Thursday, April 27, 2006

Maxinista: Arrogance

Half a Town Meeting
by Sniper

About 75 concerned Chestnut Hillers showed up for the SOC-slate's final town meeting of the 2006 election campaign on April 24th. Beautiful spring evening. Wine and cheese being served up by Dr. and Mrs. Joe Pizzano in the foyer of the regular Library space. Witty remarks by Ed Feldman, Ron Recko and John O'Connell, the 9th Ward Democrat leader and prominent realtor: "In Chestnut Hill, you gotta dress British and talk Yiddish" Feldman quipped, from the depths of his District-check sportcoat. "We invited the other side, but despite their concern for community participation and democratic values, not one of 'em could make it," Recko laughed, indicating the bare wooden speakers' table on the right-hand side of the stage area, where he said he'd especially hoped to see Maxine Dornemann and Stewart Graham, the soon-to-be-ex-Queen and Princeling-for-Life respectively of the Action Alliance. "The new Commerce Bank design plan looks like a McDonald's!" barked O'Connell, putting as much Irish on it as old Mike Quill would have . . .

The SOC folks had more-or-less healed their differences of last week, and wanted to focus on real issues -- not the spin AA prefers to deflect its many failures: the near-collapse of the Community Fund drive this year (it brought in a mere $26,000 under the Maxinistas, where in the past $65,000 to $100,000 were not unheard of figures); the continued chiseling by Max's pals (Sanjiv Jain was pledged a $3,200 fee by recalcitrant CHCA leaders for finding a tenant for 8431 Germantown Avenue, after he'd resigned his "community property manager" role for allegedly accepting small fees for services he was supposed to provide free as a volunteer; the failures of the Black and White Gala and House Tour fiasco; the dreadful personnel bloodletting of the fall, when Jim Sturdivant, Mike Mishak, Karl Strandberg, Ellen Weiser, Shawn Hart etc., etc. left the Local in a kind of revolving door of managerial dyspepsia that attracted critical stories in the downtown media -- something the relative youngsters of the post-Maxinista AA are supposed to be concerned about avoiding.(They used to blame the Local staff for "bad publicity," until they gelded the editorial department under Carole Boynton) . . . To say nothing of the nutty designs on Hiram Lodge, and the goofy notion of hiring Alison Grove (Leigh Filippini's bad), the PR hottie responsible for the boffo Dali exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art a year ago, for $90,000.

Extravagance. Arrogance. It was as if Maxine, with little real success of her own, chased winning images like so many ambulances . . . look at the overreaching of Lea Sitton Stanley's financial deal. Fifty-five thousand bucks and $1200 a month in health insurance benefits for the Local editor and her family once her old Inquirer package runs out sometime in midsummer. While the staff gets .25 cent raises. Why would Maxine and her "business-minded" backers and successors go into such an arrangement when the CHCA is hurting financially so badly the Local's Community and Business Managers have both had their days and salaries slashed dramatically? With rumors of further reductions by Ellen Manning, the new Business "Development" (!) Manager, of front office stalwarts Ellen Maher, Mary Flannery and Cheryl Massaro? Especially when election time regime change was at hand?

Ed Feldman's theory is that Stanley's hiring was a ploy from the jump; that the old Maxinista group -- Dornemann, Doug Doman, W (!) Stewart Graham, Carolyn "Big Dog" Hausermann, Sanjiv "Nightclub" Jain -- suffering from poor PR fallout following their successful silent coup against Sturdivant last October -- went into their editorial search with Macchiavellian cunning. They'd bring in a thorough pro like Stanley, which the Lawrence Walsh/ Martha Haley/ Ron Recko left could find no fault with, at whatever figure she wanted, because they had no intention of paying her the amount agreed upon . . . As a serious journalist, she'd get them through the "anti-press" election crunch criticism they were enduring, and then they could "Grover Norquist" her, let her twist in the wind until she got disgusted enough to walk off on her own, thus breaking the contract she and her lawyer had so painfully hammered out. Then they can bring in another ringer from Lansdowne who would do what she's told, a pal of well-known free press booster Doman.

