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 . . .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you leave Aiello alone? He's done more for the Hill than you have, wiseguy.

Thu Apr 06, 04:20:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Martha Haley said...

For the record - While some members of the Second Opinion Caucus team have volunteered to pony up a hundred bucks to cover the costs of paid advertizing in the Local and some have offered to defray the cost of stamps for their selected mailing list, neither Shoshana Bricklin nor any other candidate was EVER told that there was an "entrance fee" by any definition. Perhaps Ron Recko's brave suggestion that sitting members of the CHCA current board take collective responsibility for the dismal financial mess was "passed down the lane." The Second Opinion Caucus has fielded a slate of 22 for the express purpose of encouraging support for some very worthy independent candidates. Martha Haley

Fri Apr 07, 08:29:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous John Anderson said...

Mr Lombardi,
What's your issue with Joe Pie? He does an awful lot of volunteer work in CH, often at his own expense and seems to be pretty tolerant of other's opinions. While we have seen him get worked up about things from time to time, it's always been about something specific. And in my opinion, he's almost always been proven correct in his decision process. We've personally seen him manage the parents and coaches and their special (selfish)requests in the baseball league with incredible fairness over the past 5 years. We have seen him stand up very forcefully to wrong behavior but we've never known him to be a bully or threaten people. He's loud, critical (maybe a little impatient) and apparently not shy to take stands but we've never heard him resort to name-calling or personal attacks. Just wondering about your personal issues with him, since you really seem to go after him with a vengeance on this blog. We also know that you are just plain wrong about him being unemployed. He is one of the busiest people I know, building several businesses while still finding time to volunteer. Also, this talk of him trying to take control of the Local is very hard to believe to those of us who have seen his deeds over the years. Even some Local staffers have praised his efforts recently.
Seems that every one of the folks you mention here as threatened are the same ones attacking him and his wife on a regular basis.
Just wondering why you've picked him as a favorite target.

-John Anderson

Fri Apr 07, 09:43:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They weren't Local staffers who praised Pie. They were managers.

No matter what you think, those who have dealt with him at the Local have seen a crass, abusive (a heard in Ellen Weiser's comments at a board meeting) man. Personal attacks? Joe is a past master of the art form.

Wrong behavior? His act last fall was a perfect example of a self-centered, untalented straw man.

Fri Apr 07, 01:37:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember why Pie was put on the "Publisher's Committee?" Hand-picked by Maxie-Pad herself. Just Like Tom Ivory, who didn't like the fact that too much bad news in the paper would give the Hill a bad name.

And just because you see someone act one way, it doesn't mean they don't have other sides. Particularly when you agree on an issue. Pie might be great with kids, but bad when it comes to dealing with people who are smarter than him. What business endeavors is he working on?

Fri Apr 07, 02:12:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't there a requirement that CHCA board candidates actually LIVE in CH? That seems to be pretty normal. Not sure how people who live in Wyndmoor can run. Seems bizarre. The one example is the guy from the Institute for Human Potential I think.

Sun Apr 09, 02:59:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Germantown Cruiser said...

Candidates must be a member of the Chestnut Hill Community Association. There are no residency requirements.

Sun Apr 09, 03:54:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Ol Sniper is at it again
Whoever did let him out of his pen?
A shill for Shoshona
(a grassrooter on loan-a)
He kicks the old SOCs once his friends

(Some advice for Sniper and his ilk: It's better to darn your SOCs than damn them.)

Mon Apr 10, 08:17:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

l'art de la guerre...


Joe PiƩ can rot. he volunteers his free time because he's not qualified to be paid for it. Two cents maybe be better than no cents, but it doesn't add up to much of anything significant. ONE WORD: BULLY.

And, Thank god there are people outside this little bubble of irrationality to be on the board. I'm actually really tired of people expecting this newspaper to bow down and grovel in err to every forgotten or left out bit of information. "Wah, my picture in the paper, WAH, all my words weren't on the page, WAHHH!! every letter i ever took the time to devote to the editor isn't printed.

can't you understand that we're not as incompetant and irresponsible as you'd like to think, THERE ARE SOLUTIONS.

and it's not some f%$#k!ng conspiracy!!!!!!!!

