Monday, April 23, 2007

Will Somebody Get a Stake?

Like all bad ideas, the Apologia Chestnut Hill Local won't die. We thought it was over but the damn thing keeps crawling out of the grave, leaving a stench that somehow manages to creep up Germantown Avenue. Martha Haley offers this take on events surrounding the committee and its efforts.

Last week the Chestnut Hill Local published a letter to the Editor so patently dishonest that to ignore it would be worse than negligent.

"Ad Hoc thanks" was signed by three Chestnut Hill residents - once part of *The Ad Hoc Committee* that had been assembled to "address concerns rumored to be bothering Richard Snowden."

In early November they were six, and then five local people who appeared to be equally divided between the parties with a potential tie-breaker in the CHCA Executive Committee member with family ties to the Snowdens.

At least a dozen meetings, each lasting from three to four hours, were held before the public release of the FINAL REPORT OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE. The twenty-seven page document, dated January 25, 2007, was signed by all five participating members.

The Local's editor responded immediately to the recommendations, calling the committee's report "fair," and accepted as "excellent" the suggestions for policy and practice changes at the Local. (2/1/2007 Editorial).

A committee member who had a four-hour one-way commute to these meetings understood FINAL REPORT to mean *final* and returned to her own demanding schedule and busy life.

A second member resigned shortly thereafter when the goal posts started to bob and weave and the prose got purple punctuated by slamming doors.

And then there were three - and even the appearance of balance became a joke.

It's not over until Snowden says "it's over." There were more meetings and call-backs and memos "of understanding." In a shocking memorandum from Snowden to his "committee" dated February 9, 2007, he leaves no room for doubt or confusion about his *VISION* for Chestnut Hill: "To have shattered the Bowman relationship places Chestnut Hill and its bloated, corrupt and self-righteous institutions in the pantheon of municipal mismanagement. Bowman's decision to invest or disinvest is an economic one directly related to the community's behavior and the investment climate that behavior helps to create."

Here is his current but incomplete Enemies List accumulated since 2001: seven CHCA Boards of Directors, six different editors of the Local, the business association and Business Improvement District, some factions of the Historical society, the Parking Foundation, and writers of letters to the Editor(s). (Please, sir, could we ALL see the Whine List?)

The first "FINAL REPORT" may not have granted all Snowden's wish list, but the "most current FINAL" has upped the ante to impose behavior modification and public atonement ex post facto - his tribulations beginning in the summer of 2001 and fast-forwarded to more than six weeks after the FINAL REPORT The transgressors will apologize in language selected by Snowden who will also determine exactly where they will be prominently displayed in the newspaper. No worries about the quality of the writing or an acceptable level of remorse expressed. Snowden has been practicing ghost-writing reparation statements on your behalf for years.

For balance then, the community gets this from the April 11, 2007, Draft III MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING:

"Mr. Snowden agrees to publish an Op-Ed article for the Chestnut Hill Local in which he states that it is regrettable that the actions of the past six months were necessary."

That the Doyle/Fleming/Sheffield Group mistook weariness and fear for "continuing support" and "confirmation of good standing" at the Executive Committee meeting on April 12 is stunning. The Peace-at-any-price Executives of the CHCA, the trash-talk represented by the Bard of SoHa/part-time Aesthetician's "I just want it to go the *f#%k* away," those whose self-interests prompt them to bleat that settlement is moments away, and the never-ending supply of unformed and uninformed opinions without a shred of fact-checking can share the blame and shoulder the responsibility for this obscenity.

Q. How many cheeks must every man, woman, and child turn to make this all just go away?
A. It doesn't matter. It will never be enough.

What kind of place is this? How did EVERYTHING get to be about the narcissism of one man? How did a section of Philadelphia prostitute its present and surrender its future to the whims of a man whose life and neediness, resentments and grievances don't matter a damn east of Stenton Avenue and south of Cresheim Valley?

Martha Haley


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting article Chestnut Hill

Tue Apr 24, 01:57:00 AM EDT  

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