When I objected that the CHCA might simply be as financially inept as their record indicates, others present argued that Maxine and her backers' past patterns of mendacity proved them capable of such outlandish hypocrisy: Maxinistas (if not Actionistas) still deny that Sturdivant was the victim of a coup; that the presence of Joe Pie, Nancy Berger, Vijay Kothare and now Jane Piotrowski in the Local office has anything to do with spying on staff or controlling editorial decision-making; that CHCA "enemies" like Martha Haley and Lawrence Walsh were essentially forced off the Board; that cronyism among Dornemann friends such as Graham, Doman, Sanjiv Jain and SuperBrat Snowden affects CHCA decision-making; and that outright fabrications like the ethnic slur that Ed Feldman threatened "to spit in the new editor's face" (Feldman and Stanley denied that one) were standard Maxinista neg spin tactics . . .

"One of Max's tricks is to blame others for mistakes she made as president," said one attendee, long close to the action. "Nancy Berger took the fall for the unpopularity of the Sturdivant massacre; Marie Lachat was the victim of the CHCA's endless committee red tape, and wasn't part of the hottie younger Actionista crew (Tia Burke, Filippini, Boom-Boom Waters) , so when Community Managing projects under her tenure weren't as successful as they might have been, she was blamed and kicked out." There seems to be an unhealthy tendency too, to create new firestorms to distract from old ones -- the Watertower business overshadowing Commerce Bank and 8431, one mess superceding another until the mind blurs.

The younger Action Alliance people began to have enough of Maxine sometime last fall. Dina Hitchcock, none other than campaign chair for the AA, said several months ago that "We're not taking the Kool Aid anymore," and though Maxine pushed neighbor Carol Cope to replace her on the ticket after she and Jain had been persuaded not to run this year, Jeremy Heep, a 25 year-old lawyer had backers like Hitchcock, Filippini, Burke and Waters (he's a hot guy for a WASP) behind his run for CHCA president.

The old ways persist, though. Maxine still gets to sit on the Board for another year as Past President, which automatically puts her on the Executive Committee and makes her chair of the Nominating Committee, where she can do a lot of damage. She's already tried to pack the Publisher's Committee, censor of the Local, with folks like Joe Pie and Carol Cope, as one of her last acts in the short interval before the Board will have to approve. Savvy Cope apparently declined the appointment, knowing when to act responsibly.

Despite these tiny signs of hopefulness, no AAs felt showing up Monday for the Town Meeting was necessary. Dr. George Spaeth, a model of real Chestnut Hill dignity, presided as moderator over a polite, informed group which included his wife, the saintly Anne, keeper of the Chestnut Hill records; Tom Hemphill, a forthright-seeming man; Mark Keintz, the CHCA treasurer, who bravely endured some grilling on fiscal improprieties; and Shoshana Bricklin, who made a pitch to be included on the SOC slate, though she's running as an independent. There was an absence of the kind of hostile bristling that pervaded the last fully-attended Town Meeting on November 7th, called to confront the then-Maxinista majority on the Sturdivant affair.

A rumor was circulating at the Library that the AA had stayed away because Maxine, Graham, Hausermann and Doman had been giving out free CHCA memberships with filled-in ballots in massive lots, and were thus assured of winning the election. So, little reason to debate. Better to stay home with the kids and check out CSI Miami, where you can always tell the good guys from the bad ones really easily. At least AA wasn't formally instructed to boycott this time, as they were in March, in an e-mail from Mr. Jain.

"But honestly, Ron," Stewart Graham told Recko ingenuously, via phonemail the next day, "I don't know why you'd want [us] there anyway."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

CHCA Candidates & Their Friends

A comment in a post asked which candidates are aligned with what group. The following is a list of candidates and others who may be indentified by slate or "loose" affiliation with a slate.

Second Opinion Caucus Slate
Elaine Aiello
Scott Alloway
Edward Budnick Jr.
Joanne Dhody
Ed Feldman
Thomas Fleming
James Foster
James Gleason
Nancy H. Hutter
Kathleen M. Jones
Marie Lachat
Howard Lesnick
Virginia Mallery
Sara Maneely
John Michaels
J.E. (Ned) Mitinger
Christopher Padova
Joseph A. Pizzano, M.D.
Susan Ann Pizzano, Ph.D.
Ron Recko
Gina A. Stellabotte
Jonathan Sternberg

Friends & Family
George Spaeth
Shoshana Bricklin

Action Alliance Slate
Richard Becker
Pamela Waters
Brian DeCesare
William Stewart Graham
Robert Remus
Douglas Doman
Tapan J. Patel
Kerry Bird
Jane M. Piotrowski
Thomas G. Kessler
Carol Cope
Robert Rossman
Stanley Moat
Doug Knauer
Patrick J. Mooney
Adam Meadows
Ed Berg
Patrick Mountney
Lisa Sullivan-Mancuso
Cornelis van den Muyzenberg
James S. Bruno Esq.
Kristina Sullivan
Curnel L. Bridges
Jesse Walters

