Thursday, November 8, 2018

STOP defeat complete: Ogletown-S. Newark Legislators win re-election landslide

From the Newark Post - 7 November 2018:

"New Castle County Councilwoman Lisa Diller earned her third full term, easily defeating Republican John Richard Thomas in the District 5 race."

"State Rep. Ed Osienski emerged victorious in District 24, easily defeating Republican newcomer William Dilks."

"Incumbent State Sen. Bryan Townsend cruised to victory against his Republican challenger Daniel Kapitanic, securing his seat for another term in the District 11 race."

Easily defeating. Emerged Victorious. Cruised to victory. 

What can we say, friends? Except that today, we are taking the first healing steps forward, in trying to recover mentally and physically from the advocacy efforts that we have put forth for you, our neighbors, and for the wildlife, and quality of life, that this development now brings. It was hard work - gathering and presenting the facts and evidence, spending hours researching and writing. But today, this will be our last post, and the Facebook page deleted forever. There is nothing more for us to say and do. We now know that, except for a very few of you, no one's listening, and nobody cared. That's a hard fact to accept . . . that there are so few of us. We were outnumbered by others who were willing to forgive the three Legislators responsible for this preventable tragedy -- or worse yet, simply didn't care about the quality of life that will now be compromised for us in Todd Estates 2, Breezewood, and surrounding communities. The numbers proved that last night. Not only did the challengers lose, but it was a resounding defeat -- an electoral massacre that was made even more bitter by the fact that two of the challengers -- William W. Dilks Sr. and Dan Kapitanik -- worked extremely hard. They canvassed, met with Constituents, went to civic meetings, etc. We are grateful to them that they stepped up, and gave us hope that those who did this to us would be voted out.

We want to say a very big Thank You to those few of you who were with us every step of our 3.5 year journey, fighting for our region's last precious parcel of bio-diverse land that so few thought worthy of saving, and that was abundantly clear in the votes we saw on Nov. 6. We will now focus on our website Ogletown Resilience, where we will share our ideas for gardening, encouraging wildlife conservation and protection, permaculture, sustainability, and active transportation with like-minded folks. Our goal is limited now to preserving our own properties, making them even more eco-friendly, and to share ideas with others who cherish the environment, as we do. We hope that you will think to contact us sometime, and maybe visit us there. Thank You especially to those of you who consistently "liked", commented on, and shared our posts and articles. There are too many of you to mention by name, but you know who you are. You are among the very best and honorable among us, because unlike the Legislators and those who voted for them. you cared. Unfortunately, caring about anything in DE anymore has become a crime -- the like the wildlife whose crime it is to cross the highway. We wish all of you peace, especially those of you who will now suffer the consequences of this environmental crime, both in your home values as well as further increased traffic congestion and property taxes. Life for you will change, forever.

During this effort, we experienced corruption and appalling Legislator behavior that we didn't imagine possible, like their tantrums and unprofessional behavior at meetings, which we were unprepared for. We were helpless as key large Environmental orgs refused to endorse and help us. Unlike with Newark's advocacy community (that also ignored the STOP campaign), no attorney would even look at our situation, never mind assist pro-bono. At almost every turn, we were discouraged, and even berated, as it was reported to us that the Legislators, particularly Townsend and Osienski, were telling our neighbors and others that we were liars, conspiracy theorists, etc.

And finally, please - always remember that the Legislators did this to us. The destruction of the land and the unnecessary development will forever remain their legacy, even though their reputations have emerged unscathed and even improved over the STOP outcome. For the few STOP followers that did care, we will always know this happened under THEIR watch. We will be forever convinced that Senator Townsend, Rep Osienski, and Councilwoman Diller deliberately kept plans for the Chestnut Hill "Preserve" hidden from Constituents for over two full years because they wanted this development to happen as donor payback. Then, stunned that anyone would oppose it and want a park instead, they went into overdrive to silence those voices . Based on the evidence, there can be NO other explanation. Don't forgive them for that, ever. Not only is the region forever devoid of a regional park because of them, but all the innocent wildlife, including the threatened and endangered, will be dying in vain as their home in the forest and open fields are forever destroyed, and what's left degraded by pesticides, fertilizers, Chem-Lawns and other suburban runoff.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

STOP's Greatest Memes: Part 3

By wildly popular demand, here is the third installment containing the most poignant, revealing, and/or disturbing MEMEs published during the STOP campaign. Each has its own story to tell about failed leadership, hypocrisy, trashing democracy, and throwing constituents under the bus. There is so much shame to go around, we have to publish these in a series.



