newspaper’s independence), and, in at least one instance, criticizing him in print (in a May 5, 2005 editorial about Hiram Lodge). I never asked Walsh for any help in editing or writing material for the paper. At no point was he aware in advance of the content of any of my editorials. At no time did Mishak or I provide him with advance copies of stories or editorials that were to run in the paper, nor did he ever ask me or any other staff member at the paper to see such material. Ask Dornemann if she can honestly say the same about the last editorial I wrote for the newspaper.

Regarding matters at the Local, Walsh never conducted himself in a way that was patronizing, disrespectful or meddlesome. We exchanged e-mails on occasion, but he never suggested that I change the way I covered stories, “hold off” on writing about certain subjects or take a different tack in my editorials. For that matter, he never, to my recollection, specifically praised any of the paper’s editorials or news stories. Were he to have felt the need to comment on my or Mike’s approach to journalism, he would certainly have done so in the paper’s opinion pages.

Walsh understands the value of being above board and never said anything to me regarding the CHCA that he did not repeat at public meetings. To varying degrees, I shared some of his opinions about issues/individuals and disagreed with him on others. As George Parry has said on several occasions, board members should feel free to bring their opinions about issues in the community or specifically related to the CHCA to the Local’s editor. To kick Walsh out for doing just that would represent the height of hypocrisy.

James Sturdivant

Thursday, January 26, 2006

CHCA House Tour Effort Illuminates Problems

We received the following e-mail Thursday evening. Given the excuses provided by CHCA for the smaller than expected profit (in the Jan 26 Local story about the house tour), these readers contribute their experience with the event and its planners. From their e-mail, we read, "To add our voice to the blog, I submit the attached letter -- sent to the Local on January 4, and again on January 6 when the Editor called to say she'd misplaced it. The letter never made it to the pages of the Local, I hope you'll add it to the blog!" The letter follows.

January 4, 2006

To the Editor:

We are firm believers in the mission of the CHCA and the community of Chestnut Hill. In an effort to support the CHCA this year, we volunteered our home to be part of the CHCA Holiday House Tour—the single biggest fund raising event of the CHCA calendar.

Our experience was less than ideal— the Association couldn’t get out of its own way to get the event off the ground. The lack of accountability within the committee and by those board members that chose to lend their name (not their efforts) to this very important revenue producing event was disappointing, to say the least.

As a result, an event like the house tour, which could build on past successes, failed on its primary objective-- to generate adequate revenue for the CHCA.

As we saw during our House Tour experience, there is an accountability issue within the CHCA – with so many board members, everyone wants to take credit, yet no one wants to take ownership. There is no clear process and no clear leadership.

It is time to re-engineer the CHCA board – its mission and its size. Primarily, the responsibilities and duties required of every board member need to be clearly delineated before they accept their seat. Strong leadership and vision is clearly lacking and needs to come from the top down.

Success of an association like ours is entirely dependent on volunteerism. However, this volunteerism must carry with it accountability and responsibility, two components that have been sorely lacking over the course of the last year.

Bill & Maryellen Lamb

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Anything You Say Can Be Used Against You...

In the rumor mill a thread is running that certain Chestnut Hill Community Association board members will be making a move to remove another board member from the board for advising a Local writer to leave the paper. This would take place at the CHCA board meeting Jan. 26 at the hospital (how appropriate for the pain so many have felt at their hands).

Gee, what do we have here? Free expression in a democracy? How strange.

What is Chestnut Hill? A (a) plutocracy (b) meritocracy (c) theocracy (d) idiocracy?

But more on who. Let's see -- could it be the removal of a carpet salesman making accusations against Local staff and being a general pain in the ass? Nope. An interior designer who assisted in editing a consultant's diatribe about lions and tigers and bears; oops, er, terrorists, parasites and moles? Nope. How about a treasurer who didn't know for months that a $10,000 grant was deposited in the account by the bookkkeeper (May her name be praised)? Nah.

Ouch. Too much thinking. Head hurts. Am only a volunteer. By-laws too much to read. Must stop.

Let's see if the board adds to its list of amazing moves by taking up this action.

Monday, January 23, 2006

What an Editor Should Know and Understand

I spent 36 years in the newspaper business, most of it at the Inquirer, where I was a copy desk chief, a features editor, an assistant to the executive editor and an assistant managing editor. More recently, I was director of publishing systems for the Inquirer and Daily News and then director of publishing solutions for Unisys Corp.)