Friends & Family
Mark Keintz
Cecile Mihalich

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Maxinista: Herding Cats

CH fecklessness swings both ways
by Sniper

The news is out, Lea Sitton Stanley, after five weeks on the job as editor of the Local, is fed up. And the folks who hired her are fed up too! None other than Betty Brady, the recently-reduced-to-two-days-a-week Community Manager, has been skittering around, letting folks in the Local office and outside the office, know that "We're sick of hearing her whine! She's always complaining! Not enough money [for hiring stringers or paying for more seasoned reporters]! Worried about her own [$55,000] pay and benefits package! [Allegedly $1200 a month after her Inky package tapers off by July.] Griping about having to teach the staff to write and having to spend all day Monday re-writing and copy-editing! Did she think she was coming to the Times or something? "

Small chance of that, Betty, but Lea is a pro from the Inquirer, from an old Southern newspaper family, too. And it's hard to adjust to the weirdness of Chestnut Hill, in those circumstances. Especially when you've been sold a bill of goods by the silver-tongued Maxine herself. The strangest part of the whole Maxinista phenomenon, and the Actionistas who are following her, is their schizophrenic insistence that they are for democracy and community participation, a free press and all the other buzz-points of citizen participation, when in fact they operate like old Meehan Republican machine pols -- secret deals in backrooms, non-accountability on finances, the flouting of all the former rules -- the Lentz policy, the advance printing of Board meeting agendas, and the locations of meetings, so that people can be prepared and actually attend . . . Secret ballots are more the AA way . . .

The word is in the street. Kay at Caruso's was telling someone the other day that Lea would be gone soon. Somebody else mentioned Pete Mazzaccaro's name as a possible replacement, but others said 'No, he's tainted. Doman hates him.' In fact Dougie Doman has a candidate from Lansdowne, a person as malleable as Boynton was, warming up in the wings. Mazzaccaro's name is just being floated to pacify the dopes in SOC from strenuously searching for an editor candidate who might have a chance against the Actionista designee . . . In its sandlot way, Chestnut Hill politics is growing a sophisticated rind. [Here's an idea: Nancy Berger and her husband Chris, alleged pilferer of Jim Sturdivant and Mike Mishak's computer files as "evidence", for distribution among the Maxinistas last fall, as Double Editors!! They'd be perfect for Actionista SWAT teams -- mean, sneaky, amoral . . . willing to hack off slices of their own flesh for the AA Cause! After all, Business is Business!!]

But let's examine a more disturbing trend. The swath of old ladies -- Pat Stokes, Quita Horan, Mary Anna Ross, Mary Jane Shelly, Virginia Mallery -- SOC members dedicated to the old CH politesse, where you're always courteous and nice and gentlewomanly -- after all, when the election is over, we've all got to live here, right? And there are a bunch of others -- Lou Aiello, Ned Mitinger , John Anderson, Susan Pizzano -- even the sainted Marie Lachat (who's always taken her lead from Pizzano) -- who think naming names and complaining loudly about hypocrisy and wrongdoing is vulgar and non-Chestnut Hill. Some of the above (not Lachat), decided some time ago to effectively boycott the blog -- "because it might hurt us [SOC]".

But how exactly? By ruffling Quita Horan, a very private and quiet rich lady who pays for ads and other things, so long as her sensibilities aren't offended? By angering Medicine Show hustlers like Dougie Doman, or Stewie Graham, the power-behind-the-scenes Karl Rove of AA, who will then be inspired to "go into overdrive for last minute votes." One person warned Sniper that "Stewart can easily throw in several thousands for ads, etc., and so we can't have [him} as [an] avowed enemy." (! He's not an enemy?) And then there's the long-held fear that Big Stew can screw up the next Editorial Search Committee pick -- after Stanley goes back to Mt. Airy -- by blocking certain desirable candidates from doing any more than submitting their names . . . Well, guess what, timorous SOCers? The latter's already happened. Just five weeks ago, and it will happen again, whether you develop the stones to say what you mean or not. And as far as gearing up for a Battle of the Bulge on votes, Carolyn "Leatherface" Haussermann completed her AA retirement-vote canvassing a week ago, and will be running a shuttle service for seniors from Cathedral Village on voting day . . .