While not a direct quote, Rep Osienski's actions/non-actions with STOP speak volumes about his union ties. The fact that he helped hide the Nun's plans from early 2013 thru mid-2015, then went on to say it was impossible to stop the Chestnut Hill so-called "Preserve" at such a late stage -- well, what more can we say. It's clear he had promises to fill for his union pals in the building industry.



Clearly, Senator Townsend did NOT put his constituents first by allowing Exec Meyer full control over buyout negotiations. Before that, he didn't put them first by failing to formally notify anyone in surrounding communities of the Nun's plans to build starting in 2013 -- fully 2 years before Diller leaked it in July 2015. When it comes to political leadership, the man is inept, incompetent, and little more than a cartoon character if there ever was one.



The Orphanage Property sits atop one of the highest water tables in the State, and is very difficult to build on without exasperating flood-prone issues in adjacent communities -- and a FEMA "100 year" flood plain down on Leathermans Run/Christina River. According to the NCC Dept of Land Use in a meeting with Advocates, that's exactly where all the water will be heading. Senator Townsend lives in or near the Wood Shade community, adjacent to Leathermans; maybe karma will have a say after all, if his house sits low and close enough by.



Delaware Wild Lands is another cartoon of an "environmental" advocacy organization. They are hypocrites that, like Sierra Club, just couldn't find it in themselves to assist in a grassroots effort to save the Orphanage Property. At least Sierra had the "decency" to come right out and say they "generally" don't endorse such efforts, but Wildlands thought it best to simply ignore Advocate's pleas. If it wasn't for DE Nature Society's enthusiastic support of STOP, we'd of all but written off DE's environmental community altogether.



Senator Townsend and Rep Osienski would NOT intervene, assert themselves and/or participate in Orphanage Property buyout negotiations; instead, they trusted and allowed their NCC Democratic colleague -- newly elected Exec Matt Meyer -- to handle all negotiations on behalf of saving the Orphanage Property. Despite pleas from Advocates to oversee Meyer's negotiations, and the chance of losing this one chance-only opportunity for a park, both would not get involved and they wouldn't even enlist the highest office for help - the Governor.



Not only did Senator Towsend not challenge the Chestnut Hill "Preserve" failed traffic impact studies and the blatant contempt for established land use code, he also didn't see fit to challenge what should go down in history as one of the worst conflicts of interest ever recorded in NCC govt. Further evidence that Mr Townsend thought that the development would simply sail on through without community backlash. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Top 16 FACTS about Save The Orphanage Property (STOP)

Recently, this comment appeared on the Facebook page for Save The Orphanage Property (STOP):

". . . name calling and unsubstantiated assertions do not do justice to your cause"

Saving the Orphanage Property WAS, and remains, a campaign that was defeated by Govt corruption, on the part of County and State elected Legislators and a newly elected developer-friendly County Executive. If the shoe fits, wear it.

We also welcome anyone to dispute the following facts, since some (including a prominent member of the League of Women Voters) seem to think these are "unsubstantiated". If any of the 16 facts below -- in BOLD font -- are false or inaccurate, we are all ears. Please, send us the evidence and/or proof otherwise, and we will eagerly retract and update our readership on multiple websites and social media platforms.

FACT: News of the Felician Sisters desire to develop the Orphanage Property was NOT brought to the public for over 2 years (documented) than it could have been. And discussion about the possibility of development was brought to Councilwoman Lisa Diller, Representative Ed Osienski, and Senator Bryan Townsend. Additionally during the 2013-2015 time frame, Diller and NCC Council raised $150,000 to help the Felician Sisters get a plan approved, with virtually no public knowledge.

