Monday, April 27, 2009

It Continues

Yes, there will be a new Chestnut Hill Community Association board of directors installed soon. But to expect great changes in attitude toward the independence of the Local may be too much to ask. CHCF member McGuckin rants behind a digital screen about "two-bit peddlers" Recko, Foster and Feldman in a Rushbo imitation. Rob "n of 4" Remus continues pushing his dim assessment of what a newspaper needs to offer to be a success and the Local personnel policy simmers in the background, waiting to boil over.

Maybe we need a print version of this digital rag...

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

CHCA Board Election Results: Stamp It Paid

As requested in a comment post, we list the winners in this year's balloting for the Chestnut Hill Community Association Board of Directors. We understand that about 380 people voted, but it isn't our job to post the official tally. We do understand there were 36 "invalid" ballots. Was it only last year the ballots were hidden and destroyed on official orders? My, how time flies when you're unemployed.

The winners, ballot order:
Lou Aiello, Stephanie Chomentowski, Michael Chomentowski, Vanessa Mullen, Mary Anna Ross Cowper, Lisa Webb Howe, Wendy S. Kern,Fran O'Donnell, Mary Regina Wedgwood, Chris A. Padova, Jay Valinas, Tom Hemphill, John Ingersoll, Brien P. Tilley, Thomas Cullen, Arthur Howe, Walter J. Sullivan and David Mansfield.

Next post, WATB of the Week. Hint, last name begins with M and he hides behind a list-serve curtain. And Petee, give it up.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

And the Winners Are ...

The Chestnut Hill Community Association election results: It's easier to go to the "Coach wants to see you. Bring your playbook" call. They were Nancy Hutter and Jim Foster. John Ingersoll of the Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop was the top vote getter.

Now, let's go off on a tangent - Anonymous raises issues of the text of the constitution versus case law; this in response to a comment in "Rules handed down .... " In true Cheney-speak, it is said "perhaps you should extend your reading beyond the text of the US Constitution itself, to the caselaw that interprets same, as well as other law that is applicable to the issue at hand." Shakespeare had something to say about lawyers in Henry VI (Part 2). But I digress. The train wreck that the Chestnut Hill Community Asociation board of directors has become continues to be that awful thing no one wants to see, but is the kind of crash everyone slows to look at when they drive by.

Back to the kangaroo court justices and ballot takers of this past year. My belief is the current president of CHCA is more comfortable with the Greek-style military dictatorships of the sixties than a town hall democracy. And the operations chief would have fit in quite comfortably as a hit woman in Cheney's office of the VPUS. What this next board will bring (another attempt to ramrod a faulty and anti-labor personnel policy down employees throats, for one) will soon be unveiled.

Ed Feldman promises to post excerpts from the personnel policy proposal. These may prove enlightening.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rules handed down from on high

A new personnel policy for employees of the Chestnut Hill Local (and maybe by extension, the CHCA) will be presented at the Chestnut Hill Community Association board of directors meeting tonight.

You haven't seen them?

Neither have some board members. Or employees. Or members of the community. It appears director of operations Dina Hitchcock, as is her habit, couldn't find copies for some board members or claimed they were sent but couldn't produce a backup for them.

Nice timing, Dina. It's the last board meeting before a new group assumes office, with no public discussion of this proposal beforehand, and it sets things up for another quick and dirty vote by the board.

Let's hope there's a labor lawyer at tonight's meeting who can take a look at this home-styled policy and tell us if it fits within the rule of law. God knows, everything else this board has touched has fallen apart.

On the other hand, people of Chestnut Hill have a choice in who represents the public face of the Hill. On May 6 a new community group known as Chestnut Hill Neighbors United will hold a public meeting on the Hill. It proposes no dues, a policy of town hall discussion of issues and will seek consensus on zoning and other issues to take to the appropriate city authorities when there are hearings on these same issues.

Update - April 24: Choke. No quorum. No action. Copies going out Friday morning. We'll see.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Richard Snowden has won the CHCA Election. The CHBA believed his Psychotic reasoning. The Local will be cleansed. Greg Welsh, in his Local piece, didn't mention that every ad for the Positively Slate was paid for by Richard. Greg's history lesson included Lincoln and Darwin.
He didn't mention Judas. He has made an alliance for his own profit that will doom others. He doesn't care. He'll have a new neighbor across the street and ten pieces of silver.

Once upon a time, people like Greg had ideals. Then the bills came and then the rationalizations, and then the lying.

I asked Greg about all of this and he changed the subject.

