Thursday, June 10, 2010

Happy Fathers Day

I'm three for three kids! As more people learn about the Pinter play known locally as the CHCA board of Directors, they back away, like passers-by viewing an epileptic seizure on a busy sidewalk. Metaphor mania!

Dysfunctional? Undisciplined? Ruthless? But effective, right? Guess again Bunky. Because my winning streak coincides with the boards' losing one. Not surprising, since they concern the same events.

Let's go to the video tape.

First up, the long awaited PA Attorney General's Report, finding the local zoo inmates in violation of state fund raising laws, fining them, and putting them an official watch list. All out of an investigation that I participated in, after which I badgered the other investigators to call in the sheriff. The CHCA wiggled and squirmed, but they got hooked anyway. Ballard Spahr's star Jeanne Hemphill couldn't fix it. Look out Lower Merion School District. B.S. is representing them too.

Next up, the Good Food Market. All I wanted there was a defeat of the CHCA and their "all business-all the time" attitude regarding the 'hood. The letter of support the board sent to the Zoning board, all the influence they thought they needed to produce, was not enough, as near neighbors, and the Chestnut Hill Residents Association actually showed up at the hearing, and defeated the one aspect of the GFM's business plan that they objected to, one that the CHCA could not concern itself with. Not pro-business, you see.
Crybabies that they are, they cried foul about the near neighbors being helped by some local pols, including Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, always a reasonably priced ally." Not fair " cried Greg Welch and others.

But Greggie and Walter and the rest of the Caucasian Talk Circle must have had a miraculous change of heart about such unfair tactics, because this time, concerning near neighbors v, Fresenius, a dialysis center,-like the GFM, a business on a residential street-the CHCA came loaded for bear. And holding a political Ace that they said was cheating when used by their opponents.
More than a half dozen board members showed up. And this time, they had a letter of support from the same D.R. Miller. President Walter Sullivan even came to lend his smoke machine prose to the applicants' cause. But this rare show of force outside the friendly confines of their clubhouse didn't mean shit.

The near neighbors presented their case, again a small objection concerning hours of operations, specifically the option to increase those hours in the future. The CHCA Laissez Faire Society couldn't be bothered with compromising with such business haters. The rubber stamp had already been inked up and used.

But they lost again. After hearing near neighbors, and from a Chestnut Hill Residents Association Member, the City Zoning Board made its decision. Leave the hours as is. Victory-Near Neighbors. Defeat CHCA-Again.

If that wasn't embarrassing enough to the CHCA, who came with a lawyer, Rob "Muscles" Remus, Bob "Young Republican" Rossman and others, dig this.

After a mouthpiece named Pincus-I'm talkin' like John Garfield here-tried to compare the proposed biz to the CVS-which is ON the Avenue, and got nowhere- he attempted to introduce President Foghorn Himself, the Voice of God, who would Save the Day for the Representatives of Hill Business and their fans-the dozen or so Hillers who haven't read the Wikipedia entry recounting all I have already told you about these clowns.

But poor Walter never got to speak. The Zoning Chairwoman stopped him before he wound up his seven day clock of ambulance chaser bullshit.

"I don't need to hear any more" she said, stopping Mister President in his torpid tracks.

There is no truth to the rumor that I had e-mailed her some of Walters' You Tube Marathon Soliloquies I have recorded for your amusement. The reason they always ask me if I have any recording devices on me when I come to meetings now.-Too bad- It's a public meeting, I can record it if I want to.

But I did call the near neighbors after the last, eye-opening-for-them-board meeting,and put them in touch with the Residents Association-for the support of an organization not in the pocket of anyone with something bright to dangle. Like a silver dollar.

Yeah, I worked behind the scenes again, as I have been doing for some time-Thwarting the Mediocrities at every turn, all in my spare time. Its really not hard.

Most of my advice boils down to a very simple bit of advice:
Just stand up to them. They have nothing on their side except the acquiescence of those whom they profess to represent.

But that's all changing-Isn't it?

Ed (Who's Your Daddy?)Feldman

Friday, June 04, 2010

Making Converts, One at a Time.

If I had a nickel for every time I said, "If had a nickel...".
I got two more nickels in this weeks' Chestnut Hill Local. Or maybe I got 72 more nickels. Because every time someone attends Nurse Ratched's Thursday Evening Therapy Group, otherwise known as the Chestnut Hill Community Association Board of Directors Meeting for the first time, they realize that my little stories aren't figments of imagination.
The shell-shocked, following their inaugural exposure to the Hill's peculiar brand of Democracy, and a shower, often respond with" I didn't believe it 'til I saw it with my own eyes", when I ask them about their experience.
The latest group to have their eyes pried open, like Alex in A Clockwork Orange Therapy Session, wrote about it in the Local, one in a letter, and one in an Op-Ed piece.
They eloquently and specifically stated their objections to a single aspect of a new Hill business seeking a zoning variance .
Unlike the near neighbors in the Good Food Market case, these neighbors do not hide, or leave their objections open to interpretation by the opposition, although that has already happened.
Big Surprise.
The neighbors request:
That the business in question agree to keep their hours of operation, in the future, the same as on opening day, specifically 6 til 9 Mon-Wed-Fri and 6 til 6 Tue-Thurs-Sat
That's it-Nothing else.
The business wants the option to extend evening hours til 9 on Tues, Thurs, and Sat, in the future.
CHCA board members have characterized those who sought this compromise- this promise to keep present operating hours, future operating hours; as enemies of business, and of the sick, and of the indigent, as racist, and they voted to oppose any such compromise.
The African-Americans on the board did not accuse the near neighbors of racism.
There are no African-Americans on the board.
The business owners want their options open. Here's where it gets murky, as dealing with businesses often gets.
The hours of operation upon opening must be enough to satisfy their bottom line, or why wouldn't they push for those longer hour to start?
Yet they say the denial of the longer-hour option in the future would be a deal breaker.
My conclusion is this:
They always wanted the longer hours. They want them now. But they thought that opposition would be too strong if they tried for them at present.
So they thought it would be easier, and sound more reasonable to ask for the option, if in the future it became necessary.
Putting it in a little at a time has always been a successful application of will, I've used it myself.
It's a compromise with yourself, one you can always change, and always improve upon.
And it works with those easily convinced of your good intentions , like undergrads of yore in my case, or the CHCA board in the present circumstance.
Those who are still waiting for Snowden to rent something, anything, after he bought the board, will believe anything anyone with a bulge in his pocket tells them.
Later, when the bulge turns out to be something anatomical rather then monetary, they swallow bravely and move on, on their knees- to the next bulge, hoping for a different outcome.
CHCA president Walter Sullivan swallowed. He said the business would have to come back to the board if they wanted to increase the hours.
Can anyone guess how that meeting will go? Any different outcome than this last one?
Right-More Swallowing.
Will I show up at the Zoning Meeting?- Will I bring friends? Will the CHCA board get beat again, just like the whuppin' they took over the Good Food Market?
Will the only people who accept their authority be those on the board itself, and the business owners it now serves?
Fined, punished by the State, ignored by the eighty percent of the neighborhood who refuse to join, ridiculed and reviled by more and more-who all owe me a nickel apiece.
Keep your money-I'm having too much fun.

Ed (I've got friends downtown too) Feldman
Morning Feed- 9-10AM Eastern



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