FACT: From the time that the July 2015 public meeting was held at Holy Family Church, Councilwoman Diller and Rep Osienski were heard on many occasions referring to the development or their help in saving it as "Done", "Finished", and/or "It (the Chestnut Hill "Preserve) is going to happen, it’s going to happen", etc. Osienski in particular made it clear in writing that a STOP campaign started years earlier -- in 2013 before the exploratory plan was even drawn up -- would have made no difference in the outcome.

FACT: The Traffic Impact Study (TIS) was carefully scoped to exclude nearby signalized intersections that fail level of service (LOS), instead using driveways, median cut-throughs and residential T streets to fulfill the Unified Development Code's (UDC) "three intersections in each direction" mandate. This underhanded action insured that the Chestnut Hill "Preserve" would move forward with no chance of traffic concerns taken seriously.

FACT: (Provided via expert opinion from a now former NCC Council member and expert in the field, and in a meeting between Advocates and officials from the NCC Dept of Land Use): The Orphanage Property sits atop one of the highest water tables in the State, and would be very difficult to build on without exasperating flood-prone issues in adjacent communities and a FEMA "100 year" flood plain down on Leathermans Run/Christina River.

FACT: According to NCC’s GIS mapping tool, all 180 acres of the Orphanage Property was shown as “Low Density Suburban”, in terms of future land use. Somewhere along the way, without public notice, it was re-purposed as mainly High Density for the approximate 60 acres of open field space abutting Route 4. The rest (120 acres of non-buildable wetlands, woodlands, and vernal pools) became a “gift” from the developer, to be used to fulfill what is normally a very small percentage of open space mandated in the UDC. So, in essence, when considering what was actually “buildable”, and the fact that the Chestnut Hill “Preserve” does indeed clear and pave over a portion of the forest and wetlands, the result is a negative contribution to open space.

FACT: Exec Meyer appointed Joseph Setting (Orphanage Property developer at the time, according to the WNJ, and still vested via multiple LLCs) and Michael Hoffman (of Tarabicos-Grosso, firm representing the Felician Sisters) to Chairman and sub-Chair positions on the NCC Parks Transition Team. Their job was to help Meyer prioritize parkland needs for every region of NCC. This was a clear conflict of interest, and Save The Orphanage Property (STOP) Advocates filed a formal complaint with the NCC "Ethics" Commission (NCCEC). The NCCEC would NOT go beyond a "preliminary" investigation, basing their conclusion on hearsay and/or very minimal inputs. They ruled that it was NOT a conflict of interest and did NOT appear improper, when in fact, placing Ogletown-S. Newark (aka “Route 4 corridor”) at #3 priority guaranteed the Orphanage Property would be lost to development based purely on lack of funds. The Parks budget barely had enough to cover #1 and #2 – Red Lion and Middletown – whose land was either donated or already owned by NCC. Purchase of the Orphanage Property should have easily been #1, given the one chance-only opportunity it represented.

FACT: Senator Townsend and Rep Osienski would NOT intervene, assert themselves and/or participate in Orphanage Property buyout negotiations; instead, they trusted and allowed their NCC Democratic colleague -- newly elected County Executive Matt Meyer -- to handle all negotiations on behalf of saving the Orphanage Property. Despite pleas from Advocates to oversee Meyer's negotiations, and the chance of losing this one chance-only opportunity for a park, both would not get involved and they wouldn't even enlist the highest office for help - the Governor.

FACT: (According to Townsend through emails and phone calls): Exec Meyer FAILED to include several basic conditions in his written buyout offers that he had personally promised the Sisters in prior meetings (i.e. who's going to plow the snow at the entry road, etc). According to Meyer, there were four buyout offers -- but it was later found that only two were in any way usable. Because Diller had publicly stated in public and in an e-mail to her Constituents that she was “Done and Finished” and would not support the objections to the development -- and there was no State Legislator oversight in spite of them sharing constituents and being equally vested -- none of this was rectified.