From Bill Stroud,
President, Penguin Photo, Inc.

Here are 20 things a newspaper editor needs to know and understand. None is original with me. Some were learned from great editors such as Eugene L. Roberts Jr. and Gene Foreman at the Inquirer, the late Evarts A Graham Jr. of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Martin Ochs of the Chattanooga Times.

1. Get the facts straight and spell the names right.

Check and double-check your facts. Be a nuisance about confirming your information. Never make assumptions about how a name is spelled or take a guess to fill in a missing bit of information. When in doubt, leave it out.

2. Be a reliable source of basic information for your community.
Provide a dependable bulletin board in print, listing public events, street closings, traffic- pattern changes, zoning hearings, elections and meetings.

3. Don't report what you don't understand thoroughly.
If you copy or relay information without understanding exactly what it means your readers will be as confused as you are. Reporting requires explaining. Never be shy about asking someone to read what you have written and tell you whether it makes sense.

4. Answer the questions your readers are asking.
What is happening with the Commerce Bank building site? Does the proliferation of neon signage on Germantown Avenue indicate that there has been a policy change regarding aesthetics? How is for-profit ownership changing the character of the hospital? Hang out at Starbucks, Killian's and the Farmers' Market and listen to what people are asking.

5. Remember that the truth seldom lies halfway between opposing points of view.
Acknowledge differing opinions, but don't make your publication look ridiculous by giving equal space to both the reasonable and the nonsensical.

6. Understand the technology your publication uses.
If you don't master the technology, you waste your employer's money and your co-workers' time and you put yourself at the mercy of people who use "It can't be done" as an excuse for not doing something that involves a little work.

7. Be consistent in style, layout and positioning of regular features.
Your readers' familiarity with the way you organize and lay out your paper are assets to be valued. Changes, even small ones, should be made rarely and after careful deliberation. People don't want to figure out where to find things every time they pick up a new edition of the paper.

8. Employ diverse, creative and independent people who are smarter than you are.
No one person has all the skills necessary to publish a great
newspaper. You need staff members who are strong where you are weak, who represent the diversity of the community you serve and who have the freedom and courage to tell you when they think you are wrong. In hiring, always ask, "Is this person going to bring strengths that we do not already have?"

9. Remember that it is not about YOU.
When the editor is the center of attention, something is out of whack. You are doing your best work when your writers and photographers shine and you are virtually invisible. Do not publish personal stuff that you know would not make it into the paper if you were not the editor.

10. Every decision you make has the power to build or destroy trust.
You will be urged and tempted to shade the truth to help someone, to spare feelings or to mollify an angry reader or advertiser. Some of the compromises you will be tempted to make may seem small, but if they hurt your credibility, you cannot afford them.

11. Trust is the most important asset you can have.
Can people believe what they read in your paper? Can they trust you with a confidence? Will your newspaper accurately and fairly report what is said and done? Do not promise confidentiality to a news source if you can avoid it, but once your promise is given it should never be broken, even if it means going to jail. And don't make promises about how or where a story or photo will be reported or played.

12. Never publish what you write in the heat of anger or euphoria.
The best writing is done after cool reflection. Writing in the heat of anger or in a moment may be good therapy, but it is usually bad journalism and more often than not it will make you seem a little nuts.

13. Do not foolishly damage, insult, denigrate or condemn readers, news subjects or advertisers.
Freedom of the press affords incredible power to ordinary people, with no minimum standards of intelligence or training. You can wreck lives and careers with what you say in print. Be fair, accurate and even-tempered in your presentation of news and opinion. Consider everything from the vantage point of the persons who will be affected. Publish the truth, but don't off-handedly injure organizations, institutions, businesses or people.
Example: If the new scoutmaster is a registered sex offender, it is your duty to report that. It is not necessary to point out that he is fat and bald as well.
If an airplane crashes, you report it, but you don't put the story on the same page as an airline ad.

14. News space is scarce and valuable. Don't waste it.
There is always more news and information that needs to be published than there is space to put it. Printing unedited handouts, filler press releases or mindless personal musings indicates a lack of effort, not an oversupply of space.

15. Never suppress or alter news to serve a special interest, even your own.
Always ask, "If it happened to someone else, would I print it."