All this came to a head on Tuesday in the infamous "backroom" (AA slanguage for the production department) of the Local, when Jim Foster, the coordinator of the SOC electoral campaign, had to fend off a verbal offensive by Ms. Pizzano, who demanded that nine names come off a SOC ad because they didn't agree with the tactic of naming Richard Becker, Douglas Doman and W (!) Stewart Graham, in Ed Feldman's very funny and acerbic poem, pointing out that the very people who
"created the committee
to control the paper
who abused the staff
who bullied the editor . . .
which created the mess the Hill is in"
are the same AA'ers who now say they want an "independent paper."

Sniper suggests -- in all humility and with no irony at all, for once -- that Ed Budnick Jr., Joanne Dhody, Marie Lachat, Ned Mitinger, Virginia Mallery, and Dr. Joseph and Susan Pizzano, reconsider their positions, and pull together with the other members of SOC to knock out AA candidates as incapable of reform as Becker, Doman and Graham are.

Just because Stewie and Richie Maloumian convinced Maxinista herself not to run for president again, because of her many faux pas and dissemblings, and counseled Sanjiv Jain to get off the slate because he'd grown too hot with recurrent scams, doesn't mean those two won't be affecting AA policy on the post-election board. Look what Actionistas have done already: nominated Carol "West Wing" Cope, a fallen-away Democrat to replace Maxine (they live next door, so you can imagine those summer koffee klatches); and Joe "Free Press" Pie -- who moves his lips when he reads print -- to head the Publisher's Committee!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Commerce: Two Meetings, One Agenda, No Comment

Update.5:20 PM Monday: The Executive Committee meeting is to be held at Town Hall Tuesday at 7:30 PM.

ON TUESDAY April 18, there are two crucial meetings scheduled for the same time. The Commerce Bank "problem" appears on both agendas.

The CHCA Development and Review Committee meets at 7:30 at the Hiram Lodge, 8425 Germantown Ave. This meeting is open to the public.

The Executive Committee, which typically meets at the Hiram Lodge as well, describes tomorrow's location as "To Be Announced."

Call the CHCA office (seriously, call them!) at 215-248-8810.

Avoid the mistakes of the Freshman Class of 2005 who had never attended a Board meeting and were shocked to find that these events were not tea parties!

It is probable that the Executive Committee will try to shut down any public participation so I'm urging existing Board member/candidates to attend that one. The Commerce Bank mess affects everyone so please try to participate with bodies, if not voices.

Bursting the Actionista Bubble!

It's important for voters in the CHCA election to know that the Action Alliance is an outgrowth, a creation of the current leadership of the CHCA, the leadership which has financially (dismal returns on all fundraisers) and ethically (continual violations of bylaws, no advertising for available Local and CHCA jobs akin to discrimination and cronyism) run our community association into the ground.

The Action Alliance lists among their candidates current board members who as members of the Bylaws Committee and the Executive Committee were authors, presenters and cheerleaders of the bylaw to control the editor of our newspaper and thus the news they wanted us, the public, to know. They claim now to be for free press. Perhaps these stiflers of free press have had some profound conversion or just found it expedient for purposes of reelection.

This bylaw change practically destroyed an award winning newspaper which is just short of celebrating its 50th anniversary. This bylaw change facilitated abuse of Local employees as well as the creation of the Publisher's committee run amuck for two years with no board approved bylaws to guide their actions. Those vile actions certainly spoke louder than words.

As of today, two days from the scheduled Executive Committee meeting no one is able to say where this "location to be announced" meeting is being held. Perhaps the president of the CHCA plans to ride through Chestnut Hill on a flat bed truck with a bullhorn since there is no Local published to announce this meeting as bylaws dictate. If we, the public, find out the undisclosed location the Committee will probably go into Executive Session, thus forcing us, the public, from access to their agenda.

Budget and Finance is also a secret (executive) session. But then, wouldn't it be humiliating for the public to actually know how financially run down the CHCA is.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me again and again and again, shame on me. Don't be fooled by the promises of an Action Alliance lead by those who actions contradict their words.