FACT: (According to Townsend through emails and phone calls): Meyer refused to offer above appraised value for the Orphanage Property, despite approx $1M dollars already spent in developer planning, engineering and labor that would have to be absorbed. The Felician Sisters, in favor of the park themselves, offered to "meet halfway" on that, as long as Meyer produced a viable offer with basic conditions met. Meyer hesitated, sticking to his non-viable offer, then he waited a couple of months for the Sisters to "counter". Upon not hearing from NCC and Meyer, the Sisters had to commit one way or the other. With so much uncertainty surrounding Meyer and government funding in general, the last Orphanage Property deadline passed and the land was locked in for development. Again, because there was no State Legislator oversight -- in spite of them sharing constituents and being equally vested -- none of this was or could be rectified.

FACT: The Ogletown-S. Newark region does NOT have a regional park, and now thanks to Diller-Osienski-Townsend (and Meyer 11th hour) they never will. This is in contempt of the State's supposed Mission included in such programs as "Livable Delaware" (Minner), Trails & Pathways (Markell), along with endless studies and data that proves the value of  such facilities to the health and well-being of the communities that surround them. The economic benefits of parks are also invaluable, and they more than pay for themselves. These three Legislators went the entire opposite direction, compromising an entire region's health, happiness, property values, and right of access to healthy exercise. Instead, they chose an increase in congestion and the stresses of over-development, and to require residents to drive 15-20 minutes to use another region's park.

FACT: All 3 of the region's Legislators and Exec Matt Meyer accept numerous and generous campaign contributions from developers, land use attorneys, and others in the construction and building industry. Although STOP did receive a Resolution from the Civic League of NCC (CLNCC) in support of saving the Orphanage Property, Advocates are unaware of any efforts on their part to call out the enormous level of corruption that took place throughout the STOP campaign, most notably the above-mentioned conflict of interest and the NCCEC's failure to cite it.

FACT: A highly esteemed past president of the CLNCC had repeated to Advocates on several occasions that it is 'normal' procedure for NCC Govt and the involved Councilperson to give the genuine appearance of helping citizens and Advocates in matters of land use and conservation. Then approval of the development project goes to a vote, at which point the entire Council -- minus the Councilperson whose district it is -- votes to approve it. This, in effect, helps said Councilperson salvage their job since they voted against approval, while the others voted to approve, making it "not their fault". Citizens watched this exact scenario unfold as Councilwoman Lisa Diller was the lone vote against the Chestnut Hill “Preserve”.

FACT: (Stated by CLNCC members on several occasions): The NCC Dept of Land Use and NCC take in enormous sums of money from development projects, but in the long term, tax revenue from each new home ends up being 10-20% less than the County pays for needed civil and other services. This initial cash infusion drives NCC Council and their Legislators to act in the interest of short term self-preservation, NOT their constituents interests and regardless of whether existing home inventory is high or if parkland is needed.

FACT: Councilwoman Lisa Diller voted YES with NCC Council to pay above appraised value for the land that the new Route 9 “Library and Innovation Center” now sits on. This facility – while welcome for a community well outside NCC Dist 5 -- ended up costing NCC nearly $30M after what was originally projected as a $20M expenditure. Diller, however, defended Meyer’s stance that NCC will not pay a dime over appraised value for the Orphanage Property, despite a relatively small amount being clearly justified and benefitting HER OWN constituents.

FACT: In Senator Townsend's on-line timeline "Ogletown Park", and in person and in emails, he and Rep Osienski tell a very different story from Exec Meyer of what took place during negotiations with the Felician Sisters. According to "County Efforts" -- an article published on NCC's website -- it appears certain that Meyer and NCC gave it their all in the buyout attempt. Townsend and Osienski, on the other hand, describe how Meyer was anything but sincere and genuine in wanting a regional park. Both have provided many examples supporting their positions, with Meyer going so far as to say that Townsend had originally secured $6M toward the Orphanage Property in the State’s bond bill. So in a game of "Name that Liar", we have two attorney politicians representing the County and State, with two very conflicting stories.

FACT: For all intents and purposes, the July 2015 public meeting hastily arranged by Diller was already TOO LATE for constituent involvement in terms of best use for the Orphanage Property. It was also too late for Advocates to change the outcome to a park, given so much time and money already invested in planning the Chestnut Hill "Preserve". The Public and the Constituents, most importantly those in the communities adjacent to the project, were not notified, nor asked for their input.