It's hard to take, but I guess I should be used to it by now. In the past, Greg has agreed with me about Richard's sickness. Now he works for him.

That a Jew with Greg's purported knowledge of history would lie and betray others for profit is simultaneously an irony of Biblical proportions and the reason for our reputation.

There is a phrase in Yiddish, which I will not attempt to phoneticize here. Translated it means "Shame on you for embarrassing us in front of the Christians." For so long, in all of the lands in which we have lived, we were an oppressed and endangered minority, and every action by each one of us reflected on all of us. When any of us acted shamefully, they brought shame on all of us, and endangered all of us. We were always mindful of that.

In America, over the last century, our ethical principles shifted to feel protective not only to those of our blood, but to those who shared the" kinship of experience," those for whom justice was denied, as it was denied us for so long, in so many places.

It explains our presence on the Mall behind Dr King. It explains Jewish Socialism and the Blacklist. It also explains my stand on Palestine.

For as the world turns, our alliances must also turn - from ones governed by pre-enlightenment concepts of tribalism to those of this new kinship, formed through a combination of the freedom and security America provided and the choices that security allowed us to make.

But it is also part of our tradition - Every Man a Rabbi. If you've ever eaten with us, you know what that means. We don't defer. Opinions are part of who we are. We argue about everything, because we have the right to. That, for so long, we were not allowed to speak up in so many public squares made our voices, in private, even more strident.

This tradition, this necessity of intellectual freedom has done more to diminish the numbers of believers in the shared mythology of our past than any tyrant. It is a tradition more important than the mythology. Parables are the way to teach children. It's the fish. Reasoning is the ability to fish.

And so we reason. And investigate. And if we come to a conclusion contrary to the one
accepted by the majority, then who's hewing to tradition more purely?

So when I see a mechanism that does not allow for the free airing of contrary views, I anger.
Calling it "Positive" doesn't change that. The people who stifle this freedom must be called what they are, traitors to to the First Amendment. And if one of my blood betrays those for whom I now feel a more binding kinship than that of blood, I call him traitor also.

Greg's choice was different from mine. His choice feeds into the worst stereotype from which our people suffer.

Congratulations Richard, money well spent; cheaper than Donna Reed Miller.

Goodbye, Pete, and Good Luck.

Shame on you, Greg

Ed (I ain't through yet) Feldman

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Membership Duties

What surprised me is that CHBA members don't have to pay for a CHCA membership. That doesn't seem right at all.

- Rev C


Sent: Monday, April 20, 2009 2:06 PM
To: "Chestnut Hill Business Assoc. Members"
Subject: Upcoming CHCA Election

Dear CHBA Members,

This is just a reminder that the Chestnut Hill Community Association election is coming up and your deadline to vote is Wednesday, April 22nd. The Chestnut Hill Business Association supports the following slate of candidates and encourages you to cast your vote for them:

Louis Aiello
Mary Regina Wedgwood
Brien Tilley
Vanessa Mullen
Christopher Padova
Arthur Howe
Lisa Webb Howe
John (Jay) Valinis
Walter J. Sullivan
Wendy S. Kern
Tom Hemphill
David Mansfield
Francis X. O’Donnell

The Business Association is also supporting the following independent candidates:

John Ingersoll
Michael Chomentowski
Stephanie Chomentowski

If you wish to join the Chestnut Hill Community Association, memberships are available to you at no cost as a benefit of your Chestnut Hill Business Association membership. Simply call the CHBA office or stop by if you are interested in the CHCA membership.


Greg Welsh,
President Positively Chestnut Hill

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

The CHCA Board and Its Future

Concerned Citizens:

The CHCA election is just around the corner and the co-conspiracy between the defenders of fraud and manipulative governance and Stepford Chestnut Hill (a/k/a Positively Chestnut Hill) have no spending limits and are using old political tactics in a full-court press to keep lies alive and truth and facts paved over.

The Hitchcock/Hemphill Axis that has run CHCA/CHCF cover for two years now merges with the Snowden development octopus with hopes that a board majority of voting robots will once again misuse authority and trust funds and at the same time make the CHCA Standing with the City a rubber stamp for one-directional development. Well, at least this time they’re open about it and you don’t need to do investigative reporting to figure it out.