16. Avoid puffery. Fulsome praise and flowery adjectives bore readers.
Let the facts speak for themselves. Help your reporters and photographers tell their stories in vivid, concrete terms, so readers can supply their own adjectives.

17. Limit yourself to one play on words every six months and one pun a year.
And, if you can help it, avoid puns altogether. Your readers will thank you.

18. Admit and correct errors immediately.
You will screw up. Admit your errors, correct them and accept responsibility without shifting blame and making excuses.

19. Be sensitive to words and phrases that may be considered dismissive or bigoted.

Not many years ago, it was common see women referred to as shapely or matronly. The hearing impaired were described as deaf and dumb and a black person might be described gratuitously as articulate, as if being well-spoken set him apart from others of his kind. Editors need to be keenly aware of words and phrases that are likely to give offense. Avoiding them is not a matter being politically correct, it is a matter of simple respect.

20. Maintain a personal go-to-hell fund.
Sooner or later every good editor has to choose between principle and authority and I have seen editors prostitute themselves because no matter what is demanded of them, they cannot afford to quit their jobs. If you have enough money in reserve to survive the loss of your job, you will feel much more confidant when you have to stand your ground.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Revolutionary in Tory Town

Last summer Ed Feldman submitted this piece for publication in the Chestnut Hill Local. It achieved that goal, but since then has wandered around from place to place until it landed in our in-box a few days ago. It is a timely reminder that change is messy; that disrupting the self-satisfied lives of the powers that be can bring complaint; that the changes needed for the Chestnut Hill Community Association have been simmering for some time now.

It isn't a pretty time in Chestnut Hill. But, to lean on an old cliche, "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more."

And now, an Ed Feldman reprise:

I got angry. After 10 years in the land of quiet desperation. After 10 years in the land of enforced tastefulness. After 10 years of well-practiced caring smiles. Of “We need people like you on the board” and “You’re a breath of fresh air.” I should have been tipped off by the phrase “people like you.” It is an accepted fact of British Colonial rule that, in order to carry out the cruelest of dictates, an even, dispassionate manner of speech is necessary. And order must be maintained. By the few. In an orderly fashion. This is the way it operates up here in Tory Town. Because in the middle of the city that created the idea of revolution and modern democracy, a fiefdom has flourished. A group of people so obsessed with their own power, yet so secure in it, protected by a combination of inbreeding and Roberts Rules of Order, that Tom Delay is envious.

The mechanism is perfect. The people who crave control get it, and the rest of us wait and get informed of their actions by their newspaper. And it was through the reportage of this journal that I came to my anger, my epiphany. Three weeks ago on page one was a small fact that triggered my outrage and a subsequent outburst at the July Chestnut Hill Community Association board meeting. The CHCA is a corporation! I must be the second dumbest Ivy-Leaguer in the country. Of course, why else would they call it a board? This explains everything. It’s the Big Bank Theory of Chestnut Hill governance. That’s why the meetings are run like corporate meetings, instead of like town meetings, that quintessential Democratic American institution. And that’s why new business is always at the end of those meetings when everyone is tired and wants to go home. The better to stifle dissent — or new ideas. That’s why the board is bent on acquiring and controlling real estate.

That’s why McDonald’s is here. That’s why the biggest obstacle to Chestnut Hill’s growth, the Bowman Properties real estate empire, remains unchallenged and unaddressed.

McDonald’s is a corporation. And Bowman Properties is a corporation. And those kind of people respect one another. And accommodate one another. And the less powerful corporate entities fear and defer to the larger ones. So if the money promised to the Hill by the Golden Arches through Maurice McCarthy was never given (I asked about it at every meeting while I was a board member), don’t be pushy, they’re a corporation! But if some poor schmuck wants to put the “wrong colors” on his store, send an emissary down immediately.

When I quit the board because watching the process was causing the synapses devoted to democracy in my brain to atrophy (and causing me to fall asleep), I thought I could, like so many others of you, relax. Safe in the knowledge that, with all the largest properties already given to chain stores offering crap made by indentured workers and sold by non-union labor without the slightest community protest, what else could our community corporation effect of consequence. And the answer is - the Water Tower Recreation Center. Of course! It’s the largest property they can own!

And let there be no mistake, the board will own it. They will decide how to run it, they will decide how many interlocking members (another corporate control strategy) and committees will be needed before any program, activity, play, sport or color combination can be implemented, or even planned.