Given all of the facts above, the overwhelming consensus among citizens and Advocates is that a carefully orchestrated plan was acted upon to ensure that the Orphanage Property was developed. The Legislators mentioned above, acting on behalf of their campaign donors or other monetary interests, acted together to keep themselves safe from any form of judicial or disciplinary authority. NCC Exec Matt Meyer was granted exclusive control to "negotiate" on behalf of a County-State buyout, and would take the fall since he doesn't need the Ogletown-S.Newark region for positive approval ratings and re-election chances. Counciloman Diller, Representative Osienski, Senator Townsend, and Executive Meyer will surely refute these facts, and will apply their own political spin and/or attorney-speak to these  events, attempting to paint a very different picture of what took place from 2013 to 2018. But the facts above are how the people know them, and never once were they formally contested during STOP’s four year campaign before thousands of followers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

STOP's Greatest Memes: Part 2

By wildly popular demand, here is the second installment containing the most poignant, revealing, and/or disturbing MEMEs published by the STOP campaign throughout the first 3 years. Each has their own story to tell about failed leadership, hypocrisy, trashing democracy, and throwing constituents under the bus. There is so much shame to go around, we have to publish these in a series!


Councilwoman Lisa Diller kept no secrets about her disdain of former Exec Tom Gordon, and her love of newly elected Matt Meyer. It is widely suspected that she kept the Sister's development plans a secret, just to deny Mr Gordon any opportunity to get involved early on in saving the Orphanage Property as a regional park. If so -- and it's definitely plausible -- she literally threw her constituents under the bus in an act of retribution toward her boss.


The very fact that Senator Townsend and Rep Osienski knew the Orphanage Property was threatened as far back as early 2013, and did virtually nothing to inform the community and to try and save it as a regional park is absolutely appalling. But most expect that they will win re-election this Nov, because their skills as liars and con-artists are likely to have enough voters convinced that they "did everything they possibly could" with regard to STOP. Nothing could be farther from the truth.


It became abundantly clear upon his election that Exec Meyer was fiercely pro-development. His campaign donor list contains a wealth of construction interests as well as land use attorneys and others in the building industry. Not only did Townsend-Osienski stand back and let Meyer throw away STOP all by himself, he also awarded his developer friends a bonanza in Port Penn farmland and crtical migratory habitat area. The Brandywine and Cavaliers Country Clubs will also be replaced with almost a thousand more houses and the traffic congestion that goes with that will be staggering.


While some key organizations such as the Delaware Nature Society, Coalition for Natural Stream Valleys, and White Clay Creek Watershed endorsed STOP without hesitation, those of highest clout would not. Sierra Club DE Chapter, DE Audubon Society, DE Wildlands, and others were asked repeatedly to sign on to 3 simple statements, supporting preservation of the Orphanage Property as habitat, a regional park, and open space. They ignored the opportunity, in spite of the devastating environmental consequences. Without their support in matters like this, people question what their purpose is, or what they bring to the State in terms of environmental conservation.


Senator Bryan Townsend, Rep. Ed Osienski, and Councilwoman Lisa Diller share constituents and are sworn to act in their best interests. This trio knew in 2013 -- a full two years before Diller leaked it to the public -- that the Orphanage Property was under threat of development, yet they saw no value in saving it as open space. They failed to recognize that geographically, a regional park was very much needed, and this was the last opportunity in their districts. And to top it off, Osienski himself stated that 2 years of additional notice would not have made a difference in the outcome -- STOP's fate was sealed from the very start.