This past issue of the Local contains page after page of propaganda from Bowman properties seeming to right all the wrongs of the past 10 years in one swipe (Remember those racist signs on multiple Bowman properties just a short while ago?). All of sudden we have a unified business community that was dialed out by Bowman for years, but now he needs them. Business owners and some residents alike drink the Kool-Aid that regardless of reckless arrogance and years of purposeful neglect, as long as money gets spent, who cares how or why the job is done. Believe this is just as much in the public interest as the fulfillment of a personal power trip and you are naïve. Bridges are for sale at the Business Association, or better yet are given away with your CHCA membership they will pay for - - IN EXCHANGE FOR VOTES.

Along with the development propaganda in the Local and the slate of sycophants, we have the supposed opinion commentary of CHCF trustee William J. McGuckin. My guess it was dictated. Hardly ever seen and never heard from ever in print before, he is now the outraged Joe Citizen from nearby Wyndmoor who just can’t stand Ed Feldman and Jim Foster as they don’t behave themselves like good little Nazis who salute authority, never questioning how it came about. Now, Ed and I are from the same approximate era but could not be more different, and I do not always agree with his tactics, nor he with mine, but that is what made this country what it is. What we both recognize is a narrow group of self-ordained elitists selling fraud and grabbing power by any means necessary. Yes, they have come close to fooling most of the people, most of the time, but sometimes folks will take it on the chin for what they believe is right. My favorite president in modern history, Harry Truman, did just that and left office hated by his own party and with a popularity rating lower than George Bush (Check it out). McGuckin can fabricate and manipulate the truth all he wants, worship at the shrine of Trustee Chair Jean Hemphill, and claim he has been denied facts that are public record and on the Local’s website for all to see, but Jean knows every detail of those facts about CHCA and CHCF fraud, and one can only assume hid them from these loyal soldiers. (I do know that former trustee W.W. Keen Butcher resigned days after reading the Oversight Committee report for the first time)

Nothing new here, history is replete with political campaigns using the same tactics. There has been ongoing debate for years whether it was Gobels or Stalin who coined the phrase “lies often repeated become truth,” but both used it well, and it is alive right here in your version of Mayberry U.S.A.

Jim Foster

The board discussion group sends another missile.
From: Jim Foster
Sent: Saturday, April 18, 2009 8:36 AM
To: xxxxxx board
Subject: RE: FW: [CHCA Board] and its Future

Lou and others:

What you and many others failed to realize in the three years that have passed since the 2006 election, is that the board itself is supposed to be a constant running “Oversight Committee” on all CHCA and CHCF operations and financial decisions. That is why boards of directors are created in the first place, and why they individually can be held responsible for failing to do so. Furthermore, the legal requirements between affiliated for-profit and 501c3 entities, and the illegality of co-mingling of funds and uncontrolled conversion of assets raise that level of responsibility even higher.

No amount of denial and phony accounting can change that. The only reason a separate Oversight Committee with sunset date had to be formed was because the board and the trustees of the Fund had allowed a few insiders to run the whole show without oversight and creating a firewall where directors were denied access to financial data. Some of that firewall exists to this day.

Does any thinking person really believe that the Attorney General has nothing better to do than investigate the CHCA/CHCF? What we do learn from the recent press reports is that non-profits that misuse funds are now a priority with the Attorney General’s office.

This organization is now ripe for takeover by the business community because it refused to clean up its dirty laundry and spent more effort in the last two years burying the past under some misguided notion that Chestnut Hill runs on special privileges and that this board does not have to account for or correct its problems in public. Well, it has received state grants, has tax exemptions and runs on public money, so it is publically accountable. Those “Special District Controls” only apply to the building facades on the Avenue - - not the façade that passes for a CHCA/CHCF today.

Only a unification of the those board members who see the forest for the trees, joined with some of the new applicants who are clearly not aligned with the Snowden crowd, can keep the independent citizen control and finalize what the reform group of 2006 started. The financial condition of these entities has lost ground further since then, and that needs to be the priority discussion, not simply a new manager for the Local.

Make no mistake, the push for board takeover is massive and overt. New voting memberships have been bought and paid for by one source and one source only. Some existing members have been seduced by the siren song of money and development that will bring us Stepford on Fairmount Park. Don’t bet on it. These are the same folks who ran down the business district over the last 10 years by design only waiting for the exact moment to take full control and implement a long-standing “vision.” This is not 1980 and Chestnut Hill is much more than just the Northwest quadrant.

Those who buy this “cure all” development story have some very blurred “vision” and you don’t need bifocals to see where the train is going and who will be running the whole railroad.