Now I know the democratic counter to this rant: “If we [he] want[s] to change things, we [he] should run for the board.” Allow me to reverse that. What kind of person wants to give up any night to make changes to a neighborhood so clean, so landscaped, so well serviced, and so wealthy, that any caring person would turn their efforts elsewhere, where blight, poverty and desperation cry out for help? Someone so obsessed with their own “personal environment” that they can’t stop touching it, fussing with it, adjusting it, controlling it. The ritual behavior witnessed by psychiatrists through one-way mirrors has its community “govern-mental” version on display the last Thursday of every month.

The real answer is to remake CHCA meetings into freewheeling town meetings, where anyone can say what they want, in the best tradition of America. If the residents of the best-behaved neighborhood in America can’t be trusted with freedom of speech, who can? But that won’t happen. They won’t let it. Control abhors freedom as the atmosphere does a vacuum. So while the board does its best to turn our neighborhood into the first municipally located gated community, complete with 30 banks and a rec center run by Politburo, I’ll be ruining their meetings. Hope to see ya there. You’ll recognize me; I’ll be the one having fun with government.

Ed Feldman
Ed is a former CHCA board member. He is a resident of Chestnut Hill.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

We Need an Editor

A frustrated person sent out this plea about the Chestnut Hill Local. That person wants others to understand what troubles the newspaper is enduring.

The circulation of this paper needs to INCREASE or we're all dead.

I can't quite make everyone out there buy our paper. I can't run ads in other papers or plan to have streakers running up and down the avenue with Chestnut Hill Local banners. I can't spell 'Advertise in the Local' in clouds with a plane in the sky. I wish i knew the mafia so i could get everyone out there to buy ad space and a copy of the paper or die, but i can't.

If they don't find us a valued, intelligent, experienced editor with enough newsworthy know-how, who fact-checks and reads over all stories with a critical eye, then I have to ask myself if there will be life after death at the Chestnut Hill Local. Hey, I have unemployment on my side, but then all you people would lose your valuable community medium. I personally will go on like the rest of us but for right now, we're trying to make a budget happen.

If you want to help us, then buy it. Support it. Advertise in it. Tell your friends about it.

You know, or we'll have to kill another coworker and create another a massive headline about the downfalls and truths.

We need
- A leader
- A thinker
- A resourceful individual
- An eye for what people would like to know or read about
- A MAN (and i'm not being sexist but this office has damn well enough women in it).

I am starting to feel like I'm working for women's day magazine.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Enough is Enough

James Sturdivant, the former editor of the Chestnut Hill Local, offers a few words of advice to those now running the Local. He also makes an observation or two on the state of the publication. This letter was sent to the Local on Jan. 13, 2006, for publication in the January 19 issue. For those of you who may not read the paper, here is his take on developments.

Ladies and gentlemen, your newspaper has hit a new low, having gone in a few short months from a reputable publication that reflected positively on its publisher (whether they deserved it or not) to something decidedly less than what the current CHCA leadership seems to want it to be – that is, an effective mouthpiece for their never-ending, retroactive justifications for the ugly events of late 2005.

The Local right now reminds me of nothing so much as the surreal fare offered on small-town public access television – poorly produced, excessively verbose and so wrapped up in its own little reality that it remains totally unaware that nobody much understands, or cares, where it is coming from. Yet, like the proverbial train wreck, we read (or watch) anyway, with a kind of morbid fascination. We would laugh, were the ruination of our community newspaper not so infuriating.

Are they trying to prove their detractors right, flaunting their control over the editor to the extent that propaganda labeled as truth appears at the top of page one?

Are the obvious, demonstrable distortions of fact (apparent to anyone who attended the community meeting at the library in November) meant to prove, once and for all, the assertions of rampant lying?

Just what good do they think will come, to them or anyone else, by dragging this sordid business out further?

Shall we revisit, once again, matters such as the staff restructuring at the newspaper that created a new editor position above mine, implemented without even the pretense of board approval (and never mentioned in last week’s article), that was the true precipitating event of last year’s crisis?

If the CHCA leadership is going to persist in publishing opinion pieces full of slanted facts, strategic omissions and outright fabrication, they should do so on page 4 or 5 and turn the front page back over to local news.