Putting developers and land use attorneys in positions to prioritize parkland -- for the very land that they own and plan to develop -- would be a conflict of interest anywhere else in the U.S. But not if you're the NCC "Ethics" Commission, supposedly a watchdog group overseeing NCC Govt ethics. And worse, the NCC Civic League has accepted this and moved on after having endorsed STOP and a regional park. "Route 4" (Ogletown-S. Newark) was indeed prioritized as #3, behind Red Lion and Middletown. Saving the Orphanage Property for this region should have been #1 priority, because the land was not yet owned and secured and this was the last chance. #1 and #2 are regions with properties that NCC already owns or had gifted to them; they just need the amenities. With only a couple million left over in the parks budget, and Meyer unwilling to add anymore, a #3 priority was as good as ZERO priority. But no, Setting and Hoffman on Meyer's Parks Team, helping set priorities wasn't a conflict of interest according to this farce of an "Ethics" Commission, whose attorney members are appointed by Meyer himself.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

STOP: Townsend, Osienski in damage control mode

How ironic is it that Rep Osienski and Senator Townsend sent out letters to adjacent neighborhoods, that they are working on 'permission' from the new Orphanage Property owner and developer (Bob Sipple) to allow the building of public trails through the remains of the Orphanage Property woods?

Imagine if they had the foresight to send a letter in 2013? Imagine had they sent this before any of the development plans were even drawn up, to give residents and Advocates a chance to intervene? Beyond any shadow of a doubt, they would have begun working with the Felician Sisters and Tom Gordon for a regional park, and the odds of success overwhelming. But no, they did not, because as Advocates have so clearly demonstrated time and time again, they wanted this Chestnut Hill "Preserve" to happen.

The letter accuses Advocates of putting out "inaccurate information" No, they did not. They posted speculative information here and on social media pages about what could happen, in light of the fact that Gender Road access will likely be cut off, due to the Adverse Possession lawsuit pending. And don't be fooled; a connection to Todd II or Breezewood would still happen if it became a matter of building the development by code, or because safety demanded it. Remember, when needed, Emergency Services and Police will need to be able to get into the development quickly and safely. Right now there is only one access - the developer wanted two, and in the end, DelDOT will have the final say.

IF Townsend and Osienski have so much power to over-rule DelDOT and NCC in this matter, why didn't they intervene and demand Meyer make a good faith effort to Save The Orphanage Property? Even if they are correct, and they manage to stop any other connections, the Chestnut Hill "Preserve" is 269 Dwelling Units. The Unified Development Code calls for a bi-directional, signalized intersection for over 300 DUs, so we're looking at just under that number. It is a foregone conclusion that at some point in the future, DelDOT will upgrade Route 4 to better accommodate congestion and close-call issues at the CHP, using tax payer dollars.

Like so many other facts we've stated -- and not once have been disputed -- another glaring fact is how these two (and NCC's Diller, equally at fault) refuse to take one ounce of responsibility for the disaster unfolding. They refuse to acknowledge the fact that the region is completely disenfranchised because of them; that they held the only ever opportunity for a regional park in the palm of their hands, and threw it away. The time to save it was when they first learned of the smallest possibility of development - but instead, their inaction, disinterest, and lack of public engagement allowed the CHP to move forward to the point where it would be difficult, though not impossible, to stop it. So what did they do? Handed responsibility to newly elected NCC Exec Mat Meyer, himself bought off by construction interests and having zero vested interest in the region or a park.

So now it's election time, and they're in full damage control mode. Their folly is unfolding right here in front of us. We see it, and it's time for new leadership. Don't be taken; vote all 3 -- Diller, Osienski, and Townsend -- OUT of office on Nov. 6!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

STOP's Greatest Memes: Part 1

By wildly popular demand, here are the first half-dozen of our most poignant, revealing, and/or disturbing MEMEs published by STOP Advocates throughout the first 3 years of the campaign. Each has their own story to tell about failed leadership, hypocrisy, trashing democracy, and throwing constituents under the bus. There is so much shame to go around, we have to publish these in a series.


The Catholic Church is a self-proclaimed charitable organization, supposedly putting the greater good first, ahead of the wealthy few. They claim to uphold Christ's mission of peace and love, and of late, Pope Francis and his encyclical concerning environmental stewardship. Or so they say. Apparently, it never occurred to the Nuns to give, or even partially gift the land to their neighbors in the form of accepting Meyer's inadequate buyout offer. The church put maximizing profits first, and to hell with the people, planet, and wildlife.