Jim Foster
That was a response to this:
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2009 11:15 AM
To: boardxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: FW: [CHCA Board] and its Future


If I remember correctly the Oversite Committee 'no longer' is a functional committee.. It should not function continually as a committee from the bleachers.. We really need to move on. This note of mine is not an act of disrespect toward anyone but the continuation of the former oversite players to act as an official active committee is an act of disrespect to the Board and the Community.. We need Peace desperately..

I wish everyone running for the Board the very best of luck.. Life is too short to fight continually with obsessive matters,, Lets move on folks and work together.. Lets work for the betterment of the community "One and all'.. I hope those selected by the Community prove to be great choices and that the entire Board can work together as times of old.. I remember when there was an air of confidence with the Board and within the Board itself and Community matters flourished.. I myself remember when I thought things were being done incorrectly when really they were not done incorrectly but they were done differently.

Congratulations to Ann Spaeth for being selected for the Chestnut Hill Award.. Ann your hard work and genuine Love of Community has been observed.. Always the lady.

Again, good luck to everyone.

I am on vacation 'predetermined dates' until April 25th ... I will return to a newer Board with a better hope for the community and its future. It's your job now..

Lou Aiello
Former VP of Operations 3x

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Take My Job. Please ...

Scott Alloway (moi) is now with Germantown Newspapers, Inc. Look for the Germantown Chronicle and the Mt. Airy Independent to be on your doorstep April 30.

Having said that, there's a job opening at the Local. E-mail Robyn at

From the description:
Graphic Artist 
This is a temporary, part-time (M-T-F) position for a graphic artist. Primary responsibilities include advertising design and pagination of the Chestnut Hill Local newspaper. Candidates must posses a strong sense of graphic design and advertising skills. Must be familiar with working in a deadline-oriented field, able to follow instruction and be part of a team. Prefer candidate to have knowledge web design. Use of Quark, CS3 (Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver ) and Adobe Acrobat. Newspaper knowledge requested but not required. Associates degree in graphic design or relevant experience dealing with the advertising and graphic design field. $12/hr 
The Chestnut Hill Local is an independently owned, community newspaper. 

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Chestnut Hill Yokels: Tapdancing with the Stars

by John Lombardi

Always liked Greg Welsh. A mensch. A tough Jew from the nabe with brains, a '60s era terror who straightened out and became a successful businessman, like Larry Magid from Electric Factory Concerts . . . I remember in 2000, when there were a series of stick-ups around the Chestnut Hill Hotel (and Grill, which he still manages), we cut a deal on coverage in the Local (which I managed at the time): "Hold off a couple of weeks, while I get some rent-a-cops in place," Greg barked over a draft beer at the Hotel bar. "Then we'll have some good news to report, instead of grim stuff that makes the neighborhood sound like it's in trouble . . ."

We did that -- the only time I've ever held a story -- and then ran it on page one. Greg was leaning on the railing of the outside porch, his arms folded, squinting at Jimmy Pack's camera like Moshe Dayan in front of a tank in Nablus. The reaction from the CHCA "safety" faction headed by Caroline Haussermann, and CHBA hardliners like saloonista Anne McNally, was horrendous : Hausserman came and screamed at me on the steep steps of the Local office at 8434 Germantown; McNally blitzed Len Lear and I when we went up the Hill to her joint to apologize for some misprints in another matter entirely . . .

I've always felt there was a classist basis to much of the bickering and undercover slander that marks Chestnut Hill's intramural fighting (I came to call it the "Phone Mafia"). And I'll never forget my ex-father-in-law, Herb Weintraub, who owned a factory and lived on Roumfort Rd., in West Mt. Airy, and liked to stroll the SEPTA tracks toward Chestnut Hill East to digest dinner; he'd always stop at the Chestnut Hill/Mt. Airy line, however: "You don't wanna go over there, Johnny," he'd warn. "Those people are crazy!" And that was 33 years ago.

Didn't like Jews, wops, blacks, Indians, Polacks -- though they were tolerated in benign forms like Frankie Smacks, the barber, or Lou Aiello, the fixer-upper guy and perennial CHCA gofer, or Dr. Arlene Bennett, the psychiatrist and former community activist . . . they'd even let you "edit" the Local , if you obeyed orders . . .