Mon Apr 10, 12:19:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If not a conspiracy, then a moronic convergence?

Mon Apr 10, 11:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Peacebuilder said...

In tribal cultures people sat around and created peace. They sat and they sat, hearing everyone until finally an accord was reached.

I feel really saddened by the ongoing communications between community members in the Local. Every week I read the most hurtful, painful things. I don't know who any of these parties are. I think that is a good thing. I have no bias here, only an effort to begin peace building.

I'd like to propose that we begin peace building now. Does anyone have skills or experience in this area? I do. And I would like to join with others that are willing to help facilitate difficult conversations that could turn into something good.

I want us all to feel proud to live in Chestnut Hil. If we can't create peace here, then where? If we can't begin with ourselves then whom?

I am willing to risk being wrong, being a fool or being anything else. But I stand for peace building and for creating something better for our community and our children. Who is ready to come onboard with me and create a community of peaceful relations?

Tue Apr 11, 08:28:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous John Anderson said...

Great idea, PM. But why limit your inspired sadness to the Local? How about this blog right here? It's whole genesis is presenting hurtful, painful comments by the select few who need to hide behind anonymity and silly aliases.

-John Anderson

Wed Apr 12, 12:09:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Sniper said...

Nice to hear from SOC's Secretary, but for Ms. Haley to infer there was no resistance to Shoshona Bricklin's candidacy, monetary or other, is a stretch. Guess there was no resistance to Ed Feldman, either?


Wed Apr 12, 10:29:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John --

I would agree that Sniper is out of line. Talk about anger management issues! (By the way, John Lombardi is "Waylaid Pilgrim," and his posts are angry, but I think reasonably so.)

And I don't think the genesis of this blog was to hurt people -- although it has. Mr. Lombardi appears to have started it when the Local had been usurped by the group currently running as Actionists. Editor James Sturdivant had been forced out and the community had no free voice.

Really, the other side is not playing "nice" at all. They are spreading rumor and innuendo: kicking Lawrence Walsh off the board for sexual harrassment -- this following the "resignations" of very decent young men like Sturdivant and Mazzacaro -- they are just doing it behind closed doors. Sometimes with police as guards. What's that about!

Elect the Second Opinon Caucus and the Local will be assured of editorial independence.

P.S. The supportive letters for Joe Pie were written by CHCA employees, not member of the Local staff. To my mind they seemed oddly stilted -- almost dictated by the same person. I don't know why the Local staff hates Joe Pie, but they do.

Wed Apr 12, 02:02:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with a good dialogue between people and/or groups, as long as both parties listen to one another, and it seems both sides ignore one another. The Action Alliance (which reeks of Orwell) are really just a group of liars. Doing ANYTHING behind closed doors when it involves the COMMUNITY, is absolutely absurd. Then you have people like Haley who decide that quitting is the best option. How productive is that? It's childish. And then we have people like Virginia Mallery who has been around too long and is completely out of touch with the community. I say, clear the whole board of anyone who has been there more than three years. Don't these people have college degrees? If so, in what? Immaturity? Selfishness?

Wed Apr 12, 05:01:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Peacebuilder said...

So my name is Annie Hart, certainly not afraid to show myself here but I enjoy another name that suggests my purpose - Peacebuilder.

I do not know any of the parties involved. I do not have an opinion on what is right here.

I would love to talk to anyone that is willing to sit down together.

I have a process that facilitates people listening to each other. Even when there are deep rifts, anger, hatred and disagreement. It has been used successfully in places like the middle east. It is called Nonviolent communication and it opens up dialogue and creates peaceful solutions.

I'm stepping up to offer this. Who's willing to step up and help me? You don't even have to know how. Just be willing and help me make the connections.

I'm standing for a better world, starting today.

Thu Apr 13, 12:13:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Chris Henderson said...

I'm with you Annie. It's time for positive energy and discussion

I wrote a couple of columns under the pseudonym of "JustAnotherNappyHead".