People in Chestnut Hill are sick to death of reading about this stuff. We want to hear the latest on repairs to the roof of the Water Tower Recreation Center and the fate of the Commerce Bank fiasco on the corner of Evergreen and Germantown avenues. We want to read about trail repairs, new businesses and plans for the Sugarloaf property, PennDOT’s finalized streetscape proposal and an update on CHA’s campus building program.

We want, in other words, our newspaper back. The CHCA needs to find themselves a good editor and back off.

James Sturdivant
Chestnut Hill

And Now for These Messages...

May I recommend the CHNotebook as great reading at 4:49 AM especially if you don't want to get back to sleep? The mind boggles at the brazeness of the CHCA President and Reverend as the writings of Laurence and Martha point out just a few of the bold mistruths of the final word and the level to which the blame game has risen.

I will write a little something today, when I am truly awake, but in the meantime I share the following with my fellow writers, so as to inspire continued excellence among the bloggers.

Marie Lachat

Worst analogies ever written in a high school essay

* He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
Joseph Romm, Washington

* She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.
Rich Murphy, Fairfax Station

* The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
Russell Beland, Springfield

* McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup.
Paul Sabourin, Silver Spring

* From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and "Jeopardy" comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30.
Roy Ashley, Washington

* Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.
Chuck Smith, Woodbridge

* Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.
Russell Beland, Springfield

* Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access\aaakk/ch@ung but gets T:\flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung by mistake
Ken Krattenmaker, Landover Hills

* Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

* He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
Jack Bross, Chevy Chase

* The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
Gary F. Hevel, Silver Spring

* Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like "Second Tall Man."
Russell Beland, Springfield

* Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
Jennifer Hart, Arlington

* The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.
Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.

* They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth
Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.

* John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
Russell Beland, Springfield

* The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.
Barbara Fetherolf, Alexandria

* His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free
Chuck Smith, Woodbridge

* The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.

Based on an unoriginal article in the Washington Post.

Monday, January 16, 2006

In Which We Discuss Self-Pitying Flights of Fancy

This letter was sent to the Chestnut Hill Local in response to the paper's front page piece of January 12, 2006, credited to Maxine Dornemann and Chris Kemezis.

It will not appear in the Local because the interim editor said "I have read this several times and don't think it serves the community well by printing this."

Lawrence Walsh, the author of this letter, is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chestnut Hill Community Association.

As Lawrence is wont to point out, "The Pulitzer: true enough, but I always say (on resume) it was a staff share. If someone decides to call the Pulitzer office at Columbia, I may or may not show up on some list--the prize in '68 went to the Detroit Free Press people who were out in the riots, reporting. I was one of these, but I was far from crucial or even important. If I had never been born, the Detroit Free Press still would have won that Pulitzer. I have a certificate somewhere in the basement, balled up and water-damaged, but I sure as bloody hell don't dine out on this thing."

Letter to the Editor [of the Chestnut Hill Local]

I am the unnamed member of the CHCA board and of the Local’s dysfunctional publisher’s committee who, out of an unspeakable malevolence, worked to undermine the paper by orchestrating the resignations of its two top editorial employees last fall. In the Local’s 12 January edition, pages 1, 2 and 3 are decorated with "For the record...the truth”, the opinion piece where my fifth-columnist efforts are laid bare for the reading masses of Chestnut Hill.

"For the record" is the work, chiefly, of the Reverend Maxine Maddox Dornemann, board president, and it is another of her dark, dark signature moves in the conflict over the character and purposes of Chestnut Hill’s 50-year-old independent newspaper. Top to bottom, back to front, the Rev. Dornemann's exercise is studded with brazen falsehoods, cynical and self-pitying flights of fancy and "Caine Mutiny" battiness. Nothing new there.

The Local's faithful are bored spitless with the claustrophobic nature of the lengthening quarrel over the Local's future. I'll clear out of the way as quickly as I can here, but if the Local's return to adulthood and plain-vanilla newspaper integrity is of any interest to those who follow the hot doings in the letters column, may I invite all such readers to visit this new troublemaking blog:

It has been brought to life to fill at least part of the void created when the Reverend Dornemann and her merry band of cultists decided to gut the paper, shoo off serious newsmen and newswomen, and flog an infantile version of civic truth in zip codes 19118 and 19119.

The blog is in its infancy, still far from figuring as a sleek, user friendly, full-service destination in the blogosphere, but give it a try. (And contribute to its growth by writing for it.)