Marie Lachat

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Autumn Memories

Last week Sniper's "Maxinista: Old Baggage" column generated a lot of mail, but none as portentous as this, written in a voice and style reminiscent of Justanothernappyhead, two persons who published a column with us once that also drew a lot of postings and speculations as to who was whom in our authorial blogosphere. What follows will be edited for length, and the reply, written by a Local staffer concerned about getting fired by the still-ruling A.A. clique, unfortunately, will also be edited for length .

"Notanappy" accuses production honcho Scott Alloway of being Sniper, because of the numerous cracks Sniper has made about Joe Pie, an enforcer for the Dornemann Executive Committee clique. As EE, I can tell you unequivocably , S isn't S. But Notanappy is definitely Mr. & Mrs. Nancy Berger . . .

With apologies, for all this sneaking around. (That's how truly bad the situation at the Local is, polite old ladies & gents of the SOC and the A.A.)

-- John Lombardi

"Oh, Scott, let it go already. The guy [Joe Pie] never did anything to you except maybe embarass you. I doubt he ever had any interest except in stopping you and every other Local employee from doing things that would have cost you your jobs at any other company.

You still have your job. You still have use of the community's nice computer equipment (for your personal use). You and Ellen [Weiser] got to call [Joe] names on the record. And now you even get to run for the Board.

Did I mention you still have your job> . . . . Even though he uncovered and reported to the Board, that you and your backroom gang were doing some pretty lame things with the Local's website, the editorial layouts and the Local e-mail system. The Board never pursued it because [Joe] himself told us that fixing the blame wasn't as important as fixing the environment that allowed it to happen . . .

So you lost your webmaster access, big deal. You still got your paycheck. When you filed your little wage claim against the Local, [Joe] never once got involved with it. He only advised that we do the lawful thing whatever the outcome. And you got your extra hours paid, didn't you?

He never did anything personally to you except STOP you. He never did anything to Robyn [another production worker] except remind her to be fair as she cut pieces from the paper.

He did do some incredibly good things for you . . . I know for a fact he even spoke out for Jimmy [Pack, a layout artist] to come back from his expletive-laced walkout when the rest of the power elite were insisting that he was gone forever. I heard his lectures to you all . . . they were short, not sweet, but certainly you knew he . . . meant what he said [!] If you all felt bullied, then you must have been innocent of all the petty mischief. Everyone knows that was not the case. So you got caught, guilty as sin, embarassed by this volunteer [Pie]. You were the one screaming and insisting on a lawyer. All he ever did was ask you to pull down your slick little links on the Community's website.

So give it a break already and tell your equally pissed-off friends to do the same. You don't have to like him . . . but you sure as hell ought to stop jumping on his ass just because your feelings were hurt (deservingly so.

You owe this guy for still having a job. Chestnut Hill owes him for still having a somewhat credible paper.

I was there. I saw it with my own eyes."

-- Notafanofbullshit


To which we can only say: Yes you were, Nancy. And you still don't know the difference between flacking for some Western Pa. business concern, and operating a newspaper. The problem is , no one in A.A., and only half the people in SOC, seem to appreciate the difference, either. CH Notebook volunteers a free class at the CH Library for all readers truly interested in learning Journalism Principles, 101.

Below is a reply by the Local staffer, mentioned above:


""To clarify a decrepit old scenario, let's revisit my memoirs of the events of Oct., 2005. We were left without anyone to man the ship. [Sturdivant and Mishak] had flown the coop for more peaceful seas.

When you don't have an editorial staff per se, who provides content for a weekly paper? It was a Friday afternoon when we learned of our situation. Our deadline is 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays. If late, we accrue a fixed fee per quarter hour until the job is all sent. We had to start working on something. We had to attempt to keep our jobs. Wouldn't you do the same? I kept my cool. I didn't walk out the back door. My goal was short and sweet: 'Get the Paper Out.'

We had no IT person. That's the guy who handles programs, computer functions, incoming e-mails. Incoming is what we needed to provide content for the Local. We had to start somewhere: Letters.

The CHCA "managers" at the time really didn't know what to do. Didn't know us well enough (or trust us) to understand we could put out the paper. They asked for outside help from the Board to handle the crisis. We needed access to the material that flowed through [Sturdivant and Mishak's] accounts. But then we were accused of not printing certain people's letters . . . Chaos ensued. A man named Kothare and Joe Pie began telling us an account we'd created to receive communication from readers, etc. wasn't going to work. They told us in unfriendly terms.