With Councilwoman Diller
publicly stating that "she didn't own the property and couldn't make them sell it", she declared herself "DONE" and "FINISHED" on numerous occasions, unwilling to support STOP Advocate's efforts. It fell on NCC Executive Meyer, who had multiple opportunities to clinch a buyout with shared funding between the County and State, and as we know, he failed miserably.


It is far from clear why all 3 legislators -- Diller, Osienski, and Townsend -- trusted Exec Meyer to negotiate all by himself. Meyer was only elected in 2016. He isn't from the area, and took numerous campaign donations from developer and construction interests. Though he lies to the contrary, as quoted here in an email to us, he has no respect or regard for open space and the natural environment -- never mind quality of life in Ogletown-S. Newark.


Shortly after Diller leaked news of the Orphanage Property's impending doom in July 2015, Rep Ed Osienski admitted that he and the other legislators were following the Felician Sister's plans for at least 2 years prior. This came as a total shock to residents and Advocates, who were just now confronted with a completed exploratory plan and the Chestnut Hill "Preserve" marching forward, full steam ahead.


Like Diller being "done" and "finished", Osienski held nothing back in 2015, quoted at various meetings that the development "is going to happen" regardless. At the end of the STOP campaign, he played a very different tune, expressing sorrow, regret, and disappointment that STOP didn't "happen".



One of the very first excuses from Senator Townsend. He did little or nothing to inform the public and Advocates of impending development for two years (2013-2015) because, well, he just didn't think it would happen. However, he insists that he told a few constituents in adjacent communities that were present at their local HOA meetings.


When 8 acres of prime habitat area in his district came under threat of development, Rep Kowalko not only notified his constituents, he went public, ensuring that Advocates were aware of the threat. Even those outside his district were well in the know, early in the game.

Friday, August 10, 2018

STOP price tag was 10% the cost of the Route 9 Library


Isn't it shocking
to think that the Legislators only needed to raise approx 1/10 the cost of the Rt.9 library (that's right ... 1/10) to save the Orphanage Property? All three -- Councilwoman Diller, Rep Osienski, and Senator Townsend were first aware of the Nun's intentions to sell and build low income housing in 2013. They should have known the grave threat that presented to the entire open space, especially given certain ordinances. These include "workforce housing", compliments of Penrose Hollins, where this vast buildout (Chestnut Hill "Preserve") was actually a condition of the Nuns receiving a tax credit. Is that crazy or what?

Instead of keeping this all a big secret, the legislators should have known that the most appropriate use of the land was for parkland, and immediately enlisted constituents and advocates to oppose it. A fight could have been led against NCC, demanding that they waive (they can do that) Hollins' ordinance. Instead, the legislators stayed mum, waiting until it was too late -- 2 years later in fact. Then Diller leaked it in 2015, leading to the bloodbath at Holy Family Church that July.

If the property appraised at $5.9M, less than 3M would have been required from the State side for an even 50/50 match with NCC. Instead, Townsend and Osienski go around taking credit for achieving $1.25M in the bond bill, with only their promise of a second installment a year later. That gave Meyer all the excuse he needed to throw the Orphanage Property away, at one point even saying that Townsend lied having promised $6M in the bond bill.

How much clearer can it be that they wanted the development to take place? That their developer friends and donors came first? 2013-14-15-16 -- the first three with Gordon -- and both Osienski and Townsend couldn't round up a $3M match for NCC funds. Yet they just love to blame NCC Exec Meyer (who arrived late in the game) for screwing the pooch. Had the alarm sounded in the 2013-14 time frame, Gordon would have jumped at the chance of State matching funds, and worked with the Nuns to rezone as necessary for the low income housing, and spin off the rest for a regional park. We know this because Gordon called us in the Summer of 2016 and we talked in person about it. He just needed to defeat Meyer in the primary and the rest would have been history we're sure. But that didn't happen; Meyer narrowly defeated Gordon.

In no way does this excuse Meyer, because he could have made STOP happen in the 11th hour. Obviously, his campaign donors dictated otherwise. But it never should have come down to Meyer in the first place; Both State Legislators and Diller had a clear opportunity to wrap this up years before he arrived at the scene.