There's certainly been some progress: Sanjiv Jain and his minion Vijay Kothare, both active in the "developer" sphere, have been allowed to play the Chestnut Hill business game, which came on in force starting with the late Maurice McCarthy, an insurance agent and Dem politico, and his partner Tolis Vardakis, the about-to-retire president of the CHCA, nine years ago. That's when the Civil Code was introduced, a rule which further restricted free expression in the paper than anything thought of previously, during the tight-butt Lloyd Wells era . I remember being dumbfounded by the readiness with which prominent Hillers like Janine Dwyer, Mary Sue Welsh, Mary Anna Ross etc. -- her name is too long to print -- and Mary Cunningham, accepted the ban on names in "controversial" letters and stories in the Local. All for the sake of a more "mannerly," less "hostile" "dialogue."

How names contribute to hostility in a free press still beats me, but the selectively dumbed-down pattern for today was set then -- though insiders like Jain and Kothare could get away with calling opponents like Lawrence Walsh, Martha Haley and Ron Recko, plus "rebellious" staffers like Jim Sturdivant and Jimmy Pack "parasites" and "terrorists," and act to drive them out.

Historically, the CHBA has always been more conservative than the CHCA, but then both groups had the advantage of boasting men of the quality of F. Markoe Revinus , and Keen Butcher in the old days.

In the present, you've got Richard Snowden, backing the "Positively Chestnut Hill" election slate. People like Ed Feldman see him as Mephistopheles, the root of all evil on the Hill, though when he was gone south to play with his coal mines recently, for long periods, things didn't markedly improve. I say Snowboy is a spoiled brat, still angry with the Local for a mildly critical story by the present editor some years ago, which he's never forgiven -- for reasons best left to Dr. Bennett to explain. Why Snowden isn't going after Charlie McCoy and the Inquirer investigators who blew him out of the water publically shortly after the softball Local story appeared, is a measure of his seriousness. He probably figures he might be able to wangle some payback in Chestnut Hill's perpetual soap opera, rather than in real life.

Greg Welsh, who is the president of the CHBA, told me recently he came up with the idea of the PCH slate, as an alternative to the candidates already in place behind the Dina Hitchcock crew -- my words, not his -- because he and a group of businessmen were tired of the constant fights, and "lack of forward motion", lack of transparency, etc., under Dina's direction. (Again, my words.) "Of those 63 votes from last year's election? -- oi vey! is all I can say. Not illegal, but . . ."

Welsh claimed not to know the identity of the associate publisher who is coming to the Local from the Delaware Valley Times shortly, but said he felt the paper would not be "taken over" by CHBA thinking, and that the editor's job was not in jeopardy: "Hey, where are we gonna go? He knows the job, he knows the community . . . He could be a little more of a mensch, but what you gonna do? . . ."

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Friday, April 10, 2009

And Now, a Brief Intermission ...

A break from the regular fare, featuring Reverend Chris Marsceill and the Naked Nuns with Katie Drake playing "What is Success." Videoed at Hill Tavern in Chestnut Hill, one great place with the best burgers in town. Shout out to Mo and Alex, as well as the chef and owners. A wonderful place owned and operated by great people. Consider this an unabashed endorsement. Not that we would slight Rollers, another top spot in Chestnut Hill.

If you haven't been there, make sure you make it a point to do so. Great food and people. It's a top-shelf restaurant in Chestnut Hill. It can't be recommended enough. Don't waste your time elsewhere up there.

As for the music, Rev. Chris will be back next weekend with solo gigs. But there are other performers as well so check it out.


Forgive Them. They Know Not What They Do ...

An examination of the first and second editions of the minutes of the February 12, 2009, Chestnut Hill Community Association Executive Committee meeting at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill showed two renditions of what transpired when the committee addressed the issue of the editor of the Local. In both sets of the minutes, they appear right after the Search Committee section under Old Business. The twin sets of minutes as a whole are identical, except for the section addressing the Local editor "performance review" or "memorandum to the editor," as they are labeled in their respective versions.

Last night the CHCA executive committee voted on which may be deemed the official version of events that February evening. The first is the original take; the second is the rewrite the executive committee approved last night (April 9, 2009). How appropriate the decision (a 3-1 vote - Dina Hitchcock did not cast the tie-breaker as previously reported to us) fell on Maundy Thursday. Were they were meeting in a garden when all this transpired? And who denied what three times?

I can hear it now: "History is what we say it is." It worked for them last year when the CHCA election featured destroyed ballots, voting irregularities and a rebuke of any who dared question the association.

Examine these for yourselves. This is how your community is presented to the world at large. You have an option. It's Chestnut Hill Neighbors United and they will be holding a Town Meeting on May 6. More on that later, as we said in a prior post.