People on the outside couldn't see this, and our paychecks were on the line -- rent due, car payments, credit card bills . . . And there were other problems. The Local has a mailing permit that allows 52 weeks of publication . If we miss one we lose our mailing permit and would have to pay more to get another. Also if we missed an issue, advertisers [who pay our bills], would have to be issued credits that would put the paper in a financial hole, and advertisers might pull their ads for good. We had the option to quit -- which one of the managers suggested -- or keep on. I remember someone telling me that I didn't have to do my job. [Which showed how clueless that person was . . .]

We had roadblocks from the help the managers requested from the Board. Communication was unclear, and power plays underlay every move. [They were using the occasion to take over the paper.] None of us thought we'd have a job [for long}. Those people who supported us had been at the Local before the resignations [of Sturdivant and Mishak.] Gossip was being spread about [our actions] that was misconstrued.

We weren't trusted but our 'backroom gang' kept up with the news, even if we made some mistakes. My co-worker [-- Scott Alloway --] had previous experience as an editor , was a key in how to go on putting everything together. I thank and appreciate him. When a person who knows what they're doing and someone [who doesn't] tries to stop them and stand in their way, it's insulting. Most of this has been resolved, but you can read about how we were referred to as 'terrorists and parasites', accused of violating editorial rights. Staffers were threatened by telephone call, e-mail and in person. Can't you understand we were just doing our jobs to the best of our knowledge?

"Accusation is not proof," as Edward R. Murrow said [about Joe McCarthy.] What stands as proof is that we got a paper out every week. What stands as proof is that we are still present and work for your ever-reputable Chestnut Hill Local. We didn't have an agenda, no matter how hard you try to say it. We had a job and a responsibility that we were trying to fulfill. Anyone in that office who came up to me and asked if we should all just walk out will know that I said no . . . 'Let's wait and see.'
I know one thing for certain: You were proud of us when we managed to put out that paper [despite a lack of staff.] You were proud when we showed our faces to you and said what we needed to say. We stood up for the freedom to take charge and execute the goals of [ the Local.] Any witty fallacies that say otherwise are based on nothing more than emotional whiplash -- because you're unaware of the decisions that had to be made on the spur of the moment in order to get the job done.
I'm sorry you feel the way you do, and that the board hasn't seen what we've done. If it did, we might have gotten more than cookies in this month's annual raise."

And Then He Did This, Then That, Then the Other and...

We love letters, especially ones where they don't let facts get in the way of a good rip. What piece is the writer referring to? Oh, well. It's probably from just another disgruntled Chestnut Hill wannabe.

Anonymous writes:
Mr. Lombardi, please check your blog security. How did something like Alloway's piece get past your fact checkers?

Is this the same Scott Alloway who screamed profanities at one of the Board's members at a meeting last November?

Is this the same Scott Alloway who took control of the Local's website for a short while and redirected readers letters to his own personal mailbox?

Is this the same Scott Alloway who dubbed himself "the on-line editor of the Local"?

Is this the same Scott Alloway who threatened to sue the CHCA because he was caught and reprimanded for his duplicitous actions?

Is this the same Scott Alloway who removed Local files, electronic and otherwise from the paper's offices and delivered them to his friend Martha Haley, among others?

Is this the same Scott Alloway who continues to draw a paycheck from the community of Chestnut Hill even as he now audaciously runs as a self-nominated candidate for the CHCA Board?

A colleague of the accused from the Local responds:

Dear Anonymous-ness,

V is for Vendetta; one doesn't have to see movies to know.

If Mr. Anonymous were to play Senator McCarthy in this equation, then it's right about time that Ed Morrow reiterates to him that, "Accusation is not Proof." A man who stands by his word is worth more than petty accusations spoken indirectly to him.

The reality is this world is becoming so that instead of talking to one another face to face we use text. In doing so, miscommunications and misinterpretations are diligently avoided.

Pointing out only faults would lead one to believe that the accuser is perfect. FALSE.

First of all, Mr. Alloway was already in charge of the website before anyone left. In lieu of the events that followed, the endeavor at hand was to maintain the Local's publication. Even if one has no editor the show must go on -- 52 weeks a year for a mail permit. If the chain of command breaks down, you still have to have a way to organize the group to function. Function is what was attempted at the time. What, WE, not you, attempted. News and information organization had to be quick to achieve its goals of production. If you can't understand that then you really have no experience upon which to form a comment.

Second of all, Mr. Alloway was in charge of backing up Local files before our new IT was hired. Until Mr. Tsigos was hired full-time, Mr. Alloway was in charge of that responsibility of backing up server files. I'll excuse your ignorance on how things are run for now.