No one, including my own wife, knew what I was doing.

John published my first column, edited of course (then edited a second time after posting, deleting a couple lines that apparently someone with influence on him found embarrassing).

I sent him a second column which he declined to publish, stating that it was not "balanced" enough. (as if the things that get published in here are balanced). What was funny, was in that piece, I trashed people all sides of the issue -- including some minor shots at my own wife -- trying to show the ridiculousness of all parties!)

After he decided not to run it, I was in fact glad. I don't like throwing mud. At the time I was angry and pissed for what my wife was going through at the mercy of this merciless process, so I vented.

John begged me to meet him, and reveal myself. A couple days after my wife was fired, I agreed. She continued to know nothing about any of it until an hour before I met John for a beer.

I made it clear to him then, and in emails immediately before hand. That I would no longer write and sling mud as "Nap". I did offer to -- at some point -- write articles of a positive nature on what we have in common.

I have great ideas on common ground that all parties to this debaucle have.

For one... why is this such an emotional issues, with such anger from each side?

BECAUSE EVERYONE INVOLVED CARES ABOUT CHESTNUT HILL! They may not agree on their vision of what the Hill should be, but they all care passionately!

I have at least a half dozen other points that I think all most everyone involved in this whole sad situation can agree with. I would love to share them if people are "in a place" where they can truly listen to them with an open mind.

Over the past few days. My wife and I have been openly libeled in this blog -- including direct accusations by the editor -- who claims he knows I/we wrote recent posts because of the writing style

I'm glad he didn't write our constitution; talk about assumtions and lack of due process!

I know for a fact several things.

I have not written anything to/for the blog since I met John in late February. My wife claims to not have written anything either (until the past day) and I believe her. John lied to me, broke promises to me, and has demonstrated a clear lack of integrity.

Integrity is what's missing right now in our community. Speaking of our community -- what is John's interest? He doesn't work here or in the Local's readership area. He lives in New Jersey. His only connection to Chestnut Hill is his bitterness (for good reason) of how he was treated and fired during his brief tenure as editor several years ago.

I used to respect him. Now my perception is that of a bitter man, preoccupied with having his revenge. It's sad.

I believe Karma if nothing else will catch up with him for his duplicity, and dishonesty in how he's treated me, and others.

This blog, which initially seemed like a forum for views not often allowed to be presented accurately in the Local itself, now appears to me to be nothing more than an "Al Jazzera" for a bitter angry man's Jihad, where any journalistic integrity he once had, has been lost in his obsession to get revenge on those he believes wronged him.

It's time for positive comments, positive ideas.

It's time to unite behind what we have in common, not further disintegrate into an even more splintered angry community.

I would be glad to be a part of any such positive discourse. I can be reached at

Wed Apr 19, 01:11:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't "beg" Chris Henderson to meet, he was quite anxious to do so; I didn't libel him, or anyone else; if I had, I'm sure the Berger/Hendersons would have sued; I didn't break any confidences until the pair tried to injure Scott Alloway and later Len Lear by calling them "Sniper," whom they manifestly aren't; I told Berger/Henderson I wouldn't use certain material they told me about the history of Nancy's rise from proofreader to Managing Editor of the Local in the disgraceful Sturdivant affair, and I haven't, just outed them as co-authors of their single "Justanothernappyhead" column, of several months ago.
My "interest" in Chestnut Hill and the Local is that the Community Association and the paper it owns and is destroying, are being manipulated by people who are similar but worse than the folks who ran things in my day, 2000-1, and have been much more effective in wrecking both.
I don't get anything from CH Notebook, certainly not revenge -- most of my old foes have passed away in one fashion or another.
For the record I wasn't fired. I quit in disgust, much as Katie Worrall, Pete Mazzaccaro, Jim Sturdivant,Mike Mishak -- and it's beginning to look like -- Lea Sitton Stanley will . . . because the microdopes can't leave them alone to do their jobs.
It's the principles of journalism that are under fire, Berger/Henderson -- something that as petty bureaucrats, you can't understand at all.

John Lombardi

Mon Apr 24, 03:27:00 PM EDT  

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