Members of the Chestnut Hill Community: Ask the board who rewrote these minutes. Ask them why the accounts of the section on the editor are so different. Ask them what happened with the memorandum. Then ask yourself if you want to be a part of an organization whose leadership has no sense of right or wrong.

Original Executive Committee Edition.
February 16, 2009
CHCA Executive Committee Meeting. Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009
Performance Review of Editor. Tolis [Vardakis] mentioned that all members of the Executive Committee should have signed a memorandum that was sent to Pete Mazzaccaro on February 5, stating whether or not they agree with the content of the memorandum. Tolis also stated that the lack of signatures has happened previously, citing two examples from June 2008 (the action plan) and May 2007 (salary increases). In the ensuing discussion, points that were raised included:
• Two wrongs don't make a right; there never was a meeting to discuss the February 5th memorandum.
• The Executive Committee can only offer recommendations for Board approval for personnel and other matters. In the past, employee terminations have been approved by the Executive Committee. The bylaws state that the Executive Committee must "report its actions"; the implication is that it must have taken actions.
• Three limited instances in which the Executive Committee may act without Board approval were cited from the bylaws.
• The memorandum in question was written with authorization from the Board. • In the interest of transparency, actions regarding the Editor's employment should be taken by the full Board, since the position of Editor is a more public position. The message to the Editor can be considered "threatening."
• According to a statement from the Local's attorney read at last month's Board meeting, the Local is at high risk of having to face legal action for using inflammatory language about people.
• The attorney's statement was "privileged and confidential" and for Board members only.
• The "case" for termination was not well made.
• The Secretary needs to document motions and specific vote tallies for those in favor, those opposed, and those abstaining, but the vote was not tallied at last month's executive session regarding termination.
• Arguments regarding process can be at the cost of enacting changes needed to save the Local.
• An article appearing in the Local in 1977 stated that an annual review of the paper is appropriate.
• Pete has been invited to address the full Board at its meeting on February 26.
• It is proper management to provide timely feedback to employees, with more frequent reviews after a negative evaluation.
• How should risk management and insubordination be addressed?

Mark Keintz then offered a motion to approve and re-issue the memorandum to the Editor and report delivery of this document to the full Board at its meeting on February 26; this motion was seconded by Dina Hitchcock. Mark read from the section of the bylaws regarding responsibilities of the Executive Committee. Ron suggested instead that the memorandum in question be placed on the agenda for the board meeting so that the Board can approve it and then give it to the Editor. Dina then offered a motion to call the question (end discussion); this motion was seconded and passed with 4 votes in favor, none opposed, and 1 abstention (Ron Recko). Mark's original motion received 4 votes in favor, 1 vote opposed (Ron Recko), and no abstentions.

Minutes prepared by Noreen Spota, CHCA Administrative Coordinator, on 2/16/09.

Respectfully submitted on _________ by:
Kristina Sullivan
CHCA Secretary

Alternative History (Winning Entry)

Adjusted Executive Committee Edition.
February 23, 2009
Memorandum to the Editor. The issue of the February 5 Memorandum to the Editor was brought up. The question first suggested was that the Executive Committee members should sign it in order to make it complete since the approval of all except one member was not done at a formal meeting. It was agreed that that was unnecessary now that the Executive Committee was meeting and could again consider the matter. The facts leading up to the Memorandum were brought out. Those facts include the following. The Executive Committee had reviewed the performance of the Editor and in June of 2008 developed an Action Plan for him, of which the Board had been notified at that time and again advised at the January 2009 Board meeting. (A copy of that 2-page Action Plan is attached to these minutes.) The Executive Committee met with the Editor in early December to re-review his progress on the Action Plan. Before the Executive Committee could give its formal re-assessment to the Editor (i.e., some progress, some areas still needing work), another serious employee matter associated with the termination of an employee and with the conduct of that individual witnessed by the Editor and associated with the Editor occurred and it was thought best to bring the matter of the Editor's progress to the Board at its January meeting. At the end of that Board meeting, Cathy Pimpinella volunteered to review the June 2008 evaluation and Action Plan and to draft a Corrective Action Plan, and the Board agreed. She reviewed those materials and drafted this Memorandum. Our counsel then reviewed that Memorandum and suggested certain revisions which were incorporated into the Memorandum which the Executive Committee issued February 5 to the Editor. That Memorandum to him was denoted, "Personal and Confidential." The Memorandum was part of the ongoing process in accordance with the Bylaws VI I a ("The Executive Committee... reviews the job performance of the Association's employees at least once each year.") It was questioned why more than one review is necessary and the point was brought out that an "employee at risk" should be reviewed more often to support that employee in the execution of their Action Plan. At this point after a discussion pro and con, Mark Keintz made the following Motion, seconded by Dina Hitchcock: "The Executive Committee hereby re-issues the Memorandum directed to the Editor issued February 5." After further discussion Dina Hitchcock moved to call the question which motion was duly seconded. The motion to call the question carried by a vote of 4 in favor, 0 against, and 2 abstaining (the President only yes or no votes in the event of a tie). The main Motion was then adopted by a vote of 4 yes, 1 no, and 1 abstention (the President again abstaining because there was not a tie).