Duplicitous are those who tried to treat us like spineless idiots in the event of an ìeditor lessî situation. Those who stepped up and tried to help while not knowing how to run a damn paper. Those who had the managerial ignorance to direct workers to only lead to further hostile a situation. Duplicitous are those who depicted us as terrorists and parasites. If only Eve had held the snake a while. We are already quite staffed at dealing with new situations and changing power structures. Please, you can give at least one of us the benefit of the doubt. So don't vote for Scott. Don't let your ignorance infect the rest of the community.

You don't call in a lumberjack to do your laundry. Do you?

Yours truly,
Rogue Incentive

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Maxinista: Old Baggage

SOC-hops & Actionistas

by Sniper

Good news first, since my ex-friends from the mossy green swards of the SOC-hop sodality are always accusing me of being mean-spirited and Scroogey, the death of every party -- you invite him over and optimists start diving for the doors and windows -- whoops, whoops, lemme out! It's the death ray! The ray, I say . . .

Okay, just for that, I'm gonna be nice: Shoshona Bricklin is running for the board as an independent. Reason? You have to pony up a couple of hundred just to get rolling in Chestnut Hill board politics this year, which doesn't seem fair for an old grass roots organizer, people's advocate and Dem lawyer like Shonie . . . Hell, it's segregation by checkbook. Why don't some of the Hill's more luxe bank accounts recognize this woman's worth? Or was there some faction within the SOC-hoppers who didn't want Bricklin, for less than relevant reasons? We've heard a couple of geezers tried to keep the brilliant Ed Feldman off the ticket for "aesthetic" reasons, too . . .

Shoshona worked for Philadelphia City Council for 13 years -- that's serious experience negotiating a system nearly as Byzantine and irrational as Chestnut Hill's own. She knows zoning and recycling so well she could burn down greedheads like Sanjiv Jain and SuperBrat Snowden with deft legal swipes. (Also, since she's a lawyer, she could protect folks like Martha Haley, Lawrence Walsh, Scott Alloway, Jimmy Pack, and allegedly [rumor has it], Ron Recko, from threats by Joe "Rocky" Pie, who is always teetering on the edge of physical assault, with anger issues to rival Kong . . . This last bit is really ironic in a party that now emphasizes "courtesy". In fact -- COURTESY. Be polite while backstabbing, pork-barreling, rooting out anyone tainted with a nostalgia for press freedom . . . That's been Pie-Man's whole function as muscle for Dornemann and the semi-lucid George Parry -- threaten anyone who deviates from the party line of the Maxinistas -- now rechristened the "Action Alliance" ("Actionistas"?). That's Action over Thought, a semiotic trip back to the 30s, when totalitarianism first began molting into modern drag . . .

Anyway, Shoshana's part of the answer. She's a longtime Chestnut Hiller. A Coordinator with Interfaith Advocates, Northwest Philly Interfaith Hospitality Network (on loan from Goldman Realty). She's married to Bert Schultz, a technical writer and Co-Chairman of the Philadelphia Local of the National Writers' Union. Has two teen-age boys, is an elected Committeeperson from the 9th Ward, 6th Division, a member of Neighborhood Networks and the Raise the Minimum Wage Coalition . . . a little more serious than A.A.'s comfortable Carol Cope, whose notion of supporting the ideals of the Democratic Party involves faithfully watching Martin Sheen and Jimmy Smits on The West Wing every Sunday, between martoonies . . .

Not that the SOC-hop slate is all go. Shoshana could easily have replaced Virginia Mallery, for ex., who's been showing signs of slippage for a while, dragging out fine points at meetings until people's teeth grind, trying to interfere with writers doing stories for the blog on the mistaken grounds that the AA is essentially correct in its insistence on COURTESY, which the blog, thank God, violates every day. Newsflash for the geriatric SOC-hop set: When people are destroying your community newspaper and community government, lying (the Sturdivant affair); cheating (Sanjiv & the Commerce Bank debacle, plus his scam to try to make it seem as if the CHBA was behind his zoning variance application for the old Yankee Candles site -- it wasn't, Anne McNally and Paul Roller shot him down); logrolling -- Stewie Graham's cosy deal with Dougie Doman to house the families of D's patients getting royally fleeced at the Institutes for Human Potential in S's pricey apartment units -- it's less than responsible to preserve proper decorum. When these things happen, you're supposed to get mad and fight back.