Sometime between January 18 and January 20, my detailed, document-supported rejoinder to the Rev. Dornemann's agiprop production will appear on line. The poor deluded journalists who became my finger puppets at the Local, Mike Mishak and Jim Sturdivant, will make ample appearances, in their very own words.

The computer-shy should send several stamped, self-addressed business-size envelopes to:

P.O. Box 4364
Philadelphia PA 19118

We will mail hard-copy versions of the blog to the perplexed and curious who choose this option.

Lawrence Walsh
Member, CHCA Board of Directors

Grant! Grant? We Don't Know Nuthin' 'Bout No Steenkin' Grant...

The $10,000 grant to the Chestnut Hill Community Association -- funding that came from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development -- has been a hot button issue with the Chestnuts. We know from this memo provide by former Community Manager Marie Lachat: the grant was noted in a June 24, 2004, report to the board. The image to the right is a copy of that report.

As far as interest in Hiram Lodge is concerned, serious study was underway in the fall of 2004. In an executive committee meeting on Sept. 9, 2004, it was reported under old business: "Sanjiv [Jain] gave his report. There is no need to spend 5K on an appraisal as the Masons are willing to share their appraisal report with us. They are asking 1.5 million for a 10,000 square foot building. The CHCA would not need to sell a building in order to obtain a mortgage." The issue is not merely whether the association was putting money aside or planning budget lines for real estate acquisitions; it is the intent these moves signaled to prospective real estate sellers and to CHCA board members. It is deception by omission in their "truth" diatribe.

Martha Haley adds her reaction to the CHCA management's Jan. 12 fable. She addresses the grant issue in more detail, including refuting the leadership's claim that bad records caused the problem.

Haley quotes, "There is another rumor frequently sited (sic) that the association somehow "lost" a $10,000 grant in the past year. This is another falsehood."

Nowhere in three months of emails to Mark Keintz (CHCA Treasurer since June, 2005), correspondence with other members of the Budget & Finance Committee (of which I am a member) and with Board members, news reports in the Local, meeting minutes, hand-outs prepared for the B&F committee members is the implication, insinuation, or accusation that the $10,000 was "lost" - in whatever interpretation the quotation marks around that word suggest. (Photocopies available upon request)

The money was never lost, but files badly kept for the past two years meant that the documentation on the grant had to be reapplied for, so that the money can be spent as specifically granted.

By November 3, 2005 when I made the initial inquiry to the Treasurer, I had the complete application to the Department of Community and Economic Development (specifications, drawings, requests for estimates). Copies were made available to the B&F Committee, a summary was prepared for the December 1 meeting, and were further distributed at the Executive Committee meeting in December with an oral report.

The first paragraph in the cover letter accompanying the grant application (dated January 28, 2004) states the following:

The Chestnut Hill Community Fund is requesting a grant so that we can accommodate the growth of our weekly newspaper, The Chestnut Hill Local.

The terms of the contract were specific and binding. They did not include repaving an exterior parking area as suggested by the CHCA Business Manager.

The "files badly kept" spin is a red herring and vulgar, too. The budgetary procedures were at fault in failing to identify this grant money. The handover of records to the incoming Treasurer was at fault causing Mark Keintz to be caught unaware when the question was raised. The office procedures for follow-up were at fault when all of the information required to use this grant for the contractually required expenditures at The Local were available "upon request."

Martha Haley

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Chestnuts Arise and Tell Their Dream Stories

The Chestnuts have written a creative interpretation of the past few months of the Chestnut Hill Community Association. They relate, in a Chestnut Hill Local front page (and page 2 and page 3) story, that the massive failure of leadership amongst the top echelons of associationhood was due to, hold your nose, their "putting out the fires at the Local and dealing with the manufactured conflicts of the year."

Talk about arsonists trying to burn down their own factory. The piece, lacking a byline and sounding oh-so-pained at the suffering of the righteous, attempts to create answers to questions that were never raised (the editor was not fired, it says -- Well, duh. Read your own paper's mid-November issue and that same editorial posted elsewhere on this blog) and reiterates Joe Pie's Inspector Clousseau-like report that there may have been "sabotage" of the Local's computer database. Of course, they identified Pie as George Parry, but why let details get in the way when you're being creative. Especially when Pie was respresenting Parry in the office;or so Joe claimed.