Respectfully submitted on 2/23/09 by:
Kristina Sullivan
CHCA Secretary

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Let's Find the Connections

So by now you've read the CHBA's candidates reasons for running, except for Art Howe's, who clutched at the opportunity of free advertising space to shill every business he has ever been involved with except his first lemonade stand, never mentioning Chestnut Hill once. He also declined to give the Snowden Seig Heil, "And that's why I'm Positively Chestnut Hill," at the end of his Resumé ... er, bio.

He figured, if you were too dumb to figure out that his wife and fellow candidate was a Snowden tenant, then you were too dumb to realize his reason for running as well. Candidate Wendy Kern gives Bowman-Snowden Properties as a client reference on her website, but not on the candidates bio. That's funny.

See how easy this is? It took me six minutes to find this much out. I'll get the rest of the connections made shortly. But Kids - you can play too!

Let's find all the connections between Prince Richard and his candidates - It's Easy - It's Fun! And you can make people who are trying to fool you look foolish!

Ed (If the Local won't do it, I guess I'll have to) Feldman

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Will the Last Candidate Left Turn Out the Lights?

That drip, drip, drip you hear is the ink sliding off the printed ballots for the Chestnut Hill Community Association board of directors election, the culmination of which comes at the $30 a head dinner and annual meeting (meeting is free, food extra) on April 22.

What started out with the promise of a spirited campaign (even as last year's disgrace to democracy fades into memory) now has the potential to lack sufficient candidates to fill all the open seats. At the close of the March 20 deadline for a spot on the ballot, we understand there were 27 candidates. Yesterday, April 7, there were 22 people running. Today, there are 21. Two candidates left to work with the new association, Chestnut Hill Neighbors United. One left due to family considerations. Can't say about the other missing hopefuls. Today's former wannabe, a source told us, left because demands on his schedule precluded his being able to fulfill the obligations of the office. Guess he hasn't been paying attention to how things operate.

Don't even try to spin this trend - and the dearth of community involvement in the election - as a tacit endorsement of the CHCA status quo. The economy isn't the only thing that's fallen off a cliff. Trust went right along with it. You [the current CHCA management] pushed it over the edge.

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Joel Hoffmann, Award-Winning Journalist

Chestnut Hill Local reporter Joel Hoffmann has been honored by the Pennsylvania Newspapers Association with the "Distinguished Writing - Weekly" award for his work over the last year. PNA cited his pieces "Caruso's Checks Out Indefinitely," "Unspinning the Political Candidates," and "Debate Continues" in the announcement.

PNA judge Tom Hallman of the Oregonian, 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner for Feature Writing, assessed Hoffman's work as follows:
Hoffman writes with voice and passion. HE comes across as fearless, and serves an important role in the community he covers. His opening paragraph on the Caruso's story highlights all his skills: Setting a scene, an eye for details and a way of putting the reader "there," and driving home the implications of this story. Hoffman is an interesting read. Never boring.
Joel earned the award through diligent research, hard work and a flair for putting his stories together in a clear and thoughtful fashion. Congratulations, Joel. You earned this.

Award-winning journalist Joel Hoffmann. Sounds good. At least someone is paying attention to good work. 

Update: A reader explains the basis of the award. I'll add it here for those who don't check comments.
Distinguished Writing Award, Weeklies – The purpose of this award is to showcase quality writing. The award is judged solely on the quality of writing, without regard to circulation or category. The rules for entering this category follow the general rules and the entry mounting rules of the Keystone Press Awards contest.