Unfortunately, old-timers like Mallery, Mary Anna Ross (Queen of the teeth-grinders), Quita Horan and Ned Mitinger, have been as comfortable as Cope for so long that their senses of outrage are hard to revive. On some level they agree with the other side that what is "Chestnut Hill" -- a kind of Towne & Country politesse -- is more important than anything else. Including selling out worthy candidates on specious grounds, and rationalizing their own cowardice under "social pressure" -- Pete Mazzaccaro's recent fate at the hands of his indifferent SOC "backers" and non-backers: "Oh, my endorsement would only harm him" -- "We've got to protect Pete by keeping his name out of the blog" . . .

Why? Because a bunch of old farts don't like us?

And then there's the bizarre inclusion of triple agents like Ratso Aiello and now his wife Elaine in the loose (to put it mildly) SOC network.

Can't anyone see that those two are part of the CH problem? That trusting Lou in SOC is like trusting Joe Lieberman as a Democrat? Like Mark Keintz, Aiello and his spouse are simply interested in surviving, doing business by "doing well" -- whatever that may entail, and "blending in" on Chestnut Hill, the mythical WASP Ward of the City of Brotherly Love, where, to be allowed to stick around, you've gotta be a wannabe.

Aiello comes down on any side of any issue he thinks is expedient for his status, and for his small home repair trade. In that sense, he's just a penny-ante Sanjiv Jain . . .

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Condolences to the Boynton Family

We extend our sympathy to the family of Carole Boynton on the death of her husband.

Frank Boynton, husband of former Local Interim Editor Carole Boynton, passed away April 2 at 1:30 p.m. Philadelphia time.

"He had suffered a bad stroke on Thursday evening and never recovered," Carole wrote in an e-mail to friends and CHCA associates. "He died peacefully."

A viewing was held Wednesday, April 5, at Koller's funeral home on Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia. The funeral is Thursday, April 6, at Kollers.

Carole asks that the family be remembered "in your prayers."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Chestnut Hill Security Communication #1

Last week, I asked a 2nd Opinion Caucus member who is currently on the CHCA Board of Directors, why the CHCA Board members’ e-mail addresses were no longer on the website so that the public has access to their elected representatives.

This was the board member’s answer:
There is now an e-mail address which is used ONLY by Board members TO Board Members. Isn't that community-minded! It is "board-discussion(at)chestnuthill(dot)org" .
She enclosed this message from Mark Keintz, Operations Vice President of the CHCA, that was sent to board members :
Reminder of some important features of board
1. The only recipients (subscribers) are the current board members.
2. The only people who can freely post to the list are
a. subscribers
b. 3 CHCA staff (Betty Brady Susan Medosch, and Kari Ghazarian). Yes these three can post but will not receive from the list - so they can send agendas, reports, etc., yet not be distracted by our fascinating discussions on how/why to write and re-write CHCA history.
3. All others who post to board-discussion(at)chestnuthill(dot)org will have their message referred to the list moderater (currently me-Mark Keintz) who can then accept or reject the submission.
4. All emails sent to you via the list will have "[CHCA Board]" in the subject line.
5. To email to the list just email to board-discussion(at)chestnuthill(dot)org.
6. To reply to the entire list, you have to use "reply all."
For now, please email any questions to me, so I can make a more comprehensive list of tips.

The 2nd Opinion Caucus members are running for the Board in order to stop such exclusionary, elitists actions by the leadership insiders who have rebranded themselves the Action Alliance.
Marie Lachat
8427 Prospect Avenue
Chestnut Hill

And They're Off

Update of earlier post

There are 55 candidates running in the election for positions on the Chestnut Hill Community Association this spring.

The following candidates of the Second Opinion Caucus are deserving of community support if a viable association is to be had. We urge members to vote for this group.

Elaine Aiello • Scott Alloway • Edward Budnick Jr. • Joanne Dhody

Ed Feldman • Thomas Fleming • James Foster

James Gleason • Nancy H. Hutter • Kathleen M. Jones

Marie Lachat • Howard Lesnick • Virginia Mallery

Sara Maneely • John Michaels • J.E. (Ned) Mitinger

Christopher Padova • Joseph A. Pizzano, M.D. • Susan Ann Pizzano, Ph.D.

Ron Recko • Gina A. Stellabotte • Jonathan Sternberg


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