All in all, it's a clumsy piece of fiction that only diminishes the Local and the CHCA.

The only thing the story got right is the ending.

Chestnut Hill deserves better. Boy, does it ever.

You can see their efforts at The Local.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Home View from the Family of a Discarded Employee

This letter has been circulating since Dec. 24; it is the opinion of the husband of one of the former employees of the Chestnut Hill Local, Ellen Weiser. Given that there are no certainties that letters will be published by the Local (see the Lloyd Wells letter for one such example), we are letting Chestnut Hill residents know what is happening to their community newspaper.

I am the husband of Ellen Weiser, the most recently discarded employee of the Chestnut ill Local. I am pleased that she has been fired. She is not. As a businessman, I question much of what hs gone on at the Local in the past few weeks. What message are you giving the remaining employees when the interim editor fires half the editorial staff because of a "gut feeling that you are not team players?" How must the remaining staff feel to know that the written policies on termination are not followed and that there is no process to ensure their job security. How must the remaining staff feel knowing that my wife was characterized as "not a team player" while working well beyond her 24 hours of paid time to do the job of the less qualified interim editor? How must the remaining staff feel about their job securiy to read the advertisement in the Local of 12/21 for all positions on the staff? I, for one, wonder why any qualified candidate would apply at all.

Are you running a business? don't think so. Are you publishing a newspaper? Not if what I have read in the past few weeks is any indication.

There is more to Chestnut Hill than motherless puppies and excess potatoes.

Truly Disgraceful: The Saga of The Chestnut Hill Local Continues

What Others Are Saying about the Local Fiasco

In light of developments in Chestnut Hill, it is important that we realize that others are watching what is happening in this corner of Philadelphia. Is it not enough that the Lentz Policy has been effectively gutted; that the self-righteous indignation by the perpetrators of the the Local fiasco is a sad joke; that the interference by certain elements of the board strips any pretense of independence from the press? Apparently not. As Sen. Joe McCarthy was once asked, "At long last, have you no sense of decency?"

We might be utterly dysfunctional in other ways, but at least Lower Merion CAN say at the end of each day, that their local newspapers Main Line Life ( and Main Line Times ( have an independent voice. Not so in Chestnut Hill, apparently. The Chestnut Hill Local doesn't need to be a scandal rag, per se, as it is scandal ridden.

The following article in the Inquirer caught our eye, and what we read leaves us feeling that this is a disgraceful situation.

Here are some excerpts:

Squabbling over the soul of the Local

By Natalie Pompilioi
Inquirer Staff Writer

"Black Tuesday" is what some people in Chestnut Hill call Oct. 18. That
was the day Chestnut Hill Local editor James Sturdivant was asked - or
told; versions differ - not to run an editorial critical of the
newspaper's publisher, the Chestnut Hill Civic Association.....

...The next day, Sturdivant turned in his resignation - or was forced

...Less than two weeks later, Michael Mishak, the newspaper's lead
writer, quit. His resignation letter said he could no longer tolerate
the "soul-numbing" conditions of the Local, where hostility is "fueled
by the rampant lying and dishonesty that can be traced to the very top
of the organization."

....In a flash, the weekly newspaper in a quiet pocket of Northwest
Philadelphia, with a circulation of 8,500, found itself in the middle
of a storm, one that could intensify during a public meeting at 7
tonight at the Free Library of Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill Branch.

...The questions on the minds of likely attendees: Is the Local a truly
independent newspaper - or a booster for the group that runs it? Is it
a watchdog - or a newsletter?

That is how members of one group paint the debate, saying they support
freedom of the press and the First Amendment, and how dare the
newspaper's publisher involve itself in editorial affairs? The Local,
they say, was created as an independent sounding board for the
community almost 50 years ago and should stay that way."

Monday, January 02, 2006

You Say You Want A Resolution

The original article can be found on here:
You Say You Want a Resolution...

Friday, December 30, 2005 (SF Gate)
You Say You Want A Resolution/What to do when the new year invites you in and plies you with drinks and slips you the tongue

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Is this the year? Is this the time you reset your intent and cut a wide swath and upset your preconceptions and infuriate the fearmongers and the fundies and the sexually terrified, even as you disavow your grudges and cleanse your spiritual colon and wave your bitchin' flame of self around like a Bic lighter at a 1984 Journey concert


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