The following also apply:
The contest is open to individual writers only; no team entries. Entries must include three pieces of work, and may include various types of articles. Work that has been entered in any other category (news, column, series, etc.) is acceptable. Any type of article may be entered, including those not listed in the entry categories.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Snow Job

I'll make this simple. The Chestnut Hill Business Association, all 225 of them, will soon have control over the Chestnut Hill Community Association, all 2000 of them. They will control the newspaper and the zoning. Nothing they want will be denied them. They will not publish any viewpoints critical of their plans, they will build anything they want, and they will stop any dissent by any means necessary. They are operating under the auspices of Richard Snowden.
The economic downturn has them frightened, and frightened people do drastic things. Rather than accepting responsibility for the mess they have helped create, they have settled on some scapegoats. The Local, me, and the CHCA. They're right about the CHCA.

An alternative will soon be presented to you. If you do not take it, those who put their profits above your welfare will shit all over you. Richard Snowden, who hates Chestnut Hill, for he has said so, whose family hates Chestnut Hill, for they have said so, will destroy anyone who stands in his way.

The zoning for McGarrity is part of Richard's Prize. But, as usual, his greatest triumph will be his "victory" over the neighborhood who has not hailed him as a Lord.

"All of his renovations have been carefully done" I've heard that one as often as I've heard about how Mussolini ran the trains on time. But every time I see blue hairs at a restaurant, they HAVE to tell about his childhood rants that have continued unabated into middle age.

The story of "patricians" who enrich themselves through the exploitation of the land and their employees is so passé in the modern world of Madoff and AIG, but it still takes place.

COTIGA, the Snowden family company, destroys the Earth, the bodies of their workers,and the air. Richard has spouted fantasies about "Clean Coal" for so long that he believes it. So when he makes up stories about the Local causing the economic downturn he probably believes that too. The hundreds of toy soldiers he plays with in his house probably believe him too.

And now he has the frightened mechants of Chestnut Hill believing him. Fear, obedience, the willingness to follow anyone with money. The merchants of Chestnut Hill are weak and stupid. That's why they're in the mess they're in. They thought banks were a good idea and the banks screwed up the neighborhood. And now they think Richard has a good idea, but Richard will only improve his lot, not theirs. But they're going to trust him anyway.

The alternative will presented to you soon.

Ed Feldman

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Monday, April 06, 2009

CHCA: Vote Early, Vote Often

What the hell?

If anything, the last few years have shown that things can get worse with the Chestnut Hill Community Association. Life with the CHCA has become a farcical romp, from the still-active investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General to the mismanagement of the investment fund when it was left in securities as the market tanked; from the attempted coup against the Local editor orchestrated by the "leadership" of the CHCA executive committee to the 31 percent rent hike for the Local's office, the hiring of an Associate Publisher at $65K a year and the hatchet job against a Local staff member who challenged them. Add to this mix the $40,000 kick-in Quita Horan gives the CHCA every year to fund administrative staff at the CHCA and the incredibly inept study the board applauded regarding the Local's future. Also, send a hat tip to Mark Keintz for being proud he's one person "not attacked in the Local" (Why bother? His work speaks volumes - see the story three years ago behind the $10,000 grant). We understand why people are dropping CHCA membership.

And don't forget the recent audit, which CHCA Vice President of Operations Dina "Go ahead, report me to the Attorney General" Hitchcock ordered withheld, an act to which CHCA Treasurer Mark "always difficult for me to calibrate how much response I should give to Jim’s [Jim Foster] various assertions" Keintz agreed. (More on that audit in a later post.)

But now there's a choice in this year's Chestnut Hill Community Association Board of Directors election. and if things are ever gonna change, this team will shake the status quo. So get out and vote - for these guys:

Positively Chestnut Hill. A collection of 10 people running as a team with a positive attitude.

As they say on their web site:
Meet the Positively Chestnut Hill team of candidates. As you will see, we are all quite different as individuals and we are not always of the same mind on many issues. But when to comes to Chestnut Hill, we are united in our belief that we have a great community that can become even better. Of that, we are positive! Our profiles give you some idea of who we are and why each of us is so positive about Chestnut Hill and is volunteering to be an active part of its future on your behalf.

Next time you see us on the Avenue, please say hello and share your thoughts. Thank you for being part of our community and for your vote.

So remember, it's the team of
looking for your vote.

Look for them on your ballot printed in the April 9 and April 16 editions of the Local. Then vote. It won't hurt. At least they're not Maxinistas or Dinasaurs.

Don't forget, you have to plunk down your $50 to join CHCA by April 8 to be eligible to vote and get a year of the Local. Of course, you can join Chestnut Hill Neighbors United for free (more on them in yet another post) and subscribe to the Local for two years for $50. But with the latter group, you won't be part of the kewl